Tides of Darkness

Part three of Trilogy, part 1 = New Age, part 2 = Reign of Chaos

By Sh33p, CultofSh33p@aol.com

Chapter 6

Racing the Night

The final of this great trilogy. Hope you got airbags, 'cause this is going to be a crashing end. Tim Seltzer, seltzer@seltzerbooks.com

Sh33p Disclaimer: Only crap I own are the original characters, and even then I don`t own five of them in full. Consider this disclaimer valid for the whole story.

Foreword:Soundtrack is as follows.

Scene One: The Matrix - Neodammerung
Scene Two: Requiem for a Dream - Main Theme
Scene Three:
Zoids - Zoid Eve's Theme
Zoids - Raven's Theme
G Gundam - Intense Battle
Scene Four: The Two Towers - The King of the Golden Hall
Scene Five: G Gundam - Intense Battle
Scene Six:
Hack Sign - Obsession(Long Version)
Hack Sign - Aura(Evil)
Rurouni Kenshin - The Last Wolf Suite(3:25 - 4:37)

For all of three seconds, the entire central hangar fell absolutely, bone breakingly silent. Nothing moved, nothing breathed, nobody in their right mind even blinked as the Geno Maxis' hellishly red optics lit up, focused specifically on the Liger Zero Kaiser. Those three seconds burned themselves into Bit Cloud's memories as if they were meant to be an eternity. In the time it took for them to pass, he felt himself run through every possible emotion for this situation.

First came terror. The kind of fear that he had learned only one or two months ago, when he'd first seen the kind of unrelenting horrors that the Zoid in front of him, along with its maniacal pilot and genocidal Organoid, were capable of. Then came resignation. It was the kind of acceptance of his very likely fate that had driven him to say yes - the acceptance to destiny that had allowed him to survive being submerged in lava and buried alive by it.

And then, after that, at the start of the very third second, he felt something swell up in his stomach. Like a fire from within, it burned hot, traveling through every inch of his body in the process. He felt it spark at the tips of his toes, quiver in his knees and force his heart to pound its way up his throat, into his head and all the way to his brain. It was a feeling of defiance that he had, in all likelihood, never felt before in his life.

At the end of those three seconds, the world became nothing but a tunnel, and every winding path within lead right to the Zoid in front of him.

"I'm not afraid of you anymore," he heard himself say, though he never actually realized that he'd given the mental command to say it.

Liger and Geno both roared at one another, and without even acknowledging the presence of anything else in the entire world, the two Zoids lunged forward. The speeds at which they moved weren't even recognizable beyond vague blurs and the bright glare of booster engines at full capacity. Within fractions of the fourth second, the two hit each other and became even less identifiable than that - little more than a violent clash of gold against black, sometimes woven in with booster flares and viciously glowing claws, blades and teeth.

It ended less than two seconds in when a golden bolt of energy shot through the side of the Maxis and tore back out, leaving the Zoid to howl in pain. A blue streak followed suit, and before Bit even recognized what he was doing, he had ducked the Liger down in time to avoid a swinging blow from a deceptively flexible, and heavily armored tail.

The blow connected with the side of the Maxis' head, and for the first time since he'd seen the thing, it staggered back, looking almost undamaged aside from a rather large dent in the side of its black head.

"You shouldn't've done that, runt," Bit heard Kale gritting out irritably.

"And why not?" Vega retorted sharply, and Bit could see him sneering like a pit bull as he said it. "Because you can't handle having the odds thrown back in your face?"

"I'll get to you when I'm done with Blondie. You don't even matter anymore," Kale replied with a tone as smooth and cold as ice. "So run along w-"

"SHUT THE FUCK UP!" Vega blurted out, and for the first time in his life, Bit looked at the channel he still had to the Fury's cockpit in time to see a truly imposing expression on the boy's face. If he didn't think of Vega as a pure ally and friend at this point - almost as if the kid was his own little brother - he would've been scared shitless by it. It was because that imposing expression consisted of bared teeth that almost looked like fangs right now, with eyes slowly hazing into that vague, somewhat reglective appearance, the one where he knew that Vega was using the Micro Sworders.

He could see Kale's outline in the boy's eyes, but whatever his expression was in response to Vega's outburst, he couldn't make out.

"You don't have the right to tell me I don't matter anymore, Kale, not when it's the other way around," Vega bit out, only to continue. "You're just a fucking spoiled brat with a fancy Zoid, a bit of skill and an Organoid. All you're concerned with is getting your own sadistic, pathetic kicks out of intimidating and murdering other people! You don't have the right to do anything anymore!" He declared, and Kale's silence was as telling as a violently enraged scream would've been in its place.

"Sooooo, li'l ol' Veggie-kins thinks he's a big man now?" Kale finally seethed out.

"I told you to shut up, Kale," Vega replied within a hundredth of a second after his older brother finished speaking. The Maxis slowly arced its head towards the Fury, and the Liger, either out of acknowledgement or simple curiosity did the same. Still, Vega kept speaking.

"You can't see the big picture, you god damned moron. You're obsolete. You're nothing but a serial killer now, a mass murderer with as much dirt on his soul as Prozen or Hiltz themselves. You don't matter anymore," he said, "and I'm not sitting this one out."

Finally, he turned towards Bit, though the blonde knew almost instantly that it was nothing but a gesture. Vega's eyes were still fogged - he was probably looking at the entire potential battlefield right now.

"Bit," he began, just as the Berserk Fury's buster arms flipped forward, spinning with nothing but malicious intent reflected in the Zoid's optics. "Let's take him out."

"Fine by me," Bit replied with even more defiance than he'd already had. With that, both he and the Liger turned to face the Geno Maxis.

"Welcome to the gateway, Kale Obscura," he whispered out, more to himself than anyone else. The very thought of the words coming out of his mouth sent a vile shiver up his spine, and brought a sinister gleam to his eyes.

"The gateway to Hell."

The pause ended with a massive shockwave of thunder ringing through all three pilots' ears, just as three bolts of energy - one gold, one blue and one black - raced by, with the first two ganging up on the third. Mental war cries rang through all of their thoughts, and within nanoseconds, the three had imploded through a wall and carried their battle out of sight.

Nothing else was said, and the Zoids didn't even roar either.

They simply attacked. It was almost like watching a hellborn ballet, with the Liger Zero and Geno Maxis charging one another while the Fury brought up the Kaiser's rear. At near point blank, Bit lashed out, lunging for the Maxis' right leg. Almost on pure instinct, Kale jumped the attack in the same way he'd done the first time around - but this time, he didn't get a change to break the Liger's back. Vega cut him off in an instant, with the Fury's buster blades swinging wildly through the air.

The Maxis dodged even this though. With saurian agility that went beyond compare, it twisted and rolled in mid-air, ducking under both sets of blades and landing perfectly in a crouch. Killing blade snapped forward, the Geno leapt up and Vega sidestepped with perfect timing, the Fury's small and easily neglected forearms grappling onto the other Zoid's neck and throwing it back down to the ground. The Maxis hit, yes, but Kale was still able to swing its tail up and, in an act of flexibility that was simply impossible for most Zoids, rolled over onto its back. The tail and feet both smacked the Fury across the chin and cheek, sending it stumbling away while the Maxis rolled back up to its feet.

Bit jumped back into the frey before Kale even had a change to recover, and the Maxis was almost instantly knocked back onto its hind legs to the point that only its tail kept it from being bowled over again. Claws stuck to the thing's shoulders - he knew not to let them open. Ultimate Xs weren't the only things that could learn an opponent's moves.

"Nice try," Kale responded without missing a beat, swinging the Geno's left leg up and kneeing the Liger in the gut. The claws slipped back, but before the Zero could fell over, Bit activated the boosters and righted himself, both claws smacking viciously across the Maxis' head on the way down, and even managing to avoid the killing blade in the process.

Both pilots lashed out with extending weaponry. The buster blades lashing into the Maxis' shoulders and the Geno's talon-packing hands grappling onto the Liger's biceps. Each weapon glowed bitterly, that hatred could easily be seen reflecting in both the Zoids' optics and their pilots' eyes.

And then, Vega rejoined the brutality as a pair of light-powered charged particle beams slammed into the Maxis' side and jolted it into letting go of the Kaiser's legs, causing the killing blade to rake across the top of the Liger's head in the process, shaving off a thin layer of armoring. While Bit recovered, Vega kept on the attack, battering Kale's side until it started to smoke, and if the armor wasn't already black, scorch marks would've been blatantly visible on it. After about a second and a half of this though, the Geno lunged forward and out of the Fury's beams, skidding sideways to a halt as Kale popped open the Zoid's shoulders to reveal both pulse cannons and the micro-missile launchers.

One Obscura fired, the other was ready in advanced. Missiles screamed through the air at several times the speed of sound, interwoven with plasma bolts, and both assaults simply ended up crashing into a reddish-pink wall of energy. The Fury had one buster claw arm stuck out and spread wide towards the Maxis, rotating slowly as it stomped forward. The other buster claw plunged into the flooring and slammed shut, ripping out a large chunk of it and then powering up.

The shield dropped, Kale ducked to the side and Vega threw the second buster claw forward, firing its particle cannon as he did so. Not only did a lethally powered charged particle beam come ripping out from between all three blades, a slagging chunk of near-liquified metal did too. Both ended up smacking into the Geno's head, and whatever damage they did was promptly obscured by the fact that the metal covered it to the point that nothing was visible of it anymore.

"Let's see how you handle blind-fighting now," Vega challenged, and the Fury came howling in right then and there.

The response was a terrible roar, like thunder, from the Maxis, so intense that the melting steel practically blew off of its head. In a split second, the barrel in the Geno's mouth had extended. Another fraction of that same second and it had begun powering up and-

"Oh no, ya don't!"

- Bit came charging back in, shield up. Kale was ready though, at least well enough that he was able to hurl the Maxis up off the floor and side-flip right over the Kaiser's shield ram. The nimble Geno touched back down on both feet without the slightest bit trouble or damage, but by then, Vega had closed to point blank.

Sparks flew overywhere as the Fury's right set of buster claws smashed into the side of the Maxis' neck and head, obviously aiming to decapitate the thing. Kale recovered from this too though, and before the Maxis had even finished taking the hit, its body jerked about and that whip-like tail came swinging in. Again though, Vega was ready in advance, and the Fury's own tail smashed against the Geno's with enough force that more sparks scraped away between the two and with that, Bit again came stampeding in.

Strike Laser Claws smashed into the back of the Geno's right knee, jerking the whole thing around to the point that it was almost facing Vega. With that, Bit went into the equivelent of a death roll and the Fury's left buster claw set came up in an uppercut towards the Maxis' head...

Kale didn't dodge or block.

Sparks and a few metal teeth went flying, along with paper-thing armor shavings, and the Geno Maxis almost looked ready to fall over backwards as the Liger Zero kept trying to rip off its leg. Before Vega or Bit could do much else though, Kale had activated all of his boosters - from the ones in the legs to the ones on the back, and taken to the air. The Kaiser slipped free and fell back down on all fours as the Maxis blew up overhead, barely arcing back down in time to avoid hitting the hangar's ceiling before it started to move in a circle.

The main battle hit a pause, and that was when one of the doors into the hangar ripped open.

Three familiar bolts of light streaked through, garbled screams sounded through his mind in a language Bit couldn't even hope to understand and all three Organoids seemed to briefly fade out of their energy-based forms. Shadow's wings whipped out like those of a demon, and Specular came bolting in without even acknowledging them. The blue Organoid's head crashed into the black one's stomach, and Bit vaguely registered the sound of an annoyed grunt before Shadow kicked her away, only to be grabbed from behind by Zeke.

The golden Organoid roared, the blue one lunged back into the frey and grappled onto Shadow from the front. At once, both lit up with their signature energies, rapidly forming all three Organoids into nothing more than a blue-and-gold lightning bolt, which itself promptly arced up towards the ceiling and came to a grinding halt. Before Bit's eyes could even follow the thing's movements, it had coalesced into a blindingly bright blue-and-gold sphere before bolting straight down into the floor and punching through it as if it weren't even there.

A second later, a thunderous shockwave rattled its way through the entire Dome from below, the results of something that Bit was now only accutely aware of.

"Shadow!" He heard Kale say, then looked up from the hole in the floor in time to see the Geno Maxis break from its circle and head straight towards the floor, obviously intent on punching back out.

Where Bit was too slow to react, Vega was three steps ahead of everyone. In much the same way that the Berserk Fury had sidekicked one of its opponents the first time that Bit had seen it, the thing now repeated that tactic on the Maxis. Kale, apparently more preoccupied with Shadow's plight than anything else, didn't even see it coming.

The kick connected with a resounding crack of metal on metal, and the Geno shrieked in pain while flying off to the side. Boosters cutting out automatically, the nimble Zoid crashed on its hip, skidded backwards through another secondary hangar's door and sprang back back up.

"Here he comes!" Vega reported, even though Bit couldn't actually see from this angle. He knew what to do anyway, and as Kale came rushing back out of the hangar with the Maxis running at the speed of a Lightning Saix for the Fury, its forehead blade charged to the point that it was visible as little more than a silver glow.

Whether Kale had intended on mutilating the Fury with a single swift stab or gunning it down half-way and ramming the blade through its cockpit, it didn't much matter. Boosters flared and the Liger Zero Kaiser again played intercept, crashing into the Maxis from the side and tackling it into the air. Kale's initial gunshots missed pathetically, but he wasn't finished yet.

A kick to the stomach jolted the Liger loose and sent dents an inch deep into its belly armor, before a Strike Laser Talon raked across the side of its head and threw it away like so much garbage. The Liger backflipped and landed on all fours, the Geno slid down artistically onto its feet and didn't even skid. Pulse cannons fired, but Bit wasn't the target this time, and as Vega had rushed in to try and keep Kale completely off balance, the Fury'd taken a half-dozen hits to its chest and head, resulting in scorched and smoking armor with a few holes here and there.

Bit simply fired his vulcans and triple impact cannon, returning the favor in kind on Vega's behalf. The Maxis took every hit he had to offer and stumbled sideways because of it, but barely a second ticked by before the Geno's particle gun had extended into view again. Before Bit could even finish wrapping his mind around it, the thing had fired, and instead of its somewhat narrow beam hitting a wall or anything else, it curved sharply towards him at a near-right angle.

He was so quick to put up his shield that some of his own shots ended up hitting the thing from the inside. Blindingly bright silver hit what looked like liquid gold with such force and intensity that Bit was nearly blinded even through his shield and the cockpit glass. For several tense seconds, the Liger Zero Kaiser was pushed back, fighting so hard against the beam that its claws scraped foot-deep trenches into the floor and then-

"... That's... That's insane!"

Kale's voice. Afraid?

"It's only insane if it doesn't work, remember?!"


Bit's eyes snapped down to the window with Vega's face in it, only to see that the boy bore one of the single most viciously pleased smiles he had ever seen. Fractions of a second later, he felt the pressure on the shield come to a close, and looked up in time to see the Berserk Fury, hovering up near the ceiling, both buster claws spread out and opened wide, charged particle cannon extended and all three finished powering up - and all of them aimed right at the Maxis, even as Kale arced his own beam towards the other Zoid.

"... Fuck," Bit muttered.

With that, the world went white.

There was only silence for a number of seconds as she made her way up onto the very edge of the mesa, only to turn right back around and sling her club up onto her shoulder in the process. She'd made the entire climb with only one hand and a bit of passing effort, after all.

The sight she was greeted with though, was one that most people would've greeted with dread and horror. For her though, it held an almost eerie beauty, and an equally haunting sense of familiarity as the Dome's eastern-most side and bottom exploded open around a hellishly bright set of charged particle beams. All three lanced down into the ground at an angle, ripping burning away part of a leg just by proximity in the process.

Maybe by accident, maybe by design, the beams all ended up converging on a single point, where they proceeded to knife and burn into the grime and dirt until finally hitting something, possibly a crystal. Either way, whatever it was promptly exploded, and as the blast warped its way up out of the ground, the damaged leg ripped near its base, spiraling all the way into the dirt. The shockwave of color to follow almost resembled the firing of a Gravity Cannon, in both appearance and some effects. Pieces of the Dome's outer structure ripped and blew away, other parts simply imploding under the force of the explosion and others still were being reduced to an almost liquified state, with the outer shell being the hardest hit of all.

A secondary shockwave blew out, and where the closest part of the Dome's shell had previously been damaged in many different ways, now it simply crumpled inward like tin foil. The entire structure, however many hundreds of meters and thousands or even millions of tons of material it was made of, promptly started to tilt, wobble and lean in almost every direction at once. Years of research, countless technological achievements and more sacrifices and atrocities than could ever be known, were all being put to the torch.

It had all been for nothing to the people now inside. Only a stepping stone for a puppet on strings and a power-craving maniac that should've stayed forgotten.

Finally though, the explosion ended with one last surge of that oddly beautiful color, and then the Dome seemed to still itself for a few moments, even with numerous gaping holes in it and a missing leg. It was almost magnificent even in this state, but slowly, the remaining legs began to give away. First went the one closest to the already destroyed leg. Then two more closest to that followed, and finally the unstable creation simply toppled over, almost moving in slow motion towards the ground so far below.

Fires broke out, explosions belched up out of almost every hole in its surface and by the time it hit the terrain below, it was already ablaze in its own funeral pire. Molten lava splashed everywhere around it, a visible shockwave of grime, dust and dirt spread off from the impact point, and the remaining structure lurched visibly inward, just before collapsing all together.

It was a terrible sight to behold, and all too familiar as well.

But something else itched the back of her thoughts. Concern. Instinctively though, she knew that the feeling wasn't her own, and that notion was backed up by a series of loud thumps behind her. They were footsteps, each one heavy enough to send a small rumble through the ground, and when they finally silenced, a long shadow cast itself over her from above and on either side.

He had that planned from the beginning, the Ancient pointed out with a mildly disturbed tone to its Voice, its attention focused more on the fallen Dome than anything else.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he did. That boy seems to be the only one of the whole lot who actually knows what he's doing," she replied simply, not really complimenting Vega so much as she was acknowledging the truth.


There was a momentary pause, during which time, both Roc and Madison shifted their mutual gaze towards the dead city in the distance. In purely scientific terms, it rested precisely on Zi's North Pole, but in reality...

"Four is slowing them down too much. He's an obstacle at this point."

Also agreed, Roc replied, and Madison heard the tell-tale opening of panels behind her. We may not go there, but we can still help them along.

Without even giving a reply, Madison simply stuck her club up into the air and allowed Roc's own magnetic pull to carry her up and inside of its chest. The view of Hell's graveyard with the naked eye soon gave way to that same view behind the orange glow of of a 360 degree cockpit, styled in an eerily similar fashion to the one used by the Death Stinger, but still smaller, and not possessing the same obstuctive ring of metallic bits rotating all over.

The floor slid shut beneath her, and her feet touched down near the base of the chair an instant later. The club, Thor's Hammer as someone had once called it, was nonchalantly set down on the floor, left to fall where it may, only to be seemingly absorbed a second later. With that, Madison sat down, feeling aged cushions giving way as if the entire seat had been made specifically to handle her - and it had. Her arms gradually rested in place, allowing her hands to sink several inches into the gel-like material at the front of each armrest, and when it was all done, a series of crystals on the top of the chair's back, followed by an odd contraption akin to a safety harness literally liquifying itself across her upper body until it resembled a kind of chestplate like those worn by medieval knights on Earth.

"Time to stop sitting on the sidelines," Madison said with a hundred thousand voices at once, and only one of them was actually her own.

Silver light enveloped the First Born, and then it was gone...

For what seemed like an eternity, nothing happened but burning fires and the occasional bit of falling debris. It seemed like nothing but a graveyard, and then, after the silence had gone beyond unbearable, one particular pile near the bottom of the metallic slope that had once been the central hangar's floor began to move. Little by little, bits and pieces broke away until finally a golden like could be seen beneath several tons of rubble.

An explosion of that same rubble followed a second later, sending bits and pieces of the once-imposing structure crashing into lava and cratered dirt everywhere in sight. The Zoid responsible remained hidden for a few seconds longer, until finally dropping the shield and being revealed as the Liger Zero Kaiser.

"WHAT THE SHIT-FUCK KINDA HAIRBRAINED EXCUSE OF A PLAN WAS THAT?!" Cracked the voice of one Bit Cloud, looking sufficiently shaken from the whole ordeal. A few seconds later, a debris pile further up on the slope broke apart to reveal the Berserk Fury, utterly unharmed aside from a number of minor dings and scratches.

"It worked, didn't it?" Vega asked breezily, utterly unphased by what he'd just done. Bit simply stared at him over the comm, his jaw starting to sag whether he wanted it or not.

"That was insane, you little runt!"

"It would've only been insane if it hadn't worked," Vega replied with a wave of his hand as the Fury slid down to the ground near the Liger, its buster blades folded back and steam still spewing out of its tail.

For a few seconds, Bit just kept staring at him, and finally, as Vega's eyes unclouded, the pre-teen looked back with a grin that would've put Marcus Harlock to shame. Horribly.

And that was when a charged particle beam ripped straight up from under the toppled dome, sweeping down between both Vega and Bit's Zoids, then plowing a trench straight into the gravity explosion's crater. In a matter of seconds, it ended, revealing a rather hideously burnt looking Geno Maxis, its armor literally liquifying on top of its structure and its head-blade missing, along with most of its teeth and one arm.

"... Okay, so it was insane," Vega muttered out, and Bit watched his eyes fog right back up as the Maxis began to stagger forward, heedless of the agony it was in.

"Did you really think you could take me out with one of my own moves?" Kale's voice asked, sounding haggard and stressed in a way that Bit had never heard before. It was like watching a black knight's armor fall off in the middle of a battle, only to reveal an enraged berserker who was probably twice as menacing and equally deadly.

"Thought had crossed my mind," Vega admitted bluntly, the Fury's buster arms snapping forward again. Bit followed suit almost immediately, unsheathing his own from the Liger's back and putting them at full extension in the process.

"Game over," Kale bit out, and although Bit still couldn't see his face, he knew right off the bat that he probably looked even more dangerous than he sounded. For a few seconds, nothing moved, and Bit couldn't even hear himself thinking as Kale took a deep breath so loudly that it echoed over the comm, and then...


There was a demonic howl as not one, but three Organoids bolted up out of the rubble, each one colored differently as two fought against the third. Blue and gold clashed violently with black, and each time, they were repelled a bit harder and a bit faster than before, until finally each one fell away and resolidified to reveal Specular and Zeke, each one burnt and marred by the equivelents of bruises all over their armored bodies.

The black bolt kept going higher though, until it too solidified in order to reveal a matching Organoid, its blue eyes casting nothing short of Hellfire down at the Fury and Zero both. Where Zeke and Specular were both covered with their minor scratches and scrapes though, Shadow was virtually unhindered in the slightest. His wings spread open and caught a wind that didn't exist, and his serpent-like tail snapped about like some kind of whip in the process.

"Specular!" Vega shouted pre-emptively, bringing both secondary charged particle cannons to bear and trying to gun the black Organoid down where it hovered. Without even thinking, Bit followed his lead and-


- opened fire with both vulcans, calling on Zeke almost purely as an afterthought.

Both blue and gold Organoids snapped to attention the moments before they were even called, and almost as one, both cut their boosters accordingly, going into freefall as they were bathed in their own energies. Shadow seemed to take his sweet time in order to mock them, each and every incoming volley of bullets and beams with an ease that defied human comprehension. In near slow motion it seemed, a black light flooded the Organoid's eyes, exploding from the cracks between each and every panel before the wings folded in.

Shadow fell, only to whip into a backflip and point himself straight down at the Maxis and bolt right into it from above.

Zeke and Specular each fused into the Kaiser and Fury at nearly the same time, and almost within nanoseconds of one another, all three Zoids erupted in light. Gold from the Zero, blue from the Fury and black from the Geno Maxis. The surge of power from all three was enough to send visible ripples through the ground and nearby lava, liquifying some of the Dome's immediate structure and causing each and every one of them to heal from their previous damage in a matter of seconds.

A new killing blade and arm seemed to form into existence on the Maxis as if it had been there all along, and every ding and dent, burn mark and scrape on the Liger and Fury vanished into nonexistence as well.

"ROUND TWO!" Bit heard Kale declare...

And then watched as the Maxis was literally blindsided out of nowhere by a silver bolt almost as large as the Elephander.

There was a small shockwave of sparks and flame through the air, and the black beast went flying back into the Dome's already mutilated structure, crashing with enough force to send a shockwave through the already tortured, buckling metals and cause the whole thing to jolt over a bit from the impact. With that though, the bolt formed into a sphere, and then that sphere imploded into the magnificent form of a creature who seemed as old as Time itself.

It was tall, matching the height of Zoids like the Geno Saurer and Elephander with absolute ease. Despite an obviously mechanical body, it held the organic appearance of a living creature, with the head, front legs and wings of a great eagle, even though it had an impressive crest of mirror-like feathers on its head. More of these same feathers covered the rest of its head too, save for the beak, and continued to do so all the way down to the base of its neck, giving way to what almost looked like silver-velvet fur across the rest of the body and hind legs. The wings were also covered in these feathers, save for the fact that each one had a pair of large pulse cannons at their middle joint, with a Storm Sworderesque laser blade at either side. A lion's tail lashed fiercely behind it, bristling at its tip with what looked almost like a thousand needles in place of actual hairs.

But most awe inspiring of all were the thing's eyes. Each was a mixture of dull blue surrounding an intense, neon red iris, with what looked like newly formed pupils of solid white at the center.

"Your battle lies elsewhere," a hundred thousand Voices wracked across Bit's mind, as well as Zeke's. The blonde already knew that it had done the same for Specular and Vega too, even if neither of them held the same surge of familiarity with at least one of those Voices. "We will handle the spare."

"... Where?" Bit asked, fighting the urge to glare at the First Born, but knew that it was futile to argue the point. Apparently, so did Vega.

"The city," the younger of the lot of them pointed out, and even as Bit glanced down at the window, he found himself looking at Vega with his eyes fogged even more so than they were before. Bit couldn't even see the kid's pupils. "It all has to do with the city..."

"The place with the red glow?" He asked glumly, wondering why he hadn't figured it out sooner.

"Yes," Roc and(or?) Madison answered abruptly, just as another charged particle beam blew through the Dome's structure and into the skies above. "Now go!"

"Right," Bit replied, not even giving it a second thought as he brought the Liger Zero around, facing the city in the distance. Without either pilot realizing it, their Organoids had already shut off the channel to the Geno Maxis.

Blades folded onto the Kaiser's back, buster arms closed on the Fury and both Zoids took off at roughly the same time, all but racing each other through Hell's own graveyard as two demigods prepared to square off behind them...

The doors slid shut and the lights dimmed as he finally looked up from a 3D layout of Champton and the fortress at its heart. Taking a long look into each of their faces, it was clear that he really hadn't been the only one to speak to the dead at all. Every single one of the people he'd summoned up had arrived with the same kind of awe-struck expression on their faces, and almost all of them had been too dazed to even notice his greetings.

First and foremost among them had been Sarah Obscura. She'd arrived looking both highly disturbed, relieved, well rested and exhausted all at the same time. After that came Leyon Martin and Steven Tauros, each one looking as though they'd run a marathon and each one appearing equally as disturbed and relieved as Sarah. Then came Steven's son, Leon, who would hopefully become Harry's brother-in-law someday. He looked less winded and less disturbed than anyone so far, though he still looked as if he'd rubbed his eyes raw for some reason. Following that, Naomi Fluegel had appeared with two somewhat bubbly looking girls around Harry's own age in tow, and then came a number of other people as well.

They ranged from regular pilots unattached to a squad to mechanics who needed to know what they would be in for as far as repairs went. Squad leaders were there too, and from them, the list just kept getting bigger and more prestigious, all the way up to people who were the equivelent of generals in Champton's defense forces. Even lowly teams like the Tigers were present, as were aces like the Tasker sisters, and Marry had even managed to show up - if only in a supporting role.

The only ones missing were his other brothers and sisters, as well as his parents. He'd've probably thought them to be rolling in their graves, if Montgomery hadn't told him otherwise.

"Alright then, I guess everyone's here," he commented, more so to himself than anyone else. "I'm guessing that all of you know why I called you here, don't you?" He asked, only to recieve a chorus of nods and mumbled acknowledgements. For a few long moments, he just stood there, staring at the lot of them before looking back down at the display.

The room itself was dimly lit for a mixture of dramatic effect and for the sake of practicality. All the consoles and displays stood out more this way after all. Aside from that, it was large, and almost everyone but Harry and a few others were seated in what looked like baseball arena-styled bleachers.

Finally, he spoke.

"Since everybody already has some kind of idea about what's probably going to happen, I'm not going to bother explaining. Instead, we'll just cut to the chase," he explained, flipping a switch on the base of the display and causing it to put up a hologram right in front of him, displaying the same 3D view of Champton he'd been staring at for the past hour or so. "We're expecting the attack to come from just about anywhere," he began. "Because of that, standard procedure means we'd need to divide our forces equally..."

Harry was starting to feel a cold sweat all over his back, but he kept going. Over the course of an hour, he laid out what little plans that he and others had been able to come up with, given the rather limited nature of their intelligence. It was all relatively simple - almost disparagingly so. Several walls of Zoids, divided to the North, South, East and West sides of the old fortress, with the actual city itself evacuated completely and left to become another random feature in the terrain.

Almost a half-dozen times during the detailing of it all, Harry had almost stuttered, almost tripped over his own words and almost had that cold sweat on his back extend to cover the rest of him as well, but he'd managed to get through it with flying colors nonetheless. By the time it was over, he felt like he'd gone through five matches in the Royal Cup and been nailed by another crashing Whale King all over again.

"Alright, before we continue... Anyone have any questions or recommendations?" He asked, stepping away from the display and tilting from one foot to another to try and lessen the soreness in them. Harry wasn't used to standing up so long doing absolutely nothing.

For a number of seconds, everyone was silent, until finally, Naomi Fluegel raised up a hand.

"Shoot," he ordered.

"Put me, Phoebe and Claire Newport up on top of the base's central building," she ordered bluntly, and Harry simply nodded. Fluegel was nicknamed the Red Comet for a reason. She knew what she was doing and asking of him, and she obviously would've been better used in the way she'd suggested rather than being flung out on the front with everyone else.

"Right. Anyone else?" He asked, glancing around only to see a familiar scarred hand being held up towards the ceiling. He knew who it was without even hearing a voice or looking down to see her face.

"I have a suggestion."

It was Leena Tauros. She had changed into the same kind of blue jumpsuit as almost everyone else in the city, and she wasn't wearing her glasses either.

"Fire away," Harry had to mentally slap himself into saying. He already knew, at some level, what she was about to suggest.

"Move everyone off the Northern wall. I can handle it myself," she stated as a fact. Several of the people seated below practically jumped out of their seats, and Leon and Steve were both among them. Every single one of them had looked ready to call her insane - and Harry honestly didn't blame them one bit for that much - but every single one of them had lost whatever will they had to stand against her the moment they saw her face.

The expression she had was almost enough to make a Gojulas curl up into a tiny ball and cry itself to death in a corner. Her entire face was nothing but calm and unreadable save for its intent. Even in her eyes, one could see that she had meant what she'd just said.

Without any further objections, Harry cleared his throat and continued, while almost everyone but Leon and Steven sat back down.

"Alright... Anyone who was on the Northern wall will be spread out equally among the other three, I guess," he said with obvious unease. Leena gave a small nod, then turned and left without another word. Harry had never been more upset in his life, but he had also never been more in control of showing it.

"Well, since that's... Done, I guess I only have one more thing to do and this'll be over with," he explained, literally forcing everyone's attention back to him as he flicked off the display, then turned on the regular lights. "Leon," he ordered, drawing even the older Tauros sibling's gaze as he did so. With that, Harry took a deep breath, calmed down and continued.

"... I'll need you to talk to Sarah as soon as this is over. The same goes for Steven Tauros and Leyon Martin. Any questions can be asked to one of the staffers," he finished, having briefly hesitated for a few moments. Leon was someone who had always made him feel even more miniscule than his own family. It wasn't that the guy was hostile - even though he could be at times. It was that, to Harry at least, he symbolized perfection. He was tall, fit, handsome, skillful, intelligent and well versed in just about everything.

It was half the reason that Harry had taken to wearing platforms whenever he'd gone to the Blitz Team's base. At least then, he could come reasonably close to looking Leon in the eye.

"That's all people. You know where to go, and if I'm needed, tell one of my secretaries - unless it's important. In that case, you'll probably find me in the main war room. Sub-floor eight, should be easy to find," he explained simply enough, just before turning towards the nearest exit. Leyon and the Tauroses had already gotten up to chat things up with Sarah by then, and by the time he'd gotten to the door, he actually felt he'd done a reasonably good job of having to avoid any problems...


Or not.

Without even bothering to glance over his shoulder, he'd motioned for the voice's owner, his sister, to follow him out into the hallway. Thankfully, there weren't any guards in sight by the time the door shut, which was also when Harry finally turned to face her. She looked somewhat odd, wearing a plain pilot's outfit like that. Not necessarily unstylish, but still odd. Harry was used to seeing her either glammed up in that debutante wannabe outfit that most of the Champ girls tended to wear some variation of, or in the skimpy pilot's suit she had worn when battling the Blitz Team.

Not to mention the distinct lack of make-up.

And did she just get taller?

"Not wearing the platforms," he reminded himself absently, only to wonder why she was staring at him like he was on something...

"Well?" She asked annoyedly.

"Errr... Huh?"

"Are you going to keep staring at me like I'm a stranger or do you want to know what it is I'd like to speak to you about?" She demanded with that oh-so-proper 'listen to me or die a Horrible, Agonizing and Otherwise Painful Death™' tone that only a big sister could use and get away with. That or a homicidal dictator bent on world power, whichever.

"Oh. Well, go ahead then," he replied, and for the first time, actually withstood the tone she used without stepping back an inch. When they were younger, that same kind of voice could've sent him running for the hills.

"I'd like to be out there with everyone else," she stated simply, bluntly and straight to the point in a completely un-Marry-like kind of way. Harry's jaw promptly came unhinged.

"ARE YOU INSANE?!" He demanded. "You barely even know how to handle a Zoid in pretend battles, let alone real ones!" He pointed out, having gotten to the point that anything related to the Z.B.C. was pretend nowadays.

"Actually," she began with a dagger's edge to her tongue. "I took to piloting your Dark Horn earlier. I was quite adept at it," she pointed out.

"That isn't the point! You could die!"

"And Harry," she began with an almost morbidly sweetened tone, almost like having citrus squeezed into one's eye. "If the defensive fails, we'll probably all die anyway," she assured him, just before continuing with a far less civil attitude about her. "For every shot I fire, I might help it hold out a little longer - maybe even long enough to win. I don't know about you, but to me... That's worth the threat of dying," she pointed out bluntly.

For a long number of seconds, the two were absolutely silent. The air between them was stale, their eyes were locked and neither one looked ready to give - but Marry had a more stubborn way about her. He knew the look on her face like the back of his own hand, even more so than the look Leena'd had on earlier. She would've walked through fire if it meant getting her way about this...

Unfortunately, it seemed like she would have to do just that at some point tonight. He didn't know, but he did care. Desperately.

"Take care of yourself out there," he said, and that was that. There wasn't anything else needed for her to know that he'd agreed to her demands. His face sagged a bit, countered by that sinister look dancing around in her eyes.

:"I'll make sure you don't regret it, Harry. You're not the only one in the family who can pilot a Zoid," she said, and very obviously meant it, just before stepping around him and walking right out of his sight all together.

For a long time, Harry stood there. How long it was, he didn't know, but eventually, thought came.

"Whatever happens... Happens," he told himself, even though he hated every word of it. His mother, father and a brother had already died. His family was in shambles now, and it looked like he would probably be losing the one left who wasn't a headcase anymore sooner than he ever would have liked.

"I don't know who you are..."

Boosters snapped open.

"And I honestly don't give a rat's ass..."

Optics lit up into a thunderous blue.

"But when you interrupt my fun..."

Claws, teeth and a lethal blade all began to glow miniature suns.


Sounds like individual gunshots from a sniper rifle popped through the air. Contrasting glows reflected across ground and tarnished, burnt metal alike at speeds that human beings had trouble comprehending as anything more than numbers on paper. A microsecond later, a shockwave like thunder rang across the countryside, leaving ground to implode in a crater in every direction, ripping hundreds of tons of surface structure from what remained of the dome and sending an equal amount of molten surging about like a tidal wave in every direction. At the center of the clash, dozens of yards off the ground, a hollow sphere composed of duelling silver and black clashed with itself, letting off small planar shockwaves at every angle, until only vaccum remained between them.

Like ball lightning, the sphere slowly inched about, each of its violently moving colors seeming to gain or lose the advantage in nanoseconds before finally splitting apart.

Air imploded in on itself where they'd been fighting, and the silver streak bolted up above the fallen corpse of the Dome. In turn, the black streak curved back down onto it, landing with a grinding screech across the very rim that had once been the easternmost floor of the hangar. As it did so, the black light faded away into the shape of a Zoid, and then, the Geno Maxis fully materialized with a howling war cry audible for a hundred miles in every direction.

But silver kept going. Like a furious angel, it curved back around, briefly seeming to sprout wings of some kind before impact came. With a screeching crash, the Maxis was jolted off of its all too narrow ledge, smoking from the left side as the silver bolt arced upward and came back around for all of a split second-

Only to break away in an instant as a charged particle beam spiraled towards it.

For several seconds, the chase continued, before the silver bolt curved upward and came to a stop, literally shattering apart into a million shards of fading energy to reveal the same monstrous chimaera as before. Without a sound, the beast lashed out with its forelegs, throwing a duelling pair of silver-hazed pressure waves at the incoming beam and causing it to break apart as a result. Within a few nanoseconds of this though, as the Maxis landed on both feet and made to attack again, another charged particle beam came screaming through the air, this time launched from the archangel itself.

"Not again," the Maxis' pilot had time to think to himself as the Zoid's boosters activated. With speed surpassing even a Lightning Saix or the Liger Zero Jaeger, the Geno burst forward, dodging the beam and its ensuing shockwave by precious inches and feet. The attack kept going though, striking into the remains of the Dome and promptly immolating it all over again, until only a mutilated lump remained.


Before the warning had finished registering, the pilot had reacted. A shower of mirror-textured feather-shaped knives rained down, but only ended up hitting the ground as the Maxis barreled out of the way. Within a second of their impact, the knives exploded in unison, and although they'd dodged the projectiles, the ensuing blast threw the Geno out of the air and sent it skidding sideways for a hundred yards, halfway up a hill before it'd stopped.

"NICE TRY, BIRD-FUCKER!" He impulsively screamed, acting on that same impulse as he brought the Zoid into a half-backwards jump, pointing straight at it before launching into the air. With speed that could rival a Storm Sworder, the Maxis closed in, and the Ancient responded in kind.

At once, each Zoid lashed out with a choice array of melee weaponry. Claws locked, the First Born's head came within inches of being impaled and a killing blade succeeded in gouging away a few mirror-like feathers. With the impact though, the chimaera Zoid rolled and allowed the Maxis to keep going up, only to catch it in the legs with a slash from one set of wing blades as it did so.

Sparks went flying, the Maxis' leg boosters briefly cut out and Shadow cursed something in Organoidian as a result. The damage healed in a hundredth of a second and the Geno flipped forward and rolled until it was level and facing the still-falling enemy, who hadn't even bothered righting himself.

Without a fancy battlecry of any kind, he squeezed both sets of controls and snarled as the Zoid's shoulders flipped open. Missiles launched and were subsequently obliterated at less than half-way in a hail of darts launched from the chimaera's tail. Without even paying it any mind, he'd fired the pulse cannons afterward, and this time - he hit...

And was promptly hit back in return. Each combatant took a series of shots into the forearms, and each one was utterly unphased from it. A fraction of a second ticked by and the damage was gone, yet before the mid-air flames from the explosions had even died down, they had each bolted with a pair of contrasting sonic booms.

They spiralled up almost a mile over the ground and met again. Hundreds of feet beneath the clouds, the two demigods of destruction clashed, passing one another by like bolts of lightning as the heavens themselves churned and thundered above. Black passed into night, silver whipped about through the eternally dying daylight. Where they had met, a real bolt of lightning finally echoed the clash, followed almost instantly by a wave of thunder that could've rattled human bones.

The second meeting was far less epic, and infinitely more personal.

Where before, the meeting had been like watching lightning bolts sideswipe each other, now the two crashed in head-on, fading out of their energy forms at the last possible nanosecond and slamming into one another at speeds in excess of mach eighteen. Most Zoids would've instantly imploded from such impact, and the pilots wouldn't've been better off, but in this situation, the only damage either suffered were a ruffled feathers and a severely dented armor plate or two.

Like the deities they were, the two continued battling without regard for gravity or common sense, and at every blow, the Maxis was met move for move. When it slashed with a claw, it was in turn slashed with the chimaera's own. When it stabbed with the head blade, it was stabbed right back by the Ancient's beak. When it kicked, it was kicked and when it tailswiped, it was slapped around by both wings...

And so it went from there. The two kept clawing and beating away at each other all the way down to the ground, landing atop the dead and melted remains of an Iron Kong, only to continue brawling all the way back into the lava-filling crater where the miniature war had begun...

Thunder rattled overhead and in the distance. Miles back, Hell was being ripped apart by a struggle as mighty as any clash of armies in Zi's human history, and yet...

It didn't hold very much significance to either of the two pilots. Though neither would admit it, each one knew that their mission now was more important than anything they would probably ever do again for the rest of their lives. It was almost as if they had been born, raised and put through seven different levels of hell, fought each other and almost killed a half a dozen times to prepare them for what they had to do now.

Each one bore a matching expression to the other. Thin lips, iron-set jaws, narrowed eyes and flared nostrils. Were it possibly, their hair probably would've been standing on end. For a long while, neither even glanced at one another's comm window, until finally, the younger of the two spoke up. He sounded as tense as a fully drawn bow.

"None of my bugs can get in anymore," he growled out, irritated to boot.

"What do ya mean they can't get in?" Bit asked back, feeling the Liger hurtle over a particularly large lump in the grime as he did so.

"They just can't."

Bit hazarded a glance down, and saw that Vega's eyes had gotten clear again. Even so, they were almost like looking into the eyes of a hurricane, especially when compared to the rest of his face. He didn't ask anything else after that though, instead looking straight ahead to the vague outline of a city ahead of them, growing closer by the second.

It was the same all around them aside from that one city and a few miscellaneous details of the terrain, scattered everywhere. The only thing truly unnerving anymore was that the shit-like grime that covered virtually every inch of Nyx was starting to finally melt. Eons worth of permafrost - the result of mixed dirt, ash and snow - was just melting out of nowhere. The temperature hadn't even raised, and Bit was starting to feel less and less like he was in a graveyard, and more like he was hauling it through an entire continent-wide battlezone that had been frozen in time somehow.

The fact that random bits and pieces of Zoids were starting to poke into view with the more grime that melted away didn't help this feeling one bit.

Each bit and piece was a little different from the one before it, even if only in color. Some looked like claws poking up out of the ground, and somewhere along the line, he could've sworn he saw something resembling a Lightning Saix's legs sticking up. Elsewhere, there was a gigantic scorpion-like tail, and further down the line, something akin to a stoned over Shield Liger, only larger and more malignant looking. After that, there was another stoned over corpse of a Zoid, this one more similar to a Rev Raptor. This one was missing its head and either arm, but judging by the legs, tail and body alone, it had been the size of a Geno Saurer.

Still, they kept going. The grime melted a bit more with every mile they tore through, until finally it was an ankle deep slush for the Liger Zero, though the Berserk Fury's hovering ability meant that it was unbothered by it all.

"What the hell is all of this?" Bit finally sputtered out.

"Roc already gave you a few hints," Vega answered.

This entire continent was the site of one of the largest battles in this world's history. The city at it's center-

Was the site of the Zoidian race's last unified stand, Zeke finished bluntly, cutting off Specular and earning the mental equivelent of a slap on the back of the head. Bit felt as much when it happened.

"The Sleepers," he deduced simply. "I thought they'd be more menacing."

The ones we've seen so far are the tamer variety. Be glad the shit-ground hasn't melted enough to see the real nasties, Zeke replied. Specular gave the notion of a nod, and both Bit and Vega each frowned, though they did it in different ways. Bit frowned with a mixture of annoyance and curiosity, Vega simply looked resigned.

Over the course of the next three minutes, and however many more miles of slogging through grime that such time entailed, Vega, Specular and Zeke filled Bit in on what he didn't know. From the genocidal self-sacrifices of the Organoids and Zoidians to what it was they died trying to stop, along with all the little details that neither Bit nor Vega knew along the way. When it was all said and done, Bit's jaw had sagged visibly own and his right eyebrow was twitching.

Vega looked to be in a similar way.

"That's fucking psycho," he mumbled out, just as they cleared the last hill around the blood red glow, bringing it into full view in the process.

For a few moments, both Zoids came to a nerve wracking halt. Their pilots both gaped, and everything was bathed in a pulsating red light, swirling over every surface until fading away for a moment, almost as if following the pattern of a slowly beating heart... But that wasn't what made them stop.

It was the city itself.

In one split second's glance, each one of the two could see that the city was easily twice the size of Romeo, New Helic or even Guygalos. Its structures, seeming as old as Time, all but shimmered with the now oddly welcoming glow of crimson. They varied from small apartment buildings at the very edges of the urban sprawl to what looked like miles-high skyscrapers rising like giants out of the cityscape, concealing the source of the eerie lighting.

And then there were the bodies.

Hundreds of them. Maybe even thousands, and even then he knew it was only the absolute tip of the iceberg. All of them were as still as lifeless porcelain dolls, preserved so perfectly that they looked as if the elements had never even touched them. It was like Hell's Snow had specifically this place, and for almost every single body in sight, there was a stoned over Organoid. Their expressions were all the same, as were their positions. Each one lay in a perfectly uniform sort of way, and all their faces were taken up by looks that bordered between tortured sobbing and the strain of a bittersweet sense of victory.

Men, women, children. Organoids of every color and size, even body-types. There were cat-types, dog-types, a few birds and even what looked like a shrunken down Iron Kong. All were dead. Perfectly preserved in the places that they'd fallen.

Somewhere in the back of his mind, Bit registered pangs of agony from Zeke and Specular, as well as the sound of Vega throwing up in the floor of his cockpit. If he weren't so numb right now, he would've been in the same boat as them.

"We..." He began, only to run out of words as soon as the first was said. Vega gagged a while longer, and he tried again.

"We need to keep moving. We need to keep moving. Try and ignore it," he managed to say with a shaken tone of voice as he brought the Liger forward. Slowly, the Fury trudged on after it, and in a matter of seconds, the two had passed over a thin red line of slop and stepped onto the corpse-laden streets of the city, with each pilot consciously trying to ignore the crunches beneath their feet as it happened.

In an instant, the red glow seemed to vanish around them, revealing itself to be some sort of bubble-type shield around the city itself.


"I know," he replied pre-emptively, hearing what sounded like incoming footsteps, and the disgusting cracks and crunches that each one brought with them.

For what seemed to drag on like an eternity, the steps inched closer. They were slow and methodical, almost as if the ones doing it were trying to vandalize as many of the fallen as they could. Finally though, they stepped into view - all three of them.

Each of the three was colored a menacingly dark shade of red, and each one resembled crosses between the Death Saurer and Geno Saurer, downsized to where they were around a head or two taller and proportionately longer than the Berserk Fury. Each one boasted matching red optics sit within black panels on the sides of their heads, and each one had a pair of large gattling rifles on their backs, poking out over either shoulder. Another pair of odd looking triple impact cannons stuck out near either shoulder. All three were naturally hunched forward as well, just like the Fury, and each one lacked the Geno's small arms in favor of large ones, with hands suitable for grappling armor and ripping it apart.

For a few seconds, the three eyed the two, and both Bit and Vega siezed up on the controls.

"I can't pull off another full beam like that for a while," the boy pointed out. "Not even with Specular's help."

"Then we'll just have to go right through 'em," the man replied in kind.

At the exact same time, down to individual nanoseconds, both Zoids deployed their buster blades. Gattling rifles started to whirl. Optics lit up like hellfire all over again. Individual claws shifted up, then down, and teeth were beared furiously.

At once, both pilots took a deep breath.

At once, both pilots screamed.

At once, the Berserk Fury and Liger Zero Kaiser dove into combat one more time...

Author's Note: Hmm... This chapter's ending didn't quite sit right with me for some reason. It served its purpose though.

The chapter itself would've gone a while longer, mind you, but the next scene(along with at least one after it) are being delayed into the next chapter and the one after it.

If'n ya need help visualizing those beasts at the end of the chapter: They're based heavily on the Bloody Demon from ZS2. Crossbreed that sucker with the unarmored Fury and voila.

Hopefully the various Kale Battles of the chapter sat well with everyone. I've been wanting to lob Madison/Roc and Kale/Shadow/Maxis at each other ever since I brought that bitch outta stasis back in New Age... You can probably tell that I'm going to very much enjoy writing the battle between those two. You can also hopefully tell from the initial slugfest at the start of the chapter that Vega, however inactive I've made him over the course of ROC and some of TOD, has drastically improved and gotten a whole lot more brutal in how he fights. He and Bit also make for an excellent team - they all but wrote themselves fighting in this one. All I did was supply dialogue and Kale's reactions to them.

I'm also VERY hopeful that Vega's little outburst(not to mention his vicious streak) caught more than a few people off-guard. I've been wanting him to let loose like that for months. Hopefully, the Gateway and Insane comments/moves managed to make some peoples' spines tingle as well.

For the sake of Valid Chapter Length and all that, all A/Ns from here on out will be done Zinou Style: I'll be tossing up a webpage for 'em and linking to it through my FFN profile.

That's all folks. Sh33p out and enjoy.

Tides of Darkness by Sh33p

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