/simu/ - Simulacrum

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File: 1700937725247-0.jpg (2.01 MB, 2000x955, Archeon (Earth-0) - 3.jpg)

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>Date: August 25th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City
>Time: 1:00 PM

"So let me get this straight? You want us to help you make a frontline push towards a demonic army?"

>Phoebe looks at Jack in disbelief, as he remains where he is, standing in the middle of the parking lot - outside of Archeon. A few aches and tinges of pain continuously course through Jack's skin - a reminder of Phoebe's raw strength.

"I'm aware of how it sounds, Phoebe. But I'm dead serious. I can't do this alone, and I didn't know who else to turn to."

>Jack says, looking pleadingly in Phoebe's eyes - as the latter scoffs, narrowing her own.

"You mean there was no one else for you to actually turn to, Jack."

>Looking away, Jack feels his face slowly start to convulse - turning into a mixture of regret and self-directed anger.

"I'm more than aware of everything that I've done, Phoebe. I'm trying to make up for it every single day - in the months since I left."

>Both Jack and Phoebe then turn their attention towards Aiden - who remains standing in place as well. Aiden's hands are back in his jacket pockets, as he looks carefully at his former enemy.

"….Where exactly did you decide to go, Jack? After you left this place."


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>Jack leans down and picks up a small pack of rock pebbles on the ground. As he stands back up, he flips them up into the air - watching as they expand in size to become large spherical rocks.

"Well, it's not that difficult to figure out."

>Now remotely orbiting the rock spheres around each other, Jack then directs the motion of the rock spheres with his hand. As they begin to orbit each other - Jack explains:

"I went through different universes - just trying to find somewhere that fits. Most of them seemed well enough along, adjusted in their own way."

>Looking back at Aiden and Phoebe, he then continues:

"…..So I decided to find somewhere that I felt would match what I am now. Something more supernatural, I suppose."

>Aiden and Phoebe look at each other for a moment, exchanging facial expressions, before turning back to Jack.

"You went somewhere fantasy oriented, didn't you?"

"Yeah. I did. Lot's of fantastical and mythical stuff there - but the world also felt…..normal, somehow."

>Turning the rock spheres into large rock-like statues of beasts, Jack then continues:

"The world I ended up in - it's pretty much like ours. Well it was, before the monsters appeared. Fantastical creatures - stuff you'd see in a book of sorts."

>Jack then returns the rock statues back to pebbles - dropping them to the floor once more with his hand gesture.

"So I became a hero there. Paladin. It worked out well at the start. I even met someone there - Jill."

>Phoebe then interjects.

"Jack and Jill? Seriously?"

>Jack gives Phoebe a deadpan look as he continues.

"…..Either way, she was someone who was enlisted to fight the monsters - alongside hundreds of others. I saved her during my time there, and we started to work together more often."


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>Aiden's the first one to respond to Jack's statements. He asks the obvious question:

"So what happened? Circumstances seemed fair enough for you to handle - from what you've relayed to us."

>Aiden points at Jack's direction after partially raising up his hand from his jacket pocket.

"What exactly appeared, and was such an issue for you - that you had to leave in order to get us?"

>Jack wastes no time in his response, a more resolute expression on his face as he speaks.

"Diabolos. A hellspawn or whatever you want to call it. It looks human, but it clearly isn't. It's some kind of demonic creature that appeared on the planet one day."

>Jack's face turns dark at the mention of Diabolos's name - indicating the seriousness of the situation.

"I'm not sure how, but it also managed to take control of the mythological creatures surrounding the open plains of the planet. Everywhere outside of the major city strongholds - it somehow assumed control of them."

>A sense of trepidation rising in Jack's voice, he looks down at the closing palm of his hand and continues speaking:

"It rallied them. Unified them. Stopped them from acting as mindless and feral beasts. It directed their focus and attention towards a single goal - destroying New Terra."

>Phoebe then speaks up - keeping all of the information in her head for clarity.

"New Terra? I'm assuming that's the 'city stronghold' that you live in now?"

>Jack nods.

"It's the capital city in that version of Earth. The place is a unified government."

>Aiden and Phoebe give Jack looks of surprise, as he then clarifies:

"….It's not that difficult when the entire planet is constantly attacked by supernatural monsters."

>He then looks off to the side - at the cars in the parking lot.

"Nothing brings people together like having a common enemy - as they say."


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>Aiden looks up at the sky for a moment as he speaks:

"Say we believe all of this so far - and I have no reason to doubt your statements, mind you."

>He pauses for effect, as he lowers his gaze back towards Jack, continuing:

"Why not ask the Sorcerers Supreme for assistance? I'm certain that they could assist you, if need be."

>Jack looks at Aiden directly in the eye - staring at him behind Aiden's sunglasses.

"I think you know why, Aiden."

>Phoebe looks between Aiden and Jack with some confusion on her face.

"Eh? Am I missing something here?"

>Aiden then gives Jack a soft smile, a look of slight curiosity on his face.

"It's about reconciliation, Phoebe. He wants us to give each other a second chance. Start over."

>Phoebe, understandably, is far more skeptical of these intentions - giving Jack a look of complete distrust.

"I don't really care about whatever magic spell they put on you. I don't believe that you've changed. How could you?"

>She looks at Jack, up and down his figure, as a look of disdain comes over her face once more.

"Just the things you threatened to do to me after you killed Aiden. That couldn't have come from nowhere."

>Aiden, not looking at Phoebe, and still keeping his gaze trained on Jack - then replies:

"I don't think he's asking for your forgiveness Phoebe. Nor your understanding or acceptance."

>He then crosses his arms as he concludes:

"He's just looking for a second chance to be a better person. I would know a thing or two about that - wouldn't I?"

>Aiden says this, knowing full well that Phoebe is aware of the underhanded implication regarding his statement.

>Resigned to Aiden's statements, Phoebe then lets out a deep sigh of annoyance as she replies:

"Alright. Fine. We'll help you, Blackburn."

>Pointing a finger at Jack, she then says in a deadpan tone of voice.

"Any wrong moves though? You'll wish that the Sorcerers obliterated you instead. Got it?"

>Jack nods slowly, a mournful, but understanding look on his face.

"Thank you, Phoebe. I'm just trying to make up for both what I did - and for what I said that I'd do."


File: 1700939968311-0.jpeg (415.48 KB, 1920x864, New Terra City.jpeg)

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>Location: New Terra [Earth-100]
>Time: 1:00 PM

>The sprawling megapolis of New Terra stands high above a body of artificial waters - generated with the city's advanced hydrological research. Bright neon lights cover the edges of the city, as large structural skyscrapers pierce the skies above.

"Another one's coming! Duck!"

>Soldiers in unique futuristic armor quickly duck for cover, as another surge of fire is cast over the city streets. The supernatural properties of the flame make them particularly adhesive - as they bind themselves to different metallic components and mechanical parts.

"Ugh, more of this stuff! Get the cryo engines out!"

>A group of the armored soldiers then begin running towards a nearby command tower - seemingly the source of the cryo technology that they require.

"We need to double back! Someone get the CO on the line! We need coordinative efforts!"

>Above in the sky, the deafening roar of a creature unseen - persists.


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>A second group of soldiers begins to double back on the path that they came - attempting to avoid more of the supernatural fire, raining from above. They duck into a nearby alleyway - panting for breath.

"It's a Pyre Dragon."


>The armored soldiers look off into the darkness of the alleyway - as a woman with blonde hair and an armored blaster walks into view. The soldiers give exhausted sighs - relieved at the arrival of their commanding officer.

"Commander Weiss! It's good to see you ma'am!"

>Jill Weiss then stands before her unit - still holding the blaster in her hand. It has a blue light coursing through it as she looks outside - seeing the massive plumes of "sticky" fire rapidly covering the streets.

"Sorry, I had a bit of an errand to run…."

>Pressing the trigger, Jill's blaster then fires a large sheet of bright blue light - spreading out across the burning city street. It immediately results in a surge of steam - as the cooled remains of the city remain.

"Cryo blaster. I had to restore power to the defense towers. Whatever this fire is - it's effective in burning now the integrated circuitry of the city."

>One of the soldiers turns to Jill and responds:

"Is headquarters sending reinforcements?"

>Jill shakes her head and scowls.

"No. The wimps don't want to risk 'valuable collateral' - in case the Hydra colony in the East isn't dealt with yet. We're on our own."

>Sighing, the soldier resigns himself to the reality of the situation, as Jill then speaks up.

"Listen up you all. We've got a pretty clear cut mission."

>She then points to the large towers with blue lights surrounding the city.

"We need to restore the tower defenses now that power's been re-routed. Automated cryo cannons and targeting systems will do the rest - probably bait our Pyre Dragon out into the open too."

>Nodding, the soldiers get to work and start running off - as Jill looks up into the sky and sighs - muttering underneath her breath:

{"Where the hell are you, Jack? You better bring your friends here soon - before the place is turned into charred scraps."}


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File: 1700940804684-1.jpeg (4 MB, 2480x3508, Mosaic - 2.jpeg)

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>The city is still rife with monster attacks, in the middle of the incoming fire barrages. Large golems tower above the city streets - sending vehicles flying with their every step.

"Shit! We're blocked!"

>A group of the armored soldiers hide behind a set of large bridge constructs - holding onto railings in order to remain sitting.

"How are we gonna get past them? They're golems!"

"I don't know. Maybe a flash beam grenade? Could distract them."

"It could also flag our location to the Pyre Dragon hiding in the sky. It's basically sniping us every time we try to get close to the towers!"

"Oh man, what are we going to do?!?!"

>In that moment, a crackle appears in the air - behind them. Large surges of seemingly mystical lightning appear - as a figure clad in white then manifests from the void of space.

"Is that…."

"It's him! He's back!"

"Haha! Yes! Finally!"

>Paladin appears, hovering in the air - flanked by two figures in black and red. The man has a helmet covering his face, whereas the woman only wears a face mask by comparison - her blonde hair fluttering in the wind alongside her blood red cape.

"….And he's brought backup too? Oh thank GOd.!"

>Without a moment's notice, Paladin then immediately flies through the golems at superhuman speed - easily breaking the sound barrier by several dozen times over.


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>The force of the blast is powerful enough to send the solders flying backwards into the air.



>However, a large glowing red construct seemingly appears behind them. The construct appears in the shape of a baseball glove - catching them and keeping them safe.

"Sorry about that. Your protector's a bit reckless, isn't he?"

>Hyperia says with a smile - as the stunned armored soldiers look on in surprise.


"Yeah….he is….definitely."

>Noticing his colleagues clearly losing their focus, one of the armored soldiers scowls at them.

"Oh for crying out loud….focus you idiots!"

>That same soldier turns his attention towards Hyperia and says:

"Yeah, sorry about that ma'am. We're good. Thank you. We appreciate the assistance miss….."

>Getting the cue, Hyperia then responds matter-of-factly:

"Hyperia. The other guy over there's called Mosaic."

>Nodding, the soldier watches as they're placed back on the ground by the red energy construct. Marveling at the phenomenon, they barely remember their goal.

"Right! Everyone! Move towards the central cyro towers! Remember Commander Weiss's orders!"

>Nodding, the soldiers now continue to move forward - as the monsters are now being dealt with by the three heroes.


File: 1700941549513-0.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

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>Another set of large golems are terrorizing a different part of the city. As they surround a different group of soldiers attempting to reach a cryo tower - they're suddenly stopped in mid strike.

"Huh? Are they frozen or something?!"

"I think so. What happened?!"

"Who's complaining? Just get to the tower!"

>The black and red figure of Mosaic then swoops in from above - landing directly in front of the armored soldiers and turning his helmet over his shoulder. Now looking at them from behind, he says:

"They're petrified - literally. Can't move. So you should be clear."

>Still taken aback, one of the armored soldiers then says:

"T-Thank you sir! I uh….I don't know who you are…."

>Mosaic then responds.

"Just call me Mosaic. My friend over there in the distance is called Hyperia. She's a bit of a loose cannon - but she means well."

>In the distance, Hyperia blasts through a particularly large golem with her heat vision - effectively slicing it in half with a single burst of concentrated red light.

"I heard that Mosaic!"

>Mosaic then says:

"I know you did. That's the fun of it."

>Placing his gloved hands together, Mosaic then makes a simple wordless incantation with his mind - before pressing his hands outward. He then transmutes the golems into harmless butterflies - watching as they fly away.

>Turning back to the armored soldiers, he then states:

"You've got a command tower to reactivate, correct?"

>Nodding quickly, the armored soldiers then run off - determined to fulfill their mission.

>Looking back out at the city before him, Mosaic then thinks:

{"Not a bad place to protect, in all honesty. It looks beautiful."}

>He then flies up into the air - moving even faster than Paladin did.


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>Jill continues running through the streets, attempting to direct the various regiments of her army - while giving them explicit tasks to complete.

"Get those solar converter panels up and running! We'll need to store excess capacity to fill up the city's energy reserves!"

>As she rounds the nearest corner in the street - she looks up to see a massive golem before her. Easily the largest golem in the area.

>Cursing to herself, she aims up her cryo blaster at the monster - firing off a shot.

"The things I do for this city. I swear…."

>The blast hits the golem, partially immobilizing its leg. However, it looks down and begins slamming its rock-like fist into the ice pillar, freeing its leg.


>The force of the strike is enough to send Jill flying backwards - into the arms of Hyperia.

"Good afternoon, miss. I assume you're the one in charge here?"

>Hyperia says with a warm smile, as she holds Jill in her arms.

"I uh… Erm….."

>Taking a moment to take in the sigh of a woman carrying her in the air - Jill then processes her thoughts more succinctly.

"…..Yes. I am Commannder Weiss of the Paranatural Response Division."

>Nodding, Hyperia then says:

"Response Division huh? Well the more things change, the more they stay the same, I suppose."

>Gently lowering both herself and Jill to the ground, she then places Jill on her feet - as she motions up to the golem.

"Well, if we're here, then you can guess who's here as well."

>Thinking for a moment, a light then appears in Jill's eyes as hope rushes back into her heart.



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>Paladin then appears as a flickering burst of electrical energy and white light. His fists ball up, as his knuckles whiten and tighten together in his gloves.

>A look of determination and outright fury appears in his eyes behind his mask and cowl - as his hood flutters in the wind behind him.

>He then rushes straight through the golem blitzing it up into the air at superhuman speeds. The golem can barely react - as he then winds back his fist - and punches it into the air.

>The force of his strike causes it to shatter into large rock-like pieces - which begin falling to the ground.

"Not happening."

>Holding his hand out, Paladin then focuses as bright blue lightning arcs across his eyes - and throughout his body. Utilizing his divine powers, he then channels energy through his body - now blasting large surges of blue lightning at the rocks with blazing speed.

>As the rock pieces are obliterated and turned into smoke, he then lowers himself down to the ground.


>Silent, he watches as Jill stares at him from across the street. After another few seconds, Paladin then slowly raises his hand and starts waving at her.

"….Hey, Jill. Sorry I was late. It took me a while to find the universe-"

>Jill then rushes towards Paladin and then gut punches him - causing him to keel forward.

"You complete and utter moron! Don't leave me again like that! We needed you here!"

>Nodding quickly as the wind is taken out of his body, Paladin nods quickly.

"Right! Sorry!"

>Hyperia crosses her arms behind Jill and Paladin - giving an amused expression as she says:

"Hmph. I guess you're not all talk after all, Jack. Good job then."


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>At that moment however, a large plume of fire reigns down from above once more. An even bigger surge - seemingly targeted at Paladin and Hyperia.

"Uh oh!"

"I've got this, don't worry!"

>However, before either of them can act, a ripple of red light appears in space-time, seemingly absorbing the entirety of the blast.

"Not that I don't trust either of you - but I'm here too, you know?"

>Mosaic slowly lowers from the sky, from behind all three of the figures below.

>As he lands on the ground, his arms are crossed as he says:

"Paladin, Hyperia."

>Jill then looks at Mosaic, even more confused.

"….Alright Jack. I believe you when you say that you were getting reinforcements. And judging by how the golems are just…gone? You did a hell of a job getting backup for us."

>Nodding, Paladin then says:

"Mosaic and Hyperia are some of the best fighters that I could find. With their help, we can definitely handle Diabolos now."

>A few seconds later, a large mechanical whirring sound can be heard throughout the city. Relieved at the familiarity of the noise, Jill then exclaims in relief.

"They did it! The automated cryo systems are back online!"


File: 1700942823883-0.gif (1.31 MB, 1024x576, Tower.gif)

File: 1700942823883-1.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

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File: 1700942823884-4.jpeg (861.41 KB, 1920x2688, Pyre Dragon.jpeg)

>The large towers across the city now begin to generate glowing blue energy lines - all situated across the walls of their armor plating.

>Within moments, they all finish powering up and take aim at the sky - beginning to fire a combined burst of cryo energy into the skies of New Terra.

>There's a moment of silence and anticipation - before a large roaring red dragon appears. The dragon is far larger than the golems, as its shadow completely covers the city's expanse.

>Down below, the assembled group of four heroes look on in a mixture of reactions.

"Huh, bigger than I thought."

"Eh, I can still take it."

"I know both of you can. That's not my concern. It's who's using it."

"….It's him, isn't it?"

>Paladin nods - as he looks up at the red dragon in the sky.


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File: 1700943083887-4.jpeg (126.59 KB, 850x1341, Diabolos - 3.jpeg)

>Riding atop the unfathomably large dragon is a humanoid figure with pale skin and black hair. Arcane designs course throughout the figure's body - as they sit atop the dragon with a neutral expression on their face.

>Paladin recognizes the humanoid figure's appearance immediately, his hands balling into fists once more as he speaks.


>Looking at Paladin for confirmation, Hyperia then asks:

"That's him then? The guy who caused you so much trouble?"

>Nodding slowly, Paladin replies:

"Absolutely. There's no mistaking his energy signature, nor his appearance. It's him."

>Mosaic then places his hands in his jacket pockets as he speaks up in turn:

"I'm not surprised. His energy signature is just as great as yours. He's definitely stronger than your benefactors in Godspace."

>Nodding once more, Paladin then says:

"You two deal with the dragon. I'll hold Diabolos off until then."

>Hyperia cracks her knuckles in response.

"Sounds like a plan. Let's go."

>Mosaic nods as he keeps his hands in his jacket pockets.

>Both he and Hyperia then blast off into the sky, with Paladin right behind them.


File: 1700945144913-0.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

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File: 1700945144913-2.jpeg (861.41 KB, 1920x2688, Pyre Dragon.jpeg)

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File: 1700945144913-4.gif (671.94 KB, 500x205, Ice - 2.gif)

>Mosaic and Hyperia immediately rush into the dragon - sending it spiraling through the air. As they do so, Diabolos disappears in an instant - reappearing elsewhere.

>After the first strike, Mosaic and Hyperia both hover in the air - as the Pyre Dragon regains its bearings. Angered, its nostrils flare as it begins to fire a massive stream of flaming magma at the two heroes.

>The magma wave is large enough to cover the entire city - yet it's stopped in mid-air by Hyperia's cooling breath. After taking a deep breath in preparation, Hyperia unleashed a massive wave of thermally-absorbing force in the form of the cooling wave.

>The result is a massive icicle of sorts that hovers in mid-air for a slight moment, before Mosaic appears beside Hyperia.

"I'll handle the rest."


File: 1700945341240-0.png (2.89 MB, 998x2000, Mosaic.png)

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File: 1700945341240-3.jpeg (861.41 KB, 1920x2688, Pyre Dragon.jpeg)

>Mosaic then makes a set of quick gestures with his hands - generating a distortion effect which converts the large icicle into a series of large mirror fractals. The fractals expand in size and rapidly converge on the Pyre Dragon's location - folding around it as the distorted fractals then expand across the city.

>Hyperia looks around, confused for a moment.

"What happened?"

>Mosaic then responds, hands back in his cloak pockets.

"Look down at the city below. Notice anything?"

>Hyperia uses her superhuman sight to get a pinpoint view of the city below. The entire city is identical in structure - except for one glaring omission.

"….All of the people are missing."

>Mosaic nods in response.

"Correct. I shunted ourselves and the Pyre Dragon into another dimension."


>Mosaic then prepares a combat stance in mid-air, alongside Hyperia as he speaks:

"Because the energy output from this dragon can easily destroy the planet. Which is probably the mistake that this Diabolos was counting on us making."

>Nodding, Hyperia then speaks.

"Alright then. Let's get started."

>Mosaic and Hyperia then rush the dragon - as it generates another surge of massive flame and powerful fire.


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>Back in the main dimension, Paladin continues fighting against Diabolos in the air. As their strikes connect, Paladin feels a surge of blood rushing away from his face - as blood spots leak from his mask.

"Still as weak as ever, Paladin."

>Diabolos then stretches out his hand, generating a warping effect in his palm. A dark black sphere with a red silhouette starts to manifest in place - growing larger and more powerful with each second.

"Not this again!"

>Paladin then immediately teleports away in lightning - reappearing behind Diabolos as he attempts to strike him from behind.


>Diabolos then kicks behind himself - striking Paladin in the mask once more and causing him to stumble backwards. After striking Paladin, Diabolos then turns around and hits Paladin in the center of his armor with the sphere - creating a massive distorted implosion effect.


>Paladin screams in pain as he's nearly ripped apart by the blast - only kept together by the invocation of bright blue lightning from the heavens.

>Raising an eyebrow, Diabolos hovers backwards - a neutral expression still on his face as he does so.

"There are your precious deities - saving you once again."

>Panting heavily, Paladin feels his energy reinvigorated from the lightning blast. Looking up at the heavens, he states:

{"Thank you."}

>Before turning his attention back towards Diabolos.

"You haven't won yet. I wouldn't act so confident."

>The two figures then rush towards each other again at blinding speeds.


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>Back in the Isometric Dimension, Mosaic and Hyperia continue to fight against the Pyre Dragon. It's grown larger over the past few minutes - as it continues to generate even hotter and more deadly flames.

"How is this thing getting even stronger?!"

>Hyperia says as she blitzes the Dragon in the face - sending it spiraling backwards into an empty building. The building entirely collapses under its own weight and falls apart, as Hyperia flies back to Mosaic.

"It's not a dragon - just assuming the shape of one."

"Well? Then what exactly is it?"

>Hyperia says as she and Mosaic begin flying towards the Pyre Dragon once more at incalculable speeds.

"Simple. It's a supernatural force given tangible form. Likely a reality-distorting being of some kind."

>Both heroes continue to fly through the air - flying in a synchronized circular fashion as they blast through the dragon - sending it spiraling further into the city. Blocks of destroyed buildings litter the area, as Hyperia remarks:

"I can see why you shunted us into a separate dimension. Would've been hard to go all out with innocent people around!"

>Hyperia then flies to the Pyre Dragon's chest, delivering a series of swift gut strikes with enough force as to rupture its outer scaling patterns.

"Where's its weakness, Mosaic?!"

>Hyperia then shouts, as she uses her freeze breath on the dragon once more - freezing it in place.

"Right where you think it'd be. The heart. Anterior left portion - above where the left ribcage would be in a human being."

>Nodding, Hyperia then rushes forward - punching the Pyre Dragon in the face once more and sending it flying upwards into the air.

"Time to do a litte digging then!"

>She rushes after the dragon then - as a path of devastation litters the area around them in the abandoned Isometric Dimension.


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>Back in the native dimension, Paladin continues circling the air with Diabolos - matching his black energy beams with his bright blue and white lightning. The clash of mystical lightning and malevolent energies begins to rupture the space between them - creating a large void of nothingness, intermixed with bright sparking lights.

"You have been a thorn in my side for these last few months, Paladin. My master is growing impatient. The subjugation of this world will commence, or-"

>Irritated, Paladin interjects aggressively:

"Or what? You're gonna throw a fit? This world was fine before you showed up, and it'll be in even safer hands after you're gone!"

>Paladin's lightning beams continue to emanate from the lenses on his mask - generating enough force to continue pushing against Diabolos's anomalous black energy beams.

>Down below, Jill looks on with her assorted group - before turning to look at them.

"We need to help. Everyone! Focus your fire at the enemy that Paladin is fighting. I want all cryo towers diverting all firepower towards him!"

>Nodding, the armored soldiers get to work, relaying commands through their communication networks. In a few seconds, all of the command towers begin blasting beams of supernatural ice at Diabolos - stunning him in place.


>Diabolos looks around with his head - as the rest of his body is covered in ice. Narrowing his eyes down at the towers, he then curses to himself.

"Those infernal towers of yours. My patience is running thin with this world and its insurgents. When you have been disposed of, Paladin - I will turn my attention to them."

>Paladin then takes the opportunity to charge up a particularly strong blast of his mystical lightning - the air ionizing around him as he does so.

"We'll see about that."

>Shouting, Paladin then unleashes a massive burst of condensed and stockpiled mystical lightning - hitting Diabolos point blank in the face and causing him to crash down to the ground below.

>Paladin is in direct pursuit of him - not letting up as he begins rapidly punching Diabolos in the face.

"I've. Had. Enough. Of. Your. Bullshit!"

>Both of them crash into the ground, cracking the streets as mystical lightning flares up in a massive shower of energy.


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>Back in the Isometric Dimension, Hyperia uses her strength to rip apart the Pyre Dragon's scales - which have tripled in size in the last few minutes.

>Despite the dragon's size being quite literally larger than that of New Terra itself - Hyperia's immense strength can keep it suspended up in the air.

>With her free hand, Hyperia continues ripping apart scaling before her eyes begin to glow red.

"Yeah, to hell with this. We're doing it the hard way instead."

>After a second of delay, Hyperia's signature heat vision beams ignite - creating a massive surge of heat, concussive force and plasma.

>An inhuman roar escapes the Pyre Dragon, as its skin is peeled apart like paper - creating a large hole in the left side of its chest.

>Inside of the Pyre Dragon is a massive multicolored heart - seemingly beating with an irregular pattern.

"This it?"

>Hyperia says behind her to Mosaic - who nods in confirmation.

"Yep. I'll do the rest."

>Holding up his hands, Mosaic makes another series of gestures, ending with two fingers with each hand pointing forward as he whispers an inaudible incantation.


>After a few moments, a series of bright multi-colored sparks arc from Mosaic's hands - generating a potent and concentrated burst of magical energy. The energy strikes the Pyre Dragon's heart - causing it to immediately harden into stone.

>Taking the hint, Phoebe then gives one last shout of force - as she punches the Pyre Dragon - rupturing it into dust completely.

>After dusting her hands off, she looks back at Mosaic and says:

"Now to see how Jack's doing."

>Mosaic nods, as he speaks:

"Right. Let's go."

>Both of them then disappear from the Isometric Dimension.


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>Paladin continues pummeling Diabolos in the face - not giving the supernatural being any moment to think or react.

>As he keeps pummeling the figure, more and more sparks of mystical lightning begin to discharge with each strike. The air begins to ionize further, as the sparks become entirely separate lightning bolts themselves; causing a chain reaction effect with further damages Diabolos's body.

>Eventually, Diabolos begins to react - moving faster and with more strength, even as his skin is charred and burning.

"Well done. You've managed to irritate me even further."

>Still weakened, Diabolos now begins fighting back, getting a few good hits in on Paladin.

"Shut up! Just shut up! I'm tired of hearing your bullshit!"

>Paladin continues to pile on more punches, generating even more lightning as Diabolos is forced to teleport away.

>Having finally found enough mental clarity to think of teleporting - Diabolos moves off a few meters away, getting his bearings as he begins to pant.

"You've….never pushed me this far….before….."

>Diabolos then begins to groan in pain, before shouting in anger.

"That….will not happen….AGAIN!"

>A mass of black energy begins to surround Diabolos - surging in power and causing him to grow in power even further.

>Still panting, Paladin then stands up and looks at his enemy head on. A new sense of conviction behind his mask, he then responds.

"No, I'll make sure the next hit's even worse for you."

>Lightning begins to arc around Paladin's body even more, as he generates massive surges of electricity and lightning. By doing so, he begins generating a large plume of white light around him - equalizing to Diabolos's black energy.


>Paladin looks down at his gloved hand for a moment, before turning his attention back towards Diabolos.

"You made me realize something. I've been hiding out here for all this time…."

>Diabolos then rushes Paladin - who intercepts his strike easily and strikes him in the neck - causing Diabolos to reel backwards in pain.

"I've been running away from the reality that I've needed to face. All this time."


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>Confused, Diabolos then begins shouting in confusion and anger.

"What nonsense are you prattling on about?! This means nothing! Nothing-"

>Diabolos is then sent spiraling backwards across the street - the sheer strength of Paladin's punch now rupturing his very skin.

>Speechless, Diabolos then looks up at Paladin with shock.

"What on Earth…."

>Before he can react, Paladin is directly on top of him - pressing his boot on Diabolos's chest.

"Not Earth. The Heavens. And they've given me the clarity I need to see this through to the end."

>Struggling to press Paladin's boot off of his chest, Diabolos continues to struggle - making no progress at all with his hands.

"Stop speaking nonsense Paladin! The reality is right in front of your very eyes!"

>Paladin then fires a beam of bright lightning from his mask lenses - right into Diabolos's face - revealing the black mass of nothingness that comprises his body.

"I'm not referring to you or your supposed mission - you idiot. I'm talking about myself. All of my mistakes."

>Continuing to pile on the damage, Paladin then leans down and brings up Diabolos - grabbing him by the solid black mass that comprises his now-degrading body.

"I have so much that I have to answer for back on Earth - on my Earth. I could've defeated you at any time - I just didn't want a reason to leave this world…."

>Turning behind him to see Jill's shocked expression, Paladin nods solemnly at her, before turning his attention back towards the slowly decaying Diabolos.

"None of this was ever an issue. None of it. I knew that deep down - and that's why I went to get Mosaic and Hyperia. It wasn't about having the physical strength to do this."

>Punching Diabolos in the face once more, Paladin watches as he further dematerializes into black energy.

"It was about having the strength to accept what I've done - and not run away from it!"


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>With one final punch, Paladin completely ruptures Diabolos's body - turning him into a slew of amorphous black energy.

>Then, without missing a beat, Paladin then says:

"Goodbye. You won't be missed, Diabolos."

>Eyes glowing with bright blue lightning once more - Paladin completely electrifies Diabolos's body, vaporizing the entirety of his black energy into nothingness.

>Smoke clears and electric sparks fill the air - as Paladin then falls to one knee, not tired, but resigned.


>Jill then walks up to Paladin and lays a hand on his shoulder.

"…..I figured that was the reason you stuck around."

>Paladin shakes his head as he stands up and looks at Jill, stating:

"It was my fault. My power was drawing them to your world. The monsters you deal with here were more than enough for you. I'm sorry for piling on there."

>Jill scoffs as she then says:

"You're the most interesting thing that's happened to this place in a quarter century, Jack. I wouldn't sell yourself short in terms of your usefulness."


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>Mosaic and Hyperia continue standing a few meters away from Paladin and Jill.

>Thinking for a moment, Hyperia then has a realization - as she turns her attention to face Mosaic.

"…..You knew, didn't you?"

>Mosaic turns to face Hyperia - his hands in his cloak pockets as usual.

"What do you mean? I'm merely along for the ride, just as you."

>He says in an amused tone of voice.

>Annoyed, Hyperia clarifies.

"You knew that Jack was powerful enough to handle this on his own, didn't you?"

>Now being more honest, Mosaic nods.

"Of course. I can sense people's levels of power. Jack may be far weaker than me - but he's far more than powerful enough to defeat this Diabolos. How else would the city not have been destroyed by now."

>Jill overhears Mosaic's remarks and starts to think to herself as he continues.

"If he was strong enough to push Diabolos back for the past few weeks or months, then he couldn't have been weaker than him now could he?"

>Hyperia then thinks for a moment herself, before she responds.

"…..Then once Diabolos showed up, you could easily tell that he wasn't nearly as strong as Jack either?"

>Mosaic nods once more.

"Guilty as charged. I knew at that point that my hunch was correct. Jack was looking for an excuse to get us involved - so that we could see how much he's changed for the better."

>Hyperia turns back to Paladin and stares at him for a moment, as the latter has stood back up and turned to face both her and Mosaic.

"As Mosaic said - guilty as charged."

>Now walking towards both of them, Paladin watches as Mosaic cranes his head to the side slightly.

"You know that you'll still be on the hook for everything you did as Faust, right?"

>Paladin nods slowly.

"Yes, but I didn't kill anyone beyond the criminals in the initial prison break. I was too focused on you with all of my hatred…."

>Mosaic makes a so-and-so gesture with his gloved hand as he states:

"Fair enough - but you'll still need to be processed for that. However, if you agree to work for the MRD - I have a feeling they'll waive the charges, as they did with Aisha and Derelict."

>Raising an eyebrow, Paladin states:

"The mercenaries? Did they finally make a move?"

>Mosaic nods.

"Yes, I had to wake up from my beauty sleep to stop them - but they did. However, they now have a second chance - much like you do now."


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>Jill comes up from behind, to place her hand on Paladin's shoulder once more.

"Hey, Jack. I think you should consider it. I've seen how much you've done for us over the past few months. I can vouch for you - for whatever that's worth."

>Nodding at Jill, Paladin then takes her hand with his own and says:

"Thank you, Jill. For everything. You kept me on my path."

>Giving a light scoff of amusement, Jill then remarks:

"No, I think you did that by yourself."

>Turning back to Mosaic and Hyperia, Jill then says:

"Still. We'd appreciate it if you two could help us. We're still light on manpower - and we're not too well versed on the newer supernatural enemies that Jack seemed to attract."

>Mosaic thinks for a moment, before remembering Laplace and Maxwell.

"I think we have people in mind who could help you."

>Sighing in relief, Jill says:

"Oh thank you! That'd be great!"

>Turning back to face Paladin, Jill holds her hand out.

"Jack and Jill. We made a good team, don't you think?"

>Paladin sighs and laughs softly, taking the grip of her hand and shaking it firmly.

"We definitely went up a hill, but not for water."

>Hyperia's eyes widen behind her lenses.

"Are you for real Jack? Christ."

>Paladin looks surprised in response.

"We were both tired after a fight with a group of Cyclopes-"

>Hyperia holds her hand out.

"I'm good. Thanks. Let's get you back home now."

>Mosaic nods at Hyperia, before turning to Jill - as Hyperia and Paladin both place hands on his shoulders. Raising two of his own fingers to his helmet, Mosaic waves with his other hand at Jill as he says:

"Thanks for helping Jack out, Jill. We'll be in touch."

>Mosaic then transports himself, Hyperia and Paladin away from New Terra and Earth-100 - instantaneously moving all three of them back to their home on Earth-0.


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>Location: Sanctuary City - The Spire [Earth-0]
>Time: 2:00 PM

>Valkyrie stands in the reception hall, waiting for her acting lieutenant, Capgras, to arrive.

"What is taking her so long….."

>Capgras then quickly rushes into the lobby, her sapphire blue skin contrasting with her bright red hair and golden eyes.

"Sorry! I had to finish up some instructing sessions! The new recruits are a bit fidgety after what happened earlier with Termina!"

>Sighing, Valkyrie rubs the back of her head - between the mess of blonde hair on her head.

"It can't be helped, I suppose. At least we can-"

>A sudden commotion and murmur then appears, as a man in white armor walks into the lobby.

"……What the…"

"Who's that?!"

"Another vigilante?"

>Silent, Valkyrie narrows her eyes as her telepathy instantly activates. Upon realizing the context of the situation, she immediately walks forward.

"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law."

>Confused murmurs perk up, as the office begins to come to an understanding.

"Is he on the wanted Meta-Humans database list?"

>Capgras, confused, walks up to Valkyrie and helps her apprehend the man.

{"What's happening, Valkyrie? Who is this?"}

>She whispers as she continues helping her restrain the man.

>Valkyrie then whispers back to Capgras.

{"Another present from Mosaic it seems."}


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>Time: 3:00 PM

>Inside of the holding facilities within the MRD Spire - Valkyrie continues interrogating Paladin, alongside Capgras. The discussion goes well, with no issues or irregularities popping up.

"You're not surprised by any of this? Our offer?"

>Paladin shakes his head.

"Considering how I'm technically supposed to be dead - at least as Faust, that isn't a surprise."

>Valkyrie looks at Capgras for a moment, then looks back at Paladin.

"Well, it's the same deal that the others received. If you agree to work with us, we'll avoid pressing charges for your prior actions as Faust. It's a deal only given to the most capable of Meta-Humans, given the valuable services you can provide us in the government."

>Nodding slowly, Paladin then says:

"As long as I don't cross too many more grey lines? I'm fine. Like I said, I'm trying to do good now."

>Valkyrie then thinks to herself, before asking the final question.

"….What exactly will Jack Blackburn be doing - now back from the dead? Paladin, we've just covered. But Jack?"

>Paladin thinks to himself for a moment, before he then says:

"…..Maybe something that my family as a whole can actually be proud of. I think I know where to start….."


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>Date: August 28th, 2017
>Location: Edge of Sanctuary City
>Time: 10:00 AM

>In the outskirts of the state of New York - a large manor is situated on a large grassy plain. A series of construction workers are continuing to fill in the large complex - as Jack stands outside.

"You know, you could've just asked for a place."

>Jack turns around to see Aiden standing behind him - hands in his jacket pocket as usual. He walks forward and examines the area for a moment - taking in the scenery.

"Not bad. I take it you used your conjuration to make the place?"

>Looking away sheepishly, Jack them stammers:

"I don't exactly have any money yet - but I need a place to stay, for public reasons."

>Aiden nods as he says:

"Did they help you come up with the collateral?"

>Jack nods in response.

"Yeah, surprisingly my family still had enough assets left to use as collateral for the mortgage."

>As more construction workers continue their work in the distance - Aiden then says:

"Property taxes in New York aren't cheap either, Jack. Are you sure about this?"

>Jack nods once more in earnest.

"Yeah. I'll be fine, Aiden. I have a few patents lined up - and the corporate charter's already been finalized. The assets are enough to get some seed money from investors."

>Looking up at the manor once more, Jack then states:

"I'll make up for the circumstances that tore my family apart. I'll also make sure that I do my best to make up for everything that I did. I promise."

>Aiden nods slowly as he states:

"I know you will."

>He's silent once more as he then says:

"Remember the term in ancient Greek for control over one's mind? One's thoughts and emotions? Full mastery of one's self?"

>Jack thinks for a moment, as the Wisdom of Minerva kicks in.


>Aiden nods with a brief smile.

"Correct. You're making a good case for its existence - right now."

>Patting Jack on the back, Aiden then says:

"Again - I forgive you Jack. For everything. Now forgive yourself. I'll see you soon."

>Aiden waves once more before disappearing in an instant - leaving Jack alone with the construction work in the distance.


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>Location: Sanctuary City - Archeon Incorporated
>Time: 10:30 AM

>Aiden is sitting at his desk in his office, as usual. While he's answering the desk phone - he gets a message on his smartphone which catches his eye quickly.

"Thanks for the notice, Doctor Bradley. I'll have R&D consider your proposal for gene therapy work. Have a good day."

>As he puts the desk phone back down on the desk - he then looks up as a knock emanates from his door.

"You know you can open it right?"

>There's a laugh from the other side of the voice - similar to Aiden's, but not quite the same.

>As the door opens, a tall man with wavy black hair and sunglasses walks into the room. Wearing a fancy suit with rolled back sleeves, the man has a bit of a shadow and stubble to his black beard - as his hands are open and outstretched.

"As much of a wiseass as ever. Hah. Good!"

>Aiden gets up, with a smile on his face - as he turns to leave his desk. Walking around it, he walks over and hugs the man - who's an inch taller than him.

>The taller man with black hair hugs Aiden tightly, gripping him with an obvious sense of care.

"How've you been baby brother?"

>Aiden sighs as he responds.

"I'm only three years younger than you, Jay."

>Jason Grayson, Aiden's older brother, then laughs as he pulls back from the hug.

"Might as well be dog years given what's happened to you. Nice hair."

>Jason points at Aiden's snow white hair, scoffing as he states:

"You're lucky I let you see it."

>Feigning surprise, Jason then retorts:

"Ohh, smart one, aren't you? Dad told me everything about your little escapades."

>Now being serious for a moment, Jason then says:

"Look Aiden. No matter what, I know there's a good person in there. You should've talked to me about what you were going through!"


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>Sighing, Aiden nods as he then states:

"Well, I can talk to you now. Remember Jack?"

>Scoffing, Jason then says:

"Oh, that prick? Where is he? Let's see how he likes particle beams in his face!"

>Jason's hand begins to spark with quantum particles and bright energy - as Aiden then shakes his head, stating:

"No, I mean. That's the thing though. He's not the same person that he used to be - in a good way. Neither am I - also in a good way, honestly."

>Surprised, Jason then slowly allows the bright particles to subside from his palms - as he then looks up and rubs the scarring around the skin of his eyes.

"You know I can still heal that for you, right?"

>Giving an amused scoff, Jason then retorts:

"Nah, it builds character. I'll keep it as a reminder. Just because you make mistakes, or break shit - doesn't mean that those mistakes can't be resolved; or that broken shit can't be fixed."

>Gesturing at the door to the office with his thumb, Jason then says:

"How about you tell me the whole story on the way to the house. Dad's there too. Says he wants us to go do something as a family for once."

>Raising an eyebrow, Aiden is somewhat surprised.

"Dad's back in the city? He didn't tell me."

>Giving a sheepish grin, Jason then says:

"Of course not. It's a surprise - genius. Now come on, let's go."

>Aiden sighs and smiles in return as he picks up his keys from his desk with telekinesis.

"Alright. But I'm driving. Auto insurance spikes up in a city whenever you drive."

>Making a mocking gesture of surprise with his hands, Jason then gasps.

"Oh! What ever will the richest city in this country do! Heavens knows they're saving every penny that they can!"

>Aiden then walks past Jason and opens the door for him.

"Alright, let's get going. You know how dad loves to get going with his stories too."

>Jason nods as he exits the office - with Aiden closing and remotely locking the door behind him with his telekinesis.

>The two of them then walk out of Archeon - towards the car before they drive off into the afternoon sunlight, the world as peaceful as usual.

[The End]

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