Monday, July 15, 2013

Insert Fate-Cracking Moment Here

It had been a fairly ordinary mission.

Really, it had been.

A level five Stu had been detected in The Matrix fandom- the fandom where sentient robots had revolted against humanity, igniting a war that ended with the humans losing-and becoming living power sources for the machines. The humans were 'born' and plugged into an massive artificial reality known as the Matrix, which was perfectly lifelike and simulated Earth at around the 20th century, living out their natural lives and blissfully unaware that their real bodies were nothing more than power cells. Save for a few humans who had escaped to form a resistance and a free city called 'Zion'-who also sought The One, a human who would be able to control the Matrix and battle the machines on the inside-humanity had been replaced as the dominant species of the cloud-covered, wasteland Earth had become.

It was also a Blacklisted fandom, so after a little debate, Tash ordered Phoenixia into the fandom, since she was the only Agent who could enter the Matrix program without being plugged in (being a former computer program herself and having centuries of experience as such.) and the only true computer expert the Society had, as well being the only Agent who regularly used non-magical, non-bladed weapon.

Phoenixia readily agreed and after Plotholing into the Matrix program-and taking a few moments to both hack the program and give herself the powers of the One (Who had impossible speeds, strength and even flight while inside the Matrix), as well adjust her mental firewalls to prevent a counter-hack or antivirus programs from returning the favor, set about to find her target Stu.

The Matrix series consisted of three movies and some shorts, but according to their information, Phoenixia had arrived about month before the first movie started and she found the Stu, in a twist, not working for the resistance humans and becoming the hero, but working for the machines as an 'Agent'-program (programs who eliminated humans who figured too much about the world they're were living or somehow discovered that they were in a computer program) and swiftly eliminating the Resistance members who were scouring the Matrix for The One. It was surprisingly clever-gain the trust of the bad guys by killing all the good guys, then kill the bad guys and become ultimate ruler behind the scenes without a lot of fanfare.

But Phoenixia swiftly located him and in a rather short fire-fight, killed his accompanying Agents and then engaging in a brawl that was fairly even thanks to her upgraded fighting abilities and practically hollowed out a skyscraper, was about to arrest and Prohibit him to seal away his Stu powers and thus reverse all the chaos he had wreaked on the fandom when a single beam of light had lanced down and punched through the Stu's temples, ending his life.

That is when it had stopped being an ordinary mission.

The busty ex-hologram stood at the bottom of the sky, next to the body of the Stu. Her chest heaved with labored breaths and fear and for some reason, she could feel every inch of her sweat-soaked Battle Dress clinging to her skin, feel every strand of her braid of cerulean hair being tugged at by the faint breeze that came from the gaping holes in the hundred or so floors of the skyscraper. The metallic grips of the pistols of Incandescent Silverreign felt oddly cold in her hands and she swore she could count every single dust mote that was visible in the light.

Standing on the pile of rubble in front of her where three figures standing in at triangle shape-one was a tall, lean man with ragged dark hair, almost feral in appearance and dressed in light body armor, with set of gauntlets on his forearms and greaves on his legs, each shaped like an animal's head. His fierce blue eyes bored into Phoenixia and promised no mercy.

Next to him, his companion wasn't quite as serious. She was dressed in a set of simple robes, with orange-ish eyes and curly fire-red hair. Her lips seemed to be set in a permanent smirk as she toyed with a piece of string between her fingers, forming a cat's cradle, then a car, then Eiffel Tower, her eyes not once leaving Phoenixia.

But it was third figure that held Phoenixia's attention. Unlike the other two, she looked like she could have just walked off the street, dressed in dark slacks and a dark turtleneck. Her hair was done neatly and sharp emerald hides glittered with intelligence, cunning… and ruthlessness.

Phoenixia, while not magical individual, was fighter enough to be able to tell the two behind the second woman were stronger than she was by the way they set her nerves on edge… and also able to tell that the second woman was far above the other two because just looking at her made her spine shiver. "Runoa…"

"Hello." The woman drawled a soft smirk on her face. "I don't believe you and I have ever been formally introduced…yes, I am Runoa. And you must be Phoenixia, that sentient computer program that defeated my Sovereign Death by overwriting his brain and erasing him to get around his regeneration powers. That was rather clever of you, I must admit. I would have thought that even the weakest of my Sovereigns would have been able to kill the Society, but you proved me wrong."

"The weakest…" Phoenixia felt her eyes widened minutely. The battle against Death had nearly killed some of the Society's strongest members and put many others in the hospital section critically wounded. She had gained his body and found the power it held to be incredible, even if she didn't have the incredible regenerative abilities Death had exhibited. And he had been the weakest?

"Yes. He was ranked Tenth. That leaves nine other Sovereigns stronger than he is." Runoa nodded her assent. "Oh, his regeneration powers were certainly first-class, but I and the others still could have killed him in a one-on-one fight. Still, erasing him was a strategy I hadn't thought of before. It appears that the rumors about you being Adrian's equal in cleverness were not exaggerated."

A vibration against her belt told Phoenixia her communicator was going off and she knew it was Tash, ready to order her out of the fandom immediately-something that Phoenixia was already planning to do. It was utter suicide to fight against two Sovereigns and their master. "Glad to impress you. Really, I am. But if you don't mind, I'll be going now."

"Oh, certainly." Runoa nodded. "We have no real desire to fight today, anyway. We're just here to pay you a little visit, Phoenixia." She smirked. "You stole the body of a Stu and an Immaculate one at that, but you yourself are not a Sue, nor have you become one. I am merely curiously as to how you avoided becoming one… was it chance? Fate? Luck?" The smirk turned deadly. "Or… was it that willpower that Adrian was so famous for…"

"Adrian?" Phoenixia bristled a bit at the mention of her dead lover. "What does he got to do with this?"

"He has everything to do with this." The ex-Librarian said smoothly. "You came from him, after all."

This time Phoenixia could not hide her surprise. "How did..!"

"How did I learn that? Something that only a few people have known since your creation hundreds of years ago?" Runoa smiled, a smile that was at once smug and sincere. "I know everything about Adrian. I have known everything about him for the longest time. And before you ask, I'll tell you. I know because…"

The next words out of Runoa's mouth sent a horrible chill of fear and shock through Phoenixia's entire being that suddenly ignited to white-hot rage and she let out a cry that was part anger, part denial and part sorrow as she leapt for Runoa, ready to strangle the life out of the monster before her.

Then the blue-eyed man appeared before her in mid-leap and his fist slammed into her face. A sound like a gunshot cracked and then Phoenixia went hurtling backwards, punching through the ruined wall and out into the street.

"Come now, Resolve." Runoa said as the man landed. "The news she just heard was rather upsetting. You can't blame her for charging in recklessly like that, particularly since it was about someone she loved very much. There wasn't any real need to do that."

"My apologies, Master." Resolve replied crisply. "But despite it being a miniscule chance, a chance to kill you is a chance to kill you. She might not have succeeded, but she might have. I would rather eliminate the possibility of the chance happening than risk it."

"Not bad logic and true enough." The woman said. "But I seriously doubt your little punch will deter her in the slightest about trying to kill me." As if to prove her point, a meter-wide beam of power tore through the hole Phoenixia created and rocketed towards her. "You see?"

Runoa held out her palm and the energy beam struck it, it's force and power gone instantly. But Phoenix was already leaping back through the hole, firing the combined form of Incandescent Silverreign again and again, the volley of blasts forcing the two Sovereigns to scatter. The ex-Librarian merely swatted the blasts that would hit her aside and let the rest sail harmlessly past her, blowing out massive chunks out the other side of the skyscraper. "That's fairly smart, using your big attack right away in hopes of catching the enemy off guard and killing them… but did you really think that would work on me?"

Phoenixia's response was a snarl and she flipped forwards, kicking a chunk of rubble at the other woman. "Shut up!"

"Foolish.." Runoa caught the rubble in one hand and tucked the other behind her back. "Here, I shall make it fair." Then she was silenced as Phoenixia landed on the piece of rubble, leveled her gun at her face, and pulled the trigger, the blast of rainbow light enveloping the top half of the Sue's body and gouging a crater in the ground behind her.

Even as it faded to reveal Runoa smoking, but otherwise unharmed, Phoenixia lashed out with a flurry of kicks and strikes with her weapon, all of which Runoa deftly knocked aside with her hand. Finally, she caught the barrel and yanked the weapon upwards, forcing the two women face-to-face. "Well, now that you've completed that exercise in futility, what else would you like to try?"

Then her eyes widened as Phoenixia detached the pistols from Silverreign and pointed them right at Runoa's eyes. A millisecond later, Resolve's foot slammed into her gut and Phoenixia was sailing upwards, the Sovereign leaping up after her. "Hmmmm… she might have actually hurt me with that move."

She glanced at the red-haired woman standing off to the side. "Let's go, Life. This should be an interesting fight." Then they leapt up after the battling pair.


Sparks flew as Resolve and Phoenixia battled their way up the skyscraper, leaping from floor to floor and colliding in the air, the unbreakable pistols parried and blocked the Sovereign's flurry of punches and kicks and then as they separated, his gauntlets blurs as he deflected the volleys of bullets.

They reached the roof and Phoenixia leapt away, firing as she skidded back across the rooftop. "Get out of my way!"

"No." Resolve used his gauntlets to block the shots, then was suddenly behind Phoenixia, his punch driving her head into the concrete below, then a swift kick to the side sent her crashing into an air conditioning unit. "You cannot fight well enough to beat me, you know that you cannot beat my Master."

Phoenixia pulled herself from the wreckage of the unit, her Battle Dress ripped and blood tricking down her face from a cut on her forehead and from her lip. "Tch…" She spat out a tooth on the rooftop. Then her eyes flickered for a moment and she was charging at him, firing as she came.

Resolve blocked the shots with gauntlets and then leaned back to avoid her high kick at his head. "I told you, you can't-" Then he was silenced as her heel reversed direction the moment it passed his head, slamming into his temple and sending crashing to the ground. (What?)

He rolled to the side as her foot smashed down where his head was, forming a small crater. Jack-knifing to his feet, he was suddenly on the defensive as Phoenixia's pistol cracked across his face, then a shot tore through his shoulder and her foot slammed into his chest and the Sovereign winced as he felt a rib crack. (How did she...?)

A furious exchange of blows followed, the Society Agent moving so fast that Resolve could see the afterimages her movements left, while he was barely able to keep her from inflicting any serious damage to him. Even though he knew he was still several steps above her in terms of power, he still felt her land blows all over his body and with a tremendous roundhouse kick, the Sovereign was sent bouncing and skidding across the rooftop. A red smear marked his path as Phoenixia's shots tore through his body.

She watched him slid to a halt and then her eyes widened as he suddenly stood up, the damage she had inflicted on him not affecting him in the slightest. In fact, she could see the bullet wounds healing, "How!"

"I can see what you are thinking and no, I have no regeneration like that of Death." He rolled his shoulders and held up his right gauntlet, which was dragon-shaped and appeared to have a meter of some sort on it, which was about a fifth of the way full. "But my power is that of resolve and so I turn my wounds to strength and push through the pain to accomplish my objectives. The more I am wounded, the more powerful I become."

"So? Then I'll kill you before you can gain that power!" Phoenixia saw Runoa and Life leap out of the hole in the skyscraper out of the corner of her eye, landing on a vacant section of the rooftop. The ex-hologram snapped up her pistols and fired as she dashed forwards.

"Your tactics are predictable." The Sovereign slammed his fist onto the rooftop and it shook, more of it giving way and caving into the hole, forcing Phoenixia to leap aside. He leapt up after her, a whirling bicycle kick. Then his eyes widened in true surprise as she caught his heel in one hand, instantly negating his momentum and force. "Impossible! There isn't anything for you to brace against!"

Then he was whipped away and crashing through the rooftop as Phoenixia came down atop him, driving her heels into his gut, guns blazing away at his face.

Life felt the weakened skyscraper shake and tilted her head, as the roar of gunfire grew fainter the farther the pair fell. "He is right-there was nothing for her to brace against and so catching his blow shouldn't have negated his force and momentum. And last we heard, she can't fly."

"She can't." Runoa folded her arms. "But she's hacked the Matrix and is tapping into it, using it to give herself a power-up."

"Oh really?" Life appeared interested as the skyscraper shook again and below them a wall of glass shattered and the pair came flying out, Resolve wrapped around Phoenixia fist as she pumped shotgun rounds into him and they punched through another building wall. "There must be no limit to her power here, then…"

"We shall see…" The emerald-eyed woman murmured as she watched explosions rip free of the building across the way, causing it to shake back and forth. "Perhaps…she will show us the difference between a Sue and a goddess…"

"Bahamut Riser!" Resolve's shout was accompanied a massive dragon-shaped blast demolished an entire corner of the building as it swallowed Phoenixia, its roar of energy drowning out her scream of pain as it carried her high into the sky, far above even the skyscrapers.

Even as the attack dissipated and Phoenixia succumbed to the effects of gravity, the Sovereign appeared above her, lashing his out with his left foot. "Phoenix Stream!" Dozens of crimson energy arcs launched from the path of his kick, each one morphing into a phoenix as they all flashed past the falling Agent, their strikes sending her spiraling, blood trailing her form. Then they all flew up above her, margining into one giant phoenix that let out a silent screech and fired a meters-wide blast of energy from its maw, the punishing blast slamming into Phoenixia like a giant fist and driving her into the street below, kicking up a geyser of debris, metal and stone.

The two Sovereigns and Runoa all easily landed at the rim of the massive hole Resolve's attack had created, Life give a small whistle at the devastation it had left in its wake. "And your gauntlet and grave aren't even half charged yet… I doubt there's much left of her…"

"You doubt wrong, Life. Phoenixia wields the body of a Sovereign, not to mention her control over the Matrix. She is not close to death, not yet." Runoa gestured down into the hole and Life flicked out her hand, the string she had been fiddling with lengthening and separating into five strings each attached to a finger. A moment passed and then the female Sovereign tugged with her fingers, strings hauling an arm-and-leg bound Phoenixia into the air, even as she vainly struggled against her bindings. "Well, I think you have seen the futility of trying to fight us now…"

"Bitch…" Phoenixia's Battle Dress was very much near tatters and her braid had been undone, leaving her hair with a jagged cut. Blood ran from numerous cuts and burns of varying degrees decorated every inch of her exposed flesh and it was obvious that her left leg was broken in several places. "I… will… will kill… you..." Blood splattered from her mouth.

"Unlikely in that position…" Runoa tapped her chin with a finger. "You intrigue me…what are you exactly? A Sovereign? A Sue? Something else entirely? How does a non-Sue inhabiting Stu's body work… and you have so much history you… history of yourself and the very Library itself… embedded into your very being… if you have a soul…" She nodded to herself. "Yes, I believe I will…"

Then she was suddenly in front of Phoenixia, pressing her hand to the other woman's heart as she leaned in close. "I want to see your heart beat for my pleasures… hear you scream for me…"

"Fuck that!" The color of burnt-orange filled the space between the two women, forcing Runoa to leap back as Tash appeared protectively in front of the bound Agent, her wings aflame and Nepythys glinting in the sun. "The only one she's going to be screaming for is me!"

"I did not know you swung that way." Runoa commented as she skidded back to the two Sovereigns, a smirk on her face. "And I didn't expect you to show up to save the day…isn't that Adrian's job?" She brushed a bit of her bangs out of her eyes. "But he's not around anymore, is he? That means you have some pretty big shoes to fill, don't you, Librarian Natasha?"

"Shut it, bitch!" Tash slashed her weapon through the air and a bolt of flame leapt towards Runoa.

"Touch a nerve, did I?" The Sue casually flicked a sphere of energy at the bolt and the two attacks collided, filling the air between the two fighters with sparks. "Well, I'm sure you won't disappoint. Adrian did take it upon himself to train you himself so you'd be ready for this kind of thing. But wait…" She affected a mocking look of surprise. "He didn't take you with him in his final fight, did he? Guess that means he didn't think you'd have been any help… or maybe he was having second thoughts about loving you and left you behind because you'd get in the way, like you usually do… but then, Adrian was a bit of a soft touch and always took pity on the weak, right?"

A wordless yell escaped Tash as her blade roared to life with flame and she barreled towards Runoa at top speed, only for the blur that was Resolve to slam into her from the side and the two of them vanished through a nearby building with such force that all of its windows blew out. "Life, be a dear and go help him, would you? I do believe I riled her up some."

As the Sovereign nodded and darted after the battling pair, Runoa turned back towards Phoenixia. "Now then, let's see how much damage I can inflict before your regenerative powers stop being effective…" Then she tilted her head to the side, as Phoenixia was gone. "Hmmmm…"

She felt the air move behind her and spun, just in time to get a corvette in the face. A millisecond later, there was a 'click!' and Incandescent Sileverreign's blast punched through the car and into Runoa as the car itself exploded, casting a massive fireball into the sky.

A swirl of air blew out the flames a moment later, Runoa calmly striding out of it and looking like she had never been hit. "Well, I am mildly impressed that you managed to find the strength to throw a car in your condition, did you really think it would do any damage?" She pointed a finger at Phoenixia and a mote of light formed at the tip of it. "Now, let's see what the limit of your power is."

As the mote of light raced towards her and broke into a half-dozen more motes, Phoenixia was already moving, back-flipping onto a car and then using her weapon's cable attachment to yank up twelve stories as it exploded beneath her, running along the building side as more explosions rocked in her wake. "Blast it…" Then she gasped as Runoa appeared in front of her. The ex-hologram knelt and kicked off the building, soaring away into the air as Runoa's punch cratered the structure.

"I forgot that The One can fly…" Runoa watched as the other woman rocketed away, rapidly becoming a dot to her vision. "Pity she doesn't know I can fly, too…" Then she tore through the air after her target.


"Damn!" Tash swore as another barrage of her sword strikes was deflected by Resolve's gauntlets and she leapt back to avoid his scything kick, then leapt forwards again with an overhead slash that he had to block by crossing his arms and their weapons creaked against one another.

"You are good, better than I thought possible." Resolve said, for his gauntlets and greaves where dented and scarred from where Tash's rage-enhanced blows had landed. "But you have not managed to land a serious hit since you arrived and at the rate we are going, I will-" Then he was silenced as Tash planted her palm on the length of her weapon and a torrent of fire roared forth, swallowing him.

"How's this for a serious hit?" The Society Leader slammed her weapon into the ground and an inferno erupted beneath the Stu, flinging him high into the air and as he came down, she spun, smashing her weapon into him like a baseball bat. A concussion of air and fire sounded as the blow sent Resolve hurtling down the street, clipping and caroming off several cars and the street before a semi-trailer halted his flight, folding in around him.

Panting a bit from her exertion, the blonde Brit glanced up at a nearby rooftop. "Are you going to fight or are you going to let me come up there and kill you?"

"No need to be threatening." Life blew her bangs away from her face, unconcerned by fact Tash had just sent her fellow Sovereign flying like a pinball or the fact that air around Tash was shimmering from the heat she was giving off. "Anyway, one of us Sovereigns is more than enough for you to deal with. I'm only here because Runoa asked me to."

Nepythys chimed as it was pointed at Life. "I don't care. If I have kill everyone one of you Sovereigns myself to get to Runoa, I will!"

"And why would you want to do that, exactly?" The orange-eyed Sue started fiddling the string on her hands again, obviously bored. "Last I checked, it was Willowe who killed Adrian. And then you killed her."

"Willowe would have never gotten that powerful if it hadn't been for Runoa! And Runoa nearly killed him herself twice! Ever since Adrian replaced her as Librarian, she's been trying to kill him and ruin his life." She slid into a battle stance and sparks of flame ignited in the air around her. "I won't let her get away with it!"

"Gods, your preaching is giving me a headache!" Life growled and rubbed her temples. "Just shut up and die already!" Then she flung out her hands and Tash gasped as several large pieces of rubble, each looking like it weighed several tons, lifted into the air around her.

The Sovereign clenched her fists and the pieces of rubble all smashed into Tash at once, crushing and grinding themselves away to nothing and the leader between them. "There. It's over."

"Not!" Tash resolved into view right in front of the Sovereign, who kicked back to avoid the slash that would have cut her from shoulder to hip, but the flaming blade's tip scored a small gash anyway.

"How did you-you're that fast!" Life hissed and swept her arm in front of her, another piece of rubble whipping towards Tash, who merely ran forwards and then flipped over the wall of rooftop that curved up in front of Life protectively. "Just hold still!"

"Not likely!" The Leader dove towards the Sovereign, only for Life to yank her hands towards her and the pieces of rubble and rooftop slammed into Tash from behind, forcing her would-be target to duck as she was smashed into a building side, letting out a cry of surprise and pain.

Not letting her chance go to waste, the Sue flung out her fingers and several cars were hurled one after another into the crater Tash's body had formed and a angular piece of metal pierced through all of them a second later. "Let's see you…" An explosion sounded as Tash barreled out of the lower story's window at top speed, volleying off fireballs even as she drew back her blade. "God dammit!"

The Sovereign leap back and gestured with a hand, a sheet of metal dancing in front of, gain several holes as the fireballs impact. With a flick of her wrist, she sent the sheet spinning towards Tash, who simply cleave it in half. "Crap…" Life thrust out both hands before her and suddenly a massive spider web of glimmering thread snapped into place before her.

"That won't slow me down!" Tash's flaming sword slashed into the web...only for the thread to simply bend then snap back, deflecting her blow. "What?" She flew back, putting some distance between her and the web before narrowing her eyes. "That's how you're manipulating everything… you're a puppeteer!"

"Quite right." Life grinned and held up her hands, letting Tash see the faint glowing thread of white energy attached to each finger. "I'm using my energy to create these threads, so anything I can wrap them around is mine to play with…and they're practically unbreakable…Of course, I wouldn't be much of a Sovereign if I could only manipulate pieces of rubble around, right?" Grinning, Life reached into her sleeve and pulled out a scroll. "Let me show you my special technique!"

She snapped the scroll and it unfurled into the air, incredibly long and releasing two dozen oddly-shaped runes into the air. As Tash watched with a gasp, each rune glowed and transformed into a six-foot tall human shape, oddly stiff people dressed in blue robes, wielding weapons ranging from a sword to a scythe to a pair of massive scissors and a few were barehanded. "Say hello to my meat puppets…"

"Human Puppets!" The Leader's widened in shock and then she was on the defensive as the puppets clattered and swooped down at her from all sides, her sword a blur as she deflected a trio of puppet's thrusts before flipping over their heads and deflecting the scissors-wielding puppet's weapon, then following up with a burst of fire who's impact scattered four other puppets. Rolling to the side, her leg-slicing slash caught nothing as Life merely twitched her fingers, causing the targeted puppets to simply float over the blade. "Son of a-"

She winked out of sight and reappeared farther down the street on a parked car, not even surprised as the puppets are flew towards her. "I'll crush them in one blow…" She angled her blade behind her and it roared to life with white-hot fire even as the around began to twist, being sucked into the blade incredibly fast. "Take… this!" The massive arc of fire leapt from the blade as Tash swung.

"Bahamut's Wrath!" The puppets all scattered as titanic dragon of energy roared down the street impossibly fast, ripping through the pavement like it was cheap cardboard. It collided with Tash's flame attack and scattered it to embers and in desperation, Tash threw up her blade, bracing her hand against the weapon's length as the dragon slammed into her.

Tash's gritted her teeth as she dug her heels in as the dragon shoved her backwards down the street, her wings flaring like rockets in a vain attempt to counteract the massive momentum the dragon had. (I…I…I can't stop it!) Then the dragon punched through her guard and she screamed as it swept her down the length of the street and through storefront, a store itself vanishing in massive explosion as the dragon blew apart.

As the smoke and debris cloud from the explosion cleared away, Tash was kneeling against her blade, wisps of smoke rising off her and most of her outfit ruined. Heaving for breath, she spat on the ground, grimacing when she noticed that it was mostly blood. Noise attracted her attention she lifted her head to see Resolve striding down the street, his left greave glowing. (Guess that means it's at full power…)

A quick look around showed that Life's puppets had taken up positions on nearby rooftops and the puppeteer herself was just behind Resolve, smirking darkly. "Wonderful…"

Forcing herself to her feet, Tash readied her weapon as it ignited to life and her wings flared. "Come on! Let's go!"


Runoa hovered between a pair of skyscrapers, casting her gaze across the city below and few million inhabitants therein. "Just where are you hiding…?"

Her search had already lasted over ten minutes, as Phoenixia had made good use her head start and vanished off the ex-Librarian's radar. Though Phoenixia's body was inherently magical and thus gave of a slight aura, it wasn't enough to trace the woman herself, since the gunslinger could not use magic in the slightest. And hiding in amongst the cities inhabitants meant that trying to pick out her specific life sign was incredible difficult, even for a Sue such as Runoa.

However, there was more than one way to draw her out.

"Phoenixia!" Runoa's magically projected voice carried all over the city, causing people to stop and lift their heads and peer out their windows. "You say you are going to kill me, but I do not see you! You want to take me down, do you not, especially after what I just told you? You know that I caused Adrian his sufferings, yet you are not trying to avenge him! The man who gave you life, who was your lover and friend for all those years-he would not have hid! He would have made the heavens tremble with his rage and split the earth with his power but you instead cower like a frightened child!

She lifted her hand into the air. "But you are not him, are you? You are not a hero or guardian or avenger! All you ever where was his ghost, a shade born of the broken mind of a broken man! You could do nothing to ease his burdens but offer your words and your body! But even that, you failed! Your words did no more to break through the darkness on his heart than a child could understand an adult! And your body, that was simply pathetic! You are less than a whore, Phoenixia, for they at least offer something they possess when they lie with a man, but you don't even have that!"

Rings of energy began to condense into her uplifted palm, slowly forming a sphere of power. "And now you do, but what good it is? Adrian is dead! You are useless, Phoenixia- useless as a guardian, useless as a comforter, and useless as a lover! No matter how hard you try or how long you live, you will never be rid of that fact! A shade can never be anything else!"

The rings began to gather faster and faster, the sphere now twice as large as a basketball. "Now you will understand how weak you truly are! Because you do not have the courage to fight me, I am going to simply destroy this city and you along with it! Millions will die because of your cowardice! It is something that you know Adrian will never forgive! So watch! And drown in your despair and anguish!"

The sphere was now as large as Runoa herself; the Sue drew back her hand in preparation to hurl it down at the screaming innocents below…


"C'mon, Emily! There has to be some way to get through the jamming!"

"I'm trying, Michael, but getting frustrated at me isn't going make it me do it any faster!" The eleven-year old barked back at him. She and all the other Society's techies were working furiously at all the keyboards in the Monitor Room, whose numerous screens all showed static had been not a moment after Phoenixia caught site of Runoa and her Sovereigns. No one knew how Runoa was jamming the Library's computers, but because she was, they couldn't' get a signal from anything in that particular fandom or Phoenixia or any of her equipment, so they couldn't get a Plothole to open to it. "I'm only eleven! She's had a few thousand mores on this kind of thing than I do!"

"Damn!" The Chief Agent slammed his fist on the wall in frustration. "What the hell possessed to Tash to jump after Phoenixia so recklessly!"

"When the jamming started, she just summoned a door and dove right through-there wasn't even time to ask her to take someone else with her!" Emily replied, tying in key combinations so fast her fingers were nearly a blur. "I'm going to see if I can't lock on to strongest Sue signature on the last known coordinates-that should be Runoa and if she's generating the jamming somehow, there has to be some kind of energy output, too. I-"

She was cut off as the room suddenly shook violently and flung several Agents to the floor, Michael managing to grab a computer console to steady himself, snagging Emily's arm. "What the hell is that!"

"I don't know-" The room shook again, this time tossing the two to the floor. "Are we under attack!"

"No…" Karissa pulled herself by grabbing her desk, pointing at her screen. "It's coming from the hanger!" Everyone clambered to their feet, bracing themselves against walls and desks as the room shook again, all of them staring at the screen.

The Phoenix Zord, which had lay dormant since anyone in the Society could remember, was bucking and straining like a living creature at its moorings. Its eyes were burning and it let loose a soundless cry, as with a sound of rending and twisting metal as the Library shook, its wings ripped free from the restraints holding them, gouging massive streaks in the walls. A shake of its head sent the catwalk crashing to the ground and it lumbered forwards, crushing metal like paper beneath its talons.

Michael glanced at the Morpher on his wrist and punched in key combination on it. "The Zord-it's responding to the Morpher! I can't stop it! It's going to trash the Library!"

"No-look!" Emily pointed at the screen, where a giant swirling-rainbow portal was opening on the wall of the hanger and the Zord let out a second silent cry as it dove through it. "It's leaving the Library!"

Everyone stared as the Zord vanished through the portal and the destruction it had left in its wake and then Karissa posed a question that no one had thought to ask at the sight of such an amazing event.

"Who the hell managed to summon a Plothole that big in the Library?"


Runoa hurtled the sphere down at the street below, watching the people below futilely flee in a vain attempt to avoid dying. A dark smirk crossed her face as she heard that faint cries of people begging for God to save them. "Praying is useless… gods do not listen. No matter how loud you shout, your cries and prayers will always fall far short of crossing the gap between those who sit in the heavens and those who crawl in the earth below. So lament and wail all you want as you burn, there is no to listen."

Then her eyes widened as a massive Plothole flew open, her attack flying into it. "What on earth!" The sphere exploded, launching a bright wave of white light back up at its owner and forcing Runoa to shield her eyes. Growling, she lowered her arms… just in time to see the Phoenix Zord come barreling out of the Plothole, screeching its rage at her. " How…!" The Zord snagged the Sue in its talons as it zipped past her, hurtling up and up and up into the air so fast that it was nearly a blur.

The Sue struggled to free herself, but found her strength leaving her as the city become smaller and smaller below her. They were ascending so fast that that she couldn't even draw a breath. The miles were flying past as they ripped through layers of clouds. (Is it going to drag me into space!)

Desperately, she reached out with her power and suddenly, a light erupted on her chest, swallowing her and forcing the Zord to release her. (Yes!) Gravity immediately attempted to reclaim its mastery over her as the light tumbled down for the ground, but then it halted and soared back up so that it was on the Zord's level.

The light cleared to reveal Runoa wearing a set of heavy white armor that was modeled to her female shape. Seven wings extended from her back in an arc, glimmering and semi-transparent, made of energy rather than feathers. A massive sword was in right hand, its blade nearly as tall as its wielder and it looked organic, almost alive as it was made of a reddish material. Her left forearm was covered in a cannon made of the same material and its shoulder pauldron was three times as the one on the right. "I didn't think I'd have to use this power…"

She twirled the massive blade and pointed it at the Zord. "I assume you're in control of the Zord, Phoenixia and you can hear me. I don't know how you summoned it, but don't think it will give you an edge against me. This is the Divine Dragoon Armor from the Legend of Dragoon fandom and its power is that of the Divine Dragon, a beast so mighty that even those who controlled the gods in that world could not kill it!" The Zord merely screeched back at her. "Fine, then!" She flew towards the massive machine, leaving a light-trail behind her as her blade began to charge up with energy.

Explosions rocked the sky as she lopped around the Zord's eyebeams and dragged her blade up its chest, leaving a massive gash in the metal before zipping up past it and arcing back down, unleashing a massive blaze of lighting from her sword as she dove towards it, the Zord screeching in what seemed like pain as its body arced and cracked with tendrils of lighting, writhing as if it were in pain. Then Runoa slashed down the right wing, her weight and momentum dragging her blade like it was a knife through butter and leaving a wake of molten metal behind it.

Halfway down the wing, Zord flapped it and shook her loose, sending her tumbling through the air. As it spun to face her, she rightened herself with a growl-only to start flying desperately as hatches opened on the Zord's wings, volleying dozens o missiles at her. She looped and darted, slashing and loosing lightening from her blade as the missiles chased her across the sky. Explosions blossomed by the twos and threes before one caught up and exploded as it connected, several more following in rapid succession and trapping her in a blossoming inferno.

As it clear, she glared at the machine. Despite the damage she had inflicted to it, it didn't seem to be suffering any from it. In fact, she could see that the scars were flesh wounds to it, which didn't surprise it since it was designed to fight in all sorts of environments and take on titans of equal size to itself. "If I can't cut you, I'll blast you right out of the sky!" She shifted positions so that her left shoulder was pointing at the Zord as it soared towards her. A hatch popped open, revealing a nine-by-nine grid of square slots underneath. "Divine Dragon Shot!" Hundreds of spheres of power leapt from magical missiles battery, pummeling the Zord and exploding so rapidly that it was lost in a cloud of explosion.

Then it burst through the explosion, trailing only small chips of metal and Runoa managed to duck out of the way at the last minute, slashing with her sword but the blow merely glanced and sparked off the Zord's armor. "Blast it…!"

Zipping away from the Zord as it circled around, volleying missiles and eyebeams at her, she tore through a cloud formation and raised her sword into the air. Suddenly a massive half-mile wide magical seal of white power appeared above her, consisting of seven spinning rings, all of them bearing runes of languages whose origins had long been lost to time and space. "Snap the chains that bind power, break all limits and unburden the soul! Unleashing emotion, ride the maelstrom and deny nature!" The two outer rings suddenly locked into place.

The Zord suddenly tore through the clouds beneath her, screeching as it fired lasers by the hundreds as it came.

Runoa thrust her cannon arm down, as her spell forced her to keep her sword arm in the air and a barrier formed around her, rocking as the attacks slammed into it. "The roar of the storm is your voice, the thunder of the ocean your heart and rumble of the earth your footsteps! Cries of vengeance herald your future, rivers of blood carve the path of your present and gasps of the dying fills your past!"

The next two rings locked into place.

The Zord soared past her and looped around, folding its wings in front of it-lighting arced from its wingtips as it breathed fire from its maw, the two elements merging in front of it and forming a slowly growing sphere.

(That's dry lighting - two elements that shouldn't be able to merge like that!) Runoa's glared at it. (Adrian's been making modifications to it.) "Slay all enemies in a blow, let their lamentations be your succor and their deaths pave the way to victory! Smash down all barriers, let all obstacles be torn asunder and rend the flesh of those who oppose you!"

The next two rings locked into place.

The dry lighting attack grew in size, nearly half of that of Zord itself and it snapped its wings out, flinging the attack at Runoa. It ripped its way through the distance between them and exploded against her barrier, which groaned against the might of the attack, before it cracked violently all over and shattered like cheap glass. But its purpose had been served - Runoa was uninterrupted.

"Lighting's might, thunder's roar, unstoppable force for nature-formed into a weapon of a god!"

The last ring locked into place.

"Strike and destroy! Mjolinir!" A giant bolt of lightning roared from the sky, through the center of the seal and struck Runoa's sword, which glowed brightly. With a cry, she thrust the weapon at the approaching Zord, a meters-wide lance of lighting leaping from the blade and blowing massive hole in the chest of the Phoenix Zord. It let out a screech molten metal, sparks, smoke and shrapnel trailed from the wound as it toppled, the behemoth tumbling out of the sky and plunging through the cloud-layer as it began the long fall back to earth.

The ex-Librarian panted as she watched it fall. "I didn't think I'd need to use an Epic Level spell against it…of course, now it still leaves the question of finding Phoenixia…."

A loud screech filled the air and she whirled as the Phoenix Zord tore through the cloud layer behind her, looming over her. "What! It can still fly!"

The Zord glared at her, its burning red eyes reflecting what had to be Phoenixia's rage. Despite the gaping hole in the center, the Zord was obviously capable of fighting. With another screech, its wings spread to their fullest extent. Power and lighting began to drawn into the feathers, causing them to glow as its beak opening, rings of power being pulled into the massive sphere that began to charge there.

Runoa's eyes widened and she pointed her cannon arm at it, energy being drawn into rapidly. "Divine Dragon Cannon!"

Then they both fired and the two beams collided in a roiling explosive shockwave that scattered the clouds around them into nothingness. The two attacks pushed against one another, stalemated to the point where a massive ball of energy was forming around the connection, both beams loosening so much energy that it was a spherical lightning storm.

With a deafening roar, it exploded and swallowed both Zord and Sue an explosion of light and power that lit up the sky like a second sun.


Resolve was ready to scream in frustration as he watched another of his Bahamut's Wrath attacks explode into a building as Tash flash-stepped out of the way at the last minute. "Hold still, damn you!"

"What's the matter, Resolve? Can't you hit a measly girl?" Life smirked as Tash reappeared above the two, her burning sword aimed for the pair. With a twitch of the Sovereign's fingers, a dozen puppets swarmed and slammed into the Society Agent, driving her to the street a dozen yards away.

"Silence!" The blue-eyed man snapped and slammed his gauntlets together. "The Master gave me this task to kill this woman! I will not fail in it!"

"Jurai-Ken - Tairenso!" A whirling tornado of flame swallowed up the space around Tash and Life jerked the puppets back, but was too slow as a quartet of them of being burnt to ash by the attack. As the tornado died away, Tash leapt from it and quickly slashed two more puppets apart before front-flipped forwards and cleaving a third from in half from head to toe, weapon and all. The Librarian dashed forwards at the two Sovereigns, her blade tip trailing an arc of fire. "I won't be killed by the likes of you! I will burn you two to cinders on my way to Runoa!"

The female Sue sighed. "What did I say about your preaching?" A flick of a finger sent a pair of puppets on an intercept course for Tash, who blocked their blows…only for a third to slid in behind and slash its weapon across her back, prompting a spray blood. "Well then, I think that-" Both Sovereigns blinked as the slashed Tash suddenly vanished like a mirage. "What was that?"

"It was technique I picked up from Bleach." Tash said, reappearing in front of them. "It's a Flash Step technique which lets me create duplicates of myself temporarily." She was suddenly gone, pockmarks on the ruined street marking her incredibly fast flash-step towards them.

Resolve charged to met her, her sword ringing off his kick and then she was giving up ground step by step as his flurry of blows hammered away at her, cuts opening on her body where she failed to block with her sword in time. "It doesn't matter-we are Sovereigns and you are a mere frail human woman! You were already tiring from the moment the fight began, yet we still have yet to feel the first tinges of fatigue! I'm just as fast as you are and since I'm a close-range fighter, your long weapon will be your undoing!" To prove his point, his gauntleted fist slammed into Tash's face, blowing her off her feet and sending her on a wild tumble down the street.

She managed to righten herself and skidded to a halt, her face covered in trickles of blood from the blow. "Tch…" She got up from her kneeling position. "You aren't as fast as I am, Resolve…" Then she was gone and suddenly she was literally running circles around the Sovereign, moving so rapidly that it looked like a dozen different Tash circling him. "Let's you see keep up with this!"

"I will and then I'll-" Before he had even started to move, Resolve's fighting instincts kicked in and he threw up his gauntlet, just in time to block a slash from Nepythys. He started to move in more blocks, but even though he had been able to block bullets earlier, he still wasn't fast enough to block all of her blows and arcing droplets of blood began to spray from the slashes and cuts he was getting. (I… I can't tell where's she's going to strike from!)

"Am I fast enough now, Resolve?" Tash said as she raced around him. " Or shall I go faster!" Then, even as circling copies continued, there were suddenly four different Tash thrusting at him from four different directions. "Die!"

Then all Resolve saw was blue was a literal wave of puppets crashed over him, dispersing the running Tash. "Life! Why are you interfering!"

"She was about to kill you, you know. And while I wouldn't really mind, I just don't want to deal with the trouble of explaining it to Runoa." The other Sovereign said casually as her wave of puppets cleared so her partner could free himself from the pile. "So a little thinks might be nice."

"She would have not have killed me! I was just about unleash my stored energy in attack that would have not have missed." He snapped and then turned back to Tash, who was standing in an intersection as the hundred or so Life's puppets took up positions on rooftops and cars and whatever else they could as they surrounded her.

Her blue eyes flicked back and forth as she took in the puppets. "That's a lot of puppets…." She ran through her list of moves, but none of her Juari-Ken moves would be have an attack range to take out all the puppets or even enough that should could have an opening to run and get some space to move.

"Trust me, it's not near the total number I can control…." Life commented and folded her arms, the space around her fingers nearly solidly white because of all the threads leading to her numerous weapons. "So, you can either surrender or let us kill you. That about sums up your situation, doesn't it?"

"Actually…" Tash managed a slight smirk, a smirk that surprised both Sovereigns. "There's a third option - I destroy all your puppets."

"Please, not even you are-" Then two sets eyes, one orange and the other blue, widened as suddenly Tash was apparently everywhere, blurs filling the air as various images of her when seen, striking the puppets or slashing them or lighting them on fire.

After a few seconds of this, Tash returned to the spot she had originally been standing and after a moment more, the puppets were scattered apart, some cut pieces, some collapsed as she had sliced their strings and some were simply charred to the point of falling apart into ash. "You were say-" The she felt her legs buck and pain rip through them, a short scream forcing its way out of her throat and she dropped to her side.

"What… fuck…?" She glanced down at her legs and saw that they were coated in streaks of blood. And she couldn't feel them or get them move, only feel the pain they radiated. "My legs…"

"Looks like someone has finally reached her limit." Life snickered as she and Resolve advanced on the now helpless Brit. "You used your Flash Step so much that the stress on your legs caught up with you….they're all torn up."

"A good warrior learns to recognize when she is approaching her limit and fights just below it so that she doesn't wind up prematurely end the fight." Resolve shook his head. "You are still a human and so I am impressed that your limit is has high as it is…but it's over now." His gauntlet began to crackling with energy as he powered up another Bahamut's Wrath attack. "Now you die."

"No…" Tash gripped her sword tightly, glaring defiantly at the two Sovereigns. "I'll incinerate all three of us before you can kill me…"

"You lie. You are barely able to hold your sword, let alone release a fire of that magnitude-if you ever could in the first place." Then Resolve's fist lifted and all Tash heard was the roaring of wind her ears.


The last bits of her Divine Dragoon Armor shattered and scattered to the ground as Runoa was sent hurtling into the ground, kicking a column of dirt, rock and tree splinters as she cratered the forest floor. Above her, the Phoenix Zord, which was damaged and wrecked, had managed to survive the massive fall the pair had and even clipping the side of a mountain. It grindingly had transformed from a Phoenix to towering warrior mode, still possessing the massive hole in its chest and one of its arms gone, a wing missing as well and instead lodged in the mountain side, snapped off from the Zord's crazy fall.

Spitting out a mouthful of dirt and pebbles, Runoa stood up and tossed the last piece of her armor aside and looked at the towering Zord above her. "I'm impressed that you've managed to remain functioning, but it looks like on your last legs. Why don't you come out and fight me yourself, Phoenixia? Or are you only now realizing the truth that a shade like yourself cannot even hope to fight me?"

In response, the Zord grabbed remaining wing and pulled it out, revealing that in warrior mode, the wings were giant swords. Gripping the weapon, it charged power into the blade and slammed it down on Runoa, the shockwave flattening the trees for a mile around and kicking a giant geyser of debris that made Old Faithful look like a water droplet.

A moment passed and then golden energy began to leak around the blade's edge, the blade itself slowly being forced up and away from the crater, the Zord's arm sparking and its armor cracking and buckling as it strained to keep the blade in place.

"You know…" Runoa managed to stand up straight, a golden aura glowing around her body and her hair reaching around her ankles, quite fuller and thicker than usual, spiked and completely gold. She was gripping the massive sword with both hands, arms stretched out above her head and holding it in place like it was made of feathers. "I'm glad when I got this Super Sayian 3 powers from Dragonball Z that I didn't get any of the muscle. As Harold proved, not even a Stu can make such muscle look good. Though it must be the fanboys that makes my bust increases some when I use this power."

Then she yanked on the blade, wrenching it from the Zord's grasp and took the air with it, flipping it around and with a shout, drove it into the Zord's shoulder and then through it, the tip pining the massive war machine to the mountain behind it. It's whole body groaned and cracked as it tried to wrench itself free, massive sparks flying from the stump of its missing arm, but then the glow in its eyes faded and it slumped against the mountain, defeated.

The Super Sayian folded her arms across her bust, smirking to herself. "Now that's taken care of, are you going to come out and fight now, Phoenixia?"

Her response was an angered cry as Phoenixia barreled into from above, a massive booming wave of sound filling the air as the ex-holograms wild charge sent them careening through the forest, splinting trees as they punched through them , their concussive shockwave splintering other trees and kicking up a wake of dirt as Phoenixia slammed punches into her enemy.

After about a minute of this, Runoa got tired of being punched and grabbed her wrist. "That's enough of that, yes?" With that, she spun them around so she was on top and landed her own punch, the blow sending Phoenixia flipping end over end into a lake, her impact send up a fountain a dozen feet in the air.

Hovering a few feet above the lake's surface, the ex-Librarian watched as Phoenixia leapt out the water, breathing heavily as she floated up to Runoa's level, one hand clutching at her face. "I am sorry about that punch-I'm not used to this form yet, I do believe I shattered your jaw and a good portion of your face bones and turned the flesh parts to mush."

The cerulean-haired woman pulled her hand away, letting Runoa see the mangled half of her face shift and flow back to its original state, the wound completely gone. "It doesn't matter. My regeneration may not be as strong as Death's was, but it's enough to keep me alive long enough to rip your throat!"

"Do you really think you can do that?" Runoa's aura cast a golden shade across the water's surface as she twirled a lock of her golden hair around a finger. "You may have come from him, but you're not where near as strong as Adrian. You're just his ghost, desperately trying to find a way to live and even since you have now, it's nothing but a hollow existence." A dark smirk. "Hollowed out by your sins of failing to save the one you love. He was with you ever since you were born, but now he's not….you will never feel the warmth of his hug or smell his scent or taste him as you kiss." She chuckled, as if she found it amusing.

"You… you… you.." Phoenixia's body shook with rage and she yanked Incandescent Silverreign her back and with cry of anger, unleashed a blast Runoa.

"Don't you know that's useless by now?" Calmly swatting the blast aside, Runoa pointed her palm at the other woman. "This is an attack." A beam of white light leapt forth and slammed into Phoenixia faster than she could reacted, sending her screaming into the mountain side, cratering the side with such force she some of her bones crack and stone fly into the air.

Moaning in agony, she fell forwards, bouncing down the mountain like a ragdoll before landing face-down on an outcropping, her weapon skidding out of her grasp. Weakly, she lifted her head and reached for it, but then Runoa's booted foot landed on her wrist and pinned it in place.

"Have you had enough yet?" Runoa asked, quirking an eye as Phoenixia glared at her.

"Go… to... hell…!" Phoenixia croaked out weakly, then cried out as Runoa ground her foot into her wrist.

"Oh, I've been to hell, Phoenixia." The Sue said darkly. "I never left. This existence, this life, this world, this Multiverse is all hell. An infinite number of worlds and universes and infinite upon infinite lives throughout it all… all of them forced to live their lives to a script that they will never be aware of. Everything they do, from when they're born to what they eat for breakfast to ever joy and suffering they have-all a play for some obscure ruling power that doesn't even have the decency to intervene when someone like me comes along!"

"It's... it's not like that…" She could feel her body regenerating slowly. A minute or so more, she'd be able to move… but could she really defeat someone as powerful as Runoa?

"Do you really believe that?" Runoa pressed down hard on Phoenixia's wrist, her super-strength causing the other woman to let out a shrill scream as the bones began to crack and break. "You… the Counter Guardians… Librarian… Peacekeepers… even gods - they are all aware of the Multiverse and the Powers That Be, yet do not try to change it or resist! They go along with their orders, their lives so scripted that even when they die, they are still dancing from some fool's tune! Do you call that life? Or justice!"

Something cracked and Phoenixia screamed as her wrist broke sharply, the bones actually jutting from her skin. "I believed in those things once! I thought there was meaning to life and justice and good in the world! And when I was given the offer to become Librarian, I took it, believing in what I was doing! But after thousands of years, I learned the truth! For every life you save, a thousand more die! For every hero, there are ten thousand villains ! And for every moment of happiness you have, a billion people die! And all of it-all of it is to the plan of this so called Powers That Be who despite creating everything, did not see fit to create themselves hearts! Because if they did, they'd have to actually be concerned with something other themselves!"

Then she calmed down and removed her foot from Phoenixia's wrist. "It doesn't matter…" She knelt so that she was looking Phoenixia in the eye." You are nothing but a shade, a false start at life that never should have been. You, who were nothing but a program, must have known this from the moment you become aware. Yet you tried to live a life, tried to love, tried to bring happiness and peace to a man you swore to protect… but it was hollow gestures , you knew. They barely made a dent on his pains…"

She cupped Phoenixia's cheek, almost tender and kind. "You couldn't protect him when he needed it most and now that you have a little more life than you did before, you can exist in his world and you try to keep his ideals alive… but even that, you know you cannot do. You have what you need to get what you want from him-a touch, a kiss, a hug, to actually feel him-but all you have are his memories in your hands, tainted by your sin of failing to save him….no one, not even one's worst enemies to feel like that forever." Emerald eyes bored into violet ones. "I can end that, Phoenixia… I can end your life and your suffering… take away your pain… take away the fact that he will never forgive you for failing to save him. Will let me do that for you?"

Tears stream down Phoenixia's face, as she dug for will to fight, to argue, to live, but found a hollowed shell of despair. "I… I… I…"

"Say it…" Runoa whispered. "And I will do it… They'll never know… I'll say you went out fighting, went out with a smile… You know I will… and that way, he'll never know, too…"

"I… I… I…" Phoenixia's head lowered as her shoulders shook with her sobs. "I… didn't mean… I…. tried…"

"Sometimes, you have to let it go… sometimes, that's the only why the pain will end."

"Please… please…" she seemed almost pleading, begging.

"Please what, Phoenixia?" Runoa asked softly.

Then her emerald eyes widened as Phoenixia's good hand snapped out and latched onto her throat with an iron-grip and Runoa realized belatedly that Phoenixia's shoulder's where no longer shaking with tears, but dark, wild chuckles.

The ex-hologram's head lifted, revealing the wicked smile on her face and the fact her eyes were a glittering pink. "Please, why don't you gasp and plead for your life as I crush your throat? It might provide me some amusement!"

With a growl, Runoa responded by unleashing a point-blank blast of power into Phoenixia's face, the blast forcing her to release the ex-Librarian. Runoa swiftly flew up and away, flinging a pair of blasts that shattered the outcropping and sent it crumbling. Her breathing was harsh due to the fact she had just been strangled while in Super Sayian 3 form and the fact she had felt a sharp twinge of fear. (What the hell is that? To be able to hurt me…)

"You know, I have to thank you for driving that last nail into Phoenixia's emotional coffin." Runoa whirled to see Phoenixia-or rather, whatever Phoenixia currently was- hovering in the air behind her, Incandescent Silverreign in her good hand and her hair flowing and shift, a pair of bangs drifting over her face like antennae. "Being a physical person means your emotions are far sharper than the processed ones of a computer program and her guilt and despair over Adrian and his life and death were eating at her a lot, but she still had hope she'd find away to get past it by being strong for the others. But you plucked and cut the right strings and her moment of total despair made it able for me to come out."

"What?" Runoa narrowed her eyes. "Just what or who the hell are you?"

This new person looked thoughtful. "You know, that's a good question…" She held up broken wrist and watched as it regenerated. "Maybe I'm the last remnants of Death's mind finally managing to pull itself to together. I could be some twisted piece of Adrian's psyche that was left in Phoenixia when she was born… or maybe… maybe…" A wild laugh escaped her as bits of white material began to flow out of nowhere, latching onto her back and forming into a pair of smooth, gleaming whites. "I'm just crazy!"

With another laugh, she flew towards Runoa, who grabbed her newly-healed wrist and yanked it by close to her, her other hand pulling back for a devastating energized punch. (I don't what this being is, but I'll punch right through her skull and kill her now!)

Then she jerked and blood flew out of her mouth. A glance downward revealed that a series of curved serrated spikes had sprouted from the pink-eyed woman's arm, piercing into Runoa's chest. "What…?"

A sadistic grin. "Phoenixia can shapeshift and that means I can too, but unlike her, I don't have any rules!" She yanked her arm back, Runoa screaming as she ripped out chunks of flesh, blood spraying into the air. As soon as the arm was free, she snapped it for another punch, a spike jutting out over wrist at the second. It would have taken Runoa's eye if the Super Sayian Sue had blasted her away with both palms, the golden energy sending the woman crashing into the forest below and sliding along its floor as Runoa kept pouring on the power, gouging out a trench.

Then pink light flared from the impact point, forcing Runoa to dart to the side as it shoot up and split her own energy attack. "Blast it!"

"No, this is blast!" Runoa glanced up at the wild laugh and her eyes just had time to widen as the pink-eyed woman slammed into her, her outstretched hand charged with pink energy. They rocketed into the ground and then pillar of pink light shot skywards and actually outshone the sun for a moment.

Runoa kicked the other woman away and flipped to her feet. Despite the injuries she was taking, she had enough power to stop the bleeding as they began to heal at an accelerated rate. Charging up energy in both hands, she whipped them at the still airborne woman as they hit, enveloping her with energy and smoke, she smashed her heel onto the ground. A tremor heralded a crack shooting along the ground and then a giant spike of shot up, piercing through the cloud and the person inside in one motion.

Taking to the air, the ex-Librarian smashed through the top part of the spike, grabbing it and hurling it into the mountain. As soon as it lodged in the side, she unleashed a near-literal rain of energy blasts from her palms, gouging a giant pit in the rock and kicking up a massive cloud of cracking, energized debris and stone.

"Yes! Yes! That's it!" The woman stumbled out of the cloud, completely naked her body bleeding and damaged, with chunks of flesh missing from her limbs and her stomach sliced open, but already regenerating "Fight me your hardest! Hit me with everything you have! It makes me life worth living to have that! And your death is will be all the sweeter when I kill you at full power! The joy of suffering, the sweet horrible agony!"

"Shut up." Runoa suddenly appeared behind the woman, her palm pointed her skull. The light leapt from it-only to explode in Runoa's face and send her stumbling as the woman's white wings folded up, shattering as they blocked the attack. "Damn you…!"

The woman spun and her kick smacked into Runoa's head, sending the Sue stumbling. "Come on, come on! Don't quit yet!" Even as the white material continued to flow, forming a new set of wings, she lunged at Runoa, missing as Runoa flew into the air, her punch knocking a boulder the size of a car out of the mountain side. Laughing crazily, the woman leapt into the backwards, zipping under Runoa so that she was in front of her. "You can't leave yet! I have yet to live!"

Runoa smirked."Well, I've always wanted to see if I can kill a dead person." She thrust out her cupped hands, a blue white wave of power roaring forth and swallowing the woman. "Kahmehameha Hakoden!" Then a bolt of pink power lanced from the blast and nearly took off Runoa's head as she jerked back, which ended the attack.

Crazed laughter came from the woman as the attack clearing, revealing her burned and charred skin returning to normal, her missing hair re-growing as well. "That's what I'm talking about!" Then her laughter suddenly stopped and her face got a deadly seriously look it. "But if that's the best you have, then I can't expect anything better out of you… shame."

She held up Incandescent Silverreign. "You know, for all her smarts, Phoenixia never really tried to explore the full potential of her gun…." The pink-eyed woman did something to the weapon and suddenly it changed, straightening in line with the hilt and shifted and transforming into a sword-like shape. With a 'zzzzzzt!', a meter-long blade of energy shot out of it. "It does more than shoot-it slices, dices and maims, too!"

Runoa had already started moving, skidding backwards in the air as she started to reach into the Gate of Babylon for her own sword, but the woman was faster, appearing in front of her. Sticking out her tongue, she slashed Runoa across the chest and then kicked her hard. The two blows sent the Super Sayian crashing into the mountain side, which was being utterly ruined by the fact so many things kept crashing into it, trailing blood and a scream.

As she attempted to pry herself out of the Runoa-shaped impression she had made, a hand wrapped around her throat and pinned her back down. "C-curse you.."

"You seem upset… could you actually be afraid of dying?" The woman laughed, as if she found it amusing. By this point, the white material had formed a new set of wings and an oddly shaped crown on her head. She drew back her massive sword in preparation to stab it into Runoa. "I wonder…I've never killed anyone before. And my first gets to be someone like you…." A wicked, insane grin. "It's going to be better than sex." The blade hurtled for Runoa's face.

Nothing is better than sex while I'm around, you crazy bitch!

Runoa watched as the blade stopped a hand span from her face, the tip quivering slightly as the woman's body seized up, her eyes flicking from pink to violet and back again, the woman's mouth twisting in a snarl. "What are you doing! "

Stopping you! I don't know what the hell you are or how you came to be, but it's my body you're using! And I want it back!

The woman staggered away from Runoa, swinging her blade wildly. "No, it's mine! You're just a slut, a whore! I'm the one who deserves all this power!"

I don't give a flying fuck what you want or what you think deserve! Runoa called me a shade, but even if that's true, you're just a bad reflection of shade! And I'm putting you back in the mirror!

"Rrrrahhhh, you stupid bitch!" The blade slashed through a boulder like it was butter. "You're nothing! I'm more real than you'll ever be!"

Lady, you're about as real as a rumor that I'm straight! Now get the hell out of my head!

A wild yell escaped the woman as she threw her head back and clutched at it, pink power arcing all over body as the white material began to crack and shudder. Then, with an echoing explosion, the power blew apart as the material shattered into hundreds of fragments.

Phoenixia staggered and swayed, then pitched forwards as her tired body gave out. "F-f-finally…" Her breathing was ragged and it felt like every part of her weighed a ton "Crazy bitch…"

"You should have let her kill me…" Runoa's boots entered Phoenixia's vision and then a spreading violet-pink light, which Phoenixia dully realized was the Gate of Babylon. "Because I'm in a pissed mood now. And so instead of capturing for study, I'm going to do what I did to Adrian and turn you into scraps of flesh."

Phoenixia struggled for energy to move, but found nothing as swords began to slid out of the Gate. (Damn... Adrian, I'm sorry, lover… I hope when I see you on the other side you won't be mad at me… But dead make-up sex…) She managed a smile. (I bet I can make even that incredible… just for you…)

As her vision began to drift shut and she heard Runoa's voice start the command to get the Gate to fire, she could have sworn she saw figured dressed in long flowing clothing like a trenchcoat and a violet blade in hand enter her vision and charge Runoa.


Silri stood on the cliff's edges, watching the waves crash against rocks below. Her hair was done in a ponytail and she was dressed in a skintight catsuit, arms folded over her bust. "The sun is setting…"

"Yeah, I know. It's really pretty. Perfect for a dramatic moment." She glanced over at the shoulder as a man emerged from the woods. He was dressed in a cloak of some sort and had eyes that couldn't seem to choose between whether they were a pale violet or pink. "If I stand there, pull out of one of my sword and hold it above my head, will you generate a wind to make my robe flap? I mean, I'd look really cool that way. You could do a painting of it-title 'Mr. Epic On Cliff's Edge.'

"My powers are not to be used for such a trivial thing." The prototype Sovereigns scowled at him, though she really didn't mean it. "And you are hardly Mr. Epic."

"Awwww, spoilsport." The man joined at the edge, his dark brown hair stirred a bit by the tiny breeze that was coming if off the ocean. "You rescue that hot blonde alright?"

"Yes. Resolve and Life were about to finish her off. I believe I could have defeated one of them." This time, her scowl was real. "Why didn't you let me return to fight them after I rescued Natasha?"

He sighed. "I know the urge to fight and take down Runoa's forces is strong-believe me, I feel it, too. But she knows us very well, having such a hand in our creation and she will be able to use our weaknesses to kill us easily. Our best bet is to do what we do now and stay behind the scenes and help the Society so Runoa stays focused on them. Who know, maybe we'll get lucky and get to strike a decisive blow against her."

"Fine." She gave him a sidelong glance. "How did you keep Runoa from recognizing you?"

"Pfft, it was easy." He waved it off. "I just kept my hood up. Last time she saw me, I was wearing nothing at all."

She nodded. "I can see how that would leave impression-you without clothes is a sight that is not easily forgotten."

He flushed a bit, but smiled. "Well, considering you came back for seconds, I don't think you want to forget."

Now it was her turn to blush slightly. "I still cannot believe you seduced me after I tried to kill you."

"Well, fights let emotions run high and they all mix together and mingle, too. Not to mention you were already worked up." He brushed some hair out of his eyes and chuckled. "And I like to think he would have done the same thing - or at least, give you a cuddle, dried your tears and made you some cookies."

"Heh." A faint smile. "Do you really think he would have done that? You've never even met the man."

"No, but I've got a special connection to him." A fun-loving smile. "And my dreams tell me things sometimes, too."

"Oh really?" An eyebrow quirk. "Like what?"

"Well, they tell me that you like a bit rough and you're a submissive.."

"Readers don't need to know that!"

"But everyone likes some good flirting! And most of them are adults-sex is part of their lives in some fashion. And who doesn't like to hear about that special thing you do with your hips. You know, when you-

Blushing furiously, Silri held out her hand and a gust of wind blew off of the cliff edge, his voice yelling back up at her.

"I regret nothing!"

Silri merely chuckled and smiled as she heard the splash.


"Stay still."

"But the bandages itch…" Tash, dressed in a leotard due to the nature of her injuries, squirmed as Valerie wrapped another layer of bandages around her leg. "Just how many layers do I need, anyway?"

The healer gave her friend a sharp look. "Enough as it takes so that can't flex them. You seriously injured your legs, Tash. If it weren't for the advanced medicine and my powers, I seriously doubt you would have been able to ever use them properly again. As it is, you'll going to have to remain in bed for at least two or three weeks."

"Two or three weeks!" Tash burst out. "But what about my duties as Librarian or a Society Leader! Not to mention I'll be bored as all hell! And my legs will be all hairy and gross, too!"

"We have to change your bandages every couple of days to clean your wounds and they're hurt so bad, I doubt they're be much hair." Valerie snipped off the length of bandage, tapped it down and collected her things. "The Counter Guardians will take over your duties-Aramayis is hanging around a lot lately, so I'm sure he'll fill in. And we'll cart your paperwork in so you can do it. For the rest of the time, that's what Pokemon gameboy games are for."

"Meeehhh…" Tash wasn't looking all that forwards to days worth of level-grinding. As Valerie moved to return her items to the proper cabinet, she glanced over to the bed next to hers, which was the only other one occupied in the hospital wing. "What about Phoenixia?"

Valerie turned to look at the sleeping woman, who was curled under a blanket and had been sleeping since they'd found her and Tash suddenly in the Yu-gi-oh fandom. "She looks to be okay-her powers dealt with most of the physical damage, but she used them so much that she'll probably be sleeping for a week or more."

"Good." Tash pulled her own blanket up to her waist. "I can't believe Runoa left her alive…"

"Maybe she did, maybe she didn't. Runoa motivations are so hard to fathom, since we know so little about her." The healer pointed out. "Or she may have been saved by the same people who saved you."

"True…" The Brit mused. "I still wish I knew who helped us. I can't think of anyone who would have enough power to distract two Sovereigns and Runoa and get away with wounded people, except the Counter Guardians. But they would have stuck around to kill them."

A shrug from the other woman. "Runoa is bound to have made enemies besides us. Perhaps one of them helped us out so we can return the favor someday."

"Or to trick us into giving us their trust so they can backstab us."

This time, it was a sigh. "I think you're being a bit paranoid, but whatever." Valerie yawned. "It's late, Tash. Get some rest and heal. You'll be back in the game before you know it."

"Mmmmhmm." Tash yawned herself as Valerie exited the room, flicking off the lights as she did so, and settled down into her bed to sleep…only to sit back up when she heard little footsteps enter the room. "What is it, Emily?"

The eleven-year old froze in front of Tash's bed, caught in mid tip-toe. "Guess I'm not as quiet as I thought…"

"Not with your tools still on your belt." The blonde pointed at said tools. "They clink when you walk."

"Oh." Sheepish, Emily made her way to Tash and sat on the edge of her bed. "How are you feeling?"

"Pretty okay-my legs don't hurt anymore. Though I'm stuck on bed rest two weeks." She grinned as Emily made a face. "Yeah, I don't like much either. So… what's the damage?"

"The Zord pretty much trashed the hangar on its way out, so we have to fix that . Luckily, the Manta was in the secondary hanger so we could work it. As for the Zord itself…" Emily blew her bangs out of her face with a huff. "If it weren't for Adrian and Phoenixia upgrading it constantly throughout the years, I'd say we would be lucky to sell it for scrap. But as it is, it's going to take at least a month to restore and maybe another month to get back to ready status. We could go faster if we had someone who knew the Zord better or at least knew where could get parts- this Zord doesn't exist in Power Rangers canon, so it uses tech I've never seen before."

"Phoenixia will probably help once she wakes up." Tash confirmed. "It was her home for many years and she used it constantly to help Adrian, too." The Zord also held special meaning for Tash, for Adrian had taken her on some truly wonderful dates in it and it was also one of the first places they had made love-and the first place they'd done it with Phoenixia. But Emily didn't really need to know that….

"Yeah…" Her gaze shifted to the sleeping ex-hologram. "Is she gonna be okay, Tash?"

"Yes." The Librarian gave her best friend's ward a hug. "Runoa beat her up pretty bad, but Phoenixia's powers saved her. She'll wake up and be right as rain."

"Okay." Emily hugged back. "She's like a true big sister to me…I don't want to lose her. Ever."

"You won't. I promise."

As they two hugged, had they had a way to see into Phoenixia's dreams, they wouldn't have been so sure. For Phoenixia dreamed fitfully as she slept, her dreams haunted by wild, dark laughter….


"If it weren't for Adrian and Phoenixia upgrading it constantly throughout the years, I'd say we would be lucky to sell it for scrap. But as it is, it's going to take at least a month to restore and maybe another month to get back to ready status. We could go faster if we had someone who knew the Zord better or at least knew where could get parts- this Zord doesn't exist in Power Rangers canon, so it uses tech I've never seen before."

"Phoenixia will probably help once she wakes up." Tash confirmed. "It was her home for many years and she used it constantly to help Adrian, too." The Zord also held special meaning for Tash, for Adrian had taken her on some truly wonderful dates in it and it was also one of the first places they had made love-and the first place they'd done it with Phoenixia. But Emily didn't really need to know that….

"Yeah…" Her gaze shifted to the sleeping ex-hologram. "Is she gonna be okay, Tash?"

"Yes." The Librarian gave her best friend's ward a hug. "Runoa beat her up pretty bad, but Phoenixia's powers saved her. She'll wake up and be right as rain."

"Okay." Emily hugged back. "She's like a true big sister to me…I don't want to lose her. Ever."

"You won't. I promise."

As they two hugged, had they had a way to see into Phoenixia's dreams, they wouldn't have been so sure. For Phoenixia dreamed fitfully as she slept, her dreams haunted by wild, dark laughter…

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