"…You are back once more, are you now? After two stories about the end of an era for two timelines, and the complete, helpless annihilation of one of those two you seriously desire more tales about the alternate universes that exist all around us? Hmmm…Your bravery is only superseded by your curiosity, young child of the wandering cosmos. Oh? You have already witnessed future events and seen a being that chronicles the multiverse in all of its glory? Am I that being? Though I am deeply honored by the inquiry, I have only been acquainted with the Chronicler and thus am not him. Thank you though, it has been many years since I have heard such kind remarks…"

"Please try to understand how the multiverse works. For every good conclusion, there shall always be an alternate timeline where the worst manages to become reality. That is one of the many absolutes in the universe, as designed by the higher-ups themselves…But in spite of that absolute law, there are also instances where the opposite shall hold true, and even in the grimmest of hours hope shall be found and peace can be delivered…Hah…You know, for your troubles in coming here once again, I shall weave together a tale with a more peaceful end than the two that preceded it. Today then, we shall be breeching familiar territory…This time, we shall see what happens when fate allows two brave heroes to return to a battlefield where it is not their fists that shall be needed, but rather their empathy…Come with me then, the tale has begun already…"

Clash of the Elements What-If Scenario (Part 2):

Confusion from Chaos

The battle against the witch Cackletta has finally come to an end. Left to die and be reborn continuously until her "Second Life" spell runs dry, the witch alas managed to reach her long desired goal of creating a Dark King of her own, who took after the image of the new Elemental Overlord but with a more darkness inspired color scheme. With her final words, the witch imprinted within her creation's mind the desire to wipe out all beings in the universe both good and evil, convincing him that all of creation is a vile, distorted mess that needs to be wiped clean without sympathy. However, as her body faded amongst the ashes of her own molecules, the Dark Star, a malicious force born from an unknown power source, took control of the one known as Chaos Alex and quickly brushed aside the weakened Alpha and Mario before making his way through the Realm of Darkness to re-enter Plit and wreak havoc across the planet with powers the like of which he never had before.

But as he would soon find out, the Star Spirits, having been freed from Cackletta's binding spell by Kamek and Bowser, are already at work to subjugate the Dark Star. However, as those events transpire outside of the two heroes' current level of knowledge, the view shall shift over to them and give us a chance to see the greatest change in this universe's timeline. Having recovered somewhat from the battle against the witch and the attack launched at them by the Dark Star, they begin to traverse the way they came through the ruins of Radiant Garden's castle until they make it back to the area where the burning remains of the once glorious cosmic artifact known as "Kingdom Hearts" lies burning out beside them.

Alpha stops for a moment and looks out towards the burning effigy of the past, his eyelids slanting downward as a melancholy atmosphere droops down over his weakened mind. Mario, just a moment later, turns towards the Goomba as he folds his arms behind his back and lets out a saddened sigh. "Alpha, you feeling ok?" Mario asks. With a slight glance to the right and a thankful grin towards the plumber's inquiry, Alpha says in response "I don't know Mario…I don't think I'm feeling the way I should be right now." His tone was laced with confusion, which Mario picked up on with a raise of his right eyebrow and a curious murmur.

"We still have a long way to go before we make it back home, and considering we have to walk the whole way we really shouldn't waste any time standing around here…So can we talk about it on the way out?" Mario wanted Alpha to understand that he was willing to listen while also reminding him of what they needed to do, a gesture which the Commander greatly appreciated and chuckled at as he turned around and stepped away from the broken keyboard in order to join the plumber by his side as they continued through the inner regions of the castle. "Anyways…You know, it really is weird looking at it now. After all those years of going after Cackletta, I just can't bring myself to feel happy after knowing what was sacrificed long ago in order for this accursed realm to even exist…I mean, none of us can do anything to change what has come to pass, but if I could do something now to forever destroy the Realm of Darkness just to bring peace to those who fell to darkness…Wouldn't you also do the same, Mario?"

After Alpha turned his head to the plumber as they entered the nearby corridor, Mario folded his arms in front of his chest and thought long and hard about the question, coming up with an answer as they went through the large room in the center of the castle and made their way down the appropriate hallway to make their escape. "Yeah, I likely would try and do something to destroy the Realm of Darkness. But…I don't think either of us could do anything about it." As Mario tries to end his sentence off in a light-hearted tone, the Commander turned to him and said with a hint of brutal honesty "But if we don't do anything, who will?"

"Alex? I mean, as the Elemental Overlord, isn't it his job to deal with otherworldly forces such as this?" Mario was taking the situation rather seriously, which was something that both surprised and concerned Alpha, who slowly turned his head away from the plumber before sighing and saying in response "I don't think he is really the right person to be dealing with this…As you are not the type of person who should be too concerned about otherworldly affairs." "…What do you mean by that?" Mario asked after taking a moment to pause and discover that his curiosity was piqued by Alpha's comment.

"Before I can answer that, let me ask you something…Why did you choose to help Alex out?" "Hmmm?" Mario was bewildered by the sudden subject that the Commander was wishing to discuss, and as they exited the castle through the front doors the two of them stopped in place and turned to look each other straight in the eyes. Alpha crunched his skin together between the two eyes with a pinch of his right fingers, sighing and gathering his thoughts before folding his arms back behind his back and looking up to Mario in order to say straight out "How did it go again? E. Gadd showed you the tablet explaining the prophecy of the Elemental Overlord, and you went to Earth to find Alex and bring him back, right?"

"Now here is the part I don't get…" Giving Mario not even a second to answer or nod at the prior question, Alpha continues on his way while keeping his gaze locked on Mario's own eyes. "You likely knew very little about Alex…And yet you were perfectly willing to trust and join him on his quest…A quest you had little to no reason to care about after bringing the boy of destiny to our planet. So why? Why did you take part in it?" Alpha stopped right then and there, forcing himself silent so Mario would be given the time necessary to work out an answer. The plumber did find it a bit weird that the Commander was trying to look into the meaning behind why he helped Alex out. But as he thought about it, Mario realized deep down that he really didn't have a reason for joining Alex on his quest back then.

Even so, he couldn't help but think about how everything was back then, and how wondrous the whole adventure was even if it got rough at times. With his arms unfolded away from his chest, Mario made a gesture towards Alpha with his right fingers and said to him with gentle honesty "Because in the end, despite all the burdens he had placed upon him, Alex was and still is a kid. I couldn't just let him go out into our world even though he knew much about it. Cackletta's appearance proved that there would be many unexpected things out there waiting for him, and even if it was against the Overlord's wishes I wanted to be there to help guide Alex through the challenges if they ended up proving to be too much for him to handle alone…So now I have to ask, what brought these questions up?"

With Mario's honest reply, Alpha was taken aback for a few moments and had to regain his composure before he remembered just where he had left off with his inquiries a few moments ago. "The first question was brought up because I'd rather you not get too concerned with matters outside of Plit's scope. You were born unto this world to protect it and it alone…If destiny calls you forth to give you the power necessary to expand the range of which you protect, then that's when you should be more concerned…Otherwise, it would be best to leave the cosmic and multidimensional level threats to the people better suited to handle those type of things. As for the second question…Well, this is a bit of a long one, so prepare to hear me out all the way." After giving his fair warning, Alpha turns his body to the side and takes in a deep breath to prepare his lungs for what was to come.

"You see…I don't believe we should have trusted Alex to become the Elemental Overlord. After finding out what his past was like, in that he lost his parents and was forced to live along through many years of his youth…I can only conclude that while Alex became mentally advanced for his age, he also became emotionally unstable somewhere down the line. I mean, it just isn't normal the way he cycles through emotions and behavior the way he does. He is happy one second, sad another, courageous and brave one second, and arrogant the next…The last one only became prominent though after he became the Elemental Overlord. He sees his powers as a means of escape from his emotional distress, I feel, and that is not what the original Overlord likely wanted of his successor…In fact, his psychological issues are so grave that I feel as though he may have hidden something about his past from us…A traumatizing event separate from the one involving his parent's death that molded together the once cheerful child you met, perhaps? …You know, Alex showed regret towards his arrogance…But I just can't bring myself to believe that such regret will stick. Once this ordeal with the Dark Star/Evil Clone is over with I can see Alex being easily satisfied for about a month before he becomes bored and realizes that there is no one on this planet stronger than him…Its something to have a kid with emotional instability…But to have a kid with godlike powers that ALSO has emotional instability, and I fear that Alex will eventually end up doing more harm than good to everyone across the universe…"

"I don't believe that's true." Mario interjected after Alpha had finished his long-winded paragraph. The Goomba turned towards the plumber as a smile crossed his brushy face, and with a murmur of "Huh?" the hero of the Mushroom Kingdom nodded his head and said to the Commander "Alex is without parents, that much is true. But if you think he is so emotionally unstable, then really all we need to do is set him on the right path before its too late…You know, be father figures to him or something like that. He just needs the proper guidance in his life, and he'll be alright…Don't you think it would at least be worth it to give it a try, Alpha?"

As Mario brought the subject up, Alpha had to admit as he widened his eyes that the thought had never actually crossed his mind before. He figured that he still had the lingering mentality inside of him that "Everyone in the world is an eventual threat". But even though Mario brought the subject to his attention he couldn't help but think that there was no point in trying to go through with the attempt to help Alex out. With a heavy sigh, the Commander lifted his head up towards the happy plumber and with his eyelids sagging slightly he says to him "Look Mario, I like how optimistic you are thinking here, but if I have to give an honest opinion here, I think-" Suddenly, the Commander's right arm begins to blip, his eyelids flinching in surprise before he moves the limb in front of him and checks something going on with one of the scanners beneath the plates.

Flipping it up, he looks inside and his eyes widen briefly in surprise before he shuts the plate down and looks up at Mario. "I'll have to hold that line of conversation for later. I don't know what is going on around here, but the darkness has thinned immensely to the point that we can pretty much fly back to Plit within a couple minutes if we launch off now. Shall we go then?" It was a rather rhetorical question, but one that Mario nodded to none the less. With their bodies turned towards the edge of the staircase they leap into the air and burst forward in a perfect moment of speed and flight, traversing their way through the Realm of Darkness to make it back to their home planet before its too late.

Back on the battlefield on Plit, Alex has managed to drive his evil counterpart into using all seven of his Elemental Forms, the spirits of the Genesis Samurais successfully beating down their own evil counterparts to break the forms forever and living the aforementioned Chaos Alex as a lifeless husk floating in the air for but a few brief moments before darkness overtook the body and leaked outward to reveal the spirit of Cackletta had left a fragment of herself within the body to save it at just the right moment. As the spirit loomed over the land and spouted blasphemous remarks towards the furious spirit of the original Elemental Overlord, Alex stood still and waited to see what the witch was planning to do next.

Far away from the battlefield though, the portal that lead to the Realm of Darkness began to show signs of activity, and as two ripples with a tint of gold reverberated through the gap Alpha and Mario slowly began to burst through. Their bodies landed on the deck only a few seconds later, and as they get a grip on their surroundings after shifting so harshly through dimensions each of them are greeted by a different voice. "Mario?!" "Commander?!" It was Bowser and Captain Florence of the M.S.I., respectively. The proud Koopa King was busy licking his wounds on the deck of the M.S.I. battleship in front of the two heroes while the Yoshi captain was speaking through the intercom connected to Alpha's left arm.

Their voices were both laced with surprise, which detracted their attention away from the battle going on far away as they focused on the arriving heroes and quickly struck up a conversation between them despite the grimness of the situation. "Bowser? What are you doing here? …And just why do you have the Star Rod?" Mario's attention is directed towards the glowing artifact in the Koopa King's right claw as of the last bewildered inquiry, and after a somewhat hesitant smirk Bowser lifts his head up slightly and says to his rival "Don't worry, it was loaned to me by the Star Spirits and I plan to give it back…But I needed it because of that 'thing' floating in the air over there."

"Commander, what took you so long to get back here? And just what the hell is that creature that emerged from the portal?!" As Florence panicked towards his Commander, Alpha calmly tried to reassure his ally that everything was alright with a light whisper or two, and once that was done Alpha raised his arm to his mouth and spoke into the communicator. "Things didn't go exactly as planned Florence. Cackletta created an evil version of Alex from his DNA and thus he was able to breech the portal without difficulty. Where is he now?" Taking notice of the dark clouds in the sky, Alpha waits for his Captain's response. "In the sky to the right…But sir, I don't think you are going to like what you see."

After the Koopa King gestured towards the air in front of him, Mario and Alpha turn towards the direction where Alex and his evil counterpart were battling at, and see the ominous shadow of Cackletta floating above the figure of Chaos Alex. Alpha's immediate response is a frightened flinching of his body, as he mutters through his mouth "No…way…", his mind incapable of comprehending just how the witch was still alive through her vessel. Mario's reaction was more subdued, but still expressed a level of surprise fitting for this situation. The one thing that caught Alpha's eye besides the shadow was that both corporal figures were raising their swords in front of their chests, and with a sharp witted guess the Commander knew what was to come.

"Forget the reasons as to why she is alive. Mario, we need to get moving before that evil sonuvabitch transforms into his strongest form!" Alpha leaps into the air without a second thought to his own safety and charges towards the two fighters while Mario holds his right hand out ready to stop him only to panic and quickly follow him. Both fighters were going through the chants necessary to enter their Phoenix forms, with Cackletta manipulating her puppet's mouth in order to get the job done. But both fighters were focused only on their own presences, and were completely unaware of the one factor that was about to change their fates forever.

With a simple thrust of his right arm despite the damage done to the inner gears, Alpha converted his arm into its cannon form and launched a beam of ionic energy through the air. With a star empowered aura surrounding the cylindrical form, the attack's purity seethes through the gruesome spirit's left arm, burning it right off as the malicious screech of the witch breaks through the air and the puppet's arm quickly falls off in unison with the destruction of the spiritual one. This breaks his hold on the triggers, but also stops Alex from using his triggers simply because of how sudden the action in front of him was. With a turn of his head towards the direction where the beam was fired from, Alex watches as Alpha flies in front of his body with his cannon arm swung out beside him, his eyes flaring madly as Mario quickly flies by his side with his body weakly pushed into a battle pose.

"M-Mario? A-Alpha?" Alex could only stutter out a response through his mouth as he nervously lowered his katana below his waist and lifted his head up slightly to see the two heroes standing before him while Cackletta's ugly spirit grimaces in pain before the darkness seeps into her melted limb and restores it in full along with her puppet's arm. "Impossible…You two should not be here now…The Realm of Darkness should have prevented you from returning so quickly! My plan was foolproof, I took all options into consideration!" The witch was on the verge of a mental breakdown based on just her words, but kept her composure anyways as she snarled at the two heroes' sudden appearance. "I guess you didn't, because here we are."

Alpha's simple, one sentence response greatly angered Cackletta, who let her rage and bitter confusion flush into her puppet as the poor child of black and white's expression morphed to fit her enraged scowl and glowing black eyes. As the glow changes into the most impure black flames one has ever seen, the witch's spirit roars out towards the two heroes while brandishing her right pointer finger at everyone in front of her with a condescending amount of arrogance present from the fingernail upwards. "How dare you have such a sickening air of arrogance and confidence around you, you wretched Goomba! You and that accursed plumber will only share in the fate of that bastard Elemental Overlord, and when I have wrenched your entrails from your limpid body, your rotting spirit will only wish that it had stayed in the demented Realm of Darkness as I torment you throughout eternity from the mortal plane as your decrepit soul loses consciousness in the afterlife!"

After Cackletta's anger laced onslaught of empty threats and boasts had come to an end, the witch forced her puppet to grab onto his sword with his right hand and swing it out beside him with one strong thrust, the arc shaped motion sending a whiff of air across the sky that impacts the ground below and causes a crater to form on the surface, the plume of debris and dirt rising up beside him as the puppet's eyes glow bright red and the dark clouds in the air begin to split apart all across the planet. With a rapturous roar and her arms being swung out across in front of her as she flings her head back into the empty sky, the witch watches as all-around her the sky becomes a bloody dark red shade, her darkness influencing the atmospheric effects on the planet from afar without so much as an effort on her end.

With the planet clasped in a crimson sky, Cackletta lowers her wrinkled, ethereal black face and looks down upon the heroes with her eyes glaring downward like a raunchy, otherworldly demon before she began to tear into the heroes for their supposed naivety "You insolent, deplorable fools! Why are you even choosing to defend this wretched specimen of humanity anyways?! Do you not even know the lies of which he has weaved, the arrogance of which he has shown, the painstakingly gruesome history that he has chosen to hide from you all this time, and the emotional instability that will surely prove to be more harmful than good if you allow him to live past this day?! You can despise me for everything else I have done, but I am doing all of you a FAVOR by killing that pathetic sapling of an Elemental Overlord!"

"You are probably right Cackletta. Alex might just be volatile to the universe…" Alpha appeared to be in full agreement of the witch's view from the boy's point of view, and as he nervously trembled and moved his head away from the two heroes out of disappointment over how the Commander was reacting to the witch's remark he only barely heard what the Commander was saying next "But that's why we too shall be doing him a favor, and our option is much less violent and more helpful then yours can ever hope to be, Cackletta." Alex shifted his head back up in surprise, and after ending his comment on with a snap towards the witch the Commander turned his body around and held his hand out towards the boy.

The only thing on his mind right now was that "Mario…I will give this option of yours a try, simply because I'd rather see the kid make something of himself than become a destructive force…" and as he spread his fingers out wide and creaked a smile towards the boy he said as kindly as possible "Alex…We want to be like a father to you…I know we can never compare to the parents you once had, but would you be willing to accept us as your father figures anyways?" The Commander gave a warm and open inquiry towards the young Overlord despite how far away his vision was from the malicious witch. With a look of exasperated shock on his face, Alex's agape mouth began to shut and curl into a teary smile when all of a sudden Cackletta lashes out vocally at the heroes.

"NO! You…You fools think you can just save the day with your clichéd vows and tender heart?! You defile the universe with your nauseatingly stupid ideals, you are a threat to everyone around you and will continue to do so so long as you believe in that ignorant, hypocrite of a child! I will destroy all of you, breaking your indomitable spirits before the twilight of the gods overtakes the universe and ends all that you know! I AM CACKLETTA, AND MY PLANS HAVE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION THINGS EVEN THE OMNIPOTENT NEVER CONSIDERED, AND I SHALL NOT BE BESTED BY AN ATOM TO THE UNIVERSE'S SCALE! SO PERISH!" Cackletta lashed her arms in front of her body, her puppet following her whims after throwing the sword away into the air without so much as an emotion in its movements.

From between the two heroes, Alex notices the puppet's movements and quickly worries, for he senses darkness being built up by the witch's fury that would be more than enough to wipe out the people who offered him a chance to have parental figures in his life once more. "NO!" Alex exclaimed boldly and tearfully in defiance of the witch's wishes as he drew his sword beside him with both hands and clasped the triggers ready to activate them with a single, thoughtful gesture. He lunges his entire body forward, pushing aside his friends without saying a single word as golden flames wreath his body and the air begins to tremble in fear of his evil clone's display of power.

As he emerges from the flames with the wings of a phoenix and an amazingly golden aura surrounding his body along with his piercing amber eyes looking through the darkness with all he has got, he swings his arms outward with the sword taking the forefront. With a blazing slash through the air, Alex successfully cuts through his opposite's left arm, cleaving its away from the rest of his body and causing him to reel back through the air as black goop seeps out through the open wound as blood. With a waterfall of blood trickling towards the ground without the wound showing any signs of healing due to being in contact with the purity of Alex's flames.

"You dare touch me you inbred mongrel?! You sinful scum of the earth don't deserve to wield those purest flames! I will not stand for this injustice!" Cackletta screams out to the high heavens in anger and pain, but Alex calmly raises his sword horizontally in front of his body and glares straight through the aura of flames coating the blade and says to the witch "Don't speak of injustices…For all those you have committed. I won't let my parental figures die ever again, especially since this time I CAN control the circumstances revolving around them! You and your blasphemous doll will perish for your crimes, Cackletta!" With a righteous boast laced with confidence, Alex grits his teeth and flings his high above his head, looking straight into the blank eyes of his evil clone as he prepares to attack.

With a single charge through the air, the young Overlord cleaves diagonally through the body of the clone, breaking across to the other side before swinging the blade around and cutting in the opposite direction of where he went before. As the blade crossed in front of his face the second time, the flames reflected off of Alex's pupils, his burning determination driving Cackletta's black spirit to furious insanity as the young Overlord continued to cut away at the puppet that she had worked thousands of years to create. The wounds glowed brightly with the white hot intensity of the bright flames that burned through the black flesh, and each scar was reflected on the witch's ghastly body as her screams grew coarse.

With one final draw of his blade underneath his left arm, Alex pushes across the air in a blink of an eye, delivering the final cut across the center of the other slash marks as his body skids to a stop on the other side of the clone's body while his legs are pushed out in front of him. With the energy overloading inside of Chaos Alex's abyssal body, the spirit of Cackletta screeches as loud as she possibly can, cursing the gods for foiling her plans in such an asinine way as the overloading flames collapse back into the gaping wounds of her puppet and explode in a fiery, supernova-ish blast that is contained within a twenty foot radius of itself.

With the crest of the flames brushing against the feathers of Alex's wings, the boy calmly raises himself up and folds his sword against his hip, reverting back to his base appearance calmly as he hears the echoes of Cackletta's final scream fading away. She was dead, now and forever more, along with her sacrilegious doll. As the young Overlord turned himself around, Mario and Alpha immediately flew over to him, congratulating him on his victory as the boy cracks a smile and thanks the two of them for coming back through whatever madness they had to endure…And also thanking them for their offer…A rather happy ending to it all…

"If I do say so myself…" A hand moves away from an ethereal orb depicting the aforementioned scene, and with but a whim of his incomprehensible mind the orb flies through the white, endless void towards a gigantic tree with many orbs of a similar nature. Branches made out of the pure essence of space itself grows out of every orb, continually stretching out in multiple directions without end as more orbs growing into place, each one detailing specific events as the beings responsible for watching over them wanted them to be perceived as such. However, unlike all the other orbs in this tree, the one the man who was human in appearance only made this one levitate detached from the rest of the tree, making sure that the branches wouldn't touch this single orb and decay it from within. As the "man" retracted his hand into the depths of his shadowed clothing, he is immediately greeted by a voice from behind.

"What do you think you are doing here?" The growling being, whose length was as immeasurable as the very universe itself, floated behind the man as he turned around to look up as his equal's majestic face in order to see the disdain present in his slanted eyebrows and snarling jaw. "Dragon…I did not expect to see you here." The man said without a hint of fear in his voice. "You know well enough that we are not allowed to create timelines based around impossible shifts in phenomenon activity, so speak now the reason for your disobedience before I seek a council with our only superior in order to have you dispossessed from our realm forever." The being had little patience for his equal's calm demeanor at this infinite moment in time.

"Do not fret over my behavior here today, my comrade. I have merely created a timeline in which the young Overlord can have happiness in his life…Even if I had to manipulate events in the most inane ways imaginable in order to make that a reality. I have made sure not to tamper with the Multiverse Tree itself though, and this event is contained within itself and shall never branch out no matter what happens from here on out in that universe. For all that shall happen in the future in the many other timelines, at least one version of the child deserves to live in bliss forever more…So what shall you do now my friend? Charge me for my supposed transgressions, or let things be the way they are?"

Keeping calm as he expresses his actions in the most polite manner he can muster, the "man" is not surprised as the dragon snorts once and turns away from his equal. "…You shall not be punished for now…But you shall be wise to not grow too attached to the singular unit. In the end, you know what awaits him at our hand…." As the dragon trails out of sight through the void of blank white, the "man" turns back towards the tree that houses within it the multiverse, and watches as the branches sprawl upwards towards a glowing mark placed there by the higher-ups themselves many millennia ago. With a heavy sigh, the "man" says to himself "Yes…The day will come when only one Alex Whiter shall reach the point we don't want him to be at…And when he does, everything will change for the multiverse…"

What-If 2.1: The End…