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Thread: Fortissimo EXS // Trigger: Verzweiflung (IC thread)

  1. #1041
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Chisana Risu
    Final Battle vs Rogue Flame

    It's not as if she expected to survive.

    Neither did Chisana Risu believe she was fated to die upon daring to bare her fang at the Rogue Flame. In the first place, there was no time for thoughts of such things. Merely of what could have and should have been done. A world of possibilities.

    But this possibility, that of seeing that person before her again... it was something she hadn't dared to hope for.

    Those elegant mannerisms, that cold but comforting way of speaking, they all point to one thing: Kurokami Hotaru has returned, and there is a brightness in her eyes that hadn't been there earlier. The sight is enough to bring tears to her eyes.

    "G, ah, H-Hotaru-chaaaaaaan!"

    The end result, after everything that could've been said and done, is a flying hug.

    "You idiot! You stupid dummy moron baka!"

    It might perhaps be a shock. Kurokami Hotaru is a reserved Japanese girl, but Chisana Risu has travelled the world and learned a much laxer sort of common sense, one that mandates physical contact between close friends. In any case, it's the first time the smaller girl has said anything remotely mean to the other.

    "Y-you can't just, disappear like that! And then show up and save me like some sort of hero! I was... supposed to... save you..."

    Finally the manic energy in Risu's voice fades, and she backs off. A bit of red around the eyes, a wayward sniffle or two, and all else is returned to normal.

    "I'm..." she struggles with the words for a second. It's hard to face this person after what seems like years. "Hotaru-chan, I'm glad you found your answer." In the end, Risu doesn't particularly mind not being the one to drag her friend out of trouble. In fact, she's all the prouder for it. Proud that the person she admires was able to overcome her own darkness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurokami Hotaru
    "I need your help to seal Rogue, Chisana-san. I know that I've never really done anything for you other than keep you company, but... well, would you eating some nice ramen at that place you brought us last time?"
    "Hehe..."

    She can't help but giggle at that. Risu stands and smiles. Her body is barely functional, her magical reserves are empty, and she's used up each and every one of her trump cards.

    "Hotaru-chan... this is the first time you've asked me for anything."

    But there's no way she'll ever turn down a request from a friend.

    "If it's like that, then there's no way I can say no. So it's a promise. Let's eat some ramen together again."

    She stands straight. Something has changed in these few moments. The relationship between The Traveller and the Void Empress was always an unequal one. The two stood on different playing fields, in different worlds, never quite seeing eye to eye. In short, Chisana Risu was someone that could never reach Kurokami Hotaru. The distance between them was impossible to overcome in more ways than one.

    And yet, somehow along the way, that distance was turned to nothing. They can stand shoulder to shoulder and smile together.

    "It's possible. Definitely. Because 'that place' exists." The place they've both seen. A thousand, million, billion, endless number of people stretching out their hands. They've both been there, so it can be done.

    Risu brandishes her fang, and it turns into its original form. It may have been deadlier as a blade, but the pen was always mightier than the sword. She completely contrasts the Void Empress. Where one is aloof and mysterious, she is as approachable and silly as ever. But they are both Magi, ready to weave miracles.

    "Before anything else, though, we need a chance."

    Risu looks down at the impossible battle below. She was lucky to escape with her life, and doesn't much believe that lightning will strike twice. In fact, anything can happen. Rogue may unleash even more power and annihilate them all, or Akio and Uta might just end it here and now. In any case, she can only play the role she chose for herself. They can only seal Rogue flame if the fight below affords them the opportunity to.

    In short, far from only relying on each other, they'll be counting on those below to make that chance appear.

    "The end is yet to be written... so we'll have to write it together, won't we?"

  2. #1042
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    "Kajiki Uta... You are far too naive. Your inferior mind cannot grasp the true meaning behind the Magic you wield..."



    Faced with the ultimate manifestation of power, the avatar of despair does not even flinch. As concepts such as time and space barely affect an existence as high as his, not even a hint of surprise can be felt in his demeanor. Rogue Flame most likely foresaw what his opponent would do and acted, even if the reality Cerberus' eyes showed her looked like the polar opposite. For a mere human to Hope to overwhelm a God with Magic alone... That is nothing but a childish fantasy that will never come true-!








    "---Akashic Record---"



    If Fortissimo is the power to create the 'present' one desires, then Akashic Record is the key that unlocks the 'past' for the user to manipulate it as he wishes it. In short, the ability to freely alter the records of history. A single use would be enough to eradicate the human race, even the annihilation of the entire universe isn't outside its reach. An unfair, forbidden curse that undoes it all, the battle was over the moment its full power was invoked.

    ---Or so it should have been.

    Instinct takes over as Kajiki Uta's existence kicks into overdrive, automatically activating Fortissimo hundreds of times in a row once it understands it is all over if it doesn't. Certainly, its usage is still immature and limited by human intellect, just as Rogue has pointed out. If one had to compare it, it would be close to a flame burning brightly before going out. Fortissimo is a tricky spell: As it only cares for the 'present', the hope it brings may come at the expense of future ruin, especially if the host is unsuitable. Right now, the only reason why Cerberus is able to sustain herself is because she has created a loop of wishes to constantly patch imperfections and survive. However, the moment she makes a pause, she'll most likely cease to be.

    And yet, somehow, her presence alone is enough to inspire resistance, to bestow hope in the darkest times. And that hope... Plays a very important role in this fight. To the point where it is the only thing that's keeping this world from reaching its unavoidable end. Right now, Kajiki Uta is carrying the weight of the entire world upon her shoulders.

    ---Which makes it all the more pleasant to see her collapse.

    A mechanism fails.

    The gears of possibility are crushed under the hammer of despair.

    The source of the problem is hidden among a multitude of 'Fortissimo' uses. Naturally, to create this sort of disturbance, one of them would have to be rendered ineffective, causing the chain of events that follow to become inconsistencies. Inconsistencies that Fortissimo might be able to fix, provided its user had the time to realize they exist. Which is, unfortunately, not the case.

    Ah.

    Cerberus' death is immediate. To the eye of an onlooker, the instant Rogue Flame pointed his open palm forward, Kajiki Uta's body was reduced to spirit particles, leaving no chance for retaliation. Most likely, her brain did not even register the end. At that moment, whatever remained of humanity's future scattered into the winds.






    "Now then... Akashic Record: Acala."



    A black revolver manifests upon command. Its power has been used in this fight beforehand, so Rogue Flame will just repeat something that has already been done. Except that, this time, it will be used to vanquish the remnants of hope. In the blink of an eye, the Gungnir Cerberus fired with the every ounce of her strength disappears. But to say that its fire has been extinguished would be wrong. No, the Mage of Misfortune never had any intention of challenging such a ridiculous display of power. Instead, he would conquer it and use it for his own gain.

    Space folds, creating a shortcut that defies common sense. Reynard Everheart could only make simple 'folds', limiting the number of uses of this ability. However, in Rogue's hands, its true potential is unlocked. As if mocking Chisana's hope for an opening, the infernal sphere of Magical Energy reveals its presence only as it is mere centimeters away from burning away its targets, filling their vision with nothing but 'death'.

    Furthermore...









    "---Akashic Record---"


    The avatar of destruction makes it so every action that involves movement or evasion is promptly erased from the records of history. This translates to reality by preventing their feet from moving and their magic being dispelled the moment it is cast, making this an attack that must be faced head on no matter what. And... Being the ultimate manifestation of power...


    The only saving grace is, perhaps, that their death would be painless, and spent alongside someone they hold dear.


    -------


    Nakamura Akio would do the impossible to protect his friends. However, right now, Nakamura Akio is no longer the same as he was a moment ago. By transcending the boundaries and becoming 'the ideal hero', he has chosen to forfeit his life as human. Because he lacks the necessary power to reach the level of Gods, his Magic is using his own personality and experiences as a fuel. In order for it to exist, the 'unnecesary' things have to be thrown out. That is to say, the concept he has transformed into is quickly writing over the person he has been all his life, like recording on an already used tape.

    To save humanity, the only goal he should be concerned above is standing in front of him. Nothing else matters.





    "You are the cause of your own demise. Allow me to show you that, despite common belief, darkness can exist without light."



    Invoking his power once again, the Mage of Misfortune summons two weapons at once this time. But... Unlike those that came before, these two share one particular trait: They are humanoid in shape. Though the ones everyone has come to know still remain where they've once been, two 'replicas' have appeared in front of the God, in order to block the hero's path. No, to call them 'replicas' would be a mistake. If anything this Aesop and this Echidna are the real thing. True weapons, designed for the single purpose of destruction. Yes, if there is one thing the two specialize in...

    ---It is genocide.

    Moving in perfect synchronicity, as if their strings were being pulled in unison, the two lift their hands and point at the enemy, unfazed by his sheer speed. They remain confident in their ability to annihilate him with a single blow. Sparing not even an instant to 'charge up', their attack, a Last Resort of the highest tier is unleashed, burning up everything on its path.









    "---Death: Armageddon---"

    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  3. #1043
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    The Hero
    ???


    He had always been standing at the end of that shining path.

    A being whose existence was eternal, someone so far away that the only thing Nakamura Akio had ever seen of him was his back, endlessly marching into the future. He is someone who is eternal but transient, an impossible idea that appears in everyone eventually, a convenient escape from reality, the yearned for hero; an inspiration, a symbol for the ultimate being, a perfect, undefeatable warrior, the ideal hero that cannot be overcome, and thus, someone who should not exist.

    He is not someone who should be able to be reached, he is a symbol of hope, the strongest possible symbol of hope, he is someone who should be little more than an ideal, hence his fragile but eternal existence.

    And yet...

    Filtered through the lens of not just "Nakamura Akio," but the "World" itself, that non-existent being, the "ideal hero" that Nakamura Akio had created inside of his consciousness, finds itself coming to life.

    It is strange.

    Standing within that endless white void, there seems to be someone who has walked past him. Body flickering like static, he recognizes the existence known as Nakamura Akio the instant he sees him, standing there beyond the end of the endless journey.

    By that same token, he understands the situation so quickly that the future itself is slow in comparison.

    To put it in conventional terms, that youth is dying.

    Or rather, the "life" he was quickly gaining, was something that that boy was losing just as fast. Trading one thing for another, the youth that has finally caught up to him has done so only by becoming him, giving up everything, overwriting his own self, in order to bring to life the "hero" that existed within the hearts of not just the living but the dead.

    As that hero, the youth that looks completely identical to his dying counterpart, steps forward without hesitation; there is someone here who needs to be saved, and thus while his own existence is still incomplete, it is his duty to carry out that rescue.

    He will reverse it.

    Easily powerful enough to completely undo a magic that had taken a lifetime to forge, the silver-haired youth reaches out to touch himself, knowing full well that undoing that magic before it was complete would be the same thing as blowing his new consciousness to oblivion, but willing to do so because that is his nature as the "perfect hero."

    But...

    Before he can...

    That youth's hand grips his wrist... And denies it...

    "..."

    Hand shoved away, the ideal looks down at himself once again with eyes that are impossible for anyone to understand.

    This person is determined to see this through, and feeling that resolve, in this, and against this person alone, the ideal is willing to concede.

    Even so...

    "...Aren't you scared?"

    Asking a question to which it knows the answer, the hero quietly demands an explanation from the dying one.

    "Hah... Maybe a little."

    To which the answer... Is surprisingly honest.

    Shaking, not with fear, but just the effort required to keep himself together for even a few seconds more, the Nakamura Akio that had thought he would make it a bit farther than this, is still content when he sees his own face staring back at him with an impossible to comprehend strength.

    "But... You understand right?"

    Of course it does.

    ...To protect the ones he loves, Nakamura Akio was willing to bet absolutely everything, because his resolve eclipsed that of absolutely everyone around him. There was bravery in fighting to the end, in dying for a cause, but that was not what this was...

    Overwriting himself, Nakamura Akio gives up more of himself than just his life.

    Absolutely everything.

    Denying himself even the afterlife, the fear that youth feels should feel more pronounced, and yet...

    "I'm not worried."

    These words were truth.

    "You and I are the same, after all... I'm not too great a gambler but... Betting everything on myself... Those odds are probably the best I'll get."

    For an instant... Even the Hero is surprised...

    That answer... Is absurd, yet...

    For that boy.

    It makes sense.

    "Very well... I will carry that resolve. After all, you still haven't given up, have you?"

    "Of course I haven't... A hero that can save everyone... Why shouldn't I believe in such a thing?"

    It is one that causes the both of them to smile.

    Bending to that resolve, his own resolve, reflected in that clear mirror...

    The two step past each other.

    There's no need for words, tagging out with only the brief clash of hands, the pass of a baton from the boy who had wanted to become a hero, to the hero that had always stood at the end of the shining path...

    "Heh... All... In..."

    Nakamura Akio finally seems to burn away, but...

    Those sparks that remain, the ashes, the embers...

    "Show me... How strong a hero can be..."

    Are absorbed into the one that continues to walk into the light.

    ---

    The Hero
    Vs Rogue Flame


    "...Darkness without Light is meaningless. The human heart is full of so much more potential than that... As someone who can only inflict pain, the one who needs to be taught a lesson is you."

    Halfway through his charge, as if awakened by the words of a Dark God, the demeanor of Nakamura Akio is one that seems to change completely. A rush that had possessed minor flaws was instinctively corrected, the sword in his hand, Fragarach, becomes identical to the real thing, and the voice...

    Nakamura Akio's voice...

    Had reached a complete calm that could be buried beneath absolutely no form of despair.



    "---Death: Armageddon---"

    Taking over the body at what many would consider the worst possible moment, the Hero does not feel anything towards the incoming Last Resort; while it had certainly been fired with the intention and belief that he could be destroyed by it, the youth simply did not agree with that belief, if he had been the type to laugh at the efforts of others, he would have done so here, but charged with a grim mission, the resolve of a young man who had given up absolutely everything in a desperate attempt to summon him here, the Hero gazes at the Last Resort with fearless eyes, piercing it so clearly with his gaze that he could be said to not be looking at it at all.

    It wasn't that it was weak.

    A magic that was clearly of the highest class, cast by the combined efforts of two humanoid weapons, the fact that they had fired it next to instantaneously was reason enough for him to praise it as something outstanding, something that certainly may have destroyed him if he had remained as his human self, but...

    "Phantom Memory."

    Invoking a power Nakamura Akio had only begun to grasp the basics of, the Avatar of Hope looks as if he is mimicking the actions of his dark counterpart. It was possible, if he felt like it, to just respond to the attack of the enemy with a version of his own, charging it with even more conceptual force to ensure that his came out on top, but...

    "You are a blight on the world. As someone who only severs, who forces despair on others without giving them a choice... You can have no real power. They will abandon you in the end."

    It was not necessary.


    Summoning the weapons of Hitomi and Lucille even as Aesop hears his call and comes to his side, the youth that had stopped his charge responds to a Last Resort of the highest tier, with one that could very well erase reality itself if he were so inclined towards destruction. No longer bound by the common sense inherent to humans, it is a simple matter for him to not only create the weapons of lesser magi, but amplify and combine their effects through use of Phantom Memory alone, drawing out power that even the owners could not.

    Simply put...

    There was almost no magic outside of his reach.

    While he can no longer call himself Nakamura Akio, the attack that he uses to counter the foreign Last Resort is one that was inspired by a certain battle in a past that was not his. Drawing upon the light of the Archangel of the Moon, as well as that of the Morning Star in but an instant, so fast that it seems less like a response to their attack, and more like he had simply started attacking first, the Last Resort that emerges against the two humanoid weapons, is an eternal light that no cataclysm could hope to snuff out.

    "I'm ready Master... No matter what you've become, I'll still be here-!"



    "Covenant of the Archangels: The Reclaimed Paradise-!"

    It is an endlessly hungry light of purification.

    Devouring all the flames that it comes across, it's sheer existence drawing them out of the world, it is an attack that not only embodies the light of the angels, but the mission of the hero that had appeared at the sacrifice of another.

    That's right.

    Strong enough to not only devour the Last Resort of the enemy, and crush both the puppets and their master with it's Eternal Light, it is a light that seeks out not just "Rogue Flame," but all of the "evil" it has spread within the world, harming only the magic of the Dark God, civilians left untouched.

    For that was his mission.

    Simply destroying Rogue Flame would not accomplish what he had been created to do. As the ideal hero, the one who existed to save everyone, his mission was not something so simple as an assassination.

    Killing or sealing Rogue Flame alone would not satisfy the meaning behind his existence.

    He had to stop the suffering of the world's inhabitants as well, and to that end-!

    "Aesop! Now-!"

    The spell was not complete.

    The weapon that had sensed the change in her Master, but had kept true to her promise to remain at his side until the end, does as her altered Master asks, her own powers amplified by his own, a reversal of a situation that she still could not completely comprehend. In her hands is a dagger, while it is not necessary to do what is needed to be done, but using it as a catalyst, the weapon casts the finishing touch on the Grand Magic her Master had unleashed with a mere flick of his wrist.

    In a heartbeat, the power that had already filled the vision of everyone on the battlefield...

    Is drawn back to the past.

    Once.

    Twice.

    Hundreds of times.

    Around the world, the planet becomes covered with that same brilliant, fluctuating light.

    And thus, just as the world had been set aflame with the simple command of a Dark God.

    The Hero puts out the flames with eternal light.

    Firing off all around the world, their target not just Rogue, but his "evil" the flames are consumed, those that persist are snuffed out by eternity, those that relight find themselves fighting the same fight again, the Covenant of the Archangels devouring, repeating, persisting, until each and every bit of that fire is no more...

    The youth keeps running through the cataclysm of magic, weapon at his side.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  4. #1044
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Hotaru's lips had barely opened to answer Risu when Rogue gave his own 'answer' to Akio's and Cerberus'. It was not a mere verbal acknowledgement, a retort or some banter, no, rather, every single answer of his only had one purpose: to destroy whatever obstacle that stood in his way. Words spoken only to destroy, movements made only to destroy, a gaze which only carried across a purpose to destroy... yes, such was the existence that was Rogue Flame. A God of Destruction, one might say... or perhaps, simply 'God'.

    "...what?!"

    Reflexively, Hotaru wrapped her arms around Risu's waist and activated her Rune of Pointlessness : "Apep" to get the two of them out of harm's way -- the most efficient, simple answer in the face of such an onslaught of power: avoinding the problem as a whole rather than face it was the easy way out.


    However, the world refused to comply.


    God is an almighty existence, one that cannot be opposed.


    For Hotaru to oppose his decree that this attack had to be met 'face on', such a thing wasn't even possible. No, one could simply say that merely thinking about it should have been impossible in the first place.


    God is an almighty existence, one that cannot be opposed.


    She hadn't fumbled her spellcasting, no. She was not out of mana, no, far from it. Her powers had not been stripped, no, absolutely not.
    It was simply that just like how she often made other people's actions 'pointless', for the first time, the Kurokami Hotaru was on the receiving end of her own medicine. To escape Gungnir here would be utterly pointless, because God had decreed that it should be fought face on, and the world would only allow such a thing to happen.


    God is an almighty existence, one that cannot be opposed.


    A burning sensation covered Hotaru as she flared Void energies around herself and Risu. Her rune 'Tiamat', meant to nullify attacks by simply creating a field of 'Pointlessness' around, was not something which could compete with the abomination that was Gugnir, an expression, an embodiment of absolute power -- a trump card which disregarded logic and conceptual complications, solving every single problem with the simplest, most ancient answer: strength. Absolute strength.


    God is an almighty existence, one that cannot be opposed.


    "... this... is going to end..."


    It should have ended a long time ago. Gungnir should have outright punched through Hotaru's meagre defences and deleted her from existence alongside Risu... and yet, here she was, standing in the face of what could not be opposed.

    The sound of a thousand glasses shattering could be continually heard as Hotaru repeatedly erected a barrier the very moment her previous one was shattered like it didn't exist. A barrier that no matter how much energy she poured in, would immediately break, but then another similar one would take its place.

    Gungnir was first and foremost, a 'message', a 'declaration': the declaration that it was the epitome of might, the apex of the food chain when it came to strength. For such a declaration to hold weight, everything that opposed it had to be absolutely crushed... without exception. This exact clause meant that as long as there was something to crush, Gungnir would only continue its path after having done so.

    And thus, even if a barrier lasted but a millisecond against Gungnir, if another one took the previous one's place immediately, it would buy an extra millisecond. If this process was repeated countless times, a few seconds could be bought... that was, until the World would come to realise that there was no point for Gugnir to ascertain its strength anymore, because after having proved its superiority countless times, there would be no more point in stopping to do what had already been demonstrated over a million instances.

    With the solidified void energies being dispersed by Gugnir's might, Hotaru's desperate efforts being merely a short postponement of the inevitable became an increasingly transparent matter.

    And yet... as inconsequential as that might seem to be... it was still giving her time. Teeth gritted as her back was being 'erased' by Gungnir, flesh being rended by the Absolute Expression of Strength, Hotaru thought of a way to keep her promise to her sister, and even, to protect this person that she held in her embrace at this point.

    And without even thinking about it, without even realising it, Hotaru was actually protecting someone, like an onee-san should: an act that she hadn't done since Hotaru had lost everything.


    God is an almighty existence, one that cannot be opposed.


    That is the ideal.


    Yes, that is just that -- the idealisation of 'God': an ideal. An ideal created to fill in the void that has haunted humanity ever since it became self-ware: self-aware of the fact that no matter how much it can pretend to know, no matter how much disillusioned it can become about having "reached the level of God"... there is little that Humanity knows. The one certainty that it has always been aware of, and perhaps, afraid of since the dawn of time, is that "we do not know everything." What are the limits of Power? How much is too much, how much is not enough? The questions endlessly cascade down even nowadays, drowning Humanity in a sea of doubt.

    If Humanity does not know everything, yet seeks to do so, then they needed 'something' that knew everything, something which could do the impossible, do the unfathomable -- Humanity needed a crystallisation of this ideal, the Ideal of the Omniscient, the Omnipotent: God.

    But what else is the crystallisation of such extremes being achieved? In Mythology, in History, stands an existence in some way entirely opposite to Gods: The Hero. For every Zeus there would be a Herakles, for every Ishtar there would be a Gilgamesh. As Gods rose, so did Heroes.

    Kurokami Hotaru was no Hero. To be able to oppose a God, another God was required, or another Hero, yet, she was neither of these: Kurokami Hotaru was just a Magus. There would be little that she should be able to do to oppose what Rogue had unleashed on her and Risu... and still... still... there was an actual Hero present here: his name was Nakamura Akio. Due to the special link that they shared, Hotaru could pull from the essence of the Hero, even, borrow its mantle. Not a self-made Hero or some fleeting story that would be forgotten, no, she too shared this power of being "the Hero."


    "Yes... this is going to end here... with your defeat, Rogue."


    With this bold declaration, brazenly defying Armageddon, Hotaru rose to her feet and faced Gungnir. Extending her hand forward, she released a spell that did not belong to the "Void Empress", no, instead, it belonged to 'the Hero that will defeat Rogue Flame'.


    "Chronos Phantasia : Magna Leviathan!"


    What happens when the distinction between shooter and target becomes blurry? What if the shooter and the target were the same?


    Rogue Flame's 'folding' via using Acala was pointless.

    Gungnir never came at Hotaru and Risu in the first place.

    It simply kept going towards Rogue.


    An empowered version of her rune "Leviathan", a ridiculous enhancement that might as well turn it into a Last Resort. Rather than being the mere tampering of a mere Magus with the World's weaving of reality, this was now a command from a 'Hero', a 'Hero' with the authority to warp the fabrics of space, time and history, to oppose 'God' who could do the very same thing.

    With Rogue's folding having seemingly never happened, Gungnir is no more about to crash into Hotaru and Risu, in fact, it is back on a collision course with Kajiki Uta's intended target: Rogue Flame. The two girls are spared the fate of destruction... but Kurokai Hotaru will not be content with just that.

    As the Reclaimed Paradise of 'The Hero' wraps the world in light, Hotaru sees that it is her time to strike as well, to make a difference, riding upon the opportunity that both Akio and Gugnir are offering.

    Hotaru turns to Risu, finally able to give an answer to her little kouhai.

    "We will all write this end together, yes. Now, allow me to go turn the page so that you may have a pure, white and empty space on which to write the most beautiful story ever."

    Turning towards Rogue's direction, Hotaru disappears with a light smile on her lips, one that is strangely peaceful. The battle is not over yet, victory is far from secured, but as she now follows the path that has been paved by The Hero, she can only be 'infected' by this radiant light of hope... and still...


    ------





    Kurokami Hotaru appears in the Sky above Rogue Flame, falling down like an angel stripped of her wings. She was with Chisana Risu the moment before, but with her abilities to 'teleport', taking to the skies was no trouble at all for her.

    The wind brushing against her cheek is pleasant, so is this warm, fresh air brought back by The Hero's Grand Magic. The Paradise had truly been reclaimed from the grips of destruction, albeit, there was no telling how long this would last. Rogue Flame, even if hit by the full might of Gungnir, wouldn't be defeated so easily. Even the power that The Hero displayed wasn't enough to convince that all of this would be sufficient to destroy 'God'. No, God could not be destroyed in the first place, and that is why Hotaru had come up with this plan of hers.

    The first step was concordant with the situation at hand -- The Hero having restored the world, it would be best to make it so that Rogue wouldn't be able to immediately reverse all the damage which had been undone, and thus, taking him to that 'place' immediately was the best option.

    Now, to achieve said step, the necessary actions had to be undertaken.



    "Sephirot Malkuth : Adonai Melekh"

    Hotaru's signature aura envelopes the sky under the form of gigantic energy wings.


    Another one of her runes empowered thanks to being able to tap into the potential of 'The Hero'. If her Rune of Pointlessness - Apep could manipulate the distance between various objects, people and places, then Sephirot Malkut is the ability to manipulate the very foundation of realms.

    The Rune Apep allowed Hotaru to move things within a realm, but this ability granted as being one who borrows the mantle of "The Hero" allows to move whatever Hotaru wishes in-between realms. Of course, to a mere Human who can barely understand the vast spectrum of alternate dimensions and has limited perception of 'reality', it is impossible for Hotaru to make the fullest use of this ability, however, the little that she can make with this 'Miracle' is all that she needs.

    Wherever one is at one point in time, one stands upon a realm, may it be physical, spiritual or simply incomprehensible -- at all points once can be said to even exist because of the fact that one is able to manifest in a realm. If one cannot be registered in any realm, does one even exist at all? As thus, even God, who is said to be above all, must be assigned a realm. If one, perchance, was able to 'edit' that little detail...


    'Eating' the area where Rogue, The Hero and Chisana Risu all are, the wings swoop down and clasps everyone to take this battle to 'that' realm.



  5. #1045
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    United Front
    Shopping District Ruins - Time Unknown

    There is a fist.

    In that maelstrom of destruction, that pure pinnacle of power, Chisana Risu sees a punch being thrown. A declaration. A battle cry with someone's will behind it.

    She faces the might of Kajiki Uta - the strongest - at its peak.

    So in the instant before she is erased, before Kurokami Hotaru can weave a miracle and face that ultimate power, Risu can only feel sadness.

    "Uta-san... this shouldn't be all that's left of your will..."

    That girl had a dream. A goal. Risu could only vaguely understand it, but certainly this isn't what Kajiki Uta would've wanted.

    For what purpose does strength exist? What is one to do with the ultimate power attained at that summit?

    Risu could never defeat the question Uta had carried with her. But she is certain of one thing: this Gugnir is not the answer.

    And if it's not Uta's answer, then it cannot be infallible. By commandeering that weapon, Rogue Flame had degraded something beautiful and made it lesser.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurokami Hotaru
    "Yes... this is going to end here... with your defeat, Rogue."
    Hotaru understands. Of course she does. That person was her classmate too, wasn't she?

    So they'll win. Hotaru will stand against that thing for sure. In that case, it's the job of her friend to make sure that declaration isn't undone.

    As Hotaru shouts out the name of the Rune that will carve open a road to the future, Risu closes her eyes and hears the present.

    "Ashes..."

    Risu cannot erase the destruction of Kajiki Uta. She cannot unsee it. The moment is there, before her eyes, happening over and over, again and again. It's not merely despair. The memory calls out to her to look closer, to understand something and glean a last bit of meaning from her classmate's - her impulsive, stubborn, self-assured classmate's battle. She used a strange rune - Fortissimo, a voice whispers - that could paint reality like a brush, but it was defeated - by what?

    ---------The Akashic Record.

    The 'past' is at his disposal. He could not circumvent pure strength, so he carved away the supports sustaining it. It's an ultimate, impossible, cheat-like ability that cannot be stopped. It's no wonder why Rogue Flame ignored her previous attempt - a normal attack means nothing when one can rewrite it out of existence. Only the wound dealt to him by a similarly cheat-like weapon remains as a scar upon him.

    ...a wound, and one other thing.

    "Embers..."

    The world pulses. The Hero that used to be Nakamura Akio roars his defiance, and something inside Chisana Risu skips a beat.

    How could she have missed it? They are connected. The knowledge in her mind - it didn't come from nowhere after all. The mana surging through her body, the determination rushing through her veins, the voices whispering to her... they flow from him. From that avatar of hope, that gentle flame kindled from the hopes and dreams of humanity. She is linked to The Hero, and The Hero...

    The world.

    No longer does she hear the present. The link affords her a chance to glimpse the form of the past as well.

    A history of flames. Of despair. Of suffering. Of hope. A history of a world. From then to now, a million billion pictures playing in reverse, a story being written even as she flips through its pages.

    Is this what Nakamura Akio saw? Is this what granted him the power to bear the burden of the world's hopeless?

    Is this what Rogue Flame sees, what he grabs and molds with that rune of his?

    It is. Risu can only glean a mere fragment through their link, but she is certain. The power that Nakamura Akio wields - that very fragment - comes from the same source as the Akashic Record. That's why Rogue Flame can't simply alter the past to eliminate Akio - because to do so, he'd have to strike the very concept of a Hero from all of existence.

    And he'll do just that. Whatever gain they make, whatever advantage they grab, be it from the Void Empress defying fate or The Hero standing tall against all odds...

    The Rogue Flame will reach into the past and undo it all.

    "------no. That's too disgusting."

    The anger, the determination, the fear and the hope and everything that Risu feels in this moment, as she watches the people she cares for struggle against God, echoes through the link. They feel it too. The people suffering right now have had it with fate. The fire that burned away their attention has for a moment been abated, giving them a chance to collect and think and turn their eyes away from themselves. The fire has been beaten back, and in its wake it leaves ash and ember alike.

    Chisana Risu shudders. The world shudders.

    Something quakes. The sky is grey. Ash. Ember. They coat the world, a product of the Rogue Flame's rampage. They are what remains after his meddling.

    Risu seizes it all. The Traveller calls up the memories of the world she knows, and through her, so does every man, woman, and child that lends strength to The Hero. The link reverses. She sends out a call to the voices that had spoken to her.


    "Embers... of Nidhoggr-!"





    The sky is set ablaze once more.


    They will succeed. Hotaru and Akio will succeed for certain, so there's no need to craft the world-spanning picture to show anything different. Everything that is created using the eyes and ears of humanity as a conduit is identical to reality. The Traveller dares not distort the world she so dearly loves. When she paints that picture - that ultimate illusion, she does not change a single thing.

    In the first place, trying to trick a God with something that simple is folly at its worst. She does not believe for an instant that any illusion would work against someone with the whole of history at his fingertips for reference. There is no point to her greatest trick when the person she's facing can simply search up the explanation online in real time.

    It could be said that, as mediocre as Risu's magic is, she has found some success in using it against vastly stronger opponents. But against Rogue Flame, even ignoring his overwhelming power and his otherworldly perspective that cannot be understood by a human, he is still the absolute worst possible foe for this Rune. He will surely see past it. When he reaches into his Akashic Record to undo any progress they've made...

    The history that Rogue Flame sees will be the true illusion.

    "To attempt to decieve a God is the height of hubris." Her father had once said. "But for a Magician... it's nothing more than a challenge."

    Humanity roars. That glimpse that Chisana Risu saw - that realm of memory - she covers the heart of Rogue Flame's power in an illusory past. When he attempts to modify it, he will only ever erase her falsehood.

    The efforts of her friends... Chisana Risu will never allow them to be wiped away.
    Last edited by Bloble; April 12th, 2017 at 06:23 AM.

  6. #1046
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    United Front
    Final Battle vs Rogue Flame - Mugen








    Countless bright lights shine across the endless expanse of darkness.

    ... But those lights are not stars; they are human thoughts.

    Dreams and hopes, but also fears and sorrow.

    That's right, this is a place reserved solely for humans, where their consciousness becomes one, where everything can be traced back to its origin. An ever-changing maze that depends solely on their perception.

    If the world as people know it were nothing but a fleeting 'dream', then this infinite space, in its entirety...

    It would definitely not be wrong to call it the 'dreamer'.






    "..."


    He was sealed here, sixteen years ago, within this realm of many names. What happened back then was nothing more than a miracle, brought about by four people who had little to do with each other, and whose paths converged right at the end of their 'chapter'. As a conceptual existence who has lost his human form, Rogue Flame has no power here. However, to say that he does not belong... That would be a big mistake on anyone's part. The black sea that extends in every direction is what has given him form, and he acts as its avatar. In a sense, they are one and the same. Indeed, so long as at least single man dreams of it, there will always be an incarnation of 'darkness'. The existence of a dream comes together with the promise of its inevitable end, 'the will to wake up'.

    "..."


    The massive sphere of power closes in on him, as if it had never went astray. In the blink of an eye, it invades his personal space, immediately rendering all attempts to avoid it futile. It's an attack so grand that just its mere proximity causes his own health to evaporate. Certainly, Kajiki Uta's last will is worth acknowledging. In terms of pure power, it might have even surpassed him and 'the hero', if only for a brief moment. Were it to hit...








    "---Akashic Record: Second Ignis---"




    Awakened by an instinct of self-preservation, his most feared spell activates on its own. While he is able to cast his Magic at instant speed, there are some times when 'instant' isn't enough to rewrite history. That is why Rogue developed Second Ignis as a countermeasure, turning it into an autonomous, self-defense mechanism that triggers when certain conditions are met. To put it bluntly, by overlapping Akashic Record onto itself, the Mage of Misfortune can make it so, according to the records of history, he was able to alter the past in circumstances when his reaction time would not allow him to do so. This erases any flaw a keen mind would be able to find in the original spell without having to sacrifice any offensive or conceptual power. In other words, it cements Akashic Record as a peerless spear and an unbreakable shield, that together surpass anything in its path.

    ---Even so...

    Even when faced with a force capable of changing destiny itself, Cerberus' Gungnir does not kneel. It shakes off the shackles of time and space and dives into its one and only target-!






    "W...What-?!"


    Ultimately, the effectiveness of a weapon is decided by the skill of its wielder. That's the one truth able to shatter that contradiction-!


    As space itself is covered in a cloud of dust and smoke, everyone can definitely feel a reaction. Gungnir, as well as what followed after... All of it hit the enemy without doubt. In the end, it was Rogue's arrogance what brought his own downfall. On his own, he might have been able to detect the 'lie' that Risu laid in front of his eyes, however, the moment he decided to rely on 'instinct', he crafted his own defeat. To think that a conceptual magic that surpasses even the powers of a God would be fooled by a magician's street act.

    "Did that do it...?"


    Unable to keep up with the impossible pace of the fight, Nakamura Hitomi speaks for everyone when she asks that question. Though her throat burns at the mere thought of the consequences of his brother's 'sacrifice', she throws emotions aside in order to focus on what's truly important. Gathering the minuscule amount of Magical Energy she has left, she awakens her godly vision to find out the truth...

    "No... Way..."


    ---Truth that comes at the merciless price of despair.







    "... Double Stock."



    Through the course of the battle, the enemy has shown an unbelievable amount of patience and respect alongside a calm demeanor. There was no need to exert itself, as reaching the goal was assured. Being a force similar to what 'death' is to humanity, he is nigh unstoppable. He cannot cease to exist unless this world, alongside everyone else does first. To be forced to resort to his 'trump card' brings nothing but humiliation, alongside a killing intent that dwarfs any that you might have felt before. He's angry, furious, and will no longer take detours to ensure his victory in the long run. No, he'll end everything in an instant.

    ---Heartbeat.

    With the limited information she has, Nakamura Hitomi predicts the outcome of a hundred different scenarios. She's missing over one million possibilities, but just a small sample is enough to become aware that nothing within her repertoire can do anything to overwhelm fate. The feeling of powerlessness that the realization brings is just heavy enough to bury her soul under its weight. From the beginning, most of her abilities seem to come from a borrowed power, the reason behind her alias, 'The Archangel'. Though her proficiency and skills make her a formidable foe, with the exception of her Last Resort, her abilities do not really stand out. Compared to the manipulation of time and space, her superior eyesight seems to stand just above what's expected of an 'average' Magus.

    ---Heartbeat.

    Just what is Nakamura Hitomi worth? She has always been someone who'd stand in front and guide others, the strong older sister who'd hide her insecurities under a mantle of courage in order to carry on. Now, her brother has made a giant leap forward and sacrificed his very existence as a human being to bring a ray of hope to this fight, and she cannot even stand by his side and support him. It's frustrating. If she could make a pact with the devil right now, she'd go right ahead. No matter what the exchange might involve, she'd push onwards without a second thought.

    ---Heartbeat.

    However, she is not allowed such possibility. Reality is cruel and humans are born different from each other. Expecting to share the same treatment as the one next to you is nothing but a petty dream. The only thing she has is her own intellect. In contrast with Akio who most of the times acts without thinking, she's the sort of person who thinks about every little detail, the kind of woman who speaks more inside her mind than she does out loud. And yet... She is unable to think of any solution, of any way out of their impending deaths.



    "Do not give up. Your own power... Believe in it."



    It's a distant, yet very familiar voice. It must have spent a lot of itself just to convey this advice and reminder. To anyone else, this might have been a pointless and shallow attempt at encouragement. But for Nakamura Hitomi, even if what she just heard turned out to be nothing but an illusion, it is enough to draw a smile on her face. And that is because those words of encouragement... Came from her one true partner.

    "Mhm."
    She no longer lowers her head. Her soaring spirit rises from the depths of despair with a flash-! "I will!"




    "---Flash Truth---"



    She returns to the beginning. As the pioneer who discovered this simple and general, but terribly effective spell, she's been always destined to master it. Being able to use it in ways others could not from the early stages, she relied on its powers time and time again... But never bothered to go further than that. Just like humanity built planes in order to be able to fly, Flash Truth is the means by which 'true maximum speed' can be attained. However, as abusing conceptual laws can easily surpass what it is capable to accomplish, most confuse it with an rune fitting only for those who need to make up for their lack of conceptual mastery.








    A barrage of projectiles made of black fire emerge out of nowhere in order to intercept her sudden dash.




    ---However.

    "Dimension shift!"


    Hitomi was the first who took it to the next level. By accessing the 'true form of the world' through sheer acceleration, she unlocked the ability to choose her next action from a myriad of possibilities. Should she be unable to avoid attack, so long as the possibility of doing so in a parallel world exists, she'll be able to 'swap' her course of action so the desired outcome can be reached. That said, that has always been her limit. Believing the Rune to be at its peak, she never bothered experimenting with it further.








    "---Akashic Record: Second Ignis---"




    Faced with a superior form of Godspeed, Rogue resorts to Second Ignis to be able to stop his opponent's advance. It is true that, last time, Risu's illusion caused it to misfire, but that won't happen a second time. With a little tinkering, the Mage of Misfortune expanded his defenses and took Akashic Record to a realm outside Chisana's reach. By choosing to alter the future records instead of the past ones, everything that her efforts have achieved crumbles to nothingness. In other words, by modifying the future, it is possible to create an 'universal rule' which can overwrite the past-!

    ---Hitomi's attack will never reach him.

    ------Or, at the very least, that is the record he wrote into history in the blink fo an eye.


    "---Flash Truth9---"


    Possibilities stack onto each other. As if to give Rogue a taste of his own medicine, the older Nakamura merges every road available into a single new path. The result is something superior to the strength of nine Flash Truth used in unison, to the point that everything that isn't pure speed in this world becomes obsolete. Her wings, her eyes and the protection she receives from the moon even here, they were all necessary pieces of the puzzle to reach this stage. Before Magic can turn dreams into reality, before cause and effect can bond, before the rules can be written down in the surface of reality, the Archangel extends her wings and strikes!

















    "I won't let youuuuuuuu-!"



    -------






    The hero does not feel any pain as memory after memory is erased to fuel his very existence. Likewise, he does not recognize the worth of the images that slowly fade away from his mind. However, there appears to be a strong attachment to a certain landscape with an outstanding Sakura Tree in the middle. The beautiful 'tree of confesions'. What he sees has little to do with a singular event in the past, but rather a collection of events all which happened to take place in the same exact location at different points in time. Forgotten promises, unexpected encounters and emotive goodbyes.

    The last remains of the boy who accepted to give up all struggles to keep this image alive, even if their strength does not even begin to compare to the godly force he summoned.
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  7. #1047
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Tree of Confessions - Memory
    Nakamura Akio, Chisana Risu, Kurokami Hotaru



    It is something they can all remember clearly. An image all three of them held onto even as the world fell apart. Now, in the depths of nowhere, that image is conjured up again, weak and fragile.

    A gust of wind carries the scent of embers past. The image shudders, and stabilizes. Drawing from the memories of three people, it becomes ‘a place that exists, if only for a few moments’. Lying with his back to the tree, is an existence that should have long ago burned away to nothing; shuddering and flickering, stabilizing along with the world, the eyes that should be blank carry sparks of thought, the understanding that someone or something else has made their way here, to the only place he has left.

    “...”

    Shifting slightly in place, the youth who has forgotten his own name looks up without speaking, even this much seeming to take a great effort.

    “Akio-kun!” An ignoble shout breaks the serene silence. “There you are!”

    She pokes her head around the side of the tree and waves. A girl with a scorched hat and a soot-covered grin.




    “Uh, can you hear me? I sorta put you together from what was left, and the ashes of what got burned up by that spell, so you might not be all there… but can you at least say something, Akio-kun?”

    “...”

    For a moment, it seems like he doesn’t hear the voice of his classmate.

    Staring off into nothing, or perhaps watching a battle only he can see, it’s only when he blinks, blinks and turns his head ever so slightly, that he acknowledges her presence.

    “...Yeah.”

    He does not remember his own name.

    That certainly left him some time ago.

    Even so...

    “Chisana?”

    It seems the same does not hold true for his memories of other people.

    “...Is it over?”

    A vague question, spoken through a thick fog.

    She bites her lip at that response. It’s cruel. The boy is barely able to speak. He’s given most of himself up already. His wish, however, can’t be ignored. In this place of confessions, she can’t lie.

    “...no. Just a bit more, Akio-kun. There’s a little more left before you can see that happy ending you worked so hard for.”

    It might be possible, using the embers, the memories of Akio that come from others, to shore up his failing body and build someone more capable. But then he’d no longer be the genuine thing. The beliefs of other people are all being drawn to his Last Resort anyway, so inviting them in would replace him with something else entirely.

    She has nothing to say to The Hero.

    This tree, this memory, this sentiment… it can’t be understood by a concept. It’s a small, treasured place only they could understand.

    “Akio-kun, everyone’s waiting for you,” she continues, hesitantly.

    The tree rustles. Each petal that falls is a treasured memory.

    “Could you… can you…”

    She trails off.


    “He can. He will. Because of who he is, because of what he is... he will.”



    A voice declares from atop. As the duo’s eyes rise up, it would seem like the third missing person was there all along, sitting atop one of the branches, catching every single one of these petals that fell with her open palm.

    Kurokami Hotaru drops down, scattering the petals as she descends. The evening wind blows them away, just like how the memories of that youth who threw everything away are currently being scattered.

    “He has to, because of how much he gave, it is only proper that he is given gratitude worth over a thousand times of what he was willing to sacrifice.”

    Hotaru’s expression appears as blank as usual, but betraying her indifferent demeanour is her body language, and perhaps, the humanity within herself which understands what exactly is happening here. Her fists which would usually be relaxed are clenched, her muscles are tense, and perhaps, there her eyes are just a little, tiny bit moist.

    To lose oneself, to not even understand what one is as they ‘die’: there was no worst fate, and none of this atrocity would go uncomprehended with Hotaru. She understood everything -- this ‘fabled’ notion that she had sought after in her moments of despair and madness… this theoretically unattainable feat that was ‘ceasing to exist’... Nakamura Akio was about to reach this twisted Nirvana.

    “The gratitude of ridding the world of ‘Evil’. The gratitude of all his friends, no, of everyone in the world being able to see the sun rise again, to see their loved ones, to finish living their lives… he will have this reward, and we will help him get it. Even if we have to pry it from the hands of Rogue, of ‘God’.”

    Being the Messiah was such a cruel thing. He who would save the world, he would would restore the smile upon every one’s lips… that person would not be able to save themselves, and even, they would eventually forget the meaning of what it is to smile.

    An absurd cruelty that she could not stand.

    Hotaru extended her hand to Akio, as an invitation to continue what they had set out to do in the first place, to finish what they had started.




    “Do you remember me? Even if you don’t, you must at least remember what it is that you wanted. Hold on to it, cling onto it desperately -- that is the only way. Maybe, think of us. Two random nobodies who are here to help you, Kurokami Hotaru and Chisana Risu. Classmates, friends… and… think of what was closest to you: family. That light will be your beacon unto the darkness that awaits.”

    “...”

    Again.

    Silence.

    Looking at the outstretched hand with only the vaguest sense of familiarity, it’s clear that the youth is struggling to connect the dots of the situation. Left with broken shards, pieces of a puzzle that had long since been thrown away, the expression that appears is...

    Pained.

    Pained because he cannot remember.

    Because there is something missing, pieces of the past, connections, that had given his life joy, and then been wiped away by his own hands in order to protect those same things.

    It’s that knowledge that’s painful.

    The knowledge that something is supposed to be there but is not.

    But...

    “What... Did I want...?”

    Raising his arm, holding out his hand, grasping Hotaru’s own, he seems to find the answer in the same moment that he questions himself for it.

    Or rather...

    Even with almost nothing left, the ‘close to zero’ form of Nakamura Akio still understands the most important thing.

    Somewhere out there, there are people he cares about in trouble.

    Who they are is difficult to recall, but he knows they’re out there...

    And that knowledge...

    That knowledge is enough...

    For a distant weapon to sense that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

    And that feeling, one he can sense through their ‘link’ even now...

    “Master!”

    Is enough to draw her here.

    Out of breath, a girl that had only been here as a card nevertheless stabilizes the world further with her presence. As the ‘existence’ that has stayed at Akio’s side the longest, her memories ‘resonate’ with his own.

    They are similar.

    Almost identical.

    And looking at her face, instinctively drawing his eyes to her even as he stands, parts of the lost heart reflare, even if only for a moment.

    “...Partner?”

    A pause, then...

    “...I see, that was it.”

    He remembers.

    Not everything, but enough...

    The mission... His family...

    The things he had thrown away in order to protect those very same things.

    The contradiction of the Messiah.

    “What are you doing?!”

    While she already knows the answer, has finally figured it out, the answer...

    “...Whatever I have to do.”

    Is something that shocks her to silence.

    “You don’t!”

    What stops Aesop provokes an outburst from the Traveller.

    It’s only the fact that she doesn’t feel the pain nearly as much as Aesop - the fact that she isn’t as close as she could have been to that boy - that lets Risu speak clearly.

    “If you can do something, then… then-!”

    Her fists clench.

    “Then Akio-kun, please be selfish!”

    It’s a request no Hero could ever honor. For that reason, it was given to Nakamura Akio instead. In all likelihood, this is what many of his other friends would have asked, so she requests it in their place.

    “You’ve done enough… more than enough… so… so let us bear some of that burden in your place.”

    The weight of the world. In the past, the only one that could hope to hold it up would be The Hero, and it’s that concept that he summoned using himself as fuel.

    But it’s different. Nakamura Akio is not just one person. It is a name worth holding on to. He is, and never will be alone.

    “Please, throw it away.”

    So she asks the unthinkable.

    “The power to do anything. The strength to protect your friends. Please, let go of it.”

    She’s sure. The weak, selfish, foolish boy… he is certainly loved. That person is no messiah. There are things he can do that The Hero can’t. He can be there, sharing memories with everyone, enjoying a future together. So even if this is all that remains, he’ll certainly be able to find and create happiness.

    The Hero only needs to do one more thing, so it’s fine if Akio Nakamura isn’t the one to sacrifice himself for it.

    “Right now, isn’t there there something else you should be holding onto?”

    It’s a surprising statement from someone he had never gotten to know very well, and perhaps because of that, it is one that he takes some time to deny.

    But slowly, surely...

    He shakes his head.

    “...If I don’t do it, it’s all over.”

    A stubborn nature.

    Barely himself, but retaining that quality even now, the boy that had traded everything for power... Had already been convinced that he could not stand up to God without it.

    ...As much as he would like to be... He was not a Messiah.

    And a Messiah was what was necessary to defeat Rogue.

    So he had to make one.

    It is a cold, almost foreign choice made entirely with logic, one that does not fit him, but what he had been left with at the end.

    “And I won’t let it end... I promised them a future, and if this is what has to be done to win, to make sure that everyone else can keep going, then that is-”

    A fist cuts him short.

    For the second time over the course of this fight, a weapon turns on it’s Master. It’s a single blow, not as hard as the last one, scared, perhaps, that she would finish him off herself on accident, but enraged by the lies she was hearing, the cold logic Nakamura Akio had turned to at the end to justify crucifying himself in a twisted nirvana, the weapon punctuates the lie with a fist to the stomach.

    “...Stop trying to make it sound rational, burning away parts of yourself in order to protect everyone... You’re lying to yourself. Who would really become happy through this?”

    Telling him that at the end, the truth of it cannot be denied, after all...

    If he had really, completely, absolutely been ready to disappear for the sake of the world...

    This conversation would not be happening.

    He would not have resisted being devoured in the first place.

    Certainly bearing the will to do it, to trade spots with The Hero and let him save the world in his place because he believed he could not do it himself, the fact that even this much of the ‘original’ him was still here...

    Meant it was not... Absolute...

    But...

    “...”

    Silently, the youth that has dropped to one knee...

    Stays down there.

    Looking down, as if to hide the one wet trail running down his face, the youth’s voice remains calm.

    “...It’s too late anyway. I made my bet.”


    “This is not a bet, no, we are not dealing with luck here -- things are, or things aren’t at this rate. The World is, or the World isn’t.”



    Hotaru, who had silently observed Akio’s and Aesop’s interactions, moves in between the two as to prevent Aesop from punching him another time. The boy was frail enough, it was better at this point to not give him any more mistreatment, as emotionally fuelled this ‘talk’ was. She understood the meaning of that punch, the Love and Loyalty that was behind it… and that is why she did not chastise Aesop.

    In a weird ironic twist, the one who once robbed purpose of everything once agains help the Messiah stand, and does her best to instill purpose within him, or rather, to add fuel to the dying machine that’s left of him.

    “He is right. From the moment he used that ‘Miracle’, from the moment Nakamura Akio immolated himself to shine a light upon the dark path that was our future… you, out of all people, should have understood. Have you not stood by his side, have you not accompanied The Fool throughout his journey?

    Nothing in this world is given for free, no matter how much we pray or wish. You know that very well, and you fought against it all as a pair that opposed that thing we all despise… the price. The price of living, to feel, to be, to love… but also, to hate and to lose. In your speech as you prepared yourself to fight Rogue, you acknowledged it yourself, the dual nature of this world in which we are.”


    A third abrupt movement punctuated this lonely night, but it was not one of violence, instead, it was one of comforting. Hotaru’s hand ruffled Akio’s hair and patted him, just like how she used to do with her little brother when he was distraught.

    “I understand that all this preaching might seem obnoxious from a random person like me, however, perhaps I may give you this offer. I am not here to rob people of their lives or free-will, no, I too believe in happy endings. Perhaps that we will create a miracle, perhaps that Fate will smile upon us and give us one final charitable act so that no ‘price’ has to be paid… but… if you have doubts, if your fears are greater than your convictions -- pass on the mantle to me. Unlike you, I have nothing to come back to, I have no one to greet me back home.”

    That was Kurokami Hotaru’s plan from the start after all.

    “No! Not you either!”

    It’s a festival of interruptions. But this time, Risu is incensed.

    “All this stuff about sacrifice and conviction - haven’t we been through this? You can’t reach it by yourself. The happy ending he… we wished for, it’s not something you can get just by giving things away. It’s only there for those that hold onto what’s important and never let go.”

    They’re both stubborn. And all too smart, too ready to make choices that seem difficult but are in fact the easiest options.

    “We can do it. For sure.”

    So the weakest among them denies the picture they paint, of a harsh reality where one of them has to give up their life.

    “I’m not making it up, either. We can get through this. All of us. Working together, wielding these Miracles. We can save you too, Akio-kun. It’s not too late. You might think it is, but maybe one of us has a super secret Rune you don’t know about, that can fix it. We’ll be able to go home, because all of us have someone waiting there. Even you, Hotaru-chan.”

    She folds her arms, and the tree shivers.

    This is a world created from many memories. It holds significance because it represents something.

    “I swear it.”

    A promise.

    A promise that no matter what the future holds, they will seek within it the light, and never turn back. This tree is where countless people have grasped at the future. Here and now, Chisana Risu does the same.

    She extends her hand, not to Akio, not to Hotaru, but to everyone.

    “Akio-kun, Hotaru-chan...”

    It’s her final attempt, her final question to the self-sacrificing fools before her, to see if something remains in that shell that can still fight against inevitability, and within the girl who was so prepared to throw herself into the flames.

    “That Hero’s strong. We’re kinda weak. It’s possible that we’ll fail. Even if we don’t, we’ll definitely lose a few things along the way.”

    Reality, against...

    “But still, won’t you believe in your friends?”

    ...a wish.

    A heartfelt question. This was the place to open up after all, and pour out everything. A place for honesty, a place where doubt and trickery had no place.

    Hotaru was the first to answer Risu’s question, letting out a little chuckle as if bemused by the obviousness of her answer. No, not obvious to these people, but obvious to herself. Before being honest with others, it was good to be honest with oneself.

    “I do. I have to. This is what we call ‘faith’, isn’t it? Blindly believing upon something that we cannot grasp, hoping that our beliefs will eventually become concordant with reality. But even if I didn’t have faith… how could I not believe in you? Your optimism has always been contagious, that may be why even before I came to my senses, I appreciated keeping you by my side, even as I was an empty shell pretending to move on.”


    She takes hold of Risu’s hand.


    “The World is believing in us. We too are part of the Hero at this moment. “The Hero” does not necessarily refer to a single person. It could two people, three people, an entire collective. In the end, when everyone wishes forth this hero, since said everyone is taking part in the hero’s genesis… isn’t ultimately everyone part of ‘The Hero’?”

    She takes hold of Akio’s hand.

    “Believing in each other, supporting each other, saving each other, let us all do this together.”

    With a knowing nod she beckons Aesop to join in as well and hold Akio’s hand.

    “To whatever ending this takes us, we will make it a happy one.”

    Nodding, believing, because that was what she had always done, the weapon that served as Nakamura Akio’s confidant, quietly holds out her hand to the youth.

    “They’re right... No matter what happens, it’s only the future if we all stay together... So let’s go for it.”

    The result will be the result.

    Staying true to themselves until the end, struggling for their happiness to the end, even if things go badly...

    At least...

    They would go badly together with everyone.

    ...It’s silly.

    It’s foolish.

    It’s unbelievably risky.

    But...

    “Alright.”

    Taking her hand, the chain of shared beliefs grows even deeper.

    And...

    “...Very well, if that is your wish. It is acceptable.”

    In the distance, a dream that had observed everything smiles in spite of itself.

    ...Because this was how it had expected things to go.

    This was how things were supposed to go from the start.

    “A hero that can save everyone...? Didn’t you call me that, Nakamura Akio?”

    Eyes closed, the youth regards himself with endlessly kind eyes.

    “What sort of realized dream would I be... If that didn’t include you?”

    For many people, the continued existence of Nakamura Akio is necessary for their ‘Happy Ending.’

    As a being that realizes dreams, that has gathered all of those wishes.

    This is a compromise.

    A promise.

    A declaration.

    To save everyone, even himself.

    Those dreams, those desires for him to continue on...

    That was the true reason...

    He was even still here.

    “So let’s go.”

    Figure against the wind, against the falling petals.

    “We’ll all win together... For that... Omnipotence... Isn’t necessary.”




    ---

    Even so, in spite of the talk of no further sacrifices, of marching forward together to meet whatever fate they may, there was still something that bothered the remnants of Nakamura Akio.

    It is an ironic doubt.

    While no one had talked about it, there was certainly a person who was going to sacrifice themselves here. Even when the others fade away, returning to the fight, the youth stays for a moment to regard himself, his “Dream,” made manifest.

    The one who knew full well the price of not consuming his other self completely.

    “What about you?”

    Worrying about his other self, Nakamura Akio stops the other youth in his tracks as he turns to walk away.

    “...There is nothing to worry about. Your dreams are not the only ones keeping me here, and what I have taken from you was worth more than you could ever understand... To combat Rogue... I will have enough to help everyone bring things to an end.”

    “But that’s not-”

    Enough to bring things to an end.

    And likely no more.

    A conceptual being that was never completed, one that had chosen to stop most important part of the process right at the end to leave something of Nakamura Akio remaining, the immortal Messiah had become quite mortal in the span of but a single decision.
    ...But it wasn’t bothered.

    It had never been destined to have much time in the first place.

    When the world was saved, there would be no more need for the dream of a hero.

    Fulfilled, brought to it’s close, he would have faded back into dreams shortly after, gone back to an endless sleep until someone else woke him up in the future.

    “Worried about me? Hahaha... Isn’t that bizarre, Nakamura Akio? Can you only worry about yourself when you see yourself with your own eyes?”

    “...I-”

    “I’m not worried.”

    A reversal of their previous conversation.

    “Beings like myself and Rogue... We do not belong in your reality in the first place... From the start, I was simply a Dream. When all of this is over... That is once again what I will become.”

    “But-”

    “But that is fine. Did you not say it yourself? You and I are the same. I may disappear in the future, I may vanish back into the sea of souls... But even if you can’t see me, I am your other self. A dream is not so easy to destroy, at worst we change shape... I will be by your side, watching over everyone.”

    “...”

    He doesn’t like it.

    His original self clearly wanting to disagree, the ideal simply laughs and turns away once more.

    “Do not worry. This is a rare opportunity... We will fight together, and I will show you just how strong a Dream can be, for what you have lost... I will surely fulfill our promise.”


    [BGM OFF]



    Nakamura Akio, Chisana Risu, Kurokami Hotaru
    The End - Mugen





    In an instant, the group are back in the thick of the battle against Rogue. Their placements, the exact position of their limbs, everything is as if that meeting under the Tree of Promises had never occurred, yet the very promise that they forged still beats within their hearts, present, real, unforgettable.

    Kurokami Hotaru, Chisana Risu and Nakamura Akio now move in sync. No more is The Hero just a single entity, no, rather The Hero is now the entirety of those opposing Rogue Flame -- Humanity’s Stand against the coming of The End. They do not need to speak words to communicate, for their thoughts are transparent to each other as clear water, their plans and intentions as concise as the bright morning sky.

    Seeing the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that Nakamura Hitomi had forged for them, the trio will not let it go to waste.

    “Will this be enough to defeat Rogue?” is a question that needn’t be asked. Though as admirable and valiant Hitomi’s efforts were, the fact that Gungnir did not suffice to deal with Rogue Flame already gives the answer away.

    But to achieve checkmate, one doesn’t need to take out the King -- yes, one simply needs to force him into a position where whatever he’d do, he’d lose.



    “N o w
    !”

    ------


    Kurokami Hotaru
    Void Empress


    With the path that Nakamura Hitomi has opened, it is now time for the Void Empress to make sure that this path stays open.

    For the sake of the World, for the sake of a Happy End, it is here that Kurokami Hotaru will give all that she has -- after all, if one does not commit themselves fully, then how could they hope to oppose the absolute?

    She extends both of her hands towards Rogue, brandishing her magical weapons. These tools were what she had manifested during her fall deep into the Abyss of Nothingness, but now that she had come out of it, it was only fitting that she would part with them -- yes, to achieve a Magic that could in itself break reality like God, to challenge the laws and physics of the World, even, to triumph over them… everything has to be given.

    And yet… Kurokami Hotaru will never be able to achieve such a feat by herself. No matter how much she gives up in exchange, no matter how much she sacrifices, it is impossible for her to pull through without destroying herself in the process.

    Even while wearing the mantle of the Hero -- no, ironically, it is because she is wearing the mantle of the Hero that she cannot accomplish this. What she is about to do, nor God nor the Hero should be able to. A forbidden taboo that the World, light or dark, will oppose with unbridled vehemence…

    But it doesn’t matter.

    The Void Empress will carry out what must be done, no matter who or what stands in her way.


    “Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit - Out of Nothing, Comes Nothing:”

    With this unbreakable resolve in mind, she utters the name of her Last Resort. A massive explosion of void energies with the power to erase everything it touches is unleashed… but rather than expanding outwards and threatening Rogue, the explosions takes shape into what resembles an innumerable amount of appendages.

    Hands, wings, tentacles, claws… the shapes are many, but they all serve the same purpose: to grasp something, and that something is the concept of ‘time’ itself. Through some inexplicable phenomenon, Time becomes tangible to these millions of void-powered limbs, and without any hesitation, they grab onto it like ravenous beasts, pulling, uprooting, tearing it all.

    Time begins to distort.

    It is bent, turned over on itself. Its head becomes its feet, its front becomes its back.

    Past and Future become superfluous.

    Even the Present loses all of its meaning.


    “...AION NECROS

    The Void Empress calls for the name of the God of Eternal Time, only to order him to die. This is no manipulation of time, no, this is the absolute destruction of the concept known as ‘Time’. For common sense, it would be impossible for such a thing to happen -- even to Magic, time plays a vital role, for everything requires a beginning at the very least… but forgotten ironically due to time itself, was the moment when the World was in a state where Time didn’t even exist: the era before the big bang, when nothing, not even concepts had been birthed.

    The Last Resort, Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit, has the power to destroy everything it comes in contact with. Unlike Gungnir, which is a display of supreme strength, this Last Resort exists solely for the purpose of ‘removing’: its mission is to remove absolutely everything it comes into contact with, may it be a physical body, a spiritual one, or even, a mere concept. It was used before by Hotaru, but on an occasion where she was weakened and low on mana -- but here, fuelled by effectively the Hopes and Dreams of the entirety of Humanity, the Void Empress can bring the absolute destruction to this fundamental pillar of existence.

    That is the answer that the Void Empress has for Akashic Records. If Rogue has been able to write the story all this time, it is because he has had a coherent language to ‘speak’ in so that whatever he wrote made sense. But if he is now communicating with an audience that does not speak his language anymore, then it is impossible for him; for Akashi Records, to write or re-write anything, for all he’d be doing would be scribbling gibberish.

    This was a direct attack not against Rogue Flame, but against Akashi Records itself. It would trigger no self-defense mechanism, Rogue would have to answer it himself, and luckily, his hands were full with Nakamura Hitomi.

    “...damn it.”

    That is, if the spell could even hold.


    Time fights back. Reality will not allow for such a crime to be committed.

    “Haaaaaaa!!!”

    The kickback effect from breaking the very fabrics of reality is no small thing, or rather, it is no ordinary consequence. When Hotaru breaks the distinction between past, present and future, her entire existence begins to fluctuate -- the World refuses to let such a thing happen, and rather than removing these three clauses, it jumbles them all into a chaotic single concept which is then cast upon Hotaru like a yoke, a chain, as if to destroy the one responsible for breaking the forbidden foundation.

    The History of Man, more than that, the History of the World, she experiences it; all of it, without a single exception. What happens in this universe, what happens in every single alternative... nothing is left out.

    At one point, she is there, when the meteor falls and wipes out the dinosaurs, and perhaps, wipes her out. And yet she is still also here, alive. She is there when the Earth ends, barren, scorched by the ever-expanding Sun. Her body is instantly incinerated, nothing is left of her, not even bones -- and yet she is still here, also alive.

    At one point she is there, at the very moment of her birth, coming out of her mother’s womb, and at the other, she is standing over her grave. At one point she even watches her siblings grow up without her, in a world where she was never born.

    Now, a world where humanity was never born, and then, a world where it flourished and reached for the stars. Now, a world where it killed itself, and then, another where it learnt its lesson and permanently embraced the cradle of peace and coexistence.

    Hope is given, hope is taken. Everything is seen, is felt, is lived. Information is fed to Hotaru’s senses a billion times over the point of overload as she dies and lives, as she is born and as she is killed. As the World is born, and the World Ends. Continuously, perpetually, the present, past and future loop and play without order.

    In meanwhile, back in ‘reality’, not even the smallest fraction of time has passed. Within this self-contained bubble that Hotaru created and planned on expanding so that Past, Present and Future have no more meaning… the only prisoner it has caught for now is the Void Empress herself, rendered in a near-vegetative state, unable to find an anchor to stabilise her flickering being.

    “I have to…”

    She thinks to herself, seeing the first amphibians crawl out of the sea for the billionth time.

    “... do it…”

    Back she is to being in a nuclear apocalypse, irradiated, desecrated by radioactive rays.

    “... I believe…”

    Into the various times where people are born, their mothers overjoyed as they lovingly hold their child… but Kurokami Hotaru has seen this so many aeons ago that she feels nothing.

    “...in happy…”

    A mundane day where a mugger shoots her in the head.

    A tragic evening when a tsunami drowns her.

    Back to the end of it all where the Sun incinerates all.

    “...endings.”

    But it doesn’t end. There is no end if there is no beginning. It is only an infinity of events which play in no particular order.

    Yet… even though she is but a tragic spectator that cannot do anything but watch, that cannot feel, that cannot live, nor can die… there is one anomaly that has yet to leave, something which she has held on to in what would equate to an eternity of mindlessly being subjected to this temporal torture.

    “I promised…”

    She will not break. Even though stripped of nearly everything, that which can barely be called Kurokami Hotaru still stands, trying to complete her spell, something which she has now been doing for an amount of time that no being in existence or non-existence can fathom.

    “Please… help me…”

    She calls out, for the billionth time in the small breath of air she can catch while standing amidst the forests of 9th Century France.
    But it is then, after so long, after having observed for all this time, that it finally speaks:

    “You are so pointless that I can’t stand this any more.”


    A familiar figure appears out of the aether before Hotaru. As she does, the endless shifting seems to just… stop.

    “Who… are you?”

    She didn’t need to ask that question. Hotaru already knew the answer, but perhaps because of the calvary she had been put through, the one who had been fed all of the world’s answers had to confirm for one more time the person she was talking to.

    “A pointless question.”

    “Yes… thank you for answering this pointless question... at the very least.”

    The embodiment of her Magical Weapon, Ouroboros. But it was no separate entity, no. Just like how Kurokami Hotaru was also the Void Empress, the very weapon that she wielded was a literal fraction of Hotaru’s soul -- the exuviae that manifested when the girl lost all to despair and sank into the depths of nothingness.

    “I need you to do a final thing...” mumbles Hotaru with a barely audible voice, mustering whatever could be associated with strength from her soul.

    But before she can continue, a sharp sting invades her right cheek and Hotaru is sent flying to the ground.

    “Pointless.”

    Her Magical Weapon had just struck her. It was a weak strike, but in her current state, even a little push would’ve been enough to topple Hotaru over, having died and died over and over again, her soul barely registering within the spectrum of existence.

    “What is it that you want to achieve? Why do you persist, after all of this that you’ve gone through… why not simply choose to let Time end you and erase your soul away? No matter how much you try, no matter how hard you hold on to, you know very well that may it be the next second or in a few aeons, that soul, no matter how extraordinarily determined and foolish it is… it will fade, and you will accomplish nothing. You do not have the power to do so.”

    There is no anger in its voice even though it has committed violence. It is a simple, curious question.

    But then, Hotaru knows… that it is also a pointless question. She tries to get up to answer.

    “The reason I created you. No, rather, the reason I became you… is why. You know very well what kind of person I am--”



    Blood gushes out of Hotaru’s mouth as the sole of a shoe rams into it and cuts her short. She finds herself lying down on the soft grass, her body unable to even move after this brutal shock.

    Her Magical Weapon looks at her, still devoid of emotions… but what comes out of its mouth is unexpectedly... a torrent of emotions.

    “I was created because of a different purpose, Kurokami Hotaru. I was your frustration, your anger given shape. You never became me, no, you let me take over you… because you felt useless.”

    “...what?”

    “The reason you are going on, the reason why you went against everything you stood for, the reason why you even discarded me to the side, was so that you could prove yourself to be ‘useful’ again. When you met Nayuta under that other cherry tree, when you made that promise with her, you felt that once again, you could become useful to someone. If you could uphold your promise to Nayuta, to that person you held most dear, then there would be purpose for Kurokami Hotaru. Why? I can see it in your miserable eyes, the eyes that have seen the truth, of everything being pointless, yet still go on…

    ...from the beginning, I have been there. I was not created because of you losing everything, no, rather you felt like you owned nothing from the beginning. No matter what you did, no matter what you felt, you could only come to the conclusion that whatever you would do amounted to nothing. It was only your siblings that continuously gave you hope, and their loss was not the start of your darkness, no, it was merely letting go what had already been born alongside your soul.

    You lie. You endlessly lie to yourself. That promises that you made, the beliefs that you shared… they weren’t yours. All you do in the end is be a mirror, you end up being what the other person needs you to be, because that is the only way to be for you. To be of use.
    And so, not because of your own will, not because of your own dreams or aspirations, but because of your desire to be useful, because of you being only a white paper that needs to be written on by others to make sense; a weak, pathetic thing… you are here, calling to yourself, asking for help.

    Do you think that a blind person can guide the other?

    You saw the Truth that the World held, but you never saw your own Truth.”

    … Hotaru is aware of this. Of All of this. She’s had all the time in the world to come to accept this fact. This reminder from her Magical Weapon here still holds power, but then...

    “...you who know just like me that everything is pointless, why are you telling me this?”

    “Because Kurokami Hotaru hates lies above everything else. You who lied to yourself all this time.”

    That’s right. In the end, even though it was something that Hotaru saw as a tool, and never identified as part of herself, Ouroboros, the Void Empress, it was all ultimately the same. Perhaps that time had worn the weapon out, or perhaps that the user’s stubbornness in holding on to a single promise for an eternity had somewhat amused it… still…

    It raises its hand towards the heavens.

    The same spell that she had started aeons ago in the battle against Rogue Flame is reignited.

    “Unfortunately, I am also a terrible liar, just like you. More than you, I exist only because of a contradiction, as you already know.”

    “Wait are you--”

    “Go. Finish what you must do. As long this final stretch of eternity remains etched in your heart, that is all that needs to be said.”

    Hotaru can’t let this end like that. She needs to know why this is happening, what is it that suddenly caused an avatar of pointlessness to suddenly help. This is not the bond between Magical Weapon and user, it is no obligation out of kindness or charity, she needs to know:
    “Why are you doing this?”

    “Because I am you, and you are me. Idiot. Go change that twisted mind of yours. For the sake of everyone you gave a promise to.”

    And it resumes.



    ------


    She returns to the reason it all started: the Battle against Rogue. Her memory still vividly recalls everything that just happened, her soul still is barely holding together… but her body and conviction are stronger than ever.

    The time-breaking bubble spreads and covers the entire realm, but unlike Hotaru, the rest of the people are stabilized, anchored to the pillar that Hotaru has transformed into. With the power of The Hero, with the entire will of humanity, she can keep everyone else within ‘this world’, so that Nakamura Akio and Chisana Risu can bring down the curtains on this final stage.

    She wanted to sleep, to find a good rest, perhaps because the minuscule part that was left of her soul was tired of holding on to this world.

    Her eyes begin to close, the sound of battle grows distant. As long as she upholds this spell, as long as she remains as the pillar to this timeless space, then it would be fine… just a little nap…

    ...no.

    She will not.

    Kurokami Hotaru forces her eyes open.

    She has to witness the conclusion of it all.

    The conclusion of this dream, the conclusion of these convictions.


    [BGM OFF]



    ------

    Chisana Risu
    The Traveller



    They have an audience.

    It’s a silly thing to notice at a time like this, but Chisana Risu has always been sensitive to the attention of others. While Rogue Flame duels some distance away, the eyes of humanity have been turned inwards to observe this battle. They have entered a great ‘dream’ and momentarily commandeered it as a stage for the final battle.

    “Awa… there’s so many of you…”

    She turns, taking in the sea of stars. One might call it beautiful, but…

    They seem lonely.

    It’s her duty as a Magus to answer that wordless call. It’s her wish as a friend to support those she cares about. It has been Chisana Risu’s dream, from the beginning, to shine a light for those who have never seen it.

    Risu has thought about it many times: why she seeks to be in the centre stage. Even now, the idea of having all humanity as an audience only thrills her. The answer is simple and altogether unglamorous: the girl remembers being alone and unwanted, so she makes herself as loud and intrusive as possible. It’s a parasitic relationship where she gives and takes in return.

    But then, that can be said of all humans. The desire to be with others, the desire to have friends, the desire to see one’s wishes granted to others in a reflection of one’s self… there’s nothing wrong with that. She came to terms with it a long time ago.

    That sort of selfishness was something to be treasured. But now it’s time to let it go.

    Chisana Risu already has people she cares about, and who care for her in return. She can feel them beside her as they struggle together. She doesn’t need to be afraid anymore.

    It’s time to give back what was taken. One last performance: her gift to those lonely stars.

    The Traveller doffs her hat and bows.

    “Hello, everyone. If I could have a moment of your time…”

    Ironic, to ask for such a thing even as time itself is being thoroughly abused.

    “I’ve been working on something, for a while. It used to be a journal, but now…”

    A thin book materializes in her hands. The thing is an illusion made real, for in this space perception and existence are one and the same. She flips it open to the first, blank page, and calmly grips Ratatoskr in the other.

    This Magical Weapon, much like a certain discarded card, has been her sole companion. To call it meaningless is wrong. Even so… this will be its final performance.

    Fingers dripping with magical energy, she dabs a spot of golden ink onto the page, and hesitates. Then, with a flourish, a series of glittering letters is carved onto the paper.

    ᚡᛖᛞᚱᚠᛟᛚᚾᛁᚱ᛫ᛖᚾᛞᛚᛖᛋᛋ᛫ᛖᛞᛞᚨ

    “This is a story,” she whispers, sending her voice to the world itself. The dreamers hear The Traveller and react wordlessly, soundlessly, shifting focus. “A very, very long story. It started thousands of years ago…”

    She pauses. “Actually, it started about sixteen years ago, on a cold, windy night…”

    Again. Stage fright, at her final performance. She can’t help but chuckle at that.

    “I haven’t written the beginning. Or the end. But here, at least, is a single chapter.”

    She is connected to the world in two ways. First, through her link to The Hero, to that name she has borrowed. But also, as The Traveller.

    Risu had long pondered what her magic represented. Each set of runes given to a Wielder fits a certain theme. Johnie is a gambler. Rogue Flame is the darkness of past, present, and future. Akio wields the archetypal roles of the very story she writes. Hotaru, until she surpassed that fate, was a herald of futility.

    And The Traveller… bears witness to humanity’s expression.

    The deceits. The dreams. The images and thoughts. The many voices we all take. The webs we weave of whispering winds, to protect ourselves and each other. The desires to make right from wrong and wrong from right. In this moment, after having finally discarded the lies she used to protect herself, Chisana Risu realizes what her magic truly means.

    “This is a story about people. Please read it. And… let everyone hear your voice.”

    Magical energy gathers in her body, passing into weapon - no, her Instrument. She lights a spark within it using The Hero as a starting point.

    “Please… entrust your wishes to this world-!”

    She pulls back, and flings both Ratatoskr and that story into the endless void. As they soar, they become a golden eagle, a beacon in the darkness, a message to the lost. As Risu’s vision wavers, an aching hole is carved out in her heart. The eagle caws goodbye, for it is here that Chisana Risu and The Traveller will part ways for good. One goes on a timeless journey, and the other remains. Everything fades as it leaves her hand, but Risu hangs onto her consciousness, to call out the words:

    “Vedrfolnir-!”

    Her final Rune. Rati was but a stepping stone. This is the true heart of Chisana Risu’s power. A Last Resort that can only ever be used once, at the cost of any agency she could ever have as a Magus. Opposed to Rogue Flame’s power to ‘change’, unaffected by the Void Empress’ power of ‘destruction’, it is the power to ‘create’. The culmination of everything The Traveller represents, using The Hero as a conduit to publish it.

    She is not sacrificing her power. It won’t be destroyed. Rather…

    “------Endless Edda!”

    It is being entrusted.

    Vedrfolnir initially dabbled in words. A simple, straightforward effect without much power. She had never given it much thought.

    Then, as she used it, her reach extended to sentences, paragraphs.

    Words connected, strengthened by their bonds, imposing a ‘narrative’ onto the world.

    And now, a story.

    “Two men are fighting.”

    That sort of thing means nothing.

    “A virtuous Hero struggles against evil.”


    A flicker, but no one can care about such words.

    “The boy is weak. He wants to protect his friends. The man is strong. He is darkness.”


    From that, a spark. A bit further, and…

    “Akio-kun is trying his hardest, so please, support him-!”



    ...the hearts of humanity will move.







    Within the darkness, a hand reaching out for help finds something floating aimlessly. A book, and a pen. The book flips open of its own accord, to a half-filled page of golden text. There is a warmth in the light it exudes, that beckons a glance.

    The hand hesitates, but its feelings pour out despite itself.

    Someone is dreaming. Their emotions cannot be restrained, and are channeled through the now nameless instrument. They are left on that page as a word glowing with magical power. An unconscious addition born of genuine feelings.

    The book and pen are released. The Traveller continues its journey, until it lands in another dream. It were born in the darkness to bring happiness to those in despair, by the wish of a young girl. For as long as there is someone reaching out for help, that hand will be taken. The stories once told to a room of huddling children have finally reached everyone.

    It would never work in any other circumstance. But in this moment, while ‘Time’ has been shattered, the story can progress in the blink of an eye.

    Eventually it reaches another lonely child, crying for some unexplainable reason. The story opens on its own to the beginning of a certain chapter. It has grown since it was first written, as millions, billions put their own feelings into its pages. The child’s eyes light up with wonder.

    The Rogue Flame represents something that cannot be erased. Even so, there are those who wish for its defeat. A mere seal is not enough; in order to prevent its resurrection, the feelings that gave birth to it will need to be accepted and channeled.

    The dreamers dream, and their wishes are united into a grand tale.

    It begins and ends with humanity itself. For as long as people exist, this Edda will not be finished.

    For as long as hope exists, the darkness will be opposed by a Hero.

    A tale whose start and finish cannot be reached - an instrument without beginning or end, an ever-growing wish given form - that is her final gift to those who dream.

    Chisana Risu did not write the story of humanity, of dark’s demise. But, perhaps, she could contribute to its prologue, and see it brought to life with her own two eyes.


    Fortissimo EXS // Trigger: Verzweiflung

    Oh, those who were not chosen!

    Will you prepare your mind, body and soul for this war?

    Will you weigh everything you hold dear against that wish in the depths of your heart?

    Will you deny its existence, or will you accept it?

    Those who stand in your way - must you really destroy them?

    That opportunity - can you be sure it will not appear once more?

    In your heart, is there room for justice, sadness and regret?

    Save them. Save everything that is dear. Your fantasy can surely blossom.

    Together, you can defeat this game of betrayal…


    [BGM Off]

    -----


    Nakamura Akio
    The Hero


    It's the End.

    Having parted with his Dreamer at the base of that Sakura Tree, the hero finds himself staring down the true feelings of Rogue Flame. No longer is the fight a joke, a struggle that the Dark God felt it could win without putting forth any effort; the killing intent that the manifest dream feels is on an entirely different level, and if nothing is done, then the world will certainly come to it's end.

    But it is not worried.

    Standing alongside the weapon of his Dreamer, the now mortal Dream listens to the voices of those he had always been linked to, the Great Cry, the sound of many pages turning in unison, of hopes and dreams being screamed out into the night.

    The entire world is finally watching.

    The Past, the Present, those who would only exist in the future.

    And knowing this, the Dream smiles.

    Unable to complete his transformation into a true concept, he, like the others, is someone that will ultimately have to give up everything to oppose the Dark God. His power, while great, is no longer infinite, it has a limit, there are things that even he will not come back from supporting, and without a doubt, with the way the others are pulling on him to combat "God."

    The Dream will certainly return to being a Dream.

    Unlike Rogue Flame, that is something The Hero is capable of accepting, a fate that it doesn't mind.

    From the very start it had been a dream.

    The Dream of The Hero.

    One that humanity ultimately shared with each other, one that had been particularly strong in many, strong enough in Nakamura Akio to let him become a vessel.

    And unlike Rogue, when the time came, he had decided he would let his vessel go.

    It was fine.

    As a Dream, he could recognize a world that had been warped by sadness.

    The darkness was certainly immense here, so large and expansive that you could call it an impossible absurdity, but...

    In spite of that...

    The world’s resilience remained, strengthened, when the world had looked their way.

    At the heroes that had appeared before him, at those who were fighting even now, and certainly...


    “Akio-kun is trying his hardest, so please, support him-!”

    When that boy’s name is mentioned.


    Breaking off of his borrowed body as flecks of light and darkness, his existence as ‘The Hero’ begins to lose its stability.

    Because he is no longer fueling himself off Nakamura Akio, the focal point of the Magic, he is unable to maintain itself inside as the consciousness controlling his body.

    But that’s fine.

    “This is your finale. Everyone, believe in your own strengths.”

    Speaking to himself, his Dreamer, the one who was returning even now, the smile of the Hero deepens, even as his “magic” breaks down, is absorbed into the right hand of the awakening youth.

    Even as a concept... It is still willing to hang in there, to use what’s left of itself to see things through to it’s conclusion.

    After all...

    It had promised himself.

    It had promised the World.

    Soon enough, it turned it’s voice inwards.

    “They’re calling for the Fool... So, Nakamura Akio... Don’t let them down.”

    A laugh.

    A laugh from the remnants of a boy who had kept fighting in spite of giving up so many things.

    “Don’t worry. I won’t.”


    -----


    Nakamura Akio & Aesop
    The Fool


    It’s the beginning.

    While he can’t recall it very well, the youth certainly maintains the sense that there are a lot more voices here now than before, when he had last challenged this Dark God as his own self. The voices that greet him upon his return are welcoming and familiar, even though some of them, perhaps most of them, have become “foreign” to the youth’s memory, he still can’t help but smile when he hears them.

    It is the opposite reaction to what one would expect.

    The pain of loss is one that everyone understands, and to lose one’s memories, one’s sense of self to the void, should be something that brings nothing but emptiness and pain to the youth’s heart.

    ...In a way, it certainly does.

    Meeting someone, than forgetting that you ever met them, what you did together, what happened at that time... It had always been one of his fears.

    It was just another way to “lose” your connection with someone after all, another way for someone to be taken away from you, but...

    That pain itself was a “bond.”

    A sign that even if he couldn’t remember who he had met, he knew that he had met them once, on some distant day under cloudless skies.

    ...It hurt to not remember.

    In some ways he feels guilty but...

    The laughs, the cries, the cheers of an impossible number of people on his back, invisible hands clapping on his shoulders...

    He can’t say they feel like strangers.

    The pain of knowing something was missing... Was a tie to those he had lost.

    It hurt, but he would gladly bear it.

    It was darkness, but he would accept it all the same.

    After all, if he did... It was certainly a pain that could be healed.

    Giving up was not salvation, it just meant dying with open wounds of the heart.

    Holding onto everything that had been most important, and understanding that everything else could be rebuilt, that ties he had forgotten weren’t the same as losing those ties...

    That youth that should be lost in the sea of his own sacrifice.

    Has not truly lost his self, the will to fight for the sake of other people.

    Nor the truth he had found throughout his life.

    Not just because of his nature, but because...

    “Master. Looks like this is it.”

    Even up till the end, his partner had remained by the side of his impulsive, idiotic self.

    “Yeah, looks like it. Any regrets?”

    “None. Humanity’s spirit is infinite... I’ll bet on that light.”

    To bring back the weaker boy when they could have had the Hero must seem like a foolish move, and even those who have allowed it to happen understand, on some level, that in many ways it is not the ideal move.

    But...

    At the same time...

    The voices that come for the boy are warmer.

    The belief that came from his friends and family was more personal. He was not perfect, he made mistakes and was ultimately unfit to be a messiah, someone who could save the entire world on their own, but...

    He could still bear the mantle of “The Hero.”

    There were things that only he could do for other people.

    He did his best, and refused to believe that anything was impossible.

    He didn’t like it when people got hurt, and wanted the world to be a happy place for everyone even if it was childish.

    If people believed he could fit that role in the world’s story, then he would smile and accept without a second thought.

    And it seemed like...

    It was time for that sort of finale.

    A close to the chapter of darkness, and a new start for the world.

    Listening to this many people, this many voices, hearing this much belief...

    He would just feel awful if he let them down.



    “Haaah-!”

    Already gathering Magical Energy, the process instant in a world where “Time” has no place, the ever dutiful Magical Weapon is smiling in spite of the circumstances. When she had awoken for Nakamura Akio, there had never been a single time in which she had assumed the Journey would lead them to this sort of destination.

    Facing a God of Darkness.

    Resisting the order of a world that was attempting to crush itself.

    Soothing the world’s darkness, calling out into the dark for help and getting results, and reaching into the dark to save those that had been lost inside, those desperately reaching for a hero.

    It was a life full of extraordinary things, and watching her Master move through it all...

    Even now, she was still impressed by exactly how far he had managed to come in the end.

    How his courage persisted in spite of losing so much of his self. Even now, as their bodies caught fire together, as their existences tremble, as she loses all sensation but pain, innately aware that the faintest mistake, the slightest misstep in either of their channeling, would doom them both to be vaporized on the spot.

    She is still content.

    Filled with the gratitude of knowing that despite it all...

    He hadn’t forgotten her.

    Those memories, the memories of promises and family had been important enough for him to cling to even when everything else had steadily burned to nothing in exchange for power.

    It was a true loyalty that came from their partnership.

    And no matter what he did, or where he went.

    She would answer that loyalty with everything she had in her.

    If she did not, everything that boy had strode for, everything he had sought to protect, given up to protect, would truly fade away to nothing.

    She wouldn’t allow it.

    “Hah... HAAAAAAAAH-!”

    One last strike, made side-by-side.



    The story has been put to ink.

    A boy and his weapon, neither of which are omnipotent, put everything they have into confronting the darkness. There are many voices, many cheers, the past, present, future, those that should not be able to meet, who by their very nature could not coexist, witness the final battle for reality itself.

    The boy’s body is reaching it’s limit.

    Still housing souls he had roused from the darkness, and now channeling all of the feelings, the beliefs, the hopes and dreams of the roused universe against the Dark God, the only things keeping him standing are the remaining power of the “Hero,” and the fact that his weapon is shouldering half of the burden.

    Fine for the moment, it is clear it will not last.

    But that is fine.

    Time has no meaning.

    It will be the final exchange.

    But one that can last as long as it needs to.

    Bearing so many feelings, they will never be too late or too early.

    “Rogue-! This is the end-!”

    There is meaning behind every magic.

    To give birth to illusions or life; to bring about the end of a lifespan; to give malice physical form; or to simply declare oneself as the strongest, to give shape to a mass of magical energy that transcends everything and brings only death.

    Rushing forward, moving together in perfect unison.

    The attack that the two bring forth as they swing in unison, as if to blow Rogue’s head from his body with physical force alone, is no such thing.

    Certainly a mass of Magical Energy, a mix of hopes and dreams and various magics, there is nevertheless a force here that has never been seen before.

    In answer to the Darkness, the Universe has come together and made a declaration.

    It is not a declaration of absolute power, it does not bring only death, and while it outshines everything that has come before, it is not so radiant that it cannot be observed by anyone that wishes to see it.

    The Declaration... Is the truth that that boy found and fought for.

    That the world is worth living in.

    That the Darkness certainly hurts, but that they won’t stop fighting it.

    That they will accept it.

    It won’t ever disappear completely.

    But that is fine.

    That had never been necessary.

    They will conquer it, rather than it conquering them.

    As long as they work together, it can be done.

    “GO BACK TO SLEEP-!”



    “OVERLOAD: STARLIT DREAMS-!”

    It is a declaration from the world that the Summoned Destroyer is no longer needed.

    It is an attack that will only harm him.

    A light bright enough to scatter his form to shadows, to bind him with not just the recovered hopes of that darkness who no longer sought to give him strength, but that light which would see the world continue on.

    Those who lived in the past, who had fought to give the world the present.

    Those of the present, who wanted to keep living, perhaps for themselves, perhaps for others.

    Those of the future, who wished to have a chance to live.

    Destroying and binding, isolating and surrounding, cutting off Rogue from his darkness, it is surely...

    An attack that will save not just the World...

    But return a nightmare to a more peaceful sleep.

    ...But that is not all.

    Going beyond themselves, it is only in the last moments, the second before impact, before the final clash, that-




    “Reverse Tower: Universe!”

    -The Fool passes one final gift onto creation.

    To everyone he has tied himself to, to the stars in the sky, and the people that existed all throughout time.

    The ability to maintain their own self.

    To retain hope here, at the very heights of their power.

    Hope is difficult to cling to, out of all of the emotions people possess, the reality is that despair is something much easier to manifest.

    The enemy may try to find some way to turn them back.

    But the status quo will remain.

    It is a declaration of a different sort, one that declares that they will not disappear, that they will not be torn apart no matter what, that as long as they hold on, then their hope is invincible, that they are stronger than God itself.

    From the beginning of existence to it’s end, this chain of hearts, the hope everyone felt at this moment, when time meant nothing, and creation fought for the right to remain.

    That “status quo”, the height of their “hope.”

    Would remain undamaged by any outside malice.

    Even a curse that could extend beyond a shattered time.

    An unending, eternal hope...

    Casting all cards but one, his true partner, into the darkness.

    Shadows give birth to light.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; April 20th, 2017 at 05:02 AM.

  8. #1048
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    United Front
    Final Battle vs Rogue Flame - Mugen









    It's a dangerous gamble, but recognizing this as your last chance, you put your lives on the line and surpass your limits. What you are able to accomplish is insane and threatens to destroy reality as you know it but... As your enemy is just as insanely powerful, this arrangement is the only option that remains. Just as despair is about to reach its peak, your combined efforts give birth to a miracle that easily overcomes Rogue's magical barrier, alongside fate, and forces open the gate towards a new future.








    "UGHH AHHHHHGHHHHGGGGGGGGGGH!!!"



    The battle ends with humanity's absolute victory. Nakamura Akio, no, the Hero's power should have never been enough to cast darkness away, however, because it was not just his power, but everyone's hopes preserved at their highest, the Mage of Misfortune is completely swallowed by the resulting light, his physical body reduced to nothing by the will of his own creator. Yes, that is right... Because everyone was alone at first, and because they did not mind living that way back then, the treasure that is the connections they've forged has become a reason to move forward, to not abandon a world even when it is in ruins, to rescue it from the inevitable end, if only for the sake of someone else. That should have been more than enough to prove humanity's resolve.

    However, a chill running down your spine signals this isn't over.

    ---Suddenly, you detect a presence that feels much more oppressive than Rogue's, as ridiculous and impossible that would have sounded moments ago.







    To the side, comfortably sitting in a place where she does not belong, a woman draws a satisfied smile, as if admiring her own piece of art.

    "Although...I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something bothering me..."

    With no strength left in your bodies, you allow current of the 'sea' that surrounds you to slowly guide your movement. This is it, the end result of your journey. No matter what lies ahead, you've exhausted everything that you had just to reach this point. What happens next is not for you to decide, as without Magic, the right to challenge destiny you've so proudly wielded scatters to the wind. To put it bluntly, should this mysterious individual decide to stand in your way now, it'd certainly wipe the floor with what little is left of you.

    "Regardless, It has been a wonderful experience. Without doubt, I have learned a lot from you humans. I admit my heart pumped fiercely with every decision you've made, whether it was to betray or to save, to create or to destroy, to punish or to forgive..."

    The woman speaks, her voice filled with passion, as past, present and future return to their usual spots, and reality is mold accordingly. After going this far, you don't even have the energy to open your mouth and speak, not even utter a single word. So what could have been a conversation is left as no more than a monologue.

    "You see, it's my pen that writes down the outcome, but not my hand what guides it. Most of the time, anyways."

    Everything has become so complicated, guessing her identity is hard at this point. Goddess of time, of history, or something related? It hardly matters. She stands on a higher plane than you. Defying her as you are is out of the question. That said, she does not seem hostile, rather, it wouldn't be surprising if she would have joined your side should events have played differently.

    "That is why, I'd like you to witness the strength of that 'potential' once again; show me that what I saw was not just a fluke."


    ---Unfortunately, as if to mock that possibility, she presents a terrifying challenge instead.







    ---Jiyujin---








    A bright flash of light blinds you. What lies at the end of it is...









    "Ah... Hah... hah... Guh... Ah..."



    ---Your worst enemy.

    Reality ridicules your efforts, closing shut the door that your determination managed to unlock. Even before Rogue Flame unleashes his most powerful spell, you can tell, just by instinct, that it is over. In a cruel twist of fate that goes beyond your ability to manipulate, absolute victory was turned into absolute defeat.

    ... No.

    ... It can't end like this.

    ... Not when you were so close.

    You muster strength from where is none, in a futile attempt to resist what has already been carved in stone. At the very least, you should be able to conjure a magical barrier. Even if such thing would make no difference, even if yours alone would be no tougher than glass... If you all pour what's left into that shield, a chance of survival might exist.

    ---But.








    "---Akashic Record: Third Replication...!!!---"


    Overlapping his power over and over, Rogue Flame's Magic reaches a level above of what he thought possible. This is the result of him being pushed to the very edge, as well as having his own powers further unlocked by the unknown 'goddess'. If the original Akashic Record is an eraser, third replication is like a gigantic bucket of white paint. With a single activation, it is capable of destroying several possible outcomes spanning different times and individuals by drawing power from a 'Certain Truth' created by altering the future records of history. In the face of such abominable power, the fragile shield you have begun to craft vanishes in thin air.

    ---What follows... Can only be called despair.








    "This is the end... Farewell, humanity's hope."








    ---OVERLOAD: FORBES BLUTGANG...!!!---



    "Guaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhghhhhhhhughhhhhhh!! !"


    -------



    Magic Particles rise to decorate the space above like stardust.


    Below stands the supreme victor of this battle: Rogue Flame. Though this outcome would not have been possible without the aid of a mysterious intruder, as every event should respond to the dreamer's will, he cannot classify what happened as an irregularity. In any case, now that the one more symbol of hope has been wiped away from existence, the last of the world's 'resistance' should collapse, finally putting an end to this long, long dream. Even if one or two more symbols remain, everything will return to nothingness before they become aware of it.

    "As a final show of 'mercy', i've only destroyed your 'souls'. May your bodies linger in this space eternally as a reminder of your mistakes."

    No one responds. It's only natural, as the bodies floating aimlessly are nothing but empty shells. Even if their Magical Weapons still retain their shape, they are no more than an object without a duality of souls. The heroes everyone believed in have been completely defeated.

    "..."


    Glancing to the side, Rogue's eyes meet that of the book-wielding goddess. He pauses for a moment, as if trying to address whether she is a threat or not. In response, she merely smiles and remains still, as if to imply she'll be an observer from this point on. However, as her gaze is not focused on him, but rather what's behind him, the Magi of Misfortune instinctively look over his shoulder. There...







    "It appears you've defeated them. But Rogue... For your sake, I hope you don't think that means you've won."


    Sophie Kaede arrives at the battlefield, wearing an expression quite not like her usual one. Faced with Rogue Flame's true form, her face denotes a mix of focus and resolution that leaves no place for irony or sarcasm. Being one of the four responsible for sealing this evil sixteen years ago, now that she will fight him for real, it appears all masks are off.






    "And even if the future has already been altered by your own power, with my defeat being absolute, your Magic has no power over the actions I make to get there. Those are only for me to decide. So... Get ready, Rogue... I'll give you a run for your money that you'll never forget."


    The God of Darkness merely prepares his Mythic-Class Last Resort once again. With the changes created by Akashic Record, any attempt to defend against it will be wiped clean from the records of history. The only fate humanity can face is that of its own destruction...!






    "Kaede-san. You said you wouldn't fight alone. Please let's work together... We can definitively bring everyone back."


    At Hishikawa's confident declaration, Sophie cannot help but loosen up a bit. The girl has no idea of what kind of monster she is facing, yet she shows no sign of breaking down under pressure. Her friends have been purged from the world of the living, and instead of lamenting their deaths, she has immediately decided to bring them back with her own power, even though that seems unlikely. She may hold so much kindness within her heart that it might be seen as a weakness; but her fierce soul is definitely that of a warrior.





    Life and Magical energy combine with perfect synchronicity. Even before meeting in this Ragnarok War and fighting as enemies, these two always had affinity for each other, as their powers belong to the same 'root'. Moreover, they complement each other, Nyarhalothep having mastered the power of creation and destruction while Líf controls the cycle that has those outcomes as a final stop. Though the power of the Hero has been exhausted and, as a result, their power cannot rise exponentially to God-Slaying levels, the Last Resort given birth by their teamwork is nevertheless a force that would leave any Magus bewildered-!






    "Even if things do not go as planned, giving up will never be the right thing to do. It's the determination to continue born from everyone's support what truly makes us strong. I don't know what kind of pain you've gone through, but I will definitely prove to you this dream isn't worth destroying!"








    ---OUROBOROS---


    An enormous amount of vital energy gathers in an instant. Because a soul requires more than just 'life' to exist, it should be normally impossible to revive someone who has been stripped of it. However, Ouroboros ignores this rule by pouring an endless surge of life into the body, acting in a similar way to a ventricular assist device and acting as a temporary replacement for a soul. So long as the as the flux is steady, it's even possible to make someone truly immortal-!

    ---However.










    Even if they are brought back to life, without Magical Energy, Magi are no more than sitting ducks for Rogue's Magic-!






    "I won't let you-!"


    A sword cuts through the darkness with impeccabble timing, disrupting the Mage of Misfortune's casting and once more inflicting a 'wound', something which should be an impossible feat with an attack so basic. But that is Sawai Mihou for you. If anyone was reborn as a Magus with the 'Power' to defy fate, it is her...!






    "... Ugh! You eyesore-! Why won't you just give up...!"


    Just as the emissary of darkness is about to recover his balance, an ominous figure grabs his shoulder and pull him into a perfect position to land a solid jab.




    "As it turns out, I still have plenty of Magical Energy to deal with you. However... I would be a poor teacher if just kept the lesson to myself. I might be the wielder of one of the 'four absolutes', but right now, my base power will suffice. Woman, I'll be counting on you."


    Appearing one after the other to halt humanity's advance towards a tragic end, Shinzou Kamui jumps back into the fray after his vitality has been restored. As his soul has been technically purged, he is unable to completely summon the powers of his Magical Weapon, Echidna, but it appears he still has access to the most basic applications. Working on the concept of 'Transferal of Energy', the only thing he needs to do is to share a bit of his enormous supply to restore the ability to fight to a few fallen warriors. That said, sharing with so many at once is too complicated to do at once... And that's where the next Magus comes in.







    "Yes. Leave it to me."


    Red strings spread from Rosettia Everheart, whose presence had disappeared until a moment ago. Reforging the bonds that had been severed, she immediately creates a network between those present.









    "Akashic Record: Second Ignis"


    Anticipating where this is going, the final enemy does not allow it to go that far. By instinctively activating Second Ignis, he makes sure he can alter history without being interrupted. But... Relying on instinct has proven to be a poor choice before.

    ---By that logic, the right individual can take advantage and abuse its one and only flaw.






    "Now's the time."


    Surrounded by a storm of mirror shards, the Snow Queen invokes her power to alter someone's perception. No, rather, she already did that a moment before, by camouflaging her attack under Sawai's shadow. Now that Rogue has been fooled by his own senses, she uses this opportunity to unleash her full power. Raised on the battlefields and used as a weapon for a part of her life, Katsurimi Haseno has developed a keen mind that quickly works around opponent's weaknesses, focusing on victory over team survivability. Although she could have chosen to act earlier and attack Rogue sooner, she predicted this would be the most suitable timing to do so-!









    ---
    Evigheden---


    Binding Rogue with his mirror only to later capture him inside an enormous tornado of glass, the final explosion is enough to buy the team one more second. Normally, such strategy would be pointless to someone like Katsurimi, that is, unless extending the battle was the key to victory. In this case, what she wanted was to create a window of opportunity for another person to exploit.






    "Naturally, I'll be the one to take the spotlight. Ready, Rogue? It's showtime!"



    Yoshiota Chisato. A novice Magus who secretly used her powers to increase her influence within the school. A reckless, selfish individual who unfortunately met a veteran like Nakamura Shinji on the first round of the Ragnarok War and was disposed of with relative ease. All in all, her power is weak because it lacks conceptual efficiency.









    However, there was one thing that made Discordia stand out. And that was her ability to cheat with a particular rune: The Golden Apple of Discord. By taking a bite of it herself, she can instantly recover the totality of her Magic Power and Vitality, making her someone capable of firing Last Resorts in rapid succession. I combination with Kamui's conversion of energy and Rose's threads of fate, it can create an endless loop of energy-!









    "Don't underestimate me... I WON'T LET YOU DO AS YOU PLEASE---!"








    ---OVERLOAD: FORBES BLUTGANG...!!!---



    ---At that moment, against all odds...






    "Mind being quiet? You're being too fucking loud. Don't worry, Takemori-kun... I'll make sure this asshole doesn't disturb your sleep."









    "---Superbia---"


    Her Trump Card is no joke. Though it makes absolutely no sense, the sheer amount of ego and love put into it elevate the Last Resort to levels previously unheard of. Furthermore, by feeding from the inextinguishable flames that make Rogue's Forbes Blutgang, Superbia keeps growing stronger through Gula, eventually surpassing the opposing magic's offensive power and overwhelming it, throwing it back at the Mage of Misfortune and using it to burn him with his own flames.








    "Ugh...! You insolent...! This shouldn't be possible...! DOUBLE STOCK!"






    "Mugen... Yes, that name is fitting for a place like this, where infinite possibilities can come to be, where circumstances do not matter, and where everyone is connected, no matter how far apart they are. Don't let yourself be surprised, Rogue. I did certainly bring you back from absolute defeat, but even I cannot erase what you've done. Every light in this beautiful 'sky' is your enemy now. The dead will soon fight alongside the living."








    "The future where humanity loses is already absolute and without the power of the Hero, it can no longer be changed. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about. If they think they can beat me, they are welcome to try! I'll just burn them until there is nothing left...!"
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  9. #1049
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    Chisana Risu?
    Final Battle vs Rogue Flame - Mugen

    She is spent, inside and out.

    Things are happening. They won? Then they lost? Then she was revived?

    The others must be brimming with temporary power, yet Risu feels nothing but nausea in the base of her stomach. She is no Magus. Not anymore. Unlike the others, her Magical Weapon never stopped functioning when Rogue Flame claimed undeserved victory. By that point it had already been given away to Mugen itself, becoming part of this place's existence. She had no power to be restored.

    And yet, here she is.

    The others are there, but Risu doesn't go to them. She'll just get in the way. Her last performance already ended. A normal human has no place in this battle. She can only be an observer, cheering on from the sidelines. Even so, she can't be satisfied with sitting still.

    That person. The book. The pen. The smile. Risu's heart shudders. She's never felt like this before. It's an emotion that cries out to be released. If that person is who she suspects... then her very existence is unacceptable.

    Risu shouldn't be able to move of her own accord, but somehow Mugen hears the plea in her heart. It's no longer hers, but Ratatoskr remembers its old master. It answers a small request: to be brought to a certain place.

    Space warps.

    A hand appears between pen and paper. The rest of Chisana Risu slides into existence next to the other observer. Her heart hardens.

    "It's rude for the audience to interrupt when not called for."

    There is not a trace of warmth in her voice.

    "Even worse, to interfere when the show is nearly over."

    Risu closes her fist around the pen. It stabs into her palm. She pulls it in further, until the point is buried in her hand, cut off from paper. Drops of blood stain the book's pages red.

    "Go away. This story. My friends..."

    It's the first time she's ever looked at someone with complete disdain.

    "They're not yours to fuck with."

  10. #1050
    Overly devoted enthusiasm... fufufu~ Ayakashi's Avatar
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    Kurokami Hotaru
    Mugen


    "Ah..."

    She can't help but sigh. That experience of destruction and rebirth, of a soul being crushed and brought back... it was surprisingly familiar. Hotaru had after all, just undergone an endless cycle of death and rebirth at the hand of Time.

    She had kept her eyes open, she had witnessed how humanity had emerged the victor against 'God', against Rogue Flame. But then came a third party... what was it? Who was it? Someone who could whimsically bring back God himself from the jaws of defeat, of death. It took so much to defeat God... and there she was, casually bringing him back as if to taunt all the combined efforts of humanity.



    "And so it appears, the very thing which represents our very power."

    "You're..."

    "Still here, yes. It would appear that what the others have done has managed to give me a little bit more time before delaying the inevitable. Perhaps is it because the name of the magic that these people used represents in the end, the very same thing I do... or perhaps that I simply cannot disappear when that Thing is here."

    Hotaru had gone through every single possible scenario, through every outcome. Every victory, every defeat. She had experienced it all, witnessed it all under the guise of an 'observing victim'. Her mind, her soul, everything should had gone mad from this beyond-harrowing ordeal... and in fact, as Nakamura Akio launched the final attack and she forced herself to not rest and witness it all, Kurokami Hotaru was on the verge of breaking down, not physically, but literally fading into non-existence. A body, magic particles, even a soul, nothing would've been left shortly after; she would've been forgotten even by the World itself.

    And yet... here she was, back in a single, coherent piece. In a sense, the final destruction and recreation of her soul was what had saved her. Instead of crumbling away into nothing, she was simply broken, and reborn anew, like how a phoenix rises from the ashes.

    Naturally, Hotaru would've joined in onto the attack alongside all the other Magi, and yet... she simply stayed there, floating, conversing with her own Magical Weapon's projection. Or rather, 'herself'?

    "Tell me, does it really matter if we do something here or not?"

    The darkness shadowing the light makes its resurgence.

    "Oh... where did all that optimism go, Kurokami Hotaru? That talk about a future, about promises, about how for the sake of others you would let go of me and cling onto 'hope', like a parasite."

    But Hotaru does not hear the question. Her first question was uttered in a trembling, shaking voice, and now, only anger, frustration and contempt pour out, roaring like an unstoppable torrent.


    "Men and Women are props on the Stage of Life -- no matter how tender, no matter how exquisite... A LIE REMAINS A LIE."

    "... I see. It seems like there is no more place for me to be here then."

    Though she did not break, though she endured through all of it believing in kindness, in hope, in friendship, in the goodness of people of the World, though Kurokami Hotaru managed to stave off the embrace of futility and despair as she endured through every single ordeal... it seemed like the mere appearance of that one person, of "The Writer", had pushed the already spent Kurokami Hotaru over the line.

    "Hah. That is a rather surprising development, I must say. To think that you would be truthful to yourself, to think that rather than discarding the exuviae you would put it on again, no, you would wear it once more... no... even, you would consume it. Aha... A H A H A H A H A..."

    The ramblings of the Magical Weapon, of 'herself' do not matter to Kurokami Hotaru. She is now moving forwards with one goal, with one objective -- to bring forth a proper conclusion to this farce. As if becoming one with her Magical Weapon once more, Hotaru simply moves through the projection of the Void Empress and becomes one with it, brimming with Void Energies once new, her Magical Weapon, Ouroboros, once again in her hand.

    The Mirror is no more, it has taken a shape of its own. It reflects no more, instead, it projects, projects unadulterated, undiluted, unlimited... Rage. Rage at the World, at 'The Writer'.

    "IT WAS YOU."

    Space warps, rendering the distance between Hotaru and 'The Writer' futile.

    "ALL OF IT."

    But what reappears isn't Kurokami Hotaru, no, from the beginning, what had been reborn was not Kurokami Hotaru.

    "IT WAS ALL YOU. IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT. EVERYTHING."

    It was something far greater, far more knowledgeable, and since knowledge was power... something far more powerful. It was a being who had gone through the entirety of time itself, that had read every story, every paragraph that made them up, every single line, every single word. This book that "The Writer" was making, during her experience, Hotaru had already seen its contents, from start to finish. All the stories that were written, are written, and will be written, nothing is beyond her.

    That is why, she hates it, she hates 'The Writer' with a universe-ending passion. What 'The Writer' had just done, was not something acceptable, it was a Sin, something which it should never have done. Perhaps that it was done on a whim, perhaps that it was simply because in this instance, there was no precedence of such a world being formed, it was an entirely new story... but for the 'The Writer' to out of nowhere, on such a whimsically simple, stupid basis, interfere with what it isn't supposed to... 'The Writer', objective, without an agenda, without any input on the Story, letting its hand be guided; it had ceased to exist from the moment it interfered.

    "You've stepped out of your boundaries. Your existence which once had concrete purpose, has now become a cruel Joke, just like everything which you've just done. You write the outcome of stories, but your hand should never have not moved of your own accord."

    Yes, because now that 'The Writer' had willingly guided its own hand, now that it willingly had its own input upon a story that wasn't its own to write, 'The Writer' had included itself in the story. "The Writer willingly wrote its own part of the Story", would now be a line found in the book... and thus, 'The Writer' had become part of the World in a concrete, solid way. It was part of this existence just like every single being who was around here -- it was no more an objective, out of place entity that couldn't be touched, which should be left alone because it had a purpose.

    And because of that, Kurokami Hotaru finally had the opportunity to do what she initially had set out for.

    That it was Madness was irrelevant, that it was something even more impossible than what she had just accomplished did not matter.

    Nothing mattered by this point, but to rob the pen away from 'The Writer'. No, what she was doing wasn't even robbing, rather, it was rightfully 'claiming' what was now hers, for 'The Writer' was no more worthy of that pen.

    "You've unwittingly become one of the props of this play, leaving the seat of Writer and becoming an Actor yourself... and I will let you know that no actions do not have consequences."


    Quote Originally Posted by Chisana Risu? View Post
    "It's rude for the audience to interrupt when not called for."

    "Even worse, to interfere when the show is nearly over."

    "Go away. This story. My friends..."

    "They're not yours to fuck with."


    Echoing Risu's surprisingly venomous statement, Hotaru's hands grab hold of the book and pen that 'The Writer' wields.

    [BGM Override]

    "You aren't the audience anymore, you aren't a spectator nor a narrator anymore... no, from that one disgusting mistake you've made, from that one unforgivable crime that you've committed... you now stand amongst us as actors, and only act as if you're writing."

    The Void energies around Hotaru burst to an unimaginable level, one that cannot be conceived by any being, no matter where they come from, who they are -- what they are. It is the crystallisation of the hope and despair that 'The Writer' created, and as thus, it is infinite, for this would not be the first time that 'The Writer' has done what shouldn't be done.

    A Sin that was done countless times, for the sake of 'witnessing a good story'.

    That is not theirs to decide.


    ------



    "YOU ARE RELIEVED OF YOUR DUTIES."


    ------

    Quote Originally Posted by The Writer
    "Mugen... Yes, that name is fitting for a place like this, where infinite possibilities can come to be, where circumstances do not matter, and where everyone is connected, no matter how far apart they are."
    It is as 'The Writer' says, where infinite possibilities have become one. Kurokami Hotaru is now the very avatar of that concept, for she who has seen all, experienced all, understood all is now more powerful than ever. Charged by the Magic given to her by Sophie's and Nanako's Magic, eating upon the infinite possibilities that Mugen feeds her, using her knowledge and understanding of the world to alter what no Magus should usually be able to do so, she is now... a being that has no boundaries.

    Her ability as a Magus is what makes all this knowledge, all this understanding available to her... the only one who can accomplish the act of regicide that she is about to commit.

    In Mugen, in this world where anything is possible, with her experience and understanding of how the world begins, of how it ends, of how every little intrinsic gear shifts and works...


    ...In this world where anyone can become anything...

    Kurokami Hotaru becomes everything.


    It is no more the act of a Magical Weapon's runes or spells, no, it is merely another 'God' acting. The one link that 'The Writer' has left upon this world, that one action, imprinting their very own existence upon 'The Book', losing all of their objectivity, of their non-involved status from The Book' and becoming a tangible part of the Story... now, it is possible to even write what happens to 'The Writer'.

    "You are not fit for your work anymore, rather, I, Kurokami Hotaru shall take your place, as the subjective witness of the stories that every single one of these people will write."

    It is a battle that cannot be understood, but at the same time, is the most simplest of all -- a clash between two entities to decide who would write the rest of this story.

    -----------


    If an existence can freely watch stories unfold, and even, intervene in these stories whenever it likes to so that its whims and urges may be satisfied, then what point is there in all of this suffering, joy, and pain? That the decisions, that the stories which everyone write are in the end pointless, rendered moot simply by the free will of that one single existence... then what else are we other than mere Zoo Animals which are being watched and groomed for the sake of being entertained?

    That is why she rebels, that is why she uses everything in her power to remove that existence. 'The Writer', 'The Narrator', 'The Witness', whatever its name, it is not its place to decide the outcome of a story written by others -- if must write without any involvement, it must Narrate without any bias, it must only see as a witness. It cannot create, it cannot affect, it cannot change what is already there, what has already been made... or at least... it shouldn't.

    It is an objective, non-involved concept that should not step over the line of action... and because it did so here, because it has shown that it too, just like the people of the story it writes, can act... can be part of this 'Stage'... then it has been decided that it can only become an Actor now, and must be replaced.

    Or else, in the truthful end, nothing would matter.

    Nothing at all.
    Last edited by Ayakashi; May 2nd, 2017 at 08:55 AM.

  11. #1051
    el bolb Bloble's Avatar
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    The Traveller?
    Final Battle vs Rogue Flame - Mugen

    She is brimming with life, inside and out.

    Things are happening. They won. They lost. The girl was revived.

    She watches from afar, as the dying battle is revived as well. By naught but a whim, the vanquished dragon returns and slays the heroes. In turn, others step forward, beginning the fight anew. Exempt from all, she watches the whole thing from amidst the sea of stars. She alone escaped destruction and resurrection. The Traveller is and always was a Magus, so she knows it very well: this cannot continue.

    But then, The Traveller can do nothing. She is a name in a page in an endless story, not someone with a will of her own. A figment that exists only in the minds of those who browse the Endless Edda's pages and imagine the world contained within. A character, and abstraction, a title to wear and take off like a hat.

    So then, how is she holding that book? How is the pen in her hand?

    Perhaps, she thinks, it is because her readers are displeased. The story is not happy, nor is it always convenient. There have been twists and turns aplenty, bringing distress and anxiety to a few, but it has always flowed truly with respect to itself. Yet here and now, the flow has been disturbed. There is something here that should not be, should not have been, should not become.

    So in response to this development, it was decided by the writers, the readers, the hopeless hopefuls, that the Edda should don the mantle of The Traveller.

    It's somewhat sad, she thinks.

    Sad that the form she takes is so similar to that of the observer. A pen and a book, and a small girl holding them. But then, how could it not be? If Risu's realization, that finally drove the girl to despair when all the trials she had faced could not, was true, then the Edda and The Traveller are pale imitations of the real story. Coincidence - no, fate led them down this path, to this form: the form of 'one who creates the future'.

    A universe can only contain another universe that is smaller, lesser than itself. The Traveller is a small story contained within the larger one being dictated by that observer: The Writer. She is forever inferior, only a man-made goddess that can respond to prayers with illusion and a smile. Now that the real thing has arrived, there is no hope that can oppose it.

    Ah. It understands. It's fine for those that came after, but how could the three that witnessed the observer's unwarranted interference not be overcome by despair? It was inevitable, from the moment that person did what she did, that their composed hearts would be disturbed.

    For Kurokami Hotaru, it is clear why. After all, the growth, the self-acceptance that she had forced herself through, the small peace she had carved out for herself... in an instant, it had all been erased, all made perfectly pointless. The light that she found for herself was snuffed out. She may never reach it again. All she sees is the source of that pointlessness.

    How does Nakamura Akio feel, knowing that his sacrifices and their result were undone in an instant?

    How does Kajiki Uta feel, realizing that she is being played with like a pet?

    How does Chisana Risu feel?

    Well, that much is obvious.

    How dare she? How dare that observer make meaningless all of their efforts? How dare she think to come here and erase everything they did? Every sacrifice, every tear, every moment of pain and suffering, every hope and dream and every bloodstained inch that they had taken from despair, do they mean nothing to her? Was all this talk of human potential as important to her as a mildly interesting television show? She said she was 'fond of these stories'? Is it fondness that so coldly drives the stake into their hearts? 'I would like to see it again?' Does she think this some kind of game, where she can just reload a save and fight the final boss again and get the exact same ending? Was it not entertaining enough, is that it? Did she want to see more cool team attacks? Is that why this suffering continues? Because they weren't flashy enough? Because her favourite character didn't get a chance to do something cool before the end? Because she just wanted to see the looks on their faces? Is that all this story is?

    How dare you, you colossal bitch of a writer.

    For the first time in her life, Chisana Risu is suffused with righteous anger from the bottom of her heart.

    It is not solely her anger. It is the anger of the wronged.

    The stars thrum. A deep, low roar permeates Mugen.

    They are dreamers, unable to comprehend complex concepts. However, they can still feel. Perhaps a thousand years ago, they would have greeted this new arrival with reverence. But Deus Ex Machina is a trope that has fallen out of favour. Atheism is on the rise. Little children play video games that end with them killing supreme beings. They take away one thing from this development.

    The dreamers understand perfectly the writer's message: "I came here to laugh at you."

    And so, Mugen has for her a message of its own: "I reject you."

    By reviving the Rogue Flame, she created a connection between herself and the darkness. The hate that was directed at the ultimate evil of the world flows along that bond and is deposited on the writer's shoulders. They no longer hate evil. They are indifferent to it, in the face of something far worse. If she had done anything else, the backlash would not have been this great. But she did something far worse than anything Rogue had ever wished: she disrespected the world itself.

    The Endless Edda is inferior. Even so, in a world created by humanity, it is the story of humanity. Now that this goddess has entered that world, she has submitted herself to its rules. What was unreachable can now be grasped. The lesser can topple the greater. This world will write its own stories.

    Book against book. Pen against pen. If one is greater, then it must not be allowed to call forth a story and leverage that power. She knows nothing but the shape of the opponent's focus, so it is that which must be countered. The Traveller focuses the gathered magical energy, opens her book to a blank page, and puts pen to paper once more.

    She is there. Chisana Risu was there, in contact with the enemy's Magical Weapon. Her blood stains its body. If that is the case, it can be opposed. Her eyes - Mugen's eyes - The Traveller's eyes have glimpsed the opponent's work and found it wanting.

    Stroke for stroke, it will be matched and negated. The moment that woman tries to write anything, it will be counter-written by an opposing force. Two forces of 'creation' matched against each other, but if one creation is the perfect negative of the other...

    Matter and antimatter cancel out, so magic and anti-magic will produce something similar. Fear for happiness. Despair for hope. Frustration for entertainment.

    All will remain at zero, and there...

    It is Nothing that decides victory.

    The Akashic Record? We won't accept it. Toss it away. This
    Edda
    Record
    is more than enough.

    Between her and the other, it is easy to take a side in the struggle.

    Arms fold around a shuddering girl's shoulders. The Traveller makes her move. She gently embraces that person, who is fighting for herself and everyone here, with the love of a sister, a mother, a friend.

    "Kurokami Hotaru," she whispers. "Those tears you shed for everyone. They were never meaningless. I - we - thank you from the bottom of our hearts."

    A God that cries for the world, and a God that laughs at it. In such a case, it's obvious which one that world would support. In a battle between concepts without borders, that support, that universal cheer may be what turns the tide.

    Below, a boy sits in silence. He has emptied himself out, and is drowning in despair. Even so, he has earned the world's attention. A hand gently pats his head.

    "Nakamura Akio. The blood you shed for us... it was not shed in vain. So please, don't forget your smile."

    Finally, a dying dream. Something that was starved before it could be born.

    Idea to idea, they stand on the same ground, in the depths of humanity's unconscious. A dream wearing the shape of a girl, and a hope wearing the shape of a boy.

    "It's not over," she says to The Hero, taking his hand, sharing power and anger alike with the nearly-gone concept. A peaceful death is reversed. In place of Nakamura Akio, Mugen itself provides fuel for the fire. If the villain remains, then the protagonist cannot die. "Let's go. The fury of the fallen - only you can deliver it."

    As the fight between good and evil rages down below... up above, a second, more important battle begins:

    A fight for the dignity of this world.
    Last edited by Bloble; May 2nd, 2017 at 10:10 PM.

  12. #1052
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    The Hero
    Mugen


    It should have been time for him to say farewell.

    The oldest dream of humanity, the hero that existed within everyone's hearts, he was a being that was the ally of each and every person in the world. To them he was a dream, and so he had an infinite number of forms, an infinite numbers of manifestations, some that were being created in the minds of a new life each and every second.

    Yes.

    Sometimes he is a knight that slays a dragon.

    Sometimes he is a normal man that destroys an unjust God.

    Sometimes he is a simple police officer that stops a robbery.

    Sometimes he is an imaginary friend that chases away the monsters from underneath your bed.

    Sometimes he is an actual dream, a time of respite from a reality of pain.

    Most often he is a motivation, an aspiration, a driving force that causes others to act better, to emulate him, and change the world all on their own. Life is a story, and every story must have it's hero, and all of those heroes, all of those ifs and whats, a yearned for individual that doesn't exist in reality...

    That was what he was, an intangible, but eternal dream.

    Someone who could not be overcome by anyone or anything else.

    When "the Hero" appeared, the time of the villain had come to an end. There are stories with sad endings yes, but it doesn't stop others from thinking about how things "could have been," to wish for someone, anyone, to appear and "change the result."

    If Humanity had truly wanted to submerge itself in darkness, he would not have stopped them from doing so. Appearing at the end because he had been called, because there had been enough hope left to manifest someone to "save the world," he had acted with the belief, the faith, that the world did not truly want to disappear. A perfect hero, one whose current manifestation had been heavily influenced by a boy who had dreamed of him every night, he had encouraged them, fought alongside them, let them see the power they themselves held, and showed it to the darkness.

    It was humanity's victory.

    He had believed in them, they had believed in themselves, and a miracle had occurred as a result.

    So why...?

    When his Dreamer dies, he is spared from the destruction not by his own self, but by the actions of his other self. With that boy using his own power to keep everyone's hope at it's peak, he had been fragmented and sent into the darkness, back into the sea of stars.

    From there, from that endless sea, he had watched them die.

    It was not that he had wanted to do so, but...

    In the end, he had erased himself for humanity's sake. Because he is someone that cannot exist in reality, magic was the only recourse open to his manifestation, and having failed to complete the spell in order to keep everyone happy, his "power" as a concept had dwindled from almighty to next to nothing. It had not bothered him, he had believed in humans, and that belief had been well-rewarded.

    So why?

    A Dark God revives and slays the Lights that had reduced him to nothing. Undone in a single moment, everything they had sacrificed, all of the shed blood, the endless tears, had been undone by someone that he could have never seen coming.

    And she had done it on a whim.

    A conceptual being should not have emotions.

    While his appearance is certainly related to that of Nakamura Akio, and thus his mannerisms are that of a "knight," it should just be a mask that he puts on to interact with others.

    He should not be biased, he should serve the collective.

    Even so...

    In the moment before Nakamura Akio's death, he had felt something from him.

    Yes.

    While they had only talked twice, and he had been devouring the boy's sense of self to become whole, that person had still thought of him as someone he trusted, so those lines of fate that he had thrown out for anyone to touch, had certainly connected him with his other self.

    While Nakamura Akio certainly faltered at points, he was not the type to completely give in to despair. He had been through so much, and had come out of it all more or less intact... Even after destroying his own memories for the sake of others, he hadn't changed, not really, because the world had been in trouble, he had leaped right back into the fight without a second thought, a smile on his face.

    So why...?

    At the end...

    Had he only felt a grim sense of loss.

    Disbelief and betrayal, a final dagger thrust into the heart at an unexpected angle, it was perhaps the only thing that could have broken the boy's spirit in the end.

    Even if only for a moment, when he had finally won, when his efforts had meant something, when he had believed that everything would be okay, that everyone would finally be alright...

    He had been destroyed on a whim.

    Right at the end, for the second time in his life.

    Nakamura Akio had fallen completely into a sea of despair.

    And died inside of it.

    ...It didn't fit the boy he knew. Because he was the Dream of Nakamura Akio before the Dream of anyone else, he could say that he knew the boy well; he had watched over him from an early age. He was a good Dreamer, someone who persistently believed in him, wanted to be like him, proudly smiled and declared he would save everyone even if it was childish.

    A Conceptual Being should not have emotions.

    Yet that feeling, and-

    "How many times must you die...?"

    -That question remain persistent in it's thoughts.

    How much does he have to give up? How many times must he go through this pain? Dying, coming back, only to give himself up all over again? Why Akio? Why always him? No... Not just him, Aesop, his family, the rest of the humans too, they had fought hard, they had been brave, they had stood up and held their ground, declared that they would not allow this to happen to them, and...
    On a whim...

    All those wishes had been destroyed.

    If they had truly lost to Rogue, even that boy could have accepted it. They would have fought their best and lost, but seeing what could have been, what had been accomplished with their own hands, and then been cruelly snatched away by a Goddess that should not be.

    It is his time to go.

    The magic is gone, with his Dreamer gone, he should disappear.

    A burning feeling rising in his chest, he kindly tells the void to destroy itself instead.

    The Hero does not have any power left.

    The rules of reality whisper.

    So vanish. Go back to nothing.


    He resists.

    Resists because it is not right.

    But you were never completed, the perfect hero doesn't exist even now, you're just someone who almost made the spot.


    It was a good move.

    Crushing the heroes, diverting the world's attention from him...

    Even the dreams of the other humans, his secondary source for existence...

    Are distracted from him long enough that he must disappear.

    "..."

    Even so, that being struggles on.

    There is no rhyme or reason to it, not really. Awakening to a true compassion, the being that should have been able to overcome everything digs his feet into reality and keeps his place.

    He won't vanish.

    He won't disappear.

    He had made a promise, and he intended to keep it.

    No, more than that...

    Everything Nakamura Akio had given up resided in this form.

    He would not abandon it, even when it no longer meant anything.

    His Dreamer's friends revive the boy and his Weapon, but their original bond has already been severed, and so it does nothing to aid the Dream's silent fight. While his body has certainly been given life, Nakamura Akio has not emerged from the sea in which he had plunged before his death, he stays asleep, not of his own will, but rather because those souls that had been with him...

    Simply did not want to see him get hurt anymore.

    Keeping him company, his weapon stays with him in his personal sea.

    A Goddess reaches out to him, and the boy stirs...

    But still does not wake.

    But...

    But...

    Quote Originally Posted by The Traveler?
    "It's not over. Let's go. The fury of the fallen - only you can deliver it."

    That same Goddess...

    Finds the Hero out in the darkness.

    Reaching for his hand, the hand of a being that should not exist, it is not just her words that make his struggle easier, but...

    The sudden eyes on his existence.

    The Hero is not someone that should exist, a warrior that cannot be overcome simply cannot exist.

    It was for that reason that he lacked a form, there were many things that could destroy the entire world, and thus, Rogue had a form that was easy to manufacture, but someone protecting the world forever...?

    It is a much more fragile dream.

    For that reason he was originally transient.

    ...But no longer.

    ...Because while he should not exist, Mugen, everyone, every soul, had seen him manifest.

    They now knew he could do so.

    "The Hero" was not just a Dream, he was someone that "could be touched" someone who could "actually appear." It didn't matter how unlikely it was, or how absurd his existence was, in a world where only perceptions truly matter, and where possibilities are infinite...

    Simply wishing for him-



    "...Don't worry. I made a promise, I intend to keep it."

    -Is enough to finally complete his incarnation.

    Moving to the side of his Dreamer, manifested in a body all his own, The Hero cares little for the renewed battle against the Dark God. While that opponent was certainly powerful, the world had already proved it had what it took to defeat him.

    So he was not worried.

    While the enemy believed he was gone, the tear in space, reality warping from his sheer presence, immediately declares something else. Kneeling down next to Nakamura Akio and Aesop, the hero shakes them awake with a gentle hand...

    And, being his other self...

    The youth responds immediately, coming back to life with a start.

    "It's not over. So now is not the time to sleep."


    Identical eyes meeting, the hero smiles with an overflowing kindness.

    "This battle is still that of the humans, he may have been revived, but it was still a revival, he talks big but his fate is sealed... You have beaten him once, you can do it again, all of you can do it again, so believe in yourselves once more."


    Pulling himself to his feet, a weapon to her own, the concept nods towards the battlefield with a smile.

    "All of your friends are here... So give it your all. I promised you I would save the world... So as long as you do that, I will definitely handle the rest."

    "Haha... Well alright, but don't lose."

    "Nothing to worry about, I got this one."


    "Alright-!"

    Taking on the burden of the newest enemy, a Dreamer and his Dream cross hands once again; no longer looking at each other, because there was no longer a need to do so.

    Each of them would handle what they needed to handle.

    Both of them believing that...

    Their backs had never been more protected than right now.

    The Hero listens as the two run off to fight, and the voices, the souls, whisper that it might not be that simple.

    "...As someone who also entered the stage late, it is my duty to take care of those outside the script."


    But still...

    He's not worried.

    To defeat Rogue, he is not really needed.

    Space distorts again, and the Hero joins the others confronting 'The Writer.'

    While there's nothing in his hand, his aura, his expression...

    Are impossibly heavy, an infinite resolve that was very different from the kind face that had motivated his other self to keep fighting.

    "Witness human potential? Fluke? You decided to torture them just for that...?"

    As the "Hero" humanity had created, and thus one of their Guardians, such a cruel joke being played on them...

    Was unforgivable.

    "You aren't God. Humanity's Fate is decided by Humanity. You can't use the fates of humans as a toy."


    It is impossible for him to tell what exactly he is facing; with an aura that surpassed that of Rogue Flame, and motivations and abilities that escaped him, it is clear that the enemy truly might be 'The Writer.'

    ...But he doesn't care.

    The hero of a story certainly can't defeat the author of it; it is an absolute rule that even he shouldn't be able to break, to overcome, but...

    ...The moment that person had entered the story, they had gained a presence that he could strike at; God is only invincible on his throne, the moment he leaves...

    He is often cut down.

    Or at the very least...

    He is pushed right back to his throne.

    Against this opponent, he could settle for that kind of victory.

    To protect the chosen future, the happy ending humanity had decided to grasp for themselves.

    He would use whatever force he must.

    "Phantom Memory: Endless Edda-!"


    A hand rises.

    Every possibility humanity will acknowledge opens.

    To protect the world of humans from outside interference, he must cut her out not just from the present, but from every future possibility.

    Unlike the others, he is not a God.

    But he is so overwhelmingly powerful because he is not one.

    To defeat a God, either another God was needed...

    Or a hero.

    One couldn't simply become a God, but...

    "REJECTION OF THE STARLIT SKY-"

    If one tried hard enough, they could certainly become a hero.

    And that simple difference between them... Meant so many more people could relate to the hero's plight.



    "-BALMUNG-!"



    If she wanted to see human potential...

    The three of them would certainly show her what she had come to witness.
    Last edited by Airen; May 3rd, 2017 at 08:43 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  13. #1053
    ⚠ Trouble Sei's Avatar
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    Fukami Mikoto
    City Streets- Morning


    I take a deep breath. Still trying to recover from my battle with Sophie, I search myself in an attempt to find what's wrong. My physical state has already been restored, but something within my being still feels like it's missing. But the thing that concerns me is that I can't tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Whether this missing element is a core part of my existence or merely something I'm continuously overlooking is something I can't quite determine. But if there's one thing I can say for sure... It's that I should not have survived up until this point. No matter how you look at it, the entirety of my existence was snuffed out back there. To say that it's a miracle I'm still here would be severely underselling it.

    Another deep breath.

    Pressing my back against the wall, I try to focus more on the task at hand. With Nanako and Sophie having already gone ahead, I understand that the final battle is right around the corner. Once we finish this, we can finally rest. However, because I have this mark on my arm now, I can tell just what it is that is waiting for us beyond these streets. And, honestly, even if we were all to bad together... I don't think we stand a chance. Not as we are. Maybe if we had a bit more time to prepare... Maybe then we'd be able to beat him as one... But now is too soon...

    The mark on my arm responds to my hesitation. It burns- the pull of Rogue Flame's dark energies trying to consume my own.

    Anxiety building up inside of me, I turn to my left and look at the girl quietly sitting by my side. The look on her face is one of solemn determination. To her, this is likely something that she always knew she would have to face. And now that the time has finally come, there doesn't seem to be a single ounce of doubt in her. She doesn't need to survey the situation. She's strong. She knows what she has to do. Yet... Even with such a high-standing duty before her, she still chooses to wait by my side until I'm ready.

    "Haru..."

    Feeling just how close she is to me, I can't help but reach out and hold her hand. There's a bunch of things that come to mind when I look at her face now. Given time, I'm sure I'd be able to form all of them into coherent words... But, for now, all I can do is interlace our fingers and hold her tiny hand as tightly as I can.

    "I love you."

    I can only give form to the first three words that come to my mind.

    I'm scared. Not of the doubting obstacle that stands before us or even the possibility of my own demise. Deep down inside, I've long since come to terms with the idea of death. But, despite it all, I don't want to lose the person sitting next to me.

    "I don't know if I'll ever get another chance to say it, so I figure now is as good a time as any," I laugh nervously to myself in an attempt to calm my nerves, but I realize it only makes me even more anxious, "...I love you, Haru."

    I say those three words again just to give myself peace of mind.

    If I were allowed to be selfish about one thing, it would be to preserve this moment. The time I get to spend together with the single most important person in the world to me. But I know that we can't drag this on. We've already wasted enough time standing back while others are putting their lives on the line. Now is the time for action. We've can't run away from this... I can't run away from this...

    Squeezing Haru's hand even tighter, I steel myself and force out my thoughts, "...You can feel it, right? Rogue Flame is waiting for us where the others are. Together, I'm sure we can hold him back; however, I don't think that will be enough..." I pause to fight back the knot in my throat, "Haru... I think you're the key to defeating Rogue. You always have been..."

    My words stop there.

    I don't want to say any more. Thinking about what it is I just said and what it implies makes my stomach turn. When it comes to that, the future and it's many possibilities worry me to no end. I can't even bring myself to look in Haru's direction because of it. Even so, it had to be said.

    "I don't have any kind of plan. And more than that, I don't want you to get involved in this. But still... We have to go... Everyone is waiting for us."

    It feels as though my heart is glass...

    "But... Before we do... There's one last thing I wanted to show you," Desperately fighting back the tears, I try to force a smile, "I'm... a little sorry it couldn't be the real thing... But it's something I've wanted to give you for a long time now."

    Before I can even finish choking out those words, a golden flame envelopes our hands. It's weak, but it's warm and gentle- just like Haru. With a quick activation of Kamui, I move Haru's conscious and mine to a false space. A peaceful world with rolling plains of grass and flowers scattering in the breeze. And... in this space there is one other. Someone whom I've only been able to meet once, but someone who I'd been seeking for the sake of this girl.



    "Haru... I want you to say hi to your mom."
    Sei "Kanra" Slayers
    Resident Sadist. Enjoys stepping and sitting on people.
    Avid lover of butts and anime.

  14. #1054
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Nakamura Akio
    Mugen


    He faces the end with a dark, grim humor.

    He burns but he does not writhe, he is taunted but he does not care. Trapped in fire, burning away to nothing by the absurd actions of an absurd Goddess who had destroyed everyone's wishes on a whim, the Fool falls into despair and disappears, gaze covered by shadows, bitter, remorseful laughter leaving his lips.

    It's the last punchline of an unfunny joke.

    Carving a path to the future only to have an outsider nail it shut. It's the sort of twist that's cruelest right at the end, a long-awaited light being dragged back into the endless night, timed so that everyone could watch it happen, so their hearts could break together.

    Because they had won...

    And that had been undone because it was considered a "fluke."

    It was just a whim.

    His spirit burns away.

    But his anger is greater even than that of the flames. More than the father he despised, for the first time, Nakamura Akio looks at a being and feels nothing but contempt for their existence.

    Mercifully, that foreign hate...

    Is wiped out, along with his life.

    ---

    ...He's back here again.

    Lying down beneath the branches of a great tree. It's morning this time, and the light of the sun is bright... Too bright...

    So bright...

    That he can't make out the face of the young woman sitting at his side. While he had passed away in the depths of despair, the presence of the tree, or perhaps that of the young woman, is enough to put his mind back at ease.

    He doesn't think about it.

    Soothed by voices that are not his own, he's not bothered by the unfamiliar girl, or the place in which he has ended up. The past melts away, the fight melts away, the betrayal melts away, and...

    The dream slowly becomes his reality.

    ...Some people call for him to wake up.

    He doesn't hear them. Eyes heavy, heavier than they have ever been in his life, the youth yawns and does his best to stay conscious. The sky is golden, everything beyond the tree is impossible to make out, and as his eyes close...

    The girl at his side, slowly reaches out to touch his face.

    ...He does not know who she is. Burning red hair, but a face that was hidden by light, it's certainly not anyone that he knows, even with his original memory, he doubted he would have recognized the person at his side, yet...



    "Hey, Mr. Superhero."

    "..."

    It seems like she knows who he is...

    "...You."

    Responding in a tired voice, he tries to remember something he cannot. Her appearance here is related to the great sin he had helped to commit, the destruction of a fundamental law of reality that had allowed people who should not be able to meet, to meet.

    She is not real, she is simply a "leftover thought" someone had left behind for him before returning to her time.

    There is no way to remember something that hasn't happened, yet...

    "Oh... Hey... It's you, kid."

    He knows who she is, even thought he shouldn't.

    "You look mad... Is something wrong? There someone I gotta beat up for you?"

    While he's exhausted, and has forgotten most of what is going on...

    For this one, he'll keep his eyes open a bit longer.

    She shakes her head, and while she moves her mouth, no words appear.

    "Man, sorry Amaya, you'll have to be a bit louder... I must be more tired than I thought... I can barely keep my eyes open."

    It's a nice dream.

    Much better than the twisted reality, the boy that has forgotten it's a dream, finds himself slipping into it in spite of the efforts of his friends on the outside.

    The world had betrayed him one time too many.

    For those that had watched him go this far, that last betrayal...

    Had been too much.

    They would all stay here, beneath this tree. They hadn't given up, and neither had the boy, but...

    Making him go out and fight again... Was cruel.

    So they had decided not to do it.

    He had done enough, it was time for him to rest...

    At least for a little while; just as he had sheltered them, they would shelter him until the world was saved once more.

    But-

    "...You over sleeper."

    -This girl, that leftover thought...

    "Don't waste away dreaming, old man. Remember what you always told me? Even if it's just those around you, connections aren't to be thrown away, right? Your friends are here, they're stealing your spotlight sure... But they're here."

    Eh?

    Thrown away...?

    "It was a completely unfair move I know... You already won this fight, you shouldn't have to fight it again... But..."

    ...She's not sure what to say.

    In the end, she's not even the real one, but...

    This spark, a light from the future to the past...

    "Well... We'll never meet in the future if you don't beat this guy now. You might be the only one that can finish him off... So I know it's a pain in the ass, but... Dad..."

    Static.

    The world turns to static as her figure fades to light.

    "Just a bit more. Make a few more of those war stories you always told me about, okay?"

    ---

    Nakamura Akio
    Mugen


    The Hero goes on without him.

    Revived by the words of a special someone from the future, as well as the ideal that even now was marching to deal with a Goddess that had made the mistake of intervening, Nakamura Akio is still not happy about the situation. The Dark God he had already put down with everyone's help was not only back up, but talking a lot of nonsense, acting like he was still all powerful even though he had been absolutely defeated once already.

    "You're doomed, Rogue," angry, but calm in spite of it, the boy just shakes his head at the allegations of the Mage of Misfortune, "Humanity knows they can beat you now... Talk big all you want, we already put you down once.. And the future... Is not for you to decide."

    That Mage is outnumbered.

    More and more people arriving every moment, he is someone that will be defeated by the very law he had invoked earlier in the fight.

    The few cannot defeat the many.

    ...It doesn't take a genius to see, just at a glance...

    That the only true darkness left...

    Was the Mage of Misfortune.

    Him against the stars, the blackness between the stars, the gentle dark and the valiant light.

    ...As Humanity was now, they could probably crush Rogue without him, but...

    Those 'Starlit Dreams' were something he had been entrusted with...

    Since it had become necessary once more, he would deliver them once again, and this time, this time...

    It should stick.

    It must.

    Believing in the Hero at his back, the youth simply walks towards an enemy that no longer brings him despair.

    Everyone was here.

    As long as that was the case.

    ...They were invincible.

    Enemy in sight, he begins weaving together magical energy once more, again beside the resolved form of his Magical Weapon; it is a response that is only natural, having promised the Hero that he would defeat Rogue Flame, the youth who was the last one to revive, is no longer messing around with this battle.

    There was simply too much at stake.

    He needed to meet that person in the future, he was someone who would go the ends of reality and beyond for the sake of his family, and while the one he had met did not exist like that now...

    She would one day.

    And asking him to defeat Rogue with that voice...

    Well...

    "Hah-!"

    Only a failure of a father would deny such a thing, regardless of the bizarre circumstances.

    However-!

    With his spirit having been burned away once already, the previously established connections to "Humanity" had been undone, fading away along with his Mugen.

    To summon that power back, he had to reestablish the link without direct use of Mugen, in this sea, and with his copy of Rosettia's blade such a thing wasn't impossible, but it was slow, too slow, but-

    "Aunt Rose-?!"

    "Telegraphing your attacks like this isn't the best idea... So let's speed it along."

    "...Sorry, can't be helped-!"

    As if sensing she was needed, Rosettia Everheart returns to her nephew's side, and together, standing along behind the others, they forge a true network without compare.

    It's the real one this time.

    While he wasn't the type to truly care about the difference between the real thing, and a fake that held the spirit of the real, it still feels like a reunion that is only possible on this stage.

    Hands on the same sword, countless strings flying out into eternity, passed from hand to hand, eager spirits waiting to reunite amongst themselves once more, three hands begin to burn with a vibrant white light.

    The beginnings of that "Starlit" magic.

    But it won't be enough to match his last use with just this, or rather it shouldn't be, with the future and the past returned to their own place, the network has lost some of it's strength even at full capacity, but even so-!

    With the use of Rosettia's Bloody Waltz-!

    Damage beyond the last will be maintained-!

    "Brother! This time I'm with you-!"

    "Got it sis, we'll bury him together, no problem-!"

    -This time, he won't be casting it with just one other person.

    The light of eternity joins the myriad colors, one that will not allow the Mage of Misfortune to reappear again, condemning his physical existence to destruction the moment it reappears-!

    But still, for the gathering Nakamura House Reunion...

    It's not enough.

    They absolutely must win this battle.

    No room for resistance, the Mage of Misfortune must fall, to that end-!

    "...Damn it Akio, the hell is with that sacrifice nonsense?"

    "Huh? Oh, Rei... To be fair... I was hoping I would win... And then just wing my way out of the consequences."

    "...Well that sounds like you."

    "Doesn't it?"

    "Well... That is just like a knight to do! But he is a moron..."

    "Mana... That hurts a bit..."

    Well, it's the truth~"

    "Aye... He is that kind of idiot... I never managed to teach him to think..."

    "Sensei... You can't turn on me too... Not right now-!"

    Infinite folds.

    A layer that will only allow the defeat of the darkness.

    A magic that denies the existence of other magics.

    No matter who or what gets in the way, be it the forms of their allies, or even the forms of other worlds, pocket dimensions, true alternate realities, competing magical discharges...

    It'll cover everything, it'll pass through everything belonging to that mage, it will devour everything belonging to that rage.

    For him, and him alone.

    There's nowhere to run.

    No shield that will avail that man.

    This Magic will only defeat that darkness.

    Even so...

    There's certainly...

    "Akio-nii chan! You left me behind!"

    More they can add to all of this, after all...

    "Ah... Akio nii chan gets a bit carried away sometimes-! I can't help but try to be the knight, gotta look cool in front of you, you know?"

    "Dummy..."

    "But now's the time for that team attack, it won't just be us... But let's beat this guy together and go home-!"

    You can never go wrong with a good dose of pure, brute force.




    The limitless sky goes from black and white to a world of many colors.

    Shining from the center of a newfound core, it's a light that embodies many different colors, many different wishes, a myriad wheel of emotions, all burning, all rebelling...

    Against a dark God that they do not want, that they will not allow to exist.

    The sort of Dark that Rogue Flame was... Was a dark that lacked color.

    Believing in only a single false truth, that darkness, that single feeling of despair...

    Will be overrun by everything else.

    After all, when a white light breaks down...

    What emerges from that single white light...

    Is a light of many different colors.

    It's exploding in their hands.

    All together now, led by a youth that had defeated this mage once before...

    "THIS TIME, DON'T COME BACK-!"





    "Arc-En-Ciel: Starlit Dreams!"


    ---




    "..."

    Far away from his family, the spirit of a dark-haired man watches the battle with unreadable eyes.

    There are things he wants to say to his son, things he wants to say to his daughters.

    Apologies he must make to both the living and the dead.

    But he does not.

    In the end, he could be said to lack the courage to do those things.

    Even so...

    Quote Originally Posted by Akio
    "Hey, Old Man. Wherever you are... Try and watch out for us, alright? Don't be such a useless father."
    ...Now that he was given this chance, as a father...

    There were some things he simply had to do.

    A hand is raised.

    "Arcana: Universe."

    Cause and effect switch places, ensuring victory, not just for him...

    But for those kids.

    Their efforts... Won't go to waste.

    The true azure flames gather in his palm.

    Their target?

    The owner of the black flames that had harmed his family.

    "Starlit Dreams: Death."



    "Mage of Misfortune... Sink into nothing."

    A father's wish accompanies his turned back.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  15. #1055
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    “... Ah.”

    The beauty of the landscape that welcomes her is breathtaking, almost as much as the words that have escaped your mouth just a few moments ago. For Nakayama Haru, someone who has spent most of her life in solitude, accompanied only by suffering, guilt and an unwavering desire to avenge the fallen, there is only one name she can use to label the unreal destination where she has arrived: ‘Paradise’. It’s not just the sight; the gentle breeze and the smell of flowers transmit a feeling of freedom she has not been able to experience before. Though she might not be deserving of being in such place, it is hard for her to deny what her heart feels. Oh, how much would she love to be able to stay there for as long as possible.

    “...!”

    Without offering much of a response to your declaration, you feel the warmth in your hand suddenly slip away. There is not much distance between your friend and the image of her mother but, drawn by such intense emotions, the blue haired girl cannot fight against the instinct of crossing the green fields with a sprint. It feels bittersweet to see her go like that, but deep down you understand it is best to give the two a little bit of time for themselves. To be honest, you aren’t in shape to preserve this space for any longer than a few minutes at most. It would be selfish to center the attention on yourself when that’s not how it is meant to be. Still, you can’t help but think back of all the time you’ve spent together since the day Haru arrived at Starlight as a ‘transfer student’. Little by little, you were able to witness parts of her that had long ago been hidden under wraps. Who’d come to think that such a serious looking girl, bent on staying clear from the eyes of anybody else would turn out to be such an innocent and clumsy individual? And she’s not the only one who has come far… Being with her has helped you fill the void in your heart that a life of self-imposed loneliness had imparted upon you; it has given you a sense of purpose and it has even allowed you to come to terms with who you really are. Heh… Though it only has been a few months since it all started, it sure feels like you’ve come a long way. Even if the battle for a peaceful future has yet to come to an end, and the obstacles that stand on the way are not anything to laugh at, somewhere in your mind, you feel glad… Fulfilled.

    “... I feel the same way.”

    When you raise your head, you’re met with the sight of your loved one. She draws a smile under the sunlight and, like you, does her best to hold back her tears, but ultimately fails to do so. That precious fragment of warmth envelops your hand once again. It must have been a short reunion if Haru is back already, but her expression somehow leaves you unable to say a word in complaint.

    “Mikoto... I’ll never be able to repay everything you’ve done for me. When I declared myself an avenger, you didn’t shun me away. When I confessed I thought myself to be a monster, you listened to me without retaliating. You shared your place with me, showed me things I wasn’t even aware of and even went as far as introducing myself to people I did not know. It is thanks to you that I stand here today, no longer as an avenger but as someone who also aspires to become a hero.”

    For Nakayama, sharing her feelings like this is an ordeal. She feels like every word that comes out of her mouth has to be forced out, otherwise it might never have the chance to come out. Furthermore, it is difficult to pour her emotions into words, since she lacks any sort of previous experience. Saying ‘I love you’ certainly doesn’t come as easy as it did for you, and her very nature makes her lean more towards a roundabout confession than a simple one. If the two of you weren’t on a clock, it may take her several attempts to get the point through, and that’s after you’ve gathered the courage to say the magic words first.

    “That’s why… I’ll entrust my life to you! Please do with me as you will!”

    … You should have foreseen she would end up saying something like that. That’s certainly a Haru way to confess, even if may sound rather wrong when taken out of context. You can’t help but let out a small laugh.

    “...”

    But she really means it.

    That’s how far she is willing to go for someone she loves.

    And that is not something you’ll easily find anywhere else.

    She doesn’t ask for a paradise.

    She doesn’t need one when she has you.

    “...?!”

    Even if this place will last for a few more seconds at best, you spare a few to make sure that the moment is preserved forever in your memories.

    -------

    There was no way doing something so reckless wouldn’t immediately brand her as ‘an enemy of humanity’. Still, the consequences of her little experiment have escalated to heights she did not expect in a surprisingly short amount of time. Those who stand before her are no longer human; some never were, others have ascended to a higher plane of existence after extreme and constant conceptual exposure. Jumping into an unnecessary fight with her for the sake of what some would call ‘pride’, the three avatars immediately make their move, intent on kicking her down from her throne. Although she belongs to a far superior species which can wield magic naturally, these three opponents pose quite a problem for someone like her who is unskilled in combat, unlike Rogue. Fortunately…

    “... Hmmm.”

    She is an entity who is not obliged to follow this world’s rules, an intruder who usurped the place of her counterpart a long time ago. As such, logic has no effect on her, and she can slip away from any and all attempts to be manipulated. If she wanted, she could easily deflect the magnificent attack swung her way. She does not even need to be afraid of her own pen, assuming she even properly understands the meaning of fear. With that said, the goddess does make a pause to consider what her next course of action will be. Escaping would certainly the wisest thing to do, but a part of her doesn’t want to leave the hearts of those called forth by humanity’s will, so the thought of faking her own death does cross her mind. Granted, it would be even worse if they happened to find out, but if they don’t… Well, it would be quite suitable end for both sides.

    And so, the purple haired girl accepts the purging light with open arms.

    But.

    At that time...

    -------

    "..."


    The myriad lights are charged with emotion. To dismiss the weight it carries as insignificant would be no better than submerging oneself in a bottomless delusion. That is right, the God of Destruction has no choice but to acknowledge the last attack of humanity as ‘worthy’ because of how strongly it conveys the desire to carry on. However, to say this outcome comes as a surprise would be a lie as well. After all, just as he knows of the darkness that rests in their hearts, he is also aware of this light, this fire that only burns brightly in situations where they are pushed to the edge. Although there is no room for him to feel sorry, if he were any more like them, he would regret, if only slightly, the fact that their unavoidable end has already been crafted by his very own hands. The warriors that remain will certainly struggle by merging and twisting the idea of concepts: They will work in unison in an attempt to change fate, maybe even summoning the help of old friends and foes. Sadly, it has been determined beforehand that everything will be for naught. Every road that leads to a future of salvation has already been demolished by Third Replication, as well as every possibility of its restoration. As strong as humans are when fighting against destiny, there is a limit as to how much they can do and, unfortunately, this is it; their limit. Even if he were to be cast away by their ultimate Last Resort, said result will not change the future, or rather, the lack of thereof.

    “...”

    Even if a fragment of Nakayama Ieyasu still remains locked within his subconscious, and even if said fragment could, perhaps, cause him to feel overwhelmed by the overflowing emotions and memories contained within the rainbow blast, it is already far too late.

    ---The dream is finally about to reach its end.

    “This should be enough proof.”

    The light fades, revealing the untarnished form of the one to bring this world’s apocalypse. Despite receiving a much heavier and stronger Starlit Dreams than the first, he stands there as if the Last Resort had been nothing but a passing breeze. Certainly, the will of humanity no longer follows his cause, but his current strength is such that he no longer has a need for it. Even if the dreamer ‘himself’ no longer wants to wake up, there is no doubt in his mind that he will put an end to this illusion.

    “The time is up, humanity. You’ve lost.”

    -------

    It comes as an unexpected blackout, like someone had decided to suddenly pull the plug on the universe. Up until now, you have been able to react to any and all changes, be it as a Magus or as a simple human being. But this time, you are overrun by a force that you never had the chance to interact with, and you are plunged into a sea endless darkness, stripped of both body and soul. Yet, somehow, a fragment of your consciousness does not seem to leave you. You understand that you’ve ‘died’, and that you’ll soon either disappear completely or perhaps transform into something else.

    Yeah, Rogue Flame was right.

    There was nothing that could have been done to stop the end: Dreams are not everlasting. Eventually, everyone wakes up to their own reality. Being nothing but a performer on this play that was someone else’s dream, it is time for you to retreat to a faraway corner of the subconscious. There is nothing left to do but to accept the outcome. If that is the big order of things, you are nothing to dare question it…

    The moment you reach that conclusion, what feels like a sudden zap of electricity ‘brings you back to your senses’, if only for a moment. Though nothing should remain of it, a part of your old self stubbornly tries to deny the idea that the ‘system’ is trying to drill into your head. Though it cannot communicate with words, the brief surges of ‘pain’ come together with memories, promises and a reminder that your story has yet to reach the final chapter you desire. That the happy ending that everyone sought… Is not this one.

    It’s unfortunate.

    You have lost the ability to interact with anything but your own thoughts. No, this is something that you could have not messed with even on your prime, nor with the help of any ‘guardian spirit’. Therefore, it is pointless to struggle now. This is a force that far exceeds your own.

    … But.

    … But.

    … But so what?

    You summon those words in your mind without even intending to. There is no explanation as to what they mean, other than being part of a selfish caprice. That said… Foolishly challenging a fact isn’t going to do anything in your favor.

    … When has something like that stopped you?

    Several times… Actually, more than you can count. Certainly, your life as a human had its ups and downs, and was filled with hardship. It’d be a lie if you said there was never a wall that forced you to stop, turn and leave.

    However, a part of you has already begun to understand.

    Understand that these questions are not meant to be answered nor analyzed. They once were part of you, part of a ritual that only humans know. A mechanism that has allowed them to be brave enough to cross all frontiers and even dare to challenge the gods.

    That’s right.

    It’s that feeling of rebellion, that desire for freedom that makes humans what they are.

    Oppression is the fuel and despair is the trigger.

    Once ignited, the bullet fired incites a revolt.

    It’s time to wake up...? Don’t joke around.

    Humanity will be the one to decide when that happens.

    Not a dumb-looking pyromaniac. Not an eccentric, book-wielding goddess.

    And...

    Even If all hope has been lost…

    Even If all roads towards tomorrow have been wiped clean…

    That’s fine…

    Humanity will take whatever remains and forge a new, brighter future; you can bet on that.

    “Ah… Guh… Ah…!”

    Little by little, you begin to pick yourself together. The task is as hard as keeping two vehicles from advancing in opposite directions with nothing but your bare hands, so even collecting the basic parts of you comes with a great amount of difficulty. The stronger you pull, the more you drive your fragile existence to the edge of nothingness, but that does not seem to dissuade you. If you give your best and you fail… You might eventually come to terms with that result. But if you never try… That’s one thing you wouldn’t be able to forgive yourself for.

    The choking moans turn into a fierce battle cry.

    The more aware you become, the more you become desperate to find others like you. You tear apart walls that cannot be seen, even at the cost of your own pitiful limbs, in search of those you call friends. It is then that you become truly unstoppable.

    The will of a single man is not always enough to bring forth a change. In this case, it is unlikely that even the gathered wills of humanity from all ages, as well as those that may be summoned from presumed parallel timelines, can do anything to restore the dream that has been lost.

    … But.

    …. But so what?

    Chanting those magic words one more time, humanity takes another step forward.

    -------

    “...”

    Who is more surprised at this development? Is it the humans, who have been left speechless by the sensation of air once again filling their lungs? Is it Rogue Flame, whose body has seemingly begun to fade from existence? Or is it the mysterious goddess, who has been stripped of her powers all of a sudden?

    It should have been impossible. To restore the world to its previous image, to summon everyone to the Sakura Tree that had been formerly reduced to ashes. Humanity simply did not possess a power capable to oppose Third Replication, which ensured the end of the dream. And yet, in the face of adversity, staying true to themselves, the humans did something even more unthinkable…

    ---They turned dreams into reality, manifesting their existence into an actual space.

    They did so without magic, or rather, they used their own power instead of borrowing them from something else. Not a miracle, but a perfect representation of their nature. Humans are those who endure, those who survive, those who can pave the way forward even after being struck by loss. Through this ordeal, they have evolved. The darkness that accompanies them all no longer wears them down.

    This result did not come without a cost, without a sacrifice, but…

    'I' am sure humanity will find a way to overcome that, too.

    “What’s the meaning of this…?”

    There is no room for them there, no words need to be spoken to convey the feeling. Earth does not need alien gods… They’ll be expelled soon enough, if not by the planet, then by hands balled into fists.

    "...!"


    The former embodiment of the end becomes a body of black flame and leaps towards the crowd, a desperate attempt to find a new host before he is erased from the map. The body of fire is stopped by the open palm of a blue haired girl, inheritor of the Ultimate Arts, who does not even flinch at the thought of having the incarnation of hate so close to her. It is likely that these flames will never be extinguished forever. They’ll come back, if not to wake humanity from a dream, then to inform them of their own misdeeds. Maybe they’ll retain their shape or maybe they’ll adopt a different form. The truth is that a future without adversity does not exist. But when that time comes…

    'We’ll be ready.'

    Pink flames erupt from within the pitch black fire, purging the hatred and calling forth the warmth of love.

    "..."

    Everyone's sights turn to the fallen Goddess. She responds with an expression of panic and desperation; something new for her.

    Humanity does not seem to care.


    Next up: Epilogue - One Year Later
    Last edited by hero; November 18th, 2017 at 02:53 PM.
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  16. #1056
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    Epilogue: One Year Later


    As I stare absentmindedly at the entrance of the restored Milky Way, a feeling of nostalgia washes over me. I am back... To the island where it is always summer. I might have not been born here... But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't the closest thing I have to 'home'. There are a few differences between this version of the Shopping Mall and the original design, that I can tell with just a single glance. It definitely reflects the personality of the 'new owner', that with all the technogadgets that were implemented to aid and guide the customers to the stores they want to find. I hear some still complain it is really difficult to find the way out even with all the brand new 'find the nearest exit' signs, but that's part of the magic this place has; magic that technology alone will never overcome. If I had to guess, I'd say Shiomi must be working at his underground lab alongside his new pupils at this time, most likely doing things I'd rather not find out. It'd be foolish to assume he's not aware of my presence, but I already know he's not the kind of guy to come up to greet me. Although I wouldn't be surprised if he comes to me with a new invention the moment I decide to leave the island. I wouldn't say it out loud, but the truth is that I am glad. Glad that after all this time, he was able to find peace as well.

    It is unfortunate I cannot stay here for too long, but before leaving I take a moment to visit the fountain located at the center of the mall. I flip a coin and let it fall into its waters, not even slowing down my march. Was this the happy ending you imagined, Gamble? Though you might not be with us anymore, I am certain your wishes will be entrusted upon the next generation. Your spirit wouldn't rest within my blade if that were not to be the case. As for your foster mother, I doubt you have much to worry. It was a given that she would make a disappearance act after the biggest problem was resolved, but I have no doubt she was the one who made the generous donation that allowed the island to prosper as far as it has. Not to mention she freed a certain homunculi to live life as she pleased. With the Kaede Industries no longer being a thing, I am sure she'll have to start from the scratch once more. She more than anyone else is capable of doing so, so I expect she'll be back to the scene in a couple of years at most. Hopefully, this time she'll follow her own cause as opposed to one imposed by her own family tree.

    On my way to the park, I walk past the brand new police station. The island is as safe as it could ever be, although it's hard to believe who made it to Commissioner in record time. Tsukabe Motoshige dropped his alias 'Kubo Naoya' and enlisted in the force almost as soon as Rogue Flame was defeated. His gang loved him so much that they immediately dropped their chains and motorcycles and followed him without a second thought. Ironically, the second in command is the daugther of the former leader of the force, whom a criminal known as 'Cain' stabbed in one occassion. Their relationship is a funny one to witness, although from my point of view she has him completely under her heels now that the tables have turned. Tsukabe is really lucky the incident their shared never became public knowledge, or else he wouldn't be standing where he is today. He still has much to do in order to pay for the crimes he committed in the past, but I can tell he is a good guy at heart. I am no one to judge him anyways, that with everything I've been responsible of.

    Near the end of the shopping district, I spot a few curious flags and posters. They are rather old, dating back a few months, but they remain clean as if they were brand new. From what I can tell, a team led by Nakamura Hitomi took the Martial Arts Tournament by a storm and earned quite some fame as a result. I can't imagine how someone like her got herself involved as a coach, but then again, the Nakamura as a whole are all very supportive and solidary. At this point, I'd not be surprised if she did it just because someone desperately asked her to. The hospital and the orphanage must be doing good as well, given that she is in charge of both of them now. I heard that initially another member of the family was to look after the hospital, but something urgent came up and she had to suddenly leave, resulting in Hitomi's current ordeal. Apparently, short visits and rapid disappearances are quite common with this suitcase wielding woman, so she accepted the outcome with no more than a sigh.

    From here, I can already see the school... Starlight Academy. Today is a sunday, so naturally its gates are closed. Hishikawa was the one responsible for its reconstruction after the tragic events of one year ago. She just started working as a teacher there. Rumors say she is quite forgiving and a favorite among male and female students alike. With the heart of gold she possesses, I am sure her future will be bright. Speaking of teachers, Shinzo Kamui attempted to quit his job after deeming himself unworthy of his position. It was thanks to Nanako's efforts that a man with such expansive pool of knowledge still remains part of the faculty. He won't be joining us today, however, as he is spending a much needed vacation on the Caribbean with his Magical Weapon, whom with he shares a close bond.

    I was offered the opportunity to become a gym teacher, but I decided to leave it to more responsible hands. Besides, if those kids cannot handle Nakayama Haru's training regime, there is no way they can handle mine...

    "..."


    I don't need to visit their graves to recall the names of those whose lives were lost during the War and the final struggle. From Hayate to Uta and Shinji, all of them were victims of a conflict that my own doubts gave birth to. There isn't anything I can really do to repair the losses that I've caused, but at the very least I'll make sure their families, their friends or whatever they had, do well. After the final battle, one of our friends went missing as well, one who saved my life in more than one occassion. I didn't know she had two siblings... I'll see that the grow into fine people. Well, Nanako is already taking care of that, that girl just loves to fill her plate with responsibilities. I guess that makes me more of a supporting shadow. Well... That role fits me just right.

    One stubborn human who survived is Ohka Mari. After spending over three months in a coma, she woke up and, upon seeing how much money she had lost with her absence, she jumped straight into the first mercenary job that came her way. Apparently she currently works for the B.A.L.D.R. force, tracking and hunting down renegade Magi who may still pose a threat to the world. She still wears that ridiculous hat taken straight out from a halloween costume. Which is better, a witch or a stage magician? Honestly, I think both have their pros and their cons, but Mari and Risu always end up arguing about it. Or rather, Mari shares a monologue of how 'great' she is. I think she's in charge of new recruits, so that might have boosted her ego quite a bit. As for Risu, well, she lost her powers but that didn't stop her from going on a journey around the world. After finishing her studies, she just had to embark on one. She's doing shows to cheer people up and she's quite popular with the children. It's sad I won't get to see her today, but I am sure she'll send a card for the occassion or something. Although... Who knows? Some Magicians can be in two places at once, or so they say. Oh, speaking of which, there is someone who's been looking for her. Being honest, that person is no more than a stranger, but I invited him nonetheless. If Chisana personally gave him one of her cards, then I trust he can be included in our meeting. His name? Well, he told me everyone called him 'Yami', so that's what I'll do.

    The Aomori sold their so called 'haunted house' and bought a place next to the Nakamura's. Hana had to go overseas for a performance, so Mana has it all for her own. The girl has become quite a proficient Magus and, although none of us can summon as much power as we could a year ago, her conceptual mastery over the realm of 'space' demands respect. The rivalry between her and Akio's other neighbor, Raku, has gone back to what they used to be. I heard that once both happened to sneak into the Nakamura house at once and a fight ensued. Hitomi kicked both of them out, guns blazing. Aomori understood the message and decided to wait until the waters calmed down for her next attempt, but Natsume, being a vengeful creature, took the Nakamura's fridge captive the following day in retaliation. Last time I spoke to Akio, he said he was thinking of going on a journey as well, but I am not sure who is going to accompany him. That may pose a problem, but I'll let him be the one to solve it. So long as he doesn't try to sneak out alone in the middle of the night...

    Katsurimi Haseno left the island as well. She opened up a bar prior to her departure, so you can take it for granted that she'll come back at least once in a while. Although she's never been one to speak much, I believe she has found her answer too. The distorted world she saw in the mirror is no more... Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that she now sees it from a different angle. Maturity with a pinch of ingenuity gives the drink a better taste. Perhaps, after she is done tying a few loose ends, we can share a few beers and deepen our bond a bit. I feel like we'd get along just fine.

    ... I certainly looks like a lot of us will be walking separate ways.

    Thinking about it, I cannot help but to be reminded of my own uncertainty. After the end of 'Ragnarok', I traveled around the world. Part of me wanted a break, a breath of air, another part wanted to do as much as possible to help reconstruct this planet, reaching my hand towards those places that would have been forgotten otherwise. But... After all this time, I haven't been able to find my calling. Sometimes, I feel like my role is over now that the world is free from any real threat...

    ... And that's why I want to fight them.

    Not as their enemy, perhaps not even as their rival. I just want to face the ones that've shown me the way, the ones that didn't give up on me when even I did whatever I could to push them away from my heart, and show my gratitude the way that suits me the most. I still don't know what the future departs, but I have this feeling, this hunch that... Should our blades clash one more time, no matter how covered in thick fog the road ahead may be, I'll know where to go.

    I've become rather soft...

    I laugh to myself.

    Ahead is the cherry blossom tree that connects us all. Those who are here today and those who live in our hearts... It wouldn't be a surprise if they all agreed this would be a suitable place for a reunion.

    At least, I am certain you would, Sousei.

    From the distance, a waving hand signals me to approach the already formed circle. For my presence to be noticed so soon... Could it be that they've been waiting for me? Hah, if that's the case, I might have to pick up the pace...

    Towards that future that has not been carved in stone, that only us can mold, I just charge ahead.

    Without fear or hesitation, I run towards that which I thought I've lost, and don't stop until I grasp it.


    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

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