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Golden Gate Empire: Dreams of Grandeur [IC | PG-16]

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Mr. Hyde

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As he charged forward, Bethany fired an attack at him.  At this speed, the attack, and himself, looked as if they were both moving in slow motion.  With this much time, it was easy to think of a counter measure for this attack.  Up until this point, to gain traction on the ice, he had been digging his bony claws into the ground, pulling himself forward with all of his strength.  However, now he had to let go.  As he did, he lowered his body position so that he was now parallel to the ground.  His arms were left straggling in the air for a moment, just for the beam to pierce his right arm.  Basabth could hear the agonized screams of Louis in the shadows, as his arm began to freeze over in an instant.


"Just a little longer Louis...I promise I can finish this."  


He was now sliding on the ground, as if he were attempting to steal a ball from someone in futbol.  Bethany was re-positioning herself, sliding on the ice as well, and taking some potshots at where she thought Basabth would be struck with the attack.  Using his reflexes again, Basabth dug his hands into the Earth, as icy covered soil began to upturn itself due to the sheer force.  He had to grip as tight as he could, due to the speed he was travelling at.  When he finally stopped, he was able to get into a running position and shove off.  At the same speed as before, and with no chance of escape, Basabth cocked his arm backward, loading all of his strength into his arm.  With this speed and force, a vacuum began to form around his fist.  


"I'm sorry..."  


Basabth unloaded his punch, only to have his entire body fly past Bethany's face.  He collided with the ground, his head smashing into the ice, cracking it and making him slide with the rest of his momentum.  As he looked up, he realized everything was at it's normal speed.  He looked to his hands, and noticed that they were tiny again.  He had reverted back to his normal form.  

"Wait...that can only mean one thing."  


In his own little world, Louis spun unconscious.  His lungs were barely functioning by this point.  


"LOUIS!"  Basabth shouted, as he hopped across the icy floor of the Congo.  He made his way to the shadow of a tree, and began to reach in.  He struggled to pull Louis out, but when he did, the body barely showed any signs of living.  "Oh no no no...please Louis wake up.  It's gonna be okay!  I'm gonna win!  I'm gonna win for you!  But you have to wake up!"  Basabth began to shake Louis by his collar.  His master needed medical attention, and right away.  With Louis unconscious, and Basabth in this form, there was no way they could keep going anymore.  Basabth looked to the sky, and was reminded of what their last opponent had done.  "W-w-we give up!  We surrender!  Please help him!"  Basabth turned to Bethany, his eyes begging for mercy.  "He's the only thing I have..."  

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"You really stole my thunder earlier. I was already yelling my best protagonist-level speech at that guy and even had my own personal flashback before I fired as if it was like one of those movies, but you got the privilege of getting rid of him in the end."
"Oh I really am so sorry..." Lace cooed childishly with a smirk whilst waiting patiently for Angelica to finish reforming herself. Her eyes seemed to filled with new life and her tone was whimsical for the very first time in her entire life. She felt like a knew woman and see her cheeks seemed slightly less doll-like as she tilted her head and beamed at Angelica.
 "Though I guess that just means that I'm the lead of this movie then, huh?"
"I suppose in the end it's not that important. Right here, between the two of us, whether it's magic or technology, it wouldn't be all that different. Our blades will do all the talking."
A sudden pressure filled the air as Angelica released her transformation. Seeing this caused Lace to grow excited. This was what she had been waiting for! A battle where she could go all out... 
Eager to meet Angelica's challenge, Lace slowly reached back and drew Beowulf forward. Pointing the tip of the blade towards he newest rival, she began to gather her own energy. 
"Let's fight 'til we drop! Then if you're still at it, let's save the world from whatever's coming afterwards! At least just to spit on that guy's face, I mean." Angelica beckoned her attack, prompting Lace to suddenly let out a deep exhale that caused a crackling azure aura to burst into existence and wrap itself around her tiny form. 
"Agreed... So let's get right to it then!" Lace's voice boomed across the arena. Lifting her sword high above her head, the girl allowed her power to flow through the blade before swinging it back down towards Angelica. The shockwave that followed was monstrous, and sent the earth flying high up into the air at either side as it traveled hungrily across the ground towards the android with the force necessary to level a building.   
"Magnum Locust!"
Lace watched carefully as the attack traveled towards her opponent, her entire body already poised to respond to the other girl's counter.Though she was quite impressed with the effects the upgrades the little scientist had managed to grant Beowulf, she knew that assuming that a single attack was enough to defeat Angelica would be insulting... 




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While both drones had their own evasion protocols and sensors to allow them to fly around autonomously without bumping into objects, this didn't make them master evaders. Even as the dragon's maw had grow close and snapped down, their evasion hadn't been enough to get away scotfree. The drill teeth had missed the drones, but the rest of the mouth slammed down on each drone hard. When the dragon opened its mouth, the heavily dented and sparking chassis of Hack and Slash fell down to the ground useless with a dull thud against the soft jungle floor.


"Goddammit, not again," Jack growled. However, she had her own problems. As the arrows had entered the dragon, they had all been fired out in random directions with the current of the water in the dragon's body. She cursed loudly at the situation and stowed her bow away, racking through what her suit was capable of to see if she had anything that could harm a giant water dragon. She figured electricity could do the trick, but she didn't need to do anything math to know that the output of her tethers versus the sheer volume of water in that dragon was going to be completely useless. She didn't have anything in her arsenal that could hurt something like that, and the only place that possibly could was the paramilitary group that had dropped into the location. But even then, there was no way they possibly brought in anything bigger than the guy that got chewed in half by the very dragon Jack was trying to kill.


"God, FUCKING DAMMIT!" Jack shouted, getting to work quickly at evasion, leaping and swinging from tree to tree with her tethers. She needed to hope that she ran into the other contestants so she could kill them fast and get the hell out of here fast, or else that dragon was going to make her its next meal.


Enjoy my comprehensive guide to Train Decks!

As well as my comprehensive guide to Cardian Decks!





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The Era of Man
From behind Xia, in the depths of the cavern from which she arose, a bubbling in the water began.  It caused Xia to stop her assault and turn around slowly.  A thin, womanly figure stood on the water's edge, having appeared from the literal thin air.  She was covered in a blanket of darkness by which Xia nor Jack had ever seen.  It was a different type of blackness that covered her.  It was so deep and so dark that staring at the shroud for too long would drive even the strongest people insane.  And this woman's presence alone was enough to cause Xia to go berserk.  She could feel the endlessly flowing magic seeping out of this person's very pores, and it disgusted her.  The woman paid no attention to Xia or Jack, but instead, continued to churn the waters before her with her hand outstretched.  The water bubbled violently as though it would soon spill over into the forest, but it never did.  Instead, an ancient tome arose from its depths, having slipped out of Xia's maw not long ago: the Atlas.
As the Atlas reached her hands, the waters became calm and she smiled with great satisfaction.  It took a tremendous amount of effort, but finally, she had reached her goal.  She turned around slowly and faced Xia, whose roars fell on deaf ears.  The dragon unleashed a mighty, magical torrent of water, seemingly drowning the woman in shadow.
However, she pressed forward effortlessly, as though Xia’s powerful waterspout were but a light drizzle.  Xia stared at the shadow covered enemy, confused and enraged.  Xia attempted to maul this woman alive with her mighty jaw, but she could not physically touch her enemy.  Yet and still, the enemy could touch Xia.
She laid a hand on Xia’s face, gently caressing the water dragon and ushering a soothing calm to its enraged mind and heart.  “Sleep,” whispered the woman in shadow.
And so Xia did, falling instantaneously into a deep sleep.  In this state, she almost seemed harmless.
“Sleep forever.”
She pointed a finger at Xia’s still body, and a bubble of dark purple energy surrounded Xia’s head.  Xia was still breathing, but she would be forever trapped in a world of ecstasy that plagued her mind.  Only the one who had cast this curse could lift it.
The woman in shadow turned to Jack, her voice still distorted by the absolute darkness that covered her.
“Jack,” she recited.  “Honestly, I didn’t think you would make it this far.”  She took a few steps toward Jack, and everything beneath her feet turned to ash.  “Transport will recover you soon.  You should make your way back to the hotel immediately.  You’ve been given an automatic victory.”
I… what?!” Jack asked with a trace of confusion. “Hold on, I’m not complaining about whatever the hell that was, but WHAT?! I don’t get to beat up that pretty boy?! I don’t get to kill that old man?!”
She chuckled at Jack’s words.  “Afraid not, my dear.  This is the end of the line.  For you, for them.  I’ve gotten everything I came for.  And that means you no longer have to participate.  But the least I can do before you make your final decision in what is to come is to tell you the truth.  That is if you’ll listen.”
“Sure, fine,” Jack said, disappointment lacing her tone. “I’ve got time, I guess.”
“Oh, no, dear.  Not here.  I can’t just tell you.  I have to tell everyone.  When your chopper arrives, you’ll be taken back to the hotel.  You’ll get one night’s rest.  Then, you and every contestant will report to the North Tower Lobby.  You’ll meet with me in person.  And then I’ll ask you this question one more time:
Will you stand with me or will you stand with them?  Don’t answer it now.  I want you to think about it.”
A hum of helicopters could be heard in the distance.  They were drawing near.
“That’s my cue.  Have a nice flight.”  She disappeared in a pool of bubbling darkness, sinking into the ground and vanishing as if she had never been there.
Cold Victory
With Rawal's near-fatal experience and Louis' surrender, Bethany had claimed victory.  Choppers were already inbound with emergency medical support for Louis and whatever remained of Rawal.  They would be escorted on three separate helicopters for three separate routes.  Having defeated an enchanted warrior, a shadow wielding assassin, a powerful summoner, and after surviving the Congo Basin, Bethany would advance to the next round.  The ground was still covered in frost and ice and would remain so for several days, but Bethany could relax knowing her journey back to the hotel was here, and her passage into the next round was secure.
And on the other side of the jungle, Jack's transport arrived in the clearing nearest the water.  She too had passed onto the next round for victors.  And after a hard fought battle, she could fly back to the hotel without worry.  Still, she suddenly had something vague and odd to consider.  Who was this mystery woman?  It was clear she had ties to the hotel.  And apparently, she knew exactly where the contestants were going to meet.  Or was she going to force them to meet there?  It was all a bit out of the blue.  At the very least, Jack was one step closer to billions she had never had before.  
It was then that she sought out the Godstone.  Having the Atlas at her fingertips, there was nothing she couldn't accomplish.  Even destroying the source of the Divine Being's magic was not off limits.  In a bubble of oozing shadow she appeared from the ground.  
She approached the Godstone with the Atlas in one hand and her second hand free to weave magic as she pleased.  With Lace on one side and Angelica on the other, she stood before the Godstone and chanted quickly.
"Lach ney see, aracht," she said, placing a hand on the Godstone.  At her words, the Godstone's marvelous crystal began to turn grey.  It spread quickly over the Godstone like a hungry fire.  The blue crystal disappeared beneath the grey, and the Godstone could be seen hardening as the grey reached its end.  "Aracht ta mo di-ey."  A crack appeared at the tip of the Godstone and it traveled rapidly down four sides of the stone.  Without another word, the woman in shadow walked away.  A bubbling portal of darkness appeared at her feet once more, and as she sank beneath the world she saw it happen: the Godstone had broken.
Crumbling like a leaf before the wind, the Godstone fell into chunks of ordinary stone, its energy and its light fading from the world.  Only one piece of it remained, and Lace held it on her person.  But now, nothing stood in her way.  Nothing would prevent her from seeing this to the end.  


Fuck your flag.

Lord CowCow

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The girl had done enough, her opponent was weakened, down, and pleading for surrender. She had won this round. And yet something was amiss. She walked towards the fallen foe, in his now weakened state, and stood over him as he asked for help.

"You did well, Bethany, now finish this."
Bethany was surprised to hear the voice, that was...that was her brother, wasn't it? "What..how?" Her head hurt, something was wrong, something was terribly wrong.

"Finish this fight. End him." The voice urged. Bethany trembled, as she suddenly remembered what was happening. She was...in the middle of a battle right? There was a dragon, and some other things...and she was fighting to....to help the children, yes, that was what was going on. So why did she feel so tired? She hadn't done that much...And why could she hear her brother's voice? And what was it he was asking her to do?


When she came to she found herself standing in front of Louis's minion. The shadow creature was smaller than she remembered, and near him was...Louis? And he was injured, badly. Looking around the area she noticed the ground was frozen and that the other opponent, Rawal, was down as well.


Blinking, Bethany quickly tried to piece together what was going on. She didn't really remember fighting, though she certainly could feel it, but the proof was all around her. And the others were in danger. "Hey!" She shouted out above her, knowing there were cameras somewhere around. "I know you're watching, sorry for breaking the immersion or fourth wall or whatever, but the fight's over right? Time to send in the choppers? People are hurt and they need help NOW."


With how fast the helicopters came she doubted that it was due to her shouts but she was grateful nonetheless. The medical personnel refused to let her help with the others and, truthfully, Bethany was unsure she should try. She only realized after they arrived that her body was covered in frost. Whatever had happened she had used a lot of magic, a thought that sent a feeling of nausea through her, and she was starting to suffer from exhaustion. As it was she barely made it into a helicopter of her own before passing out.

Her last thoughts were on her brother. She could have sworn she heard his voice...but...what was it he had said?

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"Magnum Locust!"


"Damn, I need my own named attacks."


Despite answering Lace's attack in a relatively lighthearted manner, Angelica knew she had no time to fully dodge the shockwave. However, she remembered the specification of her upgrade after her fight with Jack at that moment, and decided to try testing it out in practice. She fired off her thrusters to push her aside, enough so her core was outside of the projected range of Lace's shockwave. The attack thus ended up hitting half her body directly, obliterating half of her even if it was not a direct hit.


Or, perhaps that would have happened without her upgrade.


The crystal system that Rachel had implanted inside of Angelica's Paraiso fired up at that moment as a barrier made of some of her tassels formed between her exposed half and the shockwave, and absorbed enough of the blow into itself, allowing her half that was obliterated to not be scattered and reducing the overall damage she took. Still, it failed to absorb as much as it's advertised - Angela would've been able to maintain her form otherwise. She ended up standing on one leg, the entirety of the right side of her body being gone.


However, Angelica wasted as little time as possible. As that happened, she already activated Ohr's ability. A dozen copies of the sword materialized out of thin air, and were all launched towards Lace from different directions, each moving erratically as if they're independent projectiles with their own thought. Angelica then used the time to reform herself as she used her thrusters to blitz towards Lace for a rocket-powered slash with a name she invented on the spot.


"Sword of Divine Judgment!"


While most of Angelica had reformed by the time she launched her attack, Lace might notice that her right arm was still missing if she wasn't busy dodging everything that Angelica threw at her. Her rainbow tassels also were noticeably lacking from her back.


Angelica would follow up her slash with another slash, but she was aware that Lace was a far better swordsmaster than her. However, in the end, one thing separated her and Lace. As much as her heart and spirit was that of a human, Angelica's body was still that of a machine. Thus, she wouldn't be subject to humane limitations. She could fight differently than other humans. That much was fine by her. She was proud with everything about herself. She might be a machine that wouldn't die if she's killed, but at the same time her heart was still that of a human.


Still, if only she had anywhere close to Lace's skill when it comes to swordsfighting.





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Lace's gaze darted around he surroundings rapidly as the twelve swords came flying at her from every direction. Loud clangs of steel quickly began fill the valley, causing the girl's struggle sound as if it was a battle being fought between dozens of warriors. 
"It's like they have a mind of their own..." Skillfully parrying one sword strike after another, Lace weaved and pivoted around a small area whilst swinging Beowulf around with one hand in a blur of metal. Every once and a while a blade would manage to slip through her defenses... but with her speed she seemed to be able to keep them from landing any critical blows.
Though even she couldn't keep something like this up forever... 
After just narrowly countering what could only have been the fiftieth attack in this dance with death, Lace stumbled slightly, forcing her to sloppily smash the next sword into the ground with her free hand as it tried to come for her flank.
Damn it. Not good...
Resisting the urge try and pick up the phantom blade and use it to defend against it's brethren, Lace punted the sword away as it tried to stubbornly take to the air again. But then came yet another blade, slicing her cheek just before she could lean backwards to dodge it's stroke. "I need to get out of here...." She growled before leaping to the side, registering the sensation of a blade narrowly missing an attempt to sink into her back, instead forced to settle with scoring her right side. 
All too aware that her opponent was the definition of shrewd, and couldn't be given time left to her devices Lace vanished in a blur of speed. Only to reappear a few yards away from the swarm of swords. Swirling her blade in circular motion high over head, Lace grunted with effort before sending a Magnum Locust shockwave towards the cluster of blades to knock them out of the sky. 
A small smirk formed on her lips at the small victory, but it quickly vanished when she heard Angelica's voice from behind the cloud of dust that had been kicked up from the last attack. 
"Sword of Divine Judgment!"
The android ripped through the curtain of smoke in a burst so speed, leaving Lace with little time to react. Strands of white hair were tossed into the air, as XIII narrowly avoided being cut in two by hastily pivoting to the side.  Following through with her spin to turn and meet Angelica's second slash with her own blade, Lace gritted her teeth as the two girls entered a struggle that caused the ground to crack bellow pair's feet. 
"That... that was just a normal slash, wasn't it?" Despite the scale of their battle, no mattered how she tried, she just couldn't keep levity from seeping through whenever she locked eyes with Angelica. Though strangely enough it did nothing to take away from the thrill of combat.
"Here..." The two girls seemed about equal in the one-handed clash. Though luckily, Lace was still working with four limbs... "Try this!" Suddenly grabbing the straight sword on her hip in a reverse grip, Lace quickly drew it upwards between her and Angelica so that it's tip were pointed to the ground and it's handle was level with the other girl's cheek. A corona of sharpness swirled around the straight sword's blade, as Lace's eyes widened...
"Blossoms of death... Iron Lotus!"
In that same instant, eight crescents of light danced in flashes around the maidens. It was Octaslash. Seemingly appearing from varying angles, each flash was left from one of Lace's eight monstrously fast sword strokes as she attempt to cleave her rival to pieces.


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