Part 100: Game Over and Broken Trust
"Why did it have to be chess pieces?" Pluto groaned as he stabbed one of his lances into one before smashing apart another one with his other lance.
"Well, you were never really good at it, if memory serves," Shadowcobra retorted as he summoned up a dozen large shadow hands that grabbed and crushed a dozen living chess pieces!
"We're wasting time here!" Draco growled, "The Gamemasters could already have gotten away!" he blew up a large Knight and Rook with his fireballs
"Enough of this!" Copycat snarled and drew her Contract Card. The other Knights got her idea and drew ALL their Contract Cards as well.
Copycat started, "Add Vent-Summoning Techno Panther!"
Draco was at a close second, "Add Vent- Summoning Brainstorm, Hardhead, Wildcat, Overbite, Razorclaw and Dragonzer!"
Pluto was at third, "Add Vent-Summoning Darkwing and Cerberus!"
Shadowcobra was last, "Add Vent-Summoning Genosnaker, Metalceros and Stingdiver!"
All their monsters were summoned and ready for battle.
"ATTACK!" The 4 Zodiac Knights commanded in unison.
The Titans were getting more worried than ever. Draco and the other Knights hadn't woken up. The good news was, they were still alive.
"What is taking them?" Robin crossed his arms impatiently. Mad Mod had been taken to the proper authorities, kicking and screaming.
"Please, Robin," Starfire placed her hand on his shoulder, "Have patience."
Robin sighed, "I guess you're right, Star."
Jinx was still silently praying for Draco to wake up, and not just her, so was Raven.
"Wake up, baby, please," Jinx pleaded. She then noticed Draco's fingers moving and she called out, "Guys! I think they're waking up!"
The Titans watched as the Knights began to stir awake. Draco's eyes began to slowly open up, followed by Pluto, Shadowcobra and Copycat.
"There's the door!" Pluto shouted. They had all successfully defeated the living chess pieces.
"Then let's go!" Draco shouted, leading the way.
They all ran towards the door and were suddenly being rained upon by exploding dice.
"Ack!" Copycat blanched, "Exploding dice?"
After the dice, they had to get past three large spinning tops equipped with sharp spikes and blades. After THAT ordeal, they were finally at the door. Pluto pulled it open and gulped as he stared at the spiraling portal. "Uh…who's first?"
Shadowcobra grew impatient, so he shoved and pushed them all into the door.
Draco's eyes snapped open and he let out a gasp, "Man!" he pulled off the VR helmet and jumped off the chair. "What a ride!"
Pluto groaned after taking off his VR helmet, "I think I'm gonna be sick…"
Shadocobra rolled his eyes.
"DRACO! You're back!" Jinx immediately glomped him.
"Hey Jinx!" Draco grinned.
"Plutes!" Cyborg pulled the dog Knight into a bear hug.
"Good to see you too, Cy."
Shadowcobra could feel the animosity directed towards him and pulled up his collar. How could he face any of them, especially Raven and Starfire, now? Speaking of Starfire…
"Shadow!" she immediately hugged him. Shadow didn't know how to react to this. "You are free from that Virtual Reality Game!"
"Guys?" Draco looked around, "Where's Copycat?" All the Titans looked around as well. The Cat Knight, Copycat, had disappeared. Draco sighed, "And I was just about to thank her too."
"Draco?" Jinx pointed to his back, "What is that on your back?"
Huh?" Draco reached behind him and pulled off a note. "Hey, Copycat wrote this!" he began reading it and then sweatdropped, "Uh oh."
"What does it say?" Robin asked.
Draco read it out loud, "If you are reading this, I am already long gone. However, this does not change a thing between us, Draco. This whole shop will be blown to kingdom come in about a minute after you are done reading this note. Have a nice day. Love: Copycat," he gulped.
All the Titans immediately got the message and immediately screamed. Robin commanded, "TITANS! LET'S GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!"
"Now?" ARMS asked hopefully with Copycat standing next to him. She checked her watch.
"Now," she nodded. The Taurus Knight grinned and drew a card before sliding it into his sub-machine gun.
"Final Vent! END OF THE WORLD!!!" Gigataurus had all its weapons aimed right at the Black Clown.
"So long, Titans," Copycat grinned.
"Allow us," Both Shadow and Raven spoke in unison as they engulfed the Titans in a black dome before subsequently teleporting out
They teleported, just about 50 feet away from the game shop as they watched it blow up under a hail of missiles, lasers and gun fire.
"Phew!" Draco rubbed his forehead of sweat, "That was close!"
Copycat snapped her fingers, "Drat!"
The Gamemasters watched as their shop was reduced to nothing but a large bonfire.
The ordeal was over, but sadly, there were still things left undone and unsaid.
"Shadow!" Robin yelled at Shadowcobra, "What he Hell was that about!?" Robin was in fact talking about how Shadowcobra tried to kill Pluto and Draco. He knew it had not been a ruse, at least not at first and now demanded an explanation from the Snake Knight.
Shadowcobra turned and glared at Robin, "All Knights are enemies. It was only a matter of time until I fought Pluto and Draco again. It is our destiny. That was all that happened, nothing more, nothing less." He then turned away, "Besides, I was looking at the larger picture. It was either the lives of the many or the lives of the few. I had to make a choice." He added with a hiss, "Sometimes the lives of the few have to be sacrificed to save the many!"
"If you're willing to sacrifice your own closest friends, how do we know if we can even trust you?" Raven asked Shadowcobra, "How do I even know if I can trust you?"
Shadowcobra turned his head slightly and answered, "You don't. And because of that, I will leave." At his words, everyone gasped. "What is the point of me staying if I can no longer be trusted?"
"Shadow…please, I beg you," Starfire pleaded. "Do not leave."
Shadowcobra shook his head, "I'm…I'm sorry, Starfire." He then walked back to his Knightrider before racing out into the night.
Pluto placed a hand on Starfire's shoulder. The younger Tamaranian princess turned her head to face him. He spoke, "Just let him be. He needs time to think."
Starfire sniffled, "Thank you."
"Are you gonna be okay, Raven?' Draco asked.
"I don't know," Raven said flatly, pulling up her hood. Sacrifice the few to save the many? Was Shadow willing to live by that philosophy? Raven knew of her own destiny and if killing her could save the world, would Shadowcobra be willing to…take her life to do so?
The Titans had seen what Shadowcobra was about to do. He was willing to sacrifice Draco and Pluto to save them. His intentions were noble but his actions were wrong, and actions spoke louder than words. They had seen the real him.
Shadowcobra raced through the streets of Jump City. Astra had gone into his mind and extracted a piece of his memories to use against him. It was when he first made contact with Yoshido.
"Ten lives in one hand and one life in one hand, which would you sacrifice?" Yoshido's question echoed through his mind over and over again. The meaning was clear: Sacrifice the few to save the many.
The Knights were never meant to co-exist nor were they meant to work together or be friends. All Knights were enemies and he was one of them. He had intended to become the last remaining Knight, even if it meant killing off both Draco and Pluto.
However, after the ordeal in the VR world, the Titans questioned his loyalty and trustworthiness. His only answer was, "Don't trust me." And he asked himself, "Was it truly worth it?"
He parked near the edge of a cliff that overlooked the city. He exited his vehicle and de-transformed before sitting down on the edge. "They would never trust me now," he sighed. Sure he was fighting for them, but he was willing to kill his own friends to do it. He hated to admit, but Draco and Pluto grew on him.
And that was why they must die.
Yoshido's voice kept echoing in his mind. He hated the man more than anything.
"Shadow?" asked a female voice. Shadowcobra immediately recognized it.
"Terra, what are you doing here?" Shadowcobra asked, without turning around.
"I just came to talk," she told him.
"Save it. I have nothing to say to anyone nor does anyone have anything to say to me," he told her, "Just leave me alone."
"I don't think so," she said firmly, running a hand through her long blonde hair. "Just hear me out, okay?"
"Go ahead," he answered, "I'm not going anywhere anytime soon."
"What you did…" she stammered, "What you did was wrong…even if you thought you were doing it for the right reasons."
"I think Robin already established that," he answered abruptly. "What's your point?"
"I've done the same thing too, once, a long time ago," she told him, a hint of sadness in her voice. This caused Shadowcobra to turn and look at her curiously.
"You Terra? You…betrayed the Titans?" he asked.
"Yes," Terra nodded, "Remember when Slade made me his apprentice? I wasn't forced into it…I volunteered."
"Why?" he asked.
"Slade tricked me. He made me think the Titans would betray me and turn their back on me once they found out I had no control over my powers. He offered to help me gain control. I didn't want to believe him, but I fell for it!" Terra cried.
Shadowcobra stood shocked at her confession. Her story…her story was very similar to his. "Go on," he urged.
"I betrayed the Titans. The worst part was that I betrayed Beast Boy, whom I loved, the most! The way he looked at me…" she shuddered. She felt a pair of strong hands on her shoulders and looked up to see Shadowcobra frowning sadly. She continued, "Anyway, I fought against them and then I realized that Slade had been using me. I thought back to how the Titans treated me when I was a Titan. I knew what I had to do. So, I fought Slade and threw him into the lava. But, my powers caused the volcano to erupt. I knew I had to do something or the city would be destroyed. So, I sacrificed myself and got turned to stone."
"Wait a minute," Shadowcobra stopped her, "You were turned to stone? Then how did you get free?" he asked.
"I don't know. I just woke up in front of Titans Tower one day," she answered him. She paused, "My point is that no matter what wrong you have done in life, there is still time to seek redemption."
Shadowcobra took this into thought. Redemption? Was that possible, even for him? "Thank you, Terra."
"Hey!" Terra punched him lightly on the arm, "What are friends for?"
"I'll come back later, then, I need time to think. And thank you, again, my friend."
She beamed at him.
"Do you two mind if I take it from here?" Raven said as she appeared by using her soul self.
"Be my guess," Terra said to her. "He's all yours." Terra then flew away on top of a boulder.
"Raven…" he began to say.
"What were you thinking?" she demanded. "Why would you do something like that?"
"You mean almost kill Draco and Pluto?"
"Well I'm not talking about anything else here!"
"The reason I did so was because…because I didn't have a choice," he answered her.
"There's always a choice," she told him.
"Is there?" he turned away.
"I don't think I even know you anymore," Raven took a step forward. "I mean, you're keeping secrets from us…from me."
"Everyone has secrets," he clarified for her, still not turning around.
"Look, I know why you became a Knight. I also know how. I also know that you remember all the bad stuff your father did in his past," she paused, "But I think there's something else you're keeping from me." He remained silent. "I can sense things. No matter how hard you try, our psychic link lets me sense secrets even if they're hidden in a safe in your own mind." He still didn't say a thing. "Just…just what is it you won't tell me?"
Shadowcobra turned, slowly, and locked eyes with her. "Raven…Raven I know…"
Raven wondered and asked, "About what?" but she dreaded the answer.
He took in a deep breath and answered, "About the Prophecy."
"I can't believe you're still mad at him!" Draco shouted.
"I can't believe you're not!" Jinx shouted back.
They were both back in Titans Tower and in Draco's room having a heated discussion. Actually, it was more like an argument. They were sitting on his bed.
"Well, why should I be mad?" he asked, crossing his arms.
"Can I first remind you that he tried to kill you?" Jinx clarified.
"So?" he shrugged.
"So? SO!?" Jinx shrieked. "He tried to kill you and you're not mad and all you can say is SO!?"
"Well…it's not like it was the first time it ever happened."
"Huh?" Jinx blinked.
"Well…" Draco began, "You see, Shadow, Pluto and I were once enemies. We tried to kill each other before."
"We all had our own goals at the time and all we could think about was doing all we could to reach them, including fighting each other and any other Knight to the end," he explained. "It was, like Shadow said, our destiny."
"So…how did you become friends in the first place?"
"It was a little accidental, so to speak," he told her sheepishly.
"Go on," she urged.
"Well…there was this huge monster invasion in school and we were the only Zodiac Knights present at that time. Long story short, we worked together and pretty soon, started an alliance," he summarized.
"Just like that?" Jinx asked skeptically.
Draco snapped his fingers, "Just like that."
"Well…that still doesn't excuse the guy for trying to kill you, baby," Jinx crawled closer to him.
"Believe me, that guy had his reasons. If I was in his position, I would've done the same thing," Draco smiled sadly.
"No you wouldn't," Jinx tried to laugh it off.
"I'm serious, Jinxy-chan," Draco ran his hand through his hair. "If Shadow hadn't started first, I would've been the first to draw my sword and fight…for you."
Jinx was taken back by this. "You mean that?" he nodded.
"I would've been willing to kill for you…you mean all so much to me, Jinxy-chan," he told her.
Jinx didn't know what to say, and then she saw tears falling from his emerald eyes, "Baby?"
"When I saw you trapped like that…" he wiped his tears away with his sleeve, "I was so scared that I'd lose you. When the Gamemasters said those things that we had to do to save you guys…I was almost thinking about it; killing Pluto and Shadow to save all of you. I was so confused." He placed his face in the palm of his hands. "What was I thinking?"
"You wanted to protect people," Jinx replied and he looked up at her. She embraced him and he rested his head on her shoulder. He gave out a soft purr as she ran her hands through his hair and then up and down his back. "Your mom told me about why you became a Knight in the first place." Draco listened as she continued, "You wanted to protect people, right?" he slowly nodded.
"Pluto and Shadow thought that was too idealistic," Draco told her, enjoying her comfort.
"Well…they're right, in a way." She kissed his neck and he shuddered at the sensation, "Sometimes you have to make sacrifices…I guess."
"I rather not sacrifice anyone at all…" he answered softly.
Jinx slowly pushed him onto the bed and laid herself on top of him. She planted her lips on his and they began to kiss passionately. His hands began roaming up and down her back.
"Guys! I'm okay! Invulnerable, remember?" Pluto attempted to convince his friends.
"No way! We're gonna check you top to bottom, Plutes!" Cyborg insisted.
"That's right!" Beast Boy chimed in.
Pluto sighed as he was being wired to a heart monitor and brain scan monitor. Cyborg and Beast Boy were checking him over. Actually, Cyborg was doing most of the checking while Beast Boy was there to lend some moral support.
"I said I was fine!" Pluto pulled off the wires while BB and Cy protested, "Look, you guys, I appreciate the concern, but don't you think you're over doing it a little?" Both BB and Cy shook their heads. Pluto rolled his eyes and grabbed the top part of his suit. "Anyway…there is no permanent damage guys." He convinced them. "Okay?"
"Okay dude," Beast Boy said hesitantly.
"Whatever you say, dawg," Cyborg was still a little unconvinced.
"Just, how can you not be mad at Shadow for trying…" Beast Bot paused.
"For what? Trying to kill me?" Pluto gave them a small chuckle. "Guys, look, I'm IMMORTAL, okay? He couldn't kill me even if he tried, and he has tried so many times."
"How many?" Cyborg asked.
"156, give or take," Pluto answered casually.
"And you're not MAD?" Beast Boy questioned.
"Seriously guys, it's no big deal," Pluto told them as he zipped up his suit and pulled on his gloves. "I got used to it and over it."
"But he really wanted to kill you, remember?" Cyborg reminded him.
"And I wanted to kill him too," he stared at them, "You didn't have a problem with forgiving me either."
"Well…" Beast Boy was at a loss for words.
"You were defending yourself!" Cyborg pointed out.
"Still would've ended with any two of us dead," Pluto added, "If Copycat hadn't come earlier, I would've killed Shadow and moved on to Draco. Or maybe, Draco would've killed me when he lost his temper. It could've gone any way, even all three of us dying at once!"
Cyborg and Beast Boy were stunned to silence.
"My point is, get over it," Pluto sighed, "What Shadow did was because he wanted to save all of you guys. Think about that," he pulled on his cape and placed his mask over his eyes. "I have to go see someone." And with that, Pluto left the infirmary.
"I guess, he does have a point," Beast Boy said to Cyborg.
"Well…yeah. Robin did the same thing and we didn't have any trouble forgiving him either," Cyborg replied.
"And don't forget Terra either," Beast Boy reminded.
"True…" Cyborg sighed, "I guess we owe the Snake an apology, huh?"
"You first, dude."
"No way, you first."
Raven gasped, "You…you know?"
"How?" Raven demanded, shuddering as she knew the answer to that question.
"Slade." She was right.
"About the time you all went to space on that one mission," he clarified, "Slade challenged us to a little 'game', just to lure me out," he ran his hand through his hair, "He wanted to recruit me."
Raven was silent and looked down to the ground. "What did you do when Slade told you all that?" she asked.
"I don't know," he turned around from her guiltily. "I don't even know what to think!" he whirled around to face her, "Is it…is it true? The Prophecy?"
She didn't answer verbally but gave him a nod instead.
"So, it is true…" he whispered.
"When you said sacrifice the few to save the many, were you actually serious?" she asked.
"Yes," he answered before he could stop himself.
"So…if killing me could stop Trigon and the Apocalypse from coming, would you do it?"
Shadowcobra's eyes widened in shock. How could she ask this of him, "I…I…" he sighed and shook his head, "I don't know." He continued, "I used to believe in that philosophy, but I did learn something important from Draco." Raven looked up to listen to his answer, "The needs of the many do not outweigh the needs of the few and that all life is precious to be saved and protected."
"But the Prophecy…"
He interrupted her, "Prophecy is just a big fancy word for promise and promises were made to be broken." He smirked. Raven was surprised at this change of attitude. He then approached her and wrapped his arms and cloak around her, "I know we can stop it, I know."
"But what if…" Raven began as she buried herself in his chest, "What if we can't and I bring Trigon here?"
"Then we take him down," he said simply, brushing his lips against the gem on her forehead, causing her to blush, "I will not let him nor Slade take you away from me!" he swore.
Raven looked up and took hold of Shadow's face before bringing it down to her. She planted her lips firmly on his as they shared a kiss.
"So, are you going to come back?" Raven asked after they broke from their kiss.
"What about the others? They'll never trust me now," he told her.
"There will be a vote, but I don't see why not," Raven shrugged, "You did save our lives."
Pluto was in front of Starfire's door. He took in a deep breath before bringing up his fist to knock. However, before he could, the door slid open to reveal Blackfire in all her beauty. She just looked at him and blushed, so did he.
"Uh…hi, Blackfire," Pluto greeted nervously, silently thanking the mask he was wearing to conceal the blush on his face.
"Hello to you too…" she replied, "Pluto, right?"
Pluto placed his hands to his hips, "The one and only." He then asked, "Is Starfire in there with you?"
"No. you wanted to see her?" the dark haired Tamaranian asked.
"Not really. I actually came to see you," he told her, causing Blackfire to bring up her hands to cover her rosy cheeks.
"Why?" she asked, stammering a bit. What is wrong with me? She thought, I barely even know this guy and I'm already blushing like an Earth schoolgirl. But I gotta admit he is kinda cute.
"Well…" Takada began playing with his fingers, "I was wondering if you were, I don't know, interested in going out tomorrow night?"
Blackfire blinked. Was he asking her out? She just had to make sure. "With the other Titans?" she asked.
Pluto waved his hands, "No. I mean just you and me…"
"Is this a date?" she asked, hoping he said yes.
"Yeah, I guess…" he answered. "We can go to a fast food joint to eat, or catch a movie or…"
"Huh?" Pluto stared at her and blinked, "What was that?"
"Yes!" she repeated, smiling, "I'd love to!"
"Great!" he perked up, "So, I'll pick you up, right?" Blackfire giggled and then Pluto slapped himself mentally, "Well, duh! You'll be staying here in the Tower!"
Blackfire smiled before planting a kiss to his cheek. Pluto went a dark shade of red, completely contrasting to the blue uniform he was wearing. She then retreated into the room before the door slid close.
Pluto was frozen outside the door before his face broke out in a stupid grin and he shouted out, "YEAH!" before going into an absurd looking victory dance, "Go Pluto! Go Pluto! It's your birthday! It's your birthday!" he then ran to the stairs then up the stairs to the Tower roof before letting out a loud howl to the moon, "AROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"
"SHUT UP PLUTO!" Draco shouted at him through his communicator
The End…for now…
ZK Chromedragozoid: Well, that's the end of the Gamemaster Saga and the conclusion of Zodiac Knight Draco: Zodiac Titans. Tune in soon again when the Zodiac Knights go back to Japan, go on a camping trip, meet the JLU and go to Jump City High next time on Zodiac Knight Draco.