Saturday, July 7, 2012

Insert Red Skies Twilight Here (part 2 of 6)

"I loved you, you made me. 
You gave me hate, see. It saved me. 
And these tears are deadly. 
You feel that? I rip that. 
Every time you try to steal that, 
you feel that, you feel sad.

"I'm sorry. It was my heart, my life. 
It was my start, it was your knife.
This strife, it dies and this life and these lies.
And these lungs have sung this song for too long. 

It's true, I hurt too.
Remember, I loved you!"

-'Black Dahlia' by Hollywood Undead.

Marcus ducked another knife swing from the false-Tash, this one slicing off a few strands of hair. "Watch it! You about took my head off!"

"That's the idea!" The insane Sue cackled and lunged at him again, missing by a few inches. "Now hold still and I promise I'll make this as painful as possible!"

"No thanks!" Marcus rolled out of the way and leapt to his feet, snatching his umbrella from where it was leaning against the wall. Whirling, he swung it at her head, intending to knock her out with the blow…

Only for her to grab it with a hand a few inches from her face. "Not bad, boy, but there's no way a measly umbrella can…" Then she was floored as Marcus tapped the released button and the umbrella sprang open. "Hey!"

With a grin, Marcus snagged the umbrella behind her head and yanked her close, slamming his fist right into her face. "You know, everyone laughed at me when I got this thing…"

The Pseudo-Tash staggered a bit, her eyes rolling around in their sockets, blood pouring from her nose. " It's snot fair… I's always… gets the short ends of the stick…" Then she toppled backwards and collapsed on the floor, out cold.

Marcus looked at her for a minute as he folded up his umbrella, then shrugged and dashed out of the room, heading for the sounds he hoped weren't explosions. (If she got out, then I'm betting that some of the others did, too. If that's the case, the other Agents will need my help…)


Tash screamed as Harold's punch to her gut rocketed her backwards and embedded her into a wall amidst a cloud of dust.

"Tash!" Valerie shouted and then barely manages to leap aside as Harold casually tossed a sphere of energy at her, the attack zipping past her shoulder and slamming into a target, completely destroying it with a small explosion. The rest of the training was covered in small craters and scorch marks form near-misses, last-second dodges and Tash's fiery strikes.

"Hehehehe…" Harold chuckled as he slowly charged up another energy attack. "This is kind of fun…I've been playing with you for ten minutes and I'm still not bored…"

"Radiance..." Kyle came out of nowhere and slammed his glowing fist into the Super-Saiyan's gut and an explosion of light leapt from the impact point, Harold roaring in pain as it started to shove him backwards even as Kyle slammed his other fist into him and another punch and another and another, till his arms were nearly blurs. "Barrage!" Finally, the Agent clasped his together and wound up, slamming a two-handed haymaker across Harold's face, the blow actually lifting him off the ground and Kyle whirled, landing a powerful kick that sent Harold flying into the wall.

"Rrrrrgggg...tch...!' Harold pried himself free and wiped a bit of blood away from the corner of his mouth, his Super-Saiyan aura still burning around him. "You got guts, kid and you know how to fight, I'll give you that..."

Kyle just glared and got into a battle-stance, trying to ignore the pain in his arms. While Radiance Barrage was one of his more efficient techniques, as he only had to channel a small out of energy into his fists, it still had it's toll, as several dozen miniscule pin-prick like- cuts had opened from the move, leaving his forearms streaked with blood. "I'll going to burn you away with the power of my soul..."

"Not if I get him first! "Tash leapt out of the wall, twirling her staff and leaving a trail of flames it's wake. "Jurai-Ken- Tainrenso!" She crouched down and launched herself forwards in a split second, becoming a tornado of fire, leaving a trail of scorched floor in her wake.

Harold smirked and his hand snapped out, deftly catching the head of Tash's staff and halting her momentum instantly. "You really think such a little attack is going to work... you're too slow, I can see your moves!" Then his eyes widened as a pair of flaming wings erupted from Tash's back. "Oh..."

"Jurai-Ken- Abari!" With a battle cry, Tash's wings flared larger and she rocketed forwards , spinning like a top till she and Harold had punched through the wall and into the next room, smashing through bookshelves and colliding with a marble pillar that halted their momentum and then the head of Tash's staff erupted with flames like a small bomb.

Tash flipped away and beat her wings, putting some distance between her and the Stu, staff at the ready. "Bet you're not so smug now…"

Then an echoing boom sounded and Tash cried out as a wave of sound slammed into her while at the same time it blew the smoke surrounding Harold away and cracked the floor next to him, revealing that he had merely clapped his hands together. "That hurt..."

He glared up at Tash and opened his hands. "But not as much as this will! Destructo Disk!" A pair of serrated-energy disks burst into existence in his hands and he flung them towards the Society leader, forcing her to fly and dart and dodge in a mad game of tag in and out of bookshelves and pillars.

Harold smirked arrogantly as he directed the disks motions with his hands, watching them sheer the top of a bookshelf, a chunk out of a marble pillar and neatly cleaved a statue of Zeus in two, Tash barely able to keep ahead of them. "You aren't going to last, girl! I'll cut you into pieces!'

Tash twisted around one of the disks and yelped as she saw the second hissing right for her. In desperation, she folded her wings around her just as the disk hit. For a moment, energy and fire sparked and flared against one another, then Tash snapped her wings apart and knocked the disk away, destroying it with a swift blast of fire from her staff. "Ha!"

Then Tash heard a humming behind her and turned, knowing that she wasn't going to be fast enough to block or avoid the second disk...

Then a thin blue-arrow shot past her ear and collided with the disk, both of them exploding in a small flare of energy. "Whoa..."

Harold glared towards the hole, where Valerie was standing with Seiryu active, it's edges flicking with uncontrolled energy. "You're next, then!" He cupped his hands together and began to charge up a sphere of golden energy.

"Not likely!" Kyle dropped down from above and drove his Omni-weapon, in the shape of a broadsword into the floor right in front of Harold and discharged a burst of power through the weapon, cracking the floor beneath the Stu's feet heavily.

"Huh? What?" Harold saw a few bits of dust drop down in front of his face and lifted his head, just in time to see the last arrow strike the ceiling above him and it gave way, a huge chunk of it falling his way and accompanied by the books and shelves that rested on it. "I hate you all. So much..."

Kyle leapt away to join Valerie and Tash landed next to the pair as Harold was buried under the ton of debris from the floor above and the floor beneath him a gave way, dropping him out of sight. "Thanks, you two."

"You're welcome." Val nodded and glanced towards the hole they had just made. "I don't know how he got out, but if he has, I bet the others have as well. We need to find the others and Adrian and regroup. The Library's too large and if we don't have a plan, we'll never find them all."

"Right." Tash agreed and pulled out her communicator, pressing the 'Contact All' button and speaking. "This is Chief Agent Tash. I don't know why or how, but it looks like the Sues and Stus have escaped from the basement and their Prohibitors have been removed. Be on alert for any of them and work together. As soon as you are able, get back to the Briefing Room to regroup."

As she finished speaking, a burst of golden energy erupted form the hole and the three Agents grimaced. "I knew that wouldn't take him down..."

Kyle took a step forwards and slid into a battle stance. "You two go on ahead-I'll stall him and beat him down…"

Val shook her head. "He was beating the tar out of you one-on-one and there's no way the three of us can beat him like this. We need to beat a retreat." She whistled once and Ari appeared, latched onto Kyle and in a split second, vanished with him into between.

Tash grabbed Val and with beat of her wings, alighted into the air and flew through the hole in the wall, even as Harold tore his way through the debris burying him and flew after his prey.


Mytheus Primal smiled as the couch he had been firing on finally crumbled apart "About time…" He tromped forwards and savagely kicked away the remains of the couch his prey had been hiding behind. "Alright, who wants to be filled full of holes first!"

Then he paused and glanced around. "Hey, where'd you all go…?" Then he heard a loud cry of 'Push!' and turned around just in time to see a towering bookshelves collapse, raining books on his form as it collapsed on top of him. "Awwww…"

Standing on the far end of the room, having pushed over the line of bookshelves that caused them to fall like dominoes, Claire and Miriku high-fived each other. "Yes, we rock!"

Then the bookshelf groaned and then blew apart as Mytheus Primal burst free. "You really think that can hold me!" He yanked another laser rifle off his back and braced it against his shoulder, aiming it at the two girls. "Say your prayers…"

Claire grinned and waggled a finger at him. "Didn't you notice my fiancé isn't around anymore?"

"Huh… so what…?" The Mytheus' eyes widened as he felt himself start to sink. "Hey, what's going on!" He glanced down and a swirling void of darkness where the ground should have been, slowly drawing him down into it's depth. "What the hell is this!" He struggled and even tried to transform, but the darkness' grasp was too strong and soon it drew him completely under.

For a few moments, the void of darkness sat there, swirling silently and then Mytheus' head came flying out, trailing sparks and wiring, his mouth frozen in an expression of surprise and horror. It clattered to the ground and bounced across the floor, rolling to a stop in front of Claire.

She nudged it with her foot. "Wow… that's impressive…"

The shadows next to Miriku rippled and Michael stumbled out, breathing heavily as he dropped to one knee. "I got him… but… I… don't… think… I'll… be able… to do that… again…"

"C'mon, bro…" Miriku and Claire helped Michel stand and the trio headed out the door. "We need to find the others and get out of here before anymore of them show up…


Xavier blinked in amazement as the colossal Phoenix Zord in front of him, nearly brushing the giant room's ceiling. "Wow... when I broke into this room I thought there would be Agents here, not this..."

Cackling, he rubbed his hands together and began to search for a way up to the top. "I can cause a lot of damage with this new toy of how do I get it to work?"

"You won't." A voice commanded from behind him and Xavier whirled, ready to fight...and then grinned saucily at what he say.

"Wow..." He leered at her. "You've got more curves than a racetrack, baby."

Phoenixia, dressed in her normal look of bodysuit and trenchcoat, snorted and folded her arms across her breasts. "Please, don't even think it. You've got a better chance of finding water on the surface of the sun than even getting close to me."

"Oh really?" Xavier smirked and suddenly lunged for Phoenixia, as fast as he could, hands out stretched. "We'll just see about that!"

Phoenixia didn't bother to move, but merely smirked as Xavier passed right through body like it wasn't even there. "Told you so..."

The Stu crashed painfully into the floor and picked himself up, rubbing his bruised face. "What the heck are you, some sort of hologram?"

"I'm a fully capable sentient, naughty computer program. I just have a holographic body." Phoenixia turned to face him. "And that means I can control how I want to look, make any part of me any size, and can make myself intangible at will. So, considering that I can alter myself so I can bench press a semi-truck and smash it on your head, gain claws and slice you to ribbons or literally kill you with marshmallow hell, I suggest that you surrender right now."

Xavier laughed. "Ha! You may be a hologram and a computer, but you can't do real damage to me. Asimov's Three Laws and the fact you're made out of light prevent that."

"Those laws apply to robots, not something like me. And I'm a hardlight hologram- means I can interact with the physical world however I want. And lastly, I'm a computer program and that Zord behind me? Guess who controls it?" Phoenixia smiled sweetly at him as the Zord's eyes lit up and a panel slid back on one of the wings, revealing a rocket.

Xavier's eyes bugged out. "Oh..." Then he turned to run, but didn't quite make it...


Adrian leapt forward and caught Chrys as Silver finally managed to throw the hanyou off him. "Gotcha!"

"You little runt..!" Silver leapt to his feet, his hair mussed up and his face covered in claw marks, while bits and pieces of his robe had been torn or ripped. As always though, he somehow made it look really handsome. "You almost ruined my perfect self! I'm gonna make you burn for that!"

"No, you're not..." Adrian set Chrys down and pushed her towards Emily and Mizuho at while he raised Hoshikuzu in front of him. "You've got me to deal with first, Silver!" Then he lunged.

Silver laughed and met Adrian's lunge head-on, parrying the blow and retaliating with a decapitating swipe, which Adrian blocked and then both of them flash-stepped out of sight, reappearing all over the room for split seconds in various poses of combat as they collided again and again, shaking Adrian's office.

Mizuho kept Chrys and Emily behind her, as her partner was still a little loopy. Her eyes darted back and forth rapidly, barely able to keep with the two. "Amazing..."

"Yeah..." Emily watched in awe. She had known Adrian and a fully-powered combat-class Stu like Silver were incredible powerful, but hearing it and actually seeing it were two completely different things.

A sharp cry, pained cry sounded and suddenly Adrian crashed into the floor at her feet, blood pouring from a wound in his side. "Oh, no!"

Then she felt the air behind her shift and her eyes widened as she glanced over her shoulder to see Silver standing behind, blade drawn back to strike. "Ah...!"

The Bleach Stu sneered as his blade began to absorb light from the surrounding area, cracking ominously. "Death to the traitorous imperfection!" Then the blade swung down and there was a blinding flare of light that forced Emily, Chrys and Mizuho to shield and close their eyes and even then it shone so bright it burned.

Then the light dimmed and faded and Emily felt something warm trickle down her cheek and opened her eyes, seeing the violet blade of Hoshikuzu extending past her face, the tip having bit into the flat of Silver's sword to stop it, mere inches from her face. "A-Adrian..."

Adrian panted as he strained from his awkward position, of half-kneeling, half-sitting up and struggling to prevent Silver's sword from overpowering his own and keeping Hoshikuzu from biting into Emily's skin any further. "You... leave her out of this, Silver...!"

"No." Silver sneered again and then frowned as he strained against their strange-weapons lock. "But why are you still standing! Even if you did block my swing, the power of my attack should have incinerated you!"

"That would be me!" Aster floated in front of him and waved at him cheerily. "Sorry, but I can't let you do that and because I can nullify light, I got rid of your shiny sword's power. Otherwise, you would've hurt a lot of people and we can't have that, kyaa~?"

Silver stared at, dumbfounded that this little sprite of a girl had beaten him so utterly and so easily. Then it turned to rage. "You little brat, I'll crush you!"

Adrian took advantage of the distraction and grabbed Emily's shoulder, pulling her away and rising to his feet, yanking his weapon free and attacking Silver, raining rapid-fire sword strikes down at him from all sides.

The Stu let out a snarl of rage as he blocked and blocked, bits of blood staining on his clothes and face as Adrian's blows nicked him again and again. "Damn! I will..not lose!" With a shout, he caught Adrian's blade in one hand and yanked the Librarian closer, stabbing him deep with Tekogozan in the shoulder and as Adrian jerked in pain, yanked the weapon free, blood spraying the air. "I AM PERFECT! PERFECT!"

Shoving Adrian away, he leapt towards Emily, charging his blade with power even as Mizuho and Chrys leapt in front of the ten-year old protectively. "And you imperfections should not exist in my world!"

Then he howled in agony as a lance of ice come down from above and pinned his foot in place as seconds a later, another lance of ice pierced his sword-wrist and pinned it to the floor as well, Tekogozan clattering uselessly to the ground. "No... you... you damn imperfection..!"

Aster landed in front of him, glaring. "You tried to kill Adrian-kun, Chrys-chan, Mizuho-chan and Emily-chan... you tried to kill my friends."

Silver moaned in pain and desperately tried to tug the ice pinning his limbs free, but it was impossible. "You think... that I'm going to let you beat me! I'm perfect! I'll crush you all!" Light gathered around his good hand and he thrust it towards Aster defiantly, but the fae merely negated it, the attack dying before it even left him. "Imperfection... Imperfection... you damn Imperfection!" He howled and his body began to crackle with power. " shouldn't not exist in my world! I am perfect!"

With a howling cry, he jerked hard, the ice piercing his wrist shattering and he grabbed Tekogozan up and snapped it towards Aster's head. "DIE!"

Then he gasped and the light in his eyes faded as Hoshikuzu pierced his heart from behind. "But... I'm... perfect...!" Then his body began to dissolve away as Adrian pulled his weapon free.

Adrian turned to the other four in his office and grabbed a scrap of cloth off the ground, wiping his sword clean with it. "If Silver's gotten free, then we need to assume everyone in the basement has, too. Mizuho, Chrys, go get Emily to the briefing room and Aster..." Adrian pulled open a drawer at his desk, pulled out a small black book and tossed it to the fae, who caught it deftly. "Get that to Tash and then go round up the others, just like we planned."

"Yes, Adrian-kun." Aster nodded and with a beat of her wings, the fae zipped out of the room.

The two Peacekeepers looked at him for a long moment, Chrys looking like she was on the verge of tears. "Adrian.."

"It'll be okay, Chrys." Adrian smiled reassuringly. "Now, go. Hurry! We haven't got much time!"

"He's right, dummy." Mizuho thumped Chrys on the head with her fist and the hanyou winced in pain. ("Mizuho, that hurt!"). "Now's not the time for cry-babying. C'mon!" She turned and dashed down the hallway, practically dragging Emily with over the ten-year-old's protests that she could walk fine on her own, Chrys scrambling to keep up.

Satisfied that things were going to work out for now, Adrian closed his eyes and extended himself to his connection with the very Library Arcanium itself. Judging from the damage the Library was receiving, he could tell where the battles where and get a vague sense of who was fighting who.

Exerting more of his will, he began to shut and seal all the doors of all the empty rooms and some of the doors that the fighting was going on it, and rearranged some of the rooms to give his fellow Agents the quickest routes to the Briefing Room. Meanwhile, he need to give them some help against the onslaught. "Librarian Art 4: Fiction Press…"

All over the Library, books slid themselves out of shelves and opened, emitting rays of light from their pages as figures began to take shape…


Harriet scrabbled over the nearest couch, another scything wave of golden light hissing overhead and shearing the top half of the couch's back off. "Oh bollocks…"

"Does anyone got a plan?" Jamie asked, as he and the four women huddled behind the couch.

In response, Ossa yanked a chunk debris the size of her head from the floor and stood for a brief moment, hurling it at Willowe as hard as she could.

The Sue simply batted it aside with the back of her hand, not even losing step.

"Okay, now we're out of plans..." Aimee muttered as glanced for a way out of Hati's office. Unfortunately, there was only one and the sword-wielding Sue was blocking.

"Come, Mummy…" Willowe drawled out as she tapped Excalibur against her palm while advancing on her helpless creator and her friends. "Let's just end this…hold still and I promise I'll make it a swift, painful end…"

"Not on your life!" Harriet snapped as she and the others slowly backed away from her one-time creation, gulping as she felt her back press against the wall. "I'm sorry that things had to turn out this way, Willowe, but I can't change it anymore. You're the one who let it get this far, the one who decided trying to conquer a world was the best way out!"

"I didn't have a choice! I was trapped in that damn story you never took the time to finish!" Willowe snarled, kicking the ruined couch aside. "You abandoned me and left to suffer the same sequence of events over and over again! Well, I'm done serving someone else! From now on, I make the rules…" She grinned evilly. "After I get rid of you, of course…"

Then the Sue snapped up Excalibur, the blade's edge shining with light as she flicked a glance at Ossa. "Ah, ah, ah...don't even think it, girl. You don't have a weapon and no matter how good you are at fighting, you won't survive the energy my sword can unleash."

The Native American girl growled softly and still stepped protectively in front of Aimee and Jamie as Hati and Jess did the same.

Harriet was a skilled kick-boxer, but she also knew that such skills were nothing compared to someone of Willowe's power and fighting her was probably tantamount to suicide. Desperately, she glanced around for anything she could use as a weapon, for anyone to help her.

And someone did.

Willowe paused as she heard a snap-hiss!Thrumm!- behind and she could see bits of red light dancing against the wall in front of her. Frowning, she whirled around and for one of the few times in her life, she was completely surprised.

Darth Vader stood in the door, his ignited lightsaber in his hand, breathing mechanically as he regarded. Flanking him were Solid Snake and what looked like… Superman?

"What… the… hell!" Harriet stared in amazement. She had believed things couldn't get any weirder since she founded the Society and now it looked she was wrong.

Willowe narrowed her eyes at the three newcomers. (They feel funny… I don't think they're the real deals, but they could prove quite a threat… so I'll take them out first!) She lunged and sparks flew as Vader blocked her weapon with his lightsaber. They traded blows for a few moments and then Willowe was literally blown off her feet as Superman unleashed his Arctic Breath, blowing her across the room and freezing her in a solid block of ice.

Seconds later, the ice shrieked and blew apart as the Sue exerted her power, only to be sent staggering Snake opened up with a pair of twin carbines, unleashing an endless stream of bullets. While they didn't really do much damage, the sheer volume of the attack kept her pinned to the wall as Superman and Vader both advanced on her.

"Holy crap..." Ossa said as she and the others watched Willowe and the three fictional creations fight, the Sue decapitating Superman with a backhand swing and then blasting Vader and Snake to wisps with burst of energy from her palm. "What's going on here?"

Willowe lowered her palm and turned back towards the Agents. "Now then, where were we...?" Then she disappeared under a wave of people as they tackled her. It looked to be the entire cast of the 2008 Star Trek movie dog-piling the Sue.

"Now's our chance! Let's go!" Hati lead the way as the Agents darted out of the room.

Aimee slid to a stop and doubled back, grabbing Ossa by the arm and practically dragging her out the door. "C'mon! We are fleeing for the safety of our lives here!"

"But... but... but... C-Chris Pine!" Ossa wailed in protest as the Irish girl pulled her away.


Doug and Cristoph ran pell-mell down a hallway, the gun-toting Agent slamming a clip into his pistol on the run. "Just how many rockets does she have!"

"I do not know and I do not care to stay and find out!" Cristoph responded, as they turned a corner sharply and he opted to actually run up and along the wall without skipping rather than leap over the stand in front of him.

"That's it, that's it! Run, run!" Mary-Ann cackled and chased after the two Agents, moving quite fast despite her petite size and the hugeness of the rocket launcher on her shoulder, firing what seemed to be an endless barrage of rockets that screamed down the hallway, blowing holes in the walls and demolishing pictures, doors, end tables...pretty much whatever they hit. "But don't think you can doge forever! One of my rockets hits you... and boom! No more Agent!"

Then she blinked as she felt the weight of her weapon disappear from her shoulder. "Huh?" Still running, she glanced over her shoulder to see a blue-and-red costumed Spider-Man clinging to the ceiling, obviously the one responsible for yanking her weapon away. "How did he get there...?"

Then a strand of webbing shout of from in front of her and Mary-Ann yelped as she tripped over it. "Ack!"

Groaning and rubbing her sore face, she sat upright and paled a bit when she noticed the several Spider-Men in both his traditional costume and black variant surrounding her on the walls and ceiling. "Oh... nuts..."

Doug and Cristoph watched as the Spider-Men attacked the Sue and threw a glance at one another in confusion before just shrugging and dashing away down the hall towards the Briefing Room.


"Venasaur!" The giant blue/green Plant Pokemon bellowed, the flower on it's back shaking as it hurtled of whipping vines down the hall.

"Tyler! Why did you have to go and poke it?" Drake shouted as he and his partner-in-crime ran desperately trying to stay ahead of the dangerous vines.

The smaller Agent shrugged. "I was hungry..."

"It was the size of a car and had a giant flower on it! What on earth made you think it was food!"

"I eat just about anything..."

Drake ducked a vine and swore under his breath. "Tyler! If you ever poke a giant plant-thing to see if it's alive again, I will kill you! Seriously! Who does that!"

Tyler shrugged again while running. "If I had some dressing, I could make a nice salad..."



Agent Smith loaded another clip into his pistol and returned it to his jacket pocket, glancing around at the bullet-ridden corpses of the Aragons, Gimilis and Legolases that had tried to attack him a few moments ago. "So this is what Runoa was talking about…well, she certainly wasn't kidding when she told me they're be plenty of new people to work with."

Walking over to the nearest corpse, he knelt and plunged his hand into it's chest, the fictional beings legs and arms twitching sporadically as a mercury-like substance spread from Smith's hand and over the being's body.

Moments later, Smith was looking down at himself and smirked darkly. Helping his double up, he and the copy went about their work silently, turning the fictional characters into copies. Two… four… eight… sixteen… Smiths rose from the dead and began to spread out amongst the Library, grabbing whatever fictional being they could find and overriding them, turning them into copies.

Into an army.


Tash and Valerie burst a doorway into a reading room, the Leader setting Val down and leaning her hands on her knees, panting for breath as her wings folded up against her back. "Do... do you think we lost him?

Val glanced back the way they had come and listened intently. "I don't know... I don't hear anything and I don't sense, anything either. So I think we're safe for the moment."

"Good.." Tash panted out and gulped down some air, straightening. "I've never flown so much in a such a short time and definitely not while carrying someone else. I'm glad we found some time to rest..."

The healer glanced around the room, but didn't recognize it. Like so many of the Library's reading rooms, it was simply a few coffee tables, chairs and sofas next to fireplace while every free inch of the walls were lined with bookshelves. "Where do you think we are? I don't recognize this section of the Library and we need to get the Briefing Room..."

Tash wiped her brow and took a quick look around. "I think I know where we are. If I'm right, we just need to cut across this room, take a right down the hallway and go up two flights of stairs..."

Valerie opened her mouth to ask what they'd do if the Library rearranged the rooms again, but the words didn't make it was with a loud 'Thud!' Kyle fell from above the two girls and landed on the floor between their feet.

Ari swooped down and alighted onto Valerie's shoulder. (My apologies, but I cannot slip into the Briefing Room from between, the magic prevents me. And I did not mean to drop him either, but he was getting heavy.)

"It's fine, Ari." Val told the muse, stroking her snout with a couple fingers as Kyle picked himself up off the floor. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, save for my wounds from fighting Harold." Kyle responded, dusting himself off. "Though... moving between is a rather... interesting."

Valerie merely smiled. "You get used to it."

"I think I'll stick to flying, Portal Guns and Adrian's doorways, thank you." Tash said, having finally got her breath back. "Anyway, we need to find the others and Adrian and come up with a plan..."

"Tash-san!" All three Agents looked up as Aster flew down from out of nowhere and flapped to a stop right in front of the British leader, hovering at eye level. "I found you!"

"You did. What is it, Aster?" Tash asked. Then her face grew worried. "Is it Adrian? Did something happen to him? Is he hurt?"

"No. He just asked me to give you this." The fae produced a thin black book and pressed it into Tash's hands. "He said if the Library were ever to be invaded, then you were to get this and keep it on you at all times."

"Uhh... Okay..." Tash took the book and glanced it over. It had no title or markings on the cover or spine and felt light in her hands. But if Adrian had said it was important, then it was good enough for her. "Thanks."

"You're welcome." Aster nodded her head and blinked when she caught sight of Kyle. "There you are!"

"Here I am...what?" Kyle blinked back and then yelped as Aster grabbed his arm and with a beat of her wings, took off, dragging the hapless Agent behind her. "Not again!"

Valerie, Ari, and Tash stared after them. "It's always an interesting experience talking to that one..."



Hati, Jess and the Ossa Power Trio burst into the Briefing Room, skidding to a halt as they saw it was already filled with their comrades. "Did everyone make it here alright?

Claire, who was busy making her fiancé drink some water, spoke up. "I think so... I did a headcount a few minutes ago and we've got thirty people in this room, including you four."

"Good." Hati glanced around at the assembled Agents. "Now can someone tell me what the hell is going on? The Sues and Stus broke out of the basement, Willowe is in the Library and we're getting out butts handed to us! How did this happen?"

"I don't know." Ben, who was seated in one of the rows of chairs, Bella tying a bandage around his arm. Bahamut was leaning against the chair on his other side and judging from the way it was smoking a bit, had seem some serious action recently. "One minute, Bella and I are together, the next, Alianna Flamewing comes bursting in with a bunch of guys in suits and sunglasses..."

"Agent Smith clones." Tash confirmed as she and Valerie applied bandages to Chrys and Mizuho while Emily ran held the first aid-kits in her arms. "They're from the Matrix movies. Adrian and I watched them once...despite that he's really close to a Stu, he's not one. So I don't know how they got him to work for them..."

"That would be Runoa's hand in this." Everyone's heads snapped up to the other door to see the Librarian already coming down the steps to where everyone was gathered. "She somehow resurrected him after his defeat at Neo's hands and Runoa's the reason Willowe and Smith got into the Library and probably how they managed to free the Sues and Stus in the basement and remove their Prohibitors."

"So what are we going to do?" Michael asked, finishing his water. "We can't just sit here and retreat all the time – even the Library isn't big enough for that. We need to form a plan and hit these guys where it hurts!" Nods of agreement and words filled the air after Michael's words.

"I'm afraid that's impossible."

For a second time that day, everyone's attention was focused on Adrian, though this time it was one of disbelief.

"Agent Smith's ability has enabled him to turn my Fiction Press creations into his copies. " Adrian continued as he descended the last steps and now everyone could see the bloody wound in his shoulder and numerous bullet holes in his trenchcoat. "And even if we could mount a counterattack against Sues like Harold and Willowe, Smith would eventually overwhelm us with sheer numbers and kill us all."

"So what do we do?" Valerie asked as she and Tash made their way over to him, ready to bandage his wounds, but Adrian waved them off.

"I have a plan, but we need to hurry. Despite locking all the doors and the Library rearranging the rooms, there's only so much time before they find us..." As if summoned by his words, the room shook violently and many of the Agents toppled over, unable to balance themselves or grab something in time.

The Librarian was one of the few who managed to remain standing, one hand catching Tash as she fell while Valerie grabbed a railing and he stretched out his good hand, which glowed softly for moment and then a large wooden doorway appeared, with a paneled door that had a crystal handle on it. "There... everyone get through there!"

Hati pried herself off of Ossa and Jess, who in turn quickly got up so that they weren't crushing poor Aimee. "What? What is that and where does it go?

A grim smile crossed the white-haired man's face. "You guys didn't really think that I hopped dimensions using Plot Holes, did you? I'm not a Stu. I'm the Librarian and I can summon these doorways to move from place to place when I need to... and this particular door leads back to the Real World."

"WHAT!" Came the simultaneous cry from many of the Agents, several of them tossing curses and swears.

Michael stormed over and grabbed the front of Adrian's shirt. "You mean we're just giving up? Just like that?"

Adrian detached Michael's hand. "We're not giving up, you're retreating to fight another day." He fixed everyone in the room with a penetrating look, and when he spoke, it was the Librarian of the Library Arcanium speaking and not Adrian. "You do not have a choice in this matter. If you do not want to die and not find a chance to beat back our enemies, you will go through the door."

"But what about Emily and Bella? They're Sues- they can't exist in the Real World!" Hati demanded. "And why do we have to go to the Real World? Surely there are other places we can retreat to, ones were we can get an army or weapons or something!"

"I will get Emily and Bella to a place until the crisis is over where they'll be safe." The Librarian replied calmly. "And you have to retreat the Real World because it's only from there that you'll be able to back into the Library of your own power, because the Portal Controls have been destroyed, meaning the Plothole Generators will not work. Now, go!"

Everyone stood there, wavering between arguing with him, staying and fighting or doing as he said.

"He's right..." Everyone glanced over to Valerie who was a bit pale in the face, but her voice was strong and level. "If we stay here, we'll all die. We're all wounded and tired and most of the Sues and Stus are fresh, not to mention we are seriously outnumbered."

A long silence reigned and the room shook violently again before Hati, frustration clearly on her face, spoke. "Everyone... get through the door!"

As the Agents became to make for the door, Tash grabbed her boyfriend's arm, worry on her face. "You kept saying 'you', not 'we'. Does that mean you aren't coming with us?" Without waiting for him to respond, she kept talking. "Because if you aren't, then I'm staying with you. Wherever you go, I'm going with you!"

Adrian gave her a small smile, but it didn't reach his eyes. "You can't. I am the Librarian and a Counter Guardian. It is my duty to protect the Library and everyone else. My path, not yours."

"I don't care!" Tash said sharply and her face was strained, as if she could not choose between crying and looking fiercely determined. "I love you! You're everything to me! I don't want to lose you! I can't lose you!" Then crying won out and tears started running down her cheeks. "I'm staying with you, Adrian and you can't stop me!" Tash gripped her staff determinedly.

Adrian's violet eyes met her blue ones and he smiled sadly. "Yes, I can." Then his arm moved faster than her eye could follow and Tash felt pressure on the side of her neck. "Sorry, my love..."

"No..." Tash gripped at his shirt with her free hand, fighting with all her strength not to lose consciousness. "I won't... won't... let... you... die..." Then she lost her battle and collapsed into Adrian's arms, out cold.

The Librarian looked down at the woman he loved in his arms and gently brushed some hair out of her face and leaned down to kiss her forehead, but seemed to think better of it and straightened back up. "Here." He handed Tash to Michael, who was looking at the Librarian strangely. "Get her to safety. And...tell her I'm sorry."

Then the room shook violently again and this time, Adrian had to grab a railing to steady himself and the door cracked and buckled. "Everyone, hurry! They're here!"

Then he was charging up the steps, Hoshikuzu appearing in his hand as the door buckled in, then gave way, dozens of Agent Smith copies pouring into the room, weapons drawn as Adrian leapt headlong into them...

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