Thursday, July 19, 2012

Insert Red Skies Twilight Here (part 6 of 6)

 Note: It's been a hell of a journey, but it's time for this chapter of our story to come to a close. Thank you so much for staying with us for this long. We hope to see you all again at the start of the new year for the beginning of Season Two!

"10% luck, 20% skill, 
15% concentrated power and will,5% pleasure, 50% pain,
And 100% reason to remember the name."
-'Remember the Name.' by Fort Minor

"It's... all gone..."

Claire's words gave voice to the sad that they were all thinking. She, Hati, Micheal, Miriku, Ossa, Jamie, Aimee, Jess, Stacey, Monika, Danielle and Terrie all stood on the edge of of a ruined reading room, looking down at the destruction below.

Adrian's final act had destroyed a massive chunk of the lower portion of the Pillar of Knowledge and the surrounding rooms, carving out a sphere-shaped pit below them and it was easy to see several floors worth of rooms all at once. Those that had not been utterly destroyed were in ruins. Shelves had collapsed or been shattered, spilling books everywhere. Paintings had melted away, tables, chairs, couches all have been damanged or destroyed or burned. Piles of books lay scattered across the floors, burned or scroched while pages lay sprawled out everywhich way. They could other groups of Agents in the other rooms across the way, seeing the same thing they were

"I didn't even realize how big the Library was..." Monkia stepped closer to the edge and peered down and then up. "But just from here, I can see more damanged and opened rooms than I think the Society's every been in..."

"Whos knows how many books were destroyed or how much knowledge was lost in them?" Aimee murmured as she gazed out at the ruins of the center of the Library sadly. "Without knowing what was in them, we can't even begin to try and replace them..."

"This sucks! We fight so hard, Adrian dies and Tash nearly dies killing that bitch Willowe and it looks like we still lost!" Ossa swore in Vulcan and kicked a pice off board of the edge... and then swore again when it flew back up smacked her in the forehead. "Bloody Hell!"

"What the..." Micheal peered back over th edge and then leapt back as an intact bookcase nearly took his head off, raining books as it went up past their level. And as they all watched, the books all floating up to follow the bookcase. "Okay, say what now?"

"Look!" Miriku pointed down across the way and the Agents watched several of the bookcases flew back upright, the books all following it and shelving themselves on it while bits of the floor and wall began to crawl together, merging into a into a singl L-shaped piece that attached itselfs to the room, forming the corner.
They all stared in amazement as similar scenes began to repeat themselves all over the ruined Library- books shelving themselves as the bookcases rose up and returned to their proper floors while doors leapt back into their farmes, pictures straightened themeslves and unmelted, burned couches and chairs glowing softly as were suddenly whole again.

"The Library is... rebuilding itself..." Jess murmured in awe. "I know Adrian always said it was alive somehow, but I never really thought..."

"He always said that the Library needed a Librarian... and that if there wasn't one, it would die..." Micheal said quietly. "But... Tash is the Librarian now... she opened one of the door portals to get us here, just like he always did..."

"I guess that means he really is gone..." Hati said and leaned over to hug Jess with one arm, who responded in kind.

They all stood and watched as the Library slowly pieced itself back together and though there were all together, they were all alone in their thoughts.


Phoenixia gently pulled a blanket over the sleeping form of Emily, who was sprawled out on the bed in what had been Adrian's room, that room being the safest thing that Phoenixia could think of. (The poor thing finally ran out of tears it seems...)

Straightening, she glanced over to the letter that Emily had left on the nightstand. When she had finally met up with Phoenixa, she had been clutching it tightly and later, when she read it, she just burst into tears and hugged Phoenixia tightly, sobbing and choking out half-sentances about her big sister until she had just stopped talking and cried.

The older woman didn't know what it had said. She'd been too busy monitoring the Sues and Stus while they were in the Library, afraid that one of them might stumble upon them here..and after that, she'd been too busy coping with Adrian's death. And right now, she didn't care. Whatever was in that letter was for Emily, who'd share when she was ready.

Phoenixia glanced around Adrian's room, striding out of the bedchamber and into his living room. Unlike his office, which was sparse and uncluttered to help him focus, his private quarters were well decorated, with one wall be devoted ot paintings he, or anyone he knew had done.

One in particular caught her eye and she crossed the room to stand in front of it. It had been one Emily had painted just a few weeks beforehand. It showed Tash curled on Adrian's bed, smiling as she dangled a piece of string just above the fluffy-white kitten Adrian's reach, forcing him to stand on his hind legs to reach it while Phoenixia was in the background, watching them both and laughing.

A hand flew to her mouth as emotions welled up within her and Phoenixia slumped against the wall, hugging her knees to her chest, mewling and trembling and so desperately wishing she could cry.


"Well, everyone's okay, more or less. None of their injuries are life-threatening and none of them reported anything weird, though Micheal says he can't feel the Darkness in his mind anymore..." Valerie sighed and ran a hand a through her hair, setting the clipboard down and leaning back in the computer chair. "And the Counter Guardians all left a short while ago and they were just fine as well, though I think it's got something to do with being a Counter Guardian more than anything else..."

"You don't feel a thing, do you?"

Valerie nearly flinched at that the harshness in Tash's voice. "I do feel it, Tash... I feel everyone's pain and hurt and anger and sometimes I feel like I'm going to drown in it," she said softly as she turned to face the British girl.

Tash was curled up in one of the other computer chairs, wrapped up in one of Adrian's coats that they found draped across the chair. It was violet with golen detailing on the edges and Val remembered it as being the coat that he had been wearing when they first met the Librarian. "Why don't you... drown in it, I mean... I feel so empy inside... it has to be worse for you..."

Despite the sadness of the recent events, Valerie found herself smiling. "Because he's alive, Tash. I can feel it. Somewhere, somewhere, he's out there... I know it."

Tash glared at her. "Pretty unrealistic for an empath, isn't it?"

"No... it's not..." Valerie shook her head. "I've formed tight bonds with you and Adrain and some of the others... and sometimes it feels like, no matter how far apart we are, I can reach out and touch you. And I can still feel that with Adrian right now... like I can reach out for him... but I don't know where to look..."

The blonde looked at the healer for a long, long moment, then slid out of her chair and sit in Valerie's lap, burying her face in empath's shoulder as she started to sob.

Valerie rocked and soothingly stroked Tash's hair and back, wishing she could think of something to say that would help her, but she could feel the depth of Tash's pain and knew there was nothing she could do.

She blinked as she felt something brush her hair and turned to look, but there was no one there. "What...?" Then she realized Tash had stopped crying. "Tash...?"

The blonde girl lifted her head and her hand rose to her cheek, as she touched it lightly, confusion on her face. "I just felt... something... like a kiss on my cheek... like he always does when he's cheering me up... or seducing me..." Despite the pain and her teary face, Tash flushed red and trailed off.

Valerie laughed. "Even now, he's still trying to get into your pants."

And to her surprise - and Val's - Tash found herself flushing and giggling. The two stared at one another and then burst into outright laughter that drifted out of the monitor room and across the Library, leavning many of the Agents wondering what exactly was going on in there.

And hope still shone in their hearts...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Insert Red Skies Twilight Here (part 5 of 6)

"There's nothing left of you, I can see it in your eyes. 
Sing the anthem of the angels and say the last goodbye. 
I keep holding on to you, but I can't bring you back to life. 
Sing the anthem of the angels and say the last goodbye."
-'Anthem of the Angels,' by Breaking Benjamin

"Gah! Look out for that car!"

"Why did we let her drive again!"

"I don't know! She doesn't even have a liscence!"

'Wil you three be quiet! I'm trying to drive here!" Kuroneko gritted her teeth as she pressed the petal to the metal, barreling down the highway at breakneck speed, dodging and swerving around the frozen cars, people and other things like it was an obstacle course. "This isn't Driver's Ed and these things aren't orange cones, either!"

Danielle, Monika and Stacey were all in the backseat, clinging fearfully to each other, sliding back and forth across the carseat everytime the cat-girl Counter Guardian sent the car whipping around around a turn or an obstacle. "I thought Counter Guardians can jump to through dimensions..why can't we us that?"

"Because it's only through dimensions, not from place-to-place." Kuroneko explained calmly as she zipped the car around a semi-truck and squeezing between a pair of cars, knocking off the driver's side mirror. "Whoops...any of you girls got money on you? I don't think I can pay for that.."


Valerie felt her eyebrow twitch. "We are driving on the wrong side of the road..."

"Apologies." Vergil said dryly as he zig-zagged their car through the frozen, oncoming traffic. "If you are fond of bruises, we can drive on the correct side."

The empath glanced out her window and watched the car that Kuroneko was driving careen widly and she swore she heard screams coming from it's other occupants. "No thanks..."

"Are we there yet?" Hati asked. She was fidgety and sitting on the edge of her seat, drumming her fingers on the seat, crossing and uncrossing her arms, tapping her foot.

"No." Vergil replied evenly. "And stop that. It is annoying."

"Sorry..." Hait fidgted some more and squirmed, managing to remain silent for a few minutes. Then..." Are we there yet?"

Then she screamed as the blade of a sword pierced though the driver's seat and lodged in the backseat, a few centimeters from her ear

Vergil withdrew his sword while Val just looked surprised at him "Feh... I missed..."

Silence reigned in the car.

"Are we there now?"


"Of all the blasted, bloody things to do..." Caire muttered darkly to herself. "He's a effin' Counter Guardian-can't even drive-damn Willowe messing with my wedding plans- I'm going to shove a pinecone so far down her throat-" Then her ranting dissolved into muttering under breath venomously as she floored the accelerator and the car jumped as it suddenly doubled in speed.

Marcus, Micheal and Miriku were all huddled in the back, sitting very still and quietly, afraid to move or even breath while Archer was sitting calmly shotgun, arms crossed and unbothered by the car's speed or swering or Claire's ranting.

Miriku leaned over to whisper in her brother's ear. "Is that guy made of steel or something?"

"I guesss so..." Micheal whispered back. "He hasn't moved or flinched once since Claire started driving. Guess with all the crap they deal with, this is nothing."

Marcus leaned over to join the conversatin. "Then why are his knuckles white?"


The motely group of vechiles that the Soceity had comendeered skidded to varying halts across the road, and lawns and the Agents poured out, racing up the hill as fast as their legs could carry them.

"Oh my god..." Aimee murmured as she crested the hill and slowed to a halt, the others following suit as they caught up and they all craned their necks up.

A massive pillar of red light stretched skywards, miles into the air like some great tongue of flame or beacon. It was so wide that it filled the entire center of Stonehenge, tendrils of power crackling around it's length.

"That's the spell that's causing this?" Marcus asked in disbelief. "How on earth are we supposed to stop that!'

"It's rather flashy..." Archer replied as he and the other two Counter Guardians walked to the head of the group. "What do we blow up first?"

Kuroneko flicked her fans into her hands and snapped them open with a mettalic ring. Energy hummed around them and then with a sharp 'snapp-hiss!' the weapons were covred in a silvery power and with a flick of her wrists, she sent them arcing towards Stonehenge, hissing and whirling.

Then a blast of golden energy slammed into the two weapons and sent them flying away, the energy around them disperssing as they flew back into their owner's hands. "Hehehehe..."

Everyone glanced up to see Harold floating in the air in front of the beam of light. "I knew if we waited here, you'd come to us and save the trouble of tracking you down. Now it's time to die!" He thrust his hands out and a giant wave of golden light leapt from his hands, barreling down towards the gathered Agents before anyone could react.

Then attack stopped, impacting like it had something solid before shivering and then flaring apart as Vergil burst through it, his sword flashing as he flew right past Harold, the Super Saiyan twisting aside, blood spurting from a slice across his shoulder. "Rrrg..!"

Vergil twisted in the air and sheated his sword as he fell, drawing and re-sheathing it so fast his arm and blade were a blur, each swing of his arm unleashing a crescent of power that slammed into Harold one after another, each successive impact forcing him higher and higher.

The Counter Guarian landed gracefully, coattails flapping and stood, slowly sheathing his sword and pausing just before the hilt hit the sheath. "Die." Then he finished it and a flurry of silver lines crisscrossed over Harold, each one representing a slash made by the white-haired youth.

With an angered cry, Harold flexed his muscles and burst free, blood trickling from minor cuts on his arms and toros as bits of his hair fell down around. "It's not over, pretty boy! I'm going to grind you into paste!" With a battle cry, he dove at Vergil at top speed and the ground shook as the pair collided.

Kuroneko watched as dozens of Smiths and several Sues emerged froum the surrounding area and she gave a small smirk. "If there were more of them, it'd actually be a challenge...Archer, keep the kids safe."

Archer just shook his head. "Hmmmph..." He stretched out his hands and red-lattice work in the shape of a pair of curved Chinese blades appeared, solidifying into the real thing a split second later, one blade colored white and the other baclk, the ying-yang symbol on their sides and readied himself as the wave of Smiths rushed down the hill to meet him.


It was a sight one never expected to see.

A massive square platform floated above the Sahara, comprised entirely of sand compressed together to form the hard flat surface. It was huge, a hundred yards in length and width and it hung in the air, unmmovable and as solid as if the sky was the ground.

Willowe stood on the edge, feeling the cold, cold air flow over her as the night breeze blew over the desert, stirring the sands below and sweeping the platform clean, and stared up at the eternal red twilight she had brough upon the skys.

There were no stars in the sky despite the fact it was night. Only a pale, bloody crimson light that stretched from horizon to horizon, undiluted and undistrubed, like a great blanket.

There was going to be no sun, when morning came, either, but it was the stars that Willowe found herself missing the most. They were always there, constant and reassuring. But without them in sight, she felt a little lost and dissapointed.

Well, it was easy enough to remedy. She'd just just have put some stars in her new sky when everything had settled down and she could strengthen her power base to give herself something stead to stand on.

She felt the air behind her stir oddly and she turned around, dress swaying slightly with the motion, in time to see a cloud of shadows fade away and reveal the forms for Saito Hajime and Aramayis about ten or so yards away. "Ah... I was wondering when the Counter Guardians might show up..."

"Willowe, we will offer you one chance. Stand down and surrender and you'll be allowed to live." Aramayis said calmly while Saito drew his sword. "Refuse and we'll kill you."

"No, you won't." Then she blinked as Aramayis vanished from view, reapparing in front her with a flash of shadow and she barely managed to throw her sword up in time to block his punch with the flat of her sword. "Wow, that was quick.."

Aramayis merely flipped away as Saito rocketed forwrards, sword outstretnched as it lead the way for his Gatotsu atack and then his eyes widened as Willowe leaned to the side and her free hand came up, catching the blade and stopping the attack instantly. "Wha..."

Willowe reeled him in and stabbed him deeply with Excalibur in the shoulder, blood spraying in the air as Saito gasped in pain and dropped to a knee. "I saw that coming..."

She swiftly kicked him away, sending him sliding away across the platform and then side-stepped as Aramayis leapt out of the shadows behind her and he whirled on his heel, but she caught his ankle before his foot could hit her head and flung him away with a single hand, sending him crashing into Saito.

The former member of the Shinsengumi shoved the black-dressed man off him and got his feet, ignoring the wound in his shoulder as he glared at Willowe. "What's going on, woman?"

The Sue smirked and pointed up at the sky. "My Red Skies Twilight spell is what lets fictional characters like myself stay here in the Real World and it strengthnes us by quite a bit...and it has an opposite effect on real characters, those who are modeled off of people who actually existed in the Real World. It drains them, saps their strength... and the two of you once had human counterparts!"

The two Counter Guardians grimaced as they realized this. "You mean..."

"That's right..." Willowe nodded. "The moment my spell started to appear in the sky, the two of you began to weaken... and now that it's complete, you're nothing more than ordinary humans with exceptional fighting skills. Truly, a great accomplishment, but against someone like me, who is far beyond even perfect, it's nothing."

Saito growled and dropped into his Gatotsu stance. "Arrogant as you are, nothing will be enough to slay you."

Then he was flying away as Willowe appeared in front of him, her fist slamming into his gut. "Sorry, Saito Hajime, but you two aren't a match for me now and the other Counter Guardians, while safe because they're fictional, are busy dealing with my army at the Stonehenge... so there's not a one among you who can fight me."


The Sue raised her head and caught sight of the massive ball of fire screaming out of the sky towards her. "Oh, shi-"

Then Tash hit and the world exploded into fire.


"Good lord, how many are there of these guys!" Miriku asked, trapping a Smith in a wrist lock and holding him in place for the brief moment it took for Hati's foot to smash into his face, shattering his sunglasses and dropping him cold.

"I don't know!" Hati ducked a punch from another and kicked him him away, only to get the wind knocked out of her as a a third gut-punched her, sending her sprawling into the smaller American Agent. "Why, you little bugger! I'm going to-" Tne she and Mirku gulped as the Smith pulled his pistol out from his jacket pocket.

Before the Smith could take aim and finish the jump, Ossa barreled out of nowhere and tackled him, sending his pistol flying away as they went down in a flurry of fists.

Hati blinked as the Cherokee girl wailed on the Smith copy, shouting what sounded like Klingon and Vulcan curses as the pair rolled around. "Wow... she's really getting into this..."

The Founder glanced around at the hetic fighting go on. While Archer was tearing through the Smiths left and right, occasionally creating new weapons in a free hand and tossing them towards the Agents to use and Kuroneko battled a group of Sues and Stus farther up the hill, there was just too many Smiths for the Counter Guardian to keep from getting by.

Luckily, nearly of the present Agents had taken combat training at one time or another and teamed up defend themselves. Micheal was brawling with a group of Smiths, aided by Claire and Marcus, who would crack the distracted Smiths on the back of the head with the sticks they had found. A little farther away, Aimee was running around as a Smith chased , only for Jamie to ambush the man and take him down.

Still, it was a rough fight. The Agents were fighting defensively, slowly being forced back down the hill and the two Counter Guardians weren't making all that much headway. Then a flash of light caught her eye and she glanced towards Stonehenge where Vergil and Harold were fighting. There would be a flash of ight, a roar of metal and then the pair would seperate, only to leap together once more. According to Archer, the Red Skies Twilight was strengthing the fictional characters as time wore on and will it boolstered the Counter Guardians, too, the Sues were getting more of it and faster.

Hati was wondering when why the Smiths weren't pulling out their pistols and just shooting everyone dead when she heard Micheal's voice scream, 'CLAIRE! NO!'

She whirled and took off towards them, eyes widening as she saw Claire collapose to the ground and the moment's distraction caused Micheal to dissappear under a dogpile of Smiths. "NO!"

Then the Smiths went flying everywhere, tentacles of darkness lashing out and whirling about, shredding them apart. "What the..."

Micheal's form stood up with a dark smile on his face. His eyes were completely orange and he was covered in the neck down in some kind of living shadow armor that mimicked the shape of muscles while beihnd him a wicked-looking barbed tail whip-cracked and darkness tentacles swirled around him. "Enjoy the sight of that blood-sky above you, you worthless shells, because the last sight you will ever see will be Darkness!


A echoing boom sounded and was accompanied by a explosion of fire as Tash slammed into Willowe, the force of her dive punching the Sue through the platform and the desert floor below, their blades showering sparks of fire and light as they ground together.

Willowe braced her weapon with a hand against blade, eyes widening as Tash's momentum shoved her back along the sand it incredible speeds, leaving a thin layer of scorched sand and crystalline glass nearly a kilometer long in their wake. "Nnnnnnn...!"

With a shout, she dug her heels in and broke the weapons lock and snapped her blade in front of her, a massive wave of golden light that slammed into Tash, blasting the British Agent back into the sky, trailing wisps of smoke.

Tash righted herself with a beat of her wings and with a howl, dove at Willowe again and again, fire leaping form her sword with every swing as their blades slammed together.

The Sue growled softly to herself as she managed to block another sledgehammer blow from the enraged Tash, this one shoving her back a step and dropping her to one knee. (Her rage is incredible... even though she flew all that distance, she's got enough strength to hammer at me like this..)

"You took him away from me!" Tash yelled, eyes ablaze and dove at Willowe again, letting out a frustrated growl as the Sue blocked her strike yet again. She flipped away back into the air and swooped down from another angle. "I'm going to KILL YOU!"

"That remains to be seen!" As their weapons clanged together again, Excaliur glowed and then unleashed a blast of energy point-blank, sending Tash staggering backwards.

As Tash reeled, steel flashed and the British girl gasped as a spray of blood droplets erupted from the slash wound and then she doubled-over as Willowe slammed her foot into the girl's gut, kicking up a cloud of snad of as she slammed into a dune.

"I don't know where you got that sword, Tash..." Willowe watched the Britsh girl rise to her knees, her free hand clutching at the gash in her chest, blood tricking around her fingers. "But you can't beat me..."

Then she twitched as she felt a sharp pain in her shoulder and glanced over to see a slash wound her shoulder. "You counter-attcked even when I was kicking you away... I take it back then." She smirked and snapped her blade to the side, droplets of blood being flung of it. "Adrian taught you well..."

"Don't you say his name!" Tash's eyes blazed and she leapt, bits of fire flaring as she slammed Nephthys down onto Willowe's blade. "You don't ever get to say his name!"

Willlowe shoved the fire-orange blade away and attacked, her sword arm a blur as she lashed out with a flurry of strikes that Tash barely managed to deflect or block, nicks and cuts opening up on the British girl's arms and face. "Give it up, Tash. If even the Librarian couldn't defeat me, what hope have you to?"

"Shut up! I'm going to make you burn!" Nephthys erupted into flames as Tash swung it up, foot slamming the blade. "Jurai-Ken - Doryuto!"

Even as Willowe side-stepped the attack, Tash was swinging the blade down, palm strking the blade. "Jurai-Ken - Doryuta!"

An arc of flame trailed the sword's path and hissed centimeters from Willowe's face as she steppd back to avoid the attack, easily knocking Tash's follow-up swing aside and striking out with a swing that would bisecte Tash at the chest. "Not good enough!"

Metal clanged as Tash blocked the blow along the length of her blade, whirling on her heel. "Jurai-Ken - Gihardi!" With a sharp cry, she thrust her blade through Willowe's guard and straight for her heart.

Then her blue-eyes widened as Willowe blurred out of sight, the flaming blade passing through nothing but air. "Flash-step..."

"Of course. " Willowe reappeared behind Tash, arm alreading in motion and Tash cried out as a slash wound opened on her back. "And using Jurai-ken, your defenses are non-existent."

"So what!" Tash whirled on her heel, spinning around and around, flames wrapping around her in a tornado. "Jurai-Ken - Tairenso!"

Willowe merely flash-stepped out of sight and reappeared above Tash, unleashing a arc of of golden energy at the flaming tornado with a swing of her sword. "That attack is useless if it can't hit me!" An explosion rocked the desert as the two collided, spraying fire and energy everywhere as it kicked up a cloud of sand.

Even as it cleared, Tash was already vaulting off the hilt of her sword, the length of cord wrapped around her wrist, flames marking her sword's path as she whipped it up toward the Sue. "Jurai-Ken - Shoryuta!" (Dancing Flame - Sky Rocket Burst!)

"Damn...!" Blood sprayed as Willowe was unable to block theq blow completely, Tash's sword biting her side. "You..."

"Shut up!" Tash's wings flared and she was out of sight and Willowe's eyes only had time to widen as she felt the British girl flash past her three time in rapid succession. "Jurai-Ken - Silanoi Ehardi!"
A small star blossomed as the lines of the six-pointed star collapased and exploded, trapping the Sue in a sphere of fire that exploded violently, Willowe tumbling out of the flames, dressed ruined and scorched and trailing smoke.

"Jurai-Ken - Abari!" A drill of flame roared down out of the sky and slammed into Willowe, a concussive crack echoing as the pair crashed into the desert, a sand dune exploding outwards from the massive impact as a pillar of flame and sand punched skywards.

Thunder sounded and the sand and flames were blown apart as a lance of golden energy lanced skywards, forcing Tash to twist of the way, missing her by inches.

The last of the sand cloud dissappeared, revealing Willowe standing at the center of the crater, blood running down one side of her face and she gripped Excalibur tightly with both hands, the blade glowing a soft gold as it gathered energy around itself. The ground beneath her feet gave a few inches with a sharp shattering sound and her eyes started to glow white.

Tash gripped Nephthys in her hands and with hiss, the blade ignited with flames that burned hotter and hotter, till it looked like she was holding a tongue of flame in her hands. Her wings flared open and roared with flames, turning a sharp white color. Swirls of flame started to be drawn into her blade as more and more oxygen was drawn into to fuel her fires.

The moment hung in the air...

Then at the same instant, Willowe leapt up at Tash and Tash dove down at Willowe and they swung, blades colliding in a blaze of energy and flames and for a moment, a second sun lit up the desert.


The Darkness smirked as his claws ripped across the torso of Smith, cleaving him in half even as a pair of tentacles lanced out from his back and skewered a pair of them that had tried sneaking up on him through the head. "My, my, there sure are a lot of you..." He let out a hiss of pleasure. "I haven't had this much in at two ages, at least..."

Casually gripping the neck of another Smith as it rushed him, he snapped it's neck offhandely as he glanced around to take stock the situation. The Society Agents were huddled together, with those of them that could fight well on the outer edges, fighting off the attacking Smiths, many of them having grabbed weapons dropped by the Sues or formed by Archer. Aiding them were the small horde of Darklings he had summoned. While they were all more or less stupid, the fact they were a lot of them and they all had lethal weapons more than made up for it.

Farther up the hill, Archer and Kuroneko were busy engaging what few Sues remained, as even one of them could easily decimate the humans of the Society. The catgirl and her bladed fans were a blur of motion, sparks flying as she blocked and sliced and parried and flipped in a mad dance around her targets while Archer was battling a few of the blade-wielding Sues with his own curved blades, flowing left and right so they couldn't never come at him more than one or a two at time. The two dead dissolving Sues currently at his feet gave testement to the success of his strategy.

And finally, in the air above surrounding Stonehenge and around the giant pillar of red light, a golden and a back/red light circled and slammed into each other over and over. The Super Saiyan Harold and the Counter Guardian Vergil...apparently, Vergil had Devil Triggered, tapping into his demonic blood to give him more power, if the memories from Darkness' host were correct. Still, Harold still seemed to have the upper hand, as a near constant barrage of energy blasts lept from the golden dot he was everytime he and Vergil were apart from one another.

The Darkness debated for a moment whether or not to intervene, as he was confident he would be able to defeat Harold even if Vergil lost, as the crimson skies that powered the Sues and Stus strengthened him more than he could have ever expected.

The choice was made for him when the gold and blue spherse slamemd togther, then the blue sphere faded away and Vergil's form tumbled towards the ground, the Counter Guardian barely managing to land atop one of Stonehenge's stones with both feet.

He planted his blade in the stone and dropped to one knee, panting hard. "You...are certainly a persitant annoyance..."

Harold floated down so that he was a few feet above Vergil as the white-haired demon glared at him and crosesd his arms. Despite the fact he was covered in cuts his clothes were soaked in blood, he didn't look much worse for the wear.. "Hahahaha... is this really all a Counter Guardian can do?"

Vergil glared and forced himself to iis feet. "Please, I have yet to start, you fool." Then he face-planted into te stone as the Darkness dashed up the stone, and vaulted up off his head towards Harold

The Saiyan-Stu watched as the entity of living shadow hurtled up towards him." What an idiot...everyone of my attacks is light!" His held up a hand and it crackled with energy as he charged up a blast of energy.

Then he jerked as a tendril of darkness leapt from the Darkness' outsrtretched palm and snagged around his hand, smothering the attack and extingushing it. "Hey! Why you son of a-"

"It's not nice to curse!" The Darkness reeled himself in impossibly fast, his fist catching Harold's chin and snapping the Stu's head back like he was a Pez dispenser. He crushed Harold in a bear hug. "Now...let's go play!" Then shadows erupted from his form and enveloped them both, trapping them in a sphere of shadows that faded away, leaving no trace of them.

A minute later, a swirl of shadows appeared on the ground in front of Stonehnge and Harold came flying out of out it, trailing streamers of blood as he bounced and skipped across the ground, a good portion of his hair just choppped clean off. "Errragh...!"

The Darkness stepped out of the portal and it zipped up behind him. "Well, for a Super Saiyan that wasn't much fun at all...but I didn't say you could leave yet..." He cracked his knuckles as tendrils of shadow whipped around him. "I want to see how breakable you are."

Harold lurched ot his feet, one of his arms obviously broken in numberous places, blood pouring down his face and his body, what little remained of his clothes nothing but tatters and several gashes lacerated his chest. "You... you... what the hell are you!"

"If you have to ask, then you really are stupid." The Darkness sneered and folded his arms. "And in order for you to retain what little entertainment value you have, I'll let you have one free shot."

"I'll blast you into dust, you freak!" Harold clenched his goot fist, a basketball-sized sphere of power flaring to life around his hand and he snapped his arm up, the attack barreling towards the Darknesss like a freight train and it impacted hard, exploding with the force of a missle. "Ha!"

The crackling energy of the explosion was torn away as a black form tore through it and Harold gaped as a titanic serpentine head loomed over him, letting out a massive roar and revealing several rows of gleaming, razor-sharp teeth. "Wha..!"

"Oh, ouch, your attack really hurt..." The Darkness mocked as he reached up and patted the creature's side and it revealed that serpentine monster was entering the world by reaching through a portal of darkness-most of it's body was still on the other side. "And by the way, your little red skies twilight spell that powers you up? Well, it works on me. And lets me summon this cuddly guy..."

The Saiyan stared in horror and turned to run, but the giant monster was having none of that, it's head lashing out like a whip, snagging Harold in his jaws and flinging him high into the air. The Saiyan screamed and tried to fly away, but a tongue leapt from the creature's throat and wrapped around his wast, yainking the terrified Stu into it's mouth and it swallowed him with a single gulp.

The Darkness smirked as the massive Darkling retreated into the portal and then blinked when he noticed that the Society Agents were all staring at him slack-jawed. "Tch... how like humans. You save their lives and all they can to do is stare at you like you've got two heads... makes me wonder why I bother sometimes..."


Blood sprayed and Tash screamed in pain as Excalibur blasted her with golden light even as Willowe slashed her across the chest, sending her plowing back acrosss the platform and leaving a trail of blood-smeared sand in her wake.

Willowe panted slightly even as she gripped her weapon tightly. By now, the sleeves of her dress wer gone and there barely enough of the top part left for decency while burns and bloody cuts all over her sapped her strength and little wisps of smoke drifted up off her form.

"Gatotsu-Nishiki!" Satio lauched himself at the Sue from another angle, his feet leaving twin furrows in his wake, the point of his sword leading the way as it ripped through the air.

The Sue whirled on her heel and leapt towards him, blurring out of sight and a great clang of metal and flash light the air briefly and she reappeared behind him, skidding and her sword looking like it had been swung. Then a second later, Saito jerk and a 'X'-slash opened his torso, blood droplets spraying out into the air as he jerked and toppled forwards, katana clattering to the ground.

(It's... incredible...)Aramayis watched from a short distance away, as he ripped more material from the sleeve of his sweater and began to bind his broken leg with it, trying to ignore the hole his shoulder and the blood staining the ground beneath him. (She fought Adrian and he took out most of her army... and she's been fighting two more Counter Guardians and that girl since then... and to still have so much strength...

(I'm afraid that Willowe may actually suceed in her plans...)

The Sue felt the air behind her shift and she thrust Excalibur backwards behind her head and was rewarding with the clang of metal. She glanced over her shoulder to see Tash's blade grinding against her own, the girl's twisted in a blaze of anger. "Oh... you're still able to stand.."

she whirled and lashed out with her weapn, Tash's impromptu block sending the Brtish gir skidding backwards a few feet and Willowe's eyes widened minutely at what she saw. "You..."

Tash panted for breath, but her grip on her sword didn't waver. Her clothes were soaked in blood and a thin, pink/white line dragged from her shoulder down across her front. "I used my flames to cauterize the wound..." Fire flared around her sword. "Adrian taught me that in battle, you do whatever you have to do keep fighting until the enemy is dead!" With a howl, she leapt towards Willowe.

Their swords sparked as the two woman collided, glaring at one another over their blade-lock, blades hissing and grinding against each other visciously. "Tell me, Tash..." Willowe said conversationally. "If I hadn't killed Adrian, would you still be trying to stop me as hard?"

"Wha.." Tash's eyes flashed and she pushed harder against the lock, her wings flaring in size as she pushed Willowe back several steps. "What kind of stupid question is that? Of course I would!"

"I wonder..." Willowe dug her heels in, gouging the platform and halted her slide. "Woudln't you be trying to talk me down, restrain me or capture me again? I know Adrian would..."

"Don't say his name, you bitch!" Tash screamed and fire howled from her blade and Willowe skpped back to avoid getting scorched even as Tash leapt at her, raining a flurry of fiery strikes at the Sue.

And through it all, as she blocked and parried, Willowe's voice was audible.

"You authors created us... your founder created me..." Willowe blocked a blow aimed for her neck. "All of you authors, you created us...we are your creations, you created life!" She swept aside Tash's sword before it could slice into her leg. "But you made us Sues and Stus... made us too 'perfect' and then condemned us for it!" A swift kick caught Tash in the gut and sent her stumbling backwards.

"We didn't do anything!" Tash caught herself and clumsily through her blade in a block that prevented Willowe from splitting her skull open. "You made the choices to conquer fandoms and you let yourself become what you are you! You, not us!"

"You left us no choice!" Energy and fire danced around the pair as Excalibur and Nephthys met each other again and again. "You created us, wrote us into stories..but then tossed us all aside when you got bored with us!" Willowe shoved hard against Tash's weapon, and flipped her grip on her sword, slicing Tash across the chest, a crescent of blood droplets trailing her weapon's tip. "How is that fair! How is that right!"

Tash grabbed at the wound, panting for breath. "It's not fair...and I'm sorry it had to be that way! But even if you chose to become a Sue, you still made the choice to conquer and take over fandoms and get revenge!"

"What else is there for a Sue to do, Tash!" Willowe lunged, Tash's block not being fast to stop her from slicing into her shoulder. "Tell me! Let me here your answer!"

Tash skidded backwards, her stance unbroken despite the wounds she had taken and the force of Willowe's blow. "I don't have one...but.." She clenched her hand around her sword so hard it shook a bit. "You killed killed my love... he was everything to me and if you aren't stopped, you'll do the same to everyone else!" With a battle cry, she charged towards the Sue, flames twisting aruond her blade.

"At last you understand how I feel!" Willowe met Tash's charge head-on, the force of their weapons' collision kicking up a shockwave of sand dust. "What it's like to lose what you cherish feel so helpless as it slips away from you!" They pushed against one another, swords creaking from the strain. "I took the Library from you... I took your lover away from you... and now I'm going to take your world from you as well!"

"The hell you are!" Tash snapped and dug her heels in, Nephthys flaring briefly with fire as she pushed harder against the weapons' lock. "I won't let you!"

"I see..." Willowe smirked softly. "Well, I haven't seen any proof of that yet!" Then Excalibur glowed golden and Tash's eyes widened as a wave of golden energy leapt from the weapon, blasting across the length of the platform and off the edge into the sky, the sound barely drowning out Tash's scream.

Smoke poured from Tash's bloodied form in wave as she staggered and stumbled backwards out of the cloud the blast had stirred up. "I... I..." She felt one of her knees buck, but she caught herself, forcing herself to stay stand despite the fact she was heaving for breath and her legs and shoulders kept shaking.

Willowe stepped forwards and rested her weapon at her side. "Give it up... you cannot beat me... your Jurai-Ken is useless and ineffective against me... even the Counter Guardians and the Librarian, the very beings charged with protecting the Multiverse and defeating people like me can't stop me... you're just an ordinary human, in the end. No matter how strong your skill, it's not enough... you have nothing left..." She raised her sword and charged as it glowed with power. "Now it's time to die!"

Tash watched her approach and gripped her sword. (I... I don't think I have the strength to stop sword feels so heavy... and she's beaten all my moves...) She felt tears well up in her eyes and clamped them shut (I'm sorry, Adrian! I'm sorry! But I can't do this!)

Silly Tashy... stop apologizing so much. Especially when there's nothing to apologize for.

(Huh?) Tash felt her heart a skip a beat. (Adrian!)

Now dry your eyes and calm down. We're going to try it again and this time, don't worry about defending or blocking or anything. A user of Jurai-Ken cares very little for these things, because they are invincible when they attack.

(I remember this... he was teaching me the Succession Move...) Tash could feel Willowe getting closer, but not as rapidly as she should have, like time had slowed down. (We'd been training for hours and I still couldn't do the move... I got frustrated and threw my staff away, crying... but he just smiled and hugged me and shushed me when I kept apologizing...)

Like every other move in Jurai-Ken, the Succession Move requires a complete comtiment to the attack... it's a step onto that thin line between life and death... victory if used sucessfully, instant death if it's not... if there's even the slightest hint of fear, you will strike too soon or too late, and you will die.

Tash felt herself dropping into the stance for the move as she rotated her grip on her sword so that it's blade was parallel to her arm, and she dropped into a crouch, leaning forwards and pressing her blade arm against her side, tip of her sword reaching diagonally across her back and over her opposite shoulder, left hand extended in front of her as a continuation of the sword's path. (Adrian... I'm not afraid...)

The Sucession Move comes from the Phoenix, from who's flames the name of the style is derived from and unlike the other moves, it will instantly slay anything that it hits, just as the Phoenix herself burns all her enemies to ashes.

"Wha..." Willowe frowned a bit as she charged, shifting Excalibur defensively. (What kind of stance is that... it looks like Tairenso, but I know it's not... and even if she does use it, I can easily read the sword's path and block it.)

"Jurai-Ken Ougi - Seferaite!" (Dancing Flame Succession Move - Dance of the Phoenix Goddess!) Tash launched herself forwards, incredibly fast and whirled, an arc of flames trailing her sword's half-circle strike... then two more strikes appeared alongside the first instaneously, from above and the left.

(Her sword is in three places at once!) Willowe's eyes widened as she saw them all coming for her and realized she couldn't block them in time, skidding and leaning back and the three strikes flashed in front of her and she felt cuts open up on her despite the fact they hadn't hit. (But I dodged it and she's compltely open!) She drew back Excalibur to strike...

And then her eyes widened again as she found herself unable to move. (What...) There was a cracking, snapping sound and Willowe started to feel cold work its way across her lims and the rest of her body. (I... Ice covering my body... I can't move!)

Even if the sharp feathers of the Phoenix Goddess are avoided, her flaming wings steal away freedom of movement, trapping them in a cage of cold fire as her talons rip you to shreds.

With a battle cry, Tash slammed her sword into Willowe, the blade piercing through the Sue's body and then concussive force caught up, blowing the Sue off the weapon and shattering the ice encasing her and sending her crashing to the far edge of the platform.

Then the British girl jerked and blood sprayed out of her mouth and she felt herself starting to fall, but she planted Nephthys into the platform, leaning heavily on it. "No... I won't fall... I won't fall..."

"What... what was... that?" Tash lifted her head to see Willowe stand back up, blood pouring out of the hole in her gut. She swayed a bit and stumbled, but managed to remain upright. "That attack just now... what did you do?"

Despite herself, Tash found herself answer. "Seferaite's first strike is so fast that it actually inverts reality, letting me strike from three directions at once in an attack that too fast to be blocked or avoided...and then, if the target surives, the force of the swings and the flames they produced suck all the heat out of the air surounding the target, trapping them in ice."

"I see... so it's a cold fire.." Willowe smiled and coughed, blood flecking her lips. Then she looked up even as Excalibur slipped free of her hand and clattered idly to the hand and smiled as she saw great patches and holes opening in the crimison sky above them all, letting the traditional night sky peek through "The Red Skies Twilight... it's seems your friends were successful in stopping the spell... and oh look, I can see the stars again... I missed them..."

She swayed and started to walk backwards towards the edge of the platform. 'We Sues... for all our power, we can't change ourselves... I always hated that the most... I coudn't stop wanting to conquer and manipulate and twist... no matter how pretty or wonderful it was...I kept wanting to make it mine..." Willowe coughed and blood splattered across the surface of the platform.* I thought that... I could... challenge fate and break out of this gilded change we Sues make for ourselves.."

She staggered, stumbled backwards, as more and more bits of energy and motes light floated away, stretching out to the night, as if trying to grasp the stars. "The stars... the stars are more free than I am, trapped as they are in the sky... all I wanted was to break out my cage and spread my wings so I could fly amongst the stars... isn't that what any child wants?"

Willowe closed her eyes, the dissolution of her form becoming faster and faster. I'm sorry... I failed, mummy... your little girl couldn't grow up..." Then she toppled over the edge, falling from sight.

For a long moment, there wasn't a single sound in the desert save for the wind blowing gently across it's face and golden shafts of light burst over the horizon, piercing the veil of the night as the sun rose on another day for Earth.

Saito pulled a cigarette from the package and flicked a match, lighting the cigarette before waving the match out and taking a puff, already wondering when his next assignment would come through.

Aramayis sat down and drew his knees close to hise chest, resting his arms atop them and his chin atop his arms as he watched the sunrise and felt the ache of night's battle in bones and the pain of his wounds and decided that this sunrise was one of the most tragically beautiful things he had ever seen and the ache it left in his heart trumped everything else.

And Tash...

Tash wept.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Insert Red Skies Twilight Here (part 4 of 6)

"All of this hate
 And all of this pain--
I'll burn it all down 
As my anger reigns,
Till everything burns."
-'Everything Burns' by Anastascia

Willowe strode into Adrian's office slowly, glancing this way and that as she took in the bookshelves, his desk, the picture of Tash on the wall, and several pictures of people or places she didn't recognize. "For one of the most powerful men in existence, his office is surprisingly simple..."

"Feh, who cares? He's finally dead and that's all that matters." Harold shouldered his way past the female Sue and flexed his fists a bit. "The only good thing the Librarian did was get rid of that annoying Silver for me...bastard..."

He marched to the rear of the office, casually blasting the desk out of his way and reducing it to smithereens. Stopping at the seamless, handle-less door, he drew back his fist and with one punch, sent in flying into the darkened stone hallway beyond. "There. This is what we came for, right?"

"Yes." Willowe stepped him behind him, four or five of the remaining Agent Smiths and Chi hanging back behind her. Adrian had wiped out a huge chunk of her forces, barely leaving her anything that could be called an 'army'. "The Fourth Wall should be at the end of this hallway."

"Good. Let's go already." Harold started down the hallway, even his Super Saiyan aura failing to light up the dark stone passage. His eyes flicked left and right as he passed the alcoves, growling in frustration as he heard and saw little whispers of movement in them and voices humming in his ears now and again. "What is this freaking place, anyway? Is there something alive in here or something?"

"Perhaps. It would be wise not to disturb the alcoves" Willowe said and glanced at one of the alcoves, waiting as a shadowy figure slid into view and then out of sight again. "Runoa said this is the section of the Library where the Librarians keep the things that are too dangerous to the Library's normal visitors or even things that the Librarians themselves cannot understand..."

"Tch..." Harold sneered and flicked a marble-size sphere of energy into one of the alcoves , watching as it exploded, destroying whatever was in the alcove, but strangely, the flare of light the explosion produced did not extend beyond the alcove. It stopped like it had hit a wall before it reached into the hallway. "It's all a bunch of junk..."

Then his eyes widened and he backpedaled as something reached out of the darkness of the alcove and latched onto his wrist with a skeletal hand. "What the hell!" He strained to break free, but even with his improbable strength, his caught arm wouldn't budge an inch. "Let go, you freak!"

He started to charge up an attack his other hand, but then he screamed as he saw his caught hand was decaying, bits of flesh and muscle and nerves dropping away like leaves off a tree, revealing pearly-white bone beneath. "Gaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!"

Then Excalibur slashed at the grasping hand and it instantly released Harold, retreating into the shadows whence it came while Willowe backhanded Harold across the face. "You idiot! I told you not to disturb the alcoves! We've come too far for you to screw it up now!"

Harold rubbed his cheek and glared at Willowe. "Watch it. What's stopping me from killing you right now and performing this plan myself?"

Then he went pale as he realized Excalibur was pressed against his throat and he hadn't even realized Willowe had moved at all. "Ahhh..."

Willowe narrowed her eyes at him. "You had better hope that first punch kills me, Harold. Otherwise, I'm going to slice off your limbs and let Runoa do Immaculation on you." She leaned closer to him and her sword point drew a droplet of blood from his throat. "Want to see if you can regrow limbs?"

"N-no..." Harold shook his head fervently. "No..."

"Good." Willowe resheathed her sword and started down the hallway, the subdued Harold following her. "Then remember who is in charge here."

The little group made their way farther down the hallway, Harold, Chi and the Smiths doing their best to ignore the things that moved in the alcoves or the faint whispers that sounded in their ears and minds or the soft touches that had them glancing back nervously over their shoulders every few minutes.


They all stopped and glanced around, Willowe's hand flying to her weapon as Harold charged up energy in his fists. "Who's there?"

"IntrUDeRS...WHo EntERS ThIS PlaCE...? YoU Do NoT HaVe PermiSsiON AnD yoU ArE NoT WeLComE..."

Willowe glared at the surrounding darkness. It sounded like a hundred voices were speaking all at once. "Who are you! Show yourself!"

Shadows and light swirled around in front of them and when it cleared, something was standing in their way. In the darkness, its form was impossible to make out and they only caught the outline, shimmering in and out of sight like a mirage...a clawed hand...a spiny shoulder...a barbed tail. "We aRe ThE UnWriTteN...YoU ArE noT oF Us, InTRUders..."

'Unwritten?" Harold growled and the energy in his fists glowed brighter. "What the hell is this guy?"

"Runoa mentioned something like this to me..." Willowe murmured, hand still on her sword's hilt. "Some ideas that are never fully formed or never written into stories, but through sheer force of will, manage to avoid being pulled into the Vault of Abandoned Ideas... but she never said they'd be in here!"

"AdrIAn bAdE Us tO GuARd tHIs plAcE... He GaVe uS a NaMe AnD PuRpOSe... To PrEvEnT tHE WrITtEn FrOm CrOSsINg thE WaLl..." The Unwritten's shrouded form shifted and stirred before suddenly launching forwards and falling over them like a thick blanket. "YoU wiLL BeCome Us..."

Willowe struggled to draw her sword, but the Unwritten pressed and swarmed around her, feeling like it weighed a hundred tons and pressing against all of her senses at once. She felt rather than heard the Smith copies dissolve away and Muhammad screamed as his body started to dissolve away into mist, which was drawn into the Unwritten.

She herself felt it crushing her, sapping away at her spirit, her memories, her thoughts, her past, stripping everything that made her a individual and she felt tired, so tired...

(No!) Willowe drew herself together and felt the draining away slow, then stop. (No! I will not be taken like this! I am Willowe Foxblade! And I will NOT yield!)

With a howl, she unleashed a flare of crimson energy that blew the Unwritten away from her, the shadowy fog retreating like it had been stung. "I am not afraid of you, you pathetic shell!"

The Unwritten swirled angrily and regathered itself. "YoU WilL BeComE uS!" Then it hurtled towards Willowe at full speed. "We WilL FuLLfIll OuR PuRPosE!"

"Then fulfill it by dying!" Willowe drew Excalibur and slashed it through the air, a crescent of golden energy leaping from the tip and slamming into the mass of the Unwritten, the entity letting out a hundred-voiced howl as it was dissolved away and scattering into miniscule wisps of shadows that were absorbed by the darkness around them and faded from view.

"Erggg..." Harold got to his feet, rubbing his head. "Did you really manage to kill that thing?"

"No." Willowe replied and shook her head. "You can't kill an idea...but I hit it hard enough that it will take a very long time before it collects itself, so we shouldn't have to worry about it anymore."

"Good." The Saiyan turned and yanked Chi off the ground by her collar, causing the smaller Sue to squeak and tremble in fear as he glared at her. "What's the big idea? How come you didn't warn us there'd be something like that guarding the Fourth Wall?"

Chi squirmed in his grasp. "Xavier and I never entered the Library ourselves! We just sent Subplot Bunnies through the crack in the Wall! And none of them ran into any defenses!"

"That's because all species of Plot Bunnies are not really alive-they're just ideas." Willowe explained as Harold gruffly dropped Chi on the ground. "We're Sues and Stus-we are more than just ideas..." She glanced at the pile of empty suits that had been the Smith clones. "But if our grasp on our identities isn't strong enough, it can be stripped away from us, as Muhammad and the Smiths just proved..."

She turned and started down the passageway, the other two falling into step behind her. They had gone about a few dozen more yards and then Willowe jerked to halt, Chi plowing into and bouncing off the leader's legs.

"Hey! What gives?" Chi muttered, getting back to her feet and rubbing her nose.

"It's another defense..." Willowe replied and gestured in front of her where a set of floating words were in front of her. "It's an invisible barrier and I'm guess we have to solve this riddle before we can move on."

She took a couple of steps back and studied the riddle from top to bottom:

"I am what all want.
Use me as if I were a sword and those you slay will rise up against you
Use me as if I were armor and I will trap and suffocate you
Use me as if I were decoration and only your mirror will look upon you.
Use me as if I were a fire and you'll find my flames do not warm you.
Use me as if I were food and I will never chase hunger away from you.
Use me as if I were an enemy and I will be heavier than any chains upon you.
Use me as if I were a friend and I will devour you.
Use me as if I were medicine and I will poison you.
But if you do not use me, then I will serve you well forever.
What am I?"

"Rrrg..." Harold cracked his knuckles. "I hate riddles and we don't have time for this!" He wound up and threw a sledgehammer-like fist at the barrier with the force of a small bomb. "Let's just smash it down!"

Then he gasped as his fist disappeared into the barrier and then emerged right in front him, smashing into his face and sending him flying backwards, clutching a bloody nose. "What the 'effin hell!"

"Looks like the barrier throws whatever you throw at it right back at you!" Chi laughed at the bigger man as he got back to his feet. "Means you have to use your brain, porcupine-head! And you don't have one!"

"Shut it, little brat!" Harold growled menacingly. "Before I squish you and wipe you off my heel! And if you're so smart, then why don't you solve it?"

"Of course!" Chi stuck her tongue out at him. "And I already have!"

Willowe raised her eyebrow. "That was awfully fast..."

Chi waved it off. "We're Sues, stuff like this is easy for us." She walked up to the barrier and smirked broadly. "That answer is love!"

They all waited a few moments. "Is... something supposed to happen?"

"Hey! What gives? I know I got it right!" Chi stamped her foot. "Come on, you stupid barrier and words! Disappear!"

Then she blinked as she felt something chilly wrap around her feet. "Huh...?" She glanced down and screamed.

Some kind of light was working is way up her feet and legs, hardening and turning her into crystal. "Aggh! No, no! Make it stop! Make it stop! Stooop!"

Willowe and Harold watched with wide-eyes as the crystalline light worked its way up Chi's legs and then her torso. "What kind of power is this...?"

Chi squirmed and writhed, desperately trying to chip away at the light, but it was turning her entire body to crystal and there was no way to free herself without shattering her own body. "Help me, help me, help me! Make it stop, stop!" She jerked and gave one final scream as the light crept up over her head and it was over in seconds. Where once a Sue had stood, was now a perfect crystal statue of her, her face transfixed into a look of horror.

The other two stared at her for a long moment and then Willowe reached out to touch, but withdrew her hand as the shadows from the edges of the hallway swarmed over Chi and dragged her away, drawing into her in a nearby alcove and into the darkness.

"Now what, Willowe...?" Harold asked. "We gonna bring everyone else up here and keep guessing at answers till we're all a bunch of cheap art decorations?"

"Hush." Willowe folded her arms and studied the riddle for a good minute, trying to put herself in Adrian's shoes. He had thought it up, obviously...

Then she grinned. "I have it." Stepping up to the barrier, she spoke her answer.


"So... what do we do now?"

The question was posed by Michael, as he sat at one of the tables, Claire sitting next to him and holding his hand. Across from the couple was Kuroneko, who as idly sharpening her claws with one of her fans. The Society Agents were scattered about the room, in pairs or groups, subdued and quiet after hearing Adrian's letter. Tash was sitting in a corner, clutching the Codex of Index to her chest tightly while she just stared out at nothing, as Val and Miriku sat with her, cuddling her and trying to reassure her.

The Counter Guardians were far more relaxed, Vergil, Saito and a man white-haired man dressed in a some kind of molded armor and red trenchcoat that told them his name was 'Archer' were all leaning against various walls, arms crossed as they waited patiently and Saito smoked a cigarette. Aramayis was seating in another corner, legs crossed and hands clasped before as him he meditated. Despite the loss of one of their own, they did not seem all that affected by it.

Kuroneko held out her claws and looked at them carefully. "We wait. Counter Guardians could travel to the Library and fight them there, but against such powerful enemies, we risk destroying much of the information and knowledge stored there and it would take centuries to regather it all, if it would be even possible."

"Wait?" Michael narrowed his eyes, obviously not happy with that idea. "Adrian is dead, Willowe has the Library and she's going to invade here at any moment and you want us to wait?"

Kuroneko fixed him with a sharp look. "I just told you we can't invade the Library and it will be easier for us to fight Willowe on our own terms here than letting her pick the battle ground. And you Society Agents are here in an advisory capacity only. You are not going to fight."

"What!" Michael stood up, slamming his fist on the table and knocking his chair over, as everyone in the room (sans Tash and the other Counter Guardian) fixed their attention him. "How can you say that? Adrian sent us out of the Library so we would have a chance to fight back! He gave his life for us! And you expect us not to do the same for everyone else!"

Kuroneko's glare hardened." Adrian was an extremely powerful Counter Guardian and the Librarian and he sent you to the Real World to save your lives! Do you really think that you're going to be able to fight against the Sues and Stus as ordinary humans? Willowe, Harold, the others? They could probably wipe out entire human armies out by themselves! What hope do you have, boy?"

Michael didn't back down. "I refuse to sit by and do nothing while our world is taken over!"

As the two glared at one another, a door burst open, halting the rising tension before it could burst and Stacey, who had gone with a few others to try and distract themselves by watching TV, poke her head in the door. "You guys better turn on the news. You'll definitely want to see this."

Saito detached himself from the wall and picked up the remote from off an end table, flicking on the TV with a press of a button. "This should be interesting..."

Everyone watched as the image jumped, jerked and then settled down, where a news reporter was standing on a rooftop with what looked like Big Ben behind him...and an ever-growing cloud for red twilight growing in the background. "Scientists and meteorologists around the world today can other no explanation for the mysterious spots of red twilight that are appearing world-wide..."

The image switched to the Eiffel Tower, where a second cloud of red twilight was growing, then the Taj Mahal, The Great Wall of China, The White House and the Hollywood sign, Tokyo, St. Petersburg, the Pyramids, the Vatican...all of them with growing clouds of red twilight in the sky. The people the Agents could see on the cameras reacted in incredible extremes, some running away in a panic, while others fell to the ground and prostrated themselves or prayed or screamed about the end of the world. Others tried to ignore it, some were taking pictures and some were rioting and looting, swept up in the world-wide panic of the fear of the unknown.

It switched back to the reporter. "Everywhere, people panic and riot, some claiming the end of the world or the Rapture or an invasion by aliens. Some claim it to be the arrival of the devil and world leaders urge their peoples to remain calm and that this mysterious phenomenon will be explained by scientists soon. But we have heard theories ranging from meteor showers to alien race. One scientist, Professor Ron Hamilton of NASA, a different theory..."

The screen split, showing a bearded man with glasses and dressed in a lab coat. "Well, I believe it is merely the light from several stars that have gone supernova in distant galaxies eons ago finally reaching us. The odds of several of them going supernova and reaching us at the same time, let alone being visible all over the world, are indeed very high, but not all that unlikely given the fact that many of the stars in our sky are already long gone, but their light will be reaching us for centuries to come.."

Saito muted the volume. "It looks like it's beginning, then..."

"What is it?" Hati asked, the look of confusion and fear on her face mimicked to varying degrees by the other Agents in the room.

"It's a Red Skies Twilight..." Archer explained from his position against the wall. "In comics, it's a term used when major crossover events happen that threaten the whole of that Universe all at once and the skies turn red to signify this, hence the name." He gave a small smirk. "Fitting, considering we are about to be invaded by super powerful fictional creations..."

"That's not all..." Aramayis stood up. "I can sense the energies coming from those spots of twilight and it's becoming much stronger as they grow in size. That energy is what will let Willowe and her cohorts enter this world at full power. Once the world is completely covered by them, the invasion will begin..."

All of the Society Agents all seemed struck still by this realization...then Michael bolted for the door and vanished through it outside and all the others followed him a split second later.


Willowe stood in front of the Fourth Wall, the mishmash of building materials that looked like had been built by a child who merely squashed everything they could find together. It looked decidedly unstable and like a good push would knock it over. Hard to believe such a mishmash of construction represented the ultimate barrier for beings like Sues and Stus.

A barrier that was now a barrier no more.

Behind her, arrayed in a semi-circle, seven pedestals bearing the Necrominicon, Fountain of Youth Water, Spear of Destiny, Tabula Rasa, the Holy Grail, Rosetta Stone and her Excalibur, stood. The seven items glowed the colors of the rainbow and their energies leached into and through the Fourth Wall, connecting to their Real World counterparts on the other side. The energies blended together and formed a swirling portal of red that was their hole in the dike, so to speak.

She watched as the Sues and Stus and the Smith copies poured through the portal, one after another. It had a been moment she had longed for, planned for and now it was finally here...the Real World would be theirs and they'd be able to complete any fandom, any story, any myth or legend, however they wanted.

Willowe was almost disappointed. It wasn't as grand or epic as she had imagined it...just stepping through a portal, like every Sue and Stu did when they traveled from place to place. It was so simple...and in this case, it was everything. Quite the irony...

"I can't wait..." Harold smirked maliciously and flexed his muscles. "The first thing I'm gonna do is use my energy blasts and carve my name across as many States as I can..."

"That will have to wait." Willowe told him. "We still have to worry about the remaining Society Agents and by now, the Counter Guardians will have caught wind of us and probably be waiting."

"So what?" Harold smirked and his Super Saiyan aura flared brightly once. "We're Sues and Stus. We're perfect! There's no way those guys could beat us!"

Willowe nodded in agreement after a moment. "Destroy them all, Harold. All the Counter Guardians and all the Society Agents. Destroy them, kill them, blast them, crush them, it doesn't matter. Once they are gone, there won't be anyone to stop us."

The Saiyan-Stu smirked. "My pleasure." With that, he stepped through the portal and was gone, leaving Willowe completely alone.

She remained still for several moments, then turned and grabbed Excalibur from its pedestal, slung it over her back and quickly stepped through the portal before it winked out of sight.

There was no turning back it. It was truly victory and total domination of the Real World... or death trying.


The Agents burst outside into the hotel's parking lot and gasped and stared in awe as the crimson light spread out over head, overwriting the starry night sky with ease. From horizon to horizon, it was nothing but a Red Skies Twilight.

"Oh my god..." Valerie shivered at the sight. Despite the fact being in the Real World toned down her empathic abilities sharply, the eerie sky still felt incredibly unnatural to her. "It's like... like the sky is bleeding..."

"You think that's bad, just look around us!" Ossa said, pointing across the street. A man was frozen like a statue, clutching at his hat as he ran away, one leg in the air.

The Agents glanced around and realized she was right. Everything around them was frozen in time. A car driving through a puddle of water, and they were able to count every droplet of the spray. A boy waiting to catch a ball that would never come back down. A woman falling as she tripped over her heels, stuck at an angle that no human should have been able to hold. Birds frozen in mid-flap, squirrels pausing in mid-leap, dogs and cats chasing one another in a race that they would never finish.

"What... what's going on? Why is everyone frozen?" Hati murmured, reaching out to touch a nearby pedestrian and immediately yanking her hand back. "They feel so cold... like they're covered in ice... or dead..."

"Not everything..." Miriku reached out and grabbed a bit of the nearby water spray. She shook out her hand as soon as she grasped them, drops of water flying off. "It's just everything that's alive is frozen... if we touch something that's not alive, it seems to become unstuck or thawed or whatever..."

"I don't get it." Marcus folded his arms. Out of all the Agents, he seemed to be taking this whole thing the best. "Why freeze time? Why not just invade? A show of force by destroying some kind of major landmark or capital would definitely show the world how powerful they are..."

"Because Willowe's a lot smarter than that, fools!"

The Agents gazes fixed on the center of street as a form landed their gracefully and twirled about a bit, their dress swirling with the motion. "Hehehe... ah, it's amazing! I feel so powerful here!"

"Mary-Ann Twilight..." Michael murmured and positioned himself in front of Claire. "They're invading faster than we thought...and how'd she even get here? Even Sues and Stus can't just teleport themselves around!"

Mary-Ann giggled and stuck out her tongue. "Foolish fools! We're Sues, we can all flash-step if want!" She danced around a bit. "We're all more powerful here, too. It's breathe real air and to feel real water on your skin..."

Then she pouted as she noticed the Counter Guardians all filing out from the hotel and pushing their way to the front of the Agents. "Well, crap... we were hoping that you guys and the Society wouldn't have hooked up yet...guess Adrian was more thorough than we thought..."

Aramayis fixed Mary-Ann with a sharp look. "Indeed he was. Though I will admit none of us anticipated the spell you used to crossover freezing time across the world..."

"Hehehe, that was Willowe's idea." Mary-Ann smirked. "Instead of having to make a statement or do a lot of fighting, Willowe is going to simply freeze the world until she's finished with her entrance statement. She's going to alter the world to the point where, when she unfreezes everything, they'll have no choice but accept she's the new ruler of the world!"

"Hmmmph...quite a lot of arrogance, if you ask me..." Saito smirked mockingly at Mary-Ann. "And just where is your beloved leader, child? You are outnumbered by quite a lot, in case you aren't perfect at math and even a single Counter Guardian is more than enough for you."

Mary-Ann scowled at him. "You're an annoying man... and Willowe's in the Sahara Desert, if you must know. Not that you'll be able to do anything to stop her..."

"The Sahara?" Kuroneko blinked in surprise. "Why go there? She's just wind up getting sand everywhere..."

"You see, you are foolish fools." Mary-Ann giggled. "Where better to prove your power over reality than the Sahara? Willowe's going to turn it into the site of her capital and create a giant castle and make the entire Sahara a paradise. There is no way anyone can ignore that or deny that her power is that great!"

She put a finger to her lips, as she had just remembered something. "Oh yeah, I nearly forgot's almost an afterthought..." She pulled something out from her sleeve and flicked it towards the group of Agents, where it bounced and skidded to a halt at Tash's feet. "Willowe thought you might want this... it's all yours..."

Tash reacted for the first time since she had finished reading Adrian's letter and knelt down, picking up the object. It was small and attached to a broken chain. Her eyes went wide when she realized what it was. "It's... his... no..."

It was Adrian's pendant, cracked and chipped and top left portion of it missing completely. Originally, it had been a way to store Hoshikuzu, but he had switched methods and so Tash got him a replica for their six-month anniversary. Tash ran her thumb over the pendant and it smeared red and it was only then she realized it was covered in blood. Adrian's blood.

"We don't know how it survived the fighting and his death...but did." Mary-Ann shrugged and then grinned evilly. "Do you want to know how he died? It was rather sad, really... he fought well for a while, but then he started weeping and begging for mercy and calling Tash's name over and over... it was so pathetic... like a little child crying out for mommy..." She laughed. "Willowe slicing off his head was probably the most merciful thing she could have done... that way, even he didn't have to listen to his own mewling!"

"You bitch!" Michael clenched his fist and started to step forwards, but Claire's hand on his other wrist stopped him.

"Don't... you can't fight her, you know that..." she whispered. "And I don't want you to die, too..." Then a blur rushed past her. "What?"

Ossa bolted through the Counter Guardians before they could react and leapt towards Mary-Ann, fist cocked back to strike. "Shut up and die!"

Then Mary-Ann's hand flashed out and snagged the Cherokee girl by the throat. Despite the fact she was several inches shorter than Ossa, the Sue easily held her off the ground like she weighed nothing at all. "That's not very nice... and it was very stupid, too..."

She took a step back and held the struggling Ossa out in front of her like a shield when the Counter Guardians all reached for their weapons. "Ah! Don't move! Or I'll snap her neck right here!" To prove her point, she shook Ossa like a ragdoll and then let out a yelp of pain as Ossa's foot smacked into her cheek. "That hurt!"

"It... was... supposed... too!" Ossa clawed desperately at Mary-Ann's hand even as she glared death at the Sue, but it was impossible to break her grip. Mary-Ann had her in a vice and she wasn't letting go. The Cherokee girl coughed and struggled harder when she realized blackness was forming at the edges of her vision. (Damn... damnit...)

Hati, who had been keeping one eye on the situation and one eye on Tash, ready to leap to defend her friend if Mary-Ann should target her for some reason, paused she when realized Tash's shoulders had stopped shaking and she had stopped crying and had gone very quiet. (Uh-oh...) "Everyone, scatter!"

Most of the Agents and even Mary-Ann shot her a bewildered look, but the British founder pushed the nearest people away from Tash to emphasis her command. "I said, scatter! Now!"

As the Agents hurried to do so, Tash stood up, her head still bowed and clutching Adrian's pendant and the Codex in her hands tightly. "You took him away..."

"Beg pardon?" Mary-Ann blinked at her, pausing in her strangling of Ossa.

"You took Adrian away..." Tash's hand clenched hard around the pendant, so much so that blood began to trickle out between her fingers. "You took him away from me..."

"Well, it wasn't me personally, but I would have liked too..." Mary-Ann gave Tash a smile. "Maybe I would have played around with him first...he might have made a good toy..."

"I loved him..." Tash's shoulders trembled and she clenched her fist tighter. "I loved him and you took him away for me!" Her head snapped up and Mary-Ann took an involuntarily step back at the blazing emotion in them. "SO NOW YOU ALL HAVE TO DIE!"

Then the air around her ignited into a roaring inferno of flames that swirled around her like a tornado and hid her from view as the Agents all shielded their faces and shied away, so bright was the light and so intense was the heat.

The flames roared and twisted, contracting around her as the spun until it was a narrow fiery pillar that reached skywards for what seemed like forever, scorching the concrete and melting a nearby letterbox into slag. With a flare of blazing sparks and a wave of searing heat, a pair of wings snapped free and blew the pillar apart.

Mary-Ann lowered her arm and then burst out laughing as she saw Tash. "That's it? All that yelling and fire and heat and all you got out of it was a sword?"

Indeed it was. The fire-orange blade was nearly four feet long and the silver hilt was shaped like a phoenix, the wings curving down towards the handle to form a guard. Light glinted off the faint gold-etched name just above the hilt on the blade: Nephthys.

Tash's wings, now made entirely out of burning orange-and-red flames beat folded against her back as the British girl gripped her great sword with both hands and twirled it around in a series of maneuvers, little sparks dancing around the blade and trailing it's wake as she did so and she fixed Mary-Ann with a cold stare, her blue eyes nothing but ice.

The Sue was still laughing when she blinked and realized that Tash was behind her. "Huh..?" She looked over her shoulder and saw that Tash was holding Ossa in one arm. "But... I've got that girl, here in my hand..."

She looked to at her hand, as if expecting to see Ossa magically appear there... only to realize there was no hand. And no arm.

Tash dumped Ossa on the ground as the Native-American Agent yanked the Sue's now limp arm off her throat and gulped down air before turning around to stare coldly at Mary-Ann.

"H-hey... that... that's my arm... give-give it back..." Blood pouring from her wound, Mary-Ann reached her other hand towards the pair, her eyes wide and a bit disbelieving. Then there was a 'fwoosh!' sound and she glanced at her stump of an arm, realizing it had caught fire somehow. "Oh... how odd..."

Then the flames roared and washed over the rest of her and she screamed wildly as she was burned. There was one bright flare of flame and heat that forced everyone save Tash to shield their eyes.

Aramayis lowered his hand and stared in quiet astonishment, for where Mary-Ann had been, there was now a tiny pile of ashes. (I don't know how she managed get that blade... no human should be able to do that, yet she did... and the blade was so hot it ignited that Sue's body on fire and incinerated her in seconds...)

Tash watched the pile of ashes that had been Mary-Ann blow away and her wings flared open and with a single flap, she launched herself skywards in a shower of embers and sparks.

"Tash, wait!" Hati yelled after her, helplessly watching as the streak of flames that Tash had become arced towards the south, becoming smaller and smaller.

"Holy crap... just how fast is she going?" Kuroneko asked, helping Ossa to her feet.

Saito brushed a few embers off his sleeve casually. "She's probably pushing just below Mach1... and is probably heading for the Sahara to fight Willowe."

Michael frowned. "It'll take her hours to get there!"

"Much less, actually." Aramayis said. "She's flying in an arc, not a straight-line. She'll fly as high as she can and then arc towards the Sahara and hit Willowe like a the most, her trip will probably take half an hour."

"We've got to go after!" Valerie said, grabbing Aramayis' arm. "There's no telling what she'll do in the state she's in and we can't let her die, too. Besides, Willowe is the threat you Counter Guardian's have to deal with!"

"I know. But only two of us will be going after Willowe. The rest of us and all you Agents will be going to Stonehenge." Aramayis explained calmly and then smiled at the confused/surprised looks he got from the Agents. "Stonehenge functions as a gateway between Earth and other places. It's the strongest type of that signal on the planet and the obvious location for Willowe's forces to finish arriving."

Kuroneko dashed for a car, gesturing for the Agents to follow her. "We'll use the vehicles. Stonehenge is only twenty minutes away from this village by car. And don't mind the traffic laws, kids. No one's aware enough to give you a ticket."

As the Agents all scrambled for vehicles, Aramayis made a few gestures with his hands, trails of shadow in their wake and then he and Saito were swallowed up by it and he tried not to dwell on the fate of Earth and a massive portion of Multiverse came down to these two battles... and if they lost, there would be no tomorrow.

Only a twilight of red skies...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Insert Red Skies Twilight Here (part 3 of 6)

"God, I want to dream again. Take me where I've never been. 
I want to go there... This time I am not scared!
Now I am unbreakable, it's unmistakable. 
No one can touch me, nothing can stop me."
-'Unbreakable' by Fireflight

Kyle, Doug, Cristoph, Tyler and the other Original Character Agents stared at the door in front of them. It was like any other door in the Library. Made of wood. Golden doorknob. Paneled. Perfectly ordinary.
Yet, the innocent little door filled the Agents with hesitation and a bit of fear.

"Why do we need go to go through this?" Kyle asked eventually.

"Because, as Original Characters, we cannot pass through Adrian's door that leads to the Real World." Aster explained patiently, hovering a few feet above the Agent's head, busy reading a Gai-Rei manga. Adrian had said to get them to the door, not to make them go through it, after all. "So we have to go through this door, which will takes us all back to our original worlds."

"And why do we have to go back, Aster?" Cristoph asked the fae. "Even if we cannot go to the Real World with the others, we can at least stay here and help Lord Adrian fight off the invasion."

"Right!" Drake pounded his fist into his palm, causing his armor to produce a slight metallic ring. "Together, we can drive those Sues and Stus straight back into the hole they crawled out of!" The other Agents nodded and shouted their agreement.

"No, we can't." Aster closed her manga and flew down to hover in front of them. "Agent Smith's ability to create copies might work on us and he gains all the powers that the person he turned into a copy had. If he manages to turn us into copies, he would nearly unstoppable."

They all frowned at her as the realization hit them and several of them swore. "But there must something we can do!"

"Adrian-kun has a plan." Aster said. "And part of it is sending all OC Agents back home for the duration of Willowe's invasion."

Doug shot a glare at the fae. "What gives Adrian the right to order us like that and remove us from the fight? And why do you know so much about his plans?"

"Because I told her them, that's why." Everyone turned as a door on the far wall opened and Adrian stepped through, Emily and Lily right behind him. His blade was covered in blood and it ran down in little rivulets down one cheek and stained his clothing. "Now go through the door."

"Just one minute!" Kyle stepped forwards, narrowing his eyes at Adrian. "We're all good fighters and pretty powerful, too! We can help you! And even if you are a Leader, that doesn't mean we can't disobey orders when we think they're wrong!" The other Agents nodded and murmured agreements.

Adrian didn't back down from the glare. "You don't get it, do you? There are several thousand Agent Smiths running around in the Library. The creations Fiction Press produces aren't that powerful, so it makes dozens upon dozens of extras to compensate. And it only takes a second for Smith to overwhelm them and turn something that's a drone into a copy of him. I didn't even realize he was doing it until I ran into a room full of them."

He fixed them all with a sharp look. "And with so many to fight, it's more than certain that you could all be overwhelmed and turned into copies. And the simplest way to deal with a problem is to reduce it to a single variable. So I am. And that means removing you all from the equation."

He gestured to Lily and Emily, where the ten-year-old was hanging close to the older Sue. "And there's no guarantee that any of the Sues and Stus won't target them. Silver already tried to kill Emily once. They need protection. So you're going to take them with you when you leave."

Kyle frowned darkly, obviously not liking the fact that Adrian was right and he couldn't do anything to change it. "But you can't fight them all by yourself! And what's going to stop Smith from trying to make you a copy? Then he really will be unstoppable!"

Adrian gave a soft, deadly smirk. "Trust me... I've fought armies by myself before and I have the advantage of home turf. And I'm not an OC, I'm a Counter Guardian. I'm not even sure I'm human. I will be just fine."

A series of explosions rocked the room and Adrian turned to face the door, readying Hoshikuzu. "They're getting close... you need to go, now!"

"But..." The Agents drew their weapons as another explosion sounded and shook the room, louder and closer this time. "We can't just leave you!"

"I said, go!" Adrian waved his hand behind him at the Agents and they all slid back several inches as his power pressed into them. "Now!"

Then another series of explosions sounded and then the last one forced everyone to shield their faces as Harold emerged from the hole, powering up attacks as Smiths flooded into the room. "Kill them all!"


"I think she's waking up..."

"About time."

"I can't believe Adrian knocked her out..."

"It was the right thing to do. Having that girl there would have been distraction and any enemy could have turned that distraction into a fatal weakness." The voice cool and calm, almost cold.

"Hey, take that back! She's not a weakness!" That was Hati's voice.

"I told you before, I don't have time to babysit children playing Cowboys and Indians." There was the sound of metal chiming-like a sheathed sword being moved- and then footsteps that got fainter as time passed. "When you're ready to grow up and accept the reality that you are all potential weaknesses to someone like the Librarian, come find me." A door opened, and then slammed shut.

"What a jerk..."

Tash felt a cool hand on her forehead and stirred, blinking blearily and squinting into the light. "Val...?"

"Hey. Welcome back to the land of the living, Tash." A blurred blob of color appeared in Tash's view, and then resolved into the healer's face after a couple more blinks. "How are you feeling?"

"Okay, I think... I don't remember much after Adrian..." Tash's eyes widened and she bolted up right, scrabbling off the bed. "Adrian! He's going to fight all those enemies alone! We have to help him!"

Val gripped Tash's arm and fixed her a soft look. "Tash...we're back in the Real World. Adrian made us leave the Library. There's nothing you can do."

"What... why... no... we have to go back!" Tash shook Val off and started glancing around, not really sure what she was looking for. "We have to help him! He'll get killed otherwise! We can't let him die!"

Then a hand was placed on her shoulder and Tash stopped rambling, as a calm voice interjected. "Miss... I know you are concerned greatly about your love, but you must remember, Adrian is a Counter Guardian. It is exactly this kind of situation Counter Guardians take care of. And if he sent you from the Library, then he must have had a good reason for it."

The British girl turned to see a man of average height standing next to her. He was dressed entire in black, with black slacks and a button-up sweater and a thin pair of glasses perched on his nose. "Who are you?"

The man smiled at her and Tash was reminded of those wise, old teachers that are everyone's favorite. "My name is Aramayis. I'm one of Adrian's fellow Counter Guardians."

"There's about five or six of them here with us. "Hati said and Tash only just noticed that her friend was leaning against the wall, arms folded in a huff. "When we came out in some kind of glen or field or whatever and they were waiting for us. Told to us to come with them. Now we're in a hotel in England. And that Saito guy is a real jerk." The Society's founder fired a glare at the door to the room and stuck her tongue out at it.

Aramayis removed his hand from Tash's shoulder and smiled a bit. "Do not mind Saito overmuch. He is very much a 'no-nonsense'-type of man and is always like that."

Tash grasped Aramayis' collar. "You Counter Guardians can travel dimensions! Please! You have to go help Adrian! Please..."

"That's impossible." The door to the room opened and a man walked in, his white hair spiked backwards and he wore pants and a ribbed shirt, a dark blue trenchcoat with red interior flapping as he walked in. "Even if we could go help the Librarian, the way to the Library is shut for now. We cannot get in."

"What?" Val frowned sharply, fixing the new man with a sharp look. "Aramayis said that Willowe was exactly the kind of threat a Counter Guardian is supposed to deal with! And now you're telling us that you can't?"

The man didn't seem bothered by the healer's fury, his voice calm and very cool. "The Counter Guardians exist to protect the integrity of the Multiverse. We are reactionary. And Willowe has not done anything that warrants the intervention of a Counter Guardian."

"What do you call Adrian!" Hati snapped at him while Tash looked ready to throttle him.

Aramayis stepped between them all. "Enough. Despite the harshness of what he says, Vergil speaks the truth. Willowe has simply not done anything that makes her threat enough for a Counter Guardian to deal with. Adrian is not acting in his authority as a Counter Guardian when he fights Sues and Stus, but as a member of the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society."

"Then why are you here?" Valerie asked, folding her arms. "If Willowe is not a big enough of problem for the Counter Guardians, why are you so many of you here on Earth?"

"We don't know..." This time, the newcomer was a tall, buxom woman in what looked like an elegant Chinese dress, a pair of fluffy kitty ears atop her brown head of hair. A pair of metallic looking fans were tied to her hips, clinking as she walked. "He never told us, only that we should be here when he asked us to be and be ready to help you guys."

"Counter Guardians, due to the nature of our jobs, tend to arrive exactly when we need to help a world or take care of something." Aramayis picked up the explanation. "However, in this instance, Adrian told us ahead of time where to be, like Kuroneko says. Oddly enough, the Powers That Be seemed to agree and backed him on his decision to send us here. Whatever will happen here on Earth, I am sure it will happen soon and it will be vitality important to the Multiverse as a whole."

"So what?" Tash demanded. "What about my universe! Adrian is stuck in the Library, taking on an army by himself and we're all sitting around here chatting like its afternoon tea! We HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!" She slammed her fist on the wall in frustration and then paused as she heard something fall to the floor.

Bending down, she picked up the thin black book that Aster had given her before disappearing into the Library. "This is the Codex of Index..."

Aramayis gained a small smile. "Due to the nature of the Library, you cannot take a book away from its walls. So Adrian developed the Codex of Index. You write a question in it and it gives you a list of related books and titles. You can pick one and it will become that book, letting you read it without having to go back to the Library."

"So Adrian gave it to Tash..." Valerie's brow furrowed as she thought hard for a moment. "But why? Does he think she'll know what question to ask to get information from a book that will helps us? But what question do we ask? We don't really know anything about this situation when it comes down to it..."

Kuroneko smirked and put a hand on her hip. "He gave it to Tash for a reason, so he must know what question she will ask to get the information that we want."

Tash studied the small book in her palm for a long moment, and then pulled the quill that was stored in the book's spine out, flipped it open and quickly scrawled her question onto the blank page:

How can I save Adrian?

As soon as she finished writing the question mark, the words faded into the page and were immediately replaced with a fresh set of words that Tash recognized as Adrian's slanted handwriting, even as more words filled the rest of the page.

To Save Your Love
By: Adrian the Librarian

Dearest Tash,

Before I can fully explain things, know that I am so sorry that it had to be like this and that I love you with all my heart and soul and so desperately wish I could be with you in this dark hour.

But I learned long ago that none of us really ever get what we want and since I know exactly when you will read this, time is of the essence, please read this aloud to the Counter Guardians and the other Agents If you cannot find the strength to, I understand. However, this needs to be read aloud to everyone and is of vital importance.

Tash stopped reading, her knuckles white as she was gripping the Codex so hard. "I... I... he... wants me... to read... this... the others..." Then she fell silent, her shoulders trembling.

Val hugged Tash comfortingly and gently guided her towards the door. "It's okay... I know what he wants." As the room's other occupants filed out, Tash bit her lower lip, struggling to not cry and not breakdown. She had to be strong. Adrian needed her help. She had to be strong for him.

Taking a deep breath, she let it out slowly and lifted her head, seeing all the Agents gathered in the large room, looking at her, their Leader. Worry, fear, concern, fright, determination, pain, seemed like the whole gamut of human emotion was represented among them, her family, her friends.

Tash opened the book again and looked down at her love's neat handwriting before beginning to read.

My friends... my comrades... my family...

Now that this being read, I have already passed from this life or am about to and ... for you, and nearly all of creation, time is very short. So I will be doing my best to give you all the vital information and be as brief as possible...

I first became aware of Willowe's plan shortly after our first encounter with Runoa in Fate/stay Night. I made it my mission to track down Runoa and the Holy Grail copy she had stolen after my defeat at her hands, partly out of duty and partly out of pride. And in my research and efforts, I made a very startling and disturbing discovery, one that would put our battle with Sues and Stus on a whole new level. No longer was it fun and games or cops-and-robbers.

It would become an all out war for survival.


Adrian dashed down the hallway, Emily tucked under one arm as Bella clung to his back with a death grip, his flash-step propelling rapidly down the expanse of the Library's hallways and room. "Dammit... I didn't think Harold would be smart enough to blast the least everyone else got through and Aster's impromptu ice shield held long enough..."

Lily whimpered a bit as Adrian barreled through a doorway and leapt over the table, flying through the open door across the way and landing on the wall, before flash-stepping down the hallway. "We need to stop and tend to your wounds. And can we not go so fast? I think I'm getting sick..."

Adrian glanced down at the arm that was not holding nearly eighty pounds of pizza-devouring Sue. The sleeve of his coat was long since history and the arm was nearly covered in blood from shoulder to fingertips and a trail of droplets and splatters marked his path as he flash-stepped. "I'm sorry, but we can't stop or slow down. There's no telling where the Sues or Smiths are and right now, it's too crowded to fight them. You or Emily could get hurt or worse. Since you both betrayed the others, there's no telling what they might do to you..."

He smiled reassuringly as he leapt over a hole in the floor. "And don't worry- wounds like this are nothing to me. Trust me, I've been through a lot worse."

Then an explosion of gold light lanced through a nearby door and Adrian skidded hard to avoid it, but was unable to stop completely and was bowled over by the blast, all three of them bouncing across the floor hard.

Harold flew through the hole, flinging blast after blast from his hands at the trio. "I found you, Librarian!"

Adrian snarled and Hoshikuzu appeared in his grasp with a flash of light and his sword arm nearly blurred as he parried and batted the spheres of energy away. "Damn...what did you do, just start blasting holes through the floors instead of using the doors like a normal person!"

"Yep!" Harold cupped his hand together. "Take this! Galick Gun!" Then he thrust them forwards and a meters-wide blast of crackling golden energy leapt from his hands, devouring the space between it and Adrian in seconds.

"Rrrgg...!" The Librarian kicked Emily away as he grabbed Lily's collar and leapt clear, grimacing as the blast tore off a section of his trenchcoat and burned a fresh set of wounds on his leg. The blast plowed into and up the wall and the ceiling cracked and crumbled, caving in as the weight of the bookshelves and other items in the room above became too much.

"Emily!" Adrian yelled out frantically as the crushing pile of debris hid the little girl from view, forming an impassable wall between them. "EMILY!"

"I'm alright!" Her reply was muffled and faint and if it hadn't been for Adrian's kitty ears, he doubted he would have even heard it. "I'm not hurt! I'm just trapped on the other side!"

"Just a second, I'll come to you-" Adrian whirled and slashed a disk of serrated energy apart before it could reach him, following up by thrusting Hoshikuzu into the ground. "Librarian Art 9: Pillars of Knowledge!"

Even as the six pillars rose around Harold and slammed together, Adrian turned back to the pile. "Emily! I can't make it to you, or I'll lead Harold right to you! Get to a safe room and use your communicator to call Phoenixia! You understand? Call Phoenixia and have her take you to safety!"

"Okay!" Adrian heard footfalls dash away and turned to back to Harold as he flexed his muscles and the pillars shattered apart while Bella picked up a broken length of metal and twirled it, making it an impromptu staff.

"Let's go!" Adrian disappeared from view, flash-stepping right front of the Stu and was not surprised when Harold managed to catch the swing he threw at the Stu's neck. "Real bright..." Then his sword flared as discharged a blast of energy and Harold howled, releasing the weapon and staggering back.

Then Lily ran up and vaulted off of Adrian's shoulder, slamming her staff down on his head. "Take this!"

The staff collided with the Stu's overly-spiky, golden hair... and broke in two.

"Feh. You're not worth the effort." Harold casually back-handed the surprised Bella and she flew away from him like a gun from a bullet, smashing through a wall and collapsing with a moan amidst the debris, half-buried. "Attacks like that might have worked on me before, but I'm a freaking Saiyan! Even when I'm Prohibited! You guys wailed on me after our first go round and I survived it, meaning I just came back stronger!"

Adrian's fist caught Harold in the gut and as the Stu started to bend around his fist, slammed his kneecap into Harold's chin, lifting the Saiyan off the ground. "Librarian Art 2: A Thousand Words An Instant!" Then Adrian was out of sight, sword strikes raining down his target from sides.

"Useless!" Harold's arms blurred as he blocked the strikes bare-handed. "You can't win against a Super Saiyan!"

"Shut up, you freakin' masochist porcupine of nightlight! Even a Stu can't make all that muscle look pretty, even if you are compensating for something!" Adrian reappeared right in front of Harold as his Librarian Art end, sword slashing down in front. "Librarian Art 1: Cutting Remark!"

Harold was flung backwards as he crossed his arms, barely fast enough to block the crescent of energy even as drove him backwards and then he was sent hurtling down the hall, smashing through the floor as the second step of the attack hit him. "Rrrg...!"

"Librarian Secret Art: Boot to the Head!" Adrian appeared right above the Stu's falling form, foot already swinging down. SCHOOWSH-FWUMP!

There was a sharp sound like a cannon being fired and then Harold was a blur as he smashed through floor after floor like a bullet through paper, finally plowing across a tile floor and crashing to a halt against a wall. "Err..."

Adrian landed easily on the floor, raising an eyebrow as he realized where they were. "I forgot this place even existed..."

It was a 'room', though only in the vaguest sense. It seemed taller than a skyscraper, the ceiling lost way up in the vast darkness, if there was one. The room was ringed along all four walls with layered balconies that had seemed to have an endless number of doors on their walls.

Harold picked himself up, shaking his head as bits of tile and debris fell out of his and he rubbed at the boot print on his face, though it did not come off. "What the hell you are talking about?"

"This is the Pillar of Knowledge, the exact center of the Library Arcanium and the only room that does not shift..." Adrian kept his eyes on Harold. " It basically leads to nearly any other room in the Library... if you can figure out which level the door is on and if it's the one you want..."

"Interesting... well, we'll have plenty of time to explore them later." Mary-Ann Twilight emerged from one of the doors on the level that Adrian and Harold were on, a group of Smiths and Sues filing out behind her. "After you're dead, of course."

Adrian glanced around as more of the doors opened and more Smiths poured out, filling up one level of balconies after another and Harold flexed his muscles his Super Saiyan aura erupting around him again and evaporating a section of tiles like they were water, while Mary-Ann took aim with her rocket launcher and Ailianna Flamewing and other Sues readied their blades, Spirit and Phantom flitting above their heads like ghostly vultures. "Sure are a lot of you..."

"But it doesn't matter..." He tightened his grip on his sword, his violet eyes shimmering with power as a violet aura flared to light around him, energy twisting down the length of Hoshikuzu, which hummed and crackled, like it was eager to do battle."Because I'm going to send every last one of you screaming to your graves!"


Emily stumbled as she felt the Library floor shake again and she glanced behind her. Even as young as she was, she could feel the waves of clashing spiritual pressure pulsing and washing over her. She knew one of them was at least Adrian's and so that must mean the others were the escaped Sues and Stus. She offered a silent prayer for his safety as she ducked inside a nearby room after first making sure it wasn't occupied by anyone who wanted to kill her.

She lifted up her wrist communicator. Unlike the other Agents, Emily had managed to rework hers into something similar to a wristwatch. She had been working doing it for all the others, but sadly hadn't been able to find any straps that would fit anything bigger than her ten-year-old wrist. She pressed a button in it. "Phoenixia?"

"Emily!" Phoenixia's face appeared on her screen almost instantly, looking both relieved and worried. "Are you okay? Where are you?"

"I'm fine and I'm in the Wicca Room, I think." Emily said quickly. "Harold destroyed the portal out and Adrian is busy fighting him. I don't know what happened to Lily."

"I've got her. She was bruised up pretty bad and will have some sore ribs, but she'll be fine." Phoenixia replied. "Emily, there isn't a holoprojector in that room. You need to get a room that does or I can't get to you."

"Well, which rooms do have one? It's not like Adrian left a map or anything!"

"Calm down. The High Fantasy room isn't that far from where you are. Exit through the north door, take a right down the hall and make a left at the first intersection. It's the first door on the right, past the vase of violets. Hurry up and get your butt down there. I'll be waiting."

"Okay." Emily ended the call and trotted across the room and through the far door. (Good thing that the doors are marked with which direction they're facing or I think everyone would get lost...)

She slipped into the hall and started to make her way down it, only to freeze and go wide-eyed as a pair of figures stepped out around the corner. "Oh no..."

"Well, look here. Looks like we-" Ashley smirked and tossed her hair over her shoulder.

"-get to have some fun with our dear sister after all." Aspen grinned darkly and took a step toward Emily, who whimpered and jumped back, causing the older Sue to laugh. "Awww, she's scared of us! Isn't that-"

"-the cutest thing?" Ashley's grin matched her twin's and they both started to advance on their younger sibling, who began to back away in terror. "C'mon, Palm Tree...let's play some games, like we used to. Don't you love to-"

"-play your big sisters' games? They're a lot-"

"-of fun. And you know what? The first game we're going to play is called-"

"-'Twister.' And we're going to see how well you twist-"

"-little sister." Both twins cackled in eerie unison. "I'm sure you remember how-"

"rough we play sometimes. But don't worry-"

"-you'll pass out long before we start twisting your little head...we might even-"

"-twist it right off!"

Then they lunged and Emily screamed.


I do not know how or when, but perhaps even during their first meeting, Willowe and Runoa have planned an invasion of the Real World. For to control the Real World is to control a massive portion of reality, as all writings and stories and tales and myths tem from the Real World. A Sue in control of the Real World could easily rewrite anything they wished to suit their desires and whims.

But it is not easy to cross into the Real World, especially for fictional beings. Reality naturally rejects fiction and so just crossing over would be pointless, as a Sue or Stu would instantly be destroyed. In fact, reality's rejection of fiction is so great, that fictional creatures cannot even cross over without outside help.

That is where their plan comes in. The Library Arcanium is one of the few places in existence where it's possible to cross from one dimension to another. Runoa, being an ex-Librarian and having been Librarian for far longer than I, must have known how to circumvent the barrier s around the Library and let Willowe, as was proven when she broke in to free the Elementals to distract us while she searched for the Holy Grail...

The seven items they stole- Excalibur, The Tabula Rasa, Fountain of Youth water, Necrominicon, Spear of Destiny, the Rosseta Stone and the Holy Grail- are unique among the world because they all actually exist in the Real World, but are shrouded in mythology and stories in modern times. Thus, all fictional representations have a strong connection to the originals, just like Author Avatars do with their Authors.

It is these seven items, which are the seven greatest myths and legends of the modern age, that would allow anyone to create a bridge between the Library Arcanium and the Real World and let fictional characters cross over.

But it was not until a recent incident that I finally figured all this out.


-Blood spatters across Adrian's face as Hoshikuzu slices clean through the Agent Smith copy's torso and the two halves had barely started to separate as the Librarian flipps away, a hail of bullets and energy blasts tearing through the space he had just been-

-Books leap from the shelves as if alive, forming a wall that blocks bullets and sword and more, each tome exploding into scraps of paper that ignite and swirl together into a tornado of flames that scorch and sear and burn at Smiths and Sues even as Adrian leaps among them, blade flashing and gouts of blood fill the air, accompanied by limbs-

-The Librarian hurls his blade and it whirls away, arcing like a boomerang as it ignites with his power, sending all its in path diving for cover, while those too slow are sliced in twain and shredded by the energy while Adrian himself kicks a pistol into his hand, yanks another from a Smith's grasp and drops him with a swift kick as he levels both weapons and they roar to life, not even having to aim, so densely packed are his targets. Even as they click empty, he flips them around and wings them towards a pair of charging Smiths, dropping them both just as Hoshikuzu returns to its master's hand-

-Bullets tear through his leg and Adrian stumbles, drops one knee while parrying a overhead strike with a twirl of his weapon, his free hand grabbing a nearby tie and yank it and its owner down to his level, smashing their face with the hilt of his sword and usually the falling man as a step to launch himself into the air-

-Hoshikuzu is driven into the floor and an explosion of violet power erupts from impact point, knocking dozens of those surrounding him into the air as the sword, tethered to his hand by a stand of energy, is whipped around and around above his head, slicing Smiths and Sues and gouging a jagged line of destruction through the wall and the nearest balcony, causing to crumble apart, sending rubble and Smiths flailing and helpless, crashing to the floor-

On such moments is built the death of Adrian.

Adrian himself is a never-ending whirl of motion, every swing of his sword drawing blood or lopping off limbs or unleashing a destructive burst of energy that annihilates an Agent Smith copy or two or one of the weaker level Sues and Stus almost instantly. Others fall to powerful kicks, punches to their joints or finger-jabs to their throats, strikes to the temples. Still more are lost to his Librarian Arts that bury them under flaming piles of encyclopedias or crush them between pillars of stone.

He is a dancer who moves to the song of battle and wraps it around himself as one would a cloak, breathes it in like one would air, embraces it like one would a lover, drawing it from his very essence even as slash wounds open across his torso and arms, coating him in dripping blood while energy blasts vaporize his trenchcoat and sear and scorch his skin, as bullets bite into skin and muscle and flesh, odd notes and missteps that try cause the song to stumble and halt, but are lost to the music instead.

Adrian's feet nimbly move him about the battlefield, evading the corpses of the slain, the rubble of the battle, the pools of blood that spread across the floor as his blade dances back and forth, an endless blur from one strike to the next as energy dances around his free hand, lashing out like a snarling beast that rends and destroys those it lands on. A group of Agent Smiths running to flank him smash into an invisible wall that had not been there a moment before, rebounding hard and crashing soundlessly to the floor. Puffs of smoke shield the Librarian from view as his enemies surround him, only for him to reappear amidst another group of Sues and Stus, his blade already going to work on them. Books leap from the shelves as if alive and bombard the sues and Stus even as they glow and heroic figures of reality and fiction leap out to stand by the Librarian's side, swarming over groups of Stus and Sues and Agent Smiths, slaying two, four, five of the Smiths down even as they themselves are overwhelmed and turned into one.

He fights and they die and even as he hurtles towards death himself, the dead mount ceaselessly beneath him. By the time the Smiths on the second story balcony leap down to do combat, they land on the piles of their fellows, struggling not to slip and stagger and tumble down the blood-soaked corpses. Higher and higher the dead rise.

They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Adrian builds the stairs to Heaven with the bodies of the dead.


Emily screamed as her sisters lunge towards and she cowered, shielding her face and wish for Tash or Hati or Phoenixia or Adrian or anyone to come save her.

A golden blast of wave of energy tore through the wall and slammed into the twins, slamming them together and smashing them into a bookcase, which splintered under their weight and buried them under books. "Wha..."

The little girl raises her head and glances towards then newly-created hole, her eyes widening again as she sees a figure emerge through the smoke and bits of debris in the air. "W-w-w-willowe..."

The Eldest Foxblade sister, Excalibur glowing faintly stepped through the hole and over the rubble, seemingly ignoring Emily. "Ashley... Aspen... it's been a long time, hasn't it? Looks like without me to keep you in line, you've gotten worse than usual..."

Ashley stood up, books sliding off her form as she glared at Willowe, Aspen doing the same. "Hello, sister. You always have to spoil our fun, don't you?"

Willowe narrowed her eyes. "The one rule I could never get into your heads was that we do not harm family!"

'Because we're all in this together and we can't find a world to live in if we aren't united.' Ashley finished, repeating something she had heard a thousand times before. "And if you want to talk about harming family, why don't you start with yourself?"

"Yes, because you're the one who left us. Who never showed up to help us when we needed? You-

"-are the one who started this all! You drew the Society's attention to all the Foxblades! And that-"

"-means you ruined our fun! Just like you're ruining it now!"

"Shut. Up." Willowe's glare was ice cold and the twins flinched in unison. "You abandoned your family to play your little games... you disobeyed my instructions to keep a low profile...and you abused Palm Tree!" Again the twins flinched. "You think I didn't know? While I was on the run, I had the others keep tabs on you." Her glare hardened. "For once, I'm glad the Society exists, because they at least did the right thing and put you two away!"

Ashley rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say, big sister. It doesn't matter, because-"

"-we aren't going to listen to you anymore. We're all grown-up, adopted and besides-"

"-it might be fun to play a game with you, too!" Aspen grinned wickedly and both twins seemed to blur out of sight.

Willowe shook her head as the twins reappeared and thrust Excalibur behind her head and raised her free hand, easily blocking their kicks as they reappeared in front and back of her. "You two never learn... you attack in unison and that may throw off the average fighter, but you two are just one-trick horses."

Growling, the twins flipped away and Ashley vaulted off the wall, flipping over Willowe to land near her sister. "If you think that-

"-then you're going to be surprised by this." The twin clasped their hands together and started to glow. "We can double our power! Double trouble, double the fun!"

Then their eyes widened as they realized Willowe was suddenly right in front of them. (But... but she was... across the hall... how did she...?)

"Did you really think that I'm going to give you the time to fuse?" Willowe slashed Excalibur through the air in front of her casually and for a second, nothing happened. Then a wave of golden light appeared and washed over the twins in an instant, not even giving them time to scream and when it faded, they were nowhere to be seen.

Emily stared at the sight before her, unable to stop her hands and knees from trembling. "Ah... ah... ah..."

Willowe turned to face her and Emily's face paled several shades, but she found herself frozen, unable to move or even cry out as the eldest Foxblade walked over to the young girl.

Excalibur clanked against the floor as Willowe used that hand to brace herself as she knelt so that the two were eye-level and Emily whimpered, unable to help herself. "Ah... ah... I... uh..."

Then she blinked as Willowe hugged her tightly and after a long moment, Emily hugged her back just as tightly. They stayed like that for several second and she whispered out. "Why?"

Willowe pulled away from the hug and just smiled sadly at Emily, pulling an envelope and handing it to her. She leaned forwards and gave Emily a quick kiss on the forehead before standing up and ruffling her hair gently.

Emily lifted her head and looked into her sister's eyes and for a second, she thought Willowe was going to cry. Then she blinked and heard the familiar 'wsssshhh' of a flash-step and Willowe was gone.

It was only then that Emily realized that her legs had given out and she felt tears running down her face and she wasn't sure if they were from grief or fear or relief.

"Big sis..."


It was during our Halloween party and the problems of that night that I realized that the Fourth Wall could be used as the 'door' to the Real World using the Items. The Fourth Wall exists as a separation between fiction and reality- to keep those in plays and stories from interacting with those who are observing it. Obviously, the wall can be 'broken', though in our case it is only a figure of speech.

But this realization gave me no comfort, as I now understood that Willowe's plan was quite doable. Still, I could not tell the Society- it would have been impossible to convince some of you to wait and fight defensively and we did not have the time or the resources to spare to track down Willowe specifically... And I did not when or even if that was the true plan- With Runoa on their side, I could not afford to take any chances. So I did my best to prepare for it.

I warned my Counter Guardian allies of what might happen and did my best to teach and train everyone who needed it to be able to fight. Phoenixia and I spent countless hours trying to figure out what they're next move would be, but because you are reading this, it was obviously to no avail.

To gain access to the Fourth Wall, which is behind the Sealed Door in my office, Willowe will need one of two things: My permission or my death. As she will never obviously get the first, so the latter is her only option. However she got into the Library, I know she will come in force and Runoa will likely provide her ways around any moves or stratagems I employ. Sending you all away from the Library is the only way I knew how to protect you all. And I cannot just leave the Library or trap Willowe's forces in it- there are too many secrets and magics within its walls that would her make extremely dangerous force.

My only option is to try and stop her myself. And if I cannot do that, then I will at least weaken her forces or even delay her plans if I can. But in my heart, I know I cannot succeed against this. Still, I will try anyway.

But my death may actually be the key to defeating Willowe and her plan.


Adrian bounced and skidded across the floor, leaving a smeared trail of blood in his wake before cratering a wall with his form.

He jerked and pried himself free, coughing and hacking and blood splattering from his mouth. (So much blood... I must have damaged an internal organ... or most of them...)

Grasping the tattered remains of his shirt, he ripped them off and tossed them away. His upper body was completely bare, covered in burns and slash wounds and muscles were coated slick with blood. Every heaving breath of his chest ached and his arms felt like they... well, it felt like he didn't have arms. His hair was matted and clotted with blood and sweat and was plastered to his scalp.

Instinct sent him dashing forwards, ducking as bullets hissed overhead and he lashed out with Hoshikuzu and was rewarded when he felt it bite through several somethings and felt hot droplets of blood fall across his form and the Smiths in front of him dropped, dead before they hit the floor.

The Librarian was still moving, grabbing the nearest enemy and yanking them around as a human shield and felt their body jerk and twitch as bullets and energy blasts thudded into them. He hurled the body and flung it into a pile of enemies even as he waved his free hand and a wave of books and paper scraps fell over them and ignited, incinerating them instantly.

Most of the enemies on the ground floor had been killed or had retreated behind the massive piles of bodies to lick their wounds, but Adrian lifted his head and watched as what looked like a wave of black-suited men poured off the upper balconies towards the ground floor. There were hundreds of them... thousands...

He tightened his grip on the battered Hoshikuzu. Its tip was missing, the blade was chipped all along itself and the hilt was bent and twisted and the guards were missing entirely. (I can't kill them all... not like this...)

But he did have one trick left.

Adrian sprinted forwards and up a pile of bodies onto the first-story balcony and leapt up across the gap, alighting briefly on the second-story balcony before repeating the process. "My heart is my shield..."

He vaulted from level to level, landing on the fourth one and his sword blurred, slicing the barrels off the guns aimed at him before was among them, sword slicing and hacking as he lashed out with kicks and punches. "My sword guides my way..."

Having cleared enough space, he leapt to the next level and the next and next, higher and higher. "Angels weep at my coming..."

Adrian became aware of a glow behind and realized that Harold was flying after him, even as the Librarian continued his leaping, slashing and raining energy blasts down upon his targets and twisting and turning to dodge retaliating blasts. "Death follows in my footsteps..."

Harold grins as he chases the Library and cups his hands, a sphere of blue and white forming between his fingers. "Kame... ha... me..."

Then his eyes widened as Adrian flipped around in mid-air, kicking off the bottom of one of the balconies and hurtling back towards. (What the hell! Does he want to die!) "Kamehameha!" The Saiyan thrust his hands out and fired the Kamehameha Wave. "I've got you now!"

Adrian corkscrewed his body as he fell, shifting slightly and the attack roared past him, searing his left arm. Ignoring the pain, he slammed into Harold at max velocity and grabbed the Stu's wrist, his fall yanking the Saiyan around and the Kamehameha Wave gouged its way down the wall and the balconies, carving a massing gash and sending waves of debris crashing to the floor and incinerating dozens of Smiths that were unlucky to get caught in its path.

Then the Librarian felt his hand slip and braced himself as the blast him, sending him screaming, tumbling end over end, trailing blood and smoke and bits of flesh before he collided with the floor.

He moaned and lurched to his feet, pure fight instinct causing him to throw Hoshikuzu into an overhead block and he felt the weapon, blade and hilt, shatter into dozens of fragments in his hand. But it was enough, as Willowe's skull-crushing strike with Excalibur was deflected enough that it only bit deeply into his shoulder.

Adrian jerked and gripped the sword's blade, lifting his head. Two sets of violet eyes met and for a long moment, time slowed down, the pieces of Hoshikuzu falling down around them like crystal rain and he could feel every drop of blood on his skin slowly run down every centimeter of his flesh and he could count the number of hairs in Willowe's bangs.

Then time snapped back and he ripped Excalibur free from his shoulder, slamming a punch into Willowe's face that sent her skidding backwards, her feet digging up twin furrows in the ruin floor. "Forever denied heaven..."

He charged at her, flipping over the wave of golden light she sent hurling his way with a swing of her sword and ripped a discarded one free a corpse and their weapons collide and grind against one another before the Sue overpowered him and shoved him away and pressed her attack, slashing away at him incredible ferocity.

Sparks flew, joined by droplets of blood as Adrian desperately tried to parry or deflect Willowe's strikes, his vision filled with the gleaming, gold-tinged metal of her weapon "Forever exiled from hell..."

A crack sounds as his borrowed weapon is sliced in half by Excalibur and he spins away as wave after wave of golden energy sears through the space where his body at just been. "The justified sinner, who seeks rest, shall forever put others to sleep..."

He dashed up a pile of corpses, along a length of rubble and vaults off, aiming a kick for her head, but Willowe lifted her palm and a blast of golden energy leapt from it and Adrian screams as it hurtles him across the room and through the remains of the first-story balcony and then the wall.

Adrian caught himself and leapt back through the hole, landing on a pile of rubble. "So now you shall all bear witness..."

Willowe's eyes widened as she realized what he was doing and she leapt for him, using a blast of Excalibur to propel her like a rocket and Adrian felt a shadow fall over him as Harold hurtles down at him.

"For this is my Sovereign Testament!"

Then the world was lost in a blaze of white light...


My death and Willowe's subsequent taking of the Library means she is now a threat worthy of Counter Guardian's attentions. Not only slaying one of them, but taking control of the Multiverse storehouse gives her access to incredible amounts of dangerous knowledge and the ability to traverse dimensions. This is something the Counter Guardians cannot ignore.

But the taking of the Library is only part of her real purpose and she'll ignore it in favor of going after the Real World. That is why I asked my fellow Counter Guardians to go there. Using the Library as a bridge and using the Items to make the bridge through the Fourth Wall, Willowe and her fellow Sues and Stus will be able to come into the Real World with every last bit of their powers intact. There is no way any normal human army would be able to fight against such a power and many of the Sues and Stus, including Willowe herself are insanely powerful, hence why this situation requires multiple Counter Guardians.

The Society knows Willowe and her cohorts better than anyone else and many of our enemies come for your own creations. Use that knowledge to help the Counter Guardians anyway you can.

That is my plan in its entirety. It is not the best one, but is the one that gives us the greatest chance of victory and with billions upon billions of innocent lives at stake, as well as the future of the Multiverse, I cannot afford to do anything less.

Again, I am so sorry that things had to turn out this way. I'm sorry I could not tell you the truth. But for the safety of so many and those yet unborn, my life is a small price to pay.

I... suppose I owe some of you some last words or something...


The light faded and Willowe lowered her arm and looked around, gasping in surprise.

She and the remaining Sues and Stus as well many, many of the Smiths are standing an endless plain, the sky above them in perpetual twilight with the faint twinkling of stars overhead.

The Sue glanced down and took a step back in surprise...the ground is made up of entirely of various shaped gravestones, all fitted together this way and that way. All of it, from horizon to horizon...

Something hissed and cracked like a whip and a group of Agent Smiths howled as they were destroyed. Willowe's gaze snapped up.

Adrian is standing before them, with what looks like an endless ribbon of white power circling around and above him. "This is my Reality Marble, my soul made manifest. Sovereign Testament. In this place, I am the 'Sovereign'' over this silent, hellish landscape, the very ground I walk on being the Testament of those I've killed... and in here, my power is made real, tangible..." He smirks and thrusts out his hand, the strand of energy reacting and whipping out, destroyed Aliannia Flamewing and a group of Smiths. "Well... what are you waiting for!"


To start with, I'll go with Michael, my on-again, off-again rival. Truly a remarkable man, if a bit pessimistic. I've never met anyone who can make me fight so hard in a duel and I've met even fewer creative minds like his. I'm glad to call him my friend. I'm sorry that I will miss your wedding, Michael. But I'm very happy for you and Claire, even if she is evil with those pinecones. You treat her right or Phoenixia will come after you. I'm serious. And you will learn new meanings of the world 'Fear'. And don't name your kids after me or anything... it just makes me feel old... Instead, just name them after your Children of Horus cards, Michael. I'm sure they'll love you forever for that...

To Aster, you have to be the oddest person I have ever met, and considering I am several, several centuries older than you all, that is saying something... You have amazing potential and I know from experience that you will need more than one lifespan to develop it all. Don't let it get to you when you finally realize what being immortal means. Nothing in life permanent, not even immortality. Treasure everything and everyone who have. And Aster, please watch over Tash for me. And I'm sorry I couldn't get you your soul back... I know you're indifferent either way, but... you deserve it. No one should have something like that taken away from them. Please talk to Phoenixia and Aramayis when this is all over. I'm sure they will be able to help you reclaim what is yours.


The ribbon of energy breaks apart into hundreds of dozens of motes of light and each mote of light grows and lengths, forming into a sword.

Adrian grabbed one from the air and charged as the swords rained from the sky and burst upwards from the ground, impaling his enemies, skewering them and even exploding, covering the ground with clouds of dust as he charges into a group of Smiths, sword arm a blur he slashed them all down and white and gold light flares as he and Willowe collide, weapons sparking and hissing as they grind against one another


To Valerie, a mind like yours only comes along once a century and I am very blessed and happy to have met this century's. Even I, for all that I've seen and done and learned, find myself feeling very small and humbled when faced with your keen insight and sharp mind. You are wise beyond your years, though you are a tad naïve, but I find it refreshing as it keeps me from going cynical. And you are one of the greatest healers I have ever known. You have a true gift for it. And you also have one of the dirtiest mouths I have ever heard on a healer, too. I find it rather amusing.

You are the thread and needle that helps bind the fabric of the Society and after this all over, I know that you will be needed more than ever. Stay strong, my dear, and remember: In the deepest darkest, the smallest light shines the brightest.


Willowe watches as all the energy gathered into Adrian's hand, forming a massive, blazing sword of white light and she realized that he's compressed every single bit of power into that blade. It is his absolute maximum.
The blade roars and crackles like a living being, nearly as long as Adrian is tall and the hilt is in some ornate design, but the light prevents anyone from really seeing what it is. Adrian gripped it tightly and readies himself as Willowe does the same.

Then they lunged towards one another and in a blinding flare of white and gold, their weapons collide, clashing again and again and everything time they swing, the swords release great arcs of energy and power that carve up the landscape like a hot knife through better even as the ground around them both cracks and shatters, bits and pieces being dragged into the whirling, clashing energies.


To Tash...

My dear, sweet Tashy...

I cannot apologize enough or tell you how sorry I am that it had to end this way...but this is my road and I've been walking it for a very, very long time. And no matter how much I want it to be so, you cannot follow me on it. This is something I must do-alone.

But I want you to know I love you. More than word can describe or act can show. You reawakened a part of me that I had long though had died. For the first time in my very long life, I was loved for nothing more than the person I was. Not because I had all this power or ability or anything else- just because I was me. You have no idea how happy that made me. You are the piece that completes me and...and I'm not afraid to love anymore. To me, nothing would make me feel safer than being loved by you.

I am appointing you Librarian in my stead...because it is not a true contract with the Powers That Be, you will not be immortal like I am. You may continue to be Librarian as long as you wish and you may pick the next one, if you find a suitable candidate. Also, you are getting everything that I own, little thought it really is. I can really only claim to own my Zord and Phoenixia, but I know she'll stay with you anyway. Do not push her or anyone else away in the coming times. You will need them all.

I love you, Tash Marquand. Do not ever, ever forget that.

To all my friends, my comrades...thank you. Mere words cannot express how much you've all changed my life for the better.

Eternally yours,



With an earsplitting resound, a great crack formed across the sky, like some great beast was trying to pry it apart so it could climb through.

Willowe watched as Adrian's Reality Marble cracked and fell apart around them, massive chunks breaking free of the sky and crashing the ground, slowly dissolving away into the ether.

The Librarian glanced down at his sword and cracks spread like a spider web up its length and bits and pieces began to fall away before it simply shattered like glass, raining to the ground.

He lifted his head as his Reality Marble, his very soul, began to crack and break apart more rapidly, more and more of it dissolving away into the ether. "Heh… didn't think my soul was so fragile…"

Then Excalibur pierced through his chest, blood spraying out the exit wound and he jerked, collapsing onto the blade as his strength left him.

Willowe drove the blade deeper and it began to hum with energy, gold swirls gathering around the length of the weapon. "You fought well, Librarian… and I'm sorry this had to be… but you need to die for my dream."

Then her eyes widened as Adrian grabbed the blade of Excalibur and lifted his head, a smirk on his face as he actually pulled himself farther up the sword, one hand leaving it to grab her dress, pulling them together until they were just inches apart. "It's alright, Willowe…" And he smiled softly at her. "I forgive you."

Then he threw back his hand and howled and his form glowed and everything was lost to white light…