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DuskOfTheStars

The Eternally Guilty Sun | IC | Smash Bros RP

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((rest in spaghetti never forgetti princess peach 1983-20XX she was in the wrong castle))

 

Boris stared into the fire as he flew nearer, staring into the inferno. His keen nose picked up the scent of smoke, dust, familiar allies, and... death. Lives had been lost here. Quietly, he tightened his grip on Alex. On the back of his neck, where his master was holding on, slight pressure made itself noticed; that was his master silently telling him to descend until instructed to stop.

 

As the Charizard passed the thickest smoke, Marth did his best to make out the situation. It was their enemy that lit that fire, right? Was it a dragon, then? Sometimes they hid in the flames they set, looming silhouettes three stories tall, scales and claws gleaming in the heat, taking the place of death itself...

 

Away from the heat of the fire, multiple figures moved. Survivors? Well, the Gerudo stood out most obviously. One could never trust him, so it would be wise to make sure if the others were his allies or not.

 

Boris veered towards them. Who was accounted for...? Ganondorf, Lucas, Link and Midna, other familiar faces, then a number of strangers. Marth was quick to note that since Link and Ganondorf were well and truly within earshot of one another yet not breaking out into a spat, they must all be on the same side for now... right? They were keeping their distance.

 

Responding to his master's commands with the compliance of a well-trained horse, Boris dove in for the landing. Like the last one he had performed in front of Alex, it was heavy, loud, and certainly left its mark. And while his master dismounted, Boris unceremoniously dropped Alex to the ground with a growl of delight, then set about chewing that tea bag's string some more.

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Fire, so Soren knew, was an incredibly primal element. Out of its two brethren, Fire could be the most untamed and destructive force if not handled correctly. The problem lay in its very nature--how it would sear without attention, ravage and devour if left unchecked. Any mage worth his salt knew better than to call upon such a mighty force with anger in his heart; though rare, the elemental magics had a history of engulfing and killing those who fed their spiritual connection with emotion. That was why he had developed a personal preference for Wind--it was precise without being fickle, vicious only when it was called upon, and thrived on a sound mind. For the tiny tomboy, however, harboring a heavy heart seemed to empower her magic beyond most ordinary capabilities. Certainly, I must inquire further. When the time comes, of course.

 

But for now, it could wait. Instead, Soren looked toward one of the pairs of humans guiding the multi-colored animals. There was a fair bit of clarification he desired regarding these destructive beasts, and he drew a faint connection between Nix, Ascension, and the two girls' guards. Leaving Kumatora for the time being, he quickly strode up beside Valerie, mildly incredulous of her outfit. It's impractical beyond belief. She won't last a mile in those heels... Soren quietly hoped she was not of the complaintative type.

 

He matched her pace for the time being, giving enough space between himself and her pastel rabbit-dog and candy-floss bird.

 

"Excuse my sudden intrusion, but I couldn't help but notice you've employed the help of beasts similar to those we faced earlier. If you don't mind me asking: what exactly are they? Where do they come from?" He hated coming off as ignorant, but besides the beast-men of his own world, Soren had absolutely no experience with apparently magical house pets.

---------------

 

"Oop oop oop--ack!"

 

The magely brunette Boris had been carting around hit the ground in a stumbling run, and proceeded to pratfall shortly after meeting the ground. Ilyana clattered and buzzed a bit before seemingly shorting out in a loud crack. Alex's head flipped up.

 

"Agh! Ilyana! Muh babby!!" She shot up to her feet and proceeded to perform some percussive maintenance on the Levin Sword, first smacking the pommel against her palm whilst cooing reassuringly. When she was greeted by a few short hums and a streak of Thunder running up its zig-zag blade, she smiled.

 

"Aww, that's my sweet girl~ Mommy's sorry for hurting you like that...yes, you are sweet girl...yes, I've got you..." She nuzzled the blade and shot a venomous look at Boris, who still had her tea locked between his muzzle! Alex gave Ilyana a kiss and clipped it back at her side before marching up to the dragon and tugging at the sack in vain.

 

"Boriiiiiis! Give--it---back!"

 

She failed to free the sack from his mighty jaws, and soon gave up with a growl. Alex turned around and plopped down beside his feet, leaning on a scaly trunk and watching Marth resituate himself in a prissy manner. As she looked out, she saw the remnant of what appeared to be a great blaze.

 

"Geez. I shoulda housed up here, ya know?"

 

She noticed several half-familiar faces out in the growing crowd. There was Lonk and his friend Mandy, Ganners, some kid named Lucas and his pink-haired sister, Yoshi, and four new strangers: two little girls (once dressed as an adorable butterfly, the other as a sporty girl) with those things called "Pokemon", an actual Pokemon by itself that she easily identified as "The Cutest Thing Ever, Ever", and what looked like a sorta-kinda teenaged boy with a weird tattoo and easily the best robes ever. The sporty girl, with her large jelly-friend suddenly releasing her from its grasp, called out, "Boris! Marth!" Alex was excited. She patted at Boris's thigh.

 

"Boris, Naga be! Friendsies!"

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Ascension heard more voices behind him. He turned to see newcomers. A brunette girl, a blue-haired boy, snd a white Charizard. The girl seemed a bit... loopy. And the baby talk didn't really help Ascension's unflattering perspective of her.

 

Ah well, nothing to be done but gauge hostility. At least the loopy girl wasn't out-and-out aggressive. Blue hair and the Charizard he noted seemed to be standing back and watching, probably a good move if you were unfamiliar to the whole situation. Ignoring miss loopy's comments, he thought before deciding to ask them a question.

 

Ascension turned back, asking over his shoulder "Would you rather stay here or get out before Nix comes back and decides it's off with everyone's heads?"

 

The Eevee then had to step over a large and sharp piece of glass, and past an unstable piece of wall. Stars curse this, Nix knew where to slash to bring this down on everyone's head. That means he was plotting this. Couldn't have been random... but as far as the dead mentioned, Nix had no way to know in advance about... most of this. It was completely out of the blue when the Stars showed up and said I was coming back to life. The prophecy... it's too easy to lose track of time in the Underworld. Something's not right. Something...

 

He continued to navigate the rubble in the darkness, before pain shot up his paw and foreleg. He realized he'd stepped on something.

 

Of course, another sharp object. Which he'd have to extract carefully...later. Ascension wasn't going to look too closely right now, or bother a glance in the darkness. He had to keep moving.

Edited by Dusky_Flareon

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Valerie was slightly surprised as the man named Soren suddenly started to talk to her.

 

"Excuse my sudden intrusion, but I couldn't help but notice you've employed the help of beasts similar to those we faced earlier. If you don't mind me asking: what exactly are they? Where do they come from?"

 

These questions seemed rather unusual to her, but she was thankful. He had given her some distraction from the dark, cold, scary night surrounding them and the threads of memory of the sinister things that had happened in the past hours. I wonder how Mr. Mime and Mawile are doing...

 

"Oh, excuse me, I was a bit distracted", she said with her almost magical voice. "These beasts, as you call them, are Pokémon. A Sylveon"-- "Sylv! Sylv!" --"And a Spritzee"-- "Sprrriiiit! Spritzee!" --"To be excact." From the expression on the man's face she could see he wasn't exactly familiar with the term "Pokémon"; along with all the other weird stuff that had happened, she started to get an idea of what had happened to her and how she got here. "Where I come from, creatures like these live everywhere. That Eevee over there is a pokémon as well, just like the Reuniclus of that girl over there, although the coloration is odd. Normal Reuniclus are green. These Nix and Eos are Pokémon as well: an Umbreon and an Espeon. I don't understand why exactly I was taken here, rather than Diantha, the champion, but I suppose we'll find out."

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((rip in peace king "daydayday" dedede 1992-2016 he needed a monstah to clobbah dat dere kirbeh))

 

Obligingly, Lucas averted his eyes, feeling the heat as Kumatora incinerated the corpses. When he looked back, there was nothing left but dying flames and ashes. As expected from the one who taught him how to use PK Fire in the first place. He felt a twinge of sadness that they wouldn't be able to give them a proper burial, though he knew it was the most logical thing to do in this case.

 

Now, even more people had come over. This time, all of them were at least recognizable: Link, Marth, Boris, and that newcomer tactician lady. In all honesty, he wasn't too familiar with the last one, and couldn't help but stare a little bit at her entry. I... guess I've seen weirder? he concluded.

 

A moment later, Ascension had started to walk, prompting the rest of the group to do the same. Lucas followed along as well, trying not to think too much about the devastation around him. He idly listened in to Valerie's conversation with Soren. He had been interested in Pokemon since he was introduced to them in the last tournament, and was always curious to hear more about them.

 

"Would you rather stay here or get out before Nix comes back and decides it's off with everyone's heads?" Ascension called. The Eevee was pretty far ahead of him, and had just disappeared behind a slab of wall. Seeing that he was lagging behind a bit, Lucas picked up the pace, making his way towards the front of the group.

 

Upon catching up, he noticed that Ascension had slowed down a bit, and was ever-so-slightly wincing with every other step. "Are you okay?" he asked, concerned.

Edited by greenglassesgal

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Hm. Pokémon? The word felt so foreign on his tongue that he was hesitant to use it.

 

"So then, they are creatures who can use elemental powers to defend themselves?" Soren heard the Sylveon and Spritzee announce themselves jovially. "They seem far more intelligent than normal dogs and other domestic animals." He then began to ponder if animals, as he knew them, existed in her world; if Pokémon had evolved long past their lesser cousins, then it seemed unlikely. How then did humans still exist? How would there be any form of fair competition?

 

He thought back to the relations between beorc and laguz.

 

"...perhaps you've formed some sort of truce between yourselves and them?" He had not meant to say it aloud, but it sufficed. Besides, he was curious to know the history of humans and Pokémon. He had reason to doubt that it was any less simple than that of the beorc and laguz back home--Nix and Ascension, unlike this Sylveon and Spritzee, were capable of intelligible speech and complex motives. That in itself was a mystery--what divides them? Simple godhood? Were any other monsters like them capable of subterfuge and acts of heresy?

 

Ascension was ever-willing them away from the ruins. Though he kept Bolganone tucked away, his hand lingered on its satchel; he had caught a fleeting glimpse of what he incorrectly first assumed was a Wolf laguz shifting back into a green-garbed form. There were many, many beasts here, too many for him to keep comfortable around. His jaw became tense as he ran a couple introductory verses under his breath.

 

Fire is especially effective for dispelling beasts.

--------------

 

Just a mere few moment later, a white dragon (lacking any defining features of White Dragon laguz besides the color, so he immediately dispelled the notion) came barreling down from the falling night. It plummeted without any grace whatsoever and caused the rubble to shudder under its girth. A prince of some denomination dismounted with a flourish, and the dragon deposited a girl in dark garb brusquely. She flung out her hands and fell face-first, causing her sword to clatter and skid forward with a burst of pent-up energy. She quickly got to her feet, abused the sword to life and proceeded to plant herself by the dragon's leg, nary a mite of care or concern on her face.

 

Soren ignored her for the moment. Her disposition read "amateur", even if she seemed to be in possession of an elemental implement, and the last thing he wanted was to attract the attention of a floozy begging him for guidance.

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Dogs? Animals? What... let's just ask.

 

"What... are those dogs and animals?"-- "...perhaps you've formed some sort of truce between yourselves and them?"

 

Soren's tone made clear he was talking to himself, but he seemed to want an answer she could give him, so she decided to reply.

 

"A truce? No. It's not in the nature of Pokémon to be agressive to humans, nor has it ever been. There are threatful individuals, some said to have powers beyond comprehension, but even many of those don't seek to do harm to us."

 

"Sylv, Sylveon?"{Does he think we're mean?} "Sylv, Sylvie. Sylv, Sylveon. Sylv, Sylveon" {He sounds like he does, but don't worry, I know you're not.} "Spritzeeee, Spritzeeee." {Same for you, Spritzee.}

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"A truce? No. It's not in the nature of Pokémon to be agressive to humans, nor has it ever been. There are threatful individuals, some said to have powers beyond comprehension, but even many of those don't seek to do harm to us."

 

The Sylveon piped up at Valerie with a concerned tone in its voice. Much to Soren's surprise, she responded back to it and the Spritzee. From what he could tell, they seemed relieved. All at once, things came together.

 

"Oh? Then the Trio are mere exceptions to the rule, and these baser beasts are born, raised and then live to be utterly subservient? Hah." He tucked his right hand into his belt. It was too ideal. Either she was lying, ignorant, or at the very worst, completely right. But Soren was sure it was the first two; their enemies were Pokémon, and Nix at the very least had shown, outside of mere legend, he was more than capable of tyrant cruelty.

 

"Well, no wonder those three were so quick to quarrel about with their untamed power. Seems like a bit of a bum deal otherwise..."

 

Satisfied, Soren silently excused himself and turned his attention to Ascension. He looked as though he was having trouble walking. Soren went to grab for his Physic when something plowed into his side, causing him to stumble sideways.

 

"Oooh! Hiya, there! Hey! You a mage?? You got some super-pretty robes there! Visit Ylisstol often? You should! The weather's kinda sketchy, but the architecture is something to see!"

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Soren had turned away from her and seemed to be satisfied with what he knew now. Suddenly, a girl she had never seen before popped up in between them. Valerie immediately liked her positive attitude. The girl asked Soren if he was a mage, before complimenting his robe and talking about a place she never heard of before.

 

"Excuse me, young lady, but may I ask you what exactly a mage is?

Edited by Felixr2

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Alex shot up from Boris's side. Something had been niggling at her for a couple moments and she couldn't quite put her finger on it. It did eventually come to her: the boy in the robes had withdrawn a very, very familiar staff. Ohmigosh, ohmigosh: it's an Outrealms person! It HAS to be!! HAS TO!!!

 

"Iiiinterview tiiiiiiime!~"

 

She slammed into the boy, causing him to stumble over and nearly drop. She secured her arms around him and held him as close as physically possible. Her face squished up against his, and she willed her smile into him.

 

"Oooh! Hiya, there! Hey! You a mage?? You got some super-pretty robes there! Visit Ylisstol often? You should! The weather's kinda sketchy, but the architecture is something to see!" She shook him back and forth with all her might--he was really, REALLY light for someone his size. "Ugh! Get off of me, you wretch!!" He managed to turn toward her and palm at her face and chest, but to no avail. Alex wasn't having even a moment of his business.

 

The butterfly child strode toward the two of them, all the while the small-bodied mage writhed and snarled at Alex. She barely took notice of her before she managed to catch her attention with a familiar term: "Excuse me, young lady, but may I ask you what exactly a mage is?" Alex gaped wide, cheeks devouring her eyes.

 

"You don't know what mages are???" She held the squirmy boy with his back to her, letting him kick and growl out his frustration. "They're only the bestest, most reliable and destructive force you can have in an army! One, two, seven, the entire thing, there is NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY MAGES." She pointed with a free finger at him. "That's what HE is!!! And lookatim: he's got such a cute little face! And big red eyes! And silky looooong haaaaaaiiiirrr~Naga above, I want twenty of hi--"

 

THUD!!!

 

Alex's arms fell limp as her head snapped backward. The mage dropped abruptly, spun and quickly took a couple half-skips back. She tottered back and hunched over, holding her hands to her face. A tiny bit of blood began to spill down her chin.

--------------

 

Soren gave a quick shake of his head before grunting in pain. The impact of the idiot girl's face against his skull had sent a migraine-inducing shock through to his teeth. Somewhere around his feet lay the Physic, and he quickly bent down to replace it, wincing at the throbbing rush to his brow and temples. Certain he had distanced himself far enough away, he brought forth Caesura and muttered a simple phrase. It wasn't the most powerful Wind tome, not strong enough to kill without effort, but it would be plenty to deter another advance, should she try to pin him again.

 

"Blasted ingrate!" He pointed his casting hand at the brunette, the faint green tendrils of summoning swirling about his feet and stirring his hair and robes. "Do not touch me again! Try, and I shall flay you into ribbons!" He dispelled Caesura, thrusting his hand down and away with a growl. He stomped on toward Ascension, eager to move as far away as possible from this place and this girl.

 

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What a funny girl, Valerie thought as the girl that stood in front of her spoke very highly of these "mages" in... armies? And the girl was apparently able to identify Soren as being one. Was that how he made that shield. Was ganondorf a mage as well then? And the woman that burned the bodies?

 

THUD!!!

 

The girl's head had struck that of Soren, and now... she was bleeding? This was not good...

 

"Hey, are you alright? You're bleeding. I suppose I can take care of this, but be a bit more careful next time, alright? Spritzee, use Gyro Ball without a target."

 

Spritzee used Gyro Ball, triggering it's Healer ability that then... didn't cure the wound?!

 

"This should've worked... maybe someone else was hurt as well. Spritzee, again!"

 

Spritzee's Healer ability triggered once more, this time effectively curing the girl's wound.

 

There ya go, all nice and fine. I wonder what happened the first time... And can you explain a bit better what a mage is now? What can they do that makes them that wonderful?

 

((The first trigger of Healer cured Soren's headache.))

Edited by Felixr2

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Ascension looked up to the yellow-haired boy. "... I stepped on something sharp, but I don't want to stop to remove it, because I don't know if Nix is preparing a portal to come back here," the Eevee replied.

 

He winced at every step as pain shot up his leg. If it's embedded, it could be holding back blood, in which case it might not wise be wise to remove it until some type of bandaging or binding material is avaible...

 

He heard stomping. Sounded like someone was a bit angry. Ascension didn't know what had caysed it, and he wasn't sure if he wanted -Ouch!- to ask. He gritted his teeth, redusing to fall to the pain. It hurt, but he wasn't going to be stopped by it...

 

Limping, he made his way around a felled bunk bed. The Eevee then had to step carefully, as items and shards of glass and concrete were all over the carpet. He could see the edge of the mansion rubble, but they were still a bit away from it.

 

The clouds were beginning to clear as starlight poked through, blazing brilliant white against the midnight blue sky. Patches if sky were clear, patches still clouded. There was a cool breeze - and something on it. The smell of blood snd ethereal energy. It was faint, but steadily getting stronger.

 

((Remember our panther friends? They're incoming. Not close enough to be seen, yet.))

Edited by Dusky_Flareon

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((>man, why do I neglect))

 

Ganon turned his head once more to find Marth and his dragon had already landed. There was also a girl who had seemingly decided that the ground was a great place to lay down on at the moment. She'd sit up, muttering to her sword. It'd crackle slightly in response to her cooing. And yet another maniac! How many do we have, now..? This lady reminded him of someone, when he thought about it. It took him a moment to remember...

 

___

 

Ganondorf's own campaign had only just begun. He was making his way across the Gerudo Desert, slashing at the monsters that had been left behind only a year or two ago. It was daytime, and every grain of sand that was blowing in the breeze stung. It was home, though...

 

He had two allies to assist on this mission, of course. The Usurper, Zant, had gone around some rocks, working his way around towards the Arbiter's Grounds. Meanwhile, Ghirahim (who would never, ever be called by his full title, no matter how much he would enjoy being called "Lord Ghirahim") was making his way up the direct path to the Grounds.

 

And Ganon? He was taking some of the keeps, making sure that if their new base was assaulted later, it would be well-defended by whatever monsters may come out. It wasn't even tiring work; the monsters here weren't organized at all, and had never expected an assault. There was a link between the three, and the first words to go across already angered Ganondorf.

 

"Demise? It seems that we-" "Ghirahim. I'm not Demise. Stop calling me that-" "Alright, fine! Ganondorf. It seems like we have a slight issue over here..." Ganon winced, bracing himself for the inevitable outburst. This demon had a bit of a temper, and his anger could potentially last quite a while...

 

Nothing. Not even after thirty seconds. Zant hadn't responded, although it seemed like he was just fine. Busy, even. "Ghirahim? Don't play games, blade." A minute passed. Silence. It seemed more and more likely that Ghirahim had gotten himself killed. Unfortunately, Ganondorf needed Ghirahim's help if he was to take the other pieces of the Triforce. He'd set a course for the hill that the demon had been fighting on. "I swear that if you're still there, the monsters are going to be the last thing you'll need to worry about!" Ganon halted at the entrance to the Grounds.

 

There was a massive circle of monsters, surrounding what had previously been Ghirahim's position. They all were just as confused as Ganon was. There was no trace of the magic that the demon normally used to teleport. He was just... gone. No time to think about what had happened to that moron, though; the monsters were already advancing...

 

___

 

Ganondorf was pushed out of his memories by Ascension's voice. "Would you rather stay here or get out before Nix comes back and decides it's off with everyone's heads?" There wasn't much of an argument to be made here; the fox was absolutely right. There was no way in Hell Ganon was going to stay here. He'd quickly begin moving forward, wincing slightly at the first step but still leaving the group behind. Until he heard a very different voice than the one that had annoyed him this whole time.

 

"Ugh! Get off of me, you wretch!!" Another look back revealed an amusing sight. Soren didn't seem to be as strong as he thought he was, since a woman managed to hold him like that. Ganondorf chuckled a bit to himself. The butterfly woman had already asked this newcomer about "mages". The term was only a little familiar to Ganondorf, seeing as his world never used the term, but the other realms represented in the tournament did have them. "They're only the bestest, most reliable and destructive force you can have in an army! One, two, seven, the entire thing, there is NO SUCH THING AS TOO MANY MAGES." Somehow, I doubt that could actually be true, but I'll let her keep believing that a mage has no weaknesses... Seeing as how Soren couldn't even escape that grip, Ganon highly doubted the kid would last long against someone like yours truly.

 

As soon as Soren escaped the woman's grip, Ganondorf continued forward, following Ascension once more. The Eevee seemed to be limping. Soren was nearly here, as well. As if the situation couldn't get any worse...

 

---

 

Link flinched as the Charizard landed. He's seen dragons before, and they weren't all that fun to fight. A woman skidded to a halt on the ground, then began talking to her sword. Midna appeared on his shoulder, still a silhouette. "There are lots of crazies here. Do you think we could just go?" The newcomer was trying to get a bag of leaves out of the dragon's mouth. "Like... now?" As soon as the Eevee spoke, Midna would prod Link again, earning another glare. Maybe, for once, he wanted to actually try to help one of these people. "Look. It's a woman trying to get her leaves- whatever they are, don't know and don't care- out of a dragon's mouth. Is this really an important quest for you? Or are you the 'Hero of Wasting Time'?" Fine. Link began moving towards the Eevee, once again making sure that he was nowhere near Ganon.

 

He hadn't gotten far enough away to be out of earshot of the scuffle. Link flinched at Soren's yell, turning around. He began drawing the Master Sword, already taking steps towards the two. "LINK! Come on! We need to go!" The command fell on deaf ears. Link was gonna help this guy, and Midna certainly isn't going to stop him. He'd hear a little growl as Midna returned to his shadow. Link ended up a few feet away from the struggle, unsure of how to deal with it. Midna was right. This woman was insane. "That's what HE is!!! And lookatim: he's got such a cute little face! And big red eyes! And silky looooong haaaaaaiiiirrr~Naga above, I want twenty of hi--"

 

Soren'd flip his head back so hard the girl's head began bleeding. Link was thankful he didn't need to use his sword today, but both of them were still hurt in some way. He sheathed his sword, then reached for his bottle. It seems he didn't need to do that, either. The pink bird that was in midair began spinning. Nothing happened the first time, and Link nearly took out the bottle again. The Pokemon used the move once more, healing the girl. His shoulder would get smacked by a tiny arm. "Great! We're done! Can you move now?" Link'd run towards the group that was leaving, passing Soren soon after.

 

He'd come upon Lucas, Ganon, and the fox. The fox's foot was injured. Link's boots were a bit better at making sure he didn't get glass in his foot. Because you know what would be great? Getting shards of everything in your foot when you need to get away from this place. Link looked at his Bottle, currently filled with red... stuff. It's not like it matters what it is! All that matters is that it heals. One slight issue. How does one try to give a fox a bottle and expect that they can drink it properly?

 

This was confusing.

 

((You know, I always thought Ghirahim's blades were his actual babies (i.e. children). But, if they aren't, I'd imagine he'd talk to them like that. Swords have feelings, too! Ghirahim's basically proof of that.))

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((Dangit, Dark, now you have me questioning these things!~))

 

"Aaaaawwwww, FFFFFECK!"

 

Alex threw her hands to her face, jerking them back slightly when the pressure sent a bolt of pain through her face. She squeezed her eyes tight and pushed her index fingers into the corners of her eyes, feeling the prickling of tears forming.

 

"Gods, he got me good..." She carefully removed her palms and gingerly squeezed the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger. Everything seemed to be in place, for the most part, and nothing was broken but a few measly blood vessels. Her fingers drifted down to her upper lip, feeling the pinching numbness forming in her upper gums. Blood was steadily draining from her nose, causing her to grimace and shiver a bit. Alex brought a sleeve up and leaned into it. Overtop, she watched the mage threaten her with Wind magic, his clothes being wafted by the conjuring element.

 

"Do not touch me again! Try, and I shall flay you into ribbons!"

 

She could hear him march off to somewhere, but she didn't really care, her eyes too occupied with the threads in her sleeves. She wiggled her mouth back and forth and wrinkled up her nose, trying to work the pain out.

 

"Nnnngaah...that smarts something awful, little bugger..." She tried to sniff back the leaking crimson fluid. The butterfly girl came up to her side. She was awfully concerned about what had just occurred.

 

"Hey, are you alright?" Alex raised her arms up in defense, then let her palms fall forward. She tried to defuse the awkwardness with a half-hearted laugh. "Naw, i-it's okay! Just a little nosebleed--I'm sure he didn't mean it~"

 

"You're bleeding." Alex shook her head. "Well, yes, I am aware of that." She smoothed two bloody digits together, trying to roll the drying flakes off her skin.

 

"I suppose I can take care of this, but be a bit more careful next time, alright?" She directed her voice at her companions. "Spritzee, use Gyro Ball without a target." Alex sorta remembered what Gyro Ball was. It was like a instant-use Tonic or Vulnerary. After a moment, she thought it would ease the flow, but...no?

 

"This should've worked... maybe someone else was hurt as well." Alex wiped away another smear of blood. "Spritzee, again!"

 

This time, Alex clearly felt a..."clearing" sensation through her nasal passages. To her utter relief, the blood finally stopped; as unhygienic as it was, she gave the already-bloodied nap of her robe a substantial lick, and used it to clean the rest of the remnant blood off her face. She turned to the girl, clad in a dreamy pink-beige-black yukata and black accouterments with oriental styling. About her head were purple ear-things, and her eyes were wide and mysterious.

 

"There ya go, all nice and fine." She gave a cheerful expression. That was awfully nice. I'll be sure to repay that, surely. Alex stood up straight, dusting her arm at her side. "Thanks. I know I don't seem like it, but I appreciate that. Feels pretty good~" She tugged at her nose and winked.

 

"I wonder what happened the first time..." She pondered. Alex didn't pretend to know. Pokeymans were cool as they were incredibly weird. But, Alex did have an answer to her next question: "...And can you explain a bit better what a mage is now? What can they do that makes them that wonderful?"

 

 

Alex scooted in close and held up a finger. She was as much an authority on all magic stuff as she was the Hero-King. "Weeeeell...since you asked, I'm obliged to infodump everything I know about the glory and mysticism of--" she motioned her hands above her head in an arc, "MAGES."

 

She took out her own tome, a sacred piece of text wrought by the hands of a skilled pensman, bound in signature black-green leather and endowed in graceful arcs, braids and runes. It was her prized possession, as much a part of herself as it was the pages it was printed on. She gave it a respectful flip, letting her hand settle on two folds of parchment scrawled in the language of the arcane arts. She gave the lady a knowledgeable look, confident in her expertise.

 

"'Mage' is the title given to those who have superior knowledge of the elemental magics, and have the ability to coax forth and employ their natures through the use of element-specific books called 'tomes'. These tomes house passages written in verse that 'speak' to the spirits who embody the elements, and they are as follows: Wind," she carved her hand through the air in sharp, bladelike motions, "that which severs in quick succession, lashing out in arcs to rupture the arteries; Fire," she waved out her hand, letting it sway like a wavering flame, "all consuming, familiar on a candle's wick as it is the houses fettered in plague; and Thunder,", she brought her arm down in a quick, vicious move, "striking wild without abandon, seeking and stabbing at the heart until it ceases to beat again..." Alex drew in a filling breath, straightening her back and exhaling slowly. Her fingers slowly gestured over the open tome, a light green energy seeming to twirl and flow about her. She gazed at Ms. Butterfly under fixed lids. A smirk lifted at the corner of her lip.

 

"THAT...is a 'Mage'. They are as versatile as they are wise, so much that sand will part before their feet. They fear nothing, not even the front lines, though they are better suited for support subterfuge. They obliterate their foes when they draw too close, and they will utterly devastate their flanks and lead with siege tomes like Bolting and Meteor." Alex looked down at her text, watching as the book shuttered with use.

 

"There are other denominations, such as Dark Magic and Light Magic, but their texts are rare and some lost to history. I'm loathe to say I have no control over them, though I know two 'truths': Dark magic, the 'human' magic, while easy to corrode the soul, it is not necessarily evil; and Light magic, the 'divine' magic, is fickle, and will side with the ideals of its creator, no matter how corrupt."

She shut the tome and dispelled it, the remnants fading and fizzling out of existence. She extended a hand to the lady, putting away the tome and resting the other on Ilyana's hilt.

 

"I'm Alex, a spellsword of sorts...or a 'Grandmaster', where I come from. It's good to meet you~"

------------

 

A good number of people were coming up to follow Ascension. Soren noted Ganondorf, Lucas and the shifter in front of him. He had considerably slowed his pace, rubbing and squeezing at the bridge of his eyes. He already wasn't in a fantastic mood, and getting grabbed up by some c--

 

"Nngh...uh?" He took his hand away from his face and felt all around his head. Soren glanced around and slowly lowered his arm, noticing the pain dissipate at an unnaturally fast rate. His brow furrowed, and he took a look over his shoulder at Valerie, who was caught entertaining her new "friend", who also seemed to have recovered too quickly. When he accidentally met her eyes, he averted his gaze, too confused to even think.

 

I don't understand. What logic is this maddening place operating on?

 

To make up for the deficit in reasoning, he simply diverted his attention to Ascension, who had halted for a moment while Lucas took a look over him. "... I stepped on something sharp, but I don't want to stop to remove it, because I don't know if Nix is preparing a portal to come back here." Soren quickened his steps and made his way to the fox's side. He looked down, noticing the glint of glass against the bloodied brown of its paw. Soren huffed.

 

"Don't be stupid. You're a liability to us in this state. You won't be able to do that extensive amount of hopping around like earlier if you keep like this, regardless of whatever other forms you may possess." He stepped in front of Ascension, forcing him to stop. He looked over at Lucas in acknowledgement.

 

"Lucas, is it? Do you possess any methods of healing? I have extensive experience with tending severe battlefield wounds. If you do, I would be willing to remove these splinters if you wouldn't mind stopping the bleeding. I'm also partial to the reverse, if you have the stomach."

Edited by Sugar-Free

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Zoey watched the scene, kind of annoyed that she was ignored. She watched soon after Boris and Marth fly off towards the ruins of the mansion. It was then Valerie and her Pokémon, Pokémon, of all things came up. Globbers made a soft noise, voicing his concern a bit. Smiling, she walked up to the two girls. "Hello," Zoey said as Globbers made his own greeting. The one with the Spritzee she saw earlier, but this lady was so familiar. "My name is Zoey, and this is Globbers, my shiny Reuniclus." Globbers made same happy sounds towards the Spritzee as it recognized what it was.

 

--------------

 

Yoshi was distraught when he heard Peach scream bloody murder. He hopped off when he realized what happened to her. He needed space to mourn. Even though he was a creature, he still had feelings. And he was crying over the death of someone he was rather fond of. What was Mario doing? He sighed and tried to clear his thoughts. He immediately thought about food so he got up to see if he couldn't go back to the mansion to find something to eat.

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Lucas nodded at Soren's words. "Thanks. I think I'll be alright on my own, though," he replied. Support was his forte, and one got pretty good at dealing with splinters after enough encounters with exploding trees and robots. He crouched down and gingerly took Ascension's paw, inspecting it. "Hold still for a bit. I'll try to do this as quick as I can!" Slowly but steadily, he removed the larger shards, using telekinesis to help ease them out. Blood soon started oozing from the wounds. "Lifeup," he murmured, sending a green light washing over the area. Skin knitted itself together, pushing the small bits of glass residue out as well. When all was done, Ascension was left with a bloodied, but healed paw. "That should do it. Try walking now?"

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The girl she had just cured had now introduced herself to her as Alex, a... spellblade? ah, grandmaster, and extended a hand. Recognizing the gesture, Valerie shook the extended hand, her own located somewhere halfway to the tip of the silky, wing-like sleeve that was covering her arm.

 

This "Alex" may be a bit odd, but at least she is very kind.

 

Valerie smiled and wanted to introduce herself as the girl with the reuniclus showed up.

 

"Hello, my name is Zoey, and this is Globbers, my shiny Reuniclus."

 

"Well hi, Alex, and Zoey. Ah, and Globbers of course. Shiny, you say? Is that why it's color is so different? Hmhmm. It seems Globbers and Spritzee already like eachother... Oh, but forgive me, I haven't introduced myself yet. I am Valerie, from Laverre City in the Kalos region. There, I'm well-known as a fashion designer and by the fact I'm a gym leader. As you may be able to see, my specialty is fairy-type pokémon. I also have a Mawile and a Mr. Mime, but they didn't get taken with me... I hope they're alright."

 

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Ascension tested his paw on the ground. While it was still bloody, the shards had been removed by the boy's magic and it wasn't hurting.

 

He looked up and thanked the blond boy before continnuing on. More rubble. Nix really had done a good job wrecking this place, for sure...

 

--

 

 

Mario blinked. Ouch. His head hurt. He rubbed his smarting head before getting up. There was rubble above him. Was ot caused by the Umbreon with a scythe? That Umbreon had blood all over him... How much damage was there?

 

Mario shoved aside a piece of rubble. Another piece came down, and Mario had to move quickly to avoid it. Well... at least the hole was big enough to climb through.

 

When he clambered through, he noticed rubble. Destruction. Fire. And a garhering of people. He recognized some Smashers. Others were unfamiliar to him. Even wirse? The mansion was fallen.

 

The red-capped plumber spotted Yoshi near where he was standing. At least Yoshi was a friendly, familiar face.

 

"Hey, bud, do you know what's going on?"

Edited by Dusky_Flareon

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Alex felt a presence at her side. She turned her head and saw the sporty girl walking up to her and the nice lady.

 

"Hello, my name is Zoey, and this is Globbers, my shiny Reuniclus."

 

Alex's instinct was to squish. Not the girl, of course, but the tiny-faced jelly-bear floating at her side. She'd seen it before, she was sure, but not nearly as up close! Violent tendencies were welling up in her brain, causing her to pinch her coat and rub the fabric.

 

"Well hi, Alex, and Zoey. Ah, and Globbers of course." She spoke as she looked at its blue squishiness. "Shiny, you say? Is that why it's color is so different? Hmhmm. It seems Globbers and Spritzee already like eachother..."

Alex was wondering why, or really how, its body parts were suspended in the squish. She pinched at her own skin, rolling it between her thumb and knuckle; she realized her bones were basically suspended in her own squish, even if she wasn't see-through. Or super squishy.

 

"Oh, but forgive me, I haven't introduced myself yet. I am Valerie, from Laverre City in the Kalos region. There, I'm well-known as a fashion designer and by the fact I'm a gym leader."

 

I'm actually a Reuniclus. Huh. Alex deeply pondered what it all meant, how she'd never known it before then. Now, unlike before, she gazed upon the diamond-maw of the gelatinous beast, seeing not a jelly-bear--No! Now ,she saw it's true face, one hat was a pure and unmarred depiction of the status of the human form! The motor-senses homunculus depicted in ancient texts! The delicate bonds that tied liquid and solid, tendon and muscle, ligament and bone, yes! It was all so CLEAR! The truth! The Reuniclus--it was all so CLEAR!--

 

"As you may be able to see, my specialty is Fairy-type Pokémon. I also have a Mawile and a Mr. Mime, but they didn't get taken with me... I hope they're alright."

 

At once, Alex was once and at peace with the world. She felt it, the bones with the muscles in the skin between heavens and earth inside creation, destruction, and the end of existence. Today, from now on, Alex would reflect in solemnity, on how she had been made present to the greatest sermon in all of in everything.

 

Everything...is stuff...inside of things.

 

The buzzing headiness of pure joy and relation overtook her senses as she regarded the flesh-skin entity called Zoey. She needed to know. She needed to know just how much power, how much unbridled TRUTH she wielded in her capsule cages. She held out a hand, channeling all of her newfound knowledge into a single Word of Power:

 

"'Eyyyy."

-----------------------------

 

Soren nodded in acceptance. If Lucas was a healer, than he wouldn't complain; more healers would be necessary for if and when they were split up. He didn't care to mediate this time, preferring to stride over to the broken foundation of the former mansion. He idly looked out of the gape into what looked like a dark forested area.

 

"Oh? What's this?"

 

Out beyond, several paths lead down from distant...villages? Townships? He couldn't tell in the poor light, but they looked very specifically themed, one uncannily similar to fort the Mercenaries had been ambushed in near Gallia. In the middle of them all, there was...nothing? He blinked, trying to get his eyes to adjust. It almost appeared that the silvery pathways had had been a crossroads...but now, all that remained were tatters overlooking a gaping wound in the ground.

 

Even as he made note of this, he couldn't sway his mind from the fort. It made him uneasy, how it seemed to have been directly lifted from his world...

 

Soren's musing was interrupted by a flick of movement below. His eyes narrowed. He leaned over the edge, careful of the unsteady ground, holding his breath.

 

Deep within the grass and foliage, several shadowy figures flitted about. They were fast approaching. And they were coming toward the mansion. He rounded on his heels, jogging quickly over to Ascension and Lucas. He barely registered Ascension's apparently healed wounds. He kept calm, but his tone was urgent.

 

"There's movement in the forest, and it's closing in fast. We need to act, now!"

Edited by Sugar-Free

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One of the cats in the darkness would stare out. First at a scrawny little thing that had alerted the others to their presence, but then it'd smell something else. Its mouth would open slightly to get a better idea of what it was. Blood. Prey was good. Wounded prey was better. The panther's vision flicked around as it searched for its new quarry...

 

---

 

Link finally put his feet down on something that couldn't be described as 'debris'. It was exciting to step on something that wasn't some sort of wood beam or random brick. He was tapped on the shoulder by Midna once again. "Look, I know you're super excited about solid ground. Could ya keep going?" The comment earned a slight glare from Link, but otherwise no reaction. Her snark just wasn't snarky enough today. Or ever, actually.

 

"There's movement in the forest, and it's closing in fast. We need to act, now!" Without much more thought given, Link transformed into a wolf and began sniffing. Cats. Not sure how big they were, but they'd have to be huge to cause this kind of alarm. His vision took a significant hit in this form; at best he can tell light from dark. Telling dark from dark would be best left to someone else. Midna'd pat Link on his fuzzy cheek. "What is it, Link?" Link began pawing the ground. "Come on..." Am I seriously expecting a dog to answer me right now? Is this how low I've managed to get? The imp prepared for battle with an exasperated sigh. At least Link knows what he's fighting...

 

---

 

The cat finally found its new prey. A large man, trying to hide an injury. It had stalked as far as it dared to this wounded person's side of the group. Not only was he trying to hide an injury, he was making specifically sure he was alone. Was he even trying to survive? Not to mention that he might just feed it and its two partners. The panther tensed, ready to spring. Its blade was ready to block the most obvious attack.

 

---

 

Ganondorf stopped, glaring at Soren. It's his understanding now that Soren at least survived this long; the kid must be good for something. Instead of contesting the warning, he'd scan the woods for any sign of a monster. Ganon's swords were drawn as soon as he noted two slightly deeper shadows in the darkness. So at least Soren wasn't completely stupid. Wow. I've learned something today. The sheer amount of sarcasm may have been tangible on some level. But it wasn't a high enough level to be tangible in our plane of existence. Yet.

 

His deep state of pure snark was interrupted by Midna whining about her dog. "Midna..." Ganondorf sighed deeply, unwilling to put a palm to his face due to the current situation demanding that his blades be ready for anything. "How long have you been with Link? Has it ever occured to you that, maybe, just maybe, he might currently be a dog with no capability of speaking to you?" Ganon wouldn't hear any reply Midna would make, regardless of how much it would near his masterful level of sarcasm.

 

Because karma struck him. Figuratively and literally. His left arm, holding a smaller (and slightly less great) Great Sword was suddenly being assaulted by a previously unseen monster. A giant black cat with various markings was clawing and biting his forearm. A translucent blade was specifically making sure Ganon didn't swing the smaller sword to intercept. Are we seriously being attacked by overgrown cats? Not only that, he'd been ambushed by such a creature. The very thought of such a thing made Ganondorf furious beyond words. He'd maintain a slight composure as he held his mangled arm at full length, preparing to strike with an actually great Great Sword. A near-invisible blade would launch at Ganon's other arm, but it was a bit late.

 

The cat let go before the strike could occur, and the blade ended up sending a massive gash into its upper back instead of its ribs. The Great Sword got caught in the chain for a moment, having to be pulled straight out in an awkward manner. Ganondorf examined the arm, proceeding to sheathe the smaller sword. There's no use in trying to use that arm to swing a sword. Ganon resorted to defending himself with his right arm and a more capable blade. Already, he felt something inside him flicker out...

 

He'd study the creature a bit more. Why did it have chains around its neck? What the hell was it doing with swords? This had to have been more than just a cat. Ganon started parrying the floating blade's strikes. Not like he's going to get any help from Midna any time soon...

 

((when there are just too many alternate definitions of words))

((I was going to continue with Midna, but I felt it a bit unnecessary.))

Edited by DarkShinyLugia

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Nobody seemed to take heed of Soren's words. The shifter--Link, he heard his deformed child friend say--switched forms and stuck his nose to the ground, apparently looking for signs of their arrival. Meanwhile, Ganondorf shifted and immediately began berating the two, mostly the creature named Midna. As he went on and on like some old nag, Soren stomped forward toward them, preparing a spell in haste.

 

He couldn't suppress the disbelief he had in these people. Why? Why are they just standing there? Have they never once organized before a threat!? He had half a mind to cut them both down and save himself the trouble, but it was pointless and there wasn't any time for it. He had little information, and he knew that, but supposition was better than willful blindness in these situations. The warmth of Fire spirits flowed through his body, welling from his core--into his veins and arteries, sinking into his skin and bones directly to the palms of his hands, willing to be freed. He could feel them, how different they were to him: how they writhed and spun about, bounding and hissing against the cool he safeguarded himself with. It was alien, almost...this angry element; but Soren understood it, and knew its fervor well, for it was not so long ago he had felt its malice, its hate.

 

The ground sizzled and cracked beneath his boots as the preemptive energies of Bolganone licked in spirals around him. He wasn't taking even a single chance. The others may have been taken aback by such a display, but he knew his enemy well enough. Fire is especially effective for dispelling beasts.

 

He motioned out toward the group calling them into action:

 

"Hurry! We need to establish a formation before the enemy falls upon us. Melee and other single-range units up front, long-range units in cover behi--"

A gravely roar. Sounds of piercing blades against flesh. Soren whipped his head around.

 

Ganondorf stood steady as a blue-black panther tore at his forearm with teeth and claws. Somehow, in some way, water-clear blades circled around its torso without any form of suspension. Even from his position, he could see the blood on the cat's teeth. Ganondorf managed to dodge a blade as it arced toward him, slamming his right blade down into smoke-grey fur. It had dropped before the obsidian sword could find its mark in its chest, scraping a lesion across its upper ribcage before having to be wrenched free of its ethereal collar.

 

 

Soren could see that his arm was limp, and while he was adept enough to swing his other sword with ease, he couldn't last forever. There was...a change? He couldn't put his finger on it..but something had went missing...

Even though he greatly disliked the foolhardy, gnat-brained infidel, he wasn't going to lose a comrade over pettiness. He flourished a wrist and stepped back, flames winding up his arm, docile servants only to their master. Lone wisps of green harmlessly pushed the behemoth man to the side.

 

"Get back!!!"

 

 

 

A great blast rippled through the room, pushing against his small frame and sending his robes and hair couplets into frenzied flapping. A thudding burst met blood and bone. Soren didn't have to look--the stench of fried hair was confirmation enough. Drawing Physic was his best chance at assisting Ganondorf from this distance, but--!?

 

 

 

THMMP!!!

 

"NnhgAGHH!"

 

 

 

Soren choked out a ragged cry. His feet fell from beneath him, and the wind rose up underneath him as he was forced downward--

 

"Guh-ugh--!" His head hit ground. Rock struck at his back and ribs, knocking the breath out of him. A shuddering gasp brought the smell of rot and bile to his lungs, and he struggled not to retch as an intense weight threatened to force the life out of him. Above, as he willed his eyes open, two impossibly-bright blue orbs pinned him, absolutely devoid of life.

 

 

Is...is this where I...?

 

 

No. He forced away that thought, those feelings. He steeled himself, let himself indulge in that hate he felt so long ago, from faces just like this. Soren forced his hands up, meeting the gnashing jaws of the hideous devil-beast. He thrust his left palm up into its gums and nose, bringing the right palm just far enough to the left, aiming at its gullet...

 

"You're...less than...a filthy sub-human..."

 

Light blazed forth, engulfing the panther's head in cleansing fire, devouring its pelt and derma down to bubbling pustules. As the feline abomination fell back, Soren kicked at its legs and flipped over, dashing to his feet at last. Smoke and lingering embers on its charred remains obscured the image from him, and he didn't care to investigate it. Above, on the mansion's broken remains, clattering and commotion carried onward.

 

"That...was unexpected. But I've no time to dwell on it; I've got to get back up there..." He couldn't shake off the sense that something was...wrong. A blast from Bolganone was a death sentence to the beast-folk. Even if these monsters were somehow resistant to fire, the sheer power of that magic should kill them, easily. His same tomes had slaughtered uncounted masses, from common footsoldiers to the unsurmountable Dragons of Goldoa...

 

Why now should they fail? And against such odds...

 

The sounds of hoarse yowling suggested more than one cat, which at first didn't concern him. It didn't occur to him until a few seconds later that it was impossible.

 

"I didn't miss it."

 

It was too quick, even for his agility. Even as a heel dug in place to round on, it was too late. He didn't know. He didn't know because it wasn't possible.

--------------------

 

((Not quite finished, but I have to take a short break. Back with moar soon!))

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It started with an odd smell. Felines of sone sort...! A couple seconds later, something leapt out of the darkness and bit down on the ginger, Its bidy ranged from black to glistering midnight blue, and there were silver ethereal.... oh Stars above. He knew what those--

 

And then Soren was shouting, running a few seconds later-- he was going for it? Yes. A burst of fire -- Ascension yelped and turned into a Flareon-- Ganondorf was pushed away. Fire surged on.

 

Then Soren was slammed into the ground - did it bite him? Too dark to tell. Ascension lunged, but another panther came up close. This one earned an Ember in the face. The cat yowled, pawing at its face.

 

Then Soren burned the panther and got up - but the panther was still alive. Ascension went to attack, only for the burned panther to return, sinking its teeth into Ascension's leg. Ascendion yelped -- white light -- he was an Eevee again, blood oozing from his leg. Ascension attemptwd to use Swift, and things turned interesting. Faded stars spun from his body. The pather barely winced when they struck, and an ethereal blade came down. Ascension darted back, so that the blade sliced into dirt just in front of rhe Eevee.

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Walking in the back of the group, Valerie saw the first two "beasts", she thought was the word Soren had used while talking to her earlier, attack. They didn't seem to be all that powerful but... they did seem to be way too fast for any of them.

 

So that's why I, of all people, am here.

 

"Spritzee! Quick! Use Trick Room!"

 

Spritzee used Trick Room, locking the group and the attacking beasts up in a psychic cage that inverted the speed differences. This didn't only give the group an advantage, it also made it impossible for more of these beasts to attack them.

 

However, just before the room was completely formed, some more of those beasts hurried their way in.

 

Two of them chose to attack Valerie.

 

"Two versus one? That's not fair. Sylveon, Spritzee, go!" she said, reading them for battle.

 

"Sylveon, use your ribbons to throw them in the air! Spritzee, when they're almost starting to fall, blast them down with Dazzling Gleam!"

 

This went exactly the way she had hoped. Sylveon threw the black creatures into the air, but the ethereal blades did injure its ribbons. Shortly before the beasts reached their peak height, Spritzee hit them with a Dazzling Gleam, triggering its Healer ability, restoring some of the wounds Sylveon had gotten.

 

At this rate, we might survive this, but I need to keep it up.

 

"Sylveon, use Hyper Voice! Spritzee, hit them both with a Moonblast!"

 

---

 

I guess people are going to notice they're suddenly a lot faster compared to the hostile panthers, and, well, that they're suddenly in a huge room made out of see-through squares in various shades of light purple/pink-ish purple. And that a lot of flashes of bright light are coming from where Valerie is...

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"There's movement in the forest, and it's closing in fast. We need to act, now!"

 

Lucas started at Soren's words. Things were coming after them already? On guard, he grabbed a broken length of rebar from the rubble. It was heavier and harder to handle than his usual sticks and bats, but it would make do. He looked around, on watch for any suspicious activity. Sure enough, there were several strange shadows lurking in the forest.

 

Without warning, one of the shadows suddenly shot towards them, revealing itself as a strange panther monster with barely-visible chains and blades encircling its body. With a roar, it lunged at Ganondorf, teeth sinking into his arm. The two of them traded blows, the warlock eventually freeing himself after sustaining a number of slashes.

 

"Get back!" shouted Soren. An explosion of fire surged at the monster, swathing it in brutal flames. Yet even after the attack, the panther still got up, pouncing at him and knocking him off the foundation.

 

"Soren!" Lucas called in concern. Before he could follow after them, a cage of pink and purple energy surrounded the foundation they were standing on, preventing him from exiting the area. It looked like Soren would have to handle himself. He turned his attention back to the battle at hand. Taking a deep breath, he cast Shield Omega on all the fighters present. Without whatever it was that allowed him to use infinite PK attacks in the arena, he could definitely feel the drain on his energy reserves, especially considering all the people he covered. Still, it was worth giving everyone some defense, given what he'd seen the monsters do.

 

Clutching his improvised weapon, he ran towards the panther attacking the nearby Ascension. Oddly, Lucas felt like he was faster than normal, and decided to chance a sneak attack. Coming up from behind the panther, he swung the bar hard. Despite all its burns, the beast was sturdy, and quickly recovered being knocked back. Growling, it turned around and lunged at him, fangs bared. For some reason, it moved more slowly than he expected, allowing him to dodge the attack in the nick of time. It seemed that some mysterious force had switched up their speeds--not that he had any complaints. Shouting "PK Freeze!" he shot an icy blast at the panther, freezing it in place.

 

With the panther immobilized, Lucas rushed over to Ascension, hand reached out to heal his wounds. "Lifeu-GHK!" he coughed out, a sudden strike to the side knocking the wind out of him. While he may have frozen the panther's body, it's ethereal blades still inexplicably floated about it, one of them chipping away at the ice and the other furiously swinging at him. Thank goodness that the shield held. Quickly lifting up his weapon, he moved to defend against the attacks, backing up as the bar ever-so-slightly dented with each slash blocked. Even with the new speed advantage, he needed to figure out a way to knock the panthers out.

 

((In RPG terms, the shield that Lucas casted only blocks half damage from physical attacks, and shatters after three solid hits. However, they should be able to prevent most claw slashes and bites from breaking through skin, as well as the magic drain that comes with it.))

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Great silvery talons dragged into the thin cloth of his robes. Soren had stepped back only moments prior, causing the black cat to sink down from his neck to his abdomen. His left shoulder and right hip were ripped down to tatters, the nails gripping tight in descent. Soren raised his hand and sliced through the air, a blade of green severing into its neck and shoulder just as its teeth punctured his vulnerable side.

 

The flesh gave way with an audible shhnk. Hot, liquid warmth spilled onto his exposed flesh and down his outer thigh. The pain was almost enough to make the Archsage crumple.

 

But he wouldn't. Not now, and not ever. There was so much more that he had left in his life, so much more that he cared about--that he had to protect.

 

He swung both arms and brought them down with a furious shout, the impact of Rexcalibur's scythes slashing lesions all across its tainted body. The force knocked it back a considerable distance, causing it to soar for a moment before landing and rolling, legs kicking out and blood streaking the dirt. Soren prepared another flurry of Wind magic before it could rise, fingering at his belt for the pouch containing his Elixirs.

 

He opened his mouth, the final syllable passing his lips--

 

--and froze. For a moment, he was completely still, unable to say the word that would end his opponent for good. As he tried to continue the passage, an ungodly bolt of piercing agony rent a tortured shriek from him, branching throughout every conceivable particle of him. He fell to his knees, panting hard against the knot growing in the core of his body. A hand flew to his side, slick red dripping from his fingers.

 

Inconceivable force thrust him backward, the pressure of needle-point daggers grabbing his ankle and dragging him. He rolled onto his stomach, every blade of grass and lonesome gravel blinding him with pain as the black of night sped past.

 

It was several minutes before his head cleared and the unexplained pain receded. The steady thump of paws gave Soren enough to focus his attention on. He was underneath the giant panther's abdomen, muscles bounding and pumping in its legs and shoulders. Seeing his opportunity, he aimed his hands into its stomach.

 

An explosion of cutting air sent the cat skyrocketing, wrenching free of Soren's boot as it ascended. He was flung gracelessly forward, skidding on his back to a stop. Soren hurried to his feet, stumbling and wavering back and forth as dizziness tugged him to either side. Somewhere beyond--he couldn't tell where--the beast impacted with a dull thud.

 

There wasn't much time.He reached back to the pouch.

"W-what?! No!"

 

It was gone. Not just the pouch with the Elixirs, but the entire belt itself. He spat out a curse and quickly deduced his surroundings.

 

All around, the thick of trees extended, pathless. In any given direction, the mansion he had been in just before was nowhere to be seen. Not even the telltale remnants of woodsmoke lingered in the sky, giving him no indication as to where the others had been left. Seems I've been dragged quite a ways. And with no healing items at all in this state. Tch. What a mess... He shook his head at himself. Before he could switch out tomes, another unbearable pang wracked his body. Soren clutched tightly at his chest, shutting his eyes tightly. Suppressed grunts of suffering dribbled out between his drawn lips.

 

It was a morbid realization that he had then. He had run through all his options, considered every possibility. He knew. Unlike before, the odds were against him. He had miscalculated.

 

When the tremors finally ceased, his eyes caught the panther in pre-pounce. He slipped a hand to Caesura, swiping his hand back and forth toward it. Its feet danced upon the dewy lawn as Soren forced it back, each arc as sharp as the last. But it wouldn't be long now; none of his attacks were hitting it. Even as he kept up his barrage, his eyesight was blurring, only barely focusing on the pinkish-purple of its exposed flesh and its terrible eyes. As soon as his rhythm faltered, he would die. He was delaying the inevitable.

 

Minutes passes. With each successive slash, his magic seemed to wane. Though he had pushed his enemy back several yards into the deep foliage, the corporeal blades now vaporized into harmless wafts before hitting the ground. Now, only stray dust puffed beneath them, with no more impacts. The panther seemed to realize this, walking through two arcs that dissipated on its skin.

 

Soren dropped him arm, stooping a bit to wipe the sweat from his brow. Fatigue was settling into his bones. As he stood motionless, he noticed just how cold he was. He thought back to hours prior: sitting in the wake of morning, a few birds chirruping against the silence. He remembered the flicker of lanterns, the warmth of his papers on the table, heated by his piping tea kettle. He though of Titania, her crimson red hair...her embrace, her voice. If there was something to take comfort in, it was her ignorance. They would never meet again, and she would never know he had perished. The same went for the others: Rhys, Mist, Rolf, Oscar...they would never have to grieve his loss, and that gladdened him. A tiny smile tugged at his lips.

 

The panther seemed sure in its gait at first, but lost its footing several times as it tried to meet him. Even now, its form seemed to be crumbling and dripping away, as it it were some cursed statue come to life. Its swords were gone. It looked at Soren and shook itself all over with a growl, trying to rid itself of its own ache.

 

But...there was one who would. Even if they had been forced to part, he was sure he would know. Somehow, in his own strange ways, he would find out. And as much as it pained Soren to know it, he knew he would never recover. And he would seek revenge, somehow. And he would exact it. Even if it killed him.

 

I won't allow it. You will not carry another's burden again, and I won't allow you perish in my name.

"Even if all the cities burn, and the seas swallow Tellius..." That same reminder. He'd given it to him once before, and he meant it just as he had that day, so long ago. A small pressure, like a tiny beetle, pressed at his pocket. That same reminder.

 

His hand passed to the Fire tome. The arcane pathways lining his body ached and seized, another fit of searing anguish trying to eviscerate him. But this time, even as his skin crawled with worms and his spine was severed in two, he stood, certain. Calm. Collected. As a tactician needed to be.

 

The panther darted forward, galloping as it snarled and hissed with froth at its scorched tongue.

 

Soren chanted silently, forcing the spell up into his palm. A growing presence of runes and circles surrounded his diameter, glowing red as the element they invited. The area surged with magic and heat, causing flowers to wilt and leaves to crisp.

 

It was but a few yards away from the mage's position. It yowled, flinging up dirt as it forced back the earth, climbing against gravity with its nails.

 

More slowly rotating magic circles appeared above and around him. The heat distorted the light above, causing the forest to waver. His robes wafted gently and lazily, bangs brushing his cheeks.

 

The panther pushed with all its might, slamming its back legs down and extending out its paws. The claws came bare, wicked as shamshirs. It leapt far above him, its face and neck completely exposed down to the muscle, shining wet with blood and exposure.

 

 

It was quick. A twitch was all that could be seen in his wrist. It was all he could bear.

 

 

A plume erupted from each circle, engulfing the monster in a fiery eruption. The light went white after a second, and arcs of dazzling fire sprayed up and out like fireworks around the primary blaze. It climbed well into the treetops and fed upon their leafage, unsatisfied with only a mere cat. Where the spell reached, nothing but smoldering black remained.

 

When the shadow was erased from vision, the runes and the circles vanished. Bolganone fell to the scorched plain spine-first, pages falling open and fluttering. As it did so, the remnant fires vanished, extinguished as strangely as they were lit.

 

 

As the heat rushed into the air, Soren dropped. When his wounded side hit stone, he couldn't complain. All that was left was numbness and a sense of being completely empty. As if something was missing. He closed his eyes. He was getting close.

 

"Hhh...What a...h-horrid place...t...die..." Somewhere, he hallucinated, he could hear footsteps. If it was more of Nix's minions, they would be sorely disappointed. The sound faded, and so did the world around him.

 

Forgive me, Commander. Take...care...

---------------------------------

 

Alex looked up.

 

Everywhere, there was tons of movement. Valerie had her Sylveon throw this weird jaguar thing, and was berating it with attacks with it and Spritzee. Another kitty-boo was frozen solid, nifty see-through swords chipping the ice around it off. Where the deprecated walls once were was a reflective, translucent purple box, acting as a cage.

 

"Huh? Wait, is this a fight??"

 

Seemed like it enough. Alex took Ilyana up in her right hand, thrusting her left out behind her to protect Zoey. She looked over her shoulder, a smirk on her face.

 

"Hey! Looks like things kinda got crazy for a moment there. If you got the skills, you get out here and do the thing; elsewise, stay behind me! I'm fantastic at Guard Stance!" She dropped low and ran at an opposing panther, swiping her Levin Sword up and under its belly. With a loud, gravely grunt, she hefted it up and into the air, slamming the electrified sword into it.

Before it could begin to drop, she deftly slid her sword back into place and retrieved her Wind tome, spreading it with a slap and holding out a finger.

 

"Come on! Cereal Killer!" The kitters screeched as its entire abdomen was flayed, splitting its bottom jaw.

 

"Hah! We're not done yet!" Green flames blazed at her feet, snaking up her legs to her now two extended fingers. She twirled in place and fired out a green shockwave, sending the panther recoiling off the...uh, Trick Room barrier thingie. When it crashed, she flung up her tome, grabbing Ilyana and giving her a sly twirl. She held up her hand, the spine thumping neatly against her palm. "Had enough?!"

 

To her surprise, it looked like it hadn't. It sprung back up on all fours, leaking this vile black-purple stuff from everywhere. She stuck out her lips.

 

"Wat? B-but muh Ignis...!" Panther-bro took off at her. She flopped her book on the ground and propped up a foot on it. She mocked the image of a baseball player, chewing an invisible chaw in her cheek and and testing Ilyana like a bat.

 

"'Ey, batta batta, 'ey batta, 'ey batta batta batta'--" She kept this mantra going until the panther got right up on her, just within striking distance.

 

"--'ey, batta batta--" CRACK

 

"SUH-WIIIIIIIIING!~"

 

A black mass crackling with static arced across the room, landing far up in the remnant balconies and dropping through each successive layer. When it smacked the mansion floor, it did not move.She spun around to Marth and Boris, who looked like they were having their fun. "Yeeeah, hey! Boy, I sure caused some diddly-darn damage with that one!" She clicked her tongue and turned back--

 

--and the panther was just about to gouge her--

 

"Oh, FACK--" She stuck Ilyana pommel-first against her ribs, heaving out a breath as the body shlunk-ed against it. She raised the blade and thrust it a couple times, trying to shake the cat off the end. "Come on! I just lost my tea leaves! I actually need this!"

 

((Alrighty, no Soren posts 'till the first of October!))

Edited by Sugar-Free

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