Ownership Disclaimer:

Skylanders and Persona 5 do not belong to me.

Skylanders belongs to Toys For Bob and Activision.

Persona 5 belongs to Atlus and SEGA.

Prologue: Nycto's First Frightful Flight

9 years ago

"It's almost time, right Nysited?" A sultry female voice echoed. This came from a being wearing a blood red cloak. In her hands was a massive red-bladed scythe, sharp as a razor and gleaming brightly.

"Not to worry, milady. We are almost ready to go on our little expedition," a British-accented voice rang out from another being. He resembled something of an anthropomorphic kangaroo rat. His fur was yellow, he had prominent buckteeth and a long tail ending in a bushy ball, and his attire consisted of gear-themed goggles on his eyes and a suit reminiscent of a 19th-century gentleman, as he wore a yellow tailcoat over a white shirt along with tan knee breeches. His possession included an hourglass attached to a silver necklace, a pocket watch attached to a golden chain inside his pocket, and a sword and dagger shaped like the hands of a clock.

"Nysited, I've told you once. I've told you a thousand times! I don't like being called 'milady'. I have a normal name. Please use it!" The cloaked woman answered.

"Right. Sorry. It just feels awkward being so informal, Morana. You understand, right?" The Kangarat replied.

"Don't worry, I understand. But in all seriousness, does he have to come?" Morana asked, concern lacing her voice.

"Believe me. If Nycto were my little one, I would try to keep him out of it as much as I could. But he has proven himself time and time again to be ready and willing to learn our ways. There's only so much we can simply teach him. Hands on experience is a hundred times more important, you know," Nysited regretfully stated. Quickly pulling down Morana's hood, he looked into her sapphire blue eyes, not able to ignore her long flowing red hair and very human, very beautiful face. "If it would help, I plan on personally quizzing before we go on this mission. Would that make you feel better?"

Hearing this, and blushing a bit, Morana acknowledged his suggestion. "You know what? Go ahead. You're right. I can't keep mollycoddling him, forever. He'll grow up someday, and Zephyr Blue Falcon chicks don't learn to fly until they're properly pushed out of the nest." Pulling her hood over her head, she quickly gave her orders."I'll gather the other members for this mission, and we'll wait until you come over to do the mission briefing. Just don't take too long, okay?"

"Don't worry. I won't take too long, but don't get pushy with me, alright?" Nysited bowed in respect of his mistress, and quickly vanished.

With this, Morana summoned a microphone to her hand and spoke, "Will Necro, Pyro, Iatro, and Ceruano please report to my location as soon as possible? We will be accompanied by Chrono and Nycto, but they are having a small meeting beforehand."

Teleporting to Nycto's quarters, Nysited couldn't help but chuckle at the amateur dream weaver's simple bedroom. He still had little knowledge of what he could do, so apart from some hanging lights, a small shelf of psychology books every Dark Stygian member had with them, and a fluffy bed, the room was mostly empty. Seeing a black circle suddenly appear on the wall of the room, Nysited smiled as he saw a small black dragon come out of it. Upon his full exit, the circle dissipated, and the dragon's full appearance could be noted. His scales were black as pitch, and his eyes were a pure milky white. Horns grew across his head: two went over his eyes, resembling eyebrows, and a massive saber-like horn grew out near where his nose would be, similar to a rhinoceros. His teeth were sharp, and spikes went across his legs, each of which ended in three-toed feet, with wicked claws on each toe. His short tail was similar to his legs with spines, but his bat-like wings were his most interesting. No membrane lay between the dactyls, and instead, the membranes were on the dactyls, giving them a skeletal appearance.

Seeing the Kangarat, the dragon spoke in surprise with a shockingly deep voice for one so little. "N-Nysited! My apologies, had I known you were coming, I would have spruced my place a bit more."

"Oh, it's no trouble at all, Blackout! You've still only been with us for a mere few months. We don't expect you to be making dream masterpieces just yet. Before you start with pristine panoramic paintings of the vast landscapes of Skylands, you have to start with some simple sketches of yourself, correct?" Nysited lightly chided, laying a paw on Blackout's shoulder.

"Right! I thought you were on a mission today. Those Drow bandits that have been pillaging several Mabu villages. Are you not going?" Blackout wondered.

"I'm not going on that mission...yet," Nysited began, before giving Blackout a serious look. Well, as serious as an anthropomorphic kangaroo rat with buckteeth could give. "You've been going well with your training, but you won't advance any farther without any proper hands-on experience. That's why I'm here. I want you to come with us on this mission!"

"What?!" Blackout asked in surprise. "You want me to come with you guys to teach those bandits a lesson?"

"Indeed. But our leader has been worried that you aren't quite up to the task. She insisted that I test you and make sure that you're up to par. Are you ready? This'll only be two questions, and once we finish, you can be off with us!" Nysited continued.

Hearing this, Blackout adopted a sitting position and had a serious look on his face. "Alright. I'm ready. What's the first question?"

Nodding, Nysited began the quiz. "Good that you're so eager to learn. Here's question one. It is especially important that we strike fear into our enemies. That is why we use our codenames, so evildoers see us as the manifestation of the fears we torment. On this mission, you, me, Morana, Emberor and Fido, Ardni, Eibmoz, and Dr. Luna T. Ick are going to make sure our targets are suitably treated for their evil. What do you refer to each of them as?"

Quickly, Blackout answered, "I'm Nycto, you're Chrono, Emberor and Fido are Pyro, Dr. Luna T. Ick is Iatro, Ardni is Cerauno, and I think Eibmoz is Thanto while Morana is Necro?"

Smiling, and chuckling at the pitfall that he'd fallen into, Nysited gently graded him with, "You were almost perfect, but you switched Eibmoz and Morana. Remember, Eibmoz is Necro which, if you add "-phobia", gives you "necrophobia" which is fear of the dead or undead, so it deals more with corpses and the Undead. By contrast, Morana is "thanatophobia" which is the fear of the concept of death. Still, you did very well for the most part. Here's the second and last question. We are going to be targeting a gang of Drow that have been terrorizing some villagers. Can you list the damage done and why it falls to us?"

Hearing this, Blackout thought back to what he'd heard. "I believe it was a good 45 thousand pieces of gold simply by robbing those villages, another 5000 in damages, and 300 in medical expenses. The Skylanders have been doing what they can to take care of them, but their numbers are small enough that they can easily disperse and hide from them while Kaos draws their attention elsewhere with more of his schemes to take over Skylands. That is why we must do what we can to make them turn themselves in to them."

Satisfied, Nysited commented, "It seems you have been paying attention, Nycto. Well done! I think we can meet the others and tell them we're ready to go!"

Jumping out of his sitting position like a jackrabbit gazing on a big bounty of vegetables, Blackout replied in utter joy, "My first mission! I promise, Nysited. I won't let you or Morana down!"

"With how eager you are?" Nysited joked. "I'd believe Mount Cloudbreak would erupt now, even though it's only been 94 years since the last eruption, than think you'd fail us! Remember. You're Nycto, which means you're the manifestation of nyctophobia, the fear of the dark. With you, it's not what you show people, but what you hide from them that makes you spookier. But let's get going before the others get too impatient. Time's running out for us after all, so let's get going!" Hearing this, Blackout formed a portal of shadow, and the two quickly jumped through it.

"Come on! How long till that dragon gets done with his stuff? I'm getting goosebumps just thinking what I'll do to those Drow!" An orange-skinned elf complained. He wore a red cape and cloak to hide his sandy blonde hair and orange eyes, brownish pants alongside a red loincloth, and greyish armor on his shoulders, arms, chest, and legs. In his right hand was a wicked looking battle-axe. The cape was orange on the inside and torn, causing it to resemble a roaring fire when it would flow in the wind.

"At ease, Emberor. Slow burns are more damaging than a rapid wildfire. Going too quickly won't give us much time to savor the fear they give off, and they won't learn how it feels to be helpless like the Mabu they torment unless we teach them such a thing," A deep voice replied. This came from a massive wolf, one about the size of a horse. The wolf had black fur with red highlights and eyes to make it look like it was on fire. The wolf was also wearing face, shoulder, and hip guards as protection, along with a saddle for Emberor to ride on.

"Fido is correct," A smug, British-accented voice rang out. It was similar to Nysited's, but was higher in pitch. This came from a humanoid, mummified zombie-like creature. His skin was a rotten green, and his tan bandages were smeared in dried blood. His face was not mummified, and time had taken its toll on it: his head was practically bald, with only a few black strands of hair on the left side of his head, and his gray eyes had a vacant, glossy look. For equipment, he simply held a large, rusty shovel caked in grime and blood. He had no nose, exposing an empty nasal cavity with a pencil mustache underneath, and he was clad in a black overcoat and tophat with gold scarabs and ankhs stitched on it and rotten green shendyt, making him resemble the fusion of an ancient pharaoh and an undertaker. "I prefer Rotting Robbies because of that! I can send some giant skeletal dogs to gobble them up or plug them full of arrows thanks to Bone 'N' Arrows, but why do that when I can hear them scream as they run away from practically invincible zombies, hungering for their delicious, nutritious brains?"

"Can we please stop talking like real bad guys, Eibmoz? We're meant to fight the bad guys, not be them!" A high-pitched yet friendly voice interrupted. This came from a small, monkey-like creature resting on a black, stormy thundercloud. On his back was a relatively large drum, and his fur was mostly black, with streaks of white cutting through, all of them similar to lightning bolts. Strapped to his waist was a pair of blue swimming shorts and a belt, with small lightning-shaped throwing daggers attached to holsters. Finally, a pair of brown eagle wings grew out of his back.

"That kind of determination and rationality is what we like about you, Ardni! Good to see you being a voice of reason!" Nysited's voice suddenly cut through the air like a knife through butter. Turning to their backs, all of the dreams were surprised to see that they had failed to notice Blackout and Nysited coming out of Blackout's shadow portal.

"Blackout! How you doin', buddy?!" Ardni asked, happiness filling his tone. Jumping off his cloud and dissipating it, he quickly grabbed the nine-year-old dragon and trapped him in a bear hug. It did hurt to have the dragon's spines cutting into him, but it was not something that wouldn't be quickly healed up. Hearing the dragon gasping for breath, though, he quickly let him go, rubbing the back of his head and giving a sheepish apology. "Heh, sorry about that. Is it true you're coming with us to teach those nasty Drow bandits a lesson?"

Laughing at Ardni's eagerness, Blackout answered with a joke in kind. "Did the Arkeyans have their collective behinds thrashed by the Giants and lose the Iron Fist of Arkus in an epic battle?"

"Vell, you two get along like a house on fire, don't you?" A German-accented voice noted the two laughing. This came from the final member of the group, who resembled a pale, sickly, woman, with her short hair being a stringy black, her eyes a dull grey, and having a purple surgical mask cover her lower face. Her attire also consisted of a black medical coat with red crosses on the upper arms, long purple gloves going to the middle of her forearms, a purple vest over a white undershirt, a rather short black skirt, segmented stockings, and black shin-high boots.

"Settle down, everybody! We're all here now, so please do not get into a fight just before we get going!" The stern voice of Morana rang, calling for order.

"YES, THANATO!" Seven voices replied in unison.

"Good. We know what we have to do. Those Drow have been escaping justice for long enough. The Skylanders are doing what they can, but the rampant threat of Kaos plus the gang's evasive tactics have confuddled them for too long. The victims of their crimes deserve payback. It's time that these Drow know how it feels to be helpless and afraid! Are we all ready to go?"

"YES, THANATO!" The voice replied again. At this, Morana used her scythe to cut open a massive rift, leading into the rest of the Realm of Dreams so they could hunt down the Drow.

'This is it! My big moment!' Blackout thought to himself before taking a deep breath to settle down. Afterwards, he followed the rest of the group into the rift.

"Remind me again, Thanato. You'll handle the Goliath Drow, and we'll take care of the others, right?" Nysited asked.

"Yes. I will handle the Goliath; you, Pyro, and Ceruano teach the Drow Witches a lesson, and Iatro, Necro, and Nycto will handle the Drow Spearmen," Morana reminded them. Going through the mindscape for the dreams of the Drow, it was like looking for doors in a never-ending hallway. Thankfully for them, they didn't take too long. Before they entered each dream, Morana gave one instruction for how they were to terrify them: go nuts.

While the Drow initially slept soundly, chaos soon erupted as they all began tossing and turning in their sleep. Fear had sunk its claws into them, fear they thought would only come to them if the Skylanders were to come to them. However, it soon gave way to terror, as they began to whimper in their sleep. Some even let out ghastly cries, but even though they were consumed by panic and terror, they did not stir from their sleep. Their bodies were completely paralyzed as they remained trapped in REM sleep, unable to move from their beds, and they felt themselves becoming more and more helpless. Trying to struggle, they only succeeded in tossing themselves out of bed to the cold ground. Even with the chilly floor in the moonlit night, they remained dead to the world. In all their minds, each of their worst fears were coming true.

"My comrades! NO!" The Goliath Drow screamed as he tried to reach for nothing in particular with his massive arms, each equipped with forearm-mounted shields. Even then, he was helpless to see himself stuck in a cemetery, mausoleums and gravestones practically everywhere. On each one was the name of each of his six coworkers scrawled on them. Morana remained above him, looming above him like a phantom in the wind. Her scythe and cloak made her look like the very Grim Reaper had come to Skylands while bathed in blood, and that his time was up.

"This is the fate of you and your comrades. Whether it be from attacking the Skylanders or infighting among your own comrades, you cannot escape death. This I, Thanato, declare!" Holding her scythe out, she swung it forward, unleashing a wave of crimson energy. Cutting a massive gravestone in two, the upper half began to slide off, and would fall onto the Goliath Drow if he stayed where he stood. Running, he was able to dodge it as it landed with a great 'THUD', kicking up dust and releasing a shockwave. Thinking he was safe, the Goliath Drow let out a breath he'd been holding for quite a while. However, he was soon shocked to see fissures coming from the point of impact, and soon created a massive sinkhole that swallowed him up, and he landed with a crunchy sound. Looking down, though, he screamed when he saw that he had landed on was a pile of skulls and bones. Looking at them, the booming voice of Morana continued. "Repent for your sins, or more of these nightmares will come! I will haunt you night after night, week after week! I do not care if such a thing will drive you mad from lack of restful sleep, but you will understand how it feels to be frightened and powerless, just like all the Mabu you and your minions threatened all throughout your crime spree! By my honor as the leader of the Dark Stygian, I swear you will be made to make reparations for everyone you have hurt!"

At Morana's final words, she split into several copies of herself that each grabbed him with the strength of ten Goliath Drow, holding him in place. From within the cloaks of some of the copies emerged rusty chains with meat hooks attached and bloodied nooses to tie him up to even more gravestones, and he was laid in a spread-eagle position upon a conveyor belt, which soon whirred into life. Turning his head up, he saw what awaited him: the gaping maw of a dragon-themed furnace, its boiler giving hoarse roars as flames licked the air outside.

All the Goliath Drow could do was scream in horror at his upcoming nonconsensual cremation. He hoped that his comrades were having a more restful sleep.

In another dream, one of the three Drow Witches fleed in horror. In the blazing background, Emberor and Fido looked more like a demon riding a hellhound straight out of hell, and she could only scream. But things were not getting any better for her. Serpents of fire emerged from the flames, and began unleashing a torrent of fire. The sky had turned a dark crimson, and fire rained down like the Darkness, the source of all evil in Skylands, had come to wreak its terrible wrath on the world.

"Scream! Scream more! I love it! It's a supremely sublime symphony of screams! I bet you thought the same when Mabu screamed as you ruined their homes and left them cowering in terror! Now tell me how it feels to have the blade of tortuous terror turned against you!" Emberor declared with a sadistic smile on his face. Even as she tried to fight, the sheer heat the elf and wolf were generating was enough to melt the chakrams she threw into nothing more than molten metal that soon bubbled away into nothingness.

"This can all end at your volition! This is but a prelude of what you can expect for the rest of your nights! We can keep this up for hours, burning away your sanity bit by bit! I can only hope that you'll realize how wrong you were! If you don't, we, Pyro, will keep going again and agin at your mind, night after night, and make every night a frightening one!" Fido stated, his voice echoing as he leapt through the flames, his jaws slathered with slobber. "Personally, though, I hope you struggle a bit. I haven't had a good meal in days, and roast Drow sounds delicious, especially with a bit of adrenaline sprinkled into the meat like salt!" he said in a low voice, the saliva falling like a waterfall.

Helpless, the Drow Witch screamed in abject horror as the fire serpent split into ten, and the ten snakes began to spin around her, forming a giant fiery tornado. The tornado soon began to shrink in diameter, and closed on her like a vice. The wolf and his rider soon burst through, and created chains of flames that not only tied her to a long stick, but also gagged her, her flesh sizzling as the chains burned into her skin. In a matter of moments, she was put above an open flame and slowly spun around, and that was when she realized why the wolf talked of roast Drow: she was being cooked rotisserie style as if she was some form of freshly plucked chicken! Seeing the slobber coming down the wolf's massive maw and the sadistic smile on his partner, the Drow Witch could only let out pained, pitiful whimpers.

"Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Time will pass on. With or without you," Nysited said factually. After he had entered, Nysited worked his magic. The Drow Witch found her sense of time completely thrown out of whack. Some times, she would be stuck on the edge of an erupting volcano, moving slower than a snail made of molasses as lava slid down the side of the explosive mountain while pieces of molten rock fell like meteorites. Other times, she found herself stumbling in a void, where clocks of varying types, from sundials to grandfather clocks to water clocks to hourglasses, all moved around her like fish in the sea. Atop a giant-sized version of his pocket watch, Nysited seemed far more imposing.

"Don't you see how worthless your evil is? You're nothing more than a minuscule guppy within the vast ocean that is time!" The Kangarat continued, moving her to another realm of time. Here, she saw the freezing of the Nightmare King Nefarion at the hands of the Portal Master Wizbit; the fall of the tyrannical Arkeyan Empire at the hands of the first ever Skylanders: Tree Rex, Thumpback, Hot Head, Swarm, Crusher, Bouncer, Ninjini, and Eye Brawl; the attempts of the Dark Portal Master Kaossandra to try to control Mount Cloudbreak only to be halted by the elite Skylander group that would eventually come to be known as the SWAP Force; and the defeat of the self-crowned Dragon King of the Underworld Malefor at the hands of the powerful elven sorceress Hex. All had been powerful proponents of the Darkness; what chance did she, a mere Drow Witch, have?

"That's not all, you know? Let me show what your evil will result in 50 years from now!" In a flash of white light and the loud ringing of a massive bell, she found herself in a massive graveyard. Amongst the hundreds of Drow Witch gravestones, she struggled to see which one was hers. "Don't you get it? You're nothing special. Hundreds of Drow Witches had the same thought process as you did in making it big. Maybe one of them is your grave, but honestly, do you think that any Drow really cares? Their empathy extends to simply 'me, myself, and I'. Evil doesn't really care much for others!"

Seeing her clutch her head in confusion, anguish, and frustration, he prepared the final blow: not with his blades, but his tongue. "That's the thing about evil and people who spread suffering like you. You're ultimately no more than children stuck in time to when there were no real consequences, and could simply do whatever you wanted! But now, you've run out of time, and it's time you face the consequences!" With a horrified scream, the Drow Witch was kicked back into the clock-filled void from before and left to hurtle endlessly, surrounded by time and her eardrums assaulted by the constant ticking of all the clocks and the ringing of church bells.

"Think I'm nothing now?!" Ardni's now-deepened voice bellowed from the heavens. After getting nothing but laughter when he told the Drow Witch that he would torment her, he decided to reveal two unique tricks he had. One, he was able to balloon in size, and turned into a towering beast, making the Drow Witch look like a mouse staring at a mountain. Two, when he called upon a thunderstorm, he suddenly vanished from sight. Immediately, paranoia set into her as now, there was an invisible giant. Only in the brief flashes of lightning was he visible, but the footprints left by his massive paws certainly weren't invisible.

"Now that the calm has ended, time the storm of Ceruano began! And my Thun-drum will be a good opening piece for this!" The baritone voice of the winged monkey declared. Pulling out his drum, he began to beat on it, and with how massive it was, every beat was thunderous. Literally; every time the drum would be hit would make the ground shake and send down more lightning from the heavens. It soon didn't help that massive throwing knives were also coming down. Soon enough, they all came together in a square formation, leaving her trapped in an electric cage.

"Go ahead, you filthy criminal! Try and escape this prison!" Ardni taunted. Steeling her nerves, the Drow Witch threw one of her chakrams through the daggers like a football, but all that ended up happening was it getting zapped before falling to the ground, nothing more than a pile of ashes. The daggers lifted up into the air, and began to slow close in on her. Lightning continued to crash down around her, and the boom of thunder continued to pound her eardrums.

"You know? I'm feeling generous. I'll let you go," Ardni said in mock thought after putting his right hand to his chin. With this, the lightning between the daggers vanished. However, her elation turned to confusion as she found herself trapped in heavy, black chains, attached to her wrists. "Psyche! You won't be escaping your punishment! I hope you don't mind getting stoned! Hailstoned, that is!" At that moment, the sky rumbled with thunder and was lit by lightning, but now, a deluge of rain crashed down on her, and soon, hundreds of hailstones the size of golfballs crashed down. The little ice balls weren't particularly strong, but where they landed on her, bruising and swelling followed. Soon, though, the hail became bigger, becoming the size of tennis balls. Now she realized what he meant by "hailstoned": she was being stoned to near-death, with hailstones instead of regular rock and stone. Her screams of pain were drowned by thunder booming all around her, and the lightning flashing in the sky looked more like the fury of the almighty Ancients was bearing down upon her.

"Hold still, mein Fruend. On my oath as Iatro, zis vill only sting for a moment," Dr. Luna T. Ick sadistically assured the Drow Spearman. There wasn't much he could do, though. Her fingers had turned into syringes, and she had injected paralytic agents into his bloodstream. No matter how much he wanted to, he couldn't scream or thrash; not that the straightjacket she had strapped him into nor the leather belts tying down his neck, chest, and legs provided much movement either. The two Drow who had strapped him there, he recognized as his comrades, but the doctor had used them in her experiments, with them as her guinea pigs.

One Drow was horrifically swollen, three times the size. His green skin had turned an absolutely searing red, and his hands looked like they could easily crush him like an empty can of soda. All reason had been sapped away from him, and he was snarling and slobbering like a rabid animal. Bony spikes had burst out of his joints, and his clothes had since been torn to shreds, only wearing a red loincloth to preserve his modesty. Eyeballs bulged from his arms, and these were more like squid or cephalopod eyes: glossy and inhuman.

The other Drow had become thin and tall, most of his fat burnt away, leaving him almost nothing more than skin and bones. His clothes had fallen off, leaving only a loincloth, but to make up for his skinniness, he had become a towering creature, his arms the length of a Goliath Drow, and his spine terribly hunched. His cheeks had become sunken and limp, giving him a malnourished look. His long fingers each ended in a single needle-like claw, similar to a porcupine quill. Mixed in with the cataracts she induced him in, giving him cloudy eyes, and he looked less like a Drow like him and more like some kind of cannibalistic, half-starved beast.

"In zhe meanwhile, my friend Necro has a couple of gifts he gave me. I hope you like zhem! HEHEHEHEHE!" Dr. Ick offered before a mad smile grew on her face and she erupted into crazy cackling. Pulling out a small box, he could do nothing but scream internally as a number of maggots were thrown into his face. As their mandibles dug into his face, he could feel them chewing at his facial flesh like it was the most juicy, tender t-bone steak in Skylands, and they wriggled straight through his cheeks, some getting close to his eyes, and one even going straight through his cheek and beginning to eat through his tongue, rendering him unable to speak. As the mutant duo carried him across the dimly lit hallway, he could only let out a few tears of fear as they edged closer to his ward. The Drow could only give a cold sweat of dread at what would come next, and what experiments this utter madwoman would subject him to.

"Rise from your graves, lazy bones! Come forth and teach that vile Drow a lesson he will never forget!" Eibmoz ordered before breaking into laughter. Immediately, a variety of zombies rose from the ground, their hands outstretched. The Rotting Robbies, as they were commonly known, were some of Skylands' most dangerous creatures. Resembling half-decomposed corpses, their right upper arms and entire right legs had rotten down to the bone, and their remaining flesh was a disgusting, sickly green. Half of them still had flesh on their heads, but one eye socket on them was completely empty, a black cavity in their face; on the other hand, the other half had both eyes, but their facial flesh had completely rotten away, leaving their skulls completely visible. The Drow fruitlessly attempted to use the spear he had to keep them away, but their rotting bodies were surprising hardy: the sharp, crescent-shaped naginata blade bounced off the flesh and bone like a little pebble on an elephant's skin.

"HA HA HA HA HA HA! Looks like you're in over your pointy eared head! You'll be like them one day! Rotting, dead, and filled with maggots! Just like moi!" Eibmoz declared, taking off his top hat and revealing that the most disturbing part was the top right side of his head: his skull was cracked open, exposing his brain, and every now and then, a large number of maggots would crawl out of it, seemingly to no discomfort to the zombie, and his brain would quickly full the holes from them again. Immediately pulling more maggots out of his head, he threw them at the ground. Soon, the maggots ballooned in size, becoming the size of rhinoceroses, and just looking at them made the Drow Spearman's throat go completely dry in horror. Even if he wanted to scream, all that would come would be a barely audible yet incredibly hoarse whimper.

"And I can already guess what you're thinking! 'Why is this happening to me?' Isn't that what you're wondering? Well, let's just say someone had to teach you a lesson in how evil never pays in anything but pain and misery in the end! You should thank your lucky stars that it is I, Necro, who is doing this! Anyone else could have been so much worse than I!" He finished before the maggots suddenly exploded into a multitude of even more maggots that quickly tied him up like taut rope. The Rotting Robbies were then drawn to the helpless Drow, beginning to devour his flesh as he let out loud, pained screams.

'Now, then. how do I go about this?' Blackout thought to himself as he questioned how to edit the Drow Spearman's dream. He thought back to what Nysited had told him. It wasn't the dark itself that scared people, but what he hid in the dark that made it terrifying. That was when he realized the perfect place: a labyrinth! With twisting tunnels and only one way out, but with hundreds of corridors and hidden passages, all of which would be shrouded in darkness apart from the occasional torch, it would be an excellent way to frighten evildoers, making them feel out of place and completely helpless. Clearing his throat as he ballooned in size under a dim night sky, he quickly shifted his voice down a few octaves, making it far deeper and raspier than before. "Well now. What do we have here?" Looking at the Drow Spearman, who now looked as small as an ant compared to him, he chuckled. "An itsy bitsy Drow? How adorable. How I hate such villains as you! How you make my stomach churn!"

Snapping his fingers, he quickly formed a massive castle around the Drow. Teleporting in a burst of black smoke, he appeared in front of the Drow, spooking him so he fell on his butt. "Welcome, my friend! I am Nycto, and you're my very first guest to visit my very special labyrinth. The Dark Dungeon of Despair! There's only one way out: find the key hidden in the labyrinth. Too bad there's not a lot of light for you to fall on," Blackout explained the rules of the game, before saying in a sing-song voice, "GOOD LU-U-U-UCK!"

So the Drow began to wander around, and Blackout knew an easy way to make his fear further increase: gaslighting. When the only thing that lit up the hallways and corridors was chandeliers, torches, and candles spread thin, it was child's play to simply alter things ever so slightly. Perhaps the candle wax would be bright red one second, but he'd then shift it to a darker crimson. Perhaps the painting's eyes would shift ever so slightly towards him. Or perhaps the bricks making up the castle would be covered in moss on one gaze, but free of it in another. It certainly didn't help that regardless, there were still hundreds of possible ways to go, and Blackout certainly wasn't willing to give the Drow the route out.

"Awww! What's wrong, pal? Need a hand?" Blackout taunted from within the shadows. Smiling at the rank, sweaty odor coming from the Drow's forehead, he moved onto the next part. Within shadows, he began to make brief leaps from within, like a panther stalking its prey from the shadows. Sometimes, the Drow Spearman would catch glimpses of him moving out of the corner of his eye. Other times, he'd feel Blackout's eyes searing into him from behind him, but turning around would reveal nothing. His heart felt like it was beating fast enough to put a cheetah's to shame. Steeling his nerves, he tried to get a look outside a window, only to be greeted with a moonless night, not a star in the sky to light the night. A flash of lightning emerged, and the dead trees, devoid of leaves and pushed towards the castle by powerful winds, looked more like a swarm of bony arms rising from the ground to drag him underground. Seeing this, he ran away for quite a while. Luck was on his, thankfully, as he managed to find the first key, made of brass.

"Congratulations! The key has been found! Now see if you can find your way back!" Blackout's voice rang. That was when the Drow realized what he'd done. It had been through sheer luck that he found his way, and running on adrenaline made him forget his steps. To make matters worse, Blackout revealed, "Don't both trying to simply retrace your steps, not after I do a little...redecoration." Hearing fingers snap, the Drow could hear the sounds of stone rubbing against itself, and realized that the castle's interior had been entirely shifted.

"What's wrong little one? Lost? Frightened? Confused?" Blackout asked with mock concern. "GOOD!" Breaking into maddened laughter, the Drow helplessly stumbled through the nearly entirely pitch dark hallways, realizing that the three adjective the dragon had used fit him perfectly. Sweat and tears rushing down his face like a waterfall, the Drow stumbled helplessly through the labyrinth, desperate for some clues to lead him back to the beginning, but no matter what, he just couldn't find it. 'I think my work here is done,' Blackout thought to himself, feeling he had done suitably well.

As the gang returned back to their home, they exchanged memories of what they did to their victims, and studying how they could be improved.

"Not bad, you know Ardni?" Dr. Tick commented. "Dangling zhe hope of freedom before submitting her to vorse things? Remarkably cold-blooded for you!"

"Heh. Well, ya know what they say about the eye of the storm! It's always the clearest part!" Ardni managed to reply as he rubbed his head. "You're much better at playing the sadist, though!"

"Ah, vell. When you can make numerous concoctions like mutagens, acids, und other chemicals within yourself and inject them into your victims, you have the ability to make yourself far more intimidating," she simply replied. Turning to Emberor, she complimented, "Und you did good as vell! You really did take Eibmoz's advice seriously!"

"Heh. Well, I had a good partner, right boy?" Emberor said as he looked down on Fido.

"Yep, he did! Too bad we couldn't take a limb to go, but maybe next time we'll get someone juicier," Fido stated as he began to drool again.

"Good to see you aren't that much of a hothead!" Eibmoz joked, laughing afterwards before breaking into hacking coughs. Blackout, unlike the rest, though, was shaking, nervous that he hadn't done well.

"An excellent job from all of you! I think we'll have a little party to celebrate our work this time around, and the rest of us will come as well!" Morana complimented. Cheers rang out, and joy spread across like a cloud of gas. "For now, you can have the day off tomorrow to spend how you wish."

As Blackout got up the next day, he suddenly received a visitor. Not just any visitor, though. The top brass, and the head honcho of the clan that had taken him under their wing, Morana. She had abandoned her cloak to reveal herself to be wearing a form-fitting bodysuit underneath that showed off her supermodel body and a necklace made of marigold flowers. Her bodysuit also had black patterns on it that resembled those of a simplified skeleton.

"Oh! Morana. I'm sorry for-" Blackout quickly sputtered.

"Save your apologies. I got a look at how you did from Nysited," Morana said with a harshness in her voice. 'I guess I didn't do particularly' Blackout reflected as he wilted under her stern glare. That faded, thankfully, when he saw a proud smile emerge on her face. "I have to say. You did pretty well!"

"I-I did?" Blackout could only murmur in surprise. He thought it hadn't been too good, but apparently not.

"Believe me, you did very well. The poor Drow was so terrified, I highly doubt he'll try anything evil in along time," The smile still not fading, Morana sat down on the bed next to Blackout. "I'm so proud of you. You'll be happy to know that the operation was a success. All the Drow have turned themselves into the Skylanders, and will be spending some time in a Drow jail facility run by Grandmaster Cami Flage."

Sighing at who was running the facility, Blackout complained, "That fruitcake? She's nuttier than a pecan pie factory!"

Giggling at the comparison, Morana reminded him, "Well, yes. But there is a method to her madness. After all, many Drow have managed to reform into regular elves and reject the temptations of the Darkness under her tutelage."

"I suppose you're right," Blackout conceded. "But you were saying about my performance?"

"Oh right! Sorry for getting sidetracked," Morana remembered and apologized. Holding his head in her soft hands, she gave him a little kiss on the nose and gave her evaluation, "It was remarkable! You managed to make a dream that didn't rip off anyone else's, but still established that you're the representation of the fear of the dark. All that on your first day. Frankly, I'm - I'm so proud of you!"

"R-really? I-I can't thank you enough for your kind words. But I still don't think I've thanked you enough for when you found me that day. It's a debt I don't think I'll ever be able to repay," Blackout said with his cheeks gaining a small tint of red.

"You were cold, hungry, alone, and most importantly, sad. I couldn't leave you if I wanted to," Morana replied, maternal instinct dripping with each word. Giggling, she continued, "You've become so dear to me, you know? You're like the cute little brother and son I never had."

"T-Thank you, Morana. You're the best mother figure and older sister anyone could ask for," Blackout continued as he leaned into Morana's bosom.

"You're welcome. Just remember what I taught you. 'If you can help,...'" Morana began, cutting off for Blackout to complete her saying.

"'You shall'. I will keep those words close to my heart, and will always follow them. Just promise me something, please?" Blackout answered.

"Of course! What is it?" Morana began to listen as she pulled the young dragon closer to her body.

"That you'll always love me and be there for me?" Blackout begged, his lips quivering nervously. At this, he was quickly enveloped in a warm hug.

"That's a given! I love you as if you were my own flesh and blood. No matter what happens, I will always love you, and so will the rest of the Dark Stygian. Whatever happens, I will always be there for you," Morana promised as the two dream creatures began to fall asleep. Blackout was the first to settle into slumber, and Morana smiled sweetly as she looked at Blackout's sleeping form, smiling affectionately when she saw a small grin on the young dragon's face. Soon, she too fell asleep, but thought to herself, 'I won't let you feel so lonely or unloved ever again. Whatever happens, I will always have you in my heart.'

Voice Cast:

Thanato/Morana - Amanda Celine Miller

Chrono/Nysited - Robin Atkin Downes

Nycto/Blackout - Brian Bloom

Pyro/Emberor - Kevin McCarley

Pyro/Fido - Keith David

Necro/Eibmoz - Chris Diamantopoulos

Ceruano/Ardni - Justin Briner

Iatro/Dr Luna T. Ick - Erin Fitzgerald

Goliath Drow - Troy Baker

Author's Note:

As an aside to any readers of my other stories, I've also updated Kir-Ben 10: Poyo Force!, so you should check that out if you haven't just yet.

So here's story #4. Yes, I know our favorite heart-stealing vigilantes haven't appeared yet, but they'll be appearing in the first real chapter. I think I should probably establish a few things timeline wise. If you haven't played any of the games, then I may be spoiling some information for you.

On the Skylanders side, this is post-Imaginators, so every Skylander thus far is still around, as in my other Skylanders story (Roller Brawl: The Mega Cyborg), the character list does not include the Senseis or Brain. On the Persona side, however, this is post-Persona 5, emphasis on there being nothing after the "5". As a heads-up, there will be no Phantom Thieves originating from Persona 5 Royal or Persona 5 Strikers. Essentially, if you were looking forward to seeing Violet or any characters introduced from the latter, than I'm sorry to disappoint. There may be references to them, but in this timeline, Sumire and Kasumi are both still alive with a healthy sibling relationship, and Dr. Maruki is also still around and not a well-intentioned villainous mastermind (I may do an arc where the Phantom Thieves of Heart and Blackout work to stop Yaldaboath from implanting his powers into Dr. Maruki and doing such, but there is quite a bit of work on this story that's still experimental). Also, I don't have much information on characters in the latter, and I don't want to give a poor representation of any characters established from either series. Later, you'll understand why I felt it was necessary to exclude these characters, but that probably won't be till later on. When the time comes to explain why, I promise I'll do so.

If you need an explanation on the designs of our villains, I'll go over them once we dive deep into them, which is to say when the plot actually takes hold and the Phantom Thieves of Heart actually start fighting with the Dark Stygian, and there are more members that haven't been introduced. This was more of an appetizer for who the Dark Stygian are and what they do, or rather, did.

Next Time: Phantom Thief Vs. Doom Raider

An adventure begins on two worlds. On one end, former vigilantes ponder what happens now that they've defeated an eldritch angelic god seeking to mind wipe the world into nothing more than unthinking slaves with no propensity for breaking the norm, while discussing the adventure itself. On another, when one of the most notorious thieves breaks into a museum to steal a powerful magical artifact with the power of ultimate invisibility, a familiar face works to bring him to justice, leading to a hot game of cat and mouse.