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.

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