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Trust is [NOT] Resolute



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Just Dari

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Hard choices.

Resolve. Duty. Betrayal. Despair. A situation beyond hopeless. The warmth that occupied number zero's eyes vaporized as he collapsed to collect the body of his child as it was beginning to disintegrate in his arms. He was sobbing unlike anything he'd ever experienced previously. Kambria was right there alongside and Eth was so in shock and consumed with this along with a constant string of firsts that the happenings all felt like they melded together. He was violently shaking, he had no control, his reactions were starting to envelop everything.

As Lucrecia walked away, before antagonizing the rest of the lot, she mentioned the masters wish for death. It struck a nerve with him at this critical moment. So this request the master left behind was only possible inside the box, or by the extermination of the resolutes then? Was death really the end that awaited them all? He'd never even considered this was something that the master wished for, unless he was in a situation that barred him from sharing the...

And in that moment it was almost as if his cries had been answered. Eth was too indisposed of between Kambria and Freya's complete disintegration to notice two things. The first was Saebyeolbe's ascension to the berserker face of his resolve. The second...was Reforge moving to intercept the unleashed #1 before he'd release everything and then some against Lucrecia before they could uncover everything.

Freya was now gone and he move into a panic shuffling over Kambria, there was a feint sign of life and that was fine by him. She'd been stripped of her resolve entirely, but not of her life and manifested a small cone of time in a capsule around her. Rewinding the motions, and the wound itself reversed, and she'd revitalized. Such a thing wasn't possible for Freya...she'd already returned to him, his flesh was simply a construct of his power over memory after all.

"Sae, stop! I'll just open the box, you don't have to end it like this!" Eth shouted, fumbling over.

A light show was going on, Lucrecia had then proceeded to released Anima in the form of debilitating red mortars, dropping from the sky like bombs. Eth sighed, Kambria was unconscious but alive, moving in his arms as he lifted her from the ground and a flicker from "0" appeared in his left eye. In truth, he'd virtually never pushed his resolve to parameters that could be deemed "unprecedented".

"Stopza." everything came to a crawling halt and he weaved through the field, passing Sae who was about to jump, and efficiently sat on the box, and placing Kambria behind it. "I wish everyone wasn't in so much pain..."

The cogs of time had resumed and Lucrecia's red mortars lit up the landscape exploding one after the next. There was jet trail of speed from Saebyeolbe, darting around this power she called "Anima" in action. Eth's hair flickered to the side from the strong gusts being released in all directions. He couldn't make out where anyone was in the bright tints of red, it was if it were camouflaging them unintentionally. The zero was present in his eye, and he locked on to individual life-spans, able to see who was moving quite vividly from a bright light that reflected that of a moving life form.

Eth was more worried about Lucrecia's words than anything else. The lightless wielder being spurred and provoked into existence to see the master's end? The question remained one word.

WHY?

Shiki wasn't here to give the findings of her personal investigation and with the roles filled, nothing was barring anyone at this point in time. As it stood, the only resolutes that were left, were 0, 1, and 3. If death was the alternate route, it was looking more like extinction was in the near future if nothing changed.
 
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purgatory

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Finally you understand. I could finally face you unfettered by restrictions, values, or morals. You'd saved me from death not that long before and now I've laid the truth upon you. All of them had to know this was to what ends our master would go, he'd go this far just to escape. Giving us this false sense of camaraderie. We were all pieces on a gameboard and even if this reality isn't enough to tear us to shreds, one of two things was going to come to fruition.

"It's either you all die, or the box opens. These are your choices, the masters will is whats navigating us all. It's calling for blood Sae...I wonder if YOU are prepared to spill mine like you claim!"

I've never been this audacious. I've never been this bold before now, but even still, I wasn't a fool. My physical strength was nothing in comparison to number one's, but I didn't care. Raw instinct was the only thing I seemed to be able to operate off of at the current moment as the red essence billowed out of my frame uncontrollably. De-summoning both keys, I crossed my arms siphoning a rapid charge, before splintering it off like mortars, that quickly came down like giant raindrops, littering the battle field with small explosions of Anima. The danger a resolute faces from my mortars was equivalent of compressed explosions that acted as a silencing debuff to to your resolve.

I lost count of the number that released from my body. Countless, in the tens of thousands that constantly were shooting from my frame like a minigun like a hail-mary of bombs being shot off and fired into the sky, raining down supreme. I wasn't going to stop until I completely and utterly annihilated him from this face of existence. These weren't quite as fast as Eth's swords of light, but they sure as hell were a lot bigger and had way more blunt force and impact to them. My rage swelled, as a grunt of anger released into a scream completely consumed by pure rage and animosity.

This was for him, for the master. If Sae had chosen to die like this, then so be it. I clenched my fist and brought them forward revving them like water wheels rotating in perfect harmony. As they turned faster and faster I generated even more projectiles, these were sharp like what punched through Kambria and Freya both, killing them instantly. The shrill of my voice filled the bloody red sea of Anima that I had unleashed upon Eth's escape, to the point I could see the integrity of the reality he'd drawn us into cracking bit by bit. I wasn't going to to stop until he was dead, I didn't care of it was overkill, but against his berserker I had no other option available to me than to forgo all restraint.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
 

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Saebyeolbe's eyes darted off to the right. No motion from Try in the slightest, there was a sigh of relief. Wasting energy on top of the insane amount of physical trauma his body has had to endure in this short amount of time, something he wasn't ready for. One of his scars released, possessing the skill to repel even forms of damage from his body was active while he was in his berserker state. Moving his eyes from one side of his head to the other, all he could see in essence, was red.

Eth's voice broke the air, The Scarred's ears twitched at the ringing of his name capsulated in his words. Asking to cease, amidst the traitor's constant string of aggression that jeopardized even the fabric of this place Eth brought them to. Cracks were appearing, the very presence itself wavered around her being here. To stop was an attack on his resolve. To stop would go against every life he'd successfully saved as well as attempted to preserve. There was no anger that emanated from Saebyeolbe, the ego was something that'd cause their emotions to swirl out of control. It wasn't about being right, it was about doing right, if Lucrecia had no reservations about ending their lives, the only choices that remained were to flee or to exalt her before she could do that to them.


"No Eth. If you nor Try will stop Lucrecia, then I don't have any other choice than to use everything to completely and utterly annihilate her. She killed your child without hesitation. She impaled and ripped away Kambria's power. I'm short on kindness and mercy for her...these actions will be judged and the penalty for toying with our existences will be paid with her own." Saebyeolbe spoke shortly, and coldly.


His demeanor was chilling, it'd send a shiver down anyone's spine. Pores opened on is blackened skin, beads of sweat saturated his skin. Steam burst from him, literally heating the world around him in a fine space as he shot himself through that now expanded space, all other forms of matter appeared to slow down. His hands rumbled, loud like jet turbines, a red glow ripped and cracked the air as he vibrated both palms before forming rapidly aerial jabs carrying and obnoxious fast and potent amount of wind pressure flying every which way to his front that saw nothing but an ocean of red mortars.

The wind pressure fired off without any hesitation, colliding to mete her assault with respective natural pressure. He was blowing her mortars out of the sky about as fast as they could be thrown and rather effortlessly at that. If this bitch seriously wanted to disrespect the master as well as her former comrades...he would return that disrespect in kind. Sae's hands sizzled with smoke from the raw amount of power he demonstrated, she seemed to have wound up for another volley, blades this time. As his arms lowered he held open his palm and his Alabaster purged into existence. One fine cut, carried the power of a sound shattering gale with more than enough power to deflect her attack to scatter about aimlessly in all directions butting the blades buried into the surface as his keyblade hit his side.


"The difference has never been more transparent...for duty you'll invoke war...but unlike you war has molded my very existence. You're far too arrogant to be looking down on us...LUCRECIA!"

Steam released and he was gone. The deeply crimson tint shifted to a light shade of pink, he blades were exploding like fireworks. The berserker attacked without relent cutting through here blades of Anima with the sharp end of his Alabaster keyblade, completely unaffected by it's effects to suppress resolve...keyblades were weapons first and foremost after all. The sound of clanging and popping across the white expanse as he mutilated her attacks vibrating at a pace that'd even attract Eth's attention.

Through storm and stress alike, Saebyeolbe powered through the pain of all the past battles fought and forged his way through Lucrecia's assault. He broke into a paced walk, slaking Alabaster by his side until he was within ten meter range of a now sore throat Lucrecia. That ear splitting scream she released earlier was certainly out of character. Contemplating how much of her sense of self was compromised by this "Anima" she spoke of didn't matter at this point, he simplified it in a way that Try would.

Getting beaten to death would be how she repented.

Raising his arm, he swung immediately deflected by the traitor. His eyes scanned over where she held her ground, if this was a competition of physical strength, it'd be over in seconds. She didn't have the firepower to fight him in melee, he knew this, but he also couldn't touch her and vice versa. To touch her would mean he'd lose access to directly channeling his resolve, but it also meant for her in the instant they made contact, she'd be paralyzed similar to when he hugged her and Try both before letting them go. Sae had the power to disable opponents by touching them if he so chose to imbue it, so you could see how the only option left would be to use their keyblades or ranged attacks such as spells.

He cut the air again and she raised to block as it swept here back a few feet. She retaliated with a red charged blade and it was met with impressive strength. The two of them started to exchange a series of slashes to the point they ended up creating their own small bubble of red petals. He was starting to remember now, remembering it well through the eyes of that insane Trace's memories that were left behind. This style, it was fencing, one-handed swordplay relying on streak slashes and jabs with precision. She had an almost identical form with minor deviation from...Vrivrianne? V? Thats what they called her.

Sae released heat compressing the molecules around him, ejecting himself freely into the world and slowing it down around him. He perspectively tilted his head to the left and right as she jabbed into between his head, with the intent of running it through his skull or even cleaving it straight off. She'd fail every as he'd dip or swat her Gazing Eye away. Ice built up on his shoulders, cooling him off as he couldn't maintain that level of heat to push through the air for more than a couple seconds, and he'd now done the opposite. Bringing the heat inward vs expanding it outward, to snap the ice building up around him, vaporizing it into steam with a ghastly release of a heavy sigh, creating a fog from his mouth.

He panted a bit, his black skin was emitting steam and his eyes didn't move from her face. She was weathering more fatigue than himself and it showed. A lack of endurance training meant you'd lose a battle of attrition, even if neither could land a decisive strike on the other. He couldn't kid himself here, Berserker's recoil was going to kick him down hard without Mortem to discharge the recoil, and he still had another minute or two before that cooldown was up.

Raising his Alabaster, he darted in with his own one-handed variation of swordplay. The clanging of steel was rough, laced with tremors from how hard the both of them were striking the others weapon with pure blunt force. Her strength was FAR from the realm of her own natural power, what exactly was this "Anima" she spoke of. Try was the only one this physically formidable and this was throwing him for a loop. Her physical feats couldn't be explained, it's almost as if fate were assisting her against the most battleborn of them all. The air cracked, the ground splintered, the recoil from every single blow felt through their searing steel as pants were now collecting from both.

This was an entirely different kind of resolve and he didn't like it at all. That anger that swelled when Eth's daughter was killed, and Kambria was impaled hadn't slown for not a mere moment. Her actions were unforgivable, but this unshakeable feeling of death loomed over him. He'd conquered this very same feeling all of his life, but this...this felt...almost wrong to him.

Time was almost up. This was the moment he'd played up to this entire time, Berserker's timer. He can't maintain it indefinitely, physical and magical attacks have pain limits, Berserker essentially removes those thresholds. It lets him fight at several times his aggregate combat power, but at a price. All the battles fought that created every scar thats released from his body, quite literally all of them, are all reapplied....all at the sametime. The physical recoil alone from fighting the previous Dark King, would far outpace even his battle with the lingering will and various others.

He took a valiant step, it was his quietest one, moving no louder than a whisper. Placing a finger on Lucrecia's lip and one on his to simply say.


"Shhh..."


A sharp pain shot through his body and his paralysis from the touch backfired. Saebyeolbe let out a blood curdling scream of pure agony at the top of his lungs, as his entire body vibrated erratically as if he was being electrocuted without an end. Explosions from spells from when he suffered close proximity hits were now re-animating and being reproduced and burned back onto his flesh as that very scar. Blood was ripping in all directions from his body painting Lucrecia crimson as he was bearing the recoil from Berserker, eventually clutching his arms closed, blood letting through both of his eyes. Years worth of agony and pain, and he stood there, a pillar, The Scarred getting marked again with years of his life in a matter of moments.

This went on for several moments, and he simply stood there. He didn't have the strength to breathe, to blink, none of that. His mind was gone, fatigued wouldn't do him justice, but he stood there unwavering with minor tremble here and there. The look on Lucrecia's face was filled with nothing short of absolute dread and petrification, she was completely and utterly speechless, perhaps mortified. Sae couldn't move an inch without collapsing, but he just stood there, arms folded, bloodied and bold as ever. She finally said it to him, enemy or not. She asked him what happened and why it looked like he was exploding left and right.


"Nuh....Nothing...Happened!"

It was all he could manage, no, will himself to say. He was a minute off from calling Mortem again to repel the pain from his body before he had to take it all back in at once. It didn't matter now, he'd lost this battle he swore on, and whether he lived or died was no longer in his hands. He was almost entirely sure that was going to kill him, and that fact that he was still standing is a testament to the intense physical training he'd endure over the course of years, but this was at best what he could manage. Consciousness. Stubbornness. Will to endure.
 

Just Dari

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"So this is the magnitude of your lightless-wielder...you son-of-a-bitch. Just what in the hell are you trying to achieve unleashing that overwhelming appetite for death itself into the world."

The formless unknown heckled the young master. As their eyes peer over the board, the masters pieced number "IV" was ablaze on the board in an unmistakable red aura. The master lay quiet on the other side of the table, the piece "I" had several cracks that appeared on it, on the verge of shattering and there was a stroke of guilt felt.

"Nothing to say? That one had his pride thoroughly trampled on, and the recoil of that power SHOULD have killed him. Perhaps your pupil even wished for that death."

The masters head hung low, this was unprecedented. If it were quite literally any other resolute or perhaps Saebyeolbe himself equipped with Anima, this sentiment of guilt wouldn't be as...suffocating. In so short a time the reality of what was left for his resolutes to do had come into light. There was no amount of preparation for this emotional high, as this in all his years, has never happened before. In previous gambits, the master's traitors in the past have manifested as dark-wielders, never lightless-ones. Dark Wielders often invoked the box's corresponding power to issue a complete reset and shifted the balance of the current state of the worlds. Such an option wasn't even remotely close to what the lightless wielders purpose in opening the box.

Sitting in silence, the piece sat on the board cracked and his hand reached over to move "0" across the board.

"I see you insist on sending your pawns to their executioner today. How many have died in the past couple of hours alone, still with the impending threat of worlds collapsing. This traitor is excellent at wasting time you can't afford...but death is what you've chosen to obsess over, regardless if it kills your apprentices? How morbid are you really young master?"

His confidence hadn't vanished, but how vocal he was about the strength of his cast had diminished greatly. It wasn't easy watching Saebyeolbe defy him in his absence by using that, which he forbid him to. The place which Eth had sent them to was much closer to the end of time than they likely understood or even realized. One more push was all it took, Zero would need to realize his last order before death. He need only agree to the lightless wielders demands and open the box and this could end without anymore death.

"My plan from the beginning was to spare anymore of my resolutes from death by only having one rebel and to have Zero cooperate and open the box. My departure caused a a rift between them, their memories needed to be removed, the stress of the situation and eagerness to remember came along with it. Something not even I could predict was the pressure of failure instilled in all of them and the growing uncertainty sending them into a whirlwind of different emotions."

The young master sighed and raised his head slightly. He was tired, eons of this battle just to reset based on the conclusion of the state of the world. Those he trained just to be sent to their deaths cycle after cycle and he was past the point of sick of it. An agreement he was bound to follow indefinitely, death was his only escape.


---------------------------------------------


Eth heard Sae loud and clear. This wasn't up for debate, he was going to fight against the traitor with everything he had and in turn so did Lucrecia. It was almost impossible to quantify the ample amount of pressure and power being distributed from Sae and on the opposite end. Tremors were being generated from the colliding forces and cracks started to appear in this dimension the "All is Lost". There was more at stake here than just their lives, and as the two of them fought, Eth took breath and rather than grasp at straws he looked to Kambria who lay there unconscious, but alive.

Their memories had returned, their connections were revisited, and he started to understand it a little better. Lucrecia didn't just betray the master...she actively turned her power against them, completely unprovoked and trampled over their lives. She trampled over their pride...and it just defied all reason. He'd experienced See's emotions once before in Betwixt and Between, and back then that was just par for the course.

They were supposed to be friends...and yet here they were.

The walls shattered, slaking apart and you could see the turmoil outside of the dorms. Luxu's mangled corpse was thrown through a crack and it shattered as he landed just beside Eth. He coughed, clutching the Ethernal keyblade in his grasp as he could hardly breathe steadily. Blood was soaked through his black coat and he turned his head slightly to the left.

"Oh...its you...you pathetic loser..." he coughed, scolding his partner Zero even on his death bed. "Those hybrids...cake...some guy came...Trace? All went south from there...as if...huh?" Luxu shifted his head over to the right, he caught See's body basically exploding left and right and the screams he was releasing in sheer agony.

"Hah...what the hell did you do to everyone here...not like it matters...just open the damn box you idiot!"

Eth looked down at Luxu from where he was standing. He'd never seen him in such a state where he was on the thin line of dying. A catalyst of so much scorn, right in front of him worse off than he'd like to see him. Nothing was more triggering, his hands rattled, hearing Sae scream until they silenced, and he took the rest of injuries being reapplied like a man. Blood was literally everywhere at this point, if he didn't pass out from the pain, or from the loss of so much blood, yet he stood there with complete conviction and resolve.

Approaching from the direction where Luxu was thrown was the enemy Shiki and Eth dealt with prior to any of the current events. Luxu's sorry state was something, but he was actually laughing, laughing at Eth's hesitation.

"Some leader you turned out to be. You'll still do nothing. Number 1's nearly dead. I'm nearly dead. Try's on standby. Jay chickened out and never left the RoD. Komaeda killed himself for NOTHING. Reforge and Yamato both dead, and where is that good for nothing Shiki huh? NOWHERE. It's time you realize what the master always told you, when they fail, you always have to pick up behind them, face it...!" he coughed releasing an incredible amount of blood next to his head that spilled from his mouth.

"Even me....was just following orders pal...hurting all of you...isn't what I wanted...as if."

Footsteps could be heard crossing the threshold. Luxu was trembling in pain, dipping closely to his limit. Tears were starting to mix with the blood trailing from his face.

"I'm ready to be done....with all of this too....no more...no more Eth...you really think the old man...wants to keep doing this forever? He wants to be released from this loop...without saying a word...you can see in all he's been doing..." Luxu was tearing up. "The master knew we'd likely get wiped out by the traitor, but he took a chance on us holding our own and figuring things out...are you really-"

"No more Luxu. Three problems right now. Trace, Lucrecia, and what to do about the master's dilemma. The box is here, Saes down and I don't know what Try plans to do. Lucrecia nearly killed Kambria and my daughter was returned to me in a way I was prepared for...I don't know the easy solution to any of these issues, but I know once this box is opened, things will come to me i'll form a plan afterwards. Right now, two birds with one stone sounds about right..."

he took a massive breath before he shouted,

"SAEBYOLBE! THANK YOU!!!" Eth touted before his entire body started to shimmer with light, "Thank you...for protecting all of our pride as resolutes and reminding us that the master taught us to stick to our guns 1000% to the bitter end...I can't say it enough times, thank you so much!"

Eth bowed his head graciously, the number 1 was a battered and bloody mess, but if there was one thing he knew in his core, he was alive and heard every word. He proceeded to kneel down to assess Luxu's beaten body to the point he reached for his hand, grazing over the infinity tattoo on the anterior of his palm.

"Remember what master said about us...Zero and Perfect Zero? Anything's possible when those two are alive...well...lets try something crazy for once..."

The darkness encroached and the malice could be felt across the way. The landscape was ripping itself apart and their feet were once again on the dorms. Eth sighed, and stood up, talking a blindfold off Luxu's corpse and tying it around his eyes. You could call it a pre-requisite for one of his signature moves, but really it's because he didn't want to see what true infinity looked like.

"Forgive me Master, friends, and Kingdom Hearts for using your light with such perversion..." Eth trailed as he rose his left two fingers to snap. "Perdition."

Everything stopped, belonging to the re-realized sea of perpetual white.

The remnants of All is Lost before they completely dissipated, reformed, taking in all of the enemies that invaded. Trace, the other hybrids, the World Enders, Demon Towers and all other pure blood heartless were completely immobile. You couldn't see the dorms, you couldn't see the enemies, you couldn't even see a single centimeter in front of your face. Everything and everyone had been consumed and ensnared in light, petrified. Eth took a step, he was blindfolded, but he could see where quite literally everyone was.

It wasn't very often he ever needed to exercise this part of his resolve, but the Lullaby of Sin seemed like a necessary evil in this dire situation. Now that he had everyone present at his mercy, he snapped his fingers to trigger it's effect "your sins...shall be resurrected..." The debilitating and blinding power of the lullaby spread far and wide as it illuminated every corner it could touch. Hearts flooded from the pureblood types present and starting to reshape and return grossly repopulating. His hand weaved through the lot of them and he started to return them to the worlds he'd managed to revert back by moving them through portal instantaneously until he weeded them down to roughly seven or so.

This wasn't a task completely met without resistance. Eth was a vault, a chronicler, and any holes or gaps in concentrations demanded to be questioned. A simple memory like washing the dishes had some haze surrounding it, this was the resistance he was talking about. He didn't appreciate this indirect level of tampering with power that belonged to him that he'd inherited by his ancestry. One thing didn't obscure, and it was the number "II" burned into his memory along side "I" while he was washing dishes. His light would reach as far as possible to claim "II" and thoroughly scrub the sentiment of doubt that was intruder in his power of memory.

'At least one always has to make things more difficult than they need to be, can't be helped.'

The veil of light was receding and with it came a surprise no one would've expected.



"Welcome back...who said you could sleep on the job. Resolutes." Eth had a sincerely wrinkle in his lips that formed a slight smirk.

Removing his blindfold, Eth brought them together. All of them with the exception of the master who was quite literally unreachable. A blaze of confusion paraded over them, feeling themselves die? What the hell was happening? What the hell happened?? The short answer was a feature of the dimension, that could quite literally amplify as well as bind things into reality with a bit of a push. The fallen resolutes undoubtedly became heartless that much was certain, it stood to reason as well he could pull those that had yet to fall so long as they were swept up in his light that broke every horizon, even deep in the dark margin. He counted them off.

"Luxu. Saebyeolbe. Shiki. Try. Komaeda. Jay. Iontis. Yamato. Reforge. Kambria. Gangs all here finally, without getting into too much detail here. Lucrecia went rogue and is blathering on about killing the master, apparently whatever is in this box behind me, she needs me to open it. It seems unavoidable, at this point but I won't give whatever it's contents are to her and we WIL NOT kill her, i'll bare responsibility for anymore mishaps with her ok? On the other end...I just used my trump card to bring you all here and I can't do something like that for a full 24-hours so...don't mess this up. Heartless. Hybrids. Usual shenanigans we're all familiar with. Theres one thats about as physically tough as Saebyeolbe and Try and magically as strong as an alarming number of us that specialize is magic based resolves."

He took a breath before starting again.

"You all remember everything that happened before...whether you trust me or not isn't my call, but what I do know is that between Lucrecia's power that manifested it may be important later. I'm not gonna ask for her cooperation but if she wants the box open, better we squash our vendettas at least for right now and deal with every last one of those heartless running amuck on our home right now."

He raised his hand, calling his dusklanzer and slaking it over his left shoulder.

"I promise you this, we'll definitely see the master again. Yeah? Lets get this done."

He snapped his finger and the dimension around them collapsed again and they were finally out of that white ongoing landscape. Eth could feel the blades of grass from the dorms for the first time in what felt like an eternity. There were still some missing pieces here, but there was enough to understand killing each other let along ignoring the danger and chaos of the current situation would spell disaster. He'd taken a moment to turn back time on the wounds of the crew while they were bathed in his veil of light form the Lullaby, needless to say they were all in prime form. Eth however, was not.

"I'll leave the hybrids to you Saebyeolbe." Eth said as he lifted his head and sat on the box. "They'll come for this box as well, for some reason I can't explain it, but I just have a feeling its of value to them as much as it is to us. This is the last clue the master left behind...so lets try and protect it at all cost!"
 
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What a mess.

It wasn't often she saw children be murdered right in front of her. Well, not often anymore at least. So much happening at once, and yet she felt herself frozen in place. No action taken until her next move was decided for her by Eth.

Back to the Dorms then.

Try ran her hand down her face in exasperation and let out a sigh. "Huh..." She hadn't felt her own face in a long time, hadn't felt breath coming from her mouth. She wondered what kind of face she was making, was it interesting? Did she even remember how to properly emote? The helmet was a necessity, but one would be a fool to believe they could shroud their visage in a cage of darkness and not suffer any consequences.

She summoned her keyblade to her right hand. A SWING to the left, a SWING to the right. The air moved as though a bullet train had sped by with each movement of her arm. Well, there was one thing she knew she'd never forget how to do. She called away the blade and looked over to Eth, and to the box beneath him.

"The only things I've known Heartless to chase are hearts, and anyone carrying a keyblade. That box, it wouldn't happen to have the Masters's..." Try trailed off and looked away. "Surely not."

Her eyes met Komaeda's, she felt her body flush as her heart began pumping. She watched him die, yet here he was. "I-I should focus on-" She said one thing, but she had already run full force straight into the boy and hugged him. "Kommy! I'm so glad you're alright, I thought you were dead, you WERE dead, I-I..." Try suddenly realized that her helmet was gone now. "Ah!" She let the boy go and stood to her feet.

"Sorry for showing you this ugly mug, um, mind helping me lay these idiots out?" She pointed to the humanoid creatures approaching.
 

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This rage was worthy of the name the master gave him, one. I was beginning to get some kind of a handle on this eminence of red that painted well all of the anger and agony burning in the very pits of my heart. Cognitive dissonance? Far from it, I was in my right mind, but I couldn't resolve this overwhelming amount of rage that just wouldn't sate no matter how hard I battled him. Saebyeolbe, by far one I held in high regard, respected, feared...but he was in my way...in our master's way. I'd gladly defile his pride a thousand times over if it meant honoring the wish this power that was bestowed upon meant. I couldn't get personal anymore...though that'd happen one way or the other, you all saw how well that worked out with Try earlier...

It didn't work, not even close. I was beside myself, he was using physical force and pressure so strong it destroyed the physical manifestations of Anima i released in the form of bombs. What a terror, but I wasn't about to stop just because I made some of my colleagues upset, is that not "resolve?"

The beating of keyblades was all I nor anyone could hear. I had to give him credit where it was due, he must've realized touching me with his bare hands wasn't the optimal choice here. I'd be lying if I wasn't getting anxious, he was faster than anything I could've ever tracked, the heat that his body produced. I could see scorched rings around both of his arms from when he lit them on fire...Saebyeolbe was truly insane.

Why did I have to end up battling you...out of everyone else...why was it you.

I didn't waver at my own question, I suppose I lost the ability to press anything other than go. The sharp clangs of our keyblades rippled across the white expanse and the red eminence of Anima was brilliant as it flickered around to protect me. I couldn't for the life of me land a decisive blow, I had some military training and fencing mastery, but the amount of hours of applied practice was negligible in his presence. I didn't know how this was going to play itself out, but I held the line before losing my footing and there was opening in my defense. This fool found the one moment and reached for my face with a tap of his finger...to shush me? My eyes shrank for a second, I stopped moving, but so did he.

I watched as he quickly backed off and then the weirdest thing started to happen. There was blood...everywhere...all from him. His body was like a doll getting cut, shredded, hammered, and blasted apart as his orfices were been torn open again. I got flooded in his blood within seconds, shaking, his resolve apparently was in his blood, and I was stunned and unable to move for several seconds. His agonizing screams were enough to put any normal person unconscious, but he silenced them to mere grunts as I watched him mysterious become afflicted by some crazy kind of self destruct. It didn't take me too long though...when I asked him, he said all he needed to.


"Nuh....Nothing...Happened!"

This little dance of ours had reached the curtain call. Saebyeolbe just stood in front of me, he was barely even conscious and in mere moments i'd be able to move again. He looked like he was getting flayed alive by a flare attack before, the erratic breathing coming only from his nose as he grunted, truly mortifying. I didn't know exactly what to make of it, to make of his beaten to hell state, but i knew he was looking for an honorable death here. I may not have liked this situation to which I turned on them, but I wasn't without certain principles or respect and he broke all expectations, using everything to have it recoil.

I could move again, and wouldn't you know it, they were here. She was with them. Vrivrianne. If you thought the well of animosity for Try was bad, what I felt towards anyone that directly abandoned me was ample times worse. As I stood I looked at Saebyeolbe again before Eth screamed half way across the way, thank you? What the hell? Your thanking him for losing? He blathered on about pride, upholding it, but thats all he ended up being good for right? How worthless was that pride now? You could only begin to fathom how critical the words and thoughts that were swimming around in my head were. The pressure from taking preventative measures to save lingering remnants from darkness had really taken it's toll on my psyche I stared into the eye of the master's Gazing Eye keyblade and saw it. It was only a moment, but there was a flash of memory that didn't belong to me and the flicker of red in my eyes, the heart palpitations skipping faster and faster as my blood lust started to escalate out of control.

I could hear breathing through grit teeth. Hmm? Sae? Was he...crying? Perhaps this too, was pride, but it wouldn't change the outcome. Like putting an animal in pain out of their misery, I rose the Gazing Eye to strike him down where he stood before a flash of light swept the field and everyone, and i mean EVERYONE was frozen in their tracks. Memories were starting to come back, memories...that didn't belong to me. I was beginning to learn things, experiences, none of them were mine, what the hell was going on exactly. That festering pool of anger and hate seemed to only grow more and more rapidly out of control, surpassing what I felt towards my frustrations dealing with my role, with Try, and with my sibling Vi. Just what was this lightless wielder, who were they, questions I was beginning to understand through no means of my own.

When the dust finally cleared, the light returned and on the dorms again they were. I don't know how Eth did it, but he resurrected all of their fallen comrades. And those that weren't dead, his light touched every corner of every world and pulled them through. This confirmed it for me, I needed him alive to open the box to secure a route to our master. I was unable to think about anything else other than those weird memories, a voice in my head lingered like nails on a chalkboard. A voice was starting to echo now and I didn't get a good feeling from it, it was furious and I felt connected to the master's history in an odd way, because he was in these memories. I just realized it then, snapping out of my daze Sae was fully healed and he'd already moved away actively chosing to walk past me without any malice despite our battle and both of our bloody states. Was he mocking me?? No...of course not, he was inseparable from her, and where that pesky resolve might've effected the rest of them, despite all of her influence, whatever passive attempt to remove herself from the equation, Anima rejected such influence as an attack on all that she knew.

"You'll still defy it all to the last **** huh? Fool."

!!!!!

What the hell was that?? Those...weren't my words, that wasn't me who was talking just now. Was it...this person? Memories were first person, I didn't see any reflections, who the hell was talking and why was the master there? I don't get. I don't get it. I don't get it!!!! I clutched my head for a second, i could hear them talking, they still wanted to take me alive amidst this turmoil? I couldn't tell if Eth was a fool or taking a gamble with that order. Either way my rage had concentrated itself way more than normal, I felt I would soon meet the owner of this power, but that wasn't the focus now.


"Listening to that fool is only going to get the rest of you sent to your graves a second time. Right now, if you lost your resolve, you've got only your keyblade. That isn't enough to fight the hybrid heartless, let alone a world ender heartless. Are you seriously going to contin-"

"Then I'll back them up. Vorpal Lumen."

Eth's voice cut me off as he released his resolve and imbued them all in a pristine aura of his resolve of pure light effectively transferring it through each of the powerless resolutes forms into their keyblades giving their blades an almost ethereal edge. I released a sigh, you could see the red edge on my breath trailing off. Anima exploded from form creating an intense pressure that rippled across the grassland of the dorms. I never took the beauty of training and living here for granted, the master certainly managed to maintain this place well, he had us after all. My head turned between the hybrids and the resolutes. The heartless were rallying and now I had 11 of them to deal with as opposed to only two, and I still didn't have the box opened.

"Listen. I'm only going to say this one last time. You give me the contents of the box or your gonna have to fight me and the hybrids in a three-way collision. Personally, i'll take my chances in assisting them in beating you all down if thats what it takes to get to our master. Theres your ultimatum, Resolutes."

I could hear the sound of that voice thriving and growing more restless. Who are you? My thought went unanswered as my eyes flickered red, highlights of my threaded white silky hair were starting to dye into delicate red strands. A power frenzy was enveloping and it was a change that I openly welcomed, I could feel the change happening slowly. I didn't care if I had to fight all of them, at this juncture no amount of rage could drown out the immense guilt and obligatory debt I felt to the master. It's devastating to know your teacher desires an escape and you're tasked with that instruction. Divesting them from that curse would be the least he could do, I can only imagine how much the resolves we all carry at it's core bring him nothing but shame.

Clutching the Gazing Eye in my hand i beat a slow walk towards them. Things were about to get started and rather quickly, if I knew Eth he wouldn't let them engage me, he said as much himself. Dealing with that debilitating power of the memory witch wasn't something I was looking forward to. Seeing as Saebyeolbe failed already, I didn't have much to worry about especially considering they still had to protect the dorms and themselves from being destroyed. I watched as the heartless ravaged across the field collapsing even behind me and there was ring quickly encircling the eleven of them. I slammed my free hand into the air, transmuting a a red circle and bringing forth a canon.

"FIRE!!!"

A blast of anima ripped through the air as a beam-like projectile, the grass tattered in shambles as it was headed directly for them. I turned on my heel to flay into the heartless that had approached behind me as others persisted in attacking the group.

"You want a war Resolutes? You've got one!" I shouted at the top of my lungs before slamming the ground with a electrified sea of red.

The heartless eyes shifted from an eerie yellow to red, swirling into a demon tower. "ATTACK!!!" The veracity of my aggression was without relent. I jumped just above the demon tower as it was splitting off into two sides and I gripped the gazing eye with two hands and threw a huge burst of anima like a fine blade over the top directly behind them to generate a red well of red magic to cut off their escape route.
 

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His body was heavy, the cool sensation of blood was trailing from every open orifice you could imagine. There was a sense of bliss he felt in all of the bleeding, the shockwave string of his nerves on fire and every atom of him was screaming. Lucrecia was doused in his blood, looks like his bet paid off in the end, he'd momentarily stopped her from moving, but he was quite serious when he said it was no longer in his hands.

The light was virtually gone from his eyes, his corneas were saturated in red and his vision doubled trying desperately not to move too much. His mind started to become flooded with fuzzy images of...her. He thought fondly of Allison, probably reprimanding him from getting so beaten up by the shopkeeper they pilfered from as kids. A feint breath, of what could be interpreted as a cough, more blood...it even heart to laugh it seemed. The corners of his lips struggled to move, all of him was hurting more than he could fathom...not since surviving a megaflare that annihilated his town when he was so young. Flashes, of Allison shielding him her own body as she burned on top of him and into his flesh.

Why were these memories showing up now...always when...he's about to die it seems. Lucrecia didn't seem particularly interested in killing him, how he could stand there this long clinging to life was truly something. It was then, Sae finally heard the words he'd thought he'd never hear.


"SAEBYOLBE! THANK YOU!!!"

Was he dreaming...? That was Eth's voice, and he sounded so sincere and gratuitous it was almost a completely different reality. Times really had changed, a cold and disconnected ally...acknowledged, respected and conveyed as much. Even in pain, even in the agony to move, he suffered just to shed tears of how grateful he was. Everything hurt, a catalyst that let him cry even harder as he continued to bleed, but he continued to draw breathe, and he could still stand. He took painful step after painful step moving towards him and past lucrecia as she seemed focused on something else.

Then came a sea of light more magnificent and blinding than anything he'd ever seen before. Frozen, he couldn't move another bloody step on the white plains, red with his bare tracks of blood. The warmth of the light, he embraced it, his body was...healing? Was this Eth's doing? The pain began to dull and his senses and awareness began to sharpen, the light that washed over everyone there soon came to drop out and he could feel grass under his feet.

They'd returned to the dorms. All of them. Sae's eyes opened wide as he was identifying them all from his memories one by one, this wasn't, there was an overwhelming feeling of happiness that escalated over him as he continue to move with a bit of a wobble in his step. Try grappled Komaeda with a hug, Yamato pat Reforge's head, Iontis was helping Kambria to her feet, I smiled as Jay was alive and still here, someone that I saved in the realm of darkness. 'Thank goodness.'

There was someone else here...strangely enough...
there were these odd feelings and memories associated with them clouded in fog. This was definitely number 2...the same number two the master urged the scarred to find. Sae took a in a breath and drew in her scent, 'midnight' he'd never forget a scent even if he didn't remember someone.

"Shiki." Sae paused for a moment, realizing how doused in blood he was, stood completely still. "Don't disappear like that on me again. This isn't the first time we're meeting...in fact, i've known you for a fairly long time. If you take one look at me, a man half dead a thousand times over...did I really deserve to make it, standing here by my partner? The stories you mentioned in the past...you still think you'll end up getting me killed one day?"

Sae gave her head a soft brush, without any doubt it was definitely her.

"It's not nice to meddle with our memories...no...with your existence and how it effects our memories...how are we supposed to mourn you if you fade out from right under us...theres nothing more cruel you can do to your friends than deny us the agency to miss you...you, not someone who isn't you."

Loss. You think this would be routine for someone that has had to endure this worlds tragedies, cruelty, and it's pain, but that was far removed from the reality each situation proposed. Truthfully, Sae had grown fond of the resolutes, of the master, and what one would call their banner, or their resolve...each is in it's own way selfish dogmas they'd all undertaken for one reason or another. Sometimes its not enough to vow to protect your principles, to protect your allies and family, as well as suffer for their sake and your own...the world was complex, peace wasn't easily obtained, but the secret was that those special to you...were the treasure that made what you agonize and suffer for, worth it.

He could feel his face tighten as he pulled her into his arms and hugged her, sobbing as if he'd lost someone for a period of what felt like a lifetime. Almost as if she'd died...and in a way...she did. The collapse of all those feelings was something of a challenge for even him to bare. The lesson the master repeated the most was always "Strong. Not invincible. It'd serve you well to remember this." To that end, Sae never forgot it either.


"Grateful scratches the surface of what I feel towards you." He stopped to poise a smile while the tears trailed his cheek, his lip wrinkled, his chest jerked from the building emotional and physical stress of this really, REALLY long nightmare they were in the midst of in the end of days.


. . . . . . . . The Third Party Was Present . . . . . . . .


There was a leering gaze that appropriated from the distance. "Well i'll be damned. I get to slaughter Eth and Shiki along with the rest of you powerless Light Lapdogs. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA fine by me!"

Trace had been revving his gears ready to go for a while now. Inflicting a brutal beat down on Luxu not long before breaking threshold in space that Zero and the others crossed not long before. It was incredible to be in reconstructed corpse that his heart could inhabit freely and it was all thanks to Saebyeolbe. This concept of a power struggle between dark and light was textbook data to him. That paled in comparison to his true interests, researching the human heart.

"It's Trace. Mission statement is simple, I'm here to free your hearts. What good are they being trapped inside those bodies of yours, all that guiding key nonsense your master preached about in the old world...trying to sway public opinion over a hearts one true destiny? It's destined to be released, I've made my ambition to make that true of this entire existence. That box smells awfully peculiar, I'd love to see the contents of it for myself and I'm more than fit to fight ALL OF YOU for it. I don't care about your petty squabbles amongst each other, getting the satisfaction of ripping you to shreds and releasing your hearts is all the reward I need, all the justification I need."

Trace raised his hand a world ender towered over him, far larger than any Darkside the RoD could produce.

"Anti. POSSES!" he shouted to the heavens and inklings of dotted eyes appeared all over the world ender as it raised it's meteoric fist imbued with extremely potent darkness. Trace's heinous laughter circulated across the field as it's fist cut through the red power anima that woman unleashed unintentionally blocking for them as it's fist was entirely lobbed off.

"Tch. Stay out of this you fecklematter heretic! Traitorous scum among humans is more vile than the humans themselves! It makes those hearts that imprisoned tainted and abhorrent. Betraying conviction to meet selfish ends, WHO THE HELL WOULD WANT A HEART LIKE THAT TO EXIST IN THE WORLD!??!"


>>BILLOWING DARKNESS

Trace's smug look signaled his two cohorts, Cal and V, to dart forward as the heartless surged passed him laughing menacingly to collapse on them from all sides. The World Ender's fist was bubbling black as it's fist was regenerating with Anti's help. Releasing a howl as it raised it's fist and swirled with an insane amount of power set to come crashing down on top of the group like a death punch, take two!

"DIE.DIE.DIE.DIE.DIE.DIE.DIE."

A massive surge released covering the green grass in space of perpetual black. All you could see were yellow eyes. EVERYWHERE. It was a perfect hellstorm, a radiating feeling a pure and feral madness was ebbing off of Trace. Afflicting already uncertain an tense emotions with a constant feeling of added, debilitating pressure. He was enjoying every second of this and didn't feel the need to suppress it any longer.

"DON'T LET SO MUCH AS ONE SURVIVE!"

The heartless circled, the fist came down, the other hybrids had attacked. There certainly was a lot of destabilizing things occurring simultaneously to all be addressed at the same time. Fortunately, time was something the resolutes had on their side...quite literally.

Sae released a sigh, releasing Shiki to turn and utter words that were unthinkable.

"I don't think i've ever seen so much hatred in one place before...it's suffocating..." his heart beat was beginning to pick up as he raised his keyblade Alabaster to first intercept the split of the demon tower Recia had thrown their way. One powerful swat send a massive gust of air that deflected their rotation. The intensity of the red wave was absorbed by the hybrid's own assertion into the fight via the world ender. As Sae landed he shouted to Try.

"Hey Try! Help me knock down the giant world ender and then we'll go after Trace. I'm pretty sure none of us want to be pancakes when that fist hits the ground...Mortem!!"

Releasing his All-Series, Mortem ripped off his back barbed, and chained. He jumped straight up from the ground towards the sky in direct line of fire from the world ender's charged fist. "It's just like when I saved Jaz...no...it's even worse now." Sae spun around and pointed his keyblade towards the fist and channeled a beam of light aimed directly towards the hurling fist of the world ender.
 
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