Oh wow I'm behind. You guys haven't heard from me in over a year now. Oh well, I have a dual surprise for you today. I forgot to post the last Halloween event because it was so late (writing went well into November and didn't even get to a point I wanted it to end on). So today, on the fifth anniversary of the Cracker's start, I grant you 9volt's super spooky scary one-shot story.

***

October 31st, 2030.
Mobius Castle.
Five elves gathered around a roaring fire on All Hallows Eve. They had gathered for the yearly tradition of storytelling. Already Nick and Scott had told their stories, and this year the torch would be passed to the only shapeshifter of the group.
“I missed out last year,” Elementres said, sipping from her banana smoothie, “How was Scott’s tale?”
“Awful,” Nick blurted out.
“God-awful,” 9volt added.
“I liked it,” Elementire said with a slight smile.
“He pulled a Twilight Princess,” Nick continued.
Elementres sighed, glaring at Scott, “What the hell?”
Scott scowled, “All of you can suck my throbbing werewolf dick.”
Nick laughed, holding up a strawberry smoothie, “At the very least, The Smoothie Story was good, right?”
There was a long awkward silence, broken finally by Elementire, “I liked it.”
They all looked at her. Nick smiled slightly, “Well I’m not really sure what to think about this.”
9volt took a sip from his blueberry smoothie, nervous. He spoke, “Well now it seems that it is my turn to tell the tale.”
“It better be a good one,” Elementres said, picking at her nails with a knife, “I get bored easily.”
The shapeshifter smiled, “I’m sure you’ll like it. Our story begi-”
“I’ve got one,” Elementres interrupted.
Everyone looked at her. Elementire frowned, “One what?”
“A story,” Elementres explained, “I’ve got one. You’re the last person alive, and you’re alone in a room by yourself. You hear a knock at the door.”
There was a pause. Scott furrowed his brow, “How did everyone else die?”
“Why would I be sitting alone in a room?” Nick questioned.
“Is it an animal or a plant that fell over and is the one making a knocking sound...?” 9volt pondered.
“Your story’s full of holes, Elementres,” Elementire pointed out.
Elementres shrugged, “I’ll work on it for next year, then.”
9volt shook his head, “Right, this year it’s my turn. As I was saying, our story begins at the turn of the twentieth century...”

***

October 31st, 1900.
Croydon, England.
9volt walked along in a blustery evening. It was snowing heavily, and he was the only one out at this time of night. He quickly shifted his body into one with a heavy build, becoming more accustomed to the cold.
He hugged his jacket close, his pace steady now. Somewhere from outside the city, he heard a wolf howl. He narrowed his eyes at the sound, turning the corner. He walked along, eventually coming to a grubby tavern. He wrenched the doors open and slipped inside.
He pulled off his coat and hat, changing his body back to its normal shape. He looked around for a moment, and then slung the coat over his shoulder and put his hat back on.
The place was abandoned, with the exception of the bartender silently washing glasses with his head bowed. Soft candlelight lit the room, but the tables and chairs were all empty.
9volt hesitantly stepped up to the counter and sat down on a stool. He cleared his throat and the barkeep looked up at him. The shapeshifter nodded uncertainly, “Is this the Particular Inn?”
The bartender rolled his eyes, “This is the Nowhere Inn Particular pub. It’s an inn in Nowhere town, named Particular. Nowhere Inn Particular.”
9volt took this all in with a raised an eyebrow. He looked around and sighed, “No business tonight?”
The bartender shook his head, “I got a small gathering scheduled, rented out the whole place for the night. So far no one’s showed up. You part of that group?”
9volt pulled a small slip of paper from his pocket, “Yep. Got my invitation right here.”
The bartender looked at the clock and then went back to his work. 9volt turned to look at the door. He sighed, “It’s getting pretty late though.”
The bartender grunted in agreement. 9volt frowned, ordering a drink. As the bartender slammed the glass down on the counter, the door suddenly swung open, and the howling wind swept a chilling air through the air. The shapeshifter downed his drink, not looking at the gale that raged through the small pub. The barkeep shouted out, “Shut that damned door, you’re letting all the heat out!”
The door creaked on its hinges as the newcomer struggled to close it. After a moment, they were left in silence. The stool next to 9volt was pulled back, screeching against the floor, and a rather short young man sat down.
His head only poked up above the counter. His size was quite comical, and he rapped his knuckles against the wood in front of his face. He spoke in a quiet, but unusually deep voice, with a raspy tone, “I’d like to order a drink for my friend here-”
“I already had one,” 9volt interrupted, holding up his empty flask.
The newcomer frowned, “I see. Well you may call me Iota the Observant.”
“9volt,” the shapeshifter replied with a frown. Iota had long dark hair that hung down over his face, obscuring his left eye. His fingers twitched, every second a different one changing its position. Still he knocked against the counter, and then raised his hand.
The barkeep turned his back to them, grunting, “Maybe you’d like to buy a drink for yourself instead.”
Iota smiled, waving his hand, “No thank you.” Out of thin air, a goblet made entirely of bronze was conjured into his palm, its stem fitting neatly between his middle and ring fingers. It filled from the base up with red wine, and his raised it to his lips, whispering, “I already poured myself something.”
“Wh- how did you...?” 9volt stammered in awe.
Iota turned to the shapeshifter and smirked, “I am what is known as a Manifestor. The rule that ‘energy can be neither created nor destroyed’ does not apply to me. I can create any object of any size, any shape, any density, any mass, and in any state with any temperature, velocity, kinetic energy, potential energy, sense of magnetic, nuclear, or gravitational forces I so desire. I am only limited by my own imagination, but otherwise there is nothing I cannot make.”
9volt went deathly still, a shiver running up his spine. He placed a hand over his mouth, thinking. He narrowed his eyes, “But you cannot make anything you do not know the exact properties of, correct?”
Iota shrugged, “It depends on what it is.”
9volt stared at the Manifestor. He lowered his hand, commanding, “A tiny bicycle made of silver with twenty-three spokes on one wheel and thirty-five on the other.”
Iota held out his left hand, which now held the object 9volt had described, “Simple enough.”
“An inverted lizard, with its organs outside the skin but held in place by an external skeleton.”
Iota grinned, holding up the creature by its tail, “Tricky, but doable.”
“A copy of the Magna Carta, with all original signatures properly written.”
“That would be in your ear,” the Manifestor indicated. He waved a hand, and a roll of parchment fell from 9volt’s body and landed face-up. It was a perfect replication.
“A list of all people that have died in the past year in the country of Finland,” 9volt challenged.
“I cannot do that,” Iota countered, “I would have to personally know the fact before I can print it.”
“The weather forecast for tomorrow.”
“I also cannot predict future events.”
“Understandable,” 9volt said, “Your powers function similarly to shapeshifter logic, except instead of changing your body’s composition, you are creating something entirely new.”
Iota cracked his knuckles, “Give me something really hard now. I haven’t had this much fun in ages.”
9volt thought hard for a moment. At last he snapped his fingers, saying, “A one-thousandth scale model of the Eiffel Tower of Paris made of dove feathers, using a foundation of emeralds and support beams of compressed mercury.”
Iota wiggled his fingers, sighing joyously. He turned to a nearby table, and from it arose a diorama of the entire city of Paris, meeting all of 9volt’s specifications. The buildings were crafted from jade and cut glass, with perfect architecture throughout. He shuddered, admiring his creation, “I got carried away. Paris is a lovely city.”
“That is amazing,” 9volt said, examining the model.
“In addition to my Manifesting abilities, I also possess a photographic memory,” Iota explained, “Any detail I experience for even a fraction of a second I will remember for the rest of my life.”
9volt looked at the Manifestor in awe. He swallowed, “Why have you brought me here tonight?”
Iota sighed, “I came in here to kill a shapeshifter.”
9volt tensed up, his fists becoming clenched.

***

October 30th, 1900.
South Croydon, England.
Francine Smith lived a quiet life. She had married her husband, Jean, two years prior, when she was twenty years of age. They had moved here from France, wanting to start a new life together. While she was merely a housewife, he worked as a newspaper printer. It was a meager existence they shared, but they were comfortable together, living each day by day without any worries out of the ordinary.
She stared out of the window, frowning. Jean had acted strange this morning before going off to work. He hadn’t looked at her and barely spoke a word. She shook her head, sniffing. He was also very late coming home. She glanced over at the grandfather clock next the the fireplace. It was nearly midnight now. She walked to their shared bedroom and laid down under the covers, sighing. She sniffed again, narrowing her eyes at some strange smell that she had caught earlier that she couldn’t place. She shrugged. The house lay silent and dark in the night, and Francine soon fell asleep.
What seemed like a few hours later, she felt the covers rise and her husband slim next to her. She smiled, unable to see his face in the dark, “Long day at the press?”
She could feel his short, hot breath panting on her neck. She turned her head slightly, looking at his figure over her shoulder, “All tired out, I take it?”
She could see him slowly nod in the dark. She smiled, rolling over. Her hand reached out, cupping his face in her hand. His skin felt cool, sweaty, and oddly slimy, most likely from the paper pulp, although she wondered how it got on his face. She frowned, “You’re a mess. I’ll draw you a bath, I’m not sleeping with you when your face is like that.”
She got up out of bed and picked up a box of matches from the side table. She went to the bathroom and looked back toward her husband, “You’d best get up on your own. I’ll drag you out of that bed if I have to.”
She opened the door to the bathroom and lit a match. She gasped in alarm, dropping it immediately.
In front of her lay her husband’s mangled corpse, twisted all around as if by some huge blender. It dripped blood, as it had been doing all day, and the smell of rotting flesh was overwhelming.
Trembling, she drew another match and lit it, her shaking hands making it difficult. Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder, and she looked down at it. It was scaly, with large claws and a layer of slime over it. Her eyes grew wide.
“Come back to bed, dear,” it whispered.

***

October 31st, 1900.
Croydon, England.
A woman’s scream pierced the night. 9volt and Iota turned in the direction it came from, and then Iota said, “Perhaps I should have been more straightforward. I came here to kill a shapeshifter, but apparently you are not the one I’m looking for.”
“What are you saying?” 9volt demanded, furrowing his brow.
Iota nodded his head towards the door, setting off at a brisk pace towards it, “I’ll explain on the way!”
They slammed out of the Inn, running towards the sound of the scream. It had only sounded for a brief moment before being cut off.
“There is something,” Iota explained, “Either an Elvin Shapeshifter or a creature otherwise I don’t know, that is killing off humans. However, this killer is unique in its actions. So far it has only taken ten victims, but the way it twists and mutilates them is-” The Manifestor stopped, looking sick, “I’d wish not to remember it. The point is that this creature is instilling fear in the people rather than killing for the sake of pleasure.”
9volt frowned, “So you want my help in capturing this...thing?”
Iota gave him a half smile, “Well now that you offer it, I could use some help.”
They took off running again. After a moment, a shadow flashed past them, and then slowed to a halt. Iota, wide-eyed, turned, “That was it! After it!”
9volt gasped, “It ran right between us?”
“It was moving so fast that it was near impossible for us to detect,” Iota theorized, “It doesn’t know we’re here, and since humans have much slower perceptions, there’s no reason for it not to.”
He raised an arm, Manifesting a surreal firearm with glowing blue lights. He pulled the trigger, firing off a laser of wispy energy. The bolt struck the shadow in the back and it fell to the ground, stunned.
“Now!” Iota called out. They ran forth, the Manifestor discarding his gun in exchange for a blue orb that grew as he drew closer.
The shadow stood. It turned, bits of its body floating out like sparks from a flame. Its body was a bulging beast with thick forearms and large clawed fists. It lacked a lower body, coming straight out from the ground. Waves of a tangled and messy black hair-like substance flowed down the creature’s back, whipping around in the windless night. Its jaws parted, revealing a wide range of teeth of every format; human, animal, fish, and many more. A tail rose up from the murky shadows below it as it lowered its stance.
9volt drew back, “Iota, stand back! It’s going to-”
On the tail formed a sickly axe-blade that shimmered in the moonlight. The creature roared, spinning around. There was a flash of light as the blade cut through their surroundings.
The air was still. 9volt stood deathly still, his arm still outstretched towards his Manifestor companion, eyes wide with fear. Time had slowed to a halt. Slowly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a light pole slant, split diagonally in two. The top half fell, the cut cleaner and more precise than any cut 9volt had ever seen. Time began to resume, and all around them objects began to fall apart, all split directly in two along the same path the tail had struck upon: half of a flower pot fell to the ground and shattered, wrought iron bars that covered windows on the north side clanged to the ground, even the street itself on the south side was cut, the earth split in a wide arcing pattern.
Then, a tiny, indescribably small line of red formed along the abdomen of Iota’s waistcoat. The fabric ripped apart, and 9volt felt the same happening to his own clothing. His molecules seemed to detach from each other, his upper body falling to the ground. He grunted, specks of dirt flying up his nose and into his eyes. He quickly looked up at the Manifestor.
Iota’s eyes rolled back in his head as his body split cleanly in two. He fell backward, spewing blood from his wound. He gasped, crying out into the night as he looked down upon himself. He threw his head back, screaming terribly in agony.
The creature paused for a moment, and then its mouth parted, curling back in what looked like a sinister smile. It released a deep, haughty sound and then melted into the ground, becoming nothing more than a shadow and a memory.
9volt’s body reattached itself, the molecules rejoining. He got to his feet, stumbled, and then fell again. He ran over to the Manifestor and gasped, hot tears flowing down his cheek, “Iota!”
The Manifestor looked up at him and smiled, then his eyes grew dark. He took one last long look up at the stars and then moved no more.

***

October 31st, 2030.
Mobius Castle.
The elves sat in stunned silence. Nick was the first to speak, “I thought it was decent.”
“Two people died,” Scott commented, “And that’s it. It really wasn’t very scary, per se...”
The rest of them thought this over. Finally, Elementres raised an eyebrow, “I agree with Scott. It really isn’t that noteworthy of a story.”
“Oh, come on!” 9volt yelled.
“Sorry, honey,” Elementire said solemnly.
“You didn’t like it?” 9volt cried, turning to the vampire. As she shook her head, looking at the floor, he scowled, “I suppose nothing can please you people.”
“The ending just seemed rushed,” Nick said, “I mean, imagine a situation where you have an entire year to write a scary story down, but you waste the first eleven months, get pretty far in the next three weeks, but then can’t think of an adequate ending, so you end up taking another half a month after your deadline to finish it.”
There was a pause as no one spoke. Finally, 9volt threw up his arms in frustration, “I honestly cannot think of a situation like that. It’s ridiculous and anyone that does something like that just sounds lazy.”
Elementres stood, sighing, “This was disappointing. Next year I think I won’t have to try too hard to scare you all shitless, if this is what you’re used to.”

***

December 31st, 1900.
London, England.
The shadow sulked through the streets, waiting and watching. For... three and a half months it had stalked this country and haunted it. There was no connection between its killings, having chosen a variety of means to carry out its murders.
No... that was not the right word. It was not murder. More like pest control. Yes, humanity was a pestilence, was it not?
Somewhere in the back of its mind that did not sound right. But he drowned that voice out. Shadows did not have voices nagging at their minds. They only spoke out loud... and only in whispers. Yes, that was why it was doing this. The fear of the whispers.
Although those stupid humans did not realize it - their ears clouded the sound that it sung so sweetly to them, like a lullaby - the shadow whispered terrifying promises of peace and quiet, of darkness and an end of suffering.
The shadows only whispered of death.
And the expressions that he twisted upon their faces - not just from the horrid whispers, but also the expressions it carved into their skin - were simply delightful. Suicide in this country was on the rise because of its appearance, and it would continue for years. But this shadow’s search had come to an end.
Its target had found it.
On that night two months ago, when it had been revealed, it had hoped the two would simply give up their chase. It had killed one and left the other. But the Royal Guard had stepped up security. Ultimately that became their downfall, as they led the shadow to its target.
Queen Victoria - God Save the Queen! - had gone away. Without the shadow to keep her company. It would show her that she was missing out.
That was six days ago. But the shadow felt compelled to stay in this capital city. For what reason, it knew not, but now was the time to move on. The Isle of Wight was its destination.
It swiftly moved through the streets, unleashing an invisible storm of spores. The spores were a creature, half fungus and half virus, that sought two things: to disease any person they came in contact with, and to reproduce. Yes, this nasty and tiny powder the shadow let loose as it pervaded across the land were its sperm and its eggs. If they were met with those of another of its species, more of the shadow would be born.
But that would never come. There were none like it. Even the shadow himself was only a shade, using this form as a disguise.
It slowed as this thought crossed its mind.
“Him...self?”
Its thoughts were interrupted before long as a man formed before it - the same one from that night, it recalled vaguely.
He spoke out at it, raising a finger accusingly. The shapeshifter - that must be what he was, the shadow had seen that race somewhere before - his words were muddled but pierced through to its inner mind. He invaded it, which filled the shadow with suppressed fury.
“Begone!” he shouted, “Leave this world, before I force you out of it!”
The shadow, in its true form, rose out of the ground. The shapeshifter winced at the sight of it. It only rose a quarter of the way out of the ground, revealing its head. Just like that night long ago, thin wafts of smoke rose off of its body and drifted away through the night. Long, hair-like tendrils hung down around its bulbous skull, and waved around madly in the windless night. The jaws of the creature opened, and the shapeshifter took a step back at the sight of its random assortment of teeth plastered together like a child’s art project on the canvas of its lips. The effect was made worse by the fact that all of its teeth - every single one - was at present coated in dried black blood.
The shapeshifter clenched his fists and then charged forward, “For Iota!” His fist sparked as lightning danced up and down his forearm. The shadow creature, with no patience left, swiftly moved to the side and then surged forth. Leaving the shapeshifter behind, in mere minutes it was able to reach the trap that its mouse had cowardly set herself in.
It scaled the walls of the stronghold with ease, dispatching the guards with ease. There was no art and no pleasure in their deaths. They were simply practice brushstrokes to wet its appetite. The satisfying masterpiece was to be painted soon.
Without difficulty the creature soon found itself standing at the bedside of Alexandrina Victoria, who slept soundly despite the imminent danger. Smiling in delight, and standing fully aboveground now, the creature leaned forward. It unfolded one of its bulging fists and gently scraped a thin claw along her cheek. A strand of pollen that the shadow-creature had been secreting fell into the cut, pussing immediately as the body fought the infection in vain.
A sharp pain shuddered through the shadow, however. It fell to the floor with a great thud, and the walls shook with its weight. Stunned, it slowly moved its head to look up, and saw with great rage the shapeshifter standing over it. Instead of letting loose its fury, the creature closed its mouth in a humble grin.
The creatures final thoughts were as such: “Bested.. beat.. my time is up, I suppose. This chance at renewed life, I.. cherished. Small matters. Someday, maybe soon, I will come again. Better.. the best...”

***

January 1st, 1901.
Southern England.
As the sun rose and the twentieth century began, 9volt dragged what was left of the shadow creature onto the southern coast of the island country it had ravaged. Much of its body had disintegrated away in smoky wisps of darkness, but there was still the fragile skeleton left over. He collapsed onto his back, turning his head to watch the sun rise.
Just as his eyes had begun to drift shut, he heard a gasp of breath. He straightened with a start and quickly turned his attention to the beast. It stood shakily once more and then fell to its knees as its outer skin faded away, revealing the shapeshifter hidden underneath.
“This must be what Iota meant,” 9volt thought, “This creature was merely a shapeshifter.. an elf in disguise.”
The younger shapeshifter coughed and gagged, spewing the meager contents of his stomach. Whatever was left was unidentifiable black mush. He cringed, his entire body convulsing in horror.
“My name.. 9Fear..”
“9volt,” the elder said in introduction.
“That creature.. I took its form.. but whatever it was.. became me. You must believe me, I was trapped beneath its skin. My mind was aware of every ghastly terror my body committed and I could do nothing.. nothing to stop myself.”
“I believe you,” 9volt said quietly, “Not just because you are my brother. I trust that creature was simply too terrifying to put into words. It had an otherworldly quality about it that I do not feel with you. I suppose in a farfetched way it is possible for something like that to happen.”
He trailed off, and for a moment the world was still. It held this peaceful gaze for a moment, and the two elves watched the sun rise in a brief harmony, savouring this precious time before parting ways soon after.

***

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Today marks a momentous occasion as the fourth year since the Cracker's inception. It is not April Fool's Day. How dare you suggest such a thing. On this day, I have prepared this non-canonical take on some differentiating opinions in the most sophisticated way possible. Because *bleep* you, that's why.

***

March 6th, 2013.
Renton, Washington; United States.
Scott Lycanthrope walked throughout the Walmart of Renton, searching for the electronics section. He came to it and placed a few thousand dollars on the counter. The store clerk looked up in surprise.
“Give me every Nintendo Wii U you've got,” he said.
“Are you sure?” asked the clerk, “Those things haven’t been selling very well, I heard they’re a lot slower then they’re advertised as...”
“I don’t care,” Scott said, “I’ll take every last one. Even the ones in storage.”
“Sir, you can’t buy from storage,” the clerk informed him, raising an eyebrow.
Scott sighed, “Alright, fine then.”
The clerk hastened to bring out every Wii U from the shelves. “Alright, that’s fifteen Wii U’s at $373.43 each, which brings your total up to...$5601.45.”
Scott paid the money and then the clerk brought out more Wii U’s from storage to fill up the spaces. Scott walked up to him while he was doing so, and said, “So, I’m really interested in those Wii U’s you have there. Could I possibly buy...all of those?”

***

March 6th, 2013.
London, England.
Scott walked throughout the Walmart of London, searching for the electronics section. He came to it and placed a few thousand Euros on the counter. The store clerk looked up in surprise.
“’ive to me e’ery “Nintendo Wii U” chu ‘ave got,” he said in a very fake French accent.
“Are you quite right?” asked the British clerk, “Those items haven’t been selling very well, I’ve heard that they are a lot slower than those Americans advertised them as...”
“I’z do not KER,” Scott said, his accent becoming worse and worse “I’z vill take e’ery last un. E’en de un’s en stor-AGE.”
“Sir, you cannot buy from our storage supply,” the British clerk informed him, raising an eyebrow.
Scott sighed, “AL-righ’y zen, havez et chour vay.”
“Would you like the Premium or the regular?”
“Both.”
The clerk hastened to bring out every Wii U from the shelves. “Alright, that’s fifteen Premium Wii U’s at £249.00 each, and eight basic Wii U’s at £199.00, which brings your total up to...£5,543.”
Scott looked at his money. He had Euros, not pounds. He looked up at the clerk, “I’z vill be RIGHT back.”

***

March 7th, 2013.
Sydney, Australia.
Scott slammed his money on the counter of an Australian Walmart, saying, “Howdy, pard’ner. Le’s say you’s there give me every goddanged Wii U you’s got back der.”
The Australian store clerk stared at him for a moment, and then said, “Well alright, then, Mate! Lemme just get right on that, crikey!”
As the clerk got every Wii U in the store, Scott coughed, saying under his breath, without the Southern accent, “Stupid arsshole Australians, goddang their lame accents...”
“Now what was that?” the clerk questioned, looking up at him.
There was a pause, and then Scott said, “Uh, I di’n’t say nuttin’.”
The clerk stared at him, and then asked, “Would you like these gift-wrapped?”
“That’d be mighty kind uh ya.”

***

March 6th, 2013.
Scott’s House.
Nick knocked on the door to Scott’s house. He heard a muffled, “Come in!” from inside. He turned the knob and then pushed, but found the door stuck. He pushed with all his might, and steadily the door opened.
Nick frowned, “Scott, why is your door-”
He cut himself short, his eyes settling on the room. Wii U boxes were everywhere he looked. They lined the walls. Scott had taken out his furniture and replaced them with boxes. Scott sat on top of three boxes at a desk made from about a dozen.
“What the...” Nick said, trailing off from sheer amazement.
“Incredible, isn’t it?” Scott said, “Come, look at this.”
Nick walked over to him. On the computer Scott was ordering fifty Wii U’s from Walmart’s website at the same time. Scott clicked a button and then turned to him, “It’s beautiful, is it not?”
“I have no idea what to say...”
“Would you like one?”
Nick grinned, “Yes!”
Scott held out his hand, “That’ll be $380.”
Nick furrowed his brow, “Why do I have to pay you? It’s not like you’ll ever run out.” He looked around again, “Oh, I see what you’re doing. You’ve bought all of these so you could sell them and make a profit. How many do you have?”
“That’s a very astute observation,” Scott said, folding his hands, “But also an incorrect one. All will be explained in time. To answer your latter question, I have traveled to every supercenter from around the world, buying every Nintendo Wii U I could find. I now have around three million. It has cost me about $1,120,290,130.69 altogether. I also bought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.” He blinked, “And a cat. Help yourself to the chicken.”
Nick walked up to the indicated bucket and then groaned, “Aw, dude! You ate all of the skin off them!”
“Would you like to know what I do with the Nintendo Wii U’s?” Scott asked.
“Of course!” Nick yelled.
“Very well,” Scott said calmly, “Follow me to the back yard.”
They exited, and Nick found that Scott had a miniature trebuchet set up. “You see, the Wii U is terribly slow. I thought that if Nintendo thinks that the Wii U is becoming more popular, then they will update it into being faster.
“That makes sense,” Nick admitted. Scott then took a Wii U box - unopened - and set it upon the catapult. Nick frowned, “Wait, what are-”
“Fire!” Scott released the trebuchet, flinging the Wii U into the air. He pulled the string of a medieval cannon nearby, and the missile struck the box, blowing it up.
“What the hell!” Nick screamed, aghast, “You’re willing to blow them up, but not just give me one for free?!”
“You can have that one,” Scott said, gesturing behind him, “Some arssembly required.”
“Forget it!” Nick screamed, leaving. Scott sat down, chewing on a piece of fried chicken. His newly bought cat walked up to him, rubbing against his leg, meowing and purring.
“No, Mr. Kitty, this is my Kentucky Fried Chicken!” Scott yelled, annoyed.
“Mew?”
“No, that’s a bad Mr. Kitty! This is my chicken, GODD---IT!!”

***

March 8th, 2013.
Nick’s House.
Nick sat down on his couch and switched on his television. He needed to relax somehow, after all the insanity of Scott he had been exposed to. The television was tuned to the local news station, Action 4 News.
“This just in, the economy is doing surprisingly good all of a sudden due to a sudden billion-dollar increase in the amount of funds in circulation internationally.”
“What the hell.” Nick said monotonously, covering his eyes with his arm.
“It seems this is due to international sales of the Nintendo Wii U. The Wii U sold an astounding three million consoles in a matter of hours on Wednesday around noon. Eyewitness reports say that the systems were all bought by the same person...Iron Man.”
“The. Hell.” Nick said, getting up and leaving the room. On the television, a clip was shown, taken from a video surveillance footage of a Wal Mart's security camera. It showed Scott - wearing an Iron Man helmet - approaching the electronics section and then proceeding to buy every Nintendo Wii U in the store.
The reporter folded his hands together, saying, “Well, here’s hoping this doesn’t turn out badly somehow. I’m Tom Plicker, Action 4 News.”

***

March 11th, 2013.
Tokyo, Japan.
“We’re going to take off the bag now, Mr. Lee. Don’t scream again or we’ll be forced to bash your skull in.”
The potato sack covering Stan Lee was taken off, and he was greeted with the sight of Shigeru Miyamoto glaring at him with Mario in the background, holding a silenced pistol. Stan Lee’s eyes grew, but Miyamoto shushed him, saying, “Now, now, Mr. Lee. We wouldn’t want the authorities to find out you were here. We are trying ever so hard to convince you not to ‘commit suicide’. Would be a real shame if we failed...”
To punctuate this point, Mario clicked the gun, loading it.
“Now, tell us; where is Tony Stark!?”
Stan Lee shook his head, “You can’t be serious. He’s a fictional character, he doesn’t exist.”
Miyamoto punched Stan Lee in the jaw, knocking him over. He kicked him in the stomach, shouting, “Tell us where Tony Stark is or we will kill you!”
“Why does it even matter?!”
Miyamoto stopped, turning away. He folded his hands together behind his back, saying, “Why does it matter indeed? You see, Mr. Lee, a few days ago Mr. Stark bought millions of copies of our new Nintendo Wii U system. Thinking they were finally improving business-wise, we built more of them. But once Mr. Stark was done, we had too many Wii U’s. Nintendo has gone bankrupt. And now we are going to find Mr. Stark to make him pay!”
“Have you ever figured that it’s your own fault for making so many of them?” Stan Lee questioned, “Or that you could simply not make any more until sales improve?”
Miyamoto turned around to face him. He grabbed the pistol from Mario, shouting, “You have until the count of ten to tell me where Tony Stark is!!”
“I already told you, he doesn’t exist!”
“One! Two!”
“Please don’t kill me!” Stan Lee pleaded, “Think about what’ll happen to The Avengers 2!”
“Ten!” Miyamoto shouted, firing the gun. Stan Lee’s brains were blown across the opposing wall.
At that moment, Eiji Aonuma entered, saying, “Mis’er Miyamoto sir, we’ve found that the person that bought all of the Nintendo Wii U’s wasn’t actually Tony Stark.”
“Oh,” Miyamoto said. “Well then...dispose of this one like the rest.”
Aonuma nodded, dragging the body of Stan Lee over to a trap door. He flung a switch, dropping him onto the long-dead bodies of Ness and Lucas.

***

March 12th, 2013.
Scott’s House.
Nick burst through the door to Scott’s house furiously, scattering Wii U boxes everywhere. Scott drank a scotch as Nick fumed angrily, “You knew this was going to happen! You bas-turd!”
“Come, sit.” Scott said calmly.
“No!” Nick yelled, “Because of you, Nintendo is failing! Sure, the economy is a lot better, but what will the world of gaming be like once Nintendo is gone?!”
“What will happen to the world of gaming?” Scott questioned, rising from his seat, “What will happen!? I’ll tell you what will happen.”
He placed a Nintendo Wii U on the table in front of him, with the name crossed out by a red marker.
“What am I looking at,” Nick asked monotonously.
“This,” said Scott, uncapping a marker and writing on the system, “Is the brand new Sega Regenesis.”
“You cannot be serious,”
Scott nodded, “Sega has not come out with a new system in over thirteen years. I am generously donating to their research.”
“By stealing Nintendo’s technology!” Nick shouted, pointing an accusing finger.
Scott shook his head, “I prefer the term, donating.”
“This was your plan the whole time,” Nick growled, “You didn’t care about how fast the Wii U is! Your plan was to ruin Nintendo!”
“Why do you care?” Scott questioned, his voice rising, “The economy is the best it’s been in almost ninety years. And Nintendo hasn’t been making any decent games recently.”
“Not true!” Nick shouted, “I was really looking forward to Zelda U!”
“Frig you, man,” Scott said in his usual crude tone, “The Sega Regenesis is going to revolutionize the gaming industry. And there’s not a goddanged thing you can do about it.”
“Just come off it,” came a voice from a ceiling. They looked up to see 9volt clinging there. He jumped down, saying, “Why do you even care, Nick? Does it really matter which gaming company is the best? I mean look at it this way. Sega went out of business a long time ago. Now Nintendo’s biggest competitors were Microsoft and Sony. And they were losing. Maybe now that Sega’s back they can beat out both of them.”
“It’s more about the principle!” Nick shouted.
“What principle?” 9volt asked.
Nick thought for a moment, and then left without a word.

***

March 14th, 2013.
Japan.
Miyamoto, dressed in traditional samurai armor, rode a horse through the battlefield. Nintendo employees were gathered, preparing to fight the forces of Sega. He was met by Hajime Satomi, CEO of Sega. They exchanged a few words and then returned to their troops.
Both sides charged, fighting valiantly. Thousands of lives were taken in a matter of hours. All of it was captured on the newscast.
Nick watched, his mouth agape. He balled his fists in rage. He went outside, met with the sight of Slick Black dressed in an orange parka.
“What are you doing?” Nick said with an almost bored tone.
“Iffs ree’y fuin coud, dude,” Slick said, his voice muffled.
9volt walked up to them, saying, “Hey guys.”
“Have you seen the news?” Nick asked.
“Yeah, there’s a civil war in Japan,” said 9volt, “The loyalist Nintendards and the rebel Segafreaks.”
“Iss phat ree’y waht herr ka’ing demseffs?” Slick asked.
9volt nodded.
Nick shook his head, “We have to stop Japan from tearing themselves apart over something so stupid. Come on.”
He leaped into the air, followed by 9volt and Slick. They flew across the world and landed in the midst of the battle in Japan. The forces of both armies collided around them, with Slick getting the worst of it. His limbs were ripped off, and his head was impaled by a spear that stabbed into the ground in front of an awestruck Nick and 9volt.
“Oh my god,” 9volt exclaimed, “They killed Slick!”
“You bas-turds!” Nick yelled.

***

March 15th, 2013.
Scott’s House.
Scott burst into his home, arms filled with brand-new Sega Regenesis games. He dropped them all over the floor and then picked one up, New Sonic the Hedgehog, and slid the disk into his Regenesis. The door then slammed open, and Nick and 9volt stormed in.
“You have to make this right, Scott,” 9volt said, “Slick is dead and Japan’s in a civil war.”
“Slick Black?” Scott questioned, picking up the controller, “Don’t we hate him?”
“That doesn’t matter!” Nick screamed, “Because of you, a lot of people are dieing!”
“How does this affect me?” Scott said, “I’ve got what I wanted.”
There was a long pause, and then 9volt spoke, “Did you Scott? Did you really?”
Scott stared at the shapeshifter. He then broke down crying, “Alright fine, I admit it. I did all of this to take Nintendo down.”
Nick scoffed.
“But for me to explain fully,” Scott continued, wiping away a tear, “Allow me to explain in a,” he placed his left hand on his chin and slowly turned towards the ceiling, saying, “Flashback...”

***

April 7th, 1995.
Scott’s House.
A child version of Scott Lycanthrope sat on his couch, clutching a huge present. Today was Scott’s seventh birthday, and he could hardly wait to see what was inside.
“Alright, Scott,” said a much younger version of his mother, Destiny, “You can open your present now.”
“Yay!” Scott squealed with joy. He ravenously ripped apart his gift, presented with a brand new Sega Saturn.
“I don’t know what it is,” Scott said in a small voice, “But my friends will all think I’m soo cewl when I show this off to them!”
Suddenly the door burst open, and a child Nick walked through the door. He had a big nose and a sack of money hanging around his neck for some reason. He looked around the room, shouting, “Hey, Scott, I just got a Nintendo 64, you have to come watch me-”
He cut himself off, seeing Scott with the Sega Saturn. He began to laugh heartily at Scott’s expense. Annoyed, Scott frowned, “What?”
“Oh nothing,” Nick said, wiping away a tear, “It’s just that Sega totally blows.”
“It does not!” the child Scott insisted, “My mom spend a year’s income on this!”
The image distorted, the only echoing remnant Nick’s piercing laughter...

***

March 15th, 2013.
Scott’s House.
Scott looked back to his companions, his hand still on his chin, slowly saying, “End Flashback.”
“Dude, you totally made that up,” 9volt said.
“Yeah, the Sega Saturn didn’t even come out until May of 1995,” Nick pointed out.
“And you two wouldn’t have been children eighteen years ago,” 9volt continued.
“And I’m not a Jewish stereotype,” Nick concluded.
“Screw you guys!” Scott shouted, “And just to prove you wrong, Nick, can I borrow twenty dollars?”
“No way,” Nick said with a frown, “You never pay me back.”
“Give me twenty dollars, goddangit!” Scott screamed.
“Shut up, fatarss!”
“No, you shut up, you f---ing Jew!”
“Scott!” exclaimed Destiny, who had just walked into the room at that moment, “Did you just say the F-word?”
As 9volt and Nick puzzled over the Ruler of Fate’s sudden appearance, Scott confusedly narrowed his eyes, “Jew?”
Destiny grabbed Scott’s ear and twisted it. She grabbed the television remote and changed the channel, saying, “No more video games for you, mister. You’re grounded.”
“But meym...”
“No buts!”
Scott breathed in sharply, “But...Meeyymmm...”
“To your room, mister!” Destiny shouted, pulling Scott up the steps to his room like a child.
Scott screamed, his eyes crossed, “What the hell are you doing!? MEEEYYYMMMM!?!”
9volt and Nick looked at each other. Nick sighed, “You know what? I’ve learned something today. It really doesn’t matter what video game company is in power. Because in reality, the ideas for games keep on being recycled with characters people feel comfortable with. All along we’ve just been playing Pong under so many different names: Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, they’re all the same if you squint your eyes and look hard enough. While gaming has evolved now to more shooters and less platformers, in reality anyone that plays games is the same. We shouldn’t be divided by our differences; we should unite in our similarities.”
They turned towards the television, which all of a sudden flashed to an advertisement for the Ubisoft game, South Park: The Stick of Truth.
9volt pointed at the screen, “Except people that like that. That game is totally g--.”
“Totally g--.” Nick agreed.

***

March 19th, 2013.
Nick’s House.
Nick sat down on his couch and flipped to the local news station. “This is an Action 4 News special report,” said the head reporter, Tom Plicker.
“An update from the war in Japan,” Tom said, “It seems the smoke has cleared, and after all of this struggle...the Ninten-turds have won. They now own the rights to Sega. Also Ubisoft.”
Across the street Nick heard the outraged shriek of Scott Lycanthrope: “GODD---IT.”
Nick pulled a Nintendo Wii U game pad from his pocket and changed the channel of his television so that he was again playing on his brand new Wii U. He had stolen a couple from Scott a few days earlier. New Super Mario Bros. U was on the screen, paused.
He began to play, saying quietly to himself, “This thing is so d--- slow.”

***

So I had to censor a lot of it out because of Neoseeker's filters, but each time it wouldn't let me post it. Turns out the three letter word for homosexual (it starts with a 'g', ends with a 'y') is what was not letting me post this. Yeah. So I thought I'd just leave in all the changed stuff just to be on the safe side. This was certainly entertaining to write, I actually got some insight from Scott, and he had a lot to add, like the scene with Stan Lee and the epilogue. So anyway, happy fourth anniversary to the Cracker. Live long and prosper, you giant pile of wolf shit.

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December 25th, 2003.
Terra.

Zack, Uranus and Elementor stood on the top of a building on the far-off planet Terra. This planet was Zack’s eggsack, the planet he was borne of. Together, the three of them were planning their final strike against the last of the Original Six: Scott and Earth.

“Sir, who exactly are we waiting for?” Uranus asked their leader.

Zack grunted, “As you know, this Hextant of the universe has been excluded from Earth’s view for millennia. As such, the lifeforms have been allowed to populate this galaxy as they see fit. They have evolved into many different species, but they all come from the same root species.” He paused, taking a deep breath, “The Demizians.”

“I thought they were a myth,” Elementor said quietly.

“They’re not,” Zack whispered, “The Original Six fought them, long ago, as a sort of test to see if they were ready. It was because of the Demizians that each of us became who we were: Zatch, though he never found it out, was the reincarnation of the God of Chaos; Alex had his sight taken away; Kristen rose above the rest of us and became our leader; Scott fell in love with Kristen; and Earth...he proved he could be a capable fighter, under the right circumstances.”

“Such as?”

Zack turned to Uranus, “Do you ever wonder why he takes the name Nicholas Sven?”

Uranus shrugged.

Zack turned back towards the stars above, “He added to his code name so that it meant ‘Victory of the People’. The Sven part comes from his late friend, a Demizian who had the same name.”

“Late?” questioned Elementor.

“Sven was killed,” Zack explained, “So Earth wiped out the Demizian race.”

“And you, sir?” Uranus asked, “How were you affected?”

He chuckled, “It was the reason I decided to destroy them all.”

Uranus nodded, and then frowned, “I know my brother well, and I am aware that he tends to brag. However I have never heard him mention the destruction of these Demizians.”

“The strain was too much for him,” Zack said, “Kristen had his memory wiped. Now I am the only one that remembers the annihilation of the Demizians. However, soon enough that will all change.”

“Sir?”

“You see, the Demizians were ruled by a small family that led what is called the Disordinance Chain. It’s a sort of space pirate group. One of this family was able to escape the destruction. Which is lucky, because they were the strongest of their race.”

“Are we to meet them, then?” Elementor deducted.

Zack snapped his fingers, “Very good. I’ve managed to make contact with the last of the Demizians: Lord Varmur.”

There was a twinkle in the sky and a great ball of fire raged down from the heavens. It fell, striking a nearby building. Zack motioned to his companions, “Come along, then.”

They descended from their perch and ran to the crashed spaceship. From it rose a purple figure with dark red markings across his face. He grabbed what appeared to be a form of armor and put it on. It melded to his body, spreading so that it covered him entirely, and turned white. He was muscular, with the body of someone in their prime youth. His feet only had three large toes, each the size of three fingers put together. His eyes, diamond-shaped, had red irises. He lacked ears, but had a long dark purple tail extending from the base of his back. It swished back and forth as he grunted, “Well, don’t all of you start talking at once.”

Zack bowed, and his companions followed suit, “Lord Varmur, we welcome you to my planet.”

Varmur frowned and raised a hand. He pointed it off to the side of them and shot off a beam of energy. The beam incinerated several blocks of skyscrapers, leaving nothing behind. Elementor and Uranus looked on in awe as Varmur grunted again, “There, that’ll make an excellent shopping mall. Or a Capital building. From which I will rule the people of this planet.”

“There are no people living here,” Zack informed him.

Varmur sighed, “How unfortunate. I guess this planet truly is useless, then.”

“We know of another, however.”

“Oh?”

“In the First Hextant. A rating-5 planet known as Earth.”

Varmur mulled over this, “The First Hextant, eh? Why would I want to extend my reach all the way out there just for this Earth?”

“It has a population of over seven billion,” Elementor pointed out.

Zack nodded, “We want your help in conquering this planet. You can rule over the people all you want. All we ask is for you to leave to us the two that you have the most difficulty fighting.”

Varmur narrowed his eyes, “The two that pose the greatest threat? That’s oddly specific.”

Zack growled, “They are mine and mine alone to destroy. If anyone kills them, I will have no choice but to kill their killers. It’s nothing personal.”

Varmur chuckled, “And what if I do kill one of these two? Would you really attempt to kill me, Lord Varmur?”

“We’ll see,” Zack said threateningly, “Scott and Nick will certainly stand some sort of a challenge.”

At this, Varmur seemed to pale. He took a step back, “Did you say...Nick? As in Nicholas Sven?”

“Intimidated?” Zack said, grinning slyly, “He did kill your brother and slay your entire race. What is that name your people called him? The Raging Inferno?”

Varmur growled, “This changes things. I will have vengeance for my brother. I will kill Nick myself.”

Zack roared, “You will do no such thing!”

Varmur smacked Zack across the face, “Just try to *bleep*ing stop me!”

Uranus and Elementor sprung into action. Uranus drew Venom, slashing at Varmur, who grabbed the blade and threw him into a nearby building. He leaped into the air, firing down a bolt of energy at Elementor, who collapsed and did not move.

Zack stumbled to his feet and drew Liberty. He flew up to Varmur’s level and slashed hundreds of times per second. Varmur merely dodged every strike, crossing his arms casually. He lashed out, knocking Liberty from Zack’s hand and then charged a ball of energy. He threw it at Zack and it exploded on impact. Zack fell to the ground, watching weakly as Varmur descended to the ground, placing one three-toed foot on his chest.

“Are...are you going to crush me?” Zack asked, frightened.

“No,” Varmur replied, “Because I know you can’t get in my way. If Nick has given you trouble, then I am obviously a better match for him than you. But if you do get in my way,” he leaned in close, spitting in Zack’s face, “I will kill you.”

With that, he gathered energy, and then blasted away into space. Zack slowly got to his feet, and turned to Uranus. He sighed, “We will wait ten years. By then, either Nick will have defeated Varmur, and I will kill him; or I must kill Varmur myself. Either way, we’re pretty screwed.”

***

March 1st, 2004.
London, England.

Earth walked through the streets of London, quite content with himself. It was snowing. He had come across little trouble in almost ninety years now, and it was a streak he rather liked. He was, simply put, in a very good mood.

Suddenly, a point in the sky brightened, and a shooting star appeared in the sky. It descended upon the city, and crash-landed in a fiery explosion.

Earth sighed, “I’ll take eighty-nine. It’s close enough.” He took off, running towards where the meteorite had landed.

He came to a city square where people were running in the opposite direction. There were screams of disturbance as Earth saw what had landed: Lord Varmur.

He looked at Earth, wearing now a helmet that had four spikes extending back, and it concealed his mouth. It had tinted glass over his eyes, obscuring them. Only the red irises could be seen. He chuckled, a deep guttural sound from inside the helmet. He pointed a finger at Earth, “You.”

Earth glanced around and then pointed at himself questioningly, “Me?”

Varmur nodded, and then removed his helmet. He said grandly, “I am Lord Varmur of the Disordinance Chain.”

“Never heard of it,” Earth said blankly.

Varmur growled, “You killed my brother.”

He rubbed his chin, “What was his name?”

“Incin,” Varmur said through gritted teeth, his rage growing.

Earth thought for a moment, and then stared at Varmur, narrowing his eyes. He opened his mouth and spoke one word: “Who?”

Varmur’s anger broke, and he flew forward. He put on his helmet in midair, and attempted to punch him. Earth dodged out of the way, saying, “Whoa!”

Varmur continued attacking, and each time Earth evaded, saying some variation of “Whoa!” “Hey!” or “Wait!”

Earth leaped, landing on Varmur’s back as he descended upon where he had been standing. He wrapped his arms around Varmur’s neck, saying, “Can we just talk about this?”

Varmur rolled back, slamming Earth into the ground. He grunted, “You annihilated my entire race!”

“I did no such thing!” Earth said. He threw Varmur off of him and then got to his feet, running away. Varmur flew after him, smashing through any obstacle that came into his way. Earth turned, saying, “Halt!”

Varmur stopped, floating in place. Earth breathed heavily, “What is it that you want from me?”

“I simply want to conquer your planet, kill you, and avenge my brother. Whom you killed.”

Earth drew in a deep breath, “Alright. So same old, same old. Now the problem with that is that it involves killing me. Which, frankly, no one has been able to do. That’s why I’m still alive. I’m just too good at staying alive for everyone else’s sake.”

“That will change today,” Varmur said ominously.

“Yes,” Earth said, holding up a finger, “Wait, no. No, I cannot allow that. I simply require- okay, who are you?! This is seriously annoying, I have a great memory, I don’t even understand...”

Varmur sighed, “I represent the DiVormaSordinance Chain, or DVS Chain for short. I conquer planets and rule them over as my own.”

Earth narrowed his eyes, “How can you? The only life in the universe is in this solar system.”

Varmur laughed, “Do not lie to me. The Third Hextant is plentiful with life. Well, until I slaughter them all and/or conquer their planet.”

Earth mulled this over, and then asked, “Why do you do this?”

“The Demizian home galaxies, Sordinance and Di, have never been plentiful ones. We must take our resources from other planets in other galaxies.”

Earth nodded, “Ah, I get it now. So the Demizians are like the Mongols. And Earth is like Japan.”

“I do not know your history, nor understand it, nor care in the slightest for it,” Varmur said, bored.

“The Mongols,” Earth explained, “Were a great, powerful warring empire, which survived by conquering others. However, they put all their efforts into taking Japan, but the military was crippled due to a typhoon. The Mongols soon after were driven into nonexistence by the people they had conquered earlier. Can you guess the name of the typhoon?”

“I already told you that I don’t care,” Varmur said, tightening his fists.

“It came to be known as Kamikaze. Which is Japanese for ‘Nicholas Sven!’” Earth said triumphantly, readying his fighting stance.

“No it’s not!” said a British bystander, “It’s Japanese for Divine-”

“Shut up!” Earth yelled, “I’m making a point!”

“You’re making a fool of yourself!” called back the Brit.

“You’re both wrong,” said Varmur, “You’re digging yourself a grave.”

He punctuated this by forming a ball of energy in his fist and throwing it at Earth. He held it in place, but was pushed back, his feet digging into the ground. He took a few steps forward, grunting, and then threw it back at Varmur, screaming “Ha!”

Varmur grabbed the ball and then teleported behind Earth, releasing it upon his back. Earth was flung forward like a rag doll.

Varmur pointed at him, shooting beams of energy sporadically at his body. Earth was pummeled, and then when Varmur stopped, he collapsed, bleeding heavily.

“Huh,” Earth said, “That happened.”

“Now you know the extent of my power!” Varmur said dramatically.

“I’m not used to seeing this much of my own blood anymore,” Earth said to no one in particular, “I could really use a drink right now.”

“Hey!” Varmur shouted, “Are you ignoring me?”

Earth said nothing. He stood and then turned to Varmur, saying, “You know, I’ve decided something. Even though you are first form of life I’ve encountered outside of this galaxy, you really don’t deserve to live. Which isn’t to say I will kill you, no. I’m just going to beat all the imperfections out of you. And if you die in the process, so be it. I’ll probably regret it later, but it’s just that I’m so irritated, because this little alien shit strolled onto my planet, destroyed a bunch of random buildings that no one cares about, and is trying to impress me like I’m his alcoholic father!”

Varmur growled, swooping down. He attempted to punch Earth, but he merely grabbed his fist. Varmur stopped short, saying, “What the...” He punched with his other hand, which Earth blocked, spinning him around. Varmur kicked him in the chest, but Earth was unfazed. He simply smiled.

“Varmur, you have made a grave mistake.” Earth turned, throwing him into a nearby building. He unsheathed the Fli Sword, and it burst into flames. As Varmur crashed out of it, Earth swung his sword, smacking the side of his head like a baseball. There was a deep crack as the helmet split, but did not come apart. Earth stabbed his sword through Varmur’s chest, tearing a deep gash down his body.

Varmur groaned, and then lashed out, grabbing his sword. He ripped it out of his body and out of Earth’s grasp. He turned, whipping Earth with his tail while he threw the Fli Sword off into the distance.

Earth growled, punching Varmur straight in the face. His fist struck the helmet and glanced off, and Earth cringed. He made a small, weak noise as he unclenched his fist in pain. Varmur took the opportunity and kicked him in the chest, pushing him back. He formed two chakrams in his hands, and flew forward, stabbing one into Earth’s stomach.

Earth coughed up blood, and some splattered onto Varmurs face. He twisted the chakram and then pulled back, swinging the other towards Earth’s neck. He quickly raised his arm to block, and cried out in pain as it struck him, tearing through his flesh and striking bone.

Earth groaned, kneeing Varmer in the stomach. Varmur was unaffected, merely whipping his tail around to wrap around his leg. His tail pulled back, and Earth was stretched, the chakrams digging deeper into his arm and stomach.

Earth closed his eyes, the pain becoming unbearable. He felt his leg snap out of place, and then Varmur raised his leg, which held a small but deadly knife. Earth cringed, expecting the worst, and prayed for it to be painless...

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Earth was struck, but not with a knife. It was large and dull, like a steamroller. Earth’s eyes flashed open to see that he was falling out of the sky, and a flash of blue was bearing him along. He was spinning out of control, and barely a few seconds later he crashed to the ground.

He looked at what had struck him and could not believe his eyes. He groaned, and got to his feet, saying:

“Did I just get hit by a phone booth?”

The booth, which was on its side and pouring steam, opened its door and a man rolled out of it on his side. He wore a dark green velvet frock coat, silver waistcoat and a cravat. Earth also noted his shoes, which were remarkably fancy. He had long, curly, light brown hair that extended beyond his shoulders.

As he sprung to his feet, Earth held a hand to his face, “I think I might have suffered head trauma, because there’s no way this is happening.”

The man turned towards him, saying, “Is that quite right?” in a British accent. He walked up to him, pulling what appeared to be a flashlight of sorts with a blue tip out of his pocket. He pressed a button and it made a peculiar buzzing sound. The man waved it at Earth’s head and then let go of the button, and then looked at it. “Oh, something is definitely wrong with you, yes.”

Earth narrowed his eyes in utter confusion as the man circled him, looking him over and talking to himself, “Yes, you have a very empty head, you lack something. Or rather, you have a bit of something that most people do not. But what is it, I wonder? What’s wrong with you is not head trauma; if you were purely human you would more likely be dead than anything. What are you? You must be new, I’ve never seen anything like you before. But yet you’re not, I sense you’re very, very old, ancient in fact. Almost exactly as old as a Racnoss...but you certainly don’t look like a spider-person, nor do you have any sort of.. cloaking.”

“What in the everloving, flaming death pit of never ending torture known as the American Hell, are you even talking about?” Earth said, in a very precise manner.

“Oh, excuse me, my good man. What are you to be named?”

Earth looked at him and one of his eyes twitched. He sighed, “My name is Nicholas Sven. Perhaps you’ve heard of me.”

He stared at Earth for a long moment, blank faced. Then he turned away, raising a hand to his chin, “The name does strike a bell, but where? Er, who was it that referred to you? Alexander the Great? Winston Churchill? Augustus Caesar? The Romans?” He made a frustrated noise, not coming to a conclusion.

“Are you okay?” Earth asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Properly not,” he answered. “Forgive me, call me The, er, well you can call me John Smith.”

“John Smith?” Earth questioned, raising an eyebrow, “I get knocked out of the sky by a phone booth-”

“Police Box,” John corrected, indicating the words printed on the blue structure, “It’s right there, can you not read?”

“I get knocked out of the sky by a police box,” Earth said quickly, “Inhabited by a man named John Smith, which frankly no one is named, and.. wait, what the hell is a police box?”

“You’ve certainly got an American vocabulary,” John Smith commented. He looked back up to the sky, saying, “Now what were you doing up in the air anyway?”

“Oh, you know,” Earth said, with a sarcastic wave of the hand, “Hunting fowl. It’s the perfect time of year for it. I should really ask the same question to you, Mr. John Smith.”

John, who had been examining the area, turned back to him and said, “It’s Dr. Smith, if you don’t mind terribly.”

“Oh, so you’re a doctor now, are you?” Earth said, crossing his arms and raising an eyebrow.

“And the best you’ll ever meet,” John added.

“A doctor in what?”

“Everything.”

Earth exasperatedly sighed, “A doctor of all fields of doctorhood. Perfect.”

“Is something the matter, Nicholas?”

Earth shook his head, “It’s Nicholas Sven. Nick for short. Not Nicholas, not Nicky, not Cholas, just Nick. Or Nicholas Sven. Preferably not at the same time.”

John Smith looked at him, “And I thought I was particular about my name.”

Earth cracked his back, “Right, I almost forgot, I was getting my ass kicked by some rogue alien until this all happened. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go die, apparently.”

“Alien?” John Smith questioned, perking up.

“Yeah, the big, buff jockstrap up there,” Earth said, pointing Varmur out in the sky.

John Smith looked up, “Oh, so that explains why you were up there. For a second I thought you weren’t even human.”

There was an uncomfortable silence as the two of them stared at each other for a moment. Earth spoke slowly, “Right. Anyway, goodbye now.”

“Not quite,” said John, “I can’t let you do this alone. In fact I’m not letting you do this at all. I’ll take over from here.”

“You!?” Earth exclaimed, “Who the hell do you think you are?!”

“My, you just love that word, don’t you?”

“You’re avoiding the question!”

John Smith shrugged. He turned towards the toppled police box and then grunted, “Right, I forgot about that. My...police box is broken.”

“Well no shit, Sherlock,” Earth said, rubbing his tired eyes.

John Smith thought for a moment, and then ran back past Earth, into a building that led up to where Varmur was still floating. Varmur yelled down to Earth, saying, “Sven! Watch now as I make your world burn, just like you did to my entire galaxy!”

“I DID NO SUCH THING!!” screamed Earth as he flew up to Varmur, kicking him in the face. He tried punching him, but Varmur’s tail lashed out, wrapping around his wrist. He flung Earth down to the rooftop of the building John had run into.

As Earth collapsed, a door opened and John Smith ran out. He looked at him, saying, “Good, you’re here.”

“You know what, I hate you,” Earth groaned.

John stepped forward, drawing the flashlight-device, “Now let the professional do his work.”

Earth laughed heartily at this, and then stopped, coughing up blood. He moaned, “It hurts to laugh, you should stop making jokes.”

John Smith ignored this, stepping forward to face Varmur. Varmur had raised both arms above his head and was forming a gigantesque orb of energy above his head. John yelled out, “Stop, now!”

Varmur turned towards him and laughed, “You are hilarious.”

“Told you,” Earth called out, steadily getting to his feet.

Varmur shifted the ball of energy to one hand, saying, “What do you have to use against me? That puny screwdriver?”

“I think the Demizian definition of screwdriver is drastically different than the Earth one!” Earth yelled.

“Stop that, you’re making things worse!” John Smith shouted at him. He scanned Varmur as Earth mimicked him, annoyed. John frowned, “Curious. Never met a Demizian before, but I have heard of you. I thought you were wiped out.”

“We were,” Varmur said quietly, “I have come to extract my vengence.”

“On who, the humans?” John asked.

“No!” Varmur shouted, “Him! The Raging Inferno, Nicholas Sven!”

John Smith turned towards Earth, and then turned back to Varmur, “Surely you’re mistaken.” Behind him, Earth crossed his arms.

“He is the terror that befell our race, destroying my home and leaving me to wander the universe, searching for scraps.”

“For the last time, I have never even heard of the Demizians before today!” Earth shouted.

“Yes, you probably have him confused with some sort of Shape-Changer,” John Smith commented.

“Alright,” Earth said, turning to John, “Please, for the last time, shut the hell up. Second, it’s Shapeshifter, that’s their proper name. And finally, I probably do have the ability to wipe out an entire intelligent race at once, but I’ve only done it to two planets before, both within this solar system.”

“So that’s what happened to Pluto and Venus,” John Smith muttered.

“Enough of this,” Varmur yelled, growing impatient. He flew forward, knocking John Smith off of the building with his tail. Earth gasped in alarm as he fell, and Varmur again drew his knife, throwing it down to slice through John’s heart.

“He was doing nothing wrong!” Earth yelled, “Sure, he was damn annoying, but that’s no reason to kill him!”

“He was distracting and in my way,” Varmur said coldly, “Unlike my people, whom you slaughtered for no reason at all.”

“Alright,” Earth said, “Let’s pretend for a moment that I did kill all of the Demizians. Naturally I would need a motive for this. I seem like a sophisticated person, do I not? I wouldn’t just commit genocide for the he- I mean for fun.”

Varmur thought about this and then nodded slowly, “That is correct, I do not take you for a simpleton graced with powers unimaginable.”

Earth smiled, “Thank you. We might actually be getting somewhere. Now then, your race, are they all like you?”

“We did what we had to do to survive,” Varmur said, “Occasionally we would annihilate a race or two, but not without provocation. My brother on the other hand...never mind about him. But yes, we were a war-ridden people, never knowing peace for the sake of survival.”

Earth rubbed his chin, “I might have destroyed the Demizians simply to put them out of their misery, by the sounds of it. I weep for you, honestly. But I am merciful, and I would have done my best to help you, instead of simply killing you all. It’s quite unusual...”

“My own son was on our home planet at the time...” Varmur said somberly, “He bears the same name as you: Sven.”

Earth took this in and then looked at Varmur. “I remember now,” he said, “I remember your son, Sven. I took his name because I was his friend. He was killed by a high class Demizian, his name fails me, but in my rage I destroyed everything, I’m so sorry, but your son, he was such a great person, I remember, I could not bear it, I would have destroyed myself, if not for my memory loss, I don’t know how or why, but now I remember what I had forgotten, and I am sorry, I am so very sorry for what I have done.”

Varmur took off his helmet. A single tear ran down his face. “I believe your tale; I can see the truth etched upon your face. I forgive you. The life of one may not be equal to the many killed, but your death will not bring them back. Therefore I will end my attack on this planet, and return to the Third Hextant. I sorrow for you, Nicholas Sven. May we meet again, as allies...”

He rose silently, and then streaked off through the sky, never to be seen again by Earth. Nick walked to the edge of the building and watched him go. He sighed, bowing his head. He saw below him a pool of blood, and then remembered with a bang: “Oh, god, Smith!”

He leaped down, falling several stories and landing on his feet. He crouched down, and hesitantly rolled John Smith onto his back.

Surprisingly, the man was still alive. He spoke quietly, “Back away. You’re about to witness something amazing.”

Earth slapped him, saying, “You’re still talking nonsense, so you must be fine.”

“I’m serious,” John Smith said, “It’s starting...”

Earth noticed something peculiar. He knelt closer, pressing his ear to John Smith’s chest. He heard four beats in a rhythmic pattern, but two were weaker and slower than the others. He stood, backing away. “You have two hearts.”

John Smith nodded, and then was enveloped in a flash of bright golden light. His hair receded, going very short and turning black. His features changed, his entire body becoming a new person.

This new man grunted, and then jumped to his feet. He wobbled for a moment, saying in a Northern English accent; “New legs, and a new voice, I don’t know if I like the accent. Eh, I’ll get used to it. You know what I’m craving right now? I want to see the Kennedy assassination. I’ve never seen it before, I think that would be tragic, it certainly sounds exciting, doesn’t it?”

He turned to Earth, who was awestruck. He chuckled, “You know, with your experience I would think you’ve seen someone regenerate before, but apparently not. I need a mirror, what do I look like...” His hands reached up to his head, feeling his short hair. He frowned, “What hair color am I?”

“It- it’s sort of black.”

“Aw, drat,” he said, “You know I’ve never been ginger before? It’s really a shame. Oh well, maybe next time.”

With that, he turned, running. Earth, mouth agape, shouted after him, “Wait, who are you!?”

The strange man turned, and said, “I’m the Doctor.”

Earth stood motionless for a moment, and then screamed: “Doctor Who?!”

He burst after the Doctor, chasing him. He ran into the police box, which was now right-side up. As the doors shut, Earth crashed into them, bouncing back. He pounded on the door, and finally it opened. The Doctor poked his head out, saying, “By the way, thank you for taking care of Varmur for me. I couldn’t have done it any better myself. You were fantastic!”

Earth smiled for a moment, and then asked, “Who are you, really?”

“I told you already,” The Doctor said simply. “I’ll visit again sometime. See you in the future, or the past, whichever comes in the middle!”

The doors of the police box closed, and then it began to fade away, as if it had never been there in the first place. Earth shook his head, “I think I’m just going to go home, lie down, and forget this whole day ever happened.” He rubbed his forehead and walked on.

***

June 8th, 2004.
Terra.

Zack sat at his desk, reading a few papers. He had sent Elementor to Earth as a spy, to find weakness in him. Uranus was standing outside his office as a guard. Suddenly the door opened.

Without looking up, Zack said, “I don’t want to be disturbed.”

A head was slammed onto Zack’s desk, and he jumped in alarm. It was the head of his vile nemesis, Nicholas Sven. He looked up and saw Varmur, wearing his helmet. Varmur grunted, “The head of Earth. He was of no difficulty to me.”

Zack swallowed, “You know what this means now, don’t you?”

“That you’ll try to kill me?” Varmur said with a slight chuckle.

Zack, pale-faced, nodded. He stood, and then unsheathed his sword, readying himself. He called out, “Uranus, can you come in here for a second?”

***

October 13th, 2013.
Terra.

Zack and Uranus fought Varmur for over nine years, but to no avail. Varmur was far superior in every way, pummeling them at every opening, dodging a third of their attacks and sending another third right back at them. But Varmur would not kill them. And Zack would not give up, no matter what.

Uranus and Zack were sent hurtling into each other. Uranus blacked out as they crashed to the ground, but Zack still weakly held on. Varmur descended, placing one foot on his chest. “How typical. We’ve been at this for years and yet we always come to the same conclusion.”

“Then why don’t you just kill me?” Zack growled.

Varmur chuckled, “Because you have so much to live for.”

Zack suddenly went very still. The Demizians had no concept of morality, and barely could grasp mercy. He looked up and him, asking very slowly, “What is that supposed to mean?”

Varmur smiled, “You see, Zack, I’ve been stalling you as a favor. A favor to Earth.”

Zack’s thoughts raced, “But...you...”

“I don’t believe I ever said I killed him,” Varmur said. He snapped his fingers, and the head of Nicholas Sven rolled to his feet. It disintegrated into small gray particles and then reformed into a Shapeshifter.

He grinned, “My name is 9iron. I serve Lord Varmur of the DiVormaSordinance Chain.”

“No,” Zack screamed silently.

“Nick and I called off our fight,” Varmur said, “Neither of us proved any stronger than the other. So you can go to Earth and kill him yourself.” He leaned down and spoke directly to Zack’s face, “Except you can’t. Because I’ve figured out your true purpose. You want to prove that you are the most powerful in the entire universe. And now that you don’t know which of us - Earth or I - is more powerful, you’ll have to kill us both. And that is truly a frightening thought for you. You should have never called me to your planet all those years ago. Because even if you can kill me, then you’ll have the Raging Inferno to deal with.”

Zack’s face contorted into a look of pure hatred. He screamed, grabbing Varmur’s leg and launching him off his chest. He leaped to his feet and then flew away, to his reddish-orange Uranian spacecraft. Still screaming, he smashed his fist into the start button and his craft rocketed away into the starry sky.

Varmur cracked his knuckles, “Good luck to you, Nicholas Sven.”

***

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September 19th, 2029.
Castle Mobius.
Scott Lycanthrope walked through the halls of his castle, fully concentrated on his task. His sister, the vampire Elementire, walked past him, and he grabbed her arm, pulling her with.
She grunted, “What’s this about, then?”
“I need someone to show this to,” Scott said, turning towards her, “I’ve got a secret, and I just can’t keep it for much longer.” He smiled, and she chuckled.
“Typical. So what is it then?”
He grinned, “Follow me.”
He led her down to the lower levels, where they came to a laboratory of sorts. The room was entirely white, with a testing area blocked off from the rest of the room. The testing area was a room inside of a room, built entirely from see-through glass. Inside there was a scientist injecting a liquid into the head of a corpse.
Elementire turned to Scott, “How recently deceased is that man?”
“This morning. He said he’d donate his body for science, so I had him shot.”
She glared at him, and he laughed, “I’m kidding. He turned up dead. No records, no family, nothing. I thought, ‘Why not?’”
“So what are you doing down here?”
“Reanimation,” Scott said simply, “Bringing the dead back to life.”
“You’re kidding,” Elementire said, laughing, “Earth can do that with the wave of a hand.”
“Ah, but that’s limited. They’d still die eventually.” Scott turned to her, “My goal is to reverse death entirely. Make it completely avoidable. And the best part is that it will work on elves.”
“Seriously?” she questioned, excited, “So you can make me...not a vampire?”
Scott rubbed his chin, “Possibly. If we can get it to work. The trick is figuring out how.”
He opened a door into the testing area and stepped inside. He closed the door behind him, alienating Elementire from the conversation he proceeded to have with the scientist. She watched, confused, as they mouthed an argument in front of her, and then Scott formed a ball of black energy in his hand. This only caused the scientist to become more infuriated, to which Scott responded by arrogantly shoving the black ball into the corpse’s chest.
Scott walked out of the testing area, slamming the glass door shut behind him. He walked back over to Elementire, mumbling, “Unethical my ass...”
“Okay, I’m confused...what exactly did you just do?”
Scott shrugged, crossing his arms, “Basic stem cell stuff. Just reactivated a lot of the the primary functions with electricity. And stuff. I just sort of vaccinated a cancerous insulin, causing the resistance of graftification to be deferred, and, you know, it’s kind of like a Gastric bypass surgery, except-”
“You have no idea what any of those words mean, do you?”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “Not a clue. I just did whatever the hell we were going to do, except without the use of a machine. And there’s one other thing.”
“What’s that?”
“Because I did it myself, the effect will be quarterfold what it would be with the machine.”
“Meaning...?”
Scott looked at Elementire and shrugged, “I guess we’ll find out, won’t we?”
They turned back to the testing area, where the scientist was loading a needle with a blue liquid. He reached across the corpse to inject it into its neck. Suddenly the corpse opened its mouth wide and bit down on his arm.
Elementire reeled back in alarm. Scott frowned, “I was afraid this might happen.”
The scientist cried out in intense pain. He stumbled back, and then fell onto the table which held all of the chemicals. He slipped onto the floor and the vials fell on top of him, shattering and raining their contents onto him.
Scott pulled a shotgun from his belt and opened the door into the testing area. As the scientist’s arm turned a sickly black color, Scott raised the firearm to his face and blew the corpse’s head off. He wiped a bead of sweat from his brow, turning back to Elementire and grinning.
He exited, closing the door behind him. He chuckled, “Always finish things before they start, and always go for the head. Everyone knows that!”
Elementire crossed her arms, “So you’ve stopped anything bad from happening, eh?”
Scott thought about it for a moment, pouting his lips. He nodded, “Yep, pretty much.”
She rolled her eyes and sighed, “Just turn around.”
He frowned bemusedly, turning on his heel. The scientist’s skin burnt away, leaving behind his black underbody. He stood then, and took a uneasy step towards them. His face had entirely rotted away, leaving him with a sickly expression. The jaw hung open as what was left of the scientist raised an arm, placing a hand against the glass.
Scott chuckled nervously, “Not a problem, we’ll just...kill him again. One headshot, that’s all it takes.”
He raised his gun and shot the former scientist in the face through the glass. A huge hole blew through the center of his face and he leaned forwards, forehead resting against the glass. Suddenly he twitched, his body dissolving into a pool of black liquid. It rose up, squeezing through the hole Scott had made with the shotgun blast. They stepped back in alarm.
“It’s still alive, kill it again!” Elementire shouted hysterically.
Scott pumped the barrel, firing off another round. The blob of blackness merely squirmed through the hole and shivered. It formed into the shape of a man, but did not resemble the scientist. It was pure black, like a silhouette, and its particles shimmered, moving back and forth. It opened where the mouth would have been, and it drooled onto the floor, resembling ink dripping from a quill.
It spoke in an eerily silent screech, “We are the Volution.”
It raised an arm, dripping blackness all the way, and then started walking towards them. Scott turned to Elementire, saying, “Now would be an excellent time for us to leave.”
They ran out of the room, slamming the door shut behind them. Scott locked the door and smiled, “We’re safe now. There’s thirteen inches of solid steel surrounding this room, preventing anything from getting in or out except through this door, which is enforced with an eternity code lock-”
The door started to melt, and they reeled away. Elementire glared at him, “You know what, Scott? Shut the hell up; every time you talk it jinks us up!”
“Harsh,” Scott pointed out, hurt. The blackness surged through the door and reformed into its humanesque form. It screeched at them.
“Elementire, do you remember what race the scientist was?” Scott asked unexpectedly as they backed away slowly.
She furrowed her brow, “I think he was white, maybe asian, why does it matter?”
“You’re definitely sure he wasn’t dark-skinned?”
“Yeah, but why?”
Scott relaxed, “Because the black guy always dies first, everyone knows that.”
Elementire narrowed her eyes, “You’re surprisingly genre savvy, but I have to tell you this is real life. The patterns in movies don’t exactly apply here-”
“Hey, I got the reports you wanted,” said an African-Mobian as he walked around a corner. Scott opened his mouth in warning, but was too late. The mass raised an arm and shot off a blob of blackness that struck the human in the chest. It engulfed him, amassing his body and tearing him apart in seconds.
Scott made a noise halfway between a sigh and a groan, “Yeah, now that he’s dead, we’re screwed.”
The fresh corpse rose up, becoming a blob of blackness as well. The creature was multiplying.
They ran, never looking back.

***

October 13th, 2029.
Metroponente, Mobius.
Scott and Elementire had hidden away. Weeks past, and the blackness known as the Volution was spreading. It had already enveloped two-thirds of the planet. Nearly every human on the planet had been transformed violently into the Volution.
They had found Elementres and two other humans, an African-Mobian couple whose names were Moreau and Skyla. Earth, Venus, and 9volt had gone missing.
They had hidden out in the outskirts of Metroponente, waiting for the apocalypse to die down. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and now the Volution was specifically seeking them out.
“We can’t hide here forever,” Elementres said, sharpening a knife with another knife, “Out there, more and more people are dieing due to the Volution, and we’re sitting here, doing nothing!”
“You didn’t see them,” Elementire said quietly, “It was maddening, watching those things come back from the dead. We’ve tried everything, nothing can kill them, they just keep reforming.”
“And once again,” Elementres said, setting down her knife, “All of my problems derive from our generous and loving King Scott Lycanthrope.”
“Me?” Scott cried, outraged, “I had no idea this would happen!”
Elementres held her knife up against his throat, “You’ve seen literally every zombie apocalypse movie in existence, don’t give me that bullshit, Scott.”
Scott shrugged her off, muttering, “Well, deep down I’ve always wanted an apocalypse of this large of a scale before, but I thought I could contain it. I never expected anything like this...but don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t planning this out or anything, it just happened. I was gonna wait another five hundred years until I started my apocalypse, but then that damn ethical scientist had to get in my way...”
Elementres sighed, “So tell me, Scott. Why shouldn’t I kill you right here and now for ultimately damning us all.”
Scott stared at her, “Because Earth is still alive. You know it, I can see it in your eyes. You’re hopeful even throughout all this. I don’t know about Venus or 9volt, but I know for a fact that he’s alive.”
Elementres slowly lowered her knife. She looked at her sister and sighed, “Fair enough.”
Scott cracked his knuckles, “Now then. I think you’re right in saying that we should do something. By now the entire human population should be dead except for these two,” he gestured to the two dark-skinned humans, “So I see no reason why I can’t activate my plan early. You see, I built an apocalypse device that would kill all life on Mobius except for humans and elves. However, I couldn’t work out how to stop it from killing humans. Clearly that’s less of an issue since we can just transfer these two and wipe out the Volution with a snap of the fingers.”
Elementire perked up, “That’s brilliant!”
Elementres narrowed her eyes, “But what’s the catch?”
Scott frowned, looking at the floor, “It’s on the top floor of Castle Mobius.”
“Effing perfect,” Elementres groaned, throwing her arms up into the air, “We’re going to have to walk a quarter of the planet, towards the highest concentration of an invincible enemy, just to climb a heavy fortress to get to this device, then somewhere along the line get the humans off of Mobius. Freaking beautiful.”

***

October 13th, 2029.
Metroponente, Mobius.
The three Lycanthropes, Skyla, and Moreau slunk through the city streets. They had thus far met no resistance. Elementire looked around warily, “Where are they? I could have sworn they were all over, and searching for us. So why aren’t there any around?”
“I’m not sure,” Scott said, slowing his walk, “It’s actually quite unusual, now that I think about it.”
“Oi,” said Moreau, “What happens if we do come across some of those things? We’ll have to be prepared, right?”
Scott grunted in agreement, “Aye, that’s true. Here, take these.” He pulled his shotgun from his back and handed it to Moreau as Elementire pulled two pistols from their holsters and Elementres drew a knife. He turned to Skyla, “Sorry, I don’t have anything for you,”
“That’s quite alright,” she replied, “I think it’s better if I stay out of conflict. You see, I’m pregnant.”
“That’s good,” Scott commented, “All of the patterns have been consistent so far, and one of the rules of a zombie apocalypse is that PREGNANT WOMEN. DO. NOT. DIE.”
They all stared at him as he stood unblinking for a moment. He shook his head, breathing in, “Well then, let’s get going then.”
He turned around and shouted, “Oh shit!” He fell back in surprise, seeing a Volution standing across the street from them. It screeched tremendously, and suddenly more appeared, surrounding them.
Elementire fired off her machine pistol, shooting the ones closest to them. Elementres threw her knives at the Volution, each one stabbing into their chest areas. She waved a hand, causing each knife to expand, bloating each of them like balloons before they exploded. Moreau ran forward, firing off the shotgun. He cleared a path, calling back to them, “Come on! We have to keep going!”
They ran after him, knocking back the Volution whenever one came close. They ran, every few seconds one of them turning to fire bullets at the pursuing Volution. Scott stood up and finally noticed they had gone on without him. Several of the Volution were surrounding him, dripping ink all over the ground. He released a burst of energy, and they drew back, but still rose back forth. He leaped into the air, drawing the Soul Reaver. He landed on the ground and then spun around, releasing a shockwave that cut each of the Volution in half. They melted down into pools, but started to rise up once again. He jumped over them and ran after his companions.
A wall of Volution rose up in front of them. Elementire surged forward, swinging her elbow. A wicked blade extended out from her sleeve, wrapped under her arm up to her hand. The blade ripped through the Volution in front of her and she spun around, slashing through the nearest blobs of blackness. Moreau was the next to arrive, blasting a shell through the head of a Volution. A drop of blackness landed on his cheek, but he seemed not to notice.
Scott roared, “EVERYONE DUCK!” They all complied immediately as he slashed horizontally, releasing a sonic boom that annihilated the Volution. They continued running, but suddenly Scott grabbed Moreau by the shoulder. They all turned back. Elementres shouted, “Scott, we don’t have time for this! Let’s go!”
“He’s infected,” Scott breathed.
Skyla gasped, “No!”
Moreau seemed to suddenly notice the black drop on his cheek. He wiped it away, but then cringed. He clutched his wrist as his hand shook, slowly turning black from the fingertips down. Skyla cried out, rushing forward, but Elementres lashed out, grabbing her and holding her back. She began to cry as Scott backed away. Moreau screamed, his body blackening and beginning to melt. Elementres looked back at the way they had come and noticed the Volution just watching.
She grabbed Scott by the shoulder, “We need to go, they’re not attacking us now for whatever reason. We would do good to exploit this.”
He nodded, and they began to run again, Skyla crying as she ran.

***

October 13th, 2029.
Metroponente, Mobius.
They had come within sight of Castle Mobius now, and Skyla had stopped crying. Scott wiped some blood from his shotgun and put it on his back once again. Elementire looked out at the castle, saying, “We’re so close and yet so far. This will be the hardest part of this journey.”
Skyla nodded, “Guess there’s no point in turning back now.”
Scott sighed, “Let’s go then.”
They leaped down into the street, running towards Mobius Castle. The Volution at the castle stood, looking towards them. They raised their arms and fired blobs of themselves at them. Elementres drew five knives with each hand and threw them up into the air. They expanded, forming a large metal umbrella. It flew up, smashing into the side of the castle, knocking down those Volution there. Scott grabbed Skyla by the hand and they leaped up through the hole formed from the collision.
They ran through the halls of Castle Mobius, heading for the throne room. They turned a corner and slammed into a figure going the other way. He drew back, raising their weapons at it.
Earth raised his arms up. He grinned, “’sup bitches.”
Elementres ran forward, hugging him. They embraced, and Earth whispered in her ear, “I missed you so much.”
She smiled, “We’re together now.”
Suddenly a black mass of ink ripped through them both, and they simultaneously cried out. They dissolved into a pool of blackness.
“No!” Elementire yelled in despair.
Scott turned back, pushing Elementire and Skyla the other way, “Wrong way, wrong way!”
They watched as the Volution ran after them, chasing them right into the throne room. They gasped at the sight they saw. On the throne sat a gigantesque blob of the Volution that radiated black light. It looked at them and screeched.
Scott shouted at it, “What the hell are you!?”
It melted into a pool of boiling oil and then a single figure rose back up. It was dressed in a suit, its hands bony with long curved fingers. Its head was a blank skull without a face. Its jaw opened, saying, “We are the Volution.”
“Obviously not,” Scott said, “It was all just a disguise for whatever...” he gestured to it, “that is. So let me ask you again; what are you really!?”
It breathed in, and then said in a sinister whisper: “We are the Deathless.”
“BULLSHIT.”

***

October 31st, 2029.
Mobius Castle.
The illusion dissolved, and Scott turned sternly to Earth, scowling, “Well, way to ruin it.”
9volt, Scott and Earth sat around the fireplace on Halloween, sharing a scary story. It had been Scott’s turn to tell a tale, but the revelation that the Volution were in reality the Deathless was too much for Earth. He growled, “You can’t just put the Deathless in your story just because you feel like it. Pulling a Twilight Princess is not cool, man.”
“At least my story was realistic,” Scott pointed out.
Earth glared at him, “The Smoothie Story actually happened.”
9volt and Scott cried out, arguing simultaneously. Earth shouted repeatedly, “Alright, alright! Point taken. No need to be complete assholes about it...”
“Well,” said 9volt, “It’s nice to know it won’t be hard for me to top you both next year.” He sat back contentedly as the other two angrily shouted out.
“Oh, can you boys just shut up already.”
They looked up at Elementire, who was standing there in the doorway. She sighed, “I really look forward to next year. 9volt’s an excellent storyteller.”
9volt blushed as Earth crossed his arms. He shrugged, “Alright, I guess the Smoothie Story means absolutely nothing to anyone.”
Elementire chuckled, “Actually, Earth, I believe you. I think the Smoothie Story really happened, it seems legitimate.”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “Oh, no, that is complete bullshit right there.”
Elementire shrugged, “Hey, anything’s possible.”
“Except zombie apocalypse,” Earth pointed out.
“Shut up,” Scott growled.

***

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***

July 29th, 2027.
Sky above England.
Earth sat atop the Project Ozone, staring off into the gray nothingness of the sky. He was wearing plaid shorts and a dark shirt, covered mostly by his signature unzipped black hoodie. It, like his hair, flapped behind him in the wind. His normally vibrant hazel eyes were dark and clouded.
A hatch opened up behind him, and Zero climbed out halfway. She looked at him, cocking her head, “Earth, what are you doing here?”
Earth turned slightly at her voice, “I needed a quiet place I could go to clear my mind...wait a second, what about you, Zero? Why are you here?”
Zero climbed all the way out and then sat down next to him, “Joe let me wander around, as long as I didn’t get into any trouble. I went looking for you, and then I saw the ladder...”
“Why did you want to see me?”
Zero shrugged, “I like you. You’re a good friend to me. Why wouldn’t I want to see you?”
Earth was silent. He sighed, “I enjoy the fresh air. I can’t think as clearly when I breathe stale air.”
Zero sighed as well, “Yes, I just love the feel of this cool wind in my hair. It’s refreshing.”
As she ran a hand through her neon green hair that streamed behind her, Earth looked at her ruefully. She caught his gaze and smiled. He turned away, but couldn’t help the smile that played upon his own lips. Zero wrapped an arm around him, “Aren’t you cold?”
“I cannot physically feel cold,” Earth said monotonously. He stopped short and turned towards her, looking over her being, “What about you? Why are you worried about me when you’re the one in...” He failed to find suitable words, and settled by gesturing to her body.
Zero unexpectedly hugged him tight, “I’m just worried about you, that’s all.”
Earth hugged her back, tears forming in his eyes. He let himself fall apart, sobbing in her arms.

***

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Chase stared at the strange one across the street. He was the only one out on this day except for her. Her arms were crossed, and he hadn’t noticed her yet, even considering the fact she was atop the roof of the house across from him. She stood and jumped off the roof, rolling onto the ground. She walked towards him, stopping just before setting foot on his property. She called out, “Hey, you!”

He straightened and turned towards her, furrowing his brow, “What are you doing outside?”

“Is it really a crime to be outside? You can’t be inside all the time, you know.”

He frowned at her, and then turned back to his work, saying nothing more.

She grunted, “My name’s Chase.”

“Nick,” he responded smoothly, not looking up.

“I know who you are, Sven,” she replied with equal swiftness.

He froze, and then slowly turned back towards her, his interest piqued, “Who are you, strange girl?”

She laughed, “You think I’m strange? It doesn’t even begin to cover it. But you’ve no doubt seen so much stranger.” She opened her hand, and a live bluebird flew forth. They watched it fly away, and then Nick turned towards her once more.

“Step closer,” he insisted, but she merely shook her head.

“I cannot. But I’ll return. Eventually.”


***


Nearly twenty years later, she did.

She still had the same young appearance, as he did himself. She was dark-haired, attractive and had a rounded figure, wearing the same black and white jacket and carrying the same anime-styled handbag. She still had the same appearance of a mid-teenager. And yet he didn’t recognize her.

She waved a hand, summoning something she knew would get his attention. He was still writing in that little green notebook, though it was nearly full now, she guessed. They were where she could finally come closer, at a small diner somewhere in town.

There was a bit of rumbling, and then a giant fanged worm exploded through the floor. It roared ferociously, and the people around screamed, fleeing.

Chase looked at him, and her jaw dropped. He hadn’t even looked up, still mesmerized with that little book of his. She looked around, and saw they were now the only ones left. She picked up a tile from the floor and threw it, striking him in the dead center of his head. Still he didn’t look up.

Her eyes twitched. She waved a hand, and the worm sunk back down into the earth. She walked up to him and grabbed the notebook out of his hands.

She was suddenly struck on the side of her face. She cried out in surprise, and looked back at Nick. He was still writing in that same book. Shocked, she saw she was no longer holding it, as if she never had in the first place.

She thought for a moment, and then released a group of fireflies from her hand. They swarmed around on his book, and then he finally looked up. “Yes?”

She trembled, about ready to explode, “Why do you insist on tormenting me?”

“Excuse me?”

“Haven’t you noticed anything I’ve tried to do to get your attention?”

He suddenly looked surprised, as if noticing the destruction of the diner for the first time, “Woah, you did this?”

“Yes!” Chase screamed, “After all this time...”

He seemed to remember her, slowly. He stood and looked her over, and then nodded, “Chase, right?”

“You remember my name?” she asked incredulously.

“Of course,” he said, “But if you’ve wanted to approach me for all this time, why didn’t you? My house is always open.”

“Yes,” she said solemnly, “But I know about the barrier...it prevents people that mean you harm from coming close.”

He took this in, and then swiftly reached for the hilt of his sword on his belt. She held out a hand, “No, it’s not a conscious thought...my father’s name is Dontae.”

“Never heard of him,” Nick replied.

“Not yet you haven’t,” she continued, “He hates you, a lot, and he made it so that I would too. It’s so firmly embedded into my subconscious, I’m trying so hard to suppress it now.”

He stared at her, slowly letting go of his sword, “Why should I trust you?”

She looked away, “I can create life from nothingness. Just like you. We’re...connected, in a way.” She held out a hand, and in it a flower bloomed, a Narcissus flower.

Nick smiled at the flower’s meaning, ‘Accept my friendship’ and said simply, “I think I can make this work.”


***

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You know, the whole internet seems to be freaking out over this new bill called SOPA. And to be fair, I should be worried as well, considering how The Cracker, as weird as this may seem, may be considered plagiarism. I know, weird, right?

If you are the .00000000012% of the American public that cares about the internet yet doesn't know what SOPA is, it basically give big businesses (the people who brought us Rebecca Black...just saying...) the right to ban any website they deem exploitable to copyright laws, several notable ones being Youtube, Neoseeker, Twitter, oh, and *EVERYTHING ELSE*. Except Bing, oddly enough. I don't know, that might just be from the fact that no one uses it...

However, people are apt to forget we're already subject to censorship already. Take the F-Word. You can't say that anywhere without getting that shit censored. Here, I'll say it right here: *bleep*. Now watch as Neoseeker administrators take it down. But why? Why are we subjected to this? Don't we have the freedom of speech? Isn't this what we're trying to petition with SOPA and whatnot?

The fact of the matter is that we're being subjected to unfair censorship every day without complaining. Remember back, when you were young, and your parents wouldn't let you watch certain movies because the rating was too high? Then you turned 12 (or for the younger generation, 4) and suddenly you became the person you are today, a swearing, fat, jackass piece of society like everyone else. That's not to say that censorship made you a better person (That's not the point of the rant, now is it?), but instead keeping away from it makes you a part of American culture. Hell, if you were watching porn while still in the womb, you'd probably be Rick Perry today. (Screw it...I'm going against my morals and swearing and putting as much elicit content into this thing as I can.)

So, bastard, you know what you can do? You go straight to D.C., get ahold of the SOPA document, and shove it up your ass! (Note; I cannot be held accountable if you go through with said act.) But on a more serious note, think about how much the internet *isn't* censored. In fact, it's the second least-censored medium, behind newspapers. What's that, you say? You don't read the paper? You get your news from the *interwebs*? Huh, who'da thought? It's almost as if this internet thing is actually important or something!

Now, back to the prospect at hand. I think that if you assholes don't want to be censored, you need to be able to deal with all the jackasses that wish to exploit it. And that means the F-word everywhere. And porn advertisements that will make you feel uncomfortable at work or at school. And more of that bitch, Rebecca Black...just saying...

Are you ready for that? Could you imagine what life would be like where any misclick gives you boobs? Where you'll be halfway through a review of James Cameron's latest movie, and then you see, "Still better than effing Twilight." And this is just on the internet!

If we didn't have censorship laws, where would we be? I'll tell you: Out in the streets, having sex in public, with enough people watching as there will be wanting to join. Let that sink in for a moment. There you are, walking your pet goldfish (for pure examplitory purposes, you are Aquaman). And then, in the middle of the street, there's this giant orgy going on. And this happens every day...everywhere. Wouldn't that be a horrible way to live?

Worst of all, this will open up the world for a breed most despicable: Internet Critics. I'm sure we've all heard of them. How many times have you posted a piece of art, only to have it torn apart by, "Omgez, the book was much better," or, "I honestly did not enjoy this all that much. It was beautifully written, it just lacked the engagement to be interesting." or, "YOUSUCKGOWRITEINYOUROWNGODDAMNSHIT" Believe me, it happens to the best of us.

I hereby propose the Anti-Anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act, or...AASOPA...It's a title in progress, okay? Basically, the point of this movement is to stop the stopping of censorship. Believe me, we need that *bleep*ing shit.

When not tearing apart internet memes, ShadowNc can actually be found actively against SOPA in ways other than just making fun of it. The views and opinions of this article are solely property of ShadowNc and not necessarily supported by Neoseeker. Any comments or questions are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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Continued from Part One: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/6392-cracker-chronicle-13-matrix-part-one-drowning-in-magic/

November 1st, 2027.
Metroponente, Mobius.
Earth Sven and Scott Lycanthrope walked through the newly built streets of Mobius, amazed at the progress the city had made in just one year. Last year, construction began on this city, Metroponente, and already it was complete. The city made entirely of skyscrapers covered half of the Earth-sized planet’s surface, having been built by the minimal number of humans that had popped up here. Unlike the humans of Earth, these humans knew of the existence of elves and implemented much like NSK.
This was Earth’s first visit to the city since exactly one year ago, when he had started the project and then left, never looking back. He took it all in with modest shock, as Scott was an adept mechanic and architect, but he had never built anything of quite this caliber until now.
“Well,” he said, “It’s certainly good, I’ll give you that.”
Scott grinned, “The people of Mobius thank you, ambassador.”
Earth frowned, “However, I did ask to come here for a different reason than to just inspect how much has been built.”
Scott’s grin disappeared, “Like what?”
Earth looked around at the eerily silent skyscrapers, “I’ve been reading through Elvin Legends, Myths, and Folklore, and I came across...an interesting pamphlet. Apparently, for each of the Original Six, their home planets hold a portal of sorts to a different universe. No doubt you remember, the fourth dimension, the Arch of Arc, even the Demon Realm you explored less than a month ago. There are still three universes we have yet to see, and I have reason to believe that one such portal is right...here.”
He turned on his heel, towards an ordinary office building of no interest. Scott furrowed his brow, but said nothing. Earth reached out to touch the doors, but they slid aside before his hand could stroke their surface. Earth raised an eyebrow at Scott, but they entered the building silently.
There was but one room, with a tiled floor and white-washed walls. At the other end there was a pair of silver doors, and a button to one side, marked with an up arrow. It was an elevator.
Earth pushed the button and the elevator doors slid open with a soft hiss. They entered, and the doors closed behind them. Earth looked at the internal buttons. There was only one, marked, “The Other Side.”
Earth and Scott looked at each other, and Earth asked him, “Do you want to live forever, Scott?”
Without waiting for an answer, he pressed the button, and the elevator took off, going straight up at breakneck speed. They fell back, grasping the railing to hold themselves upright. The elevator grew faster, and they began to black out from the sheer speed. There was a tremendous crash as the elevator burst through the roof of the building, and that was the last they remembered before falling unconscious.

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
Unknown Location.
Earth and Scott stepped hesitantly out of the elevator’s welcoming doors. It was bright, and they could make little out of their surroundings. The ground was solid, but had the appearance of golden cotton candy, as if they were walking on clouds. Here and there, transparent people walked around, as if they hadn’t noticed them yet.
“Where are we?” Scott asked.
“Scott...” Earth said slowly, “Welcome to the Spirit Realm.”
Scott stared at him, “What?”
“This place...it is where the deceased’s souls go once they die. However, the souls have to find this place, and to do so they float through our universe on a different plane than the visible one that we live on. Most get lost, but the truly worthy come here, as if directed by...well, by a point of light in a tunnel of darkness.”
“Are...does that mean we’re dead?”
They looked at each other. Earth shook his head, “Not yet. We’re substantial, unlike the spirits here.”
They were silent, and then Scott asked, “If there’s only one elevator to this place, won’t the one we took have to leave?”
Earth’s eyes widened, and they turned towards the elevator, whose doors were closing rapidly. They ran towards it, reaching out, but it disappeared, falling down into the clouds and back to Mobius.
They looked at each other with a sense of hopelessness. “Well,” Earth said, “We can, of course, just wait until someone comes up.”
“Right,” Scott said, “And until then?”
There was a pause, and then Earth said, “Come now, Scott; haven’t you ever wanted a chance to talk to anyone, one last time?”

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
The Spirit Realm.
Earth walked solitarily through this world of the dead, thinking to himself that this is a land similar to the Christian description of heaven. It was boring. Christian Hell would have been a lot more exciting.
But this place was unique, in the fact that he could see those that had passed on, those he had never met before, and those he wished he had knew. He passed important historical figures, inspirational artists, etc. He knew who he was looking for, for there were two people who had left life and left him behind.
At last he found one of them, and he let out a cry of surprise when he first saw him. He ran up to his good friend, Julius Caesar.
“Julius,” he said, breathless.
Caesar turned towards him, and attempted a small smile, “Ah, Earth, I see you have joined me in this realm of the dead?”
Earth shook his head, “No, Julius, I am not dead yet. I’m merely...visiting.”
Caesar smiled, “What life must be like for an elf, to live an eternity. How things in Rome must have changed...”
Earth looked away, “We don’t even call it Rome anymore...We call it Italy. Rome is merely the capitol.”
Caesar laughed, “And I’m sure it’s been reduced to much less than an empire since my downfall, hasn’t it? No, don’t tell me, I don’t need to know. It was in the past, and today will come to pass as well as tomorrow. That is what death brings, I’m sure. Anyway, to more important things; how are you?”
Earth was surprised, “What? Well...I’m fine.”
“And how has the Roman religion progressed?”
“Ancient history. No one believes it anymore. Of course, people nowadays think that it was taken from Greek mythology, not the other way around as you and I obviously know.”
Caesar growled, “You should do something about that. If there is to be one religion in the world, let it be the mutated version of what actually is, as you told me to tell my people. Yes, I remember it well...
“Your three brothers, all jealous of you in different ways: Uranus, who openly despises you and wants to see you dead; Mercury, who wanted to be in your place, but lacks the courage to do anything about it; and Jupiter, who has always been in pursuit of power, and has been fighting a war with your brother Mars. Is that still going on? No, never mind, it matters not. Then your sisters, who love you unconditionally: Venus, your pacifist twin and Saturn, whose race far surpasses all in this galaxy. And then Neptune and Pluto, who are steadily turning against you from Uranus’ influence. Yes, your family is certainly one that should be sung about in great assemblies, not the Christ they were literally beating me with on my departing day. They stabbed me twenty-three times, Earth, do you remember?”
“I remember,” Earth said, solemnly remembering that fateful day. “About that...I came in your last moments of life, and you said to me, ‘Kai su, teknon?’: ‘You too, child?’ and then died. What did you mean by that?”
Caesar sighed, “You remember that 7Bolt boy?”
Earth frowned, “The half-elf? Yes, I’m now friends with his adoptor.”
Caesar closed his eyes, “He was there. He was one of the conspiritors. He possibly was the one that did the most damage to me. And knowing you had become quite fond of him, I thought you were the one who ordered the attack.”
Earth stared at him, jaw slack, “I...I would never...”
“I know that now, Earth,” Caesar said softly, “I was in a state of desperation. I thought that if you wanted to heal me, to help me, you could. But you didn’t. I revered you, I really did...”
“Julius, I’m so sorry...I couldn’t have helped you...you were already so far into the abyss...”
Caesar slowly nodded, “I know, Earth.”
Earth shook his head, “But...7Bolt? I never would have suspected...”
Caesar shook his head, “He was young and foolish. I doubt he even knew what he was doing. He said it himself, he likes to fight. I bet he didn’t yet understand the consept of death. Don’t condemn him for that.”
Earth smiled brokenheartedly, “You are good for that, Julius. I thank you, for being a friend to me in your short but eventful life. I must leave you now, but I assure you, we shall see each other again some day.”
Caesar laughed, “That, I do not question in the slightest. A word of advice, keep your enemies close, your friends closer, and above all, trust no one but yourself. Got it?”
Earth grinned, “Got it. Ciao.”

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
The Spirit Realm.
Scott walked through the Spirit Realm, not sure what he was looking for. There weren’t all that many people that he had left to die on a bad note.
He stopped and laughed out loud. That thought was just too hilarious. In truth, there were countless people, but none that he cared to see anymore. No one, none at all.
He sighed, thinking. Was there anyone he wanted to talk to, just one last time? He shook his head. Nope, there was no one.
“Scott?”
He turned. Standing behind him was a scrawny man, with small eyeglasses. He had dark hair and an impressive goatee, which was ironic given his past. He wore a simple suit, which seemed slightly out of place in this world.
Scott raised an eyebrow, “Trotsky?”
Leon Trotsky nodded, “Yes. Do you even remember who I am?”
Scott snapped his fingers, “Vaguely, my friend.”
Trotsky sighed, “How is Russia? What happened?”
Scott shrugged, “The communists fell out of power, like you said. All’s good.”
Trotsky furrowed his brow, “That’s it?”
“Yeah, just like that. By the way, I’m sorry about letting you die. Yeah, real sorry about that...”
Trotsky waved him off, “I’m fine. It doesn’t matter anymore. As long as Stalin is dead.”
Scott sucked in a breath through his teeth, “About that...I sort of forgot about Russia after you died...and Stalin died of accidentally inhaling rat poison.”
“Dammit!” Trotsky screamed, “How could you do this to me, Scott? We were friends! You let me die, and then let my nemesis die in relative niceness!”
“Truth be told, he did last four days longer than you did and probably was put through worse pain that you were...”
Trotsky paused, “It was painful?”
“It was strong rat poison,” Scott said, “It paralyzed his right half and he was bedridden for the short remainder of his life. No one even knew that was how he died until 2003.”
Trotsky thought for a moment, “I guess fate turned out to be a better assassin than you, Scott.”
Scott scratched the back of his head guiltily, “Yeah, again, I’m sorry about that...”
Trotsky shook his head, “It’s alright, Scott. Just work harder from now on, alright? Advice from the dead to the living, is that right? Remember one thing: Never trust a friggin’ communist.”

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
The Spirit Realm.
Earth frowned. He was standing outside what appeared to be a forest made up of blossoming cherry trees. He began to walk through the eerily nostalgic forest, cautious yet curious at the same time.
He came to a clearing, and saw a huge building that he knew immediately was seventy-nine stories tall. He saw dozens of humans around, all wearing old NSK uniforms. He knew where he was. He was standing in outside the Original Six Building, also known as the Main NSK Building and the very place where the Original Six had finally disbanded. It was here, that his only superior Kristen had died.
He looked around, and then saw her, recognizing her immediately. He walked up to her slowly, and then cleared his throat.
She looked up at him, and then widened her eyes in amazement, “Earth...you’re not dead, are you?”
Earth shook his head, “No, I’m...just visiting.”
Kristen stared at him, “Where’s Scott?”
“He’s here with me, also still alive.”
Kristen smiled solemnly, “That’s good, I guess. How have you been?”
Earth shrugged, “As good as being one of the most hated elves can get.”
Kristen laughed slightly, and then Earth looked around, “Kristen, we’re obviously going to try to go back home...why don’t come back with us? I can think of no greater person that deserves a second chance at life than you.”
Kristen smiled softly, “I’m sorry, Earth, I cannot do that. When I died, I used my remaining power to bring this place here with me. I didn’t want anything remaining of the Original Six, nothing to remind you of what a failure I was...If I were to return, I would just die again. I’m sorry...”
Earth’s eyes began to water, “What of the others? Have Zach or Alex made it here yet?”
Kristen gestured around her, “I know not of Zach’s fate. I am so weak I can barely move anymore. As for Alex, his death was so...agonizing, that his mind was lost. He’s gone insane, Earth, he doesn’t remember himself. In fact...” she paused, thinking intensely, “I think it has partly to do with his remorse for betraying us. His guilty conscious overwhelmed him. There’s nothing left of him.”
Earth looked away the whole time, tears silently flowing down his face, “Thank you, Kristen. At last I can sleep well at night, knowing the fate of the ones I never bothered to help save.”
“Earth,” she said softly.
“It was a different time,” he said, turning away, “I was childish, I didn’t know any better. And then what happened to Scott...it’s unacceptable. It will never be like that, ever again. I promise you that, Kristen.”
“What happened to Scott?” she asked, concerned.
“Of course you’d want to know,” he spat bitterly, “His brother pushed him off a building. Doesn’t remember a thing. Doesn’t remember you, or the Original Six, anything. Sometimes I envy him. I lived through a terrible war, Kristen. And I’m the only one; The only one that remembers it. I’m the only one to remember it for what it was...”
He began to walk away, never looking back.

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
The Spirit Realm.
Earth and Scott met back up where they started, unsure how they had remembered the way. They stood in silence for a long time, not saying anything to each other. Earth looked at Scott, “Were you enlightened at all? Said your final goodbyes?”
“So to say,” Scott said simply.
They waited for the elevator in silence from then on. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the elevator arrived. They looked up, hastening forward, but stopped short when they saw who the elevator was carrying.
Virgil, in an abomination of his two selves, grinned and stepped out. He had four legs, and from the knee down they were solid rock. He wore his regular black jeans and a black shirt underneath a light blue single-breasted jacket, the back hem of which hung down to his ankles, knee-high leather boots and leather fingerless gloves, which had an insignia inscribed on the back. He kept his vampire wings, black and skin tight across sickle-like bones. There was a scar across his right wing. His fangs were pure white, as was the rest of his pale, bloodless body.
He chuckled, “Oh, how perfect this is. To meet you both back here after I was so blatantly killed. My revenge...shall be sweet.”
“We don’t have time for you!” Earth shouted, “Quick, Scott!”
All three lunged forward at once, and Earth smacked Virgil out of the way without any exertion. Earth and Scott desperately smashed their fingers into the Door Close button – never once questioning its unusual sudden appearance – while Virgil stood up and lunged once more for them. The doors began to close, and Virgil reached out, his hand drawing closer and closer as the doors shut...

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
Metroponente, Mobius.
The elevator opened as if nothing had happened, as if the ordeal in the Spirit Realm had been a figment of their imaginations. Only instead of entering this time, they exited.
They ran, and Virgil burst after them. All three of them collapsed outside the building, hastily getting to their feet. Virgil stared awestruck at his skin, which was glowing like the clouds in the Spirit Realm. He gasped, “Am I...alive?”
He felt a pain and then cringed. He pulled back his left sleeve, revealing a digital timer engraved into his skin, counting down from five minutes. He frowned, “I may not have much time left in this world,” he clenched his fists, “but I promise to spend all of it making sure you join me in that Spirit Realm!”
He lunged forward, and Earth drew the Light of Nc, slashing multiple times. Each time Virgil blocked with his bare hands, grinning. He laughed, “I’m invincible now! Do you really expect to be able to kill me again?”
Virgil swiftly stabbed his first two fingers into Earth’s temple, his neck, shoulder, and then his stomach. Earth gasped and dropped the Light of Nc, falling to his knees. He spun, knocking Virgil off his feet, and then stood up, grabbing Virgil by the neck before throwing him far. He picked up the Light of Nc and ran forward, charging towards him. Virgil did likewise, and as they drew close to each other, they didn’t notice Scott standing off to one side. To him, they drew closer in slow motion. He shook his head, “This has gone on for too long. Enough is enough.”
He closed his eyes, and the three of them teleported before Earth and Virgil could collide.

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
Pluto.
Earth’s brother, Pluto, walked across the surface of his planet solemnly. He had much to be solemn about. Years ago, Uranus had pressured him into launching an assassination attempt on Earth, and had regretted it ever since. Then Zack had taken his assassin for his own, and he had never seen Elementis since.
He sighed.
Suddenly Earth, Elementis, and Scott appeared in his midst, in the same position they were in when they teleported. Earth slashed, and Elementis grabbed the blade, twisting it out of his hands. He raised the sword, gripped it by its hilt, and raised it high...
“Stop!” Pluto shouted.
Virgil paused, and then turned towards Pluto as if noticing their new surroundings for the first time. He lowered the sword.
“Virgil,” Scott said, “This has gone far enough. You’ve died twice...hell, Earth’s died twice and I’ve died once, and look at us. Have we learned nothing from our visit to the Spirit Realm?”
Earth, ashamed, looked at the ground, “Scott’s right. Death should heal all wounds, and here we are, fighting again.”
Scott nodded, turning towards Virgil, “Look at your arm. You have five extra minutes in this world, and not once does it cross your mind to come here, to say goodbye to your master one last time?”
Pluto stepped forward, “Elementis, the war’s over. No one won. Both sides lost great elves, and I never even wanted us to join. Look at what’s happened because of it!” He gestured around at the barren surface of the planet, “Everyone is dead! I live a solemn lifestyle, and I’ll never get the old one back! And I realize you had quarrel with Scott other than that, but you killed him! You destroyed his memory! Isn’t that enough? Doesn’t a day go by when you regret your mistakes?”
Virgil sighed, “I have time some would give anything for. You’re right...I don’t want to leave this world on a bad note.” He turned towards Earth, “I’m sorry, Earth. I just got carried away, I guess.” He turned towards Pluto, “I’m sorry, Master. I only wanted to make everything the same as it was before...but it wouldn’t have made any difference.”
He glanced at his arm, and then walked up to Scott, “Brother, I apologize for everything. One’s memory is a treasure, one that should never be stolen away. But I took yours, and then continued to try to kill you when you didn’t even know why. That was cheap of me and,” he glanced at his arm one last time, “I hope you’ll never forget me. Not for the evil I’ve done, but for the small amount of good I’ve brought.”
He placed a hand on his shoulder, “You deserved the Original Six spot. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Tell Toranado goodbye for me. You will always be...my brother.”
He pulled him in, and he embraced Scott for his final moment of life. Tears streamed down Scott’s face as he forced his eyes to stay shut. Virgil’s body began to disintegrate into golden sparks that floated away into space and disappeared.
After a long time, Elementis Virgil Lycanthrope, son of Toranado and Destiny, twin brother of Scott Lycanthrope, and assassin of Pluto, was gone. Scott dropped his arms to his side and cried for a time, and then wiped away the tears, saying, “Guys, don’t pity the dead. Pity the living. They need the support.”
Earth wrapped an arm around Pluto’s shoulders. He sighed, “Scott, I want to tell you something:

Life is one thing. Death is another. Life can be long, but end by death for those who do not wish to live; they are dead, not physically, but death of the soul. They are at war, not with somebody else, but themselves. Their eyes are black with hatred and fear. Only with the guidance of love can they see that life is beautiful! (Reality; Kazuma Ishiguro)

Scott’s eyes began to water, and Earth and Pluto left him. Once they had left, he let his emotions bubble over, and he cried once more, not stopping until he was completely drained of energy. He fell asleep, and when he woke he had finally ended his ageless clash with his brother.

+===+

November 1st, 2027.
Interstate 80.
Larry was a trucker. It was good pay, but these long nights killed him. It was just past midnight, and he was dozing. He snapped alert, seeing two figures in the middle of the road. His eyes widened and he blared his horn. The two figures darted out of the way, and muttered under his breath while he wiped the sweat from his forehead.
A bit of smoke drifted in from the air conditioning system, and it formed into the body of Slick Black. Larry let out a cry of alarm, but it was literally cut short when Slick slit his throat.
Slick hoisted Larry out of the window and then took the driver’s seat. He scowled at Earth and Scott. He had made up what he had told them, about being cruel heroes, in a last-minute attempt to get them run over. It wasn’t successful, nor would it have been very satisfying. Ambushes were where he drew the line.
But he had to give Earth some credit. Why had he used the Golden Compass? Was what he had said really true, that death was too good for him?
He shook his head. No, he hadn’t been corrupted. But he felt something, deep down in the pit of his stomach. He brushed it aside and vowed to get that Compass and defeat them even if it killed him.

***
End of Part Two.
***

Well, what do you think? Any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below! (By the way, I'm not going to answer any questions about CC#12, so just don't ask. Got it?)

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I had to write an intro twice, each time Neoseeker glitching out. So I'm just going to skip it.

***

October 13th, 2027.
Unknown Location.
Scott Lycanthrope and a woman he knew only by the name, ‘Lady’ ran through a dim castle’s doors.
The castle was on an island in the center of an ocean of an unknown substance. This substance flowed like water, but had the appearance of a blue lava and would disintegrate anything it touched. This land was plunged in an eternal night, never hoping to see the light of day.
Once they both were safely inside, Scott turned and slammed the great wide doors shut, thrusting them both into pitch black darkness. Then, a pair of torches lit, their flames blue. More pairs of blue fire appeared in the darkness, and soon they could see clearly. It was an old-fashioned, Dark Ages styled place, with suits of armor guarding the walls and regal chandeliers hanging down from above. Across the red and gold carpet from the doors was a staircase that led straight up.
There came a crash from outside the doors and a voice cried out, “Come out and get what’s coming to you!”
Scott growled, gesturing to Lady, “Get up the stairs!”
They ran up them, stopping only momentarily as there came an explosion from down behind them, and they heard shards of wood scatter onto the lowest steps.
The voice from before, louder and clearer, scowled up to them, “You can run all you want, but you’ll get away from the demons inside of you.”
At this Scott turned and unsheathed a blade – he had found it while traveling in this land – slashing horizontally. A sonic boom issued forth from the blade, tearing plaster off the walls as it zoomed down its length. Scott turned and continued to run up the stairs.
At last they came to the top. They were at the highest point, on the castle’s steeple tip. It was a small platform that hung off from the castle. There was no need for a roof; the sky (made of the same substance as the sea) was a mere ten feet above their heads. To the left and right sides of the platform the fiery substance rained down. The only way off was from the far edge. As they watched, part of the stone rose up, forming a wall between them and escape.
They ran to it, smashing their fists against it desperately. Scott growled as he sensed their pursuer come into their midst. As he turned around, the door from the castle below closed off, mirroring the wall behind him. Their pursuer smiled at his brother.
“Virgil,” Scott growled.
Virgil chuckled. He was nearly the same as he had been mere months ago. The vampire wore black jeans and a black shirt underneath a light blue single-breasted jacket, the back hem of which hung down to his ankles, knee-high leather boots and leather fingerless gloves, which had an insignia inscribed on the back. He carried a rapier, balancing it rather than holding it by its basket shaped hilt. He had black wings jutting out of his back, the skin stretched tight across the sickle-like bones. His skin was pale except for his face, the lower half of which was coated in fresh blood. He licked at it absentmindedly. His fangs were pure white, contrasting greatly with the blood.
He tossed the rapier up into the air, allowing it to swish silently before deftly catching it. “Scott,” he said ceremoniously.
Scott once again drew his sword, “Don’t come any closer, or I swear I will kill you.”
Virgil chuckled darkly, “And what then? We just stand here for eternity, staring each other down?”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “I don’t understand.”
Virgil glanced at Lady and Scott subconsciously moved in between them. Virgil grinned, “You see, Scott, at least one of us won’t be making it out of here alive. I could do the cowardly thing and kill your...friend here, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll be an honorable man and kill you. But don’t worry...” he switched the rapier to his other hand and then back again, “I’ll be sure to take excellent care of your friend after you’re gone.”
Scott screamed, charging forward. Virgil lashed out, his wings tucking in, and dodged underneath Scott’s arm, coming up behind him. He kicked Scott’s back, knocking him over and then unfolded his wings, hovering slightly above the ground. He slashed the rapier twice, drawing two deep wounds into Scott’s flesh. They formed a bloody V.
Scott howled in pain and spun, slashing his blade. A sonic boom hit Virgil square in the chest, knocking him back. He shook it off easily, rising high. He dove, slashing at Scott’s ankles and soaring back up before Scott could react. Scott fell to his knees but quickly stood once more, ignoring the crippling pain.
The blade of his sword glowed black as he threw it. It struck the scar in Virgil’s right wing and stuck there. The vampire cringed and fell to the ground. Scott jumped, landing on his back, pinning him down. He drew his sword and smashed it into the main bone of the right wing. As Virgil howled in severe pain, Scott twisted his wrist, breaking the wing. As it fell limp, Scott leaped off of Virgil and allowed him to stand up, if he could.
Virgil did stand, and he looked away for a time. He sighed, and then turned, stabbing his rapier into Scott’s foot. Scott scowled, but he caught something. Leaking from Virgil’s broken wing...blood?
He had little time to think. Virgil drew the rapier and thrust it towards Scott’s forehead. Scott slashed at it with his own sword and then parried, slashing deep across Virgil’s stomach. This time, he was sure. The strike had drawn blood from the vampire.
Virgil growled, slashing Scott’s hand with the rapier. Scott dropped his sword in surprise, and Virgil pounced upon it, snatching it up. He stood and then laughed. He circled Scott, still laughing, “Honestly, Scott, I consider it poetic justice that I should hold your sword while I kill you. But my trustful Fourscage will be the one to drip with your blood.”
He raised the rapier, but stopped short as Lady jumped onto his back. Surprised, he dropped both swords and grabbed Lady by her hair, ripping her off his back while roaring mightily. He yelled in her face, “You stupid bitch! I was going to show you mercy, but not anymore! I’ll kill you along with my bastard brother!” He raised her up, but cringed. Scott had thrust his sword through Virgil’s stomach.
As Virgil dropped Lady, Scott withdrew the sword. Virgil took a wary step forward, his wound dripping fresh vampire blood. Scott growled and then plunged his sword through Virgil’s heart. He screamed in pain and collapsed as Scott withdrew his sword for the last time.
Lady touched Scott’s arm, saying, “The wall...a portal has opened!”
Scott brushed her off. Large stones began to rain from the non-existent ceiling, but Scott hardly noticed. He stared at his brother, who was lying on his side and clutching his chest. His left wing hung down over him, a veil that failed to conceal him. Scott gently lifted it out of the way, and then picked up the rapier. Virgil’s eyes flickered, meeting his. He coughed up blood and spoke one sentence, softly, “I guess you were right, in the end, eh, Elemental?”
He laughed, then. He held up his clawed hand and slashed up his own chest, tearing himself apart. He laughed until the sound steadily died and became but an echo. There, at the top of this castle in this strange land, in a pool of his own blood, the vampire Virgil Elementis Lycanthrope passed.
Scott stood and sheathed his own blade, bringing the rapier with him. He turned and saw Lady standing in front of the far wall, a portal having formed across its frame. He took her hand in his and then they jumped through it, never looking back.

***

October 31st, 2027.
Interstate 80.
Scott woke with a gasp. He had merely been having an unintentional Flashback, the events of which had taken place weeks ago. He had killed his brother, Virgil, for good, with the power of the sword he had found in the Demon Realm, the Soul Reaver. He still had Virgil’s rapier, Foursage, and it was now hanging above his mantelpiece at home. Lady was somewhere on Mobius, where they had appeared through the portal.
On the thirteenth of that month, Scott had been roaming through the newly built city that covered a half of his home planet Mobius’ surface, named Metroponente, when he happened upon a building he had no memory of having put there. Inside was a tunnel, and he walked through it for what seemed like an eternity. Then, he came upon a land known as the Demon Realm, unknowingly having been followed by Virgil. He traveled through this land for about a week in real time, but in the Demon Realm only a day and a half passed. He met Lady, and befriended her. They worked out a way to get back to Mobius, found one, and then set off to the castle. However, Virgil chose to strike then, following them to the castle.
Scott suddenly felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Earth Sven staring at him, “Scott...you know you’re driving, right?”
Scott turned back forwards, “What?” slipping out of his mouth as he hastily returned his hands to the wheel, swerving back onto the road.
Scott scowled inwardly. What was in the past was in the past. Virgil couldn’t hurt him anymore, and even better, they now had a way to kill vampires, with this Soul Reaver. He hadn’t wanted to tell Earth at first, but decided to tell him only a couple days ago. Naturally, in that annoying way only Earth could, he had been concerned about him, about how he was coping. Scott had shrugged him off, but he did feel something deep down...
He swerved his car out of the way of some random drunk driver going the wrong way. If Scott Lycanthrope was careful with anything, it was his car. She was an original black Bugatti Veyron, with a price tag of over one million, eight hundred thousand dollars. She could accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in two and a half seconds. The car was known for having a top speed of only two hundred fifty-three miles per hour, and could only hold 4.82 miles per gallon, Scott had specially modified her to not only access her much faster top speed (while subjecting it to possible tire damage), but also to use a much larger gas tank, which refilled itself using a recycling system Scott had invented a few years back. Yes, he took good care of his car. He took great care of his baby, Ella.
He frowned slightly as he remembered the origins of the car’s name. Ella had been a prostitute he knew once. He could have imagined it, but there had been something between them. They saw each other so often that Scott stopped paying her to come by. They were nearly friends, of sorts, up until Scott ran over her with this very car by accident. He had no doubt that there were still blood stains on the underside of the car.
He swerved to avoid another drunk driver, and then growled slightly. There were a lot of drunks out tonight, to be honest. It was only twenty-two o’clock, but it seemed like every car they passed was going the wrong way.
He thought of Earth’s sister Venus suddenly, and shook the thought from his head. He was making progress with her, that much was certain. However, they had only seen each other three times, each not very eventful. The most intimate they had gotten was a simple hug. Earth was too protective of her for some reason...
He suddenly felt jealous of Earth. But why? Why should he be jealous of his paranoid over-protectiveness? Was it because he had no one that he cared for that way?
He shook his head. Where had that come from?
But indeed, it was true. He hardly knew any of his siblings too well, most of them on his bad side. An exception was Elementres, but she and him had a deep running rivalry, and it got in the way of compassion.
He shook his head, clearing it.
Earth, sitting in the passenger seat as always, had little troubling him. He was dressed comfortably, in jeans and a long-sleeved gray shirt with ‘Nebraska Cornhuskers’ printed across the front. It was the first time in too long that he sat here content. He had a brilliant sword, excellent girlfriend, little to no feuds with his family members (he was thankful now that NSK had finished Project Ozone, they could finally finish up a planet for Venus) and there was hardly anyone out there that he felt threatened by. His long-lasting paranoia seemed to have vanished in a matter of months, having been around since 2009.
Earth settled back in his seat, sighing with satisfaction.
As he was closing his eyes, he caught something in his peripheral vision. He opened them once more to see a pair of headlights in the rearview mirror. He cocked his head. It didn’t seem to be a police car, yet there was no doubt that the car was following them. As they swerved to avoid another driver going the wrong way – Scott swearing under his breath – the car swerved with them. He noticed vaguely that it was a dark green 2010 Chevy Volt.
“Curious,” Earth said aloud.
“What is?” Scott asked.
Bemusedly, Earth stared at the mirror, “There’s a car behind us. I’m certain it’s following us.”
“Ridiculous,” Scott said, waving a hand, “Just going the same way as-goddamn mother-” He twisted the wheel to avoid a large semi truck going the wrong way. Without skipping a beat Scott got back on track and turned back to Earth, “The same way as us.”
Earth made a noise, deep in his throat. Scott guessed it meant he was expressing dissatisfaction, but Earth merely sat back in his chair, staring at the headlights in the mirror out of the corner of his eyes.

***

October 31st, 2027.
Interstate 80.
Half an hour later, and nearly half a dozen drunk drivers later, the car was still following them, but Earth didn’t point it out to Scott.
Scott screamed suddenly, pulling the Bugatti right off the road and into a ditch. A team of semis passed, honking noisily. Scott swore and steadily brought the car back onto the interstate.
Earth glanced at the rearview mirror. The car that had been following them had disappeared.
“I don’t get it,” Scott said out of nowhere, “If you don’t care for sports, then why do you wear that shirt?”
“Hmm?” Earth said distantly. He looked down at his Cornhuskers shirt and grunted in understanding, “Oh, that. I simply take pride in my home state; it doesn’t mean I actually care for the team.”
Scott frowned, “I don’t get it.”
Earth sighed, “Alright, how about this; Mexico goes to war with Russia. Who do you support?”
“Mexico,” he said immediately. Earth stared at him expectantly, and then Scott clicked his tongue, “Well, when you put it that way...”
They were silent for a moment, and then they heard police sirens behind them. Scott swore and adjusted the rearview mirror to see a cop car coming up behind them. Scott growled and pulled over to the side of the road.
The police car pulled up behind them, and then a man stepped out. He walked up to Scott’s window and tapped on it. Scott pulled a lever and the Bugatti lowered itself to a height of about four feet. Scott lowered his window halfway and wiped away at a smudge left by the officer’s tap. He lowered the window the rest of the way and looked up at the officer, “’sup?”
The officer looked down at him, and then awkwardly crouched down to be at the same level as them. He wore a hat and sunglasses that darkened his face, and held a pad of paper in front of him. He grunted, “Sir, are you aware that you’ve been driving on the left side of the road for the last fifty miles or so?”
“Is that so?” Scott said incredulously, “Funny, I thought everyone else was going the wrong way.” He turned to Earth, “Were you aware of this?”
Earth shrugged, “I can’t say I didn’t point it out at least four times.”
“Huh,” Scott said, turning back to the officer, “This whole time, I thought we were in Canada.”
The officer stared at him, “Sir, in Canada, people drive on the right side as well as here.”
“Right,” Scott said stubbornly, biting his knuckle.
“I’m going to need to see your license and registration, please.”
Scott grunted, “Well, since you asked so nicely...” He moved in the seat to remove his wallet from his back pocket. He removed his license and handed it to the officer. He turned to Earth, “The registration’s in the glove box.”
Earth gave him a look, “And?”
Scott returned the look, “Can you get it out for me?”
Earth scoffed, but did so anyway. As he was doing this, the officer spoke again, “Sir, are you aware that this license lists that you are over three billion years old...and it expired in 1955?”
“Is that so?” Scott said again, “Well, then, I must get that checked at.” Earth handed him the registration papers and he handed them to the officer.
He skimmed them over and then glared at Scott, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to get out of the car.”
“Wait,” Earth said, holding up a hand, “Would you please remove your hat?”
The officer was surprised, “I don’t see why not...” He slowly reached up and then took off his police cap, exposing his spiky black hair.
Earth growled, “Slick!” and then pounced, leaping through the open window to tackle the officer.
The officer chuckled, his form melting into that of Scott’s brother Slick Black. The last time they had seen him, he had been buried alive under an avalanche of stone. He had been after Earth and Scott for years, wanting so desperately the Golden Compass that they held. In their most recent meet, he had stolen a great deal of magic to use against them. He was now dressed as a civilian, in a black t-shirt and jeans. His signature greasy and unkempt hair had been short and clean, now it was reduced to a near buzz cut, each individual hair standing on end.
“Nice work, Sven,” he said, “I suppose it was my hair that tipped you off again, wasn’t it?”
Earth scowled, “Black. You’re looking awful. Do I detect wine and chives on your breath? Possible olive oil? You stink even worse than before. I honestly liked you better when you were a begging dog at our feet.”
Slick frowned, becoming Earth’s own shadow. It moved around and then rose up in the form of Slick once more. He clenched a fist, “I see you’re still a bastard as ever, Sven. How are you?”
Scott leaned his head out of the car, “Slick Black? You’re alive?”
Slick laughed, “Honestly, you thought some rocks could kill me?” He threw up his hands and a force field formed around him, “You seem to forget that I wield enough magic to destroy you with a snap of the fingers. Stop thinking with your dick, Scott.”
Scott frowned. Earth stood up and narrowed his eyes, “How did you find us, Black?”
Slick shrugged, “I merely followed the radiating pulse of the Compass...it calls out to me.”
Earth pulled the Golden Compass from his pocket, causing Slick to growl hungrily. Earth looked at it, “You want this? Come and take it from me.”
Slick burst forward, but Earth swung the Compass, cracking it against the side of his head. Slick fell against the Bugatti, causing Scott to cry out, “Hey! No blood on the car! There’s enough as it is!”
Slick stood and grinned, cracking his knuckles. He pulled a deck of cards from his pocket and they exploded, hovering in the air like a cloud around him. He clenched his fists, “Alright, you want magic? I’ll give you magic. Is this your card?”
He waved a hand and the cards shot forward. Earth returned the Compass to his pocket and waved a hand, and a wall of fire rose up between them, incinerating the cards. Slick leaped on top of the Bugatti and two silver orbs appeared in his hands. He threw them fluently at Earth, turning away. His sunglasses, which had fallen off, flew back into his hands and he put them on as the silver balls exploded on Earth.
Earth landed behind Slick and grabbed him by the neck. Slick merely stepped through Earth’s fingers as if he was made of smoke, and then turned, sparks flying off his person. They stuck to Earth and erupted in flames, causing him to step back, falling off the car. He stood up, still on fire and waved a hand, causing the flames to die away, as if they had no effect at all.
Slick cracked his knuckles. He jumped down, landing in front of him, and then made a symbol in midair. He motioned towards Earth, and his cheek was cut. Slick breathed in sharply, “Oh, my aim was off.”
Earth charged at him, but Slick disappeared, letting him slam into the side of Scott’s car. Slick appeared behind him and drew a knife from his sleeve, stabbing it through Earth’s back.
Earth grunted in pain and elbowed Slick in the face. He turned, kneeing Slick in the stomach before pulling the knife from his back and bringing it down on Slick’s head. There was a sickening crack as the knife plunged through his skull. Slick stepped back, with the hilt of the knife comically sticking out of his head, and then snapped his fingers. The knife drew out of his head and he grabbed it, returning it to his sleeve, utterly unfazed.
Slick snapped his fingers once more and ran straight forward. Earth, who was in his path, stood his ground, clenching his fists. Slick struck him and then burst into a cloud of smoke, reforming on the other side of Earth. He shapeshifted into the form of a large black dog, and then jumped over the Bugatti, jumping onto the rail guard dividing the interstate, and then began to run on top of it, still in the form of the dog.
Earth jumped over the Bugatti and then opened the passenger door, shouting, “Go, go, go!” while he hastily slammed the door shut. Surprised, Scott pressed down on the accelerator, and they set off, following Slick.
Earth urged him every few seconds to make the car go faster, but it was at its limit. Slick was faster, and he jumped off the rail onto the right side of the road.
“Bust the guard!” Earth screamed.
“Are you insane?” Scott yelled, “Do you know how much this thing cost me?”
“Oh, for the love of-” Earth grabbed the steering wheel and twisted it sharply. The angle of the turn was too great, however, and the Bugatti lost control, turning with its side forward. The Bugatti hit a bump and then bounced, spinning upside-down over the barrier. It landed on its tires, intact and without a scratch.
Earth turned to Scott, “Since you’re being a bitch right now, do you mind if I drive?”
Scott, at a loss for words, did nothing. His seat belt snapped off and his door flew open. Scott was thrust out of the car and Earth replaced him, slamming the door shut and tearing off down the interstate.
Scott stared after him, befuddled as hell. He looked up distractedly at the moon, which was just starting to rise, and then cringed, letting it take effect upon him. How could he have forgotten that he was a werewolf?

***

October 31st, 2027.
Interstate 80.
Earth drove the Bugatti fiercely on the correct side of the road, searching for Slick. He noticed a shadow moving where one of the lights was out, and unleashed the car upon it. There was a thump, and he pulled the car over.
He got out and walked back to whatever it was that he had run over. It was indeed Slick Black, still in form of the dog. He had a terribly wide tire mark running across his chest, and blood was oozing from the wound.
Then the dog’s lips curled, and it released a hellish chuckle. It leapt at him, and he was barely able to raise an arm. Slick sank his teeth into his arm, tearing him apart with his grazing claws. Earth formed a ball of energy in his free hand and slammed it into Slick’s face.
The dog was thrown back, and then went limp again. Earth took a hesitant step forward, and then heard a vicious roar behind him. Scott, in werewolf form, leaped over his head and grabbed Slick’s neck by his teeth. He turned, chucking the dog into the concrete guard. He leaped, attacking Slick, slashing violently.
Earth took a step back. He thought hard. Scott wasn’t making it easy for him. He shapeshifted into the form of a falcon and climbed high into the night sky. He dove, raking his talons across Slick’s back. He did this several more times, attacking whenever Scott let him have an opening.
Slick howled in pain and darted away from Scott. He turned, growling softly, “Why is it so easy for you to hurt me?”
Scott bared his fangs in a wicked grin, “Because in that form, I don’t see you as my brother. I see you as the damned spawn of the wolves, a traitorous mutt.”
Slick reformed into his regular form, bloodied and battered. He breathed heavily, “Don’t do this, Scott. You’ve lost one brother. Don’t make it two. Just help me. I just want the Compass.”
Scott growled, “You’re not my brother. You corrupted Elemently, and made him into whatever you are now. The pursuit of power has ruined you. Honestly, killing you now would only be a favor.”
He took a step forward, but Earth dove down in front of him, reforming to his normal self. He held out a hand, “No, Scott. We can’t kill him. He doesn’t deserve even that.”
Slick paled. Earth turned to him, pulling the Golden Compass from his pocket once more. He looked at it vaguely, and then turned the needle to the tenth setting. He held it up, and it released a pulse of gold energy. It struck Slick in the chest, and he collapsed, screaming. He shuddered in extreme pain, torturous shock searing through his veins. It hurt him so much that no sound would escape his lips, and he suffered in silence. It was numbing, and it lasted an eternity in a moment.
At last it stopped. Slick could barely move, slight spasms of energy rocketing through him as echoes of what had just occurred. He sat up, and looked at Earth, who was returning the Compass to his pocket. He grunted with great pain, and smiled slightly, “You bastard...only one as cruel as you would claim to fight for good and then turn around and do such a thing to your enemies. Did I deserve that?” He laughed painstakingly, and then screamed to the heavens “Is it worth it to go on living in a world where our heroes are vile as these two?!”
A horn blared behind him, and a semi truck ran into Slick, causing him to disintegrate as a wisp of smoke. Earth and Scott jumped out of the way at the last moment, and the truck passed.
Slick’s laugh resonated around them, and then faded away. Scott turned to Earth, “Was it really that bad? We’re not really cruel, are we?”
Earth didn’t answer. He turned to the Bugatti and stared at it for a long time. Finally, he said, “He deserved it.”

***

October 31st, 2027.
Mercury.
Earth and Scott stood on the planet Mercury, waiting expectantly. Scott was no longer in his werewolf form. Earth looked about, waiting for something. The sun beat down relentlessly. Finally, he stared off in one direction, and Scott followed his gaze.
A cloud of dirt was steadily growing, approaching them. It passed, and then stopped on a cliff on the other side of them. They looked up the cliff and saw a man standing there. In the blink of an eye he was standing in front of them.
He was a young man, but he was bald. He wore white robes coated in dirt. He had beady dark little eyes, which scrutinized over them. His skin was a dark tan, as if from years of overexposure to the sun. He raised an eyebrow at them, and then sudden recognition fell over him, “Earth! It’s...been a while.”
“Hello, Mercury,” Earth said placidly. “I was hoping you’d be able to shed some light on something for me.”
“Anything,” Mercury said, smiling falsely.
“What happened with Slick Black?”
Mercury’s smile fell. He searched for something to say, settling with, “What do you know?”
“That he’s not yours,” Earth said emotionlessly.
Mercury’s eyes darted back and forth. He sighed, “Alright, fine. Hundreds of years ago, a fat man came to me on this planet. He said his name was Wario.”
Earth and Scott looked at each other. Earth nodded, “Continue.”
“He claimed to have been searching for something called the Golden Compass. I told him I had never heard of it. We talked, and one thing led to another. He bragged that he was the best poker player on your planet. I told him I knew the game well enough, and I could probably beat him. We played a couple games, me winning each time. Pretty soon we started placing bets, and I kept winning. And then, there came the terminating game; he bet his greatest secret, how he escaped from Labzarynth. I was naturally curious, and I wanted to offer something of equal value, so I bet Slick, in the confidence that I would just win again. However...he drew a straight flush.”
Earth looked at Scott. He groaned, “It’s the best possible hand you can get in poker. The possibility of getting one in a single draw is fifteen ten-thousandths of a percent.”
Mercury nodded, “He drew a Royal Flush – diamonds. The only way I could have stopped him was to get a Flush of my own.”
“Wait,” Earth said, “If a Royal Flush is so hard to get, then how come I got one last year when I played poker for the first time?”
“Oh, that,” Scott said, waving a hand, “The deck was stacked. However, the dealer dealt counter-clockwise. You got everything I was supposed to get. You owe me three hundred dollars.”
“Needless to say,” Mercury said angrily, “I lost, and Slick became Wario’s.”
Scott cocked his head, “So you bet my brother on a poker game and lost?”
Mercury took a step back, holding up his hands, “I-I never meant for-”
“Mercury,” Earth interrupted sternly, “Shut up. Because of your mistake, Slick hates us. He’s going to end up killing himself trying to get the Golden Compass from us. He’s become corrupt with the power of magic.
“I’ve never respected you, Mercury. And you sure as hell know why. You’ve always been jealous that I got to be the Original Six. But this just proves how right I was for this job. When your mistake comes to bite you in the ass, you just stand there in fear of us. You’ve never had the guts to be an Original Six, and you disgust me.”
Earth turned, gesturing, “Come on, Scott. Let’s get out of here.”
He and Scott left, and Mercury stared after them, and did not move until they were out of sight. He closed his eyes, saying, “You have no idea, brother.”

***
End of Part One.
***

Continued in Part Two: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/6465-cracker-chronicle-13-matrix-part-two-spirit-realm/

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The end result of nearly six months of work; Cracker Chronicle #11: We Fight A War. It's been extremely stressful for me, but the end result...is epicocity.

***

May 9th, 2027.
Labzarynth.
Tim, Superintendent of Labzarynth, finalized his tour given to Thomas, a new NSK employee to be stationed here; “...Only two prisoners have ever escaped from Labzarynth and lived to tell the tale, and that’s two too many. It’ll be your job to guard our highest-priority prisoner.”
Labzarynth was one of two huge NSK prisons, the other being on the planet Saturn. Labzarynth was hidden inside the Earth’s mantle, made of a special alloy that wouldn’t melt from the heat or pressure. It housed thousands of prisoners, so many that the cells had to be stacked on top of each other. There were several shafts dotted around the globe, and whenever Labzarynth floated close to one, it would dock for thirty minutes to receive supplies from above. In its most recent dock, under NSK Las Vegas Division, the only supplies they had received had been a new prisoner and Thomas.
“I should warn you,” Tim said, leading him through a hallway on the far end of the prison, “Some prisoners are immortal, so if you ever walk past a cell whose convict ‘committed suicide,’ just keep walking. Ah, here we are.”
He unlatched a huge steel door and pried it open with some difficulty. They walked through it, into a dark room. Several bars separated the room into two halves, one side free, and the other confined. In the cell there was but a statue of an old woman reeled back in pain, her left hand clenched tightly.
Thomas raised an eyebrow, “This is it?”
“Don’t be fooled so easily,” Tim said, glaring at the statue.
“I meant to ask,” Thomas said, warily looking around in the cage, “How did the last guy – the guy I’m replacing – lose his job, so to speak?”
“Suicide,” Tim said simply. He saluted Thomas and then left, sealing him in with the statue.
Thomas frowned, staring at the statue. It obviously couldn’t be a shapeshifter, because their molecules could pass through anything. It could have been able to escape whenever it wanted.
He reached through the bars, but the statue was too far away to touch. He turned sideways and willed himself to squeeze through the bars. Soon he found himself on the inside, in a cell with the single most deadly prisoner NSK had ever had.
Thomas blew lightly on the face of the statue, and a layer of dirt flew off. Coughing and more curious than ever, he scratched away at the stone face. He was oblivious as the iron bars of the cell lifted away from their sockets and hovered in midair behind him.
Thomas stared into the gray eyes he had uncovered, cocking his head slightly. The statue stared back at him for a time, and then it blinked. The bars each were thrust forward, skewering through Thomas’ body before he even had time to react.
The stone crumbled away from the Ruler of Metal’s body, and she stretched, moving for the first time in almost a year and a half. She cracked her knuckles and stepped over Thomas, who was rapidly bleeding out.
The steel door flew off its hinges, calling forth the attention of everyone. R stepped out, strutting impassively through Labzarynth. NSK guards trained their guns on her warily. When she got to the center of the prison, she turned, spreading her arms wide, “Well, what are you waiting for? Open fire!”
Not sensing anything, the guards unleashed a hail of bullets upon R. Her arms still outstretched, the bullets stopped before they touched her, as if they had struck an invisible dome. Her fingers tensed and then the bullets flew back to the ones that had fired them, peppering their chests with holes.
R raised her voice, so that everyone in Labzarynth could hear her, “It was unwise to bring me here, and now you all will die for the foolishness of Earth Sven.” The walls, ceiling, and floor all shuddered. Magma began to pour inside as Labzarynth began to fall apart at the seems.
Tim watched, a mere fifty feet from where R was standing. An NSK employee ran up to him. “Orders, sir?” he gasped desperately.
“There’s nothing we can do,” Tim said quietly.
“What?” he screamed exasperatedly.
Annoyed, Tim sighed, “Alright, you know what you can do for me, Michael? Go call Earth, and if he shows up to save us, then a job well done to you.”
Michael ran off to carry out these petty and no doubt fruitless orders. Tim sighed and turned around, walking through the prison. He had been Superintendent for the last twenty-five years, and this place had always been his home. He passed NSK guards, attempting to either stop R or to prevent Labzarynth from collapsing, both goals useless. The prisoners reacted on either extreme; the mortal ones would scream for help while the immortal ones would laugh with joy.
Tim opened a steel door identical to the one that had failed to contain R. The cell was larger than R’s had been and devoid of bars. It was dark, but he could clearly make out the huddled lump in the center of the floor. “Hey,” he called out, “R has escaped. We’ll all be dead in a matter of minutes. You’re the only one that can help us now.”
Wolf-Sam turned his head towards Tim and uttered a sad howl before declaring his thoughts to him, “Morality has made you weak. Death is inevitable. Why do you humans insist on prolonging it?”
“Come now,” Tim said quietly, “If you had a chance to live one day longer, would you not take it?”
“No. If I am not strong, then I should not be shown mercy. Earth Sven is kind, but because of him I have been proven to be inferior. The most I want from life now is for it to be over.”
There was a moment of silence before Tim spoke again, “Do you not have anything left to live for? Do you not have a loving wife that you could return to if NSK was to turn a blind eye?”
Sam grunted, “Saturn is the very definition of perfection, but I have taken that for granted. She is too good for one such as I, and deserves someone much better. I have wronged her, and I will never be able to look upon her ever again.
“Indeed, you and I are not so different. When was the last time you were on the surface, twenty years ago? Not much has changed in all that time. You should have had a decent understanding of your society by that time. Tell me, you would consider your death rates high, no? From my perspective, they are low, and can you guess why that is? It is because the inferior are not dieing, and they infect the gene pool. It causes the human race in whole to come to a standstill, possibly even regressing. It stems from a fear of death itself, an unnatural fear. Murderers and those who commit suicide are ones who see the true light of things, ones who do not have a lack of understanding of death and the afterlife.”
“Are you saying that your wisdom is truly infinite? Surely no one knows the secret of death, not even you, Sam.”
Sam ignored this, turning away once more, “I only wish that by the end of this day we both are equals in the realm of the damned, but my wish will no doubt be unsatisfied.”

***

May 9th, 2027.
Nevada.
Earth Sven and Scott Lycanthrope stood in the center of a country with half of a burning car behind them. Scott sighed, “Well, we’ve certainly been through a lot today. I say we head home and drink our troubles away. Then again, why wait?”
He pulled a bottle filled with a dark liquid – which in actuality was just Dr. Pepper – from his pocket and popped the cap off. He swigged it drunkenly.
Earth felt a vibration in his pocket. He retrieved a cell phone and flipped it open, pressing it up to his ear. With his other hand he tried to block out excess noise by pressing it against his other ear while he struggled to hear the voice on the other end: “This is Mich...SK Lab...deep trouble, sinking...collapsing, help...ar...”
Just as Earth was about to say something, the line succumbed to static. He frowned as Scott gasped, drawing breath after his long swallow, “Ah, that’s good, but it needs to be spiked or something...”
Scott continued on in a drunken rant, but Earth wasn’t paying attention. He stared at the bottle cap Scott had dropped, and then bent over to examine it. It came as an immense surprise to him when he saw the bottle cap was floating about six centimeters off the ground. It spun in place, as if indecisive as to which way was up.
Earth stood up straight, staring at the cap as Scott continued his drunken speech next to him, “...so I says to the barmaid, ‘No, I meant the drink, not the action, but if you want to offer me that, then I won’t deny-” Earth elbowed him in the stomach. Scott shook his head, reverting to relative normality, “What?”
“The bottle cap,” Earth said, pointing it out.
Scott took it in with an evident lack of interest, “So?”
Earth groaned as the bottle cap tripped over itself, beginning to move down the street. They followed, jogging briskly as the cap gained speed.
They were lead to a city that had begun to dip in the center. They stood on the outskirts, jaws slack as the entire city collapsed in on itself, sinking into the ground. They watched as screaming people ran past, or were a tad unluckier and fell into the abyss. Then, for a time, all was still. There were no more humans around, and the city had settled in a neat pile in front of the elves.
Then it shifted, a metallic hand emerging. It hoisted itself on top of the pile, revealing it to be part of a gigantesque creature made of the metal that had previously comprised the city. It had the appearance of a short and stout man, but lacked a head. Instead, in the center of the chest there was a glass covering, and behind it sat the Ruler of Metal herself, R.
“You!” Earth screamed.
“I,” R said modestly, almost bored.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“It’s quite simple, really,” R said angrily, “Because of you, I was unjustly condemned to hell. So I did the righteous thing and destroyed that prison.”
“You...what?” Earth asked incredulously.
“Don’t act like you didn’t see this coming, Sven,” R said, raising an eyebrow, “I am the Ruler of Metal. Putting me underneath a cooking pot won’t trap me.”
Earth turned to Scott, “Labzarynth. There’s nothing left. My god, Scott, they’re all dead.”
“I consider myself fortunate,” R continued, “My element may not be as powerful as, say, Fire, but it is made up for in the fact that all weaponry is crafted from my power.”
“Not all,” Earth said, drawing the Light of Nc.
R laughed, “Ah, Sven. The last time I was conscious, I was attempting to destroy your sword.” She cocked her head, raising her hand, “I see someone succeeded where I left off. Tell me, what makes your new blade any different than the last?”
Earth grinned, “I’ve been thinking about what you said, back when you acquired that doomsday device. About how you only work with pure metal. Now, that could have been referring to the pyrite, but I decided to run some tests on a certain crystal known as Diamonium anyway. And I learned some pretty interesting things, too. You know, how you can’t manipulate it. So I made this sword, especially for you. While I may have been at a loss last time, now things will be different.” He smirked, “Ain’t you a lucky little bitch.”
R paled, but said nothing, barely changing her facial expression to a slight frown. Nevertheless, she waved her hand, causing the robot to ball its right hand into a fist, smashing it down on where Earth was standing. Earth dodged out of the way, and then leaped at it, slashing its metallic hand right off. He landed on the stump, running up the arm. R growled, causing the robot to swipe at him with its left hand. Earth leaped up at the last second, and the robot took its own arm off with the force of the blow. Earth landed on the left hand, stabbing the Light of Nc into it. R angrily tried to shake him off, while Earth drew the sword and launched it at R’s glass case. She reeled back in surprise, the sword stopping no more than a centimeter away from the bridge of her nose.
Earth shouted from the top of his lungs, “Light of Nc!” and the sword erupted with white light, momentarily blinding R. He jumped and landed on the machine’s shoulders, retrieving his sword. He stabbed it into the robot’s back and fell, slicing it easily in half. He landed between the mech’s legs and spun, hacking apart the robot’s feet and ultimately crippling it. He leaped out of the way just as the machine collapsed upon where he had been standing.
He slid to where Scott was still standing, having merely watched throughout the whole procession. Earth looked up at him and frowned, “’tis okay, Scott, I didn’t need any help anyway.”
As he stood up, they heard R laugh. The machine stood back up, its limbs reforming back into their places in a matter of seconds. R raised an eyebrow, “You’re going to have to try harder than that. You’ll never get anywhere without some strategy to back your tactics. But I’ll bet this has been your style for a long time now. Is it not true that one must have a reason to fight? If you don’t fight for something, then you are a lost cause.”
Earth gripped the hilt of his sword tighter, “I fight for humanity.”
Scott clenched his fists, “For Mexico!”
R let out a single bark of laughter, “Ha! A worthless species and a country younger than the cacti that habituate it? I think you either didn’t understand, or really are as useless as you say you are. So let me ask you properly: What do you fight for?”
A single knife darted through the air and stuck itself into the machine’s shoulder. R turned to look at it. Just as she began to *bleep* her head, the machine exploded, sending disintegrated shrapnel everywhere.
Earth and Scott turned to see the assassin, Elementres, standing behind them, arm outstretched, “For Earth,” she said, staring at the demolished machine unwaveringly.
She was wearing her signature purple and black full-body, skin-tight assassin suit. The suit was fitted with dozens of hidden scabbards, so she could pull a knife from practically anywhere on her person. Her fingernails had been sharpened to points, and were painted a deep chocolate color. Her dark brown hair flowed freely down her back, nothing holding it in place, but it loyally stayed put. Her amber eyes, icing on the cake of her Venusian beauty, shone fiercely.
R grunted, waving her hand. The glass covering – the only intact part of the machine – was raised, and she stepped out. She gestured to the metal fragments behind her, “I admit that you may be worthwhile, and your reason is sound.” Her gray eyes sparkled evilly, “But how would you compare when your own weaponry is turned against you?”
She raised her hand, causing all of the knives Elementres still had on her – a total of thirty-seven – to rip free, floating in the air around the assassin. R twisted her wrist and then clenched her hand into a fist. The daggers responded immediately, turning towards Elementres and rushing to bury themselves into her flesh. Elementres cried out in alarm.
“No!” Earth screamed, bursting forward. In a second he was in front of Elementres, arms outstretched. He was creating a force field, desperately holding back the knives. He grunted, “Scott, stop standing there and do something actually helpful for once!”
Before Scott had time to react, R whipped out her other arm, causing a film of metal to form over his body, holding him in place. Scott groaned, “Damn you, bitch, you can’t be serious!”
R grinned, bringing her full attention back to Earth and Elementres. Earth was sweating and shaking uncontrollably. He should have lost the struggle by this point, R thought, but his will must have been stronger than she had predicted.
“Very well then,” R said aloud. She twisted her wrist, causing Earth to cry out from exertion.
Earth gritted his teeth, looking at Elementres from the corner of his eye, “Hey, Elementres. Duck.” She dropped to the ground just as the force field steadily began to break, each passing second sending another wave of knives sinking into Earth’s flesh. With each strike, he cringed but did nothing to stop it. He merely took it all, nearly passing out...
There came a shout, gradually rising in intensity. As Earth, Scott, and R came to realize its existence, the assault of the daggers came to a halt. They turned towards the source of the yell: Elementres.
Suddenly the knives embedded in Earth’s body ripped out and dropped to the ground, along with the rest of the daggers. A column of flame erupted around R, and as Elementres drew her shout to a close, the column froze solid.
Earth gasped, dropping his arms, “Well done, Elementres.”
The film of metal holding Scott fell away and he stumbled forward, saying, “What, that was Elementres?”
Earth tapped his nose, “Yes, and this marks her first time manipulating the elements.”
They turned to look at her, and she stared back at them, eyes wide. Scott frowned, “That can’t be right. Surely she’s done it before, when she was trained-”
“Elementres never received any training,” Earth interrupted, “Venus refused to teach her anything, and her knife skills come naturally.”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “So, up until this point Elementres has just been more of a human than anything else?”
Elementres growled, snatching a knife up off the ground threateningly, “I insist that you repeat that, brother.”
A sharp cracking was heard, and then the pillar of ice shattered. R brushed herself off as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, “You have done well to train this assassin of yours, Sven. But I have been thinking; I fight you out of vengeance for my son. Would not your father do the same? ShadowNc never did anything for you, did he? Why do you respect him so?”
Earth, disgusted by this tactic, scoffed, “That may have worked on me a day earlier, but today I have finally fulfilled my father’s hope that I would be strong enough to deserve to wield darkness and light alike.”
R frowned, trying a different approach, “If you respect the light so much, then answer me this: What is the absolute most gruesome, horrendous object you have ever laid eyes upon?”
Earth leapt up, flying towards the Ruler of Metal, shouting, “It is thine face!” As he raised his fist, dark energy enveloped it unexpectedly. A sheet of metal appeared in order to protect R, coating her skin; however, Earth’s fist collided with her jaw and twisted her entire head, breaking her jaw. R released a muffled cry as Earth landed and took a step back.
The metal flowed away, and R rubbed her jaw back into place, “Quite a bit more painful than I thought possible. Now I find myself doubting...the legend might not be as false as I previously thought...”
“What legend?” Earth asked, staring casually at the darkness still surrounding his hand.
R grunted, “I would simply love to keep you in the dark, Sven, but I figure if you are to hear of it from anyone, let it be me. I presume you are familiar with the legend of Nc’s eleventh child?”
“Yes,” Earth said, glancing at Scott and Elementres, “Somewhat.”
“But indeed you know not the whole legend, for no one tells it properly. I predict that I will be the first, then, to tell it in full...
“Eons ago, there existed but one, a god by the name of Nc. He was the sole survivor of the previous universe, but he had no recollection of his past life. He created this universe using his vast power, and for a time was content.
“He grew lonely, and then created his son, the first elf born in this universe, 9volt the First, granting him control over the element of Electricity. He created nine more children soon after: 9ice the First, the Ruler of Cold; Lavana, the Ruler of Fire; Fei9n, the Ruler of Emotion; Aquarius, the Ruler of Water; R, the Ruler of Metal; Plasmatis, the Ruler of Plasma; Gravitasious, the Ruler of Gravity; Toranado, the Ruler of Wind; and Destiny, the Ruler of Fate.
“Then, because eleven is a sacred number, Nc foretold that his sixth son and eleventh child would be born with power unimaginable, more than even his own self. But alas, his eleventh child was a daughter, Minerva, the Ruler of Violence. Nc proceeded to have a twelfth child, a sixth and final son, and named him ShadowNc, which translates from Elvin to literally, ‘The Ruler of Darkness’. However, neither Minerva nor ShadowNc showed any signs of the great power.
“Among the Nefarious Twelve, as they came to be called, it is believed that Nc’s approval for the creation of the Original Six was to make up for ShadowNc’s lack of potential. However, they merely deny the truth, foretold by Nc himself...
“The great power had been recessive, and would be passed on to one of the Original Six. The reason it is denied is because the one with the power would most likely be the child of ShadowNc and Minerva, who is named,” R pointed at the one standing straight in front of her, cocking her head slightly, “Earth.”
They were all taken aback. Earth frowned, taking a retreating step, “No, that cannot be...it’s inconceivable.”
“That’s what I thought,” R said, turning around. She waved a hand, causing the metal fragments to stir, rising to her command. R spoke over her shoulder, “But it’s not impossible. It was foretold that it would take a few billion years for the power to show. Very well, I’ll just leave you alone to think it over...”
“Where are you going?” Scott asked.
R laughed, turning around to face them while the fragments swirled in midair behind her, “Wouldn’t you like to know? I don’t have the time to take my vengeance now; leisure first. Follow me, if you want...”
She stepped back, into the cloud of metal, and it rose to the sky, steadily taking the shape of a passenger jet, flying away from them without a second thought.
“Should we follow?” Scott asked, turning to Earth.
Earth nodded, “Of course,” before cringing, seemingly becoming aware of the dozens of knife wounds scattered across his body. He collapsed, unconsciousness taking him before he even hit the ground.

***

May 9th, 2027.
NSK St. Louis Division; Infirmary Wing.
Earth woke with a start. He shook his head, sitting upright. He recognized this room immediately, having spent a third of his time in this Division in this particular wing. His bed mockingly had his name carved into the headboard. The curtains were drawn, and a television set blared in the background.
He frowned, not remembering exactly what had happened prior to his unconsciousness. He looked at his hand, tracing a mark left behind by one of the daggers, watching it heal before his eyes. It came back to him with a pang, and he groaned. He rolled over, turning to the bedside table and pressing a button on it. From it he heard a woman’s voice, “Mr. Sven? Are you awake?”
“I am indeed,” he said, his mind clearing, “How long have I been out?”
“You’ve been here for less than an hour, thankfully.”
Earth grunted, “Where are Scott and Elementres?”
“They’re in the room with you. I’ll send them in.”
“Thank you,” he said, releasing the button. He sighed and rubbed his forehead. A breeze flipped the blanket off his lap, and he stood up. He was stretching when Scott and Elementres came in.
“Well?” she asked, an uncharacteristic tone of concern in her voice.
“I’ll live,” Earth said, shaking his head, “Did I miss anything important?”
“I stuck R’s plane with a tracking device,” Scott said, “And then we brought you back here. We are still going after R, right?”
“Of course,” Earth said, glaring at him. He then cringed slightly, “Argh, it wasn’t wise for me to swallow that much pain down at one time. I could have dodged or ducked out of the way, but I felt like I had to protect you, Elementres...”
She smiled warmly, “It’s alright, Earth. I appreciate what you did.”
“Ahem,” Scott coughed, “R’s been on a general northeast route, and it’s convenient that you woke up now, because she passed overhead just a little bit ago. Elementres says she thinks R’s up to something because of some detail or another...”
“Her pace is deadest,” Elementres explained, taking over, “It’s neither lax nor hasty. She’s maintaining a proper altitude, velocity, and she’s following United Airlines regulations.”
“She’s planning something,” Earth concluded, “R’s certainly not one for stealth.”
Elementres nodded, “That’s what I thought as well, until Scott pointed out...”
“...she could simply have discovered my device and passed it on to a different, normal plane.”
Earth cracked his knuckles, “Well, there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?”

***

May 9th, 2027.
Sky over central eastern USA.
A single, unmarked plane flew soundly through the sky. It did not deter as three elves flew up to its emergency exit door, forced it open, and then slipped inside.
Earth, Scott, and Elementres surveyed their new surroundings. It was a first class passenger jet, with as many luxuries packed in it as comfort would allow. The seats were fluffed perfectly, made of red velvet and trimmed with gold. Each row of seats had a movie screen, all of which were blank. The windows, large and gaping, were wide open, letting in plenty of light. An air conditioner blew somewhere, making the cabin a cool temperature just above freezing. A discreet bathroom door – marked vacant – was in the back, next to a snack and drink cart filled to the brim with peanuts and wine. At the front was a royal blue curtain that separated the cockpit from the cabin.
Scott whistled, “I still support my earlier notion; I think we’ve got the wrong plane. This place is actually pretty cozy.”
“Don’t be deceived so easily,” Earth said, flipping open an overhead compartment, which was empty. “Why do you suppose there are no passengers here?”
Scott shrugged, “Any number of reasons. A decommissioning?”
Earth stopped cold in his tracks, turning to face Scott, “Come now, Scott. Not even you are that ignorant.”
Elementres picked up a full wine glass and sniffed it. She emptied it onto the rug in disgust, “It’s not poisoned.”
Scott walked over to the snack cart and shoved a fistful of peanuts into his mouth. He swallowed without chewing, and grinned, “Salty.” He grabbed a bottle of wine and downed it without a second thought.
Earth grunted, “Stop messing around and get over here.”
Elementres followed his orders immediately, walking over to where Earth was standing, near the blue curtain. Scott finished his draught, having emptied the bottle, and set it down on the cart; however, it was unstable and fell to the ground, shattering noisily.
They stood unmoving for a long time. Behind the curtain they heard a chair creak. After an excruciatingly long moment, Earth whispered, “I swear if you get us killed, Scott, I’m going to kill you in the afterlife.”
Scott, eyes wide and ironically more sober than ever, stealthily avoided stepping on the shards of glass as he joined them. They relaxed somewhat, and Earth reached for the curtain. Gripping the hilt of his sword tight, he ripped the curtain open, and they entered the cockpit.
The controls were complex, and stretched along a wide panel in front of the pilot’s chair. The pilot had their back turned to them, but they could see her right arm on the armrest, a scorch mark on the funny bone area.
“R,” Earth grunted, not in the least surprised.
The Ruler of Metal turned around, smiling, “Ah, I see you’ve decided to follow me after all! Good, very good...”
“What are you up to?” Elementres asked, getting straight to the point.
“I see how it is,” R said, narrowing her eyes, “I am your enemy, so nothing I do can be good, am I correct?” They stared at her, causing her to laugh, “Alright, I’ll admit I was trying to repay you a favor.”
“A favor?” Earth questioned with a frown.
“Yes,” R said, standing up, “You made my life a living hell, and I want to do the same to you.”
“And how do you plan on doing that?” Scott asked.
R grinned evilly, “Let me ask you this: What was the single worst event that didn’t directly affect you?”
Earth and Scott simultaneously groaned, “The 9/11 terrorists attacks.”
Scott growled, “You’re resorting to terrorism just to make us feel uncomfortable?”
As R nodded, Earth turned to Scott, “You know what? Maybe terrorism isn’t that bad. I mean, it made me hate George Bush once, but it’s not like he’s still president, right? Now what’s really bad...is killing puppies.” He looked at Scott and Elementres for support.
“Yeah,” Scott said awkwardly, “Killing puppies...is just terr-” he choked and then coughed, “Killing puppies is, is just, just a...it’s a bad thing.”
“You don’t mean any of those things, do you?” R asked skeptically, raising an eyebrow.
“Not a chance,” Earth admitted, “We’ll always hate terrorism because of the way people freak out, and deep down Scott will always feel joy from the sight of a small dead dog.”
Scott shrugged, “It’s true.”
Elementres sighed, “Guys, she didn’t actually know that you hated terrorism. She just wanted you to say it so she would know herself.”
Earth and Scott looked at R and then at each other. Earth struggled to find words, finally coming up with, “Well now I just feel stupid.”
R chuckled, “Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter. You might as well save your breath.” She grabbed a switch on the dashboard while still watching them, “You’ll need it.” She threw the switch, causing an alarm to blare. The windshield flew off, and R was flung out of the cockpit. A violent gale began to scream through the plane.
Scott waved his hand, calming the wind that was ripping through the cabin. Earth ran to where R had been, “Damn it, she was planning this all along. We may not crash into anything important, but we’re still headed towards something or another.” He growled, “She knows that we’ll either try to save the humans and let her get away, or go after her and have those people’s deaths on our conscious...”
He spun around, “You two, try to divert the plane. I’m going after that bitch.” He turned and jumped through the broken windshield.
Scott and Elementres ran to the controls. Now that they were closer they could see that they were much more complex than they originally appeared. Scott groaned, “This doesn’t even make any sense; why would the Ruler of Metal need any of this-”
“She’s toying with us,” Elementres realized, “She’s giving us a chance to stop the plane, knowing full well we’ll never get it to work.”
“Great, when did I become the main character of Saw VII?” he groaned, “Well, we’re just going to have to prove her wrong, then.” He knelt down, examining the controls carefully. Elementres watched, having no experience with mechanics. She took a step back, allowing him more room.
Finally, Scott pointed out a key slot, the key still inside, set to off. “The ignition switch.” He grabbed the rusty key, twisting it stubbornly, “It’s as good a place to start as any. All we need to do is-”
The key snapped in half, one end still in the key slot. His face twitched as he said monotonously, “Frack.” He desperately began to pick at the keyhole with his fingernails, muttering panicky.
Elementres pushed him aside, “Oh, just let me do it!” She drew a knife, stabbing it into the slot and then twisted her wrist so that the knife was pointing towards the word, ‘On.’
The blaring siren was then accompanied by R’s prerecorded voice coming on over the intercom system, “Manual Override Activated. Self-Destruct Sequence Activated.”
“Self-Destruct Sequence!?” Scott exclaimed incredulously, “Oh, great, now we’re not just going to crash, we’re going to blow up! Oh god, oh god, oh-”
“Shut up!” Elementres screamed, “Stop freaking out!” She placed her hands on Scott’s shoulders, calming him, “Listen. I’ll handle the plane. You go help Earth with R.”
“But I broke the key,” Scott said weakly, holding up the half of the key he still held.
“But I’m the reason this flying piece of shit is going to explode,” Elementres countered sharply, “I got this, Scott. Make sure Earth knows that. No matter what happens, I’m to blame.”
Scott stared at her intensely. Finally, he sighed, “I guarantee he’s going to find a way to pin it on me. He’s always liked you better.”
Elementres smiled, “And don’t you forget it.”
Scott grinned slightly, and then jumped out of the cockpit. Elementres sat down in the pilot’s chair, gripping the wheel tight. She growled, “For Earth.”

***

May 9th, 2027.
Sky over central eastern USA.
Earth dove, searching for R. He spotted her and scowled, flying down to her level. R turned, grinning evilly, “Ah, Sven, nice of you to...drop in.” She laughed and drew a cavalry sword, its thin and slightly curved blade ringing as it left the hilt.
Earth scoffed, drawing the Light of Nc. He surged forward, smashing his sword into R’s. The Ruler of Metal was more agile than he had expected, blocking the strike and then parrying, slashing across his chest. Earth flew back, and then feinted to the right, following by slashing R’s ribs on the left. R attempted to stab him, but Earth threw off the strike with his sword, spinning around to slash diagonally across her face.
R growled, tentatively touching the cut. She jumped up, causing Earth to raise his sword in an attempt to block; however, R twisted her cavalry sword around, stabbing upward through Earth’s stomach. She grunted in pain as she realized the Light of Nc had been run through her heart.
R withdrew her sword, and Earth did likewise. They each caught their breath, and then charged at each other. Their swords collided, resulting in a deadlock. Their faces were inches away from each other as Earth spoke, “Hey, R. Guess what?”
“What?” R asked impatiently.
Earth grinned, “Light of Nc.”
The sword erupted in light, and R fell back in surprise. Earth wasted no time, smashing his blade into the notch between R’s neck and shoulders. Her arm was dislocated, and she grunted in pain. She gradually eased her arm back into place, eventually slipping it back with a slight pop.
Scott suddenly appeared, falling onto R’s back. With one hand he twisted her arm around her back and with his other he snuck his arm around her neck in headlock. With her sole free hand, R unsuccessfully tried to loosen his grip.
“Scott?” Earth exclaimed confusedly, “What are you doing here?”
Scott grunted, “Helping you out. What the hell does it look like?”
Earth lashed out with the Light of Nc, striking R’s scorched funny bone, cutting it deep. She fell unconscious and dropped from Scott’s grip to the ground below. Earth watched her fall for a time, and then turned to Scott, “What about the plane? Where’s Elementres?”
As if in response, the jet above them exploded, splitting in half and cascading flames down upon them. What was left of the plane began to fall.
“No!” Earth cried out. Scott grabbed his arm, trying to get them out of the path of the wreck’s descent. He was limp, letting Scott guide him, as he stared up at the plane.
High up, still in the cockpit, Elementres struggled with half a plane, aiming it as best she could. The room around her was on fire, various schematics popping and spitting electricity around her. The wind rushed past her, threatening to throw her off her feet as the plane began to do a nose dive, facing straight down, perpendicular to the ground. And as this was happening, she thought, her mind heard by Earth far below...
“We fight a war. A war against prejudice, inhumanity, inequality, and all other evils. A war we fight for justice, for liberty, and for the greater good of all. We do it selflessly, unbeknownst to the very ones we liberate. We do it in secret, and ask nothing for it. We’ve fought since time began, and will still be fighting on Judgment Day. As soon as one of our enemies is struck down, ten more rise to take their place. And despite all the odds stacked against us, we will always be superior. Not because of power. Not because of knowledge. And not because of luck. We will always prevail because of the tears we’ve shed, the blood we’ve lost, and the sacrifices we’ve made. No matter how many times we struck down, we will rise again, for the pursuit of righteousness, and the eternal goal of peace withstanding and life everlasting.”
Scott and Earth landed, causing Earth to jolt back into awareness. Far away, they saw R crash to the ground and then stumble to her feet.
Elementres spoke, her final words heard only by Earth, “Meeting you was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. If I had my life to live over, I wouldn’t change anything. Goodbye...and I’ll always love you, Earth.”
The demolished plane crashed into where R was standing. Earth shook his head, clearing it. He ran forward, shouting, “No!”
The wreck exploded again, and a wall of flame rose up, surging forth to incinerate Earth. Scott whipped out an arm, teleporting the two of them away from this place. The inferno engulfed everything, setting the very dirt aflame.

***

May 9th, 2027.
Nebraska, United States.
Scott and Earth appeared on Earth’s front lawn. Earth collapse to his hands and knees, “She’s gone...I couldn’t save her.”
Scott walked up to him, “Hey, don’t be so hard on yourself. Her last words to me were, and I quote, ‘I got this, Scott. Make sure Earth knows that. No matter what happens, I’m to blame.’”
A tear flowed down Earth’s face. He brushed it away, “She didn’t have to sacrifice herself. I could have-”
“No, you couldn’t have,” Scott interrupted, “There’s nothing you could have done. She wanted this. Respect that. If anything, blame me.”
Earth blinked. He stood up, shaking his head, “Blame you?”
Scott nodded, “You heard me.”
Earth stared at him. Finally, he smiled tentatively, “She told you to say that, didn’t she?”
Scott shook his head, “No.”
Earth somberly looked away, “I want you to know something, Scott. I always liked Elementres more than you.”
Scott frowned, “I know.”
“Let me finish,” Earth said, holding up a hand, “I liked Elementres better as a friend. But you’ve always been the better assassin.”
Scott, utterly perplexed, furrowed his brow, “Thank you?”
Earth laughed, “Do you honestly have no idea why Elementres always rivaled with you?”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “Sibling rivalry, maybe?”
“No. Elementres has always tried to be a better assassin than you. Only once has she proven herself so.”
As Earth began to walk towards his house, Scott frowned, “When was that?”
Earth stopped, turning back to face him, his hand on the doorknob, “Today. You sacrifice yourself for me and maybe I’ll change my mind.”
Earth entered his house, Scott staring after him bewilderedly. As the door slammed shut, Scott shook his head, coming to his senses. He whipped out a cell phone and punched in a number. He held it up to his ear, listening to the dial tone.
A British man picked up the phone, “Good evening. Who is calling?”
“Scott. I presume this is NSK CEO Joe I am speaking to, correct?”
Scott could practically see the Brit nodding, “Indeed. Although, I must point out that I didn’t recognize your number...”
“I stole this phone.”
“Ah. So what’s the occasion?”
“I’m going to be in England tomorrow. Earth and I ran into some trouble while on vacation, and I think it would be best if Earth doesn’t have to relive what happened today.”
“You’re actually going to record information into the archives for once? Well then, anything else?”
Scott paused. He looked at Earth’s house warily, “Yes, there is something else. Today we crashed a plane in the central eastern part of the United States. I want to set up a perimeter there. But no digging through the rubble. I want to know if anything penetrates that line, be it entering...or leaving.”
There was a slight pause, and then Joe sighed, “Any reason in particular?”
“What do you mean?” Scott asked with a frown.
“Why are you doing this? When did you finally decide to actually take charge as CEO?”
Scott glanced at Earth’s house again, “Let’s just say it would mean a lot to Earth if we find anything moving there. But if he finds out prior to that, make sure he knows I’m the cause. It’s kind of a tender subject with him.”

***
End of Part Three
***

Thank you, thank you. Any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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July 6th, 2011. I think it is in everyone's best interest (everyone, of course meaning anyone who reads this) to know that I started CC#10 today. The real trouble was figuring out how it began. I mean, it's got a good start, but I couldn't remember what came first...It would seem weird if I just jumped into the action, right? (*silently curses the seventh Harry Potter book*)

July 10th, 2011. I randomly noticed something as I was typing CC#10, and because of it I went back and changed something in CC#9...insanely minor, but still...I might get the second music spotlight up today if I get around to starting it, so yeah. Something to look forward to.

August 13th, 2011. Ugh. Well, first of all, I'm sorry about CC#10. I just got back from a business trip in St. Louis, and I've only had access to a computer two days in August so far. I'm still working on CC#10, of course, because of it, but I'm close to finished. As you can tell, this will really throw off CC#11, which is unfortunate considering how long it will be. Speaking of which, CC#10 is the longest I've written yet, longer than 30 pages thus far. Yeah...

August 30th, 2011. So, no doubt you've noticed by now, but I finished CC#10 a while back and posted it as such. I've been hard at work on CC#11...ha, just kidding, I just wanted to hear what that sounded like. Yes, I have started CC#11 at the very least, and am on a good pace, however, I was very late starting it so I've barely gotten any (relative) progress. Meh, plus I am having some technical difficulties that I'm hoping to work through.

September 10th, 2011. Still writing CC#11, and having so much enjoyment doing it. I have, of course, finished writing the intro and will probably get it typed out soon enough. Check back often.

Update: Did I forget to mention I was working on an intro for the Cracker since I took down my Neohome? And that it was the reason I started CC#11 so late? Wow, well...that's the reason...

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As part of my running series of holiday-themed posts, this year, I've desided to make you all feel even more useless than you already are. And I'll do it with style.

You see, Black Friday is a lie propogated by the American media in order to go out and, you know, buy stuff. It originated from the slow news day of the after Thanksgiving, and in actuallity is the fifth biggest shopping day of the year, the first being *October First*, and the first week of November and the Monday after Thanksgiving taking two of the other three slots.

This day is a burden to all, from the ones doing the shopping (search "Black Friday trampled death" and sit back to wait for your browser to load) and those not (as far back as one hundred years ago, the frickin police have gotten in car crashes and traffic jams on Black Friday).

Reason Three: *bleep*ing Rebecca Black. Ever since her freaking fastest-selling-single-of-all-time, no one has let it go. Everyone sane agrees it was awful, and no one even wants to hear any parodies of it, it was that freaking horrible. Unfortunately - scratch that, *indescribable torture* - It's being brought back. She's even making a new song, Saturday. Will we ever stop taking this woman seriously? Will she become the third person on my kill list, after Stephanie Meyer and Justin Beiber? Only time will tell.

Four: Everything you know is a lie. There are no sales on this damned day. In fact, to the stores themselves, they hardly make any extra profit. It's just an average shopping day. It's because of the fact that not only do they not lower prices, but it's countered by the fact that not every one goes out to shop on this day...contrary to popular belief. Anyone part of the gaming community knows this; Nintedo and almost every other gaming company from Japan won't lower prices because they see Black Friday for what it is: a stupid holiay, unfit to even exist. However, America has steadily been going around this. For example, Target Stores offer forty dollar gift cards with the purchase of a 3DS. No doubt we will come to the point where video games will be 50% off on this accursed day. Admittedly, it's a mixed bag...

Final Point: No hangovers. One of the great things about the holidays is that the day after (November 1st, December 26th, January 1st, February 15th) is the day where the people that didn't degrade themselves the night before get to enjoy watching those with the hangovers sulk back home. And Black Friday not only prevents getting a hangover from Thanksgiving, but it occurs in the morning, typically, so one won't get a hangover from that day, either. It just goes to show that maybe Japan knows better on some things: never have a holiday that revolves around shopping if you want to get laid.

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Continued from Part 1.2: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/6224-cracker-chronicle-11-we-fight-war-part-one-2-war/

***

May 9th, 2027.
Nebraska.
Earth Sven and Scott Lycanthrope, their vacation ruined, now walked home. They walked down the center of the suburban road. They were now able to talk freely, Earth’s remorse for his forgotten birthday ironically forgotten as well.
“...it’s a mixed bag, Scott,” Earth was saying, “The less rivals we have, the less time we have to genuinely fight someone. The urge to full out kill someone just can’t be replicated with a friend.”
“Case in point,” Scott replied, “The number of people that hate us is dropping. Just today, there was Rain Storm.”
“A few months ago it was Ace.”
“Nc has a distrust of us, but it’s no longer fueled by hate.”
“And now almost all of Zack’s followers don’t dislike us.”
Scott grunted, “Elves really need to invent email or something. Seriously, how many people were there? Uranus, and his assassin, Elementor...”
Earth laughed, “His mother, R...”
“Pluto.”
Earth frowned, “Well, actually, I haven’t seen Pluto since he tried to kill me, so there’s still a chance he still hates us.”
Scott shrugged, “I just assumed, because of his assassin, Elementis...”
Earth waved a hand, “I see what you mean, but it was Zack himself that killed Elementis.”
There was a pause, and then they both stopped walking, thinking something through for the first time in years. Scott began, “You don’t think...”
Earth nodded, “Oh, hell yeah, I’m thinking that.”
They stared at each other for a long time, and then they simultaneously jumped up, flying through the air. As they flew, they screamed at each other, “I can’t believe you forgot about your own brother, Scott! Your twin brother, no less!”
“Me?” Scott exclaimed, “You’re the one that destroyed his freaking home planet! What’s your excuse?”
“Oh, I was too busy not dieing!”
Scott scoffed, “Don’t forget you died there too!”
“Yeah, but my death ended the battle, it didn’t start it!” Earth screamed, “At least I was somewhat useful throughout that whole affair!”
Scott scowled, but didn’t say another word.

***

May 9th, 2027.
The Island in the Sky.
High up, in the uppermost part of the Earth’s atmosphere, there was a spot of land that just floated there, orbiting the planet. This floating island was owned by NSK and served no real purpose. On this small island there was a building, which was now deathly quiet as Scott and Earth entered it for the first time in almost thirteen years.
It was eerily nostalgic, walking through the narrow corridors. Remnants of the battle were still present; blood splattered on the walls, dents from swords or limbs, even a light fixture shattered on the floor.
They entered the command center and were shocked to see how little it had changed since they had come there on the first day of that half-year long conflict. The computers were even still running.
On their left there was a large window overlooking the planet below. The glass of this window was supposed to be unbreakable, almost needlessly so. However, it wasn’t actually unbreakable; it was just marketed that way. It had been a hilarious tragedy, the day that this specific type of glass had been introduced to NSK. Twenty-six stories up, the marketing agent had told a group of NSK employees – which had included Earth and Scott – that he had replaced all of the glass in the room with the “indestructible” kind. He then proceeded to explain that if he was to try to jump out of the window, he would just bounce back harmlessly. Eighteen hours later, the agent’s heart finally gave up, and Earth and Scott simultaneously broke their personal records for longest time continually laughing, and NSK had been using the glass ever since.
As Scott went over to gaze through the window, lost in memories he didn’t have, Earth crossed to the other end of the room, where a solitary door stood. It seemed out of place; plain and simplistic. Earth cautiously drew closer to this door, whispering, “Scott.”
Scott looked over to where he was and frowned, “Where’s that door lead to?”
“It’s just a broom closet,” Earth said sternly, “But I think Elementis is in there. After all, this is the room where he was killed. Zack mustn’t have stored his body too far away. And this closet locks from the outside.”
Scott let this statement sink in and he shuddered from the thought of it. He followed Earth over to the closet door, and they stood on either side of it. Scott put his hand on the handle, and Earth nodded. Scott slowly began to twist...
Suddenly the door burst wide open, slamming into Earth’s face. A pale figure leaped from the closet and spoke in a raspy voice, “Zack?”
As the door swung shut, Scott took a step forward, fist clenched, “Elementis.”
Scott’s twin brother spun around. It was quite obvious he was a vampire now; his body was bloodless, his figure was now much stiffer, and his fangs seemed longer. He was wearing the same clothes he always wore: black jeans and a black shirt underneath a light blue single-breasted jacket, the back hem of which hung down to his ankles. He wore knee-high leather boots and leather fingerless gloves, which had an insignia engraved on the back. He growled, “Brother, where is the one that has killed me? Where is Zack?”
Earth and Scott looked at each other. Earth shrugged, “We don’t know.”
Elementis grunted, “That is dissatisfactory. I was hoping Zack would be the first one I would kill in this new life.”
“The first one?” Scott asked nervously.
Elementis nodded, “When I died, I left a lot of people alive that I couldn’t kill in that life. Two of those people are in this very room.”
He began to walk forward, reaching for the hilt of his sword, but Earth held out his hand, shouting, “Wait, you can’t kill us!”
Elementis stopped, narrowing his eyes, “Why not?”
Scott and Earth looked at each other again. Scott suddenly remembered something that they could use to their advantage, “You need to pick out your new name first!”
Elementis frowned, “What?”
“Of course,” Earth said, playing along, “To symbolize their new life, all vampires must throw away their old name and create a new one.”
Scott’s brother went very still, staring at them. They were reminded of Brianna doing the exact same thing when she was deep in thought. Finally, he sighed, “Alright. I shall choose a fresh name for myself.”
He looked up, gazing at the ceiling in thought. He closed his eyes and muttered to himself while Scott slowly reached for his holster. “Ah!” the vampire screamed, coming to a conclusion. He opened his eyes and looked back at them, cocking his head slightly, “I’ve got it. My name shall be Virgil. I once knew a human by that name. He was a great warrior, and will live on in me.”
“Great,” Scott said, tapping his foot subconsciously, “That is a very unique name. I actually was talking to someone about that very name just the other day and by the way, you should probably know-” Like lightning, he drew his pistol and shot Virgil in the head. While he was stunned, Scott ran forward, jumped, and kicked Virgil right through the window, glass flying everywhere.
Scott and Earth ran to the shattered window and gazed out it. Virgil was falling down, to the planet below, and they glimpsed his expression; one of utter surprise. Earth frowned, “I don’t think he’s going to survive the fall.”
Scott furrowed his brow and looked at Earth skeptically, “What’re you talking about? Of course he’s going to survive; he’s a freaking vampire.”
Earth hummed, “Something’s got to be able to kill a vampire. No one should live an immortal life, even a cursed one. Oh, now he’s got wings.”
Scott looked back down and raised an eyebrow. Indeed, Virgil now had black skeletal wings, and was gliding down to the land below. He grunted, “Great, he’s going to fly away, and we’re going to have yet another vampire on the loose. It gets to be a bit tiresome when...Earth?” He had noticed suddenly that Earth was no longer standing beside him. He frowned in confusion and started to turn when Earth tore past him, smashing through the window. Scott sighed and jumped through the totaled window, falling down to the planet below.
In freefall, Earth turned to Scott, “Upset you didn’t think of it first?”
“Upset we couldn’t have just stayed home this morning,” Scott admitted. Earth chuckled.

***

Virgil soared through the sky, searching. He didn’t know how long he had been in that closet, but it had been long enough. Now he was free...but to do what? He felt a tugging, in the pit of his stomach, but he didn’t know what it meant. Was it...hunger? The urge that humans and animals felt, in order to stay alive? Impossible, he thought. But the urge was strong, and he could do little to fight it.
He became aware of something else. He tried to figure out what it might be, when something hot and metallic ripped through his wing. He swore silently and remembered someone had attacked him earlier, but he could neither place who it had been, nor how long ago it had happened.
Another bullet pierced his skin. “Damn it!” he screamed. This hunger was making him forgetful, making him unaware, making him weak. He roared and dove to the ground.
He landed on an old road in the middle of nowhere. A single car honked in front of him, driving steadily closer. He placed a hand on the pavement and flexed his fingers. A series of vibrations were sent out, and the car – he noticed vaguely that it was red – flipped over his head. It was then that he was overcome with an unusual sensation. His reflexes were sharpened, and everything seemed to move in slow motion around him. He turned, watching the car fall slowly to the ground. Impatient, he drew his sword.
It was the only blade of its kind. It exited the hilt in two spots, curving around to meet itself in a balloon-shape. Even the most skilled of swordsmen would struggle to wield it, and yet Virgil had mastered its use.
He threw his sword at the car, the force behind it causing the vehicle to rip in two. He leaped up, bouncing off the back half of the car to catch his sword in midair. The front half crashed to the ground, staying somewhat intact. However, the back half struck the ground and completely fell apart, shrapnel flying everywhere.
The doors of the front half popped open and two humans – one male, one female – stepped out. They were battered and bloodied, but surprisingly intact. Virgil landed once more, facing away from them, and inhaled deeply.
He could smell them. Their scent drove him into a frenzy.
He spun around and flew forward, his wings spread wide. Virgil’s sword plunged through the male’s chest, breaking through his sternum and ribs. The female cried out as he pulled the sword out, letting the male drop dead. Out of the corner of his eye he saw her running for her life, and he laughed.
In an instant, he was behind the woman. Her hands fluttered to her neck, only half aware that Virgil’s sword looped around her throat. Virgil drew closer, hissing. Her eyes were wide as she was stricken speechless. He whispered quietly in her ear, “My voice will be the last you hear,” before snapping his wrist back, the sword breaking through her, barely making a cut due to the sheer force.
As she fell to the ground, her neck cracked in half, bleeding profusely, Virgil breathed heavily. The smell of their blood was overwhelming. He grinned, his fangs glinting in the sunlight. “Feeding time,” he said to the corpses, his voice rich with malicious intent.

***

Earth and Scott flew close to the ground, looking for Virgil. Earth grunted, “I don’t blame you for shooting at him and scaring him off. The Elementis I know would have turned around to rip your head off. You’re lucky he’s thirsty.”
Scott sighed, “It doesn’t change the fact that we’ve lost sight of him. But honestly, I don’t see why we’re doing this. We don’t know how to kill a vampire.”
“That’s the reasoning,” Earth said, “We don’t know how, so we’re going to find out. Nothing like good old persistence to give you an edge.”
“But what if we can’t figure out how to kill him?”
Earth was silent. After a pause, long enough that Scott almost thought he had not heard, Earth finally responded, “Then we just...take him away. Bring the fight somewhere else. But be wary; Elementis isn’t one to play by the rules, and I don’t know how his vampirism will affect his prowess.”
They flew on in silence for a time. Then, Scott craned his neck, “Speak of the devil.” Earth glance at where Scott was looking, but he couldn’t see Virgil, just the fiery remains of an automobile...
Earth swore and dove simultaneously with Scott. They landed on the country road and then saw Virgil, bent over the body of a man, his mouth lifting away from the man’s neck. His face was soaked in fresh blood.
“Virgil,” Scott said, announcing their presence.
Virgil drew up, wiping the blood away with the sleeve of his jacket. He gasped from pleasure and then smiled, “Scott, Earth, I am sorry. I had to...quench my thirst, so to speak. Nevertheless, we may proceed with our previous engagement.
He roared, snapping forward, on them in an instant. He tackled Earth, his fingers reaching out to gouge his eyes. Earth raised up his legs, holding him back, and then kicked Virgil away in disgust. Earth drew his sword, whispering, “Light of Nc.” The sword responded, flashing brilliantly. Virgil hissed angrily, his own sword flying to his outstretched hand.
They ran into each other, swords clashing. However, Virgil’s sword wasn’t adept for combat, and Earth was able to throw him back with ease. Earth slashed through his black wing, permanently scarring him. Virgil roared in pain.
A bullet tore through Virgil’s chest. He growled, but only from annoyance. Scott leaped over Earth, a pistol in each hand. Still in midair, he unloaded all of the bullets in each of the guns into Virgil’s chest. He landed and spun on his heel, throwing the empty firearms at Virgil’s head. The vampire slashed straight through the first gun, but the second succeeded in smacking him in the face. He growled, looking up, but stopped short. Though it wasn’t possible, he seemed to pale at the sight he saw
Earth stood some ways away from him, with Scott standing behind him. The Light of Nc was at his side. However, in his other hand he held a seemingly normal playing card, but Virgil knew better. It was the King of Aces, an object of near limitless power. It had been used to destroy the planet Pluto, many years ago, and it had been directed at Virgil, as it was now.
Virgil chuckled nervously, “You don’t seriously plan on using that thing on me again, do you? Don’t you remember what happened last time? And what if you end up destroying this planet, like you did my own?”
Earth glared at him coldly, “It’s a risk I’ll have to take.”
Virgil flashed forward, kicking Earth’s arm up. Surprised, Earth’s eyes widened as he fell back, dropping his sword. Energy drew up from inside of him and was transferred into the King of Aces. The card glowed with the light of a thousand suns and unleashed its power straight up into the sky.
Earth lay there, shocked, staring up at the bolt of energy that streaked through the sky, steadily growing more and more faint...
As if from far away, he heard someone shouting at him, shaking him violently, “...Earth...Earth, get up!” His sight focused, and he saw Scott kneeling over him. Without looking at him, Earth said placidly, “I can’t. My power is gone.”
Scott grabbed his arm and pulled him into a sitting stance. “Not all of it,” he said, “You have to have something left.”
Earth blinked and shook his head, “No, I’m sure of it. That blast drew all of my remaining energy out of me.”
Scott sighed and looked up to the sky, “If you could reabsorb that energy, would your power return?”
Earth shrugged, “Yes, but there’s no way I could catch up to it now. I’d have to be traveling at least the speed of light...”
“That’s it!” Scott exclaimed, “The Ruler of Darkness is your father, and the absence of Darkness is light, correct?”
Earth nodded skeptically, “I was merely exaggerating, I didn’t actually-”
“Am I correct?”
Earth sighed, “Yes, on both accounts.”
“So just use that power to travel like a beam of light or something and go get your omnipotential back!”
Earth frowned. He stood up and grabbed Scott by the shoulders, “You don’t get it, do you, Scott? That’s the problem; I would if I could. ShadowNc has never allowed me to manipulate his element; it just doesn’t bend to my will!” He let his arms drop to his side, and then took a step back. “Never,” he whispered.
Scott gazed at him for a long time, thinking profusely. His own father’s element, Wind, came more naturally to him than any other, so he couldn’t relate to Earth’s dilemma. It was certainly confusing, considering the fact that ShadowNc had no ill wishes for his son...
“Maybe,” he said, thinking out loud, “he doesn’t want it to come easily for you. Maybe he wants to make sure you will make a proper successor.”
Earth looked up at him, “What?”
Scott nodded, sudden confidence overwhelming him, “Yes, it makes sense. ShadowNc is one of the few Nefarious Twelve that accepts death as a prospect. He faces his own mortality knowing that one of his children will take over as the new Ruler of Darkness some day. His negligence isn’t just intentional; he’s encouraging you to try harder!”
Earth stared at him, utterly dumbfounded. Finally, he nodded, “That’s insane.” As Scott began to give up, Earth snatched the Light of Nc from the ground, sheathing it. He looked at Scott intensely, “But not impossible.” He closed his eyes, concentrating. At first, nothing happened. Then his entire body shimmered, flashing with a blinding light. Earth grinned, “For the first time in my life, I am one with shadow and radiance.”
His entirety folded inward into one point, a tiny but incredibly brilliant point of light. This light bobbed in place for a moment, and then shot straight up into the air. It caught up to the bluish bolt of energy in a second, swirling around it. The point of light flew up, overtaking the blast, and then halted in its path. It spread back into the shape of Earth, his body still shining with light. He floated there for a moment, his arms spread wide and his eyes closed, as if welcoming the burst of energy about to destroy him. The energy enveloped him, but did not cause him any pain, as he had expected. It was instead refreshing, and it renewed his strength. He floated there for a moment, completely reenergized, feeling brand new.
Virgil wouldn’t stand a chance.
He opened his eyes, thinking of something in that moment, a bizarre thought that held no ground in the current context. He frowned, and could not come up with an explanation as to why he had thought of it in the first place. Nevertheless, he decided to try something, reasoning that Scott could hold his own until he returned.

***

Earth walked swiftly through the narrow halls of the Island in the Sky. Here he and Scott had died, but they had for some unknown reason come back from the dead. He knew not how it had occurred, and probably never would.
That was not the reason he had returned here.
He entered a restroom, his subconscious mind wondering why this room had been installed for an Elvin structure. He ignored his mind, pulling a hand mirror from his pocket. He looked into it, and for a split second he thought he saw his father’s green eyes eerily peering into him; however, it was only his own hazel eyes that were reflected back at him.
He shook his head, and looked to the washroom’s sink. Above it hung a wide mirror, its edge embroidered with a chain of pearls. He stared at it for a moment, and then flicked off the light switch, plunging himself into darkness. In the dark, he formed a small pinprick of light in his fingers; a dim spark that very barely glowed. He dropped the pinprick onto his hand mirror.
Here he hesitated. After a brief moment of pause, he held up his mirror to the one on the wall. He couldn’t see it, but the light emanating from the spark began to bounce back and forth between the two mirrors, and in a few seconds the light had reached its limit, stopping halfway between the mirrors.
Blindly, Earth reached out with his free hand to touch the end of the light.

***

He was falling. It was impossible to tell in this world, but he was upside-down, and he was falling.
Earth found himself in a realm of pure whiteness. There was nothing here except him, and he was upside-down, falling. That was all there was.
Then, a figure formed. Like Earth, he was upside-down, and he was also falling. He was dressed entirely in black clothing, and his hair matched, darker than anything else in this world. The only things about him that wasn’t dark were his eyes, which shone a deep emerald green color. This was Earth’s father, ShadowNc, the Ruler of Darkness.
ShadowNc spoke, a slight accent coating his voice (which was unusual, considering he didn’t normally have an accent), “How could you, Earth? How could you have done this to me?”
Earth’s voice echoed in this strange world, “What do you mean? I did nothing to you.”
ShadowNc closed his eyes and sighed, “I guess you are right, in a way. But I want you to know that you have my blessing. You are the Ruler of Light.” His lips continued to move, but now no sound came from them. ShadowNc faded back into the whiteness, falling, falling...
Earth woke with a start. He was back at the Island in the Sky, lying on the floor of the bathroom. He must have dropped his hand mirror, because it was now scattered on the ground in several pieces. He quickly gathered them up, careful not to cut himself, and then hurried out of the restroom, stuffing the mirror shards into his pocket.

***

Scott watched the point of light fly far up into the sky, and then turned to Virgil, “Alright. Time out over. We can resume fighting.”
Virgil chuckled darkly, “It’s about time. You sure kept me waiting.”
Scott shrugged, “What is a minute or two to you? But a fleeting moment, forever duplicated in eternal boredom.”
Without waiting for a response, he pulled out two pistols and fired off all the available bullets. Virgil raised his sword, the blade blocking the bullets, and then he zoomed forward, with his feet only inches from the ground.
Scott dropped one of the pistols, raising the other with perfect timing. His gun caught on Virgil’s sword, and due to its circular shape, no matter how hard he pushed, he wouldn’t be able to gain. Virgil growled, whipping out his foot to kick Scott back.
Scott tossed the pistol and pulled two AK-47s from his belt. Screaming, he ran forward, guns blazing. He leaped over Virgil’s head, the guns still raining down upon him. The second his foot touched the ground, he spun and launched the two guns at Virgil. The vampire struck the first with his sword, its shape holding the gun in place while Virgil spun around to smash both guns into the dirt.
While he was preoccupied, Scott detached a grenade from his belt and chucked it at Virgil. With surprising agility, the vampire lashed out at it. Scott ducked, expecting an explosion. When it didn’t come, he frowned and looked up. He gasped, his jaw slack and his eye twitching from amazement.
Virgil spun his sword in a circular pattern, and spinning on the inner rim was the grenade, held in place by centripetal force. Virgil grinned, exposing his fangs, “You know what they say: ‘Close only counts in horseshoes...’” he flicked his wrist, sending the grenade back at Scott, “‘...and hand grenades!’”
The grenade struck Scott square in the chest, exploding on contact. He flew back, landing harshly on the remains of the red car. He grunted and stood up. He looked around for Virgil, who had seemed to have disappeared. Just as he began to frown, Virgil’s sword came down around his neck. Virgil, standing behind him, whispered in his ear, “Who’s the wrong one now?” before pulling back sharply.
Scott reached up to grab the sword before it touched his neck. It cut deep into his hands, but he hardly felt the pain, all of his effort being used to desperately hold Virgil back. Virgil placed his other hand on Scott’s shoulder in an attempt to push him over. Scott groaned. He felt Virgil leaning forward, his face even with his own, breathing down his neck...
In a burst of sudden burst of resourcefulness, Scott let go of the sword with his right hand, drawing a pistol and then shooting Virgil in the jaw. With his other hand, he threw the sword off, spinning around to slug Virgil in the same motion. The vampire scowled in pain, his wings flaring wide open.
Scott gasped for breath, “What is it, Virgil? Why do you find such hatred for me? It cannot be from jealousy, or from the fact that I side with Earth. The Elementis I know was above all that.”
Virgil hissed, “Do you not remember?” Scott stared at him blankly, causing him to laugh, “Right, your amnesia. Very well, I’ll refresh your memory with a Flashback...” he trailed off, placing his left hand on his chin and looking up to the sky.

***

1642.
Chancellor Viktor Jetzt ran through the halls of his palace, terrified. He turned a corner just as the lights dimmed and went out, but he didn’t stop. He looked over his shoulder, to see if that monstrous creature was still after him...
He cried out in shock as he ran into someone. He turned to see Elementis standing in front of him, grinning evilly. He had four legs, and from the knee down they were made of solid rock. His attire wasn’t out of the ordinary, except for the cape tied around his neck. It was translucent, and flapped without a breeze. He was pale, even more so than he would be as a vampire. While in the present he was clean-shaven, now he had a scruffy beard and sideburns to match.
Elementis cracked his neck and the stone coating his legs flowed away, dirtying the floor. His back legs stepped forward to merge with his other two. “Jetzt!” he said cheerfully, malevolence hidden underneath, “Wonderful seeing you again. Why so fearful? You look as though you’ve just seen...” he grinned, “...my brother.”
The Chancellor turned, but found his path blocked by Scott, in his werewolf form. He nodded, fangs exposed, “Hello again.”
Elementis grabbed Jetzt by the neck, causing him to yelp in fear. He lifted the hapless Chancellor off the ground and gazed into his eyes, growling slightly.
“Please,” the Chancellor whispered, “I’ll do anything.”
Elementis stared at him for a long time. Finally, he sighed and set him down gently, “You, my friend, have a respectable country on your hands. I would hate for all the...progress you’ve made to be a waste. Wouldn’t you want this legacy to live on? I’ll tell you what. I’ll make a contract. You will sign it, granting control over this country to...us. You will leave this land, never to be seen again. Got it?”
“What?” Scott exclaimed. He pushed the Chancellor aside to face Elementis, “Brother, what’s gotten into you? Why are you doing this?”
“Relax,” Elementis said quietly, “I’m still going to kill him.”
Scott shook his head, “That doesn’t matter! Why do you keep trying to gain as much as you can from your victims?”
“This time is different,” Elementis begged, “I swear, once you see what this could bring-”
“I don’t care,” Scott interrupted, scowling, “We are equals, and it’s time you started treating me like one!”
Elementis frowned, his normally blue eyes glowing red. He shook with rage, looking as if he was about to explode. Scott grabbed his shoulders, “Elementis, calm yourself!” He growled, and Scott slapped him across the face with a clawed hand. Twin bolts of energy shot from Elementis’ eyes, incinerating Chancellor Jetzt, who had been trying to run away.
“There,” Elementis said, crossing his arms, returning to normal, “Are you happy? Now he’s dead, and I didn’t get anything out of it.”
Scott was unwavering, “This doesn’t change anything.”
Elementis sighed, “Alright, then. I’ve decided something, brother. You kill for the pursuit of justice, while I kill for the pursuit of power. Can we agree to disagree? Our ways can go hand in hand, and nothing has to change between us.”
“No,” Scott said, growling.
“Good,” Elementis said with a frown, “I didn’t think it would work out too well either. It makes me fell better about killing you.”
“You’re going to kill me?” Scott asked, narrowing his eyes.
“Not right away,” Elementis said, “But the next time we meet, it shall be as enemies.” He turned, walking off. Scott stared after him. He barely noticed as the lights flared back.

***

In present day, Virgil looked back from the sky to Scott, slowly saying, “...end Flashback. You know, because of you that country was turned under the control of the English, and you never got to find out what interested me so about that puny land.”
“You fight for personal gain?” Scott shouted, ignoring him, “What about your morals? The morals you agreed to follow when we formed the Assassinship?”
Virgil raised an eyebrow, “What assassinship?”
Scott frowned, “I...don’t know. It just slipped out.”
Virgil was indifferent, “The longer I let you live, the more your...amnesia lessens. I should have killed you back when I had the chance, instead of showing you mercy...”
“Mercy?” Scott asked, narrowing his eyes.
“None of your business,” Virgil said quickly. He raised his sword, “I’ll have time to regret those decisions while you’re in hell!”
There was a valiant shout, and then Earth fell from above, shining sword in hand. His body shone with white light as he slashed feverously at Virgil. The vampire grunted, unable to do anything to stop the barrage of sword strikes. Finally, he managed to lash out, and the Light of Nc was caught in his own sword.
Earth frowned, cocking his head, grinning slightly. He gripped the Light of Nc tighter, and then twisted his wrist. The Light of Nc snapped right through Virgil’s sword, sending metal fragments raining to the ground uselessly. Virgil growled, “Nice timing, Sven.”
Earth nodded, “Kept you waiting, didn’t I?”
Virgil raised the hilt of his now-broken sword, “It no longer matters. You’ve won this battle, but promise me this; next time the fight will be fair.” He spread his wings and turned on the balls of his feet. He flew off into the distance.
Scott walked up to Earth’s side, “We’re just going to let him get away?”
Earth shook his head, “Not exactly. You have to remember that for every evil thing he’s done, we’ve done worse. He’s also right in saying that this fight wasn’t fair. If anything, Scott, you’re the one that will either change his mind or destroy him. You’re his twin, and for a long time you were the closest person to him.”
“What are you talking about?” Scott asked, frowning.
Earth sighed, “Scott, your amnesia...wasn’t an accident. It was Elementis that induced it. And while I’m telling you this, do you remember how at first we said there might never be a chance that your memory will return? We were wrong. You would’ve found out eventually.”
Earth let this sink in while Scott’s mind raced feverously, “Why haven’t you told me about my relationship with my brother prior to this?”
Earth looked at the ground, “By the time NSK found you, Elementis had already made it his life goal to kill you. I thought it would be best if you didn’t know you had ever been close to him.”
Scott thought intensely, “NSK?”
“If I am correct in your thinking, they have very few records, if any at all, of the events leading up to your amnesia.”
Scott looked at him, “And you?”
Earth smiled grimly, “You could say I wasn’t around. If it’s any consolation, your memories aren’t going to return quickly, if indeed at all. Up to this point, I’ve only witnessed two, maybe three instances of you having some recollection of past events. But the longer you wait, the harder it will be to face Virgil. After all, considering all you’ve been through...”
“...that I no longer remember,” Scott finished solemnly. He closed his eyes and sighed, “There’s nothing I can do about any of that now; what’s done is done. But I’ll do the honorable thing, something I should have done hundreds of years ago. I’ll be the one to convince Virgil that he’s wrong, even if I die in the effort.” He opened his eyes, staring off into the distance, “Even if I have to end up killing him in the effort.”

***
End of Part Two
***

Continued in Part Three:

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Continued from Part 1.1: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/6223-cracker-chronicle-11-we-fight-war-part-one-1-war/

***

May 9th, 2027.
Mexico.
Scott roared, tearing a human off his back and then ripping its throat right out. Literally nothing was killing the IDEA soldiers, so now he was just doing whatever popped into his head. He grabbed one by the head and placed a hand on its chest for support. He ripped the soldier’s head clean off, spinal column still attached. He turned, chucking the bloody head into the crowd.
Scott grabbed a human facing away from him by the shoulders, and then jumped on him, his full weight snapping his spine in half. He spotted a shotgun on the ground and picked it up. He turned, stabbing the barrel of the gun into a random soldier’s temple. He pulled the trigger, and the soldier’s head blew clean off, spraying blood and flaming gunpowder everywhere. He pulled the trigger multiple more times, but it was a futile attempt, as there was only the one bullet.
He tossed the shotgun away, and just as he was about to reach for another human, he saw in the distance that the desert was on fire, despite the fact that it was raining.
Then Scott heard Sam’s voice in his head. He couldn’t make out the words, but his tone was ominous. Scott shivered, just as another human tackled him.
Scott growled, “Alright, I’m done with all of you freaking zombies! Just die already!” He charged up a bit of energy, and then released it, a massive fiery explosion incinerating all of the humans around him.
“Scott!”
He turned to see Earth floating down from the sky, crystal sword in hand. He was out of breath, “Have you seen 9volt?”
Scott shrugged, “I didn’t even know 9volt was here. Nice sword, by the way.”
Earth nodded, “Follow me.”
They set off at a run, searching for the shapeshifter among the hundreds of soldiers. As Earth hacked through them, he explained the qualities of the sword, “The Light of Nc is made of a material known as Diamonium, the hardest substance in the universe. Remember that twenty pounds of diamonds I barrowed from you? Yeah, this is where it went. No, you’re not getting anything back for it. The best part of this sword is that it’s infused with Life Orbs; the slightest scratch, and any living thing that touches it is dead.”
“Amazing,” Scott gasped, “How did you manage that?”
“It’s quite simple, really,” he admitted, “I perfected the art of infusion back when I killed Mozart.”
Scott stopped in his tracks. He touched Earth’s arm so that he also stopped, and then shook his head, blinking rapidly, “You killed Mozart? As in, Wolfgang Amadeus?”
Earth shrugged, “I sure did. I sent him a letter infused with small amounts of Life Orbs. The letter asked him to compose a funeral piece.”
“You mean like a requiem?”
Earth was taken aback, “Actually, yes. Irony aside, the more he worked, the faster he died. All he had to do was take a break, and his life might have been saved.”
Scott’s jaw hung open, “But why?”
Earth shrugged again, “Hey, everyone’s killed someone that no one would expect them to kill. I killed Mozart, you killed Cortez, and even Sam killed Shakespeare. I don’t know what it is, but apparently elves have some deep hatred towards celebrities.” He narrowed his eyes, thinking through what he had just said. He frowned, “Of course, I’m referring to the irrational...you know what I mean.”
Scott nodded, “I get it. Hey, isn’t that 9volt over there?” He pointed out the shapeshifter, partially obscured by the crowd.
Earth squinted, “Yeah, it is. Wait a second...that’s Brianna!” His eyes widened. They watched as Brianna bit 9volt’s neck, and his stiff frame went very still. Earth swiftly sheathed his sword and pulled a crossbow from his pocket with some difficulty. He didn’t bother to aim, firing off three shots faster than the blink of an eye. The arrows pierced through Brianna’s bloodless body; one through her shoulder, one through her neck, and one through her leg.
Brianna screeched and fell away from 9volt. Earth ran towards her, drawing the Light of Nc and tackling her. Scott ran to 9volt.
“9volt, are you okay?” he asked, genuinely worried. He didn’t know much about vampires, but he knew it was near impossible to survive their bite. Only one subspecies of elf was immune to the venom secreted by their fangs. That subspecies wasn’t shapeshifters.
9volt gasped. He moved his hand away from his neck, revealing two small indents. He cracked his neck, and that part of his neck fell away, as if it wasn’t his skin. There was now a large chunk missing from his neck, which reformed in a matter of seconds. 9volt grinned haphazardly.
Scott laughed and helped him to his feet, hugging him, “Hey, buddy, glad to see you’re all right.”
9volt cleared his throat, “Regeneration is a lesser known ability of shapeshifters, but it makes sense if you think about it. The only problem is that it can’t occur when pressure is applied to the...” he trailed off, preferring not to say any more on the subject.
Meanwhile, Brianna had recognized her attacker. “Earth!” she screamed.
Earth raised an eyebrow, gripping the Light of Nc tighter, “Miss me, bitch?”
Brianna shrieked and pulled something from her belt; the hilt of a sword. A blade extended from it, curving around to her elbow. She lunged forward, slashing at him. Earth blocked, spinning on the ball of his foot and cutting right through Brianna’s wing.
She screeched in pain and the curved sword retracted. She twisted her own wrist, cracking the bones. The sword extended, aimed to stab straight through his head. He raised his sword and stopped the strike, the tip of her sword perfectly balanced in the engraving on the Light of Nc.
She retracted her sword and then extended it once more, slightly angled differently. The same result occurred, but this time, Earth shoved her back. While she was thrown off guard, Earth stabbed the Light of Nc through her chest. He twisted the sword, cutting the wound deeper before tearing the sword out again.
Brianna hissed in pain, but perked up, as if hearing something he couldn’t. She growled once before flapping her wings, taking off into the sky.
Earth narrowed his eyes, but didn’t pursue her. Scott and 9volt ran up to him, 9volt asking, “Are you alright?”
“I’ve been better,” Earth admitted, “But I’ll be fine.”
“Yeah, we would’ve helped out, except,” Scott said with a shrug, “You looked like you could’ve done without it.”
“I’m fine,” Earth assured him, “In fact, I’m better than okay. I feel great. I feel amazing.”
Scott groaned and clutched his head, “I hear Sam’s voice in my head again.”
Earth frowned, “I hear it too.”
“I don’t hear anything,” 9volt said confusedly.
“Yeah, well,” Earth said, grabbing Scott’s arm and dragging him in a random direction, “You don’t share your mind with an adolescent dragon who can only speak French.”
Earth and Scott ran through the field of battle, randomly changing directions every few seconds, 9volt struggling to keep up. Eventually they found themselves outside of the ensuing clash, facing a wall of fire. Sam stood in front of them, facing away, Demon’s Requiem in hand. Below him, there cowered two young dragons.
Earth bellowed furiously, running forward to stab him. Sam turned, blocking his strike. He underestimated the power behind it and was thrown back. Earth growled, “I would sooner die than to let you even touch them.”
Sam raised an eyebrow, “Then allow me to compensate.”
Earth frowned, “Must we? Are we not equals? Will we be forever locked in combat, from now until Judgment Day, until all of these people around us have gone to their rest, never to know the true victor of this war?”
Sam took a deep breath, closing his eyes. He raised his arms to the heavens above, “I’ve known of your dragons for the last seven months, roughly. And during that time, I’ve had plenty of time to think about this question you’ve just asked. Every day for the last seven months, I’ve woken up in the morning and asked myself, ‘Will my power be enough to let me live?’ Today, for the first time, my answer was yes. If I am wrong, then prove it to me!”
He lunged forward, slashing the Demon’s Requiem, creating sparks when it struck the Light of Nc. He began to fight differently than he had before, solely offensive. Earth struggled to block his vivacious strikes, and on several occasions he was cut lightly on the arm.
Sam’s black eyes flared. He was emotionless as he swung his sword, each blocked swing meaning nothing to him. Earth was overwhelmed, but responded brutally. He too, stopped being defensive, slashing with as much power as he could muster. They were equally matched opponents. There were several instances of them locking swords, sparks flying each time.
Earth broke a particularly long deadlock and kicked Sam in the chest. Sam was unfazed, running towards him and delivering three slices in the same second – all miraculously halted by Earth, who had yet to break a sweat.
Sam roared, bringing his ruby sword down over his head. Earth blocked, holding his own sword with two hands. Sparks flew as they stayed like this for a long time, neither giving any ground. Then, just as Earth was about to give up, he saw something in Sam’s eyes. A single tear flowed down his cheek.
Earth was confused by this sight, but he didn’t stop to think about it. He gathered the last of his available energy and gave one last push. It was enough. Sam fell back, the Demon’s Requiem flying from his grip. Earth held up a hand, causing a small burst of wind to blow Sam’s bangs away from his face, exposing the flame tattoo. Without hesitation, he raised the shining blade of the Light of Nc, and stabbed it through Sam’s forehead.
Sam screamed, neither of pain nor anguish, but of defeat. He screamed for a long time, far longer than humanly possible. Suddenly, the soldiers of IDEA joined in with him, crying out as one unit. Then one fell to the ground, the skin of their face chafing away, blowing away in the wind. They grunted once, and then their entire body disintegrated to dust. Then another IDEA soldier fell, and then another. In a matter of seconds, nothing was left of IDEA’s forces. NSK employees lowered their weapons, unsure of what was going on.
Earth pulled his sword from Sam’s head, and the former leader of IDEA fell silent. His eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed.
Lopez walked forward to 9volt’s side. He stared at Sam for a moment, and then looked to Earth expectantly. Slowly, he raised his right hand to his own forehead in a salute. He turned crisply around to face the remaining NSK forces. He raised his voice, somehow shouting over the many leagues of the battlegrounds, “Ashama, ucenha!”
The NSK forces yelled, “Ha!” standing straight up and holding whatever weapons they had in front of them. Earth, Scott, and 9volt shrugged, doing likewise.
They stood like that for a time, and then Lopez shouted once more, “NSK, we have successfully annihilated all of IDEA’s forces in literally one swift blow. For those of you still alive, you should be proud of yourselves. Ackana!”
The NSK forces broke attention and cheered. Earth, Scott, and 9volt each gave Lopez a high-five in turn.
There came a soft grunting behind them. They turned to see Sam on his hands and knees, shaking slightly. He laughed, speaking to the ground, “You didn’t really think you’d gotten rid of me, did you?” He coughed and spat up blood. He shuddered, laughing darkly. His body convulsed, rippling uncontrollably. The air around him grew dark.
Earth motioned for them to stay back. Sam’s blackened body grew, scales forming over his skin, jet black. His spine punctured through his back, becoming spines that stabbed the air threateningly. His limbs grew thick, claws extending from his fingers. His black eyes sparkled as his head deformed, the scaly skin of his face stretching into barbed whiskers. He reared back on his haunches, and he seemed to quadruple in size, smashing back down to the grounds on fearsome clawed feet. He roared at the sky, and his back ripped open, giant black wings darkening the day even more than the storm had. His transformation complete, Sam turned his attention to the one human and the three humans standing below him.
“Stand your ground!” Earth yelled, unwavering, “Show no fear and he’ll have no reason to kill you! If you run, he’ll go out of his way to be sure to kill you first!”
“All I’m going to say is that there’s something really ironic about this,” Scott said.
“Not at all,” Earth said, staring up at Sam, “He’s taken the form of a Darkness Fire Dragon, the only species of dragon that wasn’t wiped out through human...interference. They’re the elite of the dragon race.”
“How were they wiped out, then?” Lopez asked, his voice cracking slightly.
“Lack of suitable mates,” Earth said bitterly.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” Scott exclaimed, “The most powerful animal the world has ever seen deliberately denied itself freaking sex and ended up extinct because of it!?”
Earth nodded, “No offense or anything, Lopez, but humans would do good to follow their example.”
Sam had apparently grown tired of waiting for one of them to run, because he roared and lowered his head, breathing orange flames outlined in black at them. Lopez, 9volt, and Scott moved to run, but Earth stopped them, saying, “Don’t! The more you move, the faster it will kill you!” With that as his chosen possible last words, he turned to face the inferno head on. He held up his arms, and the flames stayed back, barely inches away from his skin. A single lazy flare licked out, lashing his hair. It failed to catch, but either way Earth wouldn’t have noticed. He began to sweat from the effort, shaking. With a groan, he pushed the wall of fire back.
Sam reared back, surprised. In a deep rumble, he declared his thoughts to them, “You may have defeated my army. You may even have defeated me. But this is not the end! For I have one last tactic...an ace up my sleeve!”
He flapped his enormous wings and began to fly, headed north. Earth stared after him, eyes narrowed.
Scott shook him, “Earth, come on! You heard him, he has a secret weapon! We can’t just let him get away!”
Earth brushed him off, saying, “You only assume he actually has a weapon. Any way, we’re like ants to him, Scott, in the figurative sense as well; we’ve only been able to slow him down, and he just keeps getting back up. There’s no use in even trying at this point.”
“You’re just...giving up?” Scott asked, confused. He shook his head, “Earth, freaking, Sven...giving up?”
Earth sighed, “I’m not giving up. I just think that Sam may be right; there’s no point in randomly lashing out for eternity, or until we end up killing each other, as we’re pretty evenly matched. If only there was something we had to overwhelm him all at once...”
“I think I can help with that,” Lopez said. He snapped his fingers, and several NSK employees came forth, pushing three large objects under tarps. He nodded and the tarps were torn off, revealing three mint condition fighter jets underneath.
“You can’t be serious,” Scott said gaping, “They’re made of plastic and paper, aren’t they?”
“No, they’re real, I assure you,” Lopez said, grinning.
Earth frowned. “So you had these on hand the entire time?” he asked, incredulous, “You never thought they’d come in handy, like, two hours ago?”
“Well, you did say that IDEA had anti-aircraft guns.
Earth and Scott looked at each other. Scott shrugged, “We did say that.”
Lopez nodded, “Do you want them or not?”
“Hell yeah,” Scott said, jumping into the nearest jet.
As Earth followed suit, Lopez turned to 9volt, “We weren’t sure if you would need one, on account of your shapeshifting-”
“Keep it,” 9volt said, holding up a hand, “I’ll take something a little more...subtle.” His molecules melted away, and then rose up, reforming in the form of a sickly purple-scaled dragon. 9volt was a regular-sized dragon, but was comparably smaller than Sam had been. He grinned, exposing his toxin-soaked fangs, and then took off, flying after Sam.
Lopez climbed into the pilot’s seat of the third fighter jet. Earth raised an eyebrow, “You’re coming with us?”
Lopez chuckled, “Why not? I was in the US Air Force before I was recruited to NSK, and I want to say that at one point in my life, I was an equal with elves.”
Scot saluted him, “Today’s as good a day as any, seeing as what we’ve been through already.”
Lopez strapped on his seatbelt, and then put a pair of headphones on. He adjusted the mouthpiece, saying, “You might want to put your radios on. I don’t want to be talking to myself up there.”
Earth and Scott did as he said. The glass covering was lowered, and Earth spoke into his mike, “Testing, testing, over.”
“Roger that, over,” Lopez replied.
“Roger, Earth,” Scott’s voice said in his ear. He chuckled, “Hey, I feel the need.” There was an awkward pause as Scott let this statement sink in. “The need...to use the power of lift to fly at a high altitude at an extremely fast velocity!”
“Shut up, Scott, over,” Earth said, switching on the engine. As it roared to life, the jet sputtered forward, gradually gaining speed. He tested the wheel, pulling back on it. The plane responded smoothly, dipping off the ground. He pulled back harder and was in the air, zooming over the desert sands at over one hundred miles per hour. Experimentally, he spun the wheel and the jet did a barrel roll. As it gained speed and now headed north, he spoke into the microphone, “This is Earth Sven speaking. Takeoff successful. Scott Lycanthrope, you are clear for takeoff.”
“Copy that,” Scott’s voice rang in his ear, “Way ahead of you, Sven. Lopez and I are already in the air, over.”
“What?” Earth exclaimed. There was a short pause before he spoke again, “Oh, yeah, over.”
“You might have forgotten, but flying does come easier if you have some control over the wind, over.”
Earth groaned, mentally hitting himself over the head as Lopez chuckled in his ear. Earth sighed, catching up to the other two planes, “Alright, we’ll go in fast and right on his tail, but don’t make contact until I say so, over.”
“Roger that, over.”
“Same, over.”
It was a matter of minutes before they caught up with Sam. He was still in the form of the gargantuan black dragon, but was flying slowly and lazily, as if not expecting an attack. Earth smiled at his cockiness, “Target in sight, prepare to make contact, over.”
“Copy that, over,” Lopez said, without a hint of nervousness.
Scott’s voice was languid, “I hear ya. Hey, don’t fighter pilots wear those cool helmets? When will I get one? Over.”
“Never,” Earth replied coolly, “To us they serve no purpose. They’d just get in the way. But Lopez needs one. You do, right Lopez? I didn’t see you put one on, over.”
“Roger that,” Lopez said, “I do indeed, over.”
Earth shook his head, “A’ight, enough of this. Time to get serious. On my signal.” His mind wandered, out of his body, out above the clouds, to a shapeshifter lying in wait. Earth thought one word, clearly heard by 9volt, “Now.”
9volt roared, swooping down from his hiding place. Sam turned, seeing the three fighter jets and the one dragon bearing down on him. He growled in annoyance as 9volt landed on his back, sinking his venomous teeth into Sam’s neck.
Earth yelled into his microphone, “Go, go, go!” His jet screamed through the sky, diving underneath Sam. He clicked open the dual joysticks, pressing the red buttons while shouting, “Fire at will!”
Four streams of bullets poured into Sam’s underside. As Earth pulled away, he flashed Scott a thumbs-up as his jet flew past. He saw Lopez’s jet lagging behind, not firing a single shot. It flew extremely close to Sam, and the black dragon lashed out, nearly knocking the plane out of the sky.
Earth hurt his vocals shouting into the microphone, “Lopez, what are you doing? We can’t afford to lose you to a bout of foolishness!” He was greeted with silence. Frowning in confusion, he swung around in a death-defying spin to face Sam once more. He realized something and growled irately, “Goddamn it all, over!”
Lopez’s voice was shaky in his ear, “These controls are messed up or something! The jet just won’t respond to me! Over!”
Earth swore to himself, but he could feel it himself. The jet’s wheel was sticking, refusing to turn as easily as it should. And the wind resistance was unusually high...
He growled, “Sam’s a freaking elf. He’s controlling the metal of our jets. Scott, stick close to Lopez and make sure nothing happens to him. But just don’t be afraid to stab your entire plane straight through his black heart! Over!”
Sam elbowed 9volt off of his back and slashed his razor-sharp claws through 9volt’s wings. Instead of bleeding, purple molecules flowed from his wounds as he barked in pain, dropping to the ground thousands of feet below.
Scott’s jet screamed by Sam’s own wings, ripping bullets through them. As Sam swiped at him, distracted, Earth used the opportunity to unleash another stream of bullets into Sam’s stomach. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Lopez attempting the same, only he flew much closer to Sam and his bullets curved away from their mark.
Sam roared, sinking his teeth into Lopez’s jet. As Lopez screamed into Earth’s ear, Sam turned, tossing the demolished plane at Scott’s. Scott dodged out of the way, but nevertheless Lopez’s jet exploded in midair. Scott released his controls and pressed himself against the glass, crying out, “Lopez!”
“Scott!” Earth shouted in alarm, “Hands on the wheel! Concentrate!”
Scott grabbed the controls and righted his plane. Static flowed from his headphones, and after a moment, he ripped them off his head.
Earth shook his head; Lopez’s scream still ringing in his ears. Sure, many NSK employees had died of unconventional means in the past, but Lopez – his real name being John Bauer – had been a favorite of Scott’s. And today he had proven ten times his worth, only to fall prey to ill fate. If it had been him, or Scott, they would have survived. But no, it had been John. Earth tried to remember his final words but could not.
“Scott,” he said, gripping the wheel tighter, unaware that Scott could no longer hear him, “Now it’s personal. Let’s do this for Lopez.”
There was a soft thump, and Earth found that his windshield had blackened. He groaned in annoyance, “Oh, what now?”
A hand pressed against the glass, pale and lifeless. A cold voice spoke, coming from all around him at once, “Sven, I hope I haven’t kept you waiting.”
Earth growled, “Brianna.”
The hand retreated from the glass for a brief second and then burst through in the next. Brianna grabbed Earth by his shirt and pulled him out of his fighter jet. She flung them both above Sam as Earth’s plane veered off, crashing to the ground.
Earth and Brianna drew their swords. Brianna surged forward, swinging her sword over her head. Earth blocked, and in the same motion whispered, “Light of Nc.” His sword shone as he stabbed it through Brianna’s chest. As Earth withdrew it, Brianna screeched in pain. Earth spun around and slashed through Brianna’s wing, crippling her. She screamed, falling down towards Sam.
Earth was struck with sudden inspiration as Scott’s fighter jet zoomed past. He telepathically told Scott his plan as he stared at Sam, noting the notch in his shoulder area, aiming for that spot. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes before letting gravity overtake him. He fell, and as he did so his eyes burst open, and he twisted in midair, flinging the Light of Nc down towards Sam. The shining blade sliced through the air, embedding itself into Sam’s chest, stabbed through his heart.
He let out an unearthly roar of pain as Scott, hundreds of feet above him in his fighter jet, began to dive. He struggled to maintain the controls, fighting Sam’s control over the plane, the defiance the jet itself against this new direction, and the very air itself. He willed the air to move out of the way, and without the wind to resist him, his jet dove even faster than what was feasible. At the last possible second, Scott pressed the eject button and burst out of the plane. The fighter jet crashed into the black dragon, dragging him down with it.
Earth and Scott both landed on the ground at the same time. They landed on both feet and used one hand for support. Behind them, Sam and the jet slammed into the ground, creating a massive, gigantesque explosion.
As they stood upright and turned around, Sam, now in his regular form, stumbled from the wreckage, the Light of Nc still stabbed through his chest. He pulled it out with a gasp, and let it drop from his bloodied fingers. He shuddered slightly.
“Enough,” he said, his voice unfazed, “Let’s face facts here. I’ve always been more powerful than you’ll ever be. Even if not, my endurance will far outlast yours.” Even as he spoke, his wounds healed before their eyes, and in a matter of seconds he was unscathed. He grinned wickedly in triumph, “I’m not just the most powerful Lycanthrope! I am the most powerful elf, in all the universe! I, Elemention Samuel Kartick Andersen Lycanthrope!”
“You forget one!” Scott shouted, “There is one Lycanthrope more powerful than you!”
“Who?” Sam demanded.
“I, Scott Elemental Lycanthrope! Be afraid, Mr. Five Names!” He ran forward, foolishly brave. Sam waited until Scott was close, and then spun around on the ball of his foot, kicking Scott square in the chest. Scott flew back, landing with a soft thud.
Sam cracked his neck, and then shouted, “What do you stand against me? I’ve proven multiple times already that I’m far superior, and I’ll do it a trillion times over if I have to! What could you possibly have that I don’t, that makes you think you could ever defeat me?”
Earth and Scott looked at each other. Scott frowned, “He’s right.”
Earth turned back to Sam, his eyes shining, “To hell he does. We’ve got authority.”
“What?” Sam screamed.
“It’s true that we can barely stall you with pure power. But we do have the one thing you’ve never been given, the one thing you crave above all. And it’s the one thing we’ll be able to defeat you with. I, Earth Sven of the Original Six, hereby propose to remove all rights Elemention Lycanthrope may or may not hold as an elf, on the grounds of inhumane acts against life itself. If a minimum of three support this notion, then it shall commence.”
“No!” Sam yelled in defiance.
9volt appeared behind Sam’s back, grabbing his arms and twisting them behind his back painfully. He grunted, “I, 9volt of the Nc Council, second this notion.”
Earth elbowed Scott and he spoke hesitantly, unsure of what he was doing, “I, Elemental Lycanthrope, finalize this notion.”
Earth nodded, and now, consensus from the subject.”
9volt jabbed two fingers into the small of Sam’s back. Electrified molecules flew off his arm and into Sam’s back, causing him agonizing pain. Wincing, Sam faltered for a brief second, but it was enough: “I...accept.”
Earth clapped his hands together, “It is done.”
9volt let go of him and took a step back, and Sam fell to the ground. His body quivered, a shudder running along his length. He shone with a white light, and then he transformed. He was now a white wolf, with a golden-red stripe of fur streaked across his left side. He collapsed, finally overcome.
Scott turned to Earth, “What the hell was all that?”
Earth shrugged, “We just banned Sam. He’s no longer an official elf.”
“How?”
Earth sighed, “Well, of course banning is an extreme measure, and I don’t think anyone’s ever used it to solve a quarrel. Nc is the only one who can ban elves, but just in case he’s not around, he made it so that those with authority,” he gestured to Scott, 9volt, and then himself, “can do it without him. Just in case it isn’t abused, like we’ve just demonstrated, it required consent from the one being banned. Obviously it doesn’t work.”
Scott stared at the wolf, “But...why...?”
“Why is he a wolf?” Earth interrupted. 9volt walked up to them, holding the Light of Nc. Earth snatched it away, sheathing it. He shrugged, “I don’t know. The banning doesn’t actually mean anything; an elf is still an elf. However, it does seem to affect those banned. Only two elves, including Sam, have been banned at this point, and I have yet to meet the other one. So yeah, we may never know why.
Suddenly the wind picked up. Thunder rumbled, and a lightning bolt struck in front of them, where it struck Rain Storm now stood. He growled, “At long last, Sven, it comes to this. Now no one else stands in my way, no one is left to hold me back.”
Earth raised an eyebrow, “You’ve been waiting for us to defeat Sam before you showed yourself again, haven’t you?”
Rain grinned slightly, raising his arms to the heavens. The air around him swirled violently, steadily growing faster and larger. Soon he stood at the epicenter of a dark tornado, shouting at the top of his lungs, “Stop pretending you don’t deserve to die, Sven! I’m just the first one to point it out!”
“First,” Earth said quietly, his eye twitching, “but not the only one.”
Scott took a step forward, unaffected by the strong winds that threatened to rip him off his feet. Very calmly, he spoke, “I would advise you not to manipulate what is not yours to control.”
He raised a hand, and the tornado turned on Rain, collapsing in on him. Rain began to choke, air filling his lungs and yet he was unable to breath. The wind ripped around and through him, tearing him apart from the inside and the outside. His eyes popped out and he began to lose his hold on his consciousness, slowly falling into a dark abyss...
“Stop!” Earth shouted. Immediately, the storm faded away, the clouds revealing the sun for the first time that day. Rain Storm gasped, clutching his chest.
“Why?” he asked breathlessly.
“Hold that thought,” Earth said, holding up a finger. He spun around to face a growling Sam, who had awakened and had attempted to ambush Earth. He leaped, his jaws coming within inches of Earth’s throat.
In one swift motion, Earth suddenly had a length of rope in his hand – it had presumably come from his infinite pocket – and he wrapped it around the wolf’s muzzle. Using the same length of rope, he tied all four of Sam’s paws together at the ankle.
He held up the rope, careful to hold it away from his body. Sam was painfully held upside-down by his legs. He gave a muffled growl once, and then was silent.
Earth turned back to Rain, paying little attention to the tethered wolf in his hand, “I just think that before you die, you should see something. Follow me.”
He turned and began to walk. Scott and 9volt looked at each other, uncertainty at this bizarre situation. Scott caught up to Earth and walked alongside him, “Wh-”
Earth held up a hand, cutting him off, “Make sure Rain follows us. He needs to see this.”
“See what?”
Earth turned, walking backwards. He raised an eyebrow, “Why, Sam’s secret weapon, of course.”

***

One billion, four hundred million years prior to 2025.
Saturn.
Sam sat on the floor of a small room, cross-legged. Saturn stood above him, a symbol of perfection to him. No one else was like her; no one could talk to him without being intimidated, let alone teach him. He had never met his mother, and his father had spent far more time with the now-Original Six and his twin: Elemental and Elementis. Literally everything other than what he had taught himself, he had learned from Saturn.
They had regular sessions like this one, where Saturn would teach him to perfect some elusive Saturnian skill. So far everything she had taught him were mind tricks; engaging, but not very useful. He wondered absentmindedly if Saturn had any fighting experience.
“Now, Sam,” Saturn began, and Sam routinely cocked his head at her, “I wish to review what I have taught you. Close your eyes.”
He did as she asked without hesitance. Even though his eyes were closed, he was aware of what was going on around him. Not quite seeing, just sensing. He followed a fly around the room, until it landed on the floor near him. He pulled a knife from its scabbard and stabbed it into one the fly’s wings, pinning it to the ground without killing it. He frowned, his aim the tiniest bit off.
He sensed Saturn nodding in approval, and he smiled slightly. She spoke quietly, “Now reach out with your mind. Find something out in space and focus on it.”
“I see Earth. The planet. It is what you wanted me to look at, isn’t it?”
Saturn slowly nodded, “Zoom in.”
“I see the Original Six building. Kristen and Scott are there. And so are Zach and Alex.”
“Where is my brother?”
There was a pause as Sam searched. Finally, he nodded triumphantly, “A few miles southeast. He’s meditating. Should I see what he’s thinking of?”
“No,” Saturn said sternly, “Earth has some experience with telepathy. I doubt you’ll be able to break his mental barriers.”
“He says hello.”
Saturn chuckled lightly. She shook her head, “Alright, now for today’s lesson. Focus on the area around him.”
Sam needed no telling, because not only had he read her mind, but he was capable of focusing on many things at once. He reached over and withdrew his knife from the fly’s wing. It unsteadily took off, flying lopsided for a few seconds before crashing to the ground. Sam turned his head towards Saturn, “Done.”
“Now imagine that area in the future.”
Sam was taken aback. “Imagine?” he exclaimed incredulously.
“I know it seems unusual, but just trust me.”
Sam took a deep breath. He did trust Saturn, so he sighed obediently, “How far into the future.”
“Let’s say about one billion, four hundred million years.”
Sam raised an eyebrow, but did not protest. It was indeed unusual that Saturn would choose such a date, but she must have had some reasoning behind it. He concentrated exceedingly more than usual, and then the scene with Earth changed...
Saturn must have sensed a change in him, because she urged him quietly, “What do you see?”
“I see a dark field. The sky is yellow, an eternal disgusting haze. And there’s a factory.”
“What is inside the factory?”
There was a pause as Sam zoomed in on the mental image. He still found it hard to believe that he was seeing the future, because this did seem like he was just making up the whole thing...
He gasped, “I see dragons. They’re working, most within an inch of death. And the ones that master them...”
“They are creatures called humans. Their resemblance to elves is completely coincidental,” Saturn said somberly.
Sam opened his eyes, breaking the vision, “That’s terrible. These humans, what did they evolve from?”
“The dragons themselves. And you mean to ask what they will evolve from.”
Sam’s mind raced, “This technique is legitimate?”
Saturn placed a hand on his shoulder gently, “Yes, Sam.”
Sam shrugged her hand off, “What about the humans and the dragons? Why did you show me this?”
“Sam, this is the trouble with what I have just shown you. You cannot change the future once you have seen it, and more times than not it will be a bad future. Most Saturnians won’t use the ability even if they have to.”
“But-”
“No.” Saturn said firmly.
In that moment, Sam faltered for the first time in his life. He had no doubt that Saturn had sound reasoning. Next to her, he was just a child. She had purposefully shown this for the specific example of no matter how powerful, no one could best time.
He bowed his head, thinking feverously. He realized something in that moment; that he loved Saturn, unlike anyone else in the universe; more than a sibling, and it was pure and unconditional. A thought came to him, that Saturn truly did think that it was terrible, the genocide caused by the humans upon the dragons. She had simply given up. She thought that it was unable to alter the future, and she wasn’t going to do anything about it.
Sam would.
He would find a way, a way to better himself into besting time itself, even if he killed himself in the process. He would kill his own brother if it came to that, and he would do it all for Saturn...
He noticed Saturn scrutinizing him, and he nodded, lying to her, “I understand, Saturn. I will not interfere.”
Saturn smiled, “Thank you, Sam.”
Suddenly Sam’s chest hurt. A lot. “What has caused this,” he thought, “What is going on? I feel pain, but nothing has caused it...unless it was a physical reaction to...”
Saturn had started to leave, and Sam cried out. She paused, her hand on the doorknob, and then turned around, “Yes, Sam?”
Sam swallowed. He debated with himself for a moment, and then decided to go with a neutral response, “Sorry, it’s nothing. Farewell, Saturn.”
She stared at him for a long time, standing very still. Sam was patient as she gazed at him searchingly. Finally, she said, “Well, okay, but just remember that I’m here for you if you need me.”
Sam felt a longing to tell her outright what he was planning then and there. It was a strong urge, but he fought it back, even though he hated himself for it, and it caused him more physical pain. He nodded hesitantly, and choked out, “Of course, Saturn. I understand.”
She smiled and left. As soon as the door closed, the fly landed on the wall behind him. Without looking, he threw his knife over his shoulder. It struck the fly, slicing it in equal halves.

***

May 9th, 2027.
Nebraska, the United States.
Scott and 9volt walked down an urban road, following Earth, who was still holding wolf-Sam like a piñata. Trailing behind them was Rain Storm. Scott caught up to Earth and whispered so that Rain wouldn’t hear him, “Earth, what are we doing back here? Why are we headed-”
“We aren’t going home, if that was what you were going to say, Scott,” Earth said coolly, staring straight ahead, “If you must know the truth, I’m not sure where we’re going. But if I had to guess, I would know exactly where to start looking. Many years ago, Sam contacted me via telepathy. Without bothering to break our mental connection, he foresaw a future in which dragons were enslaved on the very spot where I had been sitting. Unless I’m horribly off, I’d have to speculate that if Sam has a ‘secret weapon’, then it would be in that same spot. Am I right, Sam?”
The wolf winced, confirming Earth’s suspicions. He laughed, “There, you see? I was right.” He stopped abruptly and turned into the driveway of an ordinary house, not at all distinguishable from the others on the same street. Deliberately avoiding the grass, Earth walked up to the door. He rang the doorbell.
A few seconds later a man of about twenty appeared at the door. He frowned, “Hello. Is that a wolf?”
9volt leaned over to mutter something to Scott, “At least he’s polite.”
Earth looked at Sam, and then laughed, “Oh, him? I almost forgot. Don’t worry; Sam isn’t hurt by this posture.”
The man’s eyes dilated slightly at this statement. Earth raised an eyebrow, “Oh, so you are familiar with Sam. I’ve noticed you are able to seal your mind to keep it from being read. Yes, Sam has taught you well, human. What is your name?”
“James Todd,” he said hesitantly.
Earth nodded, “Might we come in, Mister Todd?”
James glanced from Sam to Earth. Nervously, he said, “I don’t see why not.”
“Excellent!” Earth said, clapping his hands together and smiling cunningly. He held the door open, gesturing to his companions, “Yes, come in, Scott, 9volt, even you, Rain; you won’t want to miss this.”
They entered and followed James to a sitting room, where they sat upon extravagant chairs that seemed out of place; too expensive for this quaint house. Earth sat down last, addressing James, the only one who had chosen to remain standing, “Forgive me if this seems atypical, but you wouldn’t happen to have any smoothies?”
James looked slightly puzzled by this question, but nodded nevertheless, “Yes, I have some in the kitchen. I can go get-”
“Oh, that’s not a problem,” Earth said with a wave of the hand, “9volt, go find the smoothies.”
James quickly held up his hands, “No, you don’t have to, I’ll get the-”
Earth glared at him intensely, cutting off his train of thought. “No, I insist,” he said firmly, “9volt, go find the smoothies.” 9volt stood up and walked out of the room, brushing past James slightly as he did so. Earth gestured to the room, “Sit down, James.”
While he sat in the chair 9volt had been sitting in, Earth fingered the rope holding up the wolf, “Tell me, James, are you a member of IDEA?”
The human’s eyes widened. He hesitated, but nevertheless answered, “Yes.”
“Joined?”
“November of two thousand nine.”
Earth hummed thoughtfully, closing his eyes, “All this time...and so close to home...” He opened his eyes and spoke directly to James, “Are you aware that an army made up of IDEA members started a war earlier today?”
James choked. He wavered, “W-what?” He looked at Sam, who was avoiding his gaze purposefully.
Earth nodded, “Yes. Every one of them is now dead.”
James blinked in shock, “All of them?” Earth merely nodded again.
9volt returned, carrying a plate of smoothies. As he handed one to Earth, he said, “There’s no one else in the house.”
Earth took a sip from the straw, “Excellent.”
Scott shifted in his seat impatiently, “Earth, can we hurry this up? Oh, thank you 9volt. You know, it’s funny how everyone buys this brand of smoothie...”
“Patience, Scott,” Earth said, holding up a hand, “I just have one last question for Mr. Todd. What has Sam told you of your past?”
James glanced at Sam nervously, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Earth narrowed his eyes. He gestured to Rain, “Mr. Storm, as a member of IDEA yourself, would you try to get James to see reason?”
Rain stood, muttering under his breath, “I don’t see why you’re trying. I’ve never seen this guy before in my life.” He reached down to grab James’ arm. When he touched him, there was a spark of gray light and they reeled back from each other. Earth raised an eyebrow.
Earth stood up and walked towards them. He grinned, “I don’t think you two have properly met. James, this is Reynard Storm. Rain, this is Xavier Storm.”
9volt spat out the smoothie he had been drinking. Rain’s eyes widened. Earth raised the rope that held Sam so that he could look the wolf in the eye, “Ha! I figured it out, didn’t I? Yes, I can see it in your expression! I am correct!”
“But...how...?” Rain said, cocking his head and staring at James.
“How indeed?” Earth said, “Well, I figured that there were too many coincidences here, and, well, this works.”
“I don’t understand,” Scott said.
“Rightfully so,” Earth said, “Nothing fits, but at the same time everything does. You see, the reason Rain hates me, even after so many long years, is because he thinks I had something to do with Xavier’s disappearance. Xavier was the oldest of four in the second generation of humans. Tell me, Rain, do you have any descendants?”
“No,” Rain spat bitterly.
“Exactly,” Earth said victoriously, “Who do we know that tried to wipe out the human race while it was still developing, and failed?” Just in case there was any confusion, he pointed to the bound wolf.
“But why is Xavier here?” Rain asked, still staring at James.
Earth grinned, “You mean to ask, ‘Why is Xavier now?’ Do you forget Sam’s signature ability to time travel?”
They all looked at James. 9volt spoke, “I can’t help but notice you don’t seem surprised by any of this, James.”
James sighed, “Yes, it’s true. My real name is Xavier Storm. Sam told me he brought me here when I was two years old, but he never specified from where I was brought.”
“From when,” Earth corrected, “But if I remember correctly, yes, you were brought here from Africa.”
James/Xavier nodded, “I know you are my brother, Reynard, but before today I would not have recognized you.”
Earth appeared at Rain’s shoulder, “So, Rain, I have to ask you this: is there any tension between us now? I basically brought your brother back to life.”
Rain spun around, “Because of you, I have my brother back. I thank you. Indeed, I will not try to kill you anymore.”
Earth grinned slightly, “I appreciate that. I think we shall be leaving now. Come along, Scott, 9volt.”
The three elves exited the house. Scott gestured to the wolf Earth was still carrying, “What’re we going to do with him?”
Earth rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “Capitol punishment.”
“We’re going to kill him?” Scott said anxiously.
“Not that kind of capitol punishment!” Earth shouted, annoyed. He handed the rope to 9volt, who accepted it tenderly. Earth checked his watch, “Almost time. 9volt, could you take him to NSK Las Vegas Division? You’ll have to hurry.”
“No problem,” he said, waving a hand, “They’ll tell me what to do with him once I get there, correct?”
Earth nodded, “They’ll ask no more than two questions, trust me. Make haste!”
“A’ight, I’m gone,” 9volt said, shapeshifting into the form of a large hawk. Holding the rope in his beak, he took off to the sky.
Earth and Scott watched him go, until he was little more than a speck on the horizon. Scott frowned, “So what happens now?”
“Well,” Earth said, thinking, “In a couple of years, humans will discover the existence of dragons, hunt them down, and then enslave them.”
Scott’s eyes widened, “Wait, so, Sam-”
“I’m kidding,” Earth said quickly, “Sam had already taken care of that problem. He just went too far for some reason. His idea was good, in retrospect, and I probably would have agreed with him a few million years ago. But now dragons know better. They know that humans are horrible creatures and that they cannot be trusted.”
Scott nodded, “But not all are like that.”
Earth shrugged, “Maybe, but even today there are flaws in human society. The bad outnumber the good about ten thousand to one.”
“So you’re saying it might have been a good thing for Sam to exterminate the human race, or at least attempt it?”
“Yes and no,” Earth said, staring off into the distance, “The human race has its good side, and that makes up for everything else.”

***

65 million years prior to 2025.
Northeast Africa.
Sam stealthily walked through a rocky valley. The valley was ripe with life, one of the most abundant places on the planet. Here was the place where two deformed dragon twins had been born, in the likeness of an average elf. A mere twenty years later, the two deformed dragons – the first humans – had birthed four children of their own. Today Earth would be meeting with the mother to observe. Sam would be going, but in secret, and he would do more than just observe.
He peered around a large boulder, and he saw it; a small handmade hut. Outside stood Earth and the first of the humans, Reagan Storm. Sam released a small growl.
“...Xavier is eighteen years old now. The youngest, Reynard, will be twelve soon,” Reagan was saying.
Earth grunted from discontent, “Even you are still extremely young to a dragon, let alone an elf. Speaking of which, I see you’ve followed in elves’ footsteps. The older parent takes care of the children.”
Reagan nodded, “I don’t know what has made the difference, but now most of the dragons are accepting of our existence.”
Earth looked off to where the children were, Sam following his gaze. The oldest and the youngest – easily distinguished by their heights – ran back and forth, play-fighting. The other two stood some distance away, talking to each other. The older of the two and the only daughter was laughing with joy. Sam narrowed his eyes and for a spilt second he thought she had seen him. He hid behind the stone, his heart beating fast.
He was still able to eavesdrop on Earth’s and Reagan’s conversation; “I’m just concerned that if Fuege or myself are not around, there’s nothing protecting you from being killed. The universe is at war, this planet its battleground. Suppose Zack or Lance mistook you? They’ve already killed one of us...”
Sam had heard enough. It was fortunate that both females were here; a mere two people to kill. However, it did not sound like Earth would be leaving anytime soon. That was going to be a problem.
Sam thought hard, and then remembered something he had taught himself recently. He concentrated, and the world around him faded to a dull gray. Disconnected voices were heard all around him, and once or twice he heard the roar of a dragon. Then he was in the same spot where he started.
Sam looked around wondrously at the scenery, which appeared unchanged. “Did it work?” he asked himself quietly. He peered around the boulder. There were no children playing, and Earth was nowhere in sight. Reagan still stood outside the hut, which now looked substantially newer. She was talking with another human, her husband.
Sam silently congratulated himself. “Well done,” he thought, “You’ve perfected time travel.” He was now approximately sixteen years in the past, in exactly the same place as where he was before. Sam looked at Reagan, who did seem to be much younger. He sighed, thinking.
He picked up a rock and threw it over their heads. It hit the ground with a noisy clatter. The two humans turned towards it and Sam scoffed at how easy this was. He ran into the hut, his bare feet barely making a sound.
It was dark inside, but he could make out two handmade cribs. He approached them, and growled in annoyance.
The infants were identical. He knew one was older and male while the other was younger and female, but he could not differentiate between them. Scowling, he chose one and picked it up. He narrowed his eyes at the moist human, daring it to do something, anything. When it didn’t, Sam exited the tent, flying away from the valley.
He flew halfway around the world, to the spot where he had foreseen the enslavement. He glanced around, making sure Earth wasn’t near. He set the infant on a rock and then pulled a knife from its scabbard. He held it up to the babe’s face, and then waited. The infant showed no sign of fear, even with death staring it in the face.
“Curious,” he said to himself, “Do humans not feel fear? Or are they just too stupid at this point to comprehend it?”
He stared at the baby for a time, and then screamed at it. It looked at him modestly. Sam frowned, cocking his head. He tossed the knife, and it stuck by the infants head, scratching it barely along the head. It began to cry.
Sam growled in annoyance. He retrieved his knife and felt the wound he had inflicted. It barely qualified as a scratch at all, not even bleeding. He suddenly noticed that the babe had stopped crying and was staring at him.
“Fickle, aren’t you?” Sam said. He grunted in annoyance. He couldn’t kill this thing. It was just too...innocent. He decided that he could train the child, in his image. That wouldn’t do anyone any harm. But now? No, he couldn’t raise a child now. But in the future, he would have his own child to raise...
“Wait,” he said out loud, “I won’t. Saturn will be the one to raise it.”
He did some quick math in his head, making a small mistake as he did so. He grabbed the infant and then traveled to the future, to the year 1994 A.D. It was night, but he could see clearly. On one side of him stood a wall of buildings, with such perfect architecture Sam had never seen before. He turned and gasped; a mirror image, more buildings.
Sam shook his head. There was time to admire the future in the future. Like a thief, he snuck up to the doorstep of one of the buildings, chosen at random. He set the child down gently and then rapped on the door. Not bothering to see what happened, Sam traveled back to the present.
He flew over the world, with intent to return to Saturn, when curiosity overcame him. He dove down to the valley to see the havoc he had wrought. Hiding behind his boulder, he listened to the continued conversation between Earth and Reagan.
After a time had passed, a small whimpering was heard. Sam peeked around the rock to see the youngest child (Sam had forgotten his name) had joined them. He was crying.
“What’s wrong?” Reagan asked.
The child sniffled, “I was playing with Xavier, and then I went over to talk to Antonio. When I turned around, Xavier was gone!”
Earth raised an eyebrow. He walked towards the other two children, but Sam was no longer paying attention to him. This child’s concern for his brother fascinated him. It was almost...elflike.
Sam ducked back behind the rock as Earth returned. “It’s impossible,” he said, “He’s just gone.”
“How can you be so sure?” the child asked. There was a hint of discontent in his voice.
Earth sighed, “I’m sorry, Reynard, but it’s rather simple to track someone, but it’s as if Xavier was never here. Most confusing.”
“Most perplexing indeed,” Sam agreed silently.
“I think it would be best if I stayed longer, so that I may watch over you all,” Earth said, looking back at the other children.
Sam swore lightly. This would make things infinitely more difficult. It might have been okay to go to the past once, but any more interference might change things a lot more drastically. He fumed, and for a moment all he could hear was the human child’s (Reynard, he remembered vaguely) soft crying. He sighed. This species knew empathy, even if only for themselves. They weren’t a complete waste. Killing them off wasn’t the answer.
Sam sat there, thinking for several hours. Finally, he came to a dark conclusion; there would be no way for the dragons to be enslaved if there were none left. But he wouldn’t be the one to kill them off; he couldn’t bear the thought of it.
He purred with delight. No matter, he would find a way. This new plan would take effect; he would make sure of it. After all, he had several million years to burn waiting.

***

October 9th, 1769.
Saturn.
Sam meditated quietly. He was alone, in a dark room. His sense of being was clear, and at the moment he had no regrets. In a few hundred years, his child would be born, and no matter how Saturn felt, he did not look back at himself in discontent. Even if Nc himself walked through the door, he would not hesitate to kill him, no matter how difficult it might be.
Ironically, as he thought about it, the door burst open. He leaped to his feet, but it was only Saturn. He breathed out slowly, “You surprised me.”
Saturn was taken aback at this unusual statement. Just to make sure he wasn’t joking, she asked, “Really?”
Sam decided to ignore this question, “What’s the matter?”
Saturn shook her head, “Right. Earth is here. He says he just knocked Pluto’s planet out of its orbit.”
Sam nodded, “Then my brother must have failed to kill him.” He laughed unexpectedly, “Why so many people want to kill Earth is a mystery. He’s practically untouchable.”
Saturn nodded, “Let us make haste.”
Sam followed her, exiting the room, swiftly walking through the maze of hallways before finally coming to the docking bay. Earth nodded when he saw Sam, saying, “I must say, Elementis is a formidable opponent. He might just be as powerful as you, Sam.”
The assassin grunted, “Not likely.”
“Oh, and there’s something else,” Earth said, “Pluto launched his assassination attempt while I was demonstrating to him my time machine, so now he and Elementis will be one hundred years older the next time I see them. Did I fail to mention that I invented time travel?”
Sam instinctively grew pale, but Saturn didn’t notice, “Yes, you did mention it, and we Saturnians have you beat by a couple billion years. I’d only be impressed if you said you were able to travel through time without the use of a machine.”
Earth muttered under his breath, “Yeah, but my machine’s portable...”
“So what brings you to Saturn?” Sam asked, “Do you need a ride home?”
“Nah,” Earth said, waving a hand, “I called Scott. He’s on his way. Hey, Sam, I think you’d like to know I talked to Fuege the other day.”
Sam frowned, “Fuege? The dragon?”
Earth nodded, “I didn’t want to tell you, but I remember how upset you were when I told you dragons were extinct, which was a lie.”
“A lie?” Sam repeated breathlessly.
Earth looked to the floor, “The truth is that what few dragons that were left went into hiding, and I swore never to let anyone know. There are fourteen dragons left in existence, soon to be fifteen.”
Sam gasped, clutching his chest. He shook his head, “That is...great news. Excuse me, if you would.”
He ran back through the halls to a secret room that no one knew about but himself. He entered, and was greeted by the scent of bubbling potions. He carefully shut the door behind himself and hummed from sudden in sudden inspiration. He picked up a few bottles and mixed their contents into a vat.
He opened a locked bookshelf and pulled a book down from the top shelf. He flipped to a page he had bookmarked, and then nodded.
He stood over the vat and drew a knife, speaking softly to himself, “I didn’t want to resort to this, but I have no choice now. If they’ve eluded me all this time, then I’ll need help finding those remaining dragons. And this potion shall make sure no one crosses me.”
After a brief moment of vacillation, he began to carve the knife through the skin of his forehead, drawing a single flame tattoo. As he did this, he spoke, “I, Elemention Samuel Lycanthrope am hereby the leader of IDEA, on October ninth of the year one thousand seven hundred sixty-nine until my death and departing day. All who say this oath, drink this potion, and obey me shall join my movement, until the day when blood is again shed from this wound.”
Blood from his self-inflicted scar dripped into the vat. The potion inside, which had been a sickly green, now turned a light blue. He grabbed a vial and dipped it into the vat, drawing a small amount of the liquid. He stared at the vial for a single moment, and then Sam downed it, sealing his fate.

***
End of Part One
***

Continued in Part Two: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/6252-cracker-chronicle-11-we-fight-war-part-two-virgil-ruler-of-light/

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May 9th, 2027.
Mexico.
Elves are solitary creatures, very rarely seen among their own kind. If they do spend long periods of time together, they are usually mates, or one is an assistant to the other.
Thus it would seem odd that Scott Lycanthrope and Earth Sven would be such great friends.
Not that one could tell from the surface, of course. Earth and Scott were as different as night and day. As soon as the Original Six had collapsed, they could have parted, never to see each other ever again. And yet they stay.
Scott had a bulky frame, standing a bit lower than the average height. He had unnaturally tan skin that was characteristic of his family, as was his dark black hair. He had a very violent persona, quick to anger and very rarely showed sympathy. In the past, he had suffered from amnesia, causing his personality to change drastically; before, he had been extremely serious, but now he laughed when someone held a gun to his head. Considered the most human-like elf in the universe, he was a womanizer, and had a terrible work ethic.
Almost a polar opposite, Earth was tall and lean, with pale skin, golden-brown hair and unnatural hazel eyes. He was much more empathetic, more understanding than Scott. He tried to avoid violence if it could be. Whereas Scott had amnesia, Earth knew more than he revealed, and how he knew some things was unknown, but nevertheless perplexing. Unlike Scott, Earth chose not to exploit human women for his own desires.
One might think that they stay friends because they have learned to accept the other’s views, but this is a false statement; they frequently argue over them, each giving valid (albeit sometimes nonsensical) defenses. Thus no one knows why they stay friends.
Earth and Scott had lived next to each other in separate houses for hundreds of years (more, if the nineteenth century doesn’t count) in a small town in Nebraska, the United States. They both went to work in St. Louis, Missouri, seeing each other almost every day. If anything, it was their job that kept them together.
Earth and Scott were two of three co-CEOs of an international, higher-than-top-secret company known as NSK. This company’s sole purpose was to keep the human race ignorant of the existence of elves. They did this mainly through the advanced technology they possessed, namely the mind wipe machine. Almost any human invention, NSK had made hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions of years before anyone else: automobiles, radio, universal translators, even spacecraft. Recently, however, NSK’s budget had been at an all-time low – for the last one thousand years. They could not just take resources straight from the environment anymore, and resorted to buying materials through legal means. In addition, many other stimuli influenced the company’s budget; information was passed on quickly among humans nowadays, several expensive projects had propped up, and the number of NSK bases were greatly outnumbered by the human population they had been instructed to watch over (although this was intentional; the bases were far from inconspicuous. The less there were, the better). There was also a brutal lack of employees. NSK was made up of humans that must be recruited and meet a certain set of circumstances. The human leaves behind its old life and thus must not have any relatives or friends that might notice their absence. On the job, employees are prohibited from using drugs, alcohol, and very rarely consume caffeine (thus humans without addictions to these items are the most useful). Shelter, food, water, and luxury are provided, but employees are not paid because they are required to work at NSK for the rest of their lives, and have no use for money. The typical employee works seventy-eight hours a week. Because of these (seemingly) harsh requirements, new employees are scarce.
Despite all this, NSK has little trouble with its top priority: keeping the human race ignorant. No other company in the world rivaled NSK in efficiency.
The cruel irony of it all was the two co-CEOs. NSK had been created with Earth and Scott’s help, obviously, but almost everything NSK did had something to do with them. It was understandable; they were two of the most hated elves in the universe, and spent more time on Earth than any other elf. However, they took more time off than any other NSK employee, every year pushing the amount of vacation days they received. But no one complained, because it was well-earned and they deserved it. Plus it wasn’t such a good idea to argue with an elf.
Today, on the ninth of May in the year 2027, they had taken a week off to go on vacation in Mexico. As Scott was a bit Hispanic, he had been ecstatic when Earth had accepted the destination.
And so, early in the day, under a large cloud cover, they rode a windowless jeep through the desert, Scott driving and Earth in the passenger’s seat. Earth wore simple clothing, long jeans and a red t-shirt partially covered by a black unzipped hooded sweatshirt. Scott wore khaki pants, a black t-shirt and arm braces, designed to give his punches more power by restricting blood flow to his fists. Earth stared straight ahead, cradling a bazooka he had somehow fit into the small seat, completely indifferent to everything Scott was saying at the moment.
Which, even for Scott, was pretty ridiculous.
Scott was gesturing all around like a tour guide, only one hand on the wheel, his speech completely redundant because there was nothing around: “...we are currently traveling south. As you can see, all around us is desert. To the southwest, you can see some storm clouds developing. Oh! If you look to the right, you will see one of the world’s oldest saguaro cact-”
Earth interrupted him by lifting up the bazooka and firing it at the cactus. An explosion resonated and Scott closed his mouth, turning forward towards the road. Earth sighed, “You know, Scott, the way you always go on and on about how great Mexico is, I would’ve thought we’d have seen something other than dirt by now.”
“Relax,” Scott said, “We’re almost in Mexico City. That’s when you’ll really be taken aback.”
Earth just grunted in reply. There was silence between them for a time, and then Scott broke it, saying, “How’s Elementres?”
Elementres Lycanthrope was Scott’s sister and Earth’s self-proclaimed girlfriend. She had been an assassin for Earth’s twin sister Venus, but they generally despised each other because of Elementres’ bloodlust and Venus’ pacifism. One day Venus had left her planet to visit Earth, and Elementres hadn’t been able to hold it any longer. She had slit several Venusians’ throats in a matter of minutes, eventually caught and sentenced to death. Ironically, Earth had decided to visit Venus on that same day, and also was sentenced to death for “being a menace to public safety.” In order to escape, Earth had blown up the entire planet, saving only Elementres. She had later informed him of her true identity and they had been living together ever since.
“Homicidal as ever,” Earth said impassively.
Scott chuckled darkly. He frowned, “What’s the matter?”
Earth sighed, “It’s nothing.”
“What is it?”
Earth looked off to the right, avoiding Scott’s inquisitive gaze, “Are you familiar with the definition of insanity?”
Scott beamed, “‘Doing something twice and expecting different results.’”
Earth nodded, “Exactly.”
Scott decided not to delve deeper. Earth often resorted to using metaphors when something was troubling him, and his meanings were abstract and hard to figure out. Instead, Scott changed the subject, “What’s with the bazooka?”
Earth instinctively clutched the weapon tighter, saying, “Well, I figured that since I don’t have a sword anymore...”
“Ah, yes, I remember,” Scott said quickly. This was also a tender subject for Earth. His previous blade, the Fli Sword, was a gift from his father, ShadowNc, the Ruler of Darkness. The sword was the only gift he had ever given him. In fact, it had been less than two years ago when they had met in person for the first time. Thus it was very sorrowful when a few months prior the Fli Sword had been destroyed in battle. Ever since, Earth hadn’t been himself.
There was another silence as Scott couldn’t think of anything else to say, and Earth simply didn’t want to talk to him. Scott opened his mouth to say something, but Earth cut him off, saying, “What is that?”
Scott turned forward to see a large black mass in their path. At the pace they were going, it soon became clear what the mass was; it was an army clad in red and black uniforms, some carrying war rifles, most carrying knives and swords of all sizes. There was even an entire row devoted to bows and arrows in the front.
Scott turned the jeep to the right with a lurch, driving alongside the army. They noticed that each of the soldiers wore a band around their right forearm, marked with a dark red flame.
“The Mexican Army?” Earth questioned, not at all confident that this was correct.
“Not one I’m familiar with,” Scott said, narrowing his eyes.
Suddenly one of the army officials cried out and pointed at the jeep. They watched in the rearview mirror as another official ran up to the first, carrying a grenade launcher.
Earth and Scott simultaneously unfastened their seat belts in a panic. Scott reached into the backseat to grab his pack just before the jeep exploded around them. They were thrown from the burning vehicle, both of them landing on their feet. Earth turned to look at the wreckage, “My bazooka...”
Scott grabbed his arm, “I’ll buy you a new one. Just come on!”
They ran past the still-marching army, which was now ignoring them. Oddly, this was more ominous than if they had continued to fire upon them.

***

December 31st, 2026.
Unknown Location.
A small group of humans toiled at the site of a demolished building. It had stood in a secluded area, far away from any civilization. Now the land had been sold by the government. The new owner had found the old building and had immediately called in this group of workers to remove the rubble.
The leader, Mr. Fargo, was a middle-aged man who gave absolutely zero care to anyone but himself. His job was purely to supervise and not to let anyone slack off. Even on New Year’s Eve, this group of workers toiled under Mr. Fargo’s vulture-like gaze, carrying iron bars and huge concrete blocks by hand.
“Pick up the pace!” he shrieked at a group of three moving a supporting beam to a truck. The truck was being loaded with all the rubble to be moved somewhere else. Mr. Fargo screamed louder, “What’s the matter, you have lead feet? I can replace you in an instant, move it!”
There was a sudden lurch in the rubble as it began to collapse, an avalanche of twisted metal. Some workers panicked, beginning to back away, but Mr. Fargo noticed this and cursed at them to stand their ground.
The pile stopped moving soon after that. Mr. Fargo turned to yell at the workers to continue, but an iron bar impaled him through the chest. As he collapsed, the terrified workers looked to the pile of rubble. Most – the lucky ones – passed out from there.
On top of the rubble was a young man – probably twenty-one or twenty-two years old – who had risen out of the demolished and now levitated above it. His hands were raised, and hovering around him were numerous objects of debris, defying the force of gravity.
The man barely moved his lips as he spoke, “Thank you for freeing me, you fools.” He thrust both hands forward and the objects around him flew through the air, bombarding and killing the workers that were still standing.
He jumped down from his perch, landing on level ground. He noticed a sleeping human by his feet and picked him up by the neck. He waved two fingers in front of his face and the human opened his wide eyes, instantly awake.
“How long has it been?” the young man asked, “What year is it?”
“T-two thousand twenty-six, sir,” the petrified human stuttered, “Twenty-seven tomorrow.”
“That’s impossible,” he muttered, “What is your name?”
“Jack Bowie.”
“Bowie...a name I do not recognize. Most unfortunate for you...You look a lot like the person who trapped me here. Do you know who that is?”
The worker stared at him, scared stiff. The young man answered his own question, “Earth Sven. Someone that far surpasses me in power, and yet I still try to kill him. Do you know why?” There was another silence, broken once again by the young man answering his own question, “Because I have nothing left. Everything I once cared for has been taken from me. And it’s all Sven’s fault.”
He threw the worker to the ground. He raised his foot and stomped down hard on his throat, killing him instantly.
“Excellent. You are simply exceptional.”
The young man froze, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, he found it; a reddish brown-haired boy standing on the top of a steep cliff. He leaped down from the cliff, only to land on one foot, a move that should have crippled him. The red-haired boy walked up to the young man, smiling eerily. He spoke again, “Yes, you would be excellent.”
The young man narrowed his eyes, “Excellent for what?”
The red-haired boy waved his hand, “Oh, I apologize. I was just thinking out loud. Might I learn your name properly?”
The young man frowned at the boy’s abstract nature, “Storm. My name is Rain Storm.”
The red-haired boy grinned and shook Rain’s hand, “Of course, this act was redundant; I already know your name. Now that the niceties are out of the way, to business. I represent a secret international company that I think you would be perfect for.”
Rain Storm narrowed his eyes, “I have heard those words before. I insist that you expound.”
The red-haired boy smiled creepily, “Of course. I understand you are familiar with Earth Sven.”
Rain took a step back cautiously, “Yes.”
“And you desire revenge.” It was not a question.
“Yes.”
The boy’s smile grew, “It has recently come to my attention that Earth Sven is a threat to my company. And I have handpicked you, Rain Storm, to be the one that eliminates him.”
Rain raised an eyebrow, “Might I ask of your company’s purpose?”
“I shall explain in time. But to sooth some of your curiosity, IDEA is in no way associated with the NSK you know all too well.” As he said this, the red-haired boy’s smile faltered a bit.
Rain relaxed slightly. “Alright. I accept. Where do I sign?”
The red-haired boy grinned, “I realize that you are merely using an expression, but I must inform you that initiation is a bit different than a simple contract.” He pulled a necklace out of his shirt and pulled off the pendant: a vial filled with a light blue liquid.
“I dabble in potions,” the boy said, as if this was an explanation to everything. He removed the top and handed the vial to Rain, saying, “In summary, all you need to do is say the oath and drink it all – drawing no breath in between. Failure on any part will result in a painful death. Success results in immortality.”
“Immortality?”
“In a way, yes. The only person that can break the potion is the leader and creator of IDEA. Oh, and fair warning: the potion tastes like urine.”
Rain frowned, “I hesitate, but do not waver. The oath?”
The red-haired boy smiled, a hint of malevolence twinkling in his eyes, “Repeat after me, ‘I, Rain Storm...’”
“I, Rain Storm...”
“‘On Tammuz of the year two thousand and twenty-six...’”
“On Tammuz of the year two thousand and twenty-six...”
“‘Is hereby in the IDEA until my death and departing day.’”
Rain Storm paused for a brief moment, “...is hereby in the IDEA until my death and departing day.”
The red-haired boy smiled, “Now drink.”
Rain hesitated – for less than a second – and downed the drink. He immediately had the urge to spit it back up; the boy’s description of the taste didn’t do it justice. His gag reflex activated and spat bile into his mouth, making the potion taste even worse. He frowned but swallowed the vile mixture.
The red-haired boy smiled, “Excellent. Welcome to IDEA.” He turned and started to walk away.
Rain furrowed his brow, “Wait, you haven’t told me your name.”
The boy spun around and cocked his head, a grim smile on his face, “That I will tell you in due time as well. But for now, you may address me as Mr. Lycanthrope.”

***

May 9th, 2027.
Mexico.
Earth and Scott ran towards NSK Mexico Division, where several employees stood outside. Scott recognized one of them and smacked his forearm, shouting, “Lopez!”
The leader of NSK Mexico Division sighed and turned around, “Sir, could you please call me by my real name?”
“Of course, Lopez,” Scott said.
Earth groaned in annoyance, “Lopez, what’s going on? Who are all those people over east?”
Lopez frowned, “They’re a prejudice group that goes by the name of IDEA. They’re persistent little cockroaches that have been trying to undermine NSK for about a hundred years now.”
Earth and Scott frowned, looking at each other. Earth turned back to Lopez, “That’s not possible; there’s no way that many people could know about NSK.”
Lopez shrugged, “Remember how NSK associated with European governments until the early twentieth century?”
Earth grimaced, “Vaguely.”
“Well, NSK didn’t bother to wipe their memories...on your orders, Sven. Those humans could have told their children and those children-”
“I get it,” Earth said, waving a hand, “I’m well aware of how fast humans can reproduce.”
Scott chuckled. He then raised an eyebrow in thought, saying, “Wait a second, if IDEA’s been around all this time, how is it that we have not heard about them until today?”
Lopez considered this, and then nodded, “They have always been considered a minor threat. Nothing we needed your assistance with.”
“A minor threat?” Earth shouted incredulously, “Have you seen them out there? They’re prancing around with freaking anti-aircraft guns!”
Lopez nodded feverishly, “Yes, of course, I am aware. That is why I have rounded up all of the NSK employees in the area and armed them with the finest equipment we’ve got.”
Earth and Scott looked around at the makeshift regiment. Earth frowned, “This is it? There are less than five hundred people here.”
“These weapons are ridiculous,” Scott commented, “Rifles, knives, and sticks. Some don’t even have sticks. You’re making them fight with their hands?”
Lopez groaned, “I said the finest we’ve got. This is all we have.”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “Wow, you’re screwed.”
Earth hummed, “Scott...”
“Oh, come on!” Scott yelled desperately, “I don’t want to fight a war, not today! We’re on vacation!”
“It’s not like our vacations haven’t been interrupted before, Scott,” Earth said, rolling his eyes, “Besides, this might be fun. When was the last time you could charge into a group of humans, and just kill them? No consequences, no worries, no chains holding you back. You’d be able to just kill them all, any way you saw fit. No matter how revolting, you could do it.”
Scott’s eyes brightened, “A’ight, I’m in.”
Lopez raised an eyebrow, but didn’t pursue the subject. He sighed, and then shouted, “Ashama, ucenha!”
Suddenly every NSK employee stood up straight, holding their weapon in front of them, shouting, “Ha!” They stood as still as statues, staring straight ahead eerily.
Lopez shouted, “Ackana,” and they relaxed. “Now, line up in rows of five.”
They did this swiftly and within a few seconds. While they did, Lopez pulled a baton from his shirt pocket and extended it as far as it could go. He handed it to Earth.
“What?” he asked, staring at the object in his hand.
“I think the son of the Ruler of Violence should lead us,” Lopez said, raising an eyebrow. Earth frowned. His mother, Minerva, was indeed the Ruler of the element of Violence, but no one had ever associated him with a violent nature. Lopez saw this and explained, “Scott said it best; we’re off to war, and think I speak for all of NSK when I say that you are the greatest CEO we’ve ever had. It would be an honor to fight alongside you.”
Earth looked at the baton skeptically. Then he scoffed, “Well who else would you have picked?”
The three of them – Earth, Lopez and Scott – aligned themselves in front of their army; Earth in the center, Scott to his right, and Lopez to his left. Earth stiffened his back and raised his voice, “Ashama, ucenha!”
Everyone, including the three in the front row, stood up straight, staring ahead. The army of employees shouted simultaneously, “Ha!” There was a long pause, and then Earth broke it, “Ena, kanach!”
They began to march forward as one, valiantly confident. After all, what did an elf have to fear from ordinary humans?”

***

October 31st, 2026.
Saturn.
Earth guided a crude spacecraft into Saturn’s docking bay with ease. It locked in place and the door opened, allowing him and Scott to exit.
Earth’s sister, Saturn, walked up the dock to meet them, her hand lightly grazing the redundant railing. She grinned, “Earth, what a pleasure your visit is.”
“The pleasure is all mine,” he responded expressionlessly, “We were only passing by. We did not plan to stop and refuel.”
Saturn hummed thoughtfully, “What changed your mind?”
Earth crossed his arms, “One of my favorite activities during space travel is to count your moons as I pass by. Although it’s been maybe a billion years or so since last I did it, I’ve counted them at least seventy times, and I could have sworn I saw an extra today.” He raised an eyebrow expectantly.
Saturn took a step back, her eyes darting back and forth between the two of them, “Maybe you miscounted?”
Earth stared at her, unwavering, “Maybe you are right. Maybe what I saw wasn’t a moon at all.”
Saturn’s eyes grew wide, but before she could speak, they heard a challenging voice behind her, “Give it up, Saturn.”
She turned to see her assassin, Sam Lycanthrope, standing calmly against the railing with his arms crossed. One of his legs hung off the edge of the walk. He brushed a dark strand of hair from his eyes and continued, “His deduction skills are too great to be fooled, unless he’s in denial.”
Earth nodded, “Knowledgeable as ever, Sam. I haven’t seen you in a while. How have you been?”
Sam walked towards them, ignoring Earth’s question. His black eyes were narrowed, “The real question is whether they can be trusted.”
Saturn sighed, “I trust them.”
Sam closed his eyes, meditating. He opened them, “No doubt you’ve guessed by now,” he wrapped an arm around Saturn subconsciously, “but Saturn and I are going to have a child.”
Scott was taken aback, but Earth just sighed, “When was it conceived?”
Saturn looked to the floor, “Some time ago...”
“It will be born today,” Sam said coolly.
Earth clutched his chest, “My god,” he breathed.
Saturn’s voice was small, “Don’t tell Nc.”
“Of course not,” Earth said, steadying himself. He took a deep breath, “Don’t be absurd. I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. I’m just concerned in the fact that it was so long ago...” Saturn’s eyes began to water, and Earth quickly added to his statement, “But what’s done is done, and if you’re okay with it, I am too.”
Saturn sprung forth, embracing Earth, “Oh, thank you so much! You have no idea how worried we’ve been, afraid of someone finding out...”
“Wait a second!” Scott shouted. Everyone turned to him, and he spoke again, “Does this mean I’m going to be an uncle?”
At this abrupt turn of the conversation, Saturn laughed, along with Earth. Even Sam smiled, “Yes, Scott.”
“Well then,” Earth said, clapping his hands together eagerly, “You said the child will be born today, correct?”
Sam nodded, “Indeed.”
Earth grinned, “Then let us go! An elf’s birth is a marvelous thing to witness, as far as I’ve heard!”

***

May 9th, 2027.
Mexico.
“Ashama, ta!”
“Le-ta!”
The makeshift NSK army came to a halt about five hundred yards away from where IDEA stood, the soldiers looking as if they’d been there for a while and were getting tired of waiting. Earth shouted, “Ackana,” and the NSK soldiers mirrored IDEA’s relaxed style.
Lopez and Scott turned to Earth, who nodded, “Alright, let’s attempt diplomacy with these bastards.”
The three of them walked solitarily towards IDEA, stopping halfway. Earth raised his baton, calling out, “IDEA! Send forth your leader or leaders, so that we may not have to resort to violence!”
A fireball suddenly rained down, knocking the baton out of his hand. As he gasped in surprise, a voice resonated, “Earth Sven, requesting diplomacy? Ha, that is indeed unusual, but I will not decline...”
Earth’s eyes widened in fear, “No, that voice...it cannot be!”
The voice laughed, “But indeed it is, Sven! Behold!”
The air in front of them cackled and split open, spitting flames. A zephyr blew from it, brushing the hair from their eyes. The inferno swirled in place and then deposited among them an elf.
This elf was a Lycanthrope, but had neither brown nor black hair. He was the only Lycanthrope to have red hair, which now hung down over his forehead. His black eyes glinted ferociously as he gazed upon them. He was once described as having the body of a marine and the mind of a child, referring to his undeterred wit and creativity, unchanged by age. Among elves, he was considered unusually powerful, with almost deity-like supremacy. He was universally respected for everything about him; his calm demeanor, his timeless, almost childlike yet muscular body, and his vast, seemingly limitless wisdom.
“Sam.” Earth said, narrowing his eyes.
Sam smiled and dropped to the ground, “Surprised?”
“I never thought you-”
“Indeed,” he chuckled, cutting him off, “Anyone else would be a fool to request a fight with one of the former Original Six, let alone two. Or are you referring to my sudden...change of heart?” He laughed, “I have never been with you or against you. I simply side with the ones who can offer me more.”
“So why IDEA?” Scott asked, “They are the obvious weaklings.”
Sam released a single bark of laughter, “I say differently. After all, I don’t just side with them...” he held up his bangs, revealing a tattoo of a single red and black flame, “I am the one who created this IDEA, their leader. I recruit humans much like NSK; of their own free will. However, their loyalty is substantially better...because as long as they go under IDEA’s morals,” his eyes glowed intensely, “They stay alive for another day.” He gestured behind him, “What you see here is several hundred years’ worth of people that share my views.”
“And views on what, exactly?” Earth asked impatiently.
Sam laughed again, “My friend, it’s rather simple. What do you think IDEA even stands for?”
Earth shrugged, “I don’t know.”
“I’ll give you a hint,” Sam said, examining his fingernails lazily, “It’s the same in English as it is in Elvin, including the acronym. Meaning the English ‘idea’ is the same as the Elvin ‘Dokf’”
Earth closed his eyes and thought hard. The relation between the two languages was scarce, even acronyms were hard to create on the logic Sam had applied. There were very few things IDEA could stand for...
He suddenly opened his eyes, coming to a realization, “Invisible Dragon Enforcement Agency. Deorikn Okfhjmifj Kfdmn Fdljauie.”
Sam’s lips parted in a wicked smile, revealing fangs, “Very good, Sven. So now you probably know what we want with you.”
Earth took a step back, “Gwen and Leon aren’t with us.”
“Oh, come now!” Sam screamed, “I can see them, there’s no use denying their presence! Reveal them properly!”
“Very well,” Earth said reluctantly. He whispered a single word, and then two miniature dragons – one blazing red, the other a deep blue – appeared on Earth’s and Scott’s shoulders, respectively. Earth stroked the wing of the red dragon, Gwen, as he spoke, “You of course know how difficult it will be to separate us, correct?”
Sam nodded, “I am aware. No need to worry, IDEA will take care of them properly.”
Earth narrowed his eyes, “How stupid do you think we are?”
“Excuse me?”
Earth crossed his arms, “Dragons have been struggling to survive for millions of years, with less than twenty left. There have been less than twenty dragons in existence for far too long. You couldn’t possibly be helping them.” His lip quivered, “You’re killing them off!”
Sam’s eye twitched, but he smiled darkly, “Very good, Sven. Do you know why?”
Earth scowled, “Does it matter?”
Sam nodded, “It does. It means everything. I’m saving them. Liberating them. Better dead than enslaved.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Scott asked.
Sam spread out his arms, “As you are aware, I am capable of many things. Like most Saturnians, I have the gift of prophecy.” He closed his eyes and sighed, “You have no doubt seen what these humans are capable of. I have seen a future in which dragons, such noble creatures, serve under human whip and chain. It’s incomparable to any slavery the world has ever seen.”
Earth crossed his arms, “And you intend to stop this tragedy by killing off the slaves.”
“It’s the only way left!” Sam screamed, “I tried to kill off the humans while there were still very few of them, and when that didn’t work, I influenced the humans to kill the dragons off themselves, but they left the job unfinished, they left fourteen, fourteen that learned to become invisible, and to avoid humans...”
“What?” Earth inquired breathlessly.
Sam grinned grimly, “You were not supposed to know that last part, but nevertheless, my goal today remains the same. If you give me the dragons, you save us all the trouble this petty fight will bring and no further tension shall come between us. Do you accept?”
“No,” Earth growled, “I will never accept your disgusting hypocrisy!”
For the first time that day, Sam frowned. He sighed, “Then you give me no choice...” He reached up and touched the tattoo on his forehead, whispering, “Fuego.”
As one, the soldiers of IDEA surged forward, charging towards where they stood. Sam sighed, “I honestly thought you would be able to be persuaded easier, Sven. After all, most people are like that on their birthday.”
Scott turned to Earth in shock, “It’s your birthday?”
Earth clenched his teeth, “Exactly one month and two days after your birthday, like every year, Scott. Eventually it gets tiresome to remind people, so I just don’t do it.”
Sam laughed, “Oh, and do you honestly think that I’m the only non-human in IDEA? Believe me, Sven, I don’t want to kill you, but some of my subordinates do...”
Earth scoffed and spoke a few words. The two dragons took off into the sky, turning invisible once more. As Sam frowned again, Earth raised an eyebrow, “Whom, exactly?”
“Oh, just some Jegarian,” Sam said, his black eyes glinting.
Earth’s face grew pale, “Impossible.”
Sam laughed, “You know me, Sven. I made all necessary precautions for today’s main event.” With that he turned on the ball of his foot and walked back towards IDEA, and they noticed for the first time that he was barefooted.
Earth turned to his companions, “Lopez, go order NSK forces to attack.”
Lopez began to run back to the NSK soldiers, shouting, “I’m on it!”
Earth sighed and put a hand on Scott’s shoulder, “You have to stall Sam for me.”
Scott crossed his arms, “No. I came here to kick some ass, and I damn well deserve that at the very least. You do it.”
Earth groaned, “Unless I’ve severely underestimated your ignorance, you know I’m going to have my hands full. We’ll handle this in the same way America handles war; just keep attacking and hope they eventually give up.”
Scott scoffed, “Yes, because that always works out so well.” Nevertheless, he turned and ran towards Sam’s rapidly retreating form.
Earth turned away from the advancing IDEA forces and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. He spun around, and then exhaled, “Hello, Rain.” He opened his eyes and the half-human stood in front of him.
Rain grinned and gripped the hilt of his sword, which Earth knew had been named Thunderhead, “Surprised to see me alive?”
Earth frowned and stuffed his hands into his pockets, “I never meant to kill you. I meant for you to think about everything, and calm down a bit. Obviously it didn’t work.” In his peripherals, he saw NSK forces drawing nearer. Behind Rain, IDEA was doing likewise. Earth sighed, “So, in order to exact your revenge, I see you’ve joined a cult.”
“It’s not a cult,” Rain said, frowning, “I was promised to personally kill you if you proved to be difficult. And so here I am.”
“If you get to kill me yourself, then how different is it than just approaching me solitarily?” There was an awkward pause. Earth spoke again, “It’s a cult.”
“Shut up!” Rain screamed, “Without IDEA, I would have been lost and confused because the world has so drastically changed without me.”
Earth laughed, “And as you lay dormant, I have bettered myself. Tell me, how long ago was it that you awoke?”
“It’s been four months,” Rain said coolly, “And during that time I’ve been training under Sam.”
“Ah, yes,” Earth said with a frown, “Sam’s training. How is that working for you?”
“Very well,” Rain said, not catching the sarcasm, “I’m very impressed with the results. And I’m glad to hear that you no longer have a sword.” He drew Thunderhead, the blade rusted in some places but still looking extremely sharp.
Earth closed his eyes and chuckled, “Don’t I?” He pulled a sheathed sword from his pocket, which was infinitely deep. He attached the sheath to his belt as Rain watched with a mixture of amazement and shock.
Earth raised an eyebrow to make sure Rain was watching, and then with one fluid motion he unsheathed the sword and held it out to the right of himself. The blade of it was made entirely of a clear crystal, reflecting the sunlight that hit it at odd angles. Near the base of the blade its name was engraved.
Rain waved his sword absentmindedly, “Sure it looks pretty, but how useful is it in the field of battle?”
“Oh, I think it will prove to be very useful. Its name...” Earth took one last look over his shoulder. Both armies were little more than ten yards away. Earth grinned, tracing the name engraved on the sword and then he raised it up to the sky, shouting, “Light of Nc!”
The sword seemed to explode, a brilliant flash of white light bursting forth from the blade. Members of IDEA that had been looking directly at it now found themselves permanently blinded.
Rain shielded his eyes and laughed, “Is that it? A lights display?”
Earth clenched his teeth, “Arrogant as always, I see, Rain. If you’re so confident in your abilities, then prove your worth.”
Rain Storm growled, “Gladly.”
They jumped into the air, flying above while the two armies clashed for the first time below.

***

October 31st, 2026.
Space near Saturn.
Earth, Scott, Sam, and Saturn stood in front of a gigantesque orb of swirling energy known as an eggsack. Scott tapped his foot impatiently on nothingness. Earth stomped on his foot. As Scott yelped in alarm, Earth shoved a rag into his mouth, saying, “Now it begins.”
Scott spat out the rag and muttered something under his breath.
The orb suddenly stopped spinning, and its surface grew dark. It solidified into solid rock.
“Whoa!” Scott cried out, “How’s the kid going to be able to get out of that? Should we help it?”
“No,” Earth said coolly, “When an elf is born, it has to escape its eggsack by itself. I don’t think it’s even possible to help it without killing it.”
“Well, has anyone ever died trying to get out of their eggsack?”
Earth looked at Saturn and Sam. He turned back to Scott, “Everyone else was of age by the time they conceived their children.”
Saturn’s eyes began to water, and Sam held her close.
The ball stopped giving off light now, its energy completely drained. There was a slight pause as the four elves held their breath. Then, the new moon of Saturn groaned. A single point on it drew up, a mountain forming in a matter of seconds. It grew to a ridiculous height, and then burst, a volcano erupting. Something shot out of the volcano and flew into open space.
Sam released Saturn and she caught it, an infant that stared up at her with placid gray eyes, as if it had not just narrowly avoided death. Earth and Scott came closer while Sam seemed to shy away. Saturn smiled, and then kissed the infant on the forehead, saying, “Elementurn.”
“That’s its name?” Scott said, an eyebrow raised.
“That’s his name,” Saturn corrected.
Sam’s eyes widened, “A son?”
“Yes,” Saturn said somberly. She turned to him then, remorse clouding her face. She cocked her head a bit, “Come, and take a look upon him.”
Sam took a step back, “You know I cannot.”
Scott looked up at him, “Why not?”
Earth sighed at Scott’s ignorance, “Because an elf is only allowed to know one parent – the older one, in this case Saturn – for the first one billion and two million years of the child’s life.”
Saturn nodded warily, “But we’ve already gone through so much to get to this point, we can afford to break this rule as well.”
Earth looked at Sam and shrugged, “She has a point.”
There was a soft swish and then a quiet gurgling sound came from Saturn’s arms. They looked at the infant and gasped in alarm; an arrow had pierced the baby’s head, entering through one temple and exiting from the other. Blood flowed freely from both sides as the infant’s eyes stared upwards, cold, empty, and lifeless.
Sam looked to where the arrow had come from. He had felt a presence there – three, in fact – but he must have imagined it, because there was no one there, and no trace of anyone having been there recently. He narrowed his eyes, but shook his head. He became aware that Saturn was crying and he joined the others.
Earth felt along the baby’s chest, and then spoke softly, “Elementurn is dead, as he was less than a second after the arrow pierced him. There’s nothing we could have done to save him.”
Scott frowned, “Where did the arr-”
“There is no one here,” Sam said quickly, “I already checked. This death was an accident.”
Earth hugged Saturn, while looking to Sam for support, “Saturn, I realize this is very tragic, and awfully terrible, but-”
“They have to go,” Sam interrupted. Earth smiled behind his sister’s back, graciously relieved.
“Yes, we do,” Earth said, “But if you want us to stay...”
“No, that’s fine,” Saturn said, breaking their embrace, “We’ll be fine.”
Earth nodded to Sam, silently offering his thanks, “Come along, Scott.” He began to walk back towards the planet Saturn, followed closely behind by Scott.
Sam moved to wrap an arm around Saturn, but stopped short. Something had caught his eye. He turned to watch Earth and Scott, and he saw it again; a vague blurriness near their shoulders.
Frowning, Sam rubbed his temples, adjusting his vision to see in different planes of light. Then, under infrared, he saw them: two small dragons, one red, one blue, both appearing to belong to Earth and Scott.
Sam broke out in a cold sweat. “Not them,” he thought, “I always knew Earth was protective of the dragons...and when I created IDEA, I vowed to kill anyone that got in my way, even if it was my own brother...but why Earth? Why Scott? Why the Original Six?”
Sam held the weeping form of Saturn close, wishing desperately that he had not seen their dragons, and did not have to kill them because of it.

***

May 9th, 2027.
Mexico.
Scott ran towards Sam, his fists clenched, his mind wanting to have a knife to stab his brother in the back with, ironically so...
Sam’s back was turned to him. He leaped, joining his fists, and brought them down upon him, a blow that had struck a man’s skull once and then broke his entire spine...
With surprising swiftness, Sam spun around, punching Scott in the stomach, hard, while he was still in the air. Scott fell to the ground and collapsed, all the energy he once had seemingly depleted in that instant. He grunted and made a move to stand up, but found himself trapped under Sam’s foot. He squirmed, but Sam did not falter his foot upon his chest in the slightest.
“You know,” Sam said in a bored tone, “In its early stages of life, if a dragon bonds with a partner and the partner dies, the dragon dies with him.” His black eyes grew darker, “If your goal was to prevent me from killing your dragon, then you are a fool, Scott.”
“Well,” Scott said, sighing, “You know what they say; sometimes fools’ actions are so foolish they end up being valiant.
Sam frowned, “What the hell is that supposed to-”
Scott drew a pistol and shot Sam twice – once in the head and then in the chest. Sam roared and stepped back off of Scott. As Scott bounded to his feet, Sam clutched his chest, “What the hell, man? Why’d you shoot me in the face and then again in the heart?”
“Because,” Scott replied calmly, “If you’re shot through the heart, and I’m to blame, then you give love a bad name.”
Sam frowned, utterly baffled by this latest riddle. Scott took advantage of this and shot Sam in the forehead again, and then ran forward, kneeing him in the stomach. As Sam instinctively fell forward, Scott stepped back, allowing him to fall, and then dropped on top of him, his elbow coming down hard on the back of Sam’s neck.
Scott stood up, and instantly Sam was there, furiously punching the wind out of Scott before he could even figure out what was going on. Sam moved so fast he was practically teleporting; in a fraction of a second he was behind Scott and had kneed him in the coccyx, breaking his tailbone.
Scott grunted as he fell to his hands and knees. He had just survived a fatal blow (for a human, anyway). He had faced many of these before, but never in his life had he ever been in as much pain as he was in right now.
Sam wasted no time, jumping up and kicking the center of Scott’s back with the heel of his foot. Scott crumpled, but that didn’t stop Sam from bringing a fist down upon the base of his skull. He effortlessly grabbed him by the neck and threw him into the air. Scott fell to the ground, and a few seconds later he was surprised that the barrage had stopped, no matter how momentarily.
He got to his feet, his entire body crying out in protest. Sam stood in front of him, his arms crossed emotionlessly. Scott gasped for breath, “Why did you stop?”
Sam shrugged, “It’s too easy. You’re too weak, and it’s not enjoyable for me.” He drew a sword, its blade as red as blood. The blade seemed to be made of a crystal substance, the coloring entirely natural.
“Ruby?” Scott pondered?
Sam nodded, “I call it the Demon’s Requiem. The best sword in the universe. Of course, this has yet to be proven...”
He lunged forward, but Scott had expected this. He dodged to the side and kicked the ruby sword out of Sam’s hands. He used the momentum from the kick to fall forward, punching Sam in the temple.
Sam fell to the ground, next to his sword. He rubbed his head slightly before springing to his feet, the sword flying into his hand. He charged forward, slashing horizontally. However, Scott dropped to the ground and again kicked the sword from his hand. The Demon’s Requiem sailed over Scott’s head and dropped behind him. He grabbed it and swung it around, slashing deep into Sam’s ribcage.
Sam held his bloodied side, gasping, “How...?”
Scott shrugged, “When one lives with cats, they learn how to purr. Thus I know a thing or two about dodging swords from Earth.”
Sam drew in a single, deep breath, “Impressive. However, it is not enough.”
Scott twirled the ruby sword around, “It’s not?”
Sam nodded, “I have spent countless eons perfecting every skill known to elf. I can shapeshift, perform telepathy...hell, I’m the only elf in the universe,” he disappeared, only to reappear in the exact same position a few seconds later, “that can travel through time at will.”
“Oh yeah?” Scott challenged, “If you’re so strong, then why was I chosen to be part of the Original Six and you weren’t?”
“Idiot!” Sam screamed, “The Original Six was formed from the first born children, and had nothing to do with power! In fact, half of them weren’t even qualified to be a part of it, and yet here we are!” He growled, “Do not think that I know not of your exploits, Scott. I know that you have faced death and survived far too many times. But in the end, the stronger man wins, and today that man is I!”
He raised a hand and a chain shot forth, penetrating Scott’s stomach and ripping right through. He pulled back, and the chain violently flowed back through his chest. At the end of the chain it broke and reformed into four sickle-like hooks, which pierced Scott’s body extremely painfully.
Sam smiled at the sight of Scott’s blood dripping from his five freshest wounds and onto the desert sand. Scott gasped and dropped the Demon’s Requiem. Sam’s eyes glinted and he pulled the chain back once more. Scott flew forward, and Sam kicked him in midair. The chain broke, and Scott sailed through the air.
He landed on his back, causing the hooks to dig in deeper. He grunted in pain and stood up. He ripped the remnants of the chain from his back, wincing as he did so. It was then that he noticed where he had landed.
He had flown farther than he had expected, and Sam was nowhere in sight. However, he was now in the midst of IDEA forces. Scott dropped the chain remnants, mirroring his jaw. As the soldiers turned to stare at him, he looked around at them and said, “Alright, nothing to see here-”
He stopped short as a knife stabbed through his shoulder. He turned around to see a solitary soldier holding the knife that was still stabbed through his flesh. He grabbed the soldier’s hand and pulled it out. He turned it around and stabbed it through the soldier’s heart. As he let go, the soldier collapsed, but only to his knees. He looked to his heart in astonishment and stood back up.
Something Sam had said came to Scott, “I recruit humans much like NSK; of their own free will. However, their loyalty is substantially better, because as long as they go under IDEA’s morals, they stay alive for another day.”
Apparently the sight of the brave soldier’s immortality renewed the others’ confidence in their own, because Scott soon found himself overwhelmed by the amount of humans that surged forth to try to take him down.
“Great,” Scott said to himself as he unhooked a grenade from his belt, “The only thing worse than a human is an immortal human.”
He looked to the sky, but he could not see the sun among the clouds. He growled, “It better not be the freaking break of dawn.”

***

July 14th, 2026.
Saturn.
Sam hurried through the elaborate Saturn hallways. These halls were utterly complex, yet every Saturnian knew them by heart. Sam knew the quickest and stealthiest ways through them, and today he demonstrated this in his swiftness to reach the docking bay...
Not watching where he was going in his haste, he rounded a corner and bumped into someone. He instinctively reached for his sword, but stopped himself when he saw that it was only Saturn.
“Sam,” she said breathlessly, “Where are you headed off to?”
“Earth,” he responded immediately, not at all lying.
“Again?” Saturn asked with a sigh, “My brother needs more help?”
Sam cringed inwardly. He didn’t like being deceitful to Saturn, but she had told him not to interfere with the natural flow of the universe, and he couldn’t just stand around and do nothing. He cleared his throat, “Yes, he requires my assistance once more.”
“I see,” Saturn said. Sam noticed she looked heartbroken, and he mentally hit himself over the head for it. Before he could say anything, Saturn had continued speaking, “Maybe I could come with, to see if I could help in any way?”
Sam grew pale, “No, that won’t be necessary, Saturn,” he said a bit too quickly. Once again, she looked dejected, and Sam felt absolutely horrible for it. He drew Saturn close, his arms wrapping around her protectively, “I’m sorry, Saturn, but I’m needed there...alone. I promise, soon enough, that I’ll be done there, and I can spend more time here, with you.”
He closed his eyes and pulled her closer, kissing her gently on the forehead. He moved down to her lips, brushing against them lightly with his own. Saturn’s eyes wavered to a close, being at a loss for words. Finally, she whispered, “Hurry back.”
For a fleeting moment, Sam didn’t want to hurry back. He wanted to stay here, with Saturn, forever. But then he remembered his duty, and slowly pulled away. He kissed his first two fingers and pressed them to Saturn’s lips.
Saturn’s eyes remained closed, and Sam knew it was because she did not want to watch him go. Sam walked back the way she had come from, only looking over his shoulder once. As soon as he rounded the corner, he broke out in a run.

***

May 9th, 2027.
Mexico.
When the sky grew dark, and it began to rain, Earth and Rain Storm were the first to notice, as they were levitating above the violent brawl going on below. The rain came all at once, a torrential that did not falter the fighter. A gale blew, felt only by Earth and Rain, a small wind that only rippled their clothes slightly. Lightning flashed in the distance, steadily growing closer.
Earth flew forward, smashing his sword into Rain’s. He had the advantage in pure strength, but not by much. Rain bounced back from the impact, surging forward while electricity coated his skin. He slashed downward, but Earth dodged to the side and stabbed Rain below the ribs.
Rain cringed and pulled away. Earth held up the Light of Nc, the tip of it coated in blood. Earth cocked his head as the blood seemed to be sucked inside of the sword, gone in a matter of seconds.
Rain raised an eyebrow, but flew forward, slashing diagonally. Earth blocked with his own sword, sparks flying as they clashed. Earth scraped away from Thunderhead, a sliver of metal flying off of it. Earth caught it in his teeth, and then slashed his sword downwards. Rain blocked over his head, and Earth, seeing the opening he was looking for, maneuvered the scrap of metal in his mouth so that the sharp point was aimed at Rain. He spat it out, and it sliced straight through Rain’s abdomen.
Rain’s concentration was broken, and he cringed, letting Thunderhead drop. Earth wasted no time, smashing the hilt of his own sword into Rain’s temple. As Rain fell to the ground, unconscious, Earth noticed a strange sight. All around the ensuing battle below, and despite the tremendous downpour, the ground was aflame, unnatural fire burning the sand, unwavering in the rain.
Earth lowered his sword in wonder as lightning flashed behind him. He looked around at the black sky, to the fighting humans below, and said quietly to himself, “All of the elements are present here. May this not turn into something much more heinous than it has to be.”
He stood there motionlessly for a few minutes, watching the flaming horizon. After a time, he heard a vicious scream, and then Thunderhead was stabbed right through his stomach. Rain Storm floated up in front of him, gasping heavily, blood oozing from where Earth had struck him.
Earth struggled, but found himself immobilized. Rain laughed, “I’ve done my research, Sven. Elves may seem invulnerable, but I know now that they have two weak points.”
Earth froze, figuratively, of course. It was true that every elf had two weak points, but there was more to it than that. He had to make sure he didn’t say something that Rain didn’t yet know.
Rain Storm continued, “One point stuns, the other kills. The problem is that they’re different for each elf, but I know that your stun weak point is obviously your stomach.”
“And my kill weak point?” Earth asked, attempting to *bleep* his head. When this failed, he settled for raising an eyebrow.
“I don’t know,” Rain said reluctantly. Just as Earth was about to relax, Rain finished his statement, “But I do know that if the stun weak point is damaged enough, the elf can die through those means...”
Earth frowned, a tactical neutral expression, “And your point is?”
Rain Storm chuckled, “Goodbye, Earth.” He raised a hand, and in it formed a ball of energy, a mixture of wind, lightning and water. He grinded his teeth together, “Say hi to Xavier for me, you bastard.”
As sudden as a bolt of lightning, there was a brief flash and then a chunk of rock fell from the sky, smashing into Rain and sending him hurtling towards the ground. The rock, however, stayed in the air, hovering in one place. Earth raised an eyebrow at this sight.
As if in explanation, the boulder disintegrated in on itself, its molecules separating and rearranging themselves to a different form, that of a shapeshifter with a purplish tint to his skin. Earth grinned, “9volt! I’d hug you, but as you can see, I’ve kinda got a sword through my stomach, no pun intended.”
9volt chuckled slightly at this anti-joke and removed the sword, tossing it over his shoulder, “No problem. I got your back.”
9volt was obviously a shapeshifter and one of Earth’s closest friends. When they had first met, 9volt had been looking for his two adoptive brothers before being trapped and later freed with Earth’s help. Up until that point, 9volt’s life had been depressing to listen to, but he seemed fine with it. Now it was steadily getting better, in a way.
Earth hugged 9volt, “Thanks. You saved my life.”
9volt shrugged, “I owed you one. Now we’re even.”
Earth laughed, “If I paid back everyone I’ve ever owed, I’d be dead. But I appreciate the thought.”
9volt nodded, changing the subject, “Some weather this, huh?”
“Indeed,” Earth said with a frown, “By the way, why are you here? Seems awfully random that you would just happen to show up.”
“Are you kidding?” 9volt said, “Aside from you and Scott, I’m the only elf NSK’s got on speed dial. I literally got here five minutes ago.”
“Well, thanks for coming,” Earth said, surveying the scene below them, “I’ll fill you in with all the details later, but for now you should know that IDEA has some people on their side that you should watch out for, namely Rain Storm, Sam Lycanthrope-”
There was a terrifying screech and a giant bat tackled 9volt. They plummeted to the ground, and 9volt found his limbs pinned and his sight blackened. He struggled, but stopped short when the creature whispered in his ear, “Hello again, 9volt.”
9volt froze, breaking out in a cold sweat, his heart beating faster. He knew that voice anywhere, and he could hardly believe she was here. The voice belonged to the vampire that haunted his nightmares, Brianna. Almost a year and a half ago, 9volt had gone with Earth and Scott to see her, to sort out an event that had happened years earlier. The news was good, but they had made a new enemy that day, and 9volt had discovered his one true fear: vampires.
9volt realized that the wings he had seen were the same ones he saw in his nightmares, and the ones that now shrouded them in darkness. They were an extension of her shoulder blades; black as night, the skin stretched so far that one could see the talon-shaped bones, the veins completely devoid of blood...
Brianna grazed her fangs against his cheek seductively, “I was aiming for Earth, but you must have gotten in the way...” 9volt shivered, the hair on the back of his neck standing on end. Brianna’s breath was hot on his face, and it took all of his willpower not to whimper, let alone scream. Brianna scratched a deathly sharp fingernail along 9volt’s neck, whispering in his ear again, “I presume you are curious about what I’ve been up to since we parted, in Romania?”
9volt was curious, as he had been for the last sleepless year and a half; however, he was too terrified to speak. Brianna either didn’t notice or did not care, because she continued, “Well, I was free for a few days, until I needed to replenish,” she snarled slightly as she said that word, sending chills up 9volt’s spine, “lost blood. Soon after that, I felt like something was closing in on me. Do you know who?”
9volt was silent. He remembered Earth saying something about going after Brianna the last time they had seen each other, but he didn’t remember the details.
“Answer me!” Brianna screamed, shaking him violently. Her fangs were inches away from his face.
“Earth, NSK!” 9volt sputtered out after a moment of strength, practically weeping as he broke.
Brianna stopped and went very still, something that she surprisingly did quite often. It simply meant she was thinking intensely. “Correct. Earth, and Scott also. They were hunting me,” she spat, “I was surprised I didn’t see you among them...” She took a strand of 9volt’s hair in between her fingers and twirled it absentmindedly, “But I did see that overprotective assassin, Elementres. As you can see, I slipped through their fingers with ease. And again, and then again. I was finally able to lose them, and I headed east, into Alaska and headed southeast from there. You wouldn’t believe how cold it can get up there, and how hungry I was after going without food all that time...” Once again, her face was inches away from 9volt’s, and her fangs lightly brushed his nose. 9volt whimpered.
Brianna took a deep breath, “It was then that I met Sam.”
“Y-you’re a member of IDEA?” 9volt stammered.
Brianna shrugged in the dark, “It’s more of a hobby.”
She abruptly hissed furiously, diving to sink her fangs into 9volt’s neck. 9volt yelped, transforming into a wisp of smoke. Brianna bit the sand, immediately spitting out the foul taste of the dirt. She growled, flapping her wings to stand upright. She looked around wrathfully.
Meanwhile, 9volt was behind her, and he decided in that moment to lash out like the cornered animal he was. The wisp of smoke reformed into that of a giant black bear, and it roared, swiping its deadly claws at Brianna, prepared to rip her to shreds.
Brianna unexpected spun around, grabbing the bear’s paw and managed to hold it back, no matter how disadvantaged she appeared. Then she laughed, a bone-chilling screech unlike any other sound in the universe “Yes, Sam has told me all about you, 9volt. He’s a great spy. The only reason I bother fighting you at all is because I know you fear me.” She stared at him, her bloodless eyes probing deep into his, “But I also know your greatest secret.”
9volt suddenly remembered that bears have four limbs instead of three, which he had somehow forgotten. He slashed his limp paw at the vampire, and as expected, she grabbed it subconsciously. She grinned ominously, “9volt, do you know what can kill a vampire?”
9volt thought hard. Years before, he had been in a discussion that sorted through vampire mythology, but they hadn’t talked about what could kill a vampire. The bear shook its head.
“That’s exactly it,” Brianna said, her fangs exposed in an evil smile, “Nothing. There is nothing that can kill a vampire. Meanwhile shapeshifters have an extra Achilles’ heel...the Shapeshifters’ Weak Point.”
9volt cringed internally. Before he could even react to what Brianna had said, she had leaped over his head and had stabbed her first two fingers into the small of his back, the part of the spine directly below the ribcage. An unusual sensation came over 9volt; his body seemed to fall asleep all at once, becoming numb all over. Then, every molecule of his very being was ripped apart in an instant, reorganized without his consent. He was back in his original form, but unable to move and unable to shapeshift.
Brianna whispered in his ear, “Let death be merciful upon thee,” and then she hissed hungrily, biting into 9volt’s throat.

***

25 million years prior to 2025.
Unknown Location.
Earth Sven and Rain Storm fought inside a building made entirely of iron. The single, large room was bare, except for the supporting rods on the ceiling. They fought with swords, Earth using the Fli Sword, and Rain using a much newer Thunderhead.
Earth’s strikes were lazy, with very little effort behind them. His style was solely defensive, blocking all of Rain’s slashes without blinking. He sighed, “Reynard, can we talk about this?”
“No!” Rain shouted furiously. He lunged forward, but was swatted aside easily.
“Will you at least tell me why you’re angry with me?”
Rain paused, “Earth, what do you think I have to be angry about? My family is all dead. I’ve outlived them all by tens of millions of years.”
Earth shrugged, “It’s not my fault you...mutated. Your pseudo-immortality was an accident, which I wasn’t even present for.”
“It’s not that!” Rain yelled, “It was my brother.”
“Antonio?”
“No,” Rain whispered bitterly, “Xavier. I know who killed him.”
Earth cocked his head, “Xavier wasn’t killed. He disappeared, without a trace.”
Rain shook his head, “No. I believed you at first, but now I know that he was killed that day, and it was an obvious culprit.” He raised his free hand, a ball of electricity forming in it, “It was you!” He shot the orb at Earth, striking him in the dead center of his chest and knocking him off his feet. He flew across the room and slammed into the far wall, slumping down to the floor.
He lay there, motionless, for a time. Then, an iron bar dropped from the ceiling in front of Rain. Earth grunted, “Reynard Storm, you know not what you say. When you see the light, then come find me.”
The entire structure groaned. Rain looked around confusedly, “What’s going on? What are you doing?” Earth merely chuckled. The roof and walls seemed to cave in on themselves. The supporting metal rained down heavily now, the beams snapping apart like twigs. After a moment of stubbornness, the entire structure collapsed inwardly, burying Rain Storm alive.
Earth stood up outside of the wreckage, unscathed. He surveyed the destroyed building emotionlessly. Then, to himself, he said, “I didn’t kill your brother, Rain. I don’t know who did, but when I do,” he closed his eyes and frowned, “I swear I’ll make them regret it for the rest of their very short life.”

***

Continued in Part 1.2: <a href="http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/6224-cracker-chronicle-11-we-fight-war-part-one-2-war/" target="_blank"><

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What do you call a story that spans the history of the universe? There's only one name for a story like that; The Cracker. At least, that used to be the intro for the Cracker. But now, because apparently no one has any idea what it's even about, some things need to be clarified. And this new intro is going to be the one doing to clarifying around here. (Be warned as this may include spoilers.)

***

The Cracker; Intro.
Written by Earth Sven.

There are a lot of misconceptions about elves. In fact, you may have met one without realizing it. Elves typically look exactly like humans in every way, varying in appearance as random as humans themselves. The only thing separating them is that elves have the ability to manipulate the twelve elements that make up our universe, Electricity, Cold, Fire, Emotion, Water, Metal, Plasma, Gravity, Wind, Fate, Violence, and Darkness. Even the word, “Elf,” is derived from the meaning of “half human, half god”.
Long ago, in the very beginning of the universe, a god by the name of Nc floated amongst the destruction of a previous universe. He had no recollection of his past whatsoever. On a whim, he used his infinite prowess to create everything from the stars to the dirt.
After a time, Nc grew lonely and created his children, the Nefarious Twelve, the Rulers of the Elements (see above). These twelve were the first elves born in our universe.
When they were of a certain age, the Nefarious Twelve came to Nc with a plea; they wanted to pair up and have children. Nc reluctantly agreed, but declared that each of their first-born children would be more powerful than the standard elf. These six, named the Original Six, were destined to eradicate all evil from the universe.
Millions of years later, the Nefarious Twelve had their children, and the first-born were brought together for the first time. They each were given code names for protection. However, the sixth member, Zack, was evil. He disbanded from the Original Six, and then declared war on them. To ensure he could never be killed, he split his soul in two. His second soul manifested into a body, a twin likeness. After two billion years of conflict, Zack and his twin, Lance, managed to kill off three of the Original Six before presumably dieing themselves. Only two of the Original Six, Scott and Earth, remain alive today.
There are many subspecies of elf. First are the shapeshifters. These creatures can change the molecular structure of their own body at will. Shapeshifting is a common ability among elves, but it typically is only used to change into one, definite, practical form. It is difficult for a normal elf to shapeshift into more than one form under ordinary circumstances. The shapeshifter subspecies is elusive to the children of the Ruler of Electricity, 9volt the First. All shapeshifters have a 9 in their name, usually being the first letter.
Second are the Haltija, named for the Elvin word, “Haltia,” meaning, “Embodiment.” These creatures’ hair corresponds to whatever color it is, such as red hair being made of fire, or black hair being made of shadow. The Haltija subspecies is elusive to the children of the Ruler of Fire, Lavana.
Third are the werewolves. These elves are very similar to those in human mythology; however, these legends have an assortment of fiction added that must be sorted through. In the day, werewolves bear all resemblance to an ordinary elf. The traditional transformation process, however, is a bit complex. Werewolves have an internal clock that matches the universal time clock (more on the UTC later) perfectly. Contrary to popular belief, moonlight and the lack of sunlight have no effect on a werewolf. When the werewolf’s internal clocks says that it is nighttime, the transformation begins. Although it is not known how, it is possible to confuse this internal clock. There is one other factor that plays into a werewolf’s transformation, that factor being the lunar cycle. It is a common misconception that werewolves only change during a full moon, but there is a reason behind this misconception. A werewolf’s internal clock includes the lunar cycle, which ranges from no transformation at all on the night of a new moon to a very powerful transformation on the night of the full moon. When the moon waxes, the werewolf’s power grows; likewise, when the moon wanes, the werewolf’s power diminishes. During a transformation, the werewolf is still in control of itself, the only exceptions being the new moon (as there is no transformation at all) and during a full moon. This is the reason behind the aforementioned misconception: during a full moon a werewolf falls prey to animalistic instincts, forgetting judgment and consequences of actions, and thus is more likely to appear in the presence of humans. The werewolf subspecies is entirely elusive to the children of the Ruler of Air and Winds, Toranado, and all werewolves are conveniently given the last name, “Lycanthrope.”
As there are werewolves, there are by default vampires as well. As with werewolves, vampires are similar to those found in human mythology, but also have some differences. A vampire is created when a werewolf dies; the werewolf’s soul leaves the body for a brief time, and then returns, corrupted by death. No one knows why this phenomenon occurs, it being one of the largest mysteries in the universe. In its reborn state, a vampire is entirely bloodless, thus causing their eyes to be completely white. They lose their ability to manipulate the elements, and because of this, they are only considered elves by few. A vampire’s defining feature, the sucking of blood, is a very real aspect, albeit a confusing one. Like elves, vampires are both immortal and autotrophic in nature and thus do not need to eat in order to live. However, unlike elves, vampires feel a need to eat and can feel hunger. Though this hunger usually can only be satisfied by blood, it is rumored that certain foods can calm a vampire’s hunger. Vampires usually pose no threat to a regular elf, but are known to carry weapons. Like werewolves, vampires can transform, but only on the night of the new moon. During this period of time, a vampire cannot feel pain, and thus are incredibly difficult to slow down, let alone be stopped. The vampire’s fangs double in size, making it hard to be inconspicuous. To counter this, the vampire’s hunger doubles as well, and it becomes faster and deadlier. Finally, during a new moon, a vampire’s shoulder blades rip through their back and form bat-like wings (although a vampire with insane self-control could do the same whenever they want).
Finally, there are the Valkyries. These elves are genetically more powerful, but only because they lack any other defining features. This subspecies is by far the most common. An interesting effect is that when a Valkyrie is raised in a single, extreme setting, their personality can evolve to match it. This particular effect is elusive to the children of Plasmatis, the Ruler of Plasma.
The universal time clock is a hypothetical object imposed so that all elves can understand time, considering their home planets’ times are drastically different from one another. At the time of writing, only two known planets exist that follow the Clock exactly: Earth, and the birthplace of Scott Lycanthrope, Mobius. The way time flows is simple; one year is thirteen months, one month is twenty-eight days. Other than this, it stays the same compared to modern clocks/calendars. However, at the end of the year there is a single day (every two years, it extends to two days, akin to February 29th) named Tammuz. This day is considered sacred among elves, the only Elvin equivalent of a holiday.
When an elf is conceived, it forms not inside of the mother’s body, but instead at the center of a giant, swirling ball of energy. The elf develops inside of this “eggsack” for about one billion one million years, and then the energy collapses. The yet-unborn elf is forced to free itself without any help, and if it succeeds, it lives. The remnants of its eggsack form a planet (or in some cases, a star), such as the aforementioned Mobius, and Earth.
Though this explanation of elves has come to an end, it is only a small piece of enlightenment, and only marks the beginning of the History of the Universe...
This is The Cracker.

***

...and there you have it. Hope you be enlightened.

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Continued from part one: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5986-cracker-chronicle-10-chaos-unofficial-part-1/

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
Northern Germany.
Elementres, 9volt, Venus, Fyrus, and Tyler stopped in a small German café. A few humans sat around, talking to each other quietly, barely looking up as they walked in.
Elementres whispered to Fyrus, “Are you sure you don’t want to stay outside? No offense or anything, but you kind of attract attention with your hair.”
Fyrus stroked his hair, and where he touched it turned a lighter shade of orange. He glared at her, “I’ll be fine.”
They sat at a booth in a corner. Elementres looked at all of them, “Okay, so we need to find Nick and Scott again. Any ideas?”
“Wait,” Fyrus said, holding up a finger, “Who said we had to find them?”
“I did,” Elementres said angrily. She licked her fingernail, which was sharpened to a point. She continued, “They’re in trouble, and majority rules here: three out of the five of us want to make sure Nick and Scott are okay. If you don’t like that, then no one is stopping you from leaving.”
There was a brief pause before 9volt spoke, “We could go to NSK. They’d help us.”
Venus nodded in agreement. Elementres sighed, “Yes, that might work. NSK Germany Division isn’t too far from here. Hey, I’m going to get something to drink. Anyone want anything?”
Fyrus and Tyler looked at her confusedly, while 9volt and Venus politely refused. Elementres walked solitarily up to the counter.
A television was running on the counter. It was apparently a weather forecast; “...a very bizarre snowstorm has settled over Europe. Across the continent, people are experiencing record-breaking snowfalls, despite this unusual starting just hours ago. Today some Englanders said that they had seen a very peculiar storm system. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and yet lightning-”
A clerk switched the television off with a scowl. He turned away, but Elementres stopped him, saying, „Guten Tag. Ich möchte einen Eiskaffee zu kaufen.“
He nodded at her, saying, „Bist du ein Auslander?“
Elementres narrowed her eyes, „Ja, warum?“
The clerk laughed, „Dein Deutsch ist sehr gut.“
Elementres stared at him, „Sprechen Sie English?“
He smiled, “It’s my second language.”
She sighed, “And German’s your third, I’m guessing?”
The clerk raised an eyebrow, “Fourth, actually.”
Elementres stared at him. There was something familiar about him. He had jet black hair that hung down past his shoulders. Everything about him just seemed as dark as his hair, except for his eyes, which were a dazzling emerald green.
She gasped, “ShadowNc?”
He looked at her strangely, “Elementres, I presume?”
She stared and blinked several times, looking for words, tripping over questions. Finally, she picked one and asked, “What are you doing here?”
ShadowNc shrugged, “I knew you were going to be here, so I got here first.”
“But...why?”
“Do you know what happened at the Nc Council today?”
Elementres frowned, “Yes.”
He sighed, “Nc was furious after Nick and Scott got away. He immediately accused me, but thankfully nothing was done and I was found innocent.” He blinked, “How did you who I was? We’ve never met before, have we?”
“Your eyes,” Elementres said, “Minerva’s are a brownish color...mixed with yours, they look exactly like Nick’s hazel. What about you? How did you know who I was?”
ShadowNc smiled painstakingly, “Being the Ruler of Darkness is more convenient than you would think.”
Elementres drew away self-consciously. She looked back at the booth for a split-second, “We sort of lost Nick and Scott. And we have no lead.”
ShadowNc shrugged, “They were just in England, but now they’ve gone to a place where the elements cannot penetrate.”
“The Black Forest?”
He shook his head, “No. The Black Forest works so that a Ruler can detect what’s in the forest, but only when they’re in it. Outside, it’s as is the forest doesn’t exist at all.”
Elementres looked shocked, “Are they even on Earth?”
ShadowNc looked away, “No. They are not.”
Elementres stared at him, “Is that why no one could find Gravitatious? The forest thing, I mean?”
He looked at her curiously, “I didn’t even think that Gravitatious was still alive. Well, this will be interesting to tell to Nc. Very interesting...”
She sighed, “Well, thank you, ShadowNc.”
“Wait,” he said. Elementres turned around to see ShadowNc holding out an iced coffee while sipping on a smoothie. She smiled and graciously accepted the drink.
ShadowNc sighed, “Am I correct in saying that you are Nick’s girlfriend?”
Elementres looked at him, surprised. “Yes,” she said, after a moment of hesitation.
He stared at her, “Why?”
“Excuse me?”
He didn’t avert his gaze for a second, “Why are you in love with Nick?”
Elementres confusedly looked at the coffee in her hand. She was gripping it a little too hard. As she softened her grip, she quietly spoke, “Does there have to be a reason?”
ShadowNc raised an eyebrow. He drank a bit from the smoothie and swallowed, “There seems to be a reason for it, yes.”
She closed her eyes, wishing desperately for the Ruler of Darkness to go away. For some reason, she found this subject uncomfortable. She sighed, “Maybe...it’s because he saved my life...”
ShadowNc continued to stare, “Is that it?”
Elementres felt a sudden flash of anger; a sudden urge to kill ShadowNc. She brushed it away, saying, “I don’t get what you’re implying.”
He shrugged and finally looked away, “Subconscious expectation.”
She looked up at him, “What?”
He nodded, “You heard me correctly. Anyone in your position would likely feel the same way; however, if you truly loved Nick you wouldn’t care whether he saved your life or not.”
She glowered, unsure, “Meaning what?”
ShadowNc sighed, “When the time comes, you’ll stop wanting to repay Nick for what he did. That will be the day you’ll make your decision.” He suddenly looked upset. He looked down and mumbled something to himself.
Elementres nodded in understanding, although she still was a bit uncertain of what he meant. She turned to leave, but ShadowNc stopped her one last time. He whispered in her ear, saying, “I don’t want you to tell this to anyone.”
She nodded and he said something she didn’t understand, “Heute Abend wird der Gott des Chaos wieder seine Macht. Seien Sie vorsichtig.”
She swallowed, saying, “Okay. Goodbye, Ruler of Darkness.”

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
Eris.
In the solar system, the largest and closest non-elf-related planet to the sun is the dwarf planet Eris. On this celestial body, all of the elements fail to work, but it is unknown what force causes this. It has a single moon almost ten times smaller than Eris, slightly irregularly shaped, as if it was about to crush itself.
Nick and Scott teleported here, and they stared off into the distance, a faint point of light they presumed was the sun. Nick sighed and walked away. Scott looked at him, “What?”
Nick frowned, “I hate this. This whole situation.”
Scott blinked, “But we’re safe now, right? No one can find us.”
Nick furiously turned around to face Scott, “But how long do we have to stay here? I don’t want to live the rest of my life in exile, constantly running...it’s bad enough we have to keep our existence a secret, from our very neighbors, no less. But our fellow elves...”
Scott looked away, his mind wandering to Venus. He swallowed, “We have all the time in the universe here. We don’t have to think profusely about it now. We are safe here; no elements can intrude, and thus none of the Nefarious Thirteen can find us.”
“Think again.”
Nick and Scott jumped, spinning around. A seductive woman in a long, leather red dress was strutting towards them, an indifferent expression on her face. The closer she drew, the stronger their emotions seemed to grow. Massive mood-swings began to conflict them internally. She smiled as she stopped, staring at them as they twitched with uncontrollable emotion.
She snapped her fingers and all emotion seemed to drain out of them; Nick whispered impassively, “Who are you?”
She scowled and they seemed to return to normal. She grinned, “I am the Ruler of Emotion, Fei9n.”
“Feign?” Scott said.
“The Ruler of Emotion,” she repeated. “My name is spelled like the action, except with a ‘9’ instead of a ‘g’. Please don’t ever mistake the two.”
Scott swallowed and Nick spoke, “How did you find us?”
Fei9n smiled wickedly, “You said that no element could find you here. But what about the element you carry with you everywhere you go?”
Nick and Scott looked at each other. Fei9n chuckled, “Relax. I share my husband’s view on you. Lavana likes you both, and I won’t give you away.”
“Then what was the point?” Scott said edgily.
She drew close to him and knelt down so that Scott was at eye level with her. She growled coldly at him, “The point is that there is nowhere you can hide. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to face Nc.”
Nick sighed, “We have to fight Nc again?”
Fei9n shook her head and looked at him intently, “No. He’s persistent. Even if you do manage to defeat him again, he’ll just keep coming after you.”
“So what do we do?”
Fei9n sighed and took a step back. She closed her eyes and whispered very faintly, “Go to the center of this galaxy. There you will find someone that will solve your problem.”
Fei9n opened her eyes and winked, “Best of luck to you, Earth and Elemental.” She snapped her fingers and she was gone.
Nick and Scott looked at each other. Scott spoke first, “Should we go?”
Nick sighed and shrugged, “She’s right. We can’t keep running forever. That would get boring.”
“But Nc...”
“We can hold him off if he shows up. At the very least we can give in and just hand over the Emeralds.”
“What? Why?” Scott screamed, exasperated.
Nick looked at the ground, “It’s a very bad idea, I know. With the Chaos Emeralds, Nc would be unstoppable. However, he’s not exactly a bad person. He just...unknowingly does the wrong things.”
Nick sighed again, “We’re going to the center of the Milky Way. No matter what happens...” he looked up at Scott.
Scott nodded, “We’re in this together.”
Nick narrowed his eyes, “Thanks a lot for that, by the way.”
Scott chuckled under his breath. “Chaos Control!”

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
NSK Germany Division.
It was raining in the city of Leipzig as Elementres, 9volt, Venus, Fyrus, and Tyler trudged into NSK Germany Division, soaking wet. Fyrus shook his head violently and it burst into flame, his hair cackling slightly more than usual.
Elementres silently cursed the bad weather under her breath as a human walked up to them, seemingly immune to their discomfort. He cleared his throat, “Guten Tag. Ich heisse Felix. Ich bin-”
“My god!” 9volt screamed, “We don’t speak German! Do you speak English or not?”
Felix was taken aback at his outburst. He held up a finger and pulled a small silver badge from his pocket. He tenderly set it on his throat and it seemed to stick there. He adjusted a dial on it and then spoke in perfect English, “I’m terribly sorry about that. I had no idea. You might be wondering what this device is on my neck,” he gestured to the device in question, “This is a universal translator that Nick invented so that he could understand the languages of us humans. Of course, he already speaks all of them, so he just lets the employees of NSK use them to understand each other.”
“But can you understand us?” Venus asked.
Felix scratched his neck and blushed, “I’m not sure how it works myself; you need to ask Nick that. But yes, I can understand you. I’ve been most curious about it, since it only appears to change the vocal chords of the wearer. When I take this thing off, I won’t be able to understand anything you say.”
Elementres sighed, “Yes, this wonderful machine is all fine and dandy, but we’ve come here for something different, right?” She shot a look at the other elves. She turned back to Felix, “We want access to the NSK archives.”
He took a step back in alarm, “Why?”
Elementres growled, growing impatient, “Something is going to happen tonight, but we don’t know what it might be. We want to look through the archives to see if there are any Elvin legends that could clue us in to what’s going to happen.”
Felix frowned, “NSK doesn’t hold any Elvin legends. Nothing like that should even exist here.”
Elementres looked away, defeated. She ran a hand through her hair and then went very still.
Venus stepped forward and touched her forearm gently. Elementres spoke, surprising her, but she barely moved as she spoke, “I can’t just be in the dark about this. I want to be beside Nick as it happens. I want to have some insight.” She closed her eyes.
There was a sudden noise, like an alarm going off, that made Elementres burst away from the elves, drawing a knife and pointing it at all of them.
Each of them drew a disk from their pockets identical to the ones Nick and Scott owned. 9volt looked at it intently, “There’s another Nc Council.”
“What?” Elementres said in surprise, dropping her knife. She stepped forward and looked at Venus’ disk, which was beeping and flashing a bright red color.
“It’s of utmost importance,” 9volt muttered.
“A trap,” Elementres spat. She drew a second knife, “To lure them out.”
“What if it’s...not that?” Venus said feebly.
Elementres narrowed her eyes and spun around, facing her, “What else would it be?”
Venus swallowed nervously, “What if...they already caught Nick and Scott?”
Elementres stared at her for a moment, searching her eyes. She roared and attempted to stab Venus, but she was held back by 9volt and Fyrus. She growled, “Let go of me! I want to kill her! If I’m going to die someday, at least give me the satisfaction that I was the one to kill her!”
“Calm down!” 9volt yelled, “She could be right! Any of us could have suggested it!”
Elementres growled in annoyance and shrugged them off. She glared at Venus, “Yeah, I guess. Maybe we should go to the Nc Council, just to make sure that’s not it.”
Venus and Fyrus pressed the flashing buttons on their disks and disappeared. 9volt stared at Elementres before joining them.
Elementres snatched Tyler’s disk out of his hands and started to press it, but Tyler cried out in protest, “No, please don’t!”
Elementres held it away, “Why not?” she snapped.
Tyler whimpered weakly, “If you go in my place I will be exiled. Plus you might be executed for it.”
Elementres narrowed her eyes and glared at him. Finally, she tossed the disk back to him, saying, “Fine.”
Tyler sputtered an apology as he clumsily caught the disk, accidentally activating it and causing himself to teleport.
Elementres sighed. Felix looked around and walked up to her, tapping her on the shoulder. She growled, “What is it?”
He took a step back and spoke timidly, “It can’t be that bad, staying here, can it? I mean-”
Elementres spun around, grinning. “I was wondering,” she gestured with her knife to the translator on his neck, “How do you remove those things? It looks difficult, and I’d be happy to help you take it off.”
Felix’s face went pale and he scuttled off into the building. Elementres chuckled.

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
The center of the Milky Way Galaxy.
At the center of the Milky Way, there is a gigantesque black hole, made known only by the fact that a star orbits it, drawing the light in and creating a brilliant effect. The black hole seems to shine on its own, a whirlpool of light with a deathly grasp.
Nick and Scott appeared outside of the black hole’s deadly gravity, staring at it with wonder and awe. Nick looked around, “There’s no one here. Fei9n lied to us.”
The hairs on the back of Scott’s neck stood on end. He growled intensely, “Not quite.”
Nick frowned, “Who is it?”
Scott snarled in rage, “Who else?” He formed an orb of Chaos energy in his hand and thrust forward smashing the orb into the body of a man that seemingly appeared out of thin air.
Scott raised his head high, screaming, “Ace!”
“Ace?” Nick said incredulously.
Ace trembled under Scott, even though he looked enraged, “Give me the Chaos Emeralds back, Scott! I know you have them?”
Scott snarled and slashed at his face, drawing three deep gashes, “I came all this way for you? You bastard, I’m going to rip your-”
“Scott!” Nick said, holding up his hand, “You don’t find anything weird with Ace being here?”
Scott shrugged, “He is dead to me. And he soon will be in real life, too.”
Nick narrowed his eyes at Ace, saying, “But we can use him for something greater than revenge.”
Scott stared at Nick as he drew the Nc Council disk from his pocket. Nick grinned, “Ace is the creator of the Chaos Emeralds. He could simply fashion an Emerald or two for our good friend Nc.”
Scott’s eyes sparkled with realization and he stared hungrily at Ace, “But I still get to kill him, right?”
Nick abruptly frowned. He turned away before Scott could notice and said, “Possibly. If Nc lets you.”
Scott growled, “He better.”
Nick sighed and turned back to Scott, “I learned this trick a while back. Nc isn’t the only person that can call for a Council...” He held up the disk and twisted the top and the bottom backwards sharply, and then pressed down on the top.
A small beeping was heard and Scott pulled his disk from his pocket. It was flashing a deep red. “Urgent?” he said.
Nick nodded, “We don’t want any elf to miss this.”
Ace growled in annoyance under Scott’s grip, “Well, what now?”
Nick chuckled lightly, “Now, Ace, we wait.”

+===+

Venus, 9volt, Fyrus, and Tyler were among the first to arrive. Venus ran to hug Nick, saying, “We’ve all been worried about you both! What is this about?”
Nick gestured to Scott as 9volt joined them. Scott now held Ace upright, with his hands behind his back. Nick spoke softly, “We called this Nc Council. I’ve realized something disturbing about the Chaos Emeralds. You two might want to join the others.”
He gestured behind them at the other elves, almost all of the Nc Council from before. 9volt and Venus nodded and said their farewells, wishing them luck.
The last to arrive was Nc himself. He pushed through the small crowd and furiously looked at them all, shouting, “What is this all about? I didn’t authorize this Council!”
Nick cleared his throat loudly and Nc spun around, shock practically emanating from him.
Nick grinned and held out his arms mockingly, “Members of the Nc Council! I welcome you to our Eighth Gathering. I realize that you might not have had two Gatherings in the same day before...or even in the same century, but there’s a first time for everything.
“And now to business!” Nick said. He turned and winked at Scott, who was stifling a laugh. Nc looked outraged. “I’m sure you all remember the event of this morning’s Council? Quite an unpleasant one, I’m sure you all know.
“I’d like to introduce to you our human guest. His name is Ace, and he prides himself in being the creator of the Chaos Emeralds.”
There was a bit of muttering among the elves, stopped by Nc, who spun around and screamed, “Silence!”
Nick continued, “However, I have realized that Ace is not who he says he is.”
Scott frowned and looked at his prisoner as Nick smiled very slightly, holding his captive audience with his skillful tongue, “Ace created the Emeralds in the beginning of the nineteenth century, which makes him quite a bit older than any human has lived for a long, long time. I immediately passed him off as a Jegarian, a rare subspecies of human that is able to live ten times longer than an ordinary human. But now I have reason to believe that was a false assumption.
“If you know anything about humans, you might be wondering how Ace can survive here, in the vast confines of space. How can he breathe? Why is he not affected by the lack of gravity like a normal human?
“And then there’s the most important part,” Nick said, his eyes shining, “How could a lowly human create the most powerful device in the universe, the Amethyst?” He walked over to Scott and pulled the eight Chaos Emeralds from his pocket, forming them into one, slightly larger Emerald-shaped object that radiated light, the Amethyst.
Nick grinned and paced forward steadily, “The power of this is extreme, unlike anything else in the universe. As my friend Scott has said before, it can power large weaponry, it can be precise down to atomic sizes, and,” he stopped in front of Nc, staring straight at him, “it can be used to take down the strongest person in the universe.”
Nc glowered as Nick continued walking, “Anything this powerful could not have possibly been made by a human...or an elf, either. The Amethyst was made by,” he stopped and looked at the crowd, raising the suspense far longer than it needed to be raised, “It was made by a god.”
The elves looked at Nc but Nick held up a hand, saying, “No! Not Nc! Not even close. It was made by a different god, one less powerful than our ruler, a god that knew Nc when he was young and was jealous of him. That god,” he turned and pointed at Ace, who looked astounded, “...is him!”
“That’s preposterous!” Ace screamed.
“Indeed,” Nc said quietly.
Nick chuckled softly, “How would you know, Nc? You don’t remember your past nor look to the future to find it. You live in the present, the only time you are certain of. And now your past has come to stare at you in the face, and you deny it!”
“That doesn’t change the fact that I’m only a human and have no idea what you’re talking about!” Ace shouted, struggling in Scott’s grip.
Nick sighed and turned to Ace, saying, “The God of Chaos.”
It was silent as the elves stared at Nick expectantly. Nick laughed, “It was so simple, I’m surprised it took me this long to figure it out and I seem to be the only one! Do we not remember the bedtime stories were told as children, or told to your children? An old myth surrounded by legends...but Elvin legends tend to be based entirely around truth.
“Do we not know by now the story of the God of Chaos?” Nick said, raising an eyebrow and looking around at them.
Scott swallowed, “I don’t.”
Nick grinned and turned to him, “Yes, of course you don’t, Scott. Amnesia was hard on you, I’m sure. Very well, let me refresh your memory, along with anyone else that doesn’t know the tale...
“‘The God of Chaos was a mischievous being, able to bend the elements to his control. He was envious of power, and sought to destroy what he could not use to make himself more powerful. His brother, a fellow god, was one of the few beings more powerful than him. He sought a way to defeat his brother once and for all, and ended up dieing to find a way. Seconds before death, he managed to embody his power into a stone, breaking it apart into nine pieces and scattering them across the universe. For years, the land was in peace, until a creature, a small human boy, came across one of the pieces of the stone. He accidentally activated its power and the God of Chaos was reborn into him, destroying the human boy’s mind and soul. From then on, the God of Chaos reincarnated himself into human likeness, never knowing who he actually was, only to die and begin again. The nine stones would die with him, only to be resurrected with the God of Chaos’ new life. He will come again, but only when he discovers who he really is, and then he will remember all his past lives, and the eternal hate he holds for his brother...’”
Nick stood halfway in between Ace and Nc, looking back and forth between the two. Finally, he pointed a finger at Ace, saying, “You are the God of Chaos,” he turned and pointed at Nc, “...and you are his brother.”
Nick clicked his tongue and Scott let go of Ace. Nick strode up to him, smiling, “I know this must be such a surprise to you, but doesn’t it just feel right? Like it must be true; you live in a world of elves and emeralds, you being a god should be icing on the cake, am I right?”
Scott frowned, “Now I want cake.”
Nick turned to him, nodding, “I know, right?”
Nc nervously stepped forward, “I am sorry, Nick and Scott. I realize now that it was wrong of me to...be jealous of your Emeralds, but if it’s not too much of a bad thing,” he sincerely held out his hand apologetically, “Could you please allow me to store them away where they can’t be used for evil?”
Nick held the Amethyst away, saying, “Wait. I am glad you have seen the light, but the Amethyst requires one last use before we store it away.”
Nc looked curious but he backed away into the crowd once more. Nick tossed the Amethyst to Scott and backed away, saying, “A matter of revenge is at stake here. It is between Scott, and Ace.”
He backed into the crowd and continued, “It is a struggle that spans time and space. A matter of locked horns over the possession of the Amethyst,” Scott started to speak but Nick interrupted him, “among other things,” he pointed out. He sighed, composing himself, “The winner of this fight claims ownership of the Amethyst. All...” he caught Scott’s eye and winked, “...eight parts of it.”
Nc stepped forward, “I thought there were ni-”
Nick elbowed him sharply and spoke quickly so that Ace wouldn’t notice, “Okay! Are you two all set?”
“I’ve always been ready for this,” Scott growled, glaring at Ace.
Ace nervously swallowed, “Wouldn’t it be fair if we each started with four Emeralds?”
“Ah, that’s true!” Nick said. He turned to Scott and snapped his fingers impatiently, “Scott, divide the Amethyst evenly among the two of you.”
Scott looked outraged, “What? No!”
Nick raised an eyebrow, “Scott. Would you rather Ace die the boring way, or would you rather let him give you a challenge?”
Scott looked at Ace, and then back at Nick. He shrugged and peeled the Amethyst in two, tossing one half to Ace.
Nick smiled, “Alright, then...begin!”
Scott surged forward, Chaos energy enveloping him entirely. He practically smashed his entire being into Ace, hurling him through space. Ace righted himself with some difficulty and shot a Chaos Spear at Scott.
The orb of energy hit Scott head-on, but he hardly moved, shrugging it off. He leaped up, grabbing Ace and punching him in the neck. He spun him in the zero gravity, charging a Chaos Spear, then firing it.
Ace flew through space, slowing to a stop upside-down, eyes vacant. He shook his head and disappeared, reappearing behind Scott and kneeing him in the tailbone. Scott spun around and kicked Ace in the stomach, apparently unfazed by the blow he had just received. Still spinning, he grabbed Ace by the neck and threw him over his shoulder. He teleported into Ace’s path and formed his arms into an X shape. Chaos energy coated his arms as he shouted, “Chaos Lance!” Ace’s head fell into the gap in his arms, and Scott tore the formation apart on him.
Ace reeled back, clutching his head, which was bleeding now. He surged forward, blind determination taking over him. Scott, not expecting this, was tackled without a fight. They wrestled each other for a moment, and then Ace grabbed Scott’s half of the Amethyst. Eyes glittering, he shouted, “Chaos Control!”
He vanished, taking both halves of the Amethyst with him. Scott untangled himself as Ace reappeared some distance away, slamming the Amethyst back into one part. He grinned as Chaos energy cloaked him, but he stopped short. He turned and looked at Nick in the crowd, “You two knew all along, didn’t you?”
He teleported in front of Nick and grabbed him by the neck, “You deceitful little elf!” He kneed him in the stomach and snapped his fingers. The ninth Chaos Emerald flew out of Nick’s pocket and settled into Ace’s free hand. Ace threw him back, saying, “I didn’t want you to know of a ninth Emerald, so you would not be aware of them all, and yet you knew of it the whole time. No matter, at least I have them all now. And with their power, I will kill Scott once and for all. Behold!” He shoved the ninth Emerald into the top of the Amethyst, where it stayed half in, half out. Ace shouted, “The Amethyst Plus One!”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “When that belongs to me, I’m shortening the name.”
Ace growled and teleported behind Scott, bludgeoning the Amethyst Plus One into his temple. He screamed, “The Amethyst will always be rightfully mine! You will never be the true owner of it! This power isn’t yours to bear!”
Scott tenderly felt his temple. He looked at his hand, which was thick with blood, and clenched it into a fist. He swung around and punched at Ace’s face. Inches away, Ace yelled almost casually, “Chaos Blast!”
An explosion flew up around Ace, knocking Scott senseless. He flew off of his feet and floated to a stop, barely conscious.
Scott opened one eye with immense difficulty and looked at Ace. He had defeated him so easily, it was almost unfair. He only had to lose his terrible grasp on reality and Ace would win, taking the Amethyst with him. He looked at the crowd of elves, watching him. He turned away, looking at the black hole, closing his eyes and giving up.

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
Leipzig; NSK Germany Division.
Elementres paced the lobby of the NSK base, extremely impatient. She growled to herself and halted. She closed her eyes in intense thought and stood very still.
Suddenly, she turned and threw a knife into the wall, screaming. She muttered to herself, “Damn you, ShadowNc.” She grunted and sat down, crossing her arms. She sighed.
She looked around at the blank walls and growled in annoyance. She stood up and exited the building. It had stopped raining, but Elementres hardly noticed. She walked though town, not stopping until she was well outside its limits. She looked up to the sky and thought about what ShadowNc had said. Indeed, the first time she had met Nick was the same day he had saved her life. It didn’t matter; they didn’t necessarily coincide. Out of the millions of doomed Venusians, Nick had picked her to survive.
She gasped involuntarily as she remembered something. Nick hadn’t even known she was an elf on that day; she had told him nearly a month later, after they had been living together and she had asked Scott about being an assassin. It had sparked a conversation that spilled out her past as a former assassin – or rather an assistant – to Venus, but neither of them had known she was an elf prior to that.
Elementres frowned. She stared up into the sky, deep in thought. She closed her eyes and came to a decision.

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
The center of the Milky Way Galaxy.
Scott’s eyes burst open with sudden inspiration. He looked to the black hole, and its orbiting sun. The star was nearly eclipsed by the black hole, and seeing this, he grunted and stood up.
He turned to Ace, grinning wickedly. Ace narrowed his eyes, “You sure don’t know when to give up. It doesn’t matter whether I’m a human, a god or an elf. With the Amethyst Plus One, I’m more powerful than you no matter what my species.”
Scott chuckled maliciously. Not expecting this in the slightest, Ace took a step back. Smiling, Scott took a step forward to close the gap. He stared directly at Ace, “I know you’re new to this whole thing, Ace, but I know there are so many things you are ignorant about. Even if you are a god – which is doubtful – you still have the knowledge of a human. So allow me to enlighten you on a few things from the Elvin universe.”
He cleared his throat, “First of all, elves have their own subspecies, like humans and any other animal. There are shapeshifters,” he began to count on his fingers, “There are those elves with fire for hair, and then...” he turned to glare at Ace intensely, “there are the absolute best kind of elves.”
At that exact moment, the star was directly behind the black hole from this perspective. Scott smiled and said, “Werewolves.”
His entire body seemed to glow. Fur erupted across his skin. His nose and mouth lengthened to form a snout, and he bared his rapidly growing fangs. His fingernails extended into claws the size of daggers; so large he couldn’t even clench his fist. He shook his head and the glow enveloped him, turning his fur an unnatural golden color.
Ace took another step back in fear, causing Scott to grin, exposing once more his blade-like fangs. He reached up and grabbed his head, cracking his neck threateningly.
“Now,” Scott said, his voice a low growl, “It really begins.”
He moved forward, his gold body a blur, and in the blink of an eye he was in front of Ace. “Or rather,” he said, tenderly grabbing Ace around the neck with three fingers, “it ends.”
He roared and threw Ace over his shoulder, turning and leaping into him. He sunk his teeth into his leg, shaking him violently. He let go of Ace and slashed him with his claws, drawing several deep gashes across his chest.
Ace screamed out of pain and anguish. He shouted, “Chaos Control!” warping behind Scott and smashing the Amethyst into Scott’s head multiple times. Scott growled and dodged the next assault, biting into Ace’s wrist.
Ace flew back, clutching his now broken hand. Blood flowed sadistically from him; it was a wonder he hadn’t passed out from blood loss yet. He switched the Amethyst to his left hand and aimed it at Scott, shouting, “Chaos Spear!”
An orb of Chaos energy shot out, headed straight for Scott’s chest. Scott, almost lazily, threw up his arm to deflect the bolt. Ace gasped and stared wide-eyed.
Scott chuckled, “This is certainly a déjà vu moment for me. I’ve seen this somewhere before, somewhere before indeed...” He growled, “Yes, that’s right; you were me, and I was my very own creation. My android. Don’t take me for a fool, you know exactly what I’m talking about. This was never about the Amethyst, you could have taken it for all I care, you’re a bloody human, in quite the literal sense right now...”
Ace groaned and began to walk, circling around him. Scott followed suit. Ace breathed heavily, “Then what? Your android? It was a primitive piece of machinery that anyone could have duplicated. If you hadn’t been moping around you could have built a better version by now, possibly hundreds of copies!”
Scott growled, “That machine was entirely unique. No copy would ever match it.”
“You’re in denial!” Ace shouted, “You’re too attached to the original! You aren’t a mechanic, like you claim! You stick with whatever comes first!”
“But I improve upon it!” Scott said, practically screaming, “I work with it, and make it better! I don’t give up on past failures and toss them aside as if worthless!”
“How long do you think it took me to create the Amethyst? How long did I have to plan it all out, only to have my dreams crushed, because NSK found my invention ‘too dangerous?’”
“A hell of a lot less than I put into my android!”
“At least I let you keep your invention when I was done with it!”
Scott froze. As Ace did likewise, Scott glared at him, “No. To hell you did. From the second I turned it on to the second it was destroyed, it always considered you...its superior. It never once took any charity upon me, and it’s because of you that it worked out that way.”
Ace held up the Amethyst, “Well, it certainly did turn out in my favor, didn’t it? I have my Amethyst, and you have nothing.” He laughed.
Scott growled. He roared in hatred and pounced upon him. Ace, realizing what Scott had done, quickly fired off a Chaos Spear a second too late. A single slash marked itself upon Ace’s shoulder, but Scott crumpled to a heap in front of him.
Ace took an involuntary step back. He gasped, but then smiled in victory. He began to laugh, but it was caught in his throat. He looked down at his leg, where he felt a sensation that something was grabbing him and pulling him. Seeing nothing, he looked over his shoulder at the black hole. With a start he realized what had occurred; he had accidentally stepped back into the black hole’s deadly gravity.
He reached out desperately, trying to grab onto something, to claw his way out of the field. But there was nothing. His left arm was the next to go, and with a sharp jerk the Amethyst flew out of his hand and into the unforgiving black hole. His other leg tripped him up as it joined his other two limbs. With only his right arm and a small portion of his upper body out of the field, he reached out one last time and failed, falling back-
An arm grabbed his hand before it escaped, dooming Ace. He looked up into the eyes of Scott, who was holding him in place so that he wouldn’t fall sideways to his death. Ace’s body flapped weakly in the gravity, as he was only concentrating on one thing: Scott’s cold, emotionless face.
He desperately opened his mouth, speaking in a small whisper that somehow managed to reach Scott’s ears, “Scott...please...”
Scott’s werewolf form faded away, the star’s eclipse having come to an end. His face did not change, however. He stared at Ace, saying, “Sorry, Ace, but revenge is a part of my daily life. You would have done best to have learned that the day we met.”
He let go of Ace’s arm and he flew away, into the relentless black hole. Scott stood, unblinking, until he could not see Ace any longer. He never saw what his face had looked like after he had let go. Finally, he turned and walked back to the crowd of stunned elves, completely unsure of how to react.
Scott walked straight up to Nc and raised an eyebrow, “I’m deeply sorry, but as you can see, the Amethyst has been...lost. Will that be a problem?”
Nc stared at him for a long time, and then said, “No. It will not be, not at all.” He spun on his heel and walked away, and the crowd erupted in congratulations. Every one of them seemed to say some words of satisfaction, or shake his hand, or embrace him. Scott closed his eyes and accepted all of it without a word.
After the initial praising, Nick walked up to Scott, putting an arm around his shoulder. He grinned, “How do you feel?”
Scott sighed, opening his eyes and smiling slightly, “Extremely well. Like the universe has forgiven me for all my wrongdoings.”
Nick chuckled, “That’s great. I’m going to go talk to 9volt. See how he enjoyed watching you fight. You sure had us all on the edges of our seats.”
“Oh, that was nothing. It was all perfectly planned.”
Nick crossed his arms and turned. As he walked away, he shouted over his shoulder, “Sure it was, Scott. Sure it was.”
Scott laughed to himself and rubbed his head. He groaned, “Dang, I wish.”
“Scott?”
He turned to see Venus. He grunted in greeting and scratched the back of his neck, looking away quickly, “Yes, Venus?”
She also looked away, saying, “Uh, you were amazing. I was worried for a second...”
They looked up at the same time, looking into each other’s eyes. They held their glance for a time before breaking it. Scott swallowed, “I’d like to brag, but that’s really not something I do.”
Venus sighed, as if this statement was part of a longwinded tale of utter lies. She ran a hand through her hair in anguish, saying, “I know as well as you do that you’re lying. You love to brag, you love to fight so violently, you love not caring about anything...”
Scott stared at her, expecting more. She looked at him and closed her eyes, “You are the absolute worst person I have ever met.” Scott looked down in shame, but Venus continued, “But maybe what I think is wrong.”
Scott looked up at her, “What? You’re insane.” A smile played across his lips, “You’re entirely right about me, and you always have been.”
“You’re enjoying this too much,” Venus said sulkily, but she smiled slightly.
“What is it about me,” Scott said, walking into her line of sight, “that you find so irresistible? My quick wit? My muscular body? My great personality?”
Venus chuckled darkly, “Nah, you don’t have any of those things.” Scott frowned and Venus winked at him, “Maybe I was too harsh on you. After all, you do seem to spend a lot of time with my brother anyway.”
“Not out of choice,” Scott muttered.
Venus smiled, “Let’s start over, shall we? You don’t try to be someone you’re not, and I’ll be around more often.”
Scott grinned, “Sounds good to me.”
They embraced and Venus walked away. Nick appeared over Scott’s shoulder, hovering just outside of his peripherals. Scott sighed in content and stared after Venus. Nick grinned evilly and clapped callously on Scott’s shoulder, causing him to jump.
Scott spun around, and laughed nervously, “Oh, it’s just you. So did you see that? Did you like how we hugged, and you couldn’t do anything to stop me?”
Surprisingly, Nick laughed heartily, “You have it backwards, Scott. The only reason you were able to talk was because I let you. Consider it a small act of kindness.”
Scott scoffed, “Right, I’ll believe that.”
Nick chuckled, “Oh, you better. Because the next time you see Venus, I won’t be so kind. I’ll prevent you from being together with so much ferocity, you won’t even know what hit you. Speaking of which, what’s that?”
He pointed out something in the distance and Scott turned to look. While he was distracted, Nick punched him in the arm. Scott spun around, rubbing his arm, but Nick was whistling inconspicuously.
Scott growled, and then remembered something. He grinned and whispered something in Nick’s ear. Nick also smiled and said, “Oh, yes; that will be delectable.”
They turned and ran through the crowd, stopping in front of Nc. They bowed low and Nick majestically spoke to his feet, “O Nc, as your humble servants, we wish to enlighten you on something we find rather interesting.”
Nc grunted, “What is it?”
They straightened, looking at each other with wide grins. Scott cleared his throat and they put on sober faces, “I think it would be better if we showed you.”

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
Black Forest, Germany.
“Gravitatious, I’ve returned.”
The Ruler of Gravity looked down upon the lone elf in dissatisfaction, “Lycanthrope, you are a fool to come here, especially by yourself.”
Elementres gripped her knife harder, “Don’t pretend you don’t know how much I want to kill you.”
Gravitatious narrowed her eyes to slits, “You must be either very devoted, or very thoughtless to attempt such a feat.”
Elementres spun her knife around, saying, “I don’t care anymore.”
Gravitatious crossed her arms, “Suicidal, aren’t we? That particular trait is extremely frowned upon in Elvin culture, you know.”
Elementres growled and lunged, knife outstretched. Gravitatious raised a hand lazily, but a bright flash of light interrupted her deadly gesture. In between the two now stood Nc, Scott, and Nick.
Elementres ran to embrace Nick at once, and Nick returned it, speechless. He managed to choke out, “What are you doing here?”
To his even greater surprise, she was crying, “It was terrible, I was so careless,” she buried her face in his chest, sobbing, “I’m so glad that you’re alive...”
Nick stroked her hair awkwardly, turning to Scott. He shrugged. Scott motioned inconspicuously away, and Nick nodded in understanding. He turned away, saying, “We’ll be going now. See you back at home, Scott.”
They walked away, and Scott turned to Gravitatious, “Nc, I introduce to you-”
“Enough!” Nc shouted, “I know who she is.” He growled uncharacteristically.
Gravitatious looked fearful, also uncharacteristically. “Nc, it’s been too long-”
“Gravitatious!” Nc screamed. The Ruler of Gravity whimpered in fear. Nc’s face twitched in revulsion, “Why have you hid from me all these years?”
Gravitatious leaped off of her stump apologetically, “I haven’t been hiding... I just haven’t been around.”
“And what have you been doing this whole time?”
Gravitatious looked to the ground, her mind racing visibly. She looked up innocently, “I’ve been defending Toranado.”
“Bullshit!” Scott screamed.
Nc held up a hand, “What about Toranado?”
Gravitatious pretended to sigh, “Years ago, Toranado built an entire civilization of humans around a language he invented-”
“Is that all?” Nc said, shocking them both, “I’ve known about that for years. I even did the same exact thing myself hundreds of years earlier than Toranado.”
Gravitatious looked a mixture of outraged and dumbfounded, “N-Nc?!”
Nc turned away, snapping his fingers impatiently. He looked at Scott, saying, “I’ve come to a conclusion. I don’t have time to deal with this vile woman. Do with her what you may.”
He snapped his fingers once more and disappeared. Scott turned to Gravitatious, cracking his knuckles and grinning, “With pleasure.”
Gravitatious looked uneasy, “I could defeat you before I can defeat you now.”
Scott laughed darkly, “Haven’t you heard? Barely an hour ago, I killed the God of Chaos.”
Gravitatious went pale. She stuttered, “T-that’s n-not...”
Scott grinned, “Oh, but it is.”
Suddenly, he thrust out his arm, blasting a torrent of wind at her, square in the forehead. She fell back, slamming the back of her head into her stump, knocking her unconscious.
Scott took a step forward, but a commanding voice resounded, “Stop! Go no further!”
Plasmatis appeared behind a tree, his eyes still staring straight ahead, in this case at Scott. His face was still emotionless, but his voice seeped with acidity, “You have made a grave mistake. You will regret today for the rest of your life.”
He took Gravitatious’ hand in his, saying, “My wife has kept her power in check for millions of years. And now she will be very eager to unleash her stored energy. You have been warned, Scott Lycanthrope.”
With a small noise, like a suction cup being pulled, he disappeared, leaving Scott alone in the forest.

+===+

...and that's it. What, you were expecting more? Ha, I need at least one cliffhanger ending. Besides, CC#11 is next, and I, for one, am very eager... :) Until next time, any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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Finally, the first unofficial part of Chaos! I apologize for the wait, and apologize for the delay (even though they're technically the same thing) Well, here it is, the tenth installment of the Cracker Chronicles - not counting CC#9.5, of course - and I highly suggest going back and rereading the old chronicles if they're not fresh in your mind. This one has a lot of references to them...

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
Scott’s house.
Scott stared excitedly at the computer screen. His grin steadily grew as the video he was watching neared the end.
Nick walked in and gasped. Scott cried out in surprise and covered the computer screen, screaming, “Don’t you knock?”
Nick flicked on the lights and Scott hissed and covered his eyes with one arm. Nick sighed scornfully, “Honestly, Scott, you need a hobby.”
Scott growled, “Look away while I get my pants.”
Nick turned around while Scott pulled up his pants, “It’s not like I haven’t seen you indecent before, Scott. Not that any of those twenty-seven occasions were happy for me either.”
Scott frowned, “Twenty-seven?”
“In the last year alone.”
Scott groaned, “Well, I’m sorry I haven’t had a girlfriend in a while, unlike you...”
Nick narrowed his eyes, “I seem to remember that you’ve had human females around your house for certain...gratification purposes, up until about this time last year...” his face twitched into a grin, “You Casanova.”
Scott turned away, “I don’t know what you’re talking about...I’ve had plenty of relationships in the past year...”
“No, you’ve been to plenty of adult clubs in the past year, but apparently that’s not enough, since I’ve walked in on you abusing yourself...again.” He raised an eyebrow, “You haven’t had a relationship since you met Venus.”
Scott leaped to his feet, “Untrue!”
Nick raised an eyebrow expectantly.
Scott bit his lip, “Well...”
Nick raised his eyebrow higher.
Scott’s eyes flitted around the room searchingly. He sighed, “Fine. I haven’t. But that doesn’t mean anything.”
Nick laughed, “Scott, I’m an expert in human and elf psychology. A year ago my sister brutally rejected you-”
“She just turned me down!”
Nick smiled, “And you haven’t gotten over it. You’re trying to replace the need for a lasting relationship that you obviously wanted out of Venus,” he paused, expecting some sort of reaction. Not getting one, he continued, “Which you obviously didn’t get. You’re replacing it with non-committed relationship types, like clubs and...” he gestured to the computer, “...that, but stopping short of prostitutes.” He winked, “If Venus can’t have you, no one can, am I right?”
Scott growled threateningly, “You couldn’t be more wrong!”
“Then what is it?”
Scott was breathing heavily. He looked to the floor, “I don’t know. Humans are great and all, but none are like Venus...”
Nick smiled and opened his mouth, but stopped short when he heard a small beeping sound. They blinked and spun around, bewildered. Their eyes finally settled on a small table with a potted plant on top. Nick furrowed his brow and pulled open the tiny drawer. A disk-shaped object pulsated inside, beeping softly.
Scott pulled it out and looked at it bemusedly, “What the heck is this?”
Nick pulled an identical copy from his pocket. On both of them, the white top pulsated a light blue. He turned it over and looked at the silver bottom, “Ah, I remember what this is. This is the Nc Council acceptance disk that I received on my three billion, four hundred millionth birthday.”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “Nc Council?”
Nick nodded, “You know everyone that participated in the Nc Tournament?”
Scott counted on his fingers, “The Nefarious Thirteen, the Original Six, their twins...”
“And Nc himself,” Nick pointed out. “Those people are the members of the Nc Council. They are Nc’s innermost circle-”
“You mean like people he asks to help him if he can’t do something on his own?”
Nick’s mouth fell open, “Y-yes.”
“So, they just discuss Nc’s problems?”
Nick rubbed his chin, “Well, you know, elves aren’t a very cooperative species. As far as I know, there’s only been one or two in the last millennium.”
“So why one now?”
Nick shrugged, “Hell if I know. This writing on the back describes the situation defined by the color. Red is an emergency, and should be responded to immediately. Green is for discussing a non-critical situation that would help elves-”
“Like the government discussing building a public highway?”
Nick frowned, “Yes, exactly.”
Scott looked at his disk, “And what about blue?”
Nick read the Elvin script, “Blue means to get to the designated point of meeting as soon as possible, but there’s no rush.”
Scott thought for a moment, amused, “I bet it has something to do with us.”
Nick frowned, “What do you mean?”
Scott thought of something that distracted him from this subject, “W-why are you even here?”
Nick cleared his throat, “I was asking around...do you have twenty pounds of diamonds I can borrow?”
Scott made a face, “No! I don’t! No one does! What the-”
Nick turned and smashed the flowerpot on the desk. Several, large crystals spilled out, instead of dirt and flower parts. Nick turned back to Scott, a questioning look on his face, “If these aren’t yours, like you say, then I’ll be taking these.”
Scott started to object, but thought better of it. He sighed, “Fine, let’s get to the ‘designated point’. Which would be...”
Nick pressed the white top of the disk and the blue pulse shot up, showing a hologram of a desolate blue star. The hologram zoomed in on a large, expansive building, spread out over miles on the star’s surface.
Nick smiled malevolently, “It’s Nc’s home: Polaris.”

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
Nick’s house.
They entered Nick’s home, and Nick gestured to his fireplace, “I’m sure you have guessed our method of travel?”
Scott widened his eyes and shook his head slowly, “Oh, no, not again!”
Nick grinned slightly at his panicked expression and continued to explain, “We drop through the fireplace into the spacecraft, which then shoots itself, with us inside it, through the center of the Earth, gradually gaining enough momentum to escape the atmosphere, and from there we travel to Polaris. Simple enough.”
Scott pleaded, “But I don’t want to travel through space! Can’t we just teleport-”
Nick grabbed his arm and dragged him into the chimney, “Nope! That would be doing it the boring way!” They fell through the floor and landed inside a small craft. Lights flickered on and there was a lurch as they began to drop, much like an elevator. Out the window they saw the brown dirt zooming past, steadily reddening into boiling rock, and then back to the dull brown. There was a small jerk and they were in water; another, and they were in the air, flying upside-down. Finally, gravity faded away and they were in space.
Scott growled, “I hate you.”
Nick grinned, “Same to you, BFF.” He hit a switch and they were sent plunging through the universe.

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
Polaris.
They landed outside the grand entrance of Polaris’ capitol. As Nick stepped out onto the dark black ground, he clicked his tongue in a mixture of amazement and criticalness, “Ah, Nc. You never cease to lessen your extravagance. You have a home made entirely out of marble, beautifully carved, that’s original...”
Scott stumbled out and grasped Nick’s shoulder, “I don’t care if it’s made out of effing toothpicks, let’s just get inside, see what the most powerful person in the universe wants, and get back home.”
Nick chuckled, “Oh, that won’t help. Nc knows where we live.”
There was a pause as this information sunk into Scott’s thick skull. Then he released a feeble outburst, “What? No he doesn’t.”
Nick shrugged, “To be honest, he just knows the general area where we live. Not that it changes anything; alone he can destroy all of Nebraska in a single blast.”
Scott’s eyes widened and he froze, unsure of himself. Nick laughed, “Relax, if we could defeat Nc once we can do it again.” Scott gave a whimper of fear, but Nick dragged him through the giant marble doors.
The entrance hall was excessively large and was pretty much empty. The floor was the same midnight blue tiles that Nick and Scott had seen in the Nc Tournament’s lobby, but these tiles were sparkling ever so slightly. On the walls, even distances apart, torches hung, but the near-perfect lighting didn’t come from the fire. Above them was a ceiling, but it was so black that they thought there wasn’t anything there at all. Out of the black ceiling hung the largest chandelier either of them had ever seen. Throughout the room there was little else, except for a few elves that had were talking in a small group. Nc didn’t seem to be there.
Scott looked around, “Are we early?”
Nick pulled out the disk, “We’re supposed to be here as soon as possible...and we took a spaceship. I would have thought that all of the Nefarious Twelve would at least be here, considering their abilities to teleport.”
As sudden as an earthquake, the temperature of the room dropped significantly. The flames on the walls grew dim. Nick and Scott shivered slightly.
From a side door a woman in a large, flashy blue dress strutted in. She raised her arms up, shouting so that everyone in the room could hear her, “I, 9ice, Ruler of Cold, have arrived. Please hold your applause.”
There was an eerie silence as nothing happened. Everything was still. 9ice dropped her arms, “For heavens’ sakes, have you all no respect?” She scoffed and walked off her disappointment.
Nick whispered in Scott’s ear, “That was 9volt’s mother. And if you were wondering, that dress and those gloves are made of frozen cobalt. Incredibly hard to fashion so that it makes something flexible, like clothing. I’ll have to ask how she did it.”
There was a clap on their shoulders and they both jumped. The hands on their shoulders turned them around. It was Scott’s father, Toranado, the Ruler of Winds.
“Scott!” he cried in his ever-present Spanish accent, “How great it is to see you again, my child!”
Scott hugged him deeply and Toranado returned it, “It is indeed, father. Have you met Nick?”
They broke their embrace and Nick shook Toranado’s hand. Toranado nodded, “No, but it is a great honor to meet Nicholas Sven at long last.” He abruptly pulled Nick towards him and spoke softly into his ear, “Did Scott tell you that I invented the Spanish language and ruled over the humans as the first king of Spain?”
Shocked, Nick whispered back, “Yes to the first but no to the second.”
Toranado sighed, “If it ever gets out, I will be in terrible trouble with Nc. You must keep my secret safe, understand?”
“You can trust me.”
Toranado suddenly threw him away and said loudly, “Excellent!”
As he walked away, Scott muttered to Nick, “What was that all about?”
Nick shrugged, “I’ll tell you later. Oh, it’s 9volt.”
They ran over to the side door where 9volt the Second had appeared, holding a disk identical to Nick and Scott’s and looking around, bewildered. His tense emotions seemed to melt away when he saw them, “Oh, thank goodness you two are here. I was nervous, because I’m the oldest non-Nefarious Thirteen elf still alive, and I thought I was going to be alone and-” He stopped himself and took a deep breath. He twisted his arm around the back of his head and licked his elbow. He smacked his lips and returned to normal, “Anyway, I’m glad you’re here.”
Nick laughed, “Why so nervous? It’s not like two of the Nefarious Twelve aren’t your parents.”
9volt looked around. He pointed out his mother and his father, 9volt the First, who were talking to each other on the far side of the room. Scott rubbed his chin, “I didn’t see your dad come in, did you?”
9volt frowned, “He travels by lightning. Easily noticeable.” He shook his head, “Here’s the thing; my parents don’t like me all that much. They’re very strict, and very demanding. They gave up on me thousands of years ago.”
“So you’re like a vagrant,” Nick said.
9volt nodded, “Yes. Now, I’m going up to check out that chandelier. Don’t wait up.” His body dissolved into small purple particles, which flew up to the black ceiling and out of sight.
Scott looked to Nick, an eyebrow raised, “We need to find some sort of buddy. We’re just two people. We need someone like...” he trailed off, looking over Nick’s shoulder. “Venus,” he breathed. Nick turned, and indeed, his sister stood there, wearing a dress to rival that of 9ice’s. The gown was practically glowing, it was so white. It also was abnormally large, probably in order to be flashy in a professional manner.
Scott started to run towards her, arms outstretched, shouting her name. He was almost there when Nick teleported to Venus’ side, flashed her a smile, and stuck out his leg, tripping Scott.
Scott stood up with a scowl while Venus pretended this act had not even occurred, “Earth! Scott! It’s so nice to see you again...both of you!” She kissed Nick on the cheek and hugged Scott. Behind her back Scott made a rude gesture to Nick. She broke away and smiled.
Nick frowned at Scott but turned to Venus with a fake smile on his face, “Yes, and might I say what...interesting places we’ve seen each other on recently. Last year at that vampire’s house and now here, at the Nc Council?”
Venus playfully bumped into Nick, “That reminds me, happy Tammuz. And...” she turned to him, a hurt expression now playing across her face, “You never visited me in Paris.”
Nick’s eyes darted around, “I meant to...I just got preoccupied, what with NSK and that solar eclipse last October-”
“And you still need to finish my planet!”
This statement seemed to physically cause Nick pain. He jerked back, and grimaced, “Yes, an-and I’m working on it, I am...”
Behind Venus’ back Scott mouthed the word, “Mobius,” but Nick glared at him in refusal. Scott shrugged and turned Venus around to face him, “Hey, Venus, I was there with him on those occasions. Not a lot of work could be done in the last year, I’m sure you’ve seen it on the news...”
Venus sighed, “Fine. Maybe I am getting impatient.” She set a finger on Nick’s nose, “But you better try harder to visit me. I still did when I had my own planet and a mate to take care of.”
As she walked away, Scott stared at her and leaned over, whispering to Nick, “Why are you afraid of her? She’s a pacifist, isn’t she?”
Nick sighed, “Yes, but I care for her like...well, like a sister. I’ve managed to wrong her way more than I’ve done for anyone else, and every single time was unintentional.”
Scott grinned, “I just hope I can wrong her.”
Nick chuckled, but frowned, “I’ll let that one go because you helped me out, you little pervert.” His eyes scanned the room, which was rapidly filling up with elves. He pointed to Lavana, the Ruler of Fire, “Do you want to say hi to Lavana?”
Scott frowned, “Nah. He’s a little too...whimsical for me.”
Nick looked around again, “Hmmm...what about...” he turned and found himself face-to-face with a staring pair of eyes. He jumped back in alarm and realized that the eyes were attached to a man.
He had blonde hair, which was smoothly combed, no doubt for the formal occasion. He was the only elf Nick had ever seen with a beard, which didn’t match his hair because it was black. The beard, which happened to be a Vandyke, looked pointed enough to gouge their eyes out. His eyes were a deep black. He wore a cheap suit, gray and boring.
They stood there, staring at each other for several uncomfortable moments. Finally, Scott and Nick simultaneously blinked. The man did not. Scott took a step forward and waved a hand in front of his face.
Without moving his eyes from staring straight ahead, and without blinking, the man moved his head so as to look at Scott. “Please don’t do that,” he said, and this was so unexpected that Scott jumped backwards in alarm.
Nick suspiciously reached out his arm, “Nicholas Sven, of the Original Six.”
The man, without hesitation, took his hand and shook it, again without blinking and without moving his eyes from staring straight ahead. “Plasmatis, Ruler of Plasma, fourth son of Nc.”
Scott shook his hand next and instead of introducing himself, he stared at Plasmatis’ face and cocked his head, “Dude, are you having a seizure or something?”
He turned to Scott with what seemed to be a hint of rage, but it was hard to tell because he apparently had no way to show emotion, “No. I cannot move my eyes, so I must move my head instead.”
“But,” Nick said, nervously, “Doesn’t it hurt, after a while? Can you even blink?”
Plasmatis looked at him and frowned, “No, I cannot.”
There was another awkward silence and then Plasmatis looked away, saying, “I think that might be my wife. Goodbye, Nick and Scott.”
Scott and Nick looked at each other. They both shivered. Nick swallowed, “That was bizarre.”
Scott raised his eyebrows, “That was insane. I swear his eyes weren’t even bloodshot.” He made a gesture to his own eyes, “It was like Brianna, remember? He was so pale, I could have sworn he was a vampire if it weren’t for the fact he was one of the Nefarious Twelve.”
They tried to look back at Plasmatis, but he had disappeared. Nick looked at his watch, “Okay, it’s been nearly an hour since the disk started to go off. And,” he looked around,” I think almost everyone’s here by now...” He trailed off, staring straight ahead. Scott followed his gaze.
Standing in the middle of a small gap was an elf that looked unusually childish. He had blonde-red hair, and freckles around his nose. Other than Nick and Scott, he was the only one in casual clothing; he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. His eyes were an intense ocean blue color, which flicked around as if he was incredibly lost.
Nick growled, “Tyler!”
He strutted towards Tyler with contempt. Tyler turned towards him and nervously held up his hands, eyes widening out of pure fear, “Nick! I never expected-I mean, I-it’s been so long-”
Nick reached out and grabbed Tyler’s throat. Tyler choked, “I suppose it’s...it’s too late for apologies?”
Nick roared and tackled him, beating Tyler with his bare fists. The elves around them turned and watched, but did nothing to stop Nick. As Nick was about to punch Tyler’s nose, water sprung up around them and coated Nick’s arm. Nick growled and turned his head to see Aquarius, the Ruler of Water, holding out his hand.
“Stop,” he said sternly.
Nick glared at him but stood up off of Tyler. Aquarius dropped his hand and the water shrank away. He walked over to Tyler and helped him up.
Nick furiously walked back to Scott, who was looking at him with confusion clear upon his face, “What was that all about?”
Nick grunted infuriately, “Tyler was Zack’s top associate when he was fighting us. I now have reason to believe that he’s Aquarius’ son.” He turned and glared at the Ruler of Water.
There was an intense voice from the far side of the room, “All right everyone! Settle down! Off to the sides of the room!”
The room cleared away and Nick and Scott saw who had spoken; it was Nc himself. Nick and Scott moved with the crowd out of the way. Nc waved his hand and a gray table appeared out of thin air. It settled on the floor and nine chairs rose out of the tile around both of the two long sides. A single, larger chair with armrests appeared at the head of the table and Nc grabbed it, saying, “Well, don’t all of you sit down at once.”
Plasmatis walked up to him and tapped his shoulder, “Nc, I realize your impatience, but Gravitatious has not yet arrived...”
Aquarius nodded, “Indeed, R has not either...”
Nc glared at them both, as if he was mad that they had not sat down immediately, “Gravitatious has been missing for millions of years; I highly doubt she’s going to show up here, anytime soon. And as for R...” he turned his head so that he was staring straight at Nick, even though he was halfway across the room, “I have reasons to believe that she won’t be here either.”
The elves hurried to seat themselves in their assigned chairs, and Scott whispered in Nick’s ear, “Do you think he knows you petrified R?”
Nick looked at him out of the corner of his eye, “I don’t know. Lavana was there, and he might have told him, but I’m not sure...”
To Nc’s right sat 9volt the First, and to his left sat 9ice. All of his sons sat to his right in order of birth and his daughters to his left. At the end of the sons sat Nick’s mother, Minerva, the Ruler of Violence. Across from her was Nick’s father, ShadowNc, the Ruler of Darkness. There were empty seats across from Aquarius and Plasmatis where R and Gravitatious, respectively, should have sat.
Scott sat to Minerva’s right and across from Nick. To his left was 9volt. Nick sat between ShadowNc and an elf with flaming red hair.
Nick turned to the red-headed elf and offered his hand, “Hello, I am Nicholas Sven. And you?”
As he turned to accept his hand, his hair seemed to shimmer and wave. A bizarre cackling sound was heard. “Fyrus. Son of Lavana and twin of Kristen.”
Nick nodded and shook his hand, staring at Fyrus’ hair for a few seconds before becoming self-conscious and looking away. There was something odd about Fyrus...
Scott turned to 9volt and poked his arm, “Switch seats with Venus.” 9volt turned to his right to see Venus sitting next to him, and then turned back to Scott.
“No,” he said firmly.
“Please!” Scott begged, “What’s wrong with sitting on the end?” He leaned over to make sure this wasn’t a false statement; Tyler sat across from her, but there was no one else farther down the table.
A knife slammed down into the hem of Scott’s shirt sleeve. He looked at it and furrowed his brow, “What in the world...”
He looked up into the brown eyes of Minerva, barely an inch from his face. He let out a cry of shock and clutched his heart.
Minerva smiled, “Nice to see you again, Lycanthrope.”
Scott grinned painstakingly, “The feeling is mutual.”
Minerva’s smile faded, “Were you just asking to sit next to my daughter?”
Scott stared at her for a moment, confused, before connecting the dots in his head, “Oh, no, I mean...yes, but, uh, I just meant-”
Minerva pulled the knife pinning Scott’s arm to the table up and pointed it at Scott’s eye. He looked at it warily. “Let’s get one thing straight, Lycanthrope,” she said, waving the knife back and forth ever so slightly, “I don’t like you. And I think it would be in your best interests to keep your distance. Otherwise, someone might get hurt. Understand?”
Scott swallowed nervously, “Yes, Miss Ruler of Violence.”
Minerva smiled again. She concealed her knife up her sleeve and patted Scott on the head, “Now that’s a good boy.”
She turned away while Scott looked at Nick and mouthed, “I don’t like your mom.”
Nick grinned as Nc started talking: “Members of the Nc Council! I welcome you to our Seventh Gathering, and our first with The Original Six...or what’s left of them,” he said, frowning.
The Nefarious Twelve applauded, and the three elves to Nick’s left joined in after a moment of hesitation.
Nc continued, “But we are not forgetting their five twins, are we?” He looked down the table and frowned once more, “Of which two are apparently dead.”
There was more applause, and this time Scott and Nick joined in. Nick leaned over to ShadowNc, saying softly, “Only five twins?”
ShadowNc whispered back, “About a year ago one of the twins was dispersed from the Council. Not even considered an elf anymore. Now Nc pretends he never existed.”
“What did he do?” Nick asked, surprised.
ShadowNc shrugged.
“Now then,” Nc said, his voice slightly raised, “Let me remind you all that I only come to you when I have a problem that I cannot...” he raised his hand and clenched it into a fist, “...possibly handle myself. In the past, most of you remember...our Fifth Gathering was to eradicate that annoying little pack of Sirens that invaded my home. I’m sure the Nefarious Twelve all remember our Second Gathering, without which the Original Six would not have been born.
“And now to business. I presume you all remember September 6th, of last year?”
Scott turned to Nick and raised an eyebrow.
Nc gestured around the room, “The Second Quarter-Century Nc Tournament was nearing its climax.”
Scott laughed under his breath.
“...the fight was between Earth and Elemental of the Original Six and myself. As per regulations, I decided to go easy on them. However...they still were very weak.”
There was some stifled laughter directed towards Nick and Scott. They blushed with rage. Nick burst to his feet, “That’s not true! We defeated you!”
Nc raised an eyebrow and slowly rose out of his chair. He looked at Nick intensely, “Yes, I was just getting to that. I think you would have learned better to speak up against me, Earth. Especially since I overlooked that little thing that occurred two days prior to our battle. I was sure you would be grateful for that, but apparently I was mistaken.”
Nick sat down and Nc’s lips twitched, “Very good.” He slowly sat back down, but his eyes shifted around at the elves, as if daring someone else to speak out against him. He sighed and closed his eyes, “Now then. Even though I had used less than half of my power, I was quite outmatched thanks to a power I had never seen before...in the form of seven crystals.
Scott gasped, “Oh!”
Nc raised an eyebrow and looked at him, “Yes, Scott? I believe you are the owner of these crystals?”
Scott nodded and grinned. He snapped his fingers and the seven Chaos Emeralds appeared over the table, swirling around in a circle. As a dramatic effect, the lights on the chandelier overhead dimmed so that the only light came from the faint torches on the wall and the Chaos Emeralds.
Nick frowned. There was something odd with this situation, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He felt in his pocket for his own Chaos Emerald that was as powerful as the others put together. It was there, shining with a scarlet light.
Scott pulled a ninth and final Chaos Emerald from his pocket and held it out, it shining with a violet glow. He explained to the Council; “The Chaos Emeralds are objects that define power. Their purely raw energy can be used for powering large machines, with the precision to slice a city exactly in half. The seven you see before you hold enough power to double my own strength; and the one I hold in my hand is just as powerful as all seven put together.”
Nc leaned forward, his eyes glittering, “That is...extraordinary.”
Scott grinned, “Is it not?”
Nc’s eyes flickered to meet Scott and he straightened, clapping his hands together to return the lighting to normal. He cleared his throat, “Well, Scott, this is...difficult to put into words...but I don’t think you are worthy to hold such Emeralds.”
Scott’s smile vanished in an instant. “W-what?”
Nc looked at him intensely, “If these Emeralds can double your power, than who knows what...the wrong person could do with them? I’m sure you’ve had some trouble in the past; keeping them under your control, have you not?”
Scott bit his lip nervously.
Nc held out his hand, “Give them to me.”
Scott wavered, “No.”
Nc raised an eyebrow, “What did you just say?”
Scott swallowed, mentally preparing himself, “I said no, Nc. This is an outrage; the Chaos Emeralds rightfully belong to me, I’ve only let Nick possess the eighth, I bet he has it right now.”
Nick’s eyes widened, “Scott!”
Scott looked around, “Yes! Why do you, Nc, think that you get to choose their fate? You’re just jealous and confused that we were able to defeat you!”
“How dare you!”
9volt the First had jumped to his feet. He pointed a finger at Scott accusingly, “How dare you say that about Nc!”
Nc sank back into his chair and crossed his arms, “Indeed. I have reached a conclusion on this Council: Elemental and Earth are to be executed, if they do not relinquish the Chaos Emeralds to me!”
The seven Chaos Emeralds in the air flew back into Scott’s hand. He looked panicked, but managed to get in one last word, “You know we can just teleport with these things, right?”
At this, Nc’s patience finally snapped. He growled furiously and screamed, “Stop them!”
9volt the First leaped onto the table and held out his arm, which was cackling with electricity.
Scott’s eyes grew and he shouted, “Okay, time to go! Chaos Control!”
He and Nick disappeared and 9volt released a huge discharge of electricity, completely destroying the chairs where they had sat.

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
Germany.
Even though it was the middle of the day, it was black as night as Nick and Scott walked through a forest, exiled from the Nc Council. Nick grunted in displeasure, “Where’d you send us to, Scott?”
Scott made a small, indescribable noise and said, “Schwarzwald. I thought of it because the forest is the source of a lot of fairy tales, and it has certain...properties.”
“Like what, exactly?”
“This forest blocks out the elements. Literally. We could hide in here for centuries before Nc found us. We could live off the Rhine and the various berries and,” he shuddered from delight, “Black Forest Cake.”
Nick raised an eyebrow, “What makes you sure that this particular forest has those particular properties? There is not a single place in the universe devoid of Nc’s gaze.”
Scott smacked his lips, “Trust me on this.”
Nick looked around, “It doesn’t even make logical sense; a river runs right through it, it’s eternally shrouded in darkness, fire effects it like any other-”
“You don’t know that,” Scott pointed out.
Nick snapped his fingers and a nearby tree burst into flame. The bark burnt away and the leaves crinkled up and died, before Nick clenched his fist and the tree was extinguished.
Scott sighed, “Fine. I have no extensive proof.” Nick growled and started to walk away. Scott turned to look at something and howled like a wolf. He turned back to Nick, “However...you forget one thing.”
Nick stopped, curious. He cleared his throat, “And what is this one thing?”
Scott grinned, “They haven’t found us yet, have they?”
Nick spun around and walked up to Scott, “That’s preposterous! That detail alone doesn’t mean we can hide here forever, away from Nc and the rest of the Council!”
Scott’s grin didn’t waver for a second. He blinked, “Then you leave the forest and die a painful death.”
Nick faltered. He closed his mouth and pursed his lips, “Fine. Have it your way.”
There was a rustling behind Scott and they looked in the general direction, unsure what to do next. Elementres revealed herself, stamping away from the brush, cursing under her breath.
Nick and Scott relaxed. Nick walked up to her and brushed her off, looking worried. He sighed with a mixture of relief and astonishment, “Elementres, what are you doing here?”
She growled in annoyance and cracked her knuckles, “I don’t know. I was at home-”
“Were you looking through my stuff?” Nick asked, raising an eyebrow.
Elementres looked away, “No,” she said innocently. She rubbed her eye, “And all of a sudden I teleported here. I don’t have any idea how. In fact, right away I heard you two and followed you.”
She suddenly looked at them, as if realizing they existed for the first time. She narrowed her eyes, “The Nc Council isn’t over already, is it?”
Nick sighed, “We were sentenced to execution. Lucky Scott was flaunting the Chaos Emeralds before we got fried.”
Elementres looked at Scott and raised an eyebrow, “Need I even ask why you were condemned?”
Scott crossed his arms, “I’d prefer you didn’t.”
Nick hugged her tightly and sighed, “It’s horrible, Elementres. Nc is jealous of the power that Scott gains from the Emeralds. He wants it for himself. And judging from 9volt the First, he has most of the Council on his side as well.”
Scott walked over to them, “Most?”
Nick broke his embrace and turned to Scott, “A lot of the Council members have secrets of their own or their own reasons to hate Nc. My parents. Toranado. They’ll be on our side for this.”
He turned to Elementres, “Why weren’t you using stealth, like you usually do?”
Elementres growled, “The others weren’t used to using this method.”
Nick and Scott looked at each other, and then back at her, “Others?”
Elementres grunted and flew over to a nearby tree, pulling a knife from its scabbard and swiftly cutting a low hanging branch right off. It fell and revealed four people standing there.
Scott sighed, “Venus!”
Nick elbowed him. He grunted, but didn’t move. Among Venus were 9volt the Second, Fyrus, and Tyler. Nick growled, “You teleported one side of the table with us,” he turned to Scott, infuriated, “Scott!”
Scott slunk away and hid behind 9volt’s back, saying, “At least it’s better than the other half, right?”
Nick growled and turned to Fyrus and Tyler. He walked up to them, “I don’t know whether or not I should trust you. Actually, I know not to trust Tyler, but what about you, Fyrus?”
He turned and made a gesture, and all of his allies were whipped through the air to stand in front of him. He raised and eyebrow and looked from Scott to Venus to 9volt to Elementres, saying, “Do any of you know Fyrus?”
9volt raised his hand, “He was my first round fight for the Nc Tournament. Quick to anger. Doesn’t like me too much. Hair is made of fire.”
“Hair is made of fire?” Nick screamed incredulously, looking at Fyrus’ head. Indeed, his red hair was literally flaming. He made a face, “That’s...interesting.”
“You can trust me, Sven,” he said, “I don’t think if Nc wants the Emeralds, he could do the sensible thing and take them from you using brute force, instead of wasting all of our time with the Council.”
Nick frowned, “Eh, fine. Go stand over with them.”
He pointed over his shoulder and Fyrus rushed to join the allies. Nick turned to Tyler, “Now what are we going to do with you?” He circled around him, still talking. Tyler looked terrified. “We could just kill you. I’ve wanted to kill you for years. It was because of you that I was nearly killed in that freak hailstorm a few million years back, do you remember that? Hail the size of elephants, would you believe that? I certainly wouldn’t have; you were probably hoping I would have died in that, wouldn’t you? Too bad you forgot-”
“Zack only recruited me because I saved his life!” Tyler burst out nervously.
Nick stopped dead cold in his tracks, “What?”
Tyler now saw that Nick’s attention was scattered, and was less nervous. Nevertheless, he still spoke extremely fast, “Zack was my twin brother. After he turned evil, I saved his life.”
“Nonsense,” Scott said, “He’s still alive today, and he’s proven many times over that he doesn’t need anyone to help him with his mortality.”
Tyler cleared his throat, “Not a lot of people know this...but one of Zack’s greatest enemies was his father, Aquarius.”
Nick raised an eyebrow, “What? Why?”
Tyler looked away, “Once Aquarius saw how horrible Zack had become, and he felt a lot of regret for creating him. So one day, when Zack was swimming in the Atlantic, he tried to overwhelm him, and drown him. Needless to say, I was there to help. Not wanting to drown me, Aquarius gave up.
“From then on, Zack stayed away from the water. He wouldn’t even go out in the rain. In case of a flash flood, he stayed underground, secured by reinforced steel.”
“So all these years,” Scott said, “Our worst enemy had a water phobia?”
Tyler nodded, “I never agreed to joining Zack. I never liked what he was doing. This isn’t know too widely, but on July 19th, 1432,”
“The day Kristen died?” Nick asked.
Tyler nodded, “Yes. On that day, there was a rebelling among us. Aaron was dead by then, I don’t know what Dakota wanted, but I just didn’t want to fight anymore. That left just Zack and Lance.”
Nick looked at Tyler and sighed, “Fine, I believe you. But the first thing that goes wrong,” he leaned in close to Tyler, narrowing his eyes malevolently, “is your fault.”

+===+

“...I’m not pointing any fingers here, but Scott is the most human-like elf in the entire universe. He actually feels the need to eat food,” Nick said, smiling.
The group laughed, except for Scott, who was fuming. The conversation had taken a lighter turn, which in this case was making fun of Scott’s abnormal lifestyle.
Elementres spoke up, “One time I saw him struggling to read a sign. We were in Italy. It said ‘Come on in, we’re open!’”
The elves roared with laughter, again without Scott, who looked confused, “What? I can’t read Italian! So what?”
This only made them laugh harder and Nick explained to Scott, “Italian is one of the three Elvin languages. Elf is for proper, elegant situations, English is for everyday formats-”
“And Italian is for the low-class group, which every single elf can speak!” Fyrus burst out.”
Nick clutched his side as he laughed. He put his hand on Scott’s shoulder, “Oh, come now. Let’s not make fun of Scott for being illiterate. That’s not his fault...entirely. Let’s make fun of the fact that he can’t fly.”
There was a pause as everyone looked at Scott expectantly. 9volt broke the silence, saying, “Well? Is it true?”
Scott shook his head, exasperatedly confused, “Of course...I don’t know...what?”
Nick grinned. He chuckled, as if Scott was a small child that had made a mistake, “Scott, Scott, Scott. It’s simple Elvin logic. Walk with me.”
They resumed walking through the forest, with the others following close behind. Nick spoke comfortingly, “Two opposing elements bear down on you every day. Either one on their own would crush you. However, there is an equal match between the two that causes you not to be crushed. These elements are that of Wind, and Gravity. Gravity obviously pulls you down. A specific kind of Wind, called air pressure, pulls you up. By lowering the amount of Gravity, or heightening the amount of air pressure, an elf can hover.” To prove this, he began to walk while standing on a cushion of air. He was now significantly taller than Scott, causing him to look up to Nick while he was talking, “In order to move on this lack of Gravity or amplification of Wind, the elf simply manipulates the Wind around them to move about. Alternatively, they could just cause the gravity around them to move in a different direction, but this is similar to free-falling inside a potato sack.”
“No doubt,” Fyrus said unexpectedly, “Scott is perhaps the worst elf I have ever seen. You just explained flight to him, when most elves know it from birth. Clearly the most human-like elf I have ever seen.”
Elementres raised an eyebrow at this statement. Nick looked from Scott to Fyrus and back several times, indecisive. 9volt cleared his throat, “Maybe we should talk about something else.”
Nick nodded, “Yes. And let’s keep walking. It wouldn’t be wise to stay in one place too long, even here.”
They had stopped walking at Fyrus’ comment without realizing it. They continued walking, and 9volt nervously tried to relieve the tension with conversation, “I’m curious as to what Nc said at the Council. The thing about Gravitatious being missing for millions of years. Do you think she’s dead?”
“Obviously not,” Nick said impassively, “As her name implies, she is the Ruler of Gravity. And we still have Gravity, do we not?”
“She could have Passed her element,” Tyler pointed out.
“Passed?” Elementres said quizzically.
“When an elf in control of one of the elements dies, they have the power to grant it upon a successor.” Nick explained.
“And if they don’t?” Elementres asked.
“The element dies with them,” Fyrus said darkly. “Across the universe, every last bit of it disappears instantly.”
“We’re lucky that’s never happened,” Nick said coolly, “It would be disastrous for NSK, let alone the human population.”
9volt nodded, “So you’re saying that Gravitatious could have died, and Passed her element?”
“Maybe,” Nick said, “I don’t know enough about her. Interlock a few strands of thought, and possibly...”
He trailed off, stopping and looking around abruptly. He frowned, “Do you feel that?”
“What?” Venus asked.
Nick’s eyes shifted around the dark trees searchingly, “Something...like an increase in pressure or something.”
“Have we been going up a hill?” 9volt asked.
Elementres drew a knife, “No. But I feel it too. It’s bizarre...”
The others mumbled their agreements, with the exception of Scott. He looked around at them, saying, “I don’t feel anything.”
Nick took a few steps forward, and then turned towards the right, walking that direction for a bit. He nodded and scowled, “The pressure increases over here...it’s befuddling.”
He looked at the rest of the group for a moment and then took off through the trees, quite unexpectedly. They looked at each other in surprise, and then Elementres chuckled, running off after him, the rest lagging behind.
They twisted and turned through the forest, chasing after Nick. They traveled in a general rightward direction, but sometimes they veered off, once going one hundred twenty-five degrees in reverse. In seconds, everyone but Nick and Elementres were extremely fatigued, not to mention that the pressure was now almost unbearable. Still, they followed at a meager pace, not stopping for fear of losing sight of Nick or Elementres.
At one point Fyrus collapsed from the pressure and groaned loudly about it, further confusing Scott. All this way, he had still not noticed any change in pressure. He helped Fyrus to his feet and ran ahead, confidence growing.
Nick, Elementres, and Scott, thus, were the first to enter a small clearing. The trees were tall and old here, spreading their branches far and blocking out the sun more than usual. This hinted that this was the oldest part of the forest. On a large stump sat an old woman with pale wrinkled skin, and split gray hair. She looked as if she was meditating.
Fyrus, 9volt, Venus, and Tyler caught up with them. Fyrus gasped when he saw the woman. He dropped to the forest floor and lay still, saying, “It is the Ruler of Gravity.”
At these words the woman opened her eyes and looked at them. She did not show any sort of emotion. She grunted, “Yes, I am Gravitatious. For the last eight million years I have hidden myself away in this forest, away from any elves. Unfortunately, you have found me.”
Scott frowned. Everyone else seemed to be affected by the increase in gravity except for him and this woman. In fact, she seemed as if she could bounce towards them at any minute on her toes, despite her rotund appearance. He cleared his throat, “Gravitatious, why would you hide away all these years?”
She chuckled, “Is it not obvious? Have you not seen how corrupt and disproportionate Nc is to the rest of the elves? And not just him, but all of the others.”
“What do you mean?” 9volt asked, curious.
Gravitatious cocked her head, thinking, “Let me think...I think, of the Nefarious Twelve, the worst is by far Toranado.”
An odd sensation fell over Scott. He blinked and stared at the woman in front of him, looking at her in a new light.
“...he created his own kingdom among the humans. His own language! I was on my way to tell Nc, but he begged me not to! Being merciful as I was, I let it go, but he broke one of the most sacred Elvin laws; never interact with humans. Because of him, there are so many corrupt humans in the world! It’s all Toranado’s fault! He raised them like he raised his own children! Those filthy, bastard Lycanthropes!”
“No!” Scott shouted. He raised his arm and shot a blast of wind at the Ruler of Gravity. She merely waved her hand and the stream flitted away to the ground.
Gravitatious leaped to her feet a little more fast than they had thought possible. She slowly approached Scott menacingly, “So. You’re his son, are you? One of the Original Six, am I correct, Scott Lycanthrope?”
Scott nodded and she continued, “Ah, of course. No one in their right mind would defend Toranado, not if they knew what he did to his poor children.”
“What did he do?” Elementres growled through clenched teeth.
Gravitatious chuckled, “He tried to make them immortal from birth. Something to do with coming back to life after death, something in their central nervous system. However, he screwed up. Now his children are freaks, werewolves, unfit to be among the rest of us.” Scott growled, but she ignored it, “And now when they die, they come back to life as damned vampires! And it’s all Toranado’s fault!”
“Liar!” Scott screamed. He lashed out with his hand, trying to inflict blind pain to the Ruler of Gravity and failing miserably. She simply grabbed his arm and smirked.
Nick stepped forward, pulling a pistol from his pocket and pointing it at Gravitatious’ head. He shouted at her, “Stop! For being so wise as to the corruptions of Nc, you sure are prejudice yourself.”
Gravitatious narrowed her eyes at him. She let go of Scott and Nick’s gun flew into her hands. She studied it for a moment, and then tossed it away. It seemed to crush itself, finally imploding. They all gasped in shock.
“Well then,” Gravitatious said, cracking her knuckles, “If you really feel that way, then how would you feel if I did this?”
She snapped her fingers, and Nick and Scott were lifted off their feet, floating away. They struggled, but soon found their hands pinned to their sides. Elementres ran forward, but was stopped by Gravitatious’ hand. Nick saw this and yelled down to her, “Elementres, I’ll be fine! We both will! Don’t worry, just keep yourself safe!”
They both floated away, soon to be specks in the sky. Gravitatious looked back at the rest of them, “Now, who else shares their opinion? Because it’s not too late for you to join them...”
They looked at each other for a few seconds. 9volt opened his mouth bravely-
“None of us,” Elementres said quickly, glaring at 9volt. She gestured back the way they had come, saying, “Come on, let’s get out of this forest.”

+===+

December 31st, 2026.
London, England.
Nick awoke to a bizarre situation. He was in a dark room, with a single shaft of light in the center. All around him, it was raining money.
He groaned and sat up. He saw Scott staring up out of the hole and everything that had happened already that day came back to him with a bang. He growled and stood up, saying, “Scott, do you know where we are?”
Scott grunted, “No. I’m just wondering how we both managed to create that hole.”
Nick looked at it, and indeed it looked too small for them to fit through. He frowned, “How do you know we went through the hole? Isn’t there a door somewhere...?”
Scott pointed over his shoulder, “Yeah, over there, but it’s locked from the outside. I know we crashed through the hole because I became conscious right before impact.”
Nick grabbed one of the bills irately, saying, “And what are all of these things?”
“British money. I think we’re in an armored car.”
Nick froze, “What? How long have we been in here? Has anyone noticed?”
Scott looked at him, “You woke up only a few minutes after I did. And judging by the fact that we’ve stopped, I think the drivers have noticed, thank you very much.”
Nick swallowed, “But, doesn’t that mean...”
Scott nodded, “They’re right outside.”
At his words, and as if on cue, the doors swung open, blinding them with the sudden light. Two uniformed guards stood outside, silhouetted. They held large rifles, pointed at both of them. One of them shouted in a thick English accent, “Come out with your hands up.”
Nick and Scott looked at each other, their eyebrows raised. They held up their hands and walked forward. One of the guards lowered his weapon to retrieve his handcuffs from his back pocket.
Nick scoffed, “Amateurs.”
The one that had reached for the handcuffs looked up in surprise. He confusedly drawled out in his thick accent, “Wha-”
Nick waved his hand. The second guard’s gun veered into the first’s head, knocking him unconscious. Nick waved his hand again and the gun reared back in the guard’s hands. He struggled with it for a moment, slowly gaining an edge, when Nick grabbed the muzzle of the rifle.
He smiled, terrifying the guard. He shot Nick in the head and the bullet stuck in his forehead. Nick was unfazed. He wrenched the rifle out of his grasp and swung it around, smashing it into the guard’s temple.
Nick threw aside the gun as they jumped out of the armored car. In front of them was a gray, unmarked building with a large roof that didn’t seem to be able to be supported by the tiny first story. A flag pole and a sign stood outside, informing them that the building was the ‘England National Bank’.
Scott looked around casually, “Such a dreary place, England is.”
Indeed, the weather was downcast, gray, and exceedingly cloudy. Nick started to voice his agreement when he caught sight of a single snowflake, apparently the first of an upcoming snowfall, drift lazily down towards Scott. Nick pointed it out as it landed on one of Scott’s bang-hairs. The entire hair froze solid, down into Scott’s scalp.
Scott released a cry of pain as Nick plucked it out, staring at it. He slowly looked up, saying equally slowly, “Oh...”
He looked at the flag on the pole, waving wistfully in the wind. Then, like a descending, malevolent cloud, the flag froze in half a second, still in mid-wave. Nick finished his sentence, “...shit.”
It was as if the clouds above had suddenly opened up, dumping all of their flurries of snow upon them at once. They found themselves in the middle of a blizzard almost immediately. Every time one of them struck, it instantly froze the spot where it landed. Nick grabbed Scott’s arm and tore off through the storm.
Nick gritted his teeth as he practically dragged Scott through the blizzard, his eyes shut tight. Then, he saw something he hadn’t seen in a long time. He saw the scene around him, in a backwards-heat vision type of way. Only he was seeing it from a third-person perspective. He saw himself shivering in the center of the storm; Scott by his side, only half-awake. Watching himself, Nick took off towards the bank, unfazed by the cold.
He burst through the door to the bank and stalked off through the lobby, immune to the pain he felt everywhere. He opened his eyes and dropped Scott, saying, “That...was exactly the reason...not to get on 9ice’s bad side.” He swore as Scott sat up.
Scott groaned and stretched his back, “9ice. The dreaded Ruler of Cold?”
Nick growled, “You don’t understand, do you? Those temperatures outside, if I’m correct, were near absolute zero.”
“Absolute zero?”
“The lowest possible temperature in the universe. Humans have come close, but only in completely controlled, extremely small environments. 9ice, obviously, could unleash that hell upon anyone, anytime, anywhere. Those temperatures could freeze anything solid before they could do anything about it.”
Scott shuddered, “Why weren’t we affected?”
“We were. However, with everything else, it freezes from the inside out. Elves’ internal temperatures are regulated,” he tapped his head, “via their own mind. It’s hard for 9ice to take over that control.”
Scott nodded in understanding, even though he was wildly confused. He suddenly leaped to his feet, “Wait a second, we’re not safe yet? She knows we’re still here, right?”
Nick leaped to his side and grabbed Scott, running towards the far wall, saying, “My god, I hate-”
A bolt of lightning stuck the floor behind them with a deafening crack. They slowly turned around, staring at the smoldering burnt carpet where it had struck. They looked up to see a perfectly round hole in the ceiling where it had gone through.
Nick sighed.
A second bolt struck the floor where Nick’s foot had been; he had instinctively lifted his leg a fraction of a second before. He shouted at Scott, “Run!”
Another bolt narrowly missed Nick’s arm; he grabbed Scott by the arm and ran towards the far wall, weaving around as more and more lightning fell around them. Finally, one bolt fell behind Nick. He pushed Scott away and turned around, holding the lightning back with the palm of his hand. He struggled with it for a moment before throwing it sideways into the wall.
An ear-splitting screech resounded around them, “Enough!” A single lightning bolt struck the floor and 9volt the First stood there. He scowled and stomped towards them.
Nick swallowed, “Scott. You want to teleport us out of here anytime soon?”
Scott shook his head, “Oh, yeah, I forgot. Chaos Control,” he said, almost lazily.
They disappeared and 9volt I screamed in fury, electricity sparking uncontrollably all around him.

+===+

Continued in part two: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5988-cracker-chronicle-10-chaos-unofficial-part-two/

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Forget for a moment Elementres' signature knife throwing skills. Forget her assassinship (is that a word?) to me, and forget her bitter rivalry with Scott, Venus...and pretty much everybody else. And think back, all the way back, to the very first time she and I met. This is essential. Ladies and gentlemen, for the second Music Spotlight I present one for my girlfriend, the fan-favorite, little screentime holding Elementres Lycanthrope.

So, you've forgotten everything I told you about Elementres so far, right? Did you forget her knife-welding sociopathy? Or the fact that out of the 9.5 Cracker Chronicles I've written so far, she only appears in 3/10? And from that information, you don't have a lot to go off of, right? Well, I told you of the day I met her (and blew up the planet Venus, that should trigger a few memories), but only from my perspective. So what was Elementres feeling that whole time? Was she just as emotionless as she is in Vampire? Or the Creation of Mobius?

Enter Katy Perry.

Let's all pretend for a moment that all of Katy Perry's songs are alegories for something else. (For example, I'm 66% sure that she's not a lesbian) So, for every aligorical song she made, which one is about Elementres and me?

E.T. That's what.

In case you haven't heard it (at the time of writing, it's a fairly new song), here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18oYGsmUprM

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, forget every single thing you know about Katy Perry, her career, her genre of music, even the music of this song, and just focus on the lyrics. It is so uncanny...well, you'll see what I mean. Last time I went through the entire song, agreeing and picking out little parts...this time isn't like that. Here are the lyrics:

"You're so hypnotizing
Could you be the devil?
Could you be an angel?

Your touch magnetizing
Feels like I am floating
Leaves my body glowing

They say, be afraid
You're not like the others
Futuristic lover
Different DNA
They don't understand you

[Pre-Chorus]
You're from a whole 'nother world
A different dimension
You open my eyes
And I'm ready to go
Lead me into the light

[Chorus]
Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

Take me, ta-ta-take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

Boy, you're an alien
Your touch so foreign
It's supernatural
Extraterrestrial

[Verse 2]
You're so supersonic
Wanna feel your powers
Stun me with your lasers
Your kiss is cosmic
Every move is magic

[Pre-Chorus]
[Chorus]

[Bridge]
This is transcendental
On another level
Boy, you're my lucky star

I wanna walk on your wave length
And be there when you vibrate
For you I'll risk it all
All

[Chorus]
Kiss me, kiss me
Infect me with your love and
Fill me with your poison

Take me, ta-ta-take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

Boy, you're an alien
Your touch so foreign
It's supernatural
Extraterrestrial

Extraterrestrial
Extraterrestrial

Boy, you're an alien
Your touch so foreign
It's supernatural
Extraterrestrial"

...if you still don't get it, you failed. Think about Elementres' life until she met me; litterally everything she knew was peace, beauty, nothing anything remotely like that on Earth (After writing that sentence, I realized how hilariously unintentional that insult was). On that fateful day, she was convicted for slitting a total of twenty-three people's throats, three of which on that same day, *within ten minutes of each other and two of them were the equivilent distance of New York and L.A. apart.*

And all of that was not out of boredom, contrary to what you might believe. No, it was because of the Sven Law (yes, named after myself) that is basically the opposite of "Monkey See, Monkey Do". Basically, if you're surrounded by a group of like people, you won't adapt to be like them. You will become radically different from them (in mentallity, mind you. Elementres is still as beautiful as any other Venusian). So now Elementres is the only person on the entire planet who has a bloodlust and is not completely mindless (sorry, Venus). And as she's about to be thrown off a cliff...bam!

She sees another person about to be murdered (there's something seriously hypocritical about the Venusian legal system), who is a wisecracking, non-beautiful, witty elf that manages to kill off everyone on the planet, except her.

And it's not Scott.

So all of a sudden, all of this should make sense to you. Katy Perry's song and my releationship with Elementre aren't about someone different than the singer (in case you haven't noticed, me and Elementres are pretty similar), it's about someone completely different than the people *around* the singer. It's almost as if Katy Perry was Elementres in diguise...

I also want to point out that the word "transcendental" actually popped up in the song. This is significantly impressive, considering that *I actually had to look it up.* It means "Something that goes beyond ordinary limits." However, this is ruined by the next line, "On another level" which means the exact same thing. Nice job, Mr. Songwriter. Unless, of course, it was intentional...then it would be a stroke of genius.

This is just me, but I like to imagine E.T. was playing in my girlfriend's head when she first laid eyes on me :)

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Okay. It's July. And for the first time this year, I've made my deadline. Too bad this one really doen't count. I don't remember why I made this 9.5, but I think it was because I was originally going to cut this out of the Cracker, but remembered there are at least two important aspects to this story. However, I did cut out something that I will tell you at the end.

***

“Quick question, Scott. Relay to me what has happened in the past month alone.”
“Nick, this is ridiculous. We’re in a dark room, I’m strapped to a chair, I’ve been blindfolded, and on top of all of that, I can still recognize your voice.”
“Answer the question!”
There was a sigh, “Fine. Earlier this month, on the thirteenth of October, you unleashed Ace Pearson and Elementor Lycanthrope from death at New York City. They escaped and have not been seen since.
“Later on that same day, a total solar eclipse unlocked your doppelganger, Vici, to wreck havoc as he saw fit. He teamed up with Wario and the late Organization XIII in Miami, and after a random series of events, Vici left us, along with Organization XIII. Wario was sent hurtling out of the city via tank.
“You and I returned to New York just before the city was flooded. We sought shelter along with the rest of the city’s population (that were still alive). After this, almost the entire northern hemisphere fell prey to a deathly blizzard. Once the flood had frozen over, most of those people left, and presumably died from the cold.
“Among those that were left were four humans, a hobo, a dog, and Wario. We told them who we really were, and possibly due to what had traumatically happened, they chose to believe us without a second thought.
“Weeks passed, and our supply of food greatly diminished. Tensions rose (mostly between me and the dog) before NSK CEO Chuck arrived. With him and two other NSK employees, we all made it back to your house to retrieve your time machine. We went back in time twenty years and basically stopped global warming from ever happening.
“After we got back to our own time, fully normal once more, Chuck, the NSK employees, the dog, and the five humans all went to the classified NSK agency that works like a ‘witness protection program’. Are you satisfied?”
“Quite. Chuck has since been replaced by a new CEO, Joe. He works for NSK England Division.”
“Oh, thank God. Another English-speaking CEO. Remember the one from Australia? We couldn’t understand a word he said.”
“However, that is not the point. If your memory serves, you will consider when we were in New York, before the flood. Oddly, you said that you...sensed Ace’s presence, no?”
“That is correct.”
“As unusual as that is, turns out you were right. Ace was on that very block at the same time as us. If you would, turn your attention to the screen...”
A television flashed on, providing a bare minimum of light. It showed a news broadcast in which a female reporter stood outside a library in New York City. The reporter spoke: “We’re here today live to see the president cut the ribbon, celebrating the opening of the largest library in the world, The George W. Bush National Library. This building-”
There was a sudden din behind her. She ducked out of the way so that the cameraperson could catch the full scene. A large, light greenish orb appeared above the middle of the street before disappearing, leaving behind a tarnished bus. It was half crushed and leaked water. There was also a large tear on the top. The bus crashed to the ground, issuing immediate silence. The doors opened and Elementor, Ace, and another man sprinted out of it, not looking back.
The television switched off, sending them both back into darkness.
“You see, Scott, Elementor’s prowess was able to create a bubble-like shield around him, Ace, and the other man. The rest of the bus was crushed by water pressure and flooded, but they stayed high and dry. The bubble steadily grew as Elementor stayed dormant, eventually enveloping the rest of the bus, and its dead driver. It would seem that the bubble’s energy was so strong, it could defy time itself.
“We unleashed a mighty enemy, Scott. Your brother considers himself more than an elf; a deity in fact. This latest display of his power only supports his claim. We also have yet to engage Elementor in uninterrupted combat, so we have no lead as to the extent of his power. We are to proceed with our lives with caution, as he not only sides with Ace, but my brother as well. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, Nick.”

***

October 31st, 2026.
Nick’s house.
“Do you know why you are here today, Scott?” Nick said, clasping his hands together.
Scott surveyed Nick’s living room with mild interest, “No, I do not. This isn’t going to end up like that interview last week, is it?”
Nick frowned, “No. We have somewhere to be. Follow me to my fireplace.”
He turned and walked over to the brick mantel, where he tapped an inconspicuous button on one of the bricks. The glass covering the burning logs fell away, taking the firewood with it. Nick stepped into the spot where it had been, saying, “Come.”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “Of all the weirdest places I’ve been...”
Nick made an impatient gesture and Scott joined his side in the fireplace. The floor suddenly dropped beneath them, depositing them into two chairs. Lights flickered to life, revealing a tiny craft that still dropped with them in it. Nick flicked a few switches and strapped a seatbelt across his chest, motioning for Scott to do the same.
Scott suddenly noticed an insignia inscribed on the floor and stared at it, “Wait a second...is this the same craft that we used in 2014 to get to the Island in the Sky?”
Nick smiled slightly, “Yes, this is the same craft. NSK has made some upgrades and now we’re going to use it to blast into the farthest reaches of space.”
Scott furrowed his brow, “But if we are going into space...why are we going down, to the Earth’s core?”
Nick chuckled, “Are we now?”
They turned to the windshield to watch the spacecraft’s decent. The brown dirt steadily was replaced by red-hot magma, and that then changed to a white-hot substance. Still their speed grew, and the substance was replaced again by red, and then brown. Scott’s eyes grew slightly, “We’re going through the Earth.”
Nick’s eyes shone as he nodded, “Yes, we are going straight through.”
The brown dirt was soon replaced by the blue of the ocean water. Scott gripped the arms of his chair tight, “Where are we?”
Nick shrugged, “We went straight through the Earth. You know basic geography. Guess.”
“China?”
“Goddamn-No. We are in between Australia and New Zealand, approximately. Get ready.”
There was a sharp lurch as the craft burst out of the ocean, flying straight up through the air. The craft shook as the ground below steadily faded away, and soon after the clouds. Finally, they were in space.
Nick chuckled slightly, “Successful.” He grabbed the wheel in front of him and started to maneuver the craft, angling it towards open space. He nodded, “We’re about to blast off at near light speed. You might want to hang on to something.”
As Scott hugged himself, Nick flipped a switch and pressed a floor pedal. The craft started to move forward very fast, but there seemed to be no change to the occupants of the craft.
Scott relaxed and Nick laughed, “Actually, you don’t need to hold onto anything at all. My bad.”
Scott fumed in his seat, “Alright, where are we headed?”
Nick scanned the controls of the craft, “Well, you always are pestering me, wanting to go to your eggsack.”
“I would prefer if you called it a ‘planet’, thank you.”
“But where’s the fun in that?” Nick said. He shrugged, “Fine, we are headed to your planet. I’ve done some research, and I’ve found that in the entire universe, only two other planets are the equal distance from the center of the universe, Nc’s home, Polaris, as planet Earth, my own eggsack. We are headed off to each of these or just one if the first turns out to be your planet.”
Scott grinned, “Hey, thanks!”
Nick grunted and looked out the window at the planet coming up to the left, “But first we’re going to stop at Saturn. I need to have a word with Sam.”

***

October 31st, 2026.
Uranus.
Elementor cracked his knuckles as he stepped up to the door of his master’s office. He knocked on the door gently, “Master, may I come in? It is urgent.”
There came a muffled voice on the other side, “Yes, come in. Please make yourself decent. I provided some large leafs.”
Elementor scowled and looked down. He sighed and grabbed the leaves to the side, using them to cover his crotch. He opened the door and stepped inside.
The office was entirely filled with slithering and softly hissing snakes. It was hard to tell what kind of furniture there was because of it. Behind a desk-shaped pile of snakes, on a chair-shaped pile of snakes, sat a man, covered up to his neck in serpents. He smiled, “What is this news you bring to me, my apprentice?”
Elementor swallowed, “A small craft passed by not too long ago, Uranus. I think it might have been your brother.”
Uranus drew himself up in his chair, and the snakes adjusted themselves to cover his back and the seat of the chair, “Earth?”
Elementor nodded, “Yes.”
Uranus sighed and leaned back into the chair, spinning in it a little. He had a far-off look in his eyes as he thought out loud: “I have not had the privilege to launch an attack upon dear brother Nick since 1432, and I haven’t even given it thought since Master Zack took you to his own bidding. In 2014, Zack, Elementis, and yourself passed, leaving me alone to my thoughts for the last twelve years. And now, Master is still dead, but my apprentice has returned.” He looked at Elementor directly, “Along with a human apprentice. Are you sure he is as powerful as he says he is?”
Elementor nodded, “He has shown exceptional combat skills in the training facility. His power far surpasses that of an ordinary human. I assure you, he will be a great...infuriation to Nick and Scott.”
Uranus put his feet on his snake-desk gently, “Excellent. Ready my ship and bring him. We are going to launch a full-fledged war on dear brother Earth.”
Elementor cocked his head, “We are following after them?”
Uranus held up his arm, and a snake slithered up its length, “Yes. We are.”
“And what if we are discovered?”
He sat straight up in his chair, placing his feet back behind the desk. “If they find out that we are in pursuit, send them this precise message,” he said, spreading his arms wide and smiling evilly, “Bite me.” As if on cue, all of the serpents in the room straightened up and hissed madly, before lunging and sinking their fangs into Uranus’ flesh.

***

October 31st, 2026.
Deep Space.
After stopping on Saturn for a brief time, Nick and Scott restarted their journey through space without any mishaps. Nick distracted himself with the controls while Scott stared blankly ahead.
Nick flipped a switch, “Okay, after we get out of the solar system, we’re going to use a speed faster than light. So when I tell you to hold onto something, I’m not frickin’ kidding.”
Scott gripped his chair’s armrests tightly, “Faster than light? Okay, now I know you are most definitely screwing me over.”
Nick shook his head, “No, it’s true. It has several different names, but basically the speed of light is considered the fastest thing there is because nothing else in the universe travels faster than it. However, the sad truth is that even the speed of light is pretty slow with the relative size and distance of our universe. Elves do have the ability to travel at speeds faster than that of light, and that’s what we’re going to do now.”
Nick lifted the cover of a small case, revealing a timer with a button in the center. He switched it to five seconds, explaining, “According to illegal Elvin research I have compiled, the speed we are about to use to go has a very exact measurement of how far you travel in a single second. Going this distance, you can go from one end of the universe to the other in a matter of seconds. Interestingly, at any given moment the widest point of the universe is exactly ten of these units. Sure, it keeps expanding, but only enough so that to fill in the shorter lengths. And the distance to our destination is five of these units from Earth.”
Scott started to point out something, but Nick slammed down hard on the button, rocketing them far through space faster than the speed of light. For exactly five seconds, there was a vivid burst of obscurity through the windshield, and then it abruptly stopped.
There were noises of applications shutting down as they slowed to a halt, gravity returning steadily. The spacecraft started to hurtle out of control, and they caught a glimpse of a planet below. The pod crashed into the turquoise ground, bouncing a few leagues before coming to a stop.
The door opened with a hiss, and Nick shakily stepped out. As Scott followed, Nick sniffed, “The ground is blue. That’s odd. Also, there is a very rich atmosphere, but it’s colorless.” He narrowed his eyes, “There’s a strong trace of nitrogen, but little else. Maybe...carbon dioxide? Bizarre...”
Scott stumbled forward and grabbed Nick’s shoulder in order to keep himself upright, “I don’t care what kind of air is here, I just want to know if it’s my planet.”
A knife settled on Scott’s shoulder, gently rubbing against his neck. Scott jumped in surprise and fell to the ground. He held his head and looked up at the person that held the knife, “Elementres! You nearly gave me a heart attack!”
Elementres drew up her knife so that it barely scratched against her cheek, “Nearly?”
Scott scowled, “What are you doing here, anyway?”
She shrugged, “I followed you.”
“How?” Scott said with a frown.
Elementres gestured with her knife to the spacecraft, “I hid in the bathroom. Like always.”
Scott furrowed his brow, “The bath...like alwa...now what does that say about you, huh?”
“Oh, shut the hell up, Scott!”
“Go to hell!”
“I’ll meet you when I get there!”
“Quiet!” Nick screamed. He walked out into the open and turned around. “Your fighting is going to have to cease eventually, but now’s not the time to get it over with. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes,” Scott and Elementres simultaneously apologized.
“Thank you,” Nick said quietly. He turned and started to walk, quickly followed by the two assassins.

***

October 31st, 2026.
Unnamed Planet.
“I’m just saying it takes balls to assassinate President Kennedy in front of thousands of people. You don’t see anything of that caliber nowadays, do you?”
“Yeah, but now there are inventions like high resolution video cameras. It’s not as easy to get away without being seen, and that’s the real difficult part.”
“It just means there’s more of a challenge. I would attempt to assassinate the president just to see if I could. Hell, I would walk right up to him, shake his hand, draw a gun and shoot him dead right then and there.”
“Well, that kind of ruins the whole secrecy factor, doesn’t it?” Elementres said, raising an eyebrow.
Nick scowled and held up a hand, “Guys, enough of that. There’s a sign.”
Scott frowned and poked his head around Nick. Sure enough, there was a wooden sign in front of him with Scott’s real name on it.
“‘Elemental’...” Elementres read.
Nick scratched his chin, “Now why would there be a sign in the middle of nowhere? It’s kind of impractical, isn’t it?”
“I think I would be more concerned about the fact that my name’s on it,” Scott said, raising an eyebrow.
Nick chuckled lightly, “It’s not your name, Scott. It’s the planet’s name. This is your eggsack.”
Scott groaned and made a face, “I thought we agreed we weren’t going to use that term anymore!”
Nick laughed, “It’s just addicting! I can’t resist!”
Elementres spun her knife around, gripping it hard, “Look out!” She tackled them out of the way as a large blue-purple spherical object crashed to the ground right where they had been.
They stood up hesitantly. Nick groaned, “What the hell?”
A horizontal line appeared around the center of the sphere, snapping open. The top half rose up on metal bars, flashing a white backlight on the three silhouettes inside. They stepped forward to reveal their identities.
“Ace!” Scott screamed.
“Elementor...and Uranus,” Nick spat bitterly.
Scott collapsed, laughing and holding himself. “My what?” he yelled out in between bursts of laughter.
Uranus growled in annoyance, “Why is it that whenever I visit Earth, and the humans speak English, they make fun of me? And it turns out that it doesn’t stop with them! The goddamned werewolves are in on it too!” He kicked the dirt, sending it directly into Scott’s agape mouth and his eyes. He coughed and rubbed his watering eyes, giggling painstakingly.
Nick smiled, “Well, you’ve waited long enough, Uranus. I haven’t seen you in a thousand years or so, brother, so I’ll give you this gem. When the Americans were trying to decide what to name the butt hole, and since they had already had the word ‘your’ I generously supplied them with a word for it; ‘anus!’ Your anus! Uranus!”
Uranus screamed in anger, “I knew it! I always had a feeling that you, Earth, were the cause of my misfortune!”
“I have a solution!” Nick shouted, “Don’t go to my Earth! Ever! Got it?”
Uranus scowled, “Fine. We are agreed. However, you have...something that is to be repaid.”
Nick raised an eyebrow, “Oh? Do tell.”
“You don’t remember, do you?”
“Of course I remember. I remember everything.”
“Then what is it?”
Nick made a face and rubbed his chin, “Uh...” He scratched his head.
“It’s why I hate you,” Uranus said through clenched teeth.
Nick sucked in a breath of air and opened his mouth expectantly. He sighed, “Nope, I forgot. Sorry.”
“You owe me your life.”
Nick frowned, “Oh. That.”
“I saved your life, and in return you were supposed to grant me some control over Life. However, you cheated me, and now everything I touch dies.” He leaned close to Nick’s face, “You granted me a curse, Sven. The curse of controlling poison.”
Nick grinned warily, “Technically, any animal with its own toxins are immune to you-”
Uranus lashed out and grabbed Nick by the throat. Elementres drew a knife and started, but was held back by Scott.
Uranus’ voice seeped with fury, “Technicalities, Earth. I had to make those animals myself. There are three forms in this universe; Life, Death, and the ability to cross over between the two. You gave me the third one. Your debt still needs to be settled.”
With his free hand Uranus drew a sword. He smiled evilly, “I’m sure you’re familiar with Venom? Laced with enough poison to kill an elf. Made especially for you!”
Scott lost his grip on Elementres and she pounced on Uranus, stabbing him deep in the stomach. He cringed and dropped Nick, and then an acid-like substance leaked from the wound and disintegrated the knife. Elementres widened her eyes and stepped back.
Nick rubbed his neck. “No. Not today, Uranus, I can’t do this today. I mean, you saved my life. Why kill me? It just seems like a lot of extra work for you. What did you even bring them for, anyway?” he said, motioning towards Elementor and Ace.
“They’re here to make sure you don’t make things...difficult.”
Nick scowled and looked away, “Fine, but my assassins are going to make sure your assassins don’t get in the way.”
Uranus shrugged, “Who said they would get in the way?”
Scott, who had been growling softly this entire time, suddenly leaped and tackled Ace. Nick sighed, “Okay, fine, how about this: We each get to fight each other in a one-on-one match. I’ll fight you, Scott will fight Ace, and-”
He stopped abruptly, realizing something. He ran over to Scott and tore him off of Ace, “Scott, you’re going to have to fight Elementor.”
Scott’s mouth fell open, “Damn you, why?”
Nick nodded his head back towards Elementres, “She’s not going to be able to stand up to him. Let her fight a human, and not an elf.”
Scott growled, “Fine. But you owe me. And she owes me too.”
Nick spun on his heel, “Okay, Uranus,” Scott giggled behind him, “Change of plans. I fight you, Scott fights Elementor, and Elementres will fight Ace.”
Uranus crossed his arms, “That sounds fair.”
“Best two out of three,” Nick continued, “If your side wins...”
Uranus grinned, “You’ll be dead.”
Nick swallowed, “Case in point. And if our side wins, we call a truce and we walk away, never to bother each other ever again.”
Scott frowned and whispered something in Nick’s ear. Nick sighed, “Fine, Scott wants Ace to use as his slave, who he will eventually kill.”
Ace’s eyes grew wide as Uranus and Elementor looked at each other. Elementor shrugged, “We kind of win either way.”
Uranus turned back to them, “Your terms are agreed upon. Commence!” He screamed and lunged forward, slashing Venom at Nick. Nick drew the Fli Sword and blocked the oncoming sword.
The ground under Elementor’s feet burst and water flowed out of it, forming a cocoon around him. He gestured towards Scott and a stream broke off, slapping Scott across the face. Scott groaned in pain and rubbed his cheek. He clenched his teeth and cracked his knuckles.
Elementres leaped forward, stabbing a knife at Ace’s ribs. Ace cried out in surprise and dropped to the ground. The knife sailed over his head and Elementres released a cry of disappointment.
Nick and Uranus locked swords and sparks flew off of the metal. They were thrown back a few feet. They jumped into the air and slashed at each other, again locking swords in midair. They stayed there, hovering, for a few seconds, before letting go and slashing madly at each other.
Elementor, safely inside his aquatic cocoon, raised his arms to the heavens. Around him, water surged from the ground, creating gravity-defying waterfalls. More water erupted from the ground, the apex growing higher and the radius around Elementor growing longer. Scott panicked and ran away from the oncoming flood, shouting, “This is ridiculous!”
Elementres drew a second knife and stabbed fluently at Ace’s pale flesh. For each extravagant step she took forward, Ace took an awkward step back in order to avoid the blade, like a violent dance. At one point Ace managed to grab her wrist, and looked at it in shock, surprised that he had successfully attempted such a feat. Elementres merely spun his arm around, and he winced in pain as his face fell into the bluish dirt.
Still in midair, Nick and Uranus hacked their swords at each other, colliding and sending sparks flying all around them. A single drop of poison dripped down the length of Venom and Uranus growled, pushing Nick away. “Stop that!” he shouted, “You’re melting the poison!”
Nick cocked his head, “You know, by telling me not to do that, I want to do it more than ever.” He lunged through the air, swinging the Fli Sword over his head. Uranus blocked, holding the hilt of Venom with two hands due to the awkward angle. Nick kicked him in the stomach, causing him to double over. Nick spun his sword around and smashed the hilt into Uranus’ head, sending him hurtling to the ground.
Elementor, consumed inside of all of the water he had brought up out of the ground, spun around and thrust his hand forward. All of the water, every last drop, surged away in an instant, so that Elementor was left bare. Scott’s eyes grew wide as the massive wall of water crashed into him, sending him hurtling over the horizon. Elementor landed on the ground and looked around. He shrugged, “Well, I guess he was weaker than I thought. I never planned on him actually flying that far away.”
Elementres picked up Ace by the neck and threw him into the air. As he fell, she jumped and kicked him in the face. She redrew her knives and pounced towards Ace, only to find he had disappeared. Something tapped her shoulder and she spun around to see Ace holding an orb of energy. He chuckled, “Say goodbye!”
Something flew past, grabbing Ace and taking him with it. Elementres’ mouth hung open in confusion for a moment, and then she closed it, shrugging. “Goodbye,” she said playfully.
Ace, despite the high speed he was going, opened his eyes to see what was holding his chest. It was Scott, wrapped entirely inside of the torrent Elementor had created. He lifted Ace up over his head and smashed his body into that of Elementor himself.
Scott jumped away from the mess and landed next to Elementres. The water drained away, and Elementor groaned and stood up, “This is against regulations...”
Scott chuckled, “When you’re me, the rules don’t apply.” He ran up and kicked Elementor in the crotch. He grabbed Ace by the shirt collar and threw him to Elementres, shouting, “Don’t drop him!”
Elementres laughed and leaped into the air, elbowing Ace in the face. She cleanly landed on her feet, while Ace collapsed to the ground, groaning and clutching his bleeding nose.
Nick landed on the ground as Uranus got to his feet. They ran towards each other, energy coating their swords, steadily growing faster as they approached one another. They reached each other and clashed swords, neither of them giving way for a split second.
Then the Fli Sword shattered.
The noise was loud, so Scott, Elementor, Elementres, and Ace all heard it. They stopped fighting to look at them. Uranus took a step back in shock. His grip on Venom became slack. Nick wavered, looking at the hilt of his sword, the only part that remained intact. He blinked, “That...was a present from ShadowNc.”
Uranus’ eyes grew wide and he took another step back, “I-I don’t know what to...”
Nick dropped the hilt, issuing complete silence from him. He swallowed. His face twitched into a wrathful frown. He screamed and surged forward, attacking Uranus with a fury of blows, never touching him for more than a second at a time. He punched him beneath the jaw, following by grabbing his head and smashing it into the ground. Nick picked him by the neck and threw him with all his might. He ran so fast he seemed to teleport directly to the spot where Uranus landed. After he had smashed into the ground, he bounced and Nick smashed both of his fists into his spine. All this time Uranus still held onto Venom.
Ace crawled to Elementres’ side and tapped her leg, weakly watching Nick and Uranus the whole time. She looked at him and he stood up, groaning, “You know, I’d be fine with just giving up at this point. I mean-”
She drew a knife and slammed the dull end into his head, knocking him unconscious. She then placed the knife back into its scabbard as if nothing had happened.
Elementor walked up to Scott, who was watching Nick beat Uranus to death with intent. Elementor whispered softly, “Do you hear it?”
Scott frowned and turned to him, “What?”
“Before one of our crafts appears, a sound is heard. Like...gelatin being cut. The odd thing is that only our craft was scheduled to be out today.”
Scott frowned, “Our?”
Elementor gestured towards the blue-purple sphere, “Uranian built. Spheres, with a gyro system and...other features.”
Scott squinted at it, “Hey, I’ve seen one of those before...”
Elementor pointed up at the sky. A point seemed distorted, before collapsing in on itself and exploding. A white-hot ball of metal shot out of the hole and hurtled towards Nick.
As Uranus got to his feet, Nick looked up and saw the impending meteor, and jumped backwards to avoid it. It crashed where he had been and all of them – except for Ace, who was still unconscious – cautiously approached it.
The metal cooled to reveal a ruined red-orange paint. Elementor gasped, “I knew it was a Uranian craft. But who is inside?”
As if answering his question, a line appeared diagonally across the craft, opening at an awkward angle. A figure stumbled from it, “Wow, who knew? That was amazing!” He gathered his bearings and then leaped away from the craft. He shook his head and his ruffled brown hair seemed to fix itself.
Nick cocked his head and squinted at him, “I don’t believe my eyes. Zack?”
Elementor mumbled to himself, “No doubt.”
“Master?” Uranus said, taking an incoherent step forward.
Zack turned around and acknowledged them for the first time since his arrival, “Ah! So many familiar faces, I hardly believe my eyes!”
Nick frowned, “But...how is this possible? You fell into a black hole-”
“In the year 2024, yes,” Zack interrupted. He looked intently at Nick and walked towards him, studying his face, “What year is it? I’m guessing I am in the future, because you remember past events, but you seem unchanged. What year is it?”
“2026,” Elementres replied, even though the question wasn’t directed towards her.
Zack scowled, “So many years of research...wasted! I only went forward in time two years! Useless!”
“You survived a black hole,” Scott pointed out, “That’s pretty impressive.”
Zack sighed, “I guess you’re right.”
Uranus hesitantly walked up to Zack and grasped his shoulder. He narrowed an eye, “You...you’re not dead?”
Zack shook his head, “You of all people, Uranus, should know that when it’s widely known that I’m dead, I’m actually alive and my health is just fine, thank you.”
Uranus took a step back and Zack looked around at them, “Ah, I think I know what’s going on here. You all fought one another, on this very spot, yes? No use denying it; it’s very obvious. Now, stop all that. A truce was put up between me and them,” he gestured towards Nick and Scott, “years ago, and you two,” he gestured towards Uranus and Elementor, “should follow my example.”
Behind him, Ace groaned and got to his feet. He turned towards where everyone else was standing, and was confused by the appearance of Zack. He frowned, muttering under his breath, and walked towards them.
Nick, Scott, and Elementres turned to Uranus and Elementor. Nick stepped forward, offering his hand. Uranus looked at it for a moment and then accepted it. He unexpectedly pulled back, kneeing Nick in the stomach. He let go of Nick’s hand and held Nick’s face with his right hand. With his left hand, he held a tiny drop of poison. He pressed it into the skin near Nick’s left eye and then let go of him altogether. Uranus turned away, “Nicholas Sven, our debt is settled.”
Nick held his eye and turned to Scott and Elementres, who looked at him with alarm. Nick’s legs collapsed under him and Scott supported him. Elementres gently brushed Nick’s hand away from his face to see the damage. Nick took a sharp intake of breath, “Is it bad?”
Elementres’ mouth twitched, “Not really.” She reached into Nick’s pocket and pulled out a hand mirror, holding it up so that Nick could see. On the outer edge of his left eye was a small fishbone scar.
Nick stood up and spun around, “A fishbone scar?” He shouted, enraged, “That’s it?”
Uranus clenched his fist and growled, “Would you prefer something greater?”
Nick backed away, “I’m fine.”
Zack smiled, “There. Was that so hard? It was exactly like settling your differences through combat...except without the combat.”
As Uranus and Elementor turned to walk to their ship, Nick scoffed, “Yes, I bet you know all about that, don’t you, Flo?”
Zack frowned, blinked, and then cocked his head, “Flo?”
“Yeah. Short for ‘Florens’.”
Zack thought this over, “I like that nickname. Very interesting, indeed.”
“What’s this about a settlement?”
Zack turned around to see a puzzled and slightly furious Ace standing behind him. He smiled, “And who are you?”
“Ace,” he said blankly, “Apprentice of Elementor.”
“Ah,” Zack said, slightly amused, “So you are my apprentice’s apprentice’s apprentice.” He chuckled to himself.
Ace cocked his head, “So I don’t get to exact my revenge on him?” he said furiously, jabbing a finger at Scott.
Zack stared at Ace intently, “Of course not.”
Ace seethed with rage, “I refuse to accept this! I no longer wish to be the apprentice of Elementor if it means thi-”
Zack cut him off by grabbing his neck and drawing a sword, holding it up to Ace’s neck, “I don’t think you are aware of what we elves mean by ‘apprentice’, human. When we say ‘apprentice’,” he twisted his sword, reflecting the light sinisterly, “we mean ‘apprentice...for life.’ Is that understandable for your feeble human mind?
Ace fearfully nodded and Zack sheathed his sword. “Excellent!” he said, turning back to Nick, Scott, and Elementres, “You, my friends, have nothing to worry about when it comes to those Uranians. I will convince them, if they have not yet been convinced.”
Nick nodded, “Thank you. And congrats.”
Zack narrowed his eyes and slightly gripped Ace’s neck tighter. He looked like he was carrying a pheasant. “On what, may I ask?”
Nick winked, “On not dieing, Flo.”
Zack laughed heartily and turned away, teleporting away. The purple-blue Uranian sphere rose into the air and disappeared with a popping sound.
Nick sighed, “Well, Scott. I think we’re done here. No reason to ever come to your eggsack ever again.”
Scott scratched his chin, “Not quite.”
He ran over to the sign that still stood, despite everything that had happened, and he pulled a marker from his pocket. He scribbled out the name on the front and turned it around, scrawling something on the back.
Nick and Elementres approached as he finished, making a kissing noise and saying, “Muy magnifico!” Elementres giggled slightly at the words. The sign now read, ‘Welcome to Mobius!’
“Is that short for something, I wonder?” she said, “Emphasis on...short.”
Scott scowled and Nick thought it over, “Isn’t Mobius the name of that world on the Sonic the Hedgehog games?”
Scott shrugged, “Yeah, but I called dibs on the name. If Sega doesn’t respect me, then I won’t respect their copyright laws.”
Nick laughed, “Fine by me. But, Mobius is missing something.”
Elementres raised an eyebrow, “It’s where Scott was born. It should be blown up. What could it possibly be missing?”
Scott growled, “What is it, Nick?”
Nick held up a Life Orb, “What I did to Earth millions of years ago – used a single Life Orb to cover the planet in Life – has never been replicated. Not on a scale as large as that.” He winked, “I think we should come back here. You know, eventually.”
“Wait!” Scott shouted, “Only cover half the planet in life. I want the other half to be a giant city. I have great visions of it! There will be giant buildings, colossal New York City skyscrapers...”
As Scott babbled on, Nick and Elementres laughed at his enthusiasm. Elementres turned to him, “Are we really going to return here?”
“Not just return,” he chuckled, “We are going to live here. Eventually, we won’t have to worry about humans, because...”
He gestured to Scott, who was talking to himself: “...oh, and humans! I will rule over an army of them! As a king! I’ll have a magnificent throne in a castle, made of solid gold! The throne, not the castle, mind you...”
Nick clicked his tongue, “Yes, living here on Mobius will be amazing. Just wait until Scott learns he’s going to have to build all the skyscrapers himself.”
“What do you mean?” Elementres said innocently.
Nick grinned, “Even if I covered Mobius in Life energy today, at the earliest humans wouldn’t show up until about this time next year!”

***

I did cut out what happened on Saturn, with Sam and my sister Saturn. Because, frankly, I'm not exactly sure what happened there myself, okay? Oh...and Scott's a really big pervert. Just thought I'd let you know that. In case you hadn't figured it out yet. Anyway...any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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*sigh* I was really hoping to avoid this...

+===+

October 13th, 2026. Pre-evening.
Miami, outside the Organization XIII building.
Scott burst out of the Organization XIII building, carrying Luna. He gasped for breath and looked around. Dozens of NSK employees had gathered in the area. One walked up to Scott, saying: “Greetings. I am the leader of NSK Florida Division. My name is Robert. I see you have Luna.”
Scott laughed, “I know. It’s a shame she’s not legal, am I right?”
Robert stared at him for a time, and then acted like he hadn’t spoken at all, “The best way to stop this tirade is for Luna to get away from here as soon as possible, ending the total solar eclipse.”
Scott stuck out his tongue, “Eh, you’re no fun. Get someone else to carry her away from here. The reinforcements and I will hold back Vici.”
Robert scratched the back of his head, “About that, sir...”
Scott looked around, “Wait, where are the weapons?”
Robert swallowed, “The only thing we could afford...” he gestured to a tracked, armored fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offence, and defensive capabilities, “...was this one tank.”
“One tank?” Scott said, his jaw dropping, “Are you serious?”
Robert shrugged, “It’s all we could fit in the budget.”
Scott scowled, “NSK really needs to get a financial advisor or something. The entire budget situation is screwed up.” He sighed, “Fine. Just wait for my signal, and keep the turret locked on Vici. Got it?” Without waiting for a response, Scott shoved Luna into Robert’s arms and leaped through the air, landing on top of the tower of the Organization XIII building.
Scott stomped on the roof, “Oy! I know you’re in there, so come and get some!”
The brickwork under his feet exploded, and Vici rushed out of the newly formed hole. Vici growled, brandishing his sword in his left hand.
Scott and Vici scowled and circled each other. Scott nodded, “So. It comes to this. One final battle,” he chuckled lightly, “If only I had a sword to fight it with.”
Vici narrowed his eyes and sheathed his sword, “If you don’t have a sword, then my use of one would not be fair at all, would it be? Hand-to-hand combat. Go.”
Vici jumped over the hole in the roof and screamed, bringing his fist down viciously. Scott dodged to the side and kneed Vici in the chest, lashing out with his foot to kick him in the ear.
Vici growled and grabbed Scott’s foot, flinging him across the roof. Scott tumbled towards the edge, stopping and leaping to his feet. Scott charged across the pinnacle, punching at Vici’s chest. Vici grabbed his fist, swinging him around and slamming him into the ground. He pulled him up and punched him in the jaw. He turned and prepared to throw Scott off the tower, but stopped short. Clearly visible below, a group of about four men were carrying Luna away. They had only run about fifty meters.
Scott groaned, “Why? Why are humans so slow?” he turned to Vici, who was still holding him up, “Am I right? Don’t trust a human to do an-”
Vici screamed and threw Scott down to the ground below, next to the tank and an astonished Robert. Scott leaped to his feet and turned to Robert, “There’s no one in this tank, is there?”
Robert stammered, “Uh, no, no one. Are you all right, sir?”
“I’ll be fine,” Scott said, grabbing the tank’s large caliber main gun, “But Vici won’t be.” He flung the entire tank over his head, directed at the top of the tower.
Vici jumped up, avoiding the tank. The vehicle crashed through the tower, devastating the roof. Wario, who had been inside the building, was now desperately clinging to the tank, screaming panicky as he hurtled through the sky.
Scott frowned, “Well...that didn’t work.”
Vici landed on the Miami street and walked up to Scott maliciously. He growled, “You’re next.”
He turned and ran towards the four humans carrying Luna. Scott shuddered, “Oh, maybe I should help out those guys. Eh.” He took off after Vici.
Meanwhile, Vici had caught up to the humans that were in charge of Luna. He grabbed the first by the back of his neck and threw him up into the air. Vici then grabbed two others, holding them up while he kneed the final NSK employee in the stomach. He clapped all three of them together, and then threw the two that he held up to join the first. Twin jets of flame formed in his hands, growing ominously brighter before he released the inferno, incinerating the three NSK members.
Vici turned and growled at the final member, who was struggling to hold Luna by himself. Vici stomped up to him and grabbed Luna out of his arms. Vici gently lay her down on the ground, and then swiftly drew his sword and stabbed it through the NSK member’s stomach. Vici contently wiped his sword clean on his shirt.
As he collapsed, Scott ran past, carrying Luna. He laughed, “Thank you, NSK! I thank you for the wonderful distraction! When I learn your names I will never forget you!”
Vici growled and looked behind him, where Luna was absent from the ground where he had set her. He screamed in annoyance and ran after Scott, energy coating his blade and his eyes shining bright with viciousness.
Scott clutched Luna close and muttered to himself with fear very blatant, “Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit! Ah!”
A twisted piece of metal struck his leg and stuck there, painfully stopping him in his tracks and almost tripping him. Nevertheless, Scott hopped along on one foot until Vici ran up to his side and elbowed him in the chest.
Scott grunted in pain and fell to one knee, still clutching Nick’s daughter close. Vici growled with intent, “I think it would be in everyone’s best interest if you set the girl down, stand up, and fight me so that I can knock you back down the honorable way.”
Scott closed his eyes in apparent defeat, “Yeah, well...” he looked up and opened his eyes, which were shining, “You thought wrong.”
He leaped to his feet and threw Luna over Vici’s head. As Vici slashed with his sword, Scott painstakingly raised his cuffed leg up, allowing Vici’s sword to cut through the metal. As it fell away, Scott saluted him, “Thanks mate. Now, if you excuse me, I have a bonny lass to save. Adios.”
Scott clicked his tongue and ran after Luna’s rapidly falling figure. Vici screamed in protest and ran after him.
As Vici closed the gap, Scott desperately looked over his shoulder but mostly kept his eyes locked on Luna. Just before Vici slashed him to ribbons, Scott made a death-defying jump, catching Luna in midair and rolling across the asphalt.
Vici furiously treaded towards Scott, his fuming form casting a dark shadow on him. Scott swallowed, “Hey, Vici. See you later.”
Vici confusedly narrowed his eyes.
Scott chuckled frivolously, “Your shadow. The eclipse is over, Vici. Bye-bye.”
Vici’s eyes grew and he looked to the sky. Sure enough, the moon had moved far enough away from the sun that the eclipse had ended, and the suns rays now allowed Vici to cast a shadow. He raised his head to the heavens and screamed, “No!”
Vici collapsed to the ground, and there was a bright flash of light. Scott turned away and gently started to shake Luna awake, “Hey, Luna. Get up. Seriously, if you don’t wake up, your dad’s going to screw me over.”
There was a groan behind him. Scott looked over his shoulder at Vici-Nick, “Hey, who are you?”
He spoke in Nick’s unaccented voice, “It’s me, Scott. Don’t you recognize your best friend?”
Scott released a burst of laughter.
Luna distantly opened her eyes. She blinked for a few seconds, and then spoke in her dream-like voice, “What happened?”
Scott stopped laughing and cleared his throat, “Well, I don’t know for sure how you would describe how things happened, but it would appear that I single-handedly saved you both from utter destruction.”
Nick grunted, “Scott, they wouldn’t have killed her, because they needed her for-” He cut himself off, realizing something.
He helped Luna to her feet and then hugged her, “I’m so sorry this happened,” he whispered, “I never thought that my doppelganger would be a recurring character in my life, and even if he was, you would be far away when he showed up.”
Luna laughed mystically, “That would be kind of hard considering that we would be in the same general area.”
Nick smiled and closed his eyes.
Scott, apparently disheartened by all of this sincerity, suddenly pulled a tape recorder from his pocket. He pressed the record button and spoke into it: “Note to self: I have realized a very confusing phenomenon. First there were werewolves at twilight. Next there were vampires during a new moon. And now evil doppelgangers come forth on an eclipse. What’s next, a zombie invasion at the break of dawn? Sometimes I feel like my life is a bad Twilight parody...”
Nick burst out laughing and broke his embrace with Luna, “Scott, you seem to forget that all parodies of Twilight are good!”
Scott laughed in agreement, switching off the tape recorder, “I guess that is true!”
Luna watched them laugh for a bit, and then spoke up, “Well, I better get going. The moon doesn’t move itself, and I’m afraid I’m terribly behind schedule. Goodbye, Nick. Goodbye Scott.”
She turned and started to walk away, but was quickly stopped by Nick’s hand on her shoulder. She turned back around, “Yes?”
Nick released her and rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “You know...NSK has a trifling need to wipe this total solar eclipse from the world’s memory. It can’t get much worse.” He slowly reached out his hand, “Would you care for a smoothie?”
Luna’s eyes slightly grew at this unexpected offer. Her lips parted slightly from the shock.
After a moment of thought, her eyes shone and her lips tenderly curved into a smile, “Yes, Father. I would love that.”

+===+

Firstly, the sword that Vici uses is not the Fli Sword, but another sword I own by the name of Levitation Sword (I know, I was really creative with sword names in my youth. First the Fire-Lightning-Ice Sword, and now the Levitation Sword that has the power to...levitate things) Secondly, I have not seen Luna since these events. Ha, just kidding. I try really hard to be around whenever she is, but it still is a very short amount of time. It's kind of sad. Anyway, any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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Yes, I am aware that I am late. Yes, I am aware that this is the sixth time in a row. And yes, I am aware that it took me a mere half-hour to finish this this morning. All of that aside, I do hope the actual piece makes up for that. Whatever you have to say about the story, go ahead. I do believe, however, that this one is the best written so far. So here it is, Total. (Oh, and seventh time's the charm. Maybe.)

+===+

October, 2026. Night, before the break of dawn.
New York City.
The largest city in the United States is known for never sleeping. However, this is merely a myth, and there are some areas that are completely dark at night, even on Main Street. It is on one of these streets that Nick and Scott were at on this night. They sat in silence and ate from a bag of popcorn. They admired the surrounding area, quiet and undisturbed. There were no people. There were no cars. There were bright neon lights, but they were the only indication of life in this part of the city.
While this might seem odd, there was a simple explanation for all of these mishaps. The street was blocked off, because one of the buildings was to be condemned the next morning. The reason Nick and Scott sat in the eerie silence was because Nick had used his time machine to stop time. This was the only way the two elves found New York enjoyable, as when time was not stopped they ended up killing someone for some reason or another. Pickpockets, muggers, salespersons, it didn’t matter.
Nick and Scott very rarely visit New York City, simply because it had too much hype. The only two good things about the city were that it was the banking capital of America and it was where European immigrants came during the early twentieth century, marked by the Statue of Liberty. However, these immigrants found only misery in America compared to what they had been told. There was some relief, though. Europe had a potato famine at the time, so life was somewhat better in America. Europeans must like potatoes.
“Tell me again,” Nick said, “Why did we come here?”
Scott shrugged, “I thought it was your idea,” he said through a mouthful of popcorn.
Nick sighed and turned ahead, “Okay. Let’s not spend too much time here, okay? I don’t like New York.”
Scott smiled, “Got it.”
Nick looked over at a newspaper stand. He got up from the bench and walked over to it, picking up a magazine with the title Nintendo Power.
“Hey, look at this. New Kingdom Hearts game coming out,” he scoffed and walked back over to the bench, dropping the magazine on Scott’s lap.
Scott frowned, “I hate that game. It’s like Super Smash Bros. with Disney. It’s like they were stuck on character ideas and just decided to use that.”
Nick’s mouth twitched, “Yeah, it would have been a good game if they hadn’t done that. Have I ever told you I got trapped in a DVG of one of the Kingdom Hearts games?”
Scott cocked his head and questioningly looked at him, “No, that subject has never appeared in our conversations. Expound.”
Nick grinned slightly, “I got in the game and realized, ‘Hey! I should mess around just because I don’t like this game!’ So I did.”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “Meaning…”
“I changed the storyline. Hacked up the game a lot. I even got Winnie the Pooh hooked on cigarettes. Last I saw him, he looked like something out of Grand Theft Auto.”
Scott laughed.
“However, the game had one of those bugs in it that screws up the game if you hack into it. Organization Thirteen (the main villains) came at me with everything they had. Fortunately, I had hacked the game sufficiently enough to escape out of the game. Unfortunately, they followed me out and are currently looking for me.”
Scott laughed once more, “That’s pretty screwed up, even for you. You’ve got video game villains that want to see you dead. In real life. That’s even more messed up than that creepy game I made-”
Nick shuddered, “That thing was freaking creepy. I still have nightmares about the Deathless enemies. Their voices, the words they spoke, and the fact that they took forever to kill…now that I think about it, we have Wario, don’t we? He wants to see us dead.”
Scott gestured to nothing in particular, “That’s different. Nintendo’s Wario was based off the real Wario, who was born hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago. The Organization Eight-”
“Thirteen.”
“Whatever. These guys were made up, for video game purposes. Now they’re in real life. That’s pretty screwed up.”
There was a pause as Nick sat down and they both had some more popcorn.
Nick rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “You know what’s screwed up? Life Orbs. I can suck energy from stuff and replicate anything made from carbon, but I can’t bring people back to life. I wonder why.”
“Maybe you have to be the one to kill them.”
“Or maybe their energy is still alive; I’m just the one using it.”
Scott shuddered and rolled his eyes a bit, “That would be screwed up.”
Nick shrugged, “Point taken. But what if we could bring back those I’ve killed with the Life Orbs? Like…Ace, or Elementor?”
Scott scratched his chin, “That would be…no, that wouldn’t be messed up, that would be cool. I would get a second chance to beat Ace over the head for messing with MechaSonic. Try it, now.”
Nick smirked and held out his hand, forming a Life Orb in it. He raised his other arm and a second Life Orb materialized. He lifted up his arms, but then stopped himself, “Wait. Do we really want to do this? Let Elementor and Ace back into the world?”
Scott shrugged nonchalantly, “I think they’d be pretty discombobulated. And yeah, I just said a big word. Ace, for sure, because I want him alive. So I can kill him, you know. And Elementor…wait, which of my brothers is Elementor?”
Nick rolled his eyes, “He works for Uranus, and-”
Scott spluttered out his mouthful of popcorn, “Wait, for whom does he work for?”
“My brother, Uranus.”
Scott burst into a fit of laughter.
Nick grinned, “I’m glad you find that funny, because Elementor is the one that doesn’t wear clothes.”
Scott abruptly stopped laughing and fell off the bench, “Oh, God! Why not?”
Nick smiled, “He says that if he puts on clothes he loses his Elvin prowess. That’s messed up.”
Scott clutched his head, “Oh, I can see it when I close my eyes! It’s so wrong! Why?”
“I personally think he just likes to feel…free. The breeze blowing around…”
“Stop talking!”
Nick chuckled, “That settles it, we are bringing them both back.”
Scott groaned as Nick threw the Life Orbs into the street, where they formed the bodies of Ace and Elementor. They were exactly the same as when they had been absorbed; faces full of fear, Elementor on the ground, desperately trying to get up, Ace turning to run to no avail.
They finished materializing, and Ace immediately tripped and fell face-first onto the concrete. Both of them let out short bursts of screaming, but Elementor quickly silenced himself.
He looked at his arm in a mixture of shock, relief, and amusement, “I am back. And that means…that my Elvin powers return!”
He raised his fist to the sky and the street around him cracked open. Pipes burst, despite time still being stopped, and the water flowed around Elementor’s body, wrapping it into a cocoon-like state.
Ace looked around desperately, at last resting his gaze on Scott, “You! Give me the Amethyst!”
“Shut up, Ace!” Scott shouted, “I don’t have it! Thanks to you, the Amethyst and my android are gone!”
“Impossible! The Amethyst is indestructible!”
“It doesn’t matter! You’re not getting it from me, no matter what!”
Elementor bemusedly turned to Ace, “What is this…Amethyst?”
Ace nodded his head, “It’s a destructive weapon that I can use to cause mass hysteria. The only problem is that he…” he gestured to Scott, “stole it!”
Elementor contemplated this, rubbing his chin. He narrowed his eyes, “If I could return the Amethyst to you, would you be my apprentice, human?”
Nick and Scott looked at each other. Scott blankly stared at him and said, “Crap.”
Ace grinned, “I’d agree to being your apprentice right now. How do you know Nick and Scott?”
Elementor shrugged, “My master and employer, Uranus-”
“Who?” Scott shouted, stifling a laugh.
“He is Nick’s brother. He’s been trying to destroy them for millions of years, so I, by default, hate them too.”
Ace laughed and bared his teeth, “That is satisfactory. I am hereby your apprentice…”
Elementor held out his hand, “My name is Elementor, Assassin of Uranus, son of Toranado and deity of the human race. And yours?”
“Ace, creator of the Amethyst, and newly proclaimed apprentice to Elementor.”
Scott nodded towards the new allies, “This really sucks.”
Nick grunted in agreement, “Yeah, I had no idea they would team up.”
Elementor grabbed Ace’s hand and shook it. Elementor nodded towards Nick and Scott, “Your first order is to escape their presence. Rendezvous back with me so you can meet my employer.”
Ace nodded in agreement, “Understood.”
Elementor and Ace took off in opposite directions, leaving Nick and Scott dumbfounded, staring after them. “It’s like we weren’t even here,” Scott said, holding his forehead, “I’ve never been so insulted…”
Nick shook his head, “Okay, you head after your nudist brother, I’ll-”
“No,” Scott said reticently, “I’ll head after Ace; you can handle Elementor. Got it?” Without waiting for a response, he took off to the left after Ace.
Nick turned to the right, “But I don’t want to fight the nude guy. If there are going to be nudist people in the world, why are fifty percent of them male?” He groaned and ran after Scott’s brother.

+===+

Scott rushed down the street, looking all around for his nemesis that he longed to crush like a grape. He growled, “Come forth and face me, you coward!”
“Chaos Spear!”
Scott ducked as an orb of Chaos Energy flew over his head. He turned and grabbed Ace by the shirt collar, “I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he said icily.
“We’ve only known each other for a day!” Ace said, “How could you be waiting a long time for this?”
Scott thought it over, “Well, I started to hate you in the year 1915. So technically, I’ve known you for at least a century. Plenty of people want to kill each other after a century. Take pretty much all of the married people in America, for example.”
Scott pushed Ace away and pulled two pistols from their holsters. He pointed them at Ace, “Yep, I want to kill you, because you cheated me. You cheated us all. And now you will experience death for the second time, and at my hand, the way you rightfully deserve.” He cocked the guns, “You cheating bitch.”
Ace raised his hand, “Wait...did you just describe our relationship as a married couple?”
Scott nodded, “Yeah, but we hate each other. Why we married in the first place is comple-okay, enough with the analogy! We get it!”
Scott shot at Ace’s heart, but Ace merely teleported. Scott growled and looked around, “Where do you think you’re going...right there!”
He turned and threw a grenade at a barren lamp post. A fiery explosion uprooted the fixture, but Ace was no where to be seen.
“Hey!” Ace shouted. Scott turned a bit to the left to see Ace waving at him, “I’m over here. Either you have really bad aim, or you’re just bad at guessing where people are.” He teleported again, causing Scott to groan angrily.
“Why won’t you stand still?” He yelled as he spun around, trying to find Ace. He stopped and growled, dizzily trying not to throw up the popcorn he had eaten. He grunted and shot the pistols all around, only conjuring up mysterious laughter belonging to Ace.
“You’re getting colder...” his voice said, “Are you even trying to hit me? Because I just left.”
Scott stopped firing and looked down the street to see Ace running off. Scott snarled and ran after him. He ran past a newspaper stand and stopped, yelling, “Oh, my goodness!”
Ace stopped and turned around, “What is it?”
Scott stepped hesitantly over to the stand, apparently terrified, “Look,” he said, holding up a paper, “Gas prices...they’re up to six dollars!”
Ace frowned, “Not only do I have no idea what that means, but also, that was your weakest attempt yet. Try harder next time.” He turned and kept running.
Scott scowled, putting the newspaper in his back pocket and running after Ace.

+===+

Elementor ran through the streets at random, completely uncomfortable with the situation. Being uncomfortable was not something that happened to him very often, mostly just people around him. Why, he knew not. But the one thing that made him uncomfortable was civilization.
That was the problem with this city. Everywhere he turned, there were more tall buildings, closing in on him, and there wasn’t a hint of nature anywhere. The humans had entirely invaded this area, destroying whatever environment that had once been there.
“You are a crafty one, Nick,” Elementor said, even though he knew Nick may or may not be following him, “But I will break from this manufactured prison, one way or another.”
He waved his arm and his watery cocoon reformed around him. He flew up into the air, above the skyscrapers, and surveyed the city. He swallowed.
“It just...keeps stretching on,” he said to himself, “This is impossible...are humans even capable of such construction?”
Something tackled him and brought him back to his surroundings. Nick had his foot on his chest, and was slamming him to the ground. Elementor narrowed his eyes and grabbed his leg, swinging him around to meet the ground first.
Nick kicked him in the groin, which hurt a fair bit, considering Nick wore shoes and Elementor wore...nothing. Nick chuckled, “You deserved that, my friend. I couldn’t deliver that kick while I was in chains, now could I?”
Elementor cringed, “How could I deserve this? You were the one who broke our agreement!”
“You were never on my side!” Nick screamed.
“But you didn’t know that until after you broke our agreement!”
“Technically,” Nick said, rubbing his chin, “Our agreement was never valid in the first place, because you were to help me if I killed Lement. Which I didn’t. So you never owed me anything, and thus I owe you. Crap, how did I just turn this argument against myself?”
He shrugged. He kicked Elementor in the groin again, saying, “Oh, yeah. I was really paranoid at the time. So I take up the paranoia plea.”
Elementor whimpered, “Paranoi...okay; now you’re just saying whatever pops into your head.”
Nick grinned, “That’s pretty much how it goes.”
They crashed into the ground and Nick sprang up, unsheathing the Fli Sword and pointing it at Elementor, “Now I will cut off thine sword with mine own sword.” He laughed, imitating a fifteenth century aristocrat.
Elementor narrowed his eyes, confused, “What are you...I don’t have a sword...”
Nick chuckled and stabbed forward. Elementor dodged to the side, lifting up his arm to avoid the attack. Nick slashed the blade sideways, cutting into Elementor’s exposed ribs.
Elementor leaped backwards and motioned his hand towards Nick, a burst of water spreading from his cocoon and forcefully smashing into Nick’s side before curling back around to Elementor. Nick was thrown off his feet by the force of the torrent.
There suddenly came an explosion farther down the street. The looked back to see Ace and Scott running towards them, Ace panicked and Scott furious. Elementor shouted to them, “My apprentice! They cling to us like barbs! There is no use running! We shall stand and fight to the death!”
“Will the rest of my life be like this?” Ace shouted, “Running and fighting to the death? Because I have a better solution...” He leaped, tackling Elementor and shouting, “Chaos Control!”
They disappeared. Scott ran to the spot they had been, scowling, “I’m going to kill Ace so bad...”
Nick smiled, “I guess it worked, then.”
Scott looked up at him, “What worked?”
“The Life Orbs. I can bring back people I’ve absorbed using the Life Orbs. Oh, and you get a second chance to kill Ace.”
Scott slowly smiled, “Yeah, I guess it did work after all.” He helped Nick to his feet, “Thanks, buddy.”
Nick cringed and clutched his side, “God, I think Elementor busted my ribs.”
Scott frowned, “What? How?”
Nick pulled up his shirt, exposing his red, bruised side, “He launched a flood on this spot,” he said, indicating the mark, “It was more powerful than a fire hose, I predict.”
Scott scowled, “Water? You got hurt...by water?”
Nick raised an eyebrow at him, “Water is one of the more powerful elements. It’s pretty lethal, if you use it right.” He cringed again, “Here, hold me up. Let’s get to the NSK hospital in St. Louis.”

+===+

October 13th, 2026. Morning.
A small town in Virginia.
After time had been reverted to normal, Nick and Scott left New York, heading southwest. By the time they had reached Virginia, Nick had his arm wrapped around Scott’s shoulders, limping and breathing heavily.
Nick stopped them, “Okay, is it just me, or is it getting harder to breath?”
Scott waved his hand, “I’m sure it’s just the constant moving. We’ll rest for a bit, and then keep going. There’s no rush.”
Nick swallowed and shook his head, “It’s not like that. It’s something else...” He trailed off and looked at the newspaper in Scott’s back pocket. He pulled it out and scanned the front page. His eyes steadily grew as he looked it over.
He turned the paper around to face Scott, “Did you know today was the thirteenth?”
Scott shrugged nervously at the panicked tone of Nick’s voice, “Y-yeah, of course I did. Why do you ask?”
Nick’s hand shot out, pointing to an article on the bottom half, “Do you know what today is? We weren’t supposed to be anywhere near here today! Today-” he gagged, but continued painstakingly, “Today there’s a total solar eclipse!” To emphasize his point, he pointed at the sky, where the moon was steadily drifting closer to the sun, darkening the day.
Scott turned back to Nick, “What the hell is wrong with a solar eclipse? I think they’re kind of pretty.”
Nick fell to his knees and grabbed at his chest. He pointed down the street, “Go! Now, before it’s too late!”
“Bu-”
“Now!”
Scott confusedly backed away a few paces before turning and running. As he was running, he heard an awful scream come from behind him. It was Nick.

+===+

October 13th, 2026. Midmorning.
Mexico.
There are two NSK bases in Mexico. One is the primary, where most NSK affairs take place, such as memory scans and Mexican NSK recruitment. The other was hand-built by Scott and serves no purpose whatsoever. This custom NSK base is by far the most useless of them all, as it is tyrannized by Scott to be extremely stereotypical of Mexicans, and most of the NSK employees aren’t even from Mexico.
By now, the reader has probably guessed which base Scott chooses to go to.
Scott burst through the doors of the stereotypical NSK Mexico Division, shouting, “Nick’s gone crazy!”
The employees in the room, sitting at a round table, looked up at him. All of them were wearing sombreros, and those without facial hair had fake moustaches. The leader, whose name had been changed to Lopez, sighed and stood up, “Sir, we keep trying to tell you; this isn’t an official NSK base. If you have a real problem, go somewhere else, because we don’t have any training, and-”
“Silence!” Scott interrupted, “Your training has just begun! Lopez, gather the troops! I hereby declare war on America! And Soviet Russia while I’m at it!”
“Sir, Soviet Russia no longer exis-”
“I said silence!”
Lopez sighed, “Even if we were to go to war, sir, we have no weapons. What are we going to use, sticks?”
Scott valiantly pumped his fist into the air, “It worked during the Revolution, and it will work now!”
“...except America has nukes.”
“Yes.”
“Nuclear missiles.”
“Yes.”
“Big, giant, nuclear missiles.”
“What are you trying to say, Lopez?”
Lopez groaned, “We’re not going to help you, sir. You’re going to have to rough it alone.”
“Betrayal!” Scott shouted, “By my own comrades, no less! My fellow Mexicans-”
“At least half of us are American!” Lopez shouted.
“Fine,” Scott said calmly, “If you really feel this way, say ‘aye’.”
The entire room unanimously said, “Aye.”
Scott growled, “Have it your way.” He walked up to Lopez, “But...” he snatched the sombrero off Lopez’s head, “I will be taking this. You’re not fit to wear the proud mark of Scott Lycanthrope.” He started towards the door.
Lopez frowned, “I thought you said your mark was a Chihuahua.”
“Shut up!” Scott shouted before slamming the door shut behind him.

+===+

October 13th, 2026. Midmorning.
Tennessee/Georgia area.
Though it is not known too widely, Nicholas Sven has a daughter. She was adopted from the fourth dimension, and one of her many names is Luna. She has the appearance of a ten-year old human, with dark brown hair and gray eyes. The reason she is unknown is because she is never at home. She unwillingly controls the Earth’s moon, as she has since birth, and it constantly floats directly above her head. Luna eternally, everlastingly, perpetually, and ceaselessly circles the Earth on foot in order to prevent any sort of human knowledge of her existence.
On her routine route, about the same time Scott was in Mexico, Luna was walking through a forest when she noticed the celestial alignment above her. She looked up and said dreamily, “Oh, a total solar eclipse. That’s pretty...”
Suddenly, to the south, a light blue beam shot out, heading for the black shape of the moon. Luna blinked and angled her head a bit, unsure of the situation. The beam hit its mark, and Luna was unexpectedly and violently thrown against a tree. She grunted and struggled for consciousness.
As she blacked out, she saw the blurry shape of a person in a black trenchcoat and hood, walking steadily towards her unflinchingly and portentously.

+===+

October 13th, 2026. Noontime.
NSK Massachusetts Division.
Scott burst through the doors of the NSK CEO’s office, shouting, “Nick’s gone crazy!”
The current CEO of NSK, Chuck, didn’t even look up from his paperwork, “We know. This happens every time Nick is in the umbra of a total solar eclipse. Well, it happened the last time he was in one, and we’ve predicted that it is very likely to happen again. However, you didn’t file a report on that occasion, and Nick had no memory to go off of, so we have zero lead. Unless you can tell us what happened last time.”
Scott swallowed and distraughtly looked at the floor, “I’m sorry. I had amnesia, so I have no idea what you’re even talking about.” He looked up at Chuck, “Couldn’t we just wait for the eclipse to end?”
Chuck nodded, his eyes still trained on his deskwork, “That happened last time, but I doubt it will happen again. A few hours ago, NSK Florida Division reported that a building in Miami shot out a beam that stopped the movement of the moon ever since. Even though the Earth is still revolving around the sun, the moon is there with it. This also means that the rotation of the Earth has stopped, and time will stay at noon forever until it is fixed. Needless to say, these events have been catastrophic around the globe, baffling most and frightening the rest. I’ve contacted every NSK base in the world to start mind wipes immediately. If you have any recollection of past events, it would be inconceivably and exceedingly helpful to our efforts.”
Scott thought long and hard, “I’m sorry. I can’t remember anything.”
Chuck sighed and looked up at him, his eyes full of tears, “Then we have nothing to do that can save us.”
“Wait,” Scott said, holding up a hand, “Didn’t NSK Florida Division say that a building in Miami caused the immobility of the moon? Couldn’t we just go there, and-”
“No,” Chuck said decisively, “NSK scouts reported that Nick was moving in a general direction towards Miami, for reasons unknown. It would be suicidal to be in the same city as him when he is in this state of mind.”
They sullenly sat in silence for a long time. Scott abruptly looked up, “How does the memory scanning process work?”
Chuck shrugged, “Have you ever heard that the human mind is more powerful than a supercomputer?”
Scott nodded, “I doubt it’s true, but yeah, I’ve heard that.”
“Well, a few thousand years ago, NSK developed a super-supercomputer, much more powerful than the human mind. Using this machine, it can be hooked up to a human through the use of a tightly strapped chair and helmet and effectively used to download a person’s entire mind like the average computer program.
“While many, many good things can come from this device – and many bad things as well – it is to remain exclusive to NSK and used only to access the memory banks. Well, even the NSK employees abuse this privilege from time to time. As you know, employees are not allowed to have any form of relationship, as it would greatly distract from work duties. Well, let’s just say that the lucky NSK employees that monitor the person’s memories have full access to see anything that person has ever seen. Needless to say, that is why a full memory scan can take a long time.
“The memory scan can detect any and all memories, and for our purposes is simply used to erase the unwanted memories like any ordinary computer program. And as such, the memory scans don’t just trace the memories people remember, but also those that...they...don’t.”
Chuck drew himself up, “I see. That is why you wanted me to explain the memory scans. Well, the mechanism is designed for humans only, but I think that with its help you can regain some lost memories if you remain fully conscious throughout the entire operation.”
Scott grinned, “Let’s get to it, then.”

+===+

October 13th, 2026. Noontime.
Miami.
In certain games of Kingdom Hearts, the main antagonist is the group known as Organization XIII. This group is made up of thirteen members, each with the same goal. However, they have been brought from their world to Earth by the elf named Nick, and now seek revenge upon him before anything else.
In Miami, there is a building with a perfectly cylindrical tower. Despite this odd structural pattern, the building is typically ignored, because from the outside it appears perfectly normal. However, on the inside of the tower is where Organization XIII had set up homage. The inside of the tower is made of a type of rock that glows white. Everything in the cylindrical room is covered with this substance, giving the illusion that everything is pure white and smooth. At various heights around the room were fourteen chairs sown into the walls; previously, there had been thirteen, but now there was a new member.
While Scott was in Massachusetts, Organization XIII had gathered in the room, and their leader, Xemnas, called for attention, “My companions; as you know, on our quest, we met an elf named Nicholas Sven. Since then, he corrupted our world and we sought him out to destroy him for interfering with our plans. We have followed him back to his own world, here. While we have been searching for about twenty years, we’ve made little process. That ends today.
“As you might have noticed, there is a new chair in the Organization. On my travels, I have met a fellow nemesis of Nick. I think he will be a valuable asset to our efforts, despite him not being a traditional affiliate. I welcome to you, our fourteenth member, Roxiwa.”
The rest of Organization Thirteen stood and clapped, looking up to the highest chair, far above the rest. On it sat a short, pudgy person wearing a black trenchcoat and a hood to conceal his face, like the rest of them. He spoke: “It is a great honor to help you destroy Nick. I also think it is a great honor to be a member of the...wait, since there are fourteen of us, shouldn’t we change our name?”
Xemnas shook his head, “No. The ‘XIII’ in our name is a reflection of our misfortune. It will never be changed.”
He cleared his throat, “Anyway, as you might already be aware of, earlier today, we shot a laser at the moon, halting its movement. Also, I sent our second member, Xigbar, up north to collect a young girl. This is part of an elaborate plan conducted by Roxiwa, not me. I will not give away the ending to this plot, and only Roxiwa and I are to know of it. However, if all goes according to plan, we will have something greater than revenge. Because of his ingenious plan, I have made Roxiwa our temporary leader.”
There was more applause and Roxiwa stood once more, “Thank you, Xemnas. Nick has been a thorn in my side for an extremely long time, and I think that with your help I might be able to finish him off, once and for all.”
The third member of Organization Thirteen, Xaldin, spoke, “Roxiwa, could you be so kind to explain the details of your plan, the parts that have been put into place? Bringing the moon to a standstill and kidnapping a simple girl doesn’t seem like it would be very impacting to Nick.”
Roxiwa chuckled, “I would hope the girl is of importance to Nick. She’s his daughter.” He paused, expecting some sort of reaction from this revelation. Getting none, he continued, “She controls the moon and its movements. As for the halting itself, I have discovered a very amusing thing that happens to Nick during a total solar eclipse. Using this quality, we can-”
One of the two camouflaged doors on the floor burst on its hinges. A figure leaped into the room, stopping and drawing up in the dead center of the circular room. The figure was Nick.
Roxiwa pointed at him, “Stop him!”
Four evenly spaced Organization XIII members gesticulated to Nick, chains flying from beneath their chairs and latching onto Nick’s wrists and ankles. Nick scowled deeply and pulled at the cuffs on his wrists, shunting slightly before dislodging the two chairs entirely. Those two particular members fell to the ground and lay still.
Nick smashed his fist into the chain binding his left ankle, breaking it instantly. He picked it up, cracking it like a whip. The quivering of the chain traveled up its length, lashing that member in the face. He fell from his chair and crumpled to the floor.
Nick turned, looking to the member that had summoned the final cuff that bound his right ankle. He was holding onto it, desperately trying to keep Nick still. Nick reached down and picked up the limp chain, breaking it over his knee. He pulled the length that the Organization XIII member clutched to, swinging him down to the floor. Nick pulled him up to his face, growling menacingly before turning and throwing him into a wall. That member slumped to the floor and did not move.
Nick unsheathed a sword and it glowed with lavender light. He pointed it up at a fifth member and pulled back. The chair holding him up flew towards him, enveloped in the same purple glow. Nick spun and smashed the hilt of the sword through the chair and hurtling that member of Organization XIII into the wall.
Nick pointed the sword into the air, and four large stones rose out of the ground around him. They flew up and smashed into four separate members of Organization XIII. One broke through the rock and fell to the ground, unconscious. Two others were pinned to the wall by the layer of stone that now coated them. The final had teleported out of the way and now stood near Nick, energy coating his hands.
This member spoke a word and a burst of black energy surged from his hands. Nick turned and threw his sword at the oncoming attack, absorbing the black energy. The hilt of the sword smashed into the member’s forehead, rebounding back into Nick’s hand. That member collapsed and was still.
By now, there were only five members left, Xemnas, Xigbar, Xaldin, the fourth member, Vexen, and Roxiwa. Vexen stood and released a burst of light blue energy at Nick. The blast hit and froze instantly on his chest. Nick merely screamed and twisted his upper body, breaking the ice. He picked up one of the shards and threw it at Vexen. The projectile hit his forehead and he waveringly struggled to stand upright. He reached up and held his head, disorientated from the bludgeon. Vexen looked at his hand to see it covered in blood. He turned and fell backwards to the floor.
Xaldin stood and held up his hand, a gold glowing lance forming in it. He threw it down upon Nick. Nick snarled and plucked the spear right out of the air, spinning around and chucking it back at Xaldin. The member ducked as his own projectile stabbed into the wall. He straightened and looked at his lance, and then back at Nick.
Xaldin wrenched the lance from the wall and once more threw it at Nick. This time Nick swatted the lance away with his sword and it flew up to the ceiling, lodging itself into one of the light fixtures. Sparks rained down as it exploded. Xaldin shielded his eyes from the sparks, peering up at his weapon. Suddenly, electrified from the fixture, the lance shot out of the light and hurtled itself into Xaldin’s shoulder, throwing him back and violently hitting his head into the wall. Unconscious, Xaldin crumpled into his seat.
Xigbar looked at Xemnas. His leader nodded. Xigbar unzipped his trenchcoat and pulled out a sniper rifle. Xigbar aimed the rifle at Nick’s head and pulled the trigger.
Nick turned towards the sound of the shot, raising his sword in front of his face. The bullet collided with the edge of the sword, slicing itself in two. Nick snarled and leaped up to Xigbar’s chair. Xigbar waved his hands and tried to back away, but Nick grabbed him by the neck and threw him across the room.
Nick jumped over to the chair of Xemnas, who was calm yet panicky at the sight of twelve Organization XIII members unconscious throughout the room. Xemnas spoke, “Now, before you do anything rash-”
Nick reached up and shoved Xemnas’ head into the wall, knocking him unconscious. Nick turned and threw his sword into the center of the floor. He jumped down next to it, grabbing the hilt.
A portion of the ground beneath his feet lifted up, levitating due to the power of the sword. Nick rose up on this section of ground, all the way up to the chair of Roxiwa, who sat calmly despite the fact that all thirteen of his associates were now unconscious, and he stood no chance against Nick alone.
Nick snarled and took a step forward. Roxiwa chuckled lightly.
Nick growled threateningly again, but took a step back. He narrowed his eyes at him.
Roxiwa chuckled once more, “If you are wondering, I am aware that all of my comrades are out cold. That is not the point. I see you are hesitant in your actions before me, unlike the others. Do you not recognize me yet, Nicholas Sven? Perhaps this will help...”
Roxiwa reached up and pulled back his hood, revealing his true identity. Nick’s eyes grew slightly, but he closed them, bowing. He spoke with a slight accented voice, “My liege, I live to serve only you, Wario.”

+===+

October 13th, 2026. About 1:00.
NSK Massachusetts Division Memory Scan Room.
Scott was strapped to a chair, a helmet on his head and sweat on his brow. He swallowed, “Anything showing up on the screen?”
Like an operating room, there was a window on the far wall, through which Chuck could be seen at a computer. The CEO shook his head, “Nothing yet.”
Scott clenched his teeth, “Something has to show up eventually; I’ve gotten glimpses of the past in my own mind, but if nothing shows up on-screen we’ve only got a few clips to go off of.”
Chuck nodded and scanned the computer screen, “Run through what visions you’ve seen. Maybe that will cause more to appear.”
“Yes, I think that might work,” Scott agreed. He closed his eyes and concentrated, “I saw a solar eclipse; one from before, not the one now. The sky was red. Another vision was of Nick and me sword fighting. He was mad, but his skills didn’t seem much different than normal. And then I saw...I saw Nick raising up his sword, and he said something...it was very impacting, but I don’t remember what it was that he said...”
An alarm went off and Chuck nearly fell out of his chair. He looked at the computer and he raised an eyebrow, “Information’s flowing in by the boatloads. I’m going to skim over it...”
He read over the documents on the computer, each passing second his brow furrowing deeper. After a few minutes, he cleared his throat, “Okay, here’s what I can conclude. Nick has a condition in which his doppelganger – his evil subconscious self – rises up to take control of his body during a total solar eclipse. This doppelganger is like a different person entirely from Nick, but there isn’t much information on his personality other than aggressive.
This doppelganger fell under the control of,” Chuck frowned and coughed, “Wario.”
Scott scowled, “Wario?”
Chuck nodded, “For some reason, he chose to come under Wario’s power. Wario used him to effectively rule over a large area, but you apparently don’t know the name of the area, because it was not disclosed.
“You sought out to stop him, and under Wario’s command, he fought you in an epic sword fight. You, not wanting to hurt him too bad-”
Scott laughed.
“Not wanting to hurt him too bad, you didn’t use full force and Nick defeated you. As he was about to strike the final blow, the solar eclipse ended, and Wario had escaped as he realized you were no longer going to follow his orders.”
Scott frowned, “But now the moon is frozen in place...Wario is behind this, I know it. Wario was the only one with memory of those events, and if Nick’s doppelganger does too, than Wario could...” he trailed off, uncertainly trembling at the thought.
Chuck nodded, “If it was Wario that fired the laser that stopped the moon, then we have nothing to worry about, if you get to Miami before Nick does. Go. I’ll call ahead and have NSK Florida Division supply you with all the reinforcements they’ve got.”
Scott grinned, “You’re a good man, Chuck.”
As Scott left, Chuck painstakingly smiled, “I know.”

+===+

October 13th, 2026. Afternoon.
Miami.
“You see,” Wario told his new allies, Organization XIII, “That is my whole plan. I did not want you all to know prior to Nick’s...facilitating. You can understand what I mean when I say that it would have been bad if Nick had not recognized me as his master.”
The fifth Organization XIII member, Lexaeus, rubbed his sore forehead, “I still think we should have tried that option first.”
The sixth, Zexion, spoke, “Roxiwa, what happens if Nick’s partner...Scott, is to show up here?”
Wario laughed, “That fool has no idea what he’s up against. Even if he did, we have Nick. No one has ever won against Nicholas Sven in a sword fight. Ever. It would be suicidal for Scott to come here. Speaking of which, you should all know that he is, in fact, on his way at this very moment.”
Several members uneasily started talking all at once. Xemnas held up a hand to quiet the commotion, and then addressed Wario, “Roxiwa, I comprehend your confidence in Nick’s abilities, but I am not so sure that he will be able to defeat Scott.”
“That, my friend,” Wario said, crossing his arms, “Is because you have yet to meet him. But I know for a fact that Nick is much more powerful than his partner, and we have nothing to worry about.”
He gestured to the center of the room, where Nick was standing on the floor, angrily glaring at each of the Organization XIII members, save Wario. He rubbed his hands together eagerly.
“Nick!” Wario shouted. Nick instantly turned his head towards his master. Wario continued, “You have some unfinished business to take care of. I thought I told you to eliminate Scott from existence.”
Nick bowed, “My liege, I am sorry. I have only had two chances to surface above my lesser self, and they have been few and far between. I understand your impatience, but I should be the impatient one. I have little time to stay above my double, and once my time is up, I will be gone for quite some time, restlessly waiting for the time I can live somewhere other than Nick’s head. And...” his face twitched, anger flashing violently upon it for a few seconds before reverting to normal, “I would appreciate it if you called me by my real name: Vici.”
Wario swallowed, “I am sorry, Vici. I will try to remember next time.” He turned and spread out his arms, “Like I said, my fellow Organization XIII. We now have something far greater than revenge. We have Vici on our side, and with him, we can rule over the entire area that the total solar eclipse covers...” he thought for a moment, realizing something, “So, we can rule over some of the Southeast United States...and the Gulf of Mexico...and maybe the Caribbean.” He sighed pressed his fist to his mouth, thinking. He came to a conclusion, “But, if we work towards it, we can get that girl to continue the eclipse elsewhere...and if we do that, then we could rule the world!”
The seventh Organization member, Saïx, cleared his throat, “If that technology is even possible, you mean.”
Wario waved his hand, “Yeah, whatever. So, in conclusion, we have nothing to worry about when it comes to Scott. Why? Because Scott is most definitely, absolutely, without doubt, undeniably weaker,” he paused for dramatic effect, “Than Nick. I mean Vici.”
“Bullshit!”
The door on the ground level exploded, sending the door flying towards Vici. He jumped swiftly over the airborne door as if crashed into the opposite wall. Scott jumped into the room through the doorway, wearing a sombrero and a zoot suit.
Wario smiled and leaned over, his eyes shining with anticipation, “Excellent. Right on cue.”
Scott surveyed the room, looking at all of the people in black trenchcoats. He narrowed his eyes and looked at each of them in turn, “Now...where have I seen you people before?”
All of the original Organization XIII members dropped down onto the floor, walking adversely up to him. Wario waved a hand, shouting, “Wait!”
All eyes shot up to the chubby man. Wario slowly dropped his arm, “I want to see how well he does against Vici.”
As the Organization XIII members backed against the wall, Scott squinted up at him, saying, “Wario? Is that you? Wait, why am I surprised? I did think it was you that was the cause of all this trouble anyway, so why...wait, who’s Vici?”
Vici drew his sword and walked up to Scott, the tip of his blade scraping against the ground. Scott turned to him and spread his arms wide, “Nick! I knew I’d find you!”
Vici lunged forward with the sword, stabbing at Scott’s chest. Scott bent backwards, his nose bumping against the tip, “Oh, yeah, you’re evil. I almost forgot.”
He brought his arm up, knocking the blade away, then straightened, backing away and dusting himself off. Vici growled, “The name...is Vici!”
He stabbed again, and Scott grabbed the sword, wincing, “First: Ow. Second: Seriously? Vici? And third: Ow!”
Vici withdrew his blade and Scott groaned in pain, clutching his cut hand. Vici laughed, “You always say that you’re not afraid to hurt Nick. Why is it that now, you have a chance to do so and yet you cannot do as you say?”
Scott scowled, “I’m not afraid to hurt you! Or Nick! You know why?”
Vici chuckled and opened his mouth, but Scott stopped him by shouting: “Because Nick is a son of a bitch!”
Scott lunged forward and kicked the sword right out of Vici’s hand. As it swung in the air above them, Scott punched Vici in the gut, following by kneeing him in the face. Scott brought his elbow down on the back of Vici’s neck and the doppelganger fell to the ground.
Scott suddenly realized the swinging sword coming back towards Earth, and recoiled. The sword stabbed into the ground next to Vici’s neck. The doppelganger growled and looked up at him, grabbing the sword hilt. He menacingly drew up to his feet, barely moving his head as his gaze was locked on Scott.
Scott scratched the back of his head guiltily. He whistled a nonchalant tune. Vici pulled the sword out of the ground and held it high above his head. He snarled sinisterly, walking ominously towards Scott.
Scott chuckled lightly and tilted his sombrero down so that it covered his face. He grinned to himself and spoke, “I may not want to hurt you, but maybe I do. Likewise, you may want to hurt me, but maybe you don’t.”
Vici frowned and took a step back in surprise, “What do you mean?”
Scott crossed his arms, “Well, I don’t believe you’re entirely...different. You say your name is Vici, but you possess all of Nick’s knowledge and fighting prowess. Why is that?” He chuckled, “You’re not fooling anyone. Just give it up.”
Vici growled, “You can’t be serious. Have you no mind of my relationship with Nick? You don’t have any idea how it works? Would you like to know, in order for you to become a little less ignorant?”
Scott sighed and walked up to Vici, placing his hands firmly on his shoulders. Vici snarled and tried to shake free. Scott spoke assertively, “Nick...break through. I know you’re in there somewhere. If Vici is your doppelganger, then let there be a conscience that overcomes him.”
Scott backed up and put his hands behind his head, closing his eyes and smiling. Vici gripped his sword tighter and lunged forward. He stabbed the blade upward below Scott’s head. The sword stopped below his jaw, shaking. Vici shakily dropped it, taking a step back. He breathed heavily for a time and jerked his head towards the ceiling, gagging.
Scott’s smile deepened.
Vici held his chest and gasped for breath, choking and hissing. The Organization XIII members looked at each other and started mumbling to themselves. Wario looked around, unsure what was going on.
Vici convulsed, and then raised his head to the ceiling once more, screaming. He groaned agonizingly, and then painstakingly spoke: “You...stay...down!”
He convulsed once more and then spoke in Nick’s voice: “Why should I give up something that is rightfully...and righteously mine!”
Vici-Nick grabbed his own throat and drew himself up. A Life Orb formed in his free hand as Scott opened his eyes and worriedly held out a hand, “Nick, what are you doing? Even in this situation, suicide is never the answer! There are better options! And-”
“Shut up, Scott!” Nick’s voice said. It dropped in intensity chillingly, “Who said I was going to kill myself?” He slyly grinned and shoved the Orb into his own stomach, his stun weak point. There was a flash of light and both voices of Nick and Vici simultaneously screamed.
The light cleared and a figure stood where Nick-Vici had once been. The figure was made entirely of Life energy, the only exception being its piercing bright eyes. The figure looked at its arm, and then turned to Scott.
“This...is odd. I had no idea anything like this would happen. Ah, I suppose we cannot learn anything without experimenting, correct?” it said.
Scott furrowed his brow, “Nick? Is that you?”
The figure nodded. “Yes, it is me. I cannot feel any of the eclipse’s power. Vici is utterly mismatched. I think it is because the Life Orbs are completely mine own; Life is an alien substance to anyone but I, including mine own doppelganger.” He chuckled lightly, “I do believe that it is time for the amount of my enemies that inhabit this room to be cut down to nix.”
Xemnas stepped forward, “If what you say is true, and you are indeed the creator of life...wouldn’t that make you a god? Why would you want to kill your adversaries?”
Nick frowned, “First of all, an omnipotent god is only present in some religions. Second, I do not believe in any religion, let alone one with one such god. Third, no, that would not make me a god. Fourth, it just makes me awesome.”
He turned to another member of Organization XIII, “Ah, Axel. You were by far my favorite. I think it would be suitable for you to be the first one to die.”
Nick raised a hand and twirled his fingers. His arm extended and grabbed Axel’s chest. He screamed as his life’s energy drained through the fingers on his chest, sucking away every last drop of power.
Nick chuckled and reverted his arm to its normal length. He turned to the other Organization XIII members, who had gathered near the still-closed door on the opposite side of the room. Nick smiled, “Who’s next?”
Organization XIII looked at each other for a brief moment and then bolted for the door behind them. Nick chuckled, “I love it when they think they can escape from me.” As they opened the door and piled through, Nick arm re-extended towards them. Xemnas, the last through, slammed the door shut behind him.
There was a wet plop and they looked at the floor in front of the door. The arm had caught on it and was severed in two, the forearm laying there, splattered.
Xemnas raised an arm and hesitantly backed up, and the rest followed his cue. The forearm reenergized itself, forming back into one mass. It stood up on its elbow ludicrously.
Organization XIII simultaneously screamed, turning and running through the narrow hallway. The arm, using Nick’s voice, laughed and levitated through the air, horridly following after them.
They reached the end of the hallway, coming to a wooden closet door. Xemnas wrenched it open and they all mashed in together. Xemnas, again the last to enter, slammed the door shut before the arm could get close.
A single light bulb flickered on as the door closed, revealing their huddled, apprehensive forms. There was a horrible laughing and a hand-shaped mark formed on the middle of the door. The mark burned and smoked, finally dissolving through entirely, allowing the forearm into their midst. It laughed, “The rest of the doors in this building are made of steel or stone. Why hide behind the only one that holds the power of Life inside it? Yes, wood is living.”
They screamed and burst out of the closet. Organization XIII ran back towards the main room, but turned at the sound of one of their members screaming. He was on the floor, the arm attached to his leg, and he was steadily being eaten alive by its energy. He moaned, “Go on without me. I served well. Do not let the rest of Organization XIII die as easily as I!”
He sobbed and they left him. They retreated back into the luminescent room with Nick and Scott, where they could presumably be safe.
Xigbar frowned, “Wait, why did we come back here, where not only the full body of Nick awaits, but also Scott?”
Xaldin grunted, “I guess that arm really isn’t as terrifying as we thought.”
Nick waved his arm stump and the rest of his arm reformed exactly where it should have been. He laughed, “I know why you came back here. You ran into a dead end, as that,” he pointed a thumb over his shoulder, “holds the only exit. You can try to attain freedom, if you wish.”
Organization XIII looked at each other. Xemnas shrugged, “What the hell.” They took off, circling around Nick and Scott in a mad dash for the far door.
Nick chuckled and extended his arm, forming a halo with it that surrounded all of Organization XIII, with the exception of Xemnas. The circle of Life energy spun around them and Nick laughed, “By the way, Vici is a stupid name. I think it’s Latin. My name is Nicholas Sven.”
He lashed his arm, and its length squeezed around Organization XIII, slowly disintegrating each of them in turn. After they were all gone, Nick retrieved his arm and flexed it, saying, “Got it memorized?”
He turned to Xemnas, “I suggest you find a new line of work.” As the former leader of Organization XIII started to back away, Nick widened his shining eyes, shouting: “Boo!”
Xemnas turned and ran out of the room, never to be seen again.
Nick and Scott looked at each other. Nick shrugged, “I suppose now that Organization XIII is dealt with, I’m done with this form.”
Scott nodded, “What about Wario?”
“I can’t affect him. Anything I touch that is made of Life is instantly absorbed, and anything else is not. Since Wario is immortal, if I touch him...” he cringed and sucked in a breath of air, “Well, let’s just say that I’ve tried to absorb him using Life Orbs before. I’m never going back there again.”
Scott shrugged, “Okay then. Change back so we can take this sucker down.”
Nick chuckled and grabbed his stomach, “A’ight, Scott.” He yanked a chunk of Life Energy from his abdomen area. Almost instantly his body reverted to its normal self, this time without the flash of light.
The regular Nick turned to Scott and grinned. Scott frowned, “No, wait! What about the eclipse?”
Nick’s grin turned into a sour frown, “Aw, crap!” He dropped to the floor and convulsed. He cringed and looked at Scott, “It’s no use trying to get me to overcome Vici again. Just find Luna and get her out of here! It’s the simplest way of ending this!” He convulsed once more and clenched his teeth, “I’ll hold back Vici until the full force of the eclipse takes effect, but that won’t be very long. Go, now! And be careful with my daughter!”
Scott nodded, “Yes, Mr. Sven. I’ll have her back before ten. That gives me plenty of time to-”
“Scott?”
“Yes?”
“Shut the hell up.”
Scott chuckled under his breath and turned for the door. He sprinted through the hallways, searching for the captive Luna. Unlike the other way, this path had more than just one path, holding pretty much every other room necessary for the late Organization XIII to function.
Finally, Scott came to an unmarked door. He frowned and hesitantly put an ear to it, listening. A faint hum came from the other side.
He opened the door. The room was bare except for a flat screen television, which was on, and a laser that shot a light-blue blast of energy at Luna, who slept undisturbed in the laser’s radiation.
The television changed as the door swung shut. Wario’s face grinned at him from its plasma screen. Scott growled at it.
“Welcome!” the televised Wario said, almost gleefully, “This is a recorded message!”
Scott relaxed, narrowing his eyes at the television.
The recorded Wario spread out his arms in a comforting gesture, “This room takes care of the laser that keeps Nick’s daughter asleep and under our control.”
Scott pointed to the laser mockingly, “This machine here?”
Wario nodded, almost as if responding to Scott, “I have found that if an elf dies, its planet dies with it. Usually very violently. We have found that this relationship also applies to Luna, and if we sedate her, we sedate the moon!”
Scott walked over to the laser and examined it while Wario continued to talk behind him, “If anything were to happen to this device, it would be disastrous-”
“Yeah, yeah,” Scott said as he smashed his fist into the machine, hopelessly destroying it. The beam of energy stopped, and Nick’s daughter fell to the floor limply. Scott caught her and then groaned, “Aw, he never told me his daughter was only eight or nine years old! Now it’s just weird...”
Carrying Luna, he walked over to the television, upon which Wario was still talking, “Under no circumstances should Luna leave this establishment, as the solar eclipse would end, and-”
Scott jumped up and kicked the center of the television, cracking its screen and severely damaging its internal hardware. Scott grinned, “Thanks for the advice, fatso.”

+===+

'Tis a shame that this had to happen again. Unfortunately, this Chronicle is too long for one post, and because I had written an inspiring ending paragraph (which is now gone), I'm not going to post a link just yet. Just go back to the blog.

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I think it can be pretty universally agreed that I am awesome. And being an awesome person, I need an awesome theme song. Well, that's the point of this. Originally, all of the Music Spotlights were supposed to be put together into one, but I've found that there are certain things I wish to point out about each song and the person it respectively goes with. So, I decided to make it a series of posts. Let us begin.

Like I said before, I am awesome. And not that it's a problem, but Scott's awesome too. There are many things different between the two of us, and the main thing is mercy. I have it, Scott doesn't. However, there are some other main points that are important here; I have external emotions that shine through, while there is literally only one time in the entire Cracker where Scott shows his emotional side (I know, and I felt silly typing it, too).

Enter Linkin Park. This band is one of my personal favorites, and they have some pretty awesome songs that could fit perfectly with me or Scott. However, my choice may surprise you.

Today's music spotlight, for Nicholas Sven, myself, is Linkin Park's Iridescent.

If you haven't heard the song yet, here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv7oa57lPNA&list=AVGxdCwVVULXcrlZS3X9wp2p7EIev3bkWc&playnext=16

And, just in case you can't access YouTube, I'm going to take each line one by one.

When you were standing in the wake of devastation - That does seem to happen to me a lot.

When you were waiting on the edge of the unknown - Yep. Keep going.

With the cataclysm raining down, - Wait, catacalysm? Let me see here...ah, 'any violent upheaval, esp. one of a social or political nature' yeah, that happens to me a lot. I have to work on my people skills.

Insides crying save me now - Uh, I'm pretty sure my internal organs can't speak. Man, this line is cryptic...

You were there and possibly alone. - Well, I've always got Scott...yeah, I'm alone. The only other person I can think of that keeps me company, comforting and such, is Elementres, and I don't spend much time with her to protect her. She doesn't follow me into any alternate dimensions, or into space, or through time, and if you've actually read the Cracker you'll know that that happens a lot.

Do you feel cold and lost in desperation? - Yes.

You build up hope, but failure's all you've known - Well...not really, but kind of, yes.

Remember all the sadness and frustration - Kind of hard to do because I'm so forgetfull, and there are so many instances...

And let it go, let it go. - Oh, well, I can do that. I do it all the time. I don't let my sadness bring me down, and...god, now I'm crying...

And in the burst of light that blinded every angel
As if the sky had blown the heavens into stars
You felt the gravity of temper grace falling into empty space
No one there to catch you in their arms - Yeah, like I said before, no one at my side...except Scott...

(Chorus)
Let it go
Let it go
Let it go
Let it go
(Chorus)

So, as you can see, it's a pretty deep song, but my question is why it's called Iridescent? That word doesn't appear in the lyrics, anywhere! Let's look up Iridescent in our handy little dictionaries, shall we? Let's see...here it is: 'displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of a rainbow'
...
...
...pretty weird, is it not? Iridescent has to do with lights and colors, something pretty important to me, the first-born son of the Ruler of Shadow. So there you have it.

Linkin Park's Iridescent is a perfect fit for me for three main reaons:
1. The title has importance to my life.
2. The lyrics have importance to my life.
3. Linkin Park, a band that typically makes awesome, upbeatish rock songs, made this slow, sad song, and I can't thank them enough.

Any questions, comments, grammar mistakes, and constructive critism are greatly appreciated, and if you have any suggestions for future Music Spotlights, please tell me the name of the song and who it's by, and (optionally) you can tell me who you think it fits. With that, Nc out!

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Contiued from Part Two:http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5615-cracker-chronicle-8-amethyst-part-two-search/

Finally! After a single day of wait, here is the final part of Amethyst, and you will finally find out why...nah, I'm not even going to tell you that. :D Oh, and rated PG-13 for excessive swearing. Yes, that includes the F word in one spot. You have been warned...
(Hey, Neoseeker, I'm sorry if that goes against regulations, but I did *warn* them beforehand, so can we make an exception? It was a pretty intense scene, so no lesser word could have fit well in the context. Please?)

***

June 18th, 1915. 1:30ish.
Dublin, Ireland.
“Nick, I need you to stall. I’ll try and get help.”
“What help? We went back in time!”
“Just hold off MechaSonic as long as possible! I already have an idea forming in my head, so...” he swallowed, “just trust me on this.”
Nick stared at him for a long time. Finally, he sighed, “Okay, Scott. Go for it.”
Scott grinned. He ran off down a side road, yelling, “You won’t regret this!”
Nick closed his eyes and smiled. He sighed and turned to MechaSonic, “Hey, tin grin! You missed! I was really hoping to die today,” his voice lowered menacingly, “but you disappointed me.”
MechaSonic growled in annoyance and flew towards him, a Chaos Spear forming in its hand, shouting, “This one won’t!”
Nick fluently sidestepped the attack at the last second, and the android crashed into the ground. Nick surveyed the android, saying, “Yeah, it will.”
MechaSonic irately spun on the ground, knocking Nick off his feet and standing up in the process. MechaSonic pointed a purple-tipped missile at Nick’s head, “Now, die!”
The missile fired, but Nick’s hand shot out. The missile stopped mere centimeters from touching his palm. “I wonder,” Nick said as he rotated his hand, the missile seemingly turning itself around so that it was directed towards MechaSonic, “If I were to let this missile explode in your face, would it hurt me as well?”
He pretended to think it over, savoring every moment of it. He nodded his head, acting as if he had come to a conclusion, “Nah, I don’t think it will.”
Nick clenched his fist and the missile exploded in MechaSonic’s face.

***

“Ireland, Ireland. Think, Scott, think! You’ve been here before, albeit not for one or two hundred years. Let’s see...I can speak Irish, I know I can!” Scott abruptly stopped running and frowned, “Wait, is Irish even a language?”
He turned to a newspaper stand and walked up to the desk, speaking slowly to the shopkeeper, “Hey! Do...you...understand...English? Hablo Espa-”
The shopkeeper smiled irritably and cut him off, “This is Ireland. We speak English here. Alternatively, you could try speaking the native language: Irish.”
Scott’s face brightened, “I knew Irish was a language!”
The shopkeeper groaned, “That was a joke; there’s no such language as Irish.”
Scott’s face fell, “Dang.”
The shopkeeper sighed and picked up a newspaper, reading it with a bored look on his face, “What is it that you want, exactly?”
Scott thought this over, “What do I...oh, yes! I almost forgot!” He leaned in close, whispering even though there was no one around, “Do you know a certain company...that goes by the name...” he looked around to make sure no one was eavesdropping, “...the name of DVG?”
The shopkeeper abruptly set down his paper and looked at him, “DVG? As in...”
Scott grinned, showing his fangs, “Deadly...Video...Games.”
The shopkeeper examined his face for a long time, and finally nodded in approval, “Come with me.”
He leaped over the counter and guided Scott through the streets of Dublin, taking several dark alleys and side paths. Their journey was short and swift, ending with a dirty, abandoned building secluded in the middle of several other, larger buildings.
The shopkeeper examined his face once more, after a while speaking up, “This is the main DVG building.” He turned and opened the door, ushering Scott in and following soon after, closing the door behind him gently.
They were in a business-like room with a round table in the center of the room. Three people, who were sitting at the table, looked up from a device at the center of the table they had been staring at. They now stared wide-eyed at Scott instead. One of them, supposedly the leader, spoke up, “Richard, what have you done?”
Richard nodded, “I brought back a new recruit, Garret. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
Garret sighed nervously. He motioned to one of the others, “Mike, come here.” Mike leaned over and Garret whispered something in his ear. Mike nodded and left the room.
Garret addressed Richard, “You brought us Scott,” he said calmly.
Now it was Richard’s turn to stare at Scott, “My God, you’re right.” He stumbled backwards across the room, tripping over a chair and falling to the floor.
Scott waved his hands, “Relax. I’m not here to destroy you. Yet. I’ll let you in on a secret; I’m from the future. Just in case this disrupts the time-space continuum, you can’t tell anyone I was here. Wait, scratch that; I was never here.”
He turned to leave but suddenly remembered why he had even come there in the first place. He grabbed the device at the center of the table and left, saying, “I’ll just be taking this, though.”
After he had slammed the door shut, the three dumbfounded men gaped, realizing Scott had taken their very first DVG prototype. One of the men shook his head, asking to no one in particular, “What just happened?”
“I don’t know, Conner,” Garret said, confusedly staring at the floor, “I don’t know.”

***

Yet another building exploded and Nick slammed into the ground, quickly held in place by MechaSonic’s feet on his chest.
“Now,” MechaSonic said, bending over to immobilize Nick and to grab his throat. He held the barrel of a machine gun up to his head, “You can stop a missile in midair, but can you stop bullets from leaving the gun? We’ll soon find out.”
“Hey!”
Nick and MechaSonic turned their heads to see Scott running past, carrying a black box that trailed several cords behind him, “My plan is almost ready, so just keep on fighting!”
MechaSonic turned back to Nick, “Gladly.”
Nick still had his eyes on Scott, “Oh, thanks a lot for the help, pal!”
“Any last words?”
Nick thought in over, “Do I have any last words? Any to say to you? Because if I had any, would you really want to hear them? Because they would be directed towards my family, friends, and loved ones, and wouldn’t make much sense-”
MechaSonic growled in annoyance. Nick looked at the android with earnest, “Oh, you’re mad and there’s a gun in my face. Maybe now would be a good time to make my move.”
He nodded his head to the side and MechaSonic, who was still holding his neck, was flung to the side. Nick stood up and brushed himself off. A Chaos Spear formed in his hand and he directed it at MechaSonic, “Now I see why Shadow hated you so much. You’re fricking annoying.”
“Nick! It’s ready!”
Nick grunted in approval. He shot the Chaos Spear for good measure and turned and ran to the house Scott was waving at him from. He took a step inside and gasped in confusion and awe. The house was nearly identical to Scott’s house back in Nebraska.
“I lived in Ireland for a time,” Scott clarified. He motioned to a small television where a flat screen should have been. A game system was hooked up to it, and the T.V. flickered with a blank screen. “There’s no time to explain, so just follow my lead, and-”
There came a gentle knock at the door. Nick and Scott looked at each other quizzically. Nick turned to the door, “Who is it?”
MechaSonic’s voice sounded quietly, yet horrifyingly clear through the door: “Death.”
Nick and Scott looked at each other again, and then back at the door. Scott spoke, “Sorry, we’re not here at the-”
The door crashed open and MechaSonic stepped tyrannically into the room, “Too late.”
Scott inched towards the game system extremely conspicuously, “Well, if you’re going to join our company, would you care for some...” he trailed off and lunged, picking up a controller and holding it above his head menacingly, “Games?”
“I don’t have time for this,” MechaSonic said exasperatedly.
Scott threw the controller at the android and it caught the projectile deftly without breaking its gaze on them, “You honestly thought you could stop me with this thing?”
Scott shrugged, “It was worth a try.” He pressed the power button on the game system. MechaSonic screamed in protest as he realized that it had been tricked, but within seconds the android had dematerialized into the television screen.
Nick nodded in approval, “Reverse psychology. Trick it into wanting to grab the controller, completely unsuspecting at the plot at hand. Nice.”
Scott nodded in agreement, “Yes. However, DVG hasn’t yet developed the technology to keep the portal closed, so MechaSonic can still get back out. This way we can destroy the android without worrying about anyone getting hurt. Do you still have the Chaos Emerald?”
Nick held up the green Emerald, “Yes.”
“Good.” He set his hands on Nick’s shoulders, “Nick, you go on ahead. Fight MechaSonic. Don’t hold back, at all.”
“What about you? Do I get the pleasure of calling you a hypocrite again?”
Scott shook his head, “No, I have some work to accomplish. I’ll join you as soon as I can. Now, go!”
Nick saluted Scott in a farewell gesture, “See you then, I suppose.” He snatched up a second controller and dematerialized into the television.
Scott turned to the door, “I’ll join you as soon as I can. There’s work to be done.” He clenched his fist and a gale of wind whipped through the open door and throughout the room. Scott closed his eyes and growled, “Then, MechaSonic, my voice will be the last you hear.”
The wind swirled around him violently and shook the house, causing the various items on the shelves to fall and break. Scott opened his eyes, “I promise you this!”

***

Nick rematerialized in a grassy field. In the distance, ocean waves crashed in sync with the gentle breeze. “Hello?” he asked, looking around nervously and confusedly, “MechaSonic? Did I land in the wrong alternate universe?”
A metal hand smashed into his collarbone and he collapsed, dropping the seventh Chaos Emerald.
MechaSonic grabbed the Emerald from midair. The android waved its arm and the other six Emeralds appeared around it. MechaSonic formed a Chaos Spear in its hand and aimed it at Nick.
“Bastard!” Nick said suddenly, apparently unaware of the major blow he had just received. He rolled onto his back and the Chaos Spear smashed into the ground where he had previously been. “Where’s the honor in an ambush, you bastard?”
“Morals are for the weak!” MechaSonic screamed, “When you see an opening in your opponent’s defenses, or you have an opportunity to outmatch them, you *bleep*ing take it!”
Nick flipped to his feet, “You know what you remind me of? A human. Do you know why? It is because you don’t care about anyone but yourself, you can’t feel sympathy, empathy, or even mercy, and now you don’t even fight the right way! It’s like Scott crammed the entire human race into where your heart should be.”
“Insult me all you want,” MechaSonic growled, “It won’t matter soon enough. After all, dead men tell no tales.” The android pointed a purple-tipped missile at Nick’s head.
“Oh, come on!” Nick exclaimed, “That old purple-capped rocket? It was fine in the beginning; you were bringing a tank to a knife fight. But now it’s just boring. We’ve even covered that I can stop one with my bare hands. Haven’t you ever heard of, ‘Repetition Invites Defeat’? At least I have the decency to change it up. But I’m not complaining. In fact, all I offer in reply is this: What time is it?”
MechaSonic frowned, “What...time...is it?”
Nick grinned. “I’m glad you asked,” he said as he pulled a large, recoilless, rocket antitank weapon from his pocket and aimed it at MechaSonic’s head, “It’s bazooka time, baby.”
He pressed the trigger and MechaSonic exploded. Nick smiled painstakingly, “The deed is done.” He looked up and screamed in surprise and fear.
MechaSonic stood in the midst of the smoke, completely unscathed, “Are you finished? Good. Now it’s my turn.”
The seven Chaos Emeralds swirled around the android and were absorbed into its body. The blue metal changed color to a deep gold. “I’ll crush you!” it said as it raised its palm, releasing a burst of energy. The blast collided with Nick and sent him hurtling into the air.
Nick grunted, “Ugh, that’s new.”
MechaSonic jumped up, grabbed Nick and threw him into the ground. Seconds after crashing into the dirt, Nick spun to his feet.
“I think your persistence is your worst quality,” MechaSonic said, its golden armor now glowing, “If you’re so eager to throw your life away, then so be it!”
The android curled into a ball and smashed into Nick. It uncurled and grabbed him, kicking him into the sky. MechaSonic fired a Chaos Spear into his helpless, flailing form. The android teleported into Nick’s path and elbowed him to the ground.
Nick slammed into the hard earth, clutching his side, where there was a severe pain. He thought a few of his ribs might be cracked.
He jumbled through his pockets and after a time smiled with delight. He pulled out a card adorned with the ace of spades, “Oh, you’re in trouble now!” Nick yelled, pointing the card at MechaSonic, “And when I say trouble, I mean the power of ten thousand supernovas exploding in your face! Say hello to the King of Aces! What do you have to say to that?”
“Do you ever shut up?”
“I’ll shut you up!” Nick screamed. A gigantesque beam exploded from the King of Aces and completely enveloped MechaSonic. The King of Aces had proven its worth in the past, killing all life on Pluto and knocking its orbit askew, all in the same blast. Putting this power against MechaSonic was like killing a fly with a jackhammer.
The blast resonated for a few seconds, and then faded. Nick simply widened his eyes as he saw MechaSonic standing exactly where he had been, with no signs of fatigue. “That’s...impossible!” Nick screamed in anguish,
“This has gone on long enough!” MechaSonic shouted. The android flew at Nick, Chaos Spear in hand.
Nick jumped up, smashing his foot into the back of MechaSonic’s head. The android’s momentum kept it moving along the ground. As it scraped along, Nick fired a Chaos Spear at the android, increasing its speed. Nick teleported over the android and stomped both of his feet into MechaSonic’s head with enough force to break a steel beam in half.
Nick back-flipped off the android as MechaSonic slowed to a halt. The android looked at him, but Nick had jumped into the sky. MechaSonic followed, but jumped right into the palm of Nick’s hand. Literally.
MechaSonic struggled to free its head from Nick’s grasp. Nick’s hand glowed with power as he spoke, “Chaos...”
The android stopped struggling at this word. It looked at him, powerless, helpless, and unable to free itself in the face of doom. Now the android would finally be destroyed, once and for all.
“Chaos Control!”
Nick’s eyes grew wide as his thought process struggled to comprehend what happened next. It all happened in a flash; MechaSonic teleported behind Nick’s back. Still in motion, he had said, “Spear,” but it simply flew through empty space. MechaSonic locked its fingers together and smashed its fists into the back of Nick’s neck.
Nick crashed to the ground. MechaSonic teleported next to him and picked him up by the neck. “Now,” it said mercilessly, “it’s time for you to die, cockroach! Chaos...”
“Chaos Lance!”
Scott appeared between them, his limbs a blurry mass as he struck MechaSonic hundreds of times per second. He ended by forming an X with his forearms, tearing the Chaos-infused formation apart on MechaSonic’s chest.
As Scott and MechaSonic landed on their feet, Nick groaned as he got to his, “It’s about time you showed up.” He ran to his partner and gave him a high-five.
Scott winked, “Where would be the fun in letting you pound MechaSonic into submission?”
“I’ll be sure to carve that into your headstone, Scott!” MechaSonic screamed, “Chaos...”
“Chaos...” Scott said.
“Chaos...” said Nick.
“Blast!”
“Blast!”
“Spear!”
A gigantesque explosion shook the ground violently, setting the grass ablaze and turning the sky red. Ash fell like rain as Nick and Scott collapsed to the ground. MechaSonic laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Scott spat irately.
“Oh, nothing,” MechaSonic said, clenching its fists, “It’s just how easy this has been. I’ve been toying with you both this whole fight and you’re at your knees! Enjoy your last breaths of life, because the next ones you take will be in the afterlife! The end has come!”
The golden tint disappeared from MechaSonic’s armor as the seven Chaos Emeralds once more appeared around the again-blue android. They swirled around it once before settling into its hand. There was a flash of light and the Emeralds had merged together into one, singular mass, resembling a Chaos Emerald, only twice as large.
“Wait a second,” Nick said, staring at the mass, “Isn’t that...”
“Are you surprised?” MechaSonic said mysteriously, “Ace had more connection to the Chaos Emeralds than you’d thought. You see...this...” the android gestured to the white mass in its hand, “...is...The Amethyst!”
Scott’s eye twitched, “Does this mean...that Ace created the Chaos Emeralds?”
“Wait, this doesn’t make sense at all!” Nick yelled, holding his head, “It doesn’t make sense that the Amethyst and the Chaos Emeralds...all of them put together...are the same thing!”
“But doesn’t it?” MechaSonic said, “You see, Ace didn’t center his plan around the Chaos Emeralds, he centered it around the Amethyst, which would make much more sense considering he was an average citizen of Prague before going to Sweden to invent his brilliant devise. As you know, soon after creating it, he was taken under arrest, so he wouldn’t have had the time to study the Emeralds. Thus this same device, the Amethyst, was one constructed of eight separate parts, seven as powerful as the final alone.”
Nick frowned, “Eigh-”
MechaSonic grabbed its chest plate and wrenched it open. The android set the Amethyst in its chest and then slammed the chest plate shut once more. MechaSonic clenched both its fists and laughed, “And if that’s not enough, the Amethyst packs so much power, I can destroy you with just a snap of my fingers! Which is precisely what I plan to do, now that my life’s purpose of collecting the Amethyst has been fulfilled!”
“And you did an excellent job, my creation,” Scott said mockingly, grinning with malice.
MechaSonic growled, “Damn...you...to...hell! Chaos-”
Nick waved his hand, “Chaos Freeze!”
A burst of ice spread from Nick’s body, covering everything; the grass, the flames, the air, Scott, MechaSonic, even Nick, even time. Literally everything was frozen. There was a maddening silence effect along with this, broken after a few seconds by an icy voice, saying: “Amethyst.”
The ice shattered, disappearing as if it had never existed. All except for the ice that coated MechaSonic. Scott walked to the frozen android and rapped on the side of its head. He spitefully set his foot on MechaSonic’s ice-covered chest, “No, MechaSonic. Damn you. Damn you to hell, you robotic bastard.”
He kicked the icy android over, and it shattered when it hit the ground. Scott crossed his arms, “Oh, and I told you I could destroy you if I tried.”
He grunted and turned to Nick, “Okay, you have some explaining to do. What was that Chaos Freeze thing you did?”
Nick made a noise halfway between a groan and a sigh. He thought about it, “Chaos Freeze is an elusive move that can only be learned/used under extreme stress or pressure. It can freeze one thing, and one thing only, and is pretty much the Chaos Emerald’s own version...of a failsafe.”
He walked over to the remains of MechaSonic and inspected them. The ice had melted away, and several pieces were sparking with electricity. Nick frowned and rummaged through what he believed to be the chest area, “Hey, Scott, I forgot to ask: what does...did this android run on? And if you say batteries, I’m going to frickin’ kill you.”
Scott chuckled, “No, not batteries. I dug up some amethyst crystals in my backyard. They seemed to radiate energy, so I used them to power the Emerald radar.”
Nick pulled the seven Chaos Emeralds, completely intact, from the wreckage. He turned and glared at Scott, “Amethyst crystals? Are you serious?”
Scott shrugged defensively, “Hey, I’m sorry I didn’t make the connect-”
“No,” Nick interrupted, “It’s not that.” He turned and waved a hand over the wreckage. Several purple gemstones burst from the remains and settled into his hand. “Like these?” Nick asked, turning to Scott.
Scott nodded and Nick clenched his fist around the crystals. After a few seconds, he opened up his hand again to reveal a purple Chaos Emerald.
“Whoa,” Scott gasped, “That’s insa-”
“It gets weirder,” Nick said, cutting him off. He waved his hand over the Emerald and its coloration changed so that it shone with all the colors of the rainbow, but primarily violet.
“Hey,” Scott whispered in awe, “It’s like that other one...”
Nick nodded, “There are nine Chaos Emeralds.”
Scott’s eyes widened, “Which means...”
“Which means that the three sets – the seven Chaos Emeralds, my Chaos Emerald, and this one here – are all equal in power. Since MechaSonic had this one to begin with, that android was only one Emerald away from having them all. If that had happened, we really would have been screwed.”
Scott frowned, “How screwed, exactly?”
Nick thought it over, “Let me put it this way: Chaos Freeze wouldn’t have frozen it.”
Scott’s eyes grew. They sat in silence, thinking about what almost was. After a time, Nick suddenly looked off into the distance. He narrowed his eyes and whispered, “...the hell...?” He pointed towards it, “Scott, what is that?”
Scott squinted, “It’s...a guy. A really fat guy.”
Nick nodded his head a single time, “Bring him over here.”
“Chaos Control!” Scott shouted. He disappeared, reappearing in a few moments with an obese man in a white jumpsuit.
“Hey, what’s your name?” Nick asked.
“G-Gerald,” the man stuttered.
“Gerald? Well, okay.” Nick looked at the eight Chaos Emeralds on the ground, and then at Gerald. He gathered up the Emeralds in his arms and shoved them into Gerald’s, “Here, take them.”
“Uh, thanks,” he said as Scott pulled Nick aside.
“Nick, what are you doing? After all that work we went through to get those things back, and now you’re just giving them away?”
Nick sighed, “Scott, I think we both can agree that the Chaos Emeralds cause more harm than good. It’ll be safer to keep them here, than anywhere on Earth. Are you okay with that?”
Scott closed his eyes and nodded, grinning somberly, “Yes, that would be fine with me.”

***

Nick and Scott rematerialized in Scott’s Irish house. Nick turned to the door and gasped.
Standing in the door was Shadow, the Hedgehog.
Nick gasped again and turned to Scott, “How...in the-”
“I told you,” Scott said, cutting him off, “I had work to take care of.”
Nick’s face lit up, “But how...”
Scott chuckled, “Would you care for a...” he put his left hand on his chin and looked to the ceiling, while slowly saying, “Flashback...”

***

Scott and his father, Toranado, the Ruler of Air and Winds, stood in the midst of a fog bank. Toranado held out his hand, “This,” a sphere formed in his hand, “is called an Aerobomb. Have you ever wondered where the phrase, ‘knocking the wind out of’ came from?”
Scott frowned, “Not really. It’s pretty self-explanator-”
“It means,” Toranado said loudly, interrupting him, “That someone had a vital ingredient of life, oxygen, A.K.A. air, knocked out of them.”
“Like I said,” Scott said, raising an eyebrow, “Pretty self-explanatory.”
“Will you let me finish?” Toranado shouted angrily.
Scott sighed.
“Now then,” Toranado said, straightening his hat, “The Aerobomb reverses this effect; if someone has the wind knocked out of them, the Aerobomb puts it back in! But it’s one-use only. Don’t waste it on something stupid, like a fish.”
“But that doesn’t make sense!” Scott shouted exasperatedly, “It’s just a figure of speech! You can’t literally-”
“It will bring someone back to life if they’re not dead yet! Now, just take it, my child!”
Scott shook himself back to reality. These events had happened a few months ago, when he had met up with his father during the vampire hunt. Now he was in Dublin, in the year 1915, standing over Shadow’s dead body.
“Artificially dead,” Scott corrected himself, “Chaos Death merely kills off the consciousness, but leaves the body intact. Wait, now I’m worried it won’t work.” He shrugged and brought the Aerobomb down on Shadow’s body. There was a bright flash of light and a loud gale.

***

Scott looked back to Nick, his hand still on his chin, “...End Flashback. Long story short, it worked. Oh, and my dad’s crazy.”
Nick grinned and hugged Scott, “I see that, buddy.” He broke the embrace and walked up to Shadow.
The hedgehog coughed, “You don’t need to say anything. I...apologize for myself. You were right; life is precious and shouldn’t be wasted.”
Nick held out his hand, “Glad to hear it.”
Shadow turned away. He looked at Scott, “You didn’t tell him yet, did you?”
Scott shrugged, “I forgot, okay? Nick,” As Nick turned to him, he sighed, “Shadow isn’t staying on Earth. He’s going to stay in,” he gestured to the television, “that world, to prevent MechaSonic from ever returning.”
“But...” Nick looked at Shadow, his arm hanging limp, but still extended.
Shadow nodded, “I’m sorry, Nick. I have to do this. Good-bye...my divine Creator.” He jumped up, gave Nick a high-five, and grabbed a controller, dematerializing into the television.
Nick blinked and walked over to the set. He slumped down to his knees and sighed. Scott patted his shoulder, “It’s for the best.”
Nick nodded and grabbed the game system.
“What are you doing?” Scott asked, taking a step back in surprise.
“It won’t be enough,” Nick said, ripping the game from its slot, “There’s too much at stake, and on Shadow’s shoulders. In order to protect this world, the connection must be severed.” He paused before going on, “And Shadow was never meant for this world anyway.” He looked at the game in his hands for a long time.
“Good-bye, Shadow,” he said, and then he broke it in half.

***

December 24th, 2026.
Nick’s house.
Nick sat on his couch, watching T.V. Scott entered and strode up to him, dropping a game case onto his lap, saying, “Merry Christmas, dumbass.”
Nick lifted the case off his chest and inspected its cover. He raised an eyebrow in surprise, “What the hell?”
He turned it around to face Scott, “What’s the meaning of this?”
Scott grinned slightly, “Remember our most recent DVG? The one in 1915? Turns out that was the very first Sonic game.”
Nick gestured to the game in his hands, “And this?”
“That’s the interesting part. When I first met Shadow, I was so confused because he looked exactly like Sonic’s counterpart. When you denied having any knowledge of the video game Shadow, it just got weirder. And then in Dublin, I began to form this theory that similar DVGs are connected.”
Nick scratched his head, “That would explain why we’ve only been sucked into series games.”
Scott nodded vigorously, “Exactly! And everything went according to my plan after that! Then, when we got back to 2026, I did some research into Sega. Turns out, Shadow’s been in every Sonic game, even indirectly. He was there before Sega even knew how to make games! The first screenshot of their Sonic series – they literally just flipped the switch – was of Shadow, in a field of green!”
Nick again gestured to the game in his hand, “And this?”
Scott grinned, “He got his own game, mate. Read the cover; it’s called Shadow the Hedgehog.”

***
End of Part Three.
***

Yes! That felt liberating! I do recomend the game, though, I was a die-hard Nintendo follower up until that Christmas Eve, and I've played one other Sega game since then. Sonic Colours, which I also recommend....hmmm, I seem to be missing something...something important...oh, yes! Any magnificent comments, befuddling questions, quizzical grammar mistakes, or greatly apreciated critisism is always appreciated, so by all means, use that comment box below! (I beg you!)

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Continued from Part One: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5602-cracker-chronicle-8-amethyst-part-one-ace-in-hole/

I wish to point out that you should leave all your comments for part three, which may or may not be up tomorrow. Write them down. Seriously, people. Anyway, this particular part is rated PG-13 because it has a bit more graphic violence than usual, plus a decent amount more swearing. You have been warned.

***

June 17th, 1915. 1:45 PM
Prague.
Nick beamed as Scott stared at the black hedgehog, his mouth agape. He swallowed and nervously turned to Nick, “Hey, relay me all of the Sonic characters you know.”
Nick’s smile faded, “What, at a time like this? Okay: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big (who should really find a nice cliff and jump off it), Blaze, Jet, Wave, Storm, and Eggman.”
“Is that it?”
Nick scratched his chin, deep in thought. After a short pause, he snapped his fingers, “Metal Sonic!”
“And...?”
Nick frowned and thought hard, “Oh, yeah, Silver! Can’t forget Silver! Why your asking? Did I miss one?”
Scott nervously looked at Shadow from the corners of his eyes, “Uh, yeah...Charmy.”
Nick threw up his hands, “Aw, man! I can’t believe I forgot about the bee...”
“Hey, what’s your policy on Sega games again?”
“‘Never played one, never will’”
“Have you ever broken that?”
“No,” Nick said cautiously, “Why do you-”
“Enough!” Shadow yelled bitterly, “Are we going to get the Chaos Emeralds and destroy MechaSonic or are we just going to stand around doing nothing? Or are we going shopping? Should I get the nail polish so you two can get dolled up?”
Nick turned to Scott. He explained apologetically, “He’s very...emotional. It can’t be explained why, it just happens from time to time.” He turned back to the hedgehog, “Now, Shadow. That was a bad stereotype against women, and you know how I feel-”
“Stop lecturing me!” Shadow screamed. He jumped into the air, holding his head and shouting, “Chaos Control!” He disappeared.
Scott turned back to Nick, despair clear on his face, “Okay, now what?”
Nick sighed and shrugged, “We could always go back to that first thing.”
Scott grinned and unhooked a metal plate attached to his back. He dropped it, and it expanded so that it could hold both of them. It also hovered about a foot off the ground.
Nick nodded in approval, “Nice hoverboard. And they said we wouldn’t get hover technology for another one hundred years, in 2015!”
Scott chuckled lightly, “Strap yourself in, McFly.

***

The hoverboard zoomed through the streets of Prague, Scott steering with his feet and Nick in the back, watching for any sign of MechaSonic. He held an old-fashioned shotgun that had been bought totally legally.
They turned the corner, and there it was, ravaging a sidewalk as it floated down its path. Scott brought the hoverboard up next to MechaSonic and Nick loaded his shotgun.
At the sound, MechaSonic turned and grunted mechanically. The android raised its forearm, and it flipped, pointing the barrel of a machine gun at them at pointblank range.
Nick cried out in surprise and swerved the board away as MechaSonic open fired. “Machine guns?” Nick shouted incredulously, “Are you serious?”
“I did say I packed some surprises in!” Scott shouted over the roar of bullets, “It had to have some way to defend itself!” He ducked and a stream of bullets flew over his head. He clenched his teeth, “Be glad I couldn’t find any uranium. It’d be pretty bad if MechaSonic had nukes.”
As the machine gun stopped firing, Nick looked over his shoulder. MechaSonic loaded a small but deadly missile – marked by its purple tip – into its firearm and aimed it straight at them.
Nick turned back to Scott, anger flashing in his eyes, “Pretty damn close, though.” His eyes abruptly widened in a panic and he pointed ahead, “Look out!”
Scott turned forward just as they smashed into the capitol building. They had crashed into a supporting pillar, and now debris was raining down on them. They quickly got to their feet and dodged out of the way as a concrete slab fell and crushed the hoverboard. Scott’s face fell as he turned to see the flickering remains of his invention, “Da-”
MechaSonic’s missile whizzed past them, exploding part of the capitol building and throwing them both off their feet. MechaSonic then flew into the mess and looked around. Not finding what he was looking for, it looked to the sky. Nick and Scott followed suit.
There, flying amongst the clutter thrown up by the explosion, was the first Chaos Emerald, a blazing red crystal, glinting in the light.
MechaSonic activated the boosters on its back and feet, flying up to catch the Emerald. Nick and Scott leaped to their feet, but by then MechaSonic was already reaching out, about to pluck its prize from the air.
Shadow suddenly materialized, grabbing the Emerald. He disappeared and MechaSonic flew right through where he had just been. The android released an annoyed shout and stopped, hovering in place. Shadow reappeared and fired a Chaos Spear at MechaSonic’s head, sending the android spinning.
By now, Nick and Scott had gotten over their shock and flew up to join them. MechaSonic lunged for Shadow, but was merely met with a fist that smashed into the android’s face. Shadow quickly followed up with another Chaos Spear, dazing the incoherent MechaSonic. Shadow teleported in front of the android, ready to end the threat, “Chaos...”
Nick suddenly realized what Shadow was doing and lunged through the air, shouting, “No!”
“Bla-” Shadow started, but was interrupted by Nick’s elbow, slamming into the top of his head and sending the hedgehog hurtling to the ground. Scott warped behind MechaSonic, unloading a Chaos Spear into the android’s back and sending it soaring towards Nick. He kneed MechaSonic, launching it out of Prague.
Nick and Scott landed on their feet, and Shadow crashed into the ground near them. Shadow stood up and brushed himself off, all while angrily cursing under his breath. He heatedly turned to Nick, “What the hell was that? I was just about to-”
“Destroy half the city,” Nick interrupted decisively, “Shadow; we’re in a populated area. Here, we have rules. And those rules state that you can’t use Chaos Blast where there are people that can be...what’s that word I’m looking for...incinerated!”
Shadow scowled.
Scott shook his head and stepped in between them, “The important thing is that we have the Chaos Emerald and MechaSonic doesn’t, right?”
Shadow bitterly muttered to himself, “It won’t matter if MechaSonic gets the others...”
Scott glared at him, “Right?”
“Right,” Nick and Shadow simultaneously agreed.
“Now,” Scott said softly, “Shadow, are you going to stick with us, or be a pain and leave us behind? Are you going to follow us or endanger humans everywhere?”
“Better to end at our hands than MechaSonic’s...”
“What was that?”
“I’ll follow you.”
“That’s what I thought you said. Now can you point us in the direction of the next Emerald?”

***

June 17th, 1915. 4:12 PM
Aegean Sea.
Nick and Scott ran on top of the water of the Aegean Sea, with Shadow perched on Nick’s shoulder. Shadow cringed and pointed ahead, “Turn fourteen degrees north-by-northeast!”
Nick and Scott adjusted to meet these requirements and Shadow pointed to a spot on the horizon, “Dead ahead. On that island there.”
Nick rubbed his temple and squinted out to sea, “Ah, Santorini Island. Popular in Greek myths for its deathly steep cliffs,” his lip curled into a smile briefly before disappearing, “Keep an eye out for MechaSonic.”
Scott grunted, “Android at two of the clock.” He snarled, “I’m nipping this flower in the bud. Chaos Control!”
Scott teleported directly behind MechaSonic, still running on top of the water. He leaped up and smashed both of his fists into MechaSonic’s head. The android vanished beneath the waves, issuing forth a cry of triumph from Scott, “Yes! Hey, guys! Guess what? I nipped the-”
MechaSonic burst under his feet, knocking him into a large boulder sticking up out of the water. As the android flew towards Nick and Shadow, Scott groaned in pain and irritation, “Water-proof. Did I give you any flaws?”
MechaSonic jumped up, spinning into a spiked ball. The android slammed into Nick, knocking Shadow off his perch and sending Nick hurtling into the water.
MechaSonic unfurled from the ball and turned to the cliffs of Santorini. The android rose up to the top and stopped only a few feet away from a dark blue Chaos Emerald resting on the ledge. MechaSonic reached out to claim the second Emerald.
Scott abruptly appeared on the cliff, scooping up the Emerald, spinning on his heel, and sending a Chaos Spear straight into MechaSonic’s face.
MechaSonic fell from the cliffs but was quickly stopped by two more Chaos Spears, connecting devastatingly. The android hurtled directly towards where Scott was still standing. Scott flipped and in midair smashed his heel into MechaSonic, sending it crashing down to the rocks below. The android released an angry pained noise as it splattered against a stone, unfortunately staying completely intact.
MechaSonic got to its feet and screamed in defiance over two losses in a row. Nick and Shadow materialized at Scott’s side on the cliff. “Hey, I have an idea,” Nick said nervously, looking at MechaSonic with a panicked expression.
“What’s that?” Scott said, equally panicked.
“Chaos Control.”
“Oh, I like that idea. Chaos Control!” They disappeared and seconds later, a missile exploded the very spot where they had just been standing.

***

June 17th, 1915. 6:45 PM
Somewhere in the Ural Mountains.
The third Chaos Emerald fell into their grasp rather easily. The gold crystal simply rested on the roof of a house in the middle of the Ural Mountain range. MechaSonic didn’t even show up to fight, so there was no problem taking the Emerald.
It turned out that the house belonged to Scott when he had lived in Russia, and now they were using an amplifier hooked up to a computer to find the Emeralds long range. Shadow, who was hooked up to the amplifier in order for it to work, scowled, “We’re wasting time, you know.”
Nick stood up and paced the room, “We are not. We’ll find the Emeralds faster this way.”
“Okay, Shadow,” Scott said, looking up from the computer screen, “You can detach yourself, but we’ll find the Emeralds’ locations faster if-”
Shadow brutally ripped off the wires attached to his face. He strode across the room and crossed his arms.
“...you stay attached,” Scott finished, narrowing his eyes.
“There’d be a lot less stress if we just destroyed MechaSonic instead of running away every time he shows up. If a few humans are killed in the struggle, what does it matter?”
Nick glared at him, “We are to protect humans, not treat them like they’re disposable. We’re protecting more of them by not fighting MechaSonic.”
Shadow slammed his fist into a table, “And does the android share this policy of leaving them out of it? The moment that damned machine touches an Emerald, it has access to all of the powers they possess. If we didn’t even have MechaSonic around, there wouldn’t be any form of conflict!”
Nick sighed and closed his eyes, “I see I cannot persuade you with mere words. But what if I were to offer an agreement?”
Shadow raised an eyebrow, “Continue.”
“You think your way – of destroying MechaSonic – is right. I think my way – of collecting the Emeralds first – is right. We fight each other. We follow the victor. Agreed?”
Scott raised his hand, “And where do I stand in all of this?”
Nick waved at him, “Nowhere, you’re not important in this situation.”
Shadow mulled over his decision, “I accept. When do we start?”
Nick lunged forward and grabbed Shadow by the arm, chucking him through the wall of the house. He called to Shadow through the newly formed hole, “I think now would suffice!”
Nick leaped out of Scott’s house and Shadow cut him from the side with a waylay punch. Nick instinctively lashed out, smacking Shadow across the face with the back of his hand.
Shadow scowled and leaped, fist raised, coming down hard directly above Nick. The elf caught his fist in midair, twisting his wrist only enough to cause pain. Nick threw the hedgehog far and ran to him, kicking the beaten animal like a soccer ball.
Shadow hesitantly got to his feet, breathing heavily. Nick stood some distance away, not looking hurt at all. Angered by this sight, Shadow drew in a short breath of air and shouted piercingly, “Chaos Blast!”
A fiery explosion erupted around the hedgehog, enveloping everything in a 50-meter radius in one destructive blast.
Shadow laughed, and then gasped. Standing exactly where he had been previously standing, was Nick, unfazed as ever. Flames licked his feet and Shadow noticed that his shoes, socks, and shirt had burned away, but his pants and watch remained intact.
A smile creepily trembled upon Nick’s face as he gestured to his legs, “It’s quite intriguing; Chaos energy has no effect on magic or magical items, such as my pants. Although that’s probably not why you’re so surprised.”
Shadow swallowed and leaped forward, his body angled to kick Nick square in the chest. Nick intercepted the attack with ease, grabbing Shadow’s leg and spinning on his heel before throwing him into a nearby mountain.
Shadow collapsed at the base, but Nick was there in an instant, picking him up and repeatedly smashing the hedgehog into the rock for several brutal moments. Nick tossed Shadow into a pile of boulders, firing off a Chaos Spear milliseconds later. Shadow was buried under a cascade of stone, and everything was quiet for a brief period of time.
Then the pile of rock started to rumble, and Nick held up a hand, counting down on his fingers and speaking, “Three, two one!” A Chaos Spear formed in his still-raised hand and fired into seemingly empty space. At the last possible second, Shadow burst from the ground, connecting painfully with the orb of Chaos energy.
Shadow ricocheted off the side of the mountain limply. Nick leaped straight up into him, grabbing the hedgehog’s leg and throwing him back towards Scott’s house. Shadow’s face scraped along the ground, and Nick landed beside him, grabbing his arm and throwing him through the wall of Scott’s house, sensibly making a second hole instead of using the first right next to it.
Shadow crashed into a table, and grunted in pain, defeated.
Scott turned around in his chair, “How was your loss?”
Shadow rubbed his head and sat up, “How did-”
“You never stood a chance, man. I would have put money against you, except...” he gestured around the room, “no one else is here.”
Nick entered through one of the holes in the wall, “That settles it, then?”
Shadow sighed, “Fine. We do things your way.”
Nick nodded and turned to Scott, “Any progress? Any lead?”
The computer beeped and Scott turned back towards it, “Yeah, just now. The next Chaos Emerald is in the Sahara Desert.”

***

June 17th, 1915. 9:30 PM
Africa
Nick and Shadow zoomed through the sands, only barely breaking the silence of night with their footsteps. “Scott couldn’t make it,” Nick said, “He has to lock himself up on the full moon so he doesn’t hurt anybody.”
Shadow only stared straight ahead, “I’ve noticed.”
There was silence between them as they ran on. Shadow’s ears perked up and he jerked his head, eyes widening, “There!” He pointed to a dune which had a cap that sparkled with an unnatural orange light. As they drew closer, they saw the spark of light belonged to an orange Chaos Emerald resting in the sand.
There came a rumbling underfoot and a spiked ball burst up through the sand between them. The ball uncurled to form MechaSonic, who flew beside them. “Hello, inferior life forms,” the android said menacingly, “I presume you have the Chaos Emeralds you stole from me? Or did you lose them already?”
“As a matter of fact,” Nick said, nodding his head north, “We have three now. Just not with us. Scott has them.”
MechaSonic laughed, “Then you have no advantage over me. I shall enjoy the sight of your carcasses burning.”
As MechaSonic zoomed ahead, Nick’s eyes enlarged, “What kind of android says stuff like that?”
Shadow grunted in agreement, and then teleported to the Chaos Emerald, “Too late, MechaSonic! You’re too-”
The ground beneath his feet exploded, throwing him and the Emerald up into the air. MechaSonic leaped and caught the Chaos Emerald. “Now!” MechaSonic screamed as it landed on top of the dune, “The time has come! Chaos...”
“Shadow!” Nick yelled.
The hedgehog, who was still flying through the air, whispered, “Damn it...” A tear streaked down his cheek and he shouted at the top of his lungs, “Chaos Control!”
“Blast!”
Nick and Shadow warped, and a gigantesque explosion threw up sand for miles. The sand burned, whatever life was in the area was dead, and yet Nick and Shadow had escaped.
MechaSonic smiled. They had escaped for now, but they wouldn’t elude his grasp for long. The android picked up a burnt lizard body, feeling pleasure at the destruction he had wrought. MechaSonic laughed. Soon, the whole world would be like this, and if Ace was indeed dead, MechaSonic would rule in his place.
The android stopped laughing and stared at the dead lizard in its hands. “No, Shadow,” MechaSonic said spitefully, “You are too late.”
The android crushed the lizard’s remains in its hand into a fist.

***

June 18th, 1915. 6:50 AM
The Amazon, near Rio de Janeiro.
“What happened?”
“You’ve been asking us the same question since you woke up in Russia, and no matter how many times you ask, we’re not going to tell you, Scott,” Nick said irritably.
“I just want to-”
Shadow jumped up, grabbing Scott by his shirt collar and bringing him down to his eye level, “Stop asking, because we’re not going to tell you what effing happened.”
He let go and walked away while Scott stood up and brushed himself off, “Fine. I’ll just stop, then.”
They walked through the rainforest in silence, searching for the next Chaos Emerald. After a while, Scott spoke up, his curiosity momentarily forgotten, “Ace sure picked diverse places to put the Emeralds. At first I thought they were just in Europe, but then one was in Africa, and now one’s here, in South America.”
“Three Emeralds and four other continents,” Nick chuckled, “It’s amazing how the world can be so big and yet so small.” Nick punched Scott and continued, “Remember when they installed the first holographic billboards in Rio?”
Scott’s lips curled into a sly grin, “You mean in a hundred years or so?”
Nick chuckled, “Exactly.”
Shadow’s ears perked up and he growled, “MechaSonic’s here. The Chaos Emerald isn’t too far away. We must hurry or else lose another Emerald to it. Now!”
They took off in a run through the forest, Shadow in the lead, twisting and turning through the network of vegetation. At last, he stopped and they looked up, the top of a tall tree holding the gray Chaos Emerald, monotonously shining in the rising sun. Shadow leapt up, flying towards the Emerald without waiting for Nick or Scott.
“Chaos Spear!”
An orb of Chaos energy slammed into Shadow’s back, smashing him through the tree and sending the Chaos Emerald plummeting towards Earth. MechaSonic materialized in front of Nick and Scott, catching the Emerald without breaking its gaze on them.
“I will ask politely for the final time,” the android said emotionlessly, “Hand over the Chaos Emeralds and I won’t crush your skulls.”
Scott scoffed and slightly smiled, “I have learned a lot about you in the past seventeen hours alone, MechaSonic, and I know that’s a filthy lie.”
Behind him, Nick did some quick calculations in the air, astonished. He thought it over and then said, “Wow. He’s right; we’ve only been in 1915 for seventeen hours. Seems longer for some reason.”
As if Nick hadn’t spoken at all, Scott continued, “So I offer this as a rebuttal: Never, you robotic bastard!”
“Have it your way,” MechaSonic said as he hovered above the ground, backing away a bit, “But I cannot be dissuaded from my objectives. Prepare to die!”
Shadow fell into MechaSonic’s upturned hand and was launched into Scott’s chest face-first. MechaSonic switched the arm that wasn’t holding the Chaos Emerald into a machine gun, aiming at Nick.
Nick fired a Chaos Spear at the gun, disabling it, before running up to the android and punching at its head. The android caught his fist and swung him around, smashing him into a tree.
As Nick slumped down, MechaSonic turned to the other two and flew over to them. Shadow leaped to his feet at the android’s approach, but MechaSonic simply smacked him aside. Shadow flew into a tree headfirst, cracks forming on the bark where he struck.
MechaSonic turned back to Scott, who had gotten to his feet. The android raised his hand and shot a Chaos Spear at his chest, knocking him over once more. MechaSonic grandly walked up to him, acknowledging Scott’s limp form. After a moment, the android kicked at his ribs.
Scott groaned and coughed up blood. MechaSonic delivered another kick, and many more, speaking a single phrase with each blow: “Pathetic, worthless, waste of space! Why...how...could...you...possibly...be...the one...who...created me?”
Scott grunted and rolled onto his back, “You were never supposed to be this way. You were...corrupted. I am not weak; I just...do not want to hurt you, my creation.”
A spark seemed to flash in MechaSonic’s eye. The android turned away, “Then maybe you should start trying.” MechaSonic turned and kicked Scott in the ribs one last time. Scott rolled over, clutching his side, and the android bent over, retrieving the Chaos Emeralds in Scott’s pocket. The five Emeralds swirled around MechaSonic momentarily as the android took one last look at Scott.
“Chaos Control!” it said, and then it was gone.
Nick groaned in pain and hesitantly got to his feet. As Shadow did likewise, Nick walked over to Scott and helped him up.
“I couldn’t...I couldn’t stop it...” Scott said brokenheartedly, “It’s grown too powerful. It’s grown...into more than just an android. It’s...”
“Don’t say it, Scott,” Nick said, wrapping his arm around his shoulders, “Emeralds first, android later.”
Scott shook his head, “If we had three Emeralds, and MechaSonic two, what difference does it make if we have the other two while it has five? I can’t imagine what will happen if it gets seven...”
“Then don’t. The difference is that we’re not going to let it happen; MechaSonic won’t get the last two Emeralds before us.”
Shadow, who had been observing the entire conversation, looked to the ground. He sighed, and then said quietly to himself, “Damn.” The hedgehog shook his head and looked straight at the two elves, “The next Chaos Emerald is in Dublin.”
“What?” Nick said, turning to him, “How could you have known that from way out here, in South America?”
“I’ve known since I met Scott that Emerald was in Dublin. I never mentioned it because I wanted a failsafe. A fallback plan. We’ve lost five Emeralds to MechaSonic, so it’s time to get it.”
Scott frowned, “Why are you telling us this, instead of just keeping your old plan to yourself and just pointing us in the right direction?”
Shadow sighed, “I still don’t agree with your ways of doing things. But I do care for the humans. I think more will survive if MechaSonic is out of the way. There are only two Emeralds left, and I can’t let the android get them. I can’t continue on with you. I wish it didn’t have to be this way. You go to Dublin and get that Emerald, and I’ll find the last Emerald and use it to finish MechaSonic.” He looked away, “I’m sorry. For everything.”
Nick held out his hand, “Shadow, wait!”
Shadow shook his head, teleporting in the process.
Nick dropped his arm and sighed. Scott put a hand on his shoulder, “He made his choice. Let’s not dwell on the past.”
Nick scoffed and threw off the sympathetic hand, “You dare offer your hypocrisy upon me? You are a terrible actor, Scott. You’ve never even attempted to destroy MechaSonic, because deep down, you hope that MechaSonic is still good. You try and hide it, but me and Shadow both saw it. Newsflash: it’s an android, and androids don’t have emotions that curb their judgment.”
“But not any further,” Scott said, stopping Nick from ranting on, “I’m done being merciful on MechaSonic. The next time we fight will be the last, I promise you that. MechaSonic chose not to change sides. Shadow chose to work alone. I chose not to let my emotions blind my judgment. Now it’s your turn to make a choice.”
Nick closed his eyes and lowered his head. After a few minutes of thought, he looked to the sky valiantly, “I have made it.”
“Our destination?”
“Dublin.”

***

June 18th, 1915. 1:10 PM
Dublin, Ireland.
“Ah, I love the Irish,” Scott said merrily as they walked the streets of the capital, “They invented so many useful things: torture, beer, soap. I think I might even have a wee bit o’ Irish blood in me, I do.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Nick mumbled, “Of the three things you mentioned, you only like the first two.”
Scott frowned. He unfolded a map he had been carrying and looked it over, “Maybe we should check the capitol building.”
“Why?”
“Remember; the red Chaos Emerald was in Prague’s capitol. This way it’s efficient. Ace did seem like that kind of person. Plus it’s coming up on the next corner.” As he gestured down the street in the general direction of the capitol, there came an explosion from that same street. Nick and Scott looked at each other, eyes widening. Scott said the first thing that popped into his head: “I swear, it wasn’t me this time.”
Nick shook his head, “There’s no...this time?”
Scott turned away quickly, “Don’t change the subject!”
They took off down the street, dodging the natives that ran in the opposite direction. They turned the corner and gasped in shock.
MechaSonic stood on a ledge in front of a clock on the capitol. The building itself was largely intact, but the rest of the street wasn’t. The structures crumbled away and almost everything was on fire. Dozens of dead or dieing humans lay in the street. One was impaled with a stop sign. Another had a missile fragment stuck in their back. Down the street, it just got worse. Despite the variable suffering, they were all hurt the same way: mercilessly, by an android’s cold hands.
The hands that now held a purple Chaos Emerald, sickly yet tantalizingly shining with a royal, majestic glow.
“We’re too late,” Nick gasped.
“This crosses the line!” Scott yelled, addressing MechaSonic, “You’ve gone too far this time! It’s one thing to kill those in your way, and another entirely to kill innocent people!”
The android laughed, “If you think about it, they were in my way. They didn’t flee fast enough, and that makes them disposable.”
MechaSonic abruptly turned his attention elsewhere; a human who had lost an arm and appeared to be unable to use his legs was desperately trying to crawl away using one arm. Determination was clear on his face, as sweat beaded either from the flames, the loss of blood, and/or the tremendous effort.
The android turned and ripped one of the clock’s hands from its face. MechaSonic swiftly thrust the large, sharp iron hand directly at the defenseless human. Nick and Scott regretfully tore their gazes away, but didn’t have the time to block the sound of the man’s skull shattering from their ears.
Tears streamed down Scott’s face as he turned back to look at the android, “How could you do such acts? What kind of monster have I created?”
“Monster?” MechaSonic questioned unthinkingly, “I’m no monster.” It laughed, “I’m a deity!”
Scott screamed at his creation, “Do you find...” he paused, hating the very accusation he was about to make, “Do you find pleasure at this? Destruction, death, suffering...all of it? Do you enjoy causing such misery?”
MechaSonic laughed, “How can you not? That is the only way to be truly powerful; you two are prime examples of the extreme opposite! Only the truly powerful can rise from the ashes of their enemies, and if they show mercy, will they be shown it in return? No! Never! When you are above everyone else, that is true pleasure! When you crush your enemies between your fingers, that is true enjoyment! When you avenge the deaths of those you care about...” the android made an elaborate gesticulation towards them, a purple orb of Chaos energy forming in its hand, “That is true happiness! Chaos Death!”
The orb shot towards them like a bullet. They tried to run, but found their feet stuck to the ground. The two elves squeezed their eyes shut and held each other.
“Bye, buddy,” Scott whispered.
“See ya,” Nick agreed.
MechaSonic laughed triumphantly at their impending doom. As the orb drew closer, Nick and Scott each opened a single eye to watch it approach.
Suddenly, a black hedgehog appeared in the air in front of them and faced the orb, taking the full force of the attack. The orb partially enveloped him, but was partially held back with open palms.
“Shadow?” Nick shouted incredulously as Scott pushed him away and brushed himself off, after seeing that he wasn’t going to die and there was no need to hug Nick.
“Hey guys,” Shadow grunted, “You’re welcome for saving your asses, by the way. What is this, the fifth time? Heh...”
Nick frowned, utterly conflicted, “Why-”
“No time to explain! I have the last Emerald!” He held up a Chaos Emerald greener than a pine tree, “It’s the only thing keeping me alive right now. Take it, and defeat MechaSonic once and for all.” He groaned in pain, “Don’t worry about me. It’s better this way.”
Nick held out his hand, “Shad-”
Shadow turned and threw the Chaos Emerald into Nick’s hand, immediately releasing a scream of pain. There was a final flash of light, and Shadow the Hedgehog fell to the ground, dead.

***
End of Part Two.
***

Well, wasn't that pleasent? I do realize the deadline for part three is tomorrow, but since I'm in a writing mood, I think it will get done. You know, if NSK work doesn't get in my way. Anyway...actually, that's it...

Contiued in Part Three: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5622-cracker-chronicle-8-amethyst-part-three-legacy-of-shadow/

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This is the very first of the three parts of CC#8: Amethyst, and details...well, just read it, okay? I can't tell you everything...actually, that's the point of this...

***

June 17th, 2026.
Alcatraz, California.
Alcatraz is known world-wide as a prison, a terrible prison with horrible living conditions and hundreds of prisoners dieing each day. But that was in the past. Now Alcatraz is abandoned, or a minor tourist attraction, albeit not very popular. The jail was purely of human design, and contrary to popular belief, had nothing to do with a certain company that goes by the name of NSK.
Thus it would seem strange that Nick and Scott, two of the three co-CEOs of NSK, would be in this prison on a day as normal as this one. There were no tourists on the island at the moment, but it didn’t matter to the two elves.
“So,” Scott said, trying to make conversation, “Why are we here? Certainly not a vacation. Although...”
“We’re not on vacation,” Nick said suddenly, “You must be patient. I will tell you more when we arrive at our destination.”
Scott frowned, “However, there really isn’t anywhere else to go. We’re in a prison, on an island, and there’s no one here.”
Nick turned to his companion and grinned, “In due time, Scott. In due time.” He turned and kept walking past the cells.
Scott scowled and followed, “You know, I’d be fine with all these riddles if my partner was, you know, a woman. But did I get that? No...”
Nick stopped and pointed to a cell that looked exactly the same as the thousands of other cells, “Number seven-seven-three-four. Okay, Scott, get in.”
Scott frowned again, “I’m fine with the cell; I can break out if I need to. But what I want to know is why?”
Nick sighed, “Just trust me on this, okay?”
Scott shrugged, “Okay, but I have a bad feeling about it.”
Scott clambered into the cell, quickly followed by Nick, who shut the door, “Relax. You have nothing to fear.” He moved to the back of the cell and pressed a brick into the wall.
Two foreboding steel doors closed in front of the cell door. Scott turned to Nick, “That was planned, right?”
Nick ignored him as the cell began to shake violently, “This chamber is an elevator. It’s been here since Alcatraz was abandoned.”
Scott’s eyes grew wide as the elevator began to move, “I am definitely going to regret this trip.”
Nick grinned, “You have absolutely nothing to worry about, Scott.”
What Nick didn’t tell him was that the cell number, 7734, upside-down spelled ‘hell’.

***

The farther the elevator descended, the wider Scott’s eyes grew. “How far down does this thing go?”
Nick shrugged, “You’re going to find out when we arrive, so the question itself is kind of pointless.”
Scott scowled, slightly enraged. Nick ignored this.
A couple of minutes later, the elevator finally came to a stop and opened its doors.
The first thing they noticed was the heat. There was no moisture in the air, so it was not at all humid, but it still felt like they were in a cooking pot.
They were in a prison much like Alcatraz, but here there were thousands more cells, so many they were stacked on top of each other along the walls. The entire structure was made of metal, everything a depressing gray.
In front of the elevator, two men were playing cards at a table. One of them looked up as the doors closed, quickly ushering to the other as he stood up: “Okay, break’s over! Get back to your post!”
After the second man had left, taking with him the table and chairs, – which turned out to be foldable – the first man smoothed out his NSK uniform, addressing them, “Nick! Scott! This is an odd surprise! I am Tim, Superintendent of Labzarynth, this very building. Would you care for a tour? We don’t get many visitors, you know, so we try to perfect our acts of entertainment.”
Nick nodded his head towards Scott, “Oh, I don’t need one. But I do believe this is Scott’s first time here at Labzarynth, so I must oblige. Lead the way.”
Tim bowed, and as he did so, the faintest of smiles crept upon his lips, “Yes, follow me, if you will.” He turned and strode through the prison, Nick and Scott following behind.
Tim gestured around every time he began a sentence during his speech: “Labzarynth is a huge underground NSK prison. It has been hidden in the Earth’s mantle, where it floats around due to convection currents. Its unique location prevents any kind of penetration; it is physically impossible for a prisoner to escape and live.” He frowned, momentarily forgetting to gesture, “Of course, we have had a few...mishaps. And then a couple hundred years back, an immortality potion was slipped into the prisoners’ food and all of those prisoners are still here today. Save one.
“Anyway, here at Labzarynth, we have over thirty-thousand pre-made cells, a little less than half currently occupied. Most of the prisoners are human, although we did get that weird three-eyed tiger a few years ago. Our scientists are still working on that.
“In the past, the convicts of Labzarynth would take care of the others’ necessities – cooking, laundry, water purification – but that proved to be insufficient. Now NSK guards take care of the prisoners’ needs. We are happy to announce the death rate has decreased by fifteen percent since then.
“Here at Labzarynth, we are proud to admit that no human experimentation takes place, as it has been found to make the employees squeamish.”
Tim sighed and turned again to them, bowing, “That is the end of your tour. I do hope you enjoyed it; I’ve been working on it for the last fifteen years.”
Scott shrugged, “I don’t like that last part. The one about the experiment-”
“I think it was meant to be a joke, Scott,” Nick said, rolling his eyes.
Tim chuckled, “I was worried no one would get that. It’s so hard to find people with a morbid sense of humor.”
Nick shoved his hands into his pockets, “Tell me about it. Something about being mortal, that’s most likely it. Those with a morbid sense of humor can probably overlook the fact that they could die at any second.”
Tim chuckled again, only this time a bit hesitantly, “I forgot to ask: what brings you here? Not an ideal vacation spot, am I right?”
Nick frowned and looked to Scott for a moment. He then turned back to Tim, “We’ve come to...donate a prisoner.”
Tim’s eyes grew momentarily before quickly relaxing, “I don’t see any prisoner.”
Scott scowled, eager to return to the conversation, “Yeah, Nick, where’s the prisoner? All you brought with was me and...” he trailed off, mind racing as he put two and two together.
Nick noticed this in his expression and shook his head, eyes wide, “Oh, no, Scott! You’ve got it all wrong! I was talking about R here.”
Scott frowned, anger replaced with confusion, “R? Who’s R?”
“R,” Nick said, glad that Scott was no longer angry. He explained not only for Scott but also for Tim, “A few months ago, I petrified the old lady in stone. Since then, we’ve been vampire hunting around Eurasia.” He pondered for a moment, “I think she’s in China/Russia now. The reports of vampire attacks have been steadily moving east.” He shook his head, focusing on the subject at hand. He gestured to a statue that had miraculously appeared next to him.
Scott and Tim jumped back in surprise. “Oh, yeah,” Scott said resentfully, “I remember.”
Nick’s face flashed to a smile for a few seconds, but was soon gone. He turned to Tim, “R is one of the Nefarious Twelve, and she controls the element of metal. Do you have a cell you’d be willing to use?”
“Yeah, like I said, over half,” Tim said, shrugging, “I’ll be sure to get her locked away from the other prisoners, just in case anything happens.” He turned away for a brief moment and mumbled something to himself.
Scott shivered, “All right, now that we’re done here, can we leave? This place is really starting to creep me out.”
Tim turned to him eerily, “I’m afraid you can’t do that, Scott.”
Scott grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him violently, shouting: “Why not, Mister Man?”
“Tim. My name is Tim.”
“Why not, Mister Tim?”
Tim pushed him away and straightened his tie, “Because Labzarynth is constantly moving. There are several shafts to the surface dotted around the globe, and when we come close enough to one, we dock for thirty minutes exactly. We’ve already left, and the next docking point is in South Africa in,” he checked his watch, “forty-two days.”
“Forty-two days!” Scott practically screamed, shaking his head, “That’s three fortnights! I can’t wait that long!”
Nick raised an eyebrow, “He’s right; forty-two days is three fortnights exactly.”
Scott turned and grabbed Nick’s shoulders, shaking him drunkenly, “What are we supposed to do for three fortnights in a prison?”
Nick rolled his eyes at the irony of this question and took a step back so that Scott couldn’t touch him. Tim pulled a pack of cards from his pocket, “Do you like poker? Employees here have their very dignity invested in these games.”
Scott perked up and turned once more to Tim, “Wait...are there women employees here, too?”
Tim shrugged, “I just said people have their dignity invested in the game. It would be weird if there weren’t women here.”
Scott grinned as his eyes grew wide, “I’m in.”

***

Nick, Scott, and Tim, along with two female NSK employees, sat at a table playing poker. As Nick lay down a royal flush, one of the women giggled, “I can’t believe we’re actually playing cards with elves.”
Scott winked at her, “Two of your three bosses, no less. Remember this, if you ever want a promotion, come to me.”
The woman giggled once more and Nick rolled his eyes.
Tim eyed his hand, his face indifferent as he kept the conversation going, “So, Nick; is this your first time playing poker? I know you’re not an avid gambler...”
Nick lay down four aces, “Yeah, this is my first time. Why do you ask?”
Scott stared at the cards on the table, and then at Nick, searching his face for any signs of sarcasm. Finding none, he sighed, “I fold. Nick’s just too good, even if he has no idea what he’s doing.”
Nick looked at Scott impassively, “Wait, four aces are good?”
Tim chuckled, “You’re kidding, right?”
Nick shrugged, “I have absolutely no idea what the heck I’m doing.”
Tim frowned, “I fold.” He stood up and left, followed by Scott.
Nick turned to the two women, “I fold too. Whatever that means.” He got up and followed Tim and Scott once more through the prison.
“I don’t think I can do this for another six weeks,” Scott groaned, “Not with Nick playing.”
Tim raised his eyebrows, “You’re telling me. I practically perfected my poker face, and look what happened! I’m out three hundred dollars!”
“I’m...sorry,” Nick interjected, “If you want, I can-”
“Keep your money,” Tim said, waving his offer away, “It doesn’t matter. I can get it all back by the time you leave. No need to give me anything.”
Scott perked up and turned to Nick, “Wait, what if we just used the Chaos Emeralds to warp out of here?”
Nick sighed and pulled a Chaos Emerald from his pocket, “We can’t. The Emeralds are acting screwy.” Even as he spoke, the Emerald in his hand flashed from its ordinary red to an ominous black.
Tim cleared his throat, “I think one of the prisoners might be able to help you out with that.”
Nick and Scott simultaneously turned and gawked at him, saying concurrently: “Who?”

***

A cell door opened and a fair-skinned man about five feet tall hesitantly stepped out into the light. He squinted at the three in front of him and scowled.
Tim turned to his companions, “Nick, Scott, meet Ace Pearson.”
Ace spoke in a hoarse voice, as if testing it for the first time in years, “That’s Ace Omega Pearson to you, Superintendent.” He coughed and cleared his throat, slightly reverting his voice so it was less hoarse.
Tim growled threateningly at him, “Ace was arrested for inventing and using a deadly device to destroy-”
“Half of Europe!” Nick interrupted, his eyes shining, “Yes, I remember that! NSK refers to it as the Amethyst Incident, after the device that Ace used and was never recovered: The Amethyst. It was well known for bringing an end to NSK relations with the governments of Europe eleventy-one years ago, in 1915.”
Scott opened his mouth to point something out, but Nick shoved his hand in front of it, saying, “Eleventy is a number. Read The Lord of the Rings, dumbass.”
Scott shoved Nick hand away, “That’s not what I was going to say. I was going to point out that even if Ace was born in 1915, he would still be well over one hundred years old, yet he looks to be in his mid-twenties! Explain!”
Tim shrugged and gestured to Ace, “We’re not sure, but we think Ace might be a Jegarian. There aren’t very many alternatives, though.”
Scott frowned, “Jegarian?”
“The race of people that directly descended from dragons,” Nick explained, “They don’t have anything too special about them, except they have unusually pale skin, their aging system slows considerably after the age of thirty-one, and they live to be over eight hundred years old, but not many survive after a thousand. Luckily, not very many people are like this. Sometimes NSK will arrest a Jegarian in the streets just because they could claim immortality.”
Scott nodded in understanding, “Okay, but what does he have to do with the Chaos Emeralds?”
Ace grinned as Tim explained, “When he was caught by you, Scott, he supposedly warped the Amethyst away using Chaos Control.”
Scott frowned again, “But the Chaos Emeralds were discovered almost a century after that, in 1991. It doesn’t match up.”
“Unless,” Ace said, tapping his fingers on his leg, “I happen to know more about the Chaos Emeralds than you do.”
Tim turned to Nick and Scott, “So, do you want his help?”
Nick and Scott looked at each other. Scott sighed, “It’s better than nothing. Even if he fails we’d be no poorer. What’s the worst that could happen?”

***

Nick, Scott, and Ace gathered around a gray table in the center of a gray room. Two armored guards blocked the only exit, just in case Ace might try something.
Ace rubbed his sore wrists, “So, what’s the problem with the Emeralds?”
Nick retrieved the red Chaos Emerald from his pocket and showed it to Ace, “They keep pulsating black. We’re sure what it mea-”
“It means the Emeralds are losing power,” Ace said, cutting him off, “It might not seem possible, but it is.”
“Can you fix it?” Scott said with a frown.
Ace nodded, “Yes, but to do so I require all of the Chaos Emeralds. Lay them out on the table, here, if you would.”
As Nick set his Emerald down, Scott retrieved his, laying seven Chaos Emeralds onto the table. Ace frowned.
Nick raised his eyebrows, “Something’s wrong; there are eight Emeralds here. Scott, you always let me use this Emerald...”
“...and yet I already have all seven on hand,” Scott said, scratching his chin, “What’s going on?”
Ace picked up Nick’s Emerald hesitantly, “Yes, this one is not one of the seven. However, it possesses as much power as the seven put together.” He tightened his hold and the Emerald shone with all the colors of the rainbow, but primarily red.
Scott scrunched up his eyebrows, “Is that it, then?”
Ace nodded, “Yes, there are...eight Emeralds.” He sighed and closed his eyes. There was a slight pause before he opened his eyes, a mischievous grin spreading across his face. His grip on the Emerald tightened further and his eyes flared as he spoke in a menacing, yet confident tone: “Chaos Control!”
Nick, Scott, Ace, and the table, along with the seven Chaos Emeralds on top of it, were teleported, landing in the square of an old-fashioned town.
Scott shouted to Nick, “Quick! Where are we?”
Nick checked his watch, “Prague, June of 1915. About 1:30ish.”
Scott opened his mouth and turned to Ace. He suddenly realized something and turned back to Nick, “What kind of watch is that?”
“It’s a Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile. Why do you ask?”
Scott scrunched up his eyebrows, cocked his head, and frowned in one fluid, questioning motion. Seeing this, Nick explained further, “My watch was made in the fourth dimension, so it is infused with magic. It automatically detects the universal time wherever – and whenever – it is.”
Scott nodded thoughtfully, “Okay, so it’s useful. Anyway...” They turned back to Ace, who was twirling the Chaos Emerald like a basketball.
Ace laughed and threw the Emerald into the air, “How are you enjoying my home? After all, it was you two that robbed me of my life, so I see it fitting to bring you back here with me.”
“Why are we here, Ace?” Scott demanded.
Ace deftly caught the Emerald he had tossed into the air. He glanced at them momentarily, gesturing with the Emerald and shouting two words: “Chaos Control!”
The seven Emeralds on the table, along with the one in Ace’s hand vanished, teleporting through time and space. Ace laughed, “They are gone; scattered around the globe! Good luck trying to find them! I will have them all back by sundown!”
“Why are you doing this, Ace?” Nick shouted.
“You still don’t get it?” Ace questioned, a sly grin twitching across his face, “I never wanted to help you. It was just a matter of time until the limitless power of the Emeralds would diminish and then you would come to me, seeking my help. Fools! In doing so, you have released me, and brought the power I had absorbed from the Emeralds back once more! Your naïveté has cost you dearly, as it will when I will soon rule!”
Fury spread across Nick’s face. He blindly reached for the hilt of his sword, only to find it not there. He scowled and remembered he had left the Fli Sword at home.
Ace released a bark of laughter and raised his arms, causing energy to surge into his body, “How does it feel to be so powerless? How does it feel to face certain doom and not be able to do a thing about it? How does it feel to be as I was, eleventy-one years ago? Chaos-”
Nick struck swiftly, his hand latching around Ace’s throat, prohibiting him from speaking. “I know something I can do,” Nick said cynically, “I can always kill you. After all, no one...betrays...Nicholas Sven!”
Tiny Life Orbs seeped from in between his fingers, ravenously tearing into Ace’s flesh before returning to Nick with the absorbed energy. Nick dropped Ace, and he screamed, his life coming to an end before their eyes. Eventually, he was gone; all of the molecules in his body now powering Nick.
Scott drew out a long breath of air that had been held in, “Wow. That was...intense.”
Nick sighed and sat down on the table, “Yeah, don’t mention it. Do you have a plan to get the Chaos Emeralds back?”
Scott scratched the side of his face, “Are you okay?”
Nick closed his eyes, waving him off, “Have I ever told you of the sensation I get when absorb something’s energy with the Life Orbs?”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “No, I am not enlightened to any such sensation.”
“Whenever I use the Life Orbs, I get a sensation of taste. Plants and flowers are typically sweet or sour, the tastes I enjoy most. However, when I use it on a human,” he shook his head, “the taste is the most unsavory.”
“And what’s that?” Scott inquired.
“Bitter.”
“Oh, is that why you don’t drink tea?”
Nick opened his eyes and nodded, “Yes. You would think that one such as I would drink tea, but I don’t. Instead...” he pulled a smoothie from his pocket and took a sip from the straw.
Scott smacked the cup from his hands, “Don’t drink that! It doesn’t make sense in this scenario and barely makes sense from the context!”
Scott cleared his throat and detached an electronic box from his back. He pressed a button on the center and five metallic limbs popped out; two legs, two arms, and a fierce armored head. That which had been the box rounded into a torso, and a row of spikes formed along the back of the head and down the spinal area. The machine was a dark gray-blue, with a single orange-yellow glass window for an eye. A silver V splashed across the chest, razor-sharp but apparently useless. Two yellow S’s hummed on the back of the machine’s fists, and a similar mark played across the upper-chest area, directly below the neck.
It was a robotic, anthropoid hedgehog.
Scott cleared his throat once more, “Quite impressive, if I do say so myself. In order to avoid lawsuits, I’ve cleverly named my machine: MechaSonic.”
Nick frowned, “Wait a second...I get where you got the idea, but I’m confused...”
Scott clapped his hands together eagerly, “The first thing you might be wondering is why I based it off a villain. The answer is simple; Metal Sonic, upon which without doubt MechaSonic is based, was made to do two things, one of which being to collect the Emeralds. This was the only one of its two jobs it did right, so I immediately thought of it when creating MechaSonic. And the machine works for us, so there won’t be any problems, despite its namesake.”
“Hopefully,” Nick pointed out.
“Other than some minor glitches, this machine is one hundred percent under my control,” Scott said, slightly annoyed, “So, yes, hopefully. The second thing I wish to make known is my ingenious design.”
Nick scoffed.
Scott gestured to the robot’s various parts, elucidating, “A Chaos Emerald radar could be disastrous in the wrong hands, so I suited it up with a robotic exoskeleton and an artificial intelligence system.”
“Naturally,” Nick commented.
“As you can see, other than the spikes on its back, it looks nothing like Sega’s model. It stands at five foot nine and three-sixteenth inches, its color scheme is drastically different, and...well, let’s just say it has a few surprises spring-loaded into it.”
Nick sighed, “Are you finished? Can you just start it up?”
Scott rubbed his hands together enthusiastically and lifted open the chest plate by the razor-sharp V. “I thought you’d never ask,” he said as he pressed an internal button and the machine began to hum as it started up. Scott fixed the chest plate back into place and ran a hand over the seam, “I just have to make sure this thing can’t be opened, now, and then it begins.” Small tongues of fire licked from the tips of Scott’s fingers and melted the metal, fusing it shut.
Nick hopped off the table and stood behind the machine, examining it, “I can’t help but wonder...is all of this really necessary?”
Scott shrugged, “I already told you; it could be terrible in the wrong hands, so I took precautions.”
Nick shook his head and sighed, “But at what point does this become a little less necessary and a little more...overkill?”
Scott straightened the robot’s head absentmindedly, “Trust me, everything on this thing has its use.”
Nick frowned and crouched down, “What about this white box? What purpose does it serve?”
Scott momentarily froze. He blinked and snapped out of his temporary trance, “I don’t remember installing any white box.”
Nick inspected it, “It’s marked with a three-leaved clover and a P.”
As the humming portentously grew louder, Scott shook his head and frowned worriedly, “I seriously don’t remember putting in a white box, markings or otherwise.”
Nick’s eyes grew wide, “Wait a second...it’s not a clover, it’s a clubs! It’s an ace!”
Scott’s face darkened and his eyes grew as well. He managed to yell: “Ace Pear-”
MechaSonic’s glass eye flashed on with an orange light, and a tremendous explosion knocked them both into nearby buildings.
The android, now fully conscious, surveyed the two elves with disdain. It then spoke with an artificial voice; however, emotion and conviction backed it, numbingly unusual for artificial life: “Where is Ace?” it demanded.
Scott got to his feet slowly, “He’s not here at the moment, since he is dead. You can, however, answer to me!”
The android lunged forward and grasped Scott’s neck with cold, merciless fingers, “You are merely my creator. My virtues lie with Ace, not you. If Ace is not here, then I will go along with his last orders: to obtain the Chaos Emeralds and kill anyone that gets in my way!”
MechaSonic turned and threw Scott into Nick before hovering slightly above the ground and zooming off down a side road.
Scott leaped to his feet, despite being violently tossed like a rag doll for the second time in the last five minutes. “Unbelievable!” Scott shouted angrily, “After all I’ve done for that ungrateful...wait, how the hell did Ace even get access to MechaSonic?”
Nick groaned and rolled to one knee, “Despite this being a very obvious ‘I told you so’ moment, I’m going to bypass it. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this was all Ace’s ploy; he never actually lost the power of Chaos Control, he managed to create that white box and actually left his markings on it...whatever his plan was, it’s bizarre.”
Scott grunted, “We have to go after MechaSonic. We can’t let that machine get the Emeralds.”
“There is a problem with just rushing headlong after MechaSonic; the android is our only lead. Without following it, we have no way of getting to the Emeralds. When MechaSonic realizes this, all it has to do is get us lost and then we’re done for.”
Scott frowned sullenly, “Damn you, Ace. The worst thing you could possibly do was to turn the machine against the mechanic, and you did it.” He thought for a moment, and then his voice turned sincere, “Being a mechanic, I cherish all of my creations. Having to fight MechaSonic would be like trying to kill my own son.”
Nick sighed and brushed a strand of hair from his face, “All is not lost. I copied your designs.”
Suddenly outraged, Scott turned and grabbed Nick’s shoulders, shouting: “You did what?”
Nick swiped his hands away and explained calmly, “While you were building MechaSonic, I happened to glance upon the blueprints and was struck with sudden inspiration: ‘What Scott does with machines, I do with life!’ So I used my power over Life and created an improved version of MechaSonic, only it’s a living creature and not an android! And then I transferred my powers of Chaos Control and Chaos Blast into it, like icing on cake. I can’t use Chaos Control or Blast anymore, but it’s not like I used them much anyway, so it was a small loss.”
Scott sighed, “Okay. I’m still pretty ticked off, but I’m okay as long as he doesn’t try to kill us. So when do I get to meet this guy?”
Nick snapped his fingers, “Sooner than you think.”
An anthropoid hedgehog formed at Nick’s side. He was only about half his height, unlike MechaSonic. His fur was a deep black, stained with bloody red marks along his head and back. His face was contorted into a fierce scowl, angrily staring at Scott. The hedgehog wore only a pair of shoes, but thankfully, and yet a bit disturbingly, was devoid of genitals. The hedgehog’s hands were clenched in fists, and as Scott stared at Nick’s creation, he crossed his arms, curling his lip up to reveal bared teeth.
Nick cleared his throat and Scott turned his astonished gaze upon him. Nick smiled, the same grin he used when talking to confidently talking to humans outside of NSK.
“Scott,” he said, staring at him from the corners of his eyes, “I introduce to you: Shadow, the Hedgehog.”

***
End of Part One.
***

Please leave all comments for Part Three. I know, that might be in a week, but if you're not going to remember, by all means, write it down. Believe me, it helps.

Continued in Part Two: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5615-cracker-chronicle-8-amethyst-part-two-search/

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Yeahm I'm aware that today is the 4th. I was feeling terrible for the past couple days, so I couldn't get this up as soon as I hoped. It happens to everybody...except for the fact that elves can't catch colds, which is why I'm still scratching my head over this one.

***

Cracker Chronicle #0: Origins
Written by Nicholas Sven
(Still in progress of being written)

What do you call a story that spans the history of the universe? There is only one name for a story like that: The Cracker.

***

Zach, Alex, Kristen, Scott, Nick, and Florens. Over three billion years ago, these six elves were born, destined to eradicate all evil from the universe. From their birth up until they each were one billion, two hundred million years old (about six years old from a human perspective), they trained under their eldest parent, learning all they needed to know. On Florens’ one point two billionth birthday, these six were brought together for the first time on Polaris. They each were given their code names, and they formed The Original Six. However, Florens was evil, and resented The Original Six. He disbanded from the group and declared war on them. He split his soul in two so that he may never be defeated. It is unknown why Florens turned evil, but the most well-known theory is that he hated his code name. Though this is unlikely, Florens always went by his real name: Zack. Nearly two billion years later, The Original Six would still be fighting Zack and his twin double, Lance, locked in an epic power struggle; neither side growing weaker or stronger than the other. However, the tables would soon turn...

***

200,000,000 years prior to 2025.
The elf named Nick ran swiftly through the cherry forest, the cherry blossoms in bloom.
“Forest,” Nick thought, “A group of trees.”
He couldn’t explain why, but he could miraculously name anything green on this planet.
“Not everything is green,” he said to himself with a smile, “Carrots, those are orange. And tomatoes, they’re red. Not to mention flowers in general. Admittedly, everything had a bit of green on it.”
His only indication of why he knew all of these names was because he had created all of this. He smiled as fond memories flowed into his head...

***

Zach, Alex, Kristen, Scott, and Nick stood in space, gazing at a desolate planet Earth sprawled below them.
Nick’s golden-brown hair shimmered as he analyzed his allies with unnatural hazel eyes. He had known them for less than one hundred years, and during that time he hadn’t gotten to know much more than their appearances and one or two defining traits about each.
Scott was the one standing closest to him. He had a dark laconic persona, not saying anything unless it was needed. He had a tan complexion, making him the darkest skinned of all the Original Six. His black hair fell down his face, partially obscuring his face from view. The only part of his appearance that wasn’t dark was his deep blue eyes, which sparkled icily when they stared at someone.
Zach was incredibly average, and there really wasn’t anything notable about him. His hair was cut very short, so it was even hard to tell what color it was. His voice was at a slight accent compared to the others, and he always had a somewhat troubled look on his face. The only thing that defined him was his violet eyes, rare even for an elf.
Alex had a scrawny frame, and he was always squinting, making his face wrinkle up every time he narrowed his eyes. His hands always looked like they wanted to claw out your eyes, but that was due to a bizarre condition that didn’t allow his hands to fully open up. He was the only one with fully blond hair, and dull gray eyes that examined every detail in an instant.
Kristen, their leader and the only female, had a fiery personality, and had the ability to change her own hair color. It was unknown how it worked, whether the color corresponded with her mood or could be changed mentally, but it did so randomly and without warning. Her green eyes sparkled with deep emotion, power, and conviction. She never let any of the others get too close to her, but could influence them even without even trying.
“It’s dead, Nick,” Kristen said, turning to him. Her hair shimmered from golden-brown to red before changing to a silvery gold. “Your planet is no better than any of ours. What purpose would it serve to stay here?”
Nick sighed. He himself didn’t know why he had suggested it, and now he was paying the price. While they stood here, they wasted precious time that need not be wasted.
Even then, Nick had a feeling that there was a good reason why the Original Six should stay here, on Earth.
“Nick, what is that?”
Nick opened his eyes. He had subconsciously raised his arm, and hovering in the cup of his fingers was an orb of green-yellow energy.
“Did I do that?” he thought. He turned to the others, who were waiting impatiently for something to happen.
“Well?” Kristen asked, “What are you going to do, throw it at your planet?”
He turned to look at his planet. It wasn’t a bad idea. Suddenly, the orb hurtled from his hand towards Earth. The orb struck the surface and exploded, spreading a green mass across the globe. The Original Six rubbed their temples, trying to see what was forming the greenness.
An elf rubbing its temples is a physical action used to focus one’s vision, see the different planes of light (such as infrared or ultraviolet), or zoom in on a faraway object. It’s far more reliable than any pair of binoculars.
The Original Six gasped in awe. The Earth’s surface was now covered with thousands of varieties of plants and vegetation.
“It’s beautiful...” Kristen whispered.
“Ingenious...” Alex said, scanning the planet.
“It’s okay,” Scott yawned, stretching his back.
The rest of the Original Six turned and gaped at him in astonishment.
“Okay?” Kristen said sternly, nearly screaming, “Is it not good enough for you?”
Scott rolled his eyes, “Sure, it’s pretty, but it doesn’t help us at all.” He turned to Nick, his eyes cold, “If you could do this in five minutes, then this isn’t the best you can do. Build a warship in three days, and then maybe I’ll be impressed.”

***

Nick shook his head and kept running. He was already late as it was, and that memory cost him precious minutes he couldn’t afford to waste.
“Hey...I flashed back to the past. Flashed...back...that’s it! Flashback!”
Nick stopped running. He had come to a clearing in the middle of the forest. In this clearing was a building, the first of its kind. This building didn’t spread its rooms out over a large space, like on Polaris. This building had all its rooms stacked on top of each other. So far it had forty-three of its ninety ‘floors’ built.
Nick pressed a switch next to the double doors, which slid open with a soft hiss. Another one of Alex’s electronic inventions.
Nick stepped inside and gazed around at the newly furnished lobby. On one side of the room, behind a desk, Kristen sat on a swivel chair, her back turned to him. She was talking into a handheld radio: “...no, I don’t know where he is...If I knew where he was, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, now would we? ...Okay, bye.”
She set the radio on the desk and sighed.
“All is well, is it not, Kristen?”
Kristen leaped to her feet, spun around, drew her sword, and pointed it between Nick’s eyes, all in less than a single second.
Nick tentatively used an index finger to move the sword tip away from his face, “Well, if this isn’t a fine, ‘Hello, how are you?’”
Kristen sighed and sheathed her sword, “Nick, you really shouldn’t do that. I nearly had a heart attack.”
Nick raised an eyebrow, “I nearly gave you a heart attack? As opposed to what, exactly?”
Kristen shook her head, “There’s time for this later. You’re extremely late.”
As she opened two elevator doors on the far wall, Nick rolled his eyes seductively and said simply: “I’ve noticed.”
They both entered the elevator and Kristen pressed the button for the forty-third floor. Nick grinned at her, “So what has Alex invented now?”
Kristen blinked, her eyelashes turning a deep black, though her hair remained golden-brown, “If you had been here, you would know that it was Scott that built this device.”
The elevator doors opened. They had arrived at the forty-third floor.
The forty-third floor had no ceiling, as it had not been built yet. Various metal and electronic tools were scattered around the room, clumped up next to the wall. A control panel was to their right, separated from the main room but could be accessed through a formidable steel door. They could see the control panel through a transparent blue glass window, where Alex sat, a wireless transmitter attached to his ear.
In the center of the room was a giant, cylindrical machine, the top forming a cone shape. On this cone was a window similar to the one on the control panel room. Through this window, Zach was sitting in a chair; however, the chair was not upright and appeared to be attached to a wall.
Nick raised both eyebrows in wonder as Kristen handed him an earpiece and put one in her own ear, the transmitters identical to the ones Alex and Zach were wearing.
Nick put on the earpiece and chuckled, “Hey, Alex, if you can hear me, you better step up your game. Scott’s thingy is pretty impressive, whatever it is.”
Alex’s voice sounded through the device, “This, I guarantee, is a one-time thing; a fluke, an accident he happened upon, a penicillin if you will. Plus, he only designed it. It was my machines that built it, just like the very building we are in at this very moment out of cherry wood.”
Scott’s voice chuckled in Nick’s ear, “But I was the one directing your machines on both accounts. And I suppose you all are wondering what this device is. Simply put, it is a rocket: a transportation device capable of hurtling its single passenger at near the speed of light.”
Alex s*bleep*ed, “Only one passenger? At a time?”
“Can we go back to that ‘hurtling’ part?” Zack said nervously, “I’m not so sure I’m okay with that.”
Nick gazed at the rocket, “Relax, Zach. Nothing to worry about. Just by looking at it, I can confidently say that there’s over fifty tons of reinforced steel separating you from a very painful death. It’s perfectly safe.”
“That doesn’t make me feel any better.”
Kristen put her hands on her hips and her hair flashed to a fiery pink, “Safety’s not the issue here. What is is if it can fly if it is so heavy. Scott?”
Scott appeared from behind a rack of steel plates, “Of course it can fly. The real question is if Zach can manually control it. The thing has no way of steering itself, you know.”
“I think we’ve covered that already,” Zach said with a hint of sarcasm, “With the last two hundred years of my life spent on flight training.”
Scott nodded, “Then the only difficulty we’ll have its getting it off the ground.”
The door to the control room slammed open. Alex stormed out and strode right up to Scott, his eyes full of scorn, “You built this five hundred foot tall, one hundred thirty ton rocket with no way to fly it!?”
Scott scoffed, “That is where you are wrong. Once it gets in the air, it will fly far better than any of us due to the fact that it’s loaded up with over twenty million gallons of a combustible material I call kerosene. However, we have no way of igniting it. That’s why this is your entire fault.” He pointed directly at Alex’s chest just to prove his point.
Alex clenched his fist, “And on what grounds? How can this possibly be my fault?”
“It’s both of your faults!” Kristen screamed, “You both have wasted all of our time with this stupid machine that is fueled by a material we cannot burn!”
“May I offer a solution?” Nick asked.
Scott, Kristen, and Alex turned to him and simultaneously shouted, “What?”
Nick was juggling three red-hot fireballs, “You’re saying that rocket is powered by a combustible material that we cannot ignite or burn, correct?” He stopped juggling and the fireballs merged together to form a single ball of flame that hovered over his palm, “We are the Original Six, are we not?”

***

Alex sat in the control room, managing a dozen computers that operated the entire rocket at the same time. The others only wished they could have had this luxury. Nick, Scott, and Kristen formed a triangle with the rocket at its center. Each of them unleashed a stream of fire that formed a halo around the rocket and also turned up the temperature of the room a few hundred degrees. A single beam detached from this halo and was concentrated into a small opening on the side of the rocket.
“At the last possible second,” Scott screamed over the raging inferno, “One of us has to close the hatch to the main fuel supply; the opening the fire’s going into. If we fail to do this, the rocket’s going to lose all the power stored up in it. If that happens, it’s going to plummet very hard, very fast. Not only is that bad for Zach, it’ll be far worse for all of us. Any volunteers?”
They looked solemnly at each other for several moments, and then Kristen shouted, “I should be able to accomplish it without any consequences!”
Scott shook his head, “I can’t let you do this, Kristen! You’re far too important to die here, to die now! I’ll do it!”
Kristen also shook her head, her hair shifting to a grayish black, the coloring making it look charred, “No, Scott. You, too, are far too important. I-”
“What am I, a pixie sword?” Nick screamed, interrupting Kristen’s volunteer, “Will you forget about your petty flirting for five seconds and pay us all a favor and get some work done!?” He sighed, “I’ll do it, just for the sake of shutting you two up!”
He leapt to one side, and then leaped onto the side of the rocket. He scrambled up the smooth surface and shut the fuel supply, latching it tightly. As the engines suddenly ignited, Nick jumped off the rapidly rising rocket that instantly broke the sound barrier. As the rocket zoomed away and the smoke cleared, Nick landed with ease back on the forty-third floor.
He gestured elegantly at Kristen and Scott, “Now, are you two lovebirds happy? I nearly got myself killed.”
Neither of them answered. They both turned away so that Nick wouldn’t see that their faces were redder than the flames of hell.

***

Just so you know, this is not all that I have written, just as much as I wish to show you. I am almost done with the first part of CC#0, but I'm not working on it for a while because...I still have CC#8.
...and of course, any questions, comments, constructive critisism, or grammar mistakes I am happy to oblige and accept, so feel free to use that comment box below!
(Yeah, I switched things up. If you don't like it, it's okay; I don't expect to use that footer again.)

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Well, this has been an idea for a blog series for a while, so I finally did make the very first one. Basically what this is all about is that Scott and I talk a lot about random stuff, and this randomosity is actually useful. Except no one cares. Until now!
Today's subject is fast food, and even though the resturant it takes place at is Burger King, every fast food place is guilty to the same bad habits. Just a fair warning.

+===+

2028.
March 4th.
Burger King.
Nick and Scott stopped at a local Burger King, seeking refreshment. They ordered three chicken sandwiches, two large fries, and four large sodas. Each.
As they waited for their waitor, Nick nervously surveyed the joint's occupants purely out of habbit. Even out of sight, Elementres was there, waiting outside for the two chicken sandwiches, two sodas, and one single order of fries that Nick and Scott had split the price between. The food would be delivered to her as they left, discreetly dropped on the curb, packed tightly to ensure minimum filth. Not that Elementres cared. It was fast food, after all.
"You know what I hate?" Nick said, turning back to Scott.
"The fact that most of our convesations begin with those words should tell me to ignore you, but I'll bite; What?" Scott said with a mild shrug.
Nick placed a hand on his chin, "It's fast food places. I don't mind the food-"
"Obviously."
Nick nodded, "Since elves are immune to the unhealthy substances anyway, it doesn't matter. But it's the food now that they're trying to make it healthier."
Scott swore at George Bush under his breath.
Nick continued, "It just doesn't work; fast food doesn't taste good when it's healthy...heck, it actually tastes unhealthy."
"I hear you."
The waitor arrived with their stack of food, putting two out of every three items in front of Scott.
"What is this?" Scott demanded.
"Is there a problem?" the middle-aged man asked hesitantly.
"Yes!" Scott shouted, "Why do you think two-thirds of this is mine! Is your company so biased that-"
"I'm terribly sorry about the mistake, sir." The flustered waitor hurried off, but was quickly stopped at a word from Scott.
"Wait!" Scott said, "I want a cheeseburger. On the house. Or I might get angrier than I am now."
"Right away, sir!" He bowed and ran off to the kitchen.
Nick chuckled, "You just love doing that, don't you?"
Scott pushed Nick's food to his spot and they both piled Elementres' to the side. Scott shrugged and bit into a fry, "It's not my fault you're so skinny you can play xylophone on your ribs and I'm a bit heavier than the average human. It just means I can get food, unlike half of Africa. It used to be a good thing to be fat, when it didn't last long. And now..."
Nick grinned and gestured around at the resturant, "We've got one of these on every corner."
Nick unwrapped one of his chicken sandwiches and frowned. He opened it up and tore off the mayo-covered lettuce and piled it on the side of his tray.
"Is there a problem?" The waitor said as he returned with Scott's free burger, noting the unsavory lettuce piling up.
Nick sighed, "Yes, because no matter where I go, and no matter how specific my order, I always seem to get lettuce, mayo, or tomato on my sandwich, despite the fact that I clearly ordered one without any of the three substances."
"I can take these back and get you a ne-"
Nick held up a hand, "Don't. I have been eating fast food for sixty years, and I've never gotten a sandwich without any of those three things. You going back to fix the problem only makes me think less of you and your resturant, and I really don't mind the disgusting bits of lettuce and mayo that I cannot remove from the chicken no matter how hard I try."
The waitor frowned, "Sixt-"
"You'd be surprised," Scott said through a mouthfull of food, "What plastic surgery can do to you. You should try it sometime."
Sorely offended, the waitor left their presence. Nick swallowed a bite of food and took a sip from his drink, "Waitors must hate us."
Scott laughed, "At least Elementres isn't here."
Nick nodded thoughtfully, "Yeah, she gets a little...fidgety when sitting in one place for too long."
Scott finished his second and final sandwich and counted the ramaining food, "Okay, I am done. I'll see you out in the car."
He left, and as soon as the door had closed the waitor rushed up to him and opened his mouth.
Before he could say anything, Nick raised a finger, cutting him off, "Before you say anything, we are going to pick up some girls after this, and then take them to the movies for a romantic double date."
The waitor seemed to deflate before him, his unspoken question indirectly answered.
Nick narrowed his eyes and put on a fake smile, "Just in case you were about to question our sexuality. Which you were."
He picked up the remaining food and pulled a few bills from his pocket, depositing them on the table. He left and quickly caught up to Scott, who had waited just out of sight behind the doors.
"So how much was the tip?"
Nick grinned, "A couple thousand dollars."
Scott frowned, "A little less than usual, don't you think?"
Nick chuckled lightly, "Yep, waitors must hate us."

+===+

That picture at the top is a lie! :D

other musingsthoughts books

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Custom Picture above is copyright of Nicholas Sven.
Continued from part one: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5415-cracker-chronicle-7-super-nick-bros-brawl-unofficial-part-one/

+===+

The original starting lineup for the 24th Annual Mario Kart Grand Prix was Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Wario, Yoshi, Peach, Waluigi, Toad, and the white Shy Guy. However, Luigi and Peach were absent from the race, and Toad, Waluigi, and the white Shy Guy mysteriously were absent when they were to take their place.
Now riding in their place were Scott, in Toad’s blue kart, Sonic in Waluigi’s purple kart, and Nick in the Shy Guy’s Kart. Link occupied the vacant green Luigi’s kart while Kirby rode Peach’s pink kart.
Yoshi gave Mario a thumbs-up from his kart and strapped a pair of goggles to his face. Bowser and Wario jeered at the heroes from their karts: “Hey! I almost thought you weren’t going to show up!” Bowser growled.
“Yeah, and where’s your lousy chicken of a brother? What’s his face, Luigi!” Wario taunted.
A Lakitu hovered over the starting line, holding a stoplight by a fishing rod. The top light flashed red.
Nick turned to Bowser and Wario, “Save it for the race. You’ll need it.”
The second light, yellow, flashed on.
Wario scowled. Bowser silenced him with a raised paw, “Wario, I see we might have a little difficulty in this race. Execute plan O point O.”
Scott frowned, “O point O...isn’t that...?” He made a face that resembled a smiley, and then the final light, a green-blue one, flashed on, signaling the race had started.
Nick’s, Mario’s, Scott’s and Wario’s karts immediately rocketed out of the starting point, followed by Yoshi and Sonic. Link and Kirby were left staring at their karts, suddenly realizing that there weren’t any peddles in the kart.
Scott noticed this and shouted over his shoulder, “There are two buttons on the rear side of the steering wheel! On the right, it’s A for Accelerate! On the left, it’s B for Brake! You shouldn’t ever have to use it, but I just wanted to make sure you didn’t!”
Link and Kirby found the buttons and steadily started off; unaware that one person was still behind. Bowser silently chuckled, “The fools have no idea what I’m planning. Death is to all of them!”
Father ahead, Nick, Scott, Mario, and Wario battled for first place. Nick narrowly dodged his kart out of the way as a daring swerve by Wario nearly toppled his kart. Nick turned to look at Scott, “I have an idea: we let Mario win, and we can take out this fat guy that keeps getting in our way.”
Scott crossed his arms and closed his eyes, despite his kart’s forward motion, “You know I can’t agree to that; it’s against my Mario Kart motives.”
Wario violently crashed into him, causing Scott to brutally grab the steering wheel, “Okay, that’s it; all morals just flew out the window!” He leaned over and grabbed an item block from the ground, it forming into a red Koopa shell after a moment of pause.
Mario shot ahead, followed closely by Wario as Nick and Scott held back. Scott threw the shell in front of him and they both accelerated after the leaders. The shell zoomed after Wario, knocking the kart up as it collided. Nick and Scott passed, high-fiving as they looked back. As Wario began to move again, quickly overtaken by Sonic and Yoshi, a spiked blue Koopa shell with wings flew over them, whizzing towards Mario.
Nick and Scott cried out in surprise in horror as the blue shell smashed into Mario, sending an explosion that toppled all three of their karts momentarily. Wario overtook them, laughing as he passed. Sonic and Yoshi also passed, leaving Mario, Scott, and Nick behind in their wake. They shook themselves off, and hesitantly restarted their karts, cautiously trying to regain their lead.

+===+

Back near the starting line, Bowser kept picking up item blocks, reaping the offense-based items and throwing out the others. Being in last place, he had access to the best items there were, and was using a dirty strategy that only those on team races were smart enough to use.
He laughed as another Blue Shell appeared in his hand, “Oh, this is fun. I wish this could go on all day. But...”
A burst of wind knocked the shell from his grasp. The shell flew into Kirby’s mouth, where it was swallowed easily. Link and Kirby had come back to fight off Bowser.
Bowser leaped from his kart, “Fine. If you want to stand in my way, then come at me!” He grabbed an item block and it transformed into a lightning bolt. He threw it to the ground, and two bolts of lightning struck Link and Kirby. Bowser grinned as he knew that farther ahead the heroes’ karts were struck with identical bolts.
Kirby’s natural bodily functions absorbed energy from the blue shell that he had swallowed. Unused to the alien substance, Kirby clutched his stomach as his body analyzed the substance.
Link drew his sword and ran at the Koopa King, swinging downwards. Bowser jumped straight up, somersaulting in midair and landing behind him. He turned and grabbed Link by his tunic, raising him up before slamming him into the ground. He roared and grabbed another item block, forming into a Mega Mushroom.
Bowser pocketed the mushroom and grabbed for another item block, getting his claws on a POW block. He raised his arm to smash it into Link, the force of the impact so great that it could rip Link apart.
Kirby’s body finished analyzing and figured the shell was most like an explosive. A blue cap covered Kirby’s head as the puffball raised a bomb bigger than his own body. Kirby shouted something, and then chucked the bomb at Bowser, who turned at the last moment, eyes wide with fear.
The bomb exploded in his face, and the Koopa King was sent hurtling high into the sky. Link and Kirby nodded at each other, and then returned to their Karts to get back in the race.

+===+

Mario, Nick and Scott cried out in surprised happiness as they turned the final stretch and saw the finish line dead ahead. They zoomed on, approaching the finish line with no opposing force in sight.
Farther back in the race, Sonic had picked up a Bomb-omb and had used it against Wario, sending him back a fair length. Now Sonic and Yoshi trailed behind, and Wario was behind even them.
Mario, the one in the lead, had a smug grin as he was a mere twenty yards from the finish line.
A portal abruptly appeared in front of the finish line, and the three leaders spun their karts sideways to prevent falling in. They formed a line, with Mario in the middle.
As they sighed in relief, Sonic and Yoshi piled up next to them, but didn’t send them into the portal. A short time later, even Link and Kirby joined in.
“Wait,” Nick said with a frown, “Where’s War-”
A brutal honk cut him off. Farther back on the track, Wario’s kart idled some fifty yards away. Wario slammed the acceleration, and his kart rocketed towards them.
The heroes and Yoshi screamed as Wario crashed into them like they were bowling pins, sending all of them into the portal.
Wario laughed, “Yes! All is going according to plan! You see, I’m not the Wario from the Mario universe...” he ripped off his clothes, revealing exact replicate clothes underneath, “I’m the Wario from your universe!”
Scott scrunched up his brow, “Wait, that doesn’t make-”
The portal deposited them in the middle of a neighborhood street. Wario leaped to his feet, lunging for Scott.
Scott got to his feet calmly, sidestepping Wario’s assault with ease, “Hey...this is our street! Where we live! And that...” he grabbed Wario’s head as he lunged once more for him, “...gives me renewed confidence!”
“What are you talking abou-”
Scott dropped Wario, kicking him like an American football. Wario sailed over their heads and landed harshly on the ground a fair ways away.
Wario struggled to his feet once more, turning to them now with fear in his eyes, “Okay, I’m sorry! Leave me alone!” He opened a portal and ran inside.
Nick ran towards the portal along with the other heroes, “Not a chance!”
They ran into the portal, coming out over Dreamland. As they fell, they saw Wario flying towards Dedede Castle.
Seven stars formed around them, joining together to form a single Warpstar. The Warpstar shone with the colors of the rainbow, and then shot off towards Dedede Castle, breaking the sound barrier almost instantly.
“Whoa!” Scott shouted, though it was lost to the others, “This is legit!” (Author’s note: legit is 2010-2019 slang meaning cool, or something that is found pleasing. As this is 2009, this makes Scott the first recorded person to say it).
They whooshed towards the castle at breakneck speed, almost halfway there when a demonic blimp rose up to meet them. Kirby slowed the Warpstar so it would not run into the blimp, and scowled at the blimp with a face.
Twin cannons slowly opened on the underside of the blimp, aiming at them before firing multiple Bullet Bills at them.
Kirby swerved the Warpstar out of the way, and then energy gathered into the star. Kirby shouted something in gibberish, and then a laser shot from the Warpstar, engulfing the blimp in flame.
The heroes gasped in shock and happiness at this latest display of how bad Kirby could be. The Warpstar whizzed towards the castle on top of the mountain, crashing through a window into the throne room.
They gasped as they saw Wario bowing before King Dedede. Wario nervously turned to them, “It’s not what it looks like! I-I work for King De-Bowser! Not him!”
Scott stared at the two fat men, one on a throne, the other kneeling before the other, “Wait, this is completely illogical; the Wario from our universe that is supposed to work for Bowser in that universe is actually working for King Dedede in this universe?”
Nick scratched the back of his head, “Yeah, this game’s storyline has veered way off course...”
There was a crash from outside the window. They turned and saw the Death Egg hovering there, the face staring in on them. Eggman’s voice was heard over an intercom hooked to the outside of the craft, “Hello, soon-to-be coffin jockeys. I just wanted to warn you that you are about to die. Thank you.”
Scott rolled his eyes, “The guy’s insane, but he’s still professional. Gotta love a villain who does things right. Mostly.”
He and Sonic jumped to the Death Egg, followed by the other heroes. They jumped through one of the face’s eyes, coming face to face with Dr. Eggman for the first time in their journey.
The doctor laughed, “Now, you see, I am in complete control of you. You are in my domain, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Yeah, well, we’ll see about that!” Sonic shouted. He leaped into the air, spinning into a ball and slamming into Eggman’s stomach. Eggman flew across the room, smashing into a control panel on the far side of the room. Several alarms blared, and Sonic ran to the panel, opening a portal on another wall. He grabbed a hold of Eggman and chucked him into the portal.
Sonic the Hedgehog turned to the heroes, “It’s okay; I’ll take him from here. I’m sure glad to have met you all. I do hope...” he looked to the floor in remorse for a brief second before turning back to them and giving them a thumbs-up, “I hope we meet again someday!” He turned and leaped into the portal.
Nick and Scott grabbed the three other heroes and leaped out of the doomed Death Egg. They crashed through the roof of Dedede Castle as the Death Egg exploded in a magnificent flash of multicolored light.
They found themselves in a dark room. King Dedede’s voice resonated through the darkness, “My fight is only with Kirby. The rest of you step out of the ring, and I will appear to fight.”
The heroes stumbled around in the darkness, and then the lights flashed on. Kirby was standing in a wrestling ring, holding a hammer that resembled the one King Dedede always carried. Dedede continued, “This fight will decide everything. We are bitter rivals, and now it comes to this...this fight...to end all fights!!!”
The King leapt to the ring, wearing a metal mask to conceal his face. He brandished a metallic hammer that cackled with electricity. He spun the hammer around, and then swung it at Kirby without warning.
Kirby easily dodged out of the way, whacking his hammer into Dedede’s side. Dedede collapsed to one knee, huffing as he rose steadily to his feet.
Scott nudged Nick, “Popcorn?”
Nick frowned, as Scott had seemingly gotten the popcorn from thin air, but accepted some anyway.
The King swung his hammer down on Kirby, electrifying and flattening him at the same time. Kirby woozily stood up, dropping his hammer.
Scott’s jaw dropped, popcorn falling from his mouth as Dedede raised his Mecha-Hammer to deliver the final blow. Scott rose from his seat, “No! It can’t end this way! Kirby, you have to win! I...I...I believe you can! I think you’re kind of a badass!”
Kirby shook himself and looked at Scott, both of their eyes gleaming. Kirby grabbed his hammer and leaped back, narrowly avoiding the deathblow.
Kirby began to spin around, steadily growing faster and faster. The King took a step back, not knowing what to expect, and then charged ahead, hammer raised above his head.
When Dedede was only two feet away, Kirby let go of the hammer, sending it straight into Dedede’s face. Time seemed to stop as the mask broke in half, and then resume as the King was sent hurtling out of the Castle, rocketing through the roof.
The heroes jumped into the ring, where they congratulated Kirby. Scott hung back for a time, and then was the last to say good-bye.
Scott looked at the puffball for a long time, and then sighed, “We may not get along...and you may not be awesome like Sonic...but...but...” he shook his head, discarding that remark, “Stay tough, kid.”
Scott slugged Kirby in the face as affectionately as he could.
Nick, Scott, Mario, and Link turned and found the scenery changing before their eyes. They now stood in a brick room with a caged floor. Below the cage was sizzling lava.
Bowser stood before them, tossing the Mega Mushroom from the race back and forth between his hands, “So, you finally decided to show up? I should warn you: This is not a dream.”
He grinned at his own joke and tossed the Mushroom into his gaping jaws. He chewed for a time and then grew triple his normal size, bellowing menacingly at the four of them. They scrambled around, trying to avoid being squashed.
Scott, to no avail, was trying to shoot lead bullets into Bowser, but the bullets couldn’t pierce his rough hide. Nick ran to him, “It’s no use; he’s invincible!”
Scott suddenly had a flash of inspiration, and grabbed Nick’s shoulders, “That’s what players of Super Mario Bros. thought in World 1-4 back in 1985!”
They looked past Bowser and saw a red switch with a white skull and crossbones painted white upon it. They looked at each other and grinned.
“Mario!” they shouted simultaneously, “Remember back almost twenty-five years!”
The portly plumber stopped and looked at them with renewed inspiration. He jumped over a swipe from Bowser’s claws, landing on the hand and taking off in a run. He ran up Bowser’s arm and leaped down his shell, landing on the red button.
Nick, Scott, and Link ran to where Mario was standing, and Mario turned to give the Koopa King a grin, “See you next time, Bowser.”
Bowser turned and roared as the cage floor dropped out from under him, and Nick swore he saw Bowser’s mouth twitch into a smile as he fell into the lava below.
Mario and the others ran through the corridor and came to a bound sack. Mario opened it and Toad popped out.
Toad jumped for joy and shouted, “Thank you, Mario! But Luigi already saved the princess!”
Scott narrowed his eyes, “Okay...now I’m confused...”
Toad laughed, “I’m just kidding! Luigi’s in the next room, along with Peach!”
Mario took off in a run, followed by the others, and Toad.
Mario opened the door and gasped in wonder. Peach and Luigi looked up from their game of cards. Mario burst into tears and ran towards them.
Peach stood up and held out a hand, “Now, Mario. I understand-”
Mario grabbed Luigi and hugged him tightly, both of them now crying.
Peach, annoyed, stomped her foot, “It’s okay. It’s not like I’m here. I didn’t need saving.”
Scott laughed and waved to Mario, “Hey, we’re heading off. See ya, Italian man.”
Mario waved his good-byes as he continued to cry.
Nick grinned and turned out of the room. A portal opened on the far wall and he looked at Link, “I think that’s for you.”
Link nodded and they entered the portal, all three of them.

+===+

They appeared in the Hyrule Castle throne room, where the heroes had been taken captive so long ago. Ganondorf sat on the throne, sighing and stretching as he saw them.
“At last, it is coming to an end. Just you and me, now, Link. Now, hero chosen by the gods, come at me with everything you’ve got!”
He drew a sword and leaped at Link, catching him in a deadlock as Link raised his sword. They clenched their teeth and held the deadlock, neither of them giving any signs of breaking it. And then, Link pushed the deadlock away from himself, very slightly, but it was still noticeable. Ganondorf laughed, “You cannot win! The winner of this fight proves nothing! In the end, the strong will rule, and the weak shall fall! The very history of Hyrule shall be written in blood!”
Link opened his mouth, and for the first time in his life spoke, speaking only six words, but his first in twenty-five years, no less: “Then let it be your own!”
Link abruptly broke the deadlock, rolling around Ganondorf’s feet and slashing upwards across his back. Ganondorf fell to his knees, and Link, still in the air, stabbed his sword through the center of his back.
Ganondorf screamed horribly, and then cringed, smiling slightly, “I beseech you, hero. Let it be known that this will not be our final battle.”
He collapsed, and then the dark twilight that had surrounded the castle vanished. A bright flash of light came from the ceiling, and Princess Zelda floated down from there. Link ran to her and they looked at each other for a long time. Zelda opened her mouth to speak-
“No!” Rain Storm’s voice came from everywhere and no where at the same time, “This...cannot...be! I had it all planned, and one by one, my allies fell! And now...”
A portal formed below Nick and Scott’s feet, sucking them in.

+===+

They landed in a small room made entirely of brick. A cage came down around Scott and sealed him away. Nick turned to the front of the room, where Rain Storm fumed at his defeat, sword in hand, “And now I am the sole remainder...I know that I can’t kill you...but I’ll make a hell of an effort trying!”
*
There was a flash of light and a boy was suddenly among them.
Scott frowned, “Who’s he?”
Nick looked utterly perplexed, “I have no idea. Although there is one theory...this game is a multiplayer-online game, which means anyone playing can appear and help anyone else.”
Scott raised an eyebrow, “That’s impossible; who else would have this game-”
“OMFG!” the boy suddenly shouted.
“What was that?”
“lol d00d I noit u call me fanboy69. I am teh uber and u suX0rz.”
“Is that even English?”
“How com u go wii? IMO wii sux like your mom lmao! Why u go on wii!1! Xbox is uber-”
Nick held out his hand and the boy was instantly incinerated. He shrugged, “It’s guys like that that make me glad I’m not human.”
*
Rain Storm cleared his throat and raised his sword, “Now that that’s been taken care of, let us duel to the death.”
He charged forward, his sword scraping along the ground. Nick unsheathed his own, the Fli Sword and parried the assault, following up with a quick slash at Rain’s ribs.
Rain clutched momentarily at his side, and then furiously brandished his sword, knocking it against the Fli Sword. They slashed several times at each other, each time coming to a momentary deadlock that was broken almost immediately.
As Rain thrust his sword vertically, Nick suddenly changed tactics, slashing as hard as he could to block the attack. Rain rebounded from the impact, taking a step back as he did so. Nick slashed horizontally across Rain’s stomach. Blood formed on his dark shirt where the blade had slashed through his shirt.
Rain growled and brought his sword down, aimed between Nick’s shoulder and his neck. Nick swatted the blade aside, and in the same motion spun on his heel, slashing diagonally downwards across Rain’s chest.
Rain dropped his sword and hunched over, clutching at his chest. Based on the amount of blood pouring out from the wound, it was correctly deduced that the Fli Sword had barely ripped through the wall of Rain’s heart, and was a fatal wound.
Nick brought up his sword one more time and spun around, slashing straight through the metal bars of Scott’s cage. Scott casually walked out of his prison as Rain Storm fell to the ground and writhed in pain, slowly dieing before their eyes.
“Why?” he asked desperately, “Why, Nick? Why do you have to be so strong? Why couldn’t the side of evil win for once?”
Nick and Scott began to float away, through the brick of the ceiling as if they weren’t there, and through the sky, being lifted out of the DVG.
Scott turned to Nick, “What made him like that? What did you do that was so bad that he sacrificed his own life just to attempt to avenge it?”
Nick sighed and looked to the ground, far below, “I killed his brother.”

+===+

I still think I'm going to get sued. I do realize that even though this game was made in 2009, it was horribly outdated, as it was New Super Mario Bros. instead of Super Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess instead of Phantom Hourglass, and Kirby Super Star Ultra instead of...actually, I think that was the most recent Kirby game at the time. And I wouldn't play a Sonic game for years, so I had little to no info about him when I made the game. Anyway, any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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Well...if I ever get sued, it's going to be for this. Just a fair warning. Also, if you see a star (*), that means from then on nothing is real, I just added it in for your enjoyment. If you see a second star, that means that after that, everything is real again.

+===+

2009.
Somewhere in an alternate universe.
The worst villains in the history of video games had gathered in a single building for the first time ever...except in crossover games like Brawl.
Bowser, King of the Koopas and eternal rival to all inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom, growled, “What are we all doing here? Which one of you interrupted my scheming just to bring us here and stand around?”
Ganondorf, bearer of the Triforce of Power and constant threat to the kingdom of Hyrule, grunted menacingly, “We’ve already found that none of us are the one that called us here. Our host is late to his own party.”
King Dedede, king of Dreamland and glutton, looked around nervously, “I’m not sure what I’m even doing here. I’m not evil, I just hate Kirby. I’ve never actually done anything evil...except maybe deny my citizens food...”
The door suddenly swung open. A man in his early twenties, smiling forebodingly, strode into the room and stopped behind the podium at the front of the room.
“Gentlemen,” he said calmly, “I am your host. It appears we are one short, but that does not matter. Our final member will be briefed when he arrives. Now, you may be wondering why I have gathered you all here today. The answer is simple: we all want something that we cannot obtain. Bowser wants to rule the Mushroom Kingdom. Ganondorf wishes to rule Hyrule. And Dedede...well, I’m not so sure.
“Whenever you try to obtain your unobtainable prize, there’s always something that stands in your way, no? Actually, someone. One very specific person that prevents you from getting what you want.”
There was an assessment of outbursts:
“Mario!”
“Link!”
“Kirby!”
The man called for attention and his guests quieted down. “Now then, you all know what I mean. I suggest this: to join forces. A one-time thing, I assure you. Together, we can defeat our foes, and rule!”
Bowser raised a clawed hand. The man pointed to him, “Yes, Bowser? Do you have something to say?”
“Why do you want to do this? What do you have to gain from this?”
The man smiled, “Yes, you want to know what it is going to cost you. No, I do not want anything. Except I have enemies of my own. Two enemies, unlike you three. Two very annoying enemies that never seem to die. Like cockroaches.
“So what do you say? Will you join me, to benefit yourself?”
The three kings looked at each other. Ganondorf cleared his throat, “I think we all agree...but we have to know your name, first.”
The man grinned, “Yes, I almost forgot. My name is Rain Storm.”

+===+

Nick and Scott materialized in an open field. Scott looked around, “Okay, where are we? What is this all about?”
Nick grinned, “I already told you; I made a game.”
Scott scowled, “You have to stop doing that, Nick. Nintendo and all the other major franchises get ticked off every time you do.”
Nick folded his arms, “This time is different. Remember that research you started two years ago?”
“Yeah.”
“I’ve used it to make this game.”
“So why is it a DVG?”
Nick sighed, “You might not like this, but I got DVG to merge with NSK.”
Scott shrugged, “I’m fine with getting sucked into games, just when I want to. Wait, when was this? Only a couple of months ago-”
“We were caught in a DVG of Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, yes, I remember. This was really recent.”
Scott shrugged again, “Okay, so back to this game...”
Nick pulled a diagram from his pocket, “See, with your research, combined with DVG’s technology, we were able to replicate an entire universe.”
“Replicate meaning...”
“None of this is real. Everything is computer-generated.”
Scott sighed and then laughed, “Good. Computer-generated is just the way I like it.”
Nick cracked his knuckles, “And you’re going to enjoy this game. In this world, universes are interlocked together, and can be traveled through by use of portals that randomly pop up when it’s really inconvenient.”
Scott gestured into the distance, “So I could just start walking, and a portal would come out of no where and whisk me away, just like that?”
Nick grinned, “Yeah, exactly like that.”
Scott thought for a moment and then grinned, “So tell me of these five universes.”
“Of course,” Nick said, stroking his chin, “I have replicated five well-known universes and put the most important places here: The Mushroom Kingdom, Hyrule, Dreamland, Mobius, and our very own Earth.”
Scott’s face practically glowed, “Mobius? Does that mean Sonic is in here?”
“Yes.”
Scott hugged him tightly, “Oh, thank you! If I had known you were going to create a video game with alternate dimensions, I would never have guessed you were going to include Sonic in it!”
Nick coughed, “Well, it was mostly a fan service.”
Scott abruptly dropped Nick, “Oh. Well, in that case...”
Rain Storm noisily materialized in front of them. He smiled evilly, “Hello, victims.”
Scott frowned. He turned to Nick, “Who is this guy?”
Nick shrugged, “A human I knew once. Hates me. I didn’t want the game to be impossible for humans, so I thought a human villain would be easiest.”
Rain Storm growled, “Hey! I’m talking to you!” He extended his arm and shot a blast of wind that flew down Scott’s throat.
Scott began to gag and his eyes bulged. Nick observed this and said, “Yeah, he was in a coma and struck by lightning, so now he has these powers over the weather. Other than that, he’s one hundred percent human.”
Scott continued to choke, and Nick shrugged, “What he’s doing is sending air into your body, where it will expand and ultimately blow you up. Very lethal. Eh, I should help you. So I will.”
Nick made four gestures in thin air and a plate of pure energy appeared in his hands. He looked at it absentmindedly while Scott continued to suffocate behind him. He suddenly shoved the plate in front of Scott’s face and Rain Storm blew up. At least, that’s what it looked like to a human. What actually happened, and could be picked up by an elf’s eyes, was that the column of air abruptly stopped at the plate of energy, rebounding back to Rain. After Rain had been thrown back by the force of the air, Nick flicked his wrist and the plate of energy spun towards Rain, exploding on contact.
Rain Storm hesitantly got to his feet, “Okay, then. You couldn’t come quietly, so I regret to show you this.” He gestured and a bolt of electricity shot from his hand. The bolt formed a circle and spun wildly, showing a blurry picture. The picture cleared, and Nick and Scott saw the throne room of a castle.
In the throne room, they saw Bowser hungrily holding up Mario and Luigi by their feet. Ganondorf stood triumphantly, arms crossed, in front of two magical cages holding Link and Zelda. King Dedede held a tiny cage with Kirby inside.
Nick and Scott gasped in horror.
Rain Storm shrugged, a smile forming on his lips, “Now...will you come with me to join your friends?”
Scott angrily shouted, “No!”
Nick sighed, “Okay.”
Rain Storm grinned, “Well then.” He raised his arm and shot a blast of energy to the ground. Where it struck a portal opened, sucking the three of them in. They suddenly found themselves in the throne room itself.
“Rain!” Bowser shouted when he saw them, “We’re almost done here. We just have one more! Where’s that last one you were talking about?”
Rain Storm laughed, “In due time, my friend. In due time.”
There was a ringing from Rain Storm’s pocket and he fished out a cell phone. He looked at it for a time and then shut it, returning the phone to his pocket. “Speak of the devil; that was him. Ganondorf, would you mind holding these two?” he gestured to Nick and Scott.
Ganondorf nodded and grabbed them both by the neck.
Rain Storm opened another portal beneath their feet and everyone was sucked in. They were now in a tropical forest.
Rain Storm grinned as he looked up into the sky. Hovering above them was a giant spherical ship with a mustached face inscribed on the side.
“The Death Egg!” Scott shouted knowingly.
Rain Storm frowned, “Shut him up. No wait, don’t. I’ll do it later.”
There came a steady humming from one direction and Rain Storm turned towards it, raising a hand. An orb of electricity combined with wind formed in his hand as they saw a blue blur come over the horizon. The blur sped towards them faster than the speed of sound. Rain Storm clenched his teeth.
Right before the blur ran right into Rain Storm, it jumped and cleared. It was Sonic the Hedgehog. The blue hedgehog was now directly in front of Rain Storm’s face. His eyes grew wide as Sonic kicked his head, sending him toppling.
Nick elbowed Ganondorf in the stomach, completely unexpectedly. He kicked Ganondorf in the stomach, loosing the hand holding his neck. Seizing the opportunity, Nick turned in his grasp, punching Ganondorf in the neck.
Ganondorf released them both and fell to the ground, in doing so also losing control of the barrier surrounding Link.
Nick landed on his feet and took off in a run, heading for King Dedede. Dedede raised his hammer, but that was exactly what Nick had wanted. He leaped and kicked King Dedede in the stomach. The glutton dropped Kirby’s cage and fell, clutching his stomach. Nick scooped up the cage and freed Kirby.
By now Scott was on his feet and ran towards Bowser, the only villain still standing. Bowser frowned, anticipating the attack, and smashed Luigi’s body into Scott’s face. Meanwhile Nick leapt onto his back and pointed to Rain Storm, who was coming to, “Scott, take him! I’ve got Bowser!”
Scott turned and received a massive jolt of electricity to the face. He collapsed and Rain Storm, who had been standing in front of him, leaped above Bowser, fist raised to punch Nick.
Nick let go of Bowser and was bucked off instantly. Rain Storm’s fist smashed into Bowser’s head, causing him to collapse. Rain Storm frowned as Mario jumped out of Bowser’s limp hand and punched him in the gut.
Rain Storm retrieved the cell phone from his pocket and flipped it open, “Hey! Eggman! I need you to-”
He was interrupted by a laser that had come from the Death Egg, striking the ground a few feet away from where he was standing. The laser opened up a powerful portal that began to suck everything into it.
Rain Storm clenched his teeth and shouted into the phone over the gale, “That’s not what I wanted you to do! I – Nevermind.”
Ganondorf had gotten to his feet and, at a word from Rain Storm, teleported Bowser, Luigi, King Dedede, and Zelda up to the Death Egg. Rain Storm scowled, “Change of plans: we kill them all, one by one.” Without explaining further, he teleported away to the Death Egg.
The rescued heroes, Scott, Nick, and Sonic were left to the pull of the portal. Kirby was the first to be lifted into the air, followed by Mario. Nick grabbed them both and found himself lifted off the ground. Scott came to his aid, grabbing Nick’s leg. Nick shouted to Link, “Hey, Link! Put on the Iron Boots!”
The swordsman nodded and put on two bronze boots that weighed him down. He grabbed Sonic, who had started to rise into the air, and Scott, who now was lifted off the ground. They formed an odd chain, Link connected to the ground, holding Sonic and Scott, the latter holding Nick, who was holding Mario and Kirby.
They were like this for a time before they noticed Ganondorf, who was still there and watching them, seemingly immune to the massive gale. In one hand he held a dark chunk of wood. He smiled as he raised the clenched fist, “Here’s a present from my latest apprentice. Hope you like it!” He threw the splinter and it stuck in Link’s forehead. Link opened his mouth to scream, but the splinter magically sank into his head. Once it had entirely disappeared, Link fell to his knees and transformed into a black wolf with blue eyes. Having no opposable thumbs and losing his Iron Boots, he and the other heroes flew into the portal. Ganondorf laughed as they flew in, and warped to join his allies on the Death Egg.

+===+

Nick, Scott, Mario, Link, Kirby, and Sonic appeared in the air over World 1 in the Mushroom Kingdom. They fell to the ground and collapsed in separate bushes.
Nick, Scott and Kirby got to their feet. Nick looked out to the west, where Mario and Link stood on a beach as the sun rose. Link was now in the form of a wolf, meaning he would be of little help. Nick walked over to them as Scott turned and grinned maliciously at Kirby.
Nick sighed, “I’m sorry, you two. I’m sorry we couldn’t save your special ones. But I know something that might make you feel better.”
Behind them, Scott was chasing Kirby around with a fully automatic machine gun and laughing like a psychotic maniac. Mario and Link looked at Nick expectantly.
“They’re not going to kill them. But they are going to use them against us. The best thing we can do is save them as soon as possible.”
Scott had abandoned his machine gun and was now chasing Kirby with an old fashioned chain saw and was wearing a hockey mask. He was, however, still laughing like a psychotic maniac. He paused momentarily to spread ketchup on the blades of the saw before continuing to laugh and pursue Kirby.
Nick sighed and closed his eyes. He turned his head to the rising sun and opened his eyes, “I will see to it.”
Scott ran past, brandishing a flamethrower and shouting: “I am the Fury!”
Nick turned and kicked Scott in the shin, “Will you shut up! I’m trying to have a sentimental moment!”
Scott growled and clutched his bruised leg. He suddenly noticed something and looked to the east, “Hey, where’s Sonic?”
The wind picked up and blew towards the east. The five of them turned to see a castle on the far side of the World rise from the ground.
Scott began to walk towards it, but Nick stopped him with a firm hand that grasped his shoulder, “Thank you, Scott,” he said adamantly, “but Princess Luigi is in another castle.”
He let go of Scott’s shoulder and walked to the north, without waiting for anyone else.
The others stared after him for a moment and then Scott ran to him, “Wait, what are we going to do about Sonic? We can’t just leave him behind.”
Nick shrugged, “I don’t know where he is. Plus, wouldn’t you like to be the one to defeat Eggman?”
Scott rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “While that is tempting, I cannot agree to that. Sonic is going with no matter what.”
Nick sighed and then smiled, “And the fan service continues.”

+===+

Farther into World 1, they found Sonic stuck in a tree. After burning the tree down, Sonic was rescued and joined them once more. As they avoided the Koopas and Goombas that regularly patrolled the World, they found themselves staring at a giant pipe blocking their path.
Scott turned to the others, “Hey, it doesn’t matter. We can just go around.” He shrugged and started to walk past the pipe. Halfway through, however, the ground began to shake and a giant piranha plant drew its body out of the pipe, roaring as it reached down and ate Scott whole.
The piranha plant turned to the other five and roared. It lunged to take another bite out of one of them.
Nick, Sonic, Mario, and Kirby lunged to the side, leaving Wolf Link to be devoured by the carnivorous plant.
The plant chewed noisily as Nick turned to his three remaining allies, “Okay, Mario, you’re familiar with Piranha Plants; how do we kill them?”
Mario said something in Italian and Nick groaned, “Oh, so they can only be defeated by fireballs...too bad we don’t have a fire flower on hand...” He looked at each of them in turn, his eyes resting on Kirby. His face slowly grew into a grin.
He grabbed Kirby by the face and turned and chucked him into the gaping maw of the beast.
The Piranha Plant continued to chew as Nick frowned, “Well, that didn’t work.”
Mario pointed behind the Piranha Plant at an item block. He turned to Nick and spoke something else in Italian. Nick nodded, “Oh, I understand. You want us to distract the plant while you check that item block for a fire flower.”
Mario cocked his head and spoke something else in Italian. Nick exasperatedly threw up his hands, “What do you mean? I’m not just repeating everything you say!”
Mario sighed and held his forehead in his hand.
Nick and Sonic waved their hands at the revolting plant. The Piranha Plant roared and lunged for them, but they ran out of the way just in time.
The Piranha Plant turned it head as it looked from Nick to Sonic, sizing them up, deciding which to eat first. It reared up, mouth wide, drawing in a breath of air. As it was about to attack, Mario shouted at the plant.
Everyone turned to the portly plumber as he held out a shining star. He grinned as he absorbed its power. As Mario glowed with a rainbow of light, he reached out his arm and clenched it into a fist. He extended his other fist and spun the two fists around each other.
Sonic frowned, “What’s he doing?”
Nick groaned, “He’s dancing.”
Sonic and Nick looked at each other and then at the plant, who was distracted by Mario’s old-fashioned dance moves. They looked at each other once more and came to a simultaneous plan.
Nick drew his sword and Sonic leaped into the air. Nick slashed at the Piranha Plant’s stalk as Sonic curled into a ball, homing in on the back of the plant’s head.
The plant convulsed and threw up Scott, Wolf Link, and Kirby before the head rolled off of its support, crashing to the ground.
Nick chuckled lightly, “That was enjoyable.”
“Oh, I would say that was a little frightening, if I were asked.”
The six heroes turned to see a short man in a lab coat with a single strand of hair sticking straight up.
Nick crossed his arms, “Dr. Elvin Gadd. Or, rather, ‘Egad’.”
E. Gadd chuckled once more, “Yes, hello, Nick, Mario, and company. I see you’re on an adventure to save the world as usual.”
Scott frowned, “It’s not an adventure per se, as Luigi and Princess Zelda were kidnapped, and the villains teamed up to be an almost unstoppable force-”
“Business as usual, it is.” E. Gadd said, nodding. “Well, I can aid you in your quest. You see, I modified this pipe here into a cannon that can shoot you all the way to World 5. However, a piranha plant invaded the pipe soon afterwards, rendering it useless. But now that you’ve cleared away that monster...”
“We can shoot Kirby out of a cannon!” Scott shouted, grabbing the pink puffball and chucking him into the pipe. He then jumped in after Kirby, grabbing Sonic as he went.
Nick climbed up onto the pipe, helping Wolf Link up, “Hey, thanks, Professor, we all appreciate your help.”
As Mario jumped in, the last one to do so, E. Gadd chuckled to himself, “Oh, your thanks isn’t necessary, since this is the invention’s first test. I should warn you that it has a large possibility of exploding with all of you inside of it.”
Nick’s exasperated shouting was lost on the scientist as he pressed a button that would activate the cannon, “Wait, what’s that supposed to-”
The cannon fired, cutting him off. The six heroes flew threw the air, flying over the Worlds below, at last coming crashing down into a field of white, although each of them saw an odd flash of black and red.

+===+

The heroes shook the snow off of their bodies. They examined their surroundings in interest, as World 5 was indeed a snow world, but this was not the Mushroom Kingdom.
They stood on the peak of a mountain at sunset. The snow was light, and a barren tree hung to the side of the cliff they were standing on.
Nick frowned and looked to the bottom of the mountain. He pointed out something of interest, “Hey, is that a...mansion? What’s it doing way out here?”
Scott shrugged, “It looks abandoned. And slightly demolished. I wonder who lives there...”
There was a flash and four spirits of light appeared around them. The first, in the form of a goat, spoke, “Hero chosen by the gods, you find yourself once more cursed with the form of a wolf...”
The second, a monkey, spoke, “There is a way to restore you to your true form...”
The third, a hawk, continued, “You must go to the princess of the Twilight Realm. We have recovered the shards of the Mirror that will open the portal. However...”
The final spirit, a serpent, finished, “You must find the light giving the Mirror its power. You know where they are; they are in the same place that you first found the Mirror fragments. We wish you luck on your journey...”
They faded away, as if nothing had ever happened. Scott was the first to regain his voice, “So we’re in Hyrule now.”
Nick nodded, “It would appear so. Those portals certainly are random. So the first piece is down in that house. Don’t ask how I know, I just do. Trust me. We have to get down there, but we lack anything to jump across the major breaks in the path with.”
Scott thoughtfully hummed and stroked his chin. He looked from Wolf Link to Kirby and back several times, each time he turned his head his smile steadily grew.
“I know how we can get down the mountain.”

+===+

“Mush!”
Mario, Scott, and Nick stood at the reins of a sled, which was being pulled by Wolf Link, Sonic, and Kirby. Scott held a whip, using it every five seconds to ‘encourage’ Kirby to run faster.
The things Scott would say as he whipped gave some insight as to what was happening as they went along: “Run! Run! Run! Jump! Jump! Land! Land! Run! Run! Rest! Rest! Rest! Run!”
As they neared the bottom of the slope, Nick turned to Scott in a slight panic, “How do you propose we slow down? We can’t slow down in time to avoid crashing.”
Scott grinned as he strapped two lit sticks of dynamite to the sides of the sled, “Abandon craft. What else?”
He leaped in front of the sled and released Link and Sonic, slinging them under his arms to avoid the hurtling sled. Nick and Mario leaped from the sled, joining him.
Kirby was seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was dragging an empty sled loaded with explosives behind him, probably supported by the fact that he was now alone in pulling. He stopped in front of the mansion and tried to open the door, but it was locked. He turned back to get help from the others, but was instead met with a face full of fire.
The explosion knocked the double doors off their hinges, rocking the foundation of the flimsy building. The heroes, save Kirby, walked through the opening. Scott grabbed Kirby by the head as he walked past.

+===+

In the center of the courtyard of the mansion, called the Snowpeak Ruins, there was a single cannon, the traditional kind, not Dr. Gadd’s extreme version. Scott walked up to it and frowned, “Now what kind of idiot would put one of these in their own house? Honestly.”
Nick chuckled to himself, “I think you would know, Scott. Don’t you have a rail gun hanging over your bed?”
Scott spun around and yelled, “That’s for safety precautions!”
Nick chuckled again and walked to the far side of the courtyard, “Okay, whatever you say. Now, the light should be through this door. Brace yourselves...”
He opened the door and the heroes walked in. They were in an armory, an odd room for someone’s house. Sonic and Kirby examined a suit of armor as Nick frowned, “This isn’t right. Where’s the light?”
The suit of armor Kirby and Sonic were admiring sprang to life, brandishing a ball and chain, which it used to knock them away. Three cage doors fell from the ceiling, two trapping Sonic and Kirby, the final locking the door. Nick, Scott, Mario, and Wolf Link found themselves in a narrow hallway with a ball-and-chain-wielding possessed suit of armor.
Scott scowled and clenched his teeth, “This is why we don’t take directions from you, Nick.” He leaped over the suit of armor’s head, drawing two pistols as he did so. He shot two holes through the chain mail on its chest, smiling menacingly.
The possessed armor turned and smashed the spiked ball into Scott’s chest, hurtling him into the far wall. Scott crumpled to the ground.
The armor turned back to the foes at hand, finding its vision blurred with a sword through its face. Nick pulled the Fli Sword out of the armor, switching it to the ice setting with a flick of his thumb. He stabbed the sword through the chest of the armor. Once the sword was all the way through, he switched the sword to the fire setting, ripping it out of the armor. The armor began to melt, but continued its assault. It dropped its ball and chain as its hand melted away, but lurched for them.
Mario sprang forward, punching the armor in the gut, smashing what was left of it to pieces.
The cage doors fell away, freeing Sonic and Kirby, and allowed a way for escape. Scott stood up as if nothing had happened, picking up the ball and chain that had been discarded, “I think this will make a nice centerpiece. Don’t you?”
Nick frowned, “That doesn’t make sense; a heavy weapon like that makes an awful centerpiece.”
Scott yelled in Nick’s face, “Well, you make an awful GPS!”

+===+

Back in the courtyard, this time outside the only room on the third floor, the heroes readied themselves to take their first light.
Scott turned to Wolf Link, “You sure this is it? I can’t trust Nick with directions.”
As Nick began to protest, Link nodded. Scott grinned momentarily before swinging the doors wide open.
They walked in, finding themselves in a comfortable heated bedroom. They took in every part of their surroundings as a voice spoke from behind them, “Enjoying yourselves?”
They spun around to see a women wrapped in blankets standing in the doorway. She shut the doors behind her as she walked to the center of the room, head slightly turned to one side, “Why are you here?”
Scott cleared his throat, “We’re just looking for a light. Seen one?”
The woman nodded and looked to the ceiling, “Yes. See the light?”
They looked up and saw a magnificent chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The chandelier glowed with an odd light, pulsating steadily.
The woman swayed slightly as she looked upon it, “Is it not pretty? So...shiny...so...pretty...” She twitched as she spoke, her face growing darker.
She abruptly turned to them, her face contorted into an odd one, like that of a demon, “Not take light!” she screamed.
The windows shattered and the cold air streamed in, freezing the room solid. The woman rose off the ground until her head touched the chandelier. It shattered on contact, wrapping her in its light.
She screamed again and ice enveloped her body, forming a protective shield around her. The crystalline ice crashed to the floor, spinning wildly.
Nick drew the Fli Sword, switching it to the fire setting. Flames danced along the blade for a second before blinking out in the intense cold. He frowned and instead switched it to the electricity setting.
Wolf Link growled and lunged for the ice mass, sending it spinning into the wall, rebounding straight back at them.
Nick’s eyes grew as he slashed at the ice mass, effectively chipping a good sized chuck off as it rebounded back to the wall. The mass just ricocheted back towards them.
They lunged out of the way as the ice mass hurtled around the room. Nick turned to Scott, “It’s no use; we have nothing that can put a huge dent in that thing!”
Scott pulled the ball and chain from his pocket, “Have we?” He grinned as he swung the chain and spiked ball towards the ice mass.
The ball struck, shattering the ice on contact. Now that there was a hole in the side of the ice, the mass rose unnaturally off the ground, hovering above them. Eight smaller chucks of ice formed around it and smashed into the ground, forming a ring around them.
Scott spun the ball and chain over his head, “Just try it, woman! I’m here, and I’m waiting!”
The ice mass rose higher off the ground, preparing to fall into them. Nick stepped back a few paces, while Mario, Sonic, and Kirby banged on the miniature ice chunks, attempting to free themselves.
The ice mass slammed to the ground, intercepted in midair by the spiked mace ball, which Scott had thrown straight up. The ball smashed all the way through the ice mass, blasting the ice apart.
The woman eerily hovered and swayed in midair, exasperatedly gasping for breath. She collapsed to the floor in a heap. Light rose from her body, encompassing the entire room before settling on Link. The light enveloped the wolf’s body, and then faded away.
Scott cracked his knuckles, “One down. Now where’s the next one?”

+===+

After the sun had set, the heroes found themselves walking through a forest where one patch of trees looked exactly like every other one.
Scott stretched his back, “Are you sure this is the right way?”
The wolf leading them nodded.
Nick grunted and picked something off the ground. He showed it to the others: a clump of pine needles, out of place in this leafy forest.
“We’re close,” he said, turning forwards.
An oversized passageway barred their path. The passageway’s doors were missing, so there wasn’t any trouble there. The concrete was covered in moss, nearly invisible to their eyes.
The heroes walked through the passageway, the chattering of animals abruptly ceasing, rather ominously.
They came out of the passageway into a clearing, the clearing the remains of an old building. The door stood intact, uselessly blocking their path with no walls to support it. Past it, two statues stood intact, their surfaces unscathed. They were standing in front of a staircase that led on through the forest until their eyes could not see the end.
Nick walked up to the door and knocked on it absentmindedly, “So...as you can see, things are a little...rundown.”
“A little understated, too,” Scott mumbled as the doors surprisingly opened, revealing a building that replicated the building whose ruins now stood here.
Link growled and leaped through the open doorway. Nick turned to the others and shrugged, following after the wolf.
Scott grabbed Mario and Sonic and pushed them in, following quickly and slamming the door behind him. Kirby was left outside, desperately banging on the door to be let in.
Nick, Scott, Mario, and Sonic followed Wolf Link through the almost seamless building, at last coming to a sword stuck in the ground. The wolf nodded towards the sword and Nick claimed it, causing a wall in front of them to disappear, revealing a hidden passage.
Scott and Sonic cried out in surprise. Mario took a step back. Nick dropped the sword. Link barked and ran through the passage, leaving the rest of them behind once more.
Nick turned to the others and shrugged, following after the wolf, along with the others.
The passage stretched on for an indefinite time, at last coming to a dark hallway with numerous traps, spinning blades in the ground, and deadly hanging pendulums.
Scott gaped at the sight, “This is still Hyrule...right?”
Nick nodded and pulled a small cylinder of metal from his pocket. The rod extended to match his own height and he swung it, lodging it into the maws of a blade. “Quickly, go through!”
They jumped past, and Nick vaulted over the saw as it resumed moving. They repeated this process several times before coming to a deathly pendulum, swinging back and forth tauntingly with its sharp blade.
Nick frowned and the rod shrank back to its original size. He handed it to Sonic and unlatched a staff made of charred wood hanging on his back. Its surface flared up at his touch, and he pointed it at the top of the pendulum. A beam of fire sprayed from the tip of the staff, melting the pendulum at the point where it connected to the ceiling. The pendulum crashed to the ground, narrowly avoiding slicing Scott’s toes off.
Scott sighed in a mix of relief and awe. “Nice staff.”
Nick grinned slightly, “Thanks. I don’t remember where I got it, though. You would think I would remember...I even remember where I got my pants. How can I not remember where I got my staff?”
Scott frowned at this odd statement, “Where’d you get your pants?”
Nick shrugged, “I got them from the fourth dimension. That’s how I remember where I got them; my pants are magic!”
Scott narrowed one eye, “You have...magic pants?”
Nick nodded, “Yeah, the pockets are infinitely large. I can fit anything in the pockets.” To prove this, he pulled an anchor out of his pocket.
“Why would you need an anchor?” Scott asked incredulously.
Nick placed his left hand on his chin and looked to the ceiling, slowly saying, “Flashback...”

+===+

Nick walked down the street, anchor in hand. He swung the anchor over his shoulder, seemingly immune to its weight. He whistled as he walked, stopping outside a donut shop and tapping his foot.
A police officer came out of the donut shop and stared wide-eyed at the man with an anchor. He walked up behind Nick, tapping his shoulder and saying: “Excuse me, sir-”
Nick turned around, the sharp end of the anchor impaling the officer in the chest. Nick gasped in surprise and hesitantly inched away from the corpse, looking around to make sure no one had seen.

+===+

Nick looked back at his companions, his hand still on his chin, “End Flashback. Uh...no reason...”
Scott shrugged and walked up to the door that ended the long hallway. He turned to Wolf Link, “Now, Link. I want to know if the next light is behind this door. Bark once for yes, and twice for no. Is the light behind this door?”
Link growled in annoyance and barked three times.
Nick pocketed the anchor and whacked Scott with his staff. He turned to Mario and Sonic, “Stick close, you two. We’re about to take the next light, and I can’t stand the thought of anything happening to this one. So we take it as soon as possible before anything bad happens. Got it?”
They nodded and Nick opened the door. They walked into an octagonal room with six holes punctured in the ceiling to allow air and light into the room. In the very center of the room, the orb of light glowed and pulsated steadily, untouched yet.
Link ran to the orb, but it flew out of his reach and enveloped something on the center of the ceiling. It grew into a gargantuan spider with a single eye on its back, orange and piercing as it stared at them. It crawled over one of the holes in the ceiling, its eye glowing unnaturally.
Nick gestured to Sonic and the rod that he still held grew into a perfect circular shield. Sonic raised the shield as a blast of lava spewed from the spider’s eye and met the shield head-on. Mario, who was behind him, held him steady as the force of the lava started to push Sonic back into the wall.
Nick spun his staff and shot a blast of fire at the shield, the blast rebounding into the spider’s eye and knocking it off the ceiling onto its back.
Nick ran towards the spider, spinning his flaming staff before leaping above the spider and smashing it into the arachnid’s abdomen. Nick released a blast of fire through the staff to envelop it, and turned to Scott and Link, “Quickly! Tear off the limbs!”
The wolf was the first to reach the flailing legs of the spider, tearing his teeth into one of the legs. Scott grabbed another leg, pulling back while Nick pinned it to the ground. After a moment of struggle, the satisfying sound of ripping tendons was heard and the limb fell away.
Nick leaped to the ceiling, holding onto the root of a plant that was hanging there, and pointed his staff at the eye of the spider. By now, the spider, with blood dripping from its missing leg and its scorched flesh, could have given up, but instead shot one last shot of lava at Nick.
Nick clenched his teeth and a blast of fire erupted from the tip of his staff, meeting the blast from the spider and incinerating it, flaring straight through to the doomed spider, which released one last horrifying scream as it finally died.
As Nick dropped from the ceiling, the spider exploded and reformed into the orb of light, which, like the one before it, spread throughout the room and finally settled on Link, enveloping him before fading away.
Nick suddenly frowned and looked around, “Wait...where’s Kirby?”
Scott nervously chuckled and started for the exit.

+===+

Nick, Scott, Mario, Wolf Link, and Sonic were joined once again with Kirby as they now walked along the edge of Lake Hylia, searching for a pier to the center of the lake.
Scott spoke up, voicing what he and three others were thinking; “Why are we looking for a pier to the center of the lake?”
Nick explained calmly, though he was clearly irritated, “Because at the center of the lake is a cannon that will send us to-”
“Oh, boy, another cannon,” Scott said, interrupting, “I can’t wait. Where will we end up this time?”
Nick sighed, “I was just about to tell you, but I think I’ll wait.”
Scott groaned audibly as they came at last to a pier, turning onto it resolutely. They follow the pier to the center of the lake, where they found a patch of land marked only by the giant bird-like cannon in the center.
As Scott groaned again, Nick grabbed him by the back of his shirt. Scott yelped in surprise as he was lifted off the ground and hefted into the back end of the bird-cannon, accompanied by Sonic, Link, Mario, and Kirby shortly afterwards.
Nick climbed into the muzzle of the cannon, turning to the ground and pointing to it with his staff. The staff released a burst of fire that bounced off the ground and back into the back end of the cannon, igniting it and also incinerating the cannon’s occupants in the process.
The cannon got to its feet, its movements puppet-like. The cannon aimed at the sky and fired.

+===+

The heroes landed in a pool of water, though it was a much shorter fall than they had expected. They swam ashore, Scott and Link shaking like dogs to dislodge the water that had caught in their hair/fur.
Mario ran to a nearby ledge and pointed down from it, making a noise of surprise as he did so. Scott ran to where he was standing. He released another noise of surprise.
“Okay...we’re not it Hyrule anymore.”
Nick dragged an unconscious Sonic from the water and sighed, “No, we’re still in Hyrule, we’re just above it. We are currently in the City in the Sky.”
“What city...” Scott mumbled as the clouds around them cleared and they saw the city for the first time.
The city, or what was left of it, looked as if it had been taken right up off of the ground. Propellers held the buildings aloft, though even by Hyrulian standards these buildings looked odd. They were almost all round, egg shapes, most of them several stories tall. Most peculiar was that several sites and buildings were not connected by roads, but empty air.
The platform they were standing on held the pool of water they had landed in, but was connected to a massive egg-shaped skyscraper, propellers dotted all over it.
Nick looked around, “You see, this land...or what’s left after someone or something ravaged it...is the land of the Oocca, bird-like people that lived in Hyrule many centuries ago. Now they live here.”
As he spoke, they saw several Oocca swimming in the pool next to a buoyant Kirby, laughing and playing in the water.
Nick turned to the massive building, “That’s where the next light is.”
Scott frowned, “Please tell me...”
“It’s at the top.”
“I was afraid you were going to say that,” Scott said mournfully.

+===+

Halfway up the spire, they came to a dead end. Using two Clawshots, items that could pull the user to other places using grappling technology, the six of them had worked their way up through the inside of the tower. But now they had reached a ceiling that had no openings to go through.
Scott sighed, “What are we supposed to do now?”
Nick looked about the room, “I’m working on that.” His gaze rested on a window in the far corner of the room, “Hey, do you think that window is sturdy enough withstand puffball beatings?”
Scott contemplated this, the edges of his mouth slowly curling into a grin as he caught Nick’s meaning, “Only one way to find out, isn’t there?”
He grabbed onto Kirby’s face and heaved him at the window, shattering it. Kirby flew out the opening, causing worried gasps to resonate around the chamber.
“That’s not what I meant!” Nick shouted angrily.
“What?” Scott yelled, “How can that not be want you meant?”
Nick ran to the window and saw Kirby hovering right outside the window, an umbrella keeping him aloft. Nick sighed in relief.
“Wait,” he said, head cocked as he looked at Kirby, “That gives me an idea.”
He raised one of the Clawshots and shot it at the umbrella, pulling himself to stand on top of the umbrella. He maneuvered over to the window, pulling Mario and Sonic onto the umbrella. He positioned them to stand on his shoulders as he helped Scott out to join them. Finally, Scott grabbed the wolf, hefting him over his shoulders.
Nick raised a Clawshot, aiming above them to a patch of vines. He, along with Mario and Sonic, rocketed off towards the vines, hanging there. Nick turned and shot the second Clawshot at the umbrella. Scott grabbed the chain and they were joining the other three.
They hung there, Kirby holding onto the umbrella, Scott standing on the umbrella, holding Wolf Link, being suspended by a chain held by Nick, who had Mario and Sonic balancing on his shoulders.
“Well,” Scott said, desperately trying to make the mood lighter, “What now?”
The Clawshot grasping the vines loosened slightly. Nick looked at it, slightly panicked, “Uh, I guess this plan wasn’t as thought through as I thought.”
The Clawshot loosened, and Scott sighed, “It’s okay, Nick. I don’t blame you.”
Nick frowned as the Clawshot loosened once more, “You don’t?”
Scott closed his eyes and nodded his head, “I don’t. I blame Kirby!”
In the middle of the word ‘Kirby,’ the Clawshot released its hold, sending them plummeting to the ground.
Seconds later, they zoomed upwards, held aloft by Kirby’s umbrella. A blast of wind had caught the umbrella and had lifted them high into the sky. Nick was gesturing to the sky, him being the one responsible for the gale.
He turned to Scott, “I don’t know why we didn’t just think of this in the first place.”
Scott shrugged, “Yeah, it would have saved us a lot of time.”
They came to a halt at the top of the building, Kirby letting go of the umbrella to drop them all to the roof. Nick handed Scott the Clawshots, “Here, you take them. I don’t want them anymore.”
The platform they were standing on was overgrown with grass, coming up to Nick and Scott’s waists and blinding Kirby and Link. Four pillars stood on the corners of the roof, triangularly faced with one side facing inward towards the platform. At this height, the wind was powerful, nearly sending them off with every chronic blast. At the center of the roof, hovering over the grass was the third orb of light, pulsating steadily.
Nick ran towards it, shouting, “Quickly! Before something bad happens!” He grabbed at the light, shouting, “Yes!” before the light enveloped him.
“Oh, no...” he said as his body glowed brighter, growing unnaturally large. Wings ripped out of his back and his face contorted greatly out of shape, to that of a fearsome beast. His skin darkened and formed black scales. His clothes ripped away as the transformation completed, revealing an oval-shaped plate on his back that glowed with an unnatural rainbow color.
Link growled as the dragon that was once Nick stood up. Scott turned to him, “What’s that boy? You say you’ve met this dragon before? You say his name is Arkorog?”
Sonic turned to him, “Whoa! You actually understand him?”
Scott frowned, “No. I’m just going to call the dragon Arkorog. What I am not going to do is call it Nick, because I want Nick to look like Nick if and when I beat him within an inch of his life. Understand?”
Sonic frowned, “Uh, yeah...”
Scott nodded, “Okay. Now that we’ve got that covered-”
Arkorog roared at Scott, cutting him off. Scott yelled at the beast, “Hey! I’m trying to decide how to defeat you! So shut up!”
Arkorog flapped its wings and took off, sending massive currents of air at the hapless heroes. Everyone but Scott screamed in terror as they began to be pushed towards the edge of the roof and towards their certain doom.
Scott grabbed each one of them in turn, even Kirby, and clenched his teeth. They looked down and saw that he was wearing the same Iron Boots Link had worn seemingly ages ago.
Scott frowned, “These things are smashing my feet in tighter than a bizarre Chinese beauty ritual. But I shall wear them...in the name of justice!”
Arkorog roared in his face once more and flew up, seeking to wreck havoc elsewhere. Scott clenched his teeth and dropped the heroes, firing one of the Clawshots at one of the pillars, latching on about halfway up. He grabbed the heroes, except Link, and shot to where the Clawshot was stuck in the pillar.
Scott maneuvered Mario and Sonic to his shoulders and Kirby in between his feet. He fired the second Clawshot at the oval plate on Arkorog. They immediately jerked towards the dragon, stopping halfway in between Arkorog and the pillar.
Arkorog struggled as the chains binding the Clawshots reached their limit. Scott turned to the two on his shoulders, “Mario, take the Clawshot connected to the pillar, and hang on to my back! Sonic, pull Link’s sword from my belt, along with his bow attached to my back!”
They maneuvered themselves to accommodate these changes, and Scott held the bow in one hand, the Clawshot attached to Arkorog in the other. Sonic held the string, pulling it back. Instead of an arrow, the sword was held in the bow.
Scott grinned and turned to Sonic, “Now remember, hold on tight or this won’t work.”
Sonic scrunched up his face, “Wait, then how is the sword going to-”
Scott let go of the Clawshot, sending a screaming hedgehog whizzing towards the dragon. The sword Sonic was holding stabbed through Arkorog’s back, sending him plummeting to the ground below. Scott, Mario, and Kirby fell after him.
Wolf Link took four steps back, and the dragon collapsed on the ground where he had previously been standing. Scott, Mario and Kirby landed at the wolf’s side.
Sonic rose, pulling the sword from Arkorog’s back triumphantly. Arkorog shrank back to the form of Nick, thankfully with clothes on.
Nick apologetically scratched the back of his head as the light left his body and enveloped Link, “Uh, yeah...listen, I’m really-”
“Say no more, Nick,” Scott said forgivingly, “It wasn’t your fault. We all could have been drawn in by that light’s maddening powers. So...where to now?”
Nick shrugged, “I don’t know. Ask Link.”
Scott turned, but Link was gone. Mario, Sonic and Kirby shrugged, justifying that they had no idea where he was.
They heard a bark and turned to see Link running for the edge, jumping off to his genuine doom.
The five of them screamed in horror and ran off the edge of the building after him.

+===+

They landed softly on the top of a building in the middle of the Gerudo Desert, a long-forgotten jail that had rotted away from existence. Wolf Link immediately began to frantically run in circles, digging in various areas for no apparent reason.
Scott stared at Link as Nick checked his watch, “Okay, we’re right above the Arbiter’s Grounds, the place where the Mirror is held. The problem is that we still don’t have that last-”
There was a loud crashing sound as a crack formed in the circle Link had been running in.
“Light?” Nick said hesitantly.
There was a pause as everyone was unsure of what to do next.
Scott was the first to find his voice: “No...one...move.” he said, his voice dripping with unspoken threats.
Kirby gasped slightly at a passing butterfly, but Scott silenced him with a deadly glance. The butterfly floated around them for a time, finally stopping in front of Scott’s face. Fearing it would land on him and disrupt the structure, he blew it away like a flame on a candle.
...Right into Nick’s face, who smacked at it as he was momentarily blinded, backing up as he did so, tripping over Wolf Link in the process. As he landed, the roof collapsed, sending them all plummeting below.
As they fell, Scott frowned and surveyed the situation. After a while, he said to no one in particular, “Yeah, this time it was my fault.”
They landed on a large circular pillar in the center of a dusty room. Also on the pillar was a beastly skull larger than all of them put together. Where the pillar ended, there was a crevice that stretched to the far wall, on which there were tracks in a circular pattern. They looked down and saw similar tracks on their pillar, but spiraled around the pillar instead.
Something caught Nick’s eye and he went to the center of the pillar, grabbing something stuck in the ground, “Hey, it’s the sucky spinner thing that had no purpose whatsoever, but I still found awesome anyway!” He pulled the Spinner from the ground, turning to the others while holding up his prize, “Hey, guys! Look what I found! It’s the sucky spinner thing...”
They zoned out as the skull behind him flashed with red markings and levitated off the ground. A sword stabbed into the skull’s forehead pulsated with dark red light.
“...I still found awesome anyway! Hey, are you listening!”
They just stared at the growling skull for a while. Nick slowly turned around, and then turned his head up to stare at the beastly skull. The skull roared in his face and then head butted them all off of the pillar.
The landed hard on the bottom of the crevice, and Nick grinned as he held up the Spinner, “Hey, it didn’t break! Thank goodn-”
“GIVE ME THAT!” Scott shouted as he snatched the Spinner away from him, “I’ve had it with Hyrule’s insane inventions! It’s supposed to be a fantasy game! Why can’t it just be sensible and use magic, like the older games!”
He threw the Spinner on the ground, where it suddenly began to spin, shooting itself into the far wall, where it stuck to the tracks and zoomed away.
Scott turned to the others, and then at the spiral tracks on the pillar. He looked at Nick, “Oh. Well, that could work.”
Nick scoffed and back flipped, landing on the Spinner that spun past. He stomped on a button on the Spinner and it detached from the far wall, spinning onto the pillar’s tracks.
Scott grabbed Sonic by his hair, pulling him up to his eye level, “You help out too. You haven’t done a single thing, and I’m not going to allow that!” He threw Sonic to the ground, and he took off running. He ran up the far wall, ignoring the tracks and running in a spiral pattern.
Nick and Sonic ran up separate walls, closing in on the beastly skull. The skull realized it was being chased and opened its mouth, sucking in energy to breathe fire and incinerate them both.
At this point, Nick and Sonic were on opposite sides of the skull. Nick gave Sonic a thumbs-up, and then pressed the button on the Spinner. The Spinner detached from the pillar, slamming into the side of the skull’s face. Sonic jumped as the skull smashed into the far wall, where he had previously been running. Still in midair, Sonic rolled up into a ball and homed in on the sword stuck in the beast’s forehead, knocking it askew.
As Nick and Sonic dropped to the ground, the beastly skull screamed one last time and fell to the crevice, shattering. Light spread from its shattered remains, enveloping Wolf Link. This time, however, the light did not fade, instead causing him to hover slightly above the ground.
Link barked and they found themselves at the top of the pillar, watching as a bridge extended from a wall and a large door rose, beckoning to them eerily.

+===+

They ran out of the Arbiter’s Grounds, coming to a ledge that spiraled around the structure. The sun was setting once more, a full twenty-four hours passing since they first arrived in Hyrule. The light burst from Link’s body as the dieing rays of the sun were cast upon him. The light surged together in one mass, and then shot along the path going up.
The heroes frantically followed, leaping over fallen statues and other rubble that had crumbled along the former prison. They came to the roof, where an enormous black stone stood chained upright, across from it a lone mirror stood. The light gathered into the mirror, returning it to its former state.
Five spirit-like sages formed around them, each of them bowing. They spoke in hushed tones, each only speaking a single sentence:
“Hero chosen by the gods, you will travel to the Twilight Realm...”
“You will return to your heroic true form...”
“You will conquer the shadow that threatens this land...”
“We have foreseen it...”
“But what we have not foreseen...is if you will succeed in your quest...”
They moaned in anticipation and fear, and chanted as one: “You will conquer the shadow that threatens this land...we know not...”
They faded away, and a slight breeze took up around them. Wolf Link stood on a platform in front of the Mirror, turning to look at his comrades.
Nick clenched his fist, “Very well. We shall delay no longer...right...so, as soon as we finish transforming Link, we can save the world. Agreed?”
The heroes silently nodded at this statement, joining Link on the platform. Their particles separated and flew into the portal that had formed on the black stone, only to reform on the other side.
The Twilight Realm.

+===+

They appeared in the Twilight Realm, an alternate world with floating islands that held up buildings. The world was cast into eternal twilight, the time of day never changing, as it always has been.
Above them was a castle-like building that towered over the rest of the realm, at the top of which dark, ominous clouds swirled around it forebodingly.
Nick gestured around them, and they were lifted off the ground by an unseen current of wind. Mario and Kirby cried out in surprise, but Nick quickly hushed them into silence, “It’s okay; remember, I can control the air around us. Same as the City in the Sky.”
Scott scoffed, “Yeah, and that worked out so well.”
Nick gestured upwards, and they skyrocketed up to the top of the building, landing in front of a door marked with a symbol surrounded by a circle. Wolf Link walked up to it, sniffing lightly, and jumped back in surprise as the symbol lit up, opening the door.
They looked at each other for a moment, and then showed themselves into the throne room.
A hunched figure sat on the throne, looking exhausted. At the new presences, the figure straightened, revealing itself to be Midna, the Twilight Princess, and friend of Link.
She warped in front of the wolf and crouched before him, “Oh, Link. How has this come about? I was sure that I had...that we had destroyed any connection...”
She ran a hand over Link’s forehead, and he transformed back into his normal form with a flash of light. Midna continued, “I guess the opposite sides of a coin must return to each other again someday, am I right?”
Link grinned and nodded.
“Touching,” Scott yawned, “Now...I was promised that I could kick some-”
A loud crash interrupted him. They turned to the door, which had exploded inwards. A lone figure strode into the room: Zant, the impeached King of Twilight and apprentice to Ganondorf himself.
“Go!” Midna shouted abruptly, gesturing behind her, “It’s no longer safe for you here! Not at your current strength...”
She turned to the advancing figure in the door, “I will see to it that you get out alive. Now go!”
The heroes followed the Twilight Princess’ advice down to the letter, save for Link. He drew his sword and turned to her, not willing to give up.
Midna shook her head at him. She smiled impishly, tears forming in her eyes, “See you later.”
She gestured to the far end of the room, where the others had gathered. A portal opened, sucking them in. Midna turned and punched Link in the stomach, sending him toppling into the portal.
She turned to Zant, who was now standing directly in front of her.
Half of the mask concealing his face opened up, revealing a snickering smile, “So, Twilight Princess. Surprised to see me once more, alive and healthy?”
She scowled defiantly, “No. But I am surprised that you chose the path of evil...again.”
Zant released a bark of laughter and looked to the sky, “To me, my princess,” he turned back to her, the rest of his helmet detaching, “You are the evil one here.”

+===+

Hovering now over Dreamland, the Death Egg’s occupants held an emergency meeting.
“How could you?” Rain Storm demanded, pointing an accusing finger at Doctor Robotnik Eggman, “We had them in our grasp, almost finished...for all eternity!” He slammed his fist through his desk, shattering it apart, “But then you fired that portal, and now they’re running around, growing more powerful by the second!”
Ganondorf, feeling uncharacteristically sympathetic, spoke up, “Rain, he didn’t know-”
“And you!” Rain Storm screamed, pointing now at the bearer of the Triforce of Power, “You’re no better!”
“W-what? Me?” Ganondorf stammered.
“Yes! If it weren’t for your monsters, they would all be as they started: weak, naïve, innocent in the face of death! And also for your fool of an apprentice’s intervening!”
His tone abruptly softened, and he placed a hand on his chin. He closed his eyes and turned away, “Oh, and by the way: he’s dead now. Not that he killed any of our enemies in the process.”
Ganondorf, flabbergasted, collapsed back into his chair, defeated by words that had stung his very pride. Bowser and King Dedede didn’t say anything, fearing to also being included in Rain Storm’s ranting accusations.
Eggman stood, acknowledging Rain Storm a little too formally, “If you really feel that way, then I have one thing to say: Get out.”
Rain Storm furiously turned on him, “What did you just say to me?”
Eggman crossed his arms, “This alliance thing?” he pointed around at each of them, “It’s obviously not working out. I disband. I don’t need any of you to help me defeat Sonic the Hedgehog.”
King Dedede also stood, “Me too. Kirby and I are more like...rivals than full-fledged nemeses. But my plan still stands; by the end of today, I will defeat Kirby once and for all, and I don’t need any of you to help.”
“B-but...we are supposed to do this together,” Rain Storm sputtered, “We’ve never defeated our enemies alone before! By joining together-”
“I disband too,” Bowser said, rising, “I find it fun to try and defeat Mario, and killing him off seems so...trivial.”
Rain Storm gaped at him for a time, and then swallowed, turning to Ganondorf, “What about you?”
Ganondorf, collected, leaned back in his chair, “I merely want to rule Hyrule as its King. Working with others really defeats the whole purpose. I,” he rose from his seat, “disband.”
Rain Storm’s shoulders dropped, and he collapsed back into his chair, bewilderedly defeated. He sighed and cast his eyes upon each one of them, “Fine then. Have it your way.”
He made a gesture and portals appeared unexpectedly below Bowser’s, Ganondorf’s, and King Dedede’s feet. They were sucked into their own respective worlds. Rain Storm saluted Eggman before opening his own portal and backing into it, never to be seen by any of the villains ever again.

+===+

Nick, Scott, Mario, Sonic, Link, and Kirby appeared in a grassy field. As they looked around, Nick frowned and rubbed his knuckles against his forehead, “I think we’re back in the Mushroom Kingdom.”
Scott crossed his arms, “Well, we haven’t been to Dreamland yet, and since we’re back here again...”
“The portals are truly random,” Nick said, staring off into the distance, “Do you hear that?”
They stared off to where Nick was looking. At first, there was silence, but then they heard the low drone of a crowd cheering.
Mario jumped, shouting a realization. Nick narrowed his eyes, “Right, the 24th Annual Mario Kart Grand Prix is going on now. Anyone interested in joining?”

+===+

Continued in part two: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5423-cracker-chronicle-7-super-nick-bros-brawl-unofficial-part-two/

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The Cracker is not perfect. Far from it. I desperately wish I could add more that I haven’t explained to it, and then there are those things I put in that I wish had never happened. This latest post has absolutely nothing to do with either of those things, but simply attempts to shed just a little more light on my tale.

1. The Cracker is real life.
The Cracker takes place in the real world, reflecting on real events, that really happened…with some other stuff thrown in. So it’s like a historic fiction. No wait, scratch that, it’s a nonfiction novel, enough said.

2. Anyone can die.
While no one has died yet…wait, there was that guy that got burned to death at the beginning of 4. The point is that a lot of people die in the Cracker, thankfully most of them unnamed. The deaths themselves are random and completely unexpected: Kristen, who was supposed to be the most powerful elf in her generation, was the very third elf to die in the history of the universe. Yeah…

3. Timing is everything.
A lot of times people arrive far too late to help out, leaving them rather useless. The opposite, however, is also true, with people arriving with near perfect timing to save the day. Even then, though, they could manage to screw things up, so that theory isn’t very reliable.

4. Bittersweet.
Not a lot of Cracker Chronicles end on a happy note. Almost all of them end with the villain getting away, an ally dieing, etc. So those ones that do are rare and far and few between. Savor them.

5. Blessed with suck.
Elves are known for being able to manipulate the appearance of their children. In fact, all of the children of Lavana have hair made of a substance that reflects the coloring. While some aren’t that bad (one is rumored to have hair made of gold. A single lock is worth a pound of gold), some were…blessed with suck, to put it simply. One has brown hair, and let’s just say it’s not gravy growing out of his head.
Others have this blessing as well. Elementis was born with four legs, made of solid stone from the knee down. Dontae was born with eyes that are basically all pupils, which might be a bad thing in bright light.
And if the guy with crap on his head wasn’t bad enough, (spoiler!) the five younger children of Aquarius are all cybernetic organisms (cyborgs), after being born with half their bodies burnt off. Yeah, that had to suck.

6. Freak out.
(Major spoilers!) There are just some times that people snap. Scott went over to the dark side briefly for no apparent reason at all. 9volt once beat the living tar out of the aforementioned Scott, leaving him with an inch of his life. And then there’s me. They say something bizarre happens on the solar eclipse…

7. Guilt.
Elves have no policy when it comes to killing, except: “If your life is in danger, kill the guy attacking you! Simple as that!” However, there are numerous times where people just feel regret at the thought of killing someone, or an attempt to kill them. Not to be confused with the next point…

8. Heroic Sociopath: Venus.
In a world of elves that have no morals, she’s a non-violent queen. There’s something seriously wrong with that, as no elf in the universe (believe me, I know), shares her non-violent nature. As for a sociopath of human standards, I would have to go with the opposite end of the spectrum, Elementres. She’s an assassin that (spoilers) doesn’t know how to manipulate the elements. Gasp!

9. Not chaptered.
The Cracker does not use a chapter format, instead using a segmented pattern. The original idea behind it was to symbolize a break in time, or a change in perspective. Now, of course, I still use it for the perspective thing, but also for a change in location, not time. But the point is still the same.

10. Jerk-ass hero: Scott.
Scott isn’t the nicest guy there is. Simple as that.

11. Loads and loads of characters.
Sixty-seven elves, tons of humans, a new NSK CEO every few Chronicles, tons of NSK employees, people from the fourth dimension, and even ***s.

12. Elves fail biology forever.
There are two points on an elf’s body that can hurt said elf, and yet it will still hurt when an appendage cut off. And then shapeshifters have a point on their bodies that forces them back into their humanoid form. Nothing about an elf’s anatomy quite makes sense.

13. Parental problems: Everyone.
Elves only know one of their parents. While this normally would be adaptable, it’s very traumatic. And also dangerous for the parents.

14. Sir Swearsalot: Scott.
90% of the swearing in the Cracker comes out of Scott’s mouth.

15. Wham: 3 and 4.
In 3, Nick nearly kills his own father after traumatically finding it out. It’s so bad, he faints, which is physically impossible for an elf.
In 4, Slick Black undergoes a huge negative character development, and Scott actually cares about his brother enough that he spends a month figuring out how he’s going to live with himself.

16. Naming theme: Lycanthrope children.
All of their names begin with ‘element’

17. Back from the dead: numerous.
A lot of people are notorious for faking their own death and waiting for years before reappearing. Scott and Nick also came back from the dead, Scott twice, Nick once, but it’s unknown how…at the moment.

18. Constant plot switch: Notable in 2, 4, and 5.

19. Imperfect Immortality: All of the elves in the universe.

20. Just between me and you…and everyone else.
Everyone usually tells Nick/Scott their back-story before attempting to kill them.

21. This cannot be: A lot of people’s last words are the following; “That’s impossible!”

22. Tournament arc: 3.

23. Impossible vacation spot: Labzarynth.

24. Younger than they look: Justified, as elves age slower than humans.

25. Product Placement: Several movies, television shows, businesses and video games are mentioned by name, justified by the fact that not all comments are nice.

This list is incomplete and will be continued when I think of more. Got it?

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Continued from part one: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5314-cracker-chronicle-6-voltage-unofficial-part-1/

+===+

Bowser and Ganondorf walked through the Subspace, taking the directions Master Hand had ordered them to.
Ganondorf lagged behind, smiling the whole way. As they were approaching the point Master Hand had told them he would meet them at, he pulled his Dark Cannon out.
“An honorable first shot,” he thought evilly as he shot Bowser in the back.
The Bowser statue landed at his feet. He kicked it away, and kept walking.
He stood at a cliff, and presented himself to his master.
The Hand appeared in front of him, hovering over his head.
Ganondorf bowed, “He has utterly no idea I plan to usurp him,” he thought, “Why should I be afraid?”
There was a cackling of electricity and Master Hand convulsed. Ganondorf looked up and saw the five chains of light digging into the back of the Hand, leading up to Tabuu.
Tabuu spoke through Master Hand, “Hello, my little puppet. It is nice to finally meet you in person. Though I suppose it is not proper to call you a puppet, now is it? This, Master Hand, he is my puppet. He is a very powerful puppet, and through him I was able to control you. You could say you were working for me the whole time, yes, you could say that. But I prefer a different term.”
Ganondorf clenched his fist, unable to grasp that he was deceived the whole time.
“I prefer the term: ‘Puppet master’.”
Ganondorf leaped up, through Master Hand’s fingers, heading towards Tabuu with fist raised and bloodlust in his eyes.
Tabuu charged an orb of dark energy from his central core and fired it at Ganondorf. Ganondorf fell back, falling into Master Hand, becoming a trophy in the process.
The force of Ganondorf falling into him caused Master Hand to be ripped free of the chains of light. His fingers slowly curled into a fist, and he righted himself, flying directly towards his captor, in a final effort of revenge.
At the last possible second, a force field formed and blocked Master Hand from punching him. Master Hand was thrown back, landing next to Ganondorf’s trophy, where he collapsed, dead.
The heroes finally arrived at that moment, a little too late. Mario scowled as he saw the real enemy: Tabuu.
Four wings appeared around Tabuu’s body. They expanded, charging with energy, and then were released.
Off Waves.
The waves flew towards the heroes, instantly turning them all into trophies. The trophies scattered throughout the Subspace Realm.
The last thing Nick thought, as he blacked out from existence, was this: “This isn’t right…we came so far…and it ended up for naught. Maybe…maybe this isn’t just a game anymore.”

+===+

Back in the World of Trophies, the only heroes still there, King Dedede, Ness, and Luigi were lying in their trophy form. The hole created by Bowser earlier was now a window to the subspace portal above. On Ness and Luigi were the brooches the king had made for them.
The brooches sparkled and shone, and Luigi and Ness were alive once more.
Luigi shook his head, “Now this is why I never go anywhere without Mario. Mama was right…”
Ness leapt at him and ripped off the brooch on his nose. Luigi screamed in pain as Ness looked to the King, his face embroidering the brooch that saved them.
Ness tapped the trophy’s base and King Dedede was revived. He looked at them both, at first confused, and then his eyes widened in realization.
“The brooches! They worked!” He grabbed Ness and Luigi, dancing around in excitement, “This is great! Now we can go forth and defeat Tabuu! I fear everyone else from this world may be lost, but we can search for them on the way. Now, I need to make more brooches if that is to happen!” He set down his new friends and noticed for the first time the ruinous state of his castle.
“No…no, it cannot be…my castle…There’s no materials left to make the brooches…not in the entire World of Trophies…” he turned to his friends, “No matter! We can make due with the two I made previously!”
Ness pulled his brooch from his chest. As soon as he did so, the brooch darkened to an ugly gray.
King Dedede frowned, “I was afraid of that. The brooches are not reusable. I’m sorry, my friends, but we cannot save the day. Not in this current state. Look at us; a king, a boy, and a side kick. What chance do we have?”
“Excuse me!” a voice rang out from the entranceway. Scott appeared, soaking wet, teeth clenched, “You didn’t forget about me, did you?”

+===+

The silhouette hovered in the subspace, eyes closed, absorbing energy from its surroundings. Its eyes opened suddenly, a burst of energy releasing. The silhouette glowered, the particles of its body electrifying.
The entire silhouette transformed into a single but deadly bolt of lightning, zapping back and forth through the subspace, heading directly for Tabuu’s cliff.
The lightning bolt stopped short, catching something in its line of sight. The lightning turned back into the silhouette, walking up to the trophy of Nick.
The silhouette sighed, “How the mighty hath fallen. Audi Famam, Illius.” The silhouette tapped the base of Nick’s trophy, reviving him once more.
Nick shook his head, looking up at his savior. The silhouette had transformed into the form of a purplish version of Nick himself, with piercing yellow eyes like that of a Subspace Bugs’ clone.
Nick gasped slightly, and then relaxed, “There is no reason to fear you; there would be no reason for you to revive me if you wish me harm. Who are you?”
“I know who you are, Nick. I have heard much about you. And yet your question is that asking of who I am. Very well, I will tell you.” The dark Nick rose up, clenching a fist, “I am 9volt.”
Nick raised an eyebrow, “A bizarre name, at that. And I have nothing to rebut, since you already know my name...” Nick raised a hand to his face, hiding his mouth in deep thought, “Wait...how do you know my name?”
9volt laughed, “You are known wide and far between. Your infamy stretches even to me, although I am not the farthest from knowing of your deeds.”
Nick scrunched up his forehead, utterly perplexed. He blinked, unable to decide what to say next.
Luckily, someone else came along and helped him out: “Nick! Of all the people we find, you’re the first!”
Scott growled, anger clear on his face, “Well, at least you’re not Kirby.”
Nick turned to 9volt, “That was a compliment coming from him.”

+===+

Deeper into the subspace, the pink puffball himself, Kirby, was in his statue form, just like the rest of the heroes caught in the Off Waves. There was a flash of light and Kirby was once more among the living.
Kirby looked around at his strange surroundings, and then remembered Tabuu. He frowned, noticing he was alone.
He felt a sucking in his gut and he spat out the brooch he had found, bearing Dedede’s face. As he looked at it, it turned an ugly gray.
Kirby started walking, hoping to find someone as he wandered aimlessly.

+===+

9volt strode off, not caring who followed him. Nick latched onto his arm, “Wait, 9volt! You can’t leave now!”
The particles in 9volt’s arm separated, passing around Nick’s grasp with ease, reforming again on the other side. 9volt continued walking, “Tabuu is not going to sit around forever. If we move now, we can catch him before his next series of Off Waves.”
Nick gasped, “Wait...he’s doing it again? Why?”
9volt spun around, filled with sudden rage, “Why!? When he releases the next round, there will be no one left to stop him. If we do get to him, we can stop him from releasing the Off Waves, but we still can’t defeat him. Even if we flee back to the World of Trophies...it still comes to an end. There is no way out of this if we don’t fight him right now.”
Scott, King Dedede, Ness, and Luigi caught up with them. 9volt silently counted them off, “Me, Nick, Scott, those three, and one more once we meet up with Tabuu...that makes seven. More than enough.”
Nick stared at him, “What makes you so sure? Why are you so positive Tabuu is going to conquer all?”
9volt sighed, closing his eyes, “The true answer, I cannot tell you. However, I can say that I have seen what happens. I have seen what Tabuu has done to those who face him after this point, or fled to the World of Trophies, and so on. I cannot let it happen. Not again.”
He turned, walking with heavy footsteps, “I know that I cannot defeat Tabuu alone. I need you to help me. Help me overcome countless odds.” He stopped, turning back to face them, “Will you do it?”
Nick sighed, “No. What of the others? What will happen if we are to succeed?”
9volt looked at the ground, “The Subspace Realm will recede from existence. Their deaths will not be in vain. They sacrificed everything for us, and we shouldn’t waste that.”
Nick shook his head in disbelief, “No! We can’t just leave them here! If we are to defeat Tabuu, why can’t we let them die with us?”
There was a long pause as 9volt took this in. Finally, he spoke, “Fine. We will seek out the fallen heroes.”
The group of six turned back, away from Tabuu’s cliff, seeking the trophies. 9volt sighed; quiet enough so that the others would not hear, “It is still in vain. But I still need you, and your power may be enough to stop Tabuu. Even if he fires the Off Waves.”

+===+

Hours later, Kirby came to Tabuu’s cliff, which now had a blue stair case leading up to an island where Tabuu was waiting. Kirby vaguely wondered if he should climb the stairs when he was tackled from behind.
King Dedede wiggled with delight, “Oh, Kirby! I am so glad to see you!”
9volt walked up the base of the stairs, “That’s everybody. I’m kind of wondering why Tabuu hasn’t fired the Off Waves yet...”
Nick clapped his hands together a single time, “I think we should figure that out, eh, 9volt?” He turned and gestured to all of the World of Trophies’ inhabitants, “All the Primids in the Subspace Realm couldn’t defeat us.”
9volt frowned, “It won’t be Primids we’re fighting.”

+===+

As they walked up the steps, Scott conceded to Nick, “I’m all fine with this going through, but I’m not so sure. 9volt seemed pretty confident when he was saying all that stuff about Tabuu. Even now, I’m not happy with the odds.”
Nick blinked, “Relax. Tabuu shouldn’t be impossible to defeat...it is a game, right?”
Scott looked away, “No, Nick. I don’t think it is. These people have too much emotion, too much...human likeness, just abounding in them. Whatever it is, this DVG is different.”
Nick sighed, “Maybe that’s true. But maybe it’s not. Think about 9volt; he knows too much about the future. Not even elves can predict the future.”
Scott opened his mouth to continue, but his eyes grew wide. Nick looked at what he was staring at.
They had come to the island. The stairs collapsed, fleeing madly into the Subspace. Tabuu hovered over the center of the island.
He spook in a voice that was a jumble of disoriented speech. 9volt spoke, “I see you have made it here. So brave for you all to throw your lives away.”
Scott frowned, “What is he talking about?”
Nick rubbed his chin, “I think he’s translating.”
Tabuu released more of the Subspace Realm language, “You have done so pointlessly. I am superior above all in the two conjoined universes. None of you can hope to defeat me. Remember this as my Off Waves rip through your flesh.”
Tabuu’s four wings appeared, gathering energy. The crowd gasped, all except for 9volt.
Suddenly, a blue ball came out of nowhere and ripped through one of Tabuu’s wings. The ball turned around and smashed through another.
The ball landed on a rock and unrolled, revealing one last inhabitant of the World of Trophies that could run at the speed of sound: Sonic the Hedgehog.
“Yes!” Scott cheered, “They put Sonic in Brawl! And I was one of the doubters!”
Nick smiled a bit at this comment, but it didn’t last. Tabuu screeched at his broken wings, thrashing about.
9volt jumped up, flying far above Tabuu’s head. He stopped and turned, a ball of electricity in hand. He pointed it towards Tabuu, the ball growing larger and larger with every passing second.
Nick realized something. The gigantesque orb of electricity would be useless if Tabuu didn’t hold still.
“Scott!” he yelled. Without waiting for a response, he ran and jumped up, grabbing onto Tabuu’s leg. Tabuu lashed out, trying to unhook Nick.
Scott grinned, realizing his plan. “Everyone, onto the nude butterfly!” he shouted as he jumped on Tabuu’s back.
One by one, all of the inhabitants of the World of Trophies grabbed Tabuu in any place they could. Even though they were all on, still Tabuu struggled.
Nick’s face was battered by Tabuu’s foot as he looked down at the island, seeing three people still there: Ganondorf, Bowser, and Wario.
“You three? What are you waiting for? Tabuu will have you killed too, if he succeeds.” The villains were silent. Nick sighed, his tone softening, “Why did you side with Master Hand at the start of this all? What drove you to do the things you did?”
Wario scratched his belly, “I just wanted to do whatever I want. Master Hand promised me freedom.”
“Master Hand is dead. He can no longer oppress you. You will have freedom if you join us!”
Wario nodded. He smirked and jumped on top of Tabuu’s head, laughing and giving a peace sign.
Nick turned to the Koopa King, “What drives you, Bowser?”
Bowser’s eyes darkened, “I was always loyal to Master Hand. I never questioned his motives.”
“Master Hand would want you to save the day. His last act was to try to defeat Tabuu. Are you going to finish him off for your leader?”
Bowser roared, “For Master Hand!” He jumped, latching onto Tabuu’s chest with claws that dug into his blue flesh.
Nick turned to the final villain, “And you, Ganondorf? Why did you do this? Why did you agree to destroy your home? Why did you agree to condemn countless ROBs?”
Ganondorf sighed, “If you really must know, I planned to overthrow Master Hand after this all was over. I knew I could do it...but I never expected that Tabuu even existed. None of us did.”
Nick blinked back anger that was bubbling up inside him. He sighed, “If you still want that, you can do that after we defeat Tabuu. Just wait a little while, okay?”
Ganondorf looked up at him, remorse clear on his face. He closed his eyes, and then smiled.
Ganondorf leapt up, fist raised. He smashed his fist through Tabuu’s neck, badly snapping it out of place.
At this, Tabuu finally could not hold them back any longer. He fell to the ground, where he collapsed. Nick looked to the gigantesque sphere of electricity that 9volt was still holding. The sphere was larger now than the island itself. He grinned momentarily, and then turned to the inhabitants of the Trophy World, “Everyone! Off the island; we’re going to drop the bomb!”
There was a moment of hesitation as the heroes figured out the meaning of this latest command. And then, all at once, they scrambled off of the island, unfortunately met with a freefall that would last forever.
Nick leaped above the sphere, next to 9volt. He placed a single hand on the orb, offering his power to aid. 9volt glanced at him in surprise, “I thought...”
Nick grinned as he released a blast of energy, “No one...can knock down Nicholas Sven permanently.”
“Or Scott Lycanthrope!” Scott added as he joined them on the orb. “Hey, you’ll never guess who’s guarding Tabuu, to make sure he stays put: R.O.B. Pretty brave of that robot to sacrifice himself for this kind of thing.”
9volt blinked, “The final revenge of the Ancient Minister.”
The three placed a single hand on the orb, releasing a final blast that knocked the sphere down, into the hapless Tabuu and R.O.B. The sphere caused an explosion that rocked the entire Subspace Realm.
Tabuu stood one final time, screeching horribly. His body disintegrated, and the Subspace with it. Nick, Scott, and 9volt found themselves falling down, down into the abyss, just like their allies before them.
Nick turned to Scott and 9volt. 9volt had tears in his eyes as he embraced them both, “Thank you, my friends! I cannot tell you how much this means to me!”
His disguise of a dark version of Nick fell away steadily in the form of Subspace Bugs detaching from his body. He revealed his true form; that of a normal person with a purplish body color. He cried as they fell, down to their eternal doom.

+===+

In the World of Trophies, every last portal to the Subspace shrunk away, regenerating whatever had been exploded underneath. On a cliff in the Northeast, the heroes stood, staring out at the final portal, the one that had exploded the Island of the Ancients. The portal receded, but the Island was not to be seen.
9volt turned to Nick and Scott, “The force of so many bombs going off at once caused that. The Island of the Ancients will never form again.”
They watched as the glare of the setting sun caused a bright X to form where the Island of the Ancients had once been.
“The end...or a new beginning...” 9volt breathed.
And all at once, without warning, everyone except for 9volt, Nick, and Scott began to sing. They sang in a language neither Nick nor Scott knew, so they found themselves looking to 9volt, “What are they saying?”
9volt smiled, an odd sight, “It is Latin. The song is an ancient one, though the origins are not known. The lyrics were the basis for the Midair Stadium’s being brought about, although the meaning had been lost at the time. Here, I will translate:

I’ve heard legends of that person

How he plunged into enemy territory

How he saved his homeland

I’ve heard legends of that person

How he traveled the breadth of the land, reducing all he touched to rubble

I’ve heard legends of that person

I’ve heard legends of that person

Revered by many – I too, revere him

Feared by many – I too, fear him

Now, that person

Stands at my side

Now that person stands at my side

Now my friends are with me

Some of them were once heroes

Some, my mortal enemies

And as we face each other in battle…locked in combat

We shine ever brighter!”

As he sang the last syllable, Nick and Scott felt a strong tugging throughout their whole bodies. They were sucked out of the game and thrown out of Scott’s television, clumsily crashing onto his couch.
Scott groaned, “Okay, I’m fine with never playing any games, ever again.”
Nick grunted in agreement, “Yeah, that was...different.” He looked to the television, and jumped in alarm.
9volt stood in front of the T.V., looking around in shock.
“9volt? What are you doing here?”
9volt smiled at them, “I couldn’t be sure to tell you in the game. I prefer not to say how, but I was caught in the game, and I could not escape. Every time I fought Tabuu, I was unable to defeat him. That was when I figured out something: the World of Trophies is an alternate universe, a different world entirely.”
Scott gasped, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing...explain how the universe was created by Japanese game designers?”
9volt shrugged, “Those people subconsciously recreated that universe. The idealistic designs were millionths of a single percentile of possibilities. And yet, humans found out the secret of video games.”
“DVG,” Nick said.
“Yes,” 9volt confirmed, “These people, DVG, unlocked the barrier between the universes, but used them for evil. I had run into them...but unfortunately, I was captured.”
Scott perked up immediately, “The hardware that went into this must be incredible...I have to get right on it!” He leapt to his feet and ran from the room.
Nick turned back to 9volt, “I have a question: who are you? How do you know me? What are you?”
9volt laughed, “I told you, my name is 9volt. I also told you that your infamy stretches far beyond the reaches of just this universe. But now that we’re here, I can tell you in confidence: I am a shapeshifter, the second son of the Ruler of Electricity, and twin brother of 9Nix.”
“9Nix?” Nick said, confused.
9volt gestured slightly, “9Nix, of the Original Six. That’s how I know you: my twin is a friend of yours.”
Nick shook his head, “I’ve never known a 9Nix.”
9volt rubbed his chin and paced around the room. After a time, he stopped and snapped his fingers, “9Nix’s code name was Alex when he joined the Original Six. Do you remember know?”
Nick frowned, “Yes, 9volt. I knew Alex. He died almost seventy million years ago.”
9volt looked to the floor, “I was afraid of that. I never met him. The irony of never meeting your twin...it is lost on me.”
There was an uncomfortable silence between them for a few moments.
9volt broke it first, “Wait, you wouldn’t happen to know either of my adopted brothers, would you? They’re shapeshifters, one named 8volt, and the other 7Bolt.”
Nick racked his brain, rubbing his warm forehead with a cool hand, “It rings a bell. A really annoying bell that’s just outside of my reach. Let me think of what I have done in the last century...”
Finally, he stood straighter, clapping one hand and a fist together, “I remember! 8volt saved me in the Fourth Dimension! After that...he said he was going to try and find his brothers!”
“Really?” 9volt said excitedly.
“Yeah, he said he was going to search...where was it again...oh, yes! He said he was going to Chicago!”
“Chicago? Why would he want to go there?” 9volt said, it being his turn to be confused.
“People say it’s the windiest city in the world. 8volt had some weird obsession with things that fly.”
9volt chuckled, “That’s 8volt. Well, it was nice meeting you, Nick. I’ll be in Chicago, looking for him. I do hope we see each other again.”
Nick smiled, “Good-bye, 9volt.”
9volt opened the front door and left. Nick sighed and sat down on the couch. He looked to the television screen, which was still on.
The title screen for Super Smash Brothers Brawl flashed up. Nick looked at the controller, vaguely wondering if it was too late in the day to play a video game.
“Oh, who am I kidding?” he said to himself, “I have all the time in the world.”
As he was reaching for the controller, there was a knock at the door. Nick frowned and answered it, finding 9volt on his doorstep.
“Hey, can I borrow a map? I don’t know where Chicago is.”
Nick laughed dynamically at 9volt’s question. 9volt frowned, “What? I just asked for directions.”

+===+

Yeah, I know, but unfortunately, if I get sued, it's not going to be for this Chronicle. So...any questions, comments, criticism or grammar corrections are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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Okay, so there were some technical difficulties, but this Chronicle is finally ready! Yay! Unfortunately, the whole thing doesn't fit on one post, so I'll get that link up at the bottom.

+===+

Prologue

Though it might not be known too widely, there exists an alternate universe in certain video games. Although this cannot be comprehended by a player (they do, after all, control everything that matters, they can kill the main character as many times as they want, nothing exists outside of the range of vision, etc.) think about it this way: most people believe in a God that controls all things, like a puppet master. The same exact thing lies in a video game, except the player is the puppet master of that universe. One such video game universe is the World of Trophies depicted in the game Super Smash Brothers Brawl…
This is where our story begins. In the past, humans have found out what I have just told you, about a realm outside our own in the world of video games. It is unknown how, but they were able to conquer the barrier that lies from people entering and exiting the many universes found in various universes. The result should have been revolutionary. Instead, this group, which called themselves DVG, used the power for evil. Since they discovered the power, they change ordinary video games into a portal to the video game universe. The only problem is that they make it so that the portal only reopens when the game is completed 100%. Naturally, not one human that has been trapped in a video game has ever come back out alive. Interestingly, the effects of universe cause the game to be unable to be turned off in our world. Research is developing on what happens when the game is forced out of its slot and/or broken.
However, one thing that has never been figured out is what happens in the video game universe when the game is over, or before it begins…

+===+

Meta Knight stood at the helm of the Halberd. The sky was growing dark, and it was the middle of the day.
A Blade Knight standing behind him cleared his throat and bowed, “Sir, King Dedede wishes to see you.”
Meta Knight sighed, “Very well. Take the wheel.”
He walked through his ship until he came to the deck, where the King was awaiting him.
“Meta Knight. We need to talk. It is urgent.”
“Walk with me, then.”
“Master Hand is acting very strangely lately, have you not noticed?”
Meta Knight nodded, “Indeed I have.”
“I think he is being controlled by a malevolent force.”
“Master Hand? Malevolent?” Meta Knight laughed, “We live in a world where we are forced to fight, in order to live another day. No matter what happens, Master Hand cannot make things any worse.” He shuddered, “I remember when he had me kill my own brother.”
King Dedede rubbed the back of his head, “I feel for you. But what I mean is that we will no longer possess any individuality; we will one by one be slain, our life as we know it brought to an end.”
“Do you have any proof to back up your insane prediction?”
King Dedede sighed slowly, “I have found plans written by Tabuu.”
Meta Knight turned and held his sword so that it was pointing at King Dedede’s throat, “The ruler of the Subspace Realm? Impossible.”
“As I too, thought. But I read the plans, and Tabuu has gained control over Master Hand through chains of light. He is planning an all-out assault, starting at the Midair Stadium and the Island of the Ancients, working inward.”
Meta Knight lowered his sword, “Even with Master Hand under his control, he would need a massive vehicle to gain control of all of the World of Trophies.”
King Dedede lowered his head, afraid of what Meta Knight would say when he proposed what Tabuu would use as his transport. “I need your help. I plan on venturing to the Subspace to defeat Tabuu, but I cannot do it alone. Tabuu is able to produce Off Waves with his four wings. These Off Waves will instantly turn anyone that comes in contact with them into a trophy.”
“I propose a solution. Don’t fight Tabuu.”
“I have, however, developed a special brooch that can revive someone from their trophy state without the need of another person. Once the timer goes off, instant revival. We use these, Tabuu can’t defeat us, but we can defeat him. What do you say? Are you in?”
Meta Knight sighed. He turned to two Blade Knights that were standing nearby, “Take this madman away at once. Forcefully make him abandon ship.”
As King Dedede was being taken away, he shouted at Meta Knight and struggled to free himself, “You’re making a big mistake! You will regret this!”
Meta Knight turned to the ominous sky, noticing it for the first time, “What in the world is causing that?”
The clouds began to rain down upon the Halberd. Only, it wasn’t rain. It was Subspace Bugs, the building blocks of life in the Subspace Realm. The Subspace Bugs formed together into Primids, the soldiers of Subspace, and attacked the crew of the Halberd.
Meta Knight single-handedly fought five Primids at once, all the while encouraging his troops, “Stand together, men! Hold them back as long as you can!”
Meta Knight was suddenly lifted off of the ground. He struggled in the grasp of Master Hand himself.
“Meta Knight,” the hand said, in a voice that was not at all his own, “We required your services. Join us or die.”
“Never!”
“You have sealed your fate.”
Meta Knight found himself flung off of the Halberd, his arms locked at his side, unable to free himself or open his wings. His last sight was of five marks on the back of Master Hand.
On them shone tiny pricks of light.

+===+

Voltage
2007.
“Scott! It came!”
Scott leaped to his feet, “What is it?”
Nick held out his hand, showing him a game case, “Super Smash Bros. Brawl! I was able to get one pre-release!”
Scott furrowed his brow, “Let me guess. You-”
“I did not steal it. The shipping truck was wide open.”
Scott sighed, “Let me set up my Wii.”
A few hours later, Nick and Scott were at the Wii menu, the game inserted, and both of them were holding a controller and were set to play.
“Now all we have to do,” Nick said, his controller’s icon hovering over the start button, “Is press Start.”
He pressed the button.
Suddenly, both of them felt an odd tingling sensation throughout their entire body and found they were unable to let go of the controller.
“What’s happening?” Scott screamed.
Nick shook his head, “It’s a DVG! We’re getting sucked in!”
Scott’s angry shouting was the last thing either of them heard before they were sucked into the screen, “This is why you should never steal video games just lying around!”

+===+

Onboard the Halberd, now taken over by the Subspace Army, a group of Mr. Game & Watch controlled the entire ship. Each had no sense of what was right and what was wrong, and merely followed anything that was asked of them. Little did they know that their employer, Tabuu, used their carcasses as sustenance for his Army.
Only one was an exception. Ironically, he was the one that held the honor of piloting the ship. He knew every last detail of Tabuu’s plot, even the exact minute when he would rule the universe. Even Tabuu hadn’t planned that.
This Mr. Game & Watch, who wasn’t actually a Mr. Game and Watch at all, suddenly felt a chill go up his spine.
“Is it possible?” he thought, “Has someone come at last to break me from my prison? No matter; time will tell.” He turned the wheel, steering towards the Midair Stadium.

+===+

Nick and Scott materialized in the crowd of a vast arena. In the arena, two famous characters that they both recognized were fighting: Mario and Kirby.
“Boo!” Scott immediately shouted, “Kirby doesn’t deserve to be in this game!”
“That’s odd,” Nick remarked, gazing at his surroundings rather than watch the fight, “Usually we go to the title screen, but we were sent straight to the action.”
“They did say there was going to be a story mode in Brawl.”
Nick frowned, “I didn’t think they’d make the entire game into the story mode. Though, I must admit, that would be creative.”
Scott sniffed and turned around. He stared at the crowd before turning back to Nick, “Ha! Nintendo’s never been able to make graphics for a suitable crowd. Only two people here aren’t fuzzy pixels.”
Nick turned and smiled at Zelda and Peach, the only two that Scott had mentioned. He leaned over and whispered in Scott’s ear: “Ten bucks says both of them get kidnapped at least once.”
Scott laughed, “I’m not accepting that. Kidnapping is Nintendo’s thing. And if it happens to anyone, it’s the princess…es.”
Nick and Scott watched as Mario punched Kirby in the face and Kirby collapsed, now in the form of a statue with a stand at his feet. Mario looked at the trophy in mild interest, and then touched the stand at the bottom. There was a bright flash and Kirby stood up and shook himself off, almost unfazed that he had just died, and then been brought back from the dead.
Mario and Kirby shook hands and turned to wave at the crowd of pixels, who were somehow able to cheer.
However, the ground began to shake, and red clouds appeared in the sky, followed by a flying ship adorned with a giant copy of Meta Knight’s mask.
Nick chuckled, “I’m guessing by the pixel’s reactions that this wasn’t supposed to happen.”
The crowd was gasping in panic and fear, but there was no knowing if the Halberd was somehow made malevolent. After all, Meta Knight wasn’t evil. There shouldn’t be any cause for concern. But there were those clouds to think about…
The Halberd flew overhead, and a hatch opened on the underside of the ship, dropping hoards of Subspace Bugs onto the stage. The bugs formed into small groups and formed into Primids.
Zelda and Peach ran and leaped onto the stage at Mario and Kirby’s side. Nick sighed and stretched his back, “I guess that’s our cue.”
Scott groaned, “But I just want to watch this whole game play out.”
“That’s not how it works. We have to at least fight to-”
“Fine, fine, fine, I get it. No need to get into specifics.”
Nick and Scott leaped into the fray.
Nick unsheathed his sword and flames coated the blade. He slashed straight through the metallic bodies of the Primids, but they just kept coming, oozing Subspace Bugs from every wound.
Scott, who had four Primids on one arm and five on the other, cried out, “This is impossible! They’re invincible! Like zombies!”
Nick looked at the Subspace Bugs littered at his feet and suddenly realized how to defeat them. “Even zombies have a weak point.”
He dashed along the arena, stabbing his flaming sword into the hole in the Primids’ backs that were seeping the purple particles. Every time he did so, the Primids instantly disintegrated.
Nick’s allies quickly caught on and soon they were left with nothing but the leftover Subspace Bugs at their feet.
An ominous whirring sound caught their attention. Above their heads, a robot wearing a cloak held a machine marked with a red X, attached to its underside. It glared at them for a moment, and then dropped its machine.
“The Ancient Minister,” Zelda said hesitantly, “What is he doing here?”
Two Robot Operating Buddies (ROBs, for short) appeared behind the sphere and attached their arms into holes on the right and left sides. They split the sphere in half, right down the center of the X. Inside there was a glowing blue ball of electric energy, surrounded by a glass case. A timer set for three minutes below the case began to count down.
“A time bomb,” Nick realized, his eyes growing wide.
The Ancient Minister nodded to the ROBs and flew to the Halberd.
Nick and Mario ran towards the Subspace Bomb, but stopped short when they heard a cannon fire behind them. Mario turned around, but it was too late. The cannonball struck Mario and Nick in sequence, and then they shot off into the sky.
Kirby stared after the diminishing figures in the sky and Scott laughed.
Scott and Kirby heard Peach scream out in terror. They both turned and saw the princesses were trapped in cages, held by a giant piranha plant with drill-like teeth named Peety Piranha.
Scott turned to Kirby, “This is your entire fault,” he shouted, and after a moment of thought, added, “And I was right!”
Scott loaded a shotgun, but Kirby tugged on his arm. Scott shot him an irritated look, but quickly realized what he was trying to tell him, “Oh, right, I might hit the princesses.” He groaned and unsheathed two knives the size of his forearms, “I hate hostages.”
Scott lunged at the plant and sliced off the leaf-arm holding Zelda’s cage. He turned, but was swallowed by the plant.
He grunted as the saliva attempted to burn off his flesh. He scowled and pulled a hand grenade from his belt. Not bothering to take the pin out, he simply tossed it into the plant’s gullet and sprang out of the jaws of the plant, which had opened in an attempt to bite Kirby.
Scott turned and gave Peety a thumbs-up and clicked his tongue before the monstrous plant blew up in a magnificent flash of fire.
Kirby helped Zelda out of the cage and Scott cracked his knuckles, “That wasn’t so bad, now was it?”
Zelda looked at him incredulously, “I would object, but you were the one that was in that thing’s mouth, not me.”
A great clanking sound rose up behind them. They turned and saw a pudgy, fat man with a lightning moustache and biker clothes holding an ominous machine with mysterious markings on it.
“Wario!” Scott shouted, immediately recognizing one of his many nemeses.
Wario laughed and pointed the machine at the surprised Zelda. However, something caught his eye and he turned to see Peach, who Scott had forgotten about entirely, emerging from her cage.
Wario shrugged and hefted the machine over his head, slamming it down so that it was aimed at Peach. The barrel of the machine glowed with yellow light, gathering in energy, and then fired at the helpless Peach. The bolt of energy was in the shape of an arrow.
The black arrow surged straight through Peach’s chest, instantly turning her into a trophy. Wario leapt over to his victim and hefted the Peach statue over his shoulder. He laughed menacingly and then fled.
Scott, Zelda, and Kirby immediately took off after him, but as they were running, they went past the still ticking Subspace Bomb. Kirby stopped and gazed at it as the numbers changed, not fully knowing that there was only five seconds left on the clock.
Five seconds later, the bomb went off, engulfing the entire stadium and stands. An unnatural blue-violet color absorbed the stadium, dragging everything into its depths.
A point of light appeared near the very last portions of the stadium, zooming away. The point of light was that of Kirby’s Warpstar, a device that could travel at the speed of a shooting star.
Kirby, Zelda, and Scott, who were all on the Warpstar, let out a sigh of relief. Scott scratched the back of his head guiltily, “I guess the pink puffball isn’t so useless after all.”

+===+

Nick saw a flash of light, and suddenly he was back in reality. He shook his head and looked around at his surroundings.
Two things bothered him. One, he was on a cloud. Two, there was a boy of about ten with angel wings growing out of his back staring at him.
Nick frowned, “Did you save me?”
The boy nodded and touched a statue of Mario that was lying nearby.
Mario shook his head and got to his feet.
Nick frowned and remembered something very large knocking him off his feet and out of consciousness.
“My name is Pit,” the boy said suddenly, “I saw what happened at the Midair Stadium.”
“I’m Nick, and you probably know this is Mario. Obviously, you knew that.”
Pit nodded, “You don’t know, then, what happened after your…ejection?”
Nick frowned, “No. What happened?”
“The bomb went off. Nothing is left of the stadium.”
Mario straightened his hat. Nick knew exactly what that meant. He smiled, “Not all is lost. I expect Scott, Kirby, and the princesses survived. And we’ve just begun, haven’t we?” He laughed and flipped off of the cloud, plummeting to the ground below.
“What was he talking about, ‘we’ve just begun’?” Pit asked, dumbfounded.
Mario shrugged and leapt off the cliff, followed closely by a flying Pit.

+===+

The Warpstar, along with its occupants, flew through a sea of clouds, unknowingly being followed by the Halberd.
Scott frowned and turned around. He was frightened to find that the Halberd was mere meters from his face. The Warpstar, which was not able to outrun the gigantesque Halberd, crashed onto the deck of the Halberd.
Suddenly, all of the guns on the port side of the Halberd roared to life. They shot multiple rounds at a small craft above the Halberd, all missing.
An extendable claw shot at the ship and knocked off one of the wings. The smoking ship fell towards the Halberd at full speed, missing the former Warpstar occupants too close for comfort. Zelda and Kirby flew off the port side of the ship, while Scott flew off the starboard side, along with the damaged-beyond-repair ship.

+===+

The Ancient Minister flew steadily, another Subspace Bomb in hand. Mario ran only like he knew how and leapt…but fell short. Pit came up behind him and stepped on Mario’s head, propelling himself towards the Minister, but he, too, fell short.
Nick ran past, thinking quietly to himself, “We just chase this guy until something happens, right? I sure hope something happens soon; these guys are taking longer and longer to get back up. Amateurs.”

+===+

Scott stumbled slightly. He had landed on a tree, shattering it to splinters, but he was unshaken.
“Good,” was his first thought, “Now I don’t have to work with Kirby or Nick. If only I had someone awesome on my side, now.”
He rubbed his sore forehead as he exited the forest, and saw a monkey dragging a fox by the fox’s collar.
“Hey!” the fox called when he saw Scott, “Might as well have you come along. Someone that can speak will be worthwhile.”
Scott frowned, unable to place where he had seen the fox before, “Who are you?”
“Name’s Fox.”
“Right. Real original, Nintendo. Oh, hey, it’s Diddy Kong. I remember him.” Scott grinned, “Good times. Good times. Okay, then, let’s go!”
Scott ran ahead. Fox turned to Diddy Kong, “Who’s Nintendo?”
Diddy Kong shrugged and ran after the strange man.

+===+

Fox rubbed his hands together and Diddy Kong clapped his in triumph. A Bowser statue lay at their feet.
Scott walked out of the forest behind them, sheepishly rubbing his neck, “Oh, hey, guys. Sorry we sorta got split up in there.” He noticed the statue for the first time and gasped in surprise, “Oh, you defeated Bowser. Heh, heh, sorry I wasn’t here to help. Honest mistake.”
Diddy Kong ignored him and hopped over to the statue. He tapped it to make sure it wouldn’t bite him, and then he pushed the statue as an act of revenge. The statue disintegrated into purple Subspace Bugs.
Fox and Diddy gasped. Scott yawned, “I’m guessing that wasn’t supposed to happen, now was it?”
A blast sounded to their left. They dodged out of the way as a black arrow shot through their midst. They turned and saw the true Bowser aiming a Dark Cannon at them, the same device Wario had used on Peach.
Another blast was fired and caused an explosion. Diddy Kong, infuriated, beat his chest and started towards him, but Fox grabbed his tail and slung him over his shoulder. Fox ran and jumped off a cliff.
Scott scowled, unused to this constant fleeing. He gave Bowser a rude gesture and followed Fox off the cliff.

+===+

Far away, there was an abandoned zoo in the World of Trophies. It was here that Wario planned to find more heroes.
There were two in the Ruined Zoo: Lucas and Ness.
On the top of a miniature mountain, Wario aimed his Dark Cannon at the unsuspecting travelers below.
“Easy pickings,” he said to himself as he fired at Ness.
Ness dodged out of the way easily.
Wario scowled. He fired off four more shots, also failing to hit Ness.
He groaned and turned to Lucas. He fired a single shot.
Lucas didn’t try to dodge. So far so good.
Ness ran and pushed Lucas out of the way, sacrificing himself.
Wario leapt down and collected his second prize. He laughed evilly as Lucas ran away, and lightning flashed behind him

+===+

To the east of the zoo, there was a castle, the site of many historic battles. The fields were still studded with arrows, almost like grass. And this is where the Ancient Minister struck next.
The ROBs holding the Subspace Bomb held their heads and closed their eyes, enjoying their last moments of life.
On the top of the castle, Marth, the only one left of the castle’s remnants, saw the army of Primids coming forth to take the castle. She drew her sword and leapt out into the field, hopelessly outnumbered, hopelessly outmatched.
She slashed valiantly through every last Primid, not caring if she died in the effort.
At last she stood, gazing at the dome-shaped blast of the bomb, vowing revenge on the Ancient Minister.
She heard an explosion and a flash; she slashed and her sword met metal. Meta Knight, whose ship had piloted the Minister, had come to fight her.
They exchanged sword blows, each equally matched.
This would have gone on all day, if it were not for the two Primids that sprang up around them. Meta Knight and Marth both slashed at the Primids, instantly killing them. They turned to each other, astounded.
Meta Knight was the first to speak, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Marth nodded in agreement and they ran towards the Ancient Minister, who miraculously already had a new Subspace Bomb.
Marth jumped up and slashed, the blade coated with blue energy. The Ancient Minister flew a little higher, and the blue blade missed by an inch.
Meta Knight flapped his wings and soared directly behind the Minister and raised his sword.
The Minister turned and shot a laser from his eyes, singing Meta Knight’s wing.
The Ancient Minister turned away now that the two were dealt with, and did not see the spinning golden sword appear behind him.
“Great…”
The Ancient Minister turned to see Ike, Marth’s counterpart, holding the golden sword over his head, about to slash. The Minister panicked and erratically tried to evade. Due to this maneuver, Ike was only able to slash the bomb, sending the Minister tumbling through the air.

+===+

Meanwhile, somewhere in the middle of the World of Trophies, a lone Waddle Dee walked down a path.
“This is it, Luigi! Time to live up to your little brother’s reputation! Soon those crowds will be shouting my name!”
Mario’s leaner and taller younger brother struck a fighting pose, preparing to attack this tiny Waddle Dee.
As the Waddle Dee came closer, Luigi backed off of the main path, but kept his fists up, despite the temptation to hide his face.
The Waddle Dee turned to look at him, and Luigi released a cry of fear. The Waddle Dee ignored him and kept walking. Luigi sighed and wiped a bead of sweat from his brow. A second Waddle Dee came up behind him and also looked at him in mild interest. Luigi turned and jumped a few feet backwards, right in front of a large shadow.
The shadow stepped forward and smacked its hammer against Luigi’s back. Luigi screamed in terror as he flew helplessly into the sky.
The shadow flipped the hammer around so Luigi, in statue form, landed easily on top of it. The shadow swung the hammer over his shoulder and Luigi landed a couple of meters away.
The shadow, King Dedede, brushed some dirt off of Luigi’s face with a gloved hand, “Not a bad looking guy. Looks kinda familiar…”
A swarm of Waddle Dees gathered around him. He chuckled, “The bait is set.” He hid in a bush and the Waddle Dees did likewise in other bushes.
Wario, driving a hovering Cargo with Ness and Peach in the back, sang a little song, “Oh, I’m-a hunting for some trophies, I’m-a…”
He stopped and his jaw dropped when he saw the Luigi statue on the side of the road. Not suspecting anything, he stopped the Cargo, and jumped out. He yelled in the statue’s face, and then laughed. He hefted the statue over his head. That was the signal.
Dozens of Waddle Dees surged forth, surrounding him.
Wario abruptly stopped laughing and struggled to keep the Waddle Dees back. He fell over, and the Luigi Statue bounced into the Cargo upside-down, next to Peach and Ness. King Dedede loaded the Cargo up and turned it around, leaving his Waddle Dees and Wario behind.
The Waddle Dees hurried after him. Wario shook himself off and then realized that his Cargo had been stolen. He yelled after them, but did not give chase. He couldn’t catch up to the Cargo, so why bother?
The ironic thing about Wario’s laziness was that he was wearing his denim jacket that read, “Hurry up!”

+===+

Kirby and Zelda landed near one of the World of Trophies’ only lakes. As they gathered themselves, Kirby was distracted by something and ran off, leaving Zelda far behind. Zelda sighed, “Now I have to go get him. Kirby!”
There was a loud thud behind her. She turned and saw Bowser with a Dark Cannon. The cannon fired, turning the helpless Zelda into a trophy.
Subspace Bugs, gathered at Bowser’s feet, covered the trophy, eager to take a new form.
Nick watched silently from a nearby cliff, taking it all in.
Bowser took the Zelda trophy away and the fake Zelda flew to the same cliff Nick was on, one hand on the Dark Cannon.
Nick was not worried. A simple Dark Cannon could be countered. But he gripped the hilt of his sword, just in case.
It turned out that Zelda was not going for him. Link and Yoshi ran on the path below, unaware of the dangers above. The fake Zelda charged the Cannon.
Slash!
The Cannon sliced in half, cut by Pit’s blade. Mario and Pit, waiting nearby, had completely ambushed.
The fake Zelda frowned, and then lunged.

+===+

Below, Link stopped and saw Mario and Pit standing in front of the fake Zelda’s statue. He growled in anger and ran for them, leaping, and stabbing the ground where Mario had previously been standing. Yoshi and Link, Mario and Pit, all of them, struck fighting poses and attacked.

+===+

Link and Yoshi’s defeated statue forms collapsed to the ground. Mario and Pit gasped from exhaustion.
Nick angrily leapt from his hiding place, “Oh, now you’ve done it! Two of gaming’s greatest icons…defeated by fellow icons! And they’re on our side!”
Mario and Pit were once again puzzled by Nick’s speech.
King Dedede, driving the stolen Cargo, just happened to come right at that moment. He passed them, and Mario was stricken to see Peach in the hold. The King turned the craft around and headed back, collecting the Link and Yoshi statues with the Cargo’s auto-claw.
King Dedede did a fist pump.
And then Kirby revealed himself, hidden on the claw.
King Dedede’s eyes widened in disbelief.
Kirby slashed the claw holding Link and Yoshi in half and touched the base of their trophies, turning them back to normal. King Dedede scowled, “Three is enough.”
He turned the Cargo back towards his castle, which unfortunately took him right past the heroes. Link loaded his bow with an arrow, aimed, and fired. The arrow struck right in the engine of the machine, right where it counts.
Nick, Mario, Pit, Link, Yoshi, and Kirby ran after the Cargo, which was managing to hold together.
For now.

+===+

Safe in his castle, King Dedede dusted off his statues; Peach, Luigi, and Ness. He reached into his sleeve and pulled out two brooches with his face on them. He stuck one on Ness’ shirt and one on the tip of Luigi’s nose. He held up his empty hand in front of Peach, and then looked around, unable to find another brooch except for the one on his chest.
He sighed, “Fine, I’ll use mine for you, and I’ll make myself another one later.” He took off his brooch and stuck it on Peach’s chest.
He looked at his statue army of three, “You’ll make an excellent bunch to save the world.”
Suddenly, his palace collapsed around him, and the roof’s heavy bricks fell. One struck the King on his head and split right in half. More bricks fell, burying the four trophies. After it was all over, Bowser and his Koopas searched the rubble. Bowser laughed as he pulled the Peach statue from under a large rock.

+===+

Bowser ran as fast as he could towards the edge of a cliff. Near the end, he turned and saw Mario in the air, fist raised, prepared to punch him. Bowser held the Peach statue up, shielding himself.
Mario couldn’t bear to hurt Peach. He purposely made his punch miss and he fell to the ground. He rolled backwards to Pit’s side.
Pit aimed his bow, loaded and ready. Bowser growled, “Just try it, boy.”
Pit released the arrow and it flew directly at the hand that held Peach. Bowser lunged to the side, dodging, but now he tumbled over the edge of the cliff.
There was a moment of silence, and then Bowser rose up in his hover vehicle, laughing at them as he flew towards the Halberd in the distance.
Kirby was the only one of the group not to stare at the Halberd as Bowser flew off, instead looking at the brooch that had fallen off of Peach.

+===+

Nick ran through the desolate desert, sullenly irritated. He wiped a bead of sweat from his brow, “This scouting ahead is harder than I…damn.”
He looked back the way he had come. His allies had trusted him to scout out the area ahead. He had told them that if he wasn’t back in one hour, they could go on without him. That was an hour and a half ago.
Nick scowled, “I might as well keep going the way I am. There are five of them, plus they were only slowing me down anyway.”
Out of the corner of his eye he saw a stroke of blue. He turned and saw an armored tank speeding through the desert, being chased after by Marth, Ike, and Meta Knight.
Nick grinned inwardly.
“Hey! Meta Knight!”
The two-foot tall swordsman stopped and turned, gasping slightly when Nick teleported right in front of him.
“Wha-Who are you?”
“Name’s Nick. What be you doing out here?”
Meta Knight turned and pointed his sword at the tank, “That thing works for the Subspace Army. We need to destroy it before it is of use to them.”
Nick unsheathed his sword and took off in a full sprint, “Then I guess we can’t let it get away, am I right?”

+===+

The tank, as it happened, had stopped. Meta Knight, Nick, Marth, and Ike caught up to the tank and watched, in sullen astonishment, as the tank transformed into a humanoid robot.
“Galleom,” Meta Knight said bitterly, recognizing the android.
Nick gripped his sword tighter, “Great. A tank-bot. Where have we seen that before?”
He lunged at Galleom, the Fli Sword igniting in flame. He slashed at the legs, crippling the robot.
Galleom launched the missiles located on his back. Heat-seeking.
Nick switched off the fire setting and jumped onto one of the missiles. He leapt from his perch there and stabbed the Fli Sword into the launcher on Galleom’s back.
Galleom screeched a loud metallic scream and swiped at Nick, who was now attached to his back. Nick struggled, gritting his teeth. He wrenched the sword from the android’s back and did a backflip as the robot’s abdomen exploded.
Galleom looked at them for a long time, and then jumped off the cliff behind it.
Nick ran to the edge of the cliff and gasped in surprise as Galleom collapsed the ground below the cliff, falling into the secret ruins below that.

+===+

A few minutes later, Galleom flew back out, holding Lucas and a boy named the Pokemon Trainer in one hand. Previously, Galleom had a spiky hat, but that was just to disguise the Subspace Bomb hidden underneath. This bomb was now activated, and had less than fifteen seconds until it went off.
As the last seconds ticked away, a lightning bolt flew from Lucas’ hand and destroyed the hand holding them. As he and the Pokemon Trainer, who was unconscious, fell, Lucas hugged his new friend tightly, savoring his last moments before the bomb went off, or the ground met his face.
And the latter would have been his fate, had Meta Knight not flown in and saved them both.

+===+

A safe distance away, Ike, Marth, and Nick anxiously awaited their companion’s return. Meta Knight at last flew in, depositing the two boys gently at their feet.
The Pokemon Trainer slowly came to, and was helped up by the friendly hand of Lucas.
The sincerity of the situation caused Nick to smile, but he turned away so the others would not see.

+===+

Elsewhere in the same desert, the Ancient Minster was being chased by Mario and Link. This time, they would dodge every laser fired at them, and they were catching up fast.
As they seemed close to jumping, six ROBs appeared and blocked their paths.
“Excellent,” the Ancient Minister thought, though he had not ordered the ROBs to do anything. As he was turning to leave, he felt an extra weight from the Subspace Bomb it was carrying. The Minister looked down and saw another ROB hanging from the bomb’s underside.
The bomb detached, and fell to the ground. The ROB that had detached it crashed to the ground, its head snapping off and spurting sparks. Two of the ROBs holding back Mario and Link left and gathered next to the bomb.
“It will not hurt anyone to detonate it here,” one said.
The other nodded, “Yes. We must not let anyone else get hurt.”
They activated the bomb.
Mario and Link attacked the ROBs, trying to separate them and stop the bomb. Two other ROBs dragged them away, so they would not get caught in the blast.
The Ancient Minster watched this go through without a single malicious thought. He simply asked a single question: “Why would you do this?”
One ROB answered, “It has to stop, Minister. We would rather die here than serve Tabuu any longer.”
The Ancient Minster did not answer. The Minister had also thought this very same thing, but it had not done anything in order to protect its people.
Now things had to change.

+===+

In the Northeast of the World of Trophies, near the sea, Scott, Fox, and Diddy Kong were walking by a river’s edge, talking about the goings-on of everyday life, when a black arrow struck Diddy straight through the stomach.
The Diddy statue clattered back along the way they had come, finally resting on its side.
Scott and Fox turned and saw Bowser, Dark Cannon in hand, turning it towards Fox.
A shot was fired and Fox dodged out of the way, sliding off the path. Bowser turned to the Diddy statue, pointing at it with a clawed finger.
Subspace Bugs, the same ones from before that had taken the form of Zelda and Bowser himself, enveloped the statue and formed into a dark version of Diddy Kong with piercing yellow eyes.
Bowser turned the Dark Cannon once more on Fox, but two laser shots shot into the ground next to Bowser. An Arwing flew overhead, and did a barrel roll. When the Arwing was upside down, the glass flew off, and Fox’s friend Falco landed in front of Bowser. He sped forward, kicking the cannon out of his hands. Falco flipped in midair and pulled two guns from their holsters, shooting up the Dark Cannon until it exploded.
Weaponless, Bowser jumped backwards into the bushes and flew away in his hover vehicle.
Falco, Fox, and Scott turned to the dark Diddy, and more Subspace Bugs enveloped him. Dark Diddy tripled in size, stomping the ground with his enormous feet.
Fox tapped the stand of the Diddy trophy and the real Diddy Kong rubbed his head once before screeching in surprise of himself, only a lot bigger.
“You know,” Scott said, “This is awesome, in a way. Two guys with guns, my old pal Diddy, and I, are fighting Diddy. An evil, much larger, Diddy.”
The giant Subspace version of Diddy Kong bellowed, but it was quickly cut off. The creature collapsed, the Subspace Bugs fleeing, under the weight of the meteor that had landed on top of them.
Fox, Falco, and Diddy gasped in surprise. Scott’s eyes widened slightly, “Okay, even I wasn’t expecting that.”
The top of the meteor exploded, exposing the hollow inside. Subspace bugs, slightly more violet than the normal purple kind, leaked out and formed a violet silhouette with red eyes. The silhouette clenched its fist, “My name is 9HEAT. I suggest you provide a reason not to kill you.”
Scott raised both hands, “I have no idea who you are, or what video game you’re from, but I must tell you that it would be a bad idea for you to engage me in combat, for I,” he extravagantly gestured to himself, “am the legendary Scott. And it would behoove me to fight you at this time.”
9HEAT thought about this for a moment, “You say your name is Scott, but could it really be?” He turned back to Scott and co., “Very well; I will let you live another day. But beware the day our paths cross again, for I will not be so kind, and people are not who they say they are.” The silhouette disappeared, and Scott sighed.
“That guy was a freak.”
Falco shrugged and started to walk away, but Diddy Kong grabbed his collar and spun him around. And then he spoke his first words of English to them: “Stop! You can’t leave now! We still have to save my dad!”
Scott’s ears perked up, “We’re saving Donkey Kong? Oh, the sweet irony.”
Falco shrugged, “Not my problem.” He again turned to leave, but Diddy grabbed his collar and dragged him the same way as he had Fox when Scott had met them.
Falco glared at Fox. Fox, in answer, said, “Hey, he did the same thing to me. The exact same thing.”

+===+

Farther on down the river, a Smash Skiff was transporting the Donkey Kong statue to the Island of the Ancients. The Skiff flew off the waterfall and headed straight for the Island.
Scott, Fox, Falco, and a disappointed Diddy stared after it.
“Aw,” Scott whined, “We were so close!”
“Don’t worry,” Falco said, pulling a remote control from his pocket, “I brought backup.” He pressed a button on the remote and Star Fox’s ship, the Great Fox, rose up, a powerful and formidable weapon.
Scott whispered quietly to himself, “I’d like to see the Subspace Army face up to this thing.”

+===+

An Arwing carrying Falco and Diddy Kong closed in on the Smash Skiff. The Arwing flew directly above the Skiff and flew upside-down, releasing the window and Diddy fell, rockets attached to his back and peanut guns in hand. He fired at the Skiff six times, each shot hitting and knocking off each of the six Primid guards.
Diddy landed on the Skiff and touched the bottom of his father’s trophy, returning him to normal. Donkey Kong busted out of his shackles and beat his chest triumphantly. Two people landed behind Diddy; Captain Falcon and Captain Olimar. Falcon grinned, “You, my monkey friend, have style. My buddy here and I will go on with you.”
Diddy and Donkey high-fived and danced in a circle, hopping on one foot and beating their chests.
Falco’s Arwing flew past, and Diddy waved good-bye.
A shadow fell over the Skiff and its occupants turned. The Skiff, set to autopilot, flew into an open hangar on the side of the Island of the Ancients.

+===+

Scott piloted the Great Fox and was now locked in epic combat with the Halberd. Scott grinned evilly and smashed his fist into a button. The Great Fox’s lasers fired, but bounced off of the mask.
The Halberd, which had hundreds of guns firing multiple rounds per second, fired two shots that hit the Great Fox’s shields, shaking the ship.
Scott scowled, “Stupid Halberd. Shield power is too low. Resort to reserve power!”
A computerized voice spoke, “Sir, we have no reserve power.”
Scott swore loudly.

+===+

Near the Great Fox vs. Halberd battle was an icy peak. Meta Knight, at the bottom of the mountain, flew towards the base, leaving Ike, Marth, Lucas, and the Pokemon Trainer behind. Nick, however, was right behind Meta Knight.
Meta Knight and Nick landed at the base of the mountain, and looked up. Two spots, one blue, one pink, were bouncing from side to side up the mountain.
Meta Knight turned to Nick, “I cannot fly straight up.”
Nick grinned, “Then we should follow the Ice Climber’s example.”
Nick and Meta Knight quickly began bouncing back and forth up the mountain, catching up to the Ice Climbers in a matter of seconds.
The Ice Climbers frowned, “We’re not going to lose to you!” They bounced after Meta Knight and Nick, even though Nick and Meta Knight had no idea they were being raced up the mountain.

+===+

The Ice Climbers jumped onto the highest ledge of the mountain. They hopped around in triumph as Meta Knight and Nick joined them.
Meta Knight drew his sword as he saw the very tip of the peak. Hovering above it, on one foot, was the Pokemon named Lucario.
Nick frowned, “I don’t remember if Lucario is bad or not. Well, I guess we’ll find out.”
Lucario opened its eyes and leaped from its perch, landing in front of Meta Knight. Lucario raised a fist and formed a ball of energy in its hand. Meta Knight leaped into combat. The Ice Climbers gulped, not wanting to engage in the fighting. Nick stared at each one of them in turn, “If it’s alright with you, I’m going to sit this one out. Maybe take a nap.”

+===+

Meta Knight hesitantly examined the Lucario trophy. The Ice Climbers roused Nick from his nap.
Nick blinked and leaped to his feet, joining Meta Knight, “Hey, if you look closely, the reflection in the stand is not that of Lucario, but of Pikachu! Weird…”
“Should we free him?”
Nick shrugged, “We could use the help. But keep your sword at the ready.” Nick tapped the bottom of the trophy and Lucario stood up, groaning and shaking his head. He raised his fists, but thought better of it and simply held out his hand. Meta Knight took it and shook.
Nick sighed, and smiled, “Another happy moment. This is starting to be a very touching fighting game.”
The ground shook, and they turned to see the Halberd, with a crippled Great Fox in tow, flying straight at them. The Halberd flew up at the last second, scrapping the Great Fox into the peak. Meta Knight, Lucario, and Nick jumped from the Great Fox and onto the Halberd.
“Finally,” Meta Knight said to himself, “I return to take back what is mine.”
None of them noticed that they had left behind the Ice Climbers, who were falling back down to the mountain’s base.

+===+

Scott struggled with the controls of the Great Fox. The Halberd had disabled all automatic functions, so he had to run the ship manually.
“Easier said than done,” he thought bitterly, “Stupid wheel is stuck.”
The Great Fox headed for the ocean, where it would crash, very fast, very hard.

+===+

Meanwhile, on the Halberd, Meta Knight flew down the hallways, followed by Nick and Lucario on foot. As they passed through, Lucario turned, aware of a cardboard box that was lying in a corner, somewhat suspiciously.
Lucario lifted the box up to find Solid Snake, war veteran and rebel from Master Hand’s control for thirty years. Snake was clutching his head between his knees.
When he noticed his cover was blown, Snake sprang to his feet, fists raised, prepared to fight them off. Meta Knight raised his sword, but Lucario stopped him. He raised his palm and closed his eyes.
After a time, he opened his eyes and turned to Meta Knight and Nick, “He is on our side. But they aren’t.” He pointed to a group of Primids marching towards them.
Nick, Lucario, and Meta Knight raised their respective weapons for battle. Snake looked around, trying to find his box.

+===+

When the Halberd was taken over, the cargo hold was emptied out, replaced with cages held from the ceiling with steel chains. It was in these cages that Bowser and Wario would put their victims once they were delivered to the Halberd.
Nick, Meta Knight, Lucario, and Snake stumbled into the cargo hold, almost by accident. Once there, they looked about for anything they might use as a weapon, at a command from Meta Knight. Nick was the first to notice the cages.
“Hey, look! It’s the princesses! Peach and Zelda!”
Snake snapped held up a grenade launcher, “This will work.”
He fired two shots and the cages broke open. Snake touched the stands of both trophies.
Nick, Meta Knight and Lucario left, trying to find the wheel of the ship. Snake had told them he would catch up.
“Stay here,” he told the princesses, “We’ll come back for you once the Halberd is under our control.”
Snake ran out of the cargo hold, the doors shutting behind him.

+===+

The alarms of the Battleship Halberd blared, to which the Game & Watches controlling the ship were immune to.
The intercom system screamed, “All Primids report to their stations. The Battleship Halberd has been infiltrated by these traitors; Meta Knight, Solid Snake, Lucario, and Nick. Also, the prisoners, Zelda and Peach, have escaped. All Primids report to their stations…”
The Game & Watch steering the ship gasped slightly, “Nick? ‘Audi Famam, Illius’…”
“What was that?”
The Game & Watch nervously turned to his counterpart, “Uh, nothing. Just singing a little ditty I learned a while back.”
The Game & Watch mentally hit his own head against a wall, “Ditty? I’m acting more and more like Mr. Game & Watch every day.”

+===+


On the deck of the Halberd, the guns were once again firing at an Arwing, again belonging to Fox. Fox furiously fired at the Halberd, unaware that he was firing at Peach, who was on the deck of the Halberd. One of the Halberd’s guns clipped a wing, but Fox flew out of it.
Fox turned the Arwing towards the Halberd, and his scanners detected something powerful on the deck, the Main Cannon #2. By taking out the Cannon, he could cripple the entire Halberd.
On the deck, Sheik, Zelda’s alter ego, watched as the Arwing fired its guns towards Peach, who was standing in front of the Main Cannon #2.
Sheik jumped up and disappeared in a flash of flash of smoke. She reappeared on top of Fox’s Arwing. Fox gasped as she raised a hand and punched straight through the glass, pulling Fox out of the Arwing, both of them falling to the Halberd.
Fox and Sheik landed on the deck, running straight at each other. When they were directly in front of each other, Fox kicked, Sheik blocking with her arm.
Peach raised her arm, shouting, “Hey!”
Sheik and Fox looked at her, and she offered them both a cup of tea. Fox shrugged and drank in newfound friendship.

+===+

Meta Knight, Lucario, Nick, and Snake rode an elevator to the control room of the Halberd, finding it to be controlled by a group of Mr. Game & Watch’s.
Snake frowned and ran at them, knocking them all through the windows and onto the deck.
The Game & Watches collapsed, the fake one silently speaking to himself, “Ouch, I forgot about that part. I should have changed beforehand. Oh, now look what’s happening.”
Each of the Game & Watches, including the fake one, disintegrated into purple Subspace Bugs, forming together into a metallic two-headed robot.
The fake felt his thoughts merging with the others, unable to fight so many minds, all thinking the same thoughts, that eventually, he gave up and let it become his; “Kill the intruders: Fox, Sheik, Peach.”
The robot of many minds, Duon, spun two of its four hands, these two blades, threateningly at the three gathered in front of it. Three figures jumped from the control room and landed at their side; Lucario, Snake, and Nick.
An Arwing flew overhead, dropping Falco into their midst, “I thought you might need some help with this, Fox.”
Nick grinned, “Aren’t we a great group? Now let’s cripple this thing. I’ve had enough of the Subspace Army’s robots.”
Nick unsheathed the Fli Sword, running and jumping over Duon. He stabbed his sword into the second, pink head. He set the sword to electricity and let go, causing Duon to get shocked with thousands of watts of lightning.
Snake cracked his knuckles and pulled two grenades from his pockets. He pulled off the pins with his teeth and flung them into the robot, exploding on contact.
Fox and Falco both pulled out their guns, firing at Duon, dodging every time the robot swiped its sharp hands at them.
Duon found itself overwhelmed quickly. It was being attacked on four sides, and it only had two heads and four arms to keep up with them. It fired a couple of missiles from its two non-blade hands, but they each missed.
Nick stood back, watching the robot’s erratic moves, “It’s almost as if it’s trying to stop itself from attacking.” He shrugged and leaped onto the robot, retrieving his sword.
Duon spun around, knocking back all of its attackers. It screamed, and then spoke, “You…fools! We…cannot…be defeated…we are…the Subspace Army! Without us…we would be…nothing!” Duon collapsed, a knife in the wheel holding it up.
Sheik, who had delivered the final blow, coughed lightly, “You’re welcome.”
Duon’s body dissipated, the Subspace Bugs flying off in the wind. All that was left was a single Mr. Game and Watch trophy.
Fox instinctively raised his gun, but Peach walked right up to it, umbrella in hand, and tapped the stand.
Mr. Game & Watch looked all around; looking for his companions, but Peach noted this and silenced him with a wagged finger and a strict, “No!”
Mr. Game & Watch hung his head, but Peach handed him her umbrella. He took it and walked around, apparently liking the pink coloring.
Back in the control room, Meta Knight approached the steering wheel, once again taking rightful control of the Halberd. He steered it away from the ominous clouds that had always seemed to follow it since it was taken over, heading to the east.
Nick squinted into the horizon, pointing something out, “Hey, what’s that?”
Fox looked at what he was pointing at, and then laughed, “That’s the Island of the Ancients. Its inhabitants, the ROBs, have lived there for centuries, undisturbed, but it’s said that they have superior technology to anyone.”
Nick frowned, “Then that’s where they must be making all of those Subspace Bombs. Fox, do you or Falco have another Arwing?”
Fox turned to Falco. Falco shrugged, “Yeah, we have another, but we can’t get to it from here, you know. And it’s just the one; after that, we need to make more. We can’t waste it.”
Nick scowled, “Then I must make this journey alone,”
He jumped off the side of the Halberd, flying off into the distance, heading directly for the Island of the Ancients.

+===+

On the Island of the Ancients, Samus and Pikachu exploded the locked door leading to the bomb storage room. They ran into the room, wisps of smoke clinging to them. The Ancient Minister stood impassively in front of the storage, in front of small group of ROBs. Though it was small in number, there were enough to activate as many bombs as it would take to blow up the entire island…
“Stop, Ancient Minister! You can’t blow up anywhere else in the World of Trophies!” Samus shouted, raising her gun.
“Nor will I,” the Minister said calmly.
Samus lowered her weapon, “What?”
“This World is my home. This Island, my home. The Subspace Realm is not. The Subspace Army forced us to do this, to let us live. And now we are fighting back.”
Nick smashed through the window, “Stand down…holy buttload of ice cream…” He looked, wide-eyed, at the plethora of bombs gathered. He chuckled lightly, “Hey, I was just kidding. No need to get upset…or blow anything up, just in case you were thinking of that.”
Samus turned to him, “The Minister’s stopping any more violence from the Islanders.”
Nick cleared his throat, “Well, if you say so.”
There was a loud banging on the wall above the ruined door. The wall caved in, and Captain Falcon, Olimar, Donkey, and Diddy Kong jumped into the room.
A red hologram appeared above the bombs. The hologram was that of Ganondorf, the final person that had agreed to work alongside Master Hand in the plot to take over the world. Ganondorf looked at the heroes gathered and counted seven. A good number.
He raised his hand and the ROBs turned to him. They began to move towards the bombs, to activate them.
The Ancient Minister, much to the surprise of the four that had not gotten an explanation, swerved between the ROBs, blocking their paths.
The ROBs looked at one another, unsure what to do next.
Ganondorf frowned, “Feeling traitorous, are we, Minister? We’ll see about that.” He held up a device with a single button and pressed it.
All of the ROBs faced forward, eyes turning red. They moved to the Subspace Bombs steadily. The Ancient Minister crashed purposefully into two ROBs, preventing them from activating a bomb. As the Minister turned to another pair, the Ganondorf hologram shook his head.
“Oh, no, Minister, we can’t have that.” He pressed the button again.
The ROBs faced their Minister, lasers flying from their eyes. The Minister took every shot, unable to stop them. After about twenty hits, the Minister’s cloak burst into flames, rendering the Minister useless, powerless, and defeated.
The ROBs’ arms were forced violently into the bombs, and the bombs were brought into the room, to allow more bombs to be activated.
The Ganondorf hologram laughed menacingly as their fate was sealed; none of them would survive the force of so many Subspace Bombs going off at one time.
“Ganondorf!” Nick shouted, eyes full of hate, “Why would you destroy this place? Don’t you need this for more Bombs? It seems a waste just to get rid of so few.”
Ganondorf laughed again, “That is where you are wrong. The Primids in the Subspace have created a device that can create portals to the Subspace much larger than any Subspace Bomb. The only problem is it cannot fit through any other portal we have created, so activating these bombs all at once kills two birds with one stone; you traitors are one stone, the rest of the World of Trophies is the other!”
The heroes ran forward, trying to detach the ROBs any way they could. Donkey Kong tried, without success, to pry a ROB off of its bomb. Captain Falcon lifted a ROB without a bomb off the ground, throwing it on its side, rendering it useless, as it couldn’t get up. Samus shot a beam at one of the bombs, trying to pull it free of its ROB’s grasp. Diddy tried to push the head of a ROB off, but to avail. The only one who did not do anything was Nick, who knew that it was hopeless; they could not pry off all of the ROBs in less than ten minutes. He stood alone, not letting Ganondorf have the pleasure of seeing him frantically trying to save himself.
Apparently this sight did get to Ganondorf; he frowned for a brief moment and then gestured, ending the hologram and replacing it with Primids that would finish them off.
The Ancient Minister stared at Ganondorf’s final punishment, unable to grasp the cruelty of his mind. “So many to die…it cannot happen. Not now.”
The Minister fired a blast of laser at a few Primids, instantly blowing them up. The Minister’s cloak burned away, revealing his true identity, the real and very first R.O.B.
“Now,” R.O.B. said, facing the remaining Primids, “We have nothing left to live for. We fight to the death!”
Nick smiled as the others joined the fight, “We will survive. I don’t know how, but we will survive. Time to figure that out later,” he leaped into the fray, unsheathing his sword.

+===+

As the bombs ticked away at three minutes remaining, all of the Primids were defeated. R.O.B. stood in front of the first two ROBs to get a Subspace Bomb, performing a manual override.
R.O.B.’s eyes flashed blue, turning to both of the ROBs. The ROBs, their eyes also turning blue, turned to their leader, unable to remove their arms.
R.O.B. closed its eyes, admitting defeat.
Diddy Kong urgently tried to get R.O.B.’s attention, but R.O.B. just shook its head, “It is no use; I cannot disable the bombs.”
“Hey!” Captain Falcon called, “I’ve located a trash chute we can escape from! I’ve got my ship right underneath it! Come on!”
The heroes followed Captain Falcon out of the room, Donkey Kong holding R.O.B. under one arm.

+===+

A few Subspace Bugs, leftover from Duon, floated into the bomb storage room seconds after the heroes had left. The Subspace Bugs formed together into a purple silhouette with piercing yellow eyes, similar to that of a dark version of a trophy. The silhouette took in its surroundings, and then sighed.
The ROBs did not heed the new arrival. They barely even noticed.
The silhouette thought for a moment, “It is dangerous, yes, but what if I were to stay here? That way, when the bombs go off…Yes, I will stay here.”

+===+

Seconds later, Captain Falcon’s galactic cruiser, the Falcon Flyer, flew away from the Island of the Ancients with everyone accounted for; Nick, Donkey and Diddy Kong, Samus, Pikachu, Olimar, and of course Captain Falcon. The Island exploded in a purple orb, which they all knew now that could be used as a portal to the Subspace Realm, thanks to Ganondorf.
Back on the mainland, Mario, Pit, Link, Yoshi, Kirby, Marth, Ike, the Pokemon Trainer, Lucas, and the Ice Climbers watched as the Falcon Flyer and the Halberd landed, and everyone was reunited, introduced, and generally got to know their allies.
Nick walked around, mentally making a list of everyone that was there.
“Let’s see…on the Halberd were Meta Knight, Zelda, Peach, Fox, Falco, Snake, and Lucario. I know everyone that was on the Falcon Flyer, and no one joined those on the mainland…it seems we are missing a few people.”
Nick felt a tap on his leg. He turned and saw Lucas, who had a worried look on his face, “Nick? I can’t find Ness.”
Nick frowned, “Don’t worry, Lucas. We’ll find Ness when we save the day. Now, can you tell everyone to get on the Halberd? I have a plan.”

+===+

The portal to the Subspace that was once the Island of the Ancients released a horrible grinding sound as a massive laser the size of a large city emerged, taking up half of its spherical surface.
This was the Subspace Gunship. The enormous Gunship’s barrel charged up its power, glowing a light purple. Three prongs at the tip shot purple electricity into a ball in the center of them.
There was a momentary flash and a gigantesque blast resonated from the barrel. The blast flew into the horizon, where it would engulf a portion of the mainland.
There; the resulting portal was almost as big as that of the one the Subspace Gunship had come from.
At the helm of the massive super weapon were Ganondorf and Bowser. Wario was not there, as he had been defeated by Lucas and the Pokemon Trainer back at the ruins, and his trophy had been caught in the explosion caused by Galleom.
Ganondorf heard a slight sound coming from the southwest. He turned, looked, and frowned.
Blaring towards the Gunship was the Halberd, going as fast as it could possibly go, nearly the speed of sound.
Ganondorf made a gesture and the relatively smaller guns on the ship rose up and shot several rounds at the advancing battleship.
Each shot was as wide around as the Halberd itself; only a single hit was needed to destroy it. There; a hit to the side. And another to a wing.
Finally, after mere seconds, a single shot smashed straight through the center of the Halberd’s mask, tearing straight through to the other side. Even though the Battleship Halberd was badly crippled, it kept flying. It flew forward another thousand meters, losing various parts of the ship, before the front half flew off, causing the entire ship to explode.
Ganondorf smiled. Now the heroes were finished, and no one could stand in the way of his eternal domination.
Suddenly, as if orchestrated, several smaller ships flew from the wreckage of the Halberd: the Falcon Flyer, an Arwing, Samus Aran’s Gunship, and even Olimar’s rocket, The S.S. Dolphin.
The heroes’ ships, with everyone aboard one of them, flew toward the Subspace Gunship, firing any weapons they had.
Bowser and Ganondorf clenched their fists. Ganondorf once again gestured, this time letting every last gun rise up to destroy their enemies.
The fact that these ships were much smaller than the Halberd was a significant advantage. The Gunship’s guns were not made for accuracy, just to put a big hole in whatever it was firing at. But these ships were only a distraction from the real threat.
High in the sky, Kirby dive-bombed with the Legendary Airship called the Dragoon. Speeding almost as fast as light, on the ocean, Nick was riding the Legendary Airship called the Hydra. The Dragoon slashed straight through the Subspace Gunship at the same moment Nick pulled up the Hydra, launching it into the air. The timing was so precise that at the heart of the gunship, Nick gave Kirby a high-five as they passed each other.
The Subspace Gunship exploded in mini-explosions, severing the massive trump card in a matter of moments.
Ganondorf bitterly turned back into the Subspace, cape whipping around. Bowser saw him out the corner of his eye, and glared at the heroes before turning and retreating. After they were both in the Subspace, an explosion shook the platform they had been standing on.
The heroes’ ships flew into the Subspace Realm, ready to face Master Hand and end his treacherous invasion at the throat.

+===+

Continued in Part 2: http://blogs.neoseeker.com/ShadowNc/5353-cracker-chronicle-6-voltage-unofficial-part-2/

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Now, before you claw out your eyes, please let me explain. Though I have never even mentioned this, I have very specific reasons why I have chosen everything that has to do with the novel of The Cracker.

How?
I'm an awesome storyteller. The actual writing process didn't actually get good until half a year ago, though I've been writing the Cracker for nearly two years now. But I've always been good at telling tales, even if they're not always true. Almost all of the Ancient Roman religion was made up by me, (though some was changed by the Romans to suit their odd fantasies) more than two thousand years ago. And remember that Smoothie Story I wrote in October? Some people actually believe it! In case you're worried, everything I say in these blogs are true. Except the Smoothie Story (Don't tell those people that believe it).

Who?
As in...Who did I have to interview to write this? No? Can't blame a guy for trying. Although I want it to be, I am not the main character in the Cracker. As of time of writing, there have been very few characters that the perspective has changed too, mostly just Scott. Truth be told, the perspective does change once in a while to a villain, which might be confusing, but (spoilers) some of those people I'm on speaking terms with now. As for the ones that I'm not, I mostly just guess. That will be the one time that I have no actual...evidence, but it hasn't happened just yet. Not yet. Everyone else I can just ask them what happened, take a few notes, all is fine. Except when I talk to Scott, he can't stop making sexual jokes. Admittedly...I kind of find them funny too...

What?
Really? You want to know what The Cracker is? *sigh* Fine. Here we go.

The Cracker is the nonfiction autobiography of the elf Nicholas Sven, whose real name is Earth. Nick, along with his friend, cousin, and next-door neighbor, Scott, was previously a member of the Original Six, an organization destined to eradicate evil from the universe. Even though the organization was destroyed by an ex-member, Zack, Nick and Scott still live up to their justice-loving roots. Though the Cracker has no main theme, it is based on real life. Life has no meaning. Get used to it.

When?
Or, more accurately, "Why now?"
The answer is insanely simple. Originally I was never planning to write the Cracker. Starting in 2009, I became obsessed with NSK work. I never went to my house, I was always in NSK buildings, and I never got into anything that was happening in the human world around me, unless it had something relevant to NSK. This went on until 2014, so basically I missed five years of my life. And then, in 2015, I went forward in time to 2025, missing a total of 15 years of my life. After that, I came to 2009 to relive the years I missed. So here I am. In March 2009/2025, I finally decided to write the Cracker down. However, I couldn't figure out a name. That's where Scott really helped me out. Here's the conversation we had:

Me: "So I think I should write my life down, maybe make it into a book."
Scott: "Can I continue telling you that Youtube I saw?"
Me: "Sure, go ahead."
Scott: "Okay so Sonic says 'I don't need the Chaos Emeralds to transform! I can just use...' *holds out his hand* 'A Cracker!'"
Me: *LIGHTBULB!*

And that's how The Cracker got its name. I never found out the name of that Youtube, or its creator, but I owe that guy...or girl a lot. And thus, on April 1st, 2009, The Cracker was born. And now, I plan on staying here for a while. The Cracker has shown a lot of promise, plus there are some other things I still need to mention...

Where?
While this isn't a big question, I feel compelled to answer anyway. I work in the basement of my private house, that I have lived in since 1920. Before that, I lived in various places around Europe, and before 1800, I lived in the same house I do now. And...before 1432, I really didn't live in a house. My house is in Nebraska, The United States. Partially because NSK worked openly in North America before humans discovered it, and partially because Nebraska is the perfect environment for me. Nebraska has high property taxes, meaning that people can live in Iowa and South Dakota for less, and absolutely no reasoning behind it. As me and Scott always say, "No one lives in Nebraska forever!"
Nebaska has the perfect mix of nature and cities, two of my favorite things about this country. Beauty and people. Nice people, too. Mostly.
Another reason is that I sympathise with Nebraska. You see, Nebraska has always been overshadowed by Kansas, another 'farm' state. However, both states are more civilized than they have been credit for, plus we have less of an accent than anyone on either coast (Suck it, California and New York) or the Southeast, of which Nebraska and Kansas have been commonly confused with. But that's where the similarities and niceties end. Nebraska has numerous historic and famous sites. What does Kansas have? Kansas City, which Missouri also has, which makes it kind of redundant, and an eternal rivalry with Missouri over Bleeding Kansas, a battle fought over whether Kansas should legalize slavery (In case you're wondering, Missouri was the one that supported slavery, so I can't be mad at Kansas for that).
All of this won't really matter if you're not American, so I might as well stop. And that brings me to another point: "Why the heck did I pick the U.S. over...any other place?" Well, I certainly don't like the States, and I've already explained that I lived here before humans did. I don't live in Canada because 9ice, Ruler of Cold, has always not really been too fond of me, so I risk a very high risk of hypothermia, although it really isn't high at all. Best to stay on the safe side, though. Europe is my favorite continent, for various reasons, and that's why I left my house for Europe in the nineteenth century. I don't have much reason to like South America (I don't speak Spanish, and my Portugese is a little rough), Africa (I honestly can't speak any of the African languages, except Egyptian), Asia (Have you seen what's been going on there?) or Australia (I was there once. You know how in the movies, Australian accents are slightly irregular? They lie. It's like another language entirely). As for a private island...

Why?
Obviously the most important question as of yet unanswered. I have various reasons, all as important as one another.

1. Humans Are Not Powerful
Let's face it: Everything worth reading has a human or two as the main character, even if there are elves that are, as I have said multiple times, half human, half god. Even then. Only exception I've seen is Lord of the Rings, with Hobbits saving the day. Although that hardly qualifies, as a human killed the human villain, and the elves were holed up in the forest for the entire series. But humans are so weak, it's laughable. The fact that they've survived at all is laughable. The Cracker defines humans as what they truly are, with no exceptions: Filthy, murder-happy, they care nothing for the world they live in, utter weaklings, and unwilling to give up when they have nothing left. Even immortal (like Wario), they can't be more than an annoyance unless they're struck by lightning and granted powers over some of the elements (like Rain Storm). The only problem is that humans outnumber elves. By a lot. If I was to single-handedly declare war on humanity, I would probably kill off over fifty thousand humans before simply dropping dead of exhaustion. But that's if every single person in the world comes at me with long range weapons in hand. Keep that in mind.

2. If you’re going to Kill Someone, Do it Right.
Think about it for more than five seconds; how many books/movies have you read/watched where someone tries to shoot/stab another person in the heart, but it doesn't work because they're wearing a bulletproof vest/chain mail/some sort of metal protecting their heart, but the whole time their head/neck/groin was completely unguarded? That's right: a lot. And maybe these would-be killers have been training for this kind of stuff for years. It just doesn't make sense. In the Cracker, the children of Toranado have been training to be assassins for most of their lives. That's at least 2 billion years...each. Heck, any elf knows that. The heart is not the most efficient way to die. "This person was shot in the heart. And this one was shot in the head. Now let me ask you; which one's more dead?"

3. No One Stands Around Going: "Wha...?"
Ask yourself this; Did Dorothy stand around saying stuff like, "What happened to the farm? How did these plants grow so quickly? Where did these Munchkins come from?" No. She most definitely did not. The first words she uttered in the land of Oz, which are now world famous, were, and I quote, "We're not in Kansas anymore." Yet almost every other fiction where people find themselves in a weird world, they deny the fact that anything happened. The only time any sensible person would do that is when that person was traumatized to get there, or they suffered from a concussion. In almost every Cracker Chronicle, Scott and I travel to the weirdest places you've ever seen, and we figure out time, place, and qualities of the place, in the first five minutes being there.

4. Elves May Be Powerful, But They Have Problems of Their Own.
Yeah...anyone who has glanced at the Cracker has already figured this out. There's a reason it's called: "Power hungry". Even though elves pretty much have it all, there's always that time in their live where they want more power, through world domination, fighting other elves, etc. It really doesn't matter; an elf could attempt to rule the universe because there's nothing good on T.V. don’t get me wrong: humans are the same way. But elfin society is akin to anarchy; you can get away with anything. No scratch that, it's more like a careless dictator. If you do something to upset the dictator, (Nc) you might as well kill yourself than face his punishment. But back to the point, if you asked any elf the definition of 'diplomacy', they'd stand there scratching their head for a couple of centuries. There are very few exceptions.

5. The Government, Media, and the Church are really Bad.
While this hasn't come up yet in the Cracker, the government and several fundamentalists are powerful enemies of NSK. The problem is that we (Scott and I) can't fight them like normal nemeses, because they're only humans. With guns. And they can reveal our existence to humanity. And that's a problem.
But what's wrong with the government? NSK worked with the European governments in the past, right?
You would be correct in that question. However, as soon as one tiny event (that destroyed a third of Europe) that had nothing to do with NSK happened, all ties were severed. And I've already mentioned that the U.S. government is bad, but they have a lot more power than any other country, and it also happens to be the country that has five NSK bases in it, rivaled only by Russia, with six. Also, a lot of stuff that Scott and I do in the States isn't erased entirely, so the government could have gathered up all of the data over the years, Area 51 style. And then there's the fact...every ten years, there's this thing called the "Census". It's designed to keep track of all the (legal) citizens of the U.S. The fact that I participate in this odd tradition is a mystery, but the gov. could read into it. Read a little too much into it.
Age: 3.4 billion.
Race: None.
Disabilities? Lack of organs.
Who else lives in your home? My Latino girlfriend from Venus.

...and so on. As for the Church, they are just a nuisance in the fact that fundamentalists will say anything just to get their way. They haven't had much impact on NSK business, though.

6. Stereotypes are Bad, Feminism is Good.
No matter who you ask, someone will have some weird belief about some race. However, if you've traveled or have friend that are a different race than you, you'll know that every race is exactly the same: Human. The only reason that a race might have a problem with you is that they have their own stereotypes. A couple years back, I was in France, talking to an associate in an American accent (I was speaking English, not French) and this little French boy called me a dirty American, so I cussed him out in such fluent French that he turned and fled in fear. Yet that was because Europeans, not just the French, are extremely stereotypical towards Americans (most of them have good reason; America isn't the sharpest toothpick). And here in America, we have our stereotypes against...actually, almost everyone. And as for the feminism point...elves are really sexist. The actual first feminism attempts were when Lavana choose Kristen as the Original Six leader, despite her twin brother, Fyrus. And from there, the sexism of the elves has been steadily declining...but it's still very high. As for me, I am a strong Feminist, though I've never done anything in the Cracker to suggest this.

7. The Cracker is Life
I've had the idea of publishing The Cracker ever since George Bush limited what kids can see on T.V. (Psychological Fact: The earlier a person learns about violence, war, and cruel humor, the less likely they will end up committing suicide, murder people, or drop out of high school). The Cracker is action-packed, depicts a goalless hero, and mirrors life itself. Because in real life, everyone swears, people are brutally mutilated every day, and some pervert has turned all of your favorite childhood characters into...well, basically, you'd hate me if I was the bearer of the bad news. Just google it if you're really curious. But this is real life; everyone else stays away from it, The Cracker embraces it.

8. America Sucks.
Sorry, I just thought that would get some giggles out of those Canadians. The title is actually very misleading; it has to do with the entire world, and I've just had a taste of the American experience. What the heck am I talking about?
This generation wouldn't know entertainment if it gouged their eyes out with a plastic spoon.
I've mentioned this several times, and Scott Ramsoomair knows exactly what I'm talking about. To quote him, "We've been b******ized," because "Why sell great, when good sells better?"
This is the reason why I put that picture of Justin Bieber's freaking movie up: Crap is marketable. People will love anything that isn't good, and hate anything that is. We've had sexual innuendo songs, inter-species romance...no, scratch that, necrophilia, and Justin Freakin' Bieber for far too long.
That's where The Cracker comes in. The Cracker is exactly what is needed. It can break this annoying tread of b******ization, and possibly bring us back to the best time in the history of the universe: the twentieth century.
After all, "There's no entertainment, like twentieth century entertainment." (That's a quote me and Scott always say when we see a Twilight, Justin Bieber, or some other crappy thing's commercial)

And those are all the reasons why I do what I do (Shortly after writing this blog, the author realized that people will pay for fertilizer, a.k.a. crap). Just hoping that this would shed some light on what is known as...The Cracker. And just remember, "There's no entertainment, like twentieth century entertainment."

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Okay, so I finally am doing a blog post that isn't about the Cracker. This series of blog posts, (starting with this one, of course) will be about the predicted future of a certain subject. For the sake of time and my sanity, I will only list the most notible or the worst possiblities of that particular subject. Today's subject is entertainment, specifically books and movies. So, with that, let us begin.

-The Hunger Games
Wow. So far, I've only read the first two books and...wow. There will, if you don't know yet, be a movie. Unfortunately, we know nothing about it yet, except from Youtube, which isn't very reliable when it comes to movie trailers (Legend of Zelda movie). If the movie is not a hoax, then we can safely assume from the popularity that there will be two sequels for each book. And...I'm kind of scared to see what the movie (the first one) will be like. What I love about the series is that it has insane violence AND romance. Any book that has those qualities that has been made into a movie lacks on of them in the movie version. The fact that the movie has been named 'The Next Twilight Series' makes me shudder that a horrible thing and a wonderful thing can be compared so (The Twilight Series is the bad one, in case you're an idiot). Which practically hands the next one right to me...

-The Twilight Series
Well, it's a no-brainer that eventually, (no matter how much I'll hate it) they will have to make the fourth book into a movie (Update: I now know that there will be a movie or two, seeing as they're ripping off Harry Potter and seperating the book into seperate parts, the first coming out in November. Don't see it). And if you have read the Cracker, you'll know that there will be a new Twilight series of four book/movies in the decade of 2020. So that series will be around for another fifteen years. Even if you don't belive the Cracker, this series has revolutionized the country for all the wrong reasons. Eventually, there will be some twenty-fifth anniversery thing like they did for Back to the Future just last year. So eventually, this piece of crap will come back no matter how many books you burn. And speaking of things that are popular for no reason...

-Avatar
We all know that James Cameron's Avatar is the most popular movie in the world. What you didn't know is that it suffered from Post Glory Depression. PGD basically means that after something has had its spotlight, it's brutally picked apart. The problem with PGD is that the picking-apart should have been done a long time ago.
Now for the future. After the first movie was released, Mr. Cameron announced that there would be a second or even a third movie based on the popularity of the first.
"Wait, what!?"
No, you heard me right. Basically, he meant that people will go to see the next two movies just because they have "Avatar" in the title. So expect two horrible yet extremely popular movies within the next decade. And...

-Artemis Fowl Series
While this is not a particularly good/bad series, it has brought a certain author to fame, and he's printed the first seven books of this series. He is in progress of the eighth and final book of the series. There has been a book called the Artemis Fowl Files, and even though I have not had the..uh, pleasure to read it yet, I think it is safe to assume that only the eighth book remains of this series. Oh, and a movie of the first two books put together. But then again, one movie of a series hardly qualifies as anything more than a money-making scam (Percy Jackson and Series of Unfortunate Events). However, Eion Colfer has proven numerous times that he can write more than just one book series, and he's written multiple one-shots, a couple of series, and...I'm kinda hoping for an Airman movie. :D

-Pirates of the Caribbean
Not much left of this series. While Jack Sparrow may be the main character, it was Elizibeth and Will's love that began the series and gave it meaning. Without them, the fourth and final movie practically doesn't have the right to exist. But you never know. It does have Blackbeard in it (It's unknown how Blackbeard died, but I know exactly how. And no, I will not be telling you. If you really want to know, go to Baton Rouge, find Captain Cuthroat Aire's first mate's great nephew, and ask for a flashdrive. He'll know exactly what you're talking about, even if you don't). And, there's going to be a Lego Pirates video game, which I'm actually looking forward to, despite it being a Lego game, after all. And finally, we have...

-Lord of the Rings
This is certainly an odd choice, since J. R. R. Tolkien is, if you didn't know yet, dead. There will be no more inclusions to the series, or movie productions.
Or will there?
The Hobbit, arguably the best in the series, is being made into a movie as we speak, and the only screenshot we have is that of Gollum's face, in creepy HD. So now that the secret is out...

And that's all that really matters that can be predicted. Everything else is completely finished, or really sucky. Of course, we could have some series or awesome one-shot that will come along...or I haven't heard of yet. So if you have a favorite book or movie, one-shot or series, please feel free to recomend it. I might be forgeting something, too, so I'm not perfect. And other than any of that, any questions or comments are greatly appreciated, so feel free to use that comment box below!

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Watch this video before reading on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCQx9U6awFw

Throughout the Cracker, Nick and Scott (and various other characters) refer to the fourth and fifth dimensions as (respectively) magic and insanity. However, from the video you most likely just watched, the fourth and fifth dimensions are duration and a fold in duration, or time and time travel, put simply. If you remember, the eighth dimension proposes a variety of "parallel universes," universes that have many possible outcomes different than our own universe and/or dimension. These fourth and fifth dimensions are examples of the eighth dimension. So why are they called the fourth and fifth dimension if they are both a part of the eighth dimension, and are completely separate from one another? The answer is a proposed twelfth dimension (eleventh was already taken) where a completely different dimension (the eighth dimension) has its own separate dimensions. How many are there if there are ten dimensions, then? To put it simply, I put parallel universes in the second dimension in the twelfth dimension category, third dimension (our own) in the thirteenth category, and so on until the fifth dimension. The reason it stops at the fifth dimension is because it is the highest possible dimension that can attain life (or close to what is defined as life), excluding the sixth dimension. That makes a total of Fifteen dimensions. However, if you noticed from the video, there is no ninth dimension. It's just not possible from all the possible...possibilities to have a ninth dimension. Same goes for the proposed eleventh dimension and, by default, the sixteenth dimension. Because there is no sixteenth dimension, even though there should be, there must be a seventeenth dimension, though the purpose of which is unfathomable. Also in the Cracker, it is possible to travel through the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth dimension. This possibility is explained as a sixteenth dimension, though not the same as the above sixteenth dimension. The existence of a seventeenth dimension could explain why there are two sixteenth dimensions (or should be), but again, it is unfathomable. So just how many dimensions are there total with the proposed "Tweveth Dimension Theory"? The dimensions should converge at the eleventh dimension, making that ten times five plus the following seven, resulting in a possible fifty-seven dimensions. However, because there are no ninth or eleventh dimensions, that eleven out of fifty-seven dimensions do not exist; thus a final total of fourty-six. Take that, laws of physics!

Please note that this is all of this is only a theory as it cannot be proven, but feel free to comment on any of your musings on this subject.

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So some of you might want to know about what this thing called Tammuz is. Well, if you hadn't noticed, I'm going to tell you.

You might have wondered why there are twelve months with varying amounts of days. However, if you take 365 days, divide it by thirteen months, you get 28 days (albeit one day left over). So why do we use the more complex twelve month calander?

There are (or, were) six planets in the universe that have exactly the same amount of days in a year, hours in a day, etc. These planets are the eggsacks of the Original Six. The reason these six planets are exactly the same is because Elves use the thirteen month calander, with 365.25 days in a year, and 23 hours and 56 minutes in one day. You know that every four years we have a leap year, and because the Earth's orbit is not perfect, we can add four extra minutes to the day.

So now to that final day of the year. Elves have exactly one holiday: Tammuz. Tammuz is celebrated on the very last day of the year, (although it is considered the very first) and is cosidered the most sacred day of the year. As we all know, Elves are not religious, so on what grounds do they base this holiday? The answer is more simple than you think. Elves are the most powerful on this day. It really hasn't been proven, but no one really cares, plus the holiday...really isn't a holiday at all.

So what about that thirteenth month? Well, the twelve month calander, (called the Julian calander, after Julius Caeser, who, thanks to him, we have January, which was named after himself, and February, which...really wasn't named after anyone. The calander is more commonly known as the Gregorian calander) has different names for different languages, and since the three languages elves most commonly speak are Elvin, English, and Italian, the months are close to the names of those language's names.

The first two months are their english equivilents, but February doesn't have that first r, which has always been redundant. You might be wondering why I just said that Julius Caeser is the reason for those months. Well, it's a long story, but I helped Ceaser out when he was stuck on names. So I just gave him the names of the first two Elvin months.

The next two I'm not sure where they came from. Martius and Aprilis. And after that, Mai and Jun. Ummm...yeah.

These next ones are Italian; Settembre, Ottobre, Novembre, and Dicembre.

Finally, we have the last two months, fully elvin named, Hretha, and Mercedonius. I'm not really sure what they're named for at the time of writing, but I'll ask around.

So that's the Elvin calander in a nutshell.

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