Chapter Twelve

"Are you sure about this?" Lita asked worriedly.

"Lita, Guardian of Metal ain't a title. It's a duty", said the Guardian.

With that, he turned and entered the Motor Forge's arena.

The Master of Puppets drew his sword.

"Are you prepared to be punished for your sins, Ozwald?"

"Are you?", the Guardian retorted.

Cassius did not reply; instead he launched himself at the Guardian, only to be batted out of the air with Gleipnir. He landed on his feet and dashed at the Guardian, who stepped out of the way just in time. Cassius was ANGRY now. With a cry like a wounded Tollusk, he charged.

WHAM!

This time, the Guardian was too slow. He was sent flying, and the Master of Puppets dashed over and raised his sword and plunged it straight into… the ground. Cassius looked around wildly, and then felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around, only to receive the Guardian's fist in his face.

"Stop this, Cassius," the Guardian pleaded, "I don't want to kill you… There's still a chance that we could get along-"

"I WILL NOT FALL TO YOUR VILE TEMPATION!"

The Master of Puppets tackled the Guardian and began raining blows down on his prone body like a meteor shower.

Watching from an adjacent island, Eddie Riggs was panicking. This wasn't how it was supposed to end! The Master of Puppets raised his sword to finish off the injured Guardian, when an involuntary cry tore itself from Eddie's lips.

"GUARDIAN!"

Meanwhile… His eyes squeezed shut the Guardian of Metal focused only on enduring the pain. He could feel consciousness slipping out of his grasp. This was the end.

"Ozwald… can you hear me?"

"M-Master Skul?"

"Yes, my old apprentice. Even though I died long ago, my spirit has always been with you. You must not give up hope. For there is too much at stake for you to give up. You are the—"

"GUARDIAN!"

Ozwald was back in his own body again. Without even thinking, he kicked the Master of Puppets off of him and leapt to his feet. He lashed out with Gleipnir, knocking Cassius's sword to the floor. The duel began anew, with handfuls of fire flying everywhere. The guardian focused on pushing back the Master of Puppets towards a jutting cliff, but just when he had him there, the Master of Puppets closed his eyes and started glowing with a white aura.

"You may be tough, Ozwald, but I am better. Do you even know what I'm doing?"

"Y-yes," said the Guardian, "You're attempting the Whiteblaze again, just like last time."

"Except this time, I have mastered it. Any last words, sinner?"

Cracks began to spread along the outcropping Where the Master of Puppets was standing.

"Yeah," said the Guardian, "I wouldn't stand there if I were you."

"What?"

The Guardian pointed at the Mater of Puppets' feet, but it was too late. The platform crumbled.

The Master of Puppet was falling backwards with no hope of righting himself in time to fly up. He hit the magma with a splash. It was all over.