Chapter Eight: The Perfect Ending

The Sixth Dimension morphed into a new shape, the old evils of it destroyed and reshaped. The Carnival burst into flame and was razed to the ground, and in the House of Illusion a thousand mirrors shattered. A harsh cyclone seized the Ghost Town and tore it to pieces. Lightning seared the grounds of the Circus, and the mountain was split by an earthquake before crumbling into pieces as thunder clashed. Old landmarks were swallowed up by the ground as a new world was built on the remains.

Elspeth thought she saw the shadow of her other self, screaming and dissolving in a thousand silvered reflections, and turned away to see another face, a woman named Elysia, torn apart and disappearing into the datastream.

My loyal maid, perhaps the closest I ever had to a friend, she thought. I've betrayed her and all others I once knew.

- -

The three of them stood in the centre of a grassy knoll, the remnants of the Sixth Dimension, the only ones who had not been destroyed by the world's remaking. The sky was blue and clear, and in the distance there were birds singing.

"It's over," Ace said. "We've defeated evil once and for all."

The Amulet shimmered, and disappeared in a flurry of dancing motes of light.

He turned to Elspeth. "Er, thanks for your help," he said.

Sparx looked at Elspeth with open shock. "Since when do you help us?" she said incredulously.

Elspeth stared. "Since…for a while. Ace told you nothing?"

"What was there to tell?" Ace said, blankly. "You helped us now, and we won't send you to prison, but I don't remember anything else…"

She looked equally surprised. "I…once thought you cared for me," she said. "Have you forgotten everything?"

Sparx stepped towards Ace, and placed a possessive arm around him. He made no move to dislodge her, and relaxed into her embrace.

"I don't remember you," he said.

So, it was only two programs I broke, she thought.

"If I have made any promises—"

"You haven't," she said. "I understand." She turned, and walked away.

Love cannot be forced.

- -

Mark and Chuck stood alone in the Thunder Tower. On the floor was a newspaper carrying the headline, "Science Teacher Claims Brutal Murder Work Of Aliens."

"This should work," Chuck said, gesturing to the arrangement of computers. "I modified Rick's program and loaded it into your glove. All we need to do is lure Kilobyte here and it's done. He'll be in prison in the Sixth Dimension, and our world will be saved."

Mark picked up the glove, and put it on.

- -

It didn't take the three humans—Mark, Chuck, and Kat—long to find Kilobyte at the carnival. He was standing relaxed behind the Haunted House, gazing at the Ferris Wheel meditatively, when the humans approached.

"For a human, you've proved quite formidable," Kilobyte said to Mark. "Come to finally destroy me? I have destroyed my creator, and that is all I truly needed to do."

"Yeah, we know," said Mark.

"I saw the body, they even questioned me." Chuck sounded scared. "That was…inhuman."

"I'm not human," Kilobyte said. He sounded amused. "Well? Do your worst."

Mark lifted his hand, and fired.

- -

"Nice work, kid," said Ace, Sparx standing beside him. "We have him in prison in the Sixth Dimension, where he won't harm your world again."

Mark nodded.

"Sounds good. Are you sure you still don't know who I am?"

Ace's brow furrowed in thought.

"Matt? Garth?"

Mark sighed. "Never mind."

"Better close down the communication," Sparx said. "Now everything's over we have two separate worlds and our own business to get back to."

She whispered something in Ace's ear, and he blushed.

"So long, kid. Do right and fear not."

The picture faded and was gone.

The three children stood in silence for a minute.

"Well, that's over," said Chuck. "So, who's up for some ice cream?"

They walked into the sunlight, leaving the Thunder Tower deserted behind them.

- -

There were two of us, standing under bright sunlight and glistening sky.

"It's over, Ace," I said. "And this time it's true."

"That kid said he knew me," Ace said thoughtfully. "And I don't know what happened with Lady Illusion."

"I don't think I remember either."

I don't think I want to. There's only him. That's all that's ever really mattered, to me.

"We've finished saving our world. What happens next?" He smiled at me, and I knew that this was the first time we'd had the chance to find happiness without the battles and evils.

The sun's light behind his head made it look like he had a halo. Angel, air and fire…

"There's just us, now we've saved our world." I leaned forward, and reached up to kiss him. "Us, and a whole new dimension to live in."

"This, I can get used to," he said, returning the embrace.

Green trees, flowers in bloom, bright sunlight, even a rainbow in the corner of my eye, the person I love. Paradise going on forever, nothing but the finished program and him

- -

I was surrounded by mirrors, the glittering surfaces reflecting my face in an infinity of worlds, and I smiled and laughed. I was completely myself again, Lady Illusion, untouched by emotions or the pain of choice, and I knew exactly what I had to do. I was evil yet pure, knowing nothing of the burden of decision or morality, and cold and clean and wholly confident

This is what it used to feel like, a voice in my head might have told me. Did you ever want to go back to this? Did you ever wish you had died instead of the other?

The mirrors shattered then, a thousand sharply glittering fragments whirling around me, cutting into my flesh, red blood staining green skin.

There was loud, horrible shrieking, and I relived the moment of the destruction of the old Sixth Dimension, saw once again the deaths of all those I'd ever known.

They may not have been people, shells of programs with little individuality or choice, but they were mine, and I'd betrayed them.

I woke, screaming and alone.

- -

She came to see me, once, and paused in front of my cell.

I noticed she'd made an effort to change her appearance as much as possible, wearing her hair drawn back into a strict dark bun. A long coat covered her from neck to foot, and underneath that she wore dark human-style clothing.

I stood up, and walked to the energy field separating us.

"Why the visit? Trouble in Paradise?"

She rested a hand on the energy field, leaning towards me. I placed a hand opposite hers, our palms divided by the width of the shimmering barrier.

"You remember, don't you? Everything that's happened since you came to the mortal world. Probably better than I do. I came to see you because you're the only sane one left. Unless it's me who's insane."

"I don't remember everything," I said, "but I do remember the look in Lightning's eyes when he realised you were under my control."

She nodded.

"He doesn't remember me. He cares for Sparx." The last word was almost a curse.

I shrugged. "Programming."

"I came to tell you that I'm not going to stay here any more. It's like an…extended honeymoon. They're together, all the time, and it's frankly nauseating. Trees and flowers in bloom and sunsets and rainbows and…the works."

"I understand," I said. "Rescue me and we'll conquer the world together and get our revenge."

"I don't think so," she said, thoughtfully. "I don't think I can forgive you for controlling me. And you don't understand. You've never been…emotional."

"All part of being an Evil Overlord. And I fought for you as much as for everyone else. We were human slaves, you more than any of us, bound to a skeleton, and I was fighting to stop that."

"So you bound me to yourself instead," she said.

"Yes. It was a practical enough solution, and I spared your life. So, were the emotions and the treachery worth it in the end for you?"

"Yes. Even after all the pain, I would not want to become her. At least I'm free."

We both knew whom she was referring to.

"I'm not free," I said. "But we've already covered that."

"I just wanted to tell you that I'm leaving. I'll return to the mortal world, I can pass as human. Build myself some sort of life in the real world, stop threatening children. Wish me luck."

"I don't think I can forgive you for leaving me here," I said.

She smiled at that, the only time I'd ever seen her genuinely smile, and turned to leave.

I watched as her slender form was swallowed up by the harsh angles of the prison, and stood there for a long time after she'd disappeared.

A/N: Any and all reviews will be very much appreciated. I would especially appreciate feedback regarding my characterisation and romances. This is the last chapter and your last chance to review; please, click the blue button to the bottom left of your screen.