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Pantheon: Tales Of The Alliance Book Three
Tales Of the Alliance Book Three

The third book in the Tales Of the Alliance.

Book One here

Book Two here

Have We Met?

Epsilon walked through the Pantheon, looking for the House of Life And Death. At least, that was where the Main House had told him to go, once they declared him God of Rebirth by Memory. He was in his cobalt ghost form; he had no need for a body, having fully accepted his nature as an AI.

Epsilon: So, if Mapquest is any good, it should be next to the House of Sports. I wonder if they have Grifball?

Eventually, after three hours of frustration with Mapquest, Epsilon found himself at the door of the House of Life and Death. He entered, and was surprisingly impressed.

Epsilon: Huh. I was expecting something more... hellish.

Epsilon began to wander the halls, looking for his designated House 17-A. As he kept looking, he crossed paths with a busty blond woman (one that Tucker would probably hit on in a flash) with some weird bunny-thing floating behind her.

Epsilon: Um, excuse me... Do you know where House 17-A is?
Mami: I think that if you take a left, then two rights, you'll find your house.
Epsilon: OK. Thanks! *thinking* For some reason, that bunny-thing made me think of Sheila...
Mami: *thinking*: Isn't he already in the House of Philosophy? Maybe I'm just mistaken...

As Epsilon followed Mami's directions, he came across a tall orange-haired guy wearing a BFS.

Ichigo: So, Church, when are we gonna launch our offensive on Tsukishima?
Epsilon: ...wait, what?
Ichigo: You don't remember? Your ghost form is intangible, unlike mine, so you're immune to his Book of the End. You can beat him. We went over this last week, remember?
Epsilon: Look, I just got here. I think you got the wrong guy.
Ichigo: ...Okay...

Ichigo, with a look of confusion, walked away. Epsilon was equally confused.

Epsilon: Why would he know me? That doesn't make any sense.

Continuing to follow Mami's directions, he eventually found his House; however, as he began to walk towards it, he came across an oh-so-familiar fellow.

Aozaki: Church, this is the fifth body I've made for you. How do you keep losing them?
Alpha: Look, I tried to do the House of Combat's new War Games program, but I keep getting my ass kicked by Vash, the Chief, the 501st... basically, anyone who can use a gun! Even the Dovahkiin beat me with his hunting bow! It's fucking bullshit! And my bodies got lost in the carnage!
Aozaki: Maybe you should learn how to aim straight?
Alpha: Trust me, I try- Wait, who the hell is that?

Alpha turned towards Epsilon.

Epsilon: Oh, hey...
Alpha: *aims his rifle at Epsilon* Who are you? Why do you look like me? ...Wait, you're not one of my time-clones, right? I knew that Akemi chick wasn't up to any good. She probably made a copy of me with Wyoming's time unit...
Epsilon: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm not from the future.
Alpha: Then what are you?
Aozaki: I'd rather not get involved with this. *quickly walks away*
Epsilon: You want the long version or the short version?
Alpha: *lowers his gun* Give me the version in three parts.

After Epsilon explained, Alpha took a while to comprehend these events.

Alpha: So... you're my memories? And you remember the things I don't remember?
Epsilon: Like the fact that you're really a Jerkass Woobie? Yeah, I remember that. *voice goes low* All of it...
Alpha: Yeah, well, why don't you show me these old memories of yours?
Epsilon: Okay. Don't think you'll like them, though. They're pretty fucked up...

Epsilon placed one of his hands onto Alpha. After a few seconds, nothing happened.

Epsilon: Huh, that... that usually works.
Alpha: I knew it. You're a liar. Or maybe you're like that Cloud guy. Either way, you're not my memories.
Epsilon: Yeah, well... why don't we put that to the test?
Alpha: How?
Epsilon: Sniper Duel in the House of Combat. We try to peg each other, and you'll see that I'm just as lousy with the sniper as you are. That's the only way I can prove it.
Alpha: Yeah, well, bring it, asshole! I can wipe the floor with you anyday! Besides, you don't even have a body.
Epsilon: ...fuck. I'll just get one from that lady you were talking to, then.
Alpha: Yeah, well, I gotta go catch some Z's at the House of Philosophy. Got a whole day of arguing ahead of me.

After Alpha left, Epsilon entered his house for the first time and lay down on his bed (or, at least, he lay down as best as his intangible form could).

Homulily?

Somewhere around a nefarious hallway, the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker, were sitting down at a corner, blogging using a cellphone. It reads as follows.

Joker's Blog: Been a damn while since I sprung into action, huh? I've been watching... There's been quite a lot of pussies that come to this Pantheon. Oh, how I wish to give them a 'Here, kitty kitty kitty!' with one bear trap waiting. Oh wait, I just remember... you guys have been wondering why I haven't gotten around with my plans for those puddin' Puella Magis turning into witches, eh? Well you see... after that Tsukushima turned pussy and decided not to accompany my mission, I gotta lay low a bit.... Good fun, though! Watchin' those wannabes like Terumi or Kefka having their plans utterly fail. Dumbasses! But I know how to make a good joke, and a good joke is prepared well done, not half-baked like those two, they'd match up with that Noel Vermillion's cooking in how much their plans are cookin'! Well I've been observing that Homura Akemi and that chick's a tough nut to crack. But no need to worry, my dear audience, the whole Pantheon... you remember moi immortal words, non? "Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push..." And I've got the best birthday cake served for cute lil' Homu...! Hope she doesn't choke on it!

Joker looked at his blog, reading nicely as he switched through the image gallery of his cellphone. It showed Homura and then it shelved into another being... Fluttershy.

Joker: Heh heh heh... hahahahah... GYAAAHAHAHAHAAA!! (sudden shift into calm and whispering) Oh in case anyone wondering, I still kept the videos of how those clowns Kefka and Terumi utterly fail! Coming soon to Jokertube! (loony again) AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!


Meanwhile, at the House of Friendship, in particular Fluttershy's, she was just 'sitting down' on her nearby chair, with Homura sipping her own tea in a calm and cool manner... no words spoken. There's just a normal glare towards Fluttershy, the atmosphere was kind of awkward thanks to Fluttershy's shyness and Homura's uneasiness due to a certain voice Fluttershy had.

Fluttershy: U... um...
Homura: ......
Fluttershy: ......
Homura: ......
Fluttershy: ......
Homura: ......
Fluttershy: ...... H... Ho... Homu...?
Homura: ... Yes?
Fluttershy: It... it sure is quiet these days, right?
Homura: True enough. The attempts on Mami and Kyouko... they were like things of the past. It is surprising that the GUAE hasn't been active these days.
Fluttershy: I don't know, but don't you think they could be...
Homura: Perhaps. Perhaps not. There are many variables.

Fluttershy smiled, at least glad that she was capable to strike a small conversation with Homura. It was interrupted with the sound of a bell.

Homura: ... Your pony friends?
Fluttershy: W... well it's either them... or it's the pizza delivery pony. See, I... I thought we...
Homura: I'll take that.

Homura got up from her seat and walked towards the door. There was a present box on the ground, but not a single deliverer soul or something.

Homura: Hm... This is how they wrap up pizzas here? *sniffs the smell of the pizza* Well, that's pizza all right... (I wonder if I should share some for Madoka...)

Homura walked back inside. However, something strange crossed her head. She felt a little dizzy.

Homura: ... (This is nothing.) Well, Flutter—... Wha...?!

To her shock... in front of her wasn't even Fluttershy... but one of the few that would make her seriously angry. Tzeencth? Tough luck. But no. It's none other than Kyubey. Furthermore, her perception of the surroundings blurred. She felt like she was in another dimension.

Kyubey: Good day, Homura. Are you feeling...
Homura: Silence.

Time Stands Still at that point. Unleashing every of her firearms from her secret compartment (which is definitely not that part), Homura barraged the Incubator with every bullets she had, leaving the Incubator full of holes.

Homura: I meant every words I said when I say I'll stop you. (There's going to be another copy of him to consume the remnants. I'll...)
Kyubey: ... S... s... sto... Ho... Homu....
Homura: ... What!?

Homura's eyes widened when she realized what's going on. Kyubey... apologizing? And it sounded like sobbing? This might not be right. And her widened eyes showed... Fluttershy, on the ground, sobbing and bleeding.

Homura: Fluttershy...? *panicking* But I... I thought...
????: Homura-chaaan...?
Homura: !!

Another of her illusion shattered. She found herself in the house of Fluttershy... no doubt wrecked a lot due to her barrage against 'Kyubey'. And the one calling her was...

Homura: Madoka...!?

Another sting on the head struck Homura. She looked at Madoka... looking at her with cold, disapproving eyes.

Madoka: Homura-chan... how could you... Fluttershy is innocent and just because they sound familiar, doesn't mean you should...
Homura: Madoka, wait I can ex...
Madoka: That's enough... I cannot be friends with someone like you, let alone you being my herald...

And that was the breaking point. Everything in Homura's psyche started to crack. Holding her head, she screamed.

Homura: NOOOOOO!!!
Madoka: Um... Homura-chan?

Unknown to Homura, Madoka wasn't saying all those things. She was concerned on Fluttershy, but equally so to Homura's current psyche. However, Homura didn't listen and ran off in tears.

Homura: I'm sorry, Madoka...! I'm... I'm not...!!


Shortly after, in the house of Fluttershy, a lot of Gods gathered. Fix-it Felix was put in charge in fixing her house after Homura's rampage, while an investigation team consisting some of Homura's friends, including Batman, Fate Testarossa and Archer, gathered to investigate this incident, on request of Madoka, while Fluttershy herself has been taken into the grand hospital of the Pantheon, under Unohana Retsu herself, to receive extensive care.

Archer: So... are you sure you didn't say anything?
Madoka: I don't... I don't know what's gotten into Homura. It's not like we...
Fate: There's no evidence supporting that they went wild. The two of them were trying to mend their relationship, I'm sure... That's why Homura visited.
Madoka: I know, but how did it end up like this? From what I heard from Rainbow Dash, they're getting along real good and there has been progress...
Archer: I hope this is nothing silly. Like... this one. *pulls off a pizza box* I cannot imagine them getting over blows over this.
Fate: Pizza...?
Batman: Ahem.
Madoka: Mr. Wayne! So how did it go...?
Batman: Possibly an old trick.

Batman pulled something from his utility belt. It was a small transparent bag with a debris inside.

Archer: That was... did you investigate on that?
Batman: Yeah. And to make things sure... Archer, may I have that pizza box?

Archer, knowing what Batman would do, nodded and gave the pizza box. Batman put the debris inside the box and used another investigation tool to match things up.

Batman: I knew it... Fear Toxin.
Madoka: Fear Toxin!? Wait, could it be... Homura-chan got...
Fate: He used that on Homura...!? Hm... I'm getting a bit of pattern here.
Madoka: I noticed too. Mami-san, Kyouko-chan... the GUAE has been trying to awaken their witch forms. But now Homura-chan too...!?
Archer: Did Joker deliberately disguise himself as a pizza-delivery boy, or is there some accomplice if he's not the same pizza-delivery boy?
Fate: Wait, I was passing here when Madoka met me and had me call the others. I thought I saw a delivery boy slumped in a corner. I couldn't tell from a distance, and I didn't look, but...I think he may have been smiling...
Archer: That confirms that he's really behind this. So I suppose we should stop Joker from...
Batman: Not yet. We can handle him later. The first priority should be Homura Akemi's well being, if this is the Fear Toxin we're talking about.
Fate: But what if the Joker has been plotting something else?
Batman: Leave it to me. The task of Homura's well being falls onto you.
Madoka: ... Mr. Wayne is right. If the pattern is like this, it's more likely that Joker was trying to revive what I heard to be her witch form, Homulily. Let's go look for Homura-chan!
Archer: Very well.

Madoka ran off, together with both Fate and Archer, all while Batman watched.

Batman: (Joker... even if it's a similar trick... I can't help but think there could be a hidden plan behind this one. Be it orchestrated solely by him... or it's in tandem with the other GUAE Gods...)

(To be continued)

Baby Steps

Mami Tomoe stands in front of a large flat-screen TV. Her calm, smiling facade has crumbled into proverbial dust: she is trembling so hard she can barely stand upright. Hoping to calm her down, Yu Narukami puts a hand on her shoulder. This proves to be a mistake: she gasps in surprise and swats his hand off. Realizing a second later what happened, she mumbles an apology and goes right back to staring into the TV.

Yu: Hey...calm down. It's gonna be fine.
Mami: I know...I know...
Yu: Don't worry. We'll be there backing you up if anything goes wrong.

Mami looks over her shoulder to meet the gazes of the Investigation Team. She assumed their expressions were meant to be reassuring and confidence-inspiring, but it came across as pressure that she DID NOT NEED right now.

Yosuke: We're right behind you, Mami-chan. Don't worry, we're experts in this field: we'll kick its ass no problem!
Yukiko: You're strong. We know you can pull this off!
Teddie: Hrmm...maybe Mami-san needs some inspiration...ah! How about, if you win, you can go on a date with me!

It took a bit of effort for Mami not to give it up right then and there. Still, she looked back to the TV, taking a deep breath in a fruitless attempt to calm her nerves.

Mami: (thinking) Quickly...do it quickly, like diving into a pool.

She nods. Yu takes that as his cue to put a hand on her shoulder. Mami reaches out slowly toward the screen: her hand disappears into it as if she dipped it into a pool of water. She takes a shuddering breath, slowly pushing her arm up to her elbow. Then she loses her nerve, yanking her hand out and shaking her head.

Mami: I can't...I CAN'T!

And with that, she runs away. Yosuke shakes his head.

Yosuke: Dammit. Dude, if Mami-chan doesn't have the nerve to face her Shadow, or Witch, or whatever, I don't think we'll find anyone who can. I mean, you told me she's one of the most badass Magical Girls in the Pantheon!
Naoto: I read the dossier we got from Madoka Kaname. Apparently, Mami Tomoe never could handle the truth regarding the Witches. The revelation drove her mad: she once went so far as to murder her allies in one timeline, seeing it as a preferable alternative to becoming a Witch.
Rise: That's horrible...
Kanji: Grr...that shithead Kyubey! Setting up a system like that! Something that cute has no right to be such a bastard!
Naoto: In all honesty, I still have my reservations about this anyway. From what I can gather, Witches may share some similarities with Shadows, but that doesn't necessarily mean they too can become Personas. For all we know, this could lead into a repeat of this..."Oktavia Incident".
Yukiko: Still, if there's the chance that it can work, we should go for it. It's better than the Witches just wandering around and running the chance of falling into the hands of Nyarlathotep and the GUAE. They've gotten more aggressive: we need to reciprocate as soon as possible.
Yu: We can't force Mami to face herself. Something like this needs to be done on her time.
Yosuke: Right...well, there's no use standing around here. So, who's up for Topsicles?

To Face Yourself

The Investigation Team sits in the Junes food court, eating Topsicles. Mami is also present. She’s still a little shaken up, but is slowly calming down as she eats a Topsicle of her own. Now if only the slim girl with brown twintails would quit it with that probing stare…probably had something to do with the fact that Mami had chosen to sit next to Yu.

Kanji: Mmm-mm! Gotta love these things! I mean, we got Topsicles up in the Food Pantheon, sure, but there’s just something about the ones ya get in Inaba…

Yukiko: Feeling better, Mami-san?

Mami finishes the last of her ice cream.

Mami: A little, yes. My apologies…it’s unlike me to lose my nerve like that.

Naoto: It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Mami-san. Facing oneself is never an easy task. The fact you have a choice to opt out is…more than most of us here can say…

Mami clenches her fists.

Mami: No…the fact it’s difficult is no excuse. It is my sworn duty to battle Witches. And here I am shirking my role now, when the Pantheon is in such danger from them. Heh…some Magical Girl I am…

Yukiko: Mami-san…

Kanji swallows a huge mouthful of topsicle. He shakes his head for a second to clear up the icecream headache, then leans back, draping an arm over his chair.

Kanji: Yeah! I mean, I don’t know you all that well, but I know you’re not scared of Witches! You have one for a PET! What makes this ‘Candlejack’ thing so special?

There is dead silence as Mami sits still, staring at the floor. Finally, she speaks in a tone so quiet, the Investigation team has to strain to hear her.

Mami: …Because it’s MY Witch…

Kanji snorts.

Kanji: Tch…so?!?

Mami is so taken aback by this flippant dismissal that she is struck dumb, capable only of mouthing wordlessly with her eyes practically bulging.

Rise: KANJI!

Kanji: You think Puella Magi are the only ones with freaks living inside them? Hell, you should’a seen the bastard that came outta ME!

Mami pauses for a split second, and then completely loses her head. She slams her fists on the table so hard that everything on it and everyone around it jumps, then she leaps to her feet, glaring at Kanji.

Mami: You think this is a joke? You have no idea…you couldn’t possibly imagine…!

She is getting more agitated by the second.

Mami: Just try. I dare you. Imagine for one moment what it was like for us finding out the truth! What it was like finding out that the…the things we cut down without hesitation used to be human! They used to be children, little girls just like us! And then imagine finding out we shared that inescapable fate! We were doomed to be overcome by corruption and twist into Witches, for other, unsuspecting Magical Girls to slay! All to facilitate the Incubator’s cruel cycle!

Mami takes a huge breath, then screams her next words loud enough to get the whole food court staring.

Mami: CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT IT’S LIKE TO FIND OUT THAT YOU’RE A MONSTER?!?

There is dead silence. The Investigation Team watches as Mami tries to catch her breath. Finally, Yosuke speaks.

Yosuke: You know…you remind me of her.

Mami wipes her eyes and tries calm down.

Mami: Of…who?

Yosuke: Of Labrys.

Mami: Labrys?

Yosuke: She went through something horrible too…forced to fight her friends, treated as a tool…she even told me she thought she’d be better off dead.

Mami is silent. The similarities are uncanny…

Yosuke: She thought that no one could understand what she went through. She thought she was some kind of monster…and that she was completely alone.

Mami watches in silence.

Yukiko: I used to think something like that too. I think everyone does on some level. We see our weaknesses, our failures…our Shadows…and every part of us just recoils. We look at them and think: ‘I’m a freak. I can’t let anyone find out about this…thing living inside me. My life will be over!’

Naoto: So we try to ignore them. We try to pretend they’re not there. But the thing about Shadows is: the more you run away from them, the stronger they get. It’ll dog your footsteps wherever you go, feeding off of your fear of it. And sooner or later, there’ll be that moment of weakness…

Teddie: KABOOM! It comes exploding out of you and goes completely bear-zerk! Happens every time!

Mami remains silent.

Yu: You can’t run away forever. If you really want Candeloro to stop haunting you, you’ll have to face her. You need to make peace with her before Nyarlathotep can use her against you.

Still, Mami says nothing.

Chie: It’s actually a lot easier than it sounds. Your Shadow may seem really scary at first, but the longer you look at it, the more you realize how goofy and harmless it is! It’s like bad CGI in a cheesy horror movie! Remember that one time, Yukiko? It bugged you that you couldn’t get a good look at the monster, so you looked it up on the internet?

Yukiko thinks for a moment, and then starts laughing her head off.

Yukiko: Right! HAHAHAHA! Funniest thing…ever seen in my…oh…oh my sides…!

Rise: Well…it’s true that we usually see them as a lot stronger than they really are…but I wouldn’t go so far as to call them harmless.

Naoto: I’m not going to lie. Facing yourself is a tall order. Sometimes it IS too hard for you to do it alone, especially if you’ve been bottling it up for a long time.

Mami hangs her head. How long HAD she been bottling it up? Burying the seething cauldron problems and insecurities that would become Candeloro beneath a mask of perfect elegance? The Witch’s power would be overwhelming by this point…

Kanji: But when that happens, you just gotta get help, and kick the Shadow’s ass right alongside them!

Yosuke: That’s right. Everyone sitting at this table nearly lost themselves to their Shadow. But our friends beat it back, took our hands and helped us to our feet. I wouldn’t be here myself if my partner didn’t save me…

A change seems to be coming over Mami. She slowly looked up, her eyes roving around the table, and the motley crew that sits around it.

Mami: Your…friends…

She shakes her head, a wry smile on her face.

Mami: I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m a little…ambivalent about the idea of ‘the power of friendship conquering everything’.

Yu: Well, maybe that’s not how it works back where you come from. But in this world, it does. Here, 'bonds of people is the true power'. Trust me, I know. I’m the Wild Card. Every bit of my power would be useless if it wasn't for my connections to my friends: my Social Links.

Mami: Yu-san…

Yu: Besides, we have Personas. If things go south, we can do more than just act as your cheering section.

Mami is lost for words. Yu can practically see the cogs whirling in her head, as she weighs her options.

Yu: Come on, Mami-san. I know you’re strong enough for this. Face yourself. Master your Witch. And then you’ll be able to give the GUAE a pants-wetting they’ll NEVER forget.

The Investigation Team watches with bated breath as Mami closes her eyes. She takes a deep breath, and lets it out slowly. Then she braces herself against the table and gets to her feet.

There is a smile on her face.

Mami: How…could I refuse?

Teddie: WOOHOO! Alright, Mami-san!

And with that, they head once more for the electronics section.

GUAG Gaiden: The Rise of the Anti-Parental Abuse Club.

There has been a group of members of the GUAG who opposes parental abuse. Amongst them, the founder, Jin Kazama, has one day called the first meeting between them. The other members of this club consisted of Miranda Lawson, Raven, Bruce Banner, and N Harmonia. All of the other members have taken their seats. Jin speaks...

Jin: Now that you've all been summoned here, I've set up a group to oppose people like Heihachi and Kazuya.

Raven: ...They're like my father Trigon...

Miranda: ...Yes, They're all horrible, Like Henry... Jin has it worst than all of us.

N: ...

Bruce: ...David has caused me so much horrible abuse a kid... Had to go through a lot of rage... I'm not sure to be glad that I've gotten this... this...

Miranda: Bruce...

N: I've thought that I was using leading Team Plasma for a good purpose, but after my defeat, my bad jerk... of a father, No... Ghetsis, used me all along. I couldn't forgive him afterwards.

Raven: Yeah... We've all had a rough past. Isn't there supposed to be someone else here?

Jin: Yes. Kurei. He refused, but I will consider him an honorary member of this group.

Bruce: Yes... We're all kindred spirits.

Jin: Indeed. As much as I want to end the Mishima Bloodline... As much I as I loathe this curse, I at least want to make a group of like this because of those two... To find more people like us.

Bruce: That curse helped you saved your life... Without it, you've would've been dead. That just makes me a little more glad I have been exposed to Gamma Radiation.

Miranda: Hulk's right Jin. You two are more similar than all of us in this room. Say, after we're done with this meeting, let's look around for more children suffering from parental abuse.

The other three: Right.

Jin: Miranda... You have the right idea. This meeting is now over. Dismissed!

The group has been dismissed, all the members with smiles on their faces, hoping to expand the club further their next meeting.

Shadows 101

The Magic Pantheon. Madoka Kaname sits on her throne, staring in shock into the depths of her own soul gem. Corruption isn’t the problem: the jewel is as radiant and pink as it had ever been. Madoka isn’t even sure her gem has the ability to BECOME corrupted anymore. The problem is that the jewel is radiant and pink: seconds before, it had been her link to Mami Tomoe. She had watched, like a television screen, through Mami’s eyes as her friend had steeled her courage and agreed to face Candeloro in the TV world. She had watched Mami’s hand sink into the screen, which grew closer and closer and…

…and then nothing. The instant Mami had entered the television, the Soul Gem had gone blank. Madoka’s omniscient, inextricable connection to the magical girl was severed. Needless to say, this sudden turn of events has left Madoka rather…thrown.

Madoka: Mami-san…? Mami-san! Mami-san, can you hear me? Answer me, please!

Almost instantly, Madoka feels decidedly foolish. Under normal circumstances, communicating with one of her apostles involves just concentrating and letting the connection establish itself. She isn’t quite sure what part of her brain decided that yelling at her Soul Gem would help matters. Madoka takes a deep breath, trying to calm down.

Madoka: It’s alright…it’s not as bad as it could be…Mami-san’s not alone, she’s got Yu-san and his friends with her! They’re professionals when it comes to the Midnight Channel; they know a lot more about it than…

The realization hits her, and she pauses, sitting back in her throne and blinking.

Madoka: …than I do.

It hadn’t really sunk in until she had taken the time to think about it. She had needed a place for the Witches to inhabit after separating them from their Magical Girls, and that strange man in the mask had suggested the Midnight Channel. She had accepted the offer out of desperation more than anything. The whole thing about the Magical Girls being able to ‘face them’ had been mentioned almost offhandedly. Come to think of it, she hadn’t really pondered the exact reason the Witches had returned when she had given her very existence to destroy all of them before they were even conceptualized. Boy, she spent a while picking crow out of her teeth after THAT one.

All of these things she was in the dark about, even after she had become what she considered to be omniscient…

Then it hit her. She knew what her next move was.

Reattaching her Soul Gem, she stood and hurried out of the throne room.

The House of Love

Madoka: (Opening the door) Um…hello?

Almost immediately, she feels eyes upon her. Her blood runs cold as she stares at the man seated on the blue couch. The balding man stares down his extremely long nose back at her.

Igor: Ah, Miss Kaname. Welcome to the Velvet Room.

Madoka takes a deep breath and slowly makes her way over to him.

Madoka: M-mister Igor, I need to speak to your master. It’s regarding my apostles, the Magical Girls. I-it’s urgent.

Igor looks her over, and his Cheshire-cat smile widens.

Igor: I see…I assume you speak of the fates Miss Miki, Miss Tomoe and Miss Sakura narrowly avoided. Well, far be it from me to deny a request like that. My only hope is that Master Philemon is able to answer your questions. Now then…

He raises his spindly hands and almost immediately Madoka is overwhelmed with a wave of dizziness. She blinks and shakes her head, and then her eyes go wide with shock. The Velvet Room is gone, replaced by a rotunda with a checkerboard floor. Pitch blackness stretches out around her as far as the eye can see. Madoka is too busy looking around to notice the man in a white coat and full-face mask standing behind her.

Philemon: Welcome. I was wondering when we would finally have the chance to speak, Miss Kaname. In all honesty, I've been looking forward to it.

Madoka turns to face him.

Madoka: Hello, Mister Philemon. I…I have some questions for you that I was hoping you could answer for me.

Philemon crosses his arms.

Philemon: Regarding the Witches, no doubt. Those dark creatures you gave your very existence to destroy in your native reality, and all realities beyond. But despite your sacrifice, they now threaten to consume your apostles once again, spurred on by the GUAE.

Madoka: Mister Philemon…you know why they’ve returned, don’t you? You know why my wish failed. Please…tell me why.

Philemon is silent. Then he turns and starts pacing.

Philemon: Your wish failed simply because you asked for the impossible.

Madoka’s face goes as white as her dress.

Madoka: The impossible? But I saw it work! I destroyed the Witches and overthrew the system! And Kyubey said that I could accomplish the impossible!

Philemon: Witches cannot be destroyed, Miss Kaname. Not in the sense that you wished them to be. You cannot so easily expunge the darkness in the human mind as you would cut a bruise from an apple, any more than you could destroy any other part of it.

Madoka blinks in confusion.

Madoka: What do you mean?

Philemon: Tell me, Miss Kaname: when you were human, who were you exactly? What was the ‘real’ you?

Madoka: Huh?

Philemon: Were you a serious, focused middle-school student? Were you a carefree young girl who loved nothing more than to go play in the park, or eat sweets with your friend, Sayaka Miki? Were you a frightened child, terrorized by the horrors unfolding around you and wanting nothing more than to curl up in a ball and disappear? Or were you fearless and selfless, ready to sacrifice yourself for everyone? Were you kind? Were you cruel? Were you loving? Were you angry? Who exactly was 'Madoka Kaname'?

Madoka’s head is spinning by this point.

Madoka: I-I-I don’t know! I wasn’t just one of them, I mean…I was ALL of those things at some point in time…how am I supposed to answer a question like…?!?

Madoka stammers to a stop: the realization hits.

Madoka: I just did…didn’t I? I’m…ALL of those things.

Philemon crosses his arms again. Even behind his mask, it’s clear he’s smiling.

Philemon: The self suffused with divine love…the self capable of demonic cruelty…people harbor within themselves innumerable ‘masks’. Oftentimes these masks are swapped freely and comfortably to fit the situation at hand. But sometimes there comes a mask that, for one reason or another, people try to disown.

He waves his hand. A flickering image of Sayaka wearing a school uniform appears between them.

Philemon: Your friend Sayaka Miki, for example. Her longing for young Kyousuke Kamijou was nothing short of heartrending.

Sayaka’s outfit changes to that of a magical girl. A confident grin is on her face as she spins and twirls her cutlass.

Philemon: But she couldn’t bear to approach him, could she? Not after learning what she had become. Humiliation…jealousy…pain…regret…she was an ‘ally of justice’: her only purpose was to fight and slay Witches to protect a cold, cruel city. Such feelings had no place in her mind, as far as she was concerned. So she disowned them. Cast them aside. But…

Madoka sees that Sayaka’s movements are starting to become more erratic. She clutches her sword in both hands, swinging wildly. Her confident smile turns slowly to a look of grim determination, and then to a look of borderline madness as she slashes and swipes at an unseen foe.

Philemon: It is not so easy to abandon one of your masks. The darkness in one’s heart is simply brushed aside more often than it is truly erased. And like a neglected child, it soon begins to wail. It begins to demand attention. Ignoring it becomes a herculean task. It begins to lash out in moments of weakness, becoming louder and angrier the more you avert your eyes. Your strength is drained as your entire being becomes devoted to keeping it at bay.

He raises a hand, cocking his fingers.

Philemon: Until finally…

Madoka feels tears spring to her eyes: she can already tell what Philemon is about to do to the hologram. Philemon snaps his fingers. Madoka hurriedly turns away, but she still hears that…horrible scream from behind her. She turns back to Philemon. Philemon crosses his arms once more.

Philemon: The desire to have the one she pined for play his music only for her…

Something flickers into view: Mami Tomoe.

Philemon: The desire for friends that would never abandon her…

Mami’s image flickers, static-like, into Candeloro. Then it vanishes, replaced a second later by Kyouko.

Philemon: The desire for something to protect…to be someone’s knight after ages of fighting only for herself…

Kyouko’s image becomes that of Ophelia. Homura is next to appear.

Philemon: The desire to break the vicious cycle at long last, and cast aside the heavy stone mask she had worn for so long…

The image morphs into Homulilly. It too vanishes. Finally, Madoka finds herself looking at her own double.

Philemon: The desire to end a mad, foolish world and bring the salvation of death to all…

Madoka cringes as her doppelganger erupts in black flames. She catches a glimpse of a terrifying sun-like mask before it vanishes from sight, leaving her and Philemon alone once more.

Philemon: These hidden selves will last, in one form or another, as long as the soul of the one that birthed them endures. Just as it is with their countless other masks.

Madoka is silent, thinking. Finally she speaks.

Madoka: Shadows...Witches…they’re not just similar in nature. They’re one and the same! They’re the exact same thing!

Philemon: Are you so surprised? Witches do not simply spin themselves out of the aether: they have always been there, just one more of their host’s innumerable selves. All Kyubey did was find a way to give them physical form, and by forcing the host to die upon the birth of the witch, he insured that there was no way they could be brought back under control.

Madoka’s face lights up.

Madoka: But now we can! The Midnight Channel…it will let my Apostles come to terms with their Witches, or Shadows, or…we have a chance! This is going to work!

Philemon: Be assured, it will be a difficult task. But I place my utmost confidence in them, and their ability to face themselves.

Madoka bows.

Madoka: Thank you, Mister Philemon! You’ve really put my mind at ease!

Philemon nods.

Philemon: Of course.

Madoka: Well, I should go now. I need to help find Homura-chan. Now…

She looks around, starting to look a little confused.

Madoka: Erm…how do I get out of here?

Philemon waves his hand and another wave of dizziness hits Madoka. She blinks it off and finds herself outside of the Pantheon of Mentalism. She stands there for a moment, deep in thought.

Madoka: Homura-chan…just hang on a little longer. I know for certain now...we can save you…and we’re going to!

Meteor's Betrayal and Fourze's Revival (Intermission): Alternate Action

I'm sure you're wondering what's going on with the other Gentaro at this point. Well...

Pinkie Pie: Hold everything! I thought the stories was going in a pattern, and we talk about who I'm going to be talking too! Why is this one getting another entry?

This is a very important part of this tale—and yours actually. You have to be patient with me, I know what I'm doing. Your stories are connected in different ways, and I'm the one bridging them together.

Pinkie Pie: Really?

Look, I pinkie pie promise that this one is going to bridge your story and why JK decided to ruin your party. Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye.

Pinkie Pie:...Okie dokie lokie...(steps off)

Now, where was I? Ah yes. So, if there was one Gentaro in Izaya's office resurrected by Alice, what about the one by the Undertaker. For this, we shall just call him Dark!Gentaro so we don't confuse him with the original.

Well, Dark!Gentaro was already on his way to the Toku Base, seeing as Kamen Rider Meteor was part of its Martial Arts Department. He was covered in blood because he recently finished getting his revenge on someone. However, just as he was about to go obtain his well sought-out revenge, he soon met up with a peculiar character.

Chrysalis: Hmmm...well, who are you supposed to be?
Dark!Gentaro: I'm here to look for someone...that said someone who killed me.
Chrysalis: Why did they kill you? Did you ever asked yourself that? There must've been a good reason that they decide to lay the killing blow on you, correct?

By the lights of her green eyes, Dark!Gentaro soon realized what was going on. Everything clicked.

Dark!Gentaro: You did this. You sicced Ryusei on me, didn't you?
Chrysalis: So what if I did so? He wanted his friend revived and the love and friendship he had for him just filled me with power! With this, I will be able to take back my revenge against those ponies for what they did to me! And there's nothing you can do about it.
Dark!Gentaro: Oh, really? (starts laughing) I don't think you realize who resurrected me, do you? Well...

Suddenly as Dark!Gentaro was about to attack Chrysalis, another figure appeared and fired a blast of energy at Chrysalis, throwing her across the area, catching everyone by surprise. Billy Batson was the first to approach this madness.

Billy: What's going on here? (looks to the stranger) Another Gentaro?

Dark!Gentaro looked at the person—it looked just like him, minus the snake wrapped around his body. Dark!Gentaro narrowed his eyes.

Dark!Gentaro: And just who are you supposed to be?
?????: You of course. Or rather, just call me by new moniker, the Serpent-bearer.
Dark!Gentaro: That's a bit of a long title don't you think?
Serpent-bearer!Gentaro: It suits me just fine. Now...(narrows eyes) Where's Ryusei?
Dark!Gentaro: Why would you want to know?
Serpent-bearer!Gentaro: Because no matter where that little piece of shit hides, I will find him and I will kill him and all of those damn goody-two shoes Kamen Rider Club members who LEFT ME TO DIE!!!!
Billy: Not if I can help it! SHAZAM!

A bolt of lightning struck Billy and he soon transformed into his Captain Marvel persona. Both Gentaro Kisaragis stared at this red clothed superhero staring at them.

Captain Marvel: Let's try and settle things peacefully. We don't want this to come to blows.
Both Gentaros: SHUT UP! We'll take you down!

The two transformed into Kamen Rider Fourze, but each with different variations. The Serpent-bearer!Gentaro had scales on his armor and the eyes had two slits to resemble the eyes of a snake. Captain Marvel narrowed his eyes—he knew that things were going to get dangerous.


Meanwhile in the House of Otherness, Discord was currently pouring a glass of chocolate milk to himself—with the milk pouring from the top down and him drinking the glass. The glass shaped chocolate milk was tossed aside, where it exploded like a grenade.

Discord: Ah, nothing like a relaxing day...a bit too quiet I suppose. Perhaps I'll meet up with Fluttershy in that new house she moved into and make the place a little more 'fun' with a snap of my fingers. Then we can go prancing about and having fun with her little 'friends'.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.

Discord: Who is it?

The door opened and Fluttershy entered, gasping for breath.

Fluttershy: Discord! Big trouble! Need help!
Discord: What's the matter Fluttershy? Are those new beasts in the House of Beast immune to your Stare? It looks like you need a new act to make them more compliant.
Fluttershy: Well...no, not that...but there's a big fight going outside and everyone's taking bets. There's two copies of Gentaro—
Discord: That same guy who cried a river over our story of friendship?
Fluttershy: That one! But they're so scary and I don't know what happened!

Discord rubbed his chin in thought before snapping his fingers. In a puff of smoke, a megahorn appeared in his hands as he began to yell:

Discord: EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! GOD WISHING TO BEFRIEND EVERYONE HAS GONE ROGUE!
Fluttershy: What did you do that for?!
Discord: (megahorn disappears) While everyone's distracted, let's go to his temple and see if we can find clues. You can do that, right?
Fluttershy: B-but that's an invasion of privacy, right?
Discord: Sometimes, things like this must be done. Now, let's get going. We have no time to waste.

Word on the fighting spread quickly, and the three were thrown into the House of Sports to settle their differences. Gods from the House of Combat, Commerce, Heroes and Villains crowded the area in awe at this spectacle. Marge and Tsunade, the co-goddesses of Compulsive Gambling, were already taking bets. Jim Ross was brought in to call the match.

Jim Ross: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, we are here live for an unexpected Handicapped Lumberjack Match. We have two Gentaro Kisaragis in one corner, and Captain Marvel going on in a head-to-head match for reasons still not known. Now the rules of the Lumberjack Match are simple: if an opponent is tossed outside, the lumberjacks surrounding the ring can lay a wallop on them before tossing them back into the ring.

Someone rang a bell to call the match and soon it began.

Pinkie Pie: Is that the end of the intermission?

Yep. Now while the three start fighting, this is where you come in. You've been doing some investigating work while everyone starts betting their clothes on the outcome.

Pinkie Pie: Ooh, I see! What do I find out? Who do I speak to? Give me a hint...please?

Well, let's just say it's not going to be hard to miss considering he was screaming for help the last time we saw him.

Pinkie Pie: Wait, you don't mean...

GUAG Gaiden: Party of Armageddon (Part 5) In the Valley of Shadows and Parties

Yes Pinkie Pie, you were off to see Izaya Orihara for help on the matter. Even though he's known to be a complete Troll, you recalled that he was also a knowledge broker and had dirt on everyone in the Pantheon. Surely he had some answers regarding the strangeness going on.

Unfortunately, you had just come after the incident with Gentaro.

Pinkie Pie: Which Gentaro?

The original Gentaro. We'll call him O!Gentaro for short. Now, what was O!Gentaro doing...oh, right! O!Gentaro had just went Die For Me! on Izaya. And let me tell you, those lights Applejack asked to install when she ascended? Let's just say everyone's stumbling in the dark now, trying to figure out who was screaming and how it was interrupting their thoughts.

Pinkie Pie: Ooh! Are we playing hide and seek now? Or maybe we'll all having a huge surprise party!

PINKIE! No, the scream was so loud that the lights shattered! But fortunately, you were ever so prepared and brought a flashlight on you...except there was a little bit of a problem when you entered Izaya's temple.

Pinkie Pie: What's that?

You encountered Gentaro with Alice...

Pinkie Pie: Alice? Oh, I love her! I always love her tea parties with that kooky Hatter and Hare and...

From the House of Emotion.

Pinkie Pie: Oh.

So you have just found Izaya scared out of his mind at the sight of one of the most sadistic gods in the Pantheon and her new friend, Gentaro. Of course you already knew of Alice's wish to have friends and Gentaro and her were having fun...drinking tea in Izaya's office while Izaya fainted from shock...and there were zombies everywhere. Of course, part of you was scared, but there was a party going on, and you loved it when everyone had parties. So...

Pinkie Pie: Well, look at the time. I've gotta go pick up something from the...House of Food...or maybe some pink stuff from Charlotte...ehehehe....bye!

Wait Pinkie! You don't expect ME to go get involved with them do you? I mean, this is your story that I have to do and the story states that GAH!

Alice: Oh hello, Miss Narrator! Would you like to join our tea party?
O!Gentaro: We have a spare seat for you if you like! Come on!

Um, no thank you. I'm just a passing through narrator. No, seriously...why are you staring at me like that? Wait, please don't go Die For Me!! Alice. I'll join. Just...just don't cry. We don't want your Uncles to come in here...
Pinkie Pie: Oh, Miss Narrator? Miss Narrator where are you? I was just about to tell you about this new friend I met! Her name is Elena, and she loves making friends just like Gentaro and I do! Miss Narrator? Hello? Okay, I guess that means I continue the story then! Well...

I rushed toward the House of Combat, trying to escape the horrors of what I've seen! I mean, did you see the place? There were dead bodies everywhere! It's no fun if everyone's dead and all...well unless you were a necromancer and OOF! I had just bumped into someone known as Elena!

Elena: Hello there! My name is Elena, will you be my friend?
Pinkie Pie: Hi, I'm Pinkie Pie! Of course I'll be your friend! I love making friends and love making parties for my friends!
Elena: I feel a good rhythm inside you, Pinkie Pie! We will definitely be the best of friends!

Elena loves dancing and traveling around the world to make friends! Why, it was at that moment she invited me to see a good friend of hers! She led me to this beautiful rose garden and so I thought that Alice Liddel made a party just for us! But it just so happens...

Dudley: Ah, Miss Elena. How delightful it is to see you again!
Elena: Hello there, Dudley. This is my new friend, Pinkie Pie! She is so delighted to see you.

Did I mention the rose garden was BEAUTIFUL?! I mean, I bet Fluttershy would love to come here and let her animal friends play around in this! And there's so many cups of tea! I bet Iroh, Mr. Hatsworth and Professor Layton came here often just for a sip. Man, I wish I brought some cupcakes to go with the tea. It's so YUMMY!

Elena: So Pinkie Pie, what were you running away from?
Pinkie Pie: Well, funny story. The narrator was just about to explain everything but I...sort of left her to the mercy of Alice.
Elena: You mean the Alice in the House of Mentalism? But she always joins Dudley for tea every Thursday!
Pinkie Pie: No, no no! I left her to Alice in the House of Emotion, the one who wanted friends and had that problem asking people to Die for me!! and all that. Oh, I'm a horrible friend leaving the Narrator like that! I bet she's about to be food to zombies!
Dudley: Well, we shouldn't let someone be left to the mercy of the hounds. (starts adjusting his boxing gloves) We shall go and save her from this madness post haste.
Elena: A good friend of Pinkie Pie's is a friend of mine! Jambo!
Pinkie Pie: Yeah! Let's get going!!!

And thus, the three of us raced to the House of Mentalism, not knowing of the fun fun FUN! We were going to have!
Alice: Oh, Miss Narrator. Will you answer this question?

Sure Alice, what is it?

O!Gentaro: Why is a raven like a writing desk?

Um, how do I put it. Oh, maybe because Edgar Allan Poe wrote a poem on the raven on his writing desk!

Alice: (giggles) That's a funny answer, but nope! You're wrong! Now you have to be punished!

How? Hey, what are you OW!!!! No, my arm is not to snack on! I am not a piece of meat for a hyena! I demand to escape! I have stories to tell!

Alice: No, you have to be my friend forever and ever and EVER!!!
Pinkie Pie: (barges in with her Party Cannon knocking the door open) Surprise! Miss Narrator, I'm here!
Alice: Oh, new friends! Nice to meet you!
Elena: Hello there! My name is Elena!
Dudley: Sir Dudley, at your service.

Yes, that's all nice and dandy but I am TIED TO A CHAIR!!!

O!Gentaro: (shoves cake into the Narrator's mouth) That's enough out of you.
Elena: I wish to be your friend, Alice! Come! We can go to Dudley's Temple and have a tea party!
Alice: Can Gentaro come with me too?
Dudley: Of course, however we first must bring him back to his old friends. They are worried sick of him.
Alice: But...but Gentaro is my dear friend! I won't let anyone take him!
Pinkie Pie: Wait, what about Mandy, Wednesday or Hansel and Gretel? Aren't they your friends also?

(spits out the cake) Well, the last time I checked, they were all doing some stuff and couldn't be with Alice at the moment.
Voltaire: (performing a song for Mandy in her Temple) A Minotaur's my butler, a Cyclops my valet/A Centaur draws my chariot that takes me down the way.
Mandy: (watching the performance with a bag of popcorn in hand)

Wednesday: Mother, I want to go outside with Hansel and Gretel today. Can I?
Morticia: You can't go alone. Take this. (hands Wednesday a butcher knife) Play safe.
Wednesday: (grins) Thank you, mother.

Scootaloo: (riding her scooter to an unidentified area in the Pantheon) Rainbow Dash, is that you?
Hansel: (chuckling to himself, imitating Rainbow Dash) I'm over here! Let's play, Scootaloo!
Scootaloo: I'm here...now to...
PaRappa: (comes crashing in on his skateboard from out of nowhere) INCOMING!!!

So yeah, Alice doesn't have any friends with her right now.

Pinkie Pie: That's so sad...
Alice: You're so MEAN!!! I DO HAVE FRIENDS!!! (starts crying)
O!Gentaro: You made Alice cry...

I did?! Well, yeah you have a point...but then again I was telling the truth! I'm sure Alice's friends will come play with her later and...

Belial: To those who make Alice cry...
Nebiros: Our wrath, do they concur!!!

The skies began to darken, a chill began to fall down everyone's spines. Then, both Belial and Nebiros appeared, looking angry at me.

Oh dear...

Meteor's Betrayal and Fourze's Revival (Part 5): All the Club's Horses, All of Their Friends

Well, I still have another to tell, don't I? Ah yes...

Miu and Noah told their Team B to go check out what was going on while they kept an eye on Kengo. Seeing as they had no other choice, and also because Travis was fighting off against a round of giant mecha, the group found themselves hearing rumors of a huge fight in the House of Sports.

Toph: A battle? Count me in!
Ash Let's hope things aren't getting too serious.
CM Punk: Hey, can anyone tell us what's going on? Who's fighting?
Murray: You have to see this! There's like two copies of that Gentaro guy and now he's duking it out with Captain Marvel and (Captain Marvel lands out of the ring with a thud) It's AWESOME!
Captain Marvel: Says you. You're not the one fighting them.
Murray: But if I was, I'd beat them within an inch of their lives with the all powerful THUNDER FLOP!!!!

The lumberjacks began to toss Captain Marvel around. Roddy Piper was there wit a coconut, but Captain Marvel grabbed it in time and chucked it at Dark!Gentaro. Unfortunately, he didn't see JBL knock him out with the Clothesline From Hell and he was flat on his back once more. Back in the ring, both Gentaros stared at each other and began fighting it.

Jim Ross: Well, this is a strange turn of events. Looks like both Gentaros are going against one another. The only question here folks is which one is real?
Dark!Gentaro: I'm going to kill Ryusei!
Serpent-bearer!Gentaro: No, I'M going to kill Ryusei!
Daniel Bryan: I'M THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!
Kane: NO, I'M THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!

Everyone turned as they saw Kane and Daniel Bryan screaming at each other, raising the Tag Team Championship belts into the air. Behind them, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, the World's Greatest Tag Team, were knocked unconscious. Toph then smiled.

Toph: If you guys are the Tag Team Champions, prove it by beating up those knuckle heads in the ring!

Kane and Daniel Bryan turned to see both Dark!Gentaro and Serpent-bearer!Gentaro staring back at them. Kane and Daniel Bryan nodded their heads and entered the ring. Daniel Bryan began to kick at Dark!Gentaro, getting a chant of, "YES! YES! YES! YES!" from the lumberjacks. Kane delivered a chokeslam to Serpent-bearer!Gentaro in the process.

Jim Ross: This is outrageous, ladies and gentleman. Team Hell No are coming in and...wait Captain Marvel is also allying them and...so is CM Punk! What is going on here?

The lumberjacks were now watching in awe as the combatants were coming in with everything the had! Dark!Gentaro activated the Fourze Driver as a blue chainsaw materialized on his right foot, while Serpent-bearer!Gentaro had a pair of Scissors on his left arm.

Ash: Hey Pikachu, where are Sam and Max?
Pikachu: Pika...

In the House of Mentalism, Sybil Pandemik brought her flashlight out, trying to see what was going on. After the scream that shattered the lights, she and Mona were scrambling in the dark.

Sybil: Where's an electrician where you need one?
Mona: Aren't you one?
Sybil: I'll apply to be one now. Now...where is...
Sam and Max: (with a huge flashlight in hand) SURPRISE!!!

Sybil jumped in surprise at seeing her old friends in front of her. She hugged them in delight.

Sybil: Sam! Max! You're here, but you came at a bad time.
Sam: There's never a bad time when there's chaos and destruction though. Although we've been assigned to a huge case involving the dead and changelings.
Sybil: Changelings? Well, it just so happens that I have a minor in mythology and fairy tales. It's said that changelings are shape shifters and absorb love and happiness.
Max: Like I do!
Mona: That's bad. That means...(gasps) Wario!

Mona immediately revved up her moped and sped off to the House of Commerce, hoping to help Wario from whatever bad chaos could ensue. Sybil just shook her head.

Sybil: I will never understand what she sees him.
Max: That's calling the pot kettle black, though.
Sam: Speaking of which, I can barely see my own hand in front of my face. Did you hire an electrician?
Sybil: I'm about to. Anyway, what else can I help you with?

Miu and Grell raced through the Pantheon, trying to figure out where Gentaro went to. Miu couldn't find traces of Team A and Team B were drowned out by lots of noise.

Grell: Something's up.
Miu: I know.
Grell: No, look up.

Miu looked up, seeing Belila and Nebiros racing to the House of Mentalism, the sky darkening as they passed.

Grell: Something happened to Alice. We have to run, now!
Miu: Is it that bad?
Grell: You weren't here the last time Alice summoned a giant army of undead mooks, weren't you? (shivers) It was horrible.
Miu: Um, I'll take your word for it.

Fluttershy and Discord went through the House of Friendship. Discord slightly grimaced at the happiness radiating through the House, but sucked it up since he was with Fluttershy. As they neared Gentaro's house, they saw a couple of figures tossing items outside.

Discord: Oh, my. Someone's doing a little spring cleaning, right?
Fluttershy: (enters the house) Um...excuse me...but I don't think Gentaro would...

The gods turned their heads, all of them staring at Fluttershy with their glowing green eyes. Fluttershy looked left and right, tears about to form in her eyes as they started to walk toward her.

Fluttershy: I...I'm sorry, I shouldn't have disturbed you. So please...don't...don't...GAH!!!!
Discord: Oh, that's it! I am not going to stand here when we have stuff in our way! (snaps fingers)

The gods turned their heads as they were washed away by a humongous cotton cloud storm pouring chocolate milk at them. When they vanished, Discord snapped his claws again and the storm vanished. Fluttershy shook off the chocolate milk that soaked her wings.

Fluttershy: T-thank you, Discord.
Discord: Hmph. Those people were in our way. Now, let's see what they were looking at.

The two looked at how...organized Gentaro's Temple was. There were calendars and planners detailing his schedule for his friends, piles of cards and gifts and even a comic book on his desk. The strange thing about it was that it had Gentaro on it with a snake wrapped around his body.

Fluttershy: Oh, what's this? (starts reading) Oh my...oh my! Oh...oh dear...
Discord: (picks it up) Ooh, this is interesting...someone by the name of Yayoi Kise drew this. Perhaps she knows a thing or two about Mr. Friendship.
Fluttershy: Then we better hurry! Who knows what else is gong on!

To Forgive Is…

The doors to Madoka’s throne room in the House of Magic swing open as she approaches, and she heads towards it with a light heart. While Philemon’s illusory “demonstration” had been a little unneeded in her opinion, the information he had given her regarding the natures of the Witches and Shadows had set her mind at ease. Candeloro was a relatively run-of-the-mill witch: she and Homura had battled it during one of her herald’s many time loops. The Investigation Team had punched out a number of Shadows on Candeloro’s level before, along with two or three Walpurgis-level abominations before topping it off with beating a monstrosity that may or may not have been on par with ‘’Gretchen’’, all in the span of a year.

Madoka is pretty much certain they are going to win.

Now, the only thing she really has left to worry about is finding her wayward herald. This would prove to be simple enough: Homura is waiting for her smack-dab in the middle of the throne room.

Madoka: Homura-chan? HOMURA-CHAN!

She dashes forward to meet her precious friend, embracing her. Homura doesn’t return the gesture for a moment. She is apparently deep in thought, trying to find the right words.

Homura: I just needed some time to calm down. Mister Wayne told me what happened to me…about the Fear Toxin. To think I’d let myself fall for a trick like that…

She slowly reaches up to hug Madoka back.

Homura: But still…I just need to make absolutely sure…you can forgive me, right?

Madoka sniffles a bit, tightening her grip.

Madoka: Of course…nothing would make me reject you, as my herald, or my best friend!

The two stay like that for a while. Then they break off the embrace. Madoka is beaming, and even Homura has a small smile on her face.

Madoka: Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m starving! Let’s head to the House of Food: I-I-I’m so happy you’re safe I think I’m up for a bowl of Century Soup!

She grabs Homura’s hand and practically drags her along as she skips out of the throne room. Confident Madoka isn’t paying the slightest attention, Homura lets her smile turn decidedly…sinister.

An Unknown Part of the Pantheon

Homura Akemi is curled up in a ball, watching corruption slowly creep over her soul gem as tears roll down her face. It was over: her single, stupid mistake had cost her everything. No longer Madoka’s herald…no longer Madoka’s friend…there was no way Madoka could forgive her for what she had done.

There was nothing left for her to do but wait.

Faker

The Rooftop of the House of Personal Appearance

Archer continued to survey the horizon of the Pantheon, waiting for the person he had requested to meet. Even during night, he could Reinforce his eyes to the point where he could make out anyone from nearly any distance. But that person was a tricky one to keep track of-

Homura: *suddenly appearing from behind* What do you want from me?

Archer stood up, turning around to face Homura Akemi, Madoka's rechristened and redeemed herald.

Archer: Homura. You know why I summoned you here, right?
Homura: It isn't about what happened to me, right? I'm perfectly fine.
Archer: (Heh. Always quite the kuudere - a good foil to Rin.) I'm aware of that. But, I've been thinking. The Joker's still out there, and I want to nip him in the bud. Bruce isn't willing to use lethal force against him, but I am. And since you probably want revenge...
Homura: *head tilting* This isn't your fight.
Archer: I know that, but I feel that he needs to be put down. First Superman, and then you...
Homura: Don't pursue the Joker. If you don't, then he won't be a threat to you. *vanishes*
Archer: (So that's how Shirou Emiya feels when I talk to him...)

Archer stood up, and began to walk back to his room in the House...

Batman: *appears behind Archer* You're stepping into some deep mud, Archer.
Archer: *smirks* Patrolling the nights again, Bruce?
Batman: Homura may seem unreasonable, but she has a point. The Joker is dangerous.
Archer: Then why haven't you killed him?
Batman: That's part of my code as a superhero. You know that.

Anger flared up in Archer's eyes, the moment he heard the word "superhero".

Archer: A superhero can only save those who he sides with. Your damn code... your insistence on locking up that madman every time you beat him, only for him to break out and continue to take lives-
Batman: You know as much as I do that he wants me to kill him. He'll have won...
Archer: Bruce, do you know what a Counter Guardian is? They kill people to save the world - sometimes, they blow up entire countries to do their job. Hell, I think I alone have killed more people than Kira has. The Joker won't be different than any of them.
Batman: Homura already has Madoka to take care of her. Why are you taking this case personally, when you never even knew her in your life?

With those words, Archer felt himself calm down.

Archer: ...Well, I guess we're at a bit of an impasse.
Batman: True. But, if you so insist on hunting him, take this.

Batman pulled something out of his utility belt, and handed it to Archer.

Archer: *looks at item* A syringe?
Batman: It's a universal antidote for virtually every poison I know of. Snake venom, cyanide, laughing gas, Fear Toxin... for the next twelve hours after you inject it into a vein, you'll No Sell every one of them.
Archer: Well, since he's probably gonna spray Fear Toxin in my face... this could be useful.

Archer looked up, only to find that Batman was gone. Shaking his head, he perched himself on the rooftop again, and gave a sigh.

Archer: It's personal because Homura reminds me of my old man. He dedicated himself to what he saw as right, turning his blood to iron and heart to glass, and yet he only found despair at the end of his life. I guess when I heard how Homura freaked out and nearly fell into despair herself, I only saw Kiritsugu... and myself. And, suddenly, I feel that the Joker is my enemy.

Archer looked at the syringe, put it in his pocket, then leaped off the roof onto ground level.

Archer: But I'm not going to rush in so quickly. I'm not Shirou Emiya, so... what would the archer do?

Reaching into his other pocket, Archer pulled out a spartan flip-phone and began to dial a number.

Some Hours Later

Atop the roof of the House of Ambiguity, Kiritsugu continued to look down the scope of his Walther sniper rifle. Eight hundred meters away was Archer, his projected Kanshou and Bakuya on the ready.

Kiritsugu: (He said to just watch, not to interfere, but to report to the GUAG if anything happened. What is he planning?)

Archer, it so happened, was rather curt to Kiritsugu, not talking with him as much as to him. Naturally, this left Kiritsugu rather ashamed, given how this was the treatment that he himself gave Saber. And given Archer's true identity, Kiritsugu couldn't help but feel responsible for everything he went through in life.

Suddenly, a figure in robes leapt behind Archer. The red knight turned around and threw his swords... only to promptly fall face-down onto the ground, the blades vanishing. Surprised, Kiritsugu moved the scope, and saw a strange pattern in the man's left eye.

Kiritsugu: Mangekyo Sharingan- NO!

Sure enough, there was Itachi Uchiha, who despite his GUAE alignment happened to be one of Kiritsugu's friends. Itachi was appearing to taunt Archer, who seemed to be struggling; suddenly, Archer knelt before the Uchiha and placed a crooked dagger on the ground. Itachi picked it up, stabbed Archer in the chest... and, on his hand, Command Spells suddenly appeared.

Kiritsugu: (Using Tsukuyomi to bend Archer to his will? This is bad...)

Kiritsugu, gritting his teeth, tried to pull the trigger, but his gaze was met by Archer's. A longbow and longsword appeared in the knight's hand; at Itachi's cue, Archer nocked the bow and attacked his father.

Kiritsugu: Time Alter - Double Accel!

The world around him slowing down, Kiritsugu performed a quick tuck-and-roll movement to dodge the sword. Re-syncing with the normal flow of time and catching his breath, Kiritsugu noticed the Japanese engravings on the sword that Archer launched...

"Everything I learned, I learned from you."

Kiritsugu made a sound halfway between a cry of distress and a sigh of relief.

The Next Day

Kiritsugu: ...and that's how Archer joined the GUAE. For real this time.

As Kiritsugu finished, the dozen or so GUAG members gathered in the Command Center room began talking amongst themselves with worry.

Batman: This is bad. Heroes are getting manipulated way too easily these days...
Hakumen: Tch. When I fought him before, I had a feeling he would stick with the GUAE.
Madoka: There's still good in Archer-san. I know it.
Rin: He'll change sides again. He did before...
Signum: I'll try to contact Takamachi. Perhaps she could bring him back to good.
Homura: Archer isn't a threat. We need to focus more on killing Itachi.
Spock: True. It seems far more logical to kill a Master of Illusion.

After a minute or so of chatting, the GUAG members were dismissed, returning to doing GUAG things. As Rin left, she asked Kiritsugu one last question.

Rin: Hey, Emiya-san? Do you think Archer's doing the same trick again - betraying us and then returning to our side?
Kiritsugu: Tohsaka... the same trick never works twice.

Rin heaved a sigh, her face serious and almost on the verge of tears. As she left, Kiritsugu snuck in one last comment.

Kiritsugu: And Archer's smart enough to know that.

Later, in an unknown part of the Pantheon

Itachi nodded, surveying the Field of Blades that his new Servant had created.

Itachi: You're a good actor.
Archer: *smirks* Well, Rin always said I should become a seiyuu.
Itachi: Is this the only place where we can talk?
Archer: I presume that the GUAE has bugs all over their headquarters - bugs that cannot enter Unlimited Blade Works. *smirks* And don't worry. Due to the unique nature of our contract, it's impossible for me to drain chakra from you.

Itachi looked at the back of his hand - on it were three Command Spells shaped like his Sharingan. Sighing, he changed the subject.

Itachi: Even after you told me your plan, you wanted me to truly activate my Mangekyo Sharingan. How were you able to resist Tsukuyomi?
Archer: Your genjutsu works on the same principle as my universe's Mystic Eyes. Powerful as they may be, they can be resisted via a surge of prana.
Itachi: Hmph. It doesn't matter, as long as I have another hand in derailing the GUAE's plans.
Archer: And I'll be able to put down the Joker for good. Glad to work with a fellow schemer.

With a wave, Archer vanished along with his Reality Marble, his presence staying behind Itachi. However, Archer was willing to sneak one last cryptic message to his new master.

Archer: Children build themselves around the events that adults create.

Itachi felt himself cringe as he left his temple.

Some Time Later

Itachi and Archer were perched on a rooftop that they ensured was bug-free (and which Archer reinforced using one of Rin's magecraft textbooks to create an extra anti-bug boundary field) looking at some data that Itachi oh-so-sneakily pilfered.

Itachi: These are all the leads that I have on the Joker. It's not much, and I didn't have time to read it, but it should be something.
Archer: Thanks. You wouldn't make a bad Assassin. *starts reading data pad* Hmm... Huh... *face turns distraught* Damn. A mole?
Itachi: What...?
Archer: I'm going hunting. The fact that the GUAE has a mole in the GUAG is only complicating our game of chess. Furthermore, since we need to dispatch them discreetly, I should be able to take care of them on my own. And thanks to your Command Spell, I should teleport back to you once I utter the "escape word."
Itachi: You agreed to work to set Sasuke straight after I got the info.
Archer: That can wait. I'm good at dealing with annoying kids that sound like him. For now this mole needs to be rooted out - they're in deep.

With that, Archer leaped out into action.

Later Still

Perched on a rooftop two kilometers away from the House of Magic, Archer drew his bowstring, his target in sight. As long as Hrunting was charged with prana, it could strike his target from this distance.

Archer: Cross the red plains, scarlet-
???? Kokujin: Shippu!

Understanding who was striking him from behind, Archer shifted his aria mid-projection.

Archer: -Aias!

His bow and sword dissolving, Archer summoned his shield to deflect Hakumen's attack. Leaping back, he summoned Kanshou and Bakuya to his hands.

Hakumen: So, fate once again rends us enemies.
Archer: *smirks* No. It's not fate. I've just been reminded of which side will win in the end.
Hakumen: Once again, I will eliminate you, fallen God. You are no longer my Worthy Opponent.
Archer: Then let's have no formalities or creeds. Can you keep up with me?
Hakumen: Zantetsu-!

Reacting to Hakumen's slash, Archer threw Kanshou and Bakuya. Hakumen was forced to stop his attack and block, knocking the swords behind him. With this slight opening, Archer trapped his foe in a cage of BFSs.

Archer: (Since I've fought him before, my Mind's Eye gives me a tactical advantage. I know that he has an insane amount of close-range counters, so Crane Wing Three Realm is not an option. Naturally, I'll have the best advantage at long range. Even if he has Fuumajin, I can easily circumvent it with a Broken Phantasm.)

As Hakumen hacked apart the swords, Archer leaped back, longbow drawn again.

Archer: All is a silent utopia.

Power coalesced in his arrow, and the Sword of Salvation shot forward.

Archer: Soul Calibur!
Hakumen: It's useless. Fuumajin!

Hakumen swung a slash at Soul Calibur, intending to counter it with his own vortex of destruction. However, much to his surprise, the arrow landed to his right, out of his sword's range, and exploded into a small crystal spire. The fallout from the explosion hit Hakumen, trapping the right half of his body in crystal.

Hakumen: Guh!
Archer: Take this!

With a wave of his hand, nine unenchanted swords hit Hakumen from the front. Though none of them were strong enough to pierce the Susanoo Unit, they hit with enough force to knock him off the building.

Archer: Enough of that. I have someone I need to catch. I am the bone of my sword.

Hakumen got up, dazed from the attack, and saw Archer running atop the buildings of the Pantheon. Growling, he pulled out his sword and sprinted after his foe.

Hakumen: There is no escape...!

After a good amount of running, Archer keened in on his target. Closing the distance, he leaped down.

Archer: So as I pray, Unlimited Blade Works.

The Reality Marble formed. Hakumen was not taken in, leaving Archer alone with his target - Homura Akemi.

Homura: You?
Archer: I'm on real GUAE business to take you out, Homura Akemi. After all, as Madoka's genuine Herald...
Homura: What?... I guess I have to kill you, then.
Archer: *smirks* Then show me what you can really do, as a true Puella Magi.

As Homura winced, Archer waved his hand. Swords rained down onto and around Homura, potentially too much for her to comfortably escape with a time-stop. However...

Homura: MADOKA!

A brilliant pink light tore apart the sky of gears. As if it were hit with the full force of Gilgamesh's Enuma Elish, the Reality Marble parted and shattered with the force of the Goddess's arrow, and Archer and Homura were yanked back into the standard plane of existence. Madoka's form was five meters away, and her bow was trained on the Counter Guardian. Homura took the opportunity to stop time and put her Beretta to Archer's temple, and Hakumen placed his blade on the nape of his foe.

Archer: Man... why do my plans always go sour at the very end?
Homura: You're surrounded.
Archer: Yeah. And people die when they are killed.
Madoka: Archer-san... I know there's still some good in you. But if you insist on killing Homura-chan, then I have no choice.
Hakumen: Any last words, traitor?

Archer allowed one last smile to appear on his face.

Archer: Faker.

With that, Archer vanished, the Command Spell of Itachi whisking him away.

Hakumen: Tch. He won't win by escaping.
Madoka: Are you alright, Homura-chan?
Homura: Yeah, I am. But Archer's too dangerous to leave alone. Madoka... before I called for you, Archer was almost about to tear me to shreds. There was literally nothing I could do. We need to kill him before any other member of the GUAE.
Hakumen: That's true. I won't rest until he's eradicated.

As the three of them went their own way, Madoka looked up.

Madoka: 'Faker...?'

And, as Homura stood behind Madoka, her face contorted into a scowl.

Fake!Homura: (So, he's figured me out...)

That Which Cannot Be Changed

Outside the Ogawa Apartment Complex

Archer rapped on the door of the apartment complex. He was starting to get irritated; his contact was not answering.

Archer: (If I want to eliminate the fake Homura, I need to get through Madoka - and I'll never be able to match her. My only bet is to expose Homura as a fake and force her to reveal her identity in front of Madoka. If I want to at least stand against Madoka long enough for the fake to expose herself, I need to awaken my Origin and reach the power level I used against BB. So...)
????: *from behind the door* Oh? I presume this is Archer?
Archer: That is correct. Judging by your voice, I presume you are Araya?
????: *chuckles*

The door opened. Instead of Araya, there was...

Archer: Kirei Kotomine? I wasn't expecting you here.
Kirei: *smirks* I'm just here to prepare. As you know, I have an old enemy I need to fight again, and Araya is allowing me to train here.

Kirei stepped aside, making room for Archer to enter the complex.

Archer: *scowls slightly* This enemy of yours... is he Kiritsugu Emiya?
Kirei: That's right. Araya is allowing me to use this complex to continuously repeat the day when Kiritsugu shot me in the heart. Practice makes perfect, after all.

After giving an idea some thought, Archer spoke up.

Archer: You're allied with Araya, correct? In that case, I'd like to make a little deal with you.
Kirei: Oh? *smirks*
Archer: You know who I am. You know that I'm not exactly fond of Kiritsugu. So... if you could talk Araya into fully awakening my Origin, I'll help you with your fight.
Kirei: And why would I need another Servant? I still have Gilgamesh. He could kill Kiritsugu without even trying.
Archer: *smirks* But unlike Gilgamesh, I'm not one to toy with my foes or wander around doing whatever I want.
Kirei: ...Very well. I'll bring you to Araya.

Archer stepped into the complex, following Kirei's trail.

Archer: (This is working out perfectly. And I'm not exactly planning on keeping my promise to him. Once this is done...)

Unfortunately, Archer failed to notice Kirei hiding an "exactly as planned" smirk.

Later, outside the complex

Archer smirked, admiring the new golden armor that he gained from his Origin awakening.

Archer: (Heh. Now, I should be able to make Aias strong enough so that Madoka shouldn't be able to finish me in one attack. I'll still suffer bad injuries, but... whatever. Now, where to find the Joker and the fake...?)
????: Well, well, well. I wasn't expecting you to be out here, Archie.

Archer turned around. Sure enough, there was the Joker, ever-smiling and empty-handed. The Servant called Kanshou and Bakuya into existence.

Archer: (That was easy. In fact... that was too easy.)
Joker: Oh? What's wrong? Not pleased to see me?
Archer: What are you doing here? Are you just a doombot? Because we both know you can't match a Servant.
Joker: Oh, come on. You honestly think I'm here to fight? No, I'm here to say... goodbye.

Before Archer could move, a large device suddenly appeared to the Joker's side, and began to pull Archer in and turn him into a spectral form. He struggled, to no avail.

Archer: A Phantom Zone Projector? How-!?
Joker: Well, you know what heroes say - The Power of Friendship solves everything. *cackles*
Archer: Friend...?

Next to the Joker appeared two figures - the false Homura and Kirei Kotomine.

Archer: K-Kotomine? Damn you...
Fake!Homura: *armed with Psychotic Smirk* You're so foolish, Archer. Kirei was kind enough to give us your location while Araya was awakening your Origin. All I needed to then do was pull this Projector out of my shield and seal you away. You honestly thought that he wouldn't ally with me, especially considering who he allied with before?
Archer: Ku...! What are you?
Kirei: *chuckles* Of course I would side with her. You figured out that she was a fake but couldn't figure out who she was? Fine. Let me tell you...

Just before Kirei revealed the impostor's name, Archer succumbed to the Projector. He screamed, as spectral energy flowed out of his mouth, and his body was pulled into the Phantom Zone.

Kirei: Ah. Convient that he was pulled away right at this moment. Oh well. Let him figure it out while watching this spectacle as a ghost.
Fake!Homura: It's a shame. I wanted to play with him a little more. Well, he's out of the way...that's all that matters.
Joker: How's the real Homerun managing? Hangin' in there?
Fake!Homura: *A ghastly smile on her face* Just barely. The speed at which her Gem is corrupting...she has twenty four hours at most.
Joker: Heheheh... twenty-four hours...then the REAL party begins!

The Joker's cackles reverberated throughout the night.

Later, in the Phantom Zone

Archer's disembodied, spectral form watched as Madoka and the imposter ate together, a scowl over his face. Twenty-four hours, the imposter had said. Twenty-four hours until his plan would fall into motion.

Archer: Twenty-four hours to get out of here...

He had been trapped like this before, sealed from his Master. He'd broken out once, thanks to his Origin awakening, and he could do it again with time. After all, with the stakes very high...

His gaze returned to Madoka. Ever since she ascended to the Pantheon, he had covertly envied her. In life she walked the exact same path that he did - selfless, all-loving, trying to reach out and save everyone that they could see. Like him, she had sold her soul, with the hope that everyone would no longer be able to cry. But their fates diverged. For being the Messiah, Madoka had ascended to Heaven and become God; for being the Messiah, Archer was damned to hell as a Counter Guardian.

But now that the Joker and the fake Homura (whose identity, Archer reasoned, was actually good reason for Kotomine to side with her) were about to make their move, Madoka would be at an extreme risk level. If the plan succeeded, she would fall. The embodiment of hope would fall into despair. And...

Archer: That's right, Madoka. I won't let you become another EMIYA.

His ghost walked away, as Madoka's clock ringed to signify the top of the hour. Twenty-three hours left. Plenty of time.

GUAG Gaiden: Louisa Ferre

Two Weeks Before the Fear Toxin Incident

Homura is in her room, cleaning her guns. She finishes reassembling a handgun, slips it into her buckler and gets up to leave. She finds her face mere inches from a blonde girl's countenance, who had apparently snuck up behind her. There is a pistol in her hand in a flash, but luckily she holds her fire.

Homura: Never. Ever. Sneak up on me.

The threat doesn't seem to rattle the girl. Homura apparently didn't notice the girl didn't even flinch with the gun in her face.

The Girl: Of course. My apologies. I just didn't want to startle you during such a delicate procedure.
Homura: *Clearly aggravated* How courteous. And you would be who, exactly?

The Girl curtseys. /
The Girl: I am Louisa Ferre, Magical Girl. Servant of Her Grace Madoka Kaname. And you are Homura Akemi, Herald of Penitent Gretchen.

Homura returns the gun to her buckler, still eyeing Louisa with suspicion.

Homura: I am...so, what do you need…Louisa?

The girl, Louisa, leans up against a wall, absentmindedly polishing what is clearly a Soul Gem resting in a necklace with her thumb. The gem is white, in the shape of a goat's head.

Louisa: I wish to deliver a warning. No doubt you've heard the latest bit of news from the House of Prophecy.

Homura rolls her eyes, then turns to start cleaning up her workspace.

Homura: This..."Great Upheaval?"
Louisa: That's the one. A sort of "Rebellion", I believe they said, that would affect every inch of your native world. What do you suppose that means?
Homura: I don't waste time with divination. Half of what those fools in the House of Prophecy churn out is vague nonsense anyway.

Louisa sighs.

Louisa: But half of it isn't, by that logic. Do you want to take that risk? Homura Akemi...it's called the 'Great Upheaval'. It'll apparently change everything...forever. Something called that originating from your world...only one person could possibly be the centerpiece in an event like that.

Homura pauses, her hands freezing over her tools. Louisa smirks.

Louisa: ...I see that got your attention.
Homura: Madoka's...in no danger. She...
Louisa: *Cutting her off* She is the head of the Magical Girl Sisterhood, one of the strongest, most pivotal deities in the whole Pantheon, and the Magical Girl who would become Kriemhild Gretchen, the embodiment of destruction itself. She is one of the GUAE's highest-priority targets.

She pushes off the wall, directing a piercing gaze at Homura.

Louisa: Her Grace is in PLENTY of danger. Surely you've been paying attention the last few weeks: if not for timely intervention by their comrades, Kyouko Sakura and Mami Tomoe would have fallen into despair. The GUAE's on the attack, they're targeting the Puella Magi, and they're only to get more aggressive. And again, this is happening with a prophesied "Great Upheaval" on the horizon. I ask again...do you want to take that risk?

Homura stares her down, but it's clear she's nervous. Louisa stares right back.

Louisa: Would you leave Madoka Kaname's safety to chance?

Homura is silent for a long, long while. The answer to Louisa's question, obviously, was a resounding NO. On the other hand, the blonde girl was shady almost to the point of parody. Homura doesn't break eye contact, but when she speaks, her voice has picked up an almost undetectable quiver.

Homura: What would you have me do...if I decide to take your warning to heart?

Louisa smiles slightly.

Louisa: The optimal solution would be to remove her from the front lines. Take away her status as a target by any means you deem fit. Keep her out of the crosshairs.
Homura: Keep her? 'By any means?' You would have me...take her freedom in exchange for her safety?

Louisa places a small box on Homura's work bench.

Louisa: Whatever you deem necessary, Homura Akemi. All we need is to get a bit of the 'aggro' off of her. Dial back her importance slightly, so the GUAE is not as inclined to involve her in their...antics. This...*she pats the box*...can aid you in that.

Homura stares at the box. It may have been her imagination, but she had a creepy feeling down her spine, like some higher power was trying to tell her there was something vile in the container. At the same time, she’d be lying if she said her curiosity hadn’t been piqued. Still, she scowled.

Homura: There are places I need to be, Louisa…
Louisa: Of course. I understand this proposal may seem a bit overwhelming. You'll need to decide how you will approach this on your own. Of course...*she smirks*...we don't have forever. Now, I must take my leave. I assure you, however…we will speak again at a future time, Homura Akemi. Until then…farewell.

Louisa vanishes like smoke. Homura doesn’t notice. She is deep in thought, her focus on the box. It was nonsense: Louisa’s attempts to manipulate her were almost as ham-handed as Death Phantom’s.

Key word, almost…she couldn’t deny it: the girl made a good point…better than Phantom’s empty words. If there was going to be a massive blow to the nature of her world, Madoka would be the key player. If that meant she was in danger… Slowly, she reaches out and takes the box, removing the lid and peering inside.

It was worth consideration.


Backside of the TV

The Midnight Channel: Studio Backlot

Yu: *shaking Mami on the shoulder.* Mami-san… Mami-san, wake up.

Mami sits up, shaking her head groggily.

Yu: You alright? The first time’s always a bit of a trip.

Mami: Uggh… those…

She gestures with her hands to indicate something whooshing past her head.

Yosuke: “Box things”? You get used to ‘em.

Mami stands up unsteadily and looks around

Mami: So this place is…

Teddie: *Grinning* Yup! Welcome to scenic TV World, filming location of the award-winning Midnight Channel, and birthplace of the Shadows, yours truly included!

But as he looks around, his grin fades and his pupils shrink.

Teddie: At least…I THINK that’s where we are…!

Yu and the others look around in shock. The backlot is the only thing they can recognize. Everything else is pure chaos: a random mishmash of… stuff. Some of it Mami vaguely recognized from barriers she had entered in the past, rose petals and clothes on clotheslines floating aimlessly by, bouncing off of huge cut gemstones and bottles of pills.

Teddie: *Clutching his head* Ohhhhh… myyyyyyy… GOOOOOOOOOOOD! WHAT HAPPENED TO MY HOOOOOOOOOOME?!? It looks like Monty Python’s rummage sale exploded!

Chie: I thought the fog was bad! This place is pandemonium! What happened?!?

Yu: Look, everybody calm down. It may not look like what we’re used to, but it’s still the TV World: it should still function just the way we remember it. All that’s happened is it has different minds bouncing off of it: the Witches, and it’s reflecting their thoughts.

Mami: Yes… I recognize some elements from the barriers.

Rise is scanning her surroundings with her Persona. Her expression turns somber very quickly.

Rise: So these are Witches… huh?

Suddenly she goes stiff.

Rise: Uh…! URGH…!

Yosuke: Rise?

Rise starts twitching violently, tears streaming from beneath Himiko’s visor. The Persona itself is getting in on the action as well: the static boxes indicating damage are appearing all over it and its body is flickering dangerously. The Investigation Team starts to back away.

Kanji: Wh-wh-what the hell's going on?!? She havin' a seizure or something?!?

Naoto: Rise-san, can you hear my voice?

Rise doesn’t respond. Her grunts and yelps dissolve into horrible choking noises and she begins to foam at the mouth, a trickle of blood emerging from beneath the visor. Himiko is emitting smoke as electricity courses around it, as an ominous high-pitched whine starts coming from it. Yu has seen enough: extending his hand, a card floats above it.

Yu: Sorry, Rise… PERSONA!

He crushes the card, and Izanagi appears. Bringing back the hilt of his weapon, Izanagi cracks Himiko in the head with it. The blow disperses the Persona. Yu steps forward cautiously.

Yu: Rise…?

Rise wobbles in place for a moment, staring right through him. Then she pitches over.

Yu: Rise!

Yu darts forward, catching her before she lands on her face and supporting her gently. Rise's nose is bleeding, her skin is ice-cold, and she doesn't appear to be breathing. But then...

Rise: GASP!

Rise tries to catch her breath, leaning against him. She’s in bad shape, pale, sweating and shaking like she’s just run a marathon. Her mascara is running as tears stream down her face

Rise: S-Sem…pai…!

They stay in silence as Rise slowly calms down. Mami is watching the spectacle, trying to keep her nerves up. Finally, Rise trusts herself enough to get to her feet.

Rise shakes off the last of her dizziness and smiles, standing up.

Kanji: The shit was that? Y-you can't scan, Rise-san?

Rise shakes her head, a quivering smile on her face.

Rise: As if! With Mami-san here, I can zero in on Candeloro no problem. *she suddenly looks somber* I tried to scan the rest of the TV World to see just how many of these Witches were in here. I… couldn't even begin to count them.

Mami: …That would be every witch from the pasts, presents and futures of every possible world. Every Mahou Shoujo to ever fall to despair. Everyone ever tricked by the Incubators…

Solemn silence falls over the group as the weight of it sinks in. Yu gives Rise a strange look: he didn't even need his ability to "reach out to the truth" to know Rise was hiding something. Still, he says nothing. Teddie finally breaks the silence.

Teddie: Well, let’s not stand around moping! We came here to turn that dark past into a big, bright, beautiful future!

Yosuke rolls his eyes, but he has the ghost of a smile on his face.

Yosuke: Pretty corny way of putting it, but…

Mami smiles too.

Mami: Yes. Every Witch here could be a potential Persona. How about we look about it that way?

Teddie: That’s the spirit, Mami-chan!

Mami: Did you find, Kujikawa-san?

Rise re-summons Himiko. Yu watches nervously.

Yu: Uh, Rise? Are you sure you should…

Rise: I’ll be fine. I just need to tune out the rest of the Witches… yeah, there it is. Let’s see… should be…this way.

She points off in the distance.

Chie: Alright! Let’s kick some ass! Ready, Mami-san?

Mami nods.

Mami: Yes.

The Investigation Team and the Mahou Shoujo head off into the distance. Rise walks a bit behind them all: with Mami so confident, Rise doesn't want them all to see her still trembling.

It wasn't just the sheer number of Witches that had acted like a dagger to her brain. It was one in particular that she had picked up: one whose raw power had eclipsed anything she had ever felt. Izanami, Nyarlathotep, Asura in his worst mood… they would barely register compared to it. And for a horrible moment, she thought… no, she knew, with absolute certainly, that it knew she was watching it.

It had spoken to her.

She had felt it try to pull her mind in. She heard it tell her to die and be at peace, to embrace salvation under its protection, and only sheer willpower had kept her from obeying on the spot. If not for Yu-kun’s timely intervention…

Get in, get Candeloro and get out… whatever that… thing was, they couldn't risk running into it. They would need to complete the mission as quickly as they could. She didn't want to spend another SECOND longer than they had to.

Tomoe Café

It takes a while, but the team finally comes across a towering skyscraper, adorned with ribbons and banners. The entrance is a fancy French café, with tables decorated with ribbons and umbrellas.

Mami: So this is the place?

Yosuke: Oh yeah…this is DEFINITELY your dungeon.

Teddie is sniffing the air loudly.

Teddie: Ohhhh…

Chie: *Nervously* Uh… Teddie?

Kanji: Yo Ted… feeling alright?

Teddie: You don’t smell that? Oh, that smells decadent

Rise sniffs the air a few times, then takes a deep, satisfied breath of the scent surrounding them. She noticeably relaxes: something about it calms her still-racing heart.

Rise: He’s right… that smell… wow… this has to be the best-smelling dungeon we've ever been to. Cake, fresh out of the oven… and then there’s something else I can’t place…

Yukiko: I know that smell… it’s tea! It smells like some kind of… black tea blend!

Mami: Black tea, peaches, cream, and caramel flavoring, marigold, apricot, and apple pieces…

Everyone turns to look at her, stunned.

Yosuke: How in the hell did you…?

Mami: I recognize it. It’s my favorite blend.

Kanji crosses his arms, looking up and down the dungeon.

Kanji: Sounds good. You’re gonna need to hook me up when we’re done, Tomoe-san.

Mami: Oh?

Kanji: I’m partial to… this one black tea blend with kukicha, ginger, orange, cinnamon and coconut. Starts off with this real kick to the head, but then it kinda mellows out. It’s damn good.

Kanji notices the stunned silence as Mami stares in amazement. He scowls.

Kanji: Let me guess: you thought my diet consists purely of topsicles, black coffee and nails, right?

Mami: Um…

Kanji: *Indignantly* I can drink tea and still be tough!

Chie: Alright, alright, save it for the Shadows!

Kanji: Hrmph…

Mami: …I would like to try that blend, Kanji-san. It sounds really good.

Kanji: *Surprised* R-really? Sweet. I’ll pick some up after we’re done kicking Candeloro's ass.

Mami smiles, her body and Soul Gem glowing as she transforms into her Magical Girl form, looking up at the dungeon.

Mami: Alright… I’m ready.

Yu: Let’s go!

The Investigation Team and their charge take their first tentative steps into the dungeon.

Party of Armageddon (Intermission): Howee Doin'?

Okay, I think it's safe. Now, while we're going with some craziness, I think it's time to... (hears piano playing)...Um, what's going on?

Uncle Howee: (singing) "Howee doin'? Howee doin'? It's the Uncle Howee Show! Let's just hope it never ends...do you wanna be a friend?"

W...who are you? And what's going on?

Uncle Howee: I happen to be in the neighborhood and wanted to spread friendship with all the little boys and girls in the Pantheon.

I mean, how did you get here to tell the tale? And how did you ascend?

Uncle Howee: That's a secret. Now, do you wanna be a friend?

Um, well it's nice to have friends. Okay then. I'll be your friend. So, what do you want to do now?

Uncle Howee: I want you to look around the Pantheon to see who can be friends of ours? I think the best place to check the House of Theater; there's always lots of cute little boys and girls who'd watch the show! After all, what are friends for?"

Sure, Uncle Howee! Tee hee! Let's do this! (starts walking off) "Howee doin'? Howee doin'? It's the Uncle Howee Show~!"
Oh, look over here! There are so many little boys and girls watching the show. And...is that?

Jeff Hardy: (Watching the show with some of the younger gods) Wowee-zowee!

The show must be super-duper if someone as old as Jeffie's watching it! Oh, and there's the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Vanellope von Schweetz, Rena Ryuguu, Yotsuba, Chiyo...it's just a plethora of little kiddies! How cute!

Matt Hardy: (entering the House of Theater and looks at his brother) Jeff, what are you doing? We have a match in five minutes!
Jeff Hardy: But Mattie, it's so good! You have to watch it! Look at the bunny!

Uncle Howee: Howee doin', everybody? Meet my friend, Loomis!
Everyone: (minus Matt) Hi, Loomis!
Matt Hardy: Okay, that's it. (drags Jeff out by his collar) We are leaving. NOW!!!
Jeff Hardy: (whining as he's being dragged away) You're so mean, Mattie!!!

Oh, I hear the audience booing. Wonder where that came from? I best tell the news to Uncle Howee though. La la la la...
The Pantheon Wrestling Federation had a big tag team event with the Hardy Brothers vs the Brothers of Destruction. Backstage, Jeff was still singing the theme to Uncle Howee, much to Matt's annoyance.

Matt: (shaking Jeff) For the love of god, stop this! WE HAVE A MATCH!
Jeff: (giggles) Wowee-zowee!
Matt: Come on, be my brother again, or at least be the Anti-Christ! Anything's better than this! Ugh, whoever created that stupid dumbass show better come here or I'll...
Uncle Howee: (appearing behind Matt) You'll what?

Matt turned around as Uncle Howee grinned from ear to ear. Jeff giggled at seeing the strange man.

Matt: What did you do to my brother?
Uncle Howee: I did absolutely nothing. What did you do to be such a stick in the mud?
Matt: Jeff and I have a match! We don't have time for such child-like things! (pushes Uncle Howee aside and drags Jeff away) Let's go.
Uncle Howee:...You shouldn't have done that, Matthew...

The Undertaker and Kane were in the ring, waiting for their opponents to arrive, Daniel Bryan in their corner. The audience cheered as they heard Jeff's Theme, "No More Words", blaring across the arena. But...neither Jeff nor Matt were there. Rainbow Dash was in attendance.

Rainbow Dash: What the hay is going on here? I paid good money to see an epic tag-team match! I do not do no-shows!
Jim Ross: Has anyone seen the Hardys?
JBL: They chickened out, and I don't blame them! We have the Brothers of Destruction together again and it is awesome!

Suddenly, on the jumbo screen, there was someone playing the piano.

Uncle Howee: (singing) "Howee doin'? Howee doin'? It's the Uncle Howee Show! Let's just hope it never ends, do you wanna be my friend?"
JBL: Uh...what?
Uncle Howee: Howee doin', everyone? I have two new friends I wanna show you! Say hello...to the HARDYS!!!

The audience gasped as the camera turned to the Hardy brothers. Except...they were marionettes, which was revealed when they lifted their heads to show their blank, doll-lie faces. Rainbow Dash looked in horror at what she saw. This wasn't part of the show! Vince McMahon, backstage, also saw this and though the same thing.

Vince: Russo! Is this your handiwork?
Russo: No! I've never even seen this guy before.
Vince: Get him out of here! NOW!!!

Back in the arena, Undertaker and Kane looked at each other before looking at how...creepy and child-like Matt and Jeff became. Daniel Bryan took the hint and rushed to the backstage area to set things straight. Rainbow Dash looked around and saw two stray people walking away from the arena. Curious, she began to follow them; anything to get away from Mannequin Hardys!
In the House of Ambiguity, Wreck-it Ralph carried Vanellope and the Cutie Mark Crusaders for their play date, the four talking about a show they watched. He had to hurry, though. The big match at the Pantheon Wrestling Federation was going on, and he and Felix had front row seats (well mostly because of Ralph's height more than anything). As the four went off to play, Ralph walked to his temple and opened the door.

Gangrel: Your services are needed.
Ralph: (sighs) What is it now?
Luna Vachon: Get the Hardys here now. It's an emergency.
Ralph: How so?
Rainbow Dash: Hey! (flying in) Can any of you tell me what just happened to Matt and Jeff? I mean, who gives them a chance to ditch out on a match such as the one going on right now? And who's that creepy guy on the piano?
Gangrel: That's what we're trying to find out. Ralph, get the Hardys. Luna, can you help me find where Edge went off to?
Luna Vachon: Will do.
Ranbow Dash: And what about me?
Scotaloo: Rainbow Dash! (speeding by on her scooter) You need to see this awesome show called the Uncle Howee show! It's 20% cooler than anything in the Pantheon!
Gangrel: Well, that answered your question, did it not? Keep them entertained while we get to the bottom of this.
Ralph: Right. (Cracks knuckles) Let's do this.


Cleaning Up Loose Ends

(This would happen sometime after Yu's done with dealing with Mami, as well as the Homulily arc. On the other hand, this is a continuation and possible conclusion with Garrus Vakarian's incident in Book 1)

Commander Shepard has been... away for some time. It was said that he/she answered the call to his close friend Martin Walker in managing the Alpha Omega Force. Garrus Vakarian was still doing the calibration... on his rifle. There was one thing that has been in his mind. He was briefed about Relius Clover's attempt to take over, and managed to once again rope Litchi Faye-Ling into his 'services', although Revolver Ocelot and his apprentice Celestia Ludenberg got to her first, and the backstabbing by Albert Wesker eventually depowered Relius so much. Garrus might have lost his bet with Tali about the redemption of Litchi, as she's now amongst the GUAG again, and he accepted that loss. But there was one thing that he just couldn't let go.

The sight of her first betrayal was still mirred in his mind. He is, after all, the God of Vigilantism, where he exact the justice that won't be carried out by normal justice system.

Garrus: (The justice system may be flawed. She may have her remorse, but supporting a monster like Terumi and Relius is still a crime. If Ocelot didn't get to her first, she would've participated in the destruction of the Pantheon... That selfish desire to help 'Arakune', it'll always lead her astray. If she refuses to let that go... she will become a traitor again. There's only path I know for her.)

His calibration was finally completed. Garrus was about to open the door, but two figures stood in front of him.

Garrus: Hm? You are... Yu Narukami?
Yu: That I am.
Garrus: And that girl over there...
'''Reika: *takes a bow* Reika Aoki. Pleased to meet you.
Garrus: I see. I've heard about the prowess of you kids. One Pretty Cure, and one of the best Persona users out there. I've got to say... impressive. But, I know you're here for a reason, right?
Yu: Actually yeah. Before the flight to the Alpha Omega Force, Commander Shepard has told us to keep a watch over you. He told us that you will do the right thing, but just in case.
Garrus: Don't tell me he told you about—
Reika: Exactly that.

Softly, Reika moved forward and touched a part of Garrus... his wound.

Reika: This scar... it was made before I even entered the Pantheon. The culprit that caused this—
Garrus: Yes. I will have to make her pay before something like this happens again.
Yu: But... why? Miss Litchi has shown her remorse and apologized. You don't have to...
Garrus: I know it sounds harsh. But I cannot trust her, so long as she possesses that drive to help that 'Arakune'.
Reika: Why is that? Isn't that a noble cause, to save a friend? I personally believed that she will save him. Did you... pay too much visits to that Kokonoe?
Garrus: For the record... no. That same drive led her astray too much, first she hung around with Terumi just over a false promise of 'saving him'. And then Relius nearly did the same. Imagine what happened if Ocelot didn't come first. The thought of this Pantheon's destruction happening quicker because someone was too clingy of a promise that lets her get manipulated gullibly...
Yu: ....
Garrus: That's why... I made this decision. Before she would risk the whole Pantheon again with her selfish urges...
Reika: Please, stop this! She still has a lot of good in her heart, even if she has done such thing, with remorse. You too, Garrus, there's a reason why the Commander trusted you so much, it must be because you are a good Turian God. But if you do this... the Commander wouldn't...

Before Reika could reason further, Yu put his hand onto her shoulder, stopping him.

Yu: No. On the contrary... you can do what you like.
Garrus: I see. Everyone thought that Litchi's state as a good woman is always assured. But after seeing what she actually did... she has to pay for not keeping her selfish urges under control while knowing the consequences. Thank you, for understanding how I came to think this way. I don't see any other options.
Reika: Narukami-san! I can't believe you. Why would you allow such thing?
Yu: Calm down. The Commander trusted that he would do the right thing.
Reika: I fail to see that this path of murdering someone who had a noble heart but was cornered to be just.
Yu: And... that's why I ask that you take us both with you.
Garrus: Hm? Oh... I see. I'd rather not be seen. Very well. Come along.
Yu: Thank you.

As the three walked together, Yu whispered to Reika.

Yu: (Not to worry. I got this. You stay close with Garrus.)
Reika: (Um... I'm sorry, but I don't get what you mean)
Yu: (I'm just trying something the Commander told me. You stay close, and remind him when it's all over... your title. You always remember, right?)
Reika: (I... I see. I pray for your success.)


Finally arriving at the front of Litchi's house, Garrus decided to hide in the bushes, along with Reika. Yu entered the house alone, and in a short time, he came out, already talking with Litchi.

Garrus: There she is...
Yu: Please, you can drop that smile.
Litchi: Eh? What do you mean?
Yu: It's always like that, isn't it? Every time someone realizes you have a problem and offers himself to help you... you always refuse.
Litchi: I... I'm fine. It's just that... this problem is...
Garrus: Yu... what are you doing? I'm taking the shot if she moves. Now move, don't make me kill the wrong person.
Reika: (Garrus... please...)
Litchi: I'm sorry, Yu. But I really can't... Thank you for the worries, but I'm...

Without even saying anything, Yu firmly held Litchi in the hand and prevented her to move.

Yu: Don't move.
Litchi: Let go of me.
Yu: If you move, a bullet will be lodged in your head. Do you remember 'Garrus Vakarian'?
Litchi: *gasp!* He... he still... But you weren't...
Yu: Commander Shepard told me.
Litchi: I'm... sorry. I... I didn't have a choice. I've invested so much in this that... I've Come Too Far. I can't go back...
Garrus: Everyone has a choice. Going back or not is a matter of... matter... of..
Reika: (Hm? I see what Yu meant...)
Garrus: This felt like deja vu...
Litchi: I've been corrupted with the Boundary. Even after attaining a place in the Pantheon, it doesn't go away. My time is limited, and usually, both Hazama and Relius held the key to prolong my life. If I am to lie down and die... I would only disappoint my friends. I promised them that once I save Arakune, I would return to them. That's why I can't just lie down and abandon my mission. But no one would help me, and I'm...
Yu: Calm down.
Litchi: I... I try, Yu. I tried. But not a single day after that time, even if there's Carl accompanying me, that every of my sleeps I... I've been haunted, with the faces of the people I hurt just for this goal. Bang's anguished face... the disappointed faces of Guile, Miki and even Mayuri... Mami and Karen's sad faces of me leaving them behind... And I have to move on by myself... I don't know how long I could keep this calm composure.
Yu: I know I probably am not capable of helping you exactly with Boundary problems. But... if you'd like, I'll be here to lend you a shoulder and to make you realize that You Are Not Alone.
Litchi: Yu... I...

Moved to tears, Litchi started to let out some tears as Yu put his hands on her shoulders gently... like forming a Social Link.

Yu: It's all right, Miss. I'm here.
Litchi: Thank you... Yu...
Reika: Now I see... I should've known that this would be the outcome.
Garrus: ... I've done this before...
Reika: Garrus... you've seen it, didn't you? Her remorse was genuine, she was already paying for her decision.
Garrus: ...
Reika: In the end, the true intentions were hidden within. While what we saw was the ugly truth that Miss Litchi decided to help Relius Clover for a selfish reason, inside, she is a tortured woman who was cornered and driven to this position. Indeed, the beauty of one's heart lies within. And... it definitely applies to you as well. You can stop your arms from shaking now.
Garrus: You're right... I can't do it. Everyone has a choice. Hers was about to let go of an obsession. But would Shepard fell into that kind of trouble her friend went through... and everyone told me to stop wasting my time, I would've gone through hell myself for him. I always had the choice to bury this hatred... There's still good in her indeed. Is that why you stuck close with me?
Reika: I'm glad you noticed. I had hoped that with me around, and Yu in action... you would notice that your vengeful mindset would cloud you from seeing the true beauty that is inside men. A first step to remove a problem is to recognize it first.
Garrus: It makes me remember of something I used to say... sometime ago...
Reika: Oh? And what was that?
Garrus: 'It's so much easier to see things in black and white. Grey... I don't know what to do about grey.' And... when I look at Yu conversing her, I heard what the Commander told me... 'You've got to use your instincts'. And the rest, I'm gonna say it myself to her.

Garrus then got up, and walked towards both Yu and Litchi, followed by Reika from behind.

Garrus: Yo.
Litchi: Garrus...? And... Reika? What are you?
Reika: Um, we were just... nearby?
Yu: I asked Reika to come along. And as of Garrus...
Garrus: Tried to kill you. Changed my mind. I was... taking things too harshly.
Litchi: Even if you would kill me, I wouldn't hold it against you. I...
Garrus: No, you listen. I'm not one to listen to someone's troubles and soothe them. That's not something I'm good at so you shouldn't seek me out for that. I would recommend that you pay a visit to Commander Shepard, it'll do good for your problems.
Litchi: I see. After what I heard from Yu... it sounds like it's worth a shot.
Garrus: And... this is what the Commander told me, and I'm gonna say it to you. So you better listen well.

At this point, Garrus tapped Litchi's arm lightly and said with as much of a Turian reassuring smile he could muster.

Garrus: Don't be too hard on yourself.

With that, Garrus turned away and moved.

Litchi: Garrus, where are you going? Perhaps I could do something about that scar of...
Garrus: No need. I'm just going to... find a new favorite spot in the Citadel. Lost the bet with Tali about you.
Yu: I've told you it'd work out just fine, am I right?
Reika: You're right. Perhaps it's what the Commander taught you.
Yu: Sort... of? A-anyway, we should be going. I'll be seeing you soon, Miss Litchi. Please... remember my words.
Litchi: Thank you, Yu... And you too, Reika. For staying with Garrus and...
Reika: I didn't do a thing. I just... spoke a bit and reassuring him to do the right thing. And he did. The Commander has trusted him to do so and I was to see that he would. Um... we'll be seeing you then. Farewell.
Litchi: Farewell! (I see. I know this weakness of me, and there's always a chance for me to succumb to it again. If I were to fall deeper... I trust that they will end me...)

After taking a bow, the two left Litchi as they walked together with the turian and eventually their respective homes. The turian has finally buried the hatchet of hate, and prevented himself from committing a similar mistake that he could have done in the past. For that... he had his gratitude of the two children, and his commander that sent the two for his sake.

Garrus: (Shepard... looks like I owe you again.)

Meteor's Betrayal and Fourze's Revival (Part 5.5): Let's Look Back.

CM Punk was already putting Serpent-bearer!Gentaro in the Anaconda Vice, doing his best to disable his opponent as Daniel Briyan unleashed his ultimate move, the Busaiku Knee on Dark!Gentaro. Kane was at the corner, waiting patiently as Captain Marvel grabbed Dark!Gentaro into the corner.

Jim Ross: Ladies and gentlemen, this is...this is absolutely phenomenal! I have no idea where this is headed folks!

Dark!Gentaro activated a switch in his Fourze Driver. Then, a blast of smoke began to cloud everyone's vision. Toph concentrated on movements on the floor, hoping to sense which one was which. Unfortunately, she couldn't tell with all of the noise and everyone pushing each other. She slammed her foot onto the ground as large spikes of the floor rose up to spike through the air.

Toph: Ugh, where are they?!
Ash: (looks around) They're not here...
Kane: (scoffs) Cowards!
Howard Finkel: (voice echoing) LADIES AND GENTLEMAN! TONIGHT'S SHOW AT THE PANTHEON WRESTLING FEDERATION IS ABOUT TO BEGIN!!! PLEASE PREPARE YOUR TICKETS!!!
CM Punk: It's already time? Shit, I have to go. (to Ash and the others) Go on without me.
Ash: Are you sure that's a good idea? I mean, what with everything going on...


Deep within the corners of the House of Mentalism, Dark!Gentaro snarled. Serpent-bearer!Gentaro just laughed.

Dark!Gentaro: What's so funny?!
Serpent-bearer!Gentaro: It's funny that I got my ass whupped by professional wrestlers, when the last person I fought became my little pawn.
Dark!Gentaro: Speaking of pawns...(pulls out a ring) Heart.

Dark!Gentaro concentrated on something and snarled when he saw a couple of figures soaked in chocolate milk, whisked all the way into the House of Food.

Dark!Gentaro: Let's get going. I'm hungry.
Serpent-bearer!Gentaro: For human flesh?
Dark!Gentaro: I guess you can say that.


At the House of Emotion, Fluttershy and Discord looked around, trying to find Yayoi Kise's House. They eventually found it and knocked on the door.

Yayoi: Coming. (opens door and steps back) Wh...who are you?
Discord: Oh, don't mind us. We just want to ask a few questions.

With a snap of his fingers, Yayoi was tied to a chair and a bright light was shining down on her. Yayoi gulped, trying to understand what was going on.

Discord: Just relax, little one. We're here for a few answers. For example, where were you 5:00 on the Seventh of July?
Yayoi: Um, in my house, drawing...a comic?
Fluttershy: Did it look something like this? (pulls out a comic from her satchel) We found this and it was penned by you.

Yayoi looked at the comic that depicted Kamen Rider Fourze with an Ouroboros in the background. What was also interesting to note were the feathery wings on his back.

Yayoi: I know this comic! Gentaro asked me to help draw it because he was having recurring nightmares about this strange figure. He said that the Fourze there came from a world where he became evil and wanted to kill the people he loved.
Discord: And was this all because of Ryusei Sakuta?
Yayoi: Yeah! How did you know?
Discord: Oh, just checking. Come, Fluttershy. We need to find Meteor Man and ask him some questions.
Yayoi: W...wait! Untie me please!
Discord: Oh, fine.

With a snap of his fingers Yayoi was untied and fell onto the ground with a thump. Fluttershy helped the girl stand up before following her friend. Yayoi waved goodbye before going to a table, picking up a similar copy to the comic Fluttershy handed her.

Yayoi: Gentaro...what are you going through?


There were the sound of screams as Grell and Miu followed the path to Belial and Nebiros' destination. Grell prepared her chainsaw just in case, but she knew that it was a lost cause. Miu was getting phone-calls from Ash and the others.

Miu: Fine, tryand take care of everything on your own. Just be careful, okay? See you soon. (hangs up) Where are we heading?
Grell: (opens the door to Izaya's temple) Oh, Crap...
Miu: Oops! What happened here?

Belial and Nebiros stood near Alice's side while Gentaro stood there, a dreamy look in his eyes. There was also Elena, Dudley and Pinkie Pie (and some strange person tied to a chair looking like they were in a trance), ready to fight back when necessary.

Dudley: Please, Mr. Belial and Mr. Nebiros, we do not mean you any harm.
Elena: That's right, we just want to be friends with Alice!
Pinkie: So, if you wouldn't mind...could you call off your zombies?
Alice: NO! All of you...all of you...
Grell: Take cover!
Alice: DIE FOR ME!!!!!!

All of a sudden, it began to ran undead mooks. Elena kicked one to the side, and Dudley punched one in the face. Pinkie Pie was armed with her Party Cannon, firing confetti and balloons into five of them. One of them turned and noticed Grell and Miu look at it, and charged toward them with a roar.

Grell: (Revs chainsaw) Get Ashley! I'll take care of these goons!
Miu: R-right...Take care, Grell!

Miu ran off as Grell charged into action, decapitating five of the mooks' heads in a single stroke. She knew that she could only stall for time, but as long as it was enough than that was all that she needed.

Grell: (thinking) Oh, Sebastian! I hope you'll see me in all of my splendor and fall in love with me just like I did with you! I'll show you why a Shinigami is not one you mess with!


In the House of Commerce, Mona sped through many of the Temples, seeing Charlotte LaBouf running toward somewhere, Hello Kitty talking to Recette about merchandise, and also seeing Konata reading a comic book regarding a magenta man fighting with a snake warrior. She soon found Wario's house and barged through.

Mona: Mr. Wario! Are you all right? What's going—

She found a note on Wario's desk, next to piles and piles of money. She picked it up and started to read.

Wario's note: Mona, if you are reading this, I've been so caught up and your paycheck will be delivered next week. Also, I'm playing a bit of Mario Party right now in the House of Gaming and I left a couple of my Dueling Gloves behind. Can you pick them up and send them to me? I'll give you a 5% raise if you do. Wah-ha-ha. Wario.
Mona: Well, as long as Wario is okay and I get money...(picks up some spare gloves and puts them in her hat) I better go see if everything's all right there.

With everything said and done, Mona sped on her moped all the way to the House of Gaming, not noticing a strange magenta man seeing her leave.


The undead mooks that were in Izaya's temple started to spread out. Sam and Max were on the case, shooting them with their guns and simultaneously running them over with the DeSoto.

Max: Hey, after this let's go meet that Master of Unlocking and have ourselves a Jill Sandwich, what do you say?
Sam: Fine, but it better be without tomatoes. You know how much I hate those.
Max: Hey, who's that?

Sam looked to see Miu running as fast as she could from the mooks. Seeing this, he sped the car and knocked ten of the zombies to the side, picking up Miu as they went.

Miu: Thanks you two. Have you found any clues?
Max: Only something regarding changelings and shape-shifters. Nothing special.
Miu: No, that's it! Sam, drive us to the House of Sports! I'll contact everyone to meet us there.
Sam: Um, I could...but there's one problem.
Miu: What's that?
Sam: That!

The DeSoto slammed on the brakes as a humongous mecha appeared before them. Miu looked in horror when she saw who was piloting it.

Miu: Travis! Oh no!
Travis: (smiles) Glastonberry, let's rock!

The mecha opened to reveal hundreds of missiles and released them, each of them flying toward the DeSoto.

Max: INCOMING!!!!!!

Party of Armageddon/Apocalypse (Part 5.5): Survivor Series

Well, at least someone has finally pointed out the inconsistency.

Oh shut up.

? Who are you?

The one writing the story. You're just the narrator who's apparently zonked out while undead mooks are rampaging across the Pantheon. I'll take over from here. Now... (clears throat)

Daniel Bryan rushed through the backstage, trying to find some hint as to where Matt and Jeff were. He wasn't having success, particularly because the two were insistent that "Goat Face" play Hide and Seek with them.

Daniel: How many times do I have to tell you, I'm not a Goat Face! Did you not see me tell Animal off?
Matt: You haven't found us~!
Jeff: Come and find us, Goat Boy!
Daniel: Grr...(feels someone poking him) FOR THE LOVE OF—

He turned around to see CM Punk stepping back, looking like a human. Daniel sighed in relief.

Punk: You know, when I said that nothing could go wrong, I was way off. What kind of deranged lunatic is causing this mess?
Daniel: Uncle Howee.
Punk: What?
Daniel: (opening doors and closing them) He turned the Hardy Boyz into mannequins and I'm trying to find out what's going on.
Punk: Can't be as bad as what I'm going through.

Daniel opened a door and sound a bundle in a huge blanket moving back and forth. He placed a finger on his lips as Punk picked up a steel chair. They crept into the room and pulled the blanket back.

Uncle Howee: Time's a-runnin'! Oh and Phil...I really don't like it when someone calls me "deranged"...I suppose you'd like to know what I did to those cute little brothers who were fighting against each other, huh?
Punk: W-well, I always had my beef with them but I never wanted them to suffer like what you're doing and...
Uncle Howee: Oh don't worry. You'll understand. Just like my newest addition. Isn't that right, John?

Before Punk understood what was going on, he was dragged onto someone's shoulders. John Cena's shoulders.

Daniel: (looking in aghast horror when he sees John as a large marionette) No...no...NO! NO! NO! NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

Daniel unleashed his ultimate attack, the Busaiku Knee at Cena. But the force of the knee to a face just dislodged John's head and it rolled off to the side.

Punk: (dropped from Cena's body) ....
Daniel: ....

Back at the arena, while the Brothers of Destruction was "Fighting", for lack of a better term, the Hardy Boyz, JBL, Tony Schiavorne and Jim Ross were divided inbetween the events in the ring, and the events backstage

JBL: What in the name of the Ministry of Darkness is going on?!
Tony: I...I have no words....
Jim Ross: Ladies and gentlemen, this was not on today's program! Please settle down, and we'll get to the bottom of this. In the mean time, after this match we will have the team of Paul London and Brian Kendrick vs...

On stage, the arena started to flicker with black and red lights. There was some silence as everyone tried to figure out what was going on...

Then, the lights came back on, with the Hardy Boys—now humans—covered in blood. Standing over them were two figures with masks covering their faces.

JBL: Great, it's those kids from Pluto! Now what are they?

Paul and Brian removed their masks, revealing their sharp fangs as they prowled around the brothers, ready to pounce. Undertaker and Kane looked at one another before hurling Paul and Brian out of the ring, hissing and snarling at the announce team.

JBL: Oh my god, we have vampires from Pluto!
Tony: Um, who brought the garlic?

Just as more and more chaos was about to erupt, out came Vince McMahon looking as if he could beat Asura in sheer rage.


So, how did those two become vampires?

I'm getting to that! There is a reason this chapter is called 5.5

I thought it's because you just couldn't handle juggling so many characters around.

Oh shut up.

While Luna rushed off to find Edge—which is hard because his title, "The Ultimate Opportunist", made it difficult to determine where he was going to strike next—Wreck-it Ralph met up with good old Fix-it Felix to get to the bottom of this mess. They were already in the House of Sports, which is where the Pantheon Wrestling Federation is located, but Gangrel stopped.

Ralph: What is it now?
Gangrel: Look.

He pointed his finger toward two wrestlers practicing in the ring, doing backflips and different sorts of attacks. They also had strange masks on them.

Felix: I've never seen them before. They must be new.
Gangrel: They're perfect.
Ralph: For what? (Realizes) Oh wait. Don't tell me—

Gangrel just laughed, Felix looked in confusion as Ralph sighed, stomping toward the wrestlers. The two, Paul London and Brian Kendrick, removed their masks and gulped at the giant 9-foot god coming their way.

Brian: Um, look we're not trying to do anything bad, but WHOA!

Ralph carried the two on his shoulders and walked toward Gangrel, who prepared his goblet in preparation. Paul and Brian struggled to escape, but Ralph's massive fists wouldn't let them. They were stuck.

Felix: What are we gonna do with them?
Gangrel: While they divert the attention of those Hardy Mannequins, we'll go and trap the madman and make sure that he chances everything back. After all, vampire blood has very elusive properties.

Felix didn't bother to ask any further as he removed his glasses to reveal his bloodshot eyes. With two swift movements, he poured his blood deep into Paul and Brian's throats and Ralph set them on the ground, pinning them each with a hand to prevent them from escaping. He really didn't like where this was going, but if Uncle Howee's magic harmed Vanellope....well, let's just say things would get messy.


Back at the PWF...

Vince: WHAT IN THE NAME OF KATIE VICK IS GOING ON HERE?!

Kane's grimace aside, Matt and Jeff slowly came to, moaning in pain as to what happened. Paul and Brian perched on a ring post like gargoyles.

Vince: Whoever is responsible for that deranged lunatic messing up tonight's show, I want you here RIGHT NOW!!!
JBL: Good old Mr. McMahon coming in to put some order into this place! Thank God!
Vince: Come here, Howee! Right now!
Uncle Howee: (from behind Vince) Here I am.

Vince turned around, seeing Uncle Howee with a cane in hand and waving his hat to the crowd. Behind Howee were a battered CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. Daniel slowly stood up, preparing his Busaiku Knee.

Uncle Howee: (without even turning around) Oh, dear Randall....I need your assistance right now!

Daniel turned around and was hit with a brutal RKO by Randy Orton. Daniel Bryan looked up and saw another marionette: one of Randy Orton.

Punk: Oh come on! Does karma hate us?! Look, Howee...if you want to make kids smile, why don't you team up with Barney the Dinosaur or something?
Uncle Howee: I want to make people smile, not look in disgust. Besides, have you heard rumors about him? Even I'm not that deranged and sociopathic.
Daniel: And turning wrestlers into mannequins isn't dernaged?!
Uncle Howee: I'd turn them back to normal after a while.
Vince: ENOUGH! Get your ass out of here right now!
Uncle Howee: Not so fast! (Wags his finger) Be careful with your language, sir. There are children in the audience.
Vince: This is my show, and you are not welcome here! I don't care what your rank is, but you mess with me and you will SUFFER!!!!
Punk: Vince is right you know; he is a Greater God.

Paul and Brian hissed at Undertaker and Kane. Undertaker just nodded his head in agreement, somehow able to communicate with them. The Deadman nodded his head at Kane who left the ring, an orb of fire in his hands.

Matt: Is this...blood?
Jeff: Oh no...where's that sick son of a bitch?
Undertaker: Said 'sick son of a bitch' saved your lives. I suggest you thank him when you have the chance.
Paul: He's here....
Brian: He's waiting for you...

While Kane went to Vince's side, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk rushed out of the arena, hoping to find someone to help them out. Unfortunately, tthey weren't able to get far when they collided with Wreck-it Ralph, Gangrel by his side.

Gangrel: Hello, boys. (smirks) Thirsty?

Before the two could say anything, Ralph collided their heads with one another, knocking them out cold.

Ooh, cliffhanger!

Yep. And now, we get onto the next story.

Really? You're just going to end it off like this.

I'm the writer, after all. Now, I think I know what we need now...

Meteor's Betrayal and Fourze's Revival (Part 6): Isaac and Miria Somehow Glue Everything Together

Miria: Say, Issac.
Issac: Yes, Miria, my dear?
Miria: Have you noticed that there's lots of people running about with crazy problems these days?
Issac: I know! It's like they're about to die or something! But not us! We keep being reborn day after day, without worry! Isn't that fantastic?
Miria: Indeed! Oh, today Chiyoko asked us for help in her restaurant! Let's go and see what theme it is today!

The House of Food was filled with delicious smells and people who came to eat. Out in the corner, King Dedede and Kirby were preparing the first-ever Gourmet Race. Isaac and Miria didn't pay attention, as they were off to see their good friend Chiyoko. The front of Chiyoko's temple had lots of LEGO, and there was Emmet, God of LEGO, constructing elaborate signs out of LEGO bricks.

Emmet: Come one and all to LEGO day! Why? Because....

Emmet pressed a button and the song, "Everything is Awesome" began to blare. Chiyoko giggled and waved at Issac and Miria, who immediately looked in awe at Chiyoko's LEGO dress, eyes shining bright.

Issac: This is just...incredible!
Miria: Hey, Issac...let's go make our own outfits!
Emmet: Have fun! At least someone's coming in today.
Issac: What's wrong, little yellow friend?
Emmet: Well there's this strange song going along about, "How we doing?" and all that and many of the kid gods who were going to come today aren't coming. (sighs) Am I...just bland?"
Miria: Of course not! We like you!

With that, Isaac and Miria dove into a huge pile of LEGO bricks and began to construct....something. Chiyoko waited patiently, hoping her friends in the Toku Base would come and visit her. Heck, she'd be happy if the Imagins made some chaos. At least that would be better than an empty Temple today.

?: Excuse me, I'm looking for someone.
Chiyoko: Hmmm? Oh! You're...Luna Vachon, aren't you?
Emmet: Awesome! (hops onto Luna's shoulder) Welcome to LEGO day! I'm Emmet and I will be...
Luna: I'm looking for Edge. Have you seen him at all?
Chiyoko: Hmm, no. But, why don't you come inside and I'll cook up a hot meal for you. Would you like a Bloody Mary to—

Chiyoko was interrupted with the sound of a Gatling gun echoing through the House. Many of the Gods stopped their food-inspired activities to see two copies of Gentaro Kisaragi entering. Kero stopped himself from stuffing his face with chocolate to see what was going on.

Kero: What the heck is going on here? Can't you see I'm—(gets kicked to the side by Serpent!Gentaro)
Serpent!Gentaro: (Stares at Luna) You....
Luna: Me?
Serpent!Gentaro: Well, I really wasn't expecting to get a ransom so easily. I get you, and then I get your no-good husband.
Luna: (curls hand into a fist) Try me.

Serpent-bearer!Gentaro and Luna were immediately at it, rolling across the ground in an attempt to fight one another. Serpent-bearer!Gentaro tried to go for a chokehold, but Luna just twisted his arm to the back. Meanwhile, Dark!Gentaro revealed a pair of feathery wings, their feathers flying out and going into the restaurant.

Emmet: Look out, Chiyoko!

Emmet quickly disassembled his signs and formed a huge LEGO wall. But a few feathers still made it through, and Emmet could hear screams.

Emmet: Issac! Miria!

Emmet turned to see Issac and Miria dead, their blood splattered against hundreds of LEGO bricks. Emmet looked like he was about to cry, when he saw the wounds and blood being sucked back into the duo, as if someone put rewind on a TV remote. Issac and Miria suddenly stood up.

Issac: Wow...(picks up a feather) Is there a bird migration going on?
Miria: Oh look Issac! We can be Cowboys and Indians with these feathers!

Dark!Gentaro tackled through the LEGO wall, grabbing onto Chiyoko and pinning her to the wall, a knife in hand. Issac, Miria and Emmet looked in horror.

Dark!Gentaro: One step and I kill her. Well? What will it be?
Isaac: Look! Flying human!

Dark!Gentaro turned and was met with Edge charging toward him. Emmet jumped to the pile of LEGO, constructing a humongous birdcage just as Edge speared Dark!Gentaro. The dark version of Gentaro slammed into the cate, and Emmet then constructed a large LEGO barrier to seal Dark!Gentaro off.

Edge: Son of a bitch!!!! That is what you get for trying to brainwash us!

Meanwhile, Luna gave Serpent-bearer!Gentaro a stiff upper-cut, and he was sent sprawling toward a group of people: Gilgamesh, the Nostalgia Critic and the Runaway Guys. Serpent-bearer!Gentaro snarled.

Serpent-bearer!Gentaro: Who stands in my way?!
Gilgamesh: It is us! Now, it is time for us to fight like men! And ladies! And ladies who dress like men! It is MORPHING TIME!!!

Gilgamesh charged forth, summoning his Masamune to swipe at the strange dark Gentaro. The Serpent-bearer!Gentaro snarled, backed into a corner thanks to Luna, grabbing him into a Sleeper Hold. Gilgamesh prepared his Zantesuken, but Serpent-bearer!Gentaro vanished in a puff of smoke. Fortunately, Luna grabbed onto Gilgamesh's arms before the swordsman had a chance to slice her in half.

Back at the temple, Emmet brought out a tube of crazy glue and began spraying it all over the LEGO barrier. He himself was never one for glue, but if it was to stop Dark!Gentaro from killing, it would have to do. Issac and Miria began to help, singing along to "Everything is Awesome".

Dark!Gentaro: (as he pounds on the LEGO barrier) How...how did you resist the mind control?!
Edge: Two words: Chocolate milk. (wrings coat of chocolate milk) Whoever did that has a twisted sense of humor.
Chiyoko: Well, let's get everyone a meal and we can all play some LEGO after that. Come in everyone!
Jon: Well, if it's free.
Dark!Gentaro: This won't be over. My partner has unleashed an evil upon the Pantheon, but you wouldn't even know what's going on....
Nostalgia Critic: What the fuck are you talking about?
Dark!Gentaro: (laughs) You'd love to know....


In the House of Gaming, Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Daisy, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Wario and Waluigi were playing a big round of Mario Party. Everyone was grouped into groups of two and the game was pretty close. It was Wario and Waluigi's turn to roll the die, and Mona came just in time.

Mona: Wario! (hands Wario the Dueling Glove) Here you go.
Wario: Wah-ha-ha! Thanks Mona.
Mona: Erm, Mr. Wario? My 5% increase?
Wario: Oh, fine...(rummages his pockets and pulls out some coins) There you go.
Mona: Thank you very much! Oh, I better get going (starts going on her moped) and then...

Suddenly, a sword came close to slicing her in half. Waluigi readied his tennis racket and blocked the attack. The other Mario Party participants looked as Kamen Rider Decade approached them, but something wasn't right. The Kamen Rider's eyes were red, and his armor looked a bit too scaly.

Mario: Tsukasa Kadoya, what are you doing here?
Kamen Rider Decade: Oh don't mind me, I'm just passing through...to kill all of you Nintendo goody goody shoes.

There was a gasp as everyone looked in horror. Mario narrowed his eyes and pulled out a Smash Ball from his pocket. He shattered it and became engulfed in a rainbow aura. He pulled his hands back as he unleashed two large streams of fire.

Mario: MARIO FINALE!!!!

Suddenly, the House of Gaming was engulfed in a humongous explosion.

Party of the Apocalypse Part 6: Merry Unbirthdays and Unfortunate Beginnings

Are you ever going to figure out a title for this story?

Yes I am. Now, we should get back to Pinkie Pie, where you should be tied up and begging for help.

Oh fine... (grumbles)

Okay, as my narrator starts getting back to her proper place. Let's see...

Back at Izaya's temple, Alice had sicced Belial and Nebiros onto the party of Dudley, Elena and Pinkie Pie. The three had faced odds before, but none of them have faced the wrath of pissed off Demon guardians.

Belial: (hugs Alice) There, there. We'll make sure those meanies go away and never harm you again.
Nebiros: You have some nerve to make our Alice cry. What were you doing?
Pinkie: We were just trying to get our friend back. Alice hurt him!
Alice: No I didn't!
Dudley: Pardon us, Sir Belial and Sir Nebiros, we are just trying to help our friend and we apologize for hurting Miss Alice's feelings in any way.
Elena: That's right! We want to be her very good friends after all!
Nebiros: If you wanted to be her friend, you wouldn't have made her cry! For this, you have to be punished!
?: Not if I have something to say about it!

A blast of purple light knocked Belial to the side. The group turned to see Twilight Sparkle, Rarity and Applejack rushing toward Pinkie Pie's side, prepared with their Elements of Harmony.

Pinkie: Guys! Wait, where's Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash?
Rarity: Rainbow is busy with something that happened in the House of Ambiguity, and we haven't seen Fluttershy at all.
Twilight Sparkle: We have to make due. Everyone, let's get ready.
Elena: Do we have to fight? Why don't we have a party? I mean...Pinkie Pie has lots of cake and Duely has tea, so we should celebrate a birthday!
Pinkie: No...let's have a merry unbirthday!
Alice: An...unbirthday?
Pinkie: Of course! I mean, you of all people should know what is! Mr. Dudley?
Dudley: Yes, Miss Pinkameana?
Pinkie: You and Alice are from England, right? Why don't you explain everything?
Dudley: Very well. (clears throat) It is obviously well known that everyone has one birthday a year. However, what happens to the other 364 days of the year? That is where the term "unbirthday" comes from. Now tell me, Mr. Belial and Sir Nebiros. Is today Alice's birthday?
Belial: Come to think of it, it isn't.
Pinkie: Then that means it's her unbirthday! Happy unbirthday!
Alice: (smiling and giggilng) Yay! Happy Unbirthday!

Wait...is Alice smiling? Oh god, it's...it's...IT'S THE APOCALYPSE!!!

Oh calm down. This is what was planned from the beginning. Take a deep breath.

The zombies started to fade in the shadows, everyone giving a sigh. Alice continued to say "Happy Unbirthday!" and dancing round and round.

Rarity: A Merry Unbirthday, huh? Well, it's always a time to have a fancy party. I agree!
Applejack: I'll prepare the desserts with Johnny Appleseed!
Twilight: But first, Alice, can you bring Gentaro back to normal?
Alice: W...why?
Pinkie: Because....it's Gentaro's unbirthday too! And how can he celebrate it if he can't eat cake?
Alice: Oh, of course! Here, let me try something.

Alice concentrated on Gentaro, almost willing something. But time passed...nothing worked.

Alice: Hmm? It's not working. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough.

Alice repeated her actions, but Gentaro just stayed smiling and so...empty looking.

Twilight: That's weird. Didn't you resurrect Gentaro, Alice?
Alice: I saw someone else resurrect Gentaro...but he was dark with a crow on his shoulder. I was able to get this Gentaro though.
Pinkie: But if you summoned one Gentaro...doesn't that mean there's another Gentaro out there?

Oh, she finally figures it out.

Shut it.

Elena: This is most tragic! We must find the strange person in time.
Pinkie: We should find Shotaro and Philip. Come on, let's go. We'll be back, Alice. You get ready for the Merry unbirthday, okay?
Alice: Okay! (sings) A very merry unbirthday to me!

And so, the six left the House of Mentalism to begin their search for the strange person who resurrected Gentaro alongside Alice. Of course, while they had no idea what was going on...

Wait...you mean that thing with Undertaker....

Yep. Now let's go back to that moment.
Three days before Gentaro Kisaragi's death

The Undertaker was in his temple, meditating. All was quiet. Wrestlemania had come and gone, and another soul has granted him great power. He needed to rest his body from the torturous battle, but it was worth the struggle. Just then, a crow entered his temple, letting out a large "CAW!"

Undertaker: Who dares enter my temple?

The crow let out a caw and flew to Undertaker's shoulder. The bird whispered, if a bird could whisper, something into his ear. Undertaker was silent, nodding his head in understanding.

Undertaker: If that is what you ask me, the Reaper of Souls, the Last Outlaw, The Phenom..then so be it. Give me some time to prepare the ritual. In the meantime, prepare your avatar...Eric Draven.

The crow let out one more caw and flew off. Undertaker chanted something in Latin, his eyes rolling to the back of his head.

And?

There's more beginnings to focus on. But that will be explained in the next chapter.

And that will start?

Now.

Meteor's Betrayal and Fourze's Revival (Part 7) The Passing Through Nintendo All-Stars Battle Royale

Why is that title so long?

Because I'm the narrator and can make it as long as I want, and it's important for what happened to Decade.

How so?

Be patient, I'm getting there. First, we will go to a significant Kamen Rider who also got involved with Dark!Gentaro. What, did you think he was just going for the good guys?

W...well, yea..."

(chuckles evilly)

We head out to the House of Villains with Dark!Gentaro just after his resurrection but just before meeting with Queen Chrysalis. Due to the grand sweeping changes from the Main House, lots of the houses had to be split into subdivisions. Dark!Gentaro is in the Lesser Gods division, looking for some god known as....

Dark!Gentaro: Mitsuzane, yo.
Mitsuzane: Oh, Gentaro...(whispers) Idiotic fool...
Dark!Gentaro: I seemed to recall a talk we had a while back...regarding you losing your way about your friends.
Mitsuzane: Yes?
Dark!Gentaro: (laughs) You don't get it, do you? You made me into this darkness embodiment. You unleashed my darkness! In actuality, the Undertaker brought me back to life, but he wouldn't have had to if you didn't decide to break me into hundreds of pieces. (licks lips) I think it's time I thank you for this.
Mitsuzane: W-what do you mean?

Dark Gentaro lunged toward Mitsuzane, just before the boy can get his Sengoku Driver. Instead, Dark!Gentaro broke his wrist and stomped on it, while another brought out a knife that stabbed the arm. Before Mitsuzane could scream, the doors to his temple shut close, silencing his screams.

No on would enter, and no one could leave.

Dark!Gentaro: AHAHAHAHA! I love that look of fear on your face, Micchy~. It's just so CUTE!!!! Don't you agree?
Mitsuzane: You're insane! W...we can work something out.
Dark!Gentaro: ...Nah.

Dark!Gentaro brought the knife down on Mitsuane's eyes, his tongue, his neck, his heart, his stomach, and the blade sliced the stomach like Mitsuzane was a fat fish. Dark!Gentaro began to gut the poor boy who, due to being an immortal god, could not die. Dark!Gentaro drew something on his victim's arm as he chewed on fresh intestines...

Wait, stop, STOP!!!! I can't take it anymore. Just...get to the non-cannibal parts.

Okay, you asked for it.

Dark!Gentaro finished devouring his meal of human flesh, seeing what was left of Mitsuzane's corpse (for the time being). The body barely had any skin or muscle left, and most of the organs were eaten. You couldn't believe he could eat all that and make it look as if the boy was going to be mummified soon! Mitsuzane's head was now cradled in his hands near his bleeding stomach as Gentaro ate the liver, kidneys, intestines and even the heart. His eyes were impaled by two more knives and the sockets bleeding. Oh, and I think Dark!Gentaro might've castrated him but I'm not the one to tell. Dark!Gentaro smirked as he took a picture of the scene on his cellphone, before texting it to someone. Just as he was about to leave, he snatched Mitsuzane's Sengoku Driver and Grape Lockseed, not even bothering to wipe away the blood that stained his body. He leaned down, placing a kiss on Micchy's cold lips before walking off, closing the temple doors behind him.

.....

And now, let's get to Decade!
Two Days before Gentaro's Resurrection

Tsukasa Kadoya has always passed through different worlds in the past. But this one, after learning of the smallest of whispers, he needed to see for himself. Was it really possible to have a Gentaro Kisaragi, the guy would befriend everyone, have a darker counterpart? And if so, what and how would that affect the world? If he had learned anything—everything significant all happened becomes of one little mistake

Tsukasa: Something's wrong here...very wrong.

The world he entered was dark, filled with nothingness and despair. This was just like the Pantheon he knew, but the House of Friendship was barren. He noticed someone in the distance.

Tsukasa: Oh, it's Fluttershy! What are you...
Other!Fluttershy: GET AWAY FROM HERE!!!

Tsukasa stepped back, seeing Fluttershy in some sort of superhero costume. Fluttershy was angry...

Super Angry.

Angry as in, "She's going to love and tolerate the shit out of you and then burn your corpse to the ground angry."

Other!Fluttershy: You Kamen Riders ruined EVERYTHING! (starts growing in a Hulk-like fashion) The one you called Foure destroyed most of the Pantheon after he obtained THAT POWER! And now it is time for you to GET OUT OF HERE!!!!

Tsukasa learned about how Fluttershy could become a hero called "Saddle Ranger", whose anger was so great that the Hulk shivered in fear. He was learning that first hand as he went for his belt, ready to strike. He didn't know of the strange shadow that eclipsed him before it was too late.

WHACK!

Tsukasa fell to the ground unconscious as Fluttershy/Saddle Ranger shrank back in fear. There, in front of her, was Polygon Man and Serpent-bearer!Gentaro

O!Polygon Man: Oh, what do we have here? That rebellious little pegasus again? Well, you take care of it.
'Serpent-bearer!Gentaro:....(turns around)'' Sorry "Boss", but I seek something more than your commands.
O!Polygon Man: Wh...what do you mean?
Serpent-bearer!Gentaro: (transforms into Fourze) I seek your POWER!

Rocket On/Drill On

With his Rocket and Drill modules activated, Serpent!Fourze flew into the air and unleashed a Limit Break.

Serpent!Fourze: RIDER ROCKET DRILL KICK!!!

Other Polygon Man was defenseless. He exploded into a chunk of crystal until all that was left was his All-Star Power core. Serpent!Fourze took it into his hands and absorbed it, all while laughing maniacally. Other!Fluttershy trembled in fear, but she still stood in front of Tsukasa, to protect him.

Serpent!Fourze: Thanks for your help, Fluttershy. I'll invite you to my next tea party with Willow next time. Now, if you will excuse me...

Other Fluttershy stared in Serpent!Fourze's eyes, doing everything she could do to bring out "The Stare". Unfortunately, Serpent!Gentaro's glare from beneath his helmet startled her and Other Fluttershy was kicked over the horizon. Serpent!Gentaro unleashed some of his new power over Tsukasa's body. Tsukasa's eyes opened with an eerie white light as Serpent!Fourze smiled.

Serpent!Fourze: I suppose my old 'boss' would like it if I got rid of the competition for him. Well....(smirks) I think I know just what to do with you.

And that's how Decade started going after Nintendo Gods?

Pretty much.

But what about that thing with Polygon Man? And why does Other Fluttershy hate Kamen Riders? Aren't they protectors of Justice?

They are in this universe...but in the universe Tsukasa went to, the Toku Base is known as the Tyrant Toku Base while the Demonic Legion is the Divine Demons Division here. But...

The Triple Deluxe group got their asses kicked?

Unfortunately. But that's another story, let's get back to the Nintendo Battle Royale, and while that happens, I'll post the next story for Pinkie Pie.
As the fire settled, the Nintendo Gods looked in horror as Decade came out of the flames, unscathed. He immediately rushed toward Mario, but Peach blocked the attack with a Frying Pan.

Mario: Princess Peach, you must run!
Peach: No! I will not stand by when my friends are hurt!
Luigi: And nobody hurts my brother! (brings out his own Smash Ball) Everyone take cover!

Luigi broke open the Smash Ball and began to spin around and dance. Surrounding him was this black void, the Negative Zone. Decade found himself being unable to move, tripping over his feet, sluggish.

Luigi: Princess Daisy, Waluigi, get everyone you can! We'll hold them off.
Daisy: Are you sure about this, Luigi...
Waluigi: (snatches Daisy's hand) We don't have time for this! Let's get going!

The two raced out of the House of Gaming as the effects of the Negative Zone faded away. Donkey Kong began chucking barrels at Decade's face, Decade pulled out his weapon, the Ride Booker, and began to slice the barrels in half. Donkey Kong snarled as he grabbed onto a Bob-omb, the bomb lighting itself as it was thrown in a fiery explosion.

Mario: (riding Yoshi) CHARGE!!!

Wait, before we continue, there are other things you have to answer

Like what?

We have other people fighting and you forgot about Grell being there to stop zombies. Shouldn't you mention that?

I'm getting there. Here, let's pause the fighting to get to everyone else. Now, where did I leave off?

Max: (seeing the Glastonberry release missiles) INCOMING!!!!!

Ah, that.

Miu closed her eyes as she heard missiles fly past the DeSoto. She turned around as a multitude of zombies exploded, showering the car with undead limbs. She pulled an arm away from her shoulder as Travis stepped out of his mecha.

Travis: There you guys are! What the hell happened?
Sam: Well I was going to get a Jill Sandwich when you came in blasting us like you were a nuke in Hiroshima and...
Miu: What about those Power Dizer mechas? Did you fight them off?
Travis: It wasn't easy, but I found help from the real Shun and JK in their own mechas. Didn't know Mr. Break-dance could even have one.
Miu: So, are you saying they're all right?
Travis: Guess so. They told me to go on ahead and find you. What's the plan?
Max: It's like Sam said, we're going out to get Jill Sandwiches.
Miu: We go gather everyone and see if we can make it to the House of Sports and see what we gathered. Travis, where are Tomoko and Yuki?
Travis: They're in the House of Emotion, hanging with some of the happiness gods there. After all they went through, they need all the happiness they can get.
Miu: Sam, Max, gather everyone you can find to the House of Sports. I'll go see my friends.
Max: Can we still get Jill Sandwiches?
Miu: I'll ask The Ashleys to give you all knuckle sandwiches if you don't MOVE IT!
Travis: I'll see what I can scrounge up around here. See you later.
Sam: Then let's hurry! I want those sandwiches with extra peanut butter!

Meanwhile in the House of Combat, Fluttershy and Discord run into a familiar figure.

Fluttershy: Is that...
Discord: (summons a telescope) Oh it is! It's Meteor Man!

Ryusei leaned against the temple door, groaning in discomfort. Fluttershy rushed toward him, giving him a bottle of water.

Fluttershy: Ryusei, it's you! Thank goodness you're here.
Ryusei: What happened to me?
Discord: Well....(summons a white board and whiteboard marker and draws as he speaks) You went all willy-nilly and killed Gentaro Ksiaragi, and broke my good friend's feelings.
Fluttershy: Do you remember anything?
Ryusei: I remember this trade off to help my friend, but then...green light and...and....Ugh, my head...
Fluttershy: Green light, don't you mean...Queen Chrysalis?
Discord: Seems like a strong friendship can be a replacement to love then, it seems...
Fluttershy: This is terrible! We have to do something, and quick!
Ryusei: Where is the rest of the Kamen Rider Club? I...I have to apologize...
Discord: Well, before you do that...we need to take a book in this book...(pulls out Yayoi's comic). I think this should help us understand just what's going on...

The three opened the comic book.

Party of the Apocalypse Part 7: Romeo Echo Victor Echo November Golf Echo - Believe in Willow's Way!

Back at the House of Food, Emmet was already fortifying his LEGO barrier so Dark!Gentaro didn't escape. Meanwhile, Issac and Miria helped Chiyoko prepare costumes for the day. Edge was looking at the television where a huge match was supposed to be underway at the Pantheon Wrestling Federation.

Emphasis on "supposed to be".

Edge: What the hell is going on?! Why are there vampires? I didn't ask for this!
Luna: You should be more considerate, Adam.
Issac: Besides, it's been so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Isn't that right, Miria?
Miria: Indeed it has been!
Emmet: You're right it's....wait a minute. Excuse me, can someone charge through this barrier?
Gilgamesh: I'll take care of this! LALLY-HO!!!!

Gilgamesh tackled through the barrier, the restaurant now littered with LEGO bricks covered in glue. Inside the LEGO Birdcage...was nothing.

Nostalgia Critic: WHAT?! B...but we saw him get inside there! How did he leave?
ProtonJon: He must've teleported. But where could he have gone?
Chuggaaconroy: To the Pantheon Wrestling Federation...

Everyone looked at the screen where Uncle Howee was confronted with Dark!Gentaro and the two...were laughing. The announcers were silent and Undertaker just stayed silent while Paul London and Brian Kendrick perched on the posts.

NCS: Well...That's not good...
Issac: Oh look, new friends! Come on Miria, let's get going!
Miria: Indeed!
Luna: Well, at least we know where we're going next.
Nostalgia Critic: I and the Runaway Guys will stay here to help clean up. Gilgamesh, where are you going?
Gilgamesh: I seek that scaly fiend! I shall return with his head on a silver platter! AWAY!!! (starts rushing out in glee)
Edge: Well, I know where I'm going...(glares)
Emmet: I'll follow along. I'd like to see this Howee guy and see if we can get along.
Luna: (scoffs) Your funeral.

Well, that wasn't very nice to say.

Luna may be nice when she's off the clock, but she's still a dark brooding wrestler who knows that things are going to get messy and fast.
Dark!Gentaro and Uncle Howee continued to laugh as everyone was confused on what was going on. Well, everyone except for Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

Vince: Will anyone tell me what the F*** is going on here?
Howee: Watch your language, mister. There are children in the audience.
Dark!Gentaro: Yeah, I see a prominent child (turns to Jeff) here.
Jeff: What's that supposed to mean?
Dark!Gentaro: (somehow materializes behind Jeff and smirks) Well, let me help you out. I've sensed so much...anger and stress in you...I think it's time for you to...unleash your true self.

Matt tried to tackle Dark!Gentaro, but with a nod of his head, Undertaker commanded Paul and Brian to knock Matt out of the way. The Undertaker's imposing figure was like he was guarding Dark!Gentaro. Matt struggled to get away from the Undertaker's grip on his neck as he saw Dark!Gentaro release some sort of strange white power around Jeff. Jeff gasped, his body going numb, eyes rolling to the back of his head.

Jeff:....AHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Jeff was laughing, clutching his stomach and rolling on the mat like a madman as strange music began to play. Smoke escaped his body and covered him, granting him a strange black coat lined with skulls and a strange black and white spiky mask covering his eyes.

Matt: Shit, not him! Not Willow! Anyone but him!

Who?

Willow the Wisp, one of Jeff Hardy's older personas.

Oh.

Willow!Jeff: When light shines down on this dark kingdom I return! (gasps) We love! We hate! We die forever late! In Willow's Way! (breaks down into maniacal laughter)

Well, he's...different.

He's a hit at Haunted Houses!

Uncle Howee: Hey, wait a minute! I thought we were friends. Weren't you the one who invited me to cometo the Pantheon?
Dark!Gentaro: ...Friends? FRIENDS?! You thought we were friends?! AHAHAHAHAHA! That's so hilarious I thought I can just die laughing. No, I don't need friends...I rather have people around me so I can CRUSH those in my way!
Vince: You see this, Howee? That is who you should be dealing with, not me! So release your grip on my wrestlers NOW!
Uncle Howee: Are you sure you—
Vince: I SAID NOW!!!
Uncle Howee: All right, all right, you're the boss.

With a snap of his fingers, the transformation on Randy Orton faded away. The wrestler shook his head to clear the cobwebs, but immediately realized something was wrong in the ring. Kane grabbed onto him and the two rushed out to pull Dark!Gentaro and Willow!Jeff away from the crowd.

Uncle Howee: By the way, I hope you know someone who can sews.
Vince: What's that supposed to mean?
Uncle Howee: Because last I checked, Goatface knocked off the head of someone named John Cena. Don't expect him to be coming in for a while.

And speaking of old Goatface...

Daniel Bryan: Ugh...what happened?
CM Punk: It's like someone clonked a coconut on my head.
Ralph: Actually I just clonked your heads together. Sorry about that.

Daniel Bryan and CM Punk woke up to see Felix lightly tapping their heads with his hammer, relieving them of their wounds. Ralph sighed as he saw Gangrel sitting on a chair across from them, goblet in hand.

Gangrel: You're awake.
Daniel Bryan: Where are we?
Ralph: House of Ambiguity. You're safe here.
Daniel: SAFE?! We don't want to be safe! We need to stop whatever's going on and fast!
Felix: What you need to do is listen!
CM Punk: Yeah, like that's gonna help us.
Gangrel: Phil, Bryan, you are not getting the big picture. A change is coming, and we must be willing to change ourselves before everything goes to Hell.
Daniel: If it involves marionettes, leave me out of it.
Ralph: I don't like this as much as anyone, but if Gangrel is right...which I think he is...then we're in for a bumpy ride.

Just as Ralph said that, there was a knock on the door. The temple opened, and a new face poked his head in.

???: Some group called the Enforcers told me to see one...Wreck-it Ralph.
Ralph: The Enforcers? What about the Council of Three? I mean, Lamdadelta never slacks on her job on getting new gods here. When did I become the welcoming committee?
Felix: Well, nice to meet you stranger! (shakes ???'s hand) I'm Fix-it Felix Jr....from the game Fix-it Felix Jr. Your name?
???: Takatora. Takatora Kureshima.

There was dead silence. Gangrel looked like he was going to shatter his goblet. Ralph narrowed his eyes. Felix looked in confusion.

Felix: Funny; just recently we had a god named Mitsuzane Kureshima in the very same house. Heck, I think you're going to be taking his temple. I'd fix it myself but we're kinda in the middle of something.
Takatora: Mitsuzane's my younger brother. Where is he now?
Ralph: In the Villains House.
Takatora: You're joking. My brother would never be—
Gangrel: Your brother has caused the Pantheon to suffer emotional TRAUMA!!!!

What's eating Gangrel?

Shh. Just listen.

Punk: Take a deep breath...it's all going to be okay.
Gangrel: Everything is NOT GOING TO BE OKAY! This man just deliberately let his brother cause most of our problems!
Daniel: Um, what about Uncle Howee?
Gangrel: No, he's just accidentally involved by being innocent—not him. (Glares at Takatora)
Takatora: ...What?

Just then, someone came barging in. Rather, it were three people: Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. The group known as The Shield.

You mean they work with Captain America and the Avengers?

No, wrong shield.

Ambrose: So...(leans toward Takatora) You're the big brother in all this. We've been waiting to talk to you.
Rollins: We've been wanting to have a talk with EVERYONE that Micchy has hurt.
Takatora: (staring at Reigns) You have nothing to say?
Reigns: When I have something to say, I'll say it.
Gangrel: Ralph, tie them up.
Ralph: Got it.

Ralph picked up some old rope and used it to tie Takatora to a nearby chair. Felix had his hammer in the air.

Felix: I guess since you're new, you need to know what I do. My hammer (taps the hammer in his hand) fixes anything and makes them better. So...

Felix tapped the rope once and they were brand new, tight around Takatora's body. Takatora glared and Gangrel glared back.

Gangrel: You will pay at a later time, but first we must open your eyes to the truth.
Ralph: (whistles)

Four men came in: Finn, Ratos, Chow and Hak Fuu, the Enforcers. The four saluted Ralph.

Ralph: (as he pulls out Takatora's Lockseeds and Sengoku Driver) Keeps these out of the way. We're going to be busy for a while.
Ratso: Sweet! These remind me so much of that other guy with the grape lock and all that.
Finn: I still fail to see the value in these things.
Ralph: Go on guys, we have it all under control.

The Enforcers nodded their head, but Hak Fuu remained a bit longer, a grin on his face as he found a new person to spar with in Takatora. As this went on, Dean Ambrose turned the television on, which was at a match in the Pantheon Wrestling Federation.

Wait, the Shield doesn't have a match tonight?

Nope.

Seth: (points to Dark!Gentaro) See this man? He was affected by your brother. The guy used to be one of those ones about friendship and now he's going to make our lives miserable.
Takatora: This doesn't explain anything about my brother—it could've been any other god.
Reigns: No; that's part of your brother's doing. We have proof.

Dean Ambrose pulled out a cellphone and tossed it to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. The two looked through the phone's mail and immediately threw up behind the couch they were sitting on.

Felix: Whatever's on there can't be that bad...(takes the phone) Oh my...it's....Mother of Land! (faints)

Gangrel snatched the phone and shuddered.

Gangrel: Who's phone is this?
Dean: Matt Hardy's. He left it in his bag. Speaking of which, Matthew's got his own beef with Mitsuzane—mostly regarding his whole obsession with green grapes and everything—but I think he's gonna make it even more personal with his poor brother being...(points to Willow!Jeff kicking Matt around while Undertaker, Paul and Brian sit back and Dark!Gentaro sitting on the steel steps) That.

Takatora was then handed the phone, his eyes wide at what he saw. His brother was gutted, his head now in his open stomach, his intestines pulled apart, probably circumcised, eyes gouged, blood spilling everywhere...

No, stop now!

This is important to the story!

How is describing all of that important?!

It just IS.

Takatora: You're lying....you are all LYING!!
Gangrel: Pictures are worth a thousand words, Takatora. Dark!Gentaro did this.
Takatora: How do you know?
Gangrel: (points to a mark on the phone) See the crow symbol on his...I think that's his chest... If I know Undertaker—and I do—Undertaker told me about what was going to happen. It was madness.

Three Days Ago

Sometime after Undertaker received his message from the Crow, someone entered the temple.

Undertaker: Gangrel.
Gangrel: (bowing toward the Undertaker) It's been too long—forgive me for our last encounter. 2004 with it and Bradshaw hiring me to defeat you?
Undertaker: Water under the bridge. Right now, I need you to start gathering forces. War is on the horizon—I can see it.
Gangrel: How do you want me to proceed?
Undertaker: Just get a group strong enough to face the threat and make sure to bring me the soul of Gentaro Kisaragi.
Gangrel: Why him, exactly?
Undertaker: Because we must seal him before "he" arrives.

Ralph: If that's the case, you could've told me in the first place!
Gangrel: Would you have believed me?
Ralph: (sighs) No, I wouldn't.
Takatora: And that's related to my brother how?
Punk: Wow, he makes Terra seem like he's a genius.
Daniel: What are we waiting for? Let's go to the House of Villains and see if we can get some sense into Mitsuzane. Oh, and we need water for Felix.

Gangrel grunted and poured the contents of his goblet over Felix. Felix gasped and sputtered, hand over his heart.

Felix: Did I miss anything?
Ralph: Nope. We're just going to miss a big show tonight at the PWF for a war. This is going to be a long night.

In the PWF, Randy Orton and Kane grabbed Willow!Jeff and tossed him out of the ring. Kane was about to go after Dark!Gentaro, but Undertaker, Paul and Brian dragged him away. Randy Orton went after Dark!Gentaro, who immediately kicked Orton in the nuts and laughed.

Dark!Gentaro: Well, seems like I've had my fill of fun for now! We'll see you soon! Willow?
Willow!Jeff: (pulling his umbrella) We'll see you at the tea party, boys! IHIHIHIHIHI!!!!

Smoke surrounded the ring, blinding everyone in sight. When it dissipated, Dark!Gentaro and Willow!Jeff were gone. Uncle Howee coughed.

Uncle Howee: That...could've gone better.

Vince McMahon was about a second away from throttling him.
How long is this chapter?

It's almost done. Let me get this little thing out of the way.

Dudley and Elena left Pinkie Pie to Dudley's temple, hoping to get some warm tea for the party. After all, what's an Unbirthday Party for a girl named Alice without tea? As they did, they notably passed Fluttershy and Discord reading a comic, but it was the sound of voices that caught their attention.

Takatora: I still have no idea why you believe my brother was responsible!
Dean Ambrose: You are as stubborn as a mule and probably smell like one if you can't listen to us.
Takatora: If I had my lockseeds and Sengoku Driver, I would kick your ass.
Dean Ambrose: Bite me, Kureshima Sr.
Punk: We're going to prove that your brother caused Gentaro Kisaragi to become this dark brooding being, even I don't believe it myself, and you are going to like it.

Elena froze. She recently encountered Mitsuzane Kureshima and Gentaro's words on how Micchy stated how friendship would ruin him. Then, there was the news about Micchy leaving for the House of Villains. She felt...she felt....angry.

Takatora: (as the group rounds the corner) I swear, I am not going to be any happier with what you're saying about all of—

He was interrupted with Elena kicking him across the face. Her kick was so powerful that it caused Takatora, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk to fly right into Ralph who brought up the rear. The Shield turned to Elena panting, her hand curled into a fist.

Elena: Are you the one known as Kureshima, sir?
Takatora: Yes, and what's your beef with me?
Elena: Gentaro Kisaragi was my dear friend! And your brother caused this! I heard his rhythm, and it has nothing but hatred and anger. If you were his big brother, why didn't you see this?
Takatora: Is this some sort of hazing ritual you do with all new gods?
Dudley: Elena, calm yourself. A lady must not show anger like that. But she has a point—it is not like a gentleman to ignore such evil in another person's heart. Mr. Kureshima, you have a lot of blood on your hands.
Takatora: (growls) Bite me.
Gangrel: Enough! We are wasting time—we must go to Mitsuzane's temple and show the truth. As if it wasn't obvious enough already.
Elena: I will miss Pinkie Pie's party, but this is more important. Let's go.

You know, I've been wondering about this story.

Yeah?

The main thing was Pinkie Pie's party being ruined. But now, we have this group trying to fight the craziness that is Dark!Gentaro...

And?

The group that is doing so can be called a party! So the parties are Pinkie Pie's parties and the groups off to save the Pantheon! Ingenious.

I know. Now, let's get back to our scheduled program please.

Life's Too Short

Ten Hours Before Homura Akemi's Corruption

Rin Tohsaka opened a door in the House of Royalty - and was promptly greeted with a face full of snow.

Rin: She has nerve inviting me to have tea in this kind of temple. It's not even a temple!

Dusting the snow out of her face, Rin heaved a breath upon witnessing the ice palace of Queen Elsa. Carefully, she climbed up the ice stairs and knocked on the door.

Rin: (This place seems awfully foreboding. Even if I still had Archer, I wouldn't feel completely safe. Or is it just the cold?)

The doors opened, and Rin took that as a cue to step into the palace. As if on cue, Elsa herself stepped down the stairs, in full ice regalia.

Elsa: *smiles* I'm glad you could come, Rin.
Rin: This place is... secluded. *scowls* You're not trying anything fancy, are you?
Elsa: Not at all. I just want to have a talk between the heir of Arendelle and the heir of the Tohsaka family. Follow me...

Rin complied, following Elsa into another room, but secretly kept her hand on one of her magically charged gems. As Elsa motioned to have her sit down at a small dining table, Rin sat down.

Rin: This isn't tea.
Elsa: It's a drink that I personally enjoy more than tea. It's chocolate.

Elsa took a sip of her own cup, her face becoming more solemn.

Elsa: I never ate much. I guess, ever since I shut myself in because of my powers, I thought I could starve myself. I don't know...
Rin: What are you trying to say?
Elsa: But, whenever Gerda or Kai would bring chocolate into my room, I would always eat it. I couldn't resist. *looks up* That craving was one of the few bonds or commonalities that I still had with my sister.

Rin felt herself balk as Elsa's gaze focused on her. The air turned even more frigid.

Rin: (So that's what this is about?)
Elsa: Rin, I know about Sakura. The eleven years that she lived with the Matou family and how she-
Rin: Who told you this?
Elsa: I've been talking with Arturia-
Rin: Saber.
Elsa: *sigh* The point is that Sakura was lost without a sister to help her. She was waiting for what remained of her family to save her.
Rin: Sakura isn't in the Pantheon. Why should this matter? And why does this matter to you?
Elsa: *standing up* I was lost without my sister!

Icicles began protruding out of the wall behind Rin. On instinct, Rin jumped out of the seat and held up one of her hands in Elsa's direction, gandr at the ready.

Elsa: *somewhat calming down* Anna saved me. She taught me that I wasn't just some wicked witch, some monster. She helped me overcome the fear of myself that festered within me. Can't you bring yourself to save Sakura that same way?
Rin: What can I do? No matter what, Sakura will still be the vessel for Angra Mainyu. She stopped being my sister when Father gave her to the Matou family, so she's another evil to me - and to the rest of us.

Before Elsa could respond, Rin cocked her head towards the icicles protruding from the wall.

Rin: And that fear of yours? The fear which you use to compare yourself to Sakura? That fear isn't completely gone. Deep down, underneath all that talk of love, you're still afraid of the storm inside of you. And that will never go away. How can Sakura then get rid of her own horrors if you can't?
Elsa: ...leave.
Rin: Fine. I'll leave before you conjure some snow monster to kick me out.

Briskly, Rin walked out of the dining room and out the main hall. Sadly, Elsa followed until she reached the gate, shaking her head.

Elsa: (Your heart isn't as frozen as you like to claim it is, Rin. You still love your sister. If only you could acknowledge that...)

But just as Rin was about to climb down the chasm staircase, Elsa felt a feeling of dread shiver down her spine-

Elsa: Rin! Look out!

-and with that yell, a large fortress wall made of ice erected itself in front of the palace. Before Rin could comprehend what happened, a large blast of dark energy started ripping through the wall.

Rin: No way. That attack-!
Elsa: *concentrating* (Come on. Bear it. Bear it!)

Pouring all the strength she had into the wall, Elsa created new ice to recreate the ice being dissolved by this powerful attack. And as the dark beam gave out, it exploded, shattering the wall, destroying much of the palace's facade, and blowing both girls backwards and into the palace's now-thrashed interior.

Rin was the first to recover from the blast. Having timely Reinforced her body, the fallout only gave her minor cuts. She got up, barely panting.

Elsa wasn't so lucky. Unable to have any form of Reinforcement, all she could do was brace herself. She stood up bruised and holding her limp right arm.

Rin: Are you alright?
Elsa: I'll be fine. My powers can numb the pain, and it's nothing bad.

The two of them readied themselves, taking a stand at the gate of the palace. And as the enemy drew closer, eventually reaching the stairway...

Elsa: Is that...?

Their enemy was a woman, in a black-armored dress and helm. Her hair was almost white, and her gauntlet clutched a blackened Sword of Promised Victory.

Rin: Saber...
Elsa: Arturia...
Saber Alter:...
Rin: ...She's corrupted. We have to fight her. I don't have a spell strong enough to pierce her Magic Resistance. Buy me time.

Without a word, Saber propelled herself up the staircase with a Prana Burst, shattering it. Elsa blocked the imminent sword strike by summoning the snowlem Marshmallow, who caught and buried Saber's sword in his hand...

Saber Alter: Vortigern.

...only to be torn in half by an upward swing of dark energy, falling into the chasm. Moving into the castle, Saber then charged towards Rin, killing intent in her blade, but stopped when five ice hammers appeared around her and launched towards her. Before they could make impact, Saber deflected them out of pure instinct.

Elsa: (I could make swords or spikes, and I could make a lot more. But since I don't want to kill Arturia or hurt Rin... these hammers will have to do.)

The hammers were created by Elsa's side and then launched towards Saber - and Saber continued to deftly move her blade and take careful steps, averting all the weapons. As this was enough to keep Saber occupied, Rin took the time to prepare her strongest attack. Gathering seven of her jewels and chanting an incantation, Rin released a powerful blast of magical energy towards Saber.

But Saber felt that coming as well. Willingly, she jumped into the path of one of Elsa's hammers; she avoided Rin's attack yet took a blow to the head that shattered her helm.

Saber Alter: Ku...!

Her now-golden eyes exposed, brimming with suppressed rage, Saber gripped Excalibur with both hands. Elsa felt herself tense up yet again. Saber was moving to charge up the holy sword again - and at this range, the entire castle would be destroyed. Holding up her one good arm, Elsa prepared to summon yet another ice wall to protect her and Rin.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Rin pointing a finger as Saber, casting a spell. A red blast hit Saber in the back, propelling her near a castle wall and stunning her. Elsa grabbed the opportunity, aiming a block of hail at Saber's hand and two at her torso, stunning her again and knocking Excalibur out of her hand.

The sword flew into the castle wall, the pointy end impacting with enough velocity that the wall cracked. It collapsed, and almost in slow motion, it came down - on Saber.

Elsa: *sigh* That's over-
Rin: Freeze her.
Elsa: Hm?
Rin: It's the only way to be sure she can't harm us.
Elsa: ...
Rin: What? Are you afraid you're gonna kill her? She can heal - she'll be fine.
Elsa: Only when I'm certain it's-

A burst of dark prana blew apart the rubble, and Saber stood up, panting, limp on one leg.

Rin: -necessary?!

Before Saber could do anything, Rin fired a gem blast at Saber, knocking her down, then Elsa froze her in a block of ice.

Rin: *panting* Now that's over... Y'know, we don't make a bad team.
Elsa: ...Rin, do you have an idea what could have caused this?
Rin: Black prana... this is a sign of corruption. Something so strong it can corrupt Saber through her Magic Resistance.
Elsa: The Holy Grail.

Rin felt her heart stop.

Rin: Wait - you're not implying what I think you're implying, right?
Elsa: It could easily be her.
Rin: ...We need to report this to the GUAG leadership. And we need to keep Saber somewhere safer. If Angra Mainyu somehow broke into the Pantheon, we'll need all the power we can get to fight it.
Elsa: And what if it comes just for you? What if Sakura comes for you?
Rin: I'll end her life. It's the best thing for her.
Elsa: I know you don't want to.

Hesitancy gripped Rin, as if she were frozen. Taking a deep breath, she willed herself to move, then pulled the blackened Excalibur out of the rubble.

Rin: I know. But I have to.


The Continuation can be read here.
Tales Of The Alliance Book TwoPantheon/Tales of the AllianceTales Of The Alliance Book Three Continued

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