/simu/ - Simulacrum

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File: 1701052863830-0.jpg (894.1 KB, 4096x2214, Grayson House - Interior.jpg)

File: 1701052863830-1.jpeg (124.81 KB, 850x1502, Aiden - 62.jpeg)

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File: 1701052863830-3.jpg (3.8 MB, 3200x4200, Fantasy.jpg)


>Date: August 28th, 2017
>Location: Sanctuary City - Residential District
>Time: 7:00 PM

>Hovering in the center of his living room - Aiden continues meditating, with his eyes closed. Sitting cross legged, various items are hovering effortlessly around the living space - chairs, bags and entire couches.


>As Aiden continues hovering in place, he maintains his cross-legged motion, as he internally speaks to himself:

{"Focus your mind. Clear your thoughts. Find your center."}

>Then there's a knock on the door frame leading out into the hallway of the house. Without opening an eye, Aiden responds:

"Hey Stella. I'm not busy - despite the appearances."

>Stella nods as she walks into the room - easily evading the slowly hovering items. She also takes a note of the room - before saying:

"Getting better at this warping effect, I see."

>Aiden then opens his eyes - as his surroundings have instantly changed. Instead of the living room of his house - he and Stella are now situated on a beach. The sandy flooring of the beach instantly fills Stella's shoes, as she walks around - drawing lines in the sand with her movements.

>Still hovering cross-legged in the air, Aiden sees the waters of the beach rushing towards them - only to subside and retreat back from the shore with the same haste and efficacy.

"I've gotten better at it, yeah."

>Now no longer hovering in mid-air, Aiden gently lowers himself to the sandy floor of the beach, turning to face Stella. His sunglasses are on his face as usual, as he states:

"What did you want to talk to me about?"


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File: 1701053140482-2.jpeg (153.28 KB, 850x1413, Stella - 3.jpeg)

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>Stella looks around at the open beach, blinking to herself for a moment before responding:

"Are you doing alright, Aiden?"

>Aiden nods slowly as the waters of the beach come slowly up to his feet once more.

"I've been doing better, lately. Why do you ask?"

>Stella gives her question some consideration before she then asks:

"I ask because I feel as though there's something you're still not addressing."

>Without even needing to ask for clarity, Aiden nods as he responds.

"Ceridwen. I know."

>Stella nods in return as she speaks:

"I'll go with you - see if she's willing to hear you out not. Even if not, what's important is that you try. Make a genuine effort to make amends."

>Aiden gives a sigh, then a quick thumbs up gesture as he turns around. While he does so - the beach instantaneously becomes the living room once more.

"In that case, I better get ready. I've got a lot that I need to make up for."

>He says, adjusting his magical sunglasses on his face while moving to get his things.

"Let's go set things right."


File: 1701053778541-0.jpg (737.68 KB, 2560x1600, Sanctum - 7.jpg)

File: 1701053778541-1.png (2.89 MB, 998x2000, Mosaic.png)

File: 1701053778541-2.jpeg (344.5 KB, 800x1200, Andromeda - 7.jpeg)

File: 1701053778541-3.jpg (249.02 KB, 800x450, Doctor - 7.jpg)

File: 1701053778541-4.png (434.93 KB, 713x401, Thaumaturgy Ring.png)

>Location: The Axiom - Nexus of Magic
>Time: Indeterminate

"I've already considered that, but I do appreciate the gesture."

>Mosaic says, as he sits in the middle of the lounge area of the Axiom. He is accompanied by Andromeda, who sits beside him on the same couch.

>Across from them both, is Doctor - sitting in his usual seat, but paying them both significant attention.

"I understand. It was only a suggestion anyways."

>Nodding, Mosaic then falls silent for a moment, before he looks up and says to Doctor:

"I don't care what it takes, or what it costs. I'm setting this right."

>He then looks down at the Thaumaturgy Ring on his finger, as a series of words leave his mouth that surprise both of his companions.

"Even if it kills me."

>Andromeda is the first to respond, spinning her head to face Mosaic as she raises her voice.

"Aiden Ethan Grayson! You are not dying on me because of your savior complex! She'll understand that you're trying to make things right!"

>Andromeda then lightly jabs Mosaic on the right arm - still irritated by Mosaic's sudden claim.

"Don't even joke about that! It's not that extreme!"

>Doctor nods at Mosaic, before speaking up himself.

"I agree with Stella. You very clearly left a bad first impression - that cannot be overstated. However, your dedication towards righting your transgressions will likely be acknowledged in some capacity."

>Holding his hands up in a 'careful' gesture, Doctor continues:

"Just understand that ultimately it will take both time, and Ceridwen's own judgment, to determine whether or not she forgives you."


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File: 1701054347127-1.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

File: 1701054347127-2.jpeg (129.53 KB, 850x1218, Andromeda - 3.jpeg)

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>There's an awkward silence between Mosaic and Andromeda as Andromeda continues speaking:

"I know you lost control of your emotions because of me, Aiden. I also know that it doesn't excuse what you said. But I do understand your emotions."

>Mosaic nods once again as he looks down at the floor and sighs.

"Still, also note the fact that your effort to make things right - is itself indicative of a maturing of the mind. You're changing, Aiden - for the better."

>Andromeda then looks to the side at Mosaic and states:

"Remember what you just did with Paladin? You gave him a second chance after everything he put you through, and it took months. But no matter what - just remember."

>Andromeda places her gloved hand on Mosaic's as she continues:

"You did the best that you could to make amends. To reconcile. That will count for something in the end."

>Doctor then nods in agreement with Andromeda, replying:

"I can't condone your outburst, obviously. I can't even condone your justification for it - given my detachment from the circumstances of the situation. However, I do understand your emotional response, Aiden - even if I don't agree with it."

>Mosaic then sighs once more as he looks back up at Doctor, stating:

"Thank you. I do appreciate that."

>Holding out his hand, Mosaic then causes a bright red light to manifest in his palm - before materializing as a rolled up scroll in a fancy wrapping.

>Andromeda looks over at the parchment scroll as she asks:

"What is that?"

>Mosaic looks at her, responding:

"My full written apology - ''Propitiatorium'. If Ceridwen doesn't want to hear it directly from me? I'll leave this for her, along with the Thaumaturgy Ring."

>Andromeda's face darkens slightly at the mention of the ring again.

"Aiden….That ring is directly tied to your soul. If any significant damage is taken by it…."

>Mosaic nods in response.

"I could die, yes. I know."

>Doctor is taken aback, and immediately becomes more concerned and worried - almost angry for the first time.

"Aiden! You do not need to compromise your spiritual and physical integrity to make amends!"

>Demonstrating a level of irritation, if not genuine anger that he rarely shows, Doctor then stands up and turns to the hallway.

"Stephanie! Surely you can reason with him?! I am not allowing one of my trainees to gamble with their own life, just to make a point!"

>Andromeda, just as irate as Doctor, then speaks to Mosaic once more - the same anger in her voice.

"Stop trying to punish yourself for your mistakes! How many times do I have to tell you this, Aiden?! You don't need to keep doing this to yourself! You're making amends right here and right now!"

>Mosaic, hearing all of their concern and anger, then shakes his head, stating:

"I threatened to wipe her out of existence. Unless I show that I'm willing to stake my own life to make things right - I'm not doing enough."


File: 1701115318894-0.jpg (732.87 KB, 1020x1447, Stephanie - 4.jpg)

File: 1701115318894-1.jpg (737.68 KB, 2560x1600, Sanctum (2).jpg)

>A few moments pass, with Stephanie stepping into the room after being called upon by Isaac. She stands in the doorway, leaning against it slightly.

>Mosaic's ring remains in place, but his written apology flies through the air - stopping just next to Stephanie.

"She probably won't accept your ring. Even if she did, she's likely to just put it away somewhere and forget about it. Keep it."

>Stephanie takes a hold of the written apology.

"I can give her this, and see if she'll talk to you in person. But there's no guarantee she will."

>She quietly waits for Aiden to respond.


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File: 1701115657342-1.png (2.31 MB, 1024x1300, Mosaic - 23.png)

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File: 1701115657342-3.jpg (249.02 KB, 800x450, Doctor - 7.jpg)

>Mosaic nods slowly as he continues staring at the floor - silent.

>After a moment, he then replies:

"Thank you, Sorceress Supreme."

>Surprised at Mosaic's use of her title, Doctor turns towards him and says:

"….You've never called her that before?"

>Now looking up at Crepido, Mosaic then says:

"She's more than deserving of it - especially after showing restraint against me, and my own stupidity."

>Andromeda crosses her arms just above her waist as she sits in contemplative thought.


>After a moment, she then places a hand on Mosaic's armored shoulder.

"Just have faith in yourself for once, Aiden. If you genuinely want to make things better - then do so."

>Mosaic nods at Andromeda before he turns back to Crepido:

"If she doesn't want to talk to me in person, I won't force it."

>Hesitating, he then says:

"…..But I really do want to make amends. No matter how long it takes - I want to set things right."


File: 1701116295548.jpg (73.67 KB, 464x344, Stephanie - 39.jpg)

"I'll let her know."

>Holding onto the written apology, Stephanie turns around - leaving the room again.


File: 1701120891050.jpg (87.8 KB, 500x500, Stephanie - 179.jpg)

>Stephanie comes back a few minutes later, no longer holding the paper.

"Ceri said she'll talk. But she would rather not."


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>Mosaic looks at the floor once more for a moment - before he then sighs and stands back up slowly.

"Alright. I'll get going then."


>Location: The Axiom - Open Area

>The cosmic background of outer space shows a strong contrast against the metallic platforming of the Axiom's open areas. The entire dimension remains situated within the infinite void - as Mosaic stands in place.

>His helmet is off, revealing his snow white hair and vantablack sunglasses. Still feeling a sense of trepidation and guilt, he finds himself deep in contemplative thought as he waits for the other two figures to arrive.

>Deep inside Aiden's mind - a mental mindscape begins to take form….


File: 1701122341086-0.png (2.43 MB, 1920x1080, Aiden's Mindscape - 2.png)

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File: 1701122341087-4.jpg (299.16 KB, 1920x1200, Bright Light - 2.jpg)


>Location: Mental Mindscape

"And you think that you could've been better? Please."

>A figure with pale white skin and midnight black hair walks across the steps of the floating platform. Wearing a bright white suit with black lining - he stares daggers at the man across from him.

"You stay out of this. I know, I should've been better. But then you took control. You're everything that I resent about myself."

>Aiden - his original self, with black hair and black clothing, snaps back at his counterpart. Narrowing his eyes with anger, he then points at him.

"All of this shit started because you couldn't stand not being in control! Not being the one getting what he wants!"

>The contrary party then speaks up once more, scoffing.

"And what's wrong with that? The strong take, and the weak give. Whoever has the power - makes the rules, dipshit."

>Ethan then places both of his hands in his jacket pockets - looking off into the distance as he finishes his statement.

"That's what true power is. Locking me away and trying to throw away the key - won't help you."

>Ethan then turns his attention back towards Aiden - saying:

"We both know that you have the power to do whatever you want - to take whatever you want."

>Turning away, Aiden makes a disregarding motion with his hand - causing Ethan to disappear.

"Whatever. I'm done with you and your bullshit, Ethan. All you've ever done is harm people. Just stay buried in my head - where you belong."

>Aiden then looks up - seeing thousands of shadowy figures in the distance.

"That goes for all of you. This is my mind, and my body. Not yours. I have things that I need to set right - and none of you are getting in the way."

>With another gesture of his hand - Aiden completely destroys the rest of the shadowy figures, wiping them from view.

"….Now to make things right."

>The mindscape then disappears from view, as everything begins to fade into a bright light…..


File: 1701122476018-0.png (2.01 MB, 1837x1053, Combat Arena.png)

File: 1701122476018-1.png (2.89 MB, 998x2000, Mosaic.png)

File: 1701122476018-2.jpeg (94.68 KB, 850x1159, Aiden - 48.jpeg)

>Location: The Axiom - Open Areas

>Aiden remains standing in the middle of the outside area of the Axiom. Crossing his arms, he takes a deep breath in, and then exhales.

"….I'm in control of myself. No one else. Just me."

>After taking another breath - he then looks up, his eyes focusing behind his sunglasses.

"I need to do better. I have to."

>He then continues waiting for the two figures to arrive in the area.


File: 1701380056201.jpg (203.06 KB, 1200x1200, 1454781.jpg)

"Says he wants to talk and then talks to himself instead. . ."

>A crow-like voice rings out overhead as a lone raven flies over Aiden, slowing down and landing opposite him, hopping a couple of times until it's apparently happy with where it's landed.

"Well if you didn't want me to talk you shouldn't have tried giving me a voice - CAW!"

>The raven picks at its feathers for a few moments and then replies to the unheard voice again.

"No she's not here yet. If you want all these updates you should have come here yourself first - CAW!"

>The raven picks at its feathers again, looking at Aiden for a brief moment before going back to its routine.


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>Aiden looks up at the raven, eyeing it carefully for a moment. After doing so, he then keeps his arms crossed as he then says:

"I'll wait until Stephanie arrives before I say anything more. That'd be for the best."

>Now falling silent once more, Aiden continues waiting - with his arms crossed still, thinking about his upcoming statements.


File: 1701452674365-0.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

File: 1701452674365-1.jpeg (590.08 KB, 2457x3402, Aiden - 41.jpeg)

>After another minute or so, Aiden then feels a presence beginning to observe them both. Noticing the presence in the air around him, he then speaks up.

"Oh, there you are. I forgot that this plane of existence was under your control."

>Now looking back towards the raven perched off to the side, Aiden takes another deep breath before he speaks.

"….I'm genuinely sorry about what I said to you, Ceridwen - and what I almost did. I wasn't in full control of myself - although that isn't an excuse."

>Looking at the crow, dead in the eyes, he continues:

"I mistook your intentions towards Stella, and I assumed that you were just trying to break her spirit. I didn't know much about you, I assumed a lot, and I made a poor judgment in retrospect. Given those assumptions - I ended up saying things that I can't take back."

>No longer crossing his arms, Aiden then concludes his statements.

"I'm not asking you to necessarily forgive me for what I said, nor for what I did. I just wanted to apologize to you - and promise that I'll be better."

>Nodding at the raven, Aiden gives a quick and slight wave with his hand as he then turns around and begins to walk away from the area.


File: 1701458454697.jpg (203.06 KB, 1200x1200, 1454781.jpg)

>The raven stops cleaning its feathers to listen to Aiden, and then responds.

"Okay, got it - CAW!"

>With another hop and a flap of its wings, the raven flies off.


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>Date: August 30th, 2017
>Time: 10:30 AM
>Location: Sanctuary City - Residential Sector

"Yes, I understand. I'll be able to use the assets as collateral."

>Jack says, flipping through a set of papers on his desk - as he continues to sit inside of his manor.

"I'll think about whether or not I'll want to expand from there. I need to get the business up and running though first. Alright. Thank you."

>Jack then ends the call with the financier - placing the phone down on his desk as he sighs. Looking around his somewhat furnished office den - he then mutters to himself:

"…..Feels awfully empty around here. Guess that's my fault."

>Jack then looks down and sees the diamonds and gold minerals on his desk - flashing back to when he sensed them in the backyard.

{"I guess that's Mercury's blessing for you. Commerce and all that."}

>Narrowing his eyes a bit, he them ruminates on the past for a moment before his eyes turn to a scene on his television.

"Hmm? What's that?"

>Turning up the volume, he then hears the news report as an overhead view of the Hydroponics Sector is shown through a live feed.

{"Eyewitness reports that Aquarius has been seen once again - attempting to hijack the city's reservoir of water for his own nefarious purposes. The MRD are en route now, and all civilians nearby are advised to leave the Hydroponics Sector, immediately. This is SCN-6 News."}

>Looking over the live feed of the news report once more, Jack then sighs.

["Might as well then."]

>Opening his mouth to audibly speak a single word - Jack watches as a massive blue and white lightning bolt cracks down from the heavens suddenly - passing harmlessly through his house and moving faster than anyone can register.

>Bright light imbues the manor's interior with a radiant iridescence - a luminous blue glow, as a blur of speed then disappears from the manor itself.


File: 1701540728517-0.jpg (302.64 KB, 1920x1200, Hydroponics District.jpg)

File: 1701540728517-1.jpeg (121.72 KB, 960x640, Arachnid - 4.jpeg)

File: 1701540728517-2.jpg (90.88 KB, 1280x720, Nicea.jpg)

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>Location: Sanctuary City - Hydroponics Sector
>Time: 10:30 AM

"Woah! Watch where you're throwing that!"

>Arachnid flips over an incoming semi-truck - webbing it to the ground with quick fire blasts, as he attaches it to nearby buildings.

>Landing on the side of a skyscraper's lowest floors, he then turns his attention to the armored black figure standing in the middle of the street.

"A lot stronger than you look…."

>The armored black figure then turns his attention towards Arachnid - and then screams with an inhuman cadence to his voice.

"LiTtLe BuG! CrUsH yOu!"

>Taken aback by the figure's inhumane voice, Arachnid then points to himself:

"Me? Little? Well, mister. I'll have you know that I'm at least five feet, ten inches-"

>The armored figure then grabs another car with one hand - slingshotting it towards Arachnid like a massive bullet.

"Uh oh."

>Arachnid then leaps forward - vaulting off of the car while using his silk shooters to grab the car and slam it down onto the armored figure's body.

"I think this is yours! Here you go!"

>A large explosion appears - the result of the damage. Arachnid then lands on one hand, pressing himself up on top of a nearby ledge as he looks over the damage.

"Uh….auto insurance is good in this city right?"


File: 1701541135814-0.jpeg (123.38 KB, 720x540, Arachnid - 2.jpeg)

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>The fires quickly douse themselves as a gust of sheer pressure blasts them away. The black armor of the mysterious figure continues standing in place.

"Woah. You're definitely tougher than I thought. Though the semi-truck should've given that away."

>Arachnid then fires off a series of webbing blasts at the armored figure - attempting to stun them in place.


>The figure gives a soft snarl as the silk adhesive sticks across their body - seemingly keeping them bound in place. However, after a moment, the figure flexes their body to show off their power.


>The force of the armored figure's muscle movements rips the silk adhesive apart - despite its tensile strength being far greater than steel.

"Okay then…Backup plan."

>Arachnid then takes out a series of vibro disc blades, dispensing them from the wrists of his suit. Rapidly tossing them at mach speeds - they activate their various functions.

>Flashbangs, sonic waves, combustion and even radioactive discs are fired off at the armored figure. Dozens of them in the flash of a light.

>Massive plumes of bright colored lights appear around the armored figure, as Arachnid's rapid fire throws continue to put pressure on the armored figure.

{"Not sure if any of these will work. If he's indestructible, I'm gonna have to take him down via nanite injection as a last resort."}


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>As the dust subsides, the armored figure is still standing - however, they are in fact damaged. Their armor is chipped in multiple areas, fragmented in others.


>The armored figure begins to convulse erratically, moving at a rapid rate as to begin slowly repairing their armor.

"Huh….Didn't expect that!"

>Arachnid's ESP then goes off, a familiar burst of noise inside of his head - as he reacts.

"Ack! Hey! Watch where you're going!!"

>Arachnid says as he instinctively flips to the side - dodging the blitz rush of speed, as the armored figure quickly closes the gap between them.

"Woah! Super strong and super fast! Just the combination I needed!"

>Arachnid then fires silk strands at the armored figure from behind - grappling to him and kicking him in the back of his armor, right where an open crack is.

>There's a massive shattering of armored plating - as black armor shards fall to the ground, causing the figure to keel over in pain.


>Landing on the ground, Arachnid then looks up once more - seeing the armored figure begin to repair himself once again.

"Jesus. How durable are you?"

>As the armored figure turns around to rush Arachnid once more - a large plume of blue and white lightning appears from the skies above.

>The lightning bolt appears between Arachnid and the armored figure - sending the armored figure back, but not Arachnid.

>Confused, Arachnid then blinks, until his eyes and lenses focus to see a figure standing before him, cloak fluttering in the wind.

"Oh, that's new! Hey uh….You new around here or something, man?"


File: 1701542176430-0.jpeg (142.96 KB, 850x1123, Paladin.jpeg)

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>Paladin then looks behind himself, taking note of the younger vigilante perched behind him.

"Oh, not necessarily. But I do know the man who's attacking you - regrettably enough."

>Turning his attention back to face the armored figure in black, Paladin then says:

"His name is Nicea. He's a former mercenary. He gets stronger through sustained faith in an ideal."

>Nodding, Arachnid then says:

"Wait. That costume….Are you….Paladin?"

>Paladin raises an eyebrow for a moment, before sighing in understanding.

"Mosaic's told you about me, hasn't he?"

>Arachnid nods slowly, but then replies:

"None of that really matters right now. This 'Nicea' guy as you called him - he's working with Aquarius and Weathervane. They're trying to hijack the city's water purification plants."

>The vigilante then quickly flips onto a nearby car in the blink of an eye - crouching with his arms on his knees as he continues to speak:

"Why? Not sure. But I could use the help."

>Nodding once more, Paladin then says:

"Well, I'm just a passerby in this city - but I suppose I could lend you a hand."

>Both of them then turn their attention to Nicea, as he slowly rises to his feet - giving an inhuman roar of anger and frustration, which causes both vigilantes to turn their attention back towards him.

"Uh oh. Somebody's mad that he's not getting attention."

>Arachnid muses, as he turns his attention back towards Paladin.

"I'll handle him. Go scope out the actual water treatment facilities - see what we're up against. I'll deal with Nicea. I'd imagine you'll be getting reinforcements soon."

>Nodding, Arachnid instantly jumps up dozens of meters into the air and then swings off - going further into the Hydroponics Sector.

>The heroic vigilante in white then turns his attention back towards Nicea, stating:

"Alright then. It's you and me, Nicea. I only wish it didn't have to turn out this way."


File: 1701542923239-0.jpeg (1.22 MB, 1920x2695, Paladin - 6.jpeg)

File: 1701542923239-1.png (369.71 KB, 555x328, Nicea - 7.png)

>The two figures in the large open street then stand in silence - as another gust of wind blows by, slowly tumbling over damaged scraps of metal.

>Paladin watches as Nicea remains absolutely still - not reacting to any external stimuli currently.

{"He doesn't know who I am. I figured as much - given my change of outfit and voice modulation. Still, I should try and reason with him."}

>Holding out a hand, Paladin then asks Nicea a question.

"…..Who are you working for?"

>Nicea's body then goes absolutely stiff, before slowly convulsing once more. As he does so, loud bone cracks can be heard as sinew and bone begin to mend. After a few seconds, Nicea then responds, in a much more realistic human voice.

"The Chronicler. The one who had breathed life anew - into the carcass that I had once considered my body."

>He then holds out his hand, summoning a large black mass in the shape of a long staff. The black mass then condenses into the form of a large silver sword - as Nicea grips it with both hands, gaining a combat stance in return.

>Raising an eyebrow behind his mask wraps and hood, Paladin then looks confused. His glowing blue eyes hide any expression that he may have shown through his gaze. He then responds:

"So you died, and then were resurrected?"

>Paladin looks down for a moment, once again ruminating on the past.

"I see."

>Looking back upward at Nicea, Paladin continues to speak - attempting to verbally disarm Nicea.

"But you were given a second chance at life. Do you really want to squander something so valuable…."

>Making an expression with his hands to emphasize the space around them, Paladin continues:

"…..On something as pointless as this? Mass chaos? Destruction? Your life is worth more than that. It always will be."

>Nicea is silent once more, actually refusing to attack. Paladin can see the metaphorical and proverbial gears turning in his mind, as he presses on. The supernatural Wisdom of Minerva is further guiding his actions and words as he speaks.

"Honor and duty bound people don't act on behalf of opportunists. They seek to reinforce their beliefs through their own actions. Their own decisions. Their own strength of will - and their own faith."

>Nicea then looks at the sword in his hands and then lowers it - dropping it to the floor as it disappears into a burst of black smoke.

"…..You are correct. My will is not my own - and my faith not to be held as bargaining in exchange for my implicit compliance."

>Turning back towards Paladin, Nicea then looks him over and says:

"….There is wisdom in your words - for the perspective that I once held, was subsumed by my desire for revenge."


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>Paladin, suspecting of the answer, still asks the question on his mind.

"Who was the one who wronged you?"

>Nicea looks down at the floor beneath his feet - sighing in slight irritation.

"One who is no longer among the living - Faust. My original commander."

>Paladin's face darkens as he then sighs to himself.

["I figured as much."]

>Out loud, Paladin then asks:

"Do you still feel as though you require revenge on this 'Faust' figure? Will that sate your emotions?"

>To Paladin's surprise, Nicea shakes his head.

"No. His time has come and gone - and the impact he had over me has passed. Were he to reappear, I would make the same appeal towards him, as you have towards me."

>Nicea then looks up at Paladin and speaks:

"Though my faith in myself allowed for my reconstruction - it took me many months to learn to move beyond my desire for revenge."

>Looking down at his armored gauntlets, Nicea then responds:

"Maeve may have taken my soul in exchange for power - but she has not taken my spirit. Not yet."

>Confused for a moment, Paladin's divine powers inform him of the context - as he then thinks to himself:

["Ahh. Mirabelle of the Taciturn People. The Silent Ones. So Nicea is a former member of their ensemble. Interesting."]

>Out loud, Paladin then responds:

"Then know that you are free to determine your own path, and your own destiny. No one else can make that determination for you."

>Paladin watches as Nicea nods once more and says:

"Indeed. My thanks, masked one. My clarity has returned, and I recuse myself from this barbaric operation."

>Pointing forward into the Hydroponics Sector, Nicea then says:

"My former associates are at the central treatment plant. Their plan is to compromise the water with a microbiological agent designed to cripple the immune systems of non Meta-Humans. I would not have to explain the dangers that may fall upon this city - should they succeed."

>Paladin shakes his head.

"I understand. Thank you, Nicea. Good luck on your path towards self-actualization."

>Nicea nods as he then walks off into the distance, disappearing into smoke shadows as he does so.

>Paladin is then left to his own devices, standing in the middle of the street as his cloak flutters in the wind once more.

"Left to one's own devices….."


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>Arachnid continues swinging through the narrow buildings of the Hydroponics Sector - weaving his way through various pipes and metallic structures.

>Coming across a skyscraper, he then begins running up the building at rapid speeds - reaching the rooftop in seconds.

"Alright, where's Captain Water Spout and Miss Lightning Rod?"

>Crouching over the edge of the rooftop - Arachnid looks over into the waters of the bay. Seeing a massive amalgamation of large water forming in the skies above, he then notices a figure in the distance.

"….Of course he had to be inside of the giant water construct."

>Placing his hand to his helmet, Arachnid then accesses his comms link. Remotely connecting to the Aurora back in the Prism - he then feeds information into the vehicle.

["Might have to have the cave systems change out the plating. If it's Aquarius doing his thing, I can expect high pressure water strikes. I should probably also reinforce the electromagnetic field generator as a secondary option."]

>Before he can decide his next move, he then feels the flashing sensation within his mind once again.

"Oh, there she is."

>Backflipping, Arachnid narrowly misses the purple lightning bolt striking down on the rooftop from above.

"Hey! I was perching there!"

>Looking up at the hovering form of a woman with two tone pink and white hair, Arachnid then makes a teasing gesture.

"Couldn't you tell that I was getting into my dark and broody vigilante mood?"

>Giving an irritated grunt, Weathervane's eyes glow pink as she snarls:

"Shut up, you insufferable bug!"

>The weather-based Meta-Human then proceeds to generate a series of lightning bolts from her fingertips - attempting to blast Arachnid with them.

>Arachnid, moving with supernatural speed and precision, expertly dodges the lightning bolts and flips and vaults over mechanical structures and debris.

"I'll take this!"

>Yanking a metallic pipe up from a support structure for a radio system - Arachnid then spins it at superhuman speeds and tosses it at Weathervane's latest lighting bolt surge.

"What are you doing?!?!"

>As Weathervane instinctively blasts the incoming projectile - she looks on in awe at the spinning pipe, as it becomes electrically charged and spins the lightning around it.

"Don't you know how your elements work?"

>Distracted, Weathervane spins around after realizing that Arachnid left her field of view.

"Son of a-"


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>Arachnid then quickly flips - and delivers a controlled roundhouse kick right into Weathervane's face - sending her flying across the rooftop.

"Gyah! Fuck!"

>Feeling blood dripping from her lip, Weathervane lightly touches her bleeding lip with her gloved hand. Groaning, she then slowly stands up - only to look up and see Arachnid flipping towards her.

"Ugh! Not again with this shit!"

>Her eyes glow once again - as she fires a series of lightning bolts at Arachnid, in point blank range.


>Arachnid holds his hands up - as he's hit by a massive surge of electricity. However, his suit successfully absorbs the energy - storing it inside of individual nano-capacitors all over the surface.

>The smell of burning metal fills the air for a moment - only to subside just as quickly due to the strong winds. The silence fills the air for a moment as Weathervane looks on, dumbfounded.

"What…..That was supposed to….."

>Arachnid looks up at Weathervane as he lowers his hands to his side. Shaking them for a moment, he then says:

"Oh, right! Outside of my armor, that might have worked. But this suit's really good at absorbing energy so…….."

>Holding out a hand, Arachnid then watches as the same bright pink electricity crackles across his body.

"Return to sender, as they say."

>The electricity blast then surges from Arachnid's palm - hitting Weathervane in the chest and knocking the wind out of her body. As she gasps for air, she then falls to the ground - confused.

"You and your damned tech….Shit…."

>Weathervane, now exhausted due to being a normal Meta-Human outside of her weather powers - then falls down on one knee in exhaustion.

>Arachnid then walks over to her, and crouches in front of her.

"You gonna be a good supervillain and turn yourself over to the authorities now?"

>Weathervane sighs and shakes her head.

"I know when I'm beaten, kid. You can stop with the feigned comedy routine."

>Arachnid gasps in an exaggerated manner as he stands up and responds.

"Now what would be the fun in that?"

>He then holds out his right arm and quickly fires off massive streams of silk adhesive - keeping her stuck to the ground.

"Don't bother trying to fry them either. They're electrically insulated. Made the mixture just for you."

>Turning around, Arachnid then sees Aquarius in the distance.

"Two down. One more to go."

>Arachnid then flips off of the building, and begins jumping across entire rooftops - bounding and jumping his way towards Aquarius in the distance.


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>Aquarius remains hovering in the middle of his giant water hurricane - slowly beginning to build up more and more strength for his goal.

>In the distance, he can see the figure of Arachnid approaching, and he scoffs to himself.

"Little twerp wants to play hero, huh? Alright then."

>Holding out his hand, Aquarius causes his giant water storm to stretch out a larger watery hand, immediately grabbing hold of Arachnid and pulling him in.

"Ack! Hey! Let go!"

>Arachnid continues to struggle and squirm against the water storm's grip - as he's slowly pulled into the vortex towards Aquarius.

"You know what I hate the most about you vigilante tryhards? You're always trying to find that next quip. That fancy little dig - since that's all you have."

>Aquarius hovers under the power of his water manipulation abilities - creating a mini water vortex around his boots as he maneuvers himself towards the constrained and bound Arachnid. The intensity of the storm increases as Aquarius speaks.

"But now you've got nothing funny to say, eh twerp? No funny one liner? No slapstick punchline? Nothing? You've finally shut the fuck up?"

>Arachnid falls silent for a moment, as Aquarius laughs.

"Good. Now to unmask you so that I can find out who else I get to flood-"

>Arachnid then starts laughing himself - even harder than Aquarius does, causing him to yell in frustration.

"Oh what the fuck now?!?! What's so funny you little shit?!?!"

>Arachnid stops laughing and nods his head behind Aquarius, stating:

"Oh nothing, water bowl. Just remembering what happens when you mix lighting and water together."

>Feeling a surge of energy coming from behind him, Aquarius spins around - to see a massive lightning storm converging on his location from the edges of the water bay.

"You get hot air - just like what's right there in whatever you call a brain."

>Before Aquarius can respond - the large water construct is then bombarded with bright blue and white lightning - completely evaporating the water storm in its entirety.


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>Panicking, Aquarius immediately begins falling to the ground - struggling to pull water out of the atmosphere to save his fall. Eventually, he does manage to construct enough water vapor into solid water again - remotely controlling it like a flying cloud to catch his fall.

>Arachnid however, simply glides with his suit's jacket and retractable wings - flying effortlessly towards a nearby building rooftop. He then sits back and watches the incoming altercation.

"Huh, well this should be good."

>Arachnid says, as he rolls onto the rooftop from his glide and flips into the air - landing on a spontaneous silk bed spread that he created in mid-air.

"Tch. Typical vigilantes. Too cowardly to fight me when it really counts."

>Aquarius then turns around - only to see a figure in a white costume and cloak hovering before him. The figure's eyes are glowing purely with blue light as he crosses his arms.

"So you're the instigator I presume? If so, I'll only ask you this once."

>Paladin remains silent for good effect as he speaks.

"Disarm yourself and face judgement - or I will force you to yield."

>Sensing the power and energy radiating from the figure, Aquarius grows nervous - sweat forming down his brow from inside of his helmet. However, he maintains his composure for the most part - even if he does start stammering a bit in response to the overwhelming power that he's feeling.

"Y-Yeah? Well t-tough luck! I'm not b-backing down f-from you or anyone else! You'll h-have to k-kill me if you want me to s-stop this!"

>Not believing his own words, Aquarius begins to feel himself tremble with nervousness, as he races through the calculations and potential options in his mind.

>Sensing his trepidation, Paladin pushes forward.

"You know that you can't defeat me in a fight. So do yourself a favor and stop your malicious actions towards this city - now."

>Powerful blasts of lightning begin to rain down on the city below - deliberately hitting empty city streets and nowhere else, as if to make a point about the fine-tuned nature and control of Paladin's power.

>The lightning bolts are massive in size, at least the size of a school bus in terms of width.

>The sky immediately begins to change its weather patterns - becoming cloudy and heavily darkened because of it. The change in scenic atmosphere making it very apparent what the true extent and nature of Paladin's powers are.

"…..Weathervane could not do that."

>Aquarius mutters to himself, still terrified and petrified in place at the display of power surrounding him.

"Weathervane is not your concern here - I am. So make your choice, Aquarius. Will you do the right thing voluntarily? Or will I have to force you to do what's right for the safety of these people?"

>Paladin says, arms still crossed and glowing blue eyes still fixated on Aquarius there.


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>Thirty minutes later, Aquarius is then taken away in energy cuffs by MRD personnel. He's accompanied by Weathervane, who is also in handcuffs. Meanwhile, Nicea is talking to the MRD agents on the side - as per his willful cooperation.

>As the other two Meta-Humans are escorted into the back of an APC hovercraft, Paladin and Arachnid look on from the rooftop above.

"Wow. You stopped him without throwing a punch."

>Looking over at Paladin, Arachnid then says:

"Mind teaching me how to disarm people with an intimidation stare like that?"

>Paladin gives a soft laugh as he then looks down at the rooftop flooring before him.

"It's not that difficult. Just have to put some conviction behind your words. Really mean them."

>Silent for a moment, he then gives a gesture with his gloved hand.

"….Also having the raw strength to serve as a backup plan definitely helps."

>Arachnid nods as he quickly flips onto the edge of the rooftop - landing in a crouching position. Making a friendly gesture with his hands, he then rests his arms on his knees as he speaks up again.

"Either way, thanks for helping me out. I maybe could've taken down Aquarius myself - but it definitely would've led to some flash flood warnings in this city."

>Paladin nods as he then turns to look over the city's skyline, falling silent once more. After a moment, he then makes a statement.

"…..Arachnid, do yourself a favor and never assume the worst of people. Instead, just remember that everyone's fighting a battle against themselves."

>Turning back to face the silk themed vigilante, Paladin then continues:

"That's what happened to me - and only through a streak of luck do I have a second chance at life. You're a good person from what I've seen - so keep at it."

>Paladin then places a hand on Arachnid's jacket shoulder, nodding at him, before he then flies up into the air - faster than Arachnid can process his movements. The shockwave of his flight is almost enough to startle Arachnid - though he remains sticking to the rooftop due to his adhesion powers.

"Well he's definitely fast too……"


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>As Paladin rapidly enters the upper atmosphere of Sanctuary City - he then hovers in place. Looking down at his white armored gloves - he can feel supernatural power flowing through his body, signified by a perpetual crackle of mystical lightning.

"That's definitely a first - not landing a single attack on an enemy."

>Paladin then feels startled as he turns around - seeing Mosaic sitting cross legged in mid-air behind him.

"Wha- I didn't sense you there…."

>Giving an amused response, Mosaic then rests his helmet on the palm of his black gloved hand - responding by saying:

"I didn't expect you to sense me. That was sort of the idea."

>Sighing, Paladin effortlessly turns around to face Mosaic, now responding.

"What did you need to see me for? Is there something that you want to show me or…..?"

>Mosaic thinks for a moment before he responds.

"I've got a present for you. Come on."

>Without making another response, Mosaic immediately reorients himself around in mid-air - immediately blasting away in the skies above Sanctuary City.

"H-Hey! Wait! I didn't mean literally show me! As in right now!"

>Paladin then flies off after the armored vigilante - rapidly building up speed in order to catch up to them……


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>As Mosaic and Paladin continue flying at rapid speeds - they begin quickly exceeding the hypersonic barrier. Soon, they're moving at relativistic speeds - and then the speed of light.

>The sheer strength of their powers allows them to continue to bend reality - reaching transluminal speeds that exceed the known limitations of physics. The world becomes a blur for a moment, as both figures are enveloped in a bright light.

"Where are we going?!"

>Paladin says, completely confused by Mosaic's decision to move at faster than light speeds.

"You'll see."

>Mosaic says, responding to Paladin, who's moving at a speed relative to his own - enough for him to hear his voice.

>The bright light then becomes even more powerful and potent - as both figures are seemingly warped away from space-time itself.


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>Date: April 4th, 2017
>Location: Archeon Midwestern Manufacturing Facility
>Time: 2:30 PM


>Mosaic says, anger building up in his body. As he slowly curls his hands into fists, he looks on at Faust, who crosses his arms.

>He then states out loud:

"I know exactly what your little arrangement is here with the Silent People. Empress Maeve too. Must've been second nature for you to kidnap people and use them as cattle, Jack. It's all you were ever good for anyways - crime."

>Faust involuntarily flinches, gritting his teeth in anger as rage builds up inside of him. As he controls this rage somewhat, he then exhales and states:

"Never mind me, Aiden. What about you? How do you like what I've done to your manufacturing plant? God only knows it's a better reflection of you now. Isn't it?"

>Mosaic scoffs as he then points at Faust, stating:

"I've met a lot of guys over the years who really couldn't help themselves with their own bullshit. Some of them actually believed it too. But not you, Jack. You know everything that comes out of your mouth is horseshit."

>Faust makes a casual shrug as he then says:

"You've got me. Guilty as charged. But that was the point, wasn't it Grayson? It got to you. Much like everything else I've done up to this point. You're lucky that none of your little employees died when I sent the mercs to torch your buildings. I could've gone further you know. Maybe gone after that little pipsqueak of a sidekick. Damian was his name right? The Desmond sprite."

>Immediately narrowing his eyes, Mosaic then watches as Faust begins walking around, slowly.

"That, or I could try my luck with your new business associate - Hiyuki Hoyokazi, now couldn't I? Tailing you for the past few days was a chore - but it was worth it too."

>Faust says, crossing his arms while staring at Mosaic carefully.

"Wouldn't you agree, pal?"

>Before Faust can even react, a fist connects to him with such force as to shatter the fabric of reality - for a fraction of a moment. Before reality repairs itself, the flickering of bright red light emanates from Mosaic's first for the first time - enough to corrode Faust's body and nearly split him in half as he rapidly spirals away.


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>Mosaic and Paladin look on at their past selves - as they continue to fight in the distance. The wreckage of the Archeon Manufacturing Facility is beyond conventional repair - as large fires burn off in the distance.

>Paladin slowly falls down on one knee, a rush of emotions appearing before him as he begins to choke up.

"No….I can't….I couldn't…."

>As he lays on his knees, he begins to sob softly - as Mosaic kneels down beside him and places a hand on his shoulder.

"Hey. Hey, it's alright. I didn't bring you here to judge you."

>Paladin then slowly looks up at Mosaic, tears in his glowing blue eyes - which fall on his bandaged mask, as it continues to obscure his face and its features.

"…Why are we here then, Aiden? Can't they sense us?"

>Mosaic helps Paladin to his feet as he then speaks.

"….'The Oasis of Osiris'. It's a magical distortion spell that infuses spatial dimensions with mana. Anything that isn't strong enough to perceive the spell can't interact with us in normal space."

>Mosaic points at his and Paladin's counterparts as he continues speaking:

"If they can't perceive us, then the spell shifts our phase state out of synch with their own - making us intangible as well."

>Paladin's wisdom, derived from Minerva, activates once more as he instantly responds.

"A higher level of perception is required to detect the use of the spell - which itself distorts perception. A paradoxical defense. One needs to assume that they're being watched to bypass the spell's defense."

>Mosaic nods and then turns back to look at their counterparts - as said counterparts fight to the death.

"And our past selves are far too busy trying to kill each other in this past situation to notice - aren't we?"

>Silent for a moment, Mosaic then turns to Paladin and says:

"I brought you here to let you know that no matter what - the past is the past. Whoever you were in the past, is not who you are now."

>Paladin then takes a deep breath and nods slowly - turning back to Mosaic.

"Just because someone's driven off the path - doesn't mean they can't ever find their way back."

>Mosaic then holds his gloved hand out to Paladin, and says:

"You're not my enemy anymore Jack. You're my friend. In fact, you're probably the one person who knows me almost as well as I know myself."

>Paladin nods slowly and shakes Mosaic's hand - giving a strong and sincere grip with his glove.

"Thank you Aiden. I mean it."


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>Paladin then falls silent for a moment, before he then speaks up.

"….Aiden. What I said about the others. Especially Hiyuki. I'm….I'm…"

>Mosaic shakes his head, as he reiterates his statement.

"Just because someone's driven off the path."

>Paladin then speaks in turn - completing Mosaic's statement with an understanding tone.

"Doesn't mean they can't ever find their way back…."

>Mosaic nods once more as he then says:

"Besides, it's best not to tamper with time. I don't know if the timeline is static, or is highly mutable. Either your fate is predetermined, or it's subject to change at the slightest deviation."

>Nodding quickly, Paladin then states:

"Right. We better get out of here then."

>Mosaic then holds out his hand, for Paladin to grab onto it with his own - as Mosaic places two gloved fingers to the front of his helmet.

"Wait…I think I remember today."

>Paladin looks Mosaic directly in the helmet and asks:

"Wasn't today your birthday?"

>Mosaic gives an amused scoff as he responds.

"Reality has a sense of cosmic irony, doesn't it?"

>After a moment, the two of them are gone in an instant, leaving that area, and that time period instantaneously.


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>Date: August 30th, 2017
>Time: 5:30 PM
>Location: Sanctuary City - Business Sector - Archeon Complex

>Mosaic and Paladin stand on top of the Archeon Complex's main building - as Mosaic makes a series of rapid gestures in the air with his gloved hands.

"What are you doing now, Aiden? I still don't understand what else you needed me to see."

>A large surge of glowing red energy appears concentrated between Mosaic's hands. Various arcane symbols and runes appear to be inscribed on the surface of the glowing red energy sphere - all golden in color.

"I'm preparing another spell - one that'll make your life just a little bit easier."

>Paladin looks between the spell and Mosaic's helmet - trying to decipher his facial expression. Paladin then uses Minerva's divine wisdom once more as his eyes widen.

"Are you attempting to change reality? For me?"

>Mosaic nods slowly, but then says:

"Before you get too excited - I'm not changing the physical world. Nor am I changing history."

>Paladin then asks the obvious question:

"Well then what are you changing, Aiden?"

>Mosaic then responds in a clear and blunt manner.

"What I told you before. Perception."

>Paladin then looks down at the charging magical spell once more as he murmurs.

"….The Oasis of Osiris. You're using the spell again, aren't you?"

>Nodding once more, Mosaic then says:

"I'm using it at full power now. Once it's activated - nearly everyone in the world will still remember that someone named Jack Blackburn existed. They'll also remember that someone made a lot of mistakes…."

>Mosaic then turns towards Paladin and states:

"They just won't be able to put two and two together. A magician's greatest strength is sleight of hand, Jack. Pulling the wool over one's eyes - and leaving them guessing."

>Slamming his hands together and crushing the red glowing sphere into his hands - Mosaic then watches as a bright red pulse then appears - rapidly enveloping the Archeon Complex.

>It then envelops all of Sanctuary City as it rapidly loses its visibility - becoming transparent.

>Then, it covers the entire planet - and in an instant, the spell's focus has been achieved.


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>Mosaic then places one hand on his hip, looking over the city to see the effects of his handiwork.

"Like I said, there's a bunch of people who'll likely be immune to the effects. It's the same reason why they can tell that my hair's white."

>Looking at Mosaic for a moment, Paladin then says:

"I was wondering why no one seemed to have an issue with your sudden change in hair color. Now I understand - it's the same perception spell."

>Nodding, Mosaic then makes a gesture with his hand.

"Guilty as charged. Either way, you've got a clean slate now - at least in a way that gives you some peace of mind, and some privacy. The world didn't forget what you did. It's just that don't have to constantly be defined by it anymore."

>Looking back at Mosaic for a moment, Paladin then says:

"….What now, then?"

>Mosaic thinks for a moment, then shrugs.

"Want to do some training? Might be fun."

>Paladin thinks it over for a moment, before responding:

"Absolutely. That might help us clear our heads."


File: 1701659958577-0.jpeg (211.38 KB, 1920x1080, Boundary of Aeternia.jpeg)

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File: 1701659958577-4.jpeg (1.05 MB, 1920x2716, Paladin - 5.jpeg)

>Date: August 30th, 2017
>Time: Indeterminate
>Location: Boundary of Aeternia

>A dimension known as the Boundary of Aeternia is housed in the space between dimensions. As a separate dimensional space, constructed through the power of magic - it remains self-sufficient and self-sustaining in nature.

>The endless boundaries of aurora filled skies stretch on for miles and miles - as a single small house sits in the center of the entire dimension.

>Two figures move at blinding speeds around the open areas of the dimension - firing off massive blasts of energy. Large plumes of flame erupt, and are quickly doused by supernatural structures of ice.

>Space distorting attacks are launched from multiple directions - as implosions in reality cause ruptures of localized time to violently loop the previous attacks, over and over again.

>The sky shakes with the force of the strikes from both combatants - shaking the seemingly infinite void without constraint.

>Then, in a single moment - the entire space of the reality begins to seemingly break down, as two figures come to a standstill, locking their fingers in each other's grasps as they push against each other.


File: 1701660261198-0.jpeg (4.57 MB, 2480x3507, Mosaic - 21.jpeg)

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File: 1701660261198-4.gif (1018.51 KB, 500x281, Kick.gif)

>The fabric of reality continues to rapidly shatter around them, as they then speak up.

"Oh come on. Is that all you've got Jack?! I was starting to have some fun too!"

>Straining heavily, Paladin pants heavily as he pushes himself further against Mosaic's strength. Completely outmatched in his base state, Paladin then looks up at the heavens and shouts in a supernatural tone of voice:


>A large mystical bolt then rushes down from above, seemingly supercharging Paladin as his body begins to glow with a faint hue of blue and white energy.

"There it is! I've been waiting for that! Ahahaha!"

>Mosaic, genuinely having fun for the first time in a seemingly long while - begins to glow with a faint red aura himself. In an instant, he reorients himself in mid-air, flipping rapidly in the air as he delivers a powerful roundhouse kick to Paladin's face.


>Paladin instinctively reacts in time to the sudden attack - blocking it with both hands, but is still sent spiraling backwards.


>As he begins skidding across the floor of the infinite space, Paladin immediately utilizes the abilities of Mercury - gaining full control over his relative motion as he comes to a halt.

"……..Well then. That was definitely a surge of power."

>He says, still lightly panting. Mercury's blessing continues to course through him, amplified by the mystical lightning rained down from above. His body instantly replenishes his stamina and his energy, as he looks at Mosaic - still standing back where he was before.

"Don't take it too personally, Jack. Most people wouldn't last this long in a fight against me. You're way stronger than you realize if you're making me take this a bit more seriously!"

>Mosaic then holds his hands out at his side, seemingly gathering more power from his seemingly infinite reserves.

"And you're going to get even stronger too! The more you spar against me, the more of your power that you'll be able to draw from!"


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>Feeling the rush and the power high that comes from a challenge, Mosaic then raises his hands to his side - feeling a semblance of emotional ecstacy at Paladin's progress so far.

"You don't know how great it feels to finally have someone who can handle my strength….At least a small portion of it!"

>Paladin is somewhat surprised by the statement, before he gives a soft grin behind his mask.

{"That figures. He's been holding back the entire time - far more so than I have. Well then. I suppose I shouldn't disappoint then."}

>Taking a deep breath, Paladin then looks up at the sky once more, before shouting his magic word again.


>A massive blue and white lightning bolt crashes down from seemingly nowhere, further imbuing Paladin with immense magical and divine power.

>The force of the lightning bolt crash is enough to rupture the flooring of the dimension - causing the entire place to shake.

>Mosaic, still unphased by the force of the lightning bolt strike, looks on in excitement and anticipation.

"There we go! Give me something more to take on!"

>Even more supercharged than before - Paladin looks up in the sky, and shouts his magic word once more.


>The lightning bolt is even larger than before - completely bathing not just Paladin, but the surrounding 10 cubic feet of space around him with a massive surge of blue and white lightning. The force is even greater than before - and begins rupturing the ground, causing cracks to appear dramatically.

>Mosaic once more, is unphased - as his cloak seemingly flutters in the wind. His body however, is unmoved, with no discernible impact being felt by the lightning strike.

"Powered up enough yet? Because I can wait all day."

>Mosaic then cracks his knuckles, as he watches Paladin from afar. A few meters away - Paladin's entire body is saturated in mystical and divine energy. The overwhelming power flows through Paladin as he then says:

"You know that my powers are magical in nature. You know that I'm mimicking the combined powers of a dozen Greco-Roman Gods…."

>Holding out a hand towards Mosaic, Paladin then points at Mosaic and says:

"But you're still willing to fight, Aiden? Even in the face of all of this?"

>Paladin asks this question with genuine curiosity and amazement in his voice - as Mosaic stretches his arms with twisting motions of his waist.

"Without a doubt. Much like Phoebe - it's been a while since I felt anything. So let's see if you can do it then!"

>Mosaic then assumes a combat stance, with both of his hands at the ready. Paladin then does the same as the entire dimension falls on an eerie silence.

>Then without a word from either combatant - they both rush towards each other, redoubling their efforts as they spend countless hours fighting each other within the infinite expanse of the dimension.


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File: 1701661666644-1.png (2.89 MB, 998x2000, Mosaic.png)

File: 1701661666644-2.jpeg (1.05 MB, 1920x2716, Paladin - 5.jpeg)

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File: 1701661666644-4.jpeg (404.69 KB, 1920x1080, Jupiter's Lightning Bolt.jpeg)

>Both figures then continue fighting - flying across a seemingly infinite expanse of distance, at near instant speeds. They continue to trade blows with their punches and kicks, their spatial-temporal attacks and their reverse time loops.

>They begin summoning countless monsters and beings with their abilities - large dragons and demons. Ghouls and wraiths. Entire armies of supernatural monsters are called upon from the aether of the mystical plane in order to aid them.

>However, all of the beasts summoned by the fighters - are easily dealt with by said fighters, on opposite ends. They then resort to retroactive attacks, attempting to move through the linear progression of time in the Boundary of Aeternia - to no avail.

>The entire floor of the dimension is shattered into a near infinite amount of pieces - since the floor stretches for seemingly eternity, much like the aurora-filled skies above.

>Space and time begin to break down in a localized sense around the fighters as well, with both of them ripping apart the fabric of existence itself, only for it to restitch itself together over time, as their fight progresses.

>Eventually, they resort to mystical weaponry - Mars's Sword and Neptune's Trident clash as blood and water spontaneously appear from them both. Then Diana's bow is met by Apollo's - as an emerald glow is countered by an orange glow.

>Finally, Jupiter's blue and white lightning clashes with itself - having been summoned by them both. The collision of the mystical lightning blasts is so strong, it then ruptures and nearly destroys the entirety of the infinite dimension.

>The blast and the blinding light are so powerful, that the entire space-time continuum of the area is shattered to its very core, fragmented into seemingly trillions of microscopic pieces - before reforming itself.


File: 1701662342819-0.jpeg (4 MB, 2480x3508, Mosaic - 2.jpeg)

File: 1701662342819-1.jpeg (142.96 KB, 850x1123, Paladin.jpeg)

File: 1701662342819-2.png (1.31 MB, 1280x687, Lightning.png)

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File: 1701662342819-4.jpeg (211.38 KB, 1920x1080, Boundary of Aeternia.jpeg)

>At the end of the battle, Paladin is panting heavily as he stands on one knee. Placing one hand on the ground, his armored costume looks tattered and damaged - the contents of his coat also appearing torn in several places.


>Paladin then falls to the ground - exhausted and panting heavily, his stamina finally giving out after countless periods of direct fighting.

"How long have….we….been….fighting…."

>He says, as Mosaic stands across the floor from him - partially damaged with his armor and cloak - but not nearly as much as Paladin is. Hands in his coat pockets, Mosaic looks at Paladin, as his own armor and cloak instantly repair themselves.

"If the passage of time was conventionally measured here….I'd say about a month or so."

>Shocked, Paladin then says, weakly:

"….How is that…possible….We've only…only…been here….for……hours…."

>Paladin then rolls over - looking up at the infinite expanse of the aurora-filled night sky as Mosaic walks up to him.

"Time dilation. Similar to how a certain other magical dimension works - one much larger and far greater in size than this one is. Degrees of infinity and all that."

>Nodding, Paladin then looks up at Mosaic who has just entered his vision - then says:

"Might….want….to…..stand…..back. Need…..energy…..to……move…..effectively……again…."

>Mosaic nods and takes a few steps back - hands still in his coat pockets as Paladin shouts:


>The invocation of his magic word causes a massive bolt of mystical lightning to crash down on Paladin again - instantly infusing him with an immense amount of magical energy and instantly replenishing his massive reserves of stamina.

>In an instant, Paladin is back on his feet - with his costume and cloak repaired as he then says:

"You were able to mimic my abilities. How is that possible?"

>Mosaic holds up his hand to show the mystical ring on his left ring finger.

"The Thaumaturgy Ring. It's capable of its namesake - which is a suitable substitute for the divine, I'd say."

>Nodding, Paladin then says:

"Right. Well, that's enough sparring for one day, hopefully."

>Mosaic fires a point gesture at Paladin with his right index finger.

"Without a doubt. Now let's get out of here - find something to eat."

>Mosaic then opens up a magical portal out of the Boundary to Aeternia - as both he and Paladin walk through it before it closes behind in the dimension.


File: 1701663106289-0.jpg (2.01 MB, 2000x955, Archeon (Earth-0) - 3.jpg)

File: 1701663106289-1.jpeg (94.68 KB, 850x1159, Aiden - 48.jpeg)

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>Date: August 30th, 2017
>Time: 6:00 PM
>Location: Sanctuary City - Business Sector - Archeon Incorporated

>Aiden walks down the steps of the Archeon Complex's main building. His hands are in his jacket pockets as he speaks to the person behind him with a definitive tone of voice.

"Remember, you're free to visit at any time. Though if you'd rather avoid Phoebe for now - you can make a more 'sensational' appearance if need be."

>Aiden continues hinting at Jack's mystical teleportation abilities - as Jack walks down the steps behind him. While doing so, he then says:

"Thank you, Aiden. I do appreciate that. Still."

>Jack stops speaking as he waits for Aiden to turn around.

"Oh? What's wrong, Jack?"

>Jack looks away, embarrassed for a moment as he considers his next words carefully.

"…..I don't think Sanctuary City needs another powerful superhero moving around. It seems a bit crowded here. Between Mosaic, Arachnid, Speedrunner, Omnius and Demiurge? That's a lot of heroes constantly moving around."

>Aiden then waits for Jack to continue speaking.

"….I'll still stay here in the city and rebuild my life. It'll be easier now, thanks to your perception filter spell - and the resources that I found. It's just….."

>Jack then looks back at Aiden, as Aiden gives a slight smile behind his sunglasses.

"You don't think you deserve it yet. Even after all of this."

>Jack falls silent once more as Aiden sighs, stating:

"I understand, Jack. Still, give it some thought. Also, remember what I said, I'm your friend, and I'll always do my best to support you in doing what's right."

>Holding out a hand, Aiden then says:

"I'm going to be here for you - no matter what."

>Jack takes the open handshake opportunity and shakes it firmly with his own hands.

"Thanks, Aiden."

>Tears are in Jack's eyes, as he then removes his hand from the handshake with Aiden and brushes his tears away. Afterwards, Jack then turns to walk off in the direction of his car. As he does so, he then turns back to Aiden and says:

"Hang out with you later this weekend then?"

>Aiden nods, saying:

"Sure. If you're available. Get your business back on track - and go polish up your family name. See you soon, Jack. Be safe."

>Jack nods as he then smiles and waves at Aiden. Turning around, he then walks over to his car in the parking lot.

>Aiden meanwhile crosses his arms as his shirt sleeves show through his jacket sleeves once more.

"You've got a ways to go, but you'll get there. That, I'm sure of now."

>Aiden then walks off towards his own car - reaching it and getting inside. After starting up the car, he then moves towards the manual clutch and begins driving out of the Archeon parking lot - and towards the larger city in the distance.

[The End]

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