Dark Ace swiftly sifted through the masses of people. He felt the tension in the air as it ruffled the fabric of his hooded disguise. The redundant chant of protest echoed throughout the crowd as the ropes of liberation ensnared the magnificent statue. His pace hastened and civilians were mercilessly shoved aside to make way for the mysterious figure. A crescendo of cheers rippled through the crowd as the ring leader addressed the soon to be quelled rebellion. Dark Ace listened to the last few words of the uprising, spoken by a soon to be martyr.

"We do not need to live in fear!" The crowd roared.

"We do not need to die as slaves!" Another cry of defiance shook the terra.

"Cyclonis' rule ends now!" The leader proclaimed.

"Not while I draw breath" Whispered a hooded figure in the front row as he leapt up onto the statue, his time had come... Before the chorus of agreeance could send a tremor through the clouds, a bitter silence held the crowd by its throat. There upon the stage of his Masters statue; was a martyr with an iconic blade crucifying him. The crowd shivered in terror as their leader clutched the robe of the man on his descent, revealing the blood red eyes and pitch black hair of the Champion of Cyclonia. The Dark Ace withdrew the blade and ran his gloved hand along the serrated edge that was adorned with that warm, bubbling and red liquid that he craved. He turned and greeted his captivated audience with a sadistic smirk as his hand slid down to the hilt of his weapon like an adoring stroke of a beloved pet. The eyes before him were wide and attentive with fear.

"Normally I would bring this little uprising to Master Cyclonis' attention..." He began, projecting his threat across the cowering audience.

"However I am sure that this little matter need not concern her, provided that you work overtime for a week to make up for the time you wasted here" He offered as his eyes scanned the crowd like a vulture, hunting for a peasant foolish enough to challenge him. His blood lust had been sated yet he was disappointed he could not gorge himself.

"Now get going!" He ordered, igniting his blade and sending a bolt of energy at the crowd to disperse them. Dark Ace gave a triumphant grunt and then turned to the statue of his Master...his beloved Master. He closed his eyes and let out a shuddery exhale as he felt his heart twinge. He furrowed his brow and clenched his jaw in a futile attempt to repress his secret-even if it was from a statue of her. He opened his eyes and went livid at the sight of the ropes strewn across her. He growled in fury as he removed the pathetic disgraces that poisoned her perfection. He threw the last piece of rope to the ground with unparalleled hatred; he needed to vent his rage on some unruly civilians. He drew his blade and started stalking towards the factories that were now flooding the skies with the smog of progress, a blood thirsty smile staining his face. He looked up at the darkened sky and watched a bolt of lightning dance across its majesty. His eyes followed the bolt as it trickled down towards the horizon. His blade's electrical hum silenced and he collapsed to his knees at the spectacle before him. The lightning lashed out at the sky behind her like a mystical aura that sent awestruck shivers down his spine. He searched her ceramic eyes for some sign of praise for his iron clad loyalty or some sign of compassion for her sworn protector. Or dare he dream it-some sign of affection for him. His lip curled and he gently shook his head, letting a spiked strand of midnight black hair wave in front of him.

"How can an angel love a demon?" He sadly smiled as he imagined holding her in his arms as she flashes him her beautiful smile with those amethyst eyes wide with happiness. A tear running down his cheek snaps him out of his delusions. He took a deep inhale. He murdered innocent people without batting an eyelash. He was a cold blooded killer who felt no fear and no compassion. He was the Dark Ace, yet this one girl could bring him to his knees. He remembered back to when she was young and would explore her castle on his shoulders. Every day she would rave on about crystals and their properties and he feigned fascination because the reality was he couldn't understand her complex vocabulary. Every night he would carry her to bed and she would ask about his adventures around the Atmos, her violet eyes always wide with excitement. Now at the adolescent age of 16 she works tirelessly for her lifelong goal of world domination. It's in her genes to rule Atmos, just like her Grandmother did her prime. He let out a low growl as he thought about the people who took from her what is rightfully hers; The Sky Knights. His memory flashed back to when he betrayed Lightning Strike. The fateful day that he became a traitor to Atmosia and a hero to Cyclonia. People believed it was easier to call him evil rather than decipher his motives. Truth was there was only one; her. It all began when he was a young boy and Atmosia was invaded by the Cyclonian occupation force. His parents were killed that day yet he was sparred...sparred by a little princess who now graces the throne of Cyclonia. Quid Pro Quo he concluded. Now he wakes up every day to see her magnificent face as she confides her plans with him using a voice as sweet as honey. He chuckled at how he often has to ask the other Talons what their mission is because he was too busy getting lost in her presence and her heavenly scent of lavender. He glanced up at the statue and sighed.

"Forgive my weakness Master...no matter how hard I try...I can't forget about you...even in my dreams...you're always there...you are the one who I would give my life for...you are the one I sacrificed everything to be with...you are the one who makes my heart ache..." Dark Ace forced himself to swallow as his throat narrowed with emotion while the rain began to shadow his tears.

"I only wish I was worthy" His voice cracked and he clenched his fists in a desperate struggle to regain his composure. He looked at his patient sword on the ground and clutched its hilt. It pulsed with anticipation at his touch. Dark Ace smiled at it before strapping it to his back and rising to his feet.

"She needs a Champion not some skulking, love sick suitor!" He mused as his fighting spirit that hid his emotions once again cloaked his heart with cold indifference. He looked over at his skimmer by the trees and marched towards it. By the time he reached his Talon Switchblade Elite, the rain had already cleansed his face of the tears. He mounted the bike and ignited the eager engine. He laughed at the machines enthusiasm and revved the throttle to hear its raging growl in response. He kicked off and drove towards the edge of the Terra. Dark Ace drove straight off the cliff and let the skimmer free-fall for a few metres before activating the wings and spiralling up through the thunder rumbling clouds. It was reckless soaring through a storm cloud but the exhilarating sensation was intoxicating and any confidence boosting adrenaline he could fill his veins with before he saw Cyclonis, the better. He let out a wicked laugh; for all the attempts the world made to rid her from its surface, none of them prevailed and he took great pride in being the common factor. He burst through the other side of darkness and peered back at the angry cloud with a defiant smirk. He barrel rolled his skimmer then set a course for Cyclonia.

"Home sweet home" He announced with a bittersweet smile as he soon found himself engulfed by a sea of red skies. He flew past a Cyclonian destroyer and grimaced.

"What an eyesore" Dark Ace commented before noticing a skimmer and a heli-scooter approaching him. He rolled his eyes and sneered as the bickering of the two officers came into ear shot.

"What is it now?" He asked in an annoyed tone.

"Dark Ace we are glad you have returned" Announced the nervously perky archer as a weak smile lit up her face.

"Yeah we were wondering if you could find out why Master Cyclonis is so pis-" Snipe asked in his gravelly voice before being interrupted by Ravess.

"-Peeved off..." Ravess hissed at her brother.

"That's not what I was gonna say, sis!" Snipe moronically refuted.

"Do you really want your last words to be a bodily function brother!" Ravess asked cynically as her golden eyes metaphorically tore Snipe to pieces.

"Ravess, Snipe. Adjourn any business matters while I see to her" Dark Ace ordered. The two officers saluted and made their way back to the castle with Dark Ace. Dark Ace himself was exempt from all laws on Cyclonia and answered only to Master Cyclonis herself, no soldiers were obliged to follow him but not doing so generally saw them executed by his marauding blade. The three walked through the castles corridors and reached their destination, which was marked by a Cyclonian gaurd flying out of the throne room and crashing into a wall. Ravess and Snipe both halted in fear. Dark Ace pondered whether or not he wanted to wait a week in the infirmary while his wounds healed from confronting his Master. Then again, she never punished him; he only prayed that system kept true while he tried to calm her down.

"Wait here and do not let anyone through, is that clear?" Dark Ace ordered over his shoulder to the cowering officers.

"Of course Dark Ace" Ravess gulped.

"Yeah yeah no problem...hey can I have your Terra if you die? Just wondering..." Snipe asked as he twiddled his thumbs.

Dark Ace just shook his head and took a deep breath, possibly his last...

"Master Cyclonis" He announced as he walked through the automatic doors, using a dark and heroic tone. Her shoulders were rigid and as tense as stone but she seemed to relax a little when she knew he had returned. He walked to the centre of the room and held his fist over his heart and bowed his head in respect.

"Go away Dark Ace, I don't want to hurt you" She said coldly as the gentle tapping of the machines' keys filled the room.

"Master if hurting me makes you feel better then I will offer no resistance" He said, clenching his jaw in anticipation. His ears were blessed with the sound of her harmonious laughter but as quickly as it came it was gone and replaced by the eerie sound of taping on the keys. There was a short pause, Dark Ace relaxed his jaw and stood to attention. His intricately robed Master with a cowl shielding her head seemed more emotionally relaxed but he could feel her physical tension from across the room. He once again became bewitched as he stood motionless, trying to hide his fascination. He wanted to relieve the tension in her little shoulders so bad he had to hold himself back.

"Should I begin guessing or are you going to tell me why you're here?" She asked. Before Dark Ace could even realise it was too late, he found himself walking towards her as he responded-so much for holding himself back.

"The situation on Terra Gale has been resolved and the smelters are now operating at 300% capacity" He proudly explained as he crept up the steps, trying to dampen the sound of his voice as though he was still standing in the centre of the room.

"Excellent work Dark Ace, I knew you would succeed" She praised. His heart fluttered; she believed in him. He was only a few metres from his beloved Master and he prayed with every fibre in his body that she didn't turn around. He knew he was getting close; their height contrast of 6'3 and 5'8 started to show.

"Thank you Master" He whispered to her, she gasped but he had already closed the final distance...