Dread Joker appeared out of the rift in the Cyberworld, the dark, blocky hole closing behind him as he set his sights on the next target of his agenda.
Pride Castle. The fortified and protected front of the Knights of Creamland, and the home of the royal family's navis. Within these walls, the Knights of Creamland marched, apparently uncaring of their citizens' lives. They needed to protect the royal family, after all.
Well, as one says, Pride is always the Downfall. If Creamland's finest would not come to the aid of its citizens, maybe they would answer to Dread Joker's direct wrath upon their stronghold.
Dread Joker raised his hands and began gathering his energy, the intensity of the generational's power at his grasp and the fold of reality and time around his being allowing him to show for all who would dare to stand up against him that, indeed, he had mastered the power at his disposal. Who would dare to stand against him?
Dread Joker was going to get to work soon likely, as he was preparing the energy for it as planned. And as he was he noticed something with his use of the Crimson as he possessed. Was it a change just for himself that occurred after his attack on Creamland's main land and islands? A change in the core program itself? Right now he had a job to finish with these very things on his mind.
From Grave Ground Zero, Joker obtains the Crest:
Crimson Core ° Enables the following skill:
The Lost Program On use of this skill, the user selects one of two variations: Variation A: The next turn of attacks against all opponents ignore all avoidance effects unless the opponent expends one skill use from any skill. Variation B: Any mid-battle statistical increase that has occurred is reset unless the opponent expends one skill use from any skill. 1x Use, maximum 3 per battle. 1 turn cooldown between uses.
The strange power that seemed to flow from his endeavors only further confirmed what he expected. They were using the Satellite for something to their advantage. He, however, could not ignore the power that the expansion of his satellite's core provided him.
That said, he would still follow through with his orders, just to see where that got him. The majority of his systems were in place to prepare the Red Gaia Eraser again, but, he somehow felt that just his ultimate attack would not be enough to eradicate the castle.
His power over time seemingly enabled Dread Joker to move in two places with each stride, an afterimage following seconds behind him as he lowered himself to the ground. Raising his fist into the air, Dread Joker brought it crashing down, releasing a stream of crimson energy from the impact that spread out and condensed in mid-air, creating massive black columns, thirteen in total, intensified by the power of the generational in his core, the Gigaton Buildings smashing their massive weights down onto the Pride Castle. With the time he had to prepare the energy he stored within them, they were at maximum density, the Net screeching underneath the sheer amount of data poured into creating them.
Meanwhile, the afterimage instead rose just above the one on the ground, which kept smashing his fist, time and time again, as more Gigaton Buildings fell at different points on Pride Castle. This one lifted his hand into the air, generating a massive sphere of coalesced energy above him, before condensing it down into the bead-sized point that the rest of Creamland was now all too familiar with. He launched that bead directly for the center of Pride Castle, pushing it through the front door so that it would erupt within the castle itself.
The Red Gaia Eraser screeched forward yet again.
As the Red Gaia Eraser screeched forward, Dread Joker raised both hands into the air and began condensing a massive amount of energy, corrupting the world around him and using the crimson nuclear generator within his core to produce the generational, platinum energy of Aeon, the hyper condensed jamming energy, a massive store of crimson power, and, finally, a wave of noise and bugs. Holding this massive payload of power, Dread Joker compressed the energy into a single point, and released it to feed into his crimson cloud.
The aura had absorbed a monumental amount of energy from the previous force Joker had released, granting Joker a store of power unlike anything he has ever had at his disposal before. The massive cloud of crimson surged around him and dangerously licked up any sense of a force that could stand against it, allowing Joker to sit safely within it. He raised his hand, stretching out his power across the massive Crimson Cloud to condense but a fraction of its power into the palm of his hand. Stretching his fist back, Dread Joker makes his stance, as though he were about to launch his signature Dread Satellite Laser, and instead sends the massive energy of the Crimson Cloud roiling towards the castle. Having eaten eight islands, and even striking through some of the main land of Creamland, Dread Joker possessed a massive storehouse of power. He accessed the power of the Crimson Satellite to infuse even more nuclear power within it, one wave of nuclear fury multiplying time and time again - and even another by moving it a second backwards in time to cause it to fly again - sending forth 6 waves of the power stored within his Crimson Cloud for Creamland's Castle to contend with; while lacking the finality that the Red Gaia Eraser possessed, each wave definitely had more raw power if the finality of the Red Gaia Eraser wasn't a problem.
Never one to assume anything of the place that a country kept its royalty, Dread Joker continued onward from there, raising up his hand as his afterimage down below kept up the work. Condensing crimson within his grasp, Dread Joker created a glossy platinum-black ax in his grip. Swinging the blade once, the blade ruptured into a million pieces and recreated itself at key points all across the castle, sending wild slashes and fractured pieces of crimson in every direction. While the axes were yet swinging, Dread Joker raised his other hand and reached out at space itself. Crushing the air within his palm, Dread Joker forced an intense pressure to begin closing in on the Castle from all sides, an oppressively powerful singularity attempting to force the castle to cave in on itself.
What followed was a series of all-out swings, Dread Joker simply floating up to the castle directly to swing at it, crushing his massive fist, coated in crimson, against every surface he could find within range, continuously warping through space to find a new point of access, trying again and again to find a new weak point, willing with each punch for the castle to just crumble against his might. At the end of his continuous assault, he stepped back from the carnage that he unleashed, held his hand forward, and twisted time around his wrist, dialing back the clock by mere seconds to force a little more agony out of every second just one more time.
All of what Creamland suffered would be like a single granule of sand in comparison to the force he would impose upon the castle.
As time began to correct itself, and Joker's afterimage melded back into his form, Dread Joker held up his hand and crumbled time within his fingers. Despite not having amassed enough force to do as he did last time once again, he could force the Network to process what was once again.
He pulled Pride Castle through time, while maintaining the damage, opening up a reality where the force of his attacks stormed forward again. The Red Gaia Eraser, and all attacks that followed, screeched towards the castle once again.
Dread Joker would have to continue wailing on the castle, it seemed, as it had yet to come crashing down. That was of no worry, of course; he held back his fist, charged it with an intense amount of crimson, and brought it crashing down in front of him, bending space to rip open holes in reality that would allow his most basic but arguably most productive assault to rain true again and again, as portal after portal in reality opened up to rain Gigaton Buildings from the sky on top of the Pride Castle, equalling the number he had already dropped onto it - more than fifty more Gigaton Buildings crashing down from on high, at full density, to smash time and time again back into the Pride Castle.
He could only hope that their weight would eventually overpower it. He just needed it to fall.
Channeling forth another wave of power, Dread Joker released another wave of crimson, from the core of his aura, spiraling towards the castle. As the intense wave of crimson smashed against its already crumbling structure, the dense waves picked the castle up, the ruins of what once was churning and spiraling within the unforgiving mass. Crushing the castle within its fury, he watched as the pride of Creamland, Pride Castle, and all inside of it, were eradicated, dissolved to the last pixel.
There was a moment of silence, a single second, that Dread Joker had to look at the empty space that once contained the Pride Castle, a brief instance to breath and consider the depths of his actions. In that moment, a few more gears were allowed to turn, that were previously too focused on the analytics of the damage output to the castle. He considered the Crimson Core, the power of the satellite that he had just empowered further, and considered just what he could've possibly allowed them to accomplish just now.
That was when he sensed it. The massive storage of power within the Crimson Satellite - what he already knew was present - suddenly churning and boiling over, overwhelming his senses as it threatened to reclaim him. Absorbing the Pride Castle was the last drop it needed, as he felt something awakening within the Satellite. It's power was incredible, its density immeasurable, and the information it had at its disposal - well, he was already far too intimate with it. This strange, primal, vicious intelligence knew of Joker's existence, as well, and knew of his connection to its systems. It was as though the Crimson Satellite were alive.
His mind raced for answers and options at his hand, and he immediately came up empty. None of his previous allies from New Life would answer to him, now, and he dared not to trust anyone from the Animus Syndicate, lest they take him and then deal with his satellite. Aeon was still mostly integrated within his own servers, although he was now wondering how the reality monger was feeling with whatever this incredible power within the Satellite was, likely hunting him down, too.
That was when he remembered.
He whispered the name, as he turned around from his plateau of destruction and annihilation to look up at Creamland's skies, where he could, even now, through the Galaxy Network, glance at the burning red star in the sky. He had locked the network so that Unity couldn't escape, so that he wouldn't feel responsible for what Joker had done, so that he wouldn't have to carry the burden that Joker didn't have the emotions to care about.
. . . No. No, it couldn't be, he thought, that . . . he grimaced, smashing a hole in the Network, and felt the presence from the other side before he even walked through it. His mind was racing faster than ever, and the analytics he had seen so many times before ran his possibilities of a previous query and once again told him that the odds were simply impossible.
They couldn't have had any way to threaten the satellite. In all his pride of his analytics, he would never have distrusted them before, but the dangers present were simply too high - it looked like that Reaverking was capable of draining his systems directly, like he had somehow connected to the satellite. But, no - he was draining his energy output. He could look back at those fight logs, even now, a reading he was too distracted from to notice. His energy input was never in fluctuation, but the task was to distract him from what he knew and force him to consider what if I'm wrong?
The stakes would've been too high. Had he called their bluff, and been wrong, he would've lost it all, but his analytics had proven that they had to have been wrong. He couldn't risk being wrong, though. They lead him around like a dog tied to his own chain, wrapped him around his own stake in the ground as he chased after a way out, and then just let his own machinations run his chain too short.
The only threat to this satellite would've been his imminent defeat after calling Deav's bluff - and his own desire to chase after an answer, which they have just used, alongside the Unity OS, to empower and then animate his Satellite's core.
Now, as he ran towards his answer, having found it too late, the collar holding the chain was going to become his noose.
[Dread Joker LC => A Place In Between, but Far Away]
Warrior didn't waste much time heading to Creamland after his encounter with the stranger from Sharo, but he could only travel across the Real-World continents so quickly. As he Pulsed-In to the eastern networks once again, the wanton destruction spoke for itself: he was too late.
" Damn it... "
Surely he could have gotten here sooner. His mind backtracked to every moment of hesitation along the way, calculating the time he could have saved if he had skipped some considerations and just come straight here.
There were no signs of any resistance... could they have just been wiped out that completely? Surely someone at all must have stood against whatever force was brought down upon this place -- or perhaps the lost cause was accepted and it was simply evacuated instead.
Standing amidst a deleted network was not unfamiliar to him, but enough remnants of the network were still intact that it was able to hold together -- the castle itself was a different story, as it seemed to be the focal point of the attack.
His only option left now was to search for survivors to find out what happened; even the Network News hadn't covered this yet, which made it all the more unnerving.
Last Edit: Jul 27, 2020 11:47:09 GMT -8 by Warrior
As Warrior began to look around, it happened again. It was as if something flickered in his eyes as he was searching about the network. And then from nowhere he was able to witness a crimson wave rip across the foundations of the land. A wave of absolutely oppressive power that tore into the landscape, decimating Creamland as it proceeded to spread far and wide surely. The origin point was unclear at the time given the sudden attack, but it was clear enough that another was here still, likely intent on cleaning up the remnants of what remained.
Warrior covered his face at the sudden attack, lucky enough not to be in the line of fire himself as it tore through the area. He couldn't determine which direction it had come from, so called out to the unseen attacker to address them.
" Won't be many places left to hide after a few more of those. Why not come out now and talk? "
He wasn't certain whether they were hiding or not at all, or if they just weren't aware of him being here, but in either case, the ball was in their court now, as his own hand was an empty one in this draw.
Last Edit: Jul 27, 2020 13:03:02 GMT -8 by Warrior
Warrior would not only find the strange presence, still attacking Creamland, but would also find a blocky, disjointed hole in the space of the net. It stretched on the air around it dangerously, as if threatening to suck everything in. From the other side, a daunting and oppressive presence was felt.
[Story Access to the Crimson Satellite is available from here.]
"The primary objective here has already been accomplished. The piece fulfilled his duty."
A distortion appeared for a moment, as something appeared in its place shortly after, the distortion ending. Similar to the somewhat humanoid Reaverbots, save one of his arms was larger than the other and also possessed the Reaver's Eye there as well. It was a red in color save for that arm, which took on a blue sheen instead. But the presence this one possessed was positively different from the others he had seen. It was if he was crackling with force that was built up over time. Had it been here this entire time, with this force at the ready?
"But I took it upon myself to clean the rest of this up. No one will miss it, after all."
Warrior turned to acknowledge the second figure that arrived, taking note of its appearance and particularly the Reaver's Eye on its arm.
The haze seemed to only occur in the presence of Reaverbots, he noticed. It wasn't a certainty yet, but it was becoming a pattern.
He kept the crimson portal on his mind, but had to delay further investigation on it for now.
" No one that's left, you mean. "
It wasn't hard to claim nobody cared about a place when the ones that did all went down fighting for it. Warrior didn't see the entire scene though, he only had his assumptions to go off of.
" Who was here before you? And what is this agenda? "
It was clear by the Reaverbot's words that somebody else -- "the piece" -- had done this. It was too late to change now, but knowing the motives may have at least helped him to understand what was going on, since Zaven didn't paint the clearest picture for him back in Sharo, rather he ambiguously led him to the trail.
There wasn't an aggression in his voice, but there was a sternness. He had been looking for certain answers for a while now and had still come up mostly empty; now was his chance to change that.
Last Edit: Jul 27, 2020 14:11:35 GMT -8 by Warrior
It would be recalled as a tragedy for but a time. But this world had long since become numb to its own pain. Destruction would be forgotten practically weeks after it occurred. It would take effort before that changed in the minds of the masses. And for the few that understood all too well what it meant, they would be the ones likely forgotten as well, a part of that which was destroyed. History wouldn't even live to serve as a reminder or if it did, it would serve as the reminder that history would repeat itself. But he wasn't about all of this either right now. And it was clear why the pressure around him felt so intense, as energy seemed to be welling within the blade arm now. It was a well of strength that was built up and waiting to be released.
"Who was here before was an individual referred to as Joker. Due to his unique nature, the agenda this time was awakening a sleeping beast that you would regard as a 'Titan'. The final touches were finished just now. As a parting service for him, I was applying the finishing touches to what was started. It's what he would have wanted if he could see this through further."
He wasn't so merciful after all. Like the time he reduced a restored city back to rubble after the conclusion of a battle. The graves he left behind were always in totality. It was only fair that, for the Dread Joker's own, that the same was returned in kind.