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(HS) Antumbra

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12/9/2012 7:10:14   
Crystal Lion

Disclaimer: This story is bound to strike a nerve with villains due to its subject matter.

Comments go in this thread.

Antumbra - Before the Shadows: Pars 1.

Atroxia gazed at the city from the top of the Overlook skysrcraper and sighed. It had been a long time since Pandora's heart was lost. Years, in fact. While she did manage to make up with long-estranged family members, it wasn't worth it if the very source of the super fighters' powers was lost forever. "Nobody even dared to steal it back," the red lion snarled. "Look at this! New York's now practically a ghost town with the villains running the asylum. If only I could go back and change things!"
As she said this, a swirling green portal opened up and a robed skeleton stepped out. "Koschei!" the lion exclaimed.

"I heard your wish, Cruel Red," said Koschei. "What makes you think changing the past will make the present different?"
"For one, Super District's people would be motivated to continue being super fighters, not give up and let the city go to the dogs! Second thing, Demolicious wouldn't be so mopey! I tried everything, but she's still in a miasma of despair! Third, you're an ex-sorceror, surely you know some time-travel spells to send me back to the past?"
"To the third question, yes, I can, but if you're not careful, you'll cause a paradox."
"Then send me back to possess my body at the time of the big fight."
"We'd better discuss this in my realm, Red," said Koschei. "Now, hup hup, into that portal you go," he urged Atroxia into the swirling green light, then followed her.


When they got to Koschei's meeting room, the reaper pulled up a stack of books, then flipped through them. "Transformations for 365 Days, nope. Potions of the Soul, nope. Intro to Herbology, nope... Ah, this is what we're looking for!" Koschei said and held up a leather-bound booklet. "Time-travel Techniques, by the Chronomages' Guild."
Koschei looked through the booklet until he stopped at a barely-worn page. He started reading it, "To cast, select volunteer. Volunteer must have been alive in the time you wish to send back... Volunteer must read the following sentences to be sent back: In Antumbra, Penumbra, and Umbra, send me back to this date, to right what went wrong, to change the pages of history, to rewrite destiny."
The last line he read was, "Assist volunteer if they lack the ability to survive the spell. This spell resets all time after the chosen point you send the volunteer back."

"Is there any drawback to this spell, besides survival?" Atroxia wondered.
"The standard time-travel paradox applies. If you reveal too much of what you know to the past, you could change more than you expect."
"That's just the point, I want to change things."
"Change isn't always good, Red," said Koschei.
"What do I have to lose now that Super District's gone to villainous dogs?"
"You have a point. I've actually never cast this spell because its consequences can be dire."
"Try me," Atroxia snarled.
"You don't have to be so snappish. It's still a raw issue, isn't it?"
"Yeah," Atroxia scowled and continued reading the spellbook.

"Wait, Koschei," Atroxia muttered, looking up from the spellbook. "I want to take some of my powers back to the past."
"You can only take two in this spell," said the reaper. "Choose wisely."
Atroxia mulled her choices over, then spoke, "I want my knowledge of poisons and the power you gave me after the duel three years ago to remain."
"So be it. I've prepared the stage for your spell. You have to perform it now," Koschei said and handed a copy of the magic words to Atroxia. She turned to see a stage that pulsed with faint light. Fog rose up from the stage.
"What's your purpose in this spell?"
"I only supply the mana needed to cast this. Modern Terrans lack the natural magic ability to cast such a taxing spell. It will slowly change you back into your younger form and send you back to the point in time where that form lived."

Atroxia strode grimly to the stage and stepped on it fearlessly. The fog started to wrap around her. Koschei raised his scythe and nodded. Atroxia took a deep breath and recited the spell with the date she wanted to return to. When she finished speaking, the fog pulsed menacingly and rose to obscure her vision.

Koschei saw the fog envelop Atroxia like a cocoon. The fog began to fit itself to her frame, even following the shape of her long dark hair. The resulting figure appeared to be asleep as it floated above the stage. The fog then abruptly changed shape into that of a younger adult with short hair. It was still as thin as bones, however. Koschei was now worried, the spell seemed to be taking a long time to complete. He half thought of cutting the spell short with his scythe, before the cocoon suddenly burst open and Atroxia fell out of it. She shook herself and stood up.
"When you rise from your night's slumber, you'll be in the days just before the big fight for Pandora's heart ended," said Koschei. "Good luck."


"I've called Mo and asked him to meet me by the river," Atroxia thought to herself. "It's sunset now. Nice golden color. Ah, well, this could be the last sunset I ever see. If all goes well, there will be many more sunsets and sunrises to enjoy..."

"Mo?" Atroxia said when she saw her wastelander. The blond man looked at her. "I'm going back to fix the past," Atroxia whispered to him.
"What exactly are you going to repair?"
"Remember when I told you the people in my time failed to protect Pandora's heart? I'm going to make sure it never happened. Even..." Atroxia paused, gulped loudly, then continued, "...If that means I never see you again, Mo."
"Even if our relationship never happens because of this, Attie, go ahead and fix the past. It's better to start at the root of the problem than try to patch it up later. You can redeem your cousin's name, in fact."

Atroxia smiled bitterly. "That's a secret I must keep from her when I go back. And... I'm leaving, tonight."
"Tonight?!" Mo was shocked. "Why so soon?"
"I can't stand around and watch New York keep going to the dogs day after day. I have to do something, even if it means giving up almost everything I lived through till now."
"I see..." Mo sighed. "Good luck, then..."
Atroxia then hugged Mo tenderly. "If I succeed, I'll come back and find you in the future if Koschei has his trials of Hera again," she said, then kissed him on his lips. The lovers leaned close to each other, as the sun sank slowly past the horizon. Atroxia then pulled away slowly from him. "Looks like this is goodbye," she sighed.

"I wish you well..." Mo replied sadly and bowed his head.
"I hope so," said Atroxia. She hugged him one last time before walking away from him. As she walked away, she looked back and waved slowly. The wastelander waved back at her until she was out of his sight.


It was life as usual in the Lions' den, although Atroxia's slightly strange behaviour didn't escape her mother's notice. Ami had voiced her concern although Atroxia simply said she was tired. The older Lion didn't believe it, and said something must have happened. Atroxia simply shrugged. "Maybe," she said. "But it's nothing bad, mother, just my thoughts on why Super District's a ghost town now."

Her twin sighed. "Attie, ever since Pandora's heart was stolen, it's as if everyone's lost their will to fight for anything, ever. They just ended up being pushovers. It looks like we're the only ones left who actually want to do anything, but with such low numbers, what can we do?"
Ami replied seriously, "You can't. This isn't Lore where a Chosen One will walk by and defeat the big bad wolf."
Artisa said, "I wish we could."
"Pah!" Ami snorted. "As if! Earth was never a place for fairytales. Grow up, Artisa... That goes for you too, Attie," Ami added, then started eating her soup.
The twins stared at their dinner, then ate it carefully.


Night fell, and it was soon time to sleep. "If only I didn't have to give up my life in the present to do this," Atroxia started thinking as she got ready to sleep. "Me and my big mouth! But I gave my word and I must relive the time from when I was a nineteen-year-old until I'm twenty-two... I hope it's worth it."
Artisa had fallen asleep in the bed next to Atroxia. The red lion looked at her twin and sighed, "Tomorrow, I'll have to do something really big, alone. I'll tell you more when I get up."


It was a cold rainy day when Atroxia woke up. The first thing she did was look at her pajamas. "I could've sworn I went to sleep in Boston's Celts pajamas," she thought when she saw a red and gold sweater with a coat of arms on it, "These are my old Manchester United duds."
She quickly shook her hair out, but it merely brushed past her shoulders. "Yep, I'm in my past," she said to herself. Artisa was still sleeping, and the white twin turned about in her bed. It was four in the morning.

Atroxia quietly got out of bed, went over to the cupboard she shared with her twin, and pulled out her trusty black bodysuit. She changed her clothes and put on the bodysuit, then yanked on the boots and gloves. The last thing she did was to hook her bullet belt over her chest and put on her waist belt. She then snuck downstairs after placing a note in her twin's cellphone.

The red lion grabbed some of her poison and potion bottles and placed them in her bullet belt. She then left the house through the back door, and shut it behind her. The red lion began her trek to Aurora Park, to change time, perhaps for the better... Maybe not.

To be continued...

< Message edited by Crystal Lion -- 12/10/2012 8:16:03 >
Post #: 1
12/10/2012 4:55:42   
Crystal Lion

Antumbra - Before the Shadows: Pars 2

The first thing Atroxia saw when she came to the park was a huddled pile of black and purple. "Am I too late?" Atroxia thought in fear. She walked over to the pile and got ready to talk loudly to it. Then the pile unraveled. It turned out to be a slim girl with a chubby face wearing a purple leotard with black patches. She was sleeping beside a large iron ball. Atroxia glanced at the girl's right thigh, but it was pale with no sign of scarring. "Then I'm not too late," the red lion thought and reached out to shake the other girl awake. The girl reacted quickly in her sleep, waking up before Atroxia could put her hand on her. The girl scowled and quickly stood up. Atroxia also stood up.

"Who are you?!" the girl asked angrily. "On second thought, don't tell me, I don't care!"
"Yep, she's still full of bravado," thought Atroxia. "I don't care if you don't want to know either," Atroxia said loudly. "I'm a Lion."
"I just told you I don't care who you are!"
"If you're going to be so rude, why would anyone want to help you?"
"Stop bugging me!"
"I won't go! I came here to-" Atroxia was rudely interrupted by the girl.

"Go away and stuff-" the girl with the purple balaclava was about to swear loudly before Atroxia yelled back at her.
"I'm here to help you, you blasted moron!" the red lion roared. "I have to out-bravado her!" she thought anxiously.
"Is that so?!" the girl said, her dead eyes narrowing in rage.

The two angry women snarled as their foreheads pressed against each other. Pitch black eyes glared into glowing dead purple ones. Atroxia leaned forward and the girl stepped back. Then the girl shoved back, causing Atroxia to stumble backwards. The red lion stood up and strode menacingly towards the girl. When she got close enough, she dropped into a stable stance so that the girl couldn't knock her over easily. Try as she might, the girl couldn't push Atroxia over. "Yeah, I mean what I say," Atroxia said, folding her arms across her chest.

"Then make yourself useful," the girl scowled. "It isn't sunrise yet, but DaVinci's killbots are swarming all over the park, to say nothing of the people supporting him..."
"Shall we take them down together?"
"The divas are doing that," the girl said, still frowning. "Should be able to thin them, though, DaVinci tends to show up later in the day."
"And you sat in the park since last winter?"
"It's not that bad," the girl replied.
"That leotard of yours..."
"Is the enhanced kind, I don't get cold so easily in it," the girl said and gestured to her tall boots as well. "Well, get moving," she said bossily.
Atroxia bowed to her and went into the park.

She met a completely purple robot with its hair in a bun. The robot carried a hammer. "Oh, hello," the robot said calmly. "I suppose you met Demolicious, right?"
Atroxia nodded.
The robot looked surprised. "Was she rude? She can't help being rude."
"Not really," Atroxia replied.
"Why, cat got your tongue, pal?"
"Not at all," said Atroxia. "She asked me to get rid of the killbots swarming the statue."

"You're the first person who came here knowing more or less what's going on," said Maru, as she walked in step with Atroxia.
"Some of it is on the news. Who are you anyway?"
"Oh, pardon me. I'm Maru, one of Demo's Divas. Robots, obviously. Anyhow, this is the first time I didn't hear Demo scold people for being ignorant about the history of Pandora's heart."
"It's simple, Pandora's heart blew up when she sacrificed herself to protect the world."
"That's the gist of it," said Maru. "Oh, look! There are some killbots."
"Allow me," Atroxia pointed to herself then leaped down to face the brown robots. They beeped curiously before she attacked them. They soon became piles of scrap metal. Maru rubbed her eye in surprise.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" Atroxia said to the robot. Maru jumped down and the two began fighting lots of killbots.


The sun rose as they continued to fight the almost endless forces of killbots. Another Diva came by to help them. She wore a corset and shorter pants than Maru. During one of their breaks as they sat on the walls of the park, Maru introduced the corseted Diva to Atroxia. "Pal, this is Yon," said Maru.
"My name's Attie," the red lion said. "So tell me about Demolicious."
"She's very reclusive."
"Brassy voice."
"But she has a strong sense of right, and will use her strength to seek justice."
"Her physical strength, I assume?" Atroxia asked. "She's carrying a wrecking ball last I checked."
The Divas nodded, then chattered to each other. Atroxia saw two figures approaching the main gate. She looked at them. One of the figures was very tall, and the other was dressed in white. "I'll be right back," said the red lion, and she made her way towards the main gate of the park.

When Artisa saw her twin, she exclaimed, "Attie! Mom's worried sick about you! Can you call her and tell her you're fine?"
"But I left a note in your phone!" Atroxia sputtered.
"You know how mom is, sis. Insistent," said Artisa.
"Oh fine," Atroxia rolled her eyes. "Give me a moment," she said and took out her phone to call her mother.

"Atroxia Lion!" Ami shouted into her phone when she heard her younger daughter's voice. "Why did you go to the park in the morning?! You know there's a big fight there!"
"I'm helping out," said Atroxia.
"You're mad," said Ami.
"I mean it, mother. Don't worry too much about me. I'm not going to die. Not so soon, anyway."
Ami began to ask, "What do you mean, not dying? Girl? Girl? Attie?"
Atroxia ended the call with a press of a button. "I told her I'm okay," she said to her twin.

"You had me worried too, Attie. Why did you sneak out here?" Artisa looked concernedly at her twin.
"Well, Demo needs all the help she can get."
"Who's that?" asked Hera.
Atroxia explained, "The girl with long purple hair and a wrecking ball, she wears a leotard and balaclava, and has dead glowy eyes."
"Oh, that one! She looks awkward," said Hera.
"Who looks awkward?" a shrill brassy voice asked.
Hera turned as red as a beet. "Oops..." the giant whimpered.
"Just because I have big feet and a big back end doesn't mean I look awkward, capice?" Demo said as her long purple hair swayed behind her.

Before Hera could explain herself, an elderly man with green and white hair, robotic parts, and an orange eye approached the park. He had a lot of killbots following him. He glared at the women. "Joining the weaklings?" he sneered. Atroxia bristled. "See here, you're quite foolish if you don't want to join the strongest force in this here city. We've got more numbers than you can imagine," said the old man.
"Hey, stripes! They've decided to help me out, not you!" Demo shouted at him.
"We do?" Artisa and Hera said to each other. Atroxia grinned and nodded.
"I'm Luigi DaVinci, not stripes! You're a pathetic culo!"
"Your day will come, old man!"
"I believe it's my own self who will have the last laugh, Demo," Luigi guffawed. "How you got those three idiots to help you defend Pandora's heart when you're so rude, I'd like to know."
"Well, I think the heart should be left alone, and we," Atroxia pointed to her twin and Hera, then to Demo, "Have a common goal with her."

Luigi groaned, slapped his forehead, then said in a threatening voice, "You're still idiots for sticking with weaklings. When I win, I'll make sure you're dealt with, appropriately!"
He then stomped off, grumbling as his robots marched behind him.
"You three sure have strong principles," said Maru, who heard the entire argument.
"Thanks," Hera said seriously. "But if what he said about you being outnumbered is true, we have quite a challenge ahead."
Maru nodded. "That's where you come in, or so I hope," said the purple robot.

"What do we do now?" Hera asked Maru.
"Hold on, I'm getting a message from Yon."
"Who?" Artisa asked the robot.
"Another Diva, pal," Maru replied. "Hm... Yon says the police bots are reporting camera errors all over Super District's Main Street."
"Sabotage!" Demo exclaimed and pressed her hands together. "Darn that DaVinci! He must've done it before he came here!"
"Shall we put those cameras out of commission?" said Atroxia.
"I was about to say that. Come on, whoever you are," said Demo. The two left for Main Street.

Hera and Artisa looked at each other, then at Maru. "Do help us get rid of the killbots," said Maru. She turned back to the park. Artisa and Hera followed her to help out in the park.


Atroxia stared at the rewired camera, then pulled its power supply out after covering the lens. Demo then dropped her wrecking ball on the inactive camera. "So that DaVinci can't rewire it again," she said.
"That's rather extreme."
"Do you have ANY better ideas?" Demo said peevishly. "Unless you think pouring potions in their hatches makes any more sense!"
"Uh, nope."
"Then shut your mouth." said the wrecker as she threw her wrecking ball at another rewired camera.

"Hey, those guys look suspicious," Atroxia said and pointed at some men wearing ski masks and flat caps standing near an electronics shop. Each of the men carried a chainsaw.
"Truck raiders," Demo said. "What are they saying?"
Atroxia strained to hear the men's muttering. "They need some parts for DaVinci's robots," she whispered.
"Let's put them out of action," Demo replied. They jumped down to the road and landed some distance away from the raiders. The red lion pulled out one of her vials, and got ready to uncork it.

"It's a burning death, Demo," she said. "Keep clear of it."
The wrecker nodded and got ready to throw her wrecking ball. "Shall we start?" she asked and stepped forward.
"I'm right behind you," said Atroxia. The wrecker then dashed forward and shouted an insult at the raiders.
"Get her!" the biggest of the raiders shouted. Three of the raiders rushed at Demo, who threw her wrecking ball at them. They fell back and clattered into the other raiders. One of the raiders dropped their chainsaw, which landed near Atroxia. She picked it up and held it like a bat. Then she changed her mind and dabbed the poison on its teeth. She grinned broadly and jumped into the fray.


Maru, Hera and Artisa were making headway in getting rid of the killbots, until they heard someone shouting for help. The man who shouted for help was wearing a police uniform. Maru realized that he was being attacked by hacked police bots. She and Yon raised their hammers to call down lightning, which struck the hacked police bots. They fell apart and the policeman ran away. Artisa nudged Hera and pointed to another group of patrolmen being harrassed by police bots.

Hera began singing very badly, and the other hacked police bots beeped in annoyance. As they approached the blue giant, her singing became so bad that the robots fizzled in rage and fell to pieces. The remaining patrolmen ran for their lives, mostly from Hera's bad singing.


Artisa met with her twin an hour later at the park's main gate. Atroxia was covered in scratches and her bodysuit looked worn out. "Just who did you fight with?" Artisa fussed.
"Truck raiders with chainsaws," her twin replied. Demo talked to Maru and Yon some distance away from the twins.
"The giant's singing sucks, don't even ask her to open her mouth, you'll ask her to shut up in ten seconds," Maru chattered to Demo.
"That bad?"
"Ask Yon, she witnessed the bad singing too."

The aforementioned giant tried to put a plaster on Atroxia's big nose, but the red lion turned her head away each time. "Attie, hold still," said Hera, as she dabbed antibacterial cream on Atroxia's scratches.
"For bleu's sake, don't put a plaster on my nose," said the red lion. "I'll look like a joke," she continued, suddenly thinking of Demo laughing her head off.
"I thought you wouldn't care too much," said Artisa. "Did you actually make friends with Demolicious?"
"I can't say yes, but she hasn't been terribly rude to me either."
"Weird," Artisa remarked and glanced at Hera. "Word has it that she's a very rude girl."
"I'm done now. You sure you don't want a plaster, Attie?" Hera asked. Atroxia shook her head.
"I'll take a breather," the red lion said. "Just... keep going, alright?"
The other two nodded, then followed Yon and Demo to battle more killbots. Maru was still standing by the main gate.

Maru looked Atroxia up and down, then said in concern, "Attie, do you think you can fight with all those scratches on you?"
"Well, I could," Atroxia replied.
"You're not a robot. Fleshy things tend to get hurt easily."
The red lion shrugged, "I'll take five, and be right as rain later."
"What will you do in the meantime?"
"I'll keep an eye out for more killbots, or other enemies," said Atroxia, and she led Maru to a wooded section of the park. Maru looked up at the trees.
"I'm sure you can handle yourself, but, be careful, okay?" Maru looked worried.
"Don't worry, Maru. I'll be fine."
"I guess..." Maru turned and walked away.

Atroxia climbed up a rather tall tree tree, then lay flat against one of its stout branches. Moments later, she saw the old man with green and white hair walk by. He seemed to be talking to himself at first. "I really could laugh, my helpers are pretty much useless."
"Beepity?" said a tiny floating object near Luigi's shoulder.
"They're useless for anything except grunt work, if you ask me."
"Bop beep?"

"The main thing that helped me get so far in this plan for the malachite was the sheer number of fools who believed my words," Luigi said to the robot. "I can't believe how easy it was to convince all those youths to help me out."
"Beep?" the little robot asked curiously.
"Just a few choice words, a sad story, and three-quarters of Super District's eating out of my hand. I can banish that pathetic Demolicious once and for all, and get that heart, if this keeps up."

"And I don't even have to keep my promises to my... helpers... if I choose my words right. Just put them off. Little fools. They think girl leaders have cooties at this age? Ha ha ha! It's so easy to compel kids these days, it's almost a pity."
"Beep! Beep beep beep!" the small robot appeared to shake with laughter.
Atroxia heard everything that Luigi said, even the insulting thoughts he had of his supporters. When he walked off, still guffawing, she slithered down the tree and scuttled off in Artisa's direction.

She saw her twin, Hera, the Divas, and Demo fighting off a big horde of killbots. The red lion sent a warning thought to her sister, then flung a vial of acid into the center of the horde. Fizz, pop, bang! The robots beeped frantically as they felt the acid splash onto their frames. "Maru, Yon, step aside!" Demo ordered the Divas. Some of the killbots fell over, and the rest were taken out by the women throwing all sorts of attacks at them.
"Spread out!" Hera suggested to the purple wrecker. "We'll be less of a target if we don't stick so close," the giant said.
The women then moved so that they could still see each other, but weren't literally bumping against each other.

BANG! An orange and gray tank suddenly bashed through one of the walls of the park. To make matters worse, it was dangerously near to where Maru was fighting by herself.
"MARU!" Yon screamed, as a laser on the tank aimed right at the scruffy Diva. The driver of the tank grinned nastily, and fired.

To be continued...

Culo: (Italian) Back end. It also refers to a brazen cheeky person.

< Message edited by Crystal Lion -- 1/8/2013 23:22:07 >
Post #: 2
12/10/2012 22:51:18   
Crystal Lion

Antumbra - Before the Shadows: Pars 3

Maru landed with a thump on the path. The diva groaned and tried to get up, before the laser shot her again and blasted her away. The diva crashed in front of the twins. "D-don't... let... him get... the heart," Maru gasped. Before Artisa could help Maru up, the robotic diva's eye faded out, and she fell to the ground.

"Ha!" Luigi laughed. "I said you'd be beat one day! Would've been so much easier if you two just supported me."
"Never!" Atroxia snorted at him. Luigi frowned, and aimed a laser mounted on the tank at her. This time, she jumped out of the way. Luigi growled, "Then I'll squash you two, like the fleas you are!"
"Run, you pea!" Artisa thought to her twin, as Luigi drove his tank towards the red lion.

Atroxia jumped out of the way and Luigi ended up driving through the wall. The stripy-haired man looked about, but Atroxia was nowhere to be seen. Yon threw her hammer at the tank and the sparks from the hammer lit up the gas leaking from the dents in its sides. The tank exploded and Luigi landed on his bum. The twins popped out of their hiding places and approached the burnt tank.

"Black eyes!" Luigi shouted as he looked at the wreckage of his tank. "Curse you, black eyes!" he continued to yell as he waved the steering wheel about.
"Yeah," both twins said, turning to face him. "You look very silly without your machine."
"Am I hearing double?" Luigi asked.
"No, we're twins!" Atroxia snapped.
"That explains the voices," Luigi snorted. Several killbots trotted up and surrounded the twins. "But not your looks," he continued, as the twins looked about in fright. "What are you? Brother and sister?"
"I'm not telling!" Atroxia retorted.
Luigi then shouted at his killbots, "After them, you stupid drones!"
The Lions ran for their lives as the robots clattered after them.

The angry mob of robots clattered right into Hera's path. The giant yelped in surprise and ran after the Lions. They ran by a group of Divas, who were fighting both humanoid villains and killbots.

The three friends were soon cornered by the angry mob, which beeped menacingly. "We're going down," Hera shivered in fright and pressed close to the twins. Atroxia held her twin's hand reassuringly.
"Attie, aren't you afraid?" said Artisa.
"I'm more worried about you," Atroxia replied. "I should kick them away."
"But you only have two legs."
"I'll try till I-" Atroxia was cut off when the mob of killbots was knocked down. A familiar leotard-clad figure with dead purple eyes stood among the wreckage. "Ok, I take that back," said the red lion.
"Stick together!" Demo ordered, and she stood with the three friends. Artisa moved back and started drawing a shield as well as a staff, Hera breathed deeply, and Atroxia dropped into a crouch. Some of the Divas in the park began drawing the killbots away from the group.


Everyone in the big fight was in a frenzy. Robotic Divas slammed their hammers against clawed killbots, while the few humans who didn't support Luigi were outnumbered by the people who did. Luigi stood right in the middle of the battlefield, surveying it with a mean grin on his face. A killbot stood next to him, chasing away anyone that tried to attack the old man. "I can feel the end of this fight, and it's going to be worth it," said Luigi.

The killbot cheered, "We're going to win!"
"Numbers are key, as you can see," Luigi laughed in reply. He looked behind him, four women were fighting with all their might. "Darn those idiots," he thought. "Three stooges and a wrecking-ball-wielding kid."

"There's too many of them!" Artisa shouted. One of the killbots swiped at her but she ducked, jamming her staff into the killbot's middle. Hera waved her hands about wildly, shouting things in a foreign language. The killbots appeared to be hit by invisible strikes as Hera ran about.
"Get out of here!" Demolicious ordered, swinging her wrecking ball. "I'm not letting more people get hurt because of me!"
Atroxia shook her head. "No. I'm not going," she said seriously.
"I'm not letting you get hurt even if you say the duel with DaVinci's yours."
"But..." Demo cast a shield around herself. "I brought too much trouble here..."
"Tell me your problems after we run that old stripes out of town, okay?"
Demo smiled when she heard Atroxia use her insulting nickname for Luigi. "Fine then," she said. "You three can stay."

When the mob was thinned out, the four women could see Luigi standing near the statue of Pandora in the middle of the park. "Look, there he is!" Artisa said, pointing to the stripy-haired old man.
"This battle's mine, I told you," said Demo. She crouched, then jumped out of the crowd.
"Those are some strong legs!" Hera remarked. "Attie, can you jump that far?"
"Not yet," the red lion answered as she kicked another killbot into pieces.
Hera could see a redheaded woman in white armor fighting the killbots in the distance. "So it's not just us in this fight," she said. "Antares is there too."
"Attie, Hera, let's get up there and get a better look," Artisa suggested, pointing to a large tree. The trio went to the tree, and the twins climbed up it. Hera remained on the ground as she was too tall to squeeze up the tree. The giant poked her head around the trunk and watched Demo's leap with interest.


"You're going down, DaVinci! For good!" Demolicious yelled as she landed in front of a line of her divas. Luigi grinned, and the purplish divas exploded. As Demo looked in surprise, a killbot grabbed her right arm and another killbot wrapped its fingers around her left arm. The robots pulled Demo up to her feet and dangled her in midair.
"Hey! Put me down!" Demo snarled.
"Silly child," Luigi snorted. "We both want to use the heart for our own ends. It's just that you wouldn't admit it, and my purpose was a purer one. The best intentions win, you see?" he rubbed his head. "I bet you never told those brutes how you didn't actually want to protect the heart. You fooled them, but not me."

"Shut up!" Demo shouted and tried to squeeze out of the killbots' grip.
"So? You wanted to sell the heart for your own ends. Quite selfish for a hero, right?"
"You don't understand! It's not me!"
Artisa and Hera gasped loudly as they heard Luigi point out everything that was wrong with the purple wrecker. Atroxia drank one of her potions, jumped out of the tree and ran towards the killbots that dangled Demo.

"We should have made a deal if you wanted the cash that much, and saved all the time spent on fighting," said Luigi.
The purple girl was still scowling at the robotic old man. Atroxia kept running and dodging the flying super fighters who tried to take her down. One of the shots hit her leg, but she shrugged it off and limped over to where Luigi was saying, "Even if it's far more interesting to see-"
"STOP!" Atroxia roared loudly. Everyone turned to look at her.
"What?" someone asked.

"He's a rotten liar! He doesn't value your efforts at all!" Atroxia roared. "All he wants is to make everyone bow to him!"
The villains turned to glare at DaVinci. "Not value us, eh?" one of them sneered.
"We're just pawns to you?"
"I don't want to be a tool to a mean old man like him."
"Wait, that waif took my words out of context," Luigi pleaded.
"He's only saying that to get back into your good books. I'm sure you all want to pursue your own goals. How can you do that with a potentially mad future leader in your way?" Atroxia said, her voice echoing due to the potion she drank earlier. "Those villains only listen to who roars the loudest, like mere beasts," she had a fleeting thought.

"But the purple girl lied too!"
"I won't say why she lied, but she cares about her fighters, unlike old stripes over there! And it's not to take over the world either!"
"So they're both liars!"
"Then decide for yourselves. Do you want to follow an old coot who won't let you follow your dreams, or do you want to be free?"

It wasn't only the villains who stared at the crazy dark-haired fellow who actually dared to interrupt Luigi's boasting. The heroes, including the likes of Antares and a ferocious knight with sunglasses, stared too.

"Attie!" Artisa gasped, but she was rooted to the spot in fright.
The villains glanced at each other, shrugged, and whispered among each other. Luigi tried to get up and finish his compelling speech, but Atroxia punched and knocked him over. She immediately stepped on him. Before Luigi could call for his guards, some of the villains knocked away the killbots close to him. One of the villains grabbed the tiny robot hovering near Luigi and made it play back his opinion of the supporters. Luigi blanched as his own voice came out of the tiny robot, insulting his supporters in general.

A scarred fellow snarled at Atroxia, "Okay, punk, we may not want to follow a mad old kook, but that doesn't mean we're doing an about face for those heroes. Just think of it as another dispute settled by Skulldeep's law, and step aside!"
Atroxia cautiously stepped away, and the villains surrounded Luigi. He tried to speak, but they all started beating him up. "Hey! Leggo!" the old man howled, but the villains continued beating the stuffing out of him. The old man then tried to crawl out of the fray.

"Throw her out!" Luigi managed to shout to his large robots before he got pulled back into the fray. The robots beeped and flung Demo up into the sky.
"No!" Atroxia exclaimed. "Hera! Artisa! Catch Demo!" she thought in a panic.
Hera scurried backwards as Artisa drew a trampoline with wheels! The white twin pushed the wheeled trampoline to where Hera thought Demo would land. The giant attempted to slow Demo's fall.

The wrecker was scared out of her wits as she was sent flying. She tried to put herself right side up and land on what she guessed was a trampoline. Sproing! She bounced off the trampoline. Artisa gasped in horror as the wrecker couldn't slow down. The lion covered her eyes, expecting to hear either a splat or a crash.
Instead, she heard a smack as Demo landed on Hera. "Hey!" the giant exclaimed. "I'm not a cushion!"
The wrecker was curled up into a ball, and looked very stunned.

Atroxia ran up to the main gate where Demo had crash-landed on Hera. She grabbed the wrecker and started asking in rapid succession, "Who are you? How many fingers do I have up? Where are you?"
Demo pushed Atroxia away, then answered in a very sarcastic tone, "I'm Demo, you've got a fist up, and I'm in the park. Satisfied?"
Hera rubbed her head. "Oof, you might as well be a ton of bricks," she grumbled to Demo. "And I'm perfectly fine, besides having a pile of stuffing knock the air out of me."

They heard a lot of shouting just then, and Atroxia saw Luigi being frog-marched out by the ferocious sunglasses-wearing knight and someone who appeared to be a villain. The old man was talking at the top of his lungs, but the villainous-looking person had earmuffs on, while the knight simply turned his head away. "You can't do this to me! I should have won! I should have my brother back with the malachite by now!" Luigi shouted. "Cheats, every last one of you! I can't have lost with all those supporters!"
"Hmph," said his frog-marchers. They strode out and headed to the city. Demo rolled off of Hera and stood up after dusting herself off.

The next thing the three friends and wrecker saw was Antares walking by, flanked by two other super fighters. She carried a glowing green lump in her arms. "Thanks," the redhead said quietly before the fighter on her left tapped at her phone. A minute later, Antares and the other two fighters vanished in a flash of light.
"Teleportation at the click of a button!" Hera was impressed. "Imagine that!"
"I'm hungry," said Atroxia.
Artisa looked at the clock in her phone. "I'll say, it's almost noon."
"I'm pretty sure we'll have to help clean up the park before we can go off for lunch, Lions," said Hera. "Big fights leave bigger messes."

Demo looked at her feet as she recalled Maru's death by Luigi's laser. "Least I can do is give the fallen a decent burial, starting with Maru..."


A little while later in the park, Demolicious and Yon carried Maru's mangled body and placed it in a hole dug in the ground. "Forgive us, Maru," they said.
"I won't forget you," said Yon. "I'm sorry I couldn't stop that laser."
Hera said quietly, "It's not your fault... She'll understand."
"At least Maru got her wish, old stripey didn't get his hands on the Malachite after all," said Atroxia. If Yon had a mouth, she would've smiled. Instead, the Diva smoothed the sand that covered Maru's body, and rearranged the pile of rocks that served as her fallen comrade's headstone into a circle. She bowed to the grave one last time, and the group left the park after Demo retrieved her wrecking ball.


"Why did you want to sell the heart in the first place?" said Atroxia, as the group waited around in the Main Street of Super District.
"Thing is, well, my dad's ill," said the wrecker.
"With what?" said the red lion.
"Something's wrong with his guts, and he lost all his hair the last time he went to hospital. I have to buy medicine for him, but it's costly."
"How much?" asked Hera.
"About five thousand a year... My dad can't work anymore, he's too ill."
"Sounds like chemotherapy. Why didn't you tell anyone?" Hera asked again.
"Tell who? People would think I'm just a weakling..." Demo said petulantly.

The knight with sunglasses came over to where the women were talking. He bowed to each of the women in turn, then spoke to Demo, "It was foolish of you to hide your problems."
"Oh, don't start on me now, Drakkoniss," said Demo. Her thin eyebrows came together as she frowned. "I know I was wrong, I'm sorry."
"Once more, with feeling," Hera quipped. "Seriously though, you just sound, well, peevish."
Demo bowed her head down and closed her eyes in regret instead. "I don't talk well," she sighed.

"Nonsense, you just sound very British," said Atroxia. "Stuffy British girl, that kinda thing?"
Drakkoniss laughed. "Speaking of British girls, your sister sounds like one too, Atroxia," he said. "You, however, sound very Irish to me."
Atroxia snorted and rolled her eyes. Drakkoniss then spoke to Demo, "I heard about your father's illness. You won't need to sell the heart now."
"What do you mean?"
"To keep it brief, I'll help you pay for your dad's treatment, but you have to make amends for trying to sell the very symbol of our hope, Demo."
"What happened to DaVinci?" Artisa asked him curiously.
"He's being dealt with by the police and Herospire now. You don't need to worry so much about him or the heart anymore."

Demo asked Drakkoniss in her brassy little voice, "I want to visit my dad now. Do you mind following me?"
"Not at all," he replied. "We will meet again," the knight said to Hera and the twins, then placed his hand over his heart. He then turned around and followed Demo to visit her father. The critters watched them go.

Atroxia shrugged, at least she had changed this part of her past. And she felt great relief at the thought that Super District would no longer be a complete wretched hive. As she said her goodbyes to Hera that afternoon, the red lion smiled to herself. She explained as much as she could to Ami after the latter got home, who was so surprised that she just sat there.
"You... You actually made something on Terra go as well as a Lorian fairytale," the older lion said.
"It took effort, mother," said Atroxia. "And it will take so much more to make a great world. Still, you're right, I shouldn't be a lone ranger either. Demo almost lost because she tried to fight alone..."
Ami looked serious. She then held her younger daughter's shoulders firmly. "You and Artisa live up to our family name after all," she said. "But I want you to be careful."
"We will, mom," Atroxia replied. "At least you don't have to worry about villains running this city any longer, the heroes are motivated now."

To be continued?

< Message edited by Crystal Lion -- 1/4/2013 4:32:10 >
Post #: 3
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