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Trust is [NOT] Resolute



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Deimos

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There was a ringing in Sae's ears. Shiki was beside him, the two of them could hear the clangs of keyblades cutting through heartless as the valiant of them fought the fodder heartless. Yamato, Reforge, Iontis, Jaz, Kambria...as Komaeda who wasn't combat proficient in appearance, even seemed to be holding his own. Eth's order was for them to engage the lessers, at first it looked like the three largest of them where only going to approach one at a time and so Saebyeolbe waited. Saving his strength and having to hear those words said over and over again to him was grating at best.

"Trust them..." He muttered under his breath, "Okay."

Clutching his Alabaster in one hand, he felt a tap in the square of his back, slicking past the leather of the black coat Eth asked them to wear. "Hmm?"

"Listen Sae. Trust what Eth said...you really will be forced to put your emotions to the side for this.
" Shiki didn't seem particularly acute about saying this to him, but he'd acknowledge it.

Sae pulled down his hood and his silver hair jutted upward as he opened his two massive cerulean orbs for eyes. That weathered smile, far from worn as it resonated deep as he looked at with a teeth bearing grin. For what it was worth, the idea of a family was something he felt he'd found again. It was why, his All's End would take the shape of her, in remembrance.

There was a crash. Loud. Thundering.

Sae turned his head as Try was fighting wielding a massive blade of light, the could feel his bracelet resonate, it must've been Eth himself she was holding. Turning to Shiki he gave her a nod, and the shifted their attention to the spiraling demon tower that bolstered through. Sae took stance and simply put all of his focus into a controlled breathing before he took a single step. His body motioned like a blur, creating a massive sonic boom from where he stood, swiping the air so fast it created a traveling galeforce wind, that punched a hole through the demon tower. Shiki came from the side, winding up a charged Ice spell that froze the core all the way over and the fodder shadows fumbled over onto the rocks and dirt. Sae's feet were hitting the dirt fast as he quickly accelerated, and cut through the remainder of the heartless lingering around the frozen core. The two of them grasping the other's hand and creating what appeared to be a transient blade of light and dark, to cut straight down the middle.

"Session: Sunrise & Nightfall."

There was a potent mixture of both affinities spiraling upwards as the core had been completely removed from the field. Holding Shiki's palm, he escorted down from their floating stance. To think, this was something he forgot how to do up until a few days ago...sheesh. His eyes shifted again towards the bigger of the bads, they seemed to be in a frenzy to protect their mate that Try had felled with some level of difficulty. Ears were sharped, he could hear the fluttering of a cape as the heartless landed, there were now two of them.

Raising a hand, the larger one bearing a shield on each arm, a great-shield and the other a buckler. Gallant Grave X and Terminus X, they were both in the bestiary. Sae's first thought, these heartless were once...just like us? It was hard to miss what looked to be a duplicate of the master's keyblade in each of their hands, it seemed surreal seeing his blade being used by others from other worldlines, meaning that more than one of he same key...let alone person could exist.

It was a bit too quiet, suppressing their ability to speak perhaps? Whatever the reason, Sae and Shiki were indirectly being assisted by Eth and could more than deal with them in a tag team fashion.

"Saebyeolbe, the master's number 1 on this worldline. Were the circumstance different, I'd welcome you warmly...but if what your colleague said is anything to go by, this is a duel correct?"

These heartless were 100% sentient, both appeared abnormally courteous and responded with a nod and a bow. Likely a ruse to take him and Shiki off guard, but he was all the more cautious. There were numbers located on different spots on their bodies, spots that...were identical to Sae and Shikis. That nape of her neck, and his right shoulder, it was such a strange mirror to be looking in. This didn't make it easier on him, empathy was his entire identity, housing Trace and Anti temporarily, them being later identified as the enemy of similar caliber only confirmed that fact.

"Do you mind if we make this a team battle? A pure 2v2, we can switch targets at our leisure."

Sae was a bit surprised at how smooth this was. He took a breath and already understood this would be one of those instances where he may have to resort to potentially using Berserker...his body strengthening over three years to endure that recoil once...no, it was way too risky. Shiki would likely forbid Sae from doing something so stupid and reckless even if these were the circumstances, he glanced over at her briefly and back at the shielded heartless. Making eye contact ever so briefly, she was really drawn in by the other one, the Terminus X.

He synchronized his breathing, and like a veil, Shiki vanished before the group right before their very eyes. The heartless appeared startled, but Sae stomped and blitzed immediately thrusting his keyblade into the great shield with a piercing attack. The sound the and pressure from the impact alone was immense, chains escalated and flowed from the Terminus X and Sae broke away into a skid away from the Gallant Grave X.

"Session: Unseen Void."

You had to admit this took a lot of time and effort to coordinate. It seemed like one of them vanished from sight, when the reality of what was happening is that Saebyeolbe was sharing his resolve with Shiki. His body could emit light, and in return, lower the light of it or of an extension of it, in this case Shiki appeared to completely vanish. This concept was known as misdirection, as Sae took stance he aggressed the two of them at the same time. The Terminus X feed him Chains as he was moving, they just appeared to be moving far too slow to be an issue. Gripping alabaster with two hands, he gripped it with a proper stance and began cutting through the chains to ribbons as they burst apart from each of his quick and successive strikes.

His cerulean tears seemed to surface as jabbed Alabaster downward the moment all of the chain's collapsed upon him, locking them in place. His keyblade emitted a light, creating what looked like a lock at the spot he jammed downward. The chains riptosed into a straight and he leapt from the spot into a flip barreling towards the Terminus X. Even more chains with sickles attached this time, he cut through them all as precisely as possible following the movements with ease.

"Now!" Sae shouted as Shiki unveiled and appeared mounting Memento Mori into a vertical swipe.

Parried. The Gallant Grave X, was in the midst of swiping her away to the right, as Sae came from under it as it was still in the middle of its commitment to parrying Shiki from above. He closed his eyes, releasing a focused breathe, and swung vertically upward, releasing with it a massive tower of fire. This wasn't just some regular fire, he took advantage of the bracelet to boost the attack and bolstered it to light mixed with fire magic.

There was a sigh as he jumped back and Shiki landed next to him.

"Hold your resolve Sae!" she said already sensing a welling darkness explode from the pillar of light. What appeared to be a humanoid figured stepped out burning but enduring the burns. Then looking directly at Sae as it's "I" tattoo respectively illuminated. Flicking it's hand, he pushed Sae's attack back towards the Terminus X, burning through the shell of the heartless and revealing what he was fearing the most.

He clenched his teeth, holding back his urge to cry immensely, as he was hating how this was going. "It really is another Shiki..." he tensed up a bit and a hand was firmly planted on his shoulder to briefly spin him around.

"Look at me Sae. I'm right here, please!" Shiki urgently pleaded with him as the pair started to move, with their respective keyblades in hand.

"
You're going to have to listen to her. Saebyeolbe." His counterpart finally engaged in speech. "The Darkness won't wait for you to sort through your feelings, and as its instruments, this is the only choice that remains."

As he spoke the Gallant Grave X, appeared in his shadow like an avatar over its shoulder. The other Shiki held her shoulder as the darkness was billowing out of her form along with the Terminus X hovering behind her. Sae released the Alabaster keyblade from his hand as it clanged against the dirt, and his counterpart saw this and was enraged.

"Thy Kingdom Come." it's faded "I" tattoo had a slight reaction, but it irradiated Sae's as he clutched his shoulder. "No! I don't want to do this anymore!? Why the hell do we have to fight people just like us?? This isn't what peace is supposed to look like!" he repudiated the request and was trembling.


"STOP YOUR WHINING! What a disgrace, is this my successor talking right now?!" the darkness welled up around him, as he leapt forward, only to be stopped by the other Shiki as Shiki herself already took up arms to protect Saebyeolbe. "MOVE SHIKI! At first he seemed respectable and would finally end it for us, but I'm disappointed and I don't have any regrets about killing him."


"Thy Kingdom Come." her voice traced all of their ears, and the "II" found on her neck illuminated and resonated with the other two. "I won't ask you for anything that is beyond what you're willing. Partner. Friend. You're precious to me, so let me do what you won't do Sae."

There was a moment of introspection from the other shiki in this moment. This...a defining moment that set the differences aside, and it looked appeared this number 1 too, would fail her here as well, but she didn't lament the thought.

Memento Mori purged into a gleam of radiant light, and forged into Memento Vivare, brandishing what appeared to be the tail of a falling star. Its blade reflective and quiet as though nothing but a mirror to its opponent like a lake of purest silver. Its thin form exudes airiness and silky sharpness; each swing and turn singing of swift sighs and deadly glances. It feels almost too light, buoyant, at ease with change, demanding to be in perpetual motion.

Sae couldn't ask her to fight for him, but she took a step forward to fight them both alone.

"I'm sorry these circumstances were just too much for you. If i must use that, then so be it. Goodbye Sae." Shiki vanished from sight, at the sametime as the other two.

Steel striking steel as she used Eth's bracelet in order to keep pace and attack the two of them rapidly with small margin for error. The song began to play, sigil and seal as she erected barriers to stave off the brunt force of Brandt's attacks. The sound of sobbing was muffled over the collision of tremendous force. Sae can't remember seeing Shiki fight this hard in a while, and she did so without him. Were these people really enemies? Their seniors? All he could feel was misery and despair and it ate away at him as the chances are he'd lose that special person dear to him yet again.

"Damnit. Damnit! DAMNIT! I'm sorry but I just can't! I don't want to create even more pain for those that still have a chance!" He was drowning in ambivalence, unsure what to do at this point. His body was shaking, and she came into his mind again, relaying an image of Shiki in the here and now. "STOP! STOP MANIPULATING ME ALISON! My heart...just breaks more and more..."

"I actually feel sorry for you." a voice, speaking for the first time spoke to him. "So all of that bonding, just to send me to my death in this time too? I probably said I'd lead you to your death this time didn't I...to think it would be by another me right?"

The Dark Wielder Shiki clenched her fist, as what appeared to be a bed of sickles and chains swimming through the rocks to collapse up Sae who was on his hands and knees crying. He was being cut apart and torn at every end, as the hood from his coat and blown off and his agonizing screams escalated across the way.

"SAE!"

"Pay attention!" Brandt slapped Shiki with the hand holding his buckler shield and she came crashing down, right into Sae's arms.

"No...no, no no no no no! This can't be happening...Shiki I...I'm sorry for being such a coward...that person, both of them..." He professed in a frantic manner, rubbing the side of her face where she'd been struck with a healing spell.

She grabbed his hand, and slowly lifted herself up and re-summoned her Memento Vivare, "I'm fine Sae." Able to stand, her Incantum Lumare, she called to cast Regen to consistently heal her as she aggressed yet again without him.

"Shiki wait!" Sae yelled reaching his hand out, but she had already re-engaged Brandt in a close-quarters fight. The rapid clangs echoing as their keyblades met repeatedly.

"
Why are you protecting him, from me? If he won't use that resolve, I'm better off carrying it instead." Brandt smirked, pressing his weight forward as he and Shiki were blade locked. "Shiki! Come! Let's just kill your doppelganger first and take her resolve, then we'll deal with the coward."

The nerve was struck.

"What...." Sae's tears suddenly stopped as he lifted his head and he released a blood lust likely unseen up until now. "What did...you just say?"


Brandt's collison with Shiki was so extreme the air was rippling outwards in all directions picking up so much air and tremors as he was purposely increasing his pace to force her to utilize some manner of trump card. He was slapping with ample force against the small barriers she was creating in order to create distance. This isn't a war you could win by defending alone, she had to have a plan right? The two of them were hitting hard across the ground, both darting towards the other Shiki's location, and the dark wielder shiki responded bringing out the Terminus X that was about to completely box her in.

Sae saw this, and their was a sliver of light that flit through his eye, "The Zone" he bolted faster than the next breath, scooping Shiki from being ensnared. "Are doing things to deliberately provoke me?"

"Oh, hey Sae, when did you get here?" She was trying to be funny, but now wasn't the time for jokes.

"Thy Kingdom Come." Sae's "I" tattoo branded on his right arm was lit, in acknowledgement. "LETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Screaming wasn't enough to work through the collection of energy that weighed on his emotions and his heart at present, but it was a start. Saebyeolbe, regulated his breathes and expanded his lungs giving him a return of much needed stamina. Within an instant he move towards the other Dark Wielder Shiki and applied what was the equivalent of Brandt's pressure to Shiki. Brandt saw this, and broke his concentration to intervene.

"You're already making that mistake now?" Sae said without looking at him, but instead grabbing onto the other Shiki and throwing her towards Shiki to be contained in a ten-layer barrier. Mid float, he turned to slam his Alabaster to connect with Brandt's keyblade.

There was no way in hell Sae could renege on his feelings now, as threats seemed to be a sore spot for him. Shiki had done so much for not only him, but she put the lot of them ahead of herself in several instances. That's a kindness that would be repaid in full, The Scarred kicked it into a higher gear and switched targets to take on Brandt to give Shiki a moment to rest. Clasping Alabaster, his keyblade was brimming with an incantation of flame, as he gripped the handle and guard. Releasing blow for blow, slash attacks that met Brandt head on like a complete mirror. Sae was starting to understand the slight variations in their rhythm, it was almost as if....no, he needed to see more before he could affirm his thought.

Sae split himself into to three and attacked him mercilessly from all sides and wore deep into Brandt's endurance. Dismissing the other images of himself, Sae tackled Brandt forcing them both to drop their keyblades, and tumbled across the rock before Sae jumped straight up into the air with his arms bound to Brandt's body. Brandt was fighting with every ounce of strength he had to knock Sae away from him and he could engage as normal, but Sae wasn't having it.


Once they cleared the highest Mesa, Sae began setting up for his trump. (0:36 start)

"Listen Brandt...we're a lot of like." Sae started to talk as his body began to glow, red and fused with light. "You're me...from another future...or another Worldline...and you've been suffering for so long..." The very space around them was now being influenced by Sae, his thoughts were to go higher and higher. Heat was rising as his body first was releasing steam, it then started to combusted into what was an agonizingly hot bed of flames.

"Burn up....and be put to rest." Sae closed his eyes, "All's End: Alison's Flame Garden."

His body was ablaze, and the image of Alison that had been embedded in his heart since she'd protected him became this spectral figure covered in flames, burning that clutched Brandt and Sae, and the heat coupled and rose straight up. The flames released burning everything in the air and the surrounding area in a radial cylinder shooting upward. The shrieks of pain being released by Brandt all in a frenzy as he could finally be released. Sae clutched even tighter as Eth's bracelet responded to his All's End, and burned the very dark passenger as Sae took extra car to mitigate as much direct damage to Brandt as possible with his All's End's release.

Falling like a smoldering chunk of rock, Sae fell and fell...and fell clutch tight to Brandt's unconscious body. When he hit the rocks, and hard. Tsssssss! Was all the sound you could hear and a visible patch of steam constantly flowing off of Sae and Brandt's body. Managing to muster the resolve to stand, he'd completely burned through the black coat Eth gave him and he awkwardly realized he was standing there in his birthday suit.

"Oh...well, this is awkward." He said before he clutched his right fist, and whaddaya know, the bracelet gave him his regular clothes back. "Saves me from embarrassment for now at least." he said before falling over to one knee, and Shiki grabbed him to prevent him from slipping into unconsciousness. Leaning down, she checked Brandt's pulse and sure enough, he was alive, albeit out cold, and no presence of his dark passenger could be traced.

"Shiki I...I'm sorry...!" Sae looked away,

"Apologizing after a victory? You really never change Sae." Shiki grinned for but a moment but her attention shifted, naturally, to the Dark Wielder Shiki.
 
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Ðari

Look at you, armor-less
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The look of disgust across The Harbinger's face was rife with vigor. As he swiped the air cutting the heartless into a black mist, their insides shattering into a bright light, purified. Serendipity was at his command as he gripped it tightly in his left hand, and held the revolver in his right. This invasion...this unrelenting wave of darkness that blew over them, he knew only the culprit announced moments ago as to why this was happening. It seemed like gauntlet after gauntlet of forces about as vile and abhorrent as the very nature he despised, it caused an alarming shift in him.


"Will it never be enough...never enough to just put them all down forever...this is truly pain." Nagito cut, and cut, and cut more through the heartless as even his own movement and motions were surprising him. When was the last time The Harbinger drew his blade and aggressed, he could vaguely recall a time.

"Traitors...black hearts...backstabbing scum that would abandon the light, the master, their friends? Worthless trash, every last one..."

His light was starting to well up as he released a powerful and potent pulse going in every direction. "Hmm?" Komaeda raised his head and observed a body of light and flame. "Ohhhh Saebyeolbe...what a brilliant and radiant light, a fire of hope...oooooo burn him. BURN HIM ALIVE. LEAVE ASHES HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"

There was a pillar of fire that exploded from his position, maybe nothing flashy at first, but it seemed effective. He'd give him proper credit, reaching an elevation where even the intensity of the heat he released wasn't an immediate threat to the rest of them on the ground. Komaeda bolted and ran at a breakneck pace where the hero fell from the sky.

Two bodies...Two bodies...TWO...BODIES...

Something snapped in that instant. There was motion, Saebyeolbe had emerged the victor, but the enemy still drew breath. Certainly he had to of been aware of what Eth told them?? Komaeda clenched his teeth, the foul sense of darkness didn't plague the body of the now abandoned traitor, but this wouldn't do. You leave an enemy alive to flee...they'll do just as Saebyeolbe did when he home was burned to the ground, seek vengeance...he looked at the barely conscious Dark-Wielder, hearing vaguely the name "Brandt" being thrown around.

Barely able to move, Komaeda confirmed it, he was purposely left alive. He leaned down and slid his keyblade away from his hand, he must've summoned it back during the struggle even while he was being scorched, more evidence that damned Sae's foolish negligence.



"You really are pathetic Saebyeolbe." Komaeda said, stomping his foot square onto Brandt's chest, and and raising his revolver in his right hand and point it direct at his head. "Mercy...for traitors...traitors we don't even know? Traitors that would flay you alive just to become you..have you fucking lost all your marbles?!"

Komaeda stomped his foot even harder as Brandt was now screaming about as loud as Komaeda was talking, the visible expression of agony writhing through his face as he could hardly bare the burns and to be touched.

"You'd really spare a Traitor...a murderer...what the actual fuck!" He pulled the trigger back, "Thy Kingdom Come." the faint glow from his faded "V" on his thigh faintly lit as he felt his finger squeeze tight.

BANG!


Smoke fizzled at the tip of the barrel. Blood collected from the hole, splashing back on Komaeda before Brandt's body slowly started to become crystal. A rose colored hue shaped heart, spirited away into the sky, and the physical body was crushed under the weight of Komaeda's heel. This was the mercy that Eth mentioned being carried out by them.

"You talk a lot about peace. About pain. About suffering...but what do you really understand." He slid the broken shards to the right as he turned to face Saebyeolbe, Shiki, and the Dark Wielder Shiki. "The light...isn't infalible...as you said Shiki. Even these scum, willingly abandoned it. Being a resolute? If you won't die in the light...that cast those very shadows, then in my eyes, you're no resolute."

Komaeda raised his gun and pointed it directly at the Dark Wielder Shiki. "You look at lot younger than our Shiki. You'll be dead in a few minutes, but since we have you here, whats say we chat about that Vile Darkness your carrying around. I'd rather IT talk and not you. Seriously give some thought to retaliating, you can't just STOP this special kind of bullet if that was your first thought, not even this Shiki can stop it with a barrier. So I'd advise you stick to the demands administered."

Komaeda's eyes didn't leave the traitor's for an instant, at this point he'd elected to tune out any protest coming from either Shiki or Saebyeolbe. The truth of the matter, if this Shiki said anything or not, if she attempted to aggress, if she attempted to flee, he was going to shoot her. The outcome was going to be the same no matter how many simulations they ran. There was a heavy feeling of melancholy that washed over Komaeda, if only he didn't burn out on Twilight Town, it's likely it'd be him in Lucrecia's shoes. Firmly holding his grip he started to walk closer and breezed past Shiki and Saebyeolbe, if they spoke a word he chose to tune it out for the duration of his cross-examination.

"Feeling chatty? Indulge me then, it's Shiki right? Aka pureblood heartless Terminus X."

Dark-Wielder Shiki couldn't take her eyes off the gun, then she looked into the concentric circles of his eyes and determined it wasn't a good idea to engage with this loose-cannon.

"If your just going to-" she suddenly stopped as a movement was just barely perceptible.

Komeada swiped past cheek drawing blood, and shaking his Serendipity of the blood. "I asked you for confirmation. Don't screw with me!" he pressed his Serendipity into her chest and held the revolver pointed at her forehead.

"Shiki." she released a breath before continuing, "The Dark Terminus X, yes." speaking of the pureblood heartless, it was almost as if it's very presence had been erased.

"So you can follow instructions. Perfect. So, whats the motive, why wait until now to even show up?"

"We may have done this before, but only Luxu had the box which he only brandished when one of us betrayed the rest. We waited for the box to appear before we approached to seize it."

"Could've surmised that. Moving on, I wasn't aware you could even take resolves back if you were once a resolute, can you confirm what your buddy fighting Try down there said is correct?"

"...Buddy...right...we're acquainted, but the rules are set by the master. Unfortunately, conditions vary between worldlines. We were informed of no such rule or condition, I took that as a lie to throw you into a frenzy to forego mercy. She's very good at that, manipulation of others emotions."

"Hmph. No more questions." Komaeda released his keyblade from her chest, he couldn't trust the scent, it was as if the darkness had completely vanished. "You're just as vile as her...what a terrifyi-"

A spiddle of blood coming from his back and bursting through his naval. The presence of the Terminus X piercing Komaeda through the lower back and pushing him into The Dark-Wielder Shiki. She stepped back and her entire presence dissipated as if she were never there to begin with and Komaeda fell limp dropping both gun and key. He clutched at Eth's bracelet and used it's power to cast cure on himself as he lay there before Shiki and Saebyeolbe.

"Do you understand now Saebyeolbe...don't you DARE trust this scum..." Komaeda said to the both of them before he faintly lay there recovering.

There was a set of footsteps being heard as someone was a approaching. Clad in black, just like everyone else there, you could hardly tell who it was. Stopping beside Komaeda, bending down at the knees to stroke his head, a keyblade no one recognized, purging into a brilliant light as if it were pure gold.

"Its been a long time. Shiki-dono. Hearts are so volatile...malleable, they can endure as long as need to. Pain. Trauma. Sacrifice." this wasn't a voice Komaeda recognized either, "H-hey...Luxu is that...whats going on with you??"

"Luxu?" with his right hand the voice tapped the top of his coat's hood, before another responded, "As if. You're expecting that classic line yeah? Name's Vista."





The Dark Wielder Shiki summoned the waves of darkness and the heartless shadows came in droves rushing to Luxu and Komaeda's location. There was no way, no conceivable way what he was saying was true. She killed him. Dark Shiki herself even confirmed his heart stopped beating...his heart....stopped. Stopped. Stop. Her face was alight with a sensation that was echoed by chilling awareness to a former comrades core abilities, Vista stopped his heart..! A small globe hovered over Komaeda's back, reversing the time on his back and completely closing the wound. As the heartless came barreling in, he noticed the variety. Darkballs, Darkhides, Neoshadows, Shadows....all converging on the two of them.

"You know number 1. You're nothing like Espoir, and he was losing limbs numbing the pain as he fought her with every ounce of strength. Crying the entire time, the emotional pain far exceeding the physical...having to fight her to the death...."

Vista took a breath shouting to this worldine's Shiki, "I don't know what you have to say to him, but don't fight her alone!"

Vista reached down and yanked Komaeda up over his shoulders as he took a massive leap backwards, being forced further and further away from Shiki and Saebyeolbe's location. "I wanted so badly to share my responsibility with you all, but rules that jeopardize any of us, can never be broken without consequences."

The clattering of keys was picking up in speed, Komaeda was wiggling around on Vista's shoulder. A Neoshadow that was bolting along the side, came into a flying kick, tapping Vista's Grigori keyblade as he blocked it. "Your kind of heavy Nagito." he commented as he slumped over, "But I won't drop you..!" what looked like a rope of some kind, perpetually created from light, they fastened Komaeda to Vista's back. The level of aggression was something he wasn't unused to, but so many resets really did make these heartless much more of a pain to fell. Sorely out of practice, but he had the benefit of Luxu training with his body over the course of many resets.

"You know Komaeda. There was only one person I trusted with my identity early on, and it was Eth." Vista was having a conversation in the middle of his shifted around on his back. Repelling shiki's waves of heartless, "I certainly didn't expect to see someone else, let alone from the same worldline!"

Vista released was being swarmed by the dark hides as they circled around, zoning him and Komaeda into a circle. "Is Sae always this...selfish?" he ironically wasn't making fun of him here, "Selfish? Hmm. He just doesn't want to do any harm to actual people. I laugh at him every time. Even if my friends were heartless, they'd just go around causing more problems, and if I knew that others were getting hurt because I did nothing about them, could I really call myself their friend?"

The sound of Vista's keyblade slapping against the claws of the dark hide, he listened carefully to what Komaeda was saying. Seems Shiki didn't want to face it, but when allies had fallen so deep to the despair. That reality in which she survived, came to be here, and come back to a world where that failure had virtually been mitigated. Vista couldn't believe it, what seemed virtually impossible, cooperation. He felt like he could breathe for the first time in what has felt like forever, giving way to Luxu's heart he faded back into obscurity. Seeing Shiki again for himself, he couldn't help but claw his way out just to see her for himself and she truly was beyond saving. Over the pinging sound coming from him stepping around to connect with the heartless, a voice was traveling about as fast as he was maneuvering.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!" Yamato screamed at the top of his lungs as he cleaved through a dark hide just to get to Komaeda, "YOU IDIOT!"

Losing his footing he slid sloppily along the ground before quickly picking himself up and swiping away the dirt. Yamato could see the bloodied spot on his back through the coat, "What the hell are you doing getting stabbed in the back? IT'S NOT EASY FIGHTING THROUGH WAVES JUST TO GET HERE YOU ASS!"

Clutching to Vista, Komaeda laughed at Yamato's dirt filled face as his hood blew off. "Hey, i'm alright aren't I? I don't even feel the wound anymore. Wanna help us deal with..." he pointed at the World Ender swiping past the Dark Hides and Neoshadows to converge on their location.

"The hell? Luxu! Can't you just burst these waves down??" Yamato shouted as he watched him kneel down to lower Komaeda from his back. "As if! Take it easy on the bracelets. Eth can't even move right now with how much power he's lending everyone simultaneously. Don't worry about Nagi, I got him!" and there was Luxu's voice, duality confirmed. Yamato swiped in a succession of hits chaining together against the dark hides releasing tremendous force to bully them back. "If you can bark orders you can swing that damned keyblade! LETS GO!"

They continued to swarm and this time Yamato and Luxu were fighting side by side fending off the waves for Komaeda who'd still been recovering. Some of the heartless started to vanish right in front of them, as if their existence itself was being silenced.

"Oh fuck, you can't be serious. They're disappearing now??" Yamato said swiping nothing but air, and shifting his eyes to the world ender approaching slowly starting to burn out of existence too.

"HURRY UP! SHIKI SAE!"
 
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A memory resurfaced as her head pounded. A memory of the day The Master had found her.

Spoiler Spoiler Show



It was thanks to The Master that she’d found friends, comrades she could rely on, and a place where her strength could be used for good. Even if she wasn’t sure of his intentions now, at the very least she was thankful for that.

The headache subsided, and Try’s body moved. Her hand reached out and gripped Ezra’s arm, stopping the blade from striking Eth. “You had a place to stay, comrades to rely on, and you threw it away. Sorry, but I do not find your rage compelling. You are sad.” Try tightened her other fist and slammed it into Ezra’s elbow, likely shattering multiple bones. “Giving up is bad enough, don’t drag others down with you!” Try jumped back as Ezra’s Guardian swung at her.

“What do you know!?” Ezra screamed, barely holding onto their keyblade. “The Master doesn’t care about you, you’re just pawns to him! Once he gets what he wants out of you he’ll betray you!”

“You lost faith in The Master, that’s understandable. But don’t use him as an excuse. God, the stench of darkness on you, it’s rancid.” Try said, relaxing her posture.

“He made me like this, it’s his fault! It’ll happen to you too!” Ezra charged towards Try, her arm seemingly healing due to a cure spell that had been cast subtly.

“Wasting my time talking huh?” Try placed a hand behind her back as Ezra approached. “Pure Image!” She called out. Ezra swung down, but stopped upon hearing the name of Try’s ability.

“Behind me!?” The Heartless attached to her swung out as Ezra looked behind her.

“Nope, just a bluff.” Try’s bracelet shined as she summoned her keyblade from behind her and jammed it into Ezra’s chest. “Let’s have a look inside.” She turned the keyblade to unlock the heart before her.
 

Deimos

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Sae had gone silent. Aberrations and what looked to be the very fabric of space was beginning to retreat from right in front of them. He'd given way to his empathy for the suffering of...what he could only view in a biased lens of his current ally. A single touch is all he would need, but looking at the current Shiki, it didn't seem like a smart idea. This was painful for Sae, he couldn't put someone down, a human no less, without knowing something or a signal they'd give off to flag themselves as irredeemable.

Komaeda seemed adamant on making a point, he'd effectively eliminated Brandt in the most mundane fashion's possible. Already down for the count, the smoke fizzled from the gun he held in his grasp. This advocation of killing all of them without hesitation, it didn't make it any less difficult for him, even with what he was instructed.

When Sae touched Brandt, inflicting his paralysis, he intimately communicated with a slue of his memories at a glance. Flooding into him, seeing him cut down other human beings, tagged by a Roman numeral tattoo somewhere on their forms. Even though he held back some, sparing him from death up until Komaeda's intervention, he could humanize Brandt in a way. Still understanding he needed to be unable to continue in this battle by any and all means necessary. As the steam still feathered off from Sae, Shiki stood by him.

A tightness was felt in his chest. Nagito was stabbed right in front of them, from the Terminus X that appeared seemingly out of thin air. Prompting an almost immediate response from Luxu. There was a sleight of motion from the Dark Shiki as Luxu spoke, almost as if the two of them were more intimately acquainted in contrast to their own relationship with Luxu, he seemed to connect minimal with them til recently. His tone changed, completely and utterly in contrast and that must've been the trigger for her, hurling his disappointment at Sae.

"This again..." Sae uttered nigh inaudibly, a preservation of his ego and certainly connecting with his ability to be extremely stubborn. Feigning away from his words, he instead leaned in to embrace how he felt about Dark Shiki. Seems like to fight her alone is the equivalent of suicide, yet with how well Shiki herself faired against Brandt, he had to anticipate equivalent if not much more potent skill despite how young she appeared.

"All that training won't go to waste." He gripped his Alabaster, "I'm still in dire straits...can she really not be-"

"Saved?" The Dark Shiki's voice was heard, but she was no where to be seen, "Redemption is something I abandoned when I became the very enemy my comrades and I fought so hard against...save your mercy Sae..."

Separated.
Night approached as the darkness of countless dark balls began to blot out the sun sealing Saebyeolbe and Shiki within a massive dome completely cutting them off from the others. Komaeda screamed as he made it imperative to their cause to defeat her quickly.

'Easier said than done Nagi...' he allowed his thoughts to trail, he had his own anxiety about what was about to unfold. "Hey Shiki, those heartless...they were vanishing before our very eyes, are they really gone?"

Shiki took a moment before answering, "Not exactly. Their existence is being erased from your memories, rendering them imperceptible under normal conditions. She's rendering your five sense moot, unless you have a means to reveal them you won't be able to perceive them at all for whatever duration she sets."

Presenting Memento Vivare to the front, impresses along the rocks could be seen, though the heartless themselves could not. Sae gritted his teeth, gripping Alabaster and shutting his eyes. Sae sincerely hope the others could rely on Lucrecia and Finis in this instance, it was likely that her power to exorcise would be the most effective here. His poise shifted, closing his eyes and changing his stance to match, he inhaled and took a breath and decided to actually use his resolve for once this.

"Induravitque. Mico Gradus." The scars appeared black, as the rest of his body illuminated with light.

Calling forth the light that normally hardened his body to weather massive amounts of damage, he channeled it in a much different way. Externalizing this light into a constantly expanding dome to act as his new set of eyes. As a bonus, it affects his movement and to inconsequentially do a much different means of erasing himself and Shiki from vision. His blue eyes opened, and he was navigating a sea of white light, spotting nothing but mere blots of darkness he couldn't see before. The light of his resolve, became the sense that revealed the traces of darkness applied to these enemies.

A single step communicated into several in triplicate, the speed was several times that of sound, impressive but incomparable to those that could genuinely step at the speed of darkness or light. His alabaster glided through the masses of darkness at such an insane pace, before the radiating field of his light shrank and returned into his body.

Simultaneously the darkness around them splattered, painting the landscape in pitch black puddles of mesh where the heartless once resided.

"We're not like them!" Saebyeolbe shouted at the top of his lungs, "Last chance Dark Shiki! We can talk this out, this pain doesn't have to continue! We can do something about your worldline, it isn't too late!"

Sae's pleading seemed to land on deaf ears as there was no response prompted from the Dark Shiki. The hissing and clattering of chains could be heard swirling in the background as she finally revealed herself. Propped up, the Dark Terminus X behind her as she clutched the Gazing Eye in one hand, the darkness trickling off it like a foul odor.

"Creating a fixed radius of light to reveal them? You're resourceful if nothing else, kudos." The Dark Shiki only seemed to just be getting started.

"Serena trained you well." Shiki said, "Tell me what happened."

"Shiki! Please..!" Sae shouted in caution, she lowered his arm and pressed past him.

"It's fine Sae, we may be different versions of the same person, but we're well aware of our affliction. Consider this a mutual exchange of respect despite how things have played out on our world-lines."

Shiki slowly approached the Dark Shiki. To Shiki, her counterpart seemed to resonate on a similar tone, wave, melody...song. Dismissing her Guardian, the two approached each other and extended their right hands to firmly grasp. A brilliance radiating from their position. As if light and dark were connecting, talking to each other over what felt like ages of time passing at once. The two of them, now connected, sharing the disparities in their lives, the current Shiki frankly being much older and the experiences reflected in what she was called to do.

There was a long and distant pause between the two of them. Sae collecting nothing but anxiety as Shiki was within the jaws of the enemy, seemingly at a brief cease-fire. Her hair overlapped, she had a quiet look of intensity written all over her face. It didn't look good to him, if he could just touch her, much like her own skillset, he could learn the truth through the current Shiki and know what to do.

"It must've been a difficult decision to make, I'm deeply sorry you had to do what you did. I don't agree, but I understand why you did it..." Shiki's remorseful tone was evident as she spoke.

The Dark Shiki smirked, "Hmph. Its reassuring knowing that fate I endured was severed once and for all here."

"So this is the path you're set to waltz towards then?" Shiki had gathered her distance before she turned on her heel.

"Yes." The Dark Shiki's Dark Terminus X manifested behind her and the chains started to swarm. "I've been prepared ever since that day."

Manifesting before Shiki, was what appeared to be nothing more than a shade. Liken to darkness, unlike that of a heartless, a physical manifestation of the darkness that was a reflection of a memory. Shadowy in nature, it strut forward like taking on the visage of a woman.

"We were originally so different at first...but we became the same in the end." The Dark Shiki whispered as the shade to the form of Shiki's old master, Serena.

Taking up her stance, she armed herself with Memento Vivare. A small amount of steam, cooled from her breath as Shiki wasn't fighting alone this time around. Sae was there, she also had support from Eth via the bracelet, things would hardly go the direction her Dark self may be anticipating. As the shade of Serena attacked, Shiki clutched her fist tight demonstrating her growth upon exiting the realm of darkness.

Sae intervened as he blade clashed with Shiki's perpetually stopping her from preparing her assault.

"Stop Shiki..."

"Sae what are you doing?" She said in a fit of complete shock that he would interfere.

"I can't let you kill her...I can't..."

"Listen to what your saying, weren't you listening to us? Didn't you hear what she said? You'd still deny her that mercy?"

"I can't let you hurt her...even if it's you...even..." Sae's heart was beginning to race.

"Move Sae." Shiki applied pressure against his Alabaster.

His back was to the Dark Shiki, there was a glint in his eye as he made a facial expression to her, mouth words, touch my face.

"Your idea of mercy is just going to cause even more pain, why can't any of you understand where I'm coming from!"

Shiki reached out and struck him with a slap across the face. A connection to his thoughts, slight but they shared memories, and he got a view into the Dark Shiki's mind through his Shiki's abrasive strike. It was actually fairly insane how one facet of our their abilities mirrored each other so well. Sae held his face, and gripped his keyblade. As it finally started to settle, his resistance had finally waned as tear piled into his eyes for those that she slaughtered, to stain her hands with the blood of her very allies. It was a price that (at least in her mind) needed to be paid, and the demon she always had the potential to be, she became. A horrifying thought as their Shiki had far surpassed that potential of becoming a mirror to the Dark Shiki.

"I told you before Sae." Barriers had erected around them pushing outward and expanding. "If you aren't prepared to make the tough choices. Then I will."

Sae released a sigh as the tear bead down his face, just one.

"You're my rock. My partner. Resistance isn't a threat, it's a warning...and we shouldn't fight each other I know..."


"What's the matter? Do I need to burn your world to char, ashes, and cinders once more?"

A voice he recognized. A voice...that ignited an unrelenting rage within his heart. Sae turned to see what appeared to be a shade of the Dark Emperor standing beside the shade of Serena. The bloodlust was ebbing off Sae, as he was releasing a malevolent looking red and yellow light of some sort. A voice he never wanted to hear ever again, like a haunting of some kind...why do this to him. In his mind he saw flashes of only a bright light from a mega flare attack, scorching his home in one shot and Alison being vaporized into ashes on top of him as he burned to a lesser degree.

"If you're just going to roll around in the dirt arguing, save us the trouble and take each other out."

Sae didn't speak, his blood was boiling over. "...I really don't have a choice here...do I Shiki...?"

"If her shades don't kill us, she will. Now ready your blade, Sae!"

Fire was burning into his right palm as Alabaster was slowly being consumed into a radiant flame. His keyblade...was evolving. His light purged into a raw constantly combusting keyblade, harmless to his touch. A fine light serrated in reds, oranges, and yellows all the while emanating a constant flow of heat from the hilt, guard, and blade itself. It appeared as though Sae were wielding the fires of the underworld itself within his right-handed grasp.

"Adole Malus...Burn The Wicked." Sae uttered, without further regard for any delay. Shame was felt raising his keyblade to thwart Shiki, she was right, and now he could no longer ignore it.

The Dark Shiki's eyes winced in shock as did prompt both of the shades when Saebyeolbe struck with the intent to impale, his Adole Malus connecting with Memento Vivare.

"Is that what your playing at Sae...don't do this...not right now! Why?" Shiki could sense he was serious, feeling the flames ebbing off his keyblade.

"Shiki...I have to try one last time...and you're just going to get in the way...!" It was instant! He moved in to do the unthinkable..!

Sae kissed Shiki on the lips. Session.

Harmless? Hardly! His resolve activated and he transferred power of his scars resonating sharply together sending an tremendous surge through her that perpetuated a physical ceasefire, nerves and tendons coming to a complete halt. She fell towards him, resting in his arms as he rendered her unconscious in a matter of mere seconds by the use of his resolve. His face was beet red, hardly in a position to say much else, but his composure was returning.

"Listen...I have a plan, sorry to even do this to you. I need to confirm there truly is nothing more we can do before I attack her without relent. Please...trust me!"

Shiki rolled her eyes and smiled,
"10 seconds?"

"It'll wear off in 10 seconds, I'll pass Mortem to you. I'm almost positive she'll seal my abilities for an instant, but if they're tethered to you briefly we won't have to worry about it too much."

"One more thing." she gripped the collar of his coat, "Why did you feel the need to do that?"

His ears got really red for a second, "I'll tell you in ten seconds?"

"Come...MORTEM..!" Holding Shiki in his arms an aberration of his resolve, etched in a much more convoluted and tormenting appearance than when it first appeared. Mortem still bound in it's chain's appeared to mirror Saebyeolbe in his Berserker state, blindfolded, chained and cuffed, emanating off of Saebyeolbe himself.

"Protect Shiki." Sae gave the order as his All-Series hovered down to clutch an unconscious Shiki in it's arms briefly sharing in her Lumen Incantare.

"You really are insane, do you seriously intend to constantly override everything you're told?"

Sae held his head down and fell silent for a few seconds before gripping his Adole Malus firm. "I've made sacrifices. Unthinkable choices...I never justified if those sacrifices...if those choices were always right...let alone smart ones. This is all on me right now."

He placed his keyblade into the dirt and he got down on his knees, folding his hands upward to demonstrate a complete lack of resistance.

"Please. I'm asking that you surrender the dark passenger you carry to me. Killing another human isn't what the Master would want me to do, so I can't do that."

"Mercy...? Why...what the hell is wrong with you! If you really want this damned curse you're going to have to fight and pry it from me!"

"I refuse."

A chain cracked the ground, slapping Sae across the face with a brutal strike, his face bright red. The Dark Shiki was in an extremely volatile state, without a target to address her rage, it continued to fester as her two shades began to cut away at Saebyeolbe's stationary form. Gashes and lacerations were quickly beginning to cover the Scarred in a matter of mere moments.

"Why...why do you resist? THEY'LL KILL YOU!" Dark Shiki seemed to be getting exasperated watching this.

"This pain...is nothing in contrast to what both of you've had to endure. Suffering for a friend, something I never mi-"

"WE AREN'T FRIENDS SAEBYEOLBE!" Blood drew from his chest as the Dark Terminus X cut him finely across.

"I want to help you...but it must be by your consent, allow me in!"

The sheer blunt force of a fist cracked him square in the cheek, it was loud as hell, but Sae didn't move. Then came another punch, as the Dark Terminus X lingered behind and the shades stood idly by as the Dark Shiki herself persisted in physically beating Saebyeolbe. Her hands were stained with his blood after about the 12th hit or so, but she persisted to make a point.

"Why are you so determined to do nothing! Why are you such a coward!?"

The blood was starting to swell in his throat, as he finally coughed releasing ample amounts of it just to draw his next breath. He panted, maintaining his palms in the upright position to ensure he was serious about his lack of malice. The Dark Terminus X prompted the end of it's sickle blade at the base of Sae's neck and Dark Shiki clutched his head just above it. Tears were flowing from the sides of his faced mixed in with the blood.

"I..." he coughed, gasping for air. "I needed...to see it for myself..."

Sae's bruises she inflicted were becoming scars right before her very eyes. The impressions left, resonated with pieces of her affliction, what power she possessed the activated by touch, he was now intimately familiar with, using himself as a punching bag to develop resistance to her touch, even if it was minor. He...was not so easy to read, his body's memories encapsulated tens of thousands of hours of excruciating memories, it was nearly impossible to quantify them all, let alone interpret them and the motive unless you had a direct bond with Sae.

The flash of blue light tinged his eye,
The Zone activated, and he rammed his thick skull forward banging into Dark Shiki's full-force. "I've got ten seconds." he implanted his stun, releasing 50 scars simultaneously.


"SHIT. MOVE N-!"


CRACK..!!

A fraction of a second. The hit was so fast, it slowed down just enough before the dark emperor's shade completely lost it's head. Fizzling away into nothing. The shade of Serena, a bit more nimble, Sae darted in between the series of jabs still counting in his head, 5.....6....' he jabbed his hand straight through the frame of Serena's shade and cut horizontally with his bare hand, changing gears bolting for the stunned Dark Shiki.

7....8....

She was frozen, unable to even speak from the impact of his own physical trauma being shared for mere seconds. The Dark Terminus X twisting, barely able to even move as Sae's hand set ablaze with a crawling fire spell set to connect.

9....10...!

A fine slice, as he watched his left hand holding the spell get lobbed off right in front of his very eyes. Like a cornered animal, fighting with everything in it's arsenal, she knocked Saebyeolbe away from her with incredible force as he rolled, before slamming into a wall of rock. To everyone's surprise, that pile of rubble at burst into an explosion of light and flames.

"
SAE!" Shiki turned to see Mortem's hand didn't get severed panning frantically for him.

The Morning Star split himself with a duplicate as he released his 50 scars. Utilizing Shiki's abilities to mask his own presence during that quick take down, he unveiled and pressured The Dark Shiki who responded nigh instantaneously (All-Seeing Heart) with speed and aggression. The sounds of her Gazing Eye slapping against his Adole Malus were intense. Explosions from the combustions were weathering and beating around them at the speed the two of them were colliding. Sae was getting cut to shreds despite keeping pace, this was a different Shiki he was dealing with and she was nothing short of an absolute beast on par with Try arguably.

Darting along the side of them, the clattering and clanging of the two was Shiki herself as Mortem was hanging in her shadow. Sickles and chains were swirling on top of her sword play making even getting a clean hit nearly impossible. Sae was bolting as fast as he could to stay in the center in close quarters as much as possible.


"
SHIKI!" Sae scream taking two sickles buried in his back as the chains were starting to get absurd. "DEFENSE! I'LL SAY WHEN!"

Sae could feel her barrier expanding from his skin outward, ejecting the blades he'd been marred by. The chains spun around wildly, and he switched stances. "
I DONT THINK SO!" he swiped his Adole Malus horizontally generating heated light, combustion with enough force to deflect them all. Jumping through the explosion he slammed with a heavy vertical slash that the Dark Terminus X caught, the tremor from the force blowing in every direction.

"
So damned persistant!" She shouted, "How can you still keep fighting with all of those injuries??"

"
LIKE HELL AM I GONNA STOP NOW!" Sae threw out a joke as they starting swinging hit for hit now and the torrent of chains was beginning to encroach around the two of them forming what looked like a dome barring entry. Dark Shiki was growing even more exasperated and unrelenting as her attacks were becoming, sharper and more precise, remniscent of Sae's current development. Two evolutionaries, even for this level of intensity, he was relieved to have the protection from Shiki.

Shiki came from the side, generating a barrier wedged in between the chains and passed through the stagnated space. A flash of light releasing from the bracelet. Memento Vivare came to touch the web of chains, with a clasp as it sparked rubbing against it.

"
ENOUGH!" she clutched her fist, swiping two chains to wrap around each leg of the resolutes and firmly connected their bodies with the ground. The Dark Terminus X spun its chains and grabbed Saebyeolbe at the shoulders pinning him down as the Dark Shiki tucked the Gazing Eye just above his chest, "You won't get away from this!"

The malevolence she released as she began to encase herself and Sae inside of a dark blue sphere. Sae fighting tooth and nail, holding both hands over the gazing eye's tip using all his strength to attempt to deflect it away from his heart.

"
Did you notice them yet?" Sae said to her as her entire body looked like it was painted in scar with the most being on her fists from when she struck him. "You're not the only one with a finishing move...back off or we'll both go down at the same time!"

Shiki stood armed with Mortem holding it's fingers in a position to honor Sae's incantation, a single word. Dark Shiki instead grabbed his face, inciting a touch to seal Sae's abilities. Sae using his physical strength, pressed her way and realized it then. He had no way of knowing the duration of this effective silence, but she'd find his next actions to be surprising. Mortem was behind Shiki, yet completely unaffected, Sae smirked reveling in just how potent his Session of his All-Series really ways.

"
Eviscerate." Shiki uttered before snapping her fingers, prompting Mortem's finishing move.

Sae's bluff seconds before, the application of scars happen upon utterance of the the incantation word, not before. The Dark Shiki's senses were keen, picking up on the deception, as Mortem curved a wisp that splattered in her direction. Her chains billowing into a cone, being painted in what looked like armed light in the form of scars. It didn't catch them all, a handful did manage to paint on her form. She was lit up within the span of a few seconds, pinging explosion landing the first piece of solid damage to create
an open as Sae (still silenced) got up and started hauling tail.

"GO GO GO GO!" Sae shouted pushing himself off the ground and deflecting the chains that her heartless were throwing in his general direction.

Shiki held her hand out, chains extending from her wrists where tethered to Sae, empowering him and adding some stability to his already worn out body. He gave her his complete trust as he thrust his Adole Malus into the Dark Shiki's Gazing Eye and deadlocked her. She raised her knee and planted her foot square into Sae's chest, kicking him away. "SWITCH!"

He contorted his body in a circular rotation, catching her by the greaves and flinging her towards the Dark Shiki in a sling shot fashion. Sae rolled, into a skid keeping his momentum and restarted his dash. Shiki soared through her counterparts web of chains. Mortem active, clasping it's hands to produce a wave of air potent and fast enough to cut a hole straight through the web. Shiki wielded a her Memento Vivare with tenacity, feeling it strike against the gazing eye multiple times in a matter of seconds, with a bare touch being the greatest threat.

"Get ready Sae." Shiki said midst the collision as her Tattoo started to illuminate.

"You really wanna use THAT? Alright!" His own tattoo radiated, dispelling the duration of the silence with some assistance from his Shiki in that regard. He ran super close to the right of the the two of them.

'What are they planning?? Come on, anticipate it!'

Saebyeolbe collided with her coming from the right, she predicted it and fended off his attack as Shiki slowly vanished into his shadow before completely submerging her existence rendering her undetectable along with Mortem. The clattering of Sae's strikes against Dark Shiki's were so intense vibrations were ringing in every direction. The two of them slid in a web, holding a small area within the dome swiping attacks at each other rapidly, The Dark Shiki about to throw several for every single attack, Sae able to parry at least six before taking a direct hit somewhere. His body illuminating he navigated her assault as best he could spinning his Adole Malus and releasing a circle of fire against her attacks. They both dug their heels in finally stopping, and struck each other with extremely powerful one handed strikes, deadlocking again. Two sickles burying into his abdomen at that instant as the blood lashed towards the Dark Shiki.

"DON'T STOP!"

Throwing his keyblade behind him, he simultaneously dove into the Dark Shiki grasping at her waist and lifting her feet off the ground. "YOU FOOL! YOUR WALTZING TO YOUR DEATH!!" Dark Shiki grasped at victory as her heartless was raring to go for his head. Mortem appeared into existence at that moment, grappling her heartless as Sae grappled her arms gliding off the momentum of his dive.

"JUMP SHIKI!"

THUD!!!

They collided with Shiki's Lumen Incantare forging a wall and the velocity of the impact overstimulated Dark Shiki's senses, dropping her complete focus for a moment. Shiki dove inward catching Sae's Adole Malus in one hand, and wielding Memento Vivare in the other. The "II" tattoo illuminated and radiated alongside Eth's bracelet. She combed through the chains with a graceful dance as she fell with incredible speed. Bringing up Sae's Keyblade to miss Mortem and cleave straight through the Dark Terminus X, while firmly planting her Memento Vivare into the Dark Shiki's chest.
 
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purgatory

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As the heartless began to disappear, the all out battles finally broke out between the dark wielders and some of the resolutes still in intimate contact with their resolves. If I didn't know any better, I would guess maybe this coming storm with those foes in toe was only the first wave of darkness' foothold.

Shirking and panting came from around me as the dark sides that could no longer be seen, their mass existed somewhere and swept through the field kicking up a massive torrent of wind. Jaz stood by me about as nervous, panting frivolously. I looked over to see Kambria guarding the box, as Luxu was no where to be found, isn't that something huh? It belonged to me anyway, Eth said as much and agreed to open it after this face down was resolved.

"Finis?" I said to myself attempting to reach out to her.

"
Dearest Recia, what would you like to know." Finis responded promptly

"
Can we do anything about those vanishing heartless that are still here but can't be detected?" I inquired further

I could feel the flow of anima grasping at my palms as the intensity of the glow picked up. Something I knew but didn't know at the same time, was just how potent and potentially dangerous using Anima was. On the one hand if misused, there was a chance I could be indirectly doing harm to the others. Though, like usual, my feet just felt like stone for some reason, I was starting to take on a certain resolutes empathy but this was more guilt and fear driven than having a whole moral code set up.

I felt it then. Pressure. A presence that was familiar and yet for some reason nostalgic. Footsteeps beaded the gravel and dirt as I could see what looked like a person fading into reality against The Dark Shiki's influence and tethering themselves here with incredible willpower. The heartless adrift from this male's back looked familiar, slim, armed with a bow and satchel with darkness infused arrows. The clod of his greaves came to a halt, surrounded quickly by Iontis, Reforge, and Kambria.

"NOT ANOTHER STEP! WHO-"

"Gavin. Move, your not worth the effort." He brushed with a gesture to flick his wrist and embers of darkness burned the three of them as the heartless took aim and fired three arrows, as they all hit the ground simultaneously.

"Oh shit!" Jay was feeling masculine, shaken a bit by how rapidly this figure dispatched them.

"Thats two of you, didn't you have some other guy with you. Well...not like it matters. Gavin, dark-wielder and former resolute #4. Look I really don't wanna be here man, your treading on the turf where we all opened the box originally on our worldlines, only natural we'd wanna reclaim it. So if you hand it-"

Gavin turned and raised his hand to grab Reforge by the throat and gripped hard. "Kids. No respect for when the adults are talking. Anyway-" His hands moved for his side purging a keyblade to catch his hip as Kambria and Iontis struck from the same side. "Damn...I guess you powerless dogs are a bit more resilient than I thought. What's up with the wrist bands, you part of a club?"

"SHUT UP!" Reforge's leg raised for a ball-check, stopped by his knee.

"Little bastard's actually serious, he went straight for the Crown Jewels, smart! But fuck you for that." Gavin could feel him tugging at his arm now and proceeded to crater to young Reforge and breaking stance from Kambria and Iontis.

"
Nighty night brat. You two idiots next or something? You definitely got guts let me tell ya." Gavin extended his arm as the Dark Toxote X purged its black bow before them and took aim straight up. "Fuckin slaughter them all in one go. Makes no difference to me."

The Dark Toxote X aiming straight up released a single arrow, reaching it's apex. Splintering into raining bolts of darkness in every which direction. Maybe I was imagining it, but everyone all at once seemed to converge on Gavin completely disregarding the arrows. I found myself being brought along by Jay as the arrows started to plummet into the ground behind us, while a small radial area around the dark-wielder was completely clear. His preference seemed to be range, as Iontis and Kambria started a frontal assault double teaming against his heartless as well as Gavin himself.

"Ref! Are you ok??" I yelled, digging him out of the rubble from the crater. He was in his child form so I pulled him into my arms and cradled him, still breathing, but clearly unconscious. There was a cut above his left brow and he was bleeding some.

"Might wanna look Reesh..." Jay said pointing to the duo fighting Gavin and the Dark Toxote X "Those bracelets are helping sure, but they don't got the firepower without their Resolves. Gonna need Ref to wake up and use his other abilities."

I could hear the arrows lining up in a wall behind us falling as they were radially shot and starting encircle the group. Kambria and Iontis both were fighting tooth and nail, swarming Gavin in an attempt to overwhelm him at cross range, and it just seemed like even footing for now. Heartless began to swipe, totally unseen trudging along the way. I grabbed Jay's hand, and gave him a red colored bracelet on the opposite wrist.

"This should give you brief immunity to Anima...I think I need to use it and can't have you powerless you know?" I said handing Reforge over to Jay. "Tell him to wake up soon, if he's another IV...then his skillset should revolve around neutralizing...meaning crowd control."

From afar I could see Gavin was literally getting overwhelmed at how quick they were moving in towards him. Not gonna lie, I preferred ranged battles with limited close-quarters combat if possible. So this was my parallel huh? Some skinny punk, with green hair and cerulean streaks. Disappointed, but he did do a number on Reforge, still, I was waiting for the bastard to release something...BIG.

"Tch...Master really went all out on you all huh?"

"A traitor like you doesn't get to speak his name!" Iontis was lit a flame, slamming straight down with a vertical swipe catching Gavin's Gazing Eye.

"Touchy lot-uh brats aren't ya? Empathy isn't my spiel, too conscientious a guy for that. Sacrifices had to be made for the next group to have their turn, Ezra's team. Still fucked it up. You all are no different than the rest, think your special just cause you 'resolve' don't hold your breath you holier than thou scrubs. How long before you fuck this worldline just like we did? If you bitches live long enough it'll shut me the fuck up."

Gavin stomped his foot, the ground swarmed with darkness, freezing in a slight silhouette of the heartless that couldn't be seen before.

"Vessel of Cold."

"Anima." The echo of my voice, releasing a wave of red to clash and effectively neutralize the effects of Gavin's power and all areas it grasped. The heartless effected, were revealed, coated in a think red tint as Anima expanded across the field, revealing all of the hidden enemies.

"The hell are you? And...!" Gavin stopped, staring at the Gazing Eye clutched in my hand, "You're the fifth traitor huh? Fuck haven't you slaughtered your buddies, waiting for an invitation for collap-"

"
Stop talking, you've been monologuing forever now." I cut him off, the running essence of Anima was effectively ebbing off of me as my trigger, rage, flushed it out like the gates of hell.

I stomped sending flame-like vibrations matted with Anima to encircle and contain Gavin's vessel of cold to a fixed space. In response to me Iontis and Kambria both move back as the flames touched them, removing the slabs of ice from Gavin's initial proximity blast. Neutralizing was a specialty that each 4th resolute seemed to have. I thought about how dangerous that skill was when I had it...petrification. Freezing in a cryogenic state wasn't much different, but I'd take stone over being completely frozen any day.

Anima funneled into the gazing eye along side my Lucient, as I held two scarlet keyblades burning with a twisted essence. Lunging forward, I locked with Gavin blade for blade, pressuring him towards the edges of the wall I'd created. The clasping of our keyblades were loud and fierce, I couldn't believe I had this level of courage and trusted my father's training from previous years. Things seemed to slow down, as a clattering of steel similar to when he clashed with Kambria and Iontis moments before. Gavin's steps were loud, cracking as he was freezing the ground on every impress of his greaves. Each of my steps were shattering the ice into crystals negating the rest into mists of red residue.

"Tch..! Your just gonna cancel out my ice then? Fine." Gavin lowered his arm and the the darkness bolstered around him, ebbing off of the Dark Toxote X. "Lets see what it can do against Darkness."

I could feel an intense pressure looming from him, the sound rippled loudly between Sae and Shiki's battle and across the way from Try and Eth's engagement. Jay was near me, approaching slowly as Gavin held his foot on the gas, polluting the immediate area taking myself and Jay within a dome.

"Shiki isn't gonna die to some parallel version, not with what we she has over all of us."

"What do you mean what she has over us?" I further inquired

Gavin stabbed himself straight through feeling his keyblade resonate, brandishing his heart filled with Darkness and having his heartless clutch it tight.

"Heart Ignition...Suicide Flash Freeze..."

"OH SHIT!!! FUCKING RUN!!!"


~~Follow up In Dari's post after this~~
 

Ðari

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As Eth went silent, he could hear the visceral sound of Try grappling Ezra who seemed to flare up in a rage. Stalemate seemed to be the ongoing pattern today. All the talking Ezra had done, gating sympathy...impeding on their emotions, distancing herself from the responsibility she shunned, it appeared Try was to entertain none of it. There was a grip, before her bones shattered and darkness bled through her elbow furiously repairing her limb within a few seconds respectively.

Eth dropped to his head a tick and took a sigh of relief, his head was still intact. Thank you, he thought to himself as he started to pant. Through all of this, he could piece it together through the bracelets, essentially he'd divided his resolve up and grafted it into arms for his team to draw upon, effectively broke up into parts if you will, leaving himself with Light and the others, small divots of time equally divided among those armed with a bracelet.

He could hear two keyblade connecting with the chests, belonging to Ezra as well as the Dark Shiki respectively. Activating on command, and the damndest thing happened. As Try turned, the key this time, there was a disjoint from the darkness being flushed out of Ezra's body as if it were all being forced out all at once. Ezra released an agonizing scream, as a time dial manifested itself behind her, dilating time forward as he heart was released from her body and it started to vanish before Try. The darkness resisting the snare of the dial frantically looked around and B-lined towards the Dark Shiki.

"What..." Eth's eyes widened in a mild panic, "Change of plan Try...we're gonna need Shiki for this..."


Meanwhile...


The storm of cold and ice expanded outward from Gavin eventually colliding with Saebyeolbe, Shiki, and Dark Shiki within an instant of Memento Vivare touching her breast. Nary a second too quick, frozen, all three of them along with the heartless within the dome. Mortem a statue locked in place with the Dark Terminus X. The darkness the fled from Ezra, as well as Gavin, began to flow into the Dark Shiki from her frozen tomb.

A massive storm cloud of black, wreaking of bleak darkness both tried and true. Shiki and Saebyeolbe's ice coffins prematurely cracked before freezing them over as the three remaining X-series heartless carried the Dark Shiki further up. Gasping for air, Shiki shifted herself, grabbing Sae by his hood and pushing away from the pillar of darkness the swirled touching the very skybox and flaring out of control.

Also....

Finis responded in kind, generating small fields of anima around Lucrecia, Iontis, Kambria, as well as Jay/Jaz. This effectively protected them from the adverse effects of the blizzard area of effect explosion. The Dark Toxote X and the darkness sealed within Dark Wielder Gavin departed along with his heart during his suicide attempt. Though his body had frozen in place, once his heart departed, his body began to in the same fashion that Ezra's did, slowly disintegrate and disappear from the world-line.


"Was this apart of some grander scheme? He just...up and offed himself to avoid getting exorcised?"

The bracelets all began to respond, and as Lucrecia looked around, everyone appeared to move within proximity of where she'd been. Appearing at the center as they circled around, Eth released a sigh and crushed the bracelets all at once. The pillar of darkness swirled into the sky not that far from them, the numbers had thinned down to a single wielder, with about three-times the lethality prior.

"Komaeda." Eth said raising his hand form a finger pointed at him, "Not the most tactful method, but you didn't deviate from plan, you've earned my respect."

Eth's eyes slowly turned to Saebyeolbe with a hint of rage, "Sae." his fist tensed, time slowed and the grinding of a fist planted squarely into Sae's face.

"We're done doing it your way. We're done going against the plan, I saw you allow Shiki to combat two opponents of that caliber alone and I was utterly shocked at your resistance to aggress for so long. Now do us all a favor and stop putting our lives at risk because you think you can save everyone...! ONE OF THEM JUST COMMITTED SUICIDE, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT HUH??"

Eth wasn't in the mood to turn back the clock on his substantial injuries. It'd only only disrespect The Scarred, the potential to effectively evolve properly upon sustaining mass amounts of damage. Unfortunately for Sae at this moment, thinking selfishly in the way that he did to preserve life...the life of an enemy that cared nothing for all of their hard work and the pain and struggles associated with it, isn't an enemy that deserves their pity and remorse. The tense vibration of his fist as it shook with dissatisfaction, if he didn't get the communication here, he would never learn.

Lucrecia approached Eth, lugging the box by the handle before dropping it down.

"No more compromises, you're-"

Shiki stepped in the way. "I don't approve of his decisions in the heat of the moment, but neither of us died. He's operating off of adrenaline at the current, we don't know when he's going to collapse."

"Shiki...don't. Limiting casualties is what we're here to do, not potentially create more by ignoring the plan. Exactly as I explained to all of you days before, tunnel vision on any means necessary in order to save their long destroyed world-lines, that throwing ours into a similar state without batting an eye...You seriously want to save any one individual that means to do all you've known harm? Absurdity only scratches the surface of how ludicrous that notion is."

Eth turned from the two of them and approached the box.

"Let this be the final lesson and warning to you Saebyeolbe. You finally encountered an enemy that cares absolutely nothing for the world you inhabit, you personally, your hopes, dreams, the struggles, the pain and suffering you had to endure up til that critical moment. You took it upon yourself to patronize these individuals that have suffered unequivocally, failed miserably, and instead of ending their cycle of suffering chose to chastise them, waste your time...energy...compassion for them to cut you to ribbons, humiliate you, nearly bring ruin to you and your friends? Resolve...? If we really were your family, you wouldn't have taken such a massive risk and put your partner in the crosshairs like that...if you want me to trust you, you're gonna have to start listening to everyone else instead of making extremely risky decisions like that for the rest of us because your moral compass thinks you can spare an enemy that is the antithesis of everything the master taught and instilled in us."

Eth clutched his fist firmly as the "0" illuminated in his left eye.

"It's ok Sae. I'll just shoot you next time you get any wild ideas. Not like I'm at jeopardy of losing resolve." Komaeda clutched his arms, "That fire was radiant, I'd gladly be the next target those flames burn." he shuddered gleefully at the thought.

"Anyway..." Eth sighed, and placed his hand on the box before looking at the wall of darkness rising. "We didn't get them all, but we did prevent them from taking the box, no better time to open it than right now. The master said it better than anyone, this applies to us as much as it did the dark wielders and resolutes from other world-lines as I'm sure he said it to them too. Everything you fought for was not for yourself. It was for those that come after. So where they failed, it was for us to pick up, make sense of, and steer our destiny in the opposite direction."

The sound of the box's locks were coming undone as he proceeded to lift the heavy trunk open. A green luminescence emerged from the box, it was radiant and bright as other colors sprang around of cool persuasion. From the confines of the corners, the emergence of an object small enough to be clutched in the palm of ones hands. Eth held his hand forward and clutched at the cool colored object.

A Wayfinder. It was unlike anything he'd ever seen before, it pulsed like that of a beating heart in his hand, magnetically drawn to the resolutes, all of them as their tattoos reacted by radiating and displaying an aura of their individual essences. The Resolutes, who's power had faded, who's hearts forged new resolves...new purposes during their period of great loss and tragedy struck. Their power was being restored right before their very eyes.

All but Lucrecia. This made sense, her power collectively named "anima" was meant to neutralize the master's gift, of his namesake. As the light from the box waned, there was yet another surprise waiting at the very bottom of it. Lucrecia's eyes where lit red, as Finis clutched the edges and leaned in to confirm that this wasn't a dream.

"Qi!" She shouted alarmed, lightly wrestled and tucked away compartmentalized inside the chest's walls of this iron box.

Wrestled in Qi's arms, a picture of the three "Master of Masters". The creator of the
Xabat Blade, The Original X-blade, named "Qi", "Xabat", "Recusant", or X his preferred name. Omni, better known to the resolutes as the Master of Masters, and Lady Finis, the final master. The sound of footsteps approached slowly as Luxu approached the box and reached inside to lift Qi's frail and unconscious body. There was a shimmer of light radiating from his left hand as the infinity sigil resonated with Qi's form. His body began to collect and reforge itself into a master key of sorts, one that could unlock something beyond the lanes between worlds...but a potential so powerful it defied imagination.

Travel between World-lines. Different timelines, points of origin unknown and unfathomable where lives that were irreparably damaged by their past counter-parts, could too be mended.

"It was always their job to keep a harmonic balance, as if. You guys did better than any other group thus far...even considering what just happened, not naming names, but if I had to Sae anyone in particular...As if!"

Eth shrugged, clutching the Wayfinder as Luxu held the "Xabat", the X-blade in his grasp.

"
When the master said, May your heart be your guiding key, I didn't think he meant...his." He said observing what looked to be a massive chart blown out and the barriers between world-lines where charted indicating places that didn't exist on the current world-line. "He was kind enough to gift us with a map...and a key that allows us to leave the world-line entirely. Incredible...he's making us work even harder, one world-line provided its own challenges."

"Are you really surprised that the master would elect to choose a group to redeem our predecessors? As if...it's been a bad time..." Luxu sighed


"Wait...if a Dark Wielder opened the box 4-times prior...what happened to their world-lines as a result did they just...disappear?" Lucrecia inquired

"No. The only thing that changed was a new world-line was created, and the Dark Wielder was moved along with the box to the new world-line. Still in perpetual ruin, amazing how they never realized that their world-line was still in existence waiting for them to rectify the mistakes made by the protectors of that world-line. Its extremely unlikely that another box can exist, let alone another Master of Masters, Qi, or even Lady Finis who up til now was dormant."

Reading the room wasn't a bad thing to do here. Eth closed the box, then opened it again, nothing of significance happened. Rubbing his chin, his eyes averted and rolled back over to the overflowing reservoir of darkness that was slowly starting to wash the horizon's light into utter extinction. His eyes then fell on Shiki, followed by Lucrecia, "
We'll be leaving soon. Luxu, point directly at the dark clouds and create a gateway. One big enough to pull the Dark Shiki in with it."

Eth tossed up the wayfinder and clutched tight as his light pulsed through the object. He purged the dusklanzer in his hand and forged the Kingdom Crown at their feet. Luxu held the X-blade up and aimed directly for the tower of darkness swirling into a vortex. "She's gonna be our conduit then. We're going to the first world-line in order to fix the others parallel, then to the master. Ready?"

The light from the X-blade, radiated and shot forth in a straight line after the coordinates were mapped through the crown. Piercing Light penetrated the darkness that swirled in a hurricane-esque structure, punching a hole through the Dark Shiki's chest. A keyhole appeared, and it created what looked to be a vacuum effect, sucking up the darkness and pulling the dark wielder into the massive scaled keyhole. The Sky started to clear and the keyhole remained in the skybox, this was where they could cross to another world-line entirely.

Lucrecia darted in front clutching the Gazing Eye, and dove directly towards the keyhole. She was followed by Iontis, Yamato, Kambria, Komaeda, Jay/Jaz, Reforge, and Try.

"Waiting on an invitation Sae? As if." Luxu said before turning on a heel to leap straight towards the keyhole.

Sae was quiet, before turning away to jump directly after Luxu.

"Finally. We need to discuss some things privately, Shiki..." He reached out for her hand, the very same instance from Castle Oblivion

Spoiler Spoiler Show




Elsewhere.




—World-line [1] : Daybreak Town Ruins

The air was stale. The sky bled red with a twist of indigo as an amalgamation of dark energy collected into the sky. It looked like a dying star about to be snuffed out at any potential second. This truly...was beyond what they'd seen in the past previously. World Enders were everywhere, as far as the eye could see, walking like colossal titans across the wasteland and destroyed architecture.

Something new was feathering it's existence twisting into reality. The Gazing eye was clutched as a mass of darkness, first formless, sprang forth and manifested itself into the Dark Inferno X. Still not dead. The Dark Toxote X extended from it, and finally you could see the Dark Shiki graced to sit poised like that of a ruler in the lap of the Dark Terminus X. The sickles and chains that swam around her in the background were a web of anxiety.

"So you've chosen to die in the world I so desperately tried to save...you'd humiliate me even further out of hubris?" She spat to the side and rolled her eyes, "I'll take the Master-Key and World-line compass off your corpses after i've exhausted every ounce of suffering out of everyone last one of you wretches."

The malice and hatred that emanated from the dark shiki felt insurmountable a task to fathom. It loomed on the scarred landscape like a weighted pressure, their vision only being painted a skewed amber and crimson mix. The World Ender were rising from the endless ocean from the debris of the main castle that occupied all the surrounding area.

"
Hmm? Where's Eth and Shiki?" Lucrecia said, clutching the Gazing Eye as well as holding the box close. "Whatever, they'll be along shortly, I advise we leave the Dark Shiki to our Shiki, if your not reluctant to help her...Sae." she said his name with apprehension.

Sky was red with the dark energies akin a gigantic planet killer ball of darkness. They were pulling themselves together, puffing their Heartless chests out, resonating their powers to feed into what looked like the equivalent of a dying star in the sky that could burst at any minute. In this instance, it'd appear that Finis' skills at neutralizing would be useful...especially something of this scale, the remaining resolutes would need to deal with the bay of World Ender here. There was an uneasy feeling however, as if at any minute they could be wiped out by a grand explosion of insane proportion.

Eth returned, phasing onto the timeline as Shiki brandished through behind him with Memento Vivare clutched in her grasp. His eyes widened at the very idea that this worldline had entered such rough shape. He kept it present in his mind, if harrowed end was the appropriate wording here, checking his left arm, his time resolve was silenced...definitely a harrowed end. There are no second chances or reversal of fortunes here, he still had his other trump he'd yet to use.

"
There you are oh fearless leader, what the hell took you so long to show? Another secret meeting??" Yamato bombastically erupted, "Take a good look at this place!"

Yamato's arm wildly jerked, the crumbling castle, the torrents of the crashing waves, the world enders in what appeared to be huge numbers. The Dark Shiki royally screwed this place, it takes resolute from a different world-line come rectify another's mistakes in the efforts to stabilize the remaining world-lines. But Eth's eyes were stern, they didn't have anymore compassion for rogues that would do this to their own world-line...nothing less than scum to Zero.

"Shiki. You and Sae head for the Dark Shiki, thanks to things going sideways, she's even more lethal now...and Sae, I'm counting on you to listen to her, it's no longer about what's morally right anymore...just look around you...she's home and what's she done...?"

"Threaten the lot of us. Real lady-like, as if." Luxu shook his head.

"You alright Eth...? You look...unsettled..." Kambria placed this after he lowered his arm.

"This world-line must be a harrowed end. My time resolve isn't going to work where time doesn't flow...more emphasis on not doing anything crazy that'll get us killed. I can't even use my all-series to reverse anything permanent until we deal with all of the world enders...and there's A LOT of them."

"Me and Giant lady will take them all." Ref squeezed Try's hand with a share of anxiety, "...We've done enough sitting on our asses having to rely on you Ethy. I wanna do my part again..."

"Whoa, hey Ref, lets leave some for the rest of us. We're fuming about how things turned out too." Yamato protested

"Then the rest of you will be the boots on the ground. Eth and I will...deal with whatever that giant sun-like thing is in the sky. Maybe we can neutralize and purify it before it explodes and takes the lot of us with it." Lucrecia took a breath and looked to Eth.

"Hope everyone's prepared." Eth turned to Try, "Please Try, look out for everyone." he could visibly see Reforge squeezing her hand even tighter.

Eth shifted his gaze to look at them all, and then returned with a nod. With Time locked there was something that so rarely happened that filled in the gap. Eth gritted his teeth, dismissing them as each left to engage the World Enders that were fueling the massive sun-sized bomb in the sky.


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




—The End of Time

A sentiment of revelry was felt throughout the space. As the master stared at the chest board, a different board manifested, indicating that all of the remaining pieces had moved to a different board entirely. The mass of Darkness stared at it, formless, likened to convey no emotion other than potentially rage. Angrily it proclaimed.

"You purposely violated the rules of our Gambit! There was nothing that said your disciples could leave the worldline! You tricked us!"

"Just playing by a different set a rules i'm afraid. What? Did you think the box was just supposed to have a world-changing effect every single time it was opened? That's booooooooring!"

The Master sucked his teeth before chuckling.

"I told you that this game might surprise you. As you saw, Shiki was indeed chosen to participate a second time around. Every candidate had an incredible back story, ambition, zest, and above all else...the potential to survive drowning in a bay of horrible decisions they were forced to contend with."

"That's not what we agreed upon. They were supposed to reach THIS destination in order to win."

"Eth figured it out once he saw Luxu's memories and Vista's memories from the original World-line. If you can fix the original timeline, all the chaos created from every world-line afterward will cease to be, and being that they're currently operating as paradoxes, they'll retain all of their memories and knowledge of everything that's transpired."

"You...YOU WRETCH, HOW DID YOU KNOW THEY WOULD GET THIS FAR? HOW COULD YOU HAVE KNOWN!? This is beyond the future that you saw and wrote within the book! SO HOW?!?"

"I didn't know, any of it really. Call it Trust. I simply trusted that they'd do what their predecessors could not. Trust is [NOT] Resolute, sure, but if you don't take the risk of trusting anyone other than yourself, you should expect limited results."

The Master stood and then gave a small round of applause.

"Three of your Darknesses have been removed from the board. Three, plus you, remain. I gotta hand it to Xehanort...taking out 13 of you miserable bastards at once at the cost of his own men was something I don't think anyone expected. To think, you needed the heartless as foot soldiers in order to secure worlds you expanded to. Tough spot your in eh, old friend? My resolutes will be here sooner rather than later, and they're bringing "X" and Finis with them and we can finally end this perpetual loop you've made me suffer through all this time now!"

"Arrogant bastard! If your strongest disciple to ever exist is to be felled by the likes of that lot, you'll need a miracle to pull that off!" The Darkness was billowing over with rage.

"I trust Shiki and Saebyeolbe, that poor girl's been waiting to released from this hell for nearly as long as I have. I'm sure they both understand that and will do the right thing."
 

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Ice. Saebyeolbe couldn't perceive it at the time, but everything slowed down unlike his motor senses. His body could barely move but an inch. His spine twinged, the darkness was beginning billow out of Dark Shiki and what looked from his peripheral to be silhouette's of heartless, lifting her into an upward spiral. A tower of darkness rushing and carrying her all the way up into the sky. Sae grit his teeth using what remaining strength he had to nudge all his muscles to shatter his coffin of ice and feeling a yank at his hood from Shiki's intervention.

They...failed? How??

Sae's eyes winced, a glint of despair filled his breast as he'd finally allowed himself to succumb to all of the pain resonating from multiple lacerations and deep wounds from the intense skirmish with Dark Shiki. Gritting his teeth, a veil of light overtook him and Shiki as he looked no further than Eth's bracelet.

There was a loud ringing in his ear, he could hear rustling of foot steps as his eyes finally leveled out. Everyone was gathered around, the twisting wall of darkness funneled up into the sky. As he could hear Eth finally start talking he managed to get on his feet, not long before hearing his name being called. As Eth walked towards him, weary, his sense were still potent enough that he could detect malice beating from the heat of his breath. As he wobbled in came Eth's fist lodged into his face, as you could imagine Sae had already been beaten into a state of fatigue to warrant a severe amount of willpower just stand. He found himself sprawled out on the ground drifting in and out of consciousness as his face was beat red.


"We're done doing it your way. We're done going against the plan, I saw you allow Shiki to combat two opponents of that caliber alone and I was utterly shocked at your resistance to aggress for so long. Now do us all a favor and stop putting our lives at risk because you think you can save everyone...! ONE OF THEM JUST COMMITTED SUICIDE, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT HUH??"

He could hear him just fine, but what he was saying...well you know Sae takes criticism. He takes it into advisement...not consideration. Sae saddled himself to a sitting up position with his hood draped over his head. Blood dripped from his face as the rest permeated through the black coat from the countless number of lacerations. Truth be told, Sae was tired...of more than just fighting, he was tired of orders.

"No more compromises, you're-"

Shiki stepped in the way. "I don't approve of his decisions in the heat of the moment, but neither of us died. He's operating off of adrenaline at the current, we don't know when he's going to collapse."

"Shiki...don't. Limiting casualties is what we're here to do, not potentially create more by ignoring the plan. Exactly as I explained to all of you days before, tunnel vision on any means necessary in order to save their long destroyed world-lines, that throwing ours into a similar state without batting an eye...You seriously want to save any one individual that means to do all you've known harm? Absurdity only scratches the surface of how ludicrous that notion is."

Sae had heard enough.

"Was I just supposed to slaughter them without a second thought..." Sae spat blood to the side, "...My emotions...are not so easy to throw away. If there was a chance...any at all...I had to try something. Shiki...almost got severely injured because I resisted...my decisions probably don't make any sense to any of you, but I'm done with all of this death...If I struggled with this with Lucrecia, what were you really expecting?"

He fumbled around before finding the strength to stand.

"Let this be the final lesson and warning to you Saebyeolbe. You finally encountered an enemy that cares absolutely nothing for the world you inhabit, you personally, your hopes, dreams, the struggles, the pain and suffering you had to endure up til that critical moment. You took it upon yourself to patronize these individuals that have suffered unequivocally, failed miserably, and instead of ending their cycle of suffering chose to chastise them, waste your time...energy...compassion for them to cut you to ribbons, humiliate you, nearly bring ruin to you and your friends? Resolve...? If we really were your family, you wouldn't have taken such a massive risk and put your partner in the cross hairs like that...if you want me to trust you, you're gonna have to start listening to everyone else instead of making extremely risky decisions like that for the rest of us because your moral compass thinks you can spare an enemy that is the antithesis of everything the master taught and instilled in us."

"SHUT UP!!! Don't give me that gaslighting crap! YOU THINK THEY WANTED TO KILL THEIR FRIENDS!!!" Sae slammed his fist into the dirt. "I'm sorry, I saw Shiki's face on a different person and I was reminded of nearly losing someone really close again, I didn't know what to do. I had to be sure she was an enemy, things aren't always going to go the way you want them to, but I'll make up for this! I promise you that! It doesn't make killing them as a mercy any easier, they're just like us....dammit!!" Sae grit his teeth and balled a bit at the scene as he held his chest that writhed with the rest of his body in pain.

Sae dropped to the floor keeling over with a sense of shuddering as his frame was still fairly weakened from the beating he'd undertaken from the Dark Shiki.


"It's ok Sae. I'll just shoot you next time you get any wild ideas. Not like I'm at jeopardy of losing resolve." Komaeda clutched his arms, "That fire was radiant, I'd gladly be the next target those flames burn." he shuddered gleefully at the thought.

"I'll never forgive you for killing Brandt. The Darkness that possessed him was dealt with, he wasn't a threat to us anymore...so why!?" his fist clenched the dirt and rock.

Sae grappled his head, remembering what Lucrecia said to him when she turned her blade against them. Taunting him, she spoke along these lines.


"Saebyeolbe." I said his name as an assertion of my respect. "You said you would eliminate anyone that was a threat to the master, yet you stopped Try from completing her role. Peace? You don't get to stop other people's decisions just because that is your resolve. You don't get to just ignore your job just because we're comrades either. Hard decisions like these are what you've made all the time right?"

He could feel those words haunting him, conflicting emotions surging when seeing Shiki's face on an enemy. Choosing to spare Brandt by purifying the darkness and despair that consumed him, only for Komaeda to send him back into the cycle of reincarnation. There was a feeling of disgust he couldn't quite quantify, he was exhausted in every sense. He felt a hand rest on his shoulder.

"Sae." her grip was tender, even through the gloves "She nearly killed us...it isn't a competition of who has suffered more, it's more about thinking of the dangers they pose if we do nothing to stop them...that's what he's saying."

He gripped his head, his face was rather pathetic beneath that hood he donned. A frown was worn through it all, he almost said something extremely insensitive and disrespectful to Eth regarding his sentiments regarding family.


Do you have any idea how agonizing that is to have people in reach, but it is your job to remain at a distance? You think that all of that, even to maintain it was just simple? It was so difficult, it hurt, but none of you saw it because I never allowed you to! All i've ever tried to do is protect every last one of you, but I never wanted to rely on you because I was told I couldn't. So the weight of that responsibility, the burden I have had to carry, is more than anything any of you could understand. To be denied the right to suffer loss, to experience failure, to connect with others, to walk a life that is not perfect but live in this delusion you are separated even while in the presence of others you so desperately want a connection with.

It hit Saebyeolbe that Eth poured his heart out to them on the other side of that expanse in recent memory; his treatment of his fellow resolutes was a result of duty and doing everything in his power to not only make them stronger, but also to protect them whenever he felt the emergency far extended their ability to do it alone. To Saebyeolbe...all these things done were based heavily in assumption, that this was what was best for the group...without ever actually having that conversation with them beforehand.

That's why they were frustrated. That way of thinking put them all in even more danger than he realized and he was ashamed to come to this realization so brutally late.

"I'm sorry Shi-"

"Is that all you're pulling from this...just saying your sorry?" She grappled his head between the tuck of her arm and breast. "Forgiving you isn't the issue. We don't even know how you really feel because you never say anything before it hits the fan."

There was a really terrible feeling Saebyeolbe had been harboring all this time. Did he really have that vote of confidence in them...? Memories circulated, his "interference" was extremely potent...he didn't ask them for their input he simply did it because of the gravity of the situation. Instinct seemed to overwrite genuine empathy and concern, and to it's credit, it dominated so much of his temperament and lifestyle for nearly the latter half of his life span up till now.

"Shiki I...it's a lot of pain to sift through...it isn't anyone else's burden to deal with, I couldn't possibly ask-" he'd been stopped short.

Yamato's hand smacked the back of his head. Lurching forward as he sat, pulling in his legs, blood seeped through from a slight motion forward. His body was tired, he rubbed his head with on hand and held his torn chest with the other.

"If you keep acting like a damn fool and ignoring us, I'm gonna throttle you."

"H-hey...I'm already injured come o-"

"Ass. You can't bare us getting hurt can you? Don't ever do that to Shiki again. Or i'm gonna kick your ass while your already getting your ass kicked!" He cracked his knuckles and gave him a grave look.

"Yamato..." Sae trailed off as another one of them was in his ear.

"Your decisions affect more than just you Morning Star. Noble or not, talk to us." Iontis chimed in.

This vote of confidence felt nothing short of reassurance. A solemn moment for Sae as Eth proceeded to consort with the rest of them as the darkness from the Dark Shiki flooded the sky. He finally did it, he finally opened the box that'd been tucked into their possession for several days now. No one would have guessed that a map and key (literally) were locked within it's spaces. The map...a wayfinder, the master of master's heart?

His ears perked up as he felt his own heart hit his throat briefly. Disbelief. Finis reaction was definitely unexpected being that she could identify the person in the box. It'd been long enough and Sae was technically still losing blood, his hearing feathered in and out as he swayed a bit. He cast Regen on himself and gripped his torso as Eth, Luxu, and Lucrecia talked amongst themselves before the group. Something else interesting came about from opening the box, it appeared the others that had lost their resolves somehow managed to recover them.

Sae stroked his hair, combing through his lockes and blood, his palm holding over his forehead. Fatigue was starting to ease off of him for a time, his attention was caught by the light released into the surface by Eth activating the wayfinder and Luxu the X-blade. A light radiated, shooting forth into the sky punching through the Dark Shiki enveloping her and a keyhole appeared in her place drawing her and the tower of darkness into it. The leyline of worlds was open, Lucrecia ushered forward as the rest of them fell in rank and file, jumping one after the other through the keyhole. Sae rose to his feet and clutched himself, shaking his head and giving a single glance back at Eth and Shiki before he crossed over to the next worldline. Pulling through the light as the path was radiant, however what they saw at the end of the gateway was-


This world was decaying
, Sae's eyes widened.

Red everywhere with tinges of orange bloodied into the atmosphere. Darkness wrecked every inch of the landscape. Dark Shiki welcomed them to the hell she'd endured up to that moment she betrayed this worldline. As Saebyeolbe was absorbing every inch of the landscape, her taunts came from a far that she reveled in the idea of slaughtering them along with her fallen comrades. These causes...these resolves...things they gave their lives to see this end...was absolutely worthless wasn't it? She may have felt that, Sae couldn't say for sure, but begging him and Shiki to kill her on their timeline...could you really go on living being controlled especially after killing your friends when you weren't under any influence until after the fact.

He looked around, Shiki was nowhere to be found. She must've been talking to Eth about some kind of stratagem prior to crossing over, it didn't take very long afterwards before the two of them that remained crossed the threshold last. A sigh of relief came over him, he was able to move a bit more freely with less stiffness. With a grip, he reached for the branded "I" on his left shoulder and clutched it, thinking of the master. Was Eth right about his selfishness contradicting his role...? Was it wrong to save those...that didn't ask to be saved? Nonsense......right? Try almost...but Jay and Jaz would've been pancaked on the beach...


Four days ago...

"You insult them by saving them...over and over again...Sae...everyone here knew what they signed up for. If its their time to join kingdom hearts, then it's on them to meet that fate...you can't keep interfering every time someone looks like their on the verge of death. Your destroying yourself in the process of trying to save them and you just can't keep doing that anymore."

Sae scratched his head, and sighed

"No one is going to die Eth. Not anymore, i'll do what I have to in order to secure that fu-"

"Stop." Eth trailed, "That attitude is going to make your friends weaker. Are you gonna dress every wound rather than allow them the agency to survive, deal, and endure with the situations? You can't be everywhere Sae...not even I can be everywhere, I need you to follow the plan...for once, just trust something other than your instincts."

Sae slid from out of the chair and started for the exit


"The last time I trusted relied on something other than my instincts my best friend was vaporized onto my skin. I'm not making any promises, I will just do what needs to be done." Sae sighed and left the master's room where Eth sat alone.

He really should've listened to him, at least in the instance of the Dark Shiki.
 
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Try looked at the world before her, a wholly different world-line. To think that her hunch about the box had some truth to it. The Master really did leave the most important thing he could to them. Talk about laying on the pressure. If she ever saw him again she had more than a few choice words for him.

She looked at Sae for a moment. Watching him get lectured earlier a thought entered her head. As misguided as his actions had been, the world they were fighting to bring back needed people like him. Meanwhile, there truly was no place for someone like herself. All she knew how to do was kill after all. But that was fine, right? Surely, surely what she wanted was to live in a world that didn’t need people like her?

The ‘loser’ version of Shiki said something, but she honestly wasn’t listening. She had work to do. “Ref, back me up with magic, everyone else focus on your own targets, if you need help then say so.” She summoned her keyblade. “Ten seconds, we’re going to take out each World Ender in ten seconds, no more.” She leapt into action, the ground splintering beneath her feet as she sped forward. Hell was reflected upon her visor, she would see it freeze over by the end of the day.

“Arching your back like that, it’s almost as if you’re tying your neck up with a bow and gifting it to me in a basket!” Try reached her right arm back, her muscles tensed as she launched her keyblade upwards, its force echoed with her ability. The air whistled as it spun like a buzz-saw, cleaving straight through the World Ender’s nape. “That’s one, but the rest aren’t going to be so easy. They know we’re here now.” She summoned her blade back to her, it vibrated with a thunder spell that she’d sent into it before throwing it. She charged towards the next target.
 

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"Can we stop berating Sae for five minutes and just go already!" I must've shouted at the top of the my lungs.

It's true, even I couldn't deny that Saebyeolbe's actions were on par with the level of danger of my own in my first hours as the traitor. Something about him, being put in a position where in a different reality, this person could've been called our ally. I can understand how that crushed him, but what I didn't understand about him was that he just doesn't outright express his feelings properly. I'd imagine...the burden of taking on the pain of those surrounding him has almost blotted out his personal feelings, convinced that the deeds are him and he the deeds.

Once I heard the gate open to cross between worlds, I didn't hesitate for so much as a second. Eager to rush to the end, I barrelled into the jaws of enemy territory at the drop of a hat. That brilliant red mass of aura that ebbed and flowed off my body as a rocketed like a javelin towards the other side.

I was ripe with intent, as my feet dug into the ground pressed firmly against my greaves. The blade of grass waned, decayed, and the looming presence of despair hung over this...world line as we knew it. I don't know really, the energy here was...almost as if you were being drained staying here. I proceeded to wrap myself in a veil, wearing the red aura of Anima something like a cloak. The red highlights in my hair that were saturated from an overwhelming amount of Finis' presence was to be noted.

Looking past the alarming number of world ender heartless, I was impressed by the massive collective darkness that'd permeated red-orange in the sky. It felt like at any moment, it was fit to burst and annihilate everything left of this world line along with it. My ears perked, as I could hear Eth and Shiki cross the threshold following. On Zero's call, he'd been here nary a minute, and assessed what was happening and effectively proceeded to assign everyone to a task, all joint efforts. I turned to him as he gritted his teeth, "No second chances this time?" I said, to watch his look reciprocate mild nerves.

"Thats about what I expected...anyway. Up there!" I pointed at the giant Red-Orange mass of collective darkness in the sky. "While they deal with the world-enders contributing to that...massive nuclear warhead, lets work to exorcise and purify it."

I watched as Eth raised his hand,
"Recia...pains me to say this, but this kind of problem is what you and Finis will have to resolve. I'm just the body guard from them..."

Turning my head i saw what appeared to be hoards upon hoards of heartless in droves, dragging their sporadic corpses along what was left of the dead grass and dirt. My eyes flickered red and Eth immediately stepped away from proximity to me. "Right...it momentarily breaks their resolves..."

"When there's an opening i'll release a massive amount of light in order to purify the rest, I'm trusting you Recia." Eth turned, his duty and path set as more swords of light purged into existence, impaling a large number of heartless, one fell, two more spawn.

Closing my hand tightly around the Gazing Eye, the greater sum of anima flooding into the eye, robbing the master of his sight through the eye. The blue eye, now blood red, opened wide before it illuminated a fiery crimson. I couldn't help but feel something was off, raising my head I could see Kambria standing aways away from me. As Anima emanated off of me, the flickering of the "X" marked on her neck flickered, but she stood resolved.

"Kambria...what are you..."

I could hear only the sound of Cedo compressing in her grasp and the following chant came, "Thy Kingdom Come."

"I...why are you doing this now?!" my eyes widened, I could see the malice, the rage flushed into her face and she sparked with red lightning. "I don't know what more I can do than this, to express reconciliation for my mistake. Please!"

This was killing me more because she didn't speak. She was physically holding the scar on her breast from where I had impaled her, it'd taken this long to recover, I was impressed she could even stand even with aid to accelerate her recovery. I didn't see Eth so much as make an attempt to stop her, in this regard I had to assume he was aware of her anguish and rage. My decisions were my own, Kambria nearly died as a result of my actions and Freya...? Eth had to of been grieving this entire time and rather than go the route Kambria chose, he chose not to stop her and make her own decisions.

"You'll just let her do to you as she pleases Lucrecia? Are you absolutely sure?" Finis voice permeated the top of my mind.

A red construct burning into existence, forging what appeared to be a canon. Kambria's hand was clasped against the dirt, materializing the dead soil and repurposing it into a weapon turned against me. "If it was just me...then fine..." Finally breaking silence, there were tears held back.

I woke up, jumping from the spot I stood as a massive crater was there, sizzling with smoke, cinders, and plasma. She met me in the air as I could feel the full brunt of Cedo clashing against The Gazing Eye. Finis flickered for a second, the transfer of anger and resentment was akin to what she felt for Omni and his actions...hiding Qi's disappearance from her, creating the lie that Qi had perished at his hand. This was not true, her rage misplaced, but the difference here was evident, visible, and a moment of rage created an error that could never be corrected.

"Kambria, listen to me!" I pleaded with her midst defending myself from her vicious assault. "SHUT UP! MURDERER!"

I had to fight back. Anima flushed and blew towards her like a powerful wave, deemed powerless in the face of Qi's keyblades. I watched her cut a path through it and slammed Cedo into Gazing Eye with even more momentum. Without relying on the Master's gift deemed powerless in the face of Anima, she still fought with such tenacity. Was it really wise to recall the strength I used to battle Saebyeolbe...I was resisting the urge, that wasn't who I truly was. She was quick, zipping in proximity quick, we darted even further and further from the others as that mass of darkness only grew more unstable.

"We shouldn't be fighting right now, every second we waste that thing is going to destroy the worldliness and us along with it. You heard Eth, no second chances, Kambria please!"

For roughly a week, she was unconscious, unable to really move or do much, I'd visited virtually everyday. I'd damaged my relations with my friends...no one wanted to trust me, and though Eth was quiet, it wouldn't surprise me if he was just holding back his resentment. Still, I didn't stop trying to make amends from the moment I came to my senses and Finis rage was reigned in from within me. My fist clutched the Gazing Eye as a raised my guard to deflect one more hit, and it was knocked away from me. That moment of vulnerability, my heart races as I felt a brief tap against my breast. Kambria was breathing heavily her hand was shaking, anxiety, questionable humanity and morality suddenly overwriting her anger as she needed to vent after the hell she'd endured just to recover, then to awake with the trauma fresh in her mind.

I could feel Cedo leaving my breast and her arm returned to a neutral position as she was panting fiercely. "Freya was my daughter...a part of Eth, a physical construct, but all the same she was our daughter." she said leaning down.

"......." I was speechless, knowing she had two direct streams of rage from which to draw, what could I do?

"
Eth resisted, refused to bring harm to you despite the circumstances. Finally able to let his feelings out, he chose to spare you despite being devastated from your actions. You taunted us, and we bore the brunt of all of your anger and frustration, but that wasn't enough for you...you just insisted on reaching to provoke us, nearly killing me in the process."

Eth stepped to the front of me, nary did either of us see him until he was there.


"Kambria. This can wait-"

"No it can't, were you just going to hold it in and never address how you felt?!"

"A wound only grows deeper when someone or something spreads it wider...let it be neither Lucrecia, you, or myself that makes that wound any deeper." He tapped her chest, where her heart resided.

"Eth...Kambria...one day I'll make right what I've wronged." I stood up and looked them in the eyes as the swell of darkness was approaching critical-mass and lightning jittered in the distance.

Kambria's teeth grit, her fist shook, but it was clear that anguish festered and resolved blended into a potent rage and agonizing sorrow.

"Don't blame the girl for assuming all of my rage and hatred for that fool Omni. You and the child were an outlet for that rage, and the cost was great. Understandably, I'm not asking for your forgiveness, either of you. Don't make Lucrecia pay for blood on my hands while possessing her." Finis voice affixed a different tone from my mouth as she spoke.

I shook my head, taking my voice back, "When we're finished here, with everything, we can put it all on the table. Lets not see anymore deaths of friends and family...Kambria."

There was a rumble echoing from the sky as a loud boom was heard. World Enders had began to fall to their knees wtritihgin in agony as Try's group were steadfast in their assault against the fuel for this massive war-head. I gave the two of them one final look before distancing myself safely and releasing the veil of Anima that I'd covered myself in upon arrival. A looming sense of guilt, would only serve to distract me from the only thing left I could do to help anyone. From the corner of my eye I could see Kambria clutching her chest, in pain from forcing her body to move so sporadically while she hadn't been at 100%. It was clear to me that she was already pushing herself to be among the ranks with our allies despite the injuries I inflicted on her.

A sigh released and the Gazing Eye had resonated red again, before I gave an incrediblely long wind up swing directly towards the bomb in the sky.
 

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Saebyeolbe's eyes met Shiki's not long after she'd crossed the threshold with Eth. A sentiment of dread tickled the surface of his thoughts, perhaps he was just sensitive to the ambience of this worldline. This was the Dark Shiki's home world line; In perpetual ruin and the resolutes from another one entirely were the final hinge that held the door in place before everything fell apart and became irreparable.

He felt something off, turning his head slightly he could sense as well as match her visible expression. She was enraged...in anguish, a feeling of duress. That anger resonated so sharply, the transfer was felt even from where Sae stood, and the pain...was almost unbearable, nearly impossible for him not to notice.

"She lived...only to suffer and agonize...emotional pain is...more complex than these scars..."

He was going to take a step away from the spot he stood and he felt Shiki grasp his shoulder. She shook her head at him, before leaning forward.

"This one isn't your concern Sae."

Before he knew it, a small skirmish broke out between the two of them, and Eth intervened not long after. Sae released a sigh, feeling the blood trail down his torso and soak into the coat. It'd be over soon, this bombardment of test after test felt nigh unbearable. That specific tension started to wane and then some, finally, able to turn his full attention towards the tower he and Shiki began a short stroll towards the tower.

To their left and right, Try had headed a counter-assault against the world enders. All of the remaining resolutes had fully engaged, with their abilities re-realized again, and committed entirely to the destruction of the enemy world enders. As Shiki and Sae thumbed their way across the battle field, the loud clamoring of fist and key rang in their ears. As they approached the tower to finally begin their ascent. Their motions, were swift and light as they vaulted from foothold to foothold climbing as nimbly as possible.

Coming over the top almost as if they were gliding in slow motion before touching the crumbling tile, a wave of darkness, foul and potent blasted over Shiki and Sae. A throne, holding the Dark Shiki and three X-series heartless behind her as she sat with the Gazing Eye clutched in her hand and resting in her lap. This pressure here felt...much more menacing, that itch at the back of Sae's brain was driving him towards madness. So much malice was emanating from The Dark Shiki that he could hardly deflect the pressure of her presence.

He inhaled, and calmed his mind, easing the beating of his heart to slow down. The adrenaline from earlier was starting to wane, and he could finally, slowly but surely, make sense of what was to come. A sound of cloth being unzipped as Sae dropped his hood and pulled it down to tie around his waist.

Not. One. Scar was layed on his back. As a warrior, even he understood the shame that accompanied from a wound to the back, was one felt by his lack of attention to the subtlest of betrayal. From the front, the scars added up across his chest and abdominal, the bleeding from before had eased. The heat he released into the air was notable, from having to take up arms in that attire he wasn't really a fan. His wrists were clad in a keyblade armor of sorts. Finally he raised his head and locked eyes with the Dark Shiki.

"This is my last plea for peace, what would death really bring you..?" Sae stroked his arms, as she honed the Gazing Eye in her lap.

"Peace." She cleared her throat, firmly grasping the blade. "I'm too ashamed to face my comrades reincarnated...I'd rather die here and now and start over with them. That is my wish."

Sae looked down before he released a sigh, his silence was alarming.

"Death can take me after it has earned me." She moved the sharping stone to the side and peered at the Gazing Eye in her lap. "I don't want to kill anymore allies...but the choice no longer belongs to me." The Heartless rested their arms on the throne and grasped at each side.

A barrier began to slowly form along the perimeter of the tower. Saebyeolbe and Shiki were enclosed along with the Dark Shiki and her fleet of heartless. Sae could feel his bangs drape against his forehead, sticking and matted from the drying of his own blood. One had to wonder...why he warred within himself regarding his true nature, he wasn't that different from Try in many ways. Good for being used as a weapon to see something destroyed, even if the reasons for his actions were what made the difference apparent.

The Regen cast was finally starting to wear off and Sae's wounds closed. Some of his stamina had come back and his muscles tightened, there was sorrow written into Saebyeolbe's eyes, impossible to conceal. His facial expression didn't twist once, but the tears filled his eyes as he opened his heart to what The Dark Shiki was saying, truly listening for once. It was difficult, but enemies or not, he couldn't argue how noble her sentiment was. The Darkness must be dealt with, its to that end the master trained and entrusted them and this outcome was as unavoidable as it was unlucky.

"I take neither joy nor pride I'm what about to do...Shiki." He turned his head and raised his arm to tap Shiki's shoulder. "Session-"


Sae stood up straight as a single tear rolled down his cheek.

"...Berserker Duo..."

Every last scar located on Saebyeolbe's body dispersed all at once and in a substantially greater number than when released against Lucrecia given the speed and severity of his injuries sustained in combating The Dark Shiki in their first earlier encounter. A session being active, the effect extended to Shiki feeling Sae's potential energy effectively getting pass to her directly, it was overflowing. Sae held his position and dug his heels in, he wasn't quite finished as his skin started to turn completely black.

"Alls End: Infinite Berserker."

Sae's all's end activation forcibly spawned Mortem behind Shiki, it would effectively keep the berserker state active due to it's passive skill Force Bind, artificially extending it's time until a finishing move is asserted the second time. In addition to that, Mortem would absorb the recoil of Berserker allowing the two of them to effectively push themselves well beyond natural limits. However there was a price.

If Mortem is destroyed by the recoil of the berserker state, Saebyeolbe's resolve vanishes along with it. Seemed like a fair trade to be able to enter a limit-break state for a ridiculous duration, seemed more than ever this was his demonstration of respect towards the Dark Shiki.

"This won't go your way this time, destiny be damned." Sae's and Shiki's pressure combined were vibrating along the barrier as It even spread to the ground they stood on.
 

Ðari

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Luxu had crossed the threshold, with X-blade in hand. No lock was off limits, and he wouldn't be denied. Not any longer.

"It's been a wild ride Luxu...but you do remember our agreement do you not?"

"
As If." Luxu muttered, "But if there's anything I don't do, it's break a promise."

Luxu rolled his eyes, he dropped his hood to reveal his face yet again. This was Vista's physical body after all, Luxu began to reflect on that instance from that time. As The Dark Shiki inflicted a mortal wound and she left him for his heart to stop and release all its own. The actuality of what happened, Luxu released his own heart and resuscitated Vista's body as he fell to the side. As the Dark Shiki opened the box, a path to another worldline opened and the box was grabbed by Luxu now inhabiting Vista's body. So the cycle of second chances started there, but Vista realized it even then. The chance to redeem Shiki would never arrive, the story was no longer dictated by her, their fallen comrades, or even him, the master had...just moved on to the next in an effort to now combat the bolstering darkness as a direct result of their failures.

Vista held out his hand, calling a friend in arms since the very beginning that was the alternate form of his Ethernal, addressing his keyblade by name.

"Grigori. You haven't lost any of your luster."

The tower rumbled, it looked as though their final confrontation was starting. Vista sighed, vanishing before them, finely slicing an rift within the barrier, the X-blade created a way through before it closed behind. He landed on the rumbling ground mounting the X-blade on his shoulder as he gripped his Grigori.

"Saebyeolbe. Shiki. I just want to state my peace." Vista planted both keyblades into the shaking ground before he turned.

"Vista...are you here to chastise me as well?"





His hand struck her across the face with a firm slap, it was quick and even the heartless surrounding the throne were befuddled.

"Thats for the mortal wound you inflicted on me...leaving me there to die...out of what, pity?!"

"One of you just had to survive...Vista...you knew the circumstances. What else was I supposed to do?! WHAT ELSE COULD WE HAVE DONE!" A torrent of darkness billowed out from The Dark Shiki and the pressure was starting to clash with Shiki and Sae's presence there.

"There was no other option, I empathize with how betrayed you feel, but Shiki...it's time we both join our allies...that being said."

The keyblades vanished and resummoned in Vista's grasp as he turned, "
Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done. All worlds soon shall perish." the infinity tattoo on Vista's palm radiated and he held the X-blade up into the sky sending out a massive disruptive wave of magic, hitting the giant red-orange blot of darkness making it extremely unstable.

"Once this worldline is destroyed. All others that branched from this one will cease to exist. Its better we all start over, it's better than having live through all that suffering, time, after time, after time, after time without end. If you die Shiki, I die with you."

There was a break in the pressure as he finally chose to invoke it through Luxu.

"Alls End...Echoes of The World"

Vista's activation created a platform that broke space-time, and ascended, lifting them within a dome that extended higher than the tower's apex. The etchings and markings of kings, queens, and blades alike were designed within the confines of the platform. Vista was glowing with an overwhelming presence of light and Shiki with that of the darkness accompanied by three X-series heartless. This was the first time two All's End's were active within this close proximity of each other. They were at the bare minimum fighting each other for spatial dominance.

The X-blade disappeared from Vista's hand, likely due to a certain someone becoming wise to his motive. Ethernal populated his free hand, and Vista turned towards Saebyeolbe and Shiki.

"From the beginning I looked for you. I learned about the master's plan, never in a position to act or expose myself. I watched generation after generation of successors fail, setting the board for the next team."

Vista had to assume this information would stir controversy and volatility, in any event there was nothing more for him to fret over. Raising his keyblade, a bolt of lightning ripped the sky and he started the assault against Sae and Shiki. A collective of arrows falling upon them from the Dark Toxote X and Vista ripped space in half and and released a bomb rippling out of a tear that was steadily opening behind them.

"We'll all die together! NO ONE WILL HAVE TO SUFFER ANYMORE!"



Elsewhere, on the front lines.

[Pelican Fanclub - Desire]


Reforge's head raised, he was overflowing with magic. His keyblade swung casting double on Try as the effects of her physical strikes increased 100%. To his right Yamato and Iontis were focusing on their share of targets. Komaeda was walking like an illuminated lantern of nigh infinite light. Within his orb of light, usually only able to enter this defense shell when rendered unconscious, his resolve was so great he could maintain it while conscious. Everyone's light was burning brightly all around him, making this hellish landscape of a wasteland just a bit more liken to his aesthetic.

"That bastard actually did it." Komaeda had a ripe smile across his face. "Well Shiki and Sae you're certainly screwed without a little luck on your side."

"We'll never agree on our views Shiki, and Sae, I think you're a reckless fool who doesn't know how to express his feelings, but you're still comrades. That's reason enough to help you. Don't give up!" he closed his right eye, and kept the left one open locking on to Saebyeolbe and Shiki spreading his influence of good fortune. "Master. Wait for us, we'll be there soon!"

The heartless approached as Komaeda stood in place. Holding arm out and Yamato swung through sweeping up into the sky, throwing him head long into a world ender as the power of his light barrier burned a hole right through the world ender.

"What? She said 10 seconds a World Ender, might as well throw you through them!" Yamato snarked.

He created a small zone and the gravity drew Komaeda towards it, orbiting the zone, as the dome of light he was spinning around inside of was slaking through the nearby world enders hitting them multiple times with each revolution around the zone. Spirals entered Komaeda's eyes as the constant spinning was starting to mix his brain as well.

Jay had gone in and out animal transformation for traversal. An ode to Lucrecia's partnering they learned not to waste attacks and go for the weak points first. Tearing with razor sharp teeth through a world enders neck before assuming human shape and dragging their keyblade down it's back. "10 seconds on the nose!" they shouted before bolting towards the next one. Landing on the back of Iontis Bahamut Arc transformed into a ride-able sparrow, they sailed across the water at great speed kicking up waves of water behind them.

The truth was, everyone understood very well what the stakes were, and this wasn't the time to for any among their ranks to hold themselves back, not any longer. "Rainfire." Reforge uttered as he summoned meteorite sized fireballs from the sky falling upon the sea that was swarming with World Enders and lesser heartless. The heat from the fireballs were beating down on the World Enders without relent, he couldn't afford to hold back here! "Break everything on them Giant Lady!"

Countless swords of light were flying around, pathing around the resolutes and finding there way into the chests of the lesser heartless.



Midst the peril, vengeance.
[Revengers - Yuki Hayashi (MHA OST)]


Eth had a firm grip on Kambria as Lucrecia was finally able to walk away with minimal damage sustained. The animosity that burned in Kambria's chest, not only from the wound she sustained as a result of Recia's reckless possession, but a hole only grew wider from grief. Eth knew it. He knew it well from the situation with his own mother forgetting him as a result of irreversible effects from his power over memory at a young age.

"Please. Go help our friends." Eth said planting his hand on her shoulder. There was a moment of hesitation resonating from Kambria, but even she knew. The visible expression she had carried what was now waning contempt being replaced by a sense of responsibility and duty. She broke away from the two, Cedo in hand and darted head long into the battlefield to join Iontis.

As he looked around for Luxu, he had to assume that Vista was conscious again. Calling it, he had his suspicions when he was able to see Vista's memories through Luxu from their encounter in the past. His intentions seemed to be out of a devotion to redeeming his lost ally, the Shiki from the same worldline, as he searched for her reset after reset. Eth could only quantify to the level it had driven him absolutely mad. Though one thing was for certain, Vista would be power was mitigated by the Harrowed End and as was with himself, Time was rendered useless. Luxu's power to use space-time manipulation however...different story entirely.

"That crazy fool means to destroy the current worldline and shatter all the others along with it, if he does that, the suffering of our predecessors was all for nothing." Eth said aloud as he raised his hand calling it back. "The fallen deserve a second chance, to be reincarnated in a world that isn't over-saturated in neither Darkness nor one drowning in the light. It should be up to them to decide their own fates."

A brief flash flickered in Eth's mind as he saw what appeared to be a distant ancestor, for an instant and only then. A woman with blond hair, white dress, reaching for his hand. Memory, a collective that didn't belong to him. Always an alien in life, bonds, able to see the intimate history of those around him.

Purging in his hand, Qi responded in kind as Eth clutched the X-blade in his grasp. "I know you were just fulfilling your promise Luxu, but now of all times?" Eth sighed, lowering his arm, the master's wayfinder was fastened to his hip and resonated with the X-blade. He nodded to Lucrecia who'd been steadily building anima from the first slash.

The energies around them started to crackle and snare. Lightning buckled through air from where Vista's meddling sent a reaction that'd soon take the entire worldline and them along with it. A bolt the size of a demon tower struck swifter than a Thundaza cast and vaporized a world ender right before Try's feet, several bolts were starting to collapse from the sky striking at completely random spots across the battlefield. Natural disasters escalated, a a tornado formed and tooked on the water heading towards the Tower.

This sucked, but one sentiment was pretty much shared and Saebyeolbe had mentioned it earlier. Eth sure as hell was tired of all of this unnecessary death and agenda sparking conquest by the darkness. Vista allying himself with this worldline's Shiki wouldn't change the fact that Shiki and Saebyeolbe were going to do what they had to do to stop them, therefore he chose only to worry about the imminent collapse. From the ground, Lucrecia was aggressively funneling all of Anima into powerful swings of magic towards the extremely unstable and stormy sky of Red-Orange. The thunder and lightning didn't relent, even with her giving her all and then some, it wasn't dissipating fast enough.

Only one thing came to Eth's mind;


The Precipice of Death
...was near.
He released a hellishly malevolent amount of light, attracting the lesser heartless towards his location, specifically Lucrecia. A sense of insanity was bleeding into the constant flow of Eth's light, giving a faint tint of violet and ruby. An All's End activation? No. There were no second chances, there was no time, only the grip of death overtaking Eth's next breath. In a fit of hysteria he released all of his light into an endless flowing river of power. It was enough to completely engulf and eradicate the heartless that approached their location in droves, being vaporized and consumed by Eth's light. He held his arm up collecting it rapidly into an ever expanding ellipse of light.

"Learned this one from Reforge...Raito; Genkai Dama." Eth's size in stark contrast to the building and expanding ellipse of light was that of night and day.


As Lucrecia could feel the very same reverberation from that growing instability, she too, was gripped by the precipice of death. There was a massive shift in the draw of her power, well beyond normal limits and Eth smirked for merely a moment once he noticed it. This was live or die. The heartless were near and he funneled everything above him, seems not even this much surrounding light was enough to dissuade the lingering World Enders that now noticed him and Lucrecia, aways.

"You and I can't do anything about those this time, we're gonna have to trust them to sweep this area too." Eth smiled, tilting his head to side as the Genkai Dama was nearing completion, it could almost touch the sky from the surface thats how large the ellipse had gotten. "Create a path for the light to absorb all of it, our allies will take care of the world enders making their way here."

Eth couldn't stop himself from smiling in the face of imminent death as they grew closer and closer and he could do absolutely nothing beyond place all his focus into this one attack completely defenseless.
 
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Battlefields were a dime a dozen to Try, she'd lost track of how many she'd seen at this point. But this? The end of a world? It was something else. Even Traverse Town wasn't this oppressive in it's downfall. The air was tinged with the smell of fire and ozone, but above anything else the stench of Darkness was overwhelming. Try sliced cleanly through the arm of a World Ender as it attempted to punch her.

"World Enders? After today we'll have to give you bastards another name." She leapt forwards and cleaved through her attacker's body, ending it. Ref's magic was working wonders. She hardly had to exert herself to utilize her full strength.
She halted as one of the massive Heartless vaporized before her. Lightning, tornadoes, flaming fireballs, she was standing in the middle of a catastrophe. She didn't expect anything less honestly.

As she helped clear the way with the others a bright light shone straight into her visor, and it wasn't Komaeda this time. "Eth? What are you..." A feeling of dread hit her, she wasn't sure exactly what he was doing, but somehow she understood the end result. "Dammit! What is with you all!? So damn ready to throw your lives away!" Try screamed as she kicked off the ground, spiraling through the torso of a World Ender. "Is this how it's supposed to end!?"

She was sprinting as fast as she could, debris and rain splashing against her helmet.

CRACK!

SLASH!
SLAM!​
She raced through foe after foe, but it still wasn't fast enough. She began to echo the very motion of her muscles, every minuscule force, every twitch of every fiber. It hurt, her body was begging for her to stop, but she only pushed further. "Why is it always like this!" She roared, the creatures in her way little more than flies on the windshield of a speeding truck. She finally reached Eth, or at least, she was finally below him. The surrounding World Enders had been dealt with, at the very least he was safe. Steam rose from her body, another sign that what she was doing was wholly unnatural. "Eth!" She prepared to leap, tensing her legs as she looked up, when suddenly, everything went white.

Lightning had struck her, of all the things to happen, of all the targets to be hit. How could she be so careless? Normally she could take a few hits from something like this, but there was a problem. She had been echoing her entire body and any effects on it. It was as if she'd been struck thirty times in the blink of an eye. She dropped to her knees as her arms limply fell to her sides. Her helmet, radiating red with heat, split in two and fell to the ground. smoke poured from her mouth as her glassy eyes stared upwards. "Dammit... You idiot." She tipped forward, her face slamming into the dirt.
 

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"I'd almost forgotten your lesson master...Mercy for an enemy should never come at the cost of casualties. My stupidity will be made up for now..." Sae uttered silently as he gripped his fist tightly.

Something that genuinely caught him by surprise, the appearance of a second heart within Luxu of all people. Seeing the Dark Shiki's reaction while watching and listening closely, it was a safe bet that these two were from the same set of people chosen by the Master on this worldline. Allies, that once served to protect this worldline...so why....

Sae's spine tingled for all but a moment and he quickly glanced to the side incredible pressure releasing from Luxu...rather Vista. By the looks of it, it'd sent the stability into critical as the world from the outermost edges seemed to slowly be crumbling away. The light was slamming against the protective barrier that forged around the tower, striking random places erratically. From the corner of his eye, you couldn't miss it, but there was a massive orb sphere of light forming slowly being spearheaded by Eth, what the hell was he going to do with that??

He'd raised his arm to just barely above his hip and fire burned around his palm. In the embers, Adole Malus purged into his hand. Spinning it to a stand still, it burned in his grip and Saebyeolbe's gaze hardened.

"So. Killing us all is your way of repenting?" his tone was gripped with rage, "Don't underestimate us."

"What do you two hope to achieve. This struggle is meaningless, we can die instantly without anyone suffer-" he'd been interrupted

"I've heard enough." Shiki interjected as she brought Memento Vivare forward.

Shiki stamped her foot, and the entire platform shook, and the velocity reversed, and they started to fall. Focusing magic into their soles, flames starting to form at the underside of the moving platform enclosed dome. The Dark Shiki brought forth the shades again and hey instantly started to stampede across the platform as herself and Vista held the position. Shiki took a power stance, based in kendo, grappling her keyblade tight and she focused her breathing before she moved under a veil of her own. Briefly vanishing from vision for a moment, but when she emerged again, fragments of light appeared as shards of glass within the bodies of the she shadows before they detonated, exploding individually one by one.

The grimace on Sae's face was overwhelming, Mortem emitted incredible pressure from behind him, he swiped his keyblade and a loud noise as he created an incredible air current vibrating against Vista's keyblade as he'd intercepted with a press from the tip of his Ethernal.

"Heh, fine." Sae's arms revved like pistons from the time he fought the Finis' possessed Recia, "Block this then."

Adole Malus was planted in front of his, he drew a flame circle in the air before planting it in the ground. His arms were moving so fast they physically combusted and burst into flames. The wind up was incredible before he clasped both of his hands together concentrating all of the physical force into an explosion right there. Mortem was over Sae, compressing all of that power into a tiny little ball as it was violently fighting to escape and explode outward in every direction.

A flicker of what looked like invisible walls were forming a collapsing tube in front of Sae that narrowed the further it traveled. Shiki was creating a path for the ball of fission to travel using her Lumen Incantere. As Mortem held the ball in place, Sae put himself into a power stance winding up his right arm until it was a blur that burst into flames like before. He took a step, twisted, grabbing Adole Malus from the where he planted, he grasped it turning transferring the flames into the keyblades and slapped the ball so hard, Shiki's barriers were shattering into minor explosions as it pinged a single ricochet of each wall.

"Holy shit!" Vista's arm raised, switching up the flow of time to halt its movement just before the ball made contact with his face. "You're insane!"

"Body of Time." Sae uttered, suddenly entering the stopped animation alongside Shiki who was also effected during the session.

"How are you moving in stopped time??" Vista looked puzzled but shifted his attention to the still in limbo fission orb.

Sae remembered this feeling, this was a very special scar that formed, a gift from Eth upon finding his way to Betwixt & Between as he searched for Shiki. He'd used this on him to protect him for a brief period when entering a harrowed end. To think he'd be able to briefly draw out this power again in these circumstance. Snapping his finger the fission orb started to move as they did. The Dark Inferno X flew immediately to face tank the attack, largely compressing and absorbing the explosion and its incredible effects with it's physical body and the darkness it was releasing being burned alive into a purified state. The Dark Shiki's chains grappled onto Vista and quickly pulled him away as an explosion erupted at that spot in the slow motion of space they were now all moving inside of.

"Thats one down, Shiki." Sae uttered her name firmly.

"You going with that plan?" She placed a hand on his shoulder. "You remember how difficult it was to get in last time."

"Not a single arrow is going to hit either of us. Not one." You could see the blue-light into Sae's crystal blue eyes. "Lets deal with the Archer next."

The arrows were so numerous, it was as if the blotted out the sun. Sae held his ground, Shiki's barriers formed slamming against them mercilessly. Sae stamped his feet, he flew through an opening Shiki created and was shifting his flight path in the air avoiding the a barrage without so much as a clothing clip. In the air you could see Sae flying in between the arrows from the tail of fire he was leaving from just holding the Adole Malus. Truthfully Shiki was also creating small walls to reflect some of the arrows directly in his way so it wasn't just his agility. He was now within at least eighteen meters of the Toxote X. He dropped his Adole Malus mid-air

"Switch!" as he uttered these words, Shiki was in Sae's place clutching Memento Vivare and grasping Sae's Adole Malus. Her own chains emerged tracing and binding the heartless in place. The reflection off her keyblade was remnicient of the reflection of this heartless life, nearing its end. Once her chains clutched against its body, she swung Memento Vivare horizontally cleaving off the Toxote X's head and bringing Adole Malus to press into the heartless chest, drawing upon Sae's flames, she entombed the heartless into a tower of burning flames. Its physical body and formless nature once it was released were both dissolving into the purifying light of the flames and thanks to the sealing power of Shiki's chains, there was no escaping this procedure.

When Shiki landed, there was a crash, and even in the slowed space, the platform fell a bit faster. "Three left." she uttered taking a moment to catch her breath and she held fast to Sae's keyblade for the time being.

"You can't be serious. YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS!" Vista clasped his hands and collapsed the flow of time back to the normal flow and drew a second keyblade this time.

Sae broke into a tremor generating dash, building incredible friction behind him from the sheer force of his steps and incredible number. His resolve was all about the building and dispersal of entropy, containing so much physical power and releasing it as a form of natural energy. Shiki still grasped his Adole Malus as he pressured Vista with his bare hands appearing on top of him and throwing his hands down below him transferring all of that friction into a wave of heat slamming down like a fire storm all at once. There was a wild explosion below slowly making it's way up to Sae but cutting off at about eight meters or so.

"Hmm?" Sae's brow furrowed as he saw chains emerge and he intercepted them all coated in his own heat. "Tch, you'll give us Luxu back. Shiki!"

Shiki spun both the keyblades in her hands before she pressured Vista from the ground, dual-wielding and kiting through the Dark Shiki's chains. She was able to see the path of where the sickles would cut and strike thanks to the benefit of sharing Sae's Session. The frustration coming from the opposite pair was starting to grow and spiral into desperation as Vista pushed outward with a gravitational wave to deflect the two of them.

"GET AWAY!" the force was incredible, but Shiki provided herself and Sae with safe havens behind two incredibly thick and reinforced walls. The steam hitting off created a smoke screen that was thick and even harder for them to see. The Dark Shiki in that time darted in and tapped Vista's back.

"Session: All Seeing Heart." The Darki Shiki could use sessions as well??

"You sure you wanna do that?" Shiki said shaking her head as she walked in front of the wall and Sae was free-falling from his perch up top. "Overstimulate the senses and it's useless!"

Gripping his hands behind him he blasted a Firaga spell from his hands repeatedly to propel himself straight downward. Sae was smiling as he spun feeling his skin generate a bright light and Shiki's walls appeared on all sides reflecting the light his body emitted. It was deliberate, the sound of each ping was reflecting, traveling, reflecting and getting louder and louder effectively muting Sae's clothing tapering in the wind as he descended and he was also hidden within the light itself. Finally his flame lit hand half generated a firaga spell, that exploded creating a noxious gas that overtook their enhanced sense of smell, sending them all into overdrive.

"Damnit." The Dark Shiki covered herself and Vista inside of a web of chains and there was only darkness then. "He really was holding back before, this isn't good. At this rate we're going to get eliminated before the worldline is wiped out."

"
Fine. End the session, I'm gonna force Luxu to fight with me. As if." Those last words belonging to Luxu himself, "I got nothing to do with your little quarrel here, fight them at your own peril. As if! You knew what you were getting yourself into."

"End Session." The Dark Shiki broke the session and Vista's green eyes focused on the two aggressors. "I've never been good at drawn out battles...it seems as if they're just thriving here."

Sae stepped off the edge of the wall that Shiki created for him as it started to dissolve. Light chains, she created from the top, he was sliding into a grind downward taking him right next to her. Lifting her left arm, he took Adole Malus in his grasp. One foot forward, his keyblade became charged with lightning as one of the random bolts blasted through the top of the dome. He held his arm up acting light a lightning rod, Adole Malus was charged with the bolt stabilizing within the keyblade.

"Thundaza Blade" Sae said sending a blazing stream of lightning laced with his keyblade's flame. He burst forward into a high velocity jump, this burst movement was picking up force behind him. Shiki sprinted in the vacuum behind him. The lightning and fire's impact dismantled the Dark Shiki's chains and revealed only Luxu standing there. Sae's eyes widened as he landed and started to collide with him blow for blow. Time slowed down, but they were moving even faster and faster it seemed.

"Why do you want to destroy this world-line so bad?" Sae said locking blades with Vista.

"Simple. All the other world-lines will collapse after the original is destroyed. We can all be released from this suffering at once."

Sae's fist came from the side connecting with Vista's stomach. "Thats not resolve. Thats lunacy." he nodded his head and jumped towards him thrusting his keyblade towards his chest. "Rest, Vista."

Sae's Adole Malus entered through his chest, and turned. As he was midst the animation of extraction, the Dark Shiki's chains were feverishly swirling towards him. "What did I say earlier? Not a single one." Mortem clasped it hands with enough force it rebounded the opposing malice into a brief stun. Slowly drawing his keyblade out, the radiation of a green aura surrounding the heart being pulled out of Luxu's body as Luxu's hood blew off and the raven-haired man finally smiled.


"
As if..." Luxu finally spoke again, collapsing into Saebyeolbe's arms. Shiki stepped next to them forging a wall as the storm of all the Dark Shiki's chains were set to attack without relent. "Just two more."

[my follow up post will come directly after Purg's]
 

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The sound of my own heartbeat only proceeded to get louder and louder. I could feel the resonance of Anima flowing outwards at every end, only climbing in intensity. The sky was starting to rattle and rumble, clasps of thunder were terrifyingly loud. There were a many loud number of keys slashing through what felt like endless waves of black mesh. Heartless were disintegrating, World Enders were getting dismembered and ripped apart all around me. Once Kambria left i threw everything into my right arm.

Then it happened.

A sharp ping rippled throughout the sky and the giant mass of red-orange energy started to go critical, shooting bolts of lightning and claps of thunder every other moment. I could hear the lightning chaining into a light "bachi-bachi" sound. My eyes nearly popped out of my head as I looked on in disbelief. I could see a face embedded deep within the sky, as if eyes were looking at me and the fear gripped at my chest.

This was suicide. Death was starting to take over my senses and I was starting to get overwhelmed. I started to remember it again, the feeling of the very keyblade i held in my hand going through my chest, the line between life and death and I drew something outside of myself. Then I smiled, out of what felt like pure hysteria. I raised my arm and focused a beam emanating from the keyblade point it directly into the red-orange mass of darkness within the sky. Anima purged into an extremely potent and beam firing with an extreme amount of kick-back as my feet sank into a crater from how much I released all at once.

The hole ripped straight through creating the perfect opening, it was there that the World Ender near me fell to the floor and I turned my head briefly as I held my position strong. "Thank you!" I shouted holding my position as the hole I punched was growing wider and wider for Eth.

"Gotta support my partner." Jaz uttered deflecting the approaching heartless that were moving towards my position.

I proceeded to funnel the rest of what I had into this, as the sky finally was starting to open up and the bolts that struck had quietly started to tick down around just a bit less frequently. My sneaking suspicion as I looked on towards the sky Anima was starting to stabilize the explosive potency of the darkness that billowed at every length of the sky, dismantling the ticking time bomb little by little. The sky lightened, I could feel it in every which direction as the sound of a loud set of foot steps across the battlefield.

It was Try, i instantly went to look behind her and the field had virtually been cleared. All around her, was an active fit of pressure, repeating itself and even without seeing her face I could tell she was anguished by it. As she felled the last world ender in view, there was a brief moment of awe. A flash of lightning jettisoned down and struck her at her position as it looked as if she was fitting to jump, calling for Eth. I watched in horror and disbelief as she fell forward, face to clash against the dirt and her helmet split in two.

"TRY!"

As Jaz clutched at me, we both sunk further down but she held me close despite the intense power overflowing from me at my position. I felt a sense of relief, to have my rock supporting me. That sense of death we both experienced at some point prior, started to resonate well in this situation and I started to notice it. Finis or what looked like an image of her cast itself into an astral form, burgeoning out from behind me and Jaz and clutching us both.

"So. This is trust, Omni? Qi?" There was a feint trace of a smile, "It's better than anything I could've ever hoped for."

There was a warm resonance as the violent red and petals started to shift shades similar to Eth's light, with hints of violet. The whole in the sky had widened, revealing behind it something no one would've ever expected. The sky finally cleared just enough to case a heart-shaped moon physically beating at the core of the world-line. This must've been what Eth was targeting, and now the black heart of the world was within range to finally be purified. I stumped backwards and Jaz and I fell over, with nary much strength to reasonable walk about.

I took a deep breath looking towards the sky, the red-orange tint had gone missing and the world-line stabilized. I couldn't believe anima stopped that complete overhaul of the world-line, but we were still very much entrenched in darkness. The tainted heart shaped moon that lingered in the sky above, I feel as if I'd only seen something like this is books, stories, classic fables my father used to obsess over. This must've been the consequences of opening the box...truly beyond anything I'd of ever pondered.
 

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The sound of cracking is what Sae then heard. Shiki's walls created by Lumen Incantere were starting to build up cracks from the constant pelting of the chained blades. Once in the past, she mentioned the fortifications were based on something to be overcome by the user thats bound to them. Seems without question, the Dark Shiki had resolved into something beyond fear, beyond retribution, an omen seemed more like.

"Any second now the wall's gonna give. Ideas?" Sae looked to Shiki as he clutched Luxu in his arms.

"The platform is going to crash into the castle, I'd say we need to deal with her before we get flattened." She clutched her fist, resetting the barrier as fast as it was cracking. "Draw her attention away for now, leave Luxu with me."

"As...if..."
he wearily grunted.

Pyres exploded from the other side of the wall, as Saebyeolbe darted to the front rapidly spinning Adole Malus and burning his purifying flames to deflect the darkness imbued chains. The grin on his face was wild, as he looked at the Dark Shiki from a distance, with malcontent written all over her face. The Darkness swirled all around her flooding out, creating incredible gravitational pressure beating down atop the platform, accelerating the fall. Saebyeolbe shook some as he pushed back with his own counterforce, anticipating the pathing of the chains.

"I feel like the Master would scold me right now. For all of this." he took an unguarded stance and simply spoke freely, "There's no redemption for you, is there? Even after we revert the changes."

Sae pointed to the hole in the sky steadily growing wider from what looked like a focused beam from Lucrecia and Finis doing.

"I really hate having so limited options...but I'm not ignoring what you already said before." Sae took a breath, before his next stomp completely shattered the entire platform all in one go. "End Session."

The effects of Infinite Berserker were lifted from Shiki and Mortem reappeared behind Saebyeolbe. Mortem was starting to glow with all of the scars, approaching what appeared to be a forced finisher. In this instance, his All-Series would absorb the recoil, but that wasn't Sae's aim here. As everyone was falling, Shiki created a floating wall to safe-guard herself and Luxu as Sae and the Dark Shiki were colliding.

"What are you thinking right now..." Shiki sighed, her anxiety had all but ceased.


The strikes coming from the two of them were so intense the ocean waves were starting to rise to towering heights. It was safe to say that Saebyeolbe and the Dark Shiki both, were flying, or rather they made it look as though they were. Sae was using combustions from fire-based spells to change directions mid-air and ride the momentum in a straight line, changing when he needed a different angle to attack from. The Dark Shiki in contrast used her chains to both grind as well as rubber band and slingshot herself into the air. The speed at which the two of them were moving was extremely difficult to follow, and off the merit of All-Seeing Heart, it was keeping the Dark Shiki in the running respectively, but Sae had known something similar in Jay's use of future-sight.

"Freeze." Sae shouted casting an ice spell so powerful it froze a massive chunk of the water by about 60 meters, nearly two training fields combined.

"Why won't you just die number one!" as she landed on the ice, she cast a massive ball of Darkness that behaved like a miniature vortex, siphoning matter from the surrounding air inward.

"I can't, there's still so much left to do I'm afraid." Sae held out his palm, "Flare."

The heat burning at the palm, burgeoned a flare spell colliding with Dark Shiki's small singularity, creating an explosion hellish in scale and he jumped straight through it scorched in intense heat slamming his Adole Malus into her Gazing Eye. The Steam released around him, burned through the ice and the two of them for the first time both disappeared from view. There were several collision happening across the water breaking the momentum of the waves, and slaughtering any nearby heartless as a side effect of just how powerful the force from their collisions were.

"What does it take to kill you! You stubborn bastard." The Dark Shiki was growing restless, a fever pitch was brewing.

The two of them landed very close to where Eth was, briefly Sae saw a bolt of lightning hit the ground and Try had suffered a direct hit. Every part of him agonized, being in proximity of her and starting to sense that strong rush of emotions, he nearly broke his entire guard to run to her if not for the malice from Dark Shiki he sensed bringing him back into his survival mode senses. 'Sorry Helmet, I'll tend you after she's been dealt with, I promise!' His aim had to be to get her a ways away from where Try fell down.

As he looked up, briefly he could see that Eth had funneled enough into what looked like a mass of purifying light. That gave him the craziest idea yet. As Mortem loomed over his shoulder a while longer, he could use Eth's skill for maybe a split second to give him enough time to slip past the Dark Shiki's All-Seeing Heart to go for a Hail Mary tactic. If he missed, he'd either lose his resolve, or be killed by the recoil for sure. The chains came again, and he moved to intercept every last one with pin-point precision slapping them all to rally on a single side before jamming his Adole Malus to catch them all and lock them in place.

"Mortem. Dismiss." Sae uttered as the shine from Mortem passed back onto him, mere moments from detonation.

If you blinked you probably would've missed this next moment, no, not even she could've seen it. With just a touch, Sae pressed his palm to the Dark Shiki's breast and passed the burden of his total collected scars to her, while she was paralyzed for six seconds from Indurvatique's base skill. Shedding from her body, the Dark Terminus X absorbed the scars instead and started to explode all over behind her.

"!!!!!!" She couldn't even speak as she was still paralyzed, only watching as the heartless was being obliterated by the Berserker Recoil.


Sae took the The Dark Shiki in his arms, manually extending the stun, no amount of resistance could stop the paralysis now. As he did before with Brandt, from the ground he jumped straight up. Clutching her in his arm and tucking her head into his chest, he started to speak to the Dark Shiki before his craziest plan yet.

"Like you. I lost my home, my friends, and what shreds I could even call family. I was angry, sought retribution, served my own ends to see it through. I used the master as a means to achieved that retribution...the sole survivor from a world for notorious criminals, even if I was just a child. It's time I repaid the master for his kindness and repurposing my animosity...by taking out a symbol of war right along with me."

He looked down into Eth's ball of purifying light, with no idea how it would effect either of them and slowly started to descend into it.

"You crazy fool what the hell are you thinking!" Shiki's voice echoed from afar.

Chains spiraled, and wrapped around Sae's body yanking him out of his descent into absolution along with the Dark Shiki. She continued to fall slowly into the ball of light before she was no longer visible to any of them.

"Didn't you just say there's much left to do, so you can't die? I swear you're such a fool." Shiki sighed

Sae's adrenaline finally wound down, and he collapsed into Shiki's arms, him and Luxu both were safe, but collapsed all the same. His eyes frantically looking around as he was hardly able to move much while his body rapidly recovered on it's own while out of combat he searched for the Dark Shiki's malice, and smiled when he could no longer sense it.

At the same time. He cried because of it.

"You did the right thing Sae." Shiki stroked his head softly, "The cycle of rebirth can finally start once we're finished here."

Saebyeolbe's tears were a mixture of great relief and the regret of having to bring harm to one who could've in another reality, been his ally. His compassion was not always so, he'd known the rage and hatred of vengeance better than anyone, but with naivety in his mind, the thought you could spare those around you. It was a child's dream, and as he cried he remembered how Allison protected him, he remembered that in the very same fashion he'd been so ready to throw his life away for others as she did for him. Thats why he was always recklessly doing that, to such a degree it was second nature to him, idolizing his most cherished friend and hero.

The light on the horizon was so radiant and warm, to think, this is what it really meant to be a resolute. Sae smiled as he reached for Shiki's cheek.

"We did alright eh...Shiki..."
 

Ðari

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Self destructive.

It was a word, it was definitely a word he'd use to describe most of the actions taken by some this group of rag-tag resolutes. To Eth, it wasn't a quality or a trait he often felt "belonged" to him. He can't ever recall a time where he was so willing to haphazardly throw his life away for civilians, or his comrades. Impressive how three short years can really fine tune your perspective. Looking back on it now, this has ultimately been an extremely liberating experience for Eth personally. He went from being an aloof and distant comrade making cold and calculated decisions, always with the safety and betterment of his comrades in mind, to being moderately more open and humble with the lot. At least, more so than what they were used to seeing of him with their memories restored.

It's definitely been a journey, and as it was becoming quite difficult to breath, the precipice of death was supplying Eth was a kind of resolve he'd only know when pushed well beyond physical exhaustion. The light was never meant to be looked at in the sense of seeing those pearly white gates, but it's what his hallucinations were definitely showing him. In contrast to this he could see the color red. Lucrecia was funneling everything in her known arsenal to exorcise the instability created by the darkness in the sky sent into a complete overdrive from the earlier meddling from Vista. Slowly but surely she was creating a a path for the ball of purifying light to hit; He'd wager it could only be one thing through that veil of darkness. Eth could vaguely hear his name being shouted below as the Genkai Dama was gradually increasing in size and the welling build up sound was nearly drowning out everything but the cracking thunder and the world ender's slamming their fists.

It was Try. He glanced down for a mere moment, slightly off angle from him levitating in place in a fixed position, as she prepared to jump. ZAP! The earth cracked in the spot she was standing, and in true form, her constant use of the Reverb backfired. Recoiling who knows how many times, and he could see the lightning jittering around her body in horror as she singed and scorched, a cloud of smoke going up in the air as she keeled over.

There was a mild sense of panic he emitted as he also saw Saebyeolbe and The Dark Shiki hit each other so hard billowing out of the open sea as Try fell over. Closer to her than he'd of liked, it was clear that Sae realized it and instantaneously reacted by moving away from her. 'Thank god, your instincts were sharp on that one.' a bead of sweat trickled from his brow. His chest felt tight, the air was strained, he was full of anxiety mixed with hysteria, with this new sense of ambivalence on reacting to what he was seeing.

He felt it, two things happening at the same time. His power, through Sae activated briefly, short enough to get close to the Dark Shiki and grab onto her closely. This forced out the heartless attaching what looked like some sort of timed explosion to her heartless as it immediately detached from her. This was exactly what happened to him on the dorms, seems like he learned his lesson and attached the recoil to something other than himself. Wild. Once Sae jumped it didn't take much time for Eth to figure out exactly what that crack-shoot was about to do next.

Double Suicide.

"What are you thinking Sae, not even you can survive a direct hit! STOP!"

The jingle and shimmy of chains. It was Shiki, their shiki. That sound was so familiar to Eth, as she stealthily wrapped her chains around Sae and pulled him apart from the Dark Shiki to whom fell directly into the Genkai Dama nearly completed, vanishing into the light. Eth was not without empathy for the Dark-Wielder Shiki, he would never sacrifice any of his nakama to save the life of one person. Her redemption and absolution were never invalid, but to bare witness to such cruelty was simply out of his depth. Hell would be cold, as that was undeniably where she would land after the light took her. Eth lowered his head, remembering what he saw while peering through Luxu and Vista's memories. That day was tragic and painful for everyone involved.



Some Memories Don't Bare Repeating.
[Fractured Heart - Violet Evergarden OST(Evan Call)]

Shiki pressed her foot into Vista's stomach, rigorously removing her Gazing Eye from his chest as his head neck leaned forward in limbo. His heart had stopped beating completely, the passing moments of low consciousness provided with a flicker effect of light barely hanging on. Shiki turned from him slaking the blood from the Gazing Eye to air dry as she was covered in the blood of her comrades. Carefully stepping over the barely hanging on "Individual Eleven" she stopped, looking down at Espoir, to whom with his remaining arm grasped at her leg.

"Why...Shi...Shi.....Sh...." his breath fizzled out into a soft whine before he lost consciousness entirely.

She was too hysterical, too ashamed, too cowardly to even speak. Shiki's grip around the keyblade tightened, horrified at these acts for a dismissal of her proposal. She became the dark wielder, took on the scorn of betrayal in order to create a way forward for them. They opposed the idea, saying it would only end up destroying the world and further divide the group. This created so much emotional tension to see people in a crisis situation turn their back on her and the trauma was so extensive she went into a frenzy.

Vista's eyes revitalized, releasing the time hold on his chest and the breath of air was light. Faintly looking up, Shiki dropped to her knees briefly, and started to sob. Having to know the pain of cutting down your allies, there were limbs scattered every which way. She was drowning in tears, the sound of her voice escaped her in complete agony. Watching as she trembled from such a traumatic experience, did the ends...really justify the means?

They all released, their hearts gathered and drifted like fireflies illuminating the air around her. Dropping the gazing eye, she twiddled around tripping and falling, chasing after the hearts of her comrades as they floated up towards the sky. She was crying hysterically, losing all shreds of whatever sanity remained, save for a single strand. Their bodies disappeared, as a result of this and Vista had moved away as she chased the hearts watching her from afar.

Shiki picked up the Gazing Eye, heavy hearted, and wiping the tears from her face as her lip quivered some. She headed towards the summit where they'd place the box not long after discovering it. Her ascent wasn't terribly long, and covered in blood, covered in wounds, and emitting an incredible amount of malevolent forces, she approached the box at the castle's summit. Luxu was standing unseen from the distance as he watched closely. She opened the box with a tap, the power of the dark wielder burning all 13 locks without issue. She steeled herself betting on a chance as the cloudy sky opened up and the massive heart shaped moon appeared before her, pulsating in the sky waiting for her wish.

She steeled herself taking a breath, "Give us all another chance. I just want everything to start over!" she pointed her keyblade directly at the heart of hearts, flooding it with darkness and tainting the very fabric of the moon itself. It reciprocated her wish setting forth the events of a brand new world-line altogether. There was a price unfortunately, Shiki had forfeit her heart to the darkness fully in exchange for her wish and she became The Terminus X heartless. The Sky cracked, and she vanished from that spot along with Vista and Luxu who were the only other remaining that remembered these events.



We All Know How that Story Ends.
[The Sun That Will Not Rise - The Pillows]


As she drifted downward, she spoke a final peace unable to fight the draw from the purifying orb of light. "I'm coming to join you my friends...I can finally apologize to you all...thank you....everyone." As her body brushed against it she was purified of the final dark passenger and her heart released into the sky being drawn into the very moon.

His body staggered, but he could feel it was nearly ready, he smirked just a bit finally hearing the master's strongest disciple in history state their true feelings. Once he finally looked up towards the sky, the tower of Lucrecia's Anima split a hole and sky finally returned. Clear, the dark of night was not tinted with a bloody red-orange hue, but returned to a yellow and indigo covered space. Revealing what he suspected from the very start.

"O' Kingdom Hearts. Your malevolence is unprecedented."

There was a massive wave of darkness that billowed out from above pushing outward in all directions and Eth could feel it the heart-shaped moon physically beating, as it bled darkness from it's very core. When this world saw it's dark-wielder born, the box was used to summon kingdom hearts by force, such an act a dark specter from history whom crossed time itself did all out of hubris. It was getting dicey, Eth was running out of strength and he could finally feel it. It was time. Time was finally flowing again.

"O' Kingdom Hearts. Be cleansed and give back to this world line all that it's lost." Eth raised one arm and purged the X-blade in it. "Rest."

The Genkai Dama was pressed directly into the black heart shaped moon, and the intensity of the light wiped the world-line with a clean omni-directional wave of light. Eth's small smirk deviated into a smile, as he shot a beam of light from the X-blade through the Genkai Dama and released the lock on Kingdom Hearts, billowing out nothing but hearts trickling down all over. The world was going through a mass terra-form and all plots of land regarding the worlds were slowly beginning a gradual transformation and repurposing.

With that severance, the perilous infinite night finally drew to a close. The Dawn approached. Sunlight finally breaking on the horizon, and the bright flash from the Genkai dama started to wane. It's light washed all the way across the giant moon that'd finally been released, and hearts aforementioned hearts were scattering all throughout the world-line from Daybreak Town there on out. The X-blade vanished from Eth's hand as he leaned forward slowly floating downward with just a flicker of life holding his consciousness in place, he still had a few things to do before he could rest.

"Nngh...Ok that was...definitely a lot..." he muttered weakly as he floated down slowly landing on top of Try's body. "You...haha...why do you always have to do something reckless...scolding Sae...masking your mistakes...we're not that different are we huh?" Eth laughed weakly, but genuinely. True enough, it was tough for him to properly express his emotions after so much practice went into isolation, but this was about as authentic as he'd been since that instance in All is Lost a week ago.

Eth pulled himself up, and crushed his fist moving just a few short feet next to the closest structure, a tree trunk. Around him, the life was being re-woven back into the tree, the lush greens of the grass were becoming tinted with a radiant hue. He could actually hear birds chirping, as life and vegetation were gradually being restored and he was staring towards the East where the sun was peaking just over the horizon. He'd collected Try and her helmet, with it to the side and her head resting in his lap. There was a loud tattering of footsteps rushing over to him, as Shiki floated on a barrier carrying Luxu and Saebyeolbe.

"What just happened? What did you do Eth?" Komaeda nervously inquired, "That was beautiful." before he then proceeded to gush and rub his shoulder.

"Hmph." He snickered, "Something I saw about this world-line...is what effect all the others." he took a breath, remembering to breath as his fatigue was very real.

"Your awfully chummy with Try. Wanna fill us in?" Yamato folded his arms before he realized Reforge was clutching her body with a hug and casting Regen and Curaga repeatedly.

"Giant Lady noooooooooooo!" Reforge whined without relent before passing out tired, managing to heal Eth a bit before he maxed out himself.

"I swear, it can be the end of the world and we'll still get caught up in the usual shenanigans." Iontis sighed pressing two fingers to rub his temple.

The were engaged in their usual annoying banter, but Eth could see clear as day that their legs were wobbling right before his eyes as they collapsed right there into the grassy field. Kambria thumbed over, staring at Lucrecia and Jaz for a brief instance, before she sighed sitting on the other side of the tree's base next to Eth. Everyone was tired, without exception here. Eth exhaled, and he brushed both Try and Reforge's heads, the sounds of their light breathing from pure fatigue was actually comforting.

"Shiki." Eth said faintly as he lifted his head, "You and Sae did what needed to be done." Eth gave them the thumbs up.

Shiki looked at him and gave a nod.

"Personally. If I could've done it myself, I would've. I couldn't forgive her persistence of walking that path and continuing to cause more casualties without remorse or empathy. There are some people who...simply cannot be saved, that absolution....rests in the afterlife."

He stroked Try's head, "Some of us have killed, but we've weighed the deeds of our actions going forward and put forth an effort to make our lives and those affected, better. We've made it count, we've made it mean something, and those around us have seen us for what we're becoming. Better."

Eth sighed heavy, his eye-sight was starting to go blurry a bit, for once he actually feared falling asleep in this instance. He could hear the sound of Reforge snoring, Kambria fell asleep sitting next to him, and Iontis and Yamato were dozing off with their backs to each other. Komaeda stood directly in front of Eth and he kneeled down, looking at Try, Reforge, Kambria, and then Eth before he smiled as usual.

"That was a spectacular display of light. I must say Eth, it's all been quite interesting." Komaeda reached behind him and pointed the revolver directly at Eth. "I believe you understand."

Eth's eye's widened, a breath escaped his lungs and it was tedious to even speak as his chest felt tight. Typical. Everyone's stamina was expended, even Shiki eventually collapsed with Saebyeolbe and Luxu no better off. Lucrecia was still on her feet, conscious staring at Nagato, but Finis spoke.

"What's
the meaning of this?" her ominous voice doubled over Lucrecia's.

"You've got exactly one bullet left don't you." Eth could see the chambers were empty save for the loaded and concealed one. "What do you think is going to happen if you miss?"

Nagito shrugged, tapping his his watched, he pulled the notch back arming the round. "I didn't want to believe any of what Shiki said. About the light. About the darkness, but she ended up being right from the very start. Even the light...has tyrants. Even the darkness, has champions." his finger grasped around, "But this is about you Eth. I'm simply taking advantage of the situation to take everything I've always wanted from you. Your resolve."

"Hmph." his heart rate was rapidly increasing, tensing his chest even more, was this anxiety? "I saved you from shooting yourself...all those years ago. Perhaps it was your luck that saved you that day."

Eth smiled, surprisingly enough Nagito's hand wavered some, "Why are you smiling? Don't you understand what I'm trying to achieve right now? Look at you, what you can do in this situation!!" his sharp retort revealed his nerves, this was a half-baked plan.

"You're more reliable than you've given yourself credit for. Try told me you saved her life, a guy like that who'd throw his own life away to save another, no matter how unhinged in temperament, has proven their trust."

Reaching his hand forward, past the gun, he clutched at the back of Nagito's neck and pressed his forehead into his own. "I can laugh like this, because I don't sense any malice." he slid off to Eth's right side where he tucked him under his arm. "Everyone just needs to rest their bodies, their minds, and their hearts...watch the sky."

The gun rolled away into the grass as Nagito turned, faintly letting go of his resistance and started to drift away as the other did giving into his fatigue finally. At the base of the tree, Eth had gathered them all, it wasn't an ideal spot to rest yet they were well out of danger. He watched the sky as the hearts were finally returning home. Staring at Kingdom Hearts in the sky, Finis sat under the Tree, giving way to Lucrecia to pass out under the base beside Nagito, with Jay beside her.

That was officially everyone gathered under the tree. The sun had moved just over the horizon, and you could see the dandelions across the stretch of green. The castle had virtually been repairing itself as the light re-constructed the damage dealt from the chaos and decay. In Eth's mind, he thought fondly of the master, and he at the very least understood that he was still waiting for them. All of them, but taking a look around him, everyone had effectively gone to sleep. Shiki, Saebyeolbe, Luxu, Iontis, Yamato, Lucrecia, Jay/Jaz, Komaeda, Try, Reforge, and Kambria. He'd never seen everyone so exhausted before that he couldn't just demand they all move, but this level of both comfort as well as trust to fall asleep in the middle of a former battlefield, perhaps they just knew they were safe.

"I'd of protected you all even through fatigue." his head leaned against the tree, "Thanks everyone. You deserve this small reprieve."

He uttered before joining them, finally slipping unconscious.
 

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As I looked to the sky, I could feel Jaz holding fast against me. To see and feel the overwhelming luminescence radiating from Eth on the verge of connecting was nothing short of awe-inspiring and all eyes on him. I started to recall those days I spent with him and Saebyeolbe both in the days that followed the master's departure. Funnily enough, that crazy fool had been battling the Dark Shiki with their own Shiki this entire time. I caught a glimpse of him for but a moment in what looked like a dive bomb heading straight for Eth's ball of light, only to see a single person fall into it's unyielding light.

"He's no stranger to crazy plans...idiot...you shouldn't go doing risqué things like that..." I muttered almost inaudibly.

"Hmm?" Jay said as she tilted her head.

We all had our Shiki to thank for that moron's survival. I envied him, if I had half his physical strength maybe I would be unconsciously throwing my body in front of danger instinctively like he always did, time and time again. Then again...as I watched the sky light up and the ball of light start moving towards the heart shaped moon, and Eth beneath it I remembered something more. This image of him we could no longer picture following a decision to spare the traitor and somehow, by a miracle of sorts, convinced them not to kill me despite my state of mind and terrible string of actions. Whether I could be forgiven or not, that kind of strength to unite allies with one on the surface perceived as a hostile threat, broke everything my father ever instilled in me, and HE did that.

I could feel Jay's fatigue as he collapsed onto my back and I slowly started to walk with him barely conscious clutched over my shoulder. "You really shouldn't over do it you know." I said scolding him.

"Just don't go doing anything crazy again..." he was unlikely to recant this, but he slumped along as we walked forward.

The World Enders around me and Jay/Jaz had fallen to the hands of the remainder of our allies. The moon had been purified and it effectively cleansed the hearts that were held captive on the worldline, and were released with the respective power from the X-blade slowly restoring the worldline upon Eth's wish made. I marveled as he fell gently and graced Try who'd suffered a direct strike from a bolt of lightning earlier. Moving ever closer to where the rest of us were, he took purchase at the base of a tree that sat on a hill. As the ground beneath our feet began to become populated with lush greens and grassy fields, the light of dawn had been unleashed upon Daybreak Town. The restoration was happening in real time and I was captivated for a few moments watching the debris that scattered fall back into place, and the life was returning before our very eyes.

I gently rested Jay/Jaz at the tree on the opposite side of it, their snores were evident of immense fatigue. Turning my head Shiki floated down with Sae and Luxu on a barrier, giving him and me both a look of a job well done, before she too passed out in close proximity of the tree. Hearing Ref's shrill voice sob while clinging to Try's posterior and effectively casting Regen and Cure spells until he passed out himself. Kambria sat next to Eth, we barely exchanged looks, but in brief she too passed out. Yamato and Iontis had already collapsed near Shiki, Sae, and Luxu with their backs towards each other, utterly burned out. That left only the three of us.

Me, Eth, and Komaeda still standing. Ironic thinking about it, we'd only all ever been a set of three only a handful of times in my memory, I had flashes to the gun he drew on me with a little game of Russian roulette. Imagine my surprise when he brandished It again and pointed it directly at Eth who had the remainder of our comrades huddled around him. My mind was so overwhelmed at the site of this, I was tired as well but I couldn't stop staring at him.


"I believe you understand." he said it like there was some unspoken communication between the two of them.

I was bewildered, but Finis urged on by his instance with unrest of her own, "What's the meaning of this?" her ominous voice spoke over my own.

As their exchange continued, it became abundantly clear that Nagito was after Eth's resolve, gifted to him by the master. Light and Time powers that proved to be an invaluable asset up to this point. Sure he and I were in a team, but I'd never seen his affinity for Time until recently, I wondered if he ever used It all. In any case, as tired as everyone was, it was just us and their conversation intrigued me further as Eth didn't reject him or even express an ounce of malice or resentment, he gently smiled and said something so familiar...


"You're more reliable than you've given yourself credit for. Try told me you saved her life, a guy like that who'd throw his own life away to save another, no matter how unhinged in temperament, has proven their trust."

It nearly broke my mind as an image of the master's visage appeared in my head on the day we bid farewell to him, he said almost the exact same thing to Nagi at the time. The expression of Nagito's face seemed foolish and laced with regret, and as Eth reached with his free arm to disarm him he fully embraced him under his arm. Unconsciously I released a deep sigh of relief collapsing to my knees and exhaling sharply once again. Eth and I were now the only two still conscious at this point, but I was approaching my limit and we were all well outside of any immediate danger.

"Hey...Eth, if you're still with me..." my voice trailed off faintly as I clutched the grass. "It was fun being your teammate and comrade, I could never really figure you out, but maybe thats just how your commitment made you operate, it's fine I guess..."

I moved towards Kambria's lap and rested my head there. Almost unconsciously, she placed her hand on my head and stroked, I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief for the first time in all of this mess we'd found ourselves in since waking up without our memories. All I could think of now, was seeing the master and apologizing to him for my warped misunderstanding of what he wanted me to do. I suppose you could say that I was just happy to do what was needed of me in the first place.

"You better wake up...we've got a master to reunite with..." I finally dozed off slipping unconscious with everyone else.


____________________
I could only feel myself falling as I slumbered amongst the comfort of my allies. The sound of feint breathes coming from them seem to seep into my very dreams, yet still I fell. As if I had been submerged in water, I sank further and further still beneath the pull of the current unconscious. Finally within the space of my own dream, I opened my eyes and I saw my guilt manifest in real time.

From losing myself in the realm of darkness on the precipice of death. To retaliation against Try were she and I nearly dealt fatal wounds to Saebyeolbe. I was revisiting visages of my guilt and irrevocable set of actions set in motion. I somehow landed on the memory of me standing on the fountain, where I fought tooth and nail to defend the world's keyhole only to see Try attempt to do the right thing by sealing it. She unsealed it and the darkness came rushing in and a harrowed end was born as a result of her actions and I was beyond exasperated.

What was I witnessing? Dreaming. I could see the progress of my very life in this hellscape all the way into the present. I'd even witnessed my older sister Vi...who disobeyed our father, the woman that supported the two rouge hybrids...finally get arrested. My physical features had changed so much she didn't recognize me and I suppose I was relieved and grateful for that. That flash to my past, where Eth, Sae, and I had encountered them for the first time.

Finally I landed, touching the platform beneath my feet and the stained glass below me reflected the master and twelve others faces in iconoclast displays. I found myself on the platform, glowing red with a duality connected to Lady Finis of all things. Brushing my hand against the imagery, I found a sense of closure here, as I'd long since accept the woes and regrets that came with the decisions I'd made up to this point. Forgiveness had to be earned, but if it was the only thing I worried about I'd get lost in redemption when there was still so much more to do and think about. I may not be a resolute anymore...but my comrades hadn't completely abandoned me, and I was grateful for them.

I could see the platform glowing even brighter as the light was pulling me back. Back. Back to the reality we were creating right before our very eyes.
 
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A dark, endless expanse. Not a spec of light, no foothold, no stars, no moon. Complete silence except the sound of a Heart beating faintly. Try recognized it as the sound of her Heart, was it proof that she was still alive? Hardly, the Heart could not be destroyed so easily. All it proved was that she still existed. Her Soul ached, latching onto whatever it could. It reached desperately, and it found it still had a Body to call home.

She landed onto something solid. She shivered, still feeling the touch of rain and the pain of lightning in her veins. Was everyone alright? What happened to Eth? She needed to wake up, she needed to-

“******?” She opened her eyes, suddenly finding herself sitting at a campfire. The sound of wood popping, the arid breeze of a desolate wasteland, it was her homeworld. The voice that called out to her was one she hadn’t heard in a while. After all, they were supposed to be dead.

“Ayre? How?-” She asked breathlessly. Her friend was here. Dark gray hair, bright golden eyes, beautiful androgynous features, and a faint smile that twisted her heart.

“In there.” Her long deceased friend stood up and poked at her chest. “My body died, but my Heart found its way to you.” They spoke, the sound of their voice causing the blood in her ears to thump, her mind to race. “I know, I know. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you, but I never had the chance. A lone Heart with no Body, no Soul, it’s hard to do anything really.”

“I… I’m sorry, because of me you-” Try stammered. Ayre stepped over to her and placed a hand on her head.

“I made my choice, and we both know you didn’t have one. And you know what, I don’t want to talk about me, I want to talk about you.” Ayre ruffled her hair just like they did in the past. It calmed her down, just like it always did. “I’ve been watching you know. I’ve seen all of the friends you’ve made.”

“W-watching?”

“That’s right, and I have to wonder, when are you going to let them in?” Their hand moved from the top of her head and instead caressed her cheek. She could feel the warmth of their hand as if they were really there. Try could never lose in a match of strength, so this was how they restrained her. She was like putty in their hand.

“I don’t know what you mean.” Try spoke rapidly, averting her eyes.

“I know, and that’s the problem.” They lightly pinched Try’s cheek. “You don’t have to be so strong all the time. You can handle a lot, sure, but you’ve got people around you that can carry some of that weight for you.”

Try rubbed her cheek, she was quiet for a moment. “The only thing I’m good at is breaking stuff. Monsters, buildings… people. The fighting will be over soon, and so will my reason for sticking around.”

“You really think they’d be better off without you?”

“I know they would be.” Try’s voice trailed off.

“What exactly have you been fighting for?” They asked. Try blinked.

“I… I have a job to do. I can at least be useful now befo-” Ayre suddenly tackled Try, causing them both to crash to the ground.

“Before what, you go find a hole to die in!?” They screamed. It wasn’t wrong, but she’d never said as much to anyone. “Would that make everyone happy? Do you think they’d just go ‘oh well’ and move on with their lives?” Try felt tears fall on her face, they stung.

“I wanted to escape with you, I really did. More than anything I wanted to be with you. But I despaired, I ran, I threw away my life.” Ayre wiped the tears from their eyes. “But worst of all, I left you alone. I can’t let you make the same mistake.”

Try turned her head away. “I was fine. I’m strong after all.” She said, her voice a raspy whisper.

“I know how strong you are, but like I said, I’ve been watching you for a long time. That helmet you wear… I know that it wasn’t there just to keep the Darkness bottled up.” Ayre pulled Try up, making the two of them sit up, only inches apart. Ayre waited for Try to respond, but she simply averted her eyes again. “When you spend so much time in the dark, light can be blinding, huh?” Ayre lightly grabbed Try’s chin and turned her face to look her in the eyes. “I want you to live, Lavina.” Her real name, she hadn’t heard it in years.

The words caused a shudder in her body. It had been so long, her thoughts rearranged many times over the years. What she wanted shifted like the sand on the shore of a beach. The moment she was ordered to kill Ayre, the sensation of carrying their lifeless body, sleepless nights agonizing over how things could have been different. Through it all, there was something she needed to hear, she just didn’t know it. After all, it should have been impossible. Try reached out and wrapped her arms around Ayre, her eyes streaming tears.

“I think you get it now.” They whispered, stroking Try’s hair. “Ah, I think our time’s up.” Ayre looked up at a crack in the sky, from which a warm light shined. “I don’t think we’ll be able to talk for a while. Be good, alright?” They stood up, pushing Try from the embrace.

“Ayre! I promise I’ll come for you, I’ll get your body back, I’ll do whatever it takes!” Try yelled as she felt her body lift from the ground as she raised into the sky. Ayre smiled back.

“Oh, I never got the chance to respond to you the last time we met.” Ayre pulled Try’s hand and brought her close to them. Ayre then-


______________


Try awoke wide eyed, with her right hand outstretched towards the sky. Her arm was covered in scrapes and mud, and the rest of her wasn’t much different. In spite of all of that, she felt amazing. She tried to sit up, only to find a young boy resting on top of her. She carefully picked him up and stood up, only to then realize that she was on top of Eth. “Oh… OH!” She nearly dropped Ref as she kneeled down to Eth’s face. “You’re still alive, and everyone else…” Her shoulders slumped as she realized that they’d all made it out that hellish world in one piece, she could relax for now at least.

She sat Ref down onto the grass and began stretching her arms and legs. “Break time for now, but as soon as you all wake up we’ve got some business to take care of. We’ve got a box and a block headed master to see!”
 

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The thought had always crossed his mind, quite often, if his choices were the right ones. Am I doing the right thing? was the internal question that Saebyeolbe had often posed to himself. His consciousness lay scattered as he drifted away into a sleep scape of sorts. There was a warm resonance as he drifted along downwards feeling seeming depart from his fragile form. A heart illuminating from his chest, and taking on physical form caressing him in it's arms.

"Unnnh....hmm?" he uttered weakly, as his adrenaline waned into pure exhaustion, even as he rested in the sleep scape. "Y-you....?!"

>>Karma Police - Radiohead<<

Sae had jerked, using what remaining strength he had to clutch at the face of one he recognized from way back when. "Alison...I'm definitely hallucinating again..."

"Not quite, squirt." she rested his head in her lap as he looked straight up from there, still barely able to move. "We need to talk, seriously just what have you been doing with your life Ol'be?"

Saebyeolbe paused, he let out a difficult sigh barely able to even move properly, he finally just sank into her lap and succumb to a complete shutdown of his motor skills. "Not having a father, or you around, I was never a stoic...you know this...I was angry, wanted retribution for your death and our home getting torched by that scumbag..."

"I never needed avenging Sae..." Alison stroked his head, "Saving you was my choice, because you didn't deserve to die like the rest of us...so unceremoniously, whether we were criminals and vagrants wasn't justification for genocide..."

"I...don't even know what happened to him...." Sae's face twisted with grief, "I trained so hard...for so many years...and I couldn't defeat him, we stalemated. I felt terrible about it and tried to make up for it by following your example."

"Really squirt-" she sounded unconvinced, "-and what example was that huh?"

"My body...just acts on it's own in order to protect something or someone, but it only does that when...I care about them?" Sae moved his arm with all his strength to place it on her face. "...But I realized...my idolization for your example...was just me wanting to eventually accomplish saving someone and dying in the process...all so I could be with you again. In the next life."

It had gotten eerily quiet as Sae continued, "I love the people I'm surrounded by currently...but none of them are you, they never will be...and I've missed and love you for so many years I..."

"You couldn't give them your heart could you?" Ally struck a nerve within Sae, "So you put on a facade to cover up how losing me and failing to get closure from pursuing vengeance, nothing was resolved. It was slowly destroying you, so you misrepresented yourself, never talked to them about how you've suffered and just expected them to accept you interfering over and over again?"

She rubbed he knuckles against his head, "Stop acting so self-righteous and making all these terrible choices without talking to anyone. When you make assumptions about others, when you don't make yourself vulnerable to them, when you don't communicate and make an effort to understand...you suffer even more Sae..."

"Ally...I..." Sae stammered his words, "I...I just wanted to follow your example...but I never knew how to talk to them about my feelings...I thought it would be way too much to put on any one of them e-even Shiki. She doesn't want to hear me soapbox about my home, you, and my failed revenge..."

"I swear you're an idiot squirt...if nothing else she was waiting for you to confide in her. No one ever said you were forced to tell your friends anything about yourself, but it seems really unusual to barely ever talk about yourself and your experiences and allow yourself to be vulnerable with people you'll go out of your way to protect. Though, it seems like Shiki figured it out anyway after spending so much time with her, regardless of whether you said anything at all."

"I was afraid they'd think was no different than him...our home world was a hub for criminals...not to mention I wanted revenge against a vigilante who wiped out our home and all those criminals...they'd think I was some freak who'd gone postal. Can you imagine??" Sae shuddered at the thought.

Ally sighed, "Not wanting to be associated with home is one thing, but not trusting people you're spending endless days on end with that information is an entirely different issue squirt. Even he finally opened up to your group about why he was distant, I could feel how intense and genuine his address was all the way from inside your heart. It convinced you for sure, but didn't really embolden you to share your inner turmoil you've been dealing with this entire time."

Sae leaned up off of Ally's lap, and sighed. His chest tightened, and he pressed a hand into his chest feeling the anxiety collect and build in place. She wrapped her arms around his head and pressed him into a caress as she hugged him.

"I didn't know how to tell them...I didn't even know where to start..." Sae started to sob, "I miss you so much. I miss not having to think about any of this. Just running away from the shopkeeper Amir and only worrying about you and you only, I don't care what happens to me! I never cared! I just wanted to be dead for a chance to see you again!"

Her caress quickly turned into a headlock as she throttled him for saying something so stupid, callous, and absurd. "Can't...BREATHE!" he coughed wildly.

"Don't you dare say something so insane. All of those people love you in their own way, trying to run from their affection when thats the last thing you want. All this trauma, from what happened to us...well it's time you stopped running from it all." she kissed his forehead, "Since you don't seem to listen to anyone else, listen to me then Sae. Trust them. Return their affections. Share your woes, pain, and suffering with them. Be the family you've been advocating for, it makes no sense to say it and not do the work squirt. Allow them agency to give you a chance and you do the same for them."

Ally proceeded to burrow her knuckle into the top of his silver hair, "Don't you ever lie to me again either. You care about yourself, just because you lie like that deliberately doesn't mean others won't see right through you. No one that truly wants to die would fight so hard to live as you have this entire time, guilt or no guilt. Live and be better for the time you have your life Ol'be."

His vision doubled, chest tightened, and he felt as though the dream was ending and the sting of that reality came to a head.

Sae couldn't stop crying, he was outright in shambles bawling and just could not stop. His squirming around, the tears that left his eyes, bled over into his body's motion. He awoke to feel tears leave his eyes, and caress Shiki's lap as his head was placed there, looking just over to see Luxu passed out next to him and Shiki resting her back to a barrier sitting upright. Was that all a dream? He asked himself candidly, but raised his body off of Shiki's lap and sat up to do a quick scan.

"The world looks....like it's healing itself....?" Sae uttered, and turned to see a majority of them at the base of a a tree under Eth's arms. With an incredible amount of effort he was able to raise his entire body to a standing position. Looking down at Shiki from where he was standing, he touched his lips, remembering that he did in fact kiss her...the difference between then and now, was his brain finally stopped to process that he even did that, and he blushed. 'She probably thinks I'm insanely impulsive for that....'

He leaned down and stroked her face, it made him smile, this must've been what Ally was trying to tell him. There was no getting around it anymore, not when she quite literally saved his life actively when he was prepared to end himself along with the Dark Shiki, in turn Shiki saved him.

He didn't want to die. His eyes managed to lock onto Try who'd started to move not long afterward. It was already an adjustment to see her without her helmet, though it wasn't so out of the ordinary for him now as it cracked once before. He tossed Luxu on his back, and lifted Shiki into his arms to carry her towards the tree everyone had fallen asleep under, resting them against it. It seemed to be giving off some kind of healing effect, based on observation, Sae wondered if this was apart of this kind of world-changing effect.

"Hey...Try." Sae was crouched down looking at Shiki and Luxu before he turned his head to her, "I saw that bolt of lightning hit you earlier...every atom in my body was screaming at me to stop attacking the Dark Shiki and move you to safety..."

A tear ran down his cheek, "...For once...I couldn't just stop what I was doing...I couldn't be that impulsive Saebyeolbe that always meddles and gets in the way trying to save everyone...because if I stopped for even a second, she would've killed me and I would've potentially gotten you killed in the process..." Sae sighed, "So I trusted Eth to recover your body and move you to safety...and I trusted Shiki to save me from well...myself."

Sae shook his head and shrugged his shoulders, he was truly baffled by it all.

"You're the only one conscious to hear any of this...so I'll tell you this at the very least Try...I really want to apologize to the master, for worrying and obsessing during his passing. That at any point if he could've resurfaced...he would've done so...for not trusting the rest of you...whether you knew anything about where he was or not...he certainly kept Shiki busy figuring out where he went...let alone how we'd even reach him."

"But still...I'm just glad everyone is alive and we're all still together...I don't think I could bare an ending where we tried to kill each other like our predecessors before us." he exhaled again and gave a quick scan, looking at Eth, then Komaeda, then Kambria and Lucrecia. "Once this is done, I hope our family...still wants to be a family, you know?"
 

Ðari

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Eth drifted deep into some of the most peaceful slumber he'd experienced in quite a while. Making physical contact with several people seemed to have an unintended effect on him, it was extremely comforting. Power over memory was potent, special, though something he shared with another...one that for a time, erased their very existence from time itself. His chest inflated as he inhaled gently, ever so slightly moving Try and Reforge sprawled out on his lap, and slightly shifting Kambria and Nagito at his shoulder and side. His muscles tensed minimally, and he was finally able to relax, and from there images of a past coveted jealousy, began to unravel.



Who is Ð "Eth"?
[Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (GBA) ~ La Pace] (set to loop)


Underwater....Sinking.... Further....Further Down...Isn't that how these "Dive to Heart" usually go...?

His eyes opened, would you believe it, he was a kid...again? What the hell was this? Drifting along underwater he was pulled further down, seemingly landing at the base of a small abode. Eth's eyes widened, as his pupils shrank remembering. This was his home, as he reached for the door, he entered with something of an uncharacteristic sense of panic. "Hello? Mother...?" he announced it just loud enough as his sneakers tread on the squeaky wooden floorboards. As he'd entered the living room, a brunette-haired woman was holding a white-haired child. Eth reached his hand out as the other rest on the wall, calling for her again. "
Mother...brother...it's...."

He lowered his hand, remembering, as the image of what he saw started to fracture and crack quite literally. A physical manifestation of his power over memories in his early years, with no discipline or control, the scene started to crumble away leaving only his mother holding his brother in her arms.

"Why did you run away? Ethari." she turned holding his brother in her arms.

Eth clutched his chest; he hadn't been called that in well over two decades. "
You...remember me?" he spoke slowly, "You and brother forgot about me...the power I wielded over memory was unchecked and untrained. I didn't mean to wipe myself from your lives..."

"I've missed you, my precious son. I don't know when we remembered...but, your brother went searching for you..." his mother started to fade into the background as everything was turning to glass, crumbling and shattering around Eth.

Once again, he was spirited away sinking even further down into his subconscious, he wasn't entirely sure what the point of this dive to heart was supposed to achieve, but teetering on the precipice of sleep and death wasn't something he was ever truly excited for. Landing of what felt like a solid surface, there looked to be two logs and a fire pitched at the center of it. A body was sitting on one of the logs, fiddling around with a magnum 8 chambered revolver.


"Nagito...? This is just getting even weirder..." Eth scratched his head and stumbled over to sit on the log across from him.

"Do you remember now?" he said while carefully inspecting the gun, "You and Me. We're cut from the same cloth, same blood, but different curses."

"
You'll have to catch me up to speed...why are you even occupying this space with me right now. Who are you really?" Eth had a bit of base in his tone, he was truly in a frenzy with all the images being shown.

"You and I, we're brothers. Ethari. When you erased our mother's and my own memories on accident all those years ago, it escalated the awakening of my powers. Through something unexplained, my powers affected yours as they developed. Misfortune...Bad Luck...Fate, whatever you'd call it, prompted your powers to wipe me and mom's memories. I only remember you as some strange kid that was crying when our mother had no idea whose child you were. She called for someone to take you to an orphanage for lost children without parents. That's about all that I could remember of you from childhood, vaguely remember what you looked like or even your name." Komaeda was loading a single round into the chamber.

"How....are you even cognizant of any of this...? Why should I trust a thing you're even saying, you're not even using his real name." Eth protested.

"Neither are you." he pressed the gun chamber in and spun to rotate at complete random. "The master told me in private before. That it was extremely uncommon for two people to manifest similar conceptual resolves, with varying differences in their complexity and be unrelated. I was jealous of you because of it. I wanted for so long to covet the light you wielded, and I had no idea we were even related all this time."

He pointed the gun at Eth again, even in the dreamscape.

"
I only figured it out...just now...and I'm torn about this. We've never physically touched before you took me into your grasp, and it was like a transfer happened and I got a small glimpse into your memories that were connected to me, and only those. We're brothers. All this time...all this fucking time you were my kin and even I didn't know. ME, the most cunning of the lot didn't notice such a minute detail." Nagito clutched his head with the gun still raised and pointed. "Mom still doesn't even know she has a second son, what did you spend all the time doing Ethari...? Running away from us, running away from any connection because you couldn't control something that could ruin the lives of those connected to you? Your power doesn't work on people you have no connection with, it's like a web, if you're outside of it, everything is fine. Once you're in the web, you're affected by it...you're just like our ancestor in a much bigger picture sense."

Eth's eyes were following Nagito's and then the gun, a little mini-back and forth to see what he was actually going to do with it. Death in the dive to heart for either of them easily meant a 1-way ticket to kingdom hearts as they were technically passing between sleep and death's limbo. He had to acknowledge what he was saying...there was a point where Eth did learn to control his power over memory, and it is as he said, it's like a web. People he builds bonds with, become susceptible to it's effects, it doesn't work on strangers or single interaction, or more promptly, his heart must be the one sharing the connection, to disallow that connection is how he was trained to govern control over himself and his power through the Master of Master's guidance. Simultaneously it was a double-edged sword, even more than using his power over memory was the growing need for companionship and connection that he absolutely struggled with for years in his efforts and duty to perfect a perpetual state of isolation and tempered control.

"I'm sorry for making you and mother wait so long... Revy." a single tear beaded from Eth's left eye harboring the "0".

"
You...you even remember my name??" it plastered a look of shock on Komaeda's face, he gripped the gun tight. "The only reason I even took an alias in the first place is because of safety reasons. Other than the Master, no one else knew, it wouldn't surprise me if all of us were using aliases or false names. What's even more shocking, is you don't look anything like how you do outside of this place, guessing you can change your appearance at will huh?"

"Well, the short answer is it simplified my ability to isolate myself from the rest of you if you didn't know what I really looked like. I shortened my name to Ð as I didn't want to garner any attention to my real name. As far as the aftermath of erasing mother's and your memories...I'm sorry Revy. For the sake of the task ahead, and the unwavering dedication to the Master and his cause, I couldn't rectify the situation until I had both mastered my abilities and repaid the master in full by seeing his prophecy through to the very end." Eth released a deep sigh as he opened his palm and it illuminated a feint silvery-white "...Sorry about this, I'll right everything once this is done, but I can't let you remember anything til I tell you myself. Face to face."

"You wouldn't dare...Ethari why are you doing this?? Unghh...!"

The Scene started to fade to white, his face wrinkled a bit as he had to say goodbye for now to his beloved younger brother. The gun tensed in his hand, and he finally pulled the trigger. ~BANG!


Master Wherefore Art Thou?

There was a loud ringing noise in his ear. Sound was distorted, as if he were underwater, the ringing just would not stop. His eyes were desperately searching for consciousness and light, and slowly he started to make out what was a lush green landscape. Seems Daybreak Town on the original worldline had finally been restored. Eerily enough, Eth couldn't feel weight on his body, Try wasn't there, neither was Reforge, Kambria and Komaeda were also gone, as he looked around. Quite literally everyone was up and about, looking at feeling rejuvenated. As he moved himself he could feel a pulse of rejuvenating light coming from the tree pumping all throughout the field, seems this was a the perfect spot to set everyone down to rest after all.

Eth raised his body up and the others turned to him.

"Well it's about time you got up. Err..." Yamato stopped himself as he scratched his head, "Thanks for taking care of the hard part Eth, this place looks like recovery is still possible but-"

Iontis cut him off, "I certainly hope our actions here don't impede too much upon our worldline."

Jaz prodded her two index fingers together, "All those other resolutes...our predecessors...are they gonna be reborn as well?"

Eth comfortably gave her a nod, "Yes. All of the dark wielders from the alternate worldlines have been sent into the cycle of reincarnation. The wish that I made on this Kingdom Heart's was one that drew from all the existing worldlines, so events here are going effect all of the others as well. By the nature of doing that, the worldline we came from is going to be something of an anomaly now, we'll be heading back to tie up our loose-ends. That anomaly, is The End of Time. Where our beloved Master is waiting for us."

Shiki smiled, "When everyone's ready, lets not keep our Master waiting too long."

"If the Master is waiting for us, I've got plenty of questions for him." Komaeda smirked, he seemed to not recall his encounter in Eth's dive to heart, giving Eth a sigh of relief.

"Saebyeolbe." Eth called to him as he was speaking to Try, "I know that must've been really difficult for you, but thank you for doing what needed to be done." he gave a curt bow of respect.

"Try." Eth approached her "You've been invaluable to all of us here. Thank you for always protecting us, maybe in the future you'll actually tell us what your name is, an example I'll set right when everything is done. I hope you stick around, we've grown to love you here."He proceeded to give Try a hug, the most stoic among them doing an emotional gesture of this magnitude was simply unheard of. He placed his hands on her shoulder, "Look sharp, you're matching your suit."

The hint of a smile that formed on him was new, and didn't go unnoticed. As they gathered round there was a looming sense of relief, as the people that now started to re-populate the world began work on restoring some of the ruin of daybreak town. You'd think if they'd stay long enough to see it become.
~Scala Ad Caelum.

The game board was relatively cleared out now. There were currently thirteen pieces left in play for the master's end, the King was in his corner. On the Darkness end, but a single piece remained, and a wall of the master's pieces were about to fell upon the lone king all at the same time. The master jested, as they'd been playing this game for what has felt like an eternity, but it seems like it was all finally about to wrap itself up. At this point what more was there left for the Darkness that remained to even say? Nothing could be explained, defended, commented on for its own existence.

"I've watched your little peons...fail countless times, but it appears as if this is the real deal. Expansion has been halted, 19 other darknesses have been completely expunged and purged from the worldlines, only I now remain."

"Well well well." The Master provided a bit of a smug tone, "Aren't you enjoying the new scenery thanks to their meddling? Our timeless little refuge suddenly shifted into an unreality not even I could have predicted."

The formless expanse started to change, becoming littered with buildings of an afterlife akin to that of a modern day Shibuya. "My old friend. We'll be expecting my protege fairly soon, I believe this will be the last game that you and I play. So what happens when the 20th darkness is finally snuffed out completely? Honestly..." he lingered on. "I still have one final move to make. One more piece left to play."

"Oh? What did you have in mind Young Master?" the Darkness inquired further.

"Shhhhhh, listen you know the audience doesn't like spoilers right? We'll save it to be revealed when they arrive!" the master laughed and opened the sliding door to the apartment that him and the darkness occupied. "They'll be arriving soon. That wish upon Kingdom Hearts on the original worldine has only served to retcon the home they once knew. Everything from here on out, is being constructed second by second. I can't wait to see this new dawn, O' Resolute mine."

It's Magnum Opus, Kingdom Hearts forged itself in the sky, casting an image of the original Worldline, and the master coveted a smile beneath his hood.


Chapter 6 End
Another Time Another Worldline
 
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