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Death Battle Legends

Chapter Text

The waves crashed against the shore below as a rose-haired girl stepped onto the deck of the seaside hut she called her home. A light giggle broke through the lips of Serah Villiers - née Farron - as she saw her husband Snow lying on one of the chairs, snoring like a hibernating behemoth. Deciding not to disturb him, she took a seat at his side, content to listen to the sound of the waves.

Someone else had different ideas; a victorious seven-note melody emerged from her pocket as her cell phone received a text message. Snow started to stir, and with a sigh Serah drew out the device, finding it was a text from her sister.

The contents terrified her.

I think I'm back in Nova Chrysalia. Odd.


A sound like steel against steel echoed from below as the bright-robed figure made his way to the edge of the building. There was someone in the plaza below; a woman in pale garb that looked almost militant. A pauldron on her left shoulder had two yellow streaks across it, glowing slightly, and from her right side flowed a red cape; hanging from her belt was the holster for a strange steel weapon, and after a moment to look over herself she raised a hand to her chest... and a strange glow emerged from beneath her garb.

That was all the provocation he needed; he reached forward, and light extended to either side from his palm.

Lightning pulled her hand away with a curse, letting the light fade as she looked around the twisted plaza she stood in, before a towering skyscraper. "Caius, if this is some kind of sick joke..."

The sound of a footstep - no, not quite a footstep, but the shifting as a foot propels its owner into a leap - drew her attention skyward; Lightning raised her gaze as she saw someone leaping from the rooftop. A figure in a blindingly bright robe, conforming enough to make it clear he was male but loose enough to give him plenty of mobility; a golden mask rested upon his face, and in his grip was a double-bladed halberd in gold and white, with jewels at the base of each blade.

FIGHT!

That glaive impaled itself in the ground where Lightning's feet had been as she leapt aside, reaching for her Blazefire Saber. She popped the handle and grabbed it in its firearm state, raising it at him and firing six rapid shots. To her dismay, the robed figure only drew his weapon out of the ground and whirled it before him, beating the shots aside; then he thrust forward, moving with a slide, and Lightning was forced to meet it on her weapon. The impact sent her skidding backwards, and she swung her gunblade to shift it to sword state before reaching for her chest and hurling a sphere of grey magic towards him.

The robed man brought his blade down as the magic drew near... and the Ruinga went off with a blast, throwing him into the air. Lightning charged him as he was neared the ground again, swinging her weapon with heavy slashes while the afterblast had yet to fade. The first blow met body; the next struck steel, sending him skidding out of the smoke as it began to clear; then his empty hand moved, and an orb of fire surged forward.

Lightning swung her own hand in retaliation, throwing a gust of wind; the two connected, and the flames blast while the Aerora whirled against nothing. Then the next projectiles came flying at her - feathers of peacocks, flying like kunai - and Lightning sidestepped one only for another two to strike her as she made to evade the last three. Her opponent charged forward with his weapon swinging, and Lightning brought her blade forward to meet his first blow before leaping over him amidst another.

He acted while she was still airborne; a sharp kick struck her, and she was sent flying across the rent square. She righted herself before her momentum wore off, starting to hurl magic at him; Fire, Blizzard, Water, spell after spell flying across the plaza towards him as fast as she could cast them. Her hopes that the bombardment would be rapid enough to prevent his long weapon from deflecting them each were quashed when he pulled it apart - it had been two blades joined at the hilt, and he cut down the nine casts she had sent his way before hurling the two blades towards her.

With a yelp of panic, Lightning ducked under the flying weapons, charging at him while his hands were still empty; then she heard them coming back; and she threw herself into the air as they returned. Her opponent caught them, one-two, and turned his back to her as he brought them together behind them, sealing them as one weapon again.

Lightning landed with a scoff. "Well," she mused, "I know you're not a Yun."

She charged at him again, and this time he returned the favour; he moved his weapon into a hard blow, and she draped her weapon in fire. Lightning managed to avoid the brunt of the swing, but still took a glancing blow as her Flamestrike connected; his next blow lashed her rank pauldron from her shoulder as she moved into a retaliatory Froststrike. A Sparkstrike landed as he struck across her now-unarmoured shoulder, and her Aquastrike landed as he pulled his weapon into two once more and swung at her high and low; the high swing missed all save her cape, but the low swing hit strong, and she retaliated with a skyward swing that launched him into the air.

The robed man turned in the air, but Lightning reached for her chest and then swung her arm, and Thundaga rained down on him, the voltage striking before she leapt up to meet him. Two blows were traded between them, his parted blades parrying her saber; then she twisted into a flip, and he joined them so that their combined shaft could meet the downward strike that threw him to the ground. He landed on his feet, but too roughly to strike her before she touched down herself; he hurled a sphere of voltage at her, but the shocks failed to deter her as she charged towards him.

"Try this on!"

She drew her blade back at her side and brought it into a skyward blow that knocked his glaive aside; then she twisted into a spin for another that struck him before he could move it to guard again. He tried to lash at her leg, but Lightning only raised it to strike him with a spinning kick; when he parted his blades, she met the arm holding one with another continuing swing before moving her weapon across to strike the other aside. It shifted to firearm state as she kicked away from the incoming swings, firing at his forehead; she heard his mask crack as she turned away and leapt into a downcoming kick, striking him in the chest and then twisting into a roundhouse kick to hit the hilt of his blade.

Then she whirled into a spin, striking him three times before sending him flying back. He rejoined his blade mid-flight and impaled it in the dark stone of the plaza to cut his flight short; as soon as his feet touched down, he pulled it aside. The top of his mask had been blown off to bare his forehead, yet he seemed none the worse for wear - there was only the faintest of marks upon his skin, clearly not from Lightning's shot.

A white diamond.

He swung his hand forward, hurling another feather; then he thrust his hand, and two spheres thrust forward in succession - one of flame, one of voltage. Lightning managed to strike the feather aside and sidestep the fireball, but the lightning orb slammed into her full-force, hurling her towards the skyscraper before which she fought with enough force to strike down the decor that hung over the entryway, kicking up further dust.

The robed man was motionless for a moment; then he raised a hand before him, and another feather appeared in his grip, which he hurled into the rubble.

It collided with a shield - a silver shield with gold ornamentation, upon the arm of Etro's champion. Lightning charged in the direction the feather had come from before the smoke could even clear as Overture appeared in her other hand; her opponent saw her coming and hurled his glaive at her like a javelin. Lightning sidestepped the flying weapon, only for it to be caught by its thrower - who had somehow crossed the distance in the time it took Lightning to turn in her evasion - and then brought into another swing; she met the strike on Goddess' Grace, and then wind wrapped her gunblade as she brought it into a whirling swing.

Her weapon connected with the robed man's defense, yet he could barely make to retaliate before gales whirled around him - a twister forged of magic, battering him from all sides as he fought to stay standing. With an angered roar, he brought his blade into a whirling round swing; Lightning met the weapon on her shield, but failed entirely to anticipate the giant echo forged of light that slammed into her back, throwing her aside. She righted herself and shifted her weapon to firearm, blasting at him; her opponent brought his weapon up once, twice, thrice to meet the shots, then whirled it into a downward motion, causing another echo to fly down at her from above, impaling itself in the ground inches from her toes as she leapt away.

The gales dying down, Lightning swung her hand once more; dark mists surged forth from the motion, twisting through the air and connecting with her opponent. The chaos dug into his body, and though it refused to take hold, he retaliated nonetheless, leaping into the air with three feathers seized in his grip.

They glowed with magic, and he hurled them above him.

"Honolol!"

The feathers' glow became fierce, and a massive golden glyph appeared in the air above him. From it emerged a massive, humanoid figure that seemed to be forged of marble; it lacked legs, and its arms seemed to be connected only by sparks of voltage between its underarm and shoulder. Its fingers seemed like massive tubes, and three of them were sufficient to surpass the robed man's height; as he descended towards the square again, it raised its hand towards Lightning, its tips revealing them to be hollow.

Lightning realized what was coming her way and reached for her chest as a bright shine emerged from beneath the bird on her chestplate. "This is not happening."

She hurled a rose-shaped crystal into the air as the massive creature began to fire at her; then she leapt as the first of its titanic projectiles grew near. Overture was brought into a sharp swing as she passed the eidolith, shattering it and causing light to extend in petals around its impact; a steely knight of white and gold emerged from it, twice Lightning's size, one hand holding a weighty shield and the other a massive dual-blade whose serrated edges formed an S.

Odin advanced on the newcome titan, stopping its shots on Ullr's Shield as Lightning descended upon the robed man. His glaive appeared in his grip once again, but Lightning hurled three shots of Ruin at him, occupying him with striking them aside as she landed a few feet to his right. The titan made to bring its fist into Odin, who parted Gagnrad's blades as the robed man charged at Lightning with a leaping blow; she stopped his blow upon Goddess' Grace, attempting to fire at him and finding him evading the shots night effortlessly, and his giant's swing was met by a crushing blow between Odin's blades, shearing off the marble coating of its fingers.

The robed man twisted and landed behind Lightning, making to bring his weapon into her back; she narrowly stepped aside, retaliating with a skyward swing to his blade as Odin performed a leaping spin in an effort to strike at the titan's face. A jewel upon the giant's forehead propelled a beam of light that seared into the Eidolon even as his swing landed, and Lightning's attempt at striking with the man while his weapon recoiled only found its other blade lashed into her arm mid-blow for her trouble. His next blow was stopped on Goddess' Grace, and he quickly parted the other blade and meant to jab it into her arm; she met that edge on Overture as the giant attempted to crush Odin between its fists.

The blows connected, but failed to hinder the Eidolon as he raised Gagnrad above him - and thunder fell down upon the titan. Before it could retaliate, he parted his blades and charged forward, and this time his crushing blow connected with its body. Lightning forced the robed man's weapons aside and shifted Overture; he attempted to thrust at her heart and ended up connected with the blade that now rested along her gunblade's barrel before she fired a single powerful shot. The blast struck his mask, and he retaliated with a surge of blinding light that sent the two of them skidding away from one another.

The titan began to fade away; as Odin made to rejoin his blades, the robed man tossed his glaive over his shoulder and twisted to seize it in a throwing posture before hurling it to impale Odin through the chest. The Eidolon skidded back, and Gagnrad impaled itself in the pavement as he fell to one knee, his body fading out.

"Who do you think you are?"

Lightning turned to the robed man with a raised eyebrow. His mask had cracked when she had fired at it again, and now it shattered with enough force to throw back his hood, baring a pale face and paler hair that flowed behind him.

A bitter smirk rose on Lightning's face as she stepped towards Odin's fallen blade; she aimed her gunblade at him disdainfully. "So your mouth works," she observed. "There was just magic in that mumbo-jumbo."

She swung Overture to the side, letting it fade out as the robed man aimed his glaive at her. "I have stood upon the heavens, and guided mankind to its own damnation." Lightning seized Gagnrad, voltage dancing across it as it faded out with a scattering of feathers. "I have beheld the world of chaos for eras on end, and reached through time itself. Who are you, that you think you can stand against god?"

The disdain on Lightning's face became fury; she turned towards him as light flashed upon her garments, the silver and gold of a champion replaced with the black and red of a saviour. Goddess' Grace was replaced upon her arm by a narrow buckler in crimson, but that quickly extended to a plate of obsidian and ruby as she reached for the long blade upon her back.

"How about the goddess of death?"

Power surged across her opponent; eight shining peacock tails extended around him in all directions like the wings of an angel who had none. He charged forward with a swing of his blade - and this time, his every motion of that weapon extended an echo of light. Lightning ducked under one edge, met another on Night Lotus, and parried a third with Crimson Blitz before he was near enough; then he thrust his weapon skyward, and a draconic head lunged out of the ground beneath her, prompting her to leap aside. She swung her free hand at him, hurling a blast of Firaga that slammed into him and exploded, yet he only retaliated with a sphere of voltage, and Lightning had to leap skyward to evade.

He leapt after her with parallel thrusts of his glaive - one in his grip, one an echo at his side - but Lightning met the projection on her shield and let the physical blade skim across her arm before bringing her sword down on him, hurling him to the ground ahead of her. She landed with a falling blow that split his weapon in two as he tried to move - leaving him with only one blade in his grip as he got to his feet - and then hurled a cast of Blizzaga that connected with him and sent edges of ice in all directions. A blast of fire burst out around him, and another draconic head seemed to reach out of thin air; Lightning leapt aside, and her foe seized his weapon fallen weapon as she made to charge him, parrying her blows with his own edges.

Without warning, a barrier of golden glyphs appeared before him, throwing her back; then he brought his blade in a round swing, and projections lashed across Lightning from both sides, throwing her back. She righted herself with her shield against the ground as he began to hurl feathers at her once again; she met the bombardment on her shield before charging him, and when he thrust his hand forth to cast at her she raised her own to counter his spell with hers.

But it wasn't flame or thunder that he cast - it was a string of time, and as it struck Lightning's movement was slowed to a crawl.

An irritable huff emerged from the robed man as he lowered his hand. "Such hubris, all of you." He advanced on Lightning, his weapon at the ready. "Humans, always overreaching themselves. You are no goddess. You are no champion. You cannot even claim to stand equal with this Sage, for you are no Witch!"

He raised his glaive, and made to bring it down on Lightning's head.

With a rush of movement, Lightning moved her shield to meet it, pushing her body to overclock.

"That doesn't mean you get to fuck with me!"

Her foe stumbled back as she lifted off the ground; she rushed forward, and Crimson Blitz cleaved his joined blades apart. Another rush knocked the weapons from his hands, and he stumbled away, and another struck him full-bodied. She twisted in the air as light flashed upon her again - returning her to her Guardian Corps uniform - and she brought Blazefire Saber into a sequence of advancing swings. As the seventh connected, he was knocked into the air; she twisted around him with another flash, and the armour of a Knight of Etro clade her again as she moved Overture into thirteen passing blows. Each strike knocked him into the air, and the last one had an ascending rise that sent him skyward after her.

Another flash put her back in the saviour's garb, and Gagnrad appeared in her hands with a scattering of rose petals as she twisted into four whirling blows upon the helpless foe that lingered before her.

She fell to the ground, crossing Odin's blades behind her.

It was only then that her swings tore through her opponent.

And then they rent the skyscraper into five.

There was silence in the square before the plaza as Lightning joined Gagnrad before her, and then moved it to her side; it vanished as it had appeared, and Crimson Blitz took its place in her grip. Then four notes rang across the distorted square; and Lightning started for a moment, looking around for some sign that her foe was still here. After a moment, she realized she knew the melody; a flash returned her to her Guardian Corps uniform, and she reached into the pouch on her left leg, drawing out her cell phone - it was a text from Serah.

Are you high?

With a roll of her eyes, Lightning tapped out a reply; No. That's why it's odd.

K.O.!

Chapter Text

Closer... closer...

"Uh, hey..."

A panicking yelp ripped through Link's lips as he dropped his fishing rod; his hand was halfway to his weapon before he realized the person who had interrupted him was stumbling well away with his hands raised. "Woah, woah, woah! Calm down!" Link paused, though he didn't relax his stance, as his confrontor - a young man of black hair, dressed in black with a short cape - beckoned towards Hena's fishing house. "Is this place free to fish from the shore?"

Quiet for a moment; then Link nodded, kneeling down to pick his rod back up. A scowl decorated his face as he realized his yell and the fall of his rod had been enough to scare what he was pretty sure had been a young Hylian loach nibbling on his bait; he pulled his bobber and line out of the water, and the newcomer - who looked as though he'd been about to ask another question - pulled away and stepped past him, making a good way down the shore so they weren't fishing side-by-side. A suspicious blue light drew Link's attention as he realized the other fisherman's rod had just appeared in his grip; a good look revealed his rod was a reel.

A moment's contemplation... and then Link turned his attention back to his bobber. Hena's charge was technically just for the boat (and possibly her accompaniment); the offering of a reel fishing rod was most likely just because that was more effective from a canoe.

There was a few minutes of quiet fishing; Link had an Ordon catfish halfway out of the water when something slammed into the rock formation sticking out of the middle of the lake. He turned, letting the fish tumble to the dock, as he realized a broadsword had been driven into the peak; with another flash of blue light, the black-clad fisherman appeared around it, and he pulled the sword out of the rock and let it vanish before his fishing rod appeared again, and he cast the line down.

With a groan, Link hoisted his catfish to eye level get a good measurement. The best fish were found in the middle of the lake; if he had a method by which to fish from there, he would've done it himself. A quick gauge revealed he wasn't setting any records, and he let the fish fall back into the water and was preparing to cast the line again when he saw the other man's lure hit the water.

And continue below its surface.

Link let his rod fall again; this time he went for his bow, drew a bomb arrow, and lit it before taking aim.

FIGHT!

The sound of the burning fuse drew the fisherman's attention an instant before Link let it fly; the projectile flew at the black-clad fisherman, who yelped and hurled his rod at the shore. His body vanished an instant before the bomb arrow made contact, leaving it flying through a cloud of blue light as the warping man reappeared around his rod; that tool quickly vanished as Link drew another bomb arrow, and as he loosed this one the broadsword reappeared in his opponent's hand. His body seemed to briefly become ephemeral as the shot passed him by, and he hurled his sword at Link, who quickly swung his bow over his shoulder and drew his Hylian Shield to intercept it.

The flying blade struck the plate's surface, and his opponent reappeared with his hand on the grip. Link quickly seized the grip of his own sword, bringing the Blade of Evil's Bane out in a whirling, spinning blow that would have dealt death had his opponent not narrowly evaded it. His broadsword vanished, replaced with a lance that he thrust towards Link; the Hylian met it on his shield, but the black-clad warrior seemed to use the defense as leverage, propelling himself into the air and twisting thereat before making to bring his spear down on Link's head.

Link managed to hop away from the attack, letting the polearm be impaled in the ground; then he thrust his shield, slamming it into the weapon's wielder. As the teleporter stumbled away, his spear fading, Link leapt into the air and seized the Master Sword between both hands, turning mid-leap with intention to splice his opponent's helm with it. A flash of blue light surrounded his black-clad foe, and he vanished for an instant, reappearing a step to the side. Before Link could make to land, his foe's hands seized a pair of daggers, and he hurled one and then the other at Link, who took one to the leg but managed to meet the other on his shield.

The vanished before he had even landed, reappearing in their thrower's hands; the black-clad weaponsmaster promptly hurled them again, this time at once, and when they were stopped on the shield he appeared with his hands on their hilts, stepping to the side with an effort to strike at Link's sword arm. Link quickly turned to meet the incoming blows, stopping them on his shield as well; a quick, pointed thrust glanced across one of his opponent's arms, and his attempt at retaliation found Link hopping aside, rolling across the ground, and making to strike with a rising spin.

His opponent flashed and vanished again, reappearing behind Link and then invoking a massive two-handed blade that he attempted to bring down on the Hylian's head. Link quickly met it on his shield, sliding back from the force of the blow; when his opponent hurled the weapon at him, Link leapt aside, sheathed his Master Sword, and drew a different tool. Sure enough, his opponent reappeared where the blade had tumbled, and Link hurled the Gale Boomerang at him, wind ripping up around it as it flew across the arm of the man in black.

The weaponsmaster stumbled, confused. "Wait, was that a-?"

The boomerang returned, striking his other arm as it passed him again, and Link caught it, this time taking a moment to focus on his targets before throwing. It struck his foe again and then veered aside as Link drew his blade, but the black-clad swordsman paid it no mind as his own broadsword appeared in his grip once more. This time, when he threw the weapon to close the distance, Link moved the Master Sword to meet it, and when the swordsman reappeared he was forced to grab his blade two-handed to fight the lock he had arrived in.

Link seized the grip of his own blade to struggle against the lock as well, and for a moment they seemed evenly matched; then the Gale Boomerang returned on its path, and as it struck his foe, Link managed to seize dominance, throwing his weapon back. He twisted into a spin attack, bringing his blade into his opponent's sword arm to knock the weapon out of his hands; then a thrust landed across his foe's ribs, and Link leapt forward with a flying swing.

His opponent vanished before the strike could connect, and this time when he reappeared something else did the same; a surge of light burst out around him, and thirteen weapons were floating at his sides, each appearing to be made of crystal. He seized one weapon out of the ring and charged forward, and when Link moved his shield to intercept the other twelve bombarded him from all sides. With an angry yell, Link forced the black-clad swordsman back; he made to seize another weapon, but this time Link drew his Clawshot, and before that flying weapon could be swung - or fired, it would seem, for the weapon seemed to be a crossbow - the claws seized its tip and dragged it out of its owner's hand.

With an angry yell, the black-clad warrior charged forward with his polearm at the ready; Link flung off his Clawshot, went for the Master Sword, and waited for him to thrust before drawing it with a whirling blow.

The spear lashed across Link's side; but the Master Sword struck his foe with enough force to leave him trailing blood as he was flung back, tumbled along the shore, and fell into the water.

When Link turned to the crossbow he had snatched away, it had already vanished.

K.O.!

Chapter Text

"If Emil finds out about this, I am not gonna live it down."

Zelos had thought it was such a good idea to try and impress a girl on the Altamira beach with Rheaird aerobatics. He thought he was such a sweet pilot. One poorly-handled turn later, he'd lost control and crash-landed on the Otherworldly Gate - and the Gate had opened up, and now he was stuck in the Ginnungagap.

Whilst he was contemplating how to get off the Gate's isle without a running Rheaird, a strange sound got his ear - an odd rumble. He turned in surprise and found a hole of dark mist before him; from it stumbled someone whose mannerisms implied he'd taken a few blows to the head. A younger-looking boy, with silver hair cropped short, dressed in a long cloak of black. The hole he'd come from seemed to condense and vanish, and he reached for his nose for a moment before looking around.

"Um..."

A click of Zelos' tongue got the boy's attention; the Tethe'allan Chosen stepped forward. "Do I want to know what you're doing here?"

"Probably not," the cloak admitted, "but since when do pretty boys get to limit their worries to impressing girlfriends?"

Zelos gave a bitter chuckle, reaching for his sword. "As much as I wanna assume you're here on friendly terms..." Last Fencer whispered against its sheath as he drew it at his side. "...you're bargin' in on my friend's crib, uninvited, without using the door."

The silver-haired boy narrowed his gaze, his right hand going to his size. "And does your 'friend'..." A dark light shone out from his palm, and then faded out to reveal a long sword shaped like a dragon wing had appeared; an angel's wing protruded at an angle from the tip, and black-and-white wings were arranged yin-yang around his grip. "...have a habit of ensnaring women with false hopes?"

A glare decorated Zelos' face, and he lashed his sword against the ground once and then twice to send projectiles flying across the ground towards the boy in black.

FIGHT!

A yelp broke through the stranger's lips as he leapt aside; as the Double Demon Fang passed him, he turned his winged weapon forward and launched a blast of fire at Zelos. The Chosen quickly raised his guard to stop the projectile, and the boy charged at him with his blade raised; Zelos promptly stepped aside before moving into a bombardment of flourishing swings, the boy struggling to parry or evade until he managed to lock against a downward blow, blade-against-blade and hilt-against-hilt.

"I don't play nice with people who talk about my friends like that," Zelos snapped.

"I don't play nice with people who call people like that their friends," the cloak countered.

He forced Zelos back and brought his winged weapon down, striking Zelos in the sword arm and then dashing with a blow across his side before leaping into the air and making to bring his weapon down in a falling thrust. Zelos promptly raised his shield to meet it, only to find that providing a foothold for the boy to leap back into the air and come down again. The second blow had more impact to it, leaving Zelos stumbling, and as the boy rose for another fall, the Chosen leapt into the air with a spinning blow, lashing across the boy's off hand as they passed one another.

With a growl, the boy turned round as Zelos was descending, raising his weapon; a blast of ice flew from the tip, and this one had enough of an impact that Zelos - still in the air - was left reeling when he tried to block it. The boy hurled his weapon at Zelos, who promptly sidestepped the throw and proceeded to dash forward with a Super Sonic Thrust; his blade connected before the boy could move aside, only for his weapon to return on its trajectory and strike Zelos in the back, leaving him stumbling.

The cloak took advantage of his stagger and raised his winged weapon; a burst of magic ripped up around him, and Zelos found himself thrown into the air and suspended there. With a yelp, Zelos tried to turn and found himself tumbling in place, and whilst he tried to right himself, the silver-haired boy leapt up and brought his winged weapon down hard on his back, throwing him to the ground and leaving him rolling until he managed to stand.

Zelos rolled his shoulders, twirling his sword at his side. "Okay, not cool."

He traced a quick diamond in the air before him with the fingers of his shield hand before twisting and invoking an Icicle beneath the cloak's feet; the boy leapt straight up as the ice formed, missing his feet by moments as he launched another shot of ice down. This time, Zelos sidestepped it, letting it hit the ground beneath him; as the boy landed, his ribs were struck with a quick thrust of Last Fencer, and then a bolt of lightning slammed down on him, leaving him stumbling back. The Chosen quickly brought his weapon into a leaping uppercut, striking the boy's blade to throw him off, and then in midair hurled a blast of fire down - it narrowly missed the cloak, but detonated against the ground and threw him back, singing the hem of his garment.

The boy righted himself, smirking as he stood upright. "Cocky."

He turned his winged weapon forward, and three bursts of voltage flew from the tip; Zelos raised his shield to block them, then made to charge forward and found his opponent already up in his face. One blow met his shield, and another his sword; the Chosen tried to retaliate, only for his opponent to fade to a shadow, and then disappear. Another blow connected from the side, and Zelos turned in an effort to defend against two more before his foe vanished again. The Chosen turned in an effort to strike and found himself parried on another swing, and three more struck him before the boy disappeared; when Zelos felt him coming, he raised his shield and formed a barrier around himself, letting a bombardment of seven swings strike ineffectively against it before retaliating with a Fierce Demon Fang to throw his opponent back.

Zelos reached for the Key Crest against his chest, making sure those solid blows hadn't damaged anything, before raising his gaze to the cloak.

"Trying to play in the darkness around here? Give me a break."

He lashed his hand to the side, and ephemeral emerald wings extended around from his back, catching the boy off-guard. A wave of his hand called down beams of Judgement to rain on the Ginnungagap, catching the boy off-guard; one landed hard on his head of silver-hair, stunning him as Zelos charged forward. A point-blank Demon Fang struck him with both wave and blade; then he thrust his blade forward for a Hurricane Thrust, and the burst stunned his opponent before he was dragged into the air air with a rising spin and then thrown back a whirling blow. As his foe tumbled across the ground, Zelos raised his hand, and an ornate sigil appeared beneath his opponent, striking the cloak with a burst of light; then beams of shining power began to rain down upon him, bombarding him with a holy force that had never failed to see its target to the end.

Such, then, was Zelos' surprise as a sphere of black lunged out of the bounds of Divine Judgement, and then formed the cloaked boy.

"The closer you get to the light..."

He turned his weapon forward, and a blast of fire surged forth - but it was a dark fire, an unnatural flame. Zelos raised his shield as he expected it to make contact, only for it to split into a bombardment of dark flames that lashed at him from both sides.

"...the greater your shadow becomes."

The boy rose into the air, and then charged forward blade-first. As he rushed across Zelos' sword arm, he seemed to vanish in a ripple of darkness, only to reappear from another side and lunge at him again. Three, four, five, six, seven, eight rushing blows, battering and disarming Zelos as he tried to react; then he appeared in the air above, and the Chosen could only raise his gaze before the dark figure came down with a blast of darkness, throwing him across the battlefield helplessly.

Then that winged weapon was raised, and a massive, flaming stone manifested in the air above him and came down.

Zelos had no chance to react; the impact slammed into him and threw him into the walls of the Ginnungagap hard enough to cull his life, and then gravity took him into a fall to ensure it.

The cloak stood where he had cast for a moment before a familiar shifting emerged from nearby; he turned to find another, smaller figure - in a cloak not totally different from his own - emerging from another dark rift. "Majesty?"

"Riku!" the King greeted. "There ya are! I think ya took a wrong turn."

"Wrong tur-" Riku glanced around. "Then, this isn't..."

The King gave him a look. "Something wrong?"

Riku glanced at the wall where his opponent had connected before shaking his head. "No, it's nothing. Let's get out of here, I think I might have ticked someone off..."

He charged into the Corridor of Darkness, and the King followed him in.

K.O.!

Chapter Text

"Materia, where did you put me now?"

In the champions' efforts to rebuild the world Cosmos has loved, Cloud had thought he had already fought in every battleground that the gateways had manifested from the champions' memories. Yet now, he stood in an unfamiliar place; atop a castle shrouded in dark substance, with an ominous force so thick in the air that he had no idea if it was day or night. He was standing on a bridge of some sort before the entrance of what seemed to be a royal audience chamber of some kind, although he could only see the barest hints of what he assumed to be a pair of thrones; hanging from the ceiling was what looked to be a black chrysalis of some kind.

He hoisted his Fusion Swords over his shoulder as he observed the area. "Maybe letting Squall take off before I found someone else to fight with wasn't such a good ide- Huh?"

An arrow soared over a barrier of black gunk, and struck something which started to writhe - it seemed to be an eye of some foul thing. After a moment, the barrier burst into smoke, and through it rode someone on what seemed to be a motorcycle made of stone. Cloud couldn't imagine the shocks on that thing being very effective, but the rider didn't seem to have a problem with it - a figure in a green tunic, shorts, and cap. The handle of a sword poked over one shoulder, the arm of a bow rose over the other, a quiver and a few arrowheads extended to either side of his waist, and the rim of a shield was visible around his (fairly skinny) frame.

Cloud only realized that standing in front of that gunky cocoon with his sword over his shoulder made him look like a threat when the rider leapt off his bike, drew the bow off his back, seized an arrow, and aimed it at him.

He yelped in panic as the arrow began to fly, moving his sword to block the projectile going for his head; after it collided, he brought his weapon back to find the archer soaring on some kind of hand-held glider. Cloud promptly swept his sword forward and then leapt, bringing it straight up in a horizontal position; the archer narrowly drifted aside before the leap cut one of the handles off his glider. He drew his bow again, firing another arrow before Cloud could even register that he'd nocked it; this one dug into the pauldron holding Cloud's left sleeve up, and he promptly redirected his momentum to bring his blade down towards him.

The archer hit the ground before the blade came down, barely turning a direct hit into a glancing blow; he promptly slung his bow over his back, brandished a heavy steel shield whose surface bore a crimson bird and three golden triangles, and drew a blue-hilted sword with a golden jewel set into its hilt.

Cloud braced his Fusion Swords before him. "Power from battle, right?"

The knight's expression bore confusion for just a moment before he charged forward, sword at the ready.

FIGHT!

His first swing was met on Cloud's rising blade, knocking it back long enough for him to bring the weapon down. The shield in the knight's left hand deflected the edge into the stone floor beside them, giving him an opportunity to twist into a whirling blow; Cloud couldn't stop the tip from raking across his chest (and snapping the clip of his Fenrir pin, launching it off the bridge), but managed to avoid enough of a direct blow that he was able to raise his weapon one again.

The downward blow met that shield again, this time being thrust forward enough that Cloud actually skidded back slightly; he only brought his weapon up in a rising swing to the left, forcing the knight to step back before he brought it around in a hard swing to the right. The knight leapt backwards over the blow, flipping over to avoid it slicing through his boots; as soon as he landed, he rushed forward, and Cloud could barely move his sword before seven hard slashes smashed against his sword.

He barely managed to keep his hold on the weapon as it was flung to his right; he promptly used the momentum for a hard round spin, slamming the flat of the blade into the knight's right side hard enough to throw him towards the bike. Any hopes of the swordsman breaking his spine on the exhaust pipes were shattered as the bike vanished when its rider got near; Cloud started as his opponent tumbled across the bridge, barely managing to right himself and skid to a stop before he went over the edge.

With a groan, Cloud brought his sword down again - and this time, an edge of force surged forward from the blade, carving a line down the bridge towards his opponent. As he started to charge after it, the knight brought his own blade down to meet it - and the edge was sent back, forcing Cloud to leap over it. He came down with his blade at the ready, and this time when it met his opponent's shield, his lack of grounding meant that he was the one thrown back from it.

As he was falling, his glider reappeared in his hands; the broken handle meant he was holding it by the frame on that side, and that left his glide lopsided, but it was still enough to prevent him from landing head-first. Cloud whirled his blade over his head, manifesting burning stones that promptly soared down towards his opponent; as soon as he landed, the knight leapt aside, letting them slam into the walls of the nearest tower.

He drew his bow as Cloud leapt after him; an arrow was deflected in mid-flight, leaving him to leap away before Cloud brought his blade down into the earth where he had been standing. The knight drew his sword and shield again, this time leaping forward in retaliation and making to bring the edge down on Cloud's head before he was able to free his blade from the ground; the edge ground across Cloud's left arm, tearing off his sleeve as twisted around to get himself in a good position.

The hollow foreblade of his Fusion Swords was pried free of the union, and he seized it in his left hand before bringing both blades around in a hard swing. The knight managed to catch them both on his shield, but that left him reeling with his shield aside as Cloud brought the foreblade into an upward swing to knock the sword out of his opponent's grip. The swordsman leapt back when Cloud tried to strike him again with the remaining Fusion Swords, and he brought the union down for another projectile edge; this one hit the knight true, throwing him back. Cloud promptly locked the foreblade back on and charged at him, intent on striking him down while he still lacked a melee weapon.

The knight's sword hand reached for his hip, where a strange shape lay that Cloud had assumed to be a phone in a heavy-duty protective case. His assumptions were proven wrong when the swordsman tapped its surface without looking at it, followed promptly by a wooden boomerang appearing in his grip; he promptly hurled it too fast for Cloud to dodge, and the edge deck him across the face, leaving him reeling briefly as it soared around and came back to its thrower.

Cloud shook his head to clear his vision as the knight caught his projectile; when it was thrown at him again, he managed to beat it away with an upward swing of his sword, leaving it tumbling aside. That wasn't the only thing coming his way this time, however; another touch at the shape on his hip caused a glowing sphere to appear in his hand, which he promptly threw in a bowling motion; when Cloud tried to step around him, it exploded with enough force to throw him into the air.

He landed somewhat roughly to find the knight dashing for his fallen sword; with a growl, he charged forward, blade in hand again. The swordsman managed to recover the weapon and turned around in time to meet Cloud's running swing. The angle of this one left him reeling from the impact, and Cloud promptly moved his blade to strike the knight directly. He was left tumbling back, and Cloud closed the distance in an instant for another swing, and then another. Four, seven, thirteen blows bombarded the swordsman, some caught on his shield and some striking him directly; Cloud knocked him to the ground with the fourteenth swing, and then leapt with intention to carve him in two with the final.

The knight managed to right himself as his momentum faded, and before Cloud could change his trajectory, he thrust his weapon skyward.

The edge slammed into Cloud's chest, and for an instant he was suspended in the air; then his weight registered in the swordsman's arm, and he was lowered to the ground with a step back. He tried to raise his Fusion Swords, but the knight put the edge of his shield against them as he stepped forward; he wrenched the blade from Cloud's chest, and then threw him back with a spinning slash that left him tumbling.

He sheathed his sword and tapped on the device at his hip as Cloud was trying to right himself; then he turned around and drew his bow, and the arrow he nocked next had a blade of solid light as he drew the bowstring tight. Cloud had no opportunity to evade before the shot flew, and when that shining arrowhead connected with his chest, his world was consumed in a blast of blue light.

His body and blade turned to a lifeless glow, and the knight lowered his bow, panting, as it faded away.

K.O.!

Chapter Text

"New arrivals?"

The train station at Vigrid had been closed down for reasons unclear, and was to be so closed for a week; thus were Rosa and a few other Umbra Witches, observing it from Purgatorio, surprised to find a train arriving all the same, and in the dead of night, what's more. This was a most unfamiliar train, at that - a streamlined structure of bright steel that stood out for miles in Vigrid's subdued aesthetic, even without the great red R emblazoned on its side.

Once the train had come to a stop, a few women in black uniforms stepped out of the engineer's compartment of the vehicle, speaking with the Vigridian station attendants. After the formalities were over with, they started towards the central car; the door was opened in time to hear a voice from inside. "Readings indicate the specimen is resisting the sedatives. Must be a glitch in the system... Oh Mulch, it's not a glitch! Evacu-"

No one had more than an instant to react - not the uniformed arrivals, not the Vigridian station attendants, not even the Umbra Witches on the upper walkways. The station began to be rent away from the center of the train; metal curled, bricks scattered, railings turned into blades. Rosa and her compatriots leapt from their footholds as they rent, landing on the station platform with intention to strike down whatever was causing this.

That, however, was their mistake; the train went the same way as the station, its walls separating and then flying apart in the same instant as they were connecting with the ground. Rosa only had the fortune to be standing where the door of the central car had been opened - her fellow witches were struck by the flying metal and crushed between it and what remained of the walls around them.

Standing in the middle of where the train car had been was a creature not Laguna nor borne of Inferno - a pink, humanoid feline with three-fingered hands and a long purple tail, bearing a dominating musculature yet levitating off the ground without wings or propulsion. Running parallel to its neck was a strange tube that was part of its body, and its eyes glowed with a strange power as it regarded the wreckage. It was standing over a circle of white metal, with a ridge of broken glass; another circle of equal breadth had been flung upward in the initial outburst, and as it started to fall again the creature turned towards Rosa.

Its gaze locked on her, and she knew that it was aware of exactly where she was - not with its eyes, but with its power.

It raised a hand towards the falling disc, and it was wrapped in a purple glow as it froze above the creature; then it swung that hand towards Rosa, causing the disc to fly at her. She leapt away as the disc slammed into the ground where she had been, firing at it with her Unforgiven revolvers; powerful shots from four guns, firing with a force that only an Umbra Witch's weapon could do, tore the disc to pieces, and she twisted in the air and landed on the station platform before manifesting an Umbran sigil before her.

The creature regarded her as she stepped through, departing Pugatorio to stand in the human world.

"Can you understand me?" she demanded.

...What are you? The words did not come through the air, but echoed in her mind.

"Human," Rosa replied. "And your not knowing that tells me you are not of Paradiso." She aimed her revolvers at the creature. "Now you must reciprocate the introduction. What are you?"

The creature raised its hand towards the fragments of the disc, and that purple light manifested around them as they were lifted from the ground. Rosa was prepared to evade before she realized that there was writing upon them; Mewtwo - Specimen 0002.

"Mewtwo?" The witch narrowed her gaze. "And what reason have you for striking down my Umbran sisters?"

It seemed its name was as much formality as the creature was willing to offer; the pieces moved again, and Rosa leaned back to let them soar past her as they embedded themselves in the floor behind her. As she righted herself, Mewtwo swung its hand - and power ripped up around Rosa herself, throwing her into the air as well.

She twisted around, aiming the revolvers on her heels at Mewtwo in mid-flight; the shots slammed into the creature's legs, earning shrieks unlike anything she'd heard from the Laguna. It swept its hand forward, and spheres of darkness began to soar towards her; Rosa twisted around one ball, landed with a roll to evade a second, and then leapt over the third before diving towards Mewtwo heel-first. It swept its hand towards the revolver, deflecting its trajectory before it could fire, but Rosa only landed just to the creatures side before striking it with the body of her left-hand revolver and then her right.

Mewtwo retaliated by lunging its head forward - and purple force gathered around its cranium before it made contact with Rosa, throwing her back across the station. She hit the ground rolling to find an edge of force soaring towards her; she leapt narrowly over it, maintaining her momentum, and when the creature charged at her with another edge flowing from its hands, she crossed the barrels of her revolvers to stop the edge in mid-motion.

If you speak fondly of those who would enslave me, Mewtwo proclaimed, I will visit the same wrath upon you as I did them.

Rosa forced the creature back and fired at it with both guns - but Mewtwo manifested a field of energy around it, on which her bullets stopped dead and then fell to the ground. Then, as the guard faded, it lunged forward with its fingers curled in an approximation of a fist, and Rosa narrowly wove around it before it could strike her; time slowed as her magic reacted to the close shave, and she struck the creature with one revolver and then another before twisting into a backflip to kick it into the air.

And Madama Khepri's heel lunged out of an Infernal portal, to follow Rosa's kick with her own and launch the creature skyward.

Mewtwo righted itself in mid-flight as her Witch Time subsided, suspending itself in the air at the approximate altitude of the station's roof; it turned to Rosa and raised a hand, and power welled around its fingers before being thrown down towards her. Rosa dove out of the blast's trajectory, leaping towards the remaining walls of the station and kicking off the remnants of the walkway still clinging to the weakened bricks before soaring towards Mewtwo; a more crystalline defense manifested around it this time, but Rosa only drove her heels into the guard, finding it had enough substance for her to propel herself still higher heavenward.

She fired down at it as the barrier started to fade out, and her hair began to flow as she turned for a better center of balance. Her magic shaped her hair into portals for the wings of Malphas, which beat to keep her airborne as Mewtwo turned to face her. It brought its hands over its head and swung them towards her, and a beam of shining force ripped out from between them, crossing the distance between it and Rosa in incredible time. She wove past it and fired at Mewtwo while the beam was still flying, then closed the distance as power surged across its arms; edges of force crossed with her revolvers as she parried its blows, and when its assault ceased she lunged one forward to strike it in the chest and then fire.

Madama Khepri fist connected with it shortly after her bullet did, throwing it across Vigrid - and towards the coliseum, well outside of town. She soared after it before it could right itself, but her shots only found its crystal guard and ricocheted away - and then a bolt of lightning dropped out of cloudless skies to strike her, knocking her out of the air and causing Malphas' wings to vanish. Mewtwo charged after her, and when Rosa wove around its first power-wrapped blow, she positioned herself such that the second sent her flying towards the coliseum; she had its aggression, and sure enough it closed the distance again to strike her once more, this time with a hurricane of force that battered her from all directions before throwing her towards the cliff.

The clouds parted to bare the full moon as Rosa twisted, her heels connecting with the cliff face and gravity shifting to keep them there. She dashed up its surface as Mewtwo soared after her, cresting its ridge an instant before the creature was above her; it dove down to strike her with a falling blow, and Rosa wove around its descent and then leapt heavenward when the earth cratered beneath its strike. She fired at it twice more, and the energy field appeared to stop her blows before waves of power ripped up around her to throw her back.

She landed with a twist - enough distance between her and it for what she needed.

"Avavago!"

Her hair extended from beneath her headdress and slammed into the ground beneath her; a great Infernal portal appeared on the ground between her and Mewtwo, and it rushed forward with intent to strike her before more strands extended out of the gap. Gomorrah threw Mewtwo back, got one look at the creature, and roared before lunging forward; his jaws closed around Mewtwo, and he began to chew at it with gigaton force, all too eager to enjoy this exotic meal.

As he made to finish it off, the crystalline barrier appeared to halt his jaws - and then a stream of flame burst out from Mewtwo's hands, filling his maw with fire. As Gomorrah roared in protest, the creature vanished, reappearing earthbound behind behind the Infernal; its power surrounded Gomorrah, forcing it back into the portal faster than Rosa's hair could follow suit, and the portal closed in response to the Infernal's departure.

Rosa charged forward while her hair was still demanifesting; Mewtwo's defensive field stopped the first two swings of her revolver, but when it tried to deal a punch, she leapt over it, twisting to kick it in the torso and causing Madama Khepri to do the same. Mewtwo was thrown back towards the coliseum as Rosa dashed after it, firing at it as she approached; yet it seized her with its power as she got near enough to strike, throwing her over its head and slamming her into the wall of the coliseum's entrance gate hard enough that it crumbled, letting her tumble into the arena proper.

I will offer you this, Mewtwo proclaimed as it stepped through. Those you call your sisters did not give me nearly so much trouble. A light surrounded its body, and the bullet wounds she had inflicted so far seemed to fade away. They kept me limited, and the moment my powers answered my call again, they succumbed to them in an instant.

"You struck them down before they were aware of your presence," Rosa reprimanded. "A cowardly assault to those who did not know you were there! I will have your blood in their name!"

Steel manifested in the air around her - a unit of Umbran Armour, with Rosa in the pilot's seat. She seized the controls, and her hair extended to weave into its circuits; the arms spread, claws parting to bare the barrels in the palms. The jets ignited to propel the Umbran Armour towards Mewtwo; it raised its defensive field to stop the blow, yet as soon as the energy subsided to give it leave to strike, the cannon fired, a point-blank blast that sent the victim soaring across the Coliseum. Rosa brought her cannons around to take aim at it, yet a strange light surrounded Mewtwo - a light she could not place, encasing it in a sphere that began to crack.

When the sphere shattered, Mewtwo had changed - its musculature deeply increased, seeming almost like it was clad in plate. Rosa began to fire the guns of her Umbran Armour, yet the creature only charged at her, the shots landing no more than glancing blows. Once it was near enough, she made to strike it with a solid blow, but it leapt over the strike, power gathering around its hand before being thrown into the cockpit. The blast shook Rosa before she had the chance to evade; Mewtwo landed before the mech and thrust one arm forward, and flame ripped up around its fist before slamming into the mech, running enough heat through its build that the witch was forced to disengage her hair from it.

Its other arm arced into an uppercut, trailing chill as it slammed into the Umbran Armour's underside; ice ripped out of the ground, throwing the machine into the air from such a point of impact that it began to fall backwards. Then Mewtwo vanished, reappearing above the mech, and as it descended, it fist was wrapped in lightning - when it connected with the machine, voltage coursed through its mechanisms, petrifying the device such that it was unable to move its arms or legs. As it hit the ground, Rosa realized it would no longer do her any good; she drove her middle finger into the ignition and twisted before leaping free, and the Umbran Armour blast, throwing the creature back.

As she landed, Rosa found Mewtwo already righted; it vanished and reappeared at point-blank, and she narrowly managed to avoid a horizontal swing trailing an edge of force. Witch Time took effect as she drove her heels into its chest, firing shot after shot and then directing Madama Khepri to kick it as well; her powers subsided while it was still in mid-flight, and it struck the ground to stop itself before charging straight at her. Rosa made to meet its upward strike on her own, only to find the connection causing Mewtwo's power to rip up around her and throw her skyward; the creature leapt after her, twisting in the air with intent to drive its heel into her while she was helpless.

Rosa didn't let this one connect; her body separated into a thousand hornets, and the swarm parted to let Mewtwo's heel pass it ineffectively. As the creature descended once again, the swarm regathered on its opposite side, uniting to form a falcon with a golden crown trailing great black streams. Feathers manifested around the bird, soaring down towards Mewtwo and striking it before it could defend itself; when it made to hurl a sphere of darkness at it, it folded its wings and fell, returning to Rosa's own form.

You claim to be human with such a display!? Mewtwo roared.

"I am an Umbra Witch," Rosa proclaimed. "Contracted with Inferno and so bestowed the magics they offer! Transformation, gravity, time - powers granted to those who swear to serve the darkness!"

Mewtwo lunged forward - and as it did, its body surged with light, its form receding to that it had taken before. Rosa leapt over its first blow, landing behind it and driving a kick into the base extra tube that connected its head to its body; the gunshot earned a scream of pain as the blow threw it across the battlefield.

"E varma!"

Rosa's hair extended into the ground once again, and an Infernal portal appeared behind Mewtwo as it righted itself. Madama Khepri rose from it, her foot striking the earth at Mewtwo's side, and it turned round to face her.

"And as long as there is light," Rosa concluded, "the shadow remains cast!"

She leaned forward as her body became that of a tiger, giving her speed to charge the creatures as Khepri brought her fist down upon it. Mewtwo raised its defensive field, yet couldn't maintain it; Rosa's last gunshot had struck a critical point, and its powers were fading quickly. It barely managed to step aside before its field scattered, and Khepri's blow slammed into the earth beside it, knocking it off balance; Rosa lunged at it from behind, claws striking even as her body retook its own form, and she flipped backwards to kick Mewtwo skyward as Khepri brought her head back.

Then, at the peak of its flight, she thrust forward - and the horns atop her head cleaved it body in two even as she slammed her brow into it flesh with gigaton force.

The creature's corpse was flung across the battlefield, and Khepri's form retreated into the portal; Rosa swept her hand in a circle above her, forming an Umbran Sigil through which she returned to Purgatorio to await her next opponent.