Chapter 263: Can't Fear Your Own World
While Mike was to focused on surviving to think too much about the state of his comrades after being swept into the depths of Sagiri Mountain, him being swept away into the depths, possibly to his doom by the Shades caused the other members of his ragtag group to be alarmed. But the Shades only attacked with more intestinally as they tried to go after the lanky man.
However just when it seemed like the Shades were ever ending, they vanished as quickly as they appeared once the clouds parted. Once Astra noticed all her enemies were gone, she kicked a bolder of the planet as she realized how badly the situation was looking." God damn it Mikey! As much as a laugh as it is for you to survive Homelander, Sieg and all the rest of the most vicious jackass's only for grunts to waste yah, the joke's over when it makes me look like a joke!
Seriously...lasting this long only to fold now really is going to piss me off for wasting my time giving a damn so you better not die like this! Hey...you butlers are able to locate your prince across the universe right? So where is he now?"
9S grimaced at being called a butler before he looked around and sighed." Trust me I want to find him but we the scanners are picking up zlich!"
"Damn it...you're telling me he's dead or is your blindfold on to tight?"
2B grasped her hand tightly before looking at the mine-shaft." We did not detect his heart stopping...the way it happened seems like are tracking systems are being jammed...again."
Megaman saw Astra's eyes twitch before he shrugged." Hey...the twins did say that some big stuff is being hidden in Sagari Mountain's right? Smaller ruins I been to had machines block all kinds of scanners so maybe it's just something like that right?"
As Astra paused Clank got off Sam's back to look at where Mike last was before the machine's eyes glowed red." Some sort of system may be blocking sensing but there are still clues to what happened to Prince Auro if we pay attention. He was clearly swept down one pathway or another, it may be slower but if we keep focused, we should be able to get to the bottom of this."
Astra paused before she spat on the ground." Ugh...it's a pain in the ass but it will be more of a pain of an ass coming all the way here for nothing. Hey Porter...tell the others what's going on in case we need back up.
And might as well have the local pilots keep a look out in case any more jackasses stumble in...long as they can remember to do there damn jobs right! Hey tuxedo dude can you focus enough to be a good guard or should I just kick your ass back to those twins to save time?"
Van looked around before he had Dann look around before the man in the Mech shrugged." I mean...is anything down there related to the Claw or not? Cause the only thing that,"
Astra slammed her foot down and kicked a boulder at the pilot before snarling out," You're not going to get a chance to have revenge on this god damn claw if I kill you first for pissing me off got it!? Take it from someone who's been there...don't matter how much you're hungry for revenge if your so focused on the scent that you don't realize you're going off a cliff eh?"
Van dodged the bolder thrown at him before he nodded and went with Jin to keep watch above. Astra saw the Mech's were doing what she wanted before she rolled her eyes." Ugh...almost prefer the green haired cat dude and the rest of his super robot team but might as well try and keep the heat off us as long as we can. Alright let's do this the hard way.
Damn it Mike...even for a pampered wuss like you if you wan't to inspire anyone be nice if you could get anything done without causing everything to go to hell for like...ten seconds. Whatever...let's see how many other ass's got to get kicked before calling it a day."
Astra saw the others were ready before following Megaman, the two androids in black, and Clank down the mineshaft to see if they could get to the bottom of things in time.
Thankfully Astra's dread was unfounded for once, because despite the setbacks Mike at the moment was doing better than he expected, though still on edge if things were as they seemed.
While Mike, Tanjiro, and Grimoire Weiss were on guard for lasers to burst out of the walls or for the whole room to suddenly collapsed on them, the son of Ben Auro saw Grimoire Omega, or the reflection of James's soul just blink with a calm expression before he cleared his throat." Alright just to make things clear. You have all of my dad's best bud James's memories but you're not like, his soul right?"
"That's true...from a certain point of view." James, or at least his hologram retorted." I have all of James Elrond's memories and was imprinted with his personality, but I am not his departed soul, not all of it at least.
Both the Jedi Knights and the Dark Lords of the Sith used Holocrons as information-storage devices that contained ancient lessons or valuable information in holographic form. But this one was also built to also work partly as a Horcrux, another object of powerful magic.
The short story is that a Horcrux gives one the ability to anchor one's own soul to the mortal realm if the body perishes.
Normally this was used by wizards who were more...darker in nature, but despite the risk's we felt it was vital that this Holocron had not just the information about spells, but the power to be able to use them.
No disrespect but it seems this logic ended up being sound. This was done in case the path to fixing the universe ended up worst then what we hoped at the time. I don't know how my original version met his end, but you unsealing me means that things have taken an even more dire turn then what we predicted.
By the point I was created it was clear Doug was never going to change his point of view, but I admit I did not think he would just escalate things to a whole new level to the point where I could not even comprehend the scope of the horror."
Mike let out a bitter chuckle before he shrugged." Yah...that's the thing about rock bottom, you think you hit it till you break through the bottom, and hit another level, and that's just if you survive that. Honestly, while it's an honor to meet you Master Elrond things have gotten so bad that I'm not even sure you can do much. But hey I'm all up for good surprises these days."
"We better be able to change things for the better." Grimoire Weiss suddenly cut in bitterly." I still can't remember everything but I remember that we went through so much to get to this point that I'll be rather cross if it ended up being a pointless gesture."
James turned to the floating book and responded with a smile." Ah you're still hanging in there Weiss? I'm glad the process worked for you as well my friend. Are the others with you?"
"I can't say for sure but it does not seem like that's the case." Weiss somberly." It would seem that...much of the laboratory has...been cut off based on a glance since Grimoire Noir can't be accounted for."
James's hologram closed his eyes for a few moments before he nodded." I see. It does seem like the area has been attacked frequently since I was updated. Yes...so frequently that emergency protocols were enacted to maximize the odds of hostile forces getting their hands on what was meant to be kept away from them."
Tanjiro looked at the transparent man with dismay as he rubbed his head." The hologram man was supposed to have all the answers? He did not even know what happened to his own home so how can he save Nezuko?"
Now don't lose your composure lad." James retorted firmly." Things are not out of control just yet. Still, I can tell that time is of the essence, is someone's life in danger?"
As Tanjiro glanced back with dread after hearing a moan, Grimoire Weiss sighed." The lad's sister seems to already have been infested with the Black Scrawl. Since the rest of this Tanjiro Kamado lad's family was recently killed...he's highly invested in keeping his sister alive."
James at last noticed Nezuko groaning in the distance before he sighed." I see. I admit her body is to far along with the transformation for a Esuna spell to just revert her. But...it's not hopeless...if we can stabilize her heart despite the changes she won't have her mind replaced with another one. Mike yes? I'm going to need to borrow your hands."
The lanky man raised an eyebrow but before he could say anything the hologram uttered," Come now don't fret, I need to use your hands to cast the required spell since…may I remind you, my physical shape is transparent."
Mike saw the hologram of the Enji Master looked serious before he shrugged." Alrighty, long as I get them back."
The floating crystal went right up to Mike and formed a chain of energy around him like a neck-lance. James's then closed his eyes before declaring," Soul Purge!"
Mike was shocked as his hands made gestures he was not prepared for, till they glowed, and then slammed into the back of the tormented woman. Tanjiro got alarmed as his sister started to glow, before she screamed in even louder pain then before.
Just as he was going to run up, her eyes widened before she fell to the ground. The mouth guard that he was using to make sure she did not bite him or anyone else fell out as she coughed violently.
Tanjiro caught his sister before screaming out," Hang on Nezuko! No matter what happens I'm never going to give up! I'm...huh?"
To his shock his sister grasped his hand, and squeezed his hand gently. As he gasped in shock he looked at her and saw that while she still looked pained, she looked at him coherently before muttering," Brother...I...I hope I did not hurt you. The pain...the pain' in my head's finally stopped."
Tanjiro saw his sister fall unconscious before he tensed up. Before he could say anything else James readjusted the glasses on his nonexistent head out of habit." No cause for alarm, her mind's stable. She will have to adjust for a body that's no longer quite human but...you no longer have to worry about your sister losing her mind to the darkness lad."
Tanjiro saw James seemed to be correct before he wiped the tears from his eyes." It...it's a miracle! It...it seemed so easy I'm shocked that Popola and Devola could not have done this!"
"Ah good to know the sisters are still up and about and that Endless Illusion has not fallen into total chaos like, so much of the universe.
I taught the twins well but being able to purge one's soul of a second one without rupturing it takes practice, and I can say with confidence I spent decades mastering the craft with how wide spread the Black Scrawl has been across the universe. I'm just saddened things like that and the Adolla Bursts are still such a frequent horror."
"Trust me that's just the tip of the iceberg from hell these days." Mike answered dryly as he leaned back." Still...glad your mind's not faulty ma, Master Elrond...we really needed a break. Glad you could save the girl but I came here to see if you could save a lot more. To cut to the chase, I need to know if the rumors are true and that you had something here that could help us travel across the Multiverse?"
James paused before he looked at the son of his best friend." Your serious eh? It's true that the Star Dream device was being experimented on here. It...was a device used to reach the Beyonder's personal reality, the Schwarzwelt.
It was being reconfigured to be able to reach broken remnants of heaven and hell, in hopes that one day Lacus and the other celestial ones could at last fully repair what Doug broke. I take it...things have gotten in the way for seeing if that could work eh?"
"To say the least. But...it does sound like we could use that to form portals across the Multiverse as long as the SRX team can tinker it to get it to work with there ship! Course, if this Star Dream's not here anymore or fallen apart then that kind of puts the kibosh on all that eh?"
James paused yet again before he closed his eyes." No...I don't believe it was stolen or destroyed. It seems that this planet has been attacked for some time...and as I said as a precaution the sections of the lab were split up across the planet. This entire section here is a " Sub Gate" and the majority of the experiments were sealed up in the " Main Gate".
Mike glanced at Tanjiro, who only gave him a confused shrug before the curly haired man rubbed his head." So...that mean we can take a lift out back to get there?"
"Heh...not quite." James wryly retorted." But since you awakened me it will be a lot easier to get to it as I can just have the defenses lower on their own. It will require some flying, either vie yourself or a ship if that's how you got there. Long as it's not changed to much since I was created, the main gate should be around what was classified as the Aerie section of Kattelox Island."
Mike saw Tanjiro wince before he let out an uneasy chuckle." Oh man that's totally not the reaction I was hoping for. Sell it to me straight Tanjiro this Aerie no longer exist these days or something?"
The scar-faced sword men looked around before he took a deep breath." No... there is still a village there but...honestly that's only half true. People are still living in the Aerie, but it's mostly people who have become so distrustful that they don't trust Devola and Popola, or really anyone. They just mostly hide in their bunkers...attacking anyone that comes to close because to them anyone not them is a threat."
Mike winced before letting out another uneasy chuckle." Well...sure hope the door to this Main Gate is not in one of these bunkers or this is going to get even messier than it already is."
James looked dismayed at Mike's reaction before the hologram sighed." Endless Illusion was never meant to be paradise, but I'm dismayed that the state of the universe is so bad that people don't trust anything or anyone.
Mike...your Ben's second son yes? My apologizes if I came off as condescending at first, it's only natural that as time passed Ben and Lacus might have wanted more children, regardless of how the state of the universe might be."
Mike paused before he let out a bitter chuckle." Heh, you're not as far off the mark as you might think sir. For a long time pops was content just with Richard and his family but, as time passed despite what he said I think they just had to remember what it meant to be human after being detached from everything for so long. He...never came down too hard on me because he just did not seem to think it mattered.
Heh...and funny enough now the one no one took seriously has the job that will decide the fate of the entire universe, if not the whole Multiverse. And worst of all its a guy with my dad's face who seems to be rubbing it in on how much better he is then everyone because he has no rules other than winning."
James saw Mike's face was straining to mask how overwhelmed he felt before he sighed." And that's the short version eh? Mike...I am sorry you have such a burden placed on you. I might not understand the entire situation but, I know what it feels like to have a great burden placed on you from your family.
I admit I was not expected to save the universe unlike your father but, the Elrond bloodline had great expectations as well. I...I wanted to do what I could to make sure no one felt such a burden again, and seems like I'm on the verge of failing utterly but I'll try to the very end...or even beyond the end based on how things stand. Mike...I can't promise everything will be ok, but I'll help you to the end."
Mike saw the hologram of his dad's best friend looked sincere before he took a deep breath." Master Elrond...thanks. Believe me we need all the help we can get. Still...don't want to oversell things cause despite how it looks I'm not totally alone on this. Just...the rest of my group can't find me cause it seems your lab's jamming everyone's sensors and all that."
James looked around before he chuckle." Ah...so that's who the others are eh? Well...long as they are your allies then I suppose putting them at ease would make sense."
Mike saw one of the lights on the monitor go off, and instantly could sense Astra and the others magic energy before he rubbed his head." Always good when there's the fast option eh? Ah right...before they get here you should know something about who I'm working with. Most of them are on the level but well...one of them might come off as just a little,"
Mike nearly jumped up as Astra suddenly dashed into the crystalline room using the Flash Step magic to zone in on Mike the moment she could sense his energy. The blond woman's sword was already drawn, and as she noticed Tanjiro with Grimoire Weiss and James floating around him and his unconscious sister before she narrowed her eyes." So this is the other asshole trying to mess with us eh? I guess you showed some skill breaking whatever was jamming us Mikey but stand back while I take out the trash. You think a few floating things makes you a tough guy eh?"
Grimoire Weiss saw how angry Astra looked before he sighed." Oh great...only a few moments after dropping the shields and deplorable hussies just flood in."
"HEY!" Astra shouted out in raw annoyance as she looked around for a body that she did not yet realize did not exist." If you think your special cause your book turns you invisible you're going to realize how dumb you are right before I send you to,"
"Hey let's just turn it down a notch before we smash what we came here to find ok?" Mike cut in dryly. As the blond woman looked at Mike in shock the lanky man sighed." This is the stuff we were trying to find Astra! It's not what we thought we were going to find but it is going to help us find that stuff!"
Astra paused before she glanced at James's holographic state and raised an eyebrow." Wait...you look familiar. Did I kill you? I had a lot of smartass's trying to kill me when I was hungover."
James eyed Astra keenly before he rubbed his beard." I would hope that's not the case. Wait...your energy...it's not quite the same but...but it does remind me of him. You...your Doug's child? Or...more like great grandchild at this point?"
"Oh hell." Astra retorted as she cringed." Another jackass that wants payback on my old man? I really don't have time for crap like this now so let's get this over with to get things done!"
"Wait...if your here with Mike does that mean you renounced Doug's path of insanity? Or has he at last turned to the light himself?"
Astra paused before Mike cleared his throat." This here is a supped up Holocron of my dad, and your dad's old teammate James Elrond Astra. He...he left a memory of himself sealed up here to help my dad."
Astra paused, eyed the former Enji Master carefully before she burst out laughing. As she leaned forward, she grabbed her sides and wiped sweat off her brow." Wow...with the way he's talking it must be one of those old Enji.
After all..only someone who believed all those loser ideas of the light would talk like that. Tsc, only a loser thinks seeing the light is knowing the truth these days."
As Astra kept laughing Mike looked at James and shrugged." My parent's legacy...and everything they stood for has taken a lot of hits the past few years as things kept getting worst. Astra and I might not see eye to eye on a lot, but for the moment we both agree Sieg having his way would make everything else amount to zilch so here we are."
Astra stopped laughing as she looked around." The prince is right holo dude. Still...if you're as clueless about everything else as you are about were people stand then this was a waste of time."
James closed his eyes before he responded with a firm." I assure you...as I told Mike what you all need should be in the main gate section of the laboratory. I can't promise miracles but...at the very least this should help get to where you need to be."
"It better. We don't have time to waste on useless junk if we can find people in the Multiverse that can bail us out of this mess. After all...no one left in this one can."
Grimoire Weiss spat out in annoyance before he started glowing." Look hear woman I am far from " Useless" junk, Grimoire Weiss is one of the most powerful vessels of magic in this universe!"
"Oh yah? Then why are you stuck as a dinky old book eh? And the fact is even if your not just making up stuff that still does not mean much against jackass's who take over universe's like it's a hour long job!"
As the floating book shuddered in shock Mike cleared his throat before he walked up." No offense but just curious, why did you preserve your minds in things like this and not just...clone bodies?"
James saw Weiss yell out in anger before he chuckled." Remember this entire planet was all about figuring out how to overcome the Black Scrawl, Timefall, and the other terrible things brought about by the Death Stranding.
This was all done to ensure there would be help in bodies that would endure the horrible conditions the universe still seems to be under. Since we both are talking to you, at the very least Project Gestalt was not a total failure...even if it's not going as good as we first hoped."
Astra snickered before spitting on the floor." You guys have been trying to fix the universe for centuries with thousands of projects and groups, and just have looked weaker and weaker after each year.
Yah...maybe some things got to be stopped if anyone's going to be able to live at all...but if you guys just admitted the old ways were lies and dreams that can't match reality, and everyone had to accept less to have a true life then there could have been peace a lot sooner."
Mike saw everyone around him look agitated before he sighed." How about we save the chat for when we don't have a deadline eh?"
Before Astra could argue more, Megaman, Clank, 2B, and 9S at last caught up with her before she rolled her eyes." Yah yah, don't want anyone giving excuses about why they can't argue against me anyway. Don't worry everyone, Mikey here managed to not screw up for once. Seems they found the ghost of your boss's best friend or something."
James saw Astra's candid demeanor and sighed." I must admit, sometimes it does feel like I'm arguing with Doug like back then...at least before he lost all reason. Well...maybe those days can come back sooner or later...at least to some extent. Till then...hello everyone I am indeed Master Elrond, or at least a fragment of James's soul stored in this Holocron."
The new arrivals reacted with various states of shock before 9S eyed James carefully and tried not to have his jaw drop." Wow...I knew something had to have been sealed away but to think it was one of the Last Emperor's best friends! Well...maybe we can pull this off after all."
"Well...again I don't want to be misleading about what I can do but...I'll do what I can young man." James retorted." Still, I might be able to fix the eyes of you and your lady friend depending on the injury."
9S paused before his Pod unit cut in with," Correction...units 9S and 2B are not blinded. There blindfolds are in fact the tactical HUD they use to see enemy information and process data, while also being able to link with other units with maximum efficiently."
James paused before he eyed the two in black carefully." Oh? So, you two are androids? You're really just named with numbers? Ben did not really ever seem on board with that."
9S paused before he let out an uneasy chuckle." Ah well...I don't think it was the Savior's call. I mean...I had a name before I joined the order, Elpizo. This is just are unit number. You know...give are enemies less to work with you know? I mean, if you want to call me Nines, it's totally okay."
2B cleared her throat before she grasped her fist tightly." Master Elrond, it's a great honor to meet someone who was so close to the Savior, even if it's just a reflection. Don't worry, we taken such measures because we know how high the stakes are and are willing to devout everything to restore balance to the universe."
Astra snorted before cracking her neck." If you ask me it just shows how your whole god damn government is keeping yourself blind to the truth and that only desperate fanatics or clones will fight for you but whatever, I'll drill the point in after all this is done. And that being said...is there anything else here like another ghost or clone or portal to the multiverse down here or are we done?"
"Unless the area has changed even more then I been aware of I think we are safe to move on." James answered wryly." As I told these two before, the odds are good that what you're looking for is in the" Main Gate" of the lab, which is in the Aerie area."
Mike nodded before he saw Tanjiro looking at everyone tensely before he cleared his throat." So, what are you going to do now that your sister's stable dude? I don't know if you have anyone that you would want to call or something."
Tanjiro saw Nezuko take a few more labored breaths before he grasped her hand tightly." Like I told you...the rest of my family got killed by a demon...I don't have any other family left. I don't even know who really attacked them.
As for friends...it's been a hard season so I have not made to many trips to the village. There are some who will want to know about what's happened...I just have to know what to say. I'm not even sure what the state of my sister is at the moment."
"Well sounds like it would be best if you stayed with the " Doc" so he can keep a look out on his patient, eh?"
Tanjiro saw James nod before he gasped." Are you sure? I trust the mini man's words so far but...if something happens and she loses control you could be in danger!"
Astra snorted before flashing a half-lopped smile." You really have not gotten out much eh kid? You're dealing with pro's who, no offense to your sister, have been through a lot. Hell, I use to be merged with a demon till just a short while ago so this is nothing. Sounds like it's safer you stick with us then go back and risk your sis cutting lose on some saps."
James nodded before adding," I'll keep monitoring the state of her mind to make sure the process goes well. Weiss...keep an eye on her as well just in case my attention is diverted."
The floating book saw Tanjiro smile before he sighed." Ugh...from destroyer to babysitter. Well...at least I'll at last be put to use. Very well lad try and make this not too embarrassing for me eh? IF your how everyone is out there then...this is going to be...so very vexing."
Mike snickered before he looked back at the map. " Hey man sounds like he's a class act compared to how people are in are next stop so...at least you two can help each other out."
Astra spat on the ground again before cleared her throat." I'm glad this was not for nothing, but even if you were lucky enough to find a wizard in all this crap still does not change how weak you are on your own. What you gonna get him to make another Ranger thing like you had earlier."
Mike paused before he sighed." It…it took my folks's divine power to make the morpher…so won't be getting that back any time soon."
"So, your still dead-weight unless you start busting your ass."
"Hey even if I could get all that back, even if I got as strong as my dad, that would not matter against Sieg. You made it clear I'm no savior so how about backing off eh?"
"Hey, come on don't be a quitter! Maybe we can find another lost relic in this dump eh? Hey if we like…take all the dead guards gear and fuse it together maybe you can have decent gear at last eh?"
Mike saw James was talking to Megaman, Clank, and Tanjiro a bit about just who he is before he winced." Hey I know this place was not "your team" but let's not go kicking the guys here when they are all the way down eh? The people here…they gave up everything to keep hope alive for the universe to have a shot at a future that does not suck. Least we can do is honor them properly."
Astra paused before she rolled her eyes." Figured you would think like that…since you're still a naïve dumbass. Tsc…I got a story that fits this atmosphere alright. Mike…what you think these are?"
The blond woman pointed to the skeletons of soldiers keeping guard in between the two rooms. He glanced at them for a few moments before he winced." By the looks of the burns…they were soldiers guarding this room, that died.
Since this room was not breached…best case would say a Adolla Burst killed them. Maybe they used a spell the wrong way and it caused a chain reaction…I was not there so it's the best I got. Look Astra I know I was" Sheltered" but I know what a corpse is!"
"Then how come your wrong?" The blond woman spat out bitterly?" Mike…all those things are…are things. When you strip away the meaning's "culture" gives them…that's all they are! Just the word "things."
And if you were once again to give them meaning…there value would not be determined by a so-called rosy memory…it would be determined by the one thing everyone with their head not in their ass would agree on. Value. Even if currency itself is as dying a thing as crap like justice…the most basic thing is how much value something gives yah. The rest is just fancy nonsense elites with too much time on their hands to add" appreciation."
"So you see currency as your god or something?"
"Tsc…value is a lot more worth a damn then" God" as proven by how much your old man and the" Queen of light" that chose him amounted to eh? Tell me your highness…just what do you put value on as a "Betting man? Justice? Love? Don't make me hurl. Back when I was a brat and even the other Equalizers had it out for me for being the old man's bastard…I had to crawl for days on an empty stomach for days.
For some reason or another…" God" love, justice, and everything else was always sold out when I was looking for it…so I stopped looking. Sure…I admit there was a few times I cried out for someone to help me. I stopped doing that after "Officers of the law" beat me up for something I did not do.
It was just because I was not from" There tribe" and did not give them the respect they thought they deserved. If sis did not bail me out… I could have died right them. Heh…maybe the old man would have saved me…maybe not. At the time I did not have enough power and no "God" was backing me…so I become my own" Vengeful powerful God" to change that.
Power…and value…if you have those things the universe is a great place…Homelander and some of the other caped assholes seem to be making that clear."
Mike saw the raw anger in the rouge Equalizer's eyes before he sighed." Astra…I'm so sorry that you,"
"Oh, save it. If I wanted your "pity" I would have added some color to that little recap. The point I'm trying to drill in to your out of touch skull is…that when your living life on the edge…that's all that matters. See the real kicker is that I get that there was a time when it was still "Normal" to not be on the edge.
But now? Now "Normal" people are just sheltered people like you who people keep that way out of novelty. These "Dolls" who put on makeup and think the most important thing in life is throwing big parties for there "Master" in the palm trees.
To me…your just like all those other hypocrites speaking double talk crap to excuse taking from everyone else. So next time you try and tell me what's proper in this broken world…I'm bailing on you all together.
No matter how many people hate the old man for shattering heaven and causing the Death Stranding, it forever broke the lie about what mattered in life. People took guys like you and your folks seriously back in the "Old days" but now your just idiots who can't accept what was real all along."
Mike saw Astra crack her neck and was motionless for a few moments before he chuckled bitterly." Well, you made it clear how little you think of well everything I stand for Astra. To be honest, my dad would talk about how he could not figure out how to get people to believe in him again till he fixed things. Far as I know he did not figure it out. Well…I'm going to try at least."
Astra saw Mike looked determined before she let out a bitter chuckle." Well, you better prove you're not just talk yet your highness."
Mike saw James had finished introducing himself to the others before he nodded." Well then what are we waiting for eh? We have vaults to unlock and all that."
With that, after checking around one last time to make sure there was no surprises, the group existed the Sagiri Mountain laboratory. After making sure no one hostile was greeting them, they made contact with Roll and Masaki to get them up to speed, and then reached out to the twins. While they were shocked that James had locked away his own essence, there was little time to dwell on it as everyone wanted to get to the "Main-Gate" before anyone else got to it.
After a quick update from the twins about the state of the planet, after a quick meal the Flutter made its way to the Aerie.
While Mike and the others were prepared for a cold reception, as they arrived at the area that overlooked a wide canyon near the Northern Plains of Kattelox Island they saw that the houses were connected by a series of large platforms, bridges, and ladders.
Mike saw that the houses were repurposed shipping containers, with visible warning labels on their sides, and that no one was outside before he tugged his collar." Hey…was this place attacked recently? Seeing zilch out here."
Tanjiro sighed before he shrugged." No…that's just how things are in the Aerie. Even someone like me who traded with them for years just gets greeted by someone at the door.
The people of the Aerie…really don't trust anything or anyone. There is a spot we should land near by…one filled with Lunar Tear flowers. if we don't land there the defense cannons will come out of the canyons and keep firing till we are gone one way or another."
Astra rolled her eyes before she shrugged." Well…let's get these hermits to calm down so we can get this done without even more hassle."
Roll proceeded to land the ship, and everyone got out near a large empty area with a rusted shack next to it. The group departed and remained on alert as they went through a tunnel and made their way to the main part of the Aerie. The saw a locked gate and a buzzer attached to the door before Mike glanced at Tanjiro and shrugged." Well…you known them so might as well kick things off eh?"
The native to the planet nodded before he cleared his throat and clicked on the buzzer." Is…is anyone here? We have a package for you?"
Sam went up with another package before he cleared his throat." Got a shipment of tomatoes for the...village chief?"
After a few seconds a frail female voice broke the silence with," I can't take it anymore."
Before anyone could figure out what's going on a male child cried out," Its dark in here…turn on the light already mom it's been a week! Ow! It hurts mom! It hurts!"
As everyone looked at each other tensely Grimoire Weiss sighed before letting out a deadpanned," Well…this appears to be a glorious waste of time."
"Be mindful of the state of things Weiss." James retorted." It's clear the twins were right and that the people here are…extremely on edge."
Tanjiro nodded before rubbed his neck." Um…I'm Tanjiro Kamado…I traded here in the past. Miss are you the head of the village now?"
Everyone heard a yell and something breaking before a dazed old man cut in with," Who goes there? My family is being a bit unruly but who goes there? Begone strangers…no one can enter here without an invitation!"
"Wait listen! We got a,"
"Enough! Begone and never return! Anyone that's not known here…is not welcomed!"
Weiss snickered before uttering," What a pathetic bunch of rabble."
Tanjiro winced before looking at the village in the distance." Wait…this was the father of the chief that I talked to! Did he…die recently? I heard his father was even more paranoid than most of them. Does that mean that."
"I'm not ever coming out…ever!"
The woman voice from before cried out before the old man yelled some more. Astra looked at the village before she rolled her eyes." The Main Gate is not in this asshole's house is it? If they don't want to leave so bad let's just let them cower while we get this done."
Mike took one last look before he shrugged." Well I guess if they are too scared to come out guess they are too scared to show us the door? The cannons won't fire in the village right?"
Before anyone could response a new course male voice cut in with," Hey did not read the rules? If you're not invited yah get cut down! Better watch out! Cause' ready or not, HERE I COME!""
Out of the bushes to the right jumped out a young male of average height and pale complexion with an extremely toned and muscular build for his age, possessing large, defined muscles most notably over his stomach and arms and wore a altered version of the standard Demon Slayer uniform, which consisted only of the baggy hakama pants, his tinted a dark gray-blue, which he fastened around his hips with a thick belt of fluffy brown deer fur. Unlike the others so far he did not wear a haori.
The usual cloth leg-wraps were replaced with what appeared to be knee-high socks of bear hide which exposed his heels and toes, which also appeared to be what fastens the sandal-bases he wore on his feet.
His most defining feature was the gray, hollowed-out boar's head on his head.
The boar headed man had two Nichirin katanas already drawn and jumped right for Mike, but just as he was about to land Astra casually swung her sword with her hilt to smash the attacker into the wall.
The blond woman saw the boar headed man cry out in pain before she rolled her eyes." Man, this world really is messed up if some guys heard mutated into a pigs."
Tanjiro got in front of her before he winced." Wait that's just a guy with a boar mask on his face! I seen him before around here…he's the Demon Slayer that looks around this area! Still you should have just greeted us at the gate!"
The boar faced man suddenly spat out blood, before rolling back up and laughing madly." Hah! Inosuke Hashibira does not just let strangers get the jump on him! Still…I see you train well woman!"
Astra saw Inosuke looked excited before she sighed." Ugh…I think I would have preferred if you were a mutant over a dumbass. Look we are trying to help your damn village so are you going to be as much of a pain as the locals here or not?"
"Hold it! You have to prove your strength before I know your worth!"
"Well, if you want to get kicked off the planet that's your call but I'm going to make this short cause you smell bad."
Before Inosuke could say more a timid male voice cut in with an anxious," W…wait Insouke I think those are the ones we were told to greet!"
Another male ran out from a guard tower to the right, one with average height with fair skin and downward-sloped, scared-looking eyes that faded from soft brown to gold. He had short, yellow hair of varying lengths, cutting off squarely at the ends where it fades to a darker orange color, that fell in front of his face in uneven bangs.
As the blond male ran up he looked terrified, and Tanjiro raised a eyebrow." Hey…I remember you at the village last year!"
The blond man let out an anxious chuckle before waving." Hello I'm Zenitsu Agatsuma. Captain Giyu told us you would be arriving. Sorry for the rude welcome, Insouke often gets his own ideas. He, he was raised by boars most of his life so he's still missing a lot of social cues. I, I tried to stop him but he gets scary when he's angry."
Astra saw Zenitsu was already sweating before she rolled her eyes." If you're too afraid of your own teammate then what the hell do you do when it's time to go to work?"
Zenitsu just let out an anxious laugh before looking around." Oh, I'm really better at finding the hostiles and letting Insouke lose on them."
Astra saw Insouke looking like he was about to slobber like a dog before she facepalmed." Man this world really is running low on man power if D listers like you are supposed to be the last line of defense. Still…if you know why we are here are you going to help or not?"
Zenitsu nearly jumped back with how angry Astra looked before he gulped and pointed to the right." No, we can help I promise! I'm glad someone is going to check the ruins…the villagers here have been at wits end since a Shade came out of the ruins and ate some of the villagers. Miss Kainé drove it off but she's been gone for a while. Well, if you guys can help the others get this crisis under control that would be great!"
Mike raised an eyebrow before he cleared his throat." Wait…others? My man there was no one else in are group. And with how anxious the folk around here are I'm shocked anyone else was let in."
"That's true…but they were all too happy to let someone else try and fight the Shade for them. Mister Bond did not even want anything for it either. No wait…not Bond, I think his name was Bonne?"
Megaman paused before his eyes widened with alarm." Bonne? IS that not the same name as that girl who tried to attack us? Wait…does that mean the pirates are at the ruins?"
Astra cracked her neck before she narrowed her eyes." So let me get this straight…you guys just let the thieves walk right in?"
Zenitsu yelped before biting his nails." I, I mean we were told a group of strangers was going to arrive…and he said he was going to look at things before his pals arrived but…oh."
Insouke shrugged before looking at the right." Eh…he smelled weird but he gave me a free lunch so he seemed ok."
As more than half the group had their jaws drop Grimoire Weiss just sighed." Well this is just dandy…should we know if you invited the gates of hell open to?"
Astra moaned before getting her sword out." Get with the times you book geezer hell's gates were busted open long ago by my old man. But still…lets clean up the mess before things get any worst…again."
Zenitsu let out an anxious chuckle before opening the village gate. The group ran past a few bridges before reaching an enclave, past it was what seemed to be the " Main Gate" a massive structure resting on a pillar of stone within a deep crater, not far from the village.
As they saw ruins in the distance, a dozen black tanks rolled up. One of the tanks had a targeting laser appear before a squeaky voice came out of it." Hey this area is closed off right now! Can you come back tomorrow? It's like…real risky to be around right now."
9S paused before he snickered." Hey…are these more of those yellow toy bots like before? Well that makes this easy then."
"Hey! Don't talk to us like that blindfold guy! If you keep looking down on Servbots then you're going to be sorry because we are, AHH!"
The Servbots saw how little everyone thought of them after in less than a second, they were all blasted or slashed at from all directions. The robotic pirates only had a second to realize what happened before most of them went flying into the air.
As the obstacles in their way imploded, Mike noticed in the distance what seemed to be a giant yellow robotic mole digging underneath what seemed to be some ruins before he grit his teeth." SO…I'm just going on the limb and say that giant robotic moles are not native to Endless Illusion?"
Zenitsu yelped in agreement before Astra flashed a savage grin." Then let's show these assholes what happens when they try and mess up a ecosystem eh?"
The group picked up the pace, and as they got closer, they saw an adult male in green armor with ren lenses over his eyes and long white hair was looking at the machine's progress.
The man did not seem aware of what happened to the other pirates, and just looked angry that his drills could not get past the temple.
"What gives? I'm digging! I'm digging! I'm still nowhere near the bottom! Maybe we will need that key after all..."
Before he could say more one of the Servbots that was blown up landed right near him. The yellow robot just bounced a bit before moaning. "Master Teisel! We we're beaten!"
Another one landed to his right before coughing out," That blue boy and his friends is heading this way!"
The man named Teisel paused before a wild grin formed on his face." They are coming? All right, everyone, quit digging! Our priority now is to get rid of the competition, all right!? Let's do it!"
The other Servbots chipper out eagerly despite the danger. Teisel saw Mike and the others run up before he snickered." Hey…anyone tell you all to respect the code of" finders keepers?"
Astra cracked her neck and spat out," Anyone told you that these days the only rules that matter are the ones your strong enough to enforce?"
"Oh…Tron did say there was a real wild girl causing trouble. Think your tough picking on younger girls woman? I'll show you the price of showing disrespect to the Bonne family!"
"Oh yah? If you think your tough its only because you hid so far in the shadows no one worth a damn noticed yah…till now. "
"Only a fool becomes a pirate not expecting to have to fight to keep your loot, and this Marlwolf was built to withstand blows from a Viltrumite!"
"So, if you're facing anyone stronger your screwed then? Good to know!?"
"You got balls girl I'll give you that! But the Bonne family's bite is far worst then their bark!"
Mike cleared his throat before walking up." I mean…we don't have to bite each other lie savages. You clearly think highly of yourself Mister Bonne, but I'm sure you did not survive this long without being aware of "there is always a bigger fish" eh? How about we cut a deal so we all get away with something?"
Teisel raised an eyebrow before he looked at Mike carefully." Oh, that's right…Tron did say one of them was acting like they were going to give her a loan! I'll tell you what I told Glyde…we not never being hustled again by two faced punks!"
Mike tugged his collar before he let out an uneasy chuckle." Hey…do I look like I need to sucker punch yah? Well…the point is my offer is legit because we do need more manpower to pull off the big score. See we could argue over the "appetizer" here, or both rack it in when we find the true Motherload."
Allie and hostiles alike eyed Mike in confusion before the pirate in the mole mech in front of him cleared his throat." The hell are you talking about the treasure beneath this shrine's damn barrier already is going to make me loaded!"
Mike just let out a chuckle before he shrugged." My man no offense but you're thinking too small. I'm talking about a true motherload that will give anyone who reach's it something beyond what anyone else in the universe can have. I'm talking about a treasure beyond the universe. You heard about the space time anomaly created when the, "Last Emperor" and the "Devil" fought?"
Teisel paused for a moment before he shrugged." Yah everyone heard about how that uptight so-called savior at last bit off more than he could chew. But a black hole kind of thing is sure as hell no treasure!"
"I'm not surprised…very few got the word about the real deal. But the thing is that if you get through that collapsed part of space…you get access to the kind of power that would let you get anything you want."
Teisel paused before he cleared his throat." Oh yah? That whole space is near the Vought clan's territory and I'm not foolish enough to try and get in the way of the Seven! Besides if that's true then how come Homelander, Stormfront and the rest did not get it yet?"
Cause they don't have all the means to breakthrough…yet. I don't have it either…but I can if I get all the pieces needed to pull off getting through that Space Time anomaly past this universe."
"Oh yah? What's your proof?"
"Hey now a gambler does not give away his hand freely. Can't give the details yet unless your part of the team."
"Eh…Tron said you were offering loans before what the hell does that have to do with what your just saying?"
Mike paused, before he shrugged." Sky Finance is just part of the operation. I'm willing to loan people that have potential, cause after all got to spend money to make money right?"
Teisel smirked as he glanced below." Heh…well the Bonne family does stand out across the whole universe. Still…. what is in this ruins that is helping this grand heist?"
Mike saw everyone was looking at him…and closed his eyes." It's the Interdimensional extrapolator."
"The hell? This Gizmo is going to get us the true motherload? Ugh…should have Tron decode all this high-tech stuff."
"If it's combined with all the other pieces then…hell yah. Sometimes you don't have a full house till you get to the bottom of the deck. So, what's it going to be?"
Teisel had a hungry look in his eyes before those eyes twitched." You spin a good story, but so far that's all it is! I don't have any proof this is anymore then an excuse to shoot me when my back is turned!"
"How about if I can get in cause I came prepared?"
"Maybe…but if you try and trick me the Marlwolf will have you deep fried before you can blink!"
"That's a bet I'm willing to take."
Mike just smiled as Astra, and the blond woman saw he looked confidant before she sighed and then shrugged. The lanky man walked up like he was strolling across a park, even as the Marwolf had large energy cannons aim at him. He then took James, and put the golden crystal right at the center of the gate.
The "Treasure hunter" told James beforehand to hide his holographic form to not let others be aware just of his true nature, and so the pirate above just thought it was a fancy key. The ploy worked as James quietly unleashed the seal around the "Main-Gate".
As the energy barrier faded Teisel looked excited." Well that saved a lot of fuel! Maybe you're on to something after all! Alright then now what?"
Mike paused before he let out an uneasy chuckle." Oh well…next part's not so clear. Never been inside after all, but better move carefully to not miss the treasure and all?"
"Oh, so that's how it is eh? Find, then I get everything that's not the extrapolator thing, right?"
Mike winced as he saw the Marwolf head for the Main-Gate and let out an uneasy chuckle." Hey um really think this is requires a bit more delicate approach, eh?"
"Hey, take it easy I made a living out of nabbing loot so I know all about how to trend into ruins eh? Just going to send some of my boys to scout things out eh? Don't worry…it's what they do. Time to get to work Bon!"
From the top of the Marwolf a sound that sounded like "Babuu!" came out before the hatch on its back split open, and a giant humanoid figure with a head where its chest could be. Everyone saw the head was pale white, had seemed to have a pacifier in its mouth before Tanjiro widened his eyes in shock." Is…is that a baby?"
Teisel saw all the looks in his direction before he laughed." Hey, don't give me that look it's just…a robot that was made to be a baby. Hey, I got him for cheap…after Tron put things together in that one junkyard on Raxus Prime.
Hey, it's hard finding employees these days you know? Don't worry Bon's been doing this for a while he knows what to do right?"
Bon looked at everyone and responded with another," Babuu!" before he made a salute gesture, and hit the rock next to him. The toddler like robot showed off his strength by hitting the rock hard enough to case it to break off from the cavern and fall to the cliffs below.
As the rocks smashed part of the bridge apart and caused even more rocks below to break up everyone heard more and more crashing sounds before Teisel gave an uneasy chuckle." Now to be fair that's not the ruins itself so it's all good! Don't worry, Tron programmed a whole protocol OS or something.
Alright Bon let's see just what they left! If it's moving smash it! They must have been waiting so long that they are either rust or dust but you can't be too sure these days!"
Before Bon could respond another large impact from below could be heard. While Teisel tried to laugh it off, it was followed by another large sound, and everyone got alarmed as the last sound sounded more like a stomp then a crash.
Mike glanced back at the local demon slayer with a boar head before he cleared his throat." Say…you guys were talking about a large BT Shade that was attacking and feeding in this whole area right?"
Insoske shrugged before he looked below." Yah but that weird smelling woman kicked it through a wall."
Zenitsu looked even more alarmed before stepping back." You idiot! Kainé went to the dessert to hunt down the rest of the Shades but she never killed it, just trapped it cause she said she was" Saving" something for later! That…that rock-slide might have freed it!"
"Oh, you freak out over everything wuss!" The boar headed man replied." I'm sure it's just…huh?"
Everyone heard a growl before Mike got on guard." Hey, wait…I thought those BT Shades only come out in the rain?"
2B readied her Virtuous Contract blade before responding with," For normal Shades yes…but if they eat enough souls they can stabilize enough to move around any environment. And it seems like we are dealing with such a beast."
Teasel slowly backed up as he heard another roar." You think the Bonnes are afraid of some mindless beasts? Forget it! Your little claws won't even scratch my paint job! Bon, ready the cannons to,"
Before he could finish the order a giant yellow claw like limb burst through the wall behind him, and stabbed the Marlwolf right in its cannon. The Mech's energy attack backfired, causing explosions to break out all over the craft.
Teasel saw the situation rapidly turning worst for him each second before his eye twitched." AAAAAH! What are you standing around for!? Put out the fire! Put it out!"
The nearest Servbot responded with a panicked," The automated fire extinguishers aren't working!
"WHAT!? But...but...but...? It's inconceivable! Some mindless beast can't outwit the great,"
An explosion blew Teasel away before he could finish. Bon caught him, but the explosion blasted them both away. As the Marlwolf shattered apart its attacker was revealed to be a giant Shade the size of a monstrous lizard even larger than the mecha.
Astra saw the lizard roar and just moaned." Well…we almost were able to do this the easy way. But sure…what's one more ugly grunt to own?"
The blond woman saw the lizard shade's hook like tail twitch and retract before she got into a fighting stance. Before she could move Inosuke ran up with a wild yell as he drew his blades." I'm not scared of doing my job! I wanted a piece of the action last time anyway before that woman got to it before I could get a piece of it! Your size just makes you a bigger target "Hook"! I'll just keep cutting yah till yah stop moving! Tenth Fang: Whirling Fangs!"
The" Hook" Shade 's mouth expanded like it was a frog, before unleashing dozens of glowing red orbs at everyone. But the boar headed swordsmen showed he was ready as the move he unleashed caused him to rapidly spin their swords in a circular motion, deflecting the projectiles as he shot forth. Inosuke charged through the bombardment and slashed his blades into the beast's tail.
As the reptilian shade roared, its attacker laughed." You may be sneaky and kill weak people easily but you got nothing on someone who fought beasts all his life! You can't hit me with either your breath or your tail now so you got nothing! Time to be my next, huh?"
The Hook beast roared again, before lashing out with its tongue. The tongue extended backwards, and Inosuke saw it and dodged, only for it to swerve again before he expected it to, and shot right towards him and grasp him by the neck. As the man with the beast mask choked out in shock. The giant lizard jumped up and grasped the human with its claws before the others could intervene.
Inosuke 's mask ripped and his real eyes, eyes that looked like they were about to bulge out of there sockets looked ripe with panic." No…I'm a wild Demon Slayer…can't, let a beast, skin me like, GURAH!"
In an instant the Demon Slayer's weakness became apparent as the monster ripped off his arms and legs like they were twigs and devoured him. The lizard like shade then dug its claws into its target, and peeled off the skin from his body, leaving Inosuke alive long enough to scream as the skin and organs were ripped out of his body before he was thrown into his mouth.
Zenitsu saw his squad mate's ripped apart face express one more before all of the chunks of his body got devoured and yelled out in horror." He, he…MOMMIE!"
Astra saw the blond demon slayer faint before she rolled her eyes." Well at least he's being nice enough to not to get in the way unlike his dumbass teammate. You like meals ugly? Then chew on my,"
Before she could finish a flash of light went by, and everyone heard a thunderbolt, and saw lighting surge past the Hook Shade. A hole suddenly burst out of the upper right leg of the lizard like monster.
Mike, Astra, and the others blinked and saw that it came from non other then Zenitsu. Astra noticed the blond man had his sword drawn, and it was crackling with lighting, before also noticing that he seemed to still be sleeping before she raised an eyebrow." The hell is this? This dude thinks he's a badass in his sleep and is sleep fighting…with lighting?"
Tanjiro gasped as he eyed the unconscious warrior. "Wait…I was heard that there was a sleeping warrior who fought like he was lighting…but I did not think it was…well…this!"
Grimoire Weiss saw the unconscious swordsmen looked perfectly calm before he shrugged…or at least floated in a way that indicated shrugging. "Well if this lad is a master at being scared asleep with every foe he faces I suppose he's found a unique style. But is thunder enough to slay such a beast?"
Zenitsu grasped his blade tightly before in a stoic voice stating," Eightfold Thunderclap…and Flash!"
The sleep walking demon slayer unleashed seven swift slashes that were light flashes of lighting that cut across the Hook Shade in rapid succession. The beast was too slow to block the combo, but as Zenitsu prepared to finish the combo his target latched out with its claw like tail.
The blond man parried the strike, and for a moment it looked like he could push his larger opponent back. The lizard shade blinked a few moments then licked its lips. It suddenly belched out a green mist from its mouth that covered the area.
While it only made Zenitsu grit his teeth and push harder, suddenly the lizard spoke out," Zenitsu…it's me boy…sensei Jigoro Kuwajima. You did it lad…you became the warrior you always said you would be. It took so long…but I'm finally proud of you."
As everyone was shocked that the shade talked like an older man suddenly, hearing this voice caused Zenitsu to wake out of his sleep. The Demon Slayer looked on in shock as he looked around in confusion." Master Jigoro! You..your at last proud of me? I, huh? Wait…AH! No…not like this I can't die while I'm still a ver…RAHHH!"
The Hook Shade took advantage of its target's focus breaking by lunging forward, and biting the upper half of Zenitsu clean off.
Astra saw the lower half of Zenitsu fall to the depths below before she just sighed." That's what happens when you can only use power with a fluke! Thankfully I don't got that problem so now…huh? Oh, come on!"
To her annoyance Tanjiro had yelled in rage the moment Zenitsu was killed. The youth charged right at the beast and yelled out," You…how cold you? Using the voice of someone he cared about to torture him? You…you're a monster!"
Astra just rolled her eyes before hissing out," No duh genius! If you're gonna be this dumb I'm not even going to bother saving you! If all the idiots just got out of the way this would have gotten a lot smoother!"
"That's my line!"
Astra had her eye twitch as a yellow energy blast suddenly shot down from the sky, and blasted right through the left upper leg of the Shade. Everyone looked up and saw a woman that looked like 2B but without the blindfold over her eyes, as well as long hair.
She had a bluer set of armor and was wearing the same battle glider that 9S and 2B were using previously and was wielding two swords that had saw like edges.
Astra glanced at the new arrival before checking back at the two with blindfolds behind her." So, are you two cloning yourself's or what?"
Tanjiro glanced at the new arrival before his eyes widened in shock." Wait…is that the fabled shade slayer who's been killing Shade's all over the planet? Lady Kainé?"
2B saw the woman above looked at her with annoyance before she winced herself." So that's the agent already deployed here? Agent A2?"
The woman, either A2 or Kaine looked around before she snickered." I told those morons to not engage…and that Hook was mine to finish and yet here we are. A girl's got to do everything herself. Just thought they could wait till I got back from the hunt in the desert but that guy was even dumber than I thought."
Astra saw how annoyed A2 looked before she smirked." What…you had dibs on this asshole first? Well, its yours if you can pull it off but he's already overstayed his welcome."
A2 saw the blond woman's amused look and cracked her neck." Oh…trust me this thing's pissed me off enough as it is."
The Hook Shade glanced at the new arrival and again started talking, like an older woman." Child…you must not."
"Yah…talking like Kali just reminds me of you killing one of the few people I liked on this planet so here's what's going to happen. You're going to stop talking now. And then I'm going to slowly come over…cram my hand through your chest and RIP OUT YOUR DAMN HEART!"
The beast roared, but while it lashed out with its tail, its target was faster than it, and swerved around it without breaking its stride. The one known as Kaine to the town's people smashed the lizard monster in its back. The blow knocked it below, and caused it to be impaled on a large spike like stalagmite.
Kaine saw the monster roar and struggle to squirm out before it shrugged." Eh…impaled your heart so close enough. You should have learned when I smashed you into the ground…but since you're not moving…I'm making sure you don't move again!"
Kaine fired a massive yellow energy blast that vaporized the Hook Shade in an explosion. 9S saw how cold Kaine looked while going about it before he let out an uneasy chuckle." Man…when they said A2 had been getting out of control I can kind of see what they were saying."
Mike saw Kaine look at her before he shrugged." Hey, I can handle getting to the point long as that point is well…not pointed at me."
Kaine paused, glanced at Mike, and sighed before she flew down and landed near him. She saw some of the others get alert before she looked at 2B and shrugged." So that rumor about Michael Auro was not just misinformation after all eh? Well…I guess it's good one of the sons is still alive and all. Those two dumbasses died in the line of duty but…I hope no one else got killed because of them."
Mike looked around before he let out an uneasy chuckle." Oh…mostly just some pirates that bit off more than they could chew."
The group realized that Bon still was holding on to Teasel in the distance, and that the pirate had looked dazed from his craft's explosion. Teasel looked around blankly before muttering," How much does he think it costs to build that in the first place? You…you set me up as your patsy!"
Mike winced before he shrugged." Hey don't be like that. C'mon if you're a pro you know there is a risk for every raid right? I mean…you can still get something if you."
Teasel snarled out, just as a giant green airship with the same logo as the mecha he and Tron had been using descended from the sky." I'll get him if it's the last thing I ever do...I mean..."
The airship suddenly had a plank descend from it, and as it extended from the elevator appeared Servbots that got front of Teisel."
"Master Teisel, are you all right?
"Tell Tron…to have the Gesellschaft BLOW ALL THESE LIARS TO HELL!"
The Servbot calmly put its hand to its ear before letting out an uneasy chuckle."
Um…Miss Tron says there is an even bigger warship that might blast us if we do that and thinks it might be better if we get away…for now."
Teisel had his eye twitch before he snarled out," Had this all covered eh slick?
Just you wait! Oh, you're mine, you lanky punk and the blue boy-I'll get you all!"
Kanie rolled her eyes and muttered," You bark to much you're going to get, huh?"
Before she could attack the Gesellschaft fired a barrage of missiles. While the attacks were easily blasted away it gave the airship enough time to fly off the planet."
Mike saw the Bonnes were gone before he sighed." Well…they know how to run fast at least."
Astra spat on the ground before shrugging." Most likely because everyone wants to kick their asses. Still, glad not everyone here is a dumbass. Hell, I'm surprised your one of the Prince's toy soldiers and are allowed to have some personality."
Kanie sighed before shrugging." I was designated to watch over this planet. But after a while my squad was betrayed by someone who was in charge here, a warden named Gadved. I was the only one who survived, and the blow damaged my memory. I was found by a woman named Kali.
She had already lost her family, and thought I looked like her granddaughter. My memory was hazy for a while so I was unsure…and we took care of each other. Even after my memory returned, since my unit was dead she was the only one left. When I was gone, that lizard like son of a bitch ate her.
But its more than that…I know scum that think they are demons have been running around the planet like they own the place. I thought after smashing "Hook" into a pit that I'd see who was manipulating it…and I guess you guys were around because if dumb and dumber were all that was here everyone else would be dead. Even if they mostly are a bunch of folks freaking out over their own shadow these days, I owned Kali enough to protect the people she was friends with."
Mike nodded before he looked around." Well…guess we are here mostly to keep people from being meals. Though there is a lot more to it than that."
Kanie looked at the ruins behind her and sighed." Yah…I came here because I noticed the barrier was down. Prince Auro…you need something that's inside?"
"Yah." Mike answered bluntly." The short version is that enemies that make that lizard look like a flea are out to well, take over everything. The only way to stop it, is to get something that was left in here."
"Well I don't focus much on the big picture these days. I'll just say, whatever you have to do, do it quick. The idiots from before are not the only one's who been attacking here."
Mike shrugged before he looked around." Well since the locals don't seem like they are going to be giving tours might as well get this done eh? Have enough to get done as it is and all so no time for…games?"
The lanky man was about to walk into a shrine before he heard something, and saw a Temari handball of a unique multi colored symbol bounce past him. Everyone saw the ball stop near the shrine before the son of the "Last Emperor" raised a eyebrow." Oh…so someone comes outside around these parts after all eh? Sorry kid, no time for games. Danger should be over though so if things go well, I might play a, huh? Whoa!"
Mike's evaluation of the situation turned out to be more than a little off as he swerved around and saw another ball heading right for his head. Just as he realized the ball was moving like it was shot out of a cannon, James sensed danger and used his energy to have the Holocron cast the reflect spell.
Astra saw the ball get reflected into the ground, and shatter it, before she cracked her neck. " Guess he really is more than a toy. Well…speaking of toy's…what jackass do we got here?"
"I could say the same for you!"
Everyone turned around to see the projectile and insult came from a woman who had just emerged from the shadows.
She was a pale-skinned woman with bright hazel eyes with cat-like slits and white horizontal slats with black hair with orange-colored ends. She had bangs over her forehead and the ends of her hair appeared similar to paintbrushes.
She wore a pair of long silver earrings and an orange kimono that matched her hair. She wore a black haori on top, and had a wild grin across her face.
The woman had another Tamari Hanball in her hand, and was dribbling it as everyone glared at her." Well…of course Lord Muzan's hunch was correct, but it seems this was an even more interesting discovery then even he expected! But that's good…if I beat you all and bring you before him I'll get promoted to the Twelve Demon Moons for sure!"
"Don't think this through and your gonna die Susamaru, this Kanine was enough to be wary of on her own."
A man walked out of the shadows next to the woman named. He was a young man of an average build with pale, gray-tinted skin and very short black hair. His eyes were closed, but a pair of pale-ringed orange eyes on the palms of his hands could be seen, with some seeing that a red upward-pointing arrow marked on each of the irises with sclera of glowing dark green color.
He wore a plain olive-green kimono with a brown obi and a dark gray haori, decorated by a strip of green that ran down his arms from his shoulders to his wrists. He also sported white tabi-socks and a pair of brown zōri with black straps, along with an akoya necklace of large blue pearls.
Susamaru saw the man's quiet look and snickered." Well, Yahaba, I was planning on getting all the glory on this, but guess now there is some leftovers for you eh?"
Tanjiro eyed the pale duo keenly before getting upset." Hey…you guys look like…demons. Wait…are you the ones that killed my family!"
Yahaba winced before he eyed the youth carefully." So, it's true…someone did survive. He will be most happy that we were able to report so much at once…maybe ascension is within our grasp after all."
"ANSWER ME!" Tanjiro roared out with anger." Are you the one who tried turning Nezuko into a demon!?"
"It really does not matter boy!" Susmaru cried out eagerly as she hunched over." You're never going to get the chance for your vengeance…cause you're getting cut down here!"
2B pointed her sword at the demonic women before declaring." Sinner…prepare to be judged by the vessels of the Bethel Kingdom…for the glory of mankind!"
"Heh…more lapdogs of the" Last Emperor" crawling out to have value even after your masters at last got what they deserved? Your authority means nothing now, especially all the way out here! Here…the word of the Shadowlord has more weight than any so called " Ally of justice!"
Astra rolled her eyes before spitting out," Oh please…if you guys thought you were as great as you say you where your Shadow Lord would not be hiding in the shadows from all the people wanting to kick his ass!"
Yahaba grit his teeth before hissing out," We may have enemies we must be wary of yet, but soon the time will be right for us to take are rightful place in the universe!"
Kaine rolled her eyes before she got into her own fighting stance." You guys want to learn the hard way how wrong you are…be my guess but you're already pissing me off."
Mike saw both of the pale new enemies look furious before he sighed." Something tells me chatting's pointless at this point eh? It's the song that never ends with demons here it seems."
"Then how about doing something to make sure we don't waste all week here eh prince?" Astra spat out strongly." Just take some of us and get things secure in there while we mop up these idiots."
Mike saw how revved up Tanjiro and Kaine looked for separate reasons before Astra just laughed." You think I can't handle jokers like this? I'm going to kick your ass if you don't think I can't handle peons like this alone, let alone with your support group here!"
"Alright alright I get it ok? Just don't get cocky and let them do any demon stuff or, alert someone that is something to worry about ok?"
As Astra just laughed in response 2B glanced at her teammate." The Master should be protected but, just in case you, Megaman and Clank go with him for protection 9S."
"On it." Her male comrade replied. "Wanted a look at the data before anyone messed it up anyway."
Susamaru saw Mike turn around before she narrowed her eyes." Hey…who said you could leave my game?"
She threw another ball at Mike, only for it to be blasted out of the air by Grimoire Weiss. As the demons noticed the talking book Weiss uttered," Your inane games are no match for the Sealed Verses's your prattling fool!"
Mike saw his allies blast at the enemies before he saluted them and ran off."
Susamaru had veins form on her head before hissing out," So you want to make a game out of this eh? Find…but it just means your all doing this the hard way!"
"That's my line asshole!" Astra spat out as she walked up." You two are no better than the pirates if you think your tough just cause you been preying on weaklings. Don't worry, by the time this is over your gonna, huh? Whoa!"
Astra walked across a puddle as she was walking up to the demons, when suddenly she fell right through like she stepped into the ocean. The others watched in horror as the blond woman just disappeared before Tanjiro looked around in horror." What…what happened? She…she fell through the water?"
"I fear something magical is afoot." Weiss responded." That water is charged with demonic energy."
Susamaru snorted before she made a beckoning gesture." She thought she was all that but she did not even realize we were not the only ones here! Well…she seemed strong but all the more reason to let the Swamp Demons wear her out first. First…I'll have my fun with the dolls and tools here!"
"You taken enough lives monster!" Tanjiro cried out as he drew his sword. His target snickered and hurled her ball at him. Her target widened his eyes, and just stabbed the ball.
Susamaru licked her lips before her eyes glowed, and the ball rippled before hitting Tanjiro in the face, and flying out of his blade. She summoned the sphere back into her hand before hissing out." You think a demon can be so easily outwitted boy? I'm too crafty for some dumb local to just outthink!"
"Despite your wit we have enough between all of us to trump yours." 2B stated as she got ready to dash. Susamaru saw the others spreading out before she rolled her eyes." Think quantity will beat quality eh? Don't think someone who has the confidence of the Shadow lord is so simple! I'll show you all the price of mocking me."
Her chest twitched before she threw off her outer garment, and suddenly grew four more pairs of arms. Tanjiro saw his now eight-armed opponent have balls form in each hand before he winced." That…that's a lot of arms!"
"I suppose from where you that might seem to be the case." Weiss uttered." But this does complicate things a tad."
Susamaru widened her eyes before howling out," Let the games begin! And they won't end..till your all dead!"
The many armed enemy hurled all eight of her projectiles at everyone, and they all glowed blood red as they shot out like cannonballs. Kaine evaded one, only to see it instantly swerve around for her leg. As she kept moving and found that the projectile was locked on to her she spat out," Damn it…this is going to be a bigger pain in the ass then I thought."
2B nodded as she too was too busy moving to be able to counterattack." It seems more like energy blasts then balls at this point…breaking her focus seems vital for victory, if not survival."
Her pod robot responded with," Correction…the focus does not seem to be coming from the demon woman, the energy guiding them seems to be coming from her partner."
Kanie glances at Yahaba, and saw the eyes on his hands were glowing before she grit her teeth." Need someone else to hold your hand? Don't screw with me!"
The longer haired woman with sliver hair shot a few energy blasts at the male demon, and it caused dust to get in his hand eyes. As he staggered back his attacker charged right at him. While he blocked her slash, the move caused the energy balls to waver and lose their focus. Yahaba saw this and hissed out," Stop stirring up so much dust…your filthy!"
"That's rich since now that your trick's done your, GUH!"
Her opponent extended his hand and caused Kanie to be blown backwards vie an invisible force. Susamaru saw her projectiles lose focus before she glared at her teammate." Do I have to do everything? You, huh?"
To her shock Tanjiro was dashing right at her, and slashed through her arms before she could strike back. As she yelled out her attacker declared," If you did not pay so much attention to looking down on others you might have not lost everything!"
Susamaru yelled with outrage as she staggered back. For a moment Tanjiro wondered if she was just blind with rage before Weiss uttered," Don't let your guard down lad, she does not have the limits a human does!"
The demonic woman howled with rage and unleashed a barrage of energy infused balls at the Demon Slayer. As he and the others tried to break through the barrage Yahaba yelled out," You think you have us figured out! If I go all out, instead of directing the balls I can direct your bodies! I'll just feast on your bodies for the energy when I'm done! Koketsu Arrow Onslaught!"
The demon opened his eyes, before they glowed red. Everyone around him then went flying around like they were pinball's. As those around him gave painful grunts the male demon looked ecstatic." Still feel so cocky? Susamaru, smash their jaws off in case more friends arrive."
"Got it!" The woman demon retorted as her eyes glowed red. She aimed for Tanjiro first and licked her lips. "You wanted answers boy? The answer is a loser like you can't save anyone cause you were chosen to, GUH!"
Right before she could try and kill the local swordsmen, a strong force hit her from the back of her head, and smashed her right in to Yahaba before he could react. The attack sent both of them into the nearest wall, and caused the spell to be diffused.
As Yahaba got back up he hissed out," Damn it…did one of the others return? I told you to pay attention!"
"Hey you're the one with the extra eyes! Hey wait…that nearly smells like a demon! Wait, huh?"
The two saw that the one who attacked them was none other than Nezuko. Tanjiro's sister had clearly regained conscious at some point or another and followed her family without them knowing. All the woman needed to know was that her brother was being attacked so her instincts took over.
Susamaru saw the other demonic woman bearing her fangs at her before she hissed out," What kind of sick joke is this? You…you get hit in the head? Your attacking your own kind!"
Nezuko just howled like a feral beast before veins formed on her forehead." My…kind? Tanjiro is the only family I have left…so anyone that tries to hurt him is my enemy! You…I'll kill you!"
Yahaba saw the other demon woman grow larger before he winced." This girl…the others must have tried to interfere with her transformation! It was far along enough so that she turned demon, but she was corrupted! Damn these heathens! You will pay for showing your superiors with contempt! Your savage force is nothing compared to my magic!"
Tanjiro saw his sister looked excited that he was ok, and took a sigh of relief." Nezuko…you really still have your heart…that transparent man was not lying after all. Even if it's not as it was before, at least…at least it's still something. Demons…your going to pay for thinking you can treat like toys!"
Yahaba glared at Tanjiro before hissing out," Emotions won't change a thing against my blood art magic boy!"
The swordsmen with a scar on his face charged at the demon man again, and was hit by the magic once more. He felt his sword arm twist unnaturally as he was hurled into the air. Yahaba saw the shock in the younger man's face before laughing." See? All your emotions can't make you overcome the laws of nature! Die monkey!"
As Tanjiro fell Grimoire Weiss got in front of him." Maybe…but that's more my specialty. "The magical book unleashed a spear of raw energy that Tanjiro grasped onto to halt his fall.
As he gave the talking book a nod of gratitude Weiss said," I'll use my magic to make it so you can see where his aura is coming, so in essence you can see his attacks coming now. With this do try and be less laughable eh? You have family to protect and all that."
"Thanks Weiss! Let's do this!"
"Ugh…that's Grimoire Weiss but more on that later!"
Tanjiro saw Weiss told the truth, as after being around the book's magical energy he could see Yahaba's new round of attacks in the form of magical arrows before he stated," I'll adapt my moves and close in on him! First the sixth form to envelope the magic arrow!" Twisting Whirlpool!"
The swordsmen cried out to unleash a spinning assault to slash away some of the incoming hostile magic. Yahaba hissed out in anger before trying to barrage Tanjiro from all sides. While he felt his sword get heavy, Tanjiro felt more energy from Weiss pout into him before he yelled out," No matter what…you're not pushing your justice away! Water Breathing, Second Form: Improved, Lateral Water Wheel!"
Tanjiro once more used power from Weiss to unleash a horizontal spin that unleashed a surge of water like energy. This attack was not what Yahaba expected, and he got decapitated before he could respond. As his head rolled to the ground he hissed out," No…I'll…never win Lord Muzan's approval like this. You…you damn, GUH!"
With his head severed, Yahaba let out one last cry of outrage before his body shattered. Susamaru saw her partner vaporize before her eye twitched. "You…damn you! You're all going to pay!"
She threw another ball at Tanjiro, only for Nezuko to run up and roundhouse kick the ball back. The demon with more arms tried to counter her own redirected attack, before she got hit by both Kaine and 2B.
As she fell to the ground Kanie rolled her eyes." If you think your pissed off, then have a taste for all the lives you ruined."
Susamaru saw all the angry looked and started to look afraid." No…please…have mercy. I…I did not think it would go like this. I was just following orders."
"Oh, that excuse eh? You think your boss gets a kick when his minions blab that they just serve him out of fear?"
The enemy woman's eyes widened in shock before she turned pale." Wait…no! Lord Muzan…don't misunderstand my loyalty to you never, GUH!"
To everyone's shock her body turned black, before her chest rippled, and two more arms burst out, out of her own chest and mouth. These new arms grasped her own head and squeezed hard.
Everyone could hear one last muffled "Lord Muzan!" Before the hands crushed their own master. 2B saw her opponent's body fall over and slowly fall apart before she grimaced." While the Bethel Kingdom has are own protocols for ensuring secrets are not lost…this still seems especially gruesome."
Weiss sighed as he looked around." Maybe woman but something tells me this servant did not sigh up for this."
Kaine shrugged as she looked around." Eh…she only seemed sorry when she had to own up to what she had coming so not feeling sorry for her. At least they only took themselves down…though what happened to your blond teammate?"
Just as the others tried to guess what happened to Astra a large explosion of murky water burst out in front of them. We flash backed to what happened to the rouge Equalizer in the first place.
After Astra suddenly fell through the watery hole, she found that she was suddenly underwater and could hardly see before she snorted. Really starting to hate this damn planet. If there is no hole, I'll blow up this whole part of the, oh?"
Astra heard something chuckle underwater, and saw another pale humanoid swim up to her. He had long blue hair with two long strands of violet on both sides of the face, supported by two golden hair separators.
As usual in several Demons, he had claw-like nails and the veins on his forehead were quite prominent, in his case, to the point of replacing his eyebrows. His eyes were red without pupils and with prominent dark eye bags.
As soon as Astra locked eyes on him he grinned." They said there would be interesting prey…but your scent is the most interesting I smelled in years. My luck that you were the one careless enough to walk into my territory! You can drown or be ripped apart…any preferences?"
The blond woman gave the swampy demon the middle finger before her magic aura erupted. Her target was pushed back a few feet before he licked his lips." Your strong…no doubt about that. But your still just one woman in the dark ocean. I'm not just one man, or even demon, I'm this swamp itself!"
The demons' eyes glowed before four copies of himself formed around him.
Astra held her breath and prepared a counterattack, before the Swamp Demon and his clones all attacked Astra from all directions, and while Astra parried the strikes from all directions, she breaths more with each second.
The demons saw her strain and laughed in unison." Hahah…your strong woman, but your still just normal woman that needs to breath. On your own you can't take on a whole family. Are bond is too much for, GUH!"
Astra took a punch to the left but used it to slam the Swamp Demon into his fifth clone, who had five horns instead of the one that the original. She managed to take being hit by all the demons at once, and twisted around to tangle all of her attackers at once.
As she saw how shocked they looked she powered up even more, to cause the water to blast off her. As she took a breath, she saw all the Swamp demon's chatter their teeth before she grinned." It's cute you been so alone your miserable life that you think your clones are a "Family". I was real close with real family you swamp assed eyesore. Sigrun and I were a real family that had a real bond.
We fought like we were one…and this half assed fake bond pisses me off. If you think you can do me in with the likes of this then, wherever you're going next the only thing you can think about is how much of a mark this will leave yah! Thanks for sending me away from the others, it means I can cut loose after how pissed off I been! Don't worry, I'm sure you're going to be getting company soon!"
The Swamp Demon's all yelled either in rage or fear as Astra unleashed an energy blast right in the original Swamp Demon's face. It went off and caused an explosion powerful enough to vaporize all of the demonic enemies at once, and blow up the entire small pocket dimension.
This leads to everyone seeing the water rain down, and Astra casually walking out of the hole. She saw everyone looking at her before she shrugged." Well glad I don't have to baby sit everyone. So…anyone else trying to come out of the rain or the walls or something?"
2B looked around before she shrugged." No hostiles are detected…for now it seems we cleared the area."
"Super." Astra dryly retorted as she spat at where the enemies were killed." Now this whole trip just has to be worth it and at least this trip won't be a waste of time. So, the Prince find what he was looking for, or we have to go to another lab or something?"
Before anyone could response the shrine suddenly glowed and fired a beam into the moon. The Moon started to glow before Astra raised an eyebrow." So…maybe I missed something when I found out to that swamp but was that supposed to happen?"
As the others around her just looked at each other tensely the rouge Equalizer facepalmed." I know it's a mission to freaking save the Multiverse but like, can we seriously just do anything without making it worst for like…ten seconds?"
As the moon continued to glow, looking like it was about to attack with each passing second. But to get a better idea on what caused things to turn like this we turn back time again, to right after Mike and his group went into the "Main Gate".
Despite the rush to enter, when they went in they found it was rather calm setting, if musty.
Mike saw only white hallways in front of him before he saw the others and shrugged." Well no zombies greeting us are a plus."
James let out a chuckle before the hologram nodded." I assure you, after I and your father dealt with things like the "Flood" and other undead horrors we were rather adamant such things would not break out on are places of work. Since we entered in the proper manner, long as there are no intruders this should be a fight devour encounter."
"Heh, that's good cause I think I already had enough of those for one day. As you seen, unlike some of the other's fighting's not really my thing."
James saw Mike had a speck of lament in his eyes and just smiled back." I can't speak for the others but that's fine with me, I know full well about meeting expectations Mike."
"Thanks sir…glad that not everyone makes a big deal about it."
"Sorry if that's the case. I know it's been centuries but I would hope your father was not making it an issue. From his own origins he would know more than most that not everyone meets people's expectations."
"Eh…like I said before he and mom did not make as much of a big a deal about it as you might think. If anything dad seemed indifferent, like it would not have mattered. Though…when I started doing my own thing he got more concerned. Not sure if it was because "My weakness" made me a target for the whole family and all that. Sure, as hell would have been mad that I lied to the pirates back then.
Still…it was clear that the truth was not going to sell with the likes of the Bonnes so, have to work with what works yah know? I believe in what they all cared about but the hard truth is that treasure is a lot more appealing to most in the universe then justice right about now."
James looked deep in thought before he sighed." Don't worry….I understand the situation and don't think you were at fault for doing what had to be done. I don't know if he told you this, but your father had more than a few times when he had to " see things from a certain point of view" to get things done.
Why…when he was trying to make sure your mother was safe he followed her all the way to planet Venom and on the spot came up with a whole new alter ego as a rouge bounty hunter just to see what was going on with her and her brute of a boyfriend at the time.
Your parents, I, and most of the former Enji knew that everyone saw "True Justice" differently, though by the time the Enji broke up we had to admit there was even less common ground then we had hoped there was. It comes down to priorities, if you fight more for protocol then lives it seems foolish at best.
Right now you're fighting to ensure this universe, and every other does not become forever enslaved to the whims of deranged tyrants yes? I think…that long as you don't twist things for the sake of your own personal desires the good outweighs the bad."
"Thanks. Now…just need to be skilled enough to be able to do anything worth a damn and maybe it will be worth it."
"I'm curious…is it that you never trained, and your parents outright said you have no potential?"
Mike paused before he shrugged." I mean…with my parents being Ben Auro and Lacus Raystar it takes a lot to make that a dud eh? You were not around to see but they did something that kind of gave me an edge, but it was more like a bodyguard around me kind of like you, over really being me.
Seemed like the best of both worlds at the time. I did not want to be a fighter, and my folks admitted that another guy with a high power level would not really change anything…till it was the last chance for salvation."
"I see…so it's more like you wanted to go down your own path. I can respect that, and I think I can find ways to help you make the most of things. But one thing at a time, lets focus on finding the needed machinery eh? Ah perfect, we will be in the main chamber shortly, I believe all the experiments were behind the" Dreamer" door barring massive renovations."
Mike saw a wide set of doors at the end of the hall and nodded before he put James's crystalline body against the seal, and allowed the remnant of his father's friend to unseal the door.
The Dreamer Door opened moments later, revealing a massive chamber…one that seemed empty. Megaman looked around before he raised an eyebrow." Oh no…don't tell me this place was already raided!"
9S looked around before he rubbed his head." I…don't think that's what happened. Its just that everything in this place is sealed off in their own hangers. Guess it means the stuff we need is likely still here…just it might take a while." Clank looked around before he sighed." I don't see any indication of any terminal to inform us of where things are organized…if everything is stored in its own space this could take quite some time."
Mike looked around before he let out an uneasy chuckle." What did the terminal fall apart over the years or something? This was built to last right? There has to be some sort of system to let us know how things work around here eh? Like, what about that?"
Everyone saw a small rectangle like box right to the right of the room's entrance. In the center of it was a round red orb that was dimly glowing. The lanky man looked around before he shrugged." So, this the reboot switch or what?"
James paused before he put his hands in the air." Sadly, your guess is as good as mine since this was not how it looked when I was here."
"Well…long as we don't get shot at its worth a try right? Just…get ready to pull the plug."
Mike saw everyone look uneasy, but with no other ideas he went over and pressed on the red button. For a moment nothing happened, till suddenly the orb glowed a more intense color, and the orb rotated like a switch. The entire chamber started glowing, before the door slid down.
Inside, was a male human face that's eyes were closed. The face had purple hair to the man's sides in length, and the man was clad in white armor. As the chamber opened fully the group saw the male's body was not quite like a normal human, for the person had large armored arms that were floating alongside his body, and had a round legless body that looked more like a large vacuum cleaner.
The Lylat Kingdom symbol was on the man's chest armor, and after a few moments this male stirred. He looked around at the group around him and just smiled." Greetings, I am MegaMan Juno, Bureaucratic Model Third Class, Authorization Number 8677, and caretaker of this facility.
Was it you who awoke me? It is somewhat later than I had planned...But no matter...Thank you for awakening me...Hmmm? "
Juno eyed both Mike and Megaman curiously before his eye twitched."Have we met before? Oh, please forgive me. You are a purifier model, assigned to the direct command of the Master.
As I recall, your a designated MegaMan Trigger unit. Please forgive me, I did not recognize you in your current configuration. There might have been a few changes since I was last active."
Mike smirked before he shrugged." Hey believe me buddy are group is full of all kind's of unique guys and gals. I'm Prince Michael Auro…and it seems you might be able to help us with a problem we have."
Juno paused before he looked around." Problem? Error…Auro is in the data banks but the person Michael is not. Update…needed. Priority is to evaluate state of planet."
Juno paused before his arms had wires come out of its hands, and slid them into a crack in the wall were a terminal might have once been. Juno's face paused before he raised an eyebrow." Oh my…the carbon numbers are quite high since I was last active, I believe I understand the situation. I assume that your reason for coming here is to purge the carbons that have over populated during the time I was inactive, yes?"
"Carbons?" Megaman blurted out in confusion." Purge? What are you talking about!?"
Mike let out an anxious chuckle before adding," Yah sorry to start off on the wrong foot but we just need your help finding a machine that's hopefully still here, eh?"
Juno paused before clearing his throat." According to Urban Military Security Ordinance A10, the number of carbon units is not allowed to increase beyond a per-specified limit; if this happens, they are to be purged immediately. My observation, if left unattended, the carbons will reproduce indefinitely. Their numbers will grow, polluting the surface world and posing a threat to the stability of the Bethel Kingdom, which is inexcusable. "
"Carbons? Do you mean...The people of the planet?"
While Megaman uttered this in horror, Juno just widened his smile." The carbons fit Mass Population Model B. They are unstable, very difficult to control...Perhaps, it would be better to simply reinitialize...Project Gestalt must be completed properly or it will just make the universe more unstable when stability above all is the priority."
As everyone looked at Juno with horror James winced." I think…I understand what was going on. Juno here is a unit that never got the updated operation plan. It's true that in the worst-case situation it could have been a threat if a planet's worth of mutated demons escaped Endless Illusion and further terrorized a already beleaguered universe. However, the situation, and the expectations changed.
Project Gestalt was indeed an experiment to try and find ways for humanity to evolve into beings that could adapt to an ever ruler universe.
My uncle, one most knew as Magneto Master of Magnetism was a firm believer in Homo Superior's leaving humanity in the dust thought that the" Mutants" would inherent the universe, and while I did not see eye to eye with him and his daughter Polaris, after the Death Stranding, it was clear humanity had to evolve into something that could endure. Still…if it evolved into something worst precautions had to be made.
Still, we also understood later on we had to accept more failure, and widen the scope of what was excusable to get a…reasonable outcome.
It would seem Juno here still is looking at the old parameters. I don't know if Popola, Devola or someone else planned to update him and never got around to it. Sorry friend but your judgment process is a bit…outdated. For the sake of the Bethel Kingdom as a whole are task takes priority."
Juno paused before he frowned." This is quite depreciable. It would be much easier if I had the assistance of proficient units such as yourself. Once my task is complete, I shall inquire as to the changes you mentioned to Eden. However I'm afraid purging the corruption from the planet takes priority over anything else."
Mike cleared his throat before he took a deep breath." Hey…Juno right? Don't mean to pull rank here but things really changed since you were last up and this is way more important. As the son of Ben Auro you kind of have to listen ok?"
Juno paused before he sighed." It's true that the Master takes priority over everything. However…I have no proof you are Ben Auro's son. Yes…there are many enemies to the Bethel Kingdom…and till proof is presented you are not a hostile maverick…I cannot accept your authority."
James frowned before he cleared his throat." I respect being dedicated to duty but your focusing on the wrong aspects Megaman Juno. This is Enji Master James Elrond issuing authorization code 1.22474487139 ordering you to comply."
Juno paused before his eye twitched." Error…voice print of Master James Elrond is confirmed but frequency is…corrupted.
Error…file not found…Could not recognize operation: X! DifxFrontend failed!"
Juno's face twitched again before he looked around and resumed his smile." Yes…possibility of Master Elrond's likeness being used to compromise this facility is high. If Master Elrond has been compromised, then the situation is even more severed then previous calculated. Eden systems…must be engaged."
Everyone felt the ground shake before Mike winced." Dude…what the hell are you doing?"
"No." James uttered with dread." He's activating the Eden failsafe! To sum it up, this world's moon was a failsafe both for invasions from hostiles, and in case Endless Illusion turned to the worst case situation. In essence the Moon Eden will fire a laser that will shatter the planet!"
Mike's jaw dropped before he saw how calm Juno looked." Wait…for real? Dude get a grip! Sure this planet's seen better days but at least people are still living on it! No need to go scorched earth just because there are a few shades attacking folks and some pirates trying to raid your lab!"
Juno eyed Mike carefully before he sighed." You seem unaware of the extent of the planet's corruption but that will not change things. It's true that Planet Endless Illusion is not completely infected, but those that remain are to corrupted. Based on calculations, the odds are better if the planet was reinitialize."
"Juno…they might not be the happiest people out there, but they are still alive damn it! You can't just treat them all like they are just lab rats or something! You got to stop this or we will have to make you stop!"
Juno eyed everyone again before he floated higher in the air. "Your behavior seems to be based on some shallow assumption over what takes priority. Such emotions could lead to the jeopardy of the entire Bethel Kingdom. You are, however, too late; Eden was activated a short while ago.
It cannot be deactivated as long as I, the Master Key of this planet, remain here in this control room. All that remains now is to wait for Eden to enter transmission range, and send the command to execute the reinitialization of this world.
Now that Eden has been activated, any further interference from you will remain on file, thus tarnishing my operating record. You all either are mavericks or have been corrupted. Therefore, as keeper of this planet, I hereby exercise my Prerogative of Correctional Disapplication."
MegaMan let out a few confused blinks before muttering, "Prerogative of Correctional...What!?"
"Allow me to rephrase; I will exercise my authority to terminate your programs."
Juno 's emblem started to glow, before in moments he fired a wide red laser. Mike dodged, and saw part of his coat get vaporized before he cursed. 9S saw Juno still had a friendly face before he chuckled." Man…either this dude's been in storage so long his data's been corrupted or he's always been seeing things through a broken lenses. Either way I don't think we can talk him down! Only Commander X or some of the other higher ups would get this guy to settle down the easy way."
Clank sighed before he looked around." Would are comrades in space be able to neutralize the threat the moon?"
"Only if they know what the threat is in time." 9S retorted." And right not everything is being jammed…again!"
James sighed before Juno flew higher above them all." It would seem Aggressive Negotiations is the path we must take then." Juno saw Megaman and 9S aim at him before he sighed." So, you insist on defying reason then? How 'bout this?"
Juno spun around and fired lasers from both of his hands. His targets all dodged to avoid being vaporized, and Juno kept spinning around before suddenly thrusting downward. The impact caused a shock-wave, and James had to cast another barrier to project Mike.
Megaman and 9S both fired projectiles, and Juno took a few hits. After being hit back a bit Juno kept his smile, but suddenly moved backwards, before uttering," Most impressive, but that's not enough!"
Juno fired more energy beams from his hands and charged at the group. As he did Mike jumped up and yelled," You bit off more then you can chew dude…think you realized your weighed down by how uptight you are! Friction Crusher!"
Mike struck the corrupted caretaker at his floating arm, and got hit with the other detached arm in response. The lanky man landed on the ground and quickly took a potion to heal the damage he felt to his chest, before he saw Juno swerve around, and have his arm twitch a bit before he let out an uneasy chuckle." Hope his weight limit is not too high…he can't really trip so I don't have many options here."
Juno saw all the angry looks his way and just chuckled." You are skilled Mavericks, but you don't have it within you to override my authority. You will, huh?"
Juno prepared another spinning laser attack, only to find his arm was lagging behind, a result of Mike increasing his weight. As he struggled to rebound, 9S charged at him with his Cruel Oath blade, and while Juno caught the blade, Clank suddenly jumped up and fired at Juno with his "Clank Zapper" which was him releasing a bolt of green electric energy from his antenna at Juno. The blast caused the man with purple hair to be zapped hard enough to be blasted backwards.
Before he could stabilize himself, Megaman was ready, and fired a charged shot from his "Shine Mega Buster."
The blast was powerful enough to blow a hole in Juno's chest. Juno looked at the hole in his body and sighed." My, my...it would appear that I have made an error..."
Juno promptly exploded. As pieces of scrap rained down Mike winced before he looked around." So…are we good?"
James paused before his expression turned grave." I still can't override what Juno did. There might be a, huh? No!"
Everyone saw the smoke clear, and saw that Juno was still alive. While his body was gone, Juno was still smiling. Juno just looked around before sighing again." You were nearly successful in terminating my life support sub-routine functions.
But do not be disappointed. It appears that it will take longer than anticipated for Eden to reach its optimal altitude for firing. If you can terminate me
before then, you will be able to stop it. Assuming...you are capable of deactivating me."
Mike saw Juno did not seem stressed at all before he sighed." Dude enough with the Black Knight shtick, ok? You're just a freaking head now ok? I get it, you take your duty, function, and all that real damn seriously. But you're obsessing over the wrong things Juno…we have to focus on what matters."
Juno paused before he frowned." What is more vital than the safety of the Bethel Kingdom? What could take priority over ensuring people that are not threats don't endanger the rest of society?"
"It's because we set the initial standards to high that your confused Juno." James answered bluntly." Everyone may see perfection as the best result but as heaven itself learned the hard way, accepting nothing but perfection is a recipe to hold on to nothing. If we have no faith that people can be counted on unless they are perfect, then we are too afraid of them for them to have any right to have faith in us."
Juno paused for a moment before frowning." Now there is no doubt you're a forgery of Master Elrond…the entire point of project Gestalt was to not allowed humanity to further decay the universe after Doug Fitter's sin."
Mike shrugged before responding with," Sure no one is really big on letting some self absorbed jackass ruined everything but hey, if you don't trust anyone then you're not living in the first place eh? In the end your perfection's not getting you very far Juno."
Juno looked at his lack of a body and had his eye twitch." Well…I concede it appears I was in error assuming that a Bureaucratic Model such as myself could be able to best the likes of you. I must…correct that."
The entire chamber started to shake, before Juno's head rolled over a bit till it landed near a part of the wall. The light above Juno glowed red, before wires came to pick the head up.
For a moment everyone thought Juno was retreating, till he attached his head to part of the wall. Moments later said wall slide apart, revealing a gigantic blood red and black skeletal and demonic looking body behind it.
Mike saw Juno's head attached to the body in an instant before he let out an uneasy chuckle." Yah…maybe letting a crazy guy have the key's to all the big guns is a bad idea."
Juno flexed his new claw like hands before he at last opened his eyes, revealed a mad look. Juno's grin widened before his still legless body floated above everyone and the entire chamber morphed into a " Testing chamber" ment for the weapons." Ah yes…this is much more suited to what is required. Now then…shawl we begin? Here I come!"
Juno's tone became much more violent and angry as he raised his claw and attempted to impale his enemies. While they all were able to get out of his path, Juno struck the ground with such force that it caused the entire area to be set ablaze.
Megaman winced and fired a barrage of shots with his buster, only for them to bounce off Juno's arm armor before the Digger cringed." Well…we might need to get the others for this."
Clank just looked defiant before he grasped his fist tightly." Juno yes? Don't think you're the only robot here that can increase their size!"
The robot created by the Zoni 's eyes glowed green, before he once more transformed into his Giant Clank state. Juno saw Clank become as large as him, and also point the newly formed arm cannons at him before he just grinned." Ah…to think that there would be a maverick from the Zoni. Not bad… but how 'bout this!?"
Juno charged at Clank, but in his giant form Clank was able to catch the claw. Juno's eye just twitched again before he raised his other claw, and suddenly formed a massive red energy sphere in it.
Megaman and 9S both fired blasts at the sphere, but they were not strong enough to fracture it before Juno hurled the attack at Clank. The blast was powerful enough to hurl the Iron Giant all the way into the wall behind him.
While the chamber had transformed into its "Weapons Testing" mode and was able to endure the impact, Clank still had sparks erupt out of his chest.
9S glanced at a monitor showing the state of the moon before the man with the blindfold winced." Oh man..we are calling it close here. Better try and hack the systems directly."
Juno saw the black clad man was trying to hack the systems before his eye twitched again." How dare you! No matter what shape your methods are…you won't add to the corruption to the planet!"
"Buddy with how big the logic virus in your systems messing you up I don't think you have the right to talk about corruption."
"Bah…a maverick lectures me about logic? Whatever delusions you cling to merely hides that your letting base feelings interfere with the greater good, and nothing is more vital than the salvation of the universe. Any that try and interfere because of their emotional weakness…must be purged!"
Juno 's entire demonic body started to glow red before quarter of the room's area became covered in an impenetrable energy pillar. He then fired a barrage of lasers that caused a cascade of explosions to overwhelm his opponents.
James saw the madness in Juno's eyes before he let out a grave," I must take responsibility for a staff members insanity. Stand back Michael, I can't hold back with how dire the situation is."
Mike grimly nodded at the holographic man before James had the Holocron fly higher before he declared," Megaman Juno…I'm sorry your devotion can't be used for a better purpose. But I can't let another crazed AI cause further harm to the universe. Indignation!"
James instantly unleashed a powerful bolt of lighting that hit Juno hard enough to shock him. As the being with a man's head on a demonic robot's body glared at him he just declared,"Ultima!"
Juno's eye twitched as he realized the golden crystal was emitting a magical powerful aura before he hissed out," No matter what you clam you are…I am the one with ultimate authority of this facility! That level of magic energy is quite a threat…but there were measures taken to null the threat of magic users here…measures I'll deploy now! "
Juno waved his hand before suddenly the floor and the ceiling in front of James collided into him, and instantly formed a cage. The cage in moments glowed and unleashed magic jammers and noise buffers to prevent him from speaking.
Mike saw James float around like a firefly in a cage before he felt a lump of dread form in his spine. "Oh come on seriously? No…not letting it end like this to some messed up aid droid or something!"
The lanky man dashed up and kicked the cage, only for his kick to leave a small crack. Mike cursed at his own weakness, and Juno eyed him before his eye twitched yet again." You call me irrational again and again, but if you truly were the son of Ben Auro you would not be defying me! This was all his ultimate objective."
Mike winced before he let out a bitter chuckle." Your own boss spelled it out for you and you refused to listen Juno. They changed the plan because they went with something that was going to work instead of a fantasy! If you're clinging to something that's impossible you're just beating your head on the wall!"
"Enough!" Juno hissed out as his eyes glowed red." If you can't see the task through then your irrelevant…a hindrance. A maverick who defies the blood of the Master must pay for such arrogance with his life." Juno fired another laser from his hand to try and vaporize the son of the man he saw as his master.
Mike cast a barrier to defend himself, and while it held he was pushed all the way back to the wall. While his barrier was cracking with each second, Mike held his ground while stating," I'm not irrelevant to this Juno…I am Ben Auro and Lacus Raystar's kid after all!"
"You may have some matching aspects but its not enough. You don't match the master enough to verify that. Your power…your methods, your ideals, they all don't match."
"Hey, I'm his son not his clone! I want his dream to live on but I'm doing this my way!"
"And if that deviation leads to the ruin of all…then such a path will only be greeted with damnation! Perish!"
Juno had more lasers rain down on Mike, and while the curly haired man's barrier cracked more and more…he grasped his hands so tightly that blood came out of him before he shouted back," No…your wrong! Dad's path was not absolute either…if it was I would not be here eh?
I'm willing to bet everything…that the way I see things is not an idiot not knowing how things work! You can't fear your own world if you want to guide it…I'm not afraid of the people that are supposed to count on me like you and even my dad was!
I have faith…that I can put things on a better path, a path that accepts people for how they really are, not how we all wanted them to be! And I won't let you, Muzan, Homelander, Sieg, or anyone else try and take that away from me!
Now…Juno…you piled on a lot of debt trying to push through your one-track view of how to make things go down! I think, no, I know it's time your called out on it and I'm making that so, with my own power! Compound…Fracture…Flash!"
While Mike had blood come out of his mouth, he had the barrier he had up absorb and condense all the lasers being fired at him. The barrage of projectiles became condensed into an orb of light green energy that went into his foot.
Juno's eyes widened as he saw Mike unleash overhead kick with one leg while performing a moonsault, as the kick released a massive green wave of energy that roared right for Juno.
The crazed bureaucratic unit yelled out before he tried to slash at the incoming projectile. As he did Megaman and 9S both shot him, and their attacks hit Juno enough for his aim to be diverted.
Juno could only cry out before the Compound Fracture Flash energy blast cutting Juno cleanly in half, before going up and cleaving through the ceiling, going outside the main gate, and exploding.
Juno saw half of his body fall down, before explosions blasted out all over his body. As the half of his face fell to the ground his eye twitched." This is…an inexcusable error."
Mike smirked before he flashed a devil may cry grin." It's not an error…it's my strength. Major pros on making me focus enough to pull off the spell in real time."
"No…such illogical data…cannot be allowed to dominate!
This is MegaMan Juno, Bureaucratic Model Third Class, Authorization Number 8677. Requesting the Reinitialization of this planet's systems, and memory back-up of its bureaucratic systems.
My program has...already been backed up in Eden's Central Core. I eagerly await…my next activation...to finish this task."
Juno seems to wait for something…but nothing happens. Juno's eye widened as nothing kept happening before muttering," No…cannot…establish the connection. Error…error."
Mike could not help but let a sad sigh." That's because it no longer exists Juno."
For a moment fear was forming in what remained in Juno's eye." No…then…error…path forward…incalculable."
"Maybe so man…but we got to do what we can to wing it till we figure it out."
Juno's eye twitched…and he moaned before his head blew up. Megaman looked around before he looked around tensely." So…is that it…is it over?"
Everyone saw the containment around James be undone before the hologram Enji Master floated out. James looked around before he readjusted his transparent glasses." I can't say if the total crises plaguing are universe is over…but at the very least this crises from are renegade worker here is over.
Mike…I must say I never saw a spell quite like that…and as someone who tried to be an authority over magic as a whole that's most impressive."
Mike tried to look modest as he shrugged." Oh you saw? It's just, the Compound Fracture Flash is me taking a bunch of projectiles, using the barrier to condense, redirect and transmute that energy, and unleashing it as an energy wave released as a kick.
Mom…knew a lot about barrier spells and she worked with me on it for a while. It…it took a lot of focus to get the timing right but…unless this is me dreaming in hell guess it worked eh? Too bad they were not around to see it be pulled off eh?"
James saw Mike's unease before he sighed." Michael…as someone who knew your parents quite well…unless they changed dramatically I assure you from what I know of your parents…they would be both proud of you right now."
Clank transformed back into his normal state before he looked around." I am most pleased your skills prevented the worst-case situation from unfolding Prince Auro. That being said…not to ruin the mood but after all this is the item we were seeking for still here?"
As Mike gulped 9S walked up and let out an uneasy chuckle." Hey no worries. Hacking into the systems got me to at least get the database up, and with laughing boy in pieces we can get it up. Let's see… interdimensional extrapolator right? Yah…its here in cargo section 2816. Its under Star Dream or something."
"Yes…that should be it." James uttered. 9S grinned and pressed a button to retrieve the device before a angry ," HEY!" Nearly caused everyone to fall over. While for a moment Mike dreaded Juno somehow transferred himself to a new body, he was at least sightly relived when he saw Astra and the rest of the group run into the room. The blond woman looked exasperated as she looked around." NOW what the hell is going on? I thought it was nearly a easy job till the moon got ready to nuke the planet!"
Mike kept his poker face up before he shrugged." Sorry about that. There was a part of the system that was a tad buggy and we had to go through one hell of a debugging program."
Astra and the others saw the remains of Megaman Juno, before she looked up at the still sizzling hole in the ceiling before she raised an eyebrow." Wait…one of you fired that blast and did not shoot something that was already here? What the hell happened?"
Mike's grin widened before responding with a slick," Oh…had an ace in the hole and pulled it off."
Astra saw James looking stoic before she rubbed her head." So, the hologram is a real badass eh?"
"Eh that was more of mine doing." Mike retorted. This caused Astra to roll her eyes." You really think you can pass off cons no one is selling Mikey? Look all that really matters is, are we screwed or are we not?"
Before anyone could answer the walls stopped moving around before part of the wall split open, to reveal a cylinder-shaped device with a screw-like head and a circular piece of yellow glass that appeared to be its eye that's overall shape was reminiscent of a screw.
Mike saw that despite a bit of dust the machine looked intact before he made a dramatic pose." See madam? A few bumps in the road but the plan is intact.
Well…still got a lot of things that can go horribly wrong…but at the very least if anyone hears this" heist" in the hopeful future…at least they can say we were competent enough to get past first base. Can worry about the rest later…I think at the very least we earned a lunch break now."
Mike struggled to still look composed as he rejoiced that despite everything…he was able to grasp this fragment of pride.
Authors Notes: Between a trip and Covid had a few things getting in the way but hope this will be worth the wait.
Firstly for today's Authors notes, The Bonnes and Megaman Juno are both from Megaman Legends, seemed like they would be a good fit today.
Zenitsu Agatsuma and Inosuke Hashibira are, or more like were major fighters in the Demon Slayer series...nothing personal to there fans but I just found both of them...extremely annoying and while I know they got stronger later in the series...honestly just did not want to have them around. To make up for it Nezuko gets upgraded from being a Pokemon to well...being more then her brother's pet in this version lol.
Susamaru, Yahaba, and the Swamp Demon are all from Demon Slayer as well.
The " Hook" Shade and Kainé are both from NieR Replicant , mostly. I also have her be based off A2 from Automata...who was already inspired by Kaine in the first place. All I'll say is that to avoid confusion this version is Kaine is like A2 just a woman.
And lastly, once more Star Dream was from Kirby Planet Robot.
Ah well that should be all for now. Hope it all worked out. Thanks for the support so far and hope you like how things unfolded enough to leave a review. Till next time.