"Nightshade. Nightshade.rx" The juuka replied. "And I am here for your same reason. I want to know why something like a Life Virus can be festering under Element City. I want to know if the ONB is responsible for this."
The zoanoroid's energy was vastly more calm than the K-Unit, despite what you would think of a Juuka's temper. The more he used the form, the more he became one with it. His code had mutated so much that Greiga's abilities were almost intrinsically linked to the navi. He would lie if he didn't admit he was enjoying it a great deal.
"Hey, RAM! You're a hacker guy, right? If I give you the system key, would you be able to hack in and download the underground map? Seeing as how the little guys are increasing in number...we might be getting near the nest."
General Mary flew high above, away from the group, after her building had collapsed from.. Rosso's quin-explosion fever.
"... This is not turning out well. I don't have enough influence in this world either..."
General Mary held out a hand, revealing a rift of her own not too far behind Resonance.
"Let's see how well I can control a puppet here..."
From the rift emerged Inori, her eyes a soulless black with white pupils. She drew her katana and pointed it towards Rosso as Mary finally called down to the rest of them.
"I don't know who you are, reality shifter, but I do know the last thing I want to see in ONB territory is an NIA agent causing problems. If you're here to take that.. "thing" down, you have my and the girl's aid."
From Inori, her core erupted to life, a whirling vortex of electricity and shredding data cackled as her life force begun to deplete past the safety protocols installed. She held out a hand to Resonance, her decaying shreds of data attaching to Resonance for healing and protection. A faint whisper could be heard under the dismay of her core:
Trebuchet MS Navi Info -The Fatebringers- Mayura V1 -Rosario's Followers- Rosario V5||Labrys V6||SILENT_CLOAK V9||Altair V7 -Neutrals/Unaligned- Navi Joe V1-(NormalNav1)||Rosary V15||Commander Kraft V3||WIP||Lalonia V10||Flame Hyenard V12-(BURN, BURN, BURN TO THE GROUND)||Keksis V8
*Embera's head still rang with the images of her family being torn apart. Her time in the nightmares was coming to fruition it seemed. She was barely holding the tears back before, and now it felt almost inevitable, that she would have to tear her own world asunder. She clutched Rosso's arm tightly, looking at him to plead for a true answer to everything. She couldn't believe either side with Resonance's and Rosso's contradictory actions today. She worked her hand down to Rosso's own, and grabbed Purgatory. It burned harshly between her fingers as they intertwined with its owner's. Tears still welling up, she made but one last plea.*
Embera: I don't know what to do about this, but I don't think you're going to be with me and Genesis anymore....I can feel it in your voice.
*Now weeping, The Solar Empress' own appearance melted away to that of her first self, when they first met: A frightened child, wanting notoriety, but gaining a family. She never felt hotter flames feel so cold in Rosso's arms. She knew that something was wrong, but she knew she couldn't be involved, either. With her fingers twitching with emotions, Embera cried out a simple, yet powerful request.*
Embera: I can't be a part of this city, a part of whatever is going on. I'm going back to Genesis....But I just want to ask you...
*Her grip tightens.*
Embera: Please...Give me Purgatory...Until we can be a family again...Please...Zane
Clearly the only answer to continue the path to what you despise most and become the most powerful being on site so no one can beat you so you can play the game fairly. fist pump ~Shast
A crackling sound can now be heard from Serix as the energy around her begins to spark. This sparking is caused by something that had not been present in her earlier editions. No, this was something else entirely. The female Navi had gotten much stronger since she and Rosso had last met, and she was going to show him just how much power she had gained in that time.
"Such a shame, you won't be around to ensure the next international incident. Still, I'd rather have you dealt with, all the same. After all, I have no way of knowing that you wouldn't go after Creamland next. Not that we don't have our own issues to deal with, but I can't exactly allow the continued existence of something that has insulted me as gravely as you have."
He would say yes, but he wasn't self-deluded at all. Arrogant sure, but there were no delusion with him. The only part of that delusion is that unlike Forte, it would take him longer to land that single blow on the Onyx Overlord. And it looked like his words had cut rather deep, as Resonance had returned to his senses too. For someone who lived to atone with no clear path forward, Rosso was able to present him one that was absolute. One that was certain and clear without the haze of false promises and lies.
"In this world, you can't lay that curse on anyone anymore. But you don't have to be dragged down by those regrets any longer. Because the future you oppose is far different than you can imagine. And your death will atone not just for your regrets and failures, but for Silare and Sapphire as well. A step in the right direction at long last. The first one you'll be able to take and the most crucial of them all. But I can assure you that your death will serve as a cornerstone for all the right you wanted to accomplish but never could. What you can give them at long last."
He was going to make his move, but felt a tug at his arm then, looking over to Embera. In his voice, huh... it was true for his flames too. They always held a purpose to them, but the purpose they held now was cold and ruthless. Yet in its sick way held a hope of its own. For what would come after the world that Resonance showed her. And he wouldn't force her hand on the matter. She was willing to walk away instead of choosing a side, which was still a bigger step than many could ever hope to take. And at her request came a hesitation, two ideas in the head. One of them won over the other, however, as he let go of the Purgatory to give to her.
"It won't take long, Empress. As for you, you're not done yet? Good grief."
He thought when he ignored her long enough she'd be done already, but Serix was as useful as ever. He still didn't go deal with it though, electing instead to start toward Resonance, Inori, and Mary. One was a fervent follower of her group it seemed. She was off his radar, so it wouldn't hurt to learn about it... or to not. The sword in his hand was unleashing more than just the flames that coated the ominous new weapon he carried. There was a sickening pulse, like it didn't belong in this world or any other. And yet it existed in them all now, in his hand. And it would be the instrument among others to see this through.
"So will you let it be quick, for Embera's sake? For Sapphire's sake? Or resist for a world where people like this are their best hope? The very kind that cause the spiral to continue unabided not for any greater purpose than their own self-interest."
He glanced toward the puppet, who was trying to assist at this point. But they had picked the wrong side in this. If they wanted to reject what was better for them because of something as meager as who worked with who, then they would become part of this city as well. And while he was at it, he could wait for Serix to hit whatever her last stage was.
Rosso's words cut deep, hitting Resonance's very heart. At the mention of the only friend that he'd ever had and the only one that he'd ever loved, Resonance nearly falls back, lost to the sorrow of what he'd lost... of what he could never hope to have again. Rosso... Zane... opened the wound deeper and deeper, drawing from it the very blood of Resonance's mind...
Resonance: ....Silare.... Sapphire....
....but he'd dug too deep.
Resonance's eyes shift once again. With a narrowed gaze, his tear-stained gaze now locks squarely onto Rosso.
Resonance: ...you're right. I don't have to be dragged down by those regrets.
The blade at Resonance's side dissipates, dropping away as he looks on to Rosso and takes a step forward.
Resonance: Because Sapphire and Silare told me that I don't. They told me that the only one left to forgive me... was myself...
Another shift occurs. Resonance's body, still cloaked in onyx, takes on a familiar crimson sheen, revealing deep red details across his form.
Resonance: You hope to bring on great change in the name of those that I loved? The change that they fought for....
At Resonance's side appears an eerily familiar crimson blade of fire, one that he takes up and holds with the same stance as Zane himself. In him wells a mixture of powers of various sources; the frigid energy of Silare, the black force of the guardian Eclipse, the white splendor of the guardian Triad ....and the teal fire of the Navi that he loved so deeply, Sapphire.
Resonance: I have made my mistakes, and I will never atone for them all... but my greatest mistake would be allowing you to use me as a tool to cast aside all that they worked for and accomplished.
...finally, one last power rises within Resonance. A power long-lost and forgotten. Within Resonance is the cataclysmic force of the Eternal Endgame himself. The one being that forced on him the titles of Generational and Guardian; the Time-Space Nightmare, Eon.
Resonance: ...my life has one mission, and that is to honor those that I've lost. Even if this truly is my last moment on this net, as you so vehemently guarantee...
...Resonance. Not the alter-ego that calls itself the Generational, stands before Rosso, poised and ready to lay down his life for this fight.
Resonance: ....know that I will make it your last moment as well.
Xylia watched as events unfolded before her. With Resonance flickering realities, Xylia saw various versions of what she thought was herself. Of times where she didn’t exists. The flickering colors of Resonance’s power didn’t help, and caused her head to suddenly hurt with such force she sank to her knees and gripped her head. It didn’t make sense. Was she dead or alive?
Cura was frozen, and couldn’t move. She shouted out but it was as if her words were lost to the non-existent wind. Xylia couldn’t hear her. She just watched Resonance and Rosso. Wait. The “Empress” called him something different... Zane. She noted this information and stored it away.
Finally after what seemed like an eternity of realities, they could move. The pressure in Xylia’s head lessened and she could see again. She was alive, or so she thought. She opened her eyes enough to see some of the events unfold. But it just lead her to more confusion.
”Why are they arguing so?”
Xylia placed her hands together, and sang quietly. She knew her strength was too weak to do much. So she did the only thing she could.
As she sang, a crimson colored rose appeared between Resonance and Rosso/Zane. It flowed enough to attract attention. Disputes and disagreements aside, within the chaos and destruction tottering on this reality, this one rose symbolized that this world, no matter how ugly, dark and need of change was, there was always something positive to be found. Hope, Faith. Love... just as there were so many bad things, there were so many good things too.
From the moment the intense heat and lightning washed over Element City, PlagueMan began adapting. Rapidly shifting through cell cycles and states of homeostasis, as well as rapidly adapting his core temperature and needs of survival, PlagueMan became utterly and inexoribly immune to the intense heat, and the bolts of lightning covering the city thereafter. Capable of infinite adaptation, there was no given environment he couldn't survive in.
Taking the generational's warning to heart, PlagueMan stayed quiet and mostly inactive as time warped and sped on around them, watching as Resonance's power shifted to cause events with purpose, rather than his own glitches which, when tempered, could cause similar illusions . . . this was real. This wasn't a glitch in reality gone wrong, this was reality being rewritten.
Events went by in rapid succession, with friends and familiar faces to Resonance showing up that eventually pull the generational out of his stupor. As new arrivals pour in, lines are drawn and feelings are cut deep - combat was by far inevitable. But, even with all the power Resonance had welled up within him, and the navi opposing them having lost his other sword, the sword PlagueMan watched him rend from reality was a threat all on its own. He'd seen that sword in action, from deep within the Onyx Overlord. One swing vaporized miles of Net space, each cleave like a solar prominence taking flight.
(You worry about staying away from that flaming sword he carries - its swings decimated what remained of Rammount. I'll do what I can to keep you running, and to maximize advantage to you by degrading myself efficiently.)
Mary motioned a hand, and Inori responded by vanish stepping behind Resonance. She rose her katana and left hand in the air, in which not after too long became a large bugged blade of crimson. She ignored the symbolic peace Xylia displayed. Inori stood ready to follow Resonance's lead.
"If the world wasn't plagued by self-interest, then where would be the fun?"
Mary also sent two of the twelve sabers orbiting her down to Serix, flying in from her left and right side to not deal damage, but instead trip her up and screw up her concentration on charging, in hopes of delaying it.
K-414 didn't respond to Richard's words as he glanced over at the cat navi as he prattled on like a child unaware of what he was getting into. He had power, that was certain, but whether he was strong enough to actually use it was another question altogether. "That's not why I'm here," K-414 growled, the temperature around him starting to actually raise a degree or two as the frost energy built up around his shoulders and claws. "I don't give a darn why it's down here. I don't care if the ONB is involved. I don't care that you care. I was sent down here due to getting information about a virus infestation. Life Virus or Mettaur Virus. I'll kill it all the same," the anti-viral program growled, his red eyes flashing in something that might be considered excitement.
RAM: Did...he just call me a hacker?
K-414 didn't answer, leaving Richard to sit for a moment before Richard apparently opened up a communication channel to Nightshade as well, which the wolven beast was all for, not needing to worry about talking to the cat anymore anyway.
((Note: Italicized messages from Richard are sent to both K-414 and Nightshade both))
RAM: I am a computer engineer, not some two-bit hacker. The Animus Syndicate does not operate in such a fashion. I'll operate my own way if you two need the map.
K-414 glanced over toward Nightshade. "You insulted him. If you couldn't tell," he explained helpfully.
Within a few moments, information began to stream down to K-414, and offered to Nightshade, if he would accept it.
RAM: I simply contacted some of the Element City Officials and requested the documents. Given the current state, they were only too happy to comply for any help that was available.
RAM: Hacking...the nerve.
K-414 smirked, using the newly acquired map to adjust his forward momentum, but only slightly. Forward was still the way to go, but a slight path deviance would lead them to the central chambers that much more quickly and he was certain that's where they'd find their goal. "Hope you're half as good at virus busting as you are at talking." K-414 growled as they approached the end of the tunnel system, uncertain if ONB security would be down here, or if they were just leaving the Life Virus to its own machinations. Not that K-414 cared. If they stood in his way he'd cut them down like the rest.
Nightshade welcomed RAM's presence in his comm system. "Please, forgive my rudeness. I had little to no info on you, Mr. RAM."
He shook his head for a second, before catching up with the hulking beast. The ground trembled lightly at 414's question. Temperature dropped a couple of degrees, while all the nearby viruses began running away from the Avatar of Greiga panicking. Nightshade responded to the K-Unit's stare with his own, a pair of blood red eyes boring into the lupine navi...pupils reduced to slits.
"I think it makes for a parlor trick. We'll see how that power of yours works when it comes down to it," K-414 grunted, turning his attention away from the navi and began picking his way forward. Whatever this Life Virus was, K-414 had only sparse information in his databanks about it. He knew that it would have a fierce protective shell. If anyone had the power to shatter through it, it would be him. And he would decimate what remained, just as he had with the Scuttles.
"Richard, you getting anything back there?"
RAM: No. It's definitely more concentrated above, but I'm still not picking up anything direct. Keep forward.
"Fine," K-414 growled, still plodding onward, Nightshade in tow.
Nightshade was deep in thought. If a Life Virus did indeed nest in the underground of Element City for so long...maybe that would explain the sudden breach that happened in the Electopian Branch of Nebula Systems Dynamics. If somehow the ONB was involved in all this they would not only be responsible for sending him to die in hostile territory, but they would also be responsible for a massive security breach and destruction of private property.
The juuka silently followed the hulking K-Unit, keeping an eye out for the various Scuttles around.