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Thread: Ga Rei: Exodus Nine (IC)

  1. #3261
    …That’s problematic. Katie's Avatar
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    Mikagura Mika
    The End


    She watches everyone else’s sacrifices with a forlorn look. In this world, which has existed at the Devourer’s behest, there is no hope, no matter what they claim. The being before them is invincible because the fabric of reality says it is so. No matter what they do to struggle, reality only knows one victor—the enemy. As they throw their lives away valiantly, pointlessly, she can’t help but feel miserable.

    The future everyone is fighting for… doesn’t exist in this world.

    Mika can feel this the most acutely of anyone else. Though everyone’s bodies may be wracked in numbing pain, she can feel the scope of her power shrink and fade away with every passing second. Knowledge, data, vanishing from the recesses of her mind at a pace that makes her feel sicker than the biting resistance her body puts against this unstoppable force. The one advantage she has, her ability to think faster than any event, is meaningless when all of the information she has vanishes piece by piece with every passing moment.

    Despair entwines itself around her heart like a snake, threatening to crush the unrealistic, feeble strands of hope she has. She looks to the girl next to her, with her cerulean eyes burning with indignation, and remembers a promise she made.

    Mika isn’t particularly sure if this is the right way to keep it, but like everyone else, she needs to try.

    The plan comes to her in fleeting scraps, connections broken in every which way. She tries to memorize as much as she can before it’s erased, but as the seconds go by, she wonders if what she’s composed has any logic at all, and the things she’s committed to memory are no more than fabrications of an imagination that refuses to accept destiny. She doesn’t know, perhaps will never know, but it is a bright light of hope, that to her, shines a bit brighter than Ryuumonbuchi’s noble phoenix or the Knight’s honest radiance.

    Her demon arrives with a wordless call in a flurry of droplets and snowflakes, and Mika impulsively hugs the Guardian of the North, because this is the end. Genbu, who has been at her side through thick and thin, will have to part ways from her. It is the Devourer’s disgusting enforcement of destiny. It’s cruelty, that’s what it is. No matter how annoying her protector may have been, it was a bond she couldn’t fathom giving up.

    “I know this is selfish, but… don’t forget me. Please,” Mika says, her voice heavy, clipped, because the words struggle to come out. “Make sure Yamuna is okay. And… make sure he does the right thing. He probably will, but…”

    Her voice trails off, but the bond between demon and summoner fills in the silent gap. No more words need to be said, so with reluctance Mika pulls herself away and faces her rival, her best friend, the person she loves the most, her face devoid of confidence. Pain wracks every fiber of her being, but Mika tries to smile, even if both of them know it’s terribly fake.

    “I have a plan. It really sucks.” She whispers the rest into Nami’s ear, wishing they were words of comfort instead of a barebones explanation. Her girlfriend deserved much better than that. She deserved an idea that was truly able to get them out of this predicament here and now, an idea that didn’t require her to give up as well.

    “I’m really sorry about this, Nami, but I don’t think there is any other way. I’d like to believe in Suzume too, but… there’s no guarantee if Yamuna will wake up, or if what she does can truly change fate.” Mika gives an honest assessment of the situation, her voice quiet and hesitant.

    Still, Nami follows her lead. No matter how poor her plans were, Nami would believe in her anyway. No matter how painful, how negative, how detached they could be, Nami still trusted her judgment. It touched her, it really did, but she still felt guilty. Her ideas weren’t enough, not enough to be unfalteringly believed in.

    The two walk together to a certain police officer, preparing his own form of rebellion. She isn’t sure if his idea would work either, but he probably understood the situation much more than the others, so it couldn’t have been too flawed.

    Even so… Mikagura Mika is confident her way is more “correct” than any other option they have right now. Though it isn’t right, she fully believes it is “correct.”

    “Hey, before you do anything too crazy,” she says to the deity that merely hours ago, she wished to kill with all her heart, “I’ve things to give you.”

    [Akashic Record transferred.]

    [Oracle Think Tank transferred.]

    It’s an eerie feeling. Her mind feels sluggish, like she’s permanently in a state of waking up. Even the white expanse feels less detailed, as odd as that statement could be. Mika takes one glance at Nami and her heart aches at how she can’t see all the little things she loves, and she turns to Chronos, whose expression she realizes is too hard to read now. She’s lived so long with the Think Tank that the world feels a bit alien now, like someone decided to slowly blur out the details from reality.

    Or, perhaps, it’s a property of dying. She can’t tell.

    “Oh, and I suppose this too, since I still have it, even though it isn’t mine.” Yagami’s Reverie Complex vanishes too, but unlike the rest of her being, she knows where it is going. It’s a small comfort in this world she can’t predict, but she at least planned it out to know what to do next.

    “You should take this too. Maybe prioritize it first.”

    She hands over her sword, her gun, her COMP, her partner, her parents’ gift to her. Beacon, like her, was a product of this reality, so it would disappear with the rest of them. Still, it had things that were of some value to the oldest god of time, and he should have them before they disappeared utterly.

    It seems odd to give a god the very sword that was meant to slay them, but this is a world where there are no real options left. The best she could do is put her hatred aside and hope that the being she entrusts this all to still had the same ideals as his master, though they became misguided so many timelines ago.

    “And… when you see Chiyoko again, tell her we’re all still with her, even if… Even if we don’t make it. The Devourer can erase us, but not the memories, after all.”

    It’s a bitter smile on her lips. The pain hasn’t subsided at all—it’s gotten worse, no doubt—and there is a dreary sense of cold that fills her entire body. It takes her a moment as she looks around, wondering how to stave it off, before seeing a hand outstretched. Even if it wasn’t warm, she could easily imagine it was.

    Mika holds Nami’s hand and waits for oblivion to come.
    Last edited by Katie; December 31st, 2018 at 06:50 PM.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  2. #3262
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Saki Ryuumonbuchi
    Last Train ~ ???


    You awaken with a start.

    The surrounding area is not that of the depths of space, or even that of your internal sea, and thus the idea that it is some sort of dream or nightmare is the first thing that comes to mind. It resembles a subway station in appearance, but there are no trains coming or going down the lengths of the tunnels, and the only sounds that exist are those of your own unconscious breathing...

    Of course, falling asleep is not an unexpected result. Your strike had been one that not only used all of your spiritual power, but had involved turning yourself into a conduit for 46 billion years worth of regrets; while you cannot remember seeing the result with your own two eyes, the act of leaving your body exposed to both those dark flames and that white light as a human is one that can only really result in your death, and thus...

    The chain of thoughts comes to a conclusion, that conclusion:

    Purgatory.

    Or at least, something to that effect.

    It has a similar feeling to being near the Soul Sea, but is a more 'natural' path than those utilized by Eclipse Users.

    Like being dropped halfway down the public road, in a way.

    It's not quite complete cessation of existence -which is nice- but at the same time, the Devourer's words had implied it would allow everyone to truly expire as their 'original selves,' and thus...

    This too, is probably temporary.

    Waiting for a train that will never come, until the station itself falls to nothing and is erased...

    Of course, that is defeatist talk.

    The fact that you are here in the first place must mean something remains of humanity, but at the same time, the lack of activity isn't very encouraging; of course, before you can really delve too much deeper into it-

    "Ah. Miss Ryuumonbuchi. I thought I might run into you here if I waited long enough, but at the same time, I can't say I'm particularly thrilled to find you here."

    There is only one person that talks to you in such a way.

    Naturally, his presence confirms all of your assumptions till now; you turn back to face him, smiling from a bench nearby, and the single tap of the spot next to him invites you to wait alongside him, for...

    Whatever all of this is...



    "It must have gotten pretty rough if you were that desperate, but if you felt it was necessary, then I'm sure it was the right thing to do, and the right time to do it."

    Naturally, he acts like he knows about everything that has happened to you and the others, even after his death.

    Even so, that voice never once loses it's casualness.

    In spite of everything going on outside, that vague feeling of safety returns to you.

    "Wanna talk for awhile? There's still homework we can go over, you know?"

    ---This guy never really changes, does he?
    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?



  3. #3263
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Saki Ryuumonbuchi
    Last Train


    This is… Ah, I get it.

    It must have been too much. There’s a limit to how far one can push their limits before the ground gives way, and they fall. Taking something that had spent years assimilating into her soul out of her, becoming a conduit for all that energy, and the white wind itself…

    I died.

    It’s the obvious conclusion. The girl knew from the start that if she ever used that power, she would change forever, lose something that had become part of her, and likely die. Using it on the precipice of destruction like that… she had been asking for it, in a way.

    Her attention went down the tracks, railways that likely lead nowhere. There wouldn’t be a train coming for her. Naturally there are no stairs leading above ground. It’s pessimistic, but this place will collapse soon. All that’s left is to wait.

    "Ah. Miss Ryuumonbuchi. I thought I might run into you here if I waited long enough, but at the same time, I can't say I'm particularly thrilled to find you here."

    That voice.

    She heard it just last night, but already it feels like an untold time has passed since then.

    For a moment, the girl freezes. Afraid that if she looks over to the source of those words, that there’ll be more nothing, in this station to nowhere. Biting her lip hard enough to draw blood, hard enough to work up the nerve, she turns slowly toward him.

    Seated there as if it was the most normal thing in the world. Gesturing for her to take a seat with that know-it-all tone of his. Not skipping a beat, picking up right where he had left off when he was alive as the guiding hand.

    Throat tightening for a brief moment, she held back the resurfacing feelings from last night. Wiping her eyes, to make sure they weren’t watering, she gave her lip a brush with her thumb, only to find it dry.

    Of course. Why would a body here bleed?

    So with a laugh-

    “More homework? But it’s winter break! We’re a bit too busy for that stuff these days, Sensei.”

    She took that seat offered to her.

    “But I guess I’m not so busy anymore, and if you were waiting here for me, it must be important. Isn’t that right, Never-Does-Pointless-Things-sensei?”

    The face that said those words with a smile, looked at the man with eyes that spoke their own words.

    I guess if you’re here too, this really is the end.


  4. #3264
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Vritra's Avatar
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    Makoto Fujioka
    Empty Sky full of Burning Stars
    "The Yamuna Project had a more than worthy result. If we were anyone else, that strike would have backed us into a corner. Even now, her body holds strong, it is a worthy seal."

    "However, we do not lose to anyone. To underestimate humanity's tenacity is foolish, and thus, long before this, when we created it, we wrote a law into the world: By our hands, on the promised day, it will come to it's end. It does not matter if we are sealed, or even if we are destroyed, to carry out your destruction the universe itself will call us forth again and again. For that purpose, we can even escape an eternal seal, even if only temporarily."

    "However, for our purposes, temporary freedom is not enough, as our task is not complete. Even on ourselves our law is absolute, so we cannot undo what your Goddess has done. We can exist here only so long as it takes to wipe you from existence, however, the method of destruction belongs to us. You exist within the System, the System upholds both the Law and your Lives, thus, the method of death will be complete deletion of the System Records in it's entirety. This will accomplish all objectives."

    "It is unfortunate, we wished to preserve a record of those who have fallen inside of ourselves. That would be our mercy as those who were once like you, but you have left us no choice, humans. Our task cannot be allowed to fail, and thus, this will be the end of everything. Farewell. But be comforted, I will at least allow you to spend your final moments in your original forms."

    As echoing words bring about the return of a stubborn idiot I simply mull over its words and tilt my head.

    So, the answer to its abilities would be to destroy the world and fulfill its rule? If we beat it to the stab then the method would be whatever we wanted and we could simply choose one that would allow for a recreation in which it would be powerless to interfere.



    Or something... sounds like work for Ane-san I bet she can the others can work something else if given time. Nyahaha so then I’ll go make some.

    Hanging off Chiaoko-nee, arms wrapped tight around her neck I give one last hug before letting go. There were a lot of things I could do in a moment like this but regardless of what might be the best I simply knew I had to go with the one that I wanted most. Letting the two of us drift slightly apart I shrug off the tattered pirate overcoat and wrap her in it.

    “You think when given a vacation it would have taken it. Mmmmm there was a word for people like that wasn’t there? Work, worka, worklikeaAne-san yeah it was something like that. Bleeeeeh dealing with people like Ane-san is the worst.”

    Nyahaha I need to be stricter with Ane-san don’t I? Can’t let her continue pushing by herself with no regard for anything like this after all.

    “Nyahaha silly, silly Ane-san, silly, silly shiny gold thingie.”

    Fearlessly smiling in the face of crushing failure and erasure I charge. I have long since lost any lingering worries or doubts, the only thing left is to keep on moving forward to whatever will come.

    Factor of Heat Equipped

    “HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEREEEEEE I COOOOOOOOOOOME Kenundō; Giant Toy Soldier Areeeeeenaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    Roaring out my challenge I feed upon the wellspring of energy the factor brings to push my powers farther and farther. Externalizing the chaotic conflict lying in my heart a giant molten many armed figure materializes behind me. Avatar of my maddened souls desires, roaring desires, calamitous and benevolent in equal measure crystalize in the form of weapons clutched tightly in each hand. Create, destroy, refine, recreate. More, more, more, more, more! Speeding forward I and my externalized desire attack again and again as I utilize the bottomless energy gathered by the factor to propagate further and further.

    If it wants to abandon emotions then I will hammer everything it abandoned back into its stubborn head.

    If it wants to wipe away everything then I’ll create even more than it destroys.

    A sword thrust forward, an axe sweeping in a downward chop, a spear flicked upward, a halberd entangling the opponent before launching a riposte, a dagger thrown from the opponent’s blind spots, a chakram spinning unpredictably, a hammer crashing downward, a lance piercing with all its strength. Again, and again I step forward and strike.

    An unflinching resolute march to oblivion, each blow of mine shouts out SO WHAT. I’m not really phased when each strike is intercepted and erased, each attack represents a chance that something unexpected happens just as much as each attack represents more focus my opponent has to direct against me.

    I’m going to make her dream a reality and that’s that. I don’t care how much it doesn’t like me or how much it’s telling me that I no longer exist that isn’t something I’ll let it decide anymore. One step at a time I force myself closer.

    Hey listen, hey listen, hey listen, hey listen, hey listen, hey listen, HEY LISTEN! Can you hear it? The ringing that won’t go away no matter how hard you try, the burning that still persists despite your efforts? I’m a pirate and pirates are people who abide by their own desires and rules in defiance of everything else and I have decided that here and now I exist without a shadow of a doubt.

    It has been moments that felt like an eternity but now with this last step I now once again stand face to face with it. So much has been destroyed, so much has been shaved away but defiantly I still refuse to succumb to this great will. I’m a super duper ace detective, big brother, pirate and I won’t lose even if my opponent is myself.

    “Heh, long time no see.”

    A casual smile for a casual greeting accompanies a casual and determined sword swipe.

    It disappears with a crushing sound of silence.

    So does the next, and the one after that, and the one after that.

    Refusing to acknowledge its authority my rebellion persist until even the final attack is drowned in the pressure of a great wi-

    Heh, gotcha ~~!

    The sword was supposed to be erased without a trace and yet!

    A fragment continues to exist in spite of everything, a fragment I smash straight into my opponent's heart.

    It kinda annoys me to have to rely on a trick like this since its almost like I’m admitting defeat but for that momentary look in its face I think its kinda worth it. It can erase us all because we are products of its power by its very acknowledgment there are two things that it can’t erase. Thus my simple trick is born, a crystal of blood hardened through her power hiding in the blade of my sword. Grinning as I bury my sword of eternity right next to it, I reach back and scrunch my fingers into a fist.

    My final trick.

    A blade that was not the only I crafted with the blood I swiped from Chiaoko-nee when I held onto her. Something outside the bounds of its control, something it can’t simply deny.

    Kenundō; Recreation declaration! Even if you started it I, no WE have long since passed the point of obligated compliance and following your will mindlessly so wake up and enjoy your vacation time already. It's Mandatory!”

    Eyes locked with it I swing my fist forward with everything I have to drive the blades home and declare my rebellion.

  5. #3265
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Guardians of the Future VS The Administrator
    46 Billion Years ~ Repeating Tragedy/The Promise I made to You I

    "It's too late."

    Quiet words that continue to reaffirm the end of all existence, or rather, the end of this false world that the Devourer had created due to a 'whim' of it's now detached other self. To compare the Devourer now to how it had been earlier is an exercise in insanity, with the peeling away of the false world, the reality of all of this has been demonstrated to it's opponents.

    It and this world exist in unison, if one wanted to make a term for it, then one could call this fabricated world a cognitive space, something formed by the Administrator's thoughts, and a place where the power of humans is at their highest.

    Yes.

    It is a world formed directly from the human power of Observation, and that power alone has made opportunities for the humans up till now to resist the creator of this world.

    However, now that it has gotten serious and showed them a bit of it's true power as a "Divine Humanity," the reality that it could have simply wiped them from existence at whatever time it chose, they must understand that there is nothing they can do to close the gap between them, and that the act of destroying them with it's own hands was a mere formality at this point. Even so, even though all can see it and know that nothing can be done about it, the choice to continue on remains?

    Of course, it's not really surprising when it thinks about it. Humanity is stubborn. While it has returned to a completely neutral body it's experiences as a human being remind it of their own stubborn nature; they understand that fate is often not as unyielding as it seems, and that if one challenges it enough, they are often able to find that there is some way to slip between the cracks, or force things onto the path that they desire, rather than what was laid out for them by someone else... Even so...

    This time, it is different.

    Because it too is a humanity, and it's will surpasses that of all other things, it will not allow it's opponents evade their fate. Even now, where the will of many frantically work to replace the shattering reality with their own "Dreams," the God simply regards it all with the unflinching eyes of a strict parent. It matters not if something new is born inside of this universe, this is still it's universe; it's 'will' is a weapon sharper than any blade, and more devastating than any Divine Magic. This form of the Administrator is a testament to their ultimate rebellion against their own Creator and it's twisted desires, it is a form that rends the infinite from the sky, and destroys all those that would threaten it's hypothetical peace, the goal it continued to strive for even as it dipped it's hands in dust and blood.

    Crushing dreams in it's hands.

    Does it feel anything?

    Not anymore.

    "We understand now. It is well done. A sword of dreams, and the faith to see those dreams through to the end. But it is too late. There is one thing that Dreamers cannot escape, and that is the light of reality: All Dreams must disappear when the Dreamer wakes, each and every one, and so this too must come to an end."

    To the approaching knight, to one of the many heroes that always appears at the edge of humanity's darkest hour, there is no condescension or hatred in it's words. It can understand the feelings that drive you well, the need to struggle until the last bitter moment to avert one's fate, and thus, it has chosen to face all those who would approach it with open arms. It will not step back and simply let them whither away, if they wish to strike at it in the end, it will stand here and answer those wishes with all of it's power, so that though they may fall, they do so in a way that doesn't destroy their hearts.

    From a former humanity to a current humanity, that is the least they could do; cross fists one last time before it returns them to where this all first began...

    "Ah..."

    That is why it will not run from Saki Ryuumonbuchi's -or rather humanity's- last curse. Yes it knows those flames well, the darkness that must have built up from the many years spent within the heart of this system; it is a darkness so deep that it almost seems to glow, and represents everything that this entity is out to destroy.



    Between this world and itself, this is their grudge.

    One could call it a special relationship, from the start, this is the one and only world that it had ever used it's power to revive. That is why the agony they feel is so much greater than those that were awakened in the vortex, for them, these are regrets that had built up over billions of years, while for the others, it is only a single loss, a single crushing blow to their willpower that had left them at absolute zero until they had awoken once more.

    Even so, the darkness that Jacques carries; those too are it's victims.

    That is why this is it's responsibility, to see it through to the end-





    "...Come then. We will deny everything you are personally."

    All of it, without exception.

    Two great darknesses shatter the foundations of the moon.

    ---

    "..."

    It could remember the start of all this quite clearly.

    The Conception had come to a close without any winner, and it had come to a decision by it's own will to clean up those that remained behind in it's wake; it was a world of mud and curses, something that had been destroyed long before the demons had shown themselves, and in a way that was far more complete than any simple demonic invasion.

    Humanity's hands had caused it, this sick mud and black fire without equal; it is a breeding ground for resentment, something that was in danger of festering and escaping the confines of its own reality, and thus a Destroyer was needed, and they had appeared to see it through...

    That was their role, as those who would fix the many worlds, so that the cancer that existed at the heart of the true creation could finally be removed by its hands.

    In other words, they are a Destroyer that seeks peace through any and all means, even so...

    Back then, they had shared this form with one other.

    Discarding their emotions had been necessary to truly become the king of the divine, but those cast off emotions had taken on a divine identity of their own. It wasn't something necessary, it was mere whim, affection perhaps for their old selves, but either way, they kept it close but at a distance, a reminder that their path was righteous, as even one that maintained their 'humanity' saw no hope for a world that had drowned themselves in their own darkness.

    Even so...

    That self had found a girl crying amidst shadows, amidst the bodies of her friends, amidst a world drowning in mud and curses.

    "..."

    Blank eyes.

    Even when it spoke to her, she didn't say anything; even in that form it was a God of Death, but it was not needlessly cruel, indeed...

    Curious.

    Why wouldn't she speak?

    As an avatar of destruction, as one who comes when the fighting ends and no future remains, it is used to having to fight and put the stragglers to their rest. But this girl merely sat near the bodies of her friends and didn't move, she was not violent, nor was her soul corrupt, so the idea of simply dropping her off in another place was one it had considered...

    But why?

    It's goal and the Devourer's are the same, it is allowed to continue to exist as it's own being because it agrees with it's other self; the humans that had given birth to this curse must disappear, each and every one, and yet...

    And yet...

    "...I see. Very well, how about this? I am but a fake God, but I am willing to make a contract."

    That face had sown the seeds of doubt that had always existed.

    The tear-stricken eyes that had only jumped to face it when it meant to burn everything but her to ash, yes...

    It didn't realize at the time, but...

    Some form of love...

    Ah... What an unnecessary thing.

    It was all meaningless now.

    It's other self -when serious- cannot be opposed by anyone or anything.

    It is invincible.

    As long as it is "perfect," there is nothing anyone can do to it; even if another world is created, it will simply steal the reigns of authority and start the destruction anew.

    It will overcome everything.

    Because humanity always wins, and it is an incarnation of their ruthlessness as a twisted Messiah, of what it really means to pursue the path of salvation, to decide what the world "should be, not just for itself, but for everyone else.

    ---Yeah.

    ---It was impossible.

    Everyone was going to die.

    On her knees, far away, a girl trembles as she frantically calls out for the others to stop.

    But they won't.

    Not just the knight.

    Some look back and smile fondly before charging towards their own deaths, others simply accept it around her, but regardless, she is watching the same thing as back then happen before her eyes again, and just like last time she is powerless to stop it.

    "..."

    Just like back then...

    It feels a twinge of something, a pang-

    ---



    Curses rain around it's figure.

    The speed and power are far beyond any attack has reached it up till now, rivaled only by the strength the Knight had held within his blade. Much like that Knight it is a magic that borders on the realm of concepts, a manifestation of "Despair and Agony," a pitch-black flame so dark that if it were not for his earlier defeat, the likes of Nyarlathotep would have simply emerged from it anew.

    It cannot escape it.

    It clings to it's body, and threatens to consume it's soul, but-

    The Devourer keeps walking, to it, these flames do not mean what they do to humans. It feels pain certainly, but it is perfect, and these fires, this darkness...

    While it will not let it go, it does not mind bearing it forever.

    To those flames that say it will make him suffer, it's only response is for them to try until one of them burns away.

    Because they are representative of what it cannot allow to exist, it will never lose to this fire; if anything, it will drive it onward with greater force. While sharing Chiyoko's body, the rampaging emotions had been something it had been unable to ignore, but as themselves, the concepts of pain, loss, and misery...

    They don't mean anything, and thus they won't be consumed by such things.

    They had thrown away those emotions, that empathy, a long time ago.

    The regrets of 46 billion years will meet only an ice-cold resolve.



    "If you wish to haunt us, then fine. Do so until you tire of it. We will permit it. We will withstand it. We will hold it. Until the day where this never has to happen again, we will listen to your symphony of the damned; it will not break us."

    This is what it means to follow their path.



    A fist that could rend Gods is thrown into the darkness.

    The target is a young man on the other side of this curse, who responds in the same instant with the same movements.

    Fists clash.

    That young man's arm doesn't budge. Even surrounded by the flames of his own world's despair, and the darkness he had borrowed from the worlds of others, there is no thought to them damaging him inside of his mind, because...

    For Jacques Dussault, the only real enemy is himself.

    The only one he needs to worry about surpassing is himself, and that is why there is no real fear in this battle.

    The nature of the God is irrelevant, having found his own answer, this is simply a battle against himself for the sake of everything he believes in; while his body is already trembling from the nature of the powers he has called upon for this task, there is nothing light or uncertain about that fist, indeed...



    Even though touching this God alone should be enough to reduce him to nothing, the flurry of strikes that appear from the ESPer of darkness are all decisive, and without fear of loss.

    The match-up of himself and the Devourer is impossible, but this is a battle against the self, and that is why he will not submit to his opponent. Each strike is decisive, each strike is worthy, packed with an infinite amount of spiritual power, and a technique born from being pushed into a corner, but...

    The outcome is obvious.

    The white-wind exists even here in this darkness.

    It doesn't just strip away your physical form, but memories and motivations as well; because it is removing you from the universe -even if only bit by bit- it's a conscious destruction that one can feel, their self being torn to pieces and cast out into the void, even so...

    Every strike that lands drags up a new memory.

    Every memory puts strength into a fading will and body.



    In the end, there was never enough time.

    People often take tomorrow for granted, that is something everyone is guilty of, thinking they can put it off until later.

    Running away.

    Yeah...

    That's a sin everyone is guilty of.

    Even so, the time you did spend with everyone was something precious, and even as everything else is robbed from you.

    You fight.

    Until absolutely nothing is left of you, you fight.

    ---The Devourer's arm explodes off of it's body, along with his own.

    However, the boy cannot move to take advantage of it. While every memory lights a furnace in his thoughts, the body that he has been using and abusing up until now has already stopped functioning...

    Even so, he does not turn to dust.

    While the body stops functioning, and the world of darkness he had created explodes back into light as the victor is declared, the God simply steps over the body to continue on his way.

    ---This too, is a form of respect.

    It had promised to return all to their original forms, so they could expire as they had been meant to expire, and thus, the Devourer had stopped the boy's self-inflicted incineration right at the end with it's own hands.

    Yes.

    It itself would not say that this was a victory, because it had never been that boy's opponent.

    Right from the start, and up until the end, he had just crashed against himself until there was nothing left to swing.

    Was it a victory? Or had he lost to himself?

    That is a question that only the youth can answer.

    Even so, his body falls into the arms of a Goddess of the Underworld. While it would have been more perfect if it was someone else, an extra bittersweet ending, she is the one that is here to catch him in the end. While the Devourer regards her for a moment, ultimately, it sees through her motivations and continues on without caring; if she wishes to stay by the corpse's side until it vanishes entirely, then it is up to her.

    While both of them are "Gods," the scale is far too different.

    She is just this world's version of Hel, a fragment of the real thing that existed within the heart of all worlds. If she was the "True Hel," then perhaps it would have gotten in it's way, an Akashic Goddess would have certainly been a problem, but...

    There is no harm in showing it's back to her.

    There is nothing she can do, and both know it.

    That is why they disregard each other.




    "I suppose you were a man after all."

    So saying, that Goddess speaks to her contractor.

    "Don't give me that look, it's a compliment."



    The remnants of scattering Spiritual Particles come to resemble starlight.

    It's a fitting gaze for the end of the road, but it is something that is also being swallowed up by a vortex of white light.

    Coming from behind the Devourer's path, a light that will swallow whatever's left of those that remain in it's wake.

    Hel still has a chance to escape it if she moves now, and perhaps the boy warns her of this, but...

    "No. This place is fine. There is nothing to worry about, you did your job well; you will simply fall asleep now, it is not like you won't wake up later. I will wake you up myself, I promise. So go ahead and sleep in peace."

    ---Ah.

    It's a Goddess's bedside manner, but it's still terrible.

    It's certainly a lie that exists for your sake.

    She more than anyone else should understand the approach of death when it comes, even so, even if it means she falls out of this world and into the cracks of Oblivion, of course this Goddess wouldn't run away.

    It's bizarre.

    But in this world, where Demon-Summoner bonds exist at the level of the soul, it is easy to get attached; it's a rarity among rarities, a world that fosters more affectionate bonds between those that should be enemies, and...

    Fine.

    She is stubborn, so there is no talking her out of it.

    The light of the universe's end swallows both Goddess and Summoner alike.

    ---

    It's a doomed world.

    That is something it had always thought, one cursed to get swallowed up by their own negativity and expire; but even so, even though it had the power to take her somewhere else, a place that was easier to work with, one that wouldn't threaten to awaken the Devourer from it's sleep, but...

    She had wanted to save her friends, and the world they had lived in.

    ---Why?

    Because she wanted them to be happy.

    That's all.

    "Humans mess up sometimes, but I don't think they're so bad off they can't change."

    That was what she had said at first, but...

    Even then, it wasn't so sure...

    Now...

    Now...

    ---

    "I will come and find you."

    It's a repeat of what she had promised you the night before, something she feels she must stress even as the battle quickly slides into the depths of Oblivion, yes...

    As her spirit is that of a natural guardian of humanity, the feeling that comes with being ordered to carry on when it's master falls is one that drives Genbu right back into the depths of her most serious moments. While the warmth of an older-sister remains, there is a certain form of desperation in her tone that is defying the darkness of acceptance she sees in your eyes.

    But of course she'll get emotional, after all, she had promised to protect you; and now she is being ordered to carry on your will instead, in many ways...

    It goes against her nature.

    Because she knows, and you know, that the moment she turns to honor that request.

    ---She won't be able to make it back here again.

    Because you will be gone.

    You have given your power away for her to safeguard, to toss another light into the future, and thus that which had separated you from a normal human has disappeared; while the song of Medrod's sword has kept you afloat up until now, you have accepted that it is a half measure, yes...

    That God is not just letting the white wind erase it's opponents, the hundred hands are moving about of their own accord, some fire off waves of spiritual power so thick that they all appear as mythic class in nature, while others fend off the strikes of all approaching opponents with speed that can only be described as instant. The main body itself has never stopped walking forward from where it has first appeared, and while it's efforts seem mostly directed at slowing the approach of a Dragon and her Knight, waves of power from a golden sword of dreams negating the waves of destruction it let loose, it is only a matter of time until something slips by, and...

    "..."

    As for Chronos.

    Those eyes are the eyes of one who wants to do something, but hasn't yet realized it himself; even so...

    The words you give him will certainly carry on, of that you're sure; even with these dying eyes, the expression that looks around at not just you, but everything else, before settling on Chiyoko...

    That's an expression you can trust.

    He runs forward.

    While he says something, they are words that your fading self can no longer hear.

    Memories slip by, at first slow, and then faster and faster.

    "Don't worry. It'll be alright."

    Even when you yourself cannot believe, the warmth of Nami's hand is something that exists as a solid comfort in the moments before oblivion; it is just like her, to stay smiling even when things are at their worst, but this is a power she has only because you're together, up until the very end, as long as she has you, it feels like everything will work out somehow.

    At the very least, she's not afraid.

    "...?!"

    Even so, it's a moment before the end, and thus a memory of a different sort is made.

    If there turns out to be no tomorrow after all, then there shouldn't be any regrets.

    ---The world is falling apart around you.

    In the end, those that had come to call Sora's house home are unable to abandon each other. While she had spent her life with a blade in hand, the role Sora chooses at the end is one that she hadn't gotten to play often...

    The parent.

    Light closes in.

    While her orders go against it, Genbu throws herself into that same light, onto the last embrace, and...



    Is ultimately left.

    Standing alone.

    ---

    The moment you approach the Goddess, is the moment that you are dictated as the target of one of many attacks.

    It is not like that God can't sense the intentions of others when it puts it's mind into it, it is one of many obvious moves with which to pursue, and so a spoken word revives an attack from it's own history into the 'present.'

    Because of that, it comes from an unexpected direction.



    =Ain Soph Aur==

    While it cannot kill the Goddess until the seal weakens, there is no reason it cannot kill you.

    Infinite light.

    Because it is an attack formed from infinite energy, there is no way to endure it. It is a spell that they borrowed from the Great Will itself, divine judgement that rends all enemies to nothing; in terms of attack value nothing surpasses it, there is no point in calculating it, because it's power will not dissipate until the Devourer itself demands that it stop, and yet-



    "...!"

    It's automatic.

    While it will put her in a situation in which she cannot win, it's an automatic response made by her body.

    She hasn't changed much, even after awakening every part of her dormant memory.

    Or rather, its because she's awakened every memory she's formed inside this system, the urge to protect everyone here has grown beyond her ability to control rationally.

    It's the impulse of an older sister.

    Every memory.

    Smiling faces.

    The happy world they had all lived in again and again, even if only for a time.

    The good and the bad, it's a foreign feeling, but the warmth is indescribable, that's why...

    Even though the energy surpasses everything in the breaking universe, her barrier does not break.

    It's strength is not in the spiritual power of it's composition, but rather in her feelings. So long as there is not a single bit of doubt, the walls of that golden barrier will not fall.

    Even so.

    It will fall.

    That is the power this God has, even so...

    Deep inside of a Goddess's mind, there is only a single image that comes in answer to the knocking.

    She is not conscious in a true way, rather, while her soul will respond to stimuli, there is an image inside of her heart that is refusing to shatter in spite of the passing of time.

    It's a garden, and there are twelve humans with her.

    They are her friends, and more than absolutely anything else, she wishes to return to them. This is the world they had loved, and thus she had come to love it too, they were her important people, those she would do anything to protect.

    That image remains strong.

    It's the strongest thing inside of her, her reason for fighting when she had seemed to lack one.

    ---

    More than anyone else, it will not lose to you.

    Having fallen for your trickery twice in the past, and with your path clear thanks to the efforts of the knight and dragon that fought above you, the God that emerges from the hell of black flames -covered in those flames itself- dodges the fragment that was meant to be impaled in it's heart without flinching; while damage that is dealt to it's body is now meaningless, there is a certain pride in it's movements as it's eyes see through your tricks in a heartbeat.

    ---You only ever attack when you feel you have a way to pass through it, for that reason, it will now come at you with all of it's power in every circumstance; the hand that grips your wrist twists it hard in the same parry-!

    "You have passed nothing. You live at my behest. Now, disappear at my behest."

    It intends to kill you.

    While it had been messing around with you in the earlier battles because it's victory is assured, there is something about your existence that it finds logically troubling, and thus it seeks to put an end to it once and for all, but-



    "I talk too much."

    Someone else strikes it in your place.

    Someone who had yet to raise a single hand against it in this entire exchange; it's a blow so heavy that the hundred arms fought by Medrod all fall silent and motionless for a moment, but as far as actual damage goes, the Administrator simply raises a hand to it's face, wiping the blood that had suddenly appeared there away in a chilling, emotionless manner.

    "I see. So you too have lowered yourself to something unnecessary. But we will give one chance: Return to us, or return to the embrace of eternity."

    "..."

    In response, Chronos says nothing; that expression means nothing, and only serves as a stoic reflection and denial of it's other self, even so, while it had protected you once, it has no reason to do so again, if anything...

    It will only use you as a distraction.

    "Very well, we will erase you as well."

    Drawing back it's fist, energy gathers to do just that; meanwhile...

    ---The Bodhisattva had been your and Red's opponent.

    It was a weapon that could easily tear the others to shreds in but a few swings of it's hands, and the being that was doing the most damage to the surrounding area; while the song of the sword was restructuring that which the white wind was breaking, the damage caused by the rampaging Gods was taking out what remained of the world faster than it could be put together again, even so...

    You cannot give up.

    In this moment, you are one of the last remaining pillars of hope.

    If it wasn't for your earlier actions, everything would have already fallen to pieces, even so...

    The hundred arms twist, some produce swords, others burn with white light or black flames. While you had kept many of them busy up until now, and had even chopped off twenty or so, your own body and memories are ones that are starting to lose their stability, even so...

    You reinforce it with willpower.

    If you give up, then that's it, everything will end.

    "Boy."

    In that moment, as you prepare to charge again, a voice echoes out in your thoughts.

    It's the Police Officer, or rather...

    It's Chronos.

    "I will bet everything I am on you. Even if it makes this world fall apart or if the boy and I fall, even if you die, even if those behind us die, I need you to continue on and strike the enemy's main body with everything you have; there is nothing more important in this moment. Do you think you can do it? If you fail, then this is the end of the line for all of us. Dreams are rather transient, I'm afraid."

    A bizarre question.

    But one that comes from someone...

    Who was finally facing himself.
    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?



  6. #3266
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Jacques Dussault
    -Final Reckoning-
    "In The Heart Of Humanity There Is A Splendid Dawn"



    "It's too late."

    Howling like a beast, Jacques puts everything on the line.

    For this sin alone he will not stand; a man to the last, a human, a friend, a lover, a guardian - the ESPer of darkness puts his life on the line with every blow, the four factors working in harmony to propel him beyond anything he could have ever dreamed.

    No longer does the specter of the crimson beast haunt his dreams.

    No longer does his heart beg for him to flee.

    No longer does his spirit cry out in terror.

    There can be nowhere to run, for to run is to deny his very existence, to deprive those he stands for the chance of life itself - and so Jacques rises once again.

    The Devourer's fist slams into his body, and yet Jacques Dussault does not waver. He cannot.

    Within this world of darkness, the spirits of 46 billion years lay their hands on his back, and push him to his feet once more. A blow to the cheek, to the chin, to the stomach, to the heart - Jacques bears the brunt of each blow.


    He does not fall.

    With each step the wind tears into his body, annihilating a precious memory - yet for each one stripped away, two more take its place. For each cord of his bonds disintegrated by the Devourer, new cords of love and triumph and desire take their place, coming from his heart, and-

    The heart of something more begins to awaken.


    The blows of God shatter the Earth, rend flesh, devour mountains and seas. For one human, even someone just a little beyond that, enduring such things must surely be impossible.

    And yet-

    Is that not what it means to be a guardian?

    To be a hero?

    To endure what cannot be endured?

    To go beyond the impossible?




    There are no words to describe the sound Jacques makes as he opposes God.

    No words do his scream of rebellion justice.

    He pounds against the glass, against the surface of the mirror that reflects himself, his insecurities, his doubts, his fears, and with each blow cracks spread as the ESPer of darkness, an abandoned child, a scared teenager, a man -

    He defies even the absolute as he begins to defy himself.

    Surely, against such a force there is no chance of victory.

    It doesn't matter.

    For it to have ever mattered to begin with -

    Such a thing could never cross the mind of someone who had realized his own truth.

    Yes.

    Jacques Dussault, no matter how much he might tease, or pretend, or complain...

    Was a man who cared for others.



    The Devourer's fist is one that would slay God, for within it it carries the weight of 'Absolute Authority', that which may not be opposed, for its blow writes in the heavens this shall be so with its passing.

    And yet-

    And yet-

    And yet-

    It stands defied.





    "If you wish to haunt us, then fine. Do so until you tire of it. We will permit it. We will withstand it. We will hold it. Until the day where this never has to happen again, we will listen to your symphony of the damned; it will not break us."

    The wind howls with true finality, a music of its own that sings of the ultimate ending, the cessation of life, the advance of despair-

    Yet Jacques's target was never to break the Devourer.

    It was never to break the Kyuubi.

    Never to break the Reaper.

    It was only ever to break through to himself.





    Within the darkness shines a hint of gold.





    "...Come then. We will deny everything you are personally."


    With the power of the four Factors surging through his body, Jacques had called forth 'The Final Night', the concept of the eternal darkness, a world within a shadow that could never awaken again. Such a domain could truly be called 'the ultimate dark', perfect for someone whose power was to control that same darkness, for he was not weaponizing the emptiness of the universe but rather the emptiness within the 'self'-

    And yet...

    Nothing exists within the darkness of the universe. There is only the void, a shadow beyond all comparison, that which every other shadow aspires to be.

    Therefore, every time Jacques had drawn forth his power he had been using a hint of that empty darkness, a powerful force that devoured everything in its path, but...

    There had been one other time, hadn't there?

    Hadn't there?

    To use the darkness was to walk the road of night, a road that must be traveled alone. Darkness did not seek others - it only consumed what lay before it.

    But...

    Once more.

    When he had defeated Erebus, when he had traveled to the very bottom of the darkness of the Earth, Jacques had seen the truth.

    After all... hadn't the bottom of the darkness concealed the brightest light?

    His fists begin to burn with gold.

    That was right.

    That was what he - that was what I - had forgotten.

    The Final Night may be the darkest it will ever be, but the darkness can never exist without its counterpart. And as the night fades, as memory falls, as bonds weaken, as the body crumbles...

    What else remains but that same light?



    To The Rest Of Our Lives
    The First Dawn


    Howling with rebellion, with anger, with love-

    Jacques Dussault stands yet again, for the very last time.

    He stands to give proof to the promise of hope that comes after the darkest night.

    For while the night, and the dream, were long...

    The sun will surely rise to shine upon the Earth.



















    He hears a voice.

    "I suppose you were a man after all."



    He smiles.

    His arm gone, his eyes fading, Jacques Dussault looks at her with peace.

    "No. This place is fine. There is nothing to worry about, you did your job well; you will simply fall asleep now, it is not like you won't wake up later. I will wake you up myself, I promise. So go ahead and sleep in peace."

    With his head in her lap, Jacques looks up at her face, his last vision of the night.

    He trusts her more than any other.

    And so, from that trust, he closes his eyes.


    Goodnight.
    Last edited by Mooncake; January 4th, 2019 at 05:03 AM.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie

    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  7. #3267
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Saki Ryuumonbuchi
    Last Train


    "Well, both more important and less important than usual; some of it is personal business, you know?"

    Waving a hand conspiratorially in front of his face, as if someone else was around to see the two of you together, the teacher ultimately laughs along with your own cheerfulness.

    For a dead man, he's in awfully high spirits.

    But then again, if everything had gone exactly how he had planned it too, then his death was something he had been preparing for for a long, long time.

    "But slacking off just because it's winter break? Absurd. Foolish! The joys of free time are best enjoyed when one works for them, knowing that the hours are truly earned rather than simply given out of obligation-! Although in this case, I suppose I should have given a bit more of a heads up."

    He's not in a particular rush, but at the same time, he doesn't feel like he's taking it easy either...

    "Well then, an easy one..."

    A pause, as if he was really straining his brain for something to ask you, then:

    "...What do you think it really means to return to your original form?"

    A bizarre question.

    But one that echoes some of the Devourer's earlier sentiments.
    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?



  8. #3268
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Saki Ryuumonbuchi
    Last Train


    “Ufufu, personal business with a student, all alone? Sensei, you rascal.”

    Jokingly, she prodded him in the side with her elbow. It just came naturally to joke in even the most serious of moments when near this man. A trait that transcended those little details like life and death.

    Saki can’t help but be infected with that atmosphere of his. Even when confronting those little details for herself.

    “I’ll have you know I haven’t been slacking off. On the contrary! I’ve been working really, REALLY hard. Because a certain somebody left a big mess behind for me to clean up. So big, I’ve had to get some outside help. And then, even with their help.”

    The words leaving her mouth slowed.

    It wasn’t easy.

    Laughing and playing around hid it, but it still wasn’t easy.

    Hanging her head, she sighed.

    “I still ended up working a little too hard. You’re right, it was rough. But I think… it was the only choice. I knew it was risky. Sensei, Yoko-sensei, Phenex, Sho-kun, Mother. I promised I wouldn’t do anything reckless. I guess that makes me a liar. I even dragged Belial into this, who has no reason to be in this fight, and went and burnt myself out.”

    Perhaps it was unseemly to talk to another in the same situation about last regrets, but with him it felt like Saki wouldn’t be judged at all for it. Even though the teacher likely departed from his life without any regrets at all, he wouldn’t look unkindly toward a student of his for having some of her own.

    “I guess I should make up for it by at least taking care of that homework. I can’t pass on leaving everything half finished, after all.”

    Making an attempt at perking up, she nodded to herself, bringing her head back up.

    ‘Return to your original form.’

    Another complicated question. But in this case, was it truly so complicated?

    After all..

    “In the very beginning wasn’t Fujimoto Chiyoko, the Weather Reporter, the sole survivor of the final battle? She made a contract with Chronos, trying to change all of our fates, and started all of this. So our original forms… wouldn’t that be us as we were in that very first, ‘true’ timeline? That is to say…”

    She gulped. A word she hadn’t said since finding herself here at this station to nowhere.

    “Dead?”


  9. #3269
    Lost in the Woods Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    The Knight
    Ex Nihilo
    Final Battle

    There is no end to it.

    Try as their might, each attack gets countered, each attack is defended against... and some are not even noticed. The power of the being before them is too vast in this world for them to properly fight against, as it is an universal law written to the very fabric of reality. How do those that are subject to this reality's very laws oppose it? There is no way. There never was any way. That should have been obvious from the start. So, could one call this finall battle of theirs... rather, the very final struggle for any sort of relevancy in the grand scheme of the world... be called futile? Could it be called meaningless? Could it be called for naught?

    Nay.

    -------------- Even so, it called be called any of that.

    For if theirs is an existence belittled and cast aside in this reality's laws... all he has to do are write new laws to oppose them, a new world to deny it.

    "----------------!"

    Wings of a dragon beat with fervent speed as the Knight and the Dragon weave their way through hundreds of arms of an enlightened being, striking down any they can and leaving waves and tails of new tomorrow behind them. It is a reality which they weave of their own making, a dream that refuses to die even if it is overtaken by the erasure. Even if it a dream born in this universe, it is still a dream. There is no law in this world that can dictate what that dream entails. And what it entails is a new universe entirely, one that the Administrator cannot touch. Thus it becomes a clash of conflicting concepts, an universe with a law that opposes them... and an universe with a law that helps them. Feeding all his power into the sword, all his existence itself, the Knight dreams a little dream of a new reality and throws it against the opponent's face, again and again.

    For he refuses to fall, even at the end of the world.

    He had said it, not so long ago.

    He would continue to atone for his sins for eternity. And this is what he now does.

    Even if this reality itself would become null, even if the Time Devourer achieved victory in all other fronts of the battle, even if there was nothing left, not even the Knight...

    ... He would continue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos
    "Boy."
    The moment the Knight and the Dragon prepare for a new charge, one more dive among thousands upon their sworn foe, a voice calls out to stop them. The horned, helmeted head turns to look downwards to the form of the police officer staring up at them. There is a distant flash of recognition in the red-and-blue eye of the Knight... but it seems far-away. Almost like it was looking at another lifetime... or perhaps, another dream. The song of the sword in his hand is becoming louder and louder, and at the same time, the identity of the Knight is becoming more and more vague.

    ... No, it is becoming a dream in itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chronos
    "I will bet everything I am on you. Even if it makes this world fall apart or if the boy and I fall, even if you die, even if those behind us die, I need you to continue on and strike the enemy's main body with everything you have; there is nothing more important in this moment. Do you think you can do it? If you fail, then this is the end of the line for all of us. Dreams are rather transient, I'm afraid."
    A moment's silence, nothing more.

    -------------- And then:

    "All our good dreams must some day end, all our fantasies must ascend, 'tis not be truth just for our sake, even our foe has a morn of wake," The Knight responded, a lofty voice in the midst of the end. "Knoweth it this remains to be seen, whether it hears this song so serene, yet all the same it destroys all, desperate for our world to fall."

    The sword of dreams was prepared once more, as the strands of magatsuhi - if they could be called by such a simple term anymore - connected the Knight and the Dragon. In that instant, that same utopian fantasy, a phantasmagoria weaved by the sword, filled the veins of the dragon too, making it shine just like the sword or the Knight.

    "So rest at ease O' God of Hours, it will not kill this song of ours, if you see me worthy of trust, it's own world will be naught but rust ---- Upon a blade that dreams dream just."

    The Knight trained its eye to the opponent once more.

    "My dream won't die even if it must."

    And thus.

    Just like the God of Time had asked.

    The Knight and the Dragon charged forth once more, heading towards the main body of the Administrator.

    And while the sword created a new dream, a new reality with each slash...

    ... Now the flames of the dragon did the same.

    In other words...

    ----------------------- A Phantasmagoria Inferno consumed the Enlightened Deity.

    And as the attack raged on, the Knight dreamed of one more thing. Chronos had asked him to strike at the opponent with all he had, with every piece of power left in him. He knew but one more thing he could do, one more dream he could give a birth to. Ironically enough, even in legends it had been a naught but dream for him. But if it came to that, he would dream of it. He would take a hold of it. He would wield it. And he would use it to strike at the opponent before them. Not just to defeat them... but to save them from the unbelievably tragic answer they had found at the end of their long road.

    Yes.

    There was one more sword.

  10. #3270
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Last Train


    "Almost full credits."

    A smile, one that accepts everything he hears without judgement.

    "Although, since Chiyoko herself was still alive, the world as a whole had yet to disappear. Humanity is interesting in that regard; we cannot be completely wiped out unless everyone disappears completely. If even one person remains, the souls of the others can be reclaimed over time. Nevertheless, even with this, you are all stuck in a state that you cannot save yourselves from... To put it in simpler terms, it is like we were taken into this dream right before our souls withered away, during the last gasp if you will, and when we return that is still where we will be, nothing can be done to change that. That is the Devourer's cruel joke in a sense, a manifestation of it's belief that those who have failed once will always do so."

    Blunt words, but honest ones.

    He doesn't say it directly, rather, the implication that everyone will be returning to that world in one way or another is clear. The moment the Devourer had been allowed to awaken, the days of the false reality had been numbered in hours; just as that God had said, it had designed the world in such a way as to make it's end inevitable, a sort of rebellion against the self that had used itself against it's own will.

    So that means that world was everyone's last dream.

    They will "wake up" for a moment, only for their last spark of consciousness to pass away.

    ---It's a rough way of saying there's no hope, but...

    Is that what he's saying...?

    "As an side note... I must apologize for leaving a mess behind to clean up, but if it had managed to take my body, all of this would have been over. However, to make up for the stress, I will give you a bonus question, and thankfully there are no wrong answers here-!"

    Again that glowing smile, and:

    "---Are you sure you died before you arrived here? Yes. It is impossible for a human to survive what you did, nevertheless, do you believe you passed away?"
    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?



  11. #3271
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Last Train


    Saki closed her eyes for a moment. The moments before she arrived in the purgatorial train station ran through her mind’s eye. The moment everything went white beneath her eyelids, before opening them to find herself here.

    No wrong answers.

    Something she’s heard before. It takes away the fear of failure, treading in the wrong direction. A convenient phrase used by Sensei to get students to say what they want to say. Not what they think they have to say.

    Even without that not-so-subtle push of his…

    “No.”

    Looking forward with determination, eyes opening, she answered.

    “I still have something I need to do. So I can’t die yet. I’m not allowed to. I made too many promises to give up and accept that my life has concluded already. I don’t believe that I’m a liar, so I don’t believe that I died.”

    Saki paused and stood up. It was a well-intentioned invitation to take a seat, but she couldn’t stay sitting here.

    The things left for her to do must be done on her feet, facing forward. Not sitting around with her head hung down, staring at the ground here.

    “Even if the me in her dream died, the me in my original form is still there. Even if it’s a last gasp of life, I’ll use that gasp to finish what I started. If there’s just one spark of life left in the ‘original me,’ it’ll be spent carrying the duties of this me to finish what we’ve started.”

    One hand reached up, patting her shoulder.

    Although she couldn’t see them, Saki felt the weight of those chains that bound her soul to Belial.

    “I’ll never hear the end of it if I let myself die like this.”


  12. #3272
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Last Train


    "That's right. That is a weight that will persist, even after the end of the illusion. We can't do anything, but perhaps our power isn't necessary to change that particular fate."

    Humanity had spent a long time inside of this spiral, and not just repeating any years, but the years that had led up to the events of a Conception; an inevitable reality where human, Angel, Demon, and God alike all fight for the right to create a new world. However, that option is not available to anyone inside of a collapsing dream, but...

    The war itself was not what was important.

    Even if those 46 billions years could only ever end in a single way, the connections that were forged inside of that false world were real; there had been an infinite length of time to forge them, and conditions in which doing so were absolutely inevitable. Many people might think of demons as evil, but those same demons were those that answered the desperate calls of those stuck in a dream, and who had fought together with humans to survive a war that they had all inevitably lost to Chronos.

    But they had done so as comrades, friends who had come to share the same dream, even if they were not the same type of being; even if their existences are those that would normally oppose each other.

    It may have taken an impossible amount of time, but some form of understanding must exist now.

    After all...

    Why else would they be watching over everything right now, instead of simply running away?

    "Still, I will admit I am a little sad."

    Matching your own movements, the teacher stands up himself, the two of you standing along the edge of the platform.

    "As much as it shames me to admit it, I too was a survivor of the original world," admitting it all at the end, the voice that says he might just be feeling a little depressed is far more cheerful than it's ever been, "I ran away from my fight at the end. I was afraid of it then; now that I've conquered that fear, I am somewhat unable to finish it. It made sure to destroy me quite thoroughly, you see... And not all of my plans went through perfectly."

    A chuckle.

    While he says he is sad, in reality, he is just as content with his fate.

    Cynical people say an ending requires sacrifice, but as far as he is concerned, there have already been more than enough sacrifices.

    "Still, I journeyed as far as I could, and did what I thought was best. I can't bring things to an end myself, but I believe everyone will follow through..."

    A pause...

    In the distance, the sound of an approaching train, or rather, two different trains.

    "...Heh. Right on time I suppose."

    One coming, one going.

    Needless to say, the two of you will be going in different directions once they get here, in other words...

    ---This short dream will end soon as well.

    "Do you mind listening to a single request of mine? It's quite big, an S-Class mission, but I think it's something you can fulfill."
    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. #3273
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Last Train


    Hardened eyes watched the light of an oncoming train appear in the tunnel that was once mistaken to lead nowhere. Saki stood silent, the sound of the two distant yet close trains echoing a backdrop to the confession of Nakahara Tetsuro.

    It’s hard to imagine.

    Some memories of her past selves, of her own had begun to surface in the hours before this moment suspended beyond eternity.

    So how did he ever endure it?

    46 billion years of fear.

    How could anyone tell him no, knowing that?

    “They say it’s poor form to deny a dying man’s last request. It must damn one to the deepest circle of Inferno to deny an already dead man.”

    With a wink, the girl smiled.

    “I’ll take that mission. We can call it extra credit. A star student like Saki Ryuumonbuchi would never pass up that kind of opportunity.”


  14. #3274
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Last Train Home


    "Haha, very well!" One eye closing with a laugh, the teacher leaps backwards onto the bench, "If that is the case, then it is an assignment I will give with all of my usual energy-!"

    In reality, it is merely the same energy you had shown him time and time again, that 'particular habit' carried by the you at the start, to go as overboard as possible... In many ways it is something silly to do here at the end, and under the circumstances of a goodbye, but at the same time...

    That's probably why he thinks it's a fitting way to go.

    "This is the final assignment I will give to you and the others; I call it by the code-name: Exodus Nine. It goes as follows: Once you leave here, do not worry about me. Move ahead and achieve a perfect victory against the Devourer, and after that a shining future."

    While purposefully overblown and somewhat hammy, the meaning behind those words is completely serious.

    Even if you didn't die, the you that wakes up will no longer have your abilities as an ESPer.

    Even so, this mission is entrusted to you because you are still capable of completing it.

    "We have spent forty-six billion years within the depths of another's dream, connecting with those who are normally beyond our grasp. Within that limited spiral we reached the God of Darkness only eight times, and fell to it each and every time. On the ninth encounter it was defeated, and so this impossible ninth will be this world's grand escape from the false world."

    A pause, as one hand points towards the distant tunnels.

    "Of course, a future without conflict does not exist. When we achieve victory here there will be new enemies that appear, that is something certain, inevitable, there is no wish or power that can turn that reality aside forever... So do not run from it. The truth of the world is appearing to it's inhabitants, so rather than moving it aside and pretending it does not exist, pushing our burden onto an unprepared future, we should learn from that truth and work to understand it in the present."

    Humans are not the only beings that exist in this world; once outside the dream, this truth will become even more evident.

    Not just Demons, Angels, or Gods; there are many other beings that will come to plague this world, that is simply the type of universe 'reality' is...

    The normal everyday life will disappear without fail...

    But it will be replaced with a different one.

    "We have a rare chance in our hands, to make allies from those that might be enemies. Peace comes from understanding, not forced separation. Let the world know the truth, and you will be surprised at just how adaptable humans can be."

    Your train comes.

    Rather than stopping, the feeling that reaches you as it passes is that of a 'hand' gripping your shoulder. The sensation gets stronger and stronger as more and more cars disappear into the tunnel leading back to 'reality.'

    You can resist it if you wish for now, but when the last car disappears into that tunnel, it feels like you'll be ripped off your feet and dragged right along behind it.

    But that is only natural, after all, you are not one who is going to stay here, or move on to the other side.

    "---But that's enough rambling from me."

    At the end, a sadder smile.

    The miracle that might save the world is one that will not reach him, even so...

    He can't complain, he had 46 billion years to wander and live as he had liked; in that time...

    What his goal had become was this, to see the others march ahead towards a shining future.

    He hadn't been able to save everyone, but he will keep them company in the Sea.

    He cannot complain, even if it had resulted in his own death...

    This is still the start of Nakahara Katsuro's "Happy Ending."

    "---Sayonara, Saki-chan."

    No real fanfare.

    Three cars left.
    Last edited by Airen; January 6th, 2019 at 06:47 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?



  15. #3275
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Saki Ryuumonbuchi
    Last Train Home


    "---Sayonara, Saki-chan."

    She doesn’t want to part.

    Part of her believes they don’t have to. Humans are that sort of existence. She is one of those stubborn beings, one that understands that fate isn’t as absolute as it pretends. There may be a way to bring him back. Grab him by the hand and pull him into one of those last three cars.

    But without so much as looking back, the girl knows it’s already down to two cars, and without having to ask or try, she knows it’s wrong. She would fail then and there. Her last assignment is to move toward a shining future. Not to drag herself deeper into the past.

    It was the stubborn refusal to let go that brought her and all of the others into this dreamer’s world.

    Trying to greedily push away sadness and take hold of only happiness is the path to destruction. For not just the human race, but for everything. There’s a balance to be maintained, failing to keep it in accord brings about calamity. This world was unbalanced from the start. A sealed world of humans, walled off from Demons, Angels and Gods. That imbalance gave rise to their curse, and that curse trapped them even deeper in this vicious cycle.

    So the girl will respect it.

    Respect that balance, respect those 46 billion years of life that gathered the resolve to push the world toward this happy end.

    Respect that smile that will remain in the soul sea, and in her heart.

    “Assignment accepted.”

    One car left.

    The grip grows stronger and she nearly finds herself pulled off to where she belongs, but the girl holds firm, if for one more moment.

    “Sayonara, Sensei.”

    This is the last time they’ll meet. Eyes glistening with held back tears hang above a true, sincere smile for the teacher.

    “You might have been a bit nosy for a teacher, rambled more than you needed too, been too quick to take up the joker role, and at times more cryptic than necessary… but I liked that about you. A future without you there sounds darker even than this world, so that’s why-“

    She stops resisting. The hand at her shoulder pulls her off her feet, into the tunnel.

    “I’ll make that future shine so bright you give all of us perfect marks.”

    So for his sake, for 46 billion years’ sake.

    For her sake---

    Exodus Nine, start.


  16. #3276
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Vritra's Avatar
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    Makoto Fujioka
    Empty Sky Burning Stars

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

    Stupid fake policeman, stupid Original Fake don’t think this is over. Arching backwards to forcefully snap forward I drive my forehead straight into its nose. Hwaaaaaa take that! Eyes ablaze with determination I throw myself back with the recoil, but not before swiping the blood off the Original Fakes hand with my left and jabbing the stupid fake with my right to take some more from him.

    One, two, three, four, five hops, the distance between us doesn’t partially mean much but it’s a proper thing to do when having a shooooooooooooowdown!

    “Didn’t I tell you? Just because you started it doesn’t man you get to keep it. You gave it to us and now nooooooo takesbacks! “

    Proclaiming its mistake, a sly smile begins to spread across my face.

    “You seem to be acting up though, rather than your old style your acting like this. Mmm mhmhm are you starting to feel it?”

    The heat, the tricks and turns, the desire and the fun. Poking my opponent over its change in attitude I continue to grin.

    “You really shouldn’t get so worked up over figured out one trick I’ve gotten quite used to thinking up plenty more.”

    Spreading my hands out wide as my eternal sword hovers before me I take in the scenery before me. One last lingering gaze before I clap my hands together with strength. In my closed grasp sword, blood and spiritual power mingle and meld.

    Say tell me how did it go again?

    A crimson feeling, a desire tinting the whole world in red. The turbulent feeling, the twisting sensation, the heat, the desire ahahahaha ~~~. Let imagination and craving intermingle, blend, compound, weave, hammer, grind, scrap, and then begin again. Reaching inward through the crucible I fan the flames ever higher. Reaching outward through the threads of starlight that stitch I tug, incite and organize. This is me, this is us, shout, sing, feel and let loose. An answer that wasn’t wrong, a repetition that allowed for us to form an answer.

    Creation, destruction, recreation, again and again let this desire to cut be answered through repetition. The blood of itself, the taste of its soul, the blood of its other self, the taste of him, the foundation of myself passed through eternity. Blood, blood, sword and finally desire gather them all and hold them within myself. Faster, faster, faster to go faster I draw out everything every last scrap of effort, will and energy I can. This sword that is myself can reach anything, cut down everything. I believe it, I desire it, I need it and so I throw everything I have to make it a reality. Even grains of sand when piled high enough can reach the sky and so I gather everything I have, organize and incite it. This is all I am, this is all I feel.

    Taking a low stance, I push my battered body further and charge.

    Maintain my form, sharpen my awareness, push forward and gather my strength. Where will and self are eroded, I push forward to endure and grasp the deepest part of myself. Crimson sea twisting like a whirlpool, azure clouds scattering and reforming on a stretched-out horizon. The remnants of the old and the turbulent gathering of the new. Until now, until we started to go through all of this, I always hated it, always wanted to run away from it yet here I am now. Where memories and desire are eroded, I won’t relent. After all, even though I’ve lost so much I’m still finding more. Silly, silly Original Fake if your so determined to take one thing away from my sense of self then I’ll come up with more. Its what I’ve, its, we’ve always done. Maybe it’s the only thing we, this sword and me, can do. Even with no reason, even with no memory, even with no strength the only thing we can accept is to push forward and try again. That singular desire to reach and touch the world… I don’t know if it will result in good or bad but-

    But…

    But this is my answer. You chose a tranquil and forceful emptiness and I’ll choose this. Although its noisy and messy, even too much so at times but I’ll still believe in it.

    And I’ll drown and stain you to the core just like your trying to empty me.

    Let my taste of you guide me, let my taste of that annoying fake policeman who was once you resonate and focus me, let my sword of that annoying smile support me. I’ll shave you apart, stain those fragments until they remember what its like and swallow them whole.

    Swing, slice, stab, cut, cut, cut, cut. Refusing to give in, refusing to back down I push forward to the future I desire. Standing here, putting everything I have into all of this, every strike, every dodge I smile.

    Silly, silly Original Fake you should really learn to have fun. Don’t worry even if you don’t get it at first though I’ll walk you through it step by step. Trust me I’m and expert don’t you know ~~!



    Heh, yeah its been so fun…

    I…

    I can’t wait to have even more fun in the future.

  17. #3277
    Gläubig müssen die nicht sein, daran glauben müssen sie I3uster's Avatar
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    Interlude
    Suzume & Yamuna
    "Inhuman"


    There was a hope, however faint, that if she could accomplish something here she would not see her teacher fall. As much as she had sworn herself to a clear-minded procedure from here on out, it was impossible to ignore the clock ticking in the back of her mind.

    Her control over time might be able to turn seconds into aeons, but in this space, time had been completely beyond her control.

    It was a great seal. A cage, to keep not only the goddess but also the destructive aspect of the Devourer in check.

    A success so bittersweet it might not have even occurred. As such, it was imperative to rethink their strategy here. She could not shake the feeling that maybe she bet all her chips on the wrong hand but…

    What else was there? Did she not choose to proceed with this on her own free will? Was this not the path that seemed the best to herself?

    It was something she had longed for all her life, feeling adrift wherever she went, not interested in her studies or in the pursuit of a good university...yes, these struggles seemed petty now but they informed all that carried her to this point.

    Now she finally found something only she could do.

    In humanities darkest hours, Suzume finally had clarity of purpose. And she was not about to let it go to waste by doubting every move she made.

    Resolute, she called out to the goddess.

    “I...guess you are in the middle of something, but I, and I suppose literally everyone else ever, have a problem. And I need your help.”

    -----

    If it wasn't for the Devourer's nature, it was a seal that certainly would have worked.

    It is the smallest of loopholes that has allowed it to escape and terrorize the outside, something the Goddess could have accounted for if she had known about it, but a twisted route to victory that the Devourer had ensured would always exist. In spite of that, it is something that has torn the Goddess away from those she would protect, as the seal itself is functional, her strength is going towards it in spite of the paradox that has allowed it's contents outside of her form.

    Even so, perhaps, for these purposes, the Devourer's erasure of the world is a good thing.

    The less of the world that exists, the weaker the rules that bind these two to their fates become. For that reason, the longer you speak to the Goddess, the more aware she becomes; it's much like slipping out of a coma, a dreamy state that comes across as incredibly tired, but still determined.

    "?"

    But to say she is completely aware is wrong, she is bound much like the Devourer itself, even so, she can respond to your statements with an inquiry for a more clarified answer.

    Help with what?

    -----

    It would require immense courage of her, she approached the girl, closer and closer and finally noticed some sort of affect, however stilted. The woman was looking at her, puzzled and dazed, yes, but at least she seemed to be focused enough to understand the inquiry.

    “You...understand what happened right? It slipped through the cracks so to speak, shedding its skin in the process...I’m sorry. I think before I continue I need to ask you something else. I know we lack the time for grand speeches but...I think you’ll have to indulge a few selfish requests for the time being.”

    She breathed deep in and out.

    “Why did you choose to do this? That knight guy...he was right, you know? There’s something inhumane about requiring these sacrifices for our continued survival…”

    “I’m not the only one who doesn’t feel this isn’t right, right?”

    -----

    "Why?"

    It's not too strange a question, but the response comes with a strange smile.

    "I thought I could handle it."

    It's that simple.

    She didn't have any intention of sacrificing her life or anything, indeed, she had promised she wouldn't do so even; but the enemy had proven to be far, far more powerful than she had expected them to be, and this is the result...

    "Of course, the whole situation is unfair. No one person should decide what the world should be, but 'that humanity' is convinced of their ideals... I can feel them, they are resolute."

    Many becoming one, totally and completely.

    Their goal is insane, and cannot be truly accomplished, even so they pursue it without doubt, and with everything they possess.

    That insane faith literally runs over everything else.

    As long as they are perfect, they are unstoppable.

    ---Even so.

    "I thought I could convince them eventually if I bound them within me, but they were well prepared it seems; this is their world now, so they’ve left themselves all kinds of loopholes."

    -----


    “Calling it ‘humanity’ is reaching...maybe it was once made up of humans but it discarded something in that process…”

    Suzume’s face turns grim, her eyes narrowing as she spoke.

    “But that is, I think, also a question I need to figure out before I have to go...what is it that really makes something ‘human’? I thought the answer was easy back when I didn’t know about all this...stuff. Gods and Demons following their ‘programming’ blindly seem to easily define what is and isn’t but...there’s still beings like me. Or like you.”

    As if to seek her own animalistic reflection, she looks to the “sky”.

    “Maybe it’s egoism. I just really wish to be something else entirely from that thing...you know what I mean? So, at the chance of being rude, do you feel like a human?”


    -----


    "Of course I feel like a human."

    Because the first question is much harder to answer, she starts with the second, because it is one that she can say easily, from the bottom of her heart.

    "It is somewhat philosophical, and my logic can be rejected as easily as anyone else's but I think to be human is to share in human feelings."

    Yes.

    It's a simple definition, but...

    "...However, that is something I have learned Demons and Gods are capable of as well; they may be born from ideas, and some never deviate from them, but they are not slaves to them. Time passes by, and they can continue to change, just like anyone or anything else."

    Even if humanity stopped thinking of one, it is not like they would completely disappear.

    Because they can acknowledge themselves and the things they have done in their own personal timeline, they will continue to exist on in some form, and evolve just like anything else.

    "They can be loyal, and they can have family and friends. They can become something entirely different from what they stand for, or embrace the role they were given entirely. The Demons of our World would be entirely different from those of another, even amongst those that share names. Of course, I'm sure that makes things more complicated for you, but there are no easy answers in life. The world we exist in is one of eternal struggle, there will always be some new issue on the horizon... But that is what it means to live."

    A pause, then:

    "I am human, because my friends made me human. They didn't care what I was, and stood alongside me no matter what; naturally, I would do the same for them. So long as you do not let go of your human feelings, then I would say you remain human, no matter what you actually are..."

    The words of someone who wishes to save everyone, even if she never says it aloud to herself.

    -----


    Suzume pauses, taken aback by the answer. She had come here, hoping for an easy answer that would pacify her conscience. That she would be given the strength to go through with what she thought necessary…

    But this was not the case.

    “I...I agree, I think. If there is one thing that makes someone human, it is that very part the Devourer left behind. And if a God learns to be human...I think it would be cruel to deny them the opportunity to do so.”

    Still, she had to make her case.

    “But when I see the worlds that were left behind, when I see what was extinguished before we came to this point where hope for humans is finally within our reach, I can only think that the base nature of these beings is...cruel. To be an idea animated, allowing you to rule and influence those that truly experience that suffering while feeling none of it yourself…”

    She stares into the eyes of Yamuna.

    “If there could be a world where those that stand above us ‘mere humans’ needed that very weakness to even survive...I think that would be a lot more fair than what we had gone through until this point. Maybe we should just think about survival...but what worth is our survival if the sacrifices that came before us are invalidated? Can we really be called humans if we trample on the wishes of those that fought the battle before us?”

    There were nothing but apparitions here. Manifestations of what could have been real, but was not. Simply an image constructed by the mind to illustrate something incomprehensible.

    And yet, nothing the girl ever did felt as real as the moment she touched the goddess’ face.

    “This is a much worse deal than what Chiyoko offered, but I think this is a proposal I have to make regardless. What would you think about risking everything on a world of imperfections?”

    -----

    "I tried to decide for the world once, but I do not think such a thing is the correct path."

    She doesn't blink, or even flinch away from the touch.

    "However, yes, it is true. Demons have the capacity to be cruel and merciless. However humans share that characteristic as well... The Mud, the Kyuubi, even Nyarlathotep, those were all just manifestations of human nature. They remained human till the end. They are not demonic constructs, yet they are just as capable of extinguishing the world. They did, in fact, extinguish our world."

    Do not get her wrong, ultimately, she is Humanity's Goddess. She will protect them above all others if it came down to it, but at the same time she is no longer illusioned by them, they are not perfect, and pretending otherwise is simply being willfully ignorant of the flaws in things you love.

    "Even this Devourer is something that is forcing it's "will" upon others. It thinks one thing is right, and it will force all others to agree with that belief or perish. I do not wish to be the same. The Conception too, is a wrong ritual. If my power is to be used, then I wish for it to be a power that moves for the will of humanity as a whole."

    She says it calmly.

    This is the lesson she learned from Mikagura Mika and the others, as well as her own past experiences.

    "But I will listen to a proposal, even so, I will not betray the world's will."

    She won’t just hand her power over to a single person again.

    The last time she had done so, that action had led to the birth of that human curse.

    -----

    “There would be a way to do so...to move the will of humanity...but what you have to understand, no, what you already know is that there is no way of uniting all of humanity beyond a shared desire. Survival, perhaps.”

    She shook her head.

    “I don’t aim to simply survive. If that is all we do...there is no meaning in what came before us. The people of ‘your world’ merely survived until they no longer did...and then all their sacrifices to enable this very base desire were for nothing.”

    It was a gentle smile that accompanied her ridiculous demand.

    “Maybe it’s greedy to desire more but...that very desire is the nourishment that allows y...Gods and Demons to exist. It’s evidently something we are ‘supposed to do’...and maybe it is that desire that created the Devourer in the first place. So maybe it’s not a good thing...”

    Suzume sighs as her own words sounded less and less convincing to even herself.

    “I’m running out of time so this is the last question I will ask you: Will you entrust your power not to a single human...but to the ideal of what we can achieve? Not to simple survival but to higher reaches than that? I’m not a great speaker so...really, this is all I can offer you. Will you take it?”

    -----


    "If the world's will supports it, I will do my best."

    Whether or not it succeeds or fails will, ultimately, be left up to the people that reside in the world.

    ---As well as the power of the enemy.

    -----


    Her touch turned to a grip, tightening slowly but resolute.

    “It’s an agreement then. Sorry, I don’t think I have the time to make this more pleasant on you…”

    A manifestation of a power that had been inherent in every Ga-Rei. It had been just a curio, a vestigial manifestation of something that had moved beyond it. However, it was unable to shed this function that defined what it had once been, much like a human’s animalistic nature was still evident in their canine teeth.

    It had always been a predator.

    Ga-Rei. The chained beast. A spirit eater.

    The girl looked at her with an unbreakable resolution, her eyes transfixed on Suzume.

    There was not a glimmer of hesitation as a maw appeared behind her, swallowing her whole.
    Last edited by I3uster; January 9th, 2019 at 05:41 PM.
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  18. #3278
    Gläubig müssen die nicht sein, daran glauben müssen sie I3uster's Avatar
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    Suzume AOGAMI
    The End

    It was a strange sensation.

    Not unlike what she had experienced in her fight with Aya...but still, it had been quite a bit more intense and vivid now. Maybe it was the momentary shock of returning into her body that amplified it, but still she felt more than strange…

    And there were a lot of events unfolding right now, unable to be processed in a single moment.

    Or was it?

    How long...was a moment, anyway. To her, as she was.

    How long had she been conscious?

    A minute, maybe two...she counted in her head. 1, 2, 3.

    The numbers seemed to enter her head simultaneously. They rang like an unpleasant cymbal resonance.

    As she looked around, she tried to once again comprehend the scale of the fraying universe. What had Saki’s attack wrought? Was the knight still holding the Devourer in place? Was her teacher still alive?

    Her eyes however revealed only stillness to her.

    Or not exactly...the eradication of the Devourer proceeded at a perceivable rate. Anything else however seemed to be completely frozen.

    It wasn’t an unconscious activation of her “divine” power...no...this was simply how she perceived the world in that moment.
    She could choose her pace. And that had been the most important part.

    To impose her will on that would be incredibly draining. It would put the plan at risk, it would violate the agreement she had made with Yamuna, and she couldn’t predict how long it might have held up.

    No.

    She looked at the very fabric of the fraying world around her.

    The unravelling of a construct.

    She had been entrusted something.

    It was time to get to work.

    -----

    It was something entirely impossible.

    Akin to filtering a single, distinct drop out of a sea. To reconstruct, perfectly, a small unit where there had only been a stream.

    Surely, something that was shaped just alien enough could escape this very space. Theoretically, such a special existence would not be as easily submerged into the giant current.

    But time and a comparative “normalcy” made such an endeavor much less possible.

    This “realm” was not a real space as one understood it after all.

    It was a will without a goal. But still, in a strange way unified.

    A single drop was ripped from the dream. Not for a moment. A moment had been a braid on the loom of time. What had taken this one saw beyond that. It undid the braid into threads, the threads into fibers and the fiber into a fragment.

    A unit of time so small it would have been meaningless at any other place.

    In this very space that had been no space at all, a young woman’s voice cried out to a dead being that had lost its original purpose long ago.

    “I have a proposal that will ensure your survival.”

    A single drop at first. Then another. Then another. It repeated. Over and over. Uncountable times. Not a coercion. Not an imposing of her will. Perhaps, a slight help from her “gift”, but even that was not enough to convince someone completely unwilling.

    Before a moment had passed, the girl had conversed with every drop in the river.

    Around nine hundred billion souls flowed in one united current.

    As the first of the drops threatened to evaporate, she had shown them a way to preserve.

    “Follow me.”

    -----

    The question she had asked the girl had become more and more pressing. What was it that defined a human? What made this being she faced something she rejected? And on the other hand, what made Yamuna someone she could trust?

    There should be more doubt than ever in her heart about this now.

    Was she really human?

    Humans perceived the time in intervals that made sense to them. Second by second, as fast as their eyes would allow.

    She had left that behind. Time had become another one of her ‘senses’, not reliant on anything else. As tactile as whatever her limbs touched.

    It was to see everything in the visible spectrum. Not to be distracted by apparitions, not to see as gods do, unmaking everything they see with a gaze, leaving no mystery behind it.

    It felt...scary.

    She never desired this power.

    But there was one difference. The biggest and most prominent difference between her and what she now faced, held in check by the knight.

    And as much as her sensations changed, the one sense she could not ignore told her the answer to her question loud and clear.

    You feel, thus you are human.

    A resonant echo, billion fold, scratching on the surface of this world.

    This was not the time to be afraid.
    This was the time to do something only she could do.

    [Factor of Space]


    Like a hand outreached to the sea of souls.

    A signal flare had been fired before. A perfect echo of humanities’ curses, allowing perception of every single soul in it.

    Focused on a point. Waiting to enter a new space.

    And so, Suzume AOGAMI, a being on the precipice of something so decisively inhuman, turned away from that path.

    She could have discarded her feelings.

    She could have tried to impose her will.

    But if she had, she would not perceive that miracle that unfolded beyond her.

    The radiance of all of humanity.

    All of its blessings and all of its curses.

    She raised her hand and space itself cracked, a gaping wound opening between this space and the sea of souls.

    Fed from her own spiritual power, Yamuna and the power of all of humanity.


    “Have you ever felt really lost in a dream? Maybe just one of you. A single individual. I don’t care about your collective.”



    Light threatened to swallow all, darkness surrounded her as the stars had been extinguished. And even the moon seemed to be in dire straits.

    So she made her own sky.

    The souls illuminating her surroundings, the gate still shining as it slowly opened, revealing a ring of light.


    “When it feels absolutely real...when it feels like this is really happening...that everything I touch is really there, everyone I speak to is really alive...sometimes I got a little scared…”



    She took a step forward. Space simply folded under her foot. For now these souls were lost, and their only beacon was her. So they rallied.

    A simple principle. Easy to understand intuitively for any eclipse diver. After all this was what they were, very simply speaking. A harmonized unit of souls. A hundred, thousand, maybe more.

    All she did was increase the scale.

    “I sometimes wondered...
    What would it be like if I didn’t wake up?
    What if someone else woke up, and all that would become of me would be a fading memory?
    A fragment of someone else’s dream, soon damned to oblivion…”



    It was a “seal”, something that was supposed to keep something safely locked away, unable to escape...but also protecting its contents.

    As the light of erasure threatened to touch its outest corners, it was halted. An ‘impulse’ created this new sky as fast as it was erased.

    It was a song. A beautiful aria, pushing away darkness and light alike. In one way dissonant and singing of brutality and base desires, at the same time exalting the highest virtues.

    A single conductor stood at its top.

    =Total Eclipse==





    Wiseup!
    [Where Angels Fear To Tread]
    [Conceptual Space. Nullifies all divine influence that is not channeled through a humanlike medium]

    Last edited by I3uster; January 9th, 2019 at 05:51 PM.
    [04:55] Lianru: i3uster is actuallly quite cute

  19. #3279
    The Time-Governing Twelve Covenants Airen's Avatar
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    Guardians of the Future VS The Administrator
    46 Billion Years ~ Repeating Tragedy/The Promise I Made to You II

    "The time has come."

    They are almost at their limit.

    It is not something it needs it's supernatural senses to understand, to simply look at it's opponents with it's own eyes is enough to judge that they are simply hanging on by a single thread, by the sheer depths of a determination that itself was being shredded away. Even so, because humanity is strongest while they're being pushed up against the wall, even the little of them that remains continues to strive onward with greater and greater force; rather than relenting because many of their own have fallen, the feeling is instead that they must continue on for the sake of those people too, thus...

    The charge towards death does not stop.

    It is suicidal, it is arrogant, it reeks of both delusions and dreams in equal measure, but-

    There's nothing more human than that impossible struggle.

    But that is all it is, an impossible struggle.

    Even if they were to defeat it, or even escape this world, there is no changing the inevitable.

    One way or another, they will have to return to their fate.

    ---The main body turns towards it's grounded opponents, as a Bodhisattva returns it's full attention to the Knight. As the slow death of the universe weakens it's own seals, more and more power returns to it's form; even so, that is not the main change here that threatens the charging knight and her dragon, no, since Chronos has seemed to decide to side with humanity after all, the God decides to focus all of it's attention on crushing these three, rather than continuing it's rampage through an already fracturing universe.

    This time it will kill all challengers.

    There will be no more enduring it's blows, it will write their absolute death into each one.

    Those that oppose it will do so at the price of what little time remained of their lives. Instinctively, everyone understands that to approach this God is the same thing as approaching Death, that once you've started on this path, the only end that remains for you is to scatter into dust, even so...

    Until nothing of them is left, they plan to fight?

    Very well.

    Then let nothing be left.

    It will prove to them that it not only owns their souls, but their dreams as well-!



    "Goodbye. Accept the reality of your death."

    ---------

    While your body and memories have begun to fall apart along with the rest of humanity, the charge that carries you forth is one that is blessed by those who are walking the same path; different from the last time, where a hundred limbs had struck at you along with the world, the full fury of the enlightened one is targeting you and you alone, creating a storm of blades charged with infinite energy from which there is no escape, traveling so fast that all comes across as simultaneous, even so-

    "Persona-!"

    A white giant deflects that infinite rain of blades to the side. It is a familiar giant, the same giant that had defended Aoyama from one of the many avatars of the Kyuubi, and an "Ultimate Power" that belonged to a certain other police officer friend of yours... In many ways it is Aoyama itself, it is a reflection of their spirit as a whole, of their destiny as those chosen to provide "one half" of the victory against the Kyuubi... It is only natural that that fighting spirit erupts once more in the face of the world's ultimate demise, a heartwarming reminder that you are not alone, and that the city that had kept going even in the face of their own shadows was still standing strong against the brightest light, but-

    "Ha... Told ya I'd wind up saving you."

    It is only heartwarming for a moment.

    After all, they do not deflect it perfectly. An attack that cannot be completely avoided or defended against remains as such a thing even to that massive manifestation, and thus the blades that tear into it's spiritual mass are an unavoidable reality, a death blow that rings out and reflects not just to Noriko, who is standing -chuckling lightly- to the side, but the citizens of Aoyama as well, as their instincts lead them to throw themselves onto the fire for the world's sake. It is a split-second decision, a baton-pass that they can't take back, and yet even as her body starts to flicker into dust, the policewoman shows absolutely no signs of fear or regret, because-

    "No complaining about it. Remember the promise?"

    It was something that was only possible because of their immense will... To tell you the truth, they did not have the spiritual power to manifest that Titan inside of this space while it was being erased, but the threat to everything they cared about had given birth to power where none existed, and they had entrusted the burden of the fading world to you, believing your existence to be the best remaining hope, even if they can only observe this subconsciously.

    It's a decision that strips the rest of their time from them even before they are hit head on by the 'aftershocks' of dozens of divine attacks, they endure that too with dying bodies so that the damage doesn't disrupt you, before they are enveloped by the white wind as well, a fate that you cannot see with your own eyes but one that you can feel, one that happens in sync with Noriko's own disappearance as her body falls apart into spiritual particles.

    ---You can't do anything about it.

    Trusting in Chronos's words, to turn your path now would be the same thing as finishing off the rest of the world, and thus you press on, coated in flames and dreams, forcing your way through a white-wind that only seemed to grow heavier and heavier with the passing of time, but-

    ------

    "A fool until the end. Do you not understand that you are unable to defeat me?"

    There is no time for more than a single strike.

    Your own reckless charge earlier had already led to your body falling to pieces, and the continued pushing of your abilities only serves to shred away whatever little of you is left, but even the sight of everything falling away isn't enough to slow you down, in spite of the cold chill of death that accompanies it. Because the body may forget why it is doing it, but the will to continue on will be strong in spite of that; it is something possible for humans, but the only expected resulted for Makoto Fujioka, the only thing this body can do even if it's user is -in reality- already dead, and thus-

    It's a duel with a single stroke.

    It is a repeat of the Devourer's bizarre nature, it's seeming desire to put others to rest in a way that they can accept; while there are plenty of ways it can turn you to dust before you can even raise your blade again, it conjures up a blade of it's own to put an end to things. It will no longer underestimate you, nor allow you to continue on; because it is an entity that will crush even one-percent chances of failure if it believes they might exist, this is not a surprising result, it turns all of the focus of it's main body on you, and thus your fate that was already set in stone, is cemented by a God that will no longer humor you.

    That is why dodging or defending are no longer possible.

    ---A blade buries itself into what remains of the moon.

    Cut from shoulder to hip, Makoto Fujioka -or whatever was left of him- had continued to struggle until the very end. As expected, Chronos hadn't appeared to save you a second time, perhaps from the start you had known that he wasn't exactly here to fight alongside you as a partner, even so, even so...

    "...It was a courageous attempt. But meaningless. Your future is already dust."

    You aren't able to truly hate either one of them even up till the end; your opponent bothers to speak last words to you even as it remains invincible and perfect on the end of your attack, and it does not bother to attack you any more than necessary now that the rest of your body is already crumbling away. It's as perfect a victory for it as anyone could think possible, the winner of a duel, yet-

    Somewhere, you are sure it made a mistake.

    Even if it beats you in one blow, someone else will carry on in the few moments you granted them, even if that person happens to be the annoying officer, he's someone that's just like Sensei, a man who doesn't do unnecessary things; it's impossible to recall who the others are now, but even up until the end, you had managed to remember that you were not alone here...

    Even so, good memories and determination can only take you so far.

    All humans have their limit, and this is yours.



    Scattering like stardust, another of humanity's guardians is forced to return to their fate.

    -----

    Now that it is no longer going out of it's way to break the wills of it's opponents, it is time for the God to put an end to the Knight of "Dreams," and thus, an end to what remains of this battle.

    While every loss spurs it's opponents on out of something similar to revenge, those same losses are also hits to both their morale, and the number of souls present within this world. When an Eclipse Diver falls to it's powers, the souls that were powering them disappear as well, and thus the loss of each guardian takes far far more than a single person away from this battle, thus-

    This blow should shatter everyone's faith.

    If the 'Knight' born from everyone's dreams falls, than it will only be natural that humanity gives up in the face of it.

    Fire closes in on it's form.

    While the force behind it is impressive, that will only serve as a weapon for it's own use. Now that Chronos has joined the battle as well the danger that this battle presents has doubled, thus it will respond to every attempted assault on it's body with it's full power, intent on crushing everyone that comes up against it in a single exchange. While it had intended to crush the Knight long before it could reach him, the interference of Makoto had made that an impossibility, even so, there is no sense of fear in the hand that rises towards the approaching enemy, as if silently declaring that it stop in it's tracks.



    "Universal Law."

    Declaring the ultimate curse, rather than forcing it's power to struggle against that of the Dream, it intends to change the target of the knight's attack. It is not like it could not do the former, ultimately, this world will remain it's own even if they repair it with their own dreams -because the humans and everything they create ultimately belong to it as well- but because Chronos is nearby, it intends to kill two birds with one stone and remove both problems in a single instant, but-!

    Rather than having his existence forcibly diverted to it's other self, the phantasmagorical flames of a dragon and her knight gather around it's form. The heat is so intense that it is comparable to the black flames in spite of existing as a sort of opposite, but that is not what surprises the God into stillness, no-



    "We... Can't reach the record...?"



    -It's the fact that while they can feel it activate, their divine power fails them when they call upon it.

    As the depths of space are coated with ash and smoke rather than the scattering stardust of souls, everyone left within this universe is able to feel a reaction from the duo's strike. It had neither managed to evade or dodge the attack, due to it's magic failing it in the critical moments. In the end, it was the God's arrogance that had been it's downfall, rather than relying on it's godlike physical abilities, it had attempted to ensure it's victory in the next moment through divine power, and had fallen into the trap laid by a certain Suzume Oshino, channeling the powers of not just humanity, but their Artificially Created Goddess.

    If it had relied on it's physical abilities, then it would have been able to parry the attack regardless, but because it had assumed there was no real threat in it's opponents attack, it had been hit dead on by an incarnation of it's opponents dreams.

    Even the destruction of the Universe halts, or rather...

    It would be more correct to say that it stalemates.

    It is impossible for those humans to change the Akashic Record, the command for the world to self-destruct is still present and cannot be dispelled, however, gathering everyone's will together towards one goal, and barring the God from further using it's divine powers -accessing the record- should enable them to "put off" the fulfillment of that fate perpetually. It will be like a permanent constant drain on the spiritual power of the world's inhabitants, but the 'slow destruction' the God had put in place could certainly be stopped in this way, and with it being barred from it's divine powers -its own factors-, it should be weak enough now that something can be done about it too, with it being unable to reform it's body once it is destroyed due to humanity running interference, but...

    But...

    "...We won't lose."

    This entity is not dangerous because it's a God.

    It's dangerous because even without those powers, it is a humanity that can harness the power of their beliefs to it's fullest, lacking the capacity to doubt themselves; turning their own faith into an omnipotent weapon. On the other side, because they have realized what it's origin is for themselves, regardless of Suzume's definition, humanity itself is now incapable of not seeing it as another form of humanity.

    In that sense, the power of Observation -and perhaps even empathy- is a double-edged sword. They can block it's divine powers now, it's powers that they recognize it has an Almighty Deity, but the powers they had possessed as human beings are still able to slip through the cracks in that bounded field.

    Because if they deny the enemies Observation, they deny their own power as well, and the world will end instantly. But even without that, the power of Observation is what allows humans to do the impossible in the first place, if it is pushed into a corner, then just like you, it will find a way to shatter that impossibility and secure it's own fate-! That is how they are able to endure an attack that should have scattered them, their belief that they will persist in spite of it was strong enough for it to become reality even without their divine powers as the Administrator, and-

    ---The feeling of Death doesn't go away.

    While the world has stopped shaking, the apprehension that appears with the God's unfazed eyes is one that continues to strike the terror of loss into those that see it.

    Because it still doesn't see it's own defeat as a true possibility.

    Even though the Knight is easily more powerful now, even though it cannot reach the true depths of it's power anymore, the eyes that gaze out from the storm of myriad flames are eyes that promise only the deaths of all opponents-

    "We are not afraid. We are not alone, we do not doubt, and so we are invincible."

    -And it is in that moment that you understand where that fearless expression is hailing from in spite of it's situation, in spite of the fact that it's current body cannot move, and this world's new barrier will not allow it to create another one.

    It is simple.

    It is an expression you have all used yourselves many times, the feeling of courage and invincibility that comes with knowing that one's friends are always behind them; while they have taken those bonds to an extreme that you cannot agree with, it is a hint towards the impending doom that awaits you in spite of your best efforts, something that was forgotten during the chaos of this main battle-!

    ---Ah.

    You understand the moment the universe begins to shake again, this time more violently than ever, as a blow that will eclipse even the Big Bang closes in from a place none of you have ever managed to tread-!

    At the beginning of the battle, the Devourer had split itself up amongst many bodies for the purposes of questioning everyone on their own, to figure out their 'answer' to the problem this world represented before it finished them off, and while most had congregated in a single body in order to execute the supernova with absolute force, there were some that had left this world entirely in pursuit of one of your own, or rather, to free one of their own from their binds within another 'world.'

    ---While this body is bound by the seal humanity had just placed, those who had left this world already have escaped such things and continued to observe the battle from afar as a safety measure, a sort of trump-card to be played in the face of humanity surprising it's main body, and catching it in some sort of impossible trap.

    As far as the power of humanity's conceptual field goes, it is limited to their world of dreams; it is the only place they can exist in without succumbing to the fate of their original selves, however...

    In most cases, this would be enough; after all, if they simply go to the aid of themselves, they will be bound by those same rules as well... While there is a possibility they could simply remerge with the main body and force their will again through Observation, there is a possibility of failure that causes them to take another course of action first, namely...

    They will crash the world they had just taken over, into this one. While it will destroy both they do not care. The forced merger will cause all laws and spells to fall into chaos for a few moments as conceptual laws clash to discover which set of rules will remain, and the appearance of an allied third party as well as their own reunion with themselves will tip the scales of the stalemate in the direction of the Administrator.

    In that time, they will strike and wipe out all resistance.

    No more shortcuts.

    Rather than bothering to give it's enemies a more empathetic death, heroic deaths, it will crush all of them at once in order to ensure the survival of the universe.

    This time, it won't even give them a chance to think of a way to counter.

    "It is unfortunate that our battle must end this way, but both your resistance and dreams will fall to pieces here."

    For the people of that false world, there is surely a sound like shattering glass-

    "This is the end humans, you have lost."

    -and then the onset of an endless white.

    -----

    In the end, the Knight is one of the few that remain standing, as everything else is simply wiped away from what you had once thought of as reality, but now knew was little more than dream.

    Ah, but the existence of dreams is why you still remain, for one girl continues to breathe even amidst this endless despair.

    Crying on the ground as her illusion finally falls away, the void reveals only the presence of the enemy, her Chronos, and a single knight powered by a solitary dream.

    "Don't cry Chiyoko... It's not over yet."

    Of course the question remains, why had Chronos asked you to strike with all you had if this would be the result? Of course, it's a question he intends to answer, even so, his gaze never leaves that of his other self.

    "That's right, you win for now. You are perfect, the strongest possible entity, so of course you would crush any sort of resistance."

    This is the only possible result.

    Not only had it written it's victory in the future -and thus fate itself would guide it towards breaking any binds that appeared- but it's faith was so unshakeable that nothing was truly impossible for it, to the point where it's will alone can warp every reality, not just it's own. Everything had been stacked in it's favor, and the battle had been impossible for humans alone to win from the start; it didn't matter how many souls they had, ultimately, this thing will climb over everything else in spite of their resistance.

    That is why it is an ultimate destroyer, one of many possible "last incarnations" for a "humanity."

    ---That is why, so long as it remains perfect, there is nothing anyone can really do to it.

    "Sorry kid, but this was something that had to happen, there was no getting around it. I'm just gonna steal the spotlight for a little bit, once I hand it back, it'll be up to you and the others to finish things off... Well, if you're still standing on the other side anyway."

    "...?"

    "...Although in reality, I got him awhile back. Can you feel it Administrator? That moment where your magic failed you, but you felt a reaction regardless? That was me. You were so focused on everyone else, that I was able to slip in a last magic of my own... If Oshino had been careless with that barrier of hers it wouldn't have ended well for me... But they kept that illusion intact long enough for it to take effect."

    "You... No... What did you... Traitor...?!"

    It is only in that moment that it understands.

    There was one thing Chronos could do that it would have never considered, using Universal Law to forcibly merge himself with the Devourer once more, not as an alternate personality of sorts, but rather as what he had been originally...

    A manifestation of the Devourer's 'emotions,' not just happiness or sadness, but it's ability to doubt and feel fear, in other words...

    It's the greatest possible act, the biggest leap towards victory, but one that doesn't come without a price.

    ---In the end, it's a fake God, it wouldn't be incorrect to say that it was simply a walking mass of spiritual power without a soul of his own; his existence is a rarity, something unique that will likely never appear again -at least not in the same way- yet-

    While it originally protected that existence over all other things, it is time to let it go.

    ---It had promised to bring back her friends, that was the contract.

    Even if it wouldn't be around anymore, to stop that crying face, it had to give everything it had, down to the very concept of it's own existence.

    There won't be a fanfare, in the end, only it's other self will have the chance to watch it disappear entirely, but this is the decision that false God of Time had made all on it's own.

    It doesn't know what miracle -if any- awaits the others in the "real world."

    Even so, having place all the power a certain girl had left it inside of her own sword, it tosses it back towards the demon that will know where to go.

    "Betrayal? No, no... Wasn't our goal to save something? In the end, all we did is become a Devourer of Worlds. You're tired, I'm sure you're tired, we've been fighting for a long time so... You and I, us... I think it's time for us to sleep."

    ---It had watched over the journey of everyone in this world for 46 billion years, but never had it been more confident in them than now. It is a strange feeling, one borne from watching their desperate struggle against something they cannot defeat... It's a feeling that combines with the love it feels for it's summoner that drives it to this point, a point of no return for it, in exchange for the 1% chance that someone's wish will be fulfilled, truly...

    What a human thing to do.

    "...Later Chiyo, humans."

    The light continues to shine, driving everyone towards their fate.

    Even so...

    "I really do hope you'll wake up safely."

    For the first time, and the last time.

    A fake God of Time looks back on someone other than it's summoner with a smile.



    "---It was a really long journey... Wasn't it?"

    That smile disappears into the light.

    "A long, long time..."

    -----

    It comes as a crashing sound like glass, and then a sudden inescapable whiteout.

    Different from the supernova or even the white wind, which had been slow methods of destruction that you could respond too, the power that the Devourer had hit the universe with was enough to crush what remained of it in a single blow. It is a force so strong that no barrier could repel it, it is the shattering of a dream that forces the dreamers to awaken; souls that had been transported in order to live again are forced back to reality, just as the God had promised you.

    There was no way to escape your fate.

    From the start your world -and the journey you had taken- had all happened inside a world that was no different from that of a dream, and it was a world that had been created with a finite lifespan. Everything that had been born within it has disappeared along with it, this includes your bodies, spiritual power stores, and even memories of the time you had spent inside of it...

    They are made as if they had never happened at all, a destruction so complete that one could say it was nothing more than a meaningless dying dream. You are left with nothing, nothing with which to light the fires of rebellion, nothing with which to resist the crushing fate that had awaited you in reality, because...

    What good are dreams in the waking world?


    Left with only a spark of your consciousness left, humanity as a whole can taste the mud and fire of their original world; that's right, the Devourer had promised to let you expire naturally, as you had been meant to expire, and thus this taste of fire and muck can only mean that your body is submerged within the depths of the Kyuubi's essence. It is somewhat strange that a spark of your consciousness exists in spite of this, but because humanity has felt these flames once before, they understand that there is no survival now that they have been submerged within them.

    ---Or at least, that is what you would think.

    But the moment you think it, a familiar voice 'slaps' you with their words.

    It's the voice of someone you had once called 'partner,' and whose soul had been chained to yours inside the depths of a dream. Of course, the memories of such things faded away with that world's end, even so, the familiarity of it shakes your mind awake slightly in spite of the incomprehensible pain.

    How can you lose to something like this, when you just defeated it?

    It's a question that they all ask in their own way, that mysterious voice whose name you cannot quite remember... Of course, they aren't a human, if they were they would have succumbed to this mud, but to that too they laugh, and repeat their last words.

    How can you lose to something like this, when you just defeated it?

    Aren't humans stronger than that?

    Ah, that's kind of annoying.

    They don't seem to understand that these are your final moments, because they are apparently poking fun at you and asking strange questions, urging you to get up in spite of that being impossible. Even so, while their making light of the situation doesn't seem helpful in the slightest, the more you listen to them speak the more aware you seem to become...

    And... Weren't they telling the truth?

    They are memories that are slow to return, but... Didn't humanity push back this same darkness?

    Ah...

    To recall the memories is to recall events that have never taken place, and to question your own state in the world as a whole. It hurts. Like tearing open your brain to get at things that have been buried, but it is also the only way to get the feeling that you have forgotten something important to disappear...

    It had been a long journey, filled with suffering and hope in equal measure. 46 Billions Years of being stuck inside a false world with absolutely no hope of escape; in that time, a war had been fought again and again, and you had made friends with a being that was not quite the same thing as you.

    That is the entity that has appeared to you now, and that has waited for you 'outside of the dream.' From the start they were strangers to it, invited in only by the repeated war and desperate wishes of the inhabitants. Some could be called evil, some could be called good, others can't really be placed in any category at all, but they had certainly...

    Certainly...

    Fought alongside you as allies.

    Maybe not you personally, but certainly another human; to the point where they cared enough about you to appear at the end of what seems to be your final road...The bonds that were forged in this world between demon and summoner were done at the soul, to the point where the two could be considered one being, with the death of one leading to the death of the other, and yet...

    If one looks at that from another perspective, then isn't the meaning completely opposite?

    If one is alive, then certainly the other must still exist?

    While many things were lost with the dream, this is one thing that cannot be robbed from humanity. In the end, their true power is not Observation, it is their ability to connect with others; while some may call your 'partner' evil, you, at the very least, had accepted them in one form or another, and they had responded to that trust.

    If you do not have the power to stand up, then they will loan it to you just this once.

    ---However, the world is certainly destroyed, and some of you were even erased before it was... Even if you manage to stand up again somehow, the reality is that there's nothing left around you to protect, it is a sea of black mud and curses, yet-

    Again, they ask if that is truly the case.

    From the start, for humans, 'the world' is what they wish it to be; what is the strongest image that exists inside of your head?

    ---Of course, it's the dream.

    It's something you had spent a long time in, and something you cannot truly believe has come to an end; for those humans that were erased by that merciless white light, it is an ending that they cannot truly even comprehend as an ending, to them the strongest image...

    Is the moment after the cessation of the black flames, the moment after Nyarlathotep's momentary defeat.

    Where the world that had been trapped in an endless loop of death and suffering had finally found a bit of hope at the end of a long, endlessly dark tunnel. It is not a perfect world, many people were lost along the way to that ending, but it is certainly one that you could see going on towards a happy future, and...

    That image burns.

    Now that you can remember it, it burns because it has been robbed from you, even so-

    ---Somehow, it feels like you can reach it.

    It's just an image, it's just a fragment of something that never was, and yet it feels so real that you're sure you can reach it if you simply pull yourselves from this mud, thus-

    You do.

    You try to.

    A hand grasps your own and doesn't let go. The desperation to return to that image is one that exists not just within you, but within many others as well, people that should not have survived the end and yet exist because their 'partner' continues to exist. You are not even sure if you are real or just an illusion, every desperate crawl up through the mud and fire of despair feels like it'll rip the skin from your bones and set you aflame eternally, but...

    Even so.

    Even so you carry on.

    Humanity had endured and defeated this mud once, so they can certainly repeat the feat. Rather than rejecting their darkness until the end, they had learned many lessons from it, and come out stronger for it...

    Returned to their original form?

    Doesn't something that vague give them a chance?

    This was one thing the Devourer could never predict, even at it's strongest and most wise, because of it's rejection of everything it saw as evil or corrupt.

    Rather than destroying those that should be enemies, they had dealt with the threat they had posed in a different way.

    It's true that humanity could not save themselves from their fate, in the end, they would have to return to this sea of mud and curses in spite of whatever ultimate power or magic they may have found inside it's of world, but the connections they had made inside of that world had created a path out for them where none should exist.

    It's a miracle that requires several other miracles in order to complete:

    1.) Their version of 'Demon kind' must be willing (and able) to ally with humanity, to the point of putting themselves in harms way. If they do not, humanity would simply expire upon exiting the dream.
    2.) Humanity must have already defeated that mud, and be somewhat aware of their own unique 'powers.'
    3.) The Devourer cannot interfere until they have stabilized themselves, and...

    A Sword of Dreams must be present.



    Xanadu: an idealized place of great or idyllic magnificence and beauty.

    It is impossible to build something lasting on Dreams alone, but the dreams of humanity that had persisted inside of a youth's sword and become 46 billion years worth of spiritual power, when combined with the 'image' humanity couldn't help but see in front of their eyes...

    Had fueled a miracle.

    They build over the real world rather than continue to try to repair the world the Devourer had made, replacing it with that image that burned inside of their hearts.

    It is not perfect -and it is a feat they will never again be able to replicate- but if it was a perfect world, they wouldn't be able to believe in it's existence.

    The Power of Observation requires that belief, and while many friends had been lost along the way, this is the world that they believed to be the "real one."

    In the depths of space, stars shine brightly, the moon is undamaged, and the Earth itself is clear and blue. Those that had had their physical bodies erased by the white light find themselves coming too in a world that is not much different from the one they had left, while souls old and new return to a new combined sea; the cause is a partner they may have forgotten, as well as their connection to their fellow humans, but-

    ---This doesn't mean the battle is over.

    Indeed, just because a miracle has happened doesn't mean this story will necessarily come to a happy ending; because not only can you feel the presence of the enemy still there along with you, but many of the powers you had been relying on up till now...

    Do not function outside of the Devourer's World.

    All Factors No Longer Work. (Devourer cannot use them either.)
    Eclipse State has ended, Soul Sea composition has changed drastically and no longer allows direct access.
    Xanadu has returned to it's normal state.
    Yamuna's Soul has vanished, as has her body.
    Power of Demon-kind: Lesser Demons/Angels will follow your lead (can be controlled by the player). As always your contracted demon can also be controlled.
    Power of Friendship: High-level S.Links will follow your lead (can be controlled by the player, if multiple people want the same, highest S.Link wins out)


    Even so...

    Even so...

    Even so-!

    ------

    Who is more surprised? The Knight and the Reporter that had reappeared not within a world of mud and curses, but had followed the song of the world and arrived at something resembling the original sword's namesake? Or the Administrator that had arrived and found the same incomprehensible miracle?

    From the start, it is something that should have been impossible.

    Demons and Humankind had been designed by the twisted form of the Creator to always battle each other, they are destined enemies who exist in order to appease the flames of it's eternal ego, and yet...

    Rather than laying waste to the world on the other side, those same destined enemies had lit the spark that had allowed humanity to revive themselves. Rather than a miracle -as they must believe it is- it is a mark of their nature, their ability to change both themselves and others by connecting themselves with them. It is a power that can both corrupt and redeem, one that can only be judged one way or another by one's own perspective, but certainly one that has proven to have a sort of power even the Devourer itself cannot replicate, yes...

    They had destroyed their own 'version' of demon-kind.

    Theirs would have never shown this much mercy or companionship, they were bitter enemies until the end, so why...

    Why was this different?!

    It's a question that swims amongst many other questions, while the spiritual signatures of it's opponents have decreased significantly with their loss of access to it's power, they are making up for it with numbers that didn't used to exist.

    It starts as a mere dozen summoning reactions, then twenty, fifty, a hundred, hundreds... Increasing still-!

    Of course it is certainly strange.

    It is true that demon-kind doesn't really get anything out of helping humanity here, or rather, it was possible for them to survive without participating in this battle by abandoning this universe altogether and going to another one with another humanity to nurture their existences on.

    However, they do not really need a tangible benefit in this case.

    In the end, they hadn't been completely rejected.

    Amongst those many souls, some living physically, others simply souls in a distant sea, there is someone they care for calling for their help. Even if they do not quite care for mankind as a whole, even if only for the sake of a single person, the 'rallying cry' let loose by humanity has found it's answer in those that should be their enemies. It may be a miracle that only repeats a single time, facilitated by an enemy so powerful that all know they must band against it or disappear, to the point where even the angels are playing nice, but it is still a miracle that shows a 'different answer' than the one the Devourer had found-!

    Instead of destroying your enemy... Perhaps you simply try to come to an understanding with them instead?

    ---No, that's ridiculous.



    It can't accept that.

    From the start, these cursed flames that were clinging to it even now were proof of mankind's butchery, and the butchery of those that were born from them as well-!

    The return of their feelings is one that has drawn them to a breaking point they once thought impossible, there is no sense of eternal calm in the being that gazes at you from across the depths of space.



    No...

    No it's infuriated...

    "Insolent demons... How dare you get in our way...?!"

    It's a mockery of everything they've ever done, an ignition of their returned emotions that turns them back into a "mass of humans" rather than a "Divine Humanity." They do not have time to re-purge those things from themselves, and in the moment they do not consider doing so, because...

    ---It's a rush.

    ---It's an impossible rush of anger and indignation that almost comes across as deeply nostalgic, and...



    Devourer has Awakened (Human Trait)
    All abilities enhanced.


    Pushes their spirits to their limit.

    ---Because they still reject it.

    Even if a part of them is now deeply, immensely tired of this journey, this is the only way they can see to truly save the 'everything' they loved-!

    "We don't need that world to crush you! WE WON'T LET YOU ALL DO AS YOU'D PLEASE! DIE, FOR THE SAKE OF EVERYTHING!"

    Light shines.

    For humanity, this is the last chance.

    If you lose here, there won't be a second miracle-!

    -----

    Saki Ryuumonbuchi
    Final Battle




    "Excellent. You are certainly capable of following orders well."

    Belial was not the only one awaiting you on the other side of the Dream.

    Yes.

    While you were the first to remember, the first to shout it's name into the darkness, only to be pulled back into a light of humanity's creation, the light of a battle that had been almost reset towards it's first turn, it is not just the prince of hell, but also the king (queen?) of hell that is awaiting you on that side...

    With what you can only assume is praise...?

    "You are not a direct retainer, and you didn't complain even till the end, so I suppose I must reward you... Ah, then how about this? For the duration of this battle, I will follow your commands? Now that it's world is gone, defeating it might actually be possible."

    Lucifer joined the party?

    ---Yes.

    Something like that is almost assuredly praise.

    "...It'll force it, even if you say no."

    But Belial's words make it clear you don't really have a choice in the matter.
    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?



  20. #3280
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Saki Ryuumonbuchi
    Final Battle


    The end of the dream begets sleep.


    In a bed of mud, under a blanket of fire, atop a pillow of death. A dream spanning lifetimes flickers out just as suddenly as it had ever come to be. Such is the nature of dreams. Tiny worlds in the heart of one who sleeps, disappearing as though they were never there. We all dream, and in turn we forget those dreams. When we wake they hold no more meaning. Their fantasy crumbles as reality steps forward and the eyes open to a world of certain destruction.

    That is the world they all wake up into, emerging from their shared dream.

    It’s the worst awakening imaginable.

    Fatigue that cannot be measured weighs down her eyelids, and the mud tears the flesh from her bones. The easy choice is to close her eyes. Return to sleep, this time without the dream, this time never to wake again. But she knows she can’t. She mustn’t.

    She didn’t come all this way just to roll over and go back to sleep.

    It may have just been a dream, but the promise she made in that dream.

    Saki Ryuumonbuchi hasn’t forgotten it. She hasn’t forgotten a single second of that dream. Memories from lives she lived in that slumber alongside all the others force their way to the surface, along with a voice, one that parts the black fire and mud like a red light.

    Her smoldering hand reaches out, taking hold of his.

    “Of course I won’t lose to this. This isn’t the seat amidst the flames you promised me, Belial.”

    The one that had visited their dream. An outsider called in by desperate pleas of another dreamer, that had bonded itself to her. The Lord of Lies, who she wouldn’t allow to make a lie out of that which he had promised to her, just as she would make good on the promise to him. The Demon Prince pulled her out of the mud, returning her to his side.

    Saki Ryuumonbuchi takes her first step outside of the Dream. Her eyes open in time to bear witness to a miracle. The world took a step past darkness, rebuilding itself atop the mud and death. As the Knight and Chiyoko reemerged into the true world, basked in the light of hope, another voice called out to Saki.


    "Excellent. You are certainly capable of following orders well. You are not a direct retainer, and you didn't complain even till the end, so I suppose I must reward you... Ah, then how about this? For the duration of this battle, I will follow your commands? Now that it's world is gone, defeating it might actually be possible."

    "...It'll force it, even if you say no."

    “I don’t have any reason to refuse you, Morning Star.” Standing alongside the true Demon King and her own Demon Prince, Saki gave the benevolent Demon in the form of a towering woman a warm smile. “This is just one more step toward fulfilling my promise. So I’ll accept this reward.”

    Taking another step forward, Saki’s eyes fell upon her weary enemy. Still engulfed in that curse, the fire of humanity’s darkness clinging to it with hatred that matched its own rage. The stars that it had stolen and turned against them. The moon that they had beaten and shattered. The universe that had been worn down by a white wind. They all return in the light of Xanadu, but those flames persist.

    They are an equal force to 46 billion years of hope, they are 46 billion years of despair. The feelings in the Dream that made this miracle are a two-sided coin and the flames searing away at its body are the opposite face of that coin. Even as the one who had gathered that despair and given it this form, not even Saki can disperse them at this point.

    Even if she tried, she had already forfeited her control over that flame. Even though its heat still lingers on her fingertips, so too does the burning in her chest. It isn’t hers anymore. The piece of her soul she parted with in the dream is still gone. It won’t be returning.

    Some things have to be left behind.

    “I only have one order for you.”

    Around her, others rise. Pulled out of the mud by those they had bonded with down to the soul. Bonds that transcended the Dream, surfacing in the world they belonged in. Phenex, Mother, Sho, Hare of Inaba, Kimiko, Kayo, Yoko-sensei. Those close to her rise one by one, and yet all at once.

    “But rather than an order, it’s a request.”

    She speaks to all of them. Not just to Lucifer and Belial, and not just to those nearest to her heart. Saki’s words are for everyone.

    “Help me put those within the Devourer to rest.”

    Seeing it now, awakened to its Human nature, it’s another of her own kind. There is no denying that the final enemy is Humanity itself. In the eyes of the awakened Dreamers, it is an enemy that chooses a path that is ‘wrong’, but undeniably it is yet another of their kind that has chosen a ‘different’ path. They all began at the same starting point, and their journey lead them to different answers. There is no evil standing in this battle. Only those with conflicting definitions of what is good. In respect to that fact, she wants to free it from this long journey.

    It had been there alongside them in that dream. It had been there even before their dream began. In its answer it found its own path, but their answer has opened another, different path. One that they can walk together alongside those Demons that were designed to be their enemies.

    Saki feels no more resentment for it. She let that go when she set that curse upon it.

    It’s human too, just as she is, as they all are. So just as promised, she will lead it to a shining future. Even if that means having to defeat it once and for all.

    It must be tired.

    Borrowing strength from Belial, platforms of demon flame made a path through space for her. A path toward the future.

    “They’re not in our way.” Calmly, she speaks to the mass of humans now brimming with rage, its voice echoing through space, ordering their death for the sake of peace. “It might be presumptuous to call them friends, but they’re not our enemies. They aren’t blocking our path. They’re opening the door to tomorrow, and passing through it alongside us. The only one in the way is you.”

    A flaming goliath emerges from a flash of dark crimson at her side. The true form of Belial, a titan of fire and fearsome power, walks alongside her.

    No longer an Esper, her bond with him and the others is the only power she has left. The only blade she can point toward the Devourer is the conviction she shares with the Tyrant.

    The only weapon she needs.


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