The week's final battle is upon…you.
From ngrey651: You know, you really have to admire the Reaper's persistence. They've lost, what, ten times now to our heroes and yet somehow STILL think the same tactics can beat the same people? They're like Shibuya's Team Rocket. Only playing God.
From me: Eh, I don't think they're comparable to Team Rocket. If you looked for a good example, that'd be Tron Bonne back in the Legends arc.
From BOB JOHNSON: I forgot how much I enjoy Joshua in any medium. He's pretty great. Well, his performance was kind of stilted in Kingdom Hearts 3D, but that's beside the point.
I enjoyed this chapter because it was the "OH WOW JOSHUA IS SO AMAZING" Power Hour most of the time and I do like myself some Joshua, but I took a bit of issue with Chris's random monologue in the middle of Day 6. Besides the ellipses making him sound like William Shatner, it seems kind of insensitive of him to just butt into Neku's big moment to talk about himself and his own trials in interpersonal communication, especially with the different degrees of the issue here- of course you post the reviews in the chapter proper, so spoiling Neku's personal issues with regards to causing anti-sociability would be rude of me, but Chris's stated reason for not wanting to hang out with friends is a sweeping generalization about other people that really does not even make any sense considering that by his own standards he's rather one-dimensional, not to mention that the kid's been living with his dream kung-fu metal dog dad brother for ages now, which sort of precludes any pretenses of a "life of solitude." It's right there in the word, kid, you've got to be one guy to have solitude. It's just, like, kid, I know you love to complain about things, but time and place. Time and place.
(Also, what do you think are the odds that Fred was the one who made those mousepads of Chrom's butt? To raise troop morale for the lucky few, of course.)
From me: You're absolutely right. Inserting Chris into that conversation feel very unneeded to me while I wrote it, so that's why I reworked that to have Ike make an impact without forcefully comparing himself to Joshua. I could've put Soren there, but he's more of an anti-social jerk than Joshua is.
A chance of Frederick knowing about mousepads is still a mystery to me…
From NowhereStarr14: 'Tis almost the end of the, TWEWY arc, hopefully everything goes and wraps-up well, but, I'm expecting something to happen, like a twist, or, basically something big, holding off till the end. I shall wait and see. And just a note, if, for whatever reason, the next chapter isn't the end of TWEWY, I won't do a review. I wanna' hold off till the end, so I can just do one big review, talking about the arc as a whole, and how I feel about the game, in general.
So, yeah, uhhh, the chapter was good.
Yeah, sorry, I really don't have much to say, that's why I wanna' wait till the end. Actually, I've got one thing to say; it's about Joshua.
So, from what I remembered from the last chapter, Josh ended up bein' a pretty scary customer, 'cause he killed Neku, for an unknown reason. Then, as I read this chapter, I realized he's not as scary as I thought he was. He's just, an immature, four-year old. All he does is tease people. That's kindergarten shit, I don't even know why the group freaks out about it, and basically says, 'Stop teasing us, Josh!' C'mon, you're all adults. Just, don't even go down to his level of immaturity. Yeah, I know he killed Neku, but, still, it's just simple teasing.
From me: What makes you say there'll be a twist in the end of this chapter?
Yes, the group doesn't like his teasing too much because they're in a very tight situation of life and death, right in-between those two. If they were alive, they wouldn't mind the teasing that much. Also, technically, only Fox is the one true adult of the group, but he's very affected by others too easily… Thanks for the review. :)
From Bob: Thank gods your still writing. I mean seriously you were away for a month. But nice work anyway. I've been thinking about the clothes theat the smashers ever since Shiki went crazy for buttons. Do the smashers ever wear different clothes. Or they just wear the same thing and look boring. Also does chris ever wear normal humane clothes. I'm going a bit off topic a bit so it's a great chapter and I can't wait to see/read what happens when the emotional and 'heroic part" happens. Anyway see ya later Cool beans.
P.S I'm hoping to see more 'insert name here' meets the smashers. When Henry meets Lucario is like Critical Hit on Gangrel for revenge.
I know this is a stupid idea, but since the Smashers are trapped in the subspace maybe the new charecters from super smash bros wii u/3ds can come and recuse them. See ya
From me: They wear the same clothes all the time. It's rumored they have a horrible lack of fashion of statement, something Neku also doesn't enforce.
Yup, that's a stupid idea. It'd look very forced and random at this point in time. Don't worry. I won't use that here. See you.
Also, do NOT "review" to inform you of a little mistake. This is why people should have accounts when reviewing this thing…
From I hate math: There's almost 3 500 000 words now when this review was written.
If it took 1 minute to read 1 000 words, it would take two days and a half to read this fic, nonstop.
3 500 000 / 1 000 3 500 minutes
3 500 / 60 58 hours
58 / 24 2,5 days
Please correct me if I'm wrong.
HOW ARE YOU NOT DONE YET?!
From me: Because you hate math, I won't correct you. You're probably right.
Why am I not done yet? BECAUSE THIS FIC WILL DIE WHEN I DIE!
…Honestly speaking, it's because I love everything that is Nintendo, so I want to rule over everything by making the mother of all crossovers out there. This will probably get done once I get married or something…yeah.
Before I get to talk about the chapter, let me talk about the current internet events. So now we have a new Smash game upon us with three revealed characters to boot. So NOW people reading this story will wonder if we're going to see the new reps. Well, let me be honest… Since this story is forwarding some of the new games so that the gaming universe isn't affected closely by the real world's events, there is a good chance that these new characters will someday join the team. BUT! While I do know enough about all of them to make them worthwhile characters…I don't even know how the hell I'm going to make something serious out of…the Wii Fit Trainer, for example… So yeah, time will tell how I'm getting that sorted out.
SO FOCUS ON THE CURRENT EVENTS FOR NOW, 'k?
Here it comes, the week's end and the Smashers' eventual return to their homes. Will they be able to make it with the murderous Joshua in tow? You'll find out soon enough as you scroll down.
I encourage all teasing people to read on, enjoy, and review.
Disclaimer: The Villager may or may not be a serial killer.
Chapter 207: Joshua's Week – Divided By Zeroes
Joshua's Day 7 – Clash of Desires
Kingdom Hearts 3D – Calling –Kingdom Mix-
Once more, and hopefully the last time, the blue sky and people's chatter greeted Neku. Grunting, he pushed himself to his feet and looked around, spotting his friends waking up from their unconscious states. Blinking, he noticed that Joshua was looking his way. "Day 7..." Neku trailed off.
Joshua nodded. "Indeed. Kind of a shame," he said. "We never found a way into the Shibuya River."
Ike looked at him. "What makes you think we can't get there anymore?" he asked. "…Oh, this is the day we're going to fight Sho for real."
"Yeah, that's it," Joshua said. "I don't know how things are going to turn out after we fight him. Anything is possible." He shrugged his shoulders a bit. "For all I know, the Reapers are already on my case, and they'll want to dispose of me the moment I step into the winner's circle…" He grinned at Neku. "Surely, my dear partner Neku will protect me from harm, right?"
Neku's answer was a negative one that he didn't want to voice out. It was the last day of the week. He needed to make Joshua come clean about the controversy that was him shooting Neku at Udagawa. "Joshua... Why'd you kill me?" he asked. The others looked serious, knowing full well that time was running out between the two Players.
Joshua, however, blinked confused. "I killed who, now?" he asked, making them all sighing mentally.
Neku sighed out loud. "Drop it, Josh," he said. "You said it yourself."
Joshua looked away with an amused look. "I just asked what you'd do if I had," he said.
"(Would he please stop dodging the question?)" Ike wondered. "(He killed Neku! Why doesn't he just admit it?)"
"(It's like he's trying to purposely act innocent to bend Neku's will for even longer,)" Soren thought. "(When will he realize his little game is just fueling our collective rage?)"
"(All is a game for this twisted guy,)" Fox thought with a grimace. "(Is there an end to Joshua's teasing?)"
"(And once again, Joshua keeps being oblivious to what he did…)" Chris thought. "(There should be a point where he's wide open for a full confession!)"
"(Why can't he stop playing around with us?)" Pichu thought. "(I never get that far! This is just so annoying…)"
"(Only one more day, Ness. One more day and you'll get your chance to smack him good with your bat…and throw him at a wall with your mind,)" Ness thought with a dull tone. "(…Geez, I'm a very cynical boy.)"
Neku felt that everyone was debating and arguing how Joshua's act was the most tedious thing besides the Reapers' Game. Stepping forward, Neku asked, "Look, did you or-" before the beeping of his phone interrupted his query. "Rrgh... The mission," Neku said, sounding aggravated. He stared at Joshua's unsettling smile. "When we're through with this, you're telling us everything."
Joshua giggled. "Hee hee. Whatever you say, Neku," he said. "Whatever you say…"
Feeling defeated, Neku took out his phone to read the mission's description to the others.
"Game 7: Erase the Game Master at Pork City. time = 600 minutes.
Incompletes will be erased."
Immediately, their hands felt a sharp pain that made them wince, though Joshua only half-closed an eye. "Nngh... Well, this is it. Just us and the Grim Heaper."
Fox grinned with delight. "Let's let it all out of him for trying to hunt us down with those insane monsters patrolling the streets," he said. "Bonus points if you pretend he's Kitaniji while beating him."
Chris shrugged. "I really disapprove how…excited you get in a fight," he said. Fox stared blankly at him. "Seriously, you're…and I dare say it, too violent sometimes."
"I know for sure you want to do that, too," Fox said.
The teen stared. "…No, not really." The vulpine rolled his eyes. "I'm a pacifist who always fails at avoiding confrontations. I'm starting to see a pattern here…"
As Neku saw how his team chuckled at Chris's misfortune, he turned to look at Joshua. The silver-haired teen was staring into space. "What?" Neku asked to get his partner's attention.
Joshua blinked and looked back at Neku. "This mission seems odd," he said.
"What? How?" he asked, noticing that everyone looked their way.
"Ah, well," Joshua said. "No sense in worrying about it. Shall we head to Pork City?"
Ness cleared his throat. "Don't you mean New Pork City?" he asked.
"Nope," Joshua said, smiling.
Neku would never get the references. "That's past Dogenzaka. Let's go," he said.
The team went up north to the 104 Building. As they went there, Ike started looking around the area to find other Players. He could only spot a lot of living people chattering and walking to their singular destinations across Shibuya. The trendy clothes and their speech patterns were making his head hurl, but he kept focusing on the Players. It was no good. The UG seemed to be devoid of Players. "Are we the last Players again?" he wondered aloud.
"Yes," Soren bluntly said.
Ike gasped. "Soren, uh… That was too blunt to say," he said.
"No, it's the truth," Soren reaffirmed. "They all may as well be dead by now."
"H-how?" Chris asked, finding the statement very morbid. There was so much death in the world they ended up that he couldn't take it all by himself. Luckily, having the semi-dead ones with him helped to keep him sane.
"Think about it for a minute," Joshua suddenly took over for Soren. The Branded waited for him to say his version of the tale. "So far, we've been the only ones clearing missions first. There weren't missions for three days straight, mind you. Who's not to say that the other Players were…confused at the Game?" He smiled. "Sota and Nao did clear a mission, but that's it. Beyond those two, we never, ever ran into other Players in the open routes for six days, did we?"
"N-no…" Pichu shuddered. "W-we never saw anybody else…"
"Exactly," Soren said. "The other Players were taken off-guard with what was happening to them… If we go an extra mile, we can even assume that the Players that weren't erased the first day got to the next day without partnering up with somebody else. They got lucky to survive one day alone…only to be mercilessly hunted down by the Noise." He looked grim. "The Harrier Reapers like those two don't even dare explain things to their prey, since it's their job to erase them. We seem to be the luckiest ones of the lot…"
The vulpine shook his head. "That's because we had prior knowledge of what we were getting into…sort of," Fox said. "I mean, if Shiki hadn't LOOSELY explained the ropes of the Game, Chris and I would've been as good as dead by now."
Neku grunted angrily whenever he heard Shiki's name. She was trapped in a limbo between life and death because she had become a very important person to him, and the Reapers deemed her a suitable entry fee... He hoped that it wasn't straight-out love. No, it was admiration for her determination to follow her dreams and trying to be a nice friend. "She helped me a lot…" Neku muttered to himself. "…We're the only Players left again."
Ike continued to look for others still. "This is a nightmare," he said. "A nightmare where people like us are toyed around before we truly die…"
Joshua chuckled contently. "Then, once I jack Shibuya," he began, "I'll turn this nightmare into a dream."
"…" Everyone else shrugged at the thought.
"(You as the boss will make every single Reaper giggle and tease Players even more just like you would!)" Ness accused mentally. "(…Is it a good idea to leave him do whatever he wants while we go back to our home? Joshua is going to do drastic changes to this game…)"
"Alone in a game to win life back…" Chris muttered. "…It's an empty world here. It gives me the chills. We have our partners for company, but what about the rest? I feel so bad just knowing how many civilians got erased…" Fox patted his partner's back as they moved to the 104 Building.
Suddenly, Neku's phone went off with a beep. He took it out, looking confused. "Hmm? Another mail?" he wondered.
"P.S. Have cow and mouse on hand."
"…O…kay…" Chris said, confused. "We can have mice on our hands, but cows…"
Fox closed his eyes. "Chris, we're not meant to take this literally," he said. "It's another one of Math Fetishist's riddles."
"…No, it's not," Soren said. "This mail-like message in that odd device doesn't just look like it came from him. There is absolutely no math involved in the writing."
Joshua nodded. "This entire mission seems odd," he said.
Neku then started to notice the weird pattern that Joshua had caught a moment ago. The mission mail lacked any math terms usually used by Sho Minamimoto. The guy never dared talk normally without shoehorning a math term. "Yeah... It is a bit different," Neku agreed. "No riddles. No weird numbers."
"Yet again, something is off with the UG. I'm not surprised," Ness noted duly. "…Okay, I'm surprised. Pi-Face is not being himself by sending mail like this to us. Did he reach a new level in insanity?"
Soren wondered about the mails. "This shouldn't look so odd if it were another person," he stated. "But Sho Minamimoto has a math analogy that he is so fond of like Yodai's food analogy. Not even trying to sound crazy is…crazy by itself." He looked around. "This could be a trap."
Joshua pinched his chin. "Who can say? Though I have my guesses," he said. "Hee hee. All we can do is play along. We can't win if we don't complete the mission. We do have timers. That should point out that this mission isn't that much of a trap."
Neku decided to drop the suspicions. "Right."
But his friends were not going to drop it, only keeping the weird fact to themselves. "So, as for that P.S… What do they mean by cow and mouse?" Pichu asked. "I'm stuck here. Somebody smart say something!"
Joshua grinned and raised his hand.
Pichu sighed, followed by everyone else.
"A large building that could be interpreted as a small city within a city. Many stores and restaurants mainly target the female audience."
The Smashers were surprised to know that they had ignored the humongous building all this time ever since passing through Dogenzaka. Pork City was perhaps the tallest building to ever grace Shibuya. Its looming shadow darkened the southern portion that had the entrance to the small city. In truth, it didn't look like the main entrance, which was plagued mostly by women coming in and out with unbelievably big shopping bags, was the point they needed to focus on. Rather, it was the lone, large elevator door several steps away that was being guarded by two Reapers; one in a red hoodie and another one in a black hoodie.
The foreign group looked up at the towering building. It truly gave them the feeling that the construction's rooftop was reaching out for the sky's limits. "Okay… This building is New Pork City material," Ness said.
"Holy crap," Fox exclaimed. "Not even the buildings at Corneria are this big."
"Not even Elincia's castle can be described as big compared to this," Ike commented.
"The Radio Tower at Goldenrod City is so small!" Pichu squeaked.
"Oh, I do believe the likes of us can achieve feats like this," Soren said. "It's just that a project to build such a large building would take a few years to complete."
"(I think this world's version of Shibuya exaggerates a few facts…)" Chris thought to himself. "(Hmm, I do remember reading an article about…Mark City…)"
Neku was at a loss of words at their comments. He tried to ask Joshua about Pork City. "This is where he's hiding?" he asked.
Joshua nodded. "It's a good spot for it."
Joshua approached the wall of the building and placed a firm hand on it, making them stare at his back. "All the stray thoughts in Shibuya flow through here. They hit Pork City and rise up above the city... then come crashing back down again. Always building, never lessening..."
"Wow…" Chris muttered, looking back up at the rooftop. "This place holds a deep meaning like that?"
"Well," Joshua pulled his hand back and grinned at them over his right shoulder, "that is apparently how the Reapers put it their way. Mr. H so kindly informed me about Pork City and its connections to the UG."
Neku could just imagine a giant Minamimoto sitting his butt on the rooftop and laughing maniacally to the sky, with thunderbolts and rain in the background. "And he's sitting on top of it all?" he asked. "Smug bastard."
Joshua giggled. "Attention seekers do tend to favor high places," he stated.
"That's him, all right… (I just need to take him out. Sit tight, Shiki.)" He suddenly felt odd. Ever since stepping into the building's area, there was some kind of invisible force that was slowly trying to push his conscience around. Blinking, he saw the rest of them looking odd as well, with most of them placing a hand on their foreheads. "Everyone felt that, too?" he asked.
"Yeah…" Pichu muttered until he shook his ears. "That was weird… What was that?"
"My guess is that this place has some sort of lock," Joshua said. "Hmm, maybe our pins got affected by this wave. I heard that Pork City holds even more dark secrets. One of those secrets is that the Reapers fabricate a special atmosphere that locks pins." He giggled at Neku. "So hey, Neku, did you figure that P.S. out already? The hint is in the pins…"
Neku nodded, equipping himself with pins that were part of the buffalo (D+B) and rat (Mus-Rattus) brands. It meant that his preferred deck of pins was discarded over a hastily-put one. "I figured it out," he said. "It's a drag, but it must be done."
"Nice. You're ready for the worst, I presume?"
"(If you mean getting stabbed by you on the back during the last minute of the boss fight…then yeah, I'm ready to direct that knife back to you… Prickly snob.) Yes."
Ike started walking to the Reapers standing in front of the elevator. The group looked his way and followed. When Ike called them out, the Reapers gasped loudly and looked at the large group of Players. "Players? Here?" the black Reaper said.
It was strange to see Reapers react in such a way, as if they didn't know that Players were going to pass through. "Um… Yes?" Pichu said, cocking his head to the right. "We were told to come here…"
Joshua nodded and showed the mission mail to the two confused Reapers. "That's the mission. Erase the Game Master here in Pork City," he said.
The red Reaper mumbled a few swears and looked at his fellow Reaper partner. "You heard anything about this, man?" he asked, making Soren raise an eyebrow.
"Nope," his partner replied. "Mr. Minamimoto told us to guard this spot. That was six boring days ago."
The red Reaper fell silent. "...Well? What do you think?"
"They're here on a mission, right? Why not do the usual?"
"Makes sense... If they're here on a mission, that means Mr. Minamimoto wants 'em here."
"Wait right there," Soren interjected their talk among each other. The Reapers turned his way. "It's clear that something isn't right here. I demand answers from you."
"Huh? You high, man?" the red Reaper asked. "This is confidential info. We can't just go blabbering everything to normal Players like you! Oh, sure! You dress really funny, but that ain't gonna change anything."
Soren discouraged talking about his "funny" way of dressing. Seeing his partner's furrowed brow, Ike stepped in. "What kind of confidential info?" he asked, getting their attention. "It's not necessary to know what that confidential info is… Just…you look confused."
"…" The black Reaper grumbled. "…Well… There's no harm in telling them this, I guess." His partner shook his head, not knowing what he was going to say next. "Mr. Minamimoto is kind of busy, resting up on top of this building here. We…we weren't informed about Players coming here to meet up with him."
The red Reaper grunted. "That's all you need to know!" he said suddenly. "But you got mission mail saying you NEED to pass through here, so…yeah, you know where this is going."
Ness rubbed his chin. "So," he began, "you're saying you weren't told about us coming this way, and we heard you saying he didn't tell you, either…" The black Reaper started sweating; though he wasn't sure what he was even doing guarding a random building. He was sure, though, that he was getting it if he let Players just waltz in. "…Yeah, guys, there's something very wrong about all this!"
"Indeed," Joshua said, grinning confidently at the Reapers. "It's like…he doesn't want to warn you, or…someone else is asking us to erase him ourselves."
"Wha…?" the red Reaper trailed off. "Why would a high-ranking Reaper even…?"
The black Reaper gasped and punched his partner's right shoulder. "And you say I babble too much!" he said.
"Ouch!" the red Reaper rubbed his pained shoulder. "You hit too hard, man!"
"O-oh, sorry… Got fed up a bit too much," he apologized. "I guess I was releasing all that bottled up anger after six days of complete, utter boredom."
"Oh yeah?" the red Reaper asked right before swiftly kicking his partner in the crotch. He doubled over on the floor in pain, making most males wince. "It does feel good!"
"C-critical hit to the nads…" the black Reaper muttered.
The eight Players exchanged blank looks until Neku sighed. "Enough with the fibs," he said. "So what, are you letting us pass?"
"Only if you meet my terms," the red Reaper said, "you can pass."
Ness grimaced, ignoring the black Reaper grabbing his private area with both hands and groaning in pain. "…Did you know your boss is hunting all of you down with those black Noise?" he asked.
"…What?" the red Reaper asked back. "What do you…?"
"It's true," Ness said nodding. "Sho is killing everybody who's weaker than him. You two are also in his To Kill list."
"T-that can't be…" the red Reaper stammered. "I-I do remember the Conductor saying Reapers were being erased by strange Noise in an official meeting two days before…"
"T-t-to…tell the truth…" his partner groaned on the ground, "I-I never liked Mr. Minamimoto… He always spat on our faces whenever we brought work-related stuff to his table… I-I mean literally. He really did spit on us!"
Joshua grinned. "Oh, the Reaperity," he said.
The red Reaper stared at them, grunting. "You're saying Mr. Minamimoto is the one behind these freak accidents? During that small three-day break with no missions, Players were erased without even entering Noise battles and us Reapers were put on standby till today…and then Reapers started being targeted, too? This is madness!" He kicked the air. "I lost two of my best friends to those monsters! John and Doe never deserved this!"
Despite the fact Chris had never met the Reaper's best friends, he felt a lot of sympathy over the fact they died over nothing. Ike took it a little bit more personal, seeing as he was furrowing a glare…
The black Reaper stood back, flinching in occasion. "Y-you're sure Mr. Minamimoto is behind all this?" he asked.
"…Yeah," Neku said, remembering Sota and Nao disappearing from existence. "Pi-Face is making those monsters because he sees everyone as garbage." It dawned on him that Ness was trying to get an idea across. "…And you wanna keep working for him?"
"…" The two Reapers exchanged looks. "No way, man. I'll take a scolding session by Konishi over working with that madman any longer," the red Reaper said. "What says you?"
"Ditch him!" the black Reaper said, recovering slightly from his previous critical blow. "Let these guys shove their kicks up his butt for us!"
The red Reaper nodded and ignored the disgusted looks from the Players as he turned around and waved a hand to the elevator's wall. "Wall clear!" he said, taking the invisible barrier down. Turning around, he nodded to the Players. "Show him not to kill our comrades!"
Fox looked worried at them. "You sure you guys need to go this far?" he asked. "Aren't you going to get punished for letting us pass so easily?"
"Look here, man with the incredibly-convincing humanoid fox costume," the red Reaper began, "Sho Minamimoto is the hugest douchebag you'll ever work with. Everyone in the Reaper circle admits that he excels at almost everything…but teamwork." He shook his head in disapproval. "He despises working with others. He's a big loner freak. Just try shaking his hand and he'll surely bite it off."
"Or spit at your face," the black Reaper added. "…No, he'll spit at you."
"Guys like us would rather have him get erased very soon under official Players," the red Reaper continued. "There's a rumor that he's been trying to take on the Composer, for starters…"
Joshua blinked. "Wow, a complete rebel, wanting to get rid of his boss?" he asked. "He is out for blood."
"Yeah, but don't say we told you this," the black Reaper said. "It's not ENTIRELY clear he's going for that crazy goal, but with how things have been ever since this month started…" He fell silent. "…Not telling you anymore than that. Sorry." He and his partner walked a few steps away to let them enter the elevator doors, which then decided to open wide. "Give him the beating of his life for us!"
"And don't worry about your points," the red Reaper said. "We'll give you the max quantity so you can play it safe from here."
Some of the Players smiled and nodded, stepping into the large elevator (though Ike was reluctant to enter it at first until Soren pushed him inside). The Reapers waved at them before the doors closed, the shaking feeling of the elevator confirming that it came to life. They were now going up, with soothing elevator music playing in the background.
"Everybody hates him a lot," Neku suddenly said.
"No kidding," Pichu said. "But I'd feel angry if I worked with a person like him, so I understand…"
Ness sighed. "Good thing I brought that up to them," he said. "We've fought, what, 200 Noise battles or something for this week? I'd say that's enough to warrant a definite pass to our lives."
Joshua looked up at the ceiling. "They told us a lot of info with that friendly chat," he said. He then smiled at his reflection on the glass-like metal in front of him. "Namely, the fact this Game's month has been really weird."
Chris wasn't going to like the idea of getting his nose into more Reaper stuff. "Oh no," he muttered. "What are you thinking now, Joshua?"
"Hmm? Well…" Joshua crossed his arms, suddenly looking serious. "I have noticed a few oddities in this month ever since I entered the game… But I can't say for certain what they are."
"…Please tell me you're not deliberately teasing us again," Fox duly said.
"No teasing, I'm afraid," Joshua said, indirectly revealing he liked to tease them. "My suspicions, for now, are focusing on very subtle points… This week had its fair share of large mysteries. The Taboo Noise belong to those mysteries I found, for example, and then there's the Game Master himself..."
Neku obscured his face. "The Game's is getting crazier and crazier every day," he stated. "…I'm not sure if I can keep up with each revelation. It's making my head hurl…"
Pichu looked up at Neku. "Like those headaches you get whenever we meet Pi-Face?" he asked.
Pichu made a point. Remembering the headaches, the others looked at the confused teen. "How come you get those headaches, anyway?" Ness asked. "Every time he shows up, you end up grabbing your head until he's gone from sight."
"I…I don't know," Neku said, feeling even more at a loss than any other thing. "He appears, I grab my head. It's as simple and twisted like that…"
"There is a connection somewhere," Joshua said, scratching his head. "Neku, did you meet up with him when you were alive? Maybe he's your best friend turned evil over your death."
"…How in the name of CAT do you think we're related?"
Joshua giggled. "Never judge two books by their covers, they say," he responded simply, and Neku frowned for the umpteenth time. Still, Neku focused on the matter very closely, but the group didn't know what to say about his assumed hidden connection to the mad mathematician. "Maybe your memory isn't complete still," Ike said.
But Neku said no. "Doesn't feel like it," he said. "I'm pretty sure I got almost everything back… (And that reminds me…)" He mentally glared at Joshua's smiling expression. "(The one thing that's making me feel so anxious is the memory when this bastard killed me… Are we still partners? Ugh… My kingdom for a stick to beat him up with.)"
The elevator music stopped playing, and the doors opened up. The Players started stepping out, finding another pair of Reapers talking to one another. When the two Reapers looked their way, they suddenly gasped. "Players!?" the black Reaper gasped out.
The red Reaper hung his mouth open. "Why are they here?" he asked.
"(Again?)" Neku thought. "(No one likes to inform anything to them…)"
Joshua chuckled. "We're here for the mission, thanks," he greeted.
The two Reapers exchanged glances. "What mission?" he wondered.
"I dunno," his partner said, shrugging his shoulders. "But the guys downstairs let 'em through."
Ness thought for a second and stepped to the front. "Look here…"
Several minutes later, the eight Players were now riding the elevator to the rooftop of the massive building. Security was pretty undermined today, and the second pair of Reapers they met were just as equally irritated by Minamimoto that they cheered on them to erase him for good. Like the previous Reapers, the second pair was met by unfortunate events that took their loved ones away, never to return to the land of the living dead. "Everyone really wants us to put his head on the receiving end of a lance," Ike noted.
"Says a lot about his work attitude," Joshua said, looking amused. "But hey, I'll take what I can grab on. Nice thinking there, Ness, by the way."
Ness waved him off. "I wanted to use some common sense against them," he said. "After what happened yesterday…it leaves a pretty bad impression about your boss when he's off slaughtering comrades because he thinks everyone is garbage."
"You tell me," Fox said, making sure he was ready to face off against the math fetishist by tightening his gloves and fixing his vest. "We'll make him garbage once we're done with him."
"Hurray for justified violence," Joshua cheered. "Which reminds me… Neku, are all your pins in order? I suspect he's just ahead."
Neku grunted, taking out his collection of pins and sorting his deck out. "(I should put my A-list pins back on,)" he thought.
The enigmatic teen looked around inside the elevator. "Looks like a clear shot up to the roof, if those Reapers were telling the truth," he said. "The brand restrictions aren't likely to reach that far. I recommend you wear the pins you like best, Neku." He looked at the rest and giggled. "You guys, use your innate skills as you see fit."
"You don't need to remind me that," Ike said. "This is going to be it for real. We'll cut his head off his shoulders and move back to our lives."
"We'll be doing a huge favor to the Reapers in the end," Chris said. "There's really no way they can complain about this. All of them just don't like Sho at all."
"I'm going to feel great relief once our run is over," Soren said. "Let us hope for the best. Backing off now is not an option when victory is at hand."
"Right," Pichu said, hopping to his right shoulder. "One more battle is all we need to finish everything here, and then Shiki'll be saved!"
Ness smiled. "Yeah, she needs to get out of that limbo," he agreed. "We made her wait for a whole week. It's the least we can do for her." Neku chuckled confidently. Saving Shiki was going to become a reality.
But then, that made Fox think about the other ones that were being left behind: Beat…and the missing Rhyme. "What about Beat and Rhyme?" he asked, and suddenly the mood changed. "Those two are still trapped in this infernal contest…" Very attached to the optimistic young blond, Fox stiffened his serious look.
"Oh no…" Neku muttered. "I completely forgot about them…"
Chris stopped smiling when he thought back about the two. "They're…They're trapped, aren't they…" he trailed off, sounding gloom. "…What about Beat, though? We kind of completely stopped his chances to fight us head on. Won't that…um…deduct the points he needs to survive as a Reaper?"
Joshua looked away. "Reapers are also in the same situation as Players," he pointed out. "Players and Reapers alike need to do their work, or else the Composer shall give them one last judgment that will rob them of their lives. We kicked the rebel's butt one time too many that it's clear he won't get free from his punishment." He tossed his hands to the sides. "He's a lost cause by now."
"…" Neku wanted to object to him, but the reality was honestly cruel. "…I wish there was a way for us to help them out. At this rate, they'll both get erased just because Beat thought siding with the Reapers was a good idea."
Fox grunted. "That idiot got Rhyme into this," he said. "I can forgive Chris for lying, but I can't forgive Beat for choosing that boneheaded decision… I should know myself." He looked worried at his partner. "The decisions that'll last longer than any other thing screw me up all the freakin' time…"
"Fox…" Chris muttered, looking apologetic.
"…It pisses me off," Fox continued. "My stomach is gonna twist again and again if I keep thinking about Rhyme and Beat after we finish this fight."
Soren frowned, taking out his Wind tome. "Only faith can possibly spare their lives now," he said. "We have no means to remedy their fates."
Ike looked away, resting a hand on Ragnell's sheath. "How can anybody feel so bad after winning?" he wondered. "It doesn't make sense…"
Joshua chuckled as he felt the elevator stopping, opening its doors to the rooftop. "We're here," he called out to their scrambled thoughts.
The Pork City rooftop had an expanse of the blue sky stretching over the horizon. Without getting close to the borders of the floor, no one could tell at first sight that a sea of buildings and people were far down below. Stepping out from the elevator, the Players looked around for any sights of Sho. When Pichu looked down at his feet, he spotted a shadow looming behind them. He gasped and looked behind, finding Sho looking extremely perturbed. "T-there he is!" he yelled, making them all turn to the small block that occupied the elevator's space. Everyone immediately readied themselves, though they looked confused seeing Sho's shocked expression.
"Nngh!? You eight?" Sho muttered through gritted teeth. "How'd you find this place!?"
There was even more confusion arising from his shocked state of mind. "Is that a joke?" Neku asked.
"The mission mail told us to erase the Game Master of Pork City," Fox said with a serious glare. "That Game Master is you. Do the math, you crazy fetishist."
Minamimoto blinked twice, backing off a bit. "What? An inverse matrix!?" he said, trying to digest all the info as quickly as possible.
"Shut up!" Ike demanded as he took out Ragnell from its sheath. "We've got a bone to pick with you for toying around with us like garbage!" he yelled. "You've been killing friend and foe alike using those monsters without even caring about their personal lives! Not everything in the world is garbage. YOU are garbage that needs to be disposed of before you reek!"
The Game Master grunted until he smirked confidently. "...Doesn't matter," he muttered under his breath, jumping down and landing his feet firmly on the floor to stare at them all at eye level. They backed off, ready for anything. "You just saved me the trip."
"Your higher ups don't like your guts, it seems," Soren said, making Sho wince briefly. "…Yes, it all makes sense now when you piece every small bit of info together."
"W-what are you digit going on about?" Sho asked, sweating and panting.
Neku started to realize the oddities surrounding the mystery of today's mission. "Your Reapers guarding this tower let us through without objections after we told them how big of an ass you are to your comrades!" he said. "Killing without remorse has its consequences, y'know."
Sho grunted louder, smacking a fist into his palm. "Big deal, stupid numbers! All the zeroes are waiting for me to add them to my heaps of art. Screw teamwork, screw everyone, screw YOU."
"You're starting to break…" Ike pointed out. "Are you realizing something crucial now?"
Sho swung his arm to the side. "My calculations are okay… I'm not scared of a big number!" He smirked maniacally. "The Composer and the Conductor are also garbage. I said this before, didn't I? EVERYONE BUT ME IS GARBAGE! CRUNCH!" He smacked his fist into his palm again. A few seconds of heavy breathing later, he eased his anger as he looked over at Neku and Joshua. "Enough… I was hoping for a little reenactment. Same spot, same setup as last time..."
Pichu looked confused. "What are you going on about?" he asked.
Neku realized that he didn't get a nasty headache this time. But then irony cruelly reminded him that the headache was delayed, and he got struck by an even nastier pulsating feeling inside his head. He grabbed his head with both hands and fell to his knees. "(L-last time? Nrrgh! Not now!)" he yelled loudly, causing the Smashers to gasp and get to his side.
Joshua held his spot and raised an eyebrow, but then he remembered that there was a fierce enemy before them, which prompted him to look serious for once. "You OK, Neku?" he asked.
The scream of pain was unusually loud. Neku's head beat at irregular intervals that made its owner think that he was going to explode from the nasty headache. To Sho's amusement, Neku dropped to the floor, his fingers digging deeper into his head's skin and hair. Writhing in pain, Neku felt a few set of hands grabbing his sides for some support after he was squirming and screaming for a long while. "Neku?! NEKU?!" Ike called out, shaking the teen. "Answer us!"
"T-THE HEADACHE…D-DAMMIT!" Neku screamed.
Grunting, Fox looked at Chris. "Use your healing magic!" he said. "Can it cure headaches?"
"I-I don't…" Chris gulped and changed to his Fonic Hymn User job, quickly taking his rod out and placing the tip over Neku's head. The World Traveler had never cured a nasty headache before, and he wasn't so sure if his healing magic was potent enough to do the job. Confused, Chris placed a free hand on Neku's throbbing head. "N-Neku, hang o-"
There was an incredibly potent sensation that was transferred over to the Smashers making the slightest physical contact with the screaming teenager, even going as far to extend to anybody connected to a receptor. Because Ike, Chris, and Ness were in some way trying to restrain Neku while their partners' hands were being supported on their shoulders to take a closer look at Neku, they yelled in pain, and their minds acted up abnormally as a flash of light took over their sight. Their Player Pins shook with energy, indirectly activating a lost memory…
Their minds were connected amidst the screams they produced, but then, a familiar setting soon showed up…
After Ness managed to contain the pain in his head, he gained more focus until he gasped at the sight in his mind's eye "(A-ah…)"
The Udagawa Back Streets played out in their minds. Loose posters and fliers flew by the winds as the scene moved up the stairs to the wall with the stylish graffiti. A happy-looking Neku was staring at the wall, placing a firm hand on it to let his clouded mind get filled with peaceful thoughts.
"(T-this…again?)" Ike muttered, regaining his focus.
Fox regained control next, looking surprised at the memory. "(Wh-why are we looking this again?)" he asked.
Soren regained his senses and noticed the scene, having listened to his group's thoughts. "(Neku's memory… Hmm… Did we…did we get this after approaching him during his episode of pain?)" he wondered.
Neku grunted, still feeling the throbbing pain, but he was intently staring at the memory nonetheless. He briefly had forgotten that he was angry at Joshua for shooting him dead at his favorite spot. And out of a cue, his killer appeared from the left and rushed with a gun ready to fire. The Neku in the memory calmly turned his head to Joshua's direction, where their eyes locked into a stare. As the Neku in the memory looked confused, his eyes widened when Joshua raised his gun and pulled the trigger.
The loud bullet shot made Pichu's ears tremble for a moment, and then the bullet case fell lifelessly to the ground right before Neku fell next, with a shot of Joshua smirking with pleasure. "(Eugh, that sickening smirk of his!)" Ness complained. "(This isn't the time to see this! We know he killed Neku! Why do we have to see this once more?)" Ness asked. "(There's no point i-)"
A collective set of gasps followed next when the Smashers and Neku noticed a radical change in the memory scene.
The Neku in the memory had fallen down to the floor, true…but that was just it. He just fell on his rear with an astonished look on his face, staring up at the maniacal Joshua. The bullet shot from the gun had actually passed over Neku's shoulder, its intended target being someone else that was standing right behind the assumed target. Mysteriously enough, there was a third party lurking around the scene that had showed up right about the time when Joshua dashed into the scene…
Without a doubt, the third party wasn't such a stranger to the group.
"(…What…the…hell?)" Chris gasped out.
Behind the fallen Neku, Sho Minamimoto grabbed his bleeding right shoulder with his free hand, clenching his teeth in pain. In his damaged limb, a gun was gripped tightly while he tried to resist the absolute pain. "I blew it..." he muttered under a cough.
"What!?" the Neku in the memory said obliviously until he realized there was a madman behind his back. Standing up and turning around, Neku's irises shrunk as he saw Sho grunting and raising his gun, resisting the agonizing pain of his shot shoulder. Backing off helplessly, the Neku in the memory braced himself for impact as the watchers gasped once more in shock…
And the memory faded away…
Back in the real world, Joshua blinked as the seven Players were lying down on the floor, grabbing their heads in pain. After a while of nothing, they all regained their senses and opened the eyes in realization of what they had seen. "Oh… You're alright," Joshua said, looking happy. "What went through you now?"
Neku and the others stared up at Joshua. The creepy smile of his didn't instigate any murderous measures like before. After witnessing the memory, all accusations of Joshua being Neku's killer disappeared. Neku, the one being the most affected, was speechless. They used to pin all the blame on Joshua for committing the heinous act from the beginning, but the memory showed clearly how the evil Game Master had done the deed instead, which in turn eliminated Joshua as the potential suspect. Grunting, he grabbed Joshua's hand to stand back up as the others got off by themselves. "I…I can't…" Chris muttered, "…I can't believe this… All this time…"
"Joshua was… He was innocent!" Pichu said, making Joshua smile after hearing his words. "He never killed Neku!"
"By the goddess…" Ike muttered, feeling ashamed. "We've been blaming Joshua for a crime he didn't commit for any real reason all along…"
Neku kept staring at Joshua's jovial smile until the first looked back at the Game Master, looking blankly until smiling sadistically. "It... it was you?" the murdered teen asked, though his tone slowly shifted to a scowl.
"Neku..." Joshua muttered.
Neku took a step forward, his eyes forming a glare at Sho. "You killed me..." he muttered until yelling, "You stole my life!"
Pichu grunted and emitted sparks from his cheeks, getting into a fighting stance. "How could you?!" he asked. "Why kill Neku? W-what did he do to you to kill him just like that?"
"Why even wonder that? He's a madman!" Ness exclaimed. "He's a lunatic who escaped from the madhouse! I say we erase him for make us hate Joshua over nothing!"
Soren cleared his throat. "This event by no means makes Joshua any more likable than he is now," he said. Everyone stared at him. "He didn't kill Neku, but he sure did tease us a lot during the whole week, acting all secretive and mysterious. This doesn't give him an excuse to act like that."
There was a small silence that settled in. "…Oh…" Chris said. "…Yes… I don't like him a lot… I just think it's fair for us to clear his name." Mentally gasping, the teen feared falling on Joshua's black list.
Joshua grinned knowingly instead. "You're awesome, Chris," he remarked.
The teen shuddered, his thought process having been changed. "You're REALLY the most unsettling person I've ever met before in my life," Chris muttered at last.
"Ha ha," Joshua laughed. Nobody could tell if he was mocking everyone or not. "Don't you worry, Chris. As time passes, we will eventually unearth our hidden feelings for each other. Perhaps, we will be more than…best friends?"
The mother of all morbid thoughts was released at last. The black-haired teen quickly stepped away and hid behind an equally-frightened Fox. Neku was acting serious before, but now he was hurled from his serious look. "The hell, Joshua, put a lid on it!" Neku complained, grabbing his head. Chris immediately approved of the orange-haired boy's rant. "T-that aside, you bastard!" he yelled at the Game Master. "The hell were you doing killing me on my favorite spot?! Why even me?! Are you crazier than just being nuts?!"
Minamimoto, though, laughed at them, drawing the attention. "Hmph," he muttered as he and Neku stared at one another. "That's insignificant."
Neku knew Sho was talking about the moment he died. "What!?" asked an enraged Neku.
"I totally was expecting him to say that so it's not surprise now," Ness commented. "…You know what? Screw this! Let's start the battle already so that we can let it all out on his sorry back!"
The Game Master chuckled loudly until cackling up in maniacal laughter. The wind on top of the rooftop suddenly picked intensity. "I've had enough chatter. Come get derived," Sho said, his irises shrinking in fury. "This time I'm eradicating you all from my spatial coordinates! Drown in the sea of imaginary numbers!" Everyone took this cue to assume their positions.
An earthquake shook the floor under their feet as they watched Sho flexing his arms down to his sides while bending his knees, crouching down and feeling raw power inundate his body. From behind his back, six large Reaper wings sprouted out before shattering into pieces. The fragments of the wings then shot down on his lower body, heavily altering the look of his legs. Instead of human-looking legs, they had now been turned into demonic limbs that resembled the feet of a lion, their claws digging deep into the concrete.
"INFINITYYYYYYYY!" Sho yelled with passion, smirking evilly at them.
Chris braced himself and stiffed his grip on his staff. "T-there's no way I'm letting a madman erase me now, not after making it this far…again!" He gulped. "Lucario… Everyone is waiting! That's enough driving force for me to keep…to keep pressing on!"
Fox turned his body sideways, staring directly at the monster. "I've been waiting for this. Another moment where I get to kick another crazed idiot to release all my bottled up anger." Chris opened his mouth to object. "Don't say anything, Chris!" he said without looking. Chris sighed and decided to let it slip.
Pichu jumped to Ness's head. "I won't let another week go by while Pikachu is sulking over my d-dead body!" he shuddered at the "d" word. "Literally! I want to finish this nightmare!"
"You and me both!" Ness said, stretching out a hand sparking with PSI energy. "I had it with these Reapers and their plain-down nasty games. Here's a game of my own: Reaper Massacre!"
Soren grunted and took out an Elwind tome. "Must these higher ups transform into mindless beasts bent on taking pleasure over killing their prey?" he asked rhetorically. "Hmph, it'll only make the victory even more satisfying. You all are monsters."
Ike pointed his sword to Sho. "You're crazy for math. You'll be happy to know that dividing people in two is possible to do with a sword like this," he said. "Unless you're not a masochist, you'll enjoy the feeling before you get erased!"
Joshua flicked a strand of his hair and grinned. "My, everyone has some rousing speeches today. I'm afraid I didn't prepare my own with time," he commented. "Oh well, what can you do? Guess I'm gonna just have to provide my willing support to Neku and everyone for this battle. No hard feelings, okay?" He winked at Neku. Thankfully, Neku never saw the winking action. "Neku, are you ready now?"
Neku's right hand glowed with energy, tapping into a pin's power. "You bet I am!" he said. "It's payback time for killing me! After this, I'll set Shiki free from her imprisonment!"
"COME AT ME, RADIANS!" Sho declared, the planes distorting into two…
The World Ends with You – Someday
The clouds above Pork City shifted around as if being perturbed by the being that had separated the planes. Both groups, although standing on different planes, found themselves looking up to a grinning Minamimoto, floating over the chasm that led to the city's buildings down below.
They noticed that the Game Master had foregone his demonic legs for his human ones. "Hey, how come you're back to your normal look?" Ness asked.
"My calculations don't need an explanation for this!" Sho replied back with a crackle. "I'll add you all up into my divisions! Prepare to be iterated!"
"Yup, he's a madman," Joshua said, warping to midair. "Let us begin, why don't we?"
"Yeah. Here!" The Game Master tossed two black-and-white spheres to their direction. The two objects then separated and fell on each opposite side of their positions, until Taboo Noise materialized and growled angrily at them. They were a Wall of Grizzly and a Grunge Wolf; a black version of the wolf Noise kind. "Have some fun with my pets in the meantime!"
Soren grunted. "I suspected that he would call those monsters in the fight," he muttered, taking out his Elwind tome from his robe. "Listen, everyone. We must divide our efforts by picking different targets. We mustn't let that imbecile keep throwing these things to us."
"Right," Ike said. "If we let him do what he wants… Uh… Wait a minute…" He looked around to find the Game Master, but he was nowhere to be seen.
"He's not down here!" Neku called over, until he was tackled by the Grunge Wolf.
"Oh?" Joshua rubbed his chin, still floating in the air. "Seems like he only appears in the upper plane while his pets take on the field... Haha, that doesn't matter one bit." He stretched his phone out and looked at Sho while Joshua's team started fighting the Taboo Noise on their plane. With a few dials inputted, the light beams that came down from the sky didn't reach for the Game Master. Rather, they fell down on the Taboo Noise. "Oh, I forgot the Game Masters were into being cheap…"
"Ha ha," Sho laughed confidently, watching his two pets starting to attack them. "You zetta digits are hilarious! Well, try hitting me!" he taunted, opening his arms. "My perfect mathematical creations won't let you even reach your desired numbers!"
Chris yelped and ducked down from a quick slash from the Wall of Grizzly, only for the Grunge Wolf to leap on his back and bite his neck. "AAAAAAH!" he screamed loudly in pain as Soren swung his hand and called forth slicing winds that pushed the wolf aside from his back. The teen wanted to cry, having not being bitten so harshly before, but he pressed on with the fight and smacked the Wall of Grizzly with his rod. Pichu joined in and called a Thunder next to him to shock the bear, starting a light puck chain with their partners down below.
"Let me take on that damned wolf!" Fox shouted from below, feeling the coursing pain on his body.
"How beautiful!" Sho remarked from his spot, watching the fight unfold. He sat on midair cross-legged. "Perfect creations of my intellect to prey upon the little decimals of life! You've gotta admit that my iteration-"
"Done here," Joshua interrupted as he delivered a large beam upon both Taboo Noise, the incredible laser being powered up by two point five times. The two Noise roared loudly as their beings faded away. Turning around, the teen cocked his head to the side. "They were perfectly disposed of."
Sho chuckled. "I see, I see! Here, have some more," he casually said as he tossed three whirling circles on both planes. The three circles then turned into more Taboo Noise, this time the monsters being styled after crabs. The crabs had spider-like legs under heavily-armored shells and thick claws. Over the hidden beady red eyes and said white shells were black Noise marks closing in. They were known as the Carcinopunk. "Let the problem continue! I want to see some deductions!"
"Oh, how much I loathe these crabs…" Ness muttered under his breath. The crabs in general were experts in defending at the right time with their shells whenever they saw a frontal attack. They were also quick on their little feet and quite nasty with their iron-clad pincers that liked to snatch their prey's legs.
"Show me your beauty!" Sho taunted as the battle resumed. "Bore me with simple terms and I'll CRUNCH and add you to the heap!"
"There is no problem with that, truthfully," Soren spoke. Raising an eyebrow, Sho saw the Branded conjure winds from right above the floor, underneath the Carcinopunk. He then raised his hand upwards, flipping the three critters on their backs. The crabs tried hard to remain grounded, but the force of Soren's Elwind overwhelmed their resistance. The crabs found themselves unable to flip back up, wiggling their legs and large pincers around.
Sho grunted. The Carcinopunk, or the species as a whole, were used to standing on their feet. With the crabs on the upper plane widely exposed to all attacks, Joshua and the others began launching attacks after attacks: Pichu with his Thunders electrocuting the small monsters, Chris with his Blizzara spells freezing them all, Soren with winds that flew downwards and sliced the exposed bodies, and Joshua with his large lances of light from the heavens. With the combined chain of light puck-passing from the lower plane, the Carcinopunk were dealt with too fast.
"Keep it up," Joshua encouraged the team.
The Game Master chuckled confidently. "Heh. Maybe you're not that slow after all…" he trailed off as he tossed more of his creations into the battlefield: a Death Metal Mink and a Eurobeat Boomer. Sho, though, thought that his enemies were taking the Taboo Noise way too quickly. Their rapid blows and combination wasn't factored in his plan to get rid of them. "(How come these binomials are deducting my own binomials? Dang, I need to add something to this…) …No! You're all zetta slow!" he yelled, warping to the battlefield himself. He chuckled, smirking evilly. "It's time to get into the mix…"
Neku noticed that Sho hadn't appeared in the lower plane. "That guy is still up there! Deal with him while we deal with the Taboo Noise!" he yelled over to the other group.
"Chris, you and Pichu should take on the other Noise," Soren instructed. "Our forces must be equally divided to survive this fight."
"Survive?" Joshua chuckled, starting his dialing moves on his phone. "We're here to win it, dear Soren."
As Chris and Pichu fought the Death Metal Mink and the Eurobeat Boomer, Sho flexed his fingers. "Can you catch up to me, zetta slow binomials?!" he taunted.
Joshua chuckled and rolled his eyes. "Oh, that's not so bad for me," he jovially said as he started to shoot light beams from the sky…which Sho dodged expertly by warping several times across the air. The enigmatic teen narrowed his eyes. "Using the speed of light now? How annoying…"
Sho laughed, quickly dodging swirling winds from a strong tornado conjured by Soren. "So zetta slow!" he taunted them. "You're so zetta slow it makes me laugh! Can't you be any faster, zetta sons of digits?! No! Because you're soooo zetta slow!"
As Chris ducked to the side to avoid a whirlwind attack from the black mink, he grunted. "You and Sonic would become the best of pals, taunting everyone else for being slow…" Chris muttered, grunting afterwards when a Thunder spell that fell down on the mink. With Fox's light puck charged up to three times, the force of the attack stunned the monster into place.
Pichu crouched down, barely missing the ramming attack from the Eurobeat Boomer. Before the kangaroo could pass over, the Electric-type called forth a Thunder that impacted on the monster, making I screech. The little Smasher scampered off and looked up, seeing Sho dodging Joshua's light beams as he warped all over. "Ooooh! He keeps warping all over the place!" he complained. "How can we attack him like this?"
"If you can't reach the speed of light, you'll only come close to decimal units," Sho taunted, making Joshua narrow his eyes as he kept firing beams of light from the sky. "Your light is zetta slow, son of digits! You bring shame to the speed of light! You don't deserve the power…"
"Yeah, yeah, I know," Joshua said, sighing. "Guys, could you please land a hit on that guy? The others back on the lower plane have their hands full with the Taboo Noise." He winced, feeling that Neku was rammed by the Eurobeat Boomer. "My usefulness only goes so far…"
Soren kept firing whirlwinds from midair, though his blows were far slower and predictable than Joshua's. Chris took a small moment to attack with Fira, but he was even further hampered, as his spells took a considerable amount of time to finish. The Branded, nevertheless, kept conjuring winds from all angles to toss the Game Master off. "No, he is too fast," Soren muttered, calmly chanting in his mind. "I've never seen such a foe appear all over the place..."
Sho then warped behind Soren, surprising him. "Die, radians!" he proclaimed, shooting a wide array of spinning purple blades from his palm. The swirling energy balls spread out and struck each one of them, getting pushed down to the floor.
"Be careful!" Neku shouted from below. "Damn it, the light puck chain was broken! Let's start over with the blows!"
A rush of power dawned on Chris, having gathered enough power for a Fusion with Fox. "Fox! Should we use Lucario here?!" he shouted as he got up from the floor.
Fox somersaulted behind to dodge the ramming Eurobeat, grabbing its face with one hand to pull himself down and deliver a harsh kick on its back. With the push of his foot, the vulpine leaped back. "No!" he said, taking a grip on the Fusion pin. "Let's not use him at all. Instead, let's use our Fusion now!"
Sho then stopped warping. "What are yo-"
He was hastily interrupted as the planes merged together, putting his Taboo Noise and himself in the line of attack from ninety-nine shots from the duo. Wincing at the laser shots going through his body, one last charged shot pushed the Game Master down, but his Taboo Noise were erased at the end of the Fusion. The planes were divided again, Sho warping away from the scene to toss two more Taboo Noise: two Walls of Grizzly. "Have some more fun with my creations, radians!" he taunted, laughing loudly.
"Dammit!" Fox cursed.
Ike similarly grunted. "More of these beasts?!"
"Like I said before, we must defeat him to stop the influx of Taboo Noise," Soren said. "Don't stop now."
Joshua blankly stared at Sho and started to fling light beams from above, but the Game Master was back to his long warping session. "What a total drag," Joshua noted. "Can I also call you speed freak? It oddly suits you."
"I won't accept nicknames like that from little digits!" Sho said.
"Weird. Pi-Face, Math Fetishist, and Little Uno were accepted…"
The World Traveler was about to cast Fira on a Wall of Grizzly, but it got erased faster than he expected by Ike's charged fire sword blow. With Pichu miraculously shocking the other Wall of Grizzly multiple times by going around its large body, Chris eventually gave up on using spells, Sho's laughs annoying him greatly. The teen felt his life being depleted when he heard a loud grunt from his partner. "My spells take a lot of time to even reach him out… I need to change things a bit… Let's see…um… Maybe…" In a flash, he changed to the Agent job and unsheathed his revolver. "Long time I haven't used this job… Well, here goes!" He gulped and took aim of the warping Minamimoto. "(I think bullet shots are slower than Joshua's beams… It shouldn't matter. I can shoot a lot with this gun.)" He hesitated, trying to find a clean shot. "(…Wait, there's a skill right here I haven't used… Dammit, it's not a sure-shot one! But it can try to lower his speed…if it works on bosses…)"
Sho didn't seem to get tired, warping and laughing at once while dodging all the attacks trying to reach out for him. "Zetta slow, zetta slow, zetta slooooooooow!" he kept taunting them. "Can't you numbers even move up one level?"
"L-let's take those proverbial gloves off now!" Chris suddenly said. "Reckless Abandon!" From his revolver, a bullet encased in a red aura shot out…and barely landed on Sho's right cheek. The warping suddenly stopped as Sho looked quite perturbed at the sound of the shot. "Dammit!" Chris cursed.
"(U-urk…)" Sho, thought, found himself stopping for a moment. Something in his mind activated when he was barely shot. The sound of the bullet being fired by the revolver made him remember a scary event, but when a light beam struck him down, he grunted as Joshua and Soren joined forces by raining light beams and calling slicing whirlwinds. The Game Master was tossed off his game. "A-argh!"
Pichu blinked in surprise after delivering a Thunder powered up by two point seven times. "T-they're hitting him!" he said. "But…why did he stop? Chris failed to shoot him on the face!"
The World Traveler was similarly confused, staring at the gun smoke from his weapon. "It's really strange… Why did he hesitate?" he wondered.
Joshua grinned with an unsettling chuckle, his thumb busy while dialing numbers. "What matters is that he was paralyzed with fear when the bullet missed him," he said, unleashing several saintly beams that were accompanied by little angels coming from the sky. "Great job, Chris. I am impressed."
Chris looked up at the floating Player. "B-but I didn't even think…"
The silver-haired teen frowned with a smile. "Would you get with the shooting time already?"
"O-oh! R-right!" He raised his gun and aimed at the Game Master. "Reckless Abandon!"
Sho's eyes widened, and he quickly warped away from the debuffing shot. When he reappeared several feet to the left, he hesitated to move when he heard the shot being fired again. This moment allowed Soren's Elwind whirlwinds to trap the Game Master within a small tornado that was blasted by Joshua's light beams from the sky. Dialing several numbers in quick succession, the enigmatic teen swung his arms wide and delivered a beam that was accompanied with a feminine angel holding an even larger spear. The Game Master was punted by the spear on his chest that he was pinned down to the floor.
"You got him!" Pichu cheered, but then Sho warped back to their level, appearing right behind their backs. They quickly turned around and faced him, but Pichu was slashed upwards by the Wall of Grizzly. "U-uah!"
"Hey, Pichu! Care to take care of that one for me? Our lives ARE kind of tied together!" Ness complained, though he finished the Wall of Grizzly by shooting himself with PK Thunder, colliding hard against the large bear.
Sho grunted loudly and gritted his sharp teeth, seeing his fourth wave erased. "You hectopascals drive me nuts!" he yelled, getting their undivided attention. "I'm gonna have to divide ya by three!"
Chris gulped once he saw the Game Master's body throbbing with energy, slowly turning into something large and demonic. "I don't want to find out why he said three…"
His doubts were answered when Sho's being became a blurry image that gradually grew larger than any of them, standing over ten feet in height. When the blurriness went away, there stood a large black-and-white, bipedal lion with the same set of Noise-like legs and large, thin, yet thick arms with sharp claws. "EEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGHHH!" the large Taboo Noise, named Leo Cantus, roared down at them. "RADIANS…COME AT ME!" As if things weren't any better, the large lion-like Noise tossed three more Taboo Noise from his claws: three Eurobeat Boomer.
"Well…now things escalated quickly," Ness muttered.
Neku and Joshua had actually saved their Fusion for an unexpected occasion. This being one, the two agreed to use their powered Fusion. As the planes merged together, Joshua asked, "Neku, care to team up?"
"…Yeah," Neku muttered, albeit a bit solemnly as he recalled doubting Joshua as his killer.
Stunned into place, Leo Cantus and his Noise army looked up at the rain of icy and fiery meteors that created chaos and destruction above the rooftop. The kangaroo screeched distortedly as Leo Cantus covered himself with its arms, resisting the several blows crashing on him. Surprisingly, the Taboo Noise were erased, except for their boss. "Nice warm up, digits!" Leo Cantus taunted, chuckling to himself.
The planes got divided once more, except the Players of the upper plane watched the large bipedal lion warp away. A few seconds later, he reappeared in the lower plane with the others. The others gasped and backed off at his sudden appearance. "He's down here now!" Ike said, right before Leo Cantus warped behind him and kicked him down with a swift kick. "Ugh!"
"Zetta slow!" Leo Cantus declared. Hearing Fox's rushing boots from the side, he warped behind the vulpine and kicked down as well. "SOOO ZETTA SLOW!" he scowled down at the vulpine, until an energy lance slashed his side, courtesy of Neku's Ichimonji.
"Hey, pay attention to the others!" Neku taunted, but Leo Cantus appeared by his side and kicked the Player up into the sky, slashing him across the face as well.
"…" Joshua blinked and looked around the upper plane. "…Why aren't there any Noise up here?" he wondered aloud. "He's not tossing anything…"
"Huh… You're right," Soren noted. "Why did he…?"
"You little sons of digits need to be divided PERMANENTLY," Leo Cantus proclaimed, teleporting high above the Players on the lower plane. "Shut up now and face division! No pucks made out of light will help you cheat!"
Suddenly, it became clear. "He is depriving us from starting a light puck chain," he muttered. "Damn him…"
Joshua sighed, landing back on the floor. "No interventions, huh?" he said.
With no light puck to back the ones in the lower plane, they were wasting a lot of time delivering blows that weren't powerful enough to deplete a sizeable chunk of his health. Random episodes of pain went through the partners in the upper plane as they witnessed the fight from a safe, but silent distance. Neku was slashed up by an upward kick, followed by Leo Cantus grabbing his body and slamming him down on the floor, causing Joshua to wince in pain. "G-gyah!" Neku muffled a loud grunt.
Fox came dashing from him, using Fox Illusion and slashing the beast across his body. However, Leo Cantus warped away immediately and came rushing behind the vulpine instead, slashing him across the back with both claws. "A-aah!" Chris felt the severe pain on his back as well, and then he found out he was sweating and panting. "I-I…don't' feel so good… Fox…let me…" He noticed that his vision was affected by his current condition. As if he was staring at a television losing signal, his surroundings were distorting into random static. The effect was solely affecting his eyesight, since the others didn't see it. They did see the effect whenever they got pushed to their limits, but the sight was uncommon outside of very dreadful battles. "H-here!" Chris took out a Cure Drink, revitalizing his partner's health.
Seeing the soda can, Pichu did the same. Soren, on the other hand, couldn't use the Cure Drink pin, being one of the pins that were barred from his unknown ability to use a certain kind of pins. Joshua was also in the situation. "Thanks!" Fox said, feeling his body healed completely.
He blinked. He was near a critical point that a simple Cure Drink couldn't heal to maximum health. Then Fox remembered that his last blow on Leo Cantus had sent a light puck to Chris, who then used a healing pin that sent the light puck back without having delivered a blow. With the light puck empowering his soul, Fox ran away from Leo Cantus. "The healing pins can still pass light pucks around!" he said, causing Leo Cantus to gasp.
The others in the upper plane blinked in realization. "Nice find," Joshua said, nodding a few times. "I guess we're not that far away from making a difference."
Leo Cantus back-stepped several times to gain some distance. "You zeroes can't have ones added up! I let you go and you'll mess up my factoring process!" He tossed three Taboo Noise on both planes, all of them turning into Carcinopunk. "There we go! Three is better than one!"
"Here we go again…" Ness duly noted, taking out his bat.
"Oh my," Joshua suddenly spoke, floating back up and readying his phone. Narrowing his eyes, he warped back to safe floor and saw one Carcinopunk turning into a spinning blade that shot itself to the spot where he was floating. Once the crab was gone, he floated back up. "Not to be rude, but your math is off. Clearly, we're eight over four," he pointed out.
"The answer is point two!" Leo Cantus gleefully responded, to which he got odd looks from the Players in the lower plane. "…Hey, wait a zetta second!" Suddenly, a Carcinopunk smacked him right on the face, having been shot by Ness's bat. The armored crab managed to deal a fair amount of damage due to the fact it was heavy. Shaking his head, Leo Cantus transmogrified into Sho Minanimoto. He chuckled, with his face looking mildly beaten up. "Zetta slow!" he taunted Ike as he dodged a slashing blow from Ragnell. The mercenary felt a palm on his back until several blades of energy shot out, slashing him across. "Die, radian!"
"Y-you damned…" Ike tried to tolerate the aching pain on his back. Secretly, his hand went for his Fusion pin, expecting Sho to attack again. His answer proved to be true when Sho reappeared in front of him, wide palm ready to shoot.
"Get derived!" Sho laughed.
"No, YOU get derived! …Whatever that means!" Ike shot back, tapping into the Fusion pin's power. Both he and Soren quickly reunited and shielded themselves from the energy blades shooting out from the Game Master's palm. Once three of them connected with Ike's sword, Ike slammed down his sword and unleashed a potent tornado that crashed right into Sho's body. As the Game Master grunted loudly in pain, the tornado took a sharp turn and went after the Carcinopunk on the back, trapping them into the slicing winds. Despite the severe blow, the Game Master and its cohorts were only beaten up badly.
Sho landed on his feet, still being pushed by the dying winds while his creations managed to keep their spots by falling hard. Noticing that there was a trail of blood on his lower lip, he grunted to himself and warped to the upper plane, standing far away from the battle taking place on the other battleground. Wiping the bloody trail, he scoffed. "I don't get this…" he muttered. "How in the world are these zeroes overwhelming my factorizations and simplifications?! They were supposed to fall off the dividend by the time they started…"
"That's because we possess the only vital point you're missing from your 'perfect' being," Joshua spoke, floating right behind Sho. The Game Master felt a chill down his spine just hearing the enigmatic teen's voice, but none of the others noticed as they were too busy handling the Carcinopunk. Soren wasn't allowed enough time to use winds as the crabs had been somehow informed that he was bad news to them. They were quickly crowding around his feet, trying to snatch him within their pincers. "What was that again? …Oh, teamwork."
"S-so?!" Sho said, turning around and stepping back, staring intently at Joshua's smug look. The mere mention of the word sent him to near-insanity. "Teamwork is garbage; an unneeded expression that makes no difference within the formula of perfection! I discarded that obsolete term because it only slows me down to a minimal zetta level!"
Joshua crossed his arms, cocking his head to the side. "Then why is it that our use of teamwork is driving you to high end?" he asked.
The Game Master drew his hand back to prepare a barrage of energy blades. "Because it makes no sense to me! Your…stubbornness to overcome my test shouldn't be this problematic! You should've dropped dead into the sea of imaginary numbers several minutes ago!"
"Hmm… Well, I'm not drowning," Joshua replied with a silly grin. "Your math is off, therefore."
"MY MATH IS NOT OFF!" the Game Master snarled, thrusting his palm forward to release even faster blades of energy. Once they shot out at a faster speed, Joshua chuckled ominously and warped right in front of Sho. "G-guh!" he grunted once his enemy's phone was shoved in front of his face.
"Say cheese. This'll be a keeper," Joshua said, calmly pressing a small button to release a blinding flash from his device.
Sho's eyes widened as the force of the flash blinded his eyesight. He grabbed his tearful eyes and fell down on his back, having an episode of squirming on the ground. "SEEEEEEEEIZUREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" he bellowed to the sky. As he yelled, Joshua warped back into the air and called forth several blasting beams of light from the sky, falling down on full force. When Neku's powered light puck arrived just in the nick of time, the teen dialed up more than eleven numbers, allowing him to pin the Game Master to the ground with a large lance held by a female angel. Along with him, the other Carcinopunk were skewered mercilessly by three lances of light, helping the others get rid of them.
Before Joshua could tell them to attack, Sho recovered quickly and transformed into his large Noise form once more. Growling, he tossed three more Taboo Noise into the air, turning into three Eurobeat Boomers. Feeling the planes merge together, the large black lion turned around, getting smacked right on the face by Ness and Pichu's combined Fusion move. The pulsating sphere of electricity went through his body, just as the lined kangaroos standing behind him. After receiving the full blow, the planes were divided again.
Sho warped back to the lower plane and grabbed Ness's small body, lifting him up from the ground. "YOU ZETTA SON OF DIGIT IS MISSING A NUMBER: ZERO!" he growled, slamming Ness harshly on the ground. The force of the impact was so strong that Ness bounced back into the air, where Sho followed by slashing and slamming him down back to the concrete, creating a hole.
"A-ah… D-dang…" Ness muttered, trying to stand up. He took out a Cure Drink from behind, but he gasped when he saw the lion's looming shadow giving him shade. Looking behind, Ness froze as a clawed foot fell down.
The hit was intercepted by Neku using his Ichimonji pin. The lance of energy pushed the foot away, nearly making Leo Cantus slip. Ness quickly scampered off and took the Cure Drink to recover energy, hearing the lion roar a distorted sound. When Leo Cantus looked back at Neku, several bullets of energy coming from the teen's palm collided against the beast's grey chest. Leo Cantus shielded himself with arms and looked over at Neku's fierce glare, asking, "You just can't let this go, huh, binomial?!"
"You killed me, you bastard!" Neku shouted back. "I'm not holding anythin' back against you!"
"What's a little worthless zero compared to me?!"
Neku took that as a heavy insult. He used a new pin – called Frozen Cool – that had the image of an icy stalagmite rising from the ground. With a right palm engulfed in a blue aura, Neku raised it, erecting a stalagmite made of ice from below Leo Cantus. Getting a stalagmite with a sharp end impaling your crotch hurt more than it sounded, as Leo Cantus roared loudly as he was pushed into the air even. Moreover, the attack didn't end there. The stalagmite of ice wasn't fully erected. It took three mental pushes that poked the large beast three equal times before the ice structure shot upwards, slashing his body.
Leo Cantus landed back on the ground, trying to fight the temptation to hold his crotch with his claws. "H-how dare you try to divide me like that?!" he complained to Neku.
Then he noticed Neku's palm was still glowing, rather stronger.
"Up goes the big kitty!" Neku taunted, erecting one more stalagmite from the ground. Because Leo Cantus was still fazed by the blow, he couldn't warp away, and was struck by the attack at full force. It hurt even more once Neku got the light puck back from Joshua, only to deliver it back with charged potency. Feeling his Fusion pin pulsating with power, Neku knew he could use his attack with Joshua.
"Don't," Joshua muttered.
"What?" Neku asked, blinking, as he erected one last icicle from the ground, causing torturing pain to the lion in front of him.
"Trust me, Neku…" Joshua trailed off, busying himself with the Eurobeat Boomers. "…We can go higher than this together. Just give me more time and we'll have this fight in the bag."
The word "trust" made Neku feel sorry for distrusting Joshua throughout the week. It was only fair to give him his full trust now, seeing as their lives were about to be spared once more. "…Alright," Neku said, nodding to himself. As he let the icicle fly upwards into the sky, the large lion fell down back to the floor, grimacing with a sickening expression. He warped to the upper plane.
"Z-zetta…low…" he muttered, turning back into his human form. "…Too zetta…low… NO!" He mustered up his energy to stand upright in midair. "Get erased by these zeroes now and I'll never hear the end of it…"
"Y-you won't get away!" he heard Pichu yelling. Grunting and turning around, Sho dodged a charged Skull Bash from the little Electric-type. When Pichu fell back, he pouted and looked up at him. "You're not supposed to dodge!"
Soren felt the need to comment from afar. "Perhaps if you didn't yell, this wouldn't have happened," he said, frowning afterwards. "Honestly now. When you're fighting somebody, you need to be as stealthy as possible. Don't shout loudly. That'll give the enemy ideas and time to react…"
Chris knew Soren had indirectly jabbed the entirety of a Pokémon battle. The jab though made Chris think about a Pokémon battle situation. "(Actually, he's right about it. Shouting moves out loud sounds like a suicidal idea in practice… Maybe I should try to come up with a strategy for Lucario,)" he thought as he looked away, ignoring the rushing ramming blow from a Eurobeat Boomer, meaning to knock him off the building seeing as the creature quite idiotically fell to its death. Fox managed to see the event that he glared and grunted on instinct. "(Hmm, if we could use telepathy during a battle, our opponents wouldn't even have an idea of what we'd do to counteratta-)"
"Chris, would you please stop daydreaming in the middle of the battle now," Soren suggested in a deadpan tone. "You were this close to getting knocked off the building."
The World Traveler noticed the Branded was next to him. "O-oh! S-sorry! Really!" he apologized.
"It's like you don't want to revive."
"Stop apologizing a lot."
Chris opened his mouth, but he opted to nod silently, focusing back on the battle until he heard a roar coming from the right. Sho had once again turned into his large Noise form. "I must eliminate the random hectopascals! It's the only way to solve this…" he growled, warping away from getting blasted by Joshua's beams.
Joshua then gasped when a claw grabbed his throat, lashing him down to the floor. Gasping for breath at the blow, Joshua pushed himself up, getting kicked harshly on the back of his head by Leo Cantus. Now thrown into the air, Joshua tried to regain his stance, but Leo Cantus grabbed his frail body once more and spun twin in midair to slam and bounce Joshua against the floor. The sudden assault of attacks was enough to put Neku and Joshua in critical health, being pointed out by the blurry static filling Joshua's vision. "N-Neku, do something…!" he gasped out, trying to stand up as the rushing claws from the lion Noise went after him.
The other two Eurobeat Boomers ignored going after the other Players and instead focused entirely on Neku and Joshua. The Smashers noticed the sharp turns that the monsters took and gave chase to them. One Noise managed to stop Neku from drinking a Cure Drink to restore life, adding more damage. "D-damn!" Neku yelled as his back slid across the floor to the northern small ledge of the rooftop.
"I should've done this little math trick when I had the chance!" Leo Cantus said, missing a swift kick on Joshua's head as the teen rolled aside and managed to stand on one knee. "The two of you were the ones disrupting my formula process all along during the whole week. Eliminating you will give me the apples of the faraway tree, and I'll reign over gravity!"
"That made no sense whatsoever to me," Ike muttered under his breath as he went after the kangaroo.
"Neku, Joshua, move!" Ness yelled to encourage the two.
On the upper plane, Chris stopped moving when an idea crossed his mind. Changing to his Fonic Hymn User job, he held out his rod towards Joshua as the others went to the western portion of the rooftop. "Holy power, come to me!" he chanted. "First Aid!"
As Joshua forced his pained body to roll around to dodge the heavy falls from the kangaroo, he was then engulfed in a warm green light that restored some life back to him. He was still in pain, but it gave him enough energy to keep up with the monsters bent on erasing him first. Although Joshua was feeling better, he felt several blows coming from the lower plane where Neku was stomped on twice by the falling kangaroo. Due to this, the healing effect was overwhelmed with more pain. Around that time, the physical attackers managed to catch up with the Noise to diverge their attention from their prey.
Leo Cantus was struck by slicing gales colliding against his stomach. Growling, he looked at Soren, who didn't move from his spot. "I'm dominating gravity!" he said, warping over to the Branded's side. Narrowing his eyes, Soren swiftly stepped back from a quick roundhouse kick to the face. "Any tree can drop an apple, so I'll drop the freaking moon on you!"
By the time Neku and Joshua managed to regain their senses, they saw their vision blurry with static. Through the vision, they witnessed the Smashers fending off the Noise with all their might. Neku had more willpower than Joshua to stand back up, but Joshua managed to do the same, wiping the horrendous sweat on his forehead. "Neku…no more Cure Drinks left?" Joshua called.
"Sorry… I'm empty of 'em," Neku called weakly.
"It's…not something I should hate you for…" He tried to move his arm with his phone towards Leo Cantus' direction. The enigmatic teen noticed that Soren's dodging came to an end when he was kicked down to the floor. "Look…Neku…let me dial up one more time…and we'll end the battle…"
Neku's face darkened under his hair. "Just do it… We don't have the light puck on play, though…"
"It's okay… I need to match a card with the right number for this to work…"
"I'm not the one who likes taking shortcuts using made-up ideas," Leo Cantus said, hastily grabbing Soren by the neck and placing him over the abyss beyond the rooftop. Chris and Pichu gasped and tried to intervene by rushing over to them, but the large lion used a free foot to slash them back. "But sometimes…some numbers can turn into good mach numbers when falling down under the effect of gravity!"
"Damned…bastard…" Soren coughed out. "It's…no surprise to me you'd do this anyway…"
Ike fell sick, seeing through Soren's strained eyes the murderous lion holding him from his throat. "LET HIM GO!" the mercenary demanded.
"Hahahahaha!" Leo Cantus laughed. "You there, radian! Check your multiplications again! In your POV, it's illogical to add that to this now!" He was steadily letting go of Soren's neck. "In MY POV, it's the real answer!" Many discouraging words were yelled at him to stop. If Soren fell down to his death, Ike would follow suit. The Game Master would eliminate both in one shot, and then he could do the same with the other Players. When Soren felt the grip on his neck lessening, he tried to hold himself to the arm as best as he could. "Fall into the sea of imaginary num-!"
Several pieces of random junk fell down on his head. The junk didn't exactly make him stagger or get hurt at all, but he nonetheless grunted at the worthless attack and looked back at Joshua's unnerving grin. The teen was standing up and panting heavily. "Hello there…" Joshua greeted.
Neku felt his heart skip a beat when an absolutely rush of power called out to him from the Fusion pin. He remembered that Joshua forbid him to use their most powerful move for some reason, but when he took out the Fusion pin, it all became clear that Joshua's mysterious nature was playing for his benefit. The blank pin didn't have meteors crossing across. Instead, there was a purple moon falling down southwards while engulfed within a yellow aura that looked like it was on fire.
Leo Cantus growled loudly and pulled Soren back to the floor with a quick pull, making him stumble. The lion quickly warped and held Joshua by his neck instead, putting him above the abyss. Despite this, Joshua kept grinning confidently. "You shot me in the arm that one time…" Leo Cantus muttered under his breath. "I'll crush you against the gravity far below my level!"
Neku wasn't going to have any of it, though, as he clutched the Fusion pin to activate its psyche.
Right after that, Leo Cantus felt tremendous power coming from Joshua. The clawed hands that held his neck were trembling and separating from the teen. It was a strong psychic force coming from Joshua himself that pushed Leo Cantus away, skidding back to a halt. Suddenly, his feet left the floor, and he looked down in horror. A moment ago, he proclaimed his dominance over gravity, but now gravity was against him, as he tried to warp back down. It was futile to resist the invisible force that held him in midair. Growling and trying to flail his arms, he looked forward and saw a confident Joshua floating over the abyss, coming back to the rooftop.
The planes then merged together, and both Neku and Joshua were standing close to each other. Though both had radically different looks, it sent a chill down the lion's spine all the same. "YOU RADIANS AREN'T SUPPOSED TO RULE GRAVITY! I DO!" Leo Cantus shouted.
When the planes merged, the Smashers noticed they were reunited as well. Ike quickly went over to Soren's side to check up on him until he focused back to the battle. As they saw Neku's right hand glowing with an ominous aura, a large shadow loomed over the rooftop. Looking around, the shadow didn't just cover the rooftop. In fact, it also stretched out across all of Shibuya as the shadow gradually covered all buildings and streets. Confused as to what would cause such an event, the Smashers came across another odd event: the background was turning red in color. Along with the color change, Pichu saw rocks floating up from all around the building, and he even felt like his body was pulled up… When everyone looked up at the source, they were undecided as to whether to scream or be silent at the whole thing.
The cause of the shadow was the moon itself, essentially turning into a fiery asteroid that pulled everything to itself with its presence, falling down into Earth's orbit. Because it looked like the moon knew no friends or enemies and was classified as the mother of all "Oh, Crap" moments, Chris instinctively fainted first on his back, followed by Pichu and Ness. Ike, Soren, and Fox were just there, frozen in utter shock as the large planetoid approached the sky from outer space. The fact they weren't pulled from the floor was a clear sign they were somehow going to be spared from the imminent chaos. Still, watching destruction and damnation would leave a heavy mental scar in their minds.
"…The moon," Ike muttered loud enough.
"Joshua and Neku are bringing the frickin' moon down," Fox added in a deadpan tone.
"…Certainly, he's some sort of omnipotent being," Soren commented, admiring the terrorizing event unfolding by itself.
"WHAT THE…" Leo Cantus trailed off.
Neku's hand glowed stronger as he said, "Another world awaits…" and lifted the large Noise with two fingers high into the sky towards the moon.
"And you're going," Joshua finished, snapping his fingers. The snap caused the moon's descend faster as Leo Cantus's fleeting dot in the sky turned into a small meteor that was meant to stop the moon from destroying all life in Japan. The Players heard his loud screams echo from afar until it crashed against the moon.
Then the moon blew up in a massive explosion. The flames of disaster rained down upon the sky, but the destruction and large chunks of the moon vanished as soon as they reached the outline of Shibuya's buildings. The Smashers blinked and looked around at the falling debris sparing Shibuya from total destruction. However, one piece from the destruction did fall down and create a crater on the floor. It was Leo Cantus's blurry being disappearing into black and white static that all that was left from the impact was a semi-conscious Sho Minamimoto spewing smoke from every limb of his body. His Noise form was terminated, but so was the battle.
Neku was also similarly shocked at the whole event as his trusty partner Joshua flicked a small strand of his hair and said, "That was quick."
Worried that they had offed the moon from existence, Neku looked up. The moon was floating there in space during the afternoon, which meant that the moon that had fell down was just Joshua's power taking the form of the real deal. He sighed very slowly, not noticing the grading Reapers hiding behind the rooftop's door. Nodding to each other one time too many, they slapped a Star rank on the report. "Dude, they owned his lion butt," the first Reaper said.
"Ah, that felt sooooooooo good to see," the second Reaper said.
The third Reaper tossed a bag with popcorn behind. "This made my day, guys. It really did," he commented. Pleased with themselves, the planes then went back to their original form…
Kingdom Hearts 3D – SOMEDAY –Kingdom Mix-
The battle was finally over.
With a triumphant return to the UG, the Players stared at Sho appearing in midair and dropping to one knee, panting heavily and coughing some drool mixed with blood. The fainted ones woke up and looked around. "What…happened?" Chris asked.
"I was having this weird dream where Joshua was too OP for our own good when I saw the MOON falling down on us…" Ness added.
"Uh…that did happen," Joshua said, flashing a small smile.
"…MAAAAAN, not even Mewtwo and Lucario put together could pull that off!" Pichu squeaked in realization.
Chris felt sick as Fox helped him back to his feet. When he looked at Sho panting heavily, he gasped. "H-how the… He's still alive after that?!"
"Not for long," Joshua said, stepping forward. "His Noise form was eradicated. He used that as a substitute to delay his erasure. Some of the damage from that final attack managed to pass over to his human form." He chuckled. "That doesn't change anything, though. We won this week's Game with flying colors."
Neku wanted to smile, but he held his composure. He calmly stepped forward and said, "It's over now. You lost the fight. Time for you to get going."
Minamimoto grunted and wiped a small trace of blood from his lips. "Hahhh..." He stood back up, struggling to support himself on his feet. "You're zetta persistent..."
Chris couldn't hold up the huge relief that he chuckled loudly. Falling moon and laser beams from the heavens aside, victory was achieved once more. "We did it!" he said. "We won the Game once more!"
"Isn't it a little too early to celebrate?" Soren asked before everyone could break into cheers. "It'll be a victory once Kitaniji holds the side of his deal. Let us not get our hopes so high."
All excitement died down, but Chris smiled a bit. "I-I know… Sorry," he said, seeing the others chuckle at him. He blushed embarrassed, but he couldn't help but join them anyway.
Joshua looked back at Sho. "Aww, what's wrong?" he cooed. "Weren't you going to erase us at the speed of light? Thinking back, you failed the first second of the fight. What a bad liar. That calculation was fated to go wrong."
"Heh heh heh..."
The Game Master, despite having lost the fight, muttered a dark chuckle. The others stared his way confused until he broke out laughing to the sky. "Haaa ha ha ha haaa!" he laughed, his body shaking with pleasure. "3.14159265358979323846264338337950288419716939937 51058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170 67982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408 12848111!" he broke into a long detailed form of pi.
"What the hell?" Neku said as he and the others stepped back cautiously. When they noticed, they appeared somewhere else on the rooftop. The Players were backed into the northeast corner of the floor, effectively standing between the Game Master and a large abyss of air that had the city down below.
"Admittedly, he did get a moon fall and explode on his head," Ike said.
"I'm sure that didn't have much effect on this laughing fit of his…" Soren trailed off.
"The world's made up of numbers!" Minamimoto declared at their faces. "I've been reverse-engineering my desired solution all along! And here it is!" Raising his hand and feeling that his body was starting to separate from reality, Sho smirked again, and then the Players felt an ominous yet powerful feeling manifesting in the Game Master's hand. Their bodies involuntarily shook; a feeling that was close to fear.
Joshua gasped loudly. "Look out! That psych's a Lv. i Flare!" he warned them.
"The hell is a Lv. i Flare?!" asked Fox.
"I-I don't know but it sounds pretty bad!" squeaked Pichu as he hid behind Ness.
"I am victorious!" Sho said, bringing his hand in front of him, targeting them all.
Neku looked behind him and saw the area they were cornered. "Nowhere to run!" he said. "I-is this it?! We're gonna lose after winning?!" He gritted his teeth in frustration as light began to intensify, giving them the illusion that scrambling around the floor would prove to be a fatal decision.
In the span of three seconds, so much happened during that critical moment.
Joshua knew that everyone would get erased by the nasty attack from the crazy Game Master, unless he was to push them back down from the building. With a frozen smile, Joshua stepped in front of Neku and pushed him back to the group. The simply push was enough to cause a long chain for them to fall off the building due to the fact that the surprised Neku bumped clumsily over Ness and kicked him back by accident, who then took Pichu along with his fall. The loner teen tried to grab someone to hold himself from falling, but he ended up taking an unsuspecting Ike by his wrist. Soren gasped and tried to grab Ike, but because the difference in weight was too much, the Branded ended up getting pulled from the floor. Chris quickly tried to reach out for Ness and Pichu, but he had leaned out too much that he slipped down. By the time he was stretching his hand out to his partner, Fox was the only one standing…until he was back-kicked squarely on his butt by Joshua, falling down as well.
From the position they were, they looked back at the top of the skyscraper to see a blinding white void consuming the rooftop where Joshua was fully opening his arms to shield them from the incoming explosion. Grinning over his left shoulder, Joshua said his parting words to Neku. "But Neku... I thought you couldn't afford to lose," he said, looking back at the mesmerizing light about to make a full-head collision to his frail body. "Give up on yourself…and you give up on the world."
They watched Joshua's frame disappear within a massive explosion that blinded their vision completely. As their screams filled the fleeting air and their bodies rapidly fell down the large building, Neku screamed, "JOSHUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"
After the bewildering event was over with, their bodies vanished from the UG's existence. Back on top of the rooftop, soot covered the entire floor where some spots were almost left untouched. The spot where Sho Minamimoto was standing was now empty with a print of his shoes' outline. On the spot where Joshua had been, only one item was spared from the explosion. It was his cellphone, broken into pieces. The screen was lifelessly holding onto the memory chip until it died out, along with its owner…
Joshua has been erased…
Dear God's Pad
The World Ends with You – Amnesia
From thin air, Neku and the Smashers fell down on the flat floor. Grunting in pain at the sudden change of settings, they each got up and were glad to see that they were still in one piece even though they were falling from an incredible height. "We… We're here again…" Pichu muttered, grabbing his head in pain. "…"
"…" Neku ignored the fact. He instead thought back on Joshua sacrificing his life for them all. Likewise, everyone else felt a sense of guilt that they never felt towards Joshua. But then, when he found himself standing in the saintly-looking space, he gasped. "The Game ended!? When? How? Joshua! Where's Joshua?"
Soren frowned. "Erased, I'm afraid," he pointed out. Even the likes of Soren were ashamed of what had happened moments ago. Not that he liked Joshua in any way, but he felt that at least apologizing to Joshua for getting the brunt end of their suspicions was in order. "He…stepped in front of the attack and pushed us off from the building." Neku blinked and stomped the floor once in anger.
"This is so horrible…" Chris muttered. "We got the pass at the cost of his life… It's just like Ike said before," he said, and Ike shut his eyes in realization. "You win, and then you lose…"
"Worst of all, we never got to apologize formally to Joshua," Ness said, looking a bit sad. "He was a pain in the rear way too many times, but I don't like not apologizing to somebody in time." He grabbed his head. "If…if I knew that crazy math fetishist was going to pull this…!"
"I just had it with this stupid game!" Fox suddenly growled. "Everyone is laying down their lives for us because we can't seem to predict their moves in time! We could've prevented a lot of those events!"
Chris gasped. "N-no, nobody is laying down their lives!" he protested. "Joshua…even Sota and Nao did-"
"It felt like that to me," Ike interrupted, making some of them gasp. He was very conflicted over the thought of the countless of people dying. "…Even the Reapers that were erased by Sho's Taboo Noise could be seen as bait so that we could make it. I know for a fact a few people were fighting for our cause, too. It doesn't help all Players and Reapers are doing their jobs to survive that it makes everyone look like we're unconditionally helping one another under the same circumstances…" He sighed slowly, depressing the mood in the air. "I'm so disturbed by the death rate…"
Blinking at the hushing sound, the seven Players turned to the left to see a pleased Megumi appearing from the light. Some of them looked blank, but the others were shooting him with glares. "Kudos. Victorious yet again," he said with open arms. "Yet another week where only you win the Game while the rest are departed to the afterlife. Let me take a moment to congratulate you, and to thank you for your assistance."
"Assistance?" Ike repeated, confused. "We never…"
"Ah, but did you not rid us of Sho Minamimoto, the rebel?"
They blinked once and exchanged looks. "The Grim Heaper was a rebel?" Neku questioned. "He wasn't on your side after all?"
Megumi burrowed his hands into his pockets. "The moment he said I was garbage should've told you everything," he said, chuckling. "He was always not one for teamwork. I helped myself with the rules of the Game by telling you to do your stuff."
Neku realized soon what he meant with the last words. "Then that last mission-"
"Was issued by me," Megumi finished.
"You were using us?" Fox asked, throwing his hands to the sides. "Geez! That's another one to add to the list about what I think of you all!"
"Not to mention this manipulation indirectly led to Joshua…" Neku gasped. "What did you do to Joshua?"
Megumi shook his head. "Joshua is no more."
As Neku grimaced and lowered his face, the others did the same, lamenting Joshua's loss. "I…I knew it…" Pichu sniffed. "There was no way Joshua could've survived that massive explosion back there…"
"He took the brunt of Minamimoto's attack," Megumi said as they kept averting his gaze. "Both boy and lion vanished. Nuked to oblivion, no doubt."
Neku felt sick in his stomach even more when pressed with the fact. "Then he died...protecting me?" he muttered. "Why would he do that?"
Megumi shrugged his shoulders. "He must have had some affection for you as a partner," he stated. "He was a fool, though. No partner merits that kind of sacrifice."
"Unbelievable…" Ike trailed off. "Even after all the things we whispered behind his back, he decides to just put his life on the line? That's not how this works!" he complained. "There must've been another reason for Joshua doing that for our sake!"
"He liked you very much," Megumi said, turning his head to Neku. "Especially you."
Neku felt like crap when he was told the importance he was to Joshua. "...I did this," he muttered under his breath. "(I blamed him. He's gone because of me. I accused him of shooting me, but he was innocent! I made him feel like he owed me something. I didn't... We didn't trust him. My partner. I didn't even apologize. I'm the worst... I never told Joshua I'm sorry.)"
"And we never apologized in the end…" Chris reminded them. Neku wasn't feeling any better. "…I'm so horrible…"
"I can see you're taking this hard," Megumi commented. "But you needn't blame yourself. Technically, he never entered the Game. He didn't actually exist in the UG." He held out a hand. "How could he disappear...if he was never here in the first place?"
The headphones-wearing teen glared up at the Conductor. "That's not funny!" he called out.
"And," Megumi continued, "we mustn't overlook his grave transgressions." They were all taken off-guard by the implication until he followed with his explanation. "Meddling with the UG from the outside? Breaking into the Game? The living people are not eligible to play." He pointed a finger at the seven Players. "And now you, too, must be punished...for abetting him in his crimes."
They gasped, naturally, because the truth stung painfully. "P-punished!?" Neku repeated.
Nobody was too pleased to hear the accusatory words directed at their ears, even less so with the "e" word. No one was as pissed as Fox, whose gut feeling told him that there was no "effing" way they were going back to life no matter how hard he tried to muster up his hope. Immediately before he could turn into a mindless animal and hurl himself to Megumi and strangle him, Ike and Chris grabbed his arms while Ness opened his palms to put a psychic restraint on his mouth because he heard when he managed to yell out "You BIIIIIIIIIIIII-!" too loudly in time, which was still echoing within his bloodthirsty mouth. Pichu was the only one who wisely stepped away, shaking in fear.
Soren ignored the rabid beast wearing clothes and narrowed his eyes, grunting with his response. "I knew it. This was bound to be mentioned," the Branded grimaced. "Joshua's actions were far too suspicious that it'd warrant us to get punished for cooperating with him."
Ness yelped, somehow finding himself straining with his psychic lock on Fox's mouth. "What?!" he said, utterly shocked. "N-no way, don't kid! We made it this far with a far better track record! Now we won that Noise fight and our prize is…ERASURE?!" He looked frightened at Megumi. "P-please, spare our lives! Oh man, I never thought I'd say this! Please, don't! I'm too young to die!" To the surprise of many, he started whimpering.
Megumi kept staring at their wary looks, finding guilty pleasure in making Fox explode with rage by now. Grinning amused at the scene, the sadistic Conductor then said, "...At least, were I to go strictly by the book."
All activity quickly seized. The seven Players fell silent, and even the vulpine stopped trying to run and scream his head off. "…Pardon?" a much calmer Fox uttered as Ike and Chris let go of his arms.
"But lucky for you, we repay our debts," Megumi said. "The Composer has generously decided to enter you in one final Game with a penalty. You may not refuse."
It wasn't like hearing the fact that another week full of peril was the greatest gift of all. It was entirely the opposite.
"…And exactly how is that any better?" Soren asked deadpan, ignoring the blood-curling scream from a re-angered Fox. This time though, he managed to get an early head start from his restrainers until Ike and Chris lunged themselves at his back and pinned him down under their combined weight. Ness then put the lock back on, wondering why a normal person could input so much energy against a psychic move.
Neku gritted his teeth, realizing that Shiki's return was delayed further. "Another Game? But what about Shiki?" he asked until demanding, "What happens to her!?"
"Nothing," the Conductor said. "The last Game is null and void. Your entry fee will be carried over, as well as their condition to keep protecting you at all costs."
Neku looked back at the others, and they looked back at him. "That's... That's the penalty?" he said.
Megumi disapproved. "No. Your penalty is disqualification from all Games beyond the next. You will not be allowed to play again..." he trailed off for a bit to add, "again. Rejoice, for this shall be the final time you'll get to go back to life for real. All of you will have the benefit assured without strings attached." Despite the "good" news, Fox kept screaming inside his mouth, and Chris started shedding tears.
"Y-you better keep your words this time!" Ike yelled from the floor. "N-next time, I'll let this beast under my body punch your glasses!" Pissed, Fox used the backside of his left foot to kick the mercenary.
The loner teen looked at Megumi. "This is our last shot?" he asked.
Megumi nodded. "Now, I must collect your entry fee," he said while staring at everyone in the room. The fact he was staring at everybody meant that no one was safe from getting a personal value taken away.
All actions soon seized once more. The trio stopping Fox thanked themselves that he stopped squirming, but it was too brief to relax. "W-what?!" asked Pichu in tears. "N-nooooooo! No more, please, no more!"
Neku was just as shocked at the requirement. "I... I already paid!" he said. "They already paid with me as their entry fee!"
Megumi adjusted his glasses. "For your last entry, yes," he said. "But one entry fee is required for each Game. Composer's rules. I'm afraid I can't bend them." He gazed at the Smashers. "Oh, the Composer doesn't want to let you go free with the last requirement this time. You're also subject to the rule."
"Aww, crap!" Ness groaned, his team looking sick.
Neku started to feel very pressured at the odds of surviving the next game. Things couldn't get any worse, he thought. They were already bad as they were. "Dammit... What else can you possibly take from me?" he finally asked, wanting to end the torture.
Megumi's glasses flashed. "It's already been taken, along with theirs."
Before anybody could say anything, the Conductor's guests fell unconscious. They managed to see a satisfied grin from Kitaniji's lips just right before slipping away from reality…
?'s Week – Sensible, Senseless
The sound of the street light for pedestrians turned green, and people started walking across the busy streets. Opening his eyes, Neku saw himself lying down on the concrete as the living's feet mercilessly stepped through his body. Getting up and dusting his clothes, Neku looked around the area…
The Smashers were not with him.
He was alone in the middle of Shibuya; alone for the Noise to hunt him down with no worries about the Player retaliating without a partner, or even friendly protection from another pair.
"Dammit... Why... WHY!?" he bellowed to the sky.
After waking up and noticing that Fox and the others were nowhere in sight, Chris started to panic. He was alone. The people in the RG walking around him didn't make him feel any better, because to them he was an invisible ghost. Bracing himself, the World Traveler looked around. "F-Fox?!" he called out, walking south to Cadoi City. "Pichu? I-Ike? Ne-ess?! Soren?! NEKU?!"
It was no use. No matter how loud he yelled, there was no response. He thought that the loud people yelling and talking drowned his own yell, but he continued yelling as he padded his way to the south.
"(W-was this my entry fee?)" Chris wondered. "(Did…did they take Fox away from me?)" he thought alarmed until, to add insult to the injury, he bumped hard into an invisible wall that blocked him from proceeding to Cadoi City. It was a rule to go to Hachiko where partners were available to choose, if the new partners managed to stay alive long enough to live for it. Falling on his rear, Chris grunted in pain and looked up at the flickering wall. "O-oh, you've got to be kidding me!" he yelled.
Sighing, the World Traveler got back up to his feet and wished for dear life that Noise weren't around to eat his insides. Because Towa Records had two exits; south for Cadoi City and north for Miyashita Park Underpass, Chris then went over to the north, holding out a hand in case another wall wasn't trapping him in the musical store area.
When he reached the boundary of the two areas, his hand…did not go through the wall that boxed him in Towa Records. His self-esteem quickly fell into despair. There were no other ways he could go in the area. Chris was effectively trapped inside a cage. Seeing laughing people walking through the walls just fine made him think that the situation was really unfair to him. "N-no… Oh god, no!" he said, shaking his head too many times. The only good thing that made him feel okay was that he could at least fight Noise outside the planes. Knowing this, Chris sighed with relief and cupped his right hand in his Blaster's empty holster.
Last time he remembered, there was a Blaster in his holster.
Looking down at his lap, his holster was devoid of his Blaster. Looking to the left, his Reflector was also gone. Thinking back, his weaponry was with him when he woke up in the very first day of the first week before meeting up with Fox. The weapons were gone now, and that wasn't a good sign. Chuckling nervously, Chris said, "J-joke's on them! I still have other jobs with weapons for me to use!" Changing to his Black Mage job, Chris tried taking out his staff.
The fact he needed to try taking out his staff made it clear that his other jobs weren't spared.
Chris started sweating, snapping his gloved fingers to make a staff appear. Sadly, the weapon never materialized. Even pulling his hand behind his back to take out anything from hammerspace was no good either. "…I…I don't need a staff to use magic! It only amplifies my magic power! I-I'm still good to go here!" He sighed, calmly trying to cast Fire to use it in midair in front of him.
There was no magic glyph forming under his feet. Because it was the last method for him to use, Chris desperately tried to bring his magic power forth. But, it never came after several tries. Focusing his mind into magic only made him get a slight headache. When his head felt pain, Chris eventually stopped, not wanting to risk having his head potentially explode in case that even happened. "…This… I'm…screwed…" he muttered, voluntarily falling on his rear as he stared at the invisible wall. "…Oh no… This can't be! No!" he yelled at the wall. "How am I supposed to get out of this fix? Fox isn't here to help me! N-no one else is!"
As if destiny answered his pleas, some hard footsteps came from behind his back. He didn't hear them, however.
"L-Lucario…" Chris was just about to start shedding tears until he heard the footsteps. He blinked in surprise and froze on the spot. The footsteps sounded like the steel walking around, which pointed out that Fox was standing there, surely with a big grin. Smiling, Chris stood up and turned around, his hopes renewed. "Fox! I'm so glad to see you her-" Immediately, his irises shrunk, and his eyes shook when he took a deep, frightened breath that nearly earned him a heart attack.
Devil Survivor 2 – Countdown
Chris could've sworn the sounds came from iron boots, the usual kind Fox always wore. But when he saw the source of the sounds, all renewed hope was brutally torn apart and replaced with horror.
The source of the footsteps was not too pleased to see its prey quivering in fear, as it only caused the monster to growl. The owner of the clawed feet that tore the concrete of the UG flexed back its demonic knees, pulling its curled claws in a wary stance while its glaring, red, empty eyes narrowed. It barred its sharp-looking fangs while its tail made up of a multitude of sharp curves stretched out. Chris could still hear the silent growls of the monster through his own heavy breathings.
Chris then grabbed his chest with both hands where his heart beat madly in anxiety. The Noise form of Lucario turned into a real nightmare, standing fifteen feet away and flexing its tensed arms down. It was known as the Aura Hunter among the Noise ranks; a monster that located pure auras to eradicate them swiftly and brutally, as they were a nuisance to its aura sensing abilities.
It was certain that Chris had been reduced to a trainer in terms of battle performance. With no weapons and magic at his disposal, let alone a partner, the World Traveler backed to the invisible wall, shaking his head madly as he processed the grave situation he got himself into. The Lucario Noise was not going to hold anything back. He was in a fighting stance, as if the real deal was defying his trainer. Every inch Chris moved back, it only caused the monster's growls to grow louder and louder, baring its drooling fangs even more as a result.
Worst of all, Chris got a serious breakdown. In all his years, he never expected to see such a horrifying sight. The person he considered his ultimate Pokémon was now hell bent on ripping him to shreds without remorse. True, Chris knew this wasn't the real Lucario per se. It was a Noise-tailored version whose main task was to hunt down singular Players, and he was his prey. It was all the more reason for Chris to pray for dear life that his Pokémon of mass destruction were here to obliterate his evil copy and bask in the glory of being congratulated by his dear trainer…
Reality wasn't such a nice thing, though.
Gulping and sweating all the water out from his body while also admitting that he was just as good as dead, Chris said, "OH, HOLY FU-!" before the feral Lucario let out a deafening howl and quickly lunged at the human…
TO BE CONTINUED…
"?'s Week – Alone"
Do you want to save your data?
-Scramble Crossing / Towa Records-
Chris / Fox / Ness / Pichu / Ike / Soren / Neku
Oh, brother. Things suddenly got even worse than they were.
Okay, seriously now. If there are people sick of this arc taking too long, then let me tell you this: this is the definite last set of four chapters for the arc. Though what'll happen next after that is…still to be seen, or what'll happen during this arc as a whole. You TWEWY players surely saw this coming anyway. Like I said before, making an arc go for four chapters for this…just wouldn't work because of how the plot is structured.
Let's get down to talking. There's one final week to pass. Joshua has been erased in the most unexpected way possible. The group didn't get to apologize formally to him. Now the group has been seemingly separated in an UG filled with Noise. Neku has no partner like all of them… Of course a Lucario Noise would show up eventually.
Hate to leave you with another cliffhanger…but worry not! Someday, the Twister of bad luck will end as to no give you a sense of Déjà vu, or else it's Game Over.
The next chapter is nearly finished as of this writing, but I'll wait some time before it's published. For now, I encourage all readers to review…or else Chris will make a habit of daydreaming in battle.
Chris: That's like one sure way for me to get offed.
Pichu: Seriously now. I'm the frailest of the group and you've been killed THRICE already. Something is really WRONG here. Take that advice to heart!
Chris: Leave it to the frailest of the group to tell me to dig myself deeper…