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After a few seconds' hesitation, he started moving back towards the library, this time staying in the shadows and moving slowly enough to remain quiet. Once again, he was going to try and get close enough so as to put Evil Tairee within his attack range.
He could see the Evil Tairee doing something with a holographic screen. Hopefully, the other heroes would manage to take her down before she could pull any nastier tricks from her sleeve...
The final battle
There was a swooshing noise from the line of collapsed buildings in the street, and from the tunnel Hercules had busted through it, a green, ethereal blade flew out at high speed aimed for the evil Miss Tairee's neck. She saw it coming and made a dodge to one side; the blade actually turned in the air to try to follow, but rather than get her neck as intended, it just took off one of her hands.
The evil Miss Tairee let out another yell of pained frustration and moved a bit further to the side, so she wasn't directly in the line of the tunnel through the buildings anymore. The hand already started to regenerate from the wrist where it was severed, but the malicious duplicate was still left with only one hand to continue tapping away on the screen with for the time being, slowing her progress. Though a bit distant and also sounding a bit weak, Silanea called out from the collapsed buildings, "No! Don't let her finish!"
Garrett was now within range.
Among the shadows Garrett knelt quietly, picked an arrow and took aim calmly.
Not a fire arrow this time; he wanted no chance of being seen in the arrowhead's glow.
Instead, a gas arrow came flying towards the doppelganger...
The evil Miss Tairee didn't see the gas arrow coming, and burst the cloud of gas around her completely. "Agh! Ya' son- of a- bitch!" the evil Miss Tairee complained, in a fit of coughing. Whether through her regenerative properties or something else, she wasn't being knocked out, but her attempt to manipulate reality had been stalled out again.
It seemed like most of the debris that Herc was throwing at the clone was again doing nothing. Until he saw that the Miss Tairee Clone was struggling to see with the sudden smoke that had appeared. This gave Hercules an opportunity to use a bit of road that he had already used and get her while she was distracted. If the first throw was successful then he would wear a second bit of road.
The evil Miss Tairee was still coughing when the next chunk of road hit, slamming down and clearing the smoke away, but obscuring the malicious duplicate still as it pinned her beneath it. The chunk stirred slightly as Herc picked up and started to throw the second piece of asphalt.
The first piece was then hoisted up and hurled aside, then the bloodied evil Miss Tairee sat up slightly and saw the second piece coming. She rolled to one side, barely avoiding it, then jumped to her feet, but staggered slightly with the effort. "I'm gonna make ya' die, slowly an' painfully" the evil Miss Tairee muttered, with a rather crazed expression. Three of the four spider like legs had regenerated enough to be used, and she raised herself to an elevated stance on them, then started charging quickly on them towards Hercules.
Under the cover of darkness, Garrett made an effort to follow the evil librarian and get as close to her fight with Hercules as possible, while staying in the shadows.
If he could get close enough, then — once he made sure the Evil Tairee wasn't looking his way — he'd toss an oil flask to create an oil puddle behind Evil Tairee, while she was busy fighting Hercules.
Edited by Korodzik on Aug 25th 2020 at 4:34:34 AM
In her desperation and rage, the evil Miss Tairee wasn't paying as much attention to her surroundings anymore, let alone look into the shadows that Garrett could blend into so well. It was a simple matter to remain unnoticed, and tossing the oil flask to land just behind her in her path towards the demigod was likewise not difficult. She didn't even notice yet, in her tunnel-visioned assault towards Hercules.
When she got close, one of the three long spider-like legs made a quick swing at his side, aiming to impale him.
As soon as Herc saw the clone of Miss Tairee charge at him he then leapt out of the way he then grabbed one of the spider like legs and proceeded to try and lift her up into the air and if he succeeded he would then spin her around with his own strength and out of the corner he would then see the oil flask that Garrett thrown onto the ground and gave him the idea to toss the clone of Miss Tairee towards it.
The move was narrow, but Hercules sidestepped and grabbed the leg; spinning the evil Miss Tairee around like a sack on the end of a pole was simply too easy after that with his godly inherited strength. The malicious duplicate was still very capable however, and as Hercules swung her around, one of the other spider-like legs brought itself in and stabbed forward at him, hitting his arm just as he was making his throw.
Still, the distance to the oil on the ground wasn't very far, and even with his arm hit mid-throw, Hercules still tossed the evil Miss Tairee right onto it. Still furious, the nefarious copy ignored the oil, immediately starting to scramble back up, and would be charging back towards Hercules again within just a moment...
The oil went up in flames just as the evil Miss Tairee was rising up on the spider-like legs again. Immediately the flames caught onto the bottom of the large legs and her body, and again she howled, but more in frustration than pain. She only let the delay last a moment though, before she was already charging out of the flames at Hercules, sweeping one of the spider-like legs low in a try to trip Hercules. Successful or not, she'd then clasp her hands together and swing them down at Hercules in a hammerblow with her own considerable strength.
Hercules rolled out the way of Miss Tairee's attack he then spied a water hydrant, with his strength alone he ripped out the water hydrant and then proceeded to soak the clone using the water coming from the water hydrant and reflecting it in her direction.
The evil Miss Tairee was quick to chase after Hercules after he made his roll, and seemed indifferent about his move towards the fire hydrant, making her take the large blasting of water straight at point blank range. She got flung away, landing across the street and stopping herself with her spider legs, seeming weakened and perhaps on her metaphorical last legs, but still refusing to give up. "That might've actually helped a little with the fire..." the evil Miss Tairee muttered, noting that the burning oil on herself wasn't burning as intensely as it was just before. She looked at Hercules with that still-crazed expression, and started advancing slowly, stabbing the long spider-like legs into the asphalt to anchor them in with each step, so she couldn't be blasted away by the water again.
Shades? Check. Someone else drawing aggro? Check. Living guise to minimize revealing light? Check.
Suddenly from directly behind the malicious librarian came the distinctive swing of a bat, moving in a horizontal arc aimed squarely at her head. No sooner than it did or didn't make contact, a set of stalagmites rose underneath her attempting to disrupt her attempts to remain planted, while I tried to flaming kick off her and out of range of a potential counterstrike.
Edited by Oceanstuck on Nov 1st 2020 at 7:03:38 AM
The final battle, ghost ex machina
The evil Miss Tairee stopped her forward march as the loud cling of the bat hitting her head sounded out; her head jerked over as it hit, leaving a bleeding gash. She started to quickly turn towards Lewis, but he was already shooting stalagmites out of the ground and kicking her before she could make any proper retaliation. One of her spider-like legs broke as a stalagmite jutted through it, and the evil Miss Tairee staggered on the other three legs from Lewis' kick; the stalagmites didn't do any more damage, but they had uprooted her from stabbing the spider legs into the ground, leaving her less sturdy than before.
"Oh, now yer' decidin' to join in?!" the evil Miss Tairee commented, as the gash on her head was already regenerated, but the break in the spider leg was taking a bit longer. She clenched her fists and seemed to be anticipating another attack.
Garrett allowed himself a grin of celebration as he saw the Evil Tairee catch fire... the grin drooping a moment later as he saw Hercules douse her with water. "Thanks a lot, musclehead," he muttered.
Luckily, the fire arrows were not the only trick he had. Garrett felt for the gas bomb in his pocket. While Evil Tairee was busy with the other combatants, he sneaked around, trying to get fairly close to the evil clone while staying out of her sight. If he managed to approach her undetected, he would then toss the gas bomb at her—and run away.
The final battle, one last push
The evil Miss Tairee didn't seem to notice Garrett's approach, but when he made his throw, she wheeled on the spot, one of the long, spider-like legs whipping into the bomb to deflect it into the ground nearby. "The thief!" the evil Miss Tairee remarked with a grimace, then after a briefest moment of seeming contemplation, she flicked her arm, bringing the holographic display back up in front of herself. She quickly started to tap away on it, then she blurred...
The holographic screen vanished, along with the device on her arm. She didn't seem changed otherwise, but her eyes widened in shock as she looked at where the screen had just been, then down at her arm. "No! NO! NO!" the evil Miss Tairee screamed, in a state now of absolute, frantic anger. "THIS AIN'T THE END!" she continued in the same tone, suddenly charging past the cloud of knock out gas and making a break towards the library again.
Inside the library
Miss Tairee continued to type frantically, knowing that the battle outside was getting ever closer. She couldn't afford to take her attention away from her computer now though, not when she was so close. Just a few more lines, and...
One of the doors spun as something entered in a blur, zipping around obstacles to the central desks almost instantly. Miss Tairee couldn't even give a yelp of surprise, because before she knew it, a hand had clamped around her neck, and hoisted her up off the floor. She grabbed at the arm, gasping for a breath as she looked at her attacker.
"Ben?" Miss Tairee muttered, looking at XLR8.
... You see, Ben had found Louie and his pokemon that had perished, thus switched to the evil Miss Tairee's side; but, he couldn't bring himself to hurt his friend, and his attempts to snap Louie out of it didn't work before he caught himself on the end of an unexpected attack.
So here Ben was now, also switched to her side. XLR8's mask opened, showing his angry sneer. "I've come to finally teach you a lesson!" XLR8 said, channeling all the rage of being kidnapped from his home and tormented for a whole month. "You were never really helping us! You never really cared, didn't you!?" he continued, still squeezing on Miss Tairee's neck.
"Ben, please, snap out of it" Miss Tairee said weakly, trying and failing to pull away from the alien's grip. "The real evil one is still outside, remember? The villain? Aren't you a hero that-"
"Don't talk down to me!" XLR8 yelled, shaking Miss Tairee a bit, "you're always doing that! You always hated us heroes! I bet you're just jealous of us!"
"Ben, no, I..." Miss Tairee trailed off, seeing her doppelganger getting to one of the doors. "I... Yes, look, you find out that you're no more important in the multiverse than a speck of dust, while there's people like you out there, getting whole universes named after you in your significance, and it's hard not to take it a bit personally, okay? And maybe, even after thousands of years, it's still kinda affecting me subconsciously. I'm sorry" the assistant admitted at length, getting more desperate by the moment.
XLR8 just scowled even more. "You're not really sorry! You're just saying sorry because now it's coming back to bite you in your stupid butt!" XLR8 accused her, starting to squeeze harder.
Miss Tairee really wanted to retort to that directly, so, so badly; it pained her to think that Ben would really think that of her. However, she knew it would get in a conversational equivalent of running in circles, and they didn't have time; not with it getting harder to breathe every second, and with her doppelganger now inside the library. Miss Tairee had to change the subject in an attempt to get through to him.
"Ben, Ben listen" Miss Tairee gasped desperately. "I was thinking about what your friends said, about true heroes. I was wrong, Ben; I wasn't just wrong, but I was a hypocrite. I said myself, that actions are more important than words; if everything you do, is that of a true hero, then what does it matter what you call yourself? You could even call yourself a hero; if it doesn't get to your head and change anything about what you do, then it doesn't matter" the assistant explained. Unfortunately XLR8 still didn't let her go, but his grip did get a little looser, finally letting Miss Tairee breathe again.
Seeing as XLR8 wasn't responding, Miss Tairee knew she should press on. "I kept meaning to tell you this, Ben, but it kept getting pushed off by, all the things happening. I've seen your future, Ben; the one you would've had, that you were supposed to have, if all this hadn't happened. You become a true hero, Ben; one of the best I've ever seen. So please, just-"
XLR8 abruptly swung Miss Tairee forward and at a slight downward angle, slamming her into the side of the desk opposite of where she'd been working. "Why should I believe anything you say? Wouldn't you'd say anything to weasel out of this? Better yet, why should I bother, to save you?" XLR8 said, no longer yelling, but with more venom and hatred in his voice than even before. Behind him, the evil Miss Tairee reached the desk, turned the computer around, and started hurriedly typing.
Miss Tairee's head hurt. Her everything hurt. Her feelings hurt. She kept her eyes closed to help bear through it all.
"... Then don't do it to save me" Miss Tairee suggested, in a quiet and somber tone. She opened her eyes slowly and regarded the transformed boy with a sad expression. "There's so many hurt people in the city, Ben. People who have been pained and wronged even though they did nothing wrong. If that evil version of me wins, Ben, then they're going to suffer even worse, and then even more people will suffer if she gets her way. Isn't helping the helpless and protecting the innocent what a hero does? Isn't being a hero about you knowing you did the right thing?"
The evil Miss Tairee was less than a second from finishing her command, when a blur of motion smacked her away from the computer, sending her staggering back a few steps, and also knocking the computer off the desk. Behind the desks, the real Miss Tairee was coughing as she caught her breath, while XLR8 now stood between the evil Miss Tairee and the desk. XLR8 himself had a kind of surprised look on his face at this turn of events, but it quickly changed into a smug grin. The evil Miss Tairee looked at him with a maddened expression of shock and disbelief, but said nothing.
"Yeah, it's hero time!" XLR8 announced, closed his mask, then zipped forward. The evil Miss Tairee made a counter lunge forward, but XLR8 changed direction faster than she could handle, suddenly hitting her from the side instead, then came around again from the other while she was still staggering. She tried flipping what was left of a coffee table up into XLR8's path, but he slid under it, sweeping one of her spider-like legs in the process. On and on like this the fight between them went, her regeneration keeping XLR8 from putting her down, but his speed keeping her from even getting a hit in on him.
Eventually though after a minute or so... There was a beeping and a red flash of light, and Ben Tennyson was reduced to a perfectly normal ten year old boy. The evil Miss Tairee looked at him and let out a short, dry laugh. "Ah, that's right, yer' fightin' on a time limit. An' now, time's up, boy" the evil Miss Tairee commented, turning away from Ben and towards the desks; but Ben then ran into her path, fists clenched and still ready to fight. "Oh? Ya' really gonna pull this 'self sacrifice, stand against the odds' thing now? Please, it's stupid" the doppelganger added, and advanced confidently.
"No, it's not stupid" Miss Tairee responded, standing up from behind the desks, with the computer in hand. "Because you're the one who was fighting on a time limit" the assistant added, making a point out of her proper enunciation. Miss Tairee pressed on the keyboard as her doppleganger's eyes went wide, then the evil Miss Tairee blurred. Her spider-like legs vanished, and she stumbled on the floor.
"You're just a regular human now, with nowhere to run. You're finished" Miss Tairee announced, her tone and expression giving a very, 'that's enough out of you' vibe. From the doors, other people were finally arriving on the scene then: militia officers, former members of the NHA, other more noteworthy individuals, and even some just regular people, most with weapons out and aimed at the evil Miss Tairee. At first she still looked mad, as she looked back and forth at the gathering circle, her hands shaking; but gradually her expression changed, and she sank to her knees, hands moving to her face as she started to cry.
"No, no no nooo! Please, they're going to kill me!" the evil Miss Tairee wailed between hysteric sobs.
"You could've stayed hidden away; you could've approached peacefully and tried to negotiate being allowed to live. No, you decided you wanted to be 'powerful' and take over; now you get to face the consequences of your actions" Miss Tairee said in a scolding tone, setting the computer down and stepping around the desks to approach her doppelganger. "Plus who's even to say if these are just crocodile tears now?" she added, having all the air of a criticizing teacher, except the tapping of a foot in disapproval.
But, it was clear then that they weren't crocodile tears. This wasn't just someone tearing up a sad movie or whining about losing a game either. This was full on ugly crying. "I- I- don't wanna- not exist!" the evil Miss Tairee let out, just about hiccuping between the sobs as tears streamed down her face, "I'm- I- I'm scared!"
Miss Tairee glanced aside with a sympathetic frown; that it was her own tear-streaked face she was looking at, and her own sobbing-ridden voice she was hearing probably had a fair subconscious effect on her. Even realizing that and trying to be more objective about it though, Miss Tairee still couldn't help but feel sorry for her counterpart... Unfortunately though, that didn't change anything. She closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. "... I'm sorry. You know it's not up to me" Miss Tairee muttered. She turned away from her still-sobbing counterpart, and went back over to the computer. She did a bit of typing, paused to look at her work and think it over a bit, then sighed glumly. "It's finished" she said simply, and pressed the button.
Outside, the sky all blurred for a moment.
Then, everywhere in the city, a sound could be heard.
A sound like someone taking a pen and starting to write on a piece of paper.
It was normal at first, but started to get faster and faster.
Soon enough it was faster than any person could possibly write unless it was just scribbles on a page, before it then outpaced even that.
It built and built into a crescendo until everything blurred-
Miss Tairee appeared, all her bruises and such all healed up. She was greeted by silence, clearly being awaited for what she had to say. She had to think for a good bit about what her first words should be after, all that.
"... You know, Writer, maybe Ben actually had a point. If we're talking about actions being more important than words, then really, you have been kind of evil lately" Miss Tairee said in exasperated accusation. Now, now she felt the need to vent, and started on, not even pausing as she heard the sound of writing begin. "I mean, three days of combat, really!? And it always seemed like you just had to make things as difficult as possible! If something could happen a bad way it seemed like you would make it be that way at every turn, and-" Miss Tairee only stopped when Writer's words appeared in her vision.
"I know, and I'm sorry."
Miss Tairee couldn't help but be a bit taken aback. She had to think again, though only for a moment or so this time, before responding. "... Sorry? You're sorry for everything you did, really? Or are you just sorry because something went wrong, and it went out of your control?" Miss Tairee asked, still accusatory. She knew this was somewhat parroting the conversation she'd just had with Ben while he was under her doppleganger's control, but it still bore asking anyway. There was a short pause before Writer wrote back his response.
"Can it not be both? Yes, I was only made to realize that I should be sorry because something went wrong; however my regret over my actions before then are still sincere, even if I may not have ever realized I should feel it without that disaster. I will now strive to make it right."
"... So, will you be making all your bad universes better then?" Miss Tairee wondered. Writer wrote his response quickly this time, though it took a few moments for it all to appear.
"No. Please understand, as you had before; with my works, I still wish to be able to explore all kinds of ideas, emotional states, and responses to various situations. To that end, there would still have to be universes where bad things happen. However, those and this experiment are different. As this was all for inspiration, there was no need for it to be as bad as it turned out. I know that even in the times I would offer a helping hand, I would practically be stabbing them with the other hand at the same time, so to speak. Though I know it should have come sooner, it is time for me to give those mortals some sincere gifts, without strings attached. Besides, they certainly earned it, for saving my assistant."
... Well, except for not wanting to change the other universes, this was actually about the best Miss Tairee could've hoped for, but she still couldn't help but still feel a bit mad about it all. She paced back and forth in the nothingness for a few moments to get her thoughts in order before continuing. "Alright, okay... I assume a big retcon is in order, then? Start over with them not even knowing anything went bad?" Miss Tairee guessed after she stopped her pacing. The writing sound started for a moment but then paused briefly, before resuming a bit after, with Writer's words appearing once it finished.
"No. I will not simply erase my mistakes here; to pretend that nothing wrong happened would be to simply sweep it under the rug. They should be allowed to know of my errors. Only those that would prefer not to remember the events of the city would have such an action taken upon them."
"That's... More mature of you than I was expecting" Miss Tairee admitted, thinking about how to put her thoughts into the right words there.
"Well he is like, infinity years old" commented the voice of a man behind Miss Tairee. She turned around in surprise, and was taken even more aback to find herself in an immediate hug from Tset Diy Signh'ere. "Sekreh, we were all real worried there! So glad you made it out alright!" he said, clearly worked up, but managing to keep his voice level regardless. Miss Tairee could also now see that Tester was floating just a few feet away as well.
"I could not stop myself from continuously calculating odds of your survival; all other processes were put on hold. It is a relief almost immeasurable to have you now safe" Tester commented in his synthetic voice, a different screen flashing with each syllable, which while not flashing were showing scenes of fireworks displays.
"Oh, um... Well I'm glad to be back too" Miss Tairee said a bit sheepishly, feeling awkward even as she returned Tset's hug in kind.
Tset finally released the hug and took a step back, with a great big smile on his face. "Man, I really wanted to get in there and show that fake you what for" Tset stated, balling his hands into fists and making a couple punches at the air for emphasis. "... I'm sorry we couldn't break through before it was over" he then apologized, lowering his hands and his expression getting much more serious.
Tset then leaned his head slightly to look past Miss Tairee. "So, that's the doppelganger, huh?" Tset asked simply.
"I'm surprised she is not already deleted. I assumed that would have been the very first course of action." Tester said.
"What?" Miss Tairee muttered, turning around to see her evil duplicate not far away, her wrists and ankles bound in rings of glowing white light. She had her head hung low, simply looking down at the vast nothing beneath them. Then, Writer wrote again.
"She will definitely be facing consequences for what she choose to do in the city. However, her greatest sins of existing and having tenth dimensional power were, after all, entirely not of her own doing. It was my fault, and so, the responsibility is upon me as well. We have still stripped away her power to be on the safe side of course, but, Director, Developer, and I are still discussing what will be done with her from here."
"Well, how about that. Lucky you, getting to live" Tset stated to the evil Miss Tairee, while folding his arms.
Miss Tairee tried to think of something to say her to copy, but nothing really came to her at the moment, so she simply said, "I'll... See to you later, then." After a brief and slightly awkward pause, Miss Tairee turned away to nothing in particular, to address Writer again. "So, about the city?" Writer wrote quickly in response.
"Yes, you'll be going back so you can say your goodbyes; Tset and Tester will be joining you, and the three of us will be working as well where appropriate. You won't have to do any work; I think you've earned a free day after what happened. In fact, I'll be giving you a little something."
"Oh? Do I get to know what it is beforehand?" Miss Tairee asked, a bit curious and maybe a tad worried as well. Writer's response was short and simple.
"No, but you'll see right away. Let us begin..."
Everyone would find themselves awaking feeling well rested, and with a strange, peaceful sensation over themselves. It wasn't long after that throughout the entire city, there was a sound that could be heard; even by those who were deaf, whose brains couldn't properly process sound, or didn't even have the concept of sound, would still hear it anyway. It was the sound of someone taking a pen- actually, more like a quill this time- and starting to write out words on a piece of paper. The sound was slow, careful, and meticulous; the sound of someone taking time and care with their words, for it meant more than usual. Once the sound ended, they would all see words appear in their vision; much like the sound, it would appear regardless of their ability to properly see or not, and similarly they could read and understand the message no matter what. It also wouldn't really 'go away' until they had comprehended the entire thing. This was because, it was more like it was being transmitted to their very existence, rather than simply appearing as light in front of them.
"I am aware that most if not all of you will not see an apology as sufficient at this point, given all that you have gone through here. No, that I, the Writer, have put you through here. I must thank you for putting in the effort to save my assistant; though I know you had little other choice in order for your own well being, it still means much to me. I am going to send you all to your homes when you are ready; or even to somewhere else, if you would rather. You could be sent to the exact moment you were taken from, or the moment that would be now, from the amount of time you spent here; or perhaps even to a different time, if you would have some reason to. Furthermore, if there is anything you would like to be sent back with, we will be open to considering requests. For all this, simply ask at any time, or if you would prefer the more formal and traditional method, travel to the library."
There was a short pause, then Writer wrote again, this time sounding like a pen again, and not taking as long.
"In addition, for those that took part in saving my assistant, and even those who would have but did not have the opportunity, I offer a gift in my gratitude. A wish, to use as you see fit. Though I cannot guarantee I will grant any wish no matter what it is, I, and my friends, will still see if we can find an agreeable arrangement or compromise for it."
After that, the people in the city were left to start their day.
After seeing the Writer's announcement, Thomas took a look around the room he found himself in, finding his cloak neatly folded on the adjacent end table, with his wand sitting on top. He seemed to be inside a house, a nice house, even. The bedroom he was in seemed comfortable had lots of decorations, but was clean and tidy. After taking his stuff and exiting that room, he found himself in a second floor hallway, that had an open side with a railing looking over the first floor. Thomas traveled towards the stairs, and could faintly hear a familiar voice through one of the walls, talking to someone else.
"I'm so glad to see you all, too! We must have won, even though I... Right, well, I should go find Ben, then-"
A door to a more cluttered looking bedroom opened and Louie took a step out, pausing in surprise as he saw Thomas. "Oh, hey Thomas" Louie said, a bit taken aback, "what are you doing here?"
Thomas took another quick glance at the rest of the house that could be seen from where he was standing. "I woke up here. Where is 'here' anyway?" Thomas asked.
"I have no idea" Louie answered with a shrug, then had a little jump as Ace squawked from the doorway behind him. Louie looked back at the blaziken, who looked intently at the trainer in return, before motioning his head in Thomas' direction. Louie looked back at Thomas, and seemed to get the hint, letting out a little sigh. "Hey, Thomas I uh-"
"Before you say anything" Thomas interrupted, holding a hand up. "I need to say something first, that is... You know, even though everything that happened, and our different ideas about how to protect the city... I shouldn't have let it ruin our friendship. I'm sorry" the young wizard said, lowering his head a bit.
Louie had this little frown, not like he was unhappy with what he just heard, but like it took him a bit not to get all teared up at that. "Come 'ere you" Louie stated, grabbing and suddenly hugging Thomas, as the young wizard let out a slight yelp in surprise. "I was just being like, really stupid, and I didn't know how to deal with all this stuff" the trainer explained while still in the hug.
"Well, it's all okay now" Thomas muttered, feeling a bit awkward. "There's no more fighting and we all get to go home... So can you let me-" he tried to continue, stopping as the six pokemon all piled into the hug as well, before letting out a defeated, "no, of course not..."
Most of the militia awoke at the prison, and after seeing the Writer's announcement, felt pretty elated. Some cheering went up, but mainly, it became people hugging and shaking hands and congratulating each other. Still, there was such a commotion in the barracks area that when Lieutenant Wells got up and approached, he wasn't immediately noticed. Once somebody did though, that person stood straight. "Wells, sir!" the militia member called out, making a salute. Nearly all the others followed suit, aligning and saluting.
Wells couldn't help a proud smile, but shook his head a bit. "Please, at ease. We're all done now, and you've all done a fine job. I know things didn't always go well, but we were dealt a full hand stacked against us; under the circumstances, I think you all performed admirably" Wells said to them, looking back and forth and thinking about all that had happened. "We've practically gone through hell together, and we've come out the other side still standing tall. But, it's all over now; we all get to go home, and there's no need for us to be the militia as of today. There's no further duties" he explained, and with his little speech finished, he took his own turn to stand at attention and salute them in kind.
Finished with that, Wells lowered his stance and started to walk slowly out of the barracks...
He paused near the open doorway, glancing back over his shoulder. "... Actually, hold on. There is one last thing we should do" Wells announced to the gathered militia.
Shortly thereafter, Wells led a group of the militia members to the nearest hall of cells. Key in hand, Wells walked calmly and steadily over to one of the cells, and promptly unlocked it. A bald and rather thuggish looking man with several tattoos walked out of the cell a moment after, and looked at Wells. It seemed like the thug almost wanted to say something, but then scratched the back of his head instead and muttered, "thanks... And, sorry." Wells gave the man a simple nod in return, and the man lowered his head a bit and started to walk away.
Wells looked back at the militia members, who were staring, looking a bit confused. "Come on then, stop standing around. Let them all out; open every cell. There's no point in them being locked up in the city and in here; not anymore. On this last day, we should be treating them like people, not like animals" Wells instructed them. Though a couple of them still looked unsure about this, the group nevertheless began to follow suit, and start systematically opening every cell and releasing every prisoner.
In time, they had it all opened up, and at one of the last cells, Wells unlocked it for the prisoner inside, but the prisoner wasn't coming out of the cell yet. The quarian, Yael'Torol, simply sat on his cot in the corner, staring up at nothing in particular. After waiting for a bit, Wells stepped into the cell, and approached the quarian. "Hey. You want to go home, don't you?" Wells asked, trying to figure out what was going on here.
At first, Yael'Torol did nothing, but after another pause, he spoke. "... He lied, didn't he? Feather Beak... His cure was never going to work for my people, was it" Yael'Torol said slowly, clearly lacking on drive or motivation.
Wells turned his head aside as he thought it over. "From what I was told, I'd say... I don't know. Maybe he couldn't, or maybe he actually could, at least in some way that he would consider having fulfilled his end of your bargain" Wells admitted, and looked back at Yael'Torol directly. "What I'm certain of though, is that the price you'd end up paying, that your people would end up paying, would be a lot worse than what you thought it would be" the lieutenant stated with certainty.
Only then did Yael'Torol turn his gaze over to actually look at Wells. "You're probably right" Yael'Torol muttered in resigned agreement.
Wells gave a nod, then slowly took in and let out a breath, before standing up and offering a hand. "Come on. Let's get you out of here" Wells told the alien simply.
On the flat rooftop of a random building, heavy but slow, calm footsteps approached one of the edges. The blue painted ceramite of Brother Marcus' armor shone brilliantly in the daylight, though it made the scratches and blemishes of old battles that hadn't yet been repaired over stand out all the more. Slowly, the space marine reached up, and took hold of his helmet. There was a little hiss of air, then he gently raised the helmet off his head, then let his arms rest down at his sides, holding the helmet in his right hand. Marcus took in a deep breath of air and closed his eyes, tilting his head back slightly and enjoying the fresh air and gentle breeze.
He remained in that pose, even as he could hear an approaching slithering, as he wanted to continue to take in the day. There remained a silence for a little while, before finally Silanea spoke up, just a bit to the space marine's side.
"There's something I wanted to ask you" Silanea said, looking out at the city rather than at Marcus; the space marine showed no response yet. "You're a soldier, yes? And soldiers... They have to follow orders. I've wondered, what do you consider more important; following orders, or doing the right thing?" the lamia asked, then looking over at Marcus.
With that, Marcus opened his eyes and lowered his head, clearly thinking, but not yet looking over. "... Where I come from, humanity, my people, are beset upon all sides without and within by our enemies. The galaxy is an unwelcome, and hostile place for us. There, to follow orders is the right thing to do, because it is the only thing to do; there is only war, and it must be fought, lest we die" Marcus said, still looking at the city. "But in this place... It is the first time, the only time in my long life that I have been left completely detached from the Imperium. Here where my actions have no impact or meaning to the Imperium; there is no benefit to gain, or detriment to lose that I could affect. When I first arrived, I couldn't think in a way that was against to follow my orders, and my creed. There had never been a difference before, between orders and 'the right thing'. So it is the first time I've had to think about which would be more important" the astartes explained, finally looking over at Silanea.
"So... It's the first time you had to think for yourself what should your course of action be?" Silanea said, trying to follow.
"No. It is more that I would say, it's the first time I had to think about whether my course of action, is what I should do. It is not that there were never decisions to make, but that there was never doubt in them. For mankind, for the Imperium, for the Emperor, for the honor the chapter, were all that ever mattered" Marcus replied. He raised his hand, turning his helmet over as he regarded it, staring at the face plate that the others in the city would've come to know as Marcus' visage. "I've wondered to myself, after my revelation about how I should use my strength in this place. If my chapter master, or my primarch, or even the Emperor himself, knew about my situation here, and understood the circumstances around it... What would they order me to do? To continue on as we would where we come from? Or to do as you would put it, 'the right thing'... But as it stands now, it does not matter. They do not know, and I wonder, if I would even tell them after my return" the astartes concluded, lowering his hand back to his side and looking back over the city.
"... I'm not sure if that really answered my question" Silanea commented, having to think it over. "But, I do feel like I understand you more now" she admitted, turning her own attention back to the city as well.
At a familiar manor, the front door opened, and four individuals slowly walked out across the walkway and to the edge of the street. A sorceress, a knight, a ranger, and a cleric. Despite the effects of the day, they still had somewhat solemn demeanor, as they walked in silence. The ranger, Lady Amelia, was carrying a little bundle of belongings in her hands. The group stopped at the edge of the street and were looking back and forth, seemingly contemplating which way to go.
"... So, to that library then?" Sir Tristen asked. "I wonder if they'd give us each a wish. Maybe one wish for us to share" the fighter wondered aloud.
Lady Amelia let out a short, half scoff, half laugh of a noise. "Tristen, they all hate us. We're not getting a wish" Lady Amelia guessed simply.
Brother Darturien, who had been in silent contemplation, then spoke up. "I've been thinking... We had our homes raided, and our people killed. Then, we went out there, and raided their homes, and killed their people. Are we really so sure we were in the right?" Brother Darturien asked of the group.
"Well I'm pretty sure that those who did the raiding and killing first were not in the right to do so" Lady Valentina replied, in an almost patronizing manner. "Besides Darturien, it was war. Right and wrong is just... Never so simple in war. It always gets all muddied" the sorceress continued, motioning with her hand like she was stirring up something in a glass.
"I'm just saying... I don't know, maybe that doing the same as our foes brought us down to their level?" Brother Darturien continued, having to think of how to put it.
"Oh by the gods- The snakes are back now! Our soldiers are back now! Why can't everybody just be happy with it, and move on!?" Sir Tristen snapped, yelling in frustration as the emotions burst.
Valentina and Darturien both looked a little shocked, but Amelia looked more shocked, and hurt. "How could you be happy with this?" Lady Amelia muttered in an almost teary tone, then lifted her hands a little to indicate the bundle she was holding as she added, "he was your friend."
Ashamed, Sir Tristen turned his head away a moment. "Of course I'm not happy; I didn't actually mean happy, I meant... Why can't they all just leave it alone now? They weren't involved anyway" Sir Tristen clarified.
"I'd think they're hoping for an apology. A public one" Brother Darturien guessed.
Lady Amelia scoffed again. "To want us to apologize on behalf of others, is so... I can't even think of the word" Lady Amelia said.
"Entitled?" Lady Valentina offered.
"I suppose that fits, yes. Did any of them even ask the lamia if any of them want an apology from us?" Lady Amelia continued.
"... Not from us to them, no. I think what they want is an apology from you" Lady Valentina said, pointing a finger at Tristen, "to her." The sorceress made no motion to indicate who 'her' was, but they all knew.
Tristen was at a brief loss for words, then shook his head. "It doesn't feel right, apologizing for something that I believed I was in the right to do" Sir Tristen muttered.
"And you can't put your pride aside long enough for that?" Brother Darturien questioned, a bit accusingly.
Tristen clenched his fists in anger and shook his head. "If all were fine, Darturien, I very well might, but all is not fine, and you know that" Sir Tristen retorted, again getting angry. "How can you ask me to do that, while I'm still mourning the death of my best friend!?" the fighter asked, his own tone also getting accusing.
Then however, they were interrupted by another voice. "Wait, who's dead? I thought it was just the five of us" asked mister Cleyo as he walked up to the group, looking back and forth at them with an eyebrow raised in confusion. The other four all turned to him in shock; Amelia was so surprised she absently let the bundle fall to the ground, which got Cleyo's attention.
"Hey! Those are very rare; don't just drop them on the ground!" mister Cleyo complained, quickly crouching down and scooping up his belongings. Once he got them, he stood back up and dusted them off. "I was wondering where they went anyway..." the thief muttered, then paused as he finally noticed the way the others were looking at him, "... why are you all looking at me like that?"
"Cleyo!" Sir Tristen exclaimed, and immediately grabbed the thief to embrace him in a hug; much to Cleyo's objection, as this caused him to drop some of his gear again. "I'm so glad to see you!" the fighter added.
"Cleyo... You're alive? It's impossible" Lady Amelia thought out loud, still in a fair degree of shock.
"I know they returned the lamia and our soldiers, but... They said that if any of us died, we'd be dead as normal" Lady Valentina said, not quite as shocked, but still somewhat.
Cleyo blinked a few times. "What? Come on now, don't be so dramatic. I know I blacked out after that spell hit me, but well, clearly Darturien patched me up just fine" mister Cleyo responded, still confused about all this, "I was just laying inside thinking about what my wish might be."
"... That battle was two days ago. You were cut in half; there was nothing I could do for you" Brother Darturien explained to the thief.
"... Are you sure? I'm quite certain that I'm in one piece" mister Cleyo pointed out.
"We all held your dead body, Cleyo. We spent all of yesterday in grief" Sir Tristen said, finally releasing Cleyo from the hug. "Yet despite everything, they've returned you to us... Perhaps everything will be alright after all" the fighter noted, looking to the others with a smile on his face, and happy tears in his eyes.
"Maybe that was our wish" Lady Valentina thought out loud, as she too looked like she might cry from happiness, and so did Darturien and Amelia.
The library was back intact as its normal self, and now standing next to the central desks was Mr. Tset Diy Signh'ere, in his usual suit and tie. He held a tablet device in hand like a clipboard; he took a moment to disconnect a little one-ear blutooth style headset from it, and put it on his right ear.
Meanwhile, floating above the central desks was Tester, still looking like a shelf holding a bunch of computer equipment with monitors attached seemingly at random. The screens were alternating between what seemed to be booting or loading screens, and scrolling informational displays.
"Alright Tester, let's get started. I'm thinking a great big breakfast; pull out all the stops" Tset said in an upbeat, ready tone.
"Affirmative. Shall we each devise a separate area of breakfast, or each take charge of different aspects of the breakfast, such as drinks for me, and foods for you?" Tester asked in response.
Tset shook his head and waggled a finger playfully. "No no, please, let me take the lead on this one. Just make sure to fill in any gaps I miss, yeah? Make sure I've got it right after I set it up" Tset answered.
"Very well" Tester said simply.
With his grin growing wider, Tset tapped on the headset, and held up the tablet to start working on. "Hello, hello? Hey listen, I got a big order to put in" Tset began talking, acting like a Hollywood bigshot talking on the phone to some supplier. All the while he was tapping away quickly on the tablet, while walking around the open space around the central desks, eying up the available coffee tables throughout the large lobby. "A big breakfast platter, you hear? I'm talking waffles, pancakes, french toast, regular toast, all kinds of butter, syrup, jam, and whipped cream" the assistant went on, as large plates of what he was listing off were starting to appear on available tables with cuts in the air. All the food was seemingly fresh straight out of a kitchen, and looked to be of an excellent quality. He twirled around on his feet, and started to walk backwards seemingly effortlessly for a bit.
"Come on, fellas, that's not even halfway through here, alright? No breakfast is complete without some bacon, sausage, and eggs. We're gonna need salt, pepper, and ketchup for those too. Let's have some hash browns while we're at it too, huh? And don't try to cheap me out on those drinks, pal; you better get me some ice water, some milk, orange juice, apple juice, grape juice- heck if it's a nice fruit just get the juice from it it, okay?" Tset concluded, as again said listed items were appearing on the available tables via cuts in the air. With that done, he turned the long way around on his feet to face Tester up in the air, and ask, "alright, pretty good, am I right?"
"I would grade the selection as a decent one, though one limited in cultural scope" Tester replied. "In addition, you forgot plates, cups, and cutlery" the AI added, as those said items appeared on the various tables with a pixellation effect.
Tset snapped his fingers and tapped his foot. "Darn it, forgot the dishes" Tset muttered in mild disappointment with himself. "But hey, I remembered to make sure it'll still be this good later. I mean we all know that showing up for breakfast late is disappointing, but showing up late to a cold breakfast is worse" the assistant remarked, getting back to his smug upbeatness.
"I'm sure that will be nice for Miss Tairee later" Tester commented in agreement.
The both of them turned their attention down to the central desks directly, where Miss Tairee was currently sitting. Her head was resting on a small pillow on the top of one of the desks, and a blanket was draped over her back. She was sound asleep, and dreaming peacefully.
"Maybe we should give them a moment..." I mumbled, watching a two-person-six-pokémon hug through my partially-opened door.
Cascabel stared at me for a few seconds as if contemplating...before giving me a 'no, I don't think I will' look and phasing through the door, floating to playfully (if still clearly too forcefully) headbutt Louie in the shoulder.
I facepalmed. "Aw, come on."
A nice house, oh yeah, that knight
Given the day, Cascabel's headbutt did nothing more than a gentle bump, which got Louie's attention with a slow, unconcerned, "hmm?" Most of his pokemon actually seemed to take more notice than the trainer did, who stared at the shuppet for a moment. "... Oh hey, I remember you" Louie said, releasing the hug to gently hold up a finger like one trying to get a bird to stand on it. "Well last time I saw you, you were with..." the trainer trailed off as he remembered, as both he, his pokemon, and Thomas all one by one looked over at the doorway where Lewis was. (Except Swishee, who had seen him first before Cascabel even approached, and was by now losing interest.)
"Oh. Well... Hello there" Thomas said in a somewhat disgruntled tone, folding his arms with a frown on his face.
Louie looked at Thomas, then similarly folded his arms and frowned for a moment... Then looked at Thomas again. "Wait, why did we hate this guy?" Louie asked, as he apparently couldn't quite recall right now.
"He's a bloody arse" Thomas answered.
"Yeah but like, what did he do that we don't like?" Louie added, looking for clarification.
"He..." Thomas started, unfolding his arms and turning to the pokemon trainer, and stopping there. "... You know, actually, given what day it is now, it's just not worth bothering with a grudge anymore, I think" the young wizard concluded after thinking.
Louie looked at Thomas, then at Lewis, then back at Thomas, all with an eyebrow raised in slightly confused uncertainty. Then, the trainer leaned over closer to the young wizard. "Okay but he didn't like, kill any of our friends or innocent people, right?" Louie muttered quietly.
"No Louie, I don't think he did" Thomas replied, shaking his head.
"Alright, uh, cool" Louie commented, unfolding his arms and relaxing, though now had a somewhat awkward demeanor. "So... Good morning" the trainer then told Lewis.
"I yelled and sassed you over stupid shit, and pointed a crossbow at you while we were both having trauma responses," I deadpanned. "But, thanks anyway, for the kindness." I sighed and opened the door. "I was gonna let you have your moment there before asking this, but apparently they," I pointed to Cascabel, who simply stuck their tongue out, "were impatient, so..."
I held out an ultra ball.
"We were talking, and as much as it'd be cool to be my dimension's first and only pokémon trainer, I don't think Cascabel would do well being the only pokémon on Earth. I know you already have a full party, but even if you give them to someone else, I trust you with them and think it should be your call. So whaddya say?"
Ben felt like he had been sleeping for almost a year. Sitting up from the couch that he had been sleeping on, he blinked in confusion, recalling the finishing events of the last day. How he had remembered himself attempting to strangle Miss Tairee. In Hero form.
Before he could really gather his thoughts about what had happened, words appeared in his consciousness. He gasped, startled, before taking in what was being said. It was the Writer, and he was...
Wow, he was really pouring his heart out. On any other day, Ben would find it hard to believe the Writer, but something about this seemed sincere. Genuine. And deep down, Ben knew that he should probably accept. It would be the mature thing to do. Live and let be. Move on.
And besides, he was offering a wish. Ben hesitated, upon contemplating the idea of a wish, but again, the Writer seemed on the level today.
Ben stood, picking up his bag of holding as he rose to his feet, refreshed. His first thought was to find the other City Knights. If any of them were even still here instead of taking their wish and leaving.
Ben pulled out his phone, turning it to the City Knights' channel. He hesitated before transmitting his message.
"Hey, City Knights? It's Ben. When you guys get up, could you maybe meet me at the Library? I wanna see you guys before we go... it might be our last time, y'know."
He thought for a moment. Maybe it didn't have to be the last time. Maybe there was a way he could...
He cleared his throat. He had decided what he wanted to wish for, but first he had to take inventory. He had died, after all, and—
Wait a minute, he thought. If I died, then why do I still have the bag of holding?
He frantically dug through the bag of holding. He couldn't believe it. Not only did it have the contents it had before he died, but it also contained what was inside the first time he died too.
He pulled out a green sweater with the Omnitrix logo on it, staring at it in pleasant disbelief. It was the sweater that the large blue grandma Lily had knitted for him all that time ago. And there was also a little plush doll shaped like a blonde-haired girl. It was Alice's gift to him, way back at the beginning of the month.
An idea came to Ben. Quickly, he readied the Omnitrix, cycling through the aliens he had available.
Sure enough, not only were there the recent aliens that he had thought he had lost just now— Ultra Ben, the Vilgax and Gremlin forms, Cybersaur, Riptide, Mealworm, Megabite... but also aliens he had forgotten he had even acquired in the first place, ones he had lost when he died the first time. Spellicorn, Bentaur, Huntbug, Estebone... they were all here. Except for one.
Ben cycled through the list multiple times, but no hide or hair of Ghostfreak. Had the Writer really done this? Had he not only given Ben everything he had ever lost in the City, but also taken away the worst thing he had gained?
Ben stood there in complete and utter shock and relief.
The voice of one of the Writer's associates shook him from his stupor, as did the sound of the bag of holding gently thumping onto the ground. Ben hurriedly picked it up and made his way towards Tset Diy Signh'ere. He owed Mr. Signh'ere an apology after his behavior the day they met.
Ben cleared his throat.
"Hey, Mister... whatever your name is? Sorry, I don't remember..." He hesitated a moment. "I'm... sorry for kicking you a few days ago," he apologized. "I was being a jerk. What's all this? Is this all for Miss Tairee?"
Edited by AllHailThrall on Aug 16th 2021 at 7:21:00 AM
A nice house, don't remind him
Louie winced after being reminded of the crossbow incident. Thomas frowned slightly again. "Okay, except maybe that one; just a little too far" Thomas commented, shaking his head.
"Anyway... The shuppet? Yeah, I suppose" Louie said, taking the ultra ball, shrinking it down, and putting it away. "I'll probably release him if I don't find anyone who wants him" the trainer added, looking at the little ghost pokemon and giving it a pat.
Then, Louie's walkie talkie piped up with Ben's voice. With a grin, Louie grabbed it and responded, "yeah Ben, Thomas and I were gonna be heading there anyway." It was only after putting it back away that Louie finally noticing something about that. "... Wait, didn't I lose that?" the trainer muttered to himself.
Meanwhile his own pokemon were eying the shuppet with curious looks. Pecha, still a vibrava now, buzzed her wings a moment, while Lil' Sunny, still a roserade, gave a happy and inquisitive chirp.
"Well, no sense waiting around, yeah? Come on, Thomas" Louie commented, and the two plus the pokemon started to make their way down the stairs. "We're getting those wishes, yeah? What are you gonna do with yours, Thomas?" the trainer asked as they walked.
"Well, I'd certainly like to make it so the evil things committed by Grindelwald and Voldemort didn't happen- or, don't happen, I guess. I've been wondering what else that might change about my world though. I'd certainly hope they don't just get replaced by somebody even worse" Thomas answered, then followed up with, "what about you?"
"Honestly, I'm not sure" Louie answered with a shrug. "My world's pretty great, so, I don't even know what I would want to change about it" the trainer explained.
It wasn't long before there was an answer on the walkie talkie from Louie's cheerful voice, "yeah Ben, Thomas and I were gonna be heading there anyway."
Once Ben approached Tset, the man turned to Ben with a grin. "Not to worry, Ben, not to worry at all! The name's Tset, you know, like the Egyptian guy" Tset said cheerfully, reaching into his suit vest and pulling out a business card, which he handed over to Ben.
"Now, this? It's for everyone!" Tset answered enthusiastically, making a wide motion with his arms at the whole room. "Including Sekreh! The two of us are her good friends after all, and after what happened yesterday we figured she could use a bit of spoiling, so-"
Tset's eyes bugged a little as he suddenly remembered something, and interrupted himself to wheel around and look up at Tester. "Coffee! I forgot coffee, that's her favorite!" Tset exclaimed, in a way that was clear he was disappointed in himself.
"I already have that covered. Along with chocolate milk, and a selection of different popular breakfast dishes from lots of different cultures, for variety" Tester replied, as things were still changing on the coffee tables around the room with pixellation effects.
Tset ran a hand through his hair. "Whew, got that covered. Thanks, Tester" Tset thanked the AI sincerely, then turned his attention back to Ben with that same grin again. "So go ahead, dig into whatever you'd like! Of if what you want isn't here, just ask" the assistant offered.
Edited by FirockFinion on Aug 17th 2021 at 12:03:12 PM
Cascabel let out a contented chirp, before sinking about a foot to begin a spirited if unintelligible conversation with Louie's pokémon, and I had the distinct hunch that even if he did release it, it'd just stalk them for an indeterminate length of time.
"Oh yeah, I guess you could just subvert your world's entire plot and conflict with that kind of power, huh." A gear started to turn in my head. "Hm..."
I wondered what would've happened if not for this. In hindsight, I had this strong feeling that I wouldn't have been able to go through with the murder plot anyway. Maybe it would've been fine. Maybe it'd be fine now.
I flipped the locket open, and gasped.◊
That was right...it was always us...
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