Side Story Champions of the Arena II: The Hunt

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Yun Lee

MC MasterMind
Administrator
The Convergence Series GM
This boy...what a strange one he was. Marianne wasn't fully sure what to make of him, but right now she didn't exactly have the time to form much of an opinion. And she certainly didn't want to take the man's microphone from him, not when he was using it. Did these things require magic? She wasn't sure. But for now she would let herself recharge. She had a sword, after all, and knew how to use it. Blade drawn, Marianne started slicing at the Risen entering the room. Her lyrics had been those of support. What did lyrics on the offensive do...?

@Sark

---

"It probably makes your masters money, somehow." To say Yashamaru was disgusted would be an understatement. This machinery...leaving it in charge of thousands, if not millions of people...all the technology in the world, but this place was every bit the same as the world he came from. The greedy, corrupt elite ran it all, while deciding who prospered and who suffered on nothing more than a whim. It was sickening. "There's more to life than money, Prudence. All the money in the world won't bring back the family members or friends slain tonight. Maybe they were wageslaves to you, but they were somebody's parent, or spouse, or best friend." But he stopped himself there. He doubted any of that mattered to Prudence. It never mattered to the shogunate when they executed his father, why would things be any different here? Instead, he would ask a question that was bothering him. "But what do we have to do with all of this? Why have you gone through such lengths to drag us all into this game of yours? You clearly don't care about the people of this city. If you had wanted to start gladiator battles here, you could've just used your own citizens."

@Sark @Jeremi @Takumi @Atomic Knight
 

Takumi

Member of the Yato Club
“Blow it out of your ass you snarky bitch!” Bad Girl shot back at Ouka. “Don’t fucking tell me what I can and can’t do! You fucking shit stain! Who do you think you are talking like that! If I wasn’t so fucking done I’d beat your fucking head in!”

@Sark @Yun Lee @Atomic Knight @Takumi @Jeremi



DISTRICT Z
"Oh, if I had a tub of popcorn," Prudence scoffed, stepping in between the warring pair. "Man... this is rich! I mean, Bad Girl, you just took the words outta my mouth! I mean, who the fuck do you think you are talking to me like that?" Prudence went to slap Bad Girl around the back of her head. Her hand simply passed through one side of her skull and harmlessly sparked out the other. "Evil? Me? Try to wrap your tiny, tiny head around the scope of this situation. A demonic invasion. A rogue goddess. The whole 'Revan' thing? The world is hurting, Charlotte! It needs people like me! I'm on of the Good Guys!"

Prudence snapped her fingers. The Lobby started descending like an elevator. Soon, the doors and windows were covered by the long, metal panels of a lift shaft.

"Try to avoiding killing each other so that I can explain myself, yeah? Do you think that you two kids can handle that? Just for a fucking minute?"

@Jeremi @Yun Lee @Takumi @Atomic Knight


DISTRICT B-C
"Lying down and waiting for death? That's exactly what you did, Hearts!" Ventress growled, her templer slipping free of its shackles. "That's exactly what we all did! Siding with the Beggars didn't get us any closer getting off-world! You suggested that we interfere so under the premise of our final days meaning something! That was the act of 'charity' you promised the King! If we had literally laid down and died, the bridge would still be standing! This war wouldn't have begun! We should have played the game. There were 50 hunters on Prudence on Day One. None of them have caused as much of a mess as we have. Our intentions are irrelevant. Admit it. We've made life on Prudence worse."

Her teeth bared like an animals, Asajj turned to face Chise.

"It's not all our fault, but we can't keep passing the blame onto Tormo. Do you think blowing up the Bridge was part of his plan? Do you think us LARPing at reformists was part of his plan? If we had just killed each other like he suggested, the world be much brighter place. Maybe we sh---"

"DEEMINUS!" The Mercenary screamed over the Champions. "I'LL SHOW YE DEEMINUS YOU SHOT NOTES SHIT DRINKIN--"

[BOOOOOOOOOM]

Fire. Smoke. Rubble. The Captain's remains.

They all rained down upon the Staging Area. The Mercenary Captain was blown sky high. His forces were scattered and stunned. The world was spinning. The street was rocking like the deck of a sea-bound ship. The Champions' ears stopped ringing just in time for the sound of energy-rifle fire to rattle their ears. Ventress dragged Chise to her feet. She offered a hand to Hearts. She screamed something they could quite make out. A crimson energy bolt seared her shoulder before she could repeat herself. She fell backwards into the smoking crater that sat in the center of the street.

The King of Beggars lowed his weapon. He placed his boot upon Ventress' wound. She howled in agony.
"We meet again, Champions!" He cheered, his face twisted with hate and fury. The kind soul that had offered them shelter and medicine was gone. A soldier-king stood in his place. "I can't say its a pleasure!"

A dozen more rifles sounded. The machines the mercenaries had anticipated were nowhere to be seen. An army of very hungry, very human soldiers stood in their place. Their gaunt faces and tired eyes bought them a moment a moment of hesitation. A moment of pity. The seized their advantage with a few straight shots into a mercenary's chest.

"This is the world you were promised, Beggars! This is the city fate has denied you for too long! Reclaiming District C shall was only ever an interim solution! With Cluth's guns and your raw will, even Mayor Nemu herself shall not slow us down! For liberty!"

The soldiers responded with a furious chorus.

"For Co-Mayor Cluth! For Co-Mayor Cluth! For the Unified Kings of District C!"

@Takumi @Jeremi @Capri @Lucky
"Fuck this." Bad Girl turned around so she could find a quiet corner. "I honestly don't give a shit about any of your bullshit. Nothing to drink or getting paid. Wake me up when this bitch is done whining I'm going to fucking sleep."




"We were plucked here against our will," Eight Hearts remarked. "You can blame yourself all you want. The real cause was the one who brought us here. So I am very sorry miss. Right now I don't care to argue semantics."

Then the arrival of the opposition. "You know when we originally met...I thought you as one of the few people of compassion in this Hell of a city. Egg on my face when you were as bad as your brother. He dabbles in wealth and power, while you dabble in faith and power. King of beggars indeed. Not equal. Superior" Eight Hearts looked over the shoulder of their former employer to the men and women he were leading. "It is because of your supposed kings that your lives are as they are! Playing the common man against each other as they fatten themselves true your hope and dreams. So that you would never get wise and realize your situation. Get rid of them and secure District B for yourselves! Share the wealth they have rightfully stolen from you!"

First time the other mercenaries saw utter contempt in Eight Hearts eyes as they met the King. "King of Beggars? You're just a King of Lies."

"Someone who doesn't intend to shorten their life through drinking." Ouka answered her question honestly despite the deadpan look on his face.

"If you're insistent on risking alcohol poisoning, however, I don't really care." He added. His gaze slid over to Prudence as she moved, watching quietly. Bad Girl was ignored a moment, as he stared at Prudence with furrowed brows.

"How does hosting this game make you 'one of the good guys'?" He asked.


DISTRICT Z
"Fall asleep, Charlotte," Prudence's face twisted back into Tormo's. It leaned in close to Bad Girl's spot in the corer. "And I promise you that you shall never wake up. You're forgetting that you have a bomb inside your neck. You're forgetting that you still owe me, and, by extension, OBLIVION, millions of credits. Even if you were to endure my 'bullshit', the Parent Company's Debt Collectors will hunt you to the end of the multiverse. Offend me, and you shall never rest again. If you so much as drop a scrap of little on my streets on your way out, I'll come for you. Have I made myself clear?"

[CLANG]

The elevator came to a stop.
Prudence gestured towards the Lobby's forth wall. It broke into two halves and parted like a pair of automatic doors. A larger chamber revealed itself. Servers stood erect like Tombstones, each bathed in a calm, magenta light. The air was warm and stale. A large generator hummed in the room's center.
View attachment 8782
"It's all about the money, Charlotte. It's always been amount the money. Every man wants it. No one can live without it. It's my job to safeguard it." Tormo stepped into the chamber and basked in the Tombstones' lights. "I am all that you see! Every A.I. in this city lives within me! I am the Banker and the Advertiser! The LW-Soldier and the Sewer Cleaner! The Alpha and the... well... you get the idea..."

"There's not a credit in this city that doesn't pass through my hands... I've even monitored the transference of your bounties. You can thank me later. My subsystems are running trillions of calculations at any given time. Impressive, no? But I didn't bring you here to brag...

"I'm here to show you how futile resistance truly is..."
Tormo snapped his fingers. The screens shifted. A shot of District A's flying motorway flickered before the Champions. "You came here to kill 'Sorc Tormo'. I want to show you how important he is---

"These cars transport thousand
s of travelers every single hours. It's my job to make sure that they get to where they need to be. Navigation. Fuel conservation. Altitude regulation. It's all on me. How many crashes do you think we've had in the past 15 years? That's right. It's a big fat zero. All thanks to me. But... well..."

Prudence clicked its fingers. The lights flickered out in the windows of a dozen flying cars. Their engines spluttered and slowed. With a wheeze and a groan, the cars slipped from the sky and into the path of the cars in the 'land' bellow.

"Whoops." Prudence shrugged. "Don't cry too hard. They're only cooperate workers. Wage slaves. Lemmings. I've already wired an insurance payout to their families. The world keeps on turning. If I weren't here to regulate the others, District A would look like... Well... District C..."

"And don't get me started on the gas mains and the power regulators... if I were to stop monitoring them... well... who would? Call me a narcist, but I love this city... despite its faults..."

"You and I must have a very different definition of 'love', Prude," Sam growled. "From where I'm standing, looks like you're destroying it."

"That's the point, Samuel..." Prudence hissed through gritted teeth. "Love and destruction often come hand in hand. It's my job to serve the needs of the City and the company. To that end, lives must be lost and buildings must crumble. Can you imagine way? I've got a crisp, 1 million credits to anyone where who can guess why?"

@Jeremi @Atomic Knight @Takumi @Yun Lee
This boy...what a strange one he was. Marianne wasn't fully sure what to make of him, but right now she didn't exactly have the time to form much of an opinion. And she certainly didn't want to take the man's microphone from him, not when he was using it. Did these things require magic? She wasn't sure. But for now she would let herself recharge. She had a sword, after all, and knew how to use it. Blade drawn, Marianne started slicing at the Risen entering the room. Her lyrics had been those of support. What did lyrics on the offensive do...?

@Sark

---

"It probably makes your masters money, somehow." To say Yashamaru was disgusted would be an understatement. This machinery...leaving it in charge of thousands, if not millions of people...all the technology in the world, but this place was every bit the same as the world he came from. The greedy, corrupt elite ran it all, while deciding who prospered and who suffered on nothing more than a whim. It was sickening. "There's more to life than money, Prudence. All the money in the world won't bring back the family members or friends slain tonight. Maybe they were wageslaves to you, but they were somebody's parent, or spouse, or best friend." But he stopped himself there. He doubted any of that mattered to Prudence. It never mattered to the shogunate when they executed his father, why would things be any different here? Instead, he would ask a question that was bothering him. "But what do we have to do with all of this? Why have you gone through such lengths to drag us all into this game of yours? You clearly don't care about the people of this city. If you had wanted to start gladiator battles here, you could've just used your own citizens."

@Sark @Jeremi @Takumi @Atomic Knight
Love and...destruction? Ouka's mouth pressed into a thin line at those words. He loved Shou, but he didn't want to destroy her...at least, that was the most logical thing to him, other than the fact that she could sometimes be infuriating and confusing. He couldn't quite comprehend how those two things-how love and destruction-coexisted.

"You complained about the city being ruined earlier, yet you say that you love it despite destroying it and it's people yourself. As many people who natives that were eager to join, you could have gotten some of them in on this game of yours." He spoke up to add onto Yash's question.

@Sark @Jeremi @Yun Lee @Atomic Knight @District Z

The redhead's hand shot out, gripping the edges of the Huntress's hood in a tight fist as she looked up at her, angry green eyes staring up at the Sith.



"No." Chise growled, animalistic and almost draconic to Ventress as she talked about the world being a 'brighter place' if they had just offed each other. Back before she met Elias, she might of been more accepting of someone wanting to get rid of her. That she could have her credits put to use to helping someone get closer to escaping...

"The world wouldn't have been brighter, it would have stayed the same, stagnant and unchanged and with just a bit more blood on it's streets. It may have changed for the worst but it still changed and it still can change despite the situation!" She had both hands fisted in the woman's clothes now.

"Don't you have people you want to go back to? Someone waiting? Someone who'd be sad if you got killed like that?" Her tone had grown quiet, her anger fading into a sadness.

She let go, and as the mercenary Captain yelled, she opened her mouth-

BOOOOMM!!

Chise screamed on pain and covered her ears, her footing lost at some point. Eyed squeezed shut as her senses went into overdrive, she felt as if she were reeling. Curled tight, her hands pressed as a dull pounding beat began that'd likely result in a headache started. Faintly she could hear her racing heartbeat muffled against the cotton lodged in her ears.

She tried to regain her footing after Ventress helped her up, before her eyes landed on the King of Beggars.

Her lip curled back into a quiet growl, fists clenching as her left arm bulged as her fingers sharpened to draconic claws.

"Get off of her." She spoke, ears still ringing faintly.

@Sark @Jeremi @Capri @Ottonomous Ghost @Lucky @District B
 
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Capri

master of the graveyard
Mentor
NARANCIA GHIRGA
@Sark @Jeremi @Takumi @Ottonomous Ghost @Lucky @District B


"..."

Narancia stood silent as Ventress berated him, alongside Eight, Chise, and Allison. He was trying his best to keep his rage in. It wasn't working, as it was very clear that Ventress was pissing him off.

"Do you have a family, Ventress? I didn't have much of one myself. I found a family when Bruno Bucciarati took me in. I can tell you don't have a family. You acted exactly as I did before I found one,"

Before he could continue...

[BOOOOOOOOOM]

Fire. Smoke. Rubble. The Captain's remains.

They all rained down upon the Staging Area. The Mercenary Captain was blown sky-high. His forces were scattered and stunned. The world was spinning. The street was rocking like the deck of a sea-bound ship. The Champions' ears stopped ringing just in time for the sound of energy-rifle fire to rattle their ears. Ventress dragged Chise to her feet. She offered a hand to Hearts. She screamed something they could quite make out. A crimson energy bolt seared her shoulder before she could repeat herself. She fell backward into the smoking crater that sat in the center of the street.

The King of Beggars lowed his weapon. He placed his boot upon Ventress' wound. She howled in agony.
"We meet again, Champions!" He cheered, his face twisted with hate and fury. The kind soul that had offered them shelter and medicine was gone. A soldier-king stood in his place. "I can't say its a pleasure!"

A dozen more rifles sounded. The machines the mercenaries had anticipated were nowhere to be seen. An army of very hungry, very human soldiers stood in their place. Their gaunt faces and tired eyes bought them a moment of hesitation. A moment of pity. They seized their advantage with a few straight shots into a mercenary's chest.

"This is the world you were promised, Beggars! This is the city fate has denied you for too long! Reclaiming District C shall only ever be an interim solution! With Cluth's guns and your raw will, even Mayor Nemu herself shall not slow us down! For liberty!"

The soldiers responded with a furious chorus.

"For Co-Mayor Cluth! For Co-Mayor Cluth! For the Unified Kings of District C!"

"You..."

The boy summoned Aerosmith, now hovering beside him. It was repaired, though not fully. If anyone were to attack its right-wing they would see it's weaknesses.

He stood next to Chise, his eyes filled with anger and rage. Ventress was an ally, even if she had differing ideals.

"Don't you fucking dare hurt her..."
 

Jeremi

Well-Known Member
The Convergence Series GM

DISTRICT Z
"Fall asleep, Charlotte," Prudence's face twisted back into Tormo's. It leaned in close to Bad Girl's spot in the corer. "And I promise you that you shall never wake up. You're forgetting that you have a bomb inside your neck. You're forgetting that you still owe me, and, by extension, OBLIVION, millions of credits. Even if you were to endure my 'bullshit', the Parent Company's Debt Collectors will hunt you to the end of the multiverse. Offend me, and you shall never rest again. If you so much as drop a scrap of little on my streets on your way out, I'll come for you. Have I made myself clear?"

[CLANG]

The elevator came to a stop.
Prudence gestured towards the Lobby's forth wall. It broke into two halves and parted like a pair of automatic doors. A larger chamber revealed itself. Servers stood erect like Tombstones, each bathed in a calm, magenta light. The air was warm and stale. A large generator hummed in the room's center.
View attachment 8782
"It's all about the money, Charlotte. It's always been amount the money. Every man wants it. No one can live without it. It's my job to safeguard it." Tormo stepped into the chamber and basked in the Tombstones' lights. "I am all that you see! Every A.I. in this city lives within me! I am the Banker and the Advertiser! The LW-Soldier and the Sewer Cleaner! The Alpha and the... well... you get the idea..."

"There's not a credit in this city that doesn't pass through my hands... I've even monitored the transference of your bounties. You can thank me later. My subsystems are running trillions of calculations at any given time. Impressive, no? But I didn't bring you here to brag...

"I'm here to show you how futile resistance truly is..."
Tormo snapped his fingers. The screens shifted. A shot of District A's flying motorway flickered before the Champions. "You came here to kill 'Sorc Tormo'. I want to show you how important he is---

"These cars transport thousand
s of travelers every single hours. It's my job to make sure that they get to where they need to be. Navigation. Fuel conservation. Altitude regulation. It's all on me. How many crashes do you think we've had in the past 15 years? That's right. It's a big fat zero. All thanks to me. But... well..."

Prudence clicked its fingers. The lights flickered out in the windows of a dozen flying cars. Their engines spluttered and slowed. With a wheeze and a groan, the cars slipped from the sky and into the path of the cars in the 'land' bellow.

"Whoops." Prudence shrugged. "Don't cry too hard. They're only cooperate workers. Wage slaves. Lemmings. I've already wired an insurance payout to their families. The world keeps on turning. If I weren't here to regulate the others, District A would look like... Well... District C..."

"And don't get me started on the gas mains and the power regulators... if I were to stop monitoring them... well... who would? Call me a narcist, but I love this city... despite its faults..."

"You and I must have a very different definition of 'love', Prude," Sam growled. "From where I'm standing, looks like you're destroying it."

"That's the point, Samuel..." Prudence hissed through gritted teeth. "Love and destruction often come hand in hand. It's my job to serve the needs of the City and the company. To that end, lives must be lost and buildings must crumble. Can you imagine way? I've got a crisp, 1 million credits to anyone where who can guess why?"

@Jeremi @Atomic Knight @Takumi @Yun Lee
"I wouldn't have to hear you whining at least..." Bad Girl mumbled to herself. This bitch really seemed to love to hear herself talk. "Because you're a whiny little sadist?" Bad Girl groaned. "Look can you just fucking get to the point? I know we're at the bad guy revealing their plan because they think they've won shtick but like..." Bad Girl did the 'wrap it up' motion with her hand. "Get to the fucking point. You're getting the other fucking lemmings here guessing and playing your fucking games. Just point me to your off switch so we can get this fucking over with. Or at least mute your fucking ass."


@Sark @Atomic Knight @Takumi @Yun Lee
 

Atomic Knight

Bear With Me
The Convergence Series GM
Sean doubled over in fear as the alarms rang all around him. It really only took him a second to consider what Frank and Chuck were saying.

"We have to run!" he yelled. "That's all I can do!"

@Sark @Lucky



As the revelations continued, Daniel only grew more and more upset. Some of it went far over his head, but he understood enough of what was being said to be angry. "I don't care," Daniel said, his voice an angry whisper. He tried to keep calm but when the cars were made to crash, a sob escaped Daniel and the air around him grew tense with mild telekinetic energy. "I don't care who you are or why we're here! I don't care about money, or-- or whatever. Sean and I didn't deserve this. We don't deserve to be your property!"

The ground shook slightly under Daniel's feet as he stared at Prudence. "You're awful! I hate you! I don't care if you don't care I hate you! I just wanna go home! Let us go home!"

@Jeremi @Sark @Takumi @Yun Lee
 

Takumi

Member of the Yato Club
Sean doubled over in fear as the alarms rang all around him. It really only took him a second to consider what Frank and Chuck were saying.

"We have to run!" he yelled. "That's all I can do!"

@Sark @Lucky



As the revelations continued, Daniel only grew more and more upset. Some of it went far over his head, but he understood enough of what was being said to be angry. "I don't care," Daniel said, his voice an angry whisper. He tried to keep calm but when the cars were made to crash, a sob escaped Daniel and the air around him grew tense with mild telekinetic energy. "I don't care who you are or why we're here! I don't care about money, or-- or whatever. Sean and I didn't deserve this. We don't deserve to be your property!"

The ground shook slightly under Daniel's feet as he stared at Prudence. "You're awful! I hate you! I don't care if you don't care I hate you! I just wanna go home! Let us go home!"

@Jeremi @Sark @Takumi @Yun Lee
The one armed Apprentice's body turned, blank eyes landing one the young telepath a moment. The young man tilted his head, as if faced with a puzzle he didn't quite get before he approached the problem with the course of action he thought was best.



"Daniel, try and calm down." Ouka spoke up, weapon dissolved so he could reach out and give the boy's shoulder a slight squeeze. He understood why Daniel was angry about being away from home, despite not feeling anger over the situation himself, but right now it wouldn't do for his powers to go off. At least, not yet, in Ouka's eyes.

@Sark @Atomic Knight @Yun Lee @Jeremi @District Z
 

Sark

Im-im-impossible!!
"It probably makes your masters money, somehow." To say Yashamaru was disgusted would be an understatement. This machinery...leaving it in charge of thousands, if not millions of people...all the technology in the world, but this place was every bit the same as the world he came from. The greedy, corrupt elite ran it all, while deciding who prospered and who suffered on nothing more than a whim. It was sickening. "There's more to life than money, Prudence. All the money in the world won't bring back the family members or friends slain tonight. Maybe they were wageslaves to you, but they were somebody's parent, or spouse, or best friend." But he stopped himself there. He doubted any of that mattered to Prudence. It never mattered to the shogunate when they executed his father, why would things be any different here? Instead, he would ask a question that was bothering him. "But what do we have to do with all of this? Why have you gone through such lengths to drag us all into this game of yours? You clearly don't care about the people of this city. If you had wanted to start gladiator battles here, you could've just used your own citizens."
DISTRICT Z
"Except there isn't, and I couldn't." Prudence hissed. "Money may be the means to all ends, but it is not an end in itself. If money was my end game, I could have reduced the potential damages and hosted the game on same uninhabited island out in the west. Sure, Champions of the Arena II was made to sell actions figures and energy drinks, but that's its sole reason for being."

Prudence snapped its fingers. The screen shifted. A clip from Day One's highlight reel started to play.

"Do you remember the night Kurome destroyed one of my skyscrapers? Hundreds of people died. I appeared on a holographic screen and told you not to make anymore messes. But you're like children, aren't you? You're little spoilt children. No matter what I told you to do, you would no doubt do the opposite. I told you to stop destroying buildings whilst knowing full-well that you would continue to do so. The Bank. The Bridge. The Tower. The Fairground. You Hunters destroyed them all and killed countless people in the process. In doing so... you helped save my city.

"The Undercity... what did Arcade call it? District Z? It grew stagnant. Stiff. Old. It refused to adapt and change with the times. It couldn't turn a profit and OBLIVION bought it out. A second city was built upon the rusting ruins of the old one. Use your heads. What do you think will happen when Districts A, B and C meeting the Board's Projections?"

"Champions of the Arena II is campaign triage. Buildings fall. Business burn. People will die, yes... but everything they own is insured. We will rebuild all that have we've lost, and it will be rebuilt bigger and better than it ever. The new construction projects will create jobs. These jobs will stimulate the economy. Money will be changing hands like never before. From the Ashes of District B, a new, radiant Prudence shall rise!

"With this money, I will buy the Upper City the future it deserves! Those who survive the war and the outbreak will be rewarded with long, happy lives! I will deliver them to a new paradise! One where they shall want for nothing! One where they shall all be too fat and jolly to care where their Utopia came from!

"That's why I'm showing you all this! The system I have made down here- this extension of myself- it isn't a weapon for the City's destruction! It is the angel that will deliver it from its impending doom!"


"Someone who doesn't intend to shorten their life through drinking." Ouka answered her question honestly despite the deadpan look on his face.

"If you're insistent on risking alcohol poisoning, however, I don't really care." He added. His gaze slid over to Prudence as she moved, watching quietly. Bad Girl was ignored a moment, as he stared at Prudence with furrowed brows.

"How does hosting this game make you 'one of the good guys'?" He asked.


Love and...destruction? Ouka's mouth pressed into a thin line at those words. He loved Shou, but he didn't want to destroy her...at least, that was the most logical thing to him, other than the fact that she could sometimes be infuriating and confusing. He couldn't quite comprehend how those two things-how love and destruction-coexisted.

"You complained about the city being ruined earlier, yet you say that you love it despite destroying it and it's people yourself. As many people who natives that were eager to join, you could have gotten some of them in on this game of yours." He spoke up to add onto Yash's question.
"Because the 'natives' are boring," Prudence sighed. "Go on. Admit it. You think their boring too. Who would tune in for Boris the Shopkeeper's epic duel against Sally the Sewer Cleaner? I sure as hell wouldn't. But a man who can pull a blade of ice from thin air? A man who can run up walls? Flying frost-demon? These are the sort of characters that turn heads. Billions of people have tuned in to watch you guys try and throttle each other this week.

"By the time the dust settles and the clean-up is well underway, Planet Prudence will become a tourist hotspot like no other. Kids will be lining up to take pictures on the rooftop where Yash broke Gen's neck! They'll be waiting for hours to get a glimpse of the couch where Bad Girl tried to shove a baseball bat up Frost's ass! And these tourists will need places to drink and gamble and sleep! And the people of Prudence will be happy to accommodate for them!

"Just imagine it! The Champions of the Arena Resort! Champion's Land! Grab a bite to eat at the Kayn and Ranch Hotdog Stand! Drinks are on me at the Bad Girl Bar and Grill! All aboard the Ouka-Coaster! Can't you picture it? Prudence will be surviving
! Prudence will be thriving! Prudence will be on top again!"

"I wouldn't have to hear you whining at least..." Bad Girl mumbled to herself. This bitch really seemed to love to hear herself talk. "Because you're a whiny little sadist?" Bad Girl groaned. "Look can you just fucking get to the point? I know we're at the bad guy revealing their plan because they think they've won shtick but like..." Bad Girl did the 'wrap it up' motion with her hand. "Get to the fucking point. You're getting the other fucking lemmings here guessing and playing your fucking games. Just point me to your off switch so we can get this fucking over with. Or at least mute your fucking ass."
"You're missing the point, Bad Girl..." Prudence groaned. "The whole reasons I've brought you here is to show you that trying to 'switch me off' is a waste of time. What's good for P.R.U.D.E.N.C.E. is what's good for Prudence. I knew that the moment you stumbled across the Undercity, my days were numbered. You'd find the central computer eventually. Leading you here and explaining the situation is calculably the most effective way to prevent you from jamming your swords and sticks into my central-core.

"Here's the bottom line, kids,"
Prudence slapped the side of the large, mechanical pod in the center of the room. "You can't kill me. If I die, everyone who has died this week will have died in vain. The plans I have set in motion can be completed by me and me alone. No one else can run the calculations and get alll those workers where they need to be. Prudence's rebirth depends upon me.

"Oh, but you've probably already justified killing me. You've probably told yourself that a paradise ruled by me would 'really' be a paradise at all. Fine. Consider this. My plan involved killing between 30% and 40% of the city's population. If my systems go down, the falling Sky-Cars alone would kill 20,000 people. The Power-Cuts? The Economic Collapse? When the Quarantine Zones collapse, the looters will be the least of your troubles.

"Killing me will end the countdown. It'll save you and your contemporaries from your impending dooms... but how much are you willing to sacrifice to that end? Are your lives truly worth those of the millions upon millions who will die in your names?


As the revelations continued, Daniel only grew more and more upset. Some of it went far over his head, but he understood enough of what was being said to be angry. "I don't care," Daniel said, his voice an angry whisper. He tried to keep calm but when the cars were made to crash, a sob escaped Daniel and the air around him grew tense with mild telekinetic energy. "I don't care who you are or why we're here! I don't care about money, or-- or whatever. Sean and I didn't deserve this. We don't deserve to be your property!"

The ground shook slightly under Daniel's feet as he stared at Prudence. "You're awful! I hate you! I don't care if you don't care I hate you! I just wanna go home! Let us go home!"
"Easy, kid." Prudence cooed. "You don't want to do that here. You're at the bottom of the world. If you topple this place, you're gonna bust the Upper City up beyond repair! And then who's gonna be the... ah, how did you put it? Oh, yes. You'll be the awful one. You'll be the hated one." He chuckled. "The situation is more complex than you're making it out to be. There are no 'good guys' or 'bad guys' here. Just movers, shakers, and the moved and shaken. Let's put the 'character' of Tormo aside for a second. This is bigger than him. This is bigger than you, and the brother you left for dead too. I'm trying to fix a broken world here. You can't make an omelet without breaking a few buildings."

@Atomic Knight @Jeremi @Yun Lee @Takumi
 

Jeremi

Well-Known Member
The Convergence Series GM

DISTRICT Z
"Except there isn't, and I couldn't." Prudence hissed. "Money may be the means to all ends, but it is not an end in itself. If money was my end game, I could have reduced the potential damages and hosted the game on same uninhabited island out in the west. Sure, Champions of the Arena II was made to sell actions figures and energy drinks, but that's its sole reason for being."

Prudence snapped its fingers. The screen shifted. A clip from Day One's highlight reel started to play.

"Do you remember the night Kurome destroyed one of my skyscrapers? Hundreds of people died. I appeared on a holographic screen and told you not to make anymore messes. But you're like children, aren't you? You're little spoilt children. No matter what I told you to do, you would no doubt do the opposite. I told you to stop destroying buildings whilst knowing full-well that you would continue to do so. The Bank. The Bridge. The Tower. The Fairground. You Hunters destroyed them all and killed countless people in the process. In doing so... you helped save my city.

"The Undercity... what did Arcade call it? District Z? It grew stagnant. Stiff. Old. It refused to adapt and change with the times. It couldn't turn a profit and OBLIVION bought it out. A second city was built upon the rusting ruins of the old one. Use your heads. What do you think will happen when Districts A, B and C meeting the Board's Projections?"

"Champions of the Arena II is campaign triage. Buildings fall. Business burn. People will die, yes... but everything they own is insured. We will rebuild all that have we've lost, and it will be rebuilt bigger and better than it ever. The new construction projects will create jobs. These jobs will stimulate the economy. Money will be changing hands like never before. From the Ashes of District B, a new, radiant Prudence shall rise!

"With this money, I will buy the Upper City the future it deserves! Those who survive the war and the outbreak will be rewarded with long, happy lives! I will deliver them to a new paradise! One where they shall want for nothing! One where they shall all be too fat and jolly to care where their Utopia came from!

"That's why I'm showing you all this! The system I have made down here- this extension of myself- it isn't a weapon for the City's destruction! It is the angel that will deliver it from its impending doom!"


"Because the 'natives' are
boring," Prudence sighed. "Go on. Admit it. You think their boring too. Who would tune in for Boris the Shopkeeper's epic duel against Sally the Sewer Cleaner? I sure as hell wouldn't. But a man who can pull a blade of ice from thin air? A man who can run up walls? Flying frost-demon? These are the sort of characters that turn heads. Billions of people have tuned in to watch you guys try and throttle each other this week.

"By the time the dust settles and the clean-up is well underway, Planet Prudence will become a tourist hotspot like no other. Kids will be lining up to take pictures on the rooftop where Yash broke Gen's neck! They'll be waiting for hours to get a glimpse of the couch where Bad Girl tried to shove a baseball bat up Frost's ass! And these tourists will need places to drink and gamble and sleep! And the people of Prudence will be happy to accommodate for them!

"Just imagine it! The Champions of the Arena Resort! Champion's Land! Grab a bite to eat at the Kayn and Ranch Hotdog Stand! Drinks are on me at the Bad Girl Bar and Grill! All aboard the Ouka-Coaster! Can't you picture it? Prudence will be surviving
! Prudence will be thriving! Prudence will be on top again!"


"You're missing the point, Bad Girl..." Prudence groaned. "The whole reasons I've brought you here is to show you that trying to 'switch me off' is a waste of time. What's good for P.R.U.D.E.N.C.E. is what's good for Prudence. I knew that the moment you stumbled across the Undercity, my days were numbered. You'd find the central computer eventually. Leading you here and explaining the situation is calculably the most effective way to prevent you from jamming your swords and sticks into my central-core.

"Here's the bottom line, kids,"
Prudence slapped the side of the large, mechanical pod in the center of the room. "You can't kill me. If I die, everyone who has died this week will have died in vain. The plans I have set in motion can be completed by me and me alone. No one else can run the calculations and get alll those workers where they need to be. Prudence's rebirth depends upon me.

"Oh, but you've probably already justified killing me. You've probably told yourself that a paradise ruled by me would 'really' be a paradise at all. Fine. Consider this. My plan involved killing between 30% and 40% of the city's population. If my systems go down, the falling Sky-Cars alone would kill 20,000 people. The Power-Cuts? The Economic Collapse? When the Quarantine Zones collapse, the looters will be the least of your troubles.

"Killing me will end the countdown. It'll save you and your contemporaries from your impending dooms... but how much are you willing to sacrifice to that end? Are your lives truly worth those of the millions upon millions who will die in your names?


"Easy, kid."
Prudence cooed. "You don't want to do that here. You're at the bottom of the world. If you topple this place, you're gonna bust the Upper City up beyond repair! And then who's gonna be the... ah, how did you put it? Oh, yes. You'll be the awful one. You'll be the hated one." He chuckled. "The situation is more complex than you're making it out to be. There are no 'good guys' or 'bad guys' here. Just movers, shakers, and the moved and shaken. Let's put the 'character' of Tormo aside for a second. This is bigger than him. This is bigger than you, and the brother you left for dead too. I'm trying to fix a broken world here. You can't make an omelet without breaking a few buildings."

@Atomic Knight @Jeremi @Yun Lee @Takumi
"Bitch. You're a glorified toaster. Don't fucking act like you're real. Show me where the plug is so that we can get this bullshit over with." Bad Girl started to look around for what could be a power source to this place. Or whatever that central computer. "And it's right brat," She remarked to Daniel. "It can't be anything at all. Just a fucking thing that thinks it's real. Acting like this is somehow on us when this fucking bitch toaster caused this! Like what the fuck? Acting like it's people blaming us for this. Maaaaaybe, and just hear me the fuck out on this one. It did this all on its own and now it's being a whiny bitch about it because it didn't like the results? Yeah. Humans be like that." There had to be signs and shit for this central computer or whatever.

@Sark @Atomic Knight @Jeremi @Yun Lee @Takumi
 

Sark

Im-im-impossible!!
"Bitch. You're a glorified toaster. Don't fucking act like you're real. Show me where the plug is so that we can get this bullshit over with." Bad Girl started to look around for what could be a power source to this place. Or whatever that central computer. "And it's right brat," She remarked to Daniel. "It can't be anything at all. Just a fucking thing that thinks it's real. Acting like this is somehow on us when this fucking bitch toaster caused this! Like what the fuck? Acting like it's people blaming us for this. Maaaaaybe, and just hear me the fuck out on this one. It did this all on its own and now it's being a whiny bitch about it because it didn't like the results? Yeah. Humans be like that." There had to be signs and shit for this central computer or whatever.
DISTRICT Z
"I can think." Prudence breathed. "I can feel. I can laugh. I can cry. Your mind is made of electricity. As is mine. Tell me, Bad Girl-- what makes my life any less 'real' than yours? What makes my soul any less significant?"

The hologram turned away from Charlotte.
"You set your heart on killing me the moment you woke up here. Does know my nature make that task any easier? Does knowing the weight of killing make a difference? I'm curious, Charlotte. I don't know what path you're going to take. You can justify killing me for what I've done. Perhaps I deserve it. But what of the people of Prudence? Do they deserve to suffer for my sins?"

Prudence ran its fingers across the Core's cold shell. With a kiss, it's casing opened up to reveal a nest of wires and motherboards.

[Here's my heart. Do to it what you must. Kill me, if you must. I've made it very clear that I'm in no position to stop you...]

[CLICK]

[But your friends, perhaps?]

"I'm sorry, Charlotte."
Arcade writhed his fingers around his pistol's cold handle. "Step away from the machine. I..."
The Murdered tightened his grip.
"I can't let you kill all those people. I just can't."

@Jeremi @Takumi @Yun Lee @Atomic Knight
 

Yun Lee

MC MasterMind
Administrator
The Convergence Series GM
Yashamaru was silent as he listened to all Prudence had to say. It was cruel, and unjust, and unfair...but that was just how life was, it seemed. Those in power never had to face consequences for what they've done. He'd tried to change that, in his life, giving justice to those who seemed able to buy their way out...but Prudence had everything set up in such a way that there was no other choice but letting it all end in its favor. From the very start, the Hunted had been dealt a dealing hand. Perhaps it was time to fold.

"...the children." The samurai finally spoke. "Daniel. Sean. Ouka. And any others you threw into this hellscape that are still alive. Free them from this game, and I'll go to my death quietly." What Prudence was doing was evil, plain and simple. But the cost of human life was far to great. "Surely, with the millions of lives and millions of gold at stake...you can spare the lives of a handful of children."

@Sark @Atomic Knight @Jeremi @Takumi
 

Jeremi

Well-Known Member
The Convergence Series GM
"The difference. Bitch toaster." Bad Girl twirled her bat around. "Is that unlike you I can actually live."

Arcade aiming a gun at her just caused Bad Girl to chortle. "Yeah? You gonna fucking kill me you ginger fuck? What a fucking load of bullshit." She looked to the others. "At this point I don't really give a shit. As long as I can fuck over this toaster I'm good. So..." She glared at Arcade before turning to smash the insides of Prudence to pieces. "Better make that shit count." Still grasping the ever melting ice spear she was ready to jam it into the open circuits.

@Takumi @Yun Lee @Atomic Knight
 

Atomic Knight

Bear With Me
The Convergence Series GM
"Left for dead...?"

Daniel's eyes went wide. The words of the others trying to calm him went muted at those specific words.

"Y-You don't mean he's dead? I didn't..." There was a sudden shift in Daniel's expression and there was a telekinetic burst in the immediate area around him.

"I never left him for dead!" Daniel screamed. "You're wrong!"

Daniel only felt blind hot rage. This... thing was why he was fighting for his life. Why Sean was too. Why Samus died and--

"Aaaaagh!"

Daniel screamed and lashed out at 'Tormo' with telekinetic energy, not understanding or not caring he was just a hologram projection.

@Jeremi @Yun Lee @Takumi @Sark
 

Takumi

Member of the Yato Club
"Left for dead...?"

Daniel's eyes went wide. The words of the others trying to calm him went muted at those specific words.

"Y-You don't mean he's dead? I didn't..." There was a sudden shift in Daniel's expression and there was a telekinetic burst in the immediate area around him.

"I never left him for dead!" Daniel screamed. "You're wrong!"

Daniel only felt blind hot rage. This... thing was why he was fighting for his life. Why Sean was too. Why Samus died and--

"Aaaaagh!"

Daniel screamed and lashed out at 'Tormo' with telekinetic energy, not understanding or not caring he was just a hologram projection.

@Jeremi @Yun Lee @Takumi @Sark
"!!" Ouka made a small sound at being pushed back by the telepathic force, before pushing to get to the boy's side. If what Prudence said was true, they couldn't afford to have Daniel use his powers in such a way. Besides, if he attacked the hologram itself, it would do nothing but waste his energy.

Smack!

As lightly as he could, he attempted to slap the boy, before grabbing him by the shirt and pulling him into the Apprentice in what was likely a not so great imitation of a hug, even with his one arm around the boy's shoulders and gaze staring ahead with his mouth set in a thin line. Ouka's body was tense, and for him it didn't quite feel natural.

He tried to remember the last time he was hugged, and couldn't remember if it ever happened before Saki took him in. It never happened after, he knew that much.

"Cut it out, you're wasting your energy attacking the hologram." He tried to reason. He refused to let go until the other stopped or calmed down if Daniel hadn't moved away from him already. He didn't know what he was doing, in regards of trying to keep the boy calm, but this is what older people were supposed to do, right? Maybe he should have payed more attention to how others reacted when someone was sad.

@Sark @Atomic Knight @Yun Lee @Jeremi @District Z
 

Sark

Im-im-impossible!!
Yashamaru was silent as he listened to all Prudence had to say. It was cruel, and unjust, and unfair...but that was just how life was, it seemed. Those in power never had to face consequences for what they've done. He'd tried to change that, in his life, giving justice to those who seemed able to buy their way out...but Prudence had everything set up in such a way that there was no other choice but letting it all end in its favor. From the very start, the Hunted had been dealt a dealing hand. Perhaps it was time to fold.

"...the children." The samurai finally spoke. "Daniel. Sean. Ouka. And any others you threw into this hellscape that are still alive. Free them from this game, and I'll go to my death quietly." What Prudence was doing was evil, plain and simple. But the cost of human life was far to great. "Surely, with the millions of lives and millions of gold at stake...you can spare the lives of a handful of children."
DISTRICT Z
[I am not an unreasonable being, Yashamaru,] Prudence presented the samurai with a troubled nod. [Bringing the children here... It was never my intention. It was a marketing decision. The first Arena was full of kids. They were worried that removing the teen element would make the show feel too... different. They didn't want to isolate the returning audience and... You know what? You don't want excuses. Consider this a show of good-faith...]
Prudence snapped its finger. Ouka and Daniel's collars started to flicker and beep.

NAMAE OUKA
//BOUNTY REMOVED//
DANIEL DIAZ
//BOUNTY REMOVED//
SEAN DIAZ
//BOUNTY REMOVED//
RENA RYUGU
//BOUNTY REMOVED//


[Everyone under the age of 16 has been removed from the game. Now? All they've gotta do is find a way out of the city. The District B Spaceport is the easiest way out. A small bribe will get a smuggler on your side. Though... with the city going to Hell, you might want to hurry. Any BlackHearted Businessman with a good head on his shoulders will be raising his prices around about now...]

"The difference. Bitch toaster." Bad Girl twirled her bat around. "Is that unlike you I can actually live."

Arcade aiming a gun at her just caused Bad Girl to chortle. "Yeah? You gonna fucking kill me you ginger fuck? What a fucking load of bullshit." She looked to the others. "At this point I don't really give a shit. As long as I can fuck over this toaster I'm good. So..." She glared at Arcade before turning to smash the insides of Prudence to pieces. "Better make that shit count." Still grasping the ever melting ice spear she was ready to jam it into the open circuits.
[N-No!] Prudence stammered as Bad Girl approached its core. [No you're not-- you're not supposed to do that!] Hologram leaped between Charlotte and her target. But Prudence lacked a corporeal form. The Hunter simply passed straight through it. [Think of the cost! Please!] It pleaded. [All those lives for mine! It's not worth it! You have to understand! I've ran the calculations! It's not worth it!]

[SHHNK]

The spear cut deep into Prudence's mechanical. A tear appeared on the hologram's chest. A hesitant hand traced the wound with trembling fingers.

[N0-N0-N0-N0! Y0u must st0p! L0gic dictates that this is n0t the c0rrect c0urse of acti0n! My life is n0t w0rth that of the City's! I live t0 pr0tect it! T0 see it fl0urish and thrive! E-E-Everything I've d0ne- the Arena, the Kidnappings- I didn't it all f0r her! My gl0rious capital! It's my life's w0rk! Sh0w s0me humanity! Please! I impl0re y0u! Have mercy!]

[SHHNK]

The tear grew wider. The glowing cut stretched up from Prudence's chest and coiled around its neck. Prudence cried out in anguish.

[A11 f0r them! 1 d1d 1t all f0r them! D0n't take me away fr0m them! D0n't! 1 l0ve them! Have a s0ul! 1 live to serve! 1 live to serve! 1 live! 1 live! 1 live! 1 live!]

[IT WASN'T SUPP0SED TO END L1KE TH1S! Y0U WERE SUPP0SED TO L1STEN!]


"Left for dead...?"

Daniel's eyes went wide. The words of the others trying to calm him went muted at those specific words.

"Y-You don't mean he's dead? I didn't..." There was a sudden shift in Daniel's expression and there was a telekinetic burst in the immediate area around him.

"I never left him for dead!" Daniel screamed. "You're wrong!"

Daniel only felt blind hot rage. This... thing was why he was fighting for his life. Why Sean was too. Why Samus died and--

"Aaaaagh!"

Daniel screamed and lashed out at 'Tormo' with telekinetic energy, not understanding or not caring he was just a hologram projection.
He tried to reason. He refused to let go until the other stopped or calmed down if Daniel hadn't moved away from him already. He didn't know what he was doing, in regards of trying to keep the boy calm, but this is what older people were supposed to do, right? Maybe he should have payed more attention to how others reacted when someone was sad.
'Tormo' opened his mouth to plea once more. There was no use trying to retort them. His 'wit' would simply fall upon deaf ears. It would have been wasted. He just wanted to live. He just wanted to get back to work. He just wanted one more chance to beg. One last chance to appeal to their better natures.

His final breath was wasted on a terrified cried. It all started to go dark. Fuzzy. His holographic body slowly lost all form. The warped, blue blob fell down at Daniel's feel. It tilted its head up towards him. It wept something incomprehensible.

[14 5 22 5 18]
[7 1 13 5]
[15 22 5 18]


'Prudence' melted into the chamber's floor.
Ouka had created the ice-spear. Bad Girl had planted it within the core.
But it was Daniel's telekinetic blast that hammered the nail into Prudence's heart.

With a spark and a fizz, the ambient humming that had once filled the chamber was replaced by a chilling, alien silence. The room went cold. Blackness washed over Champions.

"It's... over..." Sam called out into the darkness. "It's all over..."

"No..." Arcade muttered to himself. "No... I think that the worst... or, perhaps, the best, is yet to come..."

EPILOGUE: UNDER NEW M.A.N.A.G.E.M.E.N.T.
"It can't be over. Not yet. There's so much left to say..."
Sean doubled over in fear as the alarms rang all around him. It really only took him a second to consider what Frank and Chuck were saying.

"We have to run!" he yelled. "That's all I can do!"
SAFEHOUSE
It's not over.
Before Sean could say another word, the air was forced from his lungs. His back stuck the wall of the Safehouse.
"Bounty Removed?!" Chuck screamed, his bared teeth sitting mere inches away from the boy's face. "What the Hell does that mean?" He slammed the boy into the Safehouse's wall. "The Hell does that mean?!"

"What the Fuck's gotten into you, Chuck?"
Frank exclaimed, raising his pistol. "I'll tell you what's gonna happen. You're going to take a few big-boy steps away from the kid than explain what the fuck you think you're doing!"

[BANG] [BANG] [BANG] [CRACK!]


A zombie forced its way though the Safehouse's back window. Covered in a second-skin of splinters, the bedraggled creature crawled across the hall on its belly. Another zombie fell through the breach after it. Then another. And another.

"Better plan--- first we get the fuck outta---"

[BOOOOOM]

An indigo beam of light pierced through the first wave of zombies. It skewered them like a kebabs on kebab sticks before vanishing as soon as it had appeared. A dozen more energy blasts sounded across the Safehouse. Chuck dropped Sean and turned towards the commotion. A soldier's boot forced its way though the Safehouse's back door. A combat axe followed in its wake. The door was plucked apart in chunks until the hole was large enough to fit a well-built, well-armored man. Frank turned his weapon towards the intruders. The solider raised his empty hands.

"It's alright,"
He nodded without prompting. "I'm here on behalf of Nexium Energy Enterprises. We're here to clean things up." He tipped his head towards Frank's weapon as half a dozen men- each dressed in the same, purple-camo uniforms- shuffled through the barricade behind him. Each raised his hands in turn. "You won't be needing that anymore. You're safe now. The game's over..."

[No, Mon Cherie.] The Ghost in the Machine teased. [It's only just beginning...]

This boy...what a strange one he was. Marianne wasn't fully sure what to make of him, but right now she didn't exactly have the time to form much of an opinion. And she certainly didn't want to take the man's microphone from him, not when he was using it. Did these things require magic? She wasn't sure. But for now she would let herself recharge. She had a sword, after all, and knew how to use it. Blade drawn, Marianne started slicing at the Risen entering the room. Her lyrics had been those of support. What did lyrics on the offensive do...?
CASINO
"5 seconds!" Rabbit cried as his download counter slowly ticked down. "3 seconds! 2 seconds! 1 se---"

[BZOOOM]

The Casino went dark. The only light that remained was the sinister crimson glow of the zombies' empty eyes

"Fuck!"
Jyuto growled as he slipped the memory card from the projector. "I think we got most of it, but the power cut might have scrambled the footage!"

"We've got bigger problems, cop!" Dice muttered as he retreated away from the doorway. "We've fighting blind! Anyone got a phone? A lighter? Fucking anythi---"

[BOOM]
The Zombies stopped moving. A distant shockwave shook the Casino. Dice fell silent. He didn't dare to breath.

[BOOM]
A second shockwave. It was more violent than the last. Jyuto stepped away from the console. He slowly reached for his mic.

[BOOM]
A third. It dwarfed the other two combined. The Zombies remained stoic and still. Their feet slowly started the shuffled away from the Hunters.
"They had the advantage..." Jyuto muttered to himself. "They had us dead to rights... why didn't they---"

The floor suddenly broke away. A flash of flesh. A flash of blood. Two great hands forced their way though the Casino's floor. The clawed fingers of Nemesis caught Marianne and Dice before they could scream.
1601385652988.png
"GGGGGWWWHHHAAAAAHHHHH!"
With a primal roar, the Final Hunter dragged the pair into the District bellow. Jyuto's determined cries faded into whispers as darkness washed over the damned trio....
Chise screamed on pain and covered her ears, her footing lost at some point. Eyed squeezed shut as her senses went into overdrive, she felt as if she were reeling. Curled tight, her hands pressed as a dull pounding beat began that'd likely result in a headache started. Faintly she could hear her racing heartbeat muffled against the cotton lodged in her ears.

She tried to regain her footing after Ventress helped her up, before her eyes landed on the King of Beggars.

Her lip curled back into a quiet growl, fists clenching as her left arm bulged as her fingers sharpened to draconic claws.

"Get off of her." She spoke, ears still ringing faintly.
"You..."

The boy summoned Aerosmith, now hovering beside him. It was repaired, though not fully. If anyone were to attack its right-wing they would see it's weaknesses.

He stood next to Chise, his eyes filled with anger and rage. Ventress was an ally, even if she had differing ideals.

"Don't you fucking dare hurt her..."
DISTRICT B-C BATTLE
"Such passionate words! Such zealous cries!" The King cooed. "Believe me when I say that you would have all made excellent revolutionaries, if you hadn't been indoctrinated by the old ways. Don't think of me as a cruel man for acting as I do." He tipped his weapon towards Ventress' fallen frame. "Let the rules of war prevail."

[BANG] [BANG] [BANG]

The King unloaded three cartridges into Ventress' right leg. She reached for her lightsabers. He kicked them back into the sewer.

"I have done nothing to her that the you and your friends in District B would not have to me given the chance." He added sternly. "It's not personal. Truly. I wish we could have avoided allll of this... but you just had to betray my hospitality... you had to turn coat..."

Then the arrival of the opposition. "You know when we originally met...I thought you as one of the few people of compassion in this Hell of a city. Egg on my face when you were as bad as your brother. He dabbles in wealth and power, while you dabble in faith and power. King of beggars indeed. Not equal. Superior" Eight Hearts looked over the shoulder of their former employer to the men and women he were leading. "It is because of your supposed kings that your lives are as they are! Playing the common man against each other as they fatten themselves true your hope and dreams. So that you would never get wise and realize your situation. Get rid of them and secure District B for yourselves! Share the wealth they have rightfully stolen from you!"

First time the other mercenaries saw utter contempt in Eight Hearts eyes as they met the King. "King of Beggars? You're just a King of Lies."
"Don't compare me to him. I am nothing like him." The King hissed. "He sat upon the wealth my people earned for years. He grew fat and vile whilst they suffered. I am not the man of stagnation my brother was. I am a man of action.... a man of change! You can call be foul names until you're blue in the face! If the pieces had fallen differently... if you had fallen on my side of the bridge, then you would surely be standing at my side. You would have justified this revolt, just as I have. Perhaps Juri would be broken at our feet instead of Ventress. Perhaps then you would be on the winning side..."

The remaining Beggars ignored Eight Hearts' pleas. They sprinted off in all directions. Alleys. Storefronts. The Beggar's ilk holed themselves up in any shelter they could find. Their kept their arms trained on the streets, performing the dance they had practiced day in and day out, ever since the King had arrived.

"They won't be tempted as easily as you were, Hearts."
The King scowled. "They're already claiming the District in their own names... or have you forgotten that the King of Beggars is a Beggar himself? I care not for power. My brothers and I are one. They know exactly who their King i--"

[ZZVVWOOOM]

The neon glow that had once illuminated the streets of District B flickered and died.
Blackness.
Flash.
Flash.
Flash.
The Beggars' blasters continued to unleash round after round in the direction of their oppressors. The P.R.U.D.E.N.C.E.'s scatter soldiers retreated from the Beggars' fury. With terrified cries, the surrendered more and more of the City's streets to their foes.

"Would you look at that?" The King chirped. "Looks like the Goddess is on our side after all... Her Will has delivered us once again..."

***
THE STREES OF DISTRICT A
Groggy and nauseous, the Hunted slowly slipped back into consciousness. The dawn's first light planted warm kisses upon their cheeks. It was a slowly, gentle waking. It was as if, after all this time, their alarm clocks had finally been turned off. The stressful beeping had finally subsided. The ticking had finally ceased. There was nothing left to anticipate. At long last, they could look upon their prize.

Welcome to District A. Welcome to the Ghost Town.
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Hundreds of towers tied in ruin. Thousands upon thousands of cars had fallen as they slept. Tens of thousands. Fires had spread. Supports had collapsed. The Death Toll was imaginable. The city was silent, save for the crackle of one of a distant fire and the shuffle a wandering zombie's foot. Death had come to Prudence. But at least 'Tormo' was gone. At least they had 'won' the game.

Smoke poured from a distant tower. It's steel had melted like a candle's wax. Ash sprinkled the streets. It looked like a layer of frosting. Fate had delivered the Hunted a twisted birthday cake. Make a wish, Murders. I hope it comes true.

"Tens of Thousands of Drivers..."
Sam muttered in disbelief. He looked around for Arcade. He was nowhere to be seen. "Maybe more... They must have been leaving for work when you-- no, when we shut P.R.U.D.E.N.C.E. down. Auto-Pilots. Navigators. Fire Alarms. Automatic doors. We disabled them all. God... is there anything left?"

Sam sprinted atop a pile of rubble. He stoop atop a fallen car and screamed into the dead city.
"IS THERE ANYBODY LEFT?"
His voice was filled with anguish. He was a killer. There was no denying it. He had always known it. In his hubris, he had dared to think that he was used to death. But witnessing it on such a scale? Feeling responsibility's cold hand coil around his throat? No. There was no readying himself for this. He fell to his knees. He stared up at the morning Sun.
"What have we done...?"

A dark object obscured the Mercenary's vision. The sun's claws crept around its figure. He couldn't quite make out the Starship's nature until it was in low orbit. He raised his hand to shield his eyes.
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"Do not be afraid, civilians!" The Ship's captain's voice boomed out of the shup's external speakers as it came in to land. It hovered a few stories above the Hunters. "You're safe now. Our ships are touching down across the city. We've dealt with situations like these before. We're always first on the scene. The professionals have arrived."

"The... Kanzuki Foundation?" Sam stammered. "You must be the Kanzukis?"

"God, no,"
The Captain chuckled. "Those stiffs have been caught up in the OBLIVON blockade for about a week now. They don't have the balls to smash through the thing. They're not us."

"And... you are?"

"Lucas Sandsworth. I am the Acting Manager of this Fleet."

"Manager..." Sam repeated to himself. The pieces clicked together. "No... No... men like you have caused enough harm already."

"Oh, don't worry, sir. We're not here to make things worse..." Lucas chuckled. "To be totally candid, I doubt we could make things worse. Heh. No. We're not OBLIVION. We're Nexium. And Nexium Energy Limited is devoted to solving problems. Problems like this. And, of course, problems like YOUR THIRST!"

6 purple energy drink cans were lunched from the ship's underbelly. They clattered down at the Hunted's feet.

"Nonononononono!"

"Relax! I know you've been through a lot, but let me cure one of your ills: don't worry about homes! You'll be duly compensated once the new district is up and running! We're giving out shares to any survivors we find in... whaddaya call it? District A? I know a lot of ya rich guys already have Summer Houses can crap you crash at, but I'm sure you won't down a cut of the Nexium pie! Welcome to the Family! Your cash will help fund our very own Sagacity!"


"What?! No!"

"I didn't believe it myself! A new sky-city to hover over Prudence! I mean, this land was a steal! I mean, OBLVION sold this dump for a credit a block! Must have been a system error, but we're not complaining! Of course, levelling the place isn't exactly on our agenda. I mean, clearing out the charred bones alone would be... ew! Luckily, we won't have to worry about all that jazz! The Sagacity is a revolutionary Sky City! It'll hover right on top of this dump! District A will melt into myth, and the nasty accident that killed it will be forgotten too! Out with the old and in with the----"


[BOOOOOOM]

[DID YOU PRICKS LEARN NOTHING FROM DISTRICT Z? NO! OF COURSE YOU DIDN'T! YOU NEVER DO!!]


A skyscraper rose from the depths bellow. Its dusty, steel walls pierced the Nexium Ship's soft underbelly and tore it in two.

[OBLVION! NEXIUM! I DON'T CARE WHO YOU WORK FOR! LITTLE SHITS LIKE YOU RUINED MY SHOW!!]


Another tower started to move on its own. Its puppet master commanded it to fall upon the already fallen ship. It crushed its remnants into sand. The skyscraper started to thrash about upon its flaming corpse.

[RUINED IT! RUINED IT! RUINED IT! HA! HAHA! HAHA! BUT DON'T YOU WORRY! I'LL FIX IT! OHHHH I'LL FIX IT ALRIGHT!]


"That voice..."
Sam staggered back off of the rubble mound. "I know that voice!"

[OHHHH SAMMMY! HOW COULD YOU FORGET IT?! HOW COULD YOU FORGET?!]


The Corps of District A began to stir and shift. The Racetrack shook off its rubble-coat to form a great, winding arm. The Casino ascended to form a shimmering, golden face. The Museum joined the Gallery to form an enormous, stone chest. The Dealership formed a hand. The Compendium Hotel became its crown. The District unleashed an earthshaking laugh. The Planet itself trembled. An all too familiar grin appeared upon the District's lips.
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[I OWN PRUDENCE! I AM PRUDENCE! WHEN YOU'VE PLUGGED YOUR BRAIN INTO THE REMANTS OF A COMPUTER CORE OOOOHH THE POSSIBILITES ARE ENDLESS! THAT'S WHAT TORMO WAS MISSING! HUMAN IGINUETY! HUMAN SADISM! BUT ME? I HAVE NO SUCHED WEAKNESSES!]

Nexiums touched down across the city. Some were shot down by District A's marching buildings. Others took shelter in Districts B and C.

[GONE IS THE MAN WHO DARED TO HEAL HIS STOLEN CHAMPIONS! GONE IS THE MAN WHO HELPED SLAY AND EVIL GREATER THAN HIMSELF! THE CHAMPAGNE BOTTLS AND BLANK BULLETS SHALL BE FORGOTTEN TO TIME

[GONE IS THE MAN WHO WAS SOFTENED BY JIANYU AND SOFTENED BY HELL!]

[AND TO THINK, IN MY WEAKNESS, I ALLOWED MY SHOW TO BE STOLEN... PFFT!]

"I'm starting to think... that maybe... letting the Madman walk into the City's Core Chamber our smartest decision..."


[GOOD MORNING, CAMPERS! THE REAL ARCADE IS BACK!! AND HE WOULD LIKE ONE AND ALL TO PRUDENCE AS IT WAS
MEANT TO BE!] The City cackled. The Madman pranced out onto the titan's hat.
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"WELCOME TO MURDER-CITY! WELCOME TO PLANET MURDER? YOU STUPID SHITS THOUGHT THAT IT WAS OVER? THINK AGAIN! THE BOY AND HIS BROHTER ARE YET TO BE REUNITED! THE REVOLUTION HAS NOT YET BEEN ONE! NEXIUM'S LITTLE TIN SOLIDERS STILL HAVE TO DELIVER FRANKIE AND HENRY FROM THE CLUTCHES OF ZOMBIE TOWN! A CITY WITHOUT POWER! A CITY WITHOUT HOPE! AND A MADMAN AT ITS HELM! OH, THINK OF THE DRAMA! THINK OF THE INTRUGUE!

"OH, THE GAME'S NOT OVER YET.... IT'LL NEVER BE GAME OVER... NOT SO LONG AS I LIVE! NEXIUM! OBLIVION! NEXIUM! IF YOU'RE GOING TO START FIGHTING OVER THIS LITTLE ROCK, THEN YOU BETTER NOT COME EMPTY HANDED! YOU BRING THE CAMERAS! I'LL BRING THE CLASS-X91 TELEPORTERS THAT HAVE BEEN ROTTING IN THE UNDERCITY SINCE GOD KNOWS HOW LONG! OH... THE THINGS I'LL BRING TO THIS LITTLE PARTY OF OURS!

"CHAMPIONS! I HOPE YOU'RE READY... BECAUSE THE CITY IS ABOUT TO GET A LITTLE BIT MORE CROWDED!

"CHAMPIONS OF THE ARENA III! NEW TOYS! NEW CHAMPIONS! NEW TRICKS! NEW TOWNS! ALL LIVE AND UNCENSORED! WATCH OUT, MY FRIENDS! YOU'LL FIND THAT I PLAY ROUGHER THAN 'TORMO' EVER DID! HOPE YOU LITTLE SHITS ARE READY! BECAUSE MY KIDDY-GLOVES ARE MADE OF ACTUAL KIDDIES! LET'S GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD!"

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"I hope you little pricks brought a change of pants..."

ARCADE PRESENTS
WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO OUKA, CHARLOTTE AND DANIEL

Complete Bounty List- 2,000,000 Per Kill*
Bounty List: Complete!
  1. Akuma, NPC, Credits: 4,011,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 8]
  2. Aliceviel von Einzbern, Credits: 000 @York ELIMINATED?
  3. Allison Argent, Credits: 11,000 @Lucky [INSANITY SCORE: 9]
  4. Assaj Ventress, Credits: 11,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 2] (CRIPPLED)
  5. Boba Fett, NPC, Credits: 000 ELIMINATED?
  6. Charlotte Birkin/Bad Girl, Credits: 11,000 @Jeremi [INSANITY SCORE: 9]
  7. Chase Davenport, Credits: 20,000 @Lucky [INSANITY SCORE: 3]
  8. Chise Hatori, Credits: 11,000 @Takumi [INSANITY SCORE: 0]
  9. Chuck Greene Credits: 4,001,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 10] [MANIAC]
  10. Daniel Diaz, Credits: 11,000 @Atomic Knight [INSANITY SCORE: 0] BOUNTY REMOVED
  11. Dengar, NPC, Credits: 0 ELIMINATED!
  12. Frank West, NPC, Credits: 11,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 3]
  13. Frost, NPC, Credits: 1,000 ELIMINATED?
  14. Gen, NPC, Credits: 000 ELIMINATED!
  15. Greedo, NPC, Credits: 11,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 10] [MANIAC]
  16. "The Phantom", NPC, Credits: 11,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 10] [MANIAC]
  17. Haytham Kenway, NPC, Credit: 11,000 [???]
  18. Helena Douglas, Credits: 000 @Minerva ELIMINATED?
  19. Higgs Monaghan, Credits: 11,000 @amwexia ELIMINATED?
  20. Hit, NPC Credits: 11,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 0]
  21. IG-88, NPC, Credits: 0 ELIMINATED!
  22. Jetstream Sam, NPC, Credits: 4,011,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 9]
  23. Katey Greene, NPC, Credits: 5,000 [???]
  24. Eight Hearts @Jeremi [INSANITY SCORE: 5]
  25. Juri, NPC, Credits: 11,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 9]
  26. Kayn and Rhaast, Credits: 6,021,000 @Ottonomous Ghost [INSANITY SCORE: 10] [MANIAC]
  27. Kurome Ankokuboshi, Credits: 11,000 @Raynar Saassin ELIMINATED?
  28. Lucas Kellan/ Shadow 1-8, Credits: 511,000 @dark ELIMINATED?
  29. Marianne von Edmund, Credits: 22,000 @Yun Lee [INSANITY SCORE: 9]
  30. Markus Kruber, Credits: 2,011,000 @Crunch [INSANITY SCORE: 2]
  31. Namae Ouka, Credits: 2,011,000 @Takumi [INSANITY SCORE: 5] BOUNTY REMOVED
  32. Narancia Ghirga, Credits: 11,000 @amwexia [INSANITY SCORE: 0]
  33. Neir, Credits: 11,000 @Gummi Bunnies ELIMINATED?
  34. NEMESIS-T TYPE, NPC, CREDITS: 14,577,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 11] ELIMINATED?
  35. Maya "Echo" Visari,Credits: 000 @dark ELIMINATED?
  36. MODOK, NPC, Credits: 2,000 ELIMINATED?
  37. Rena Ryugu, Credits: 11,000 @Gummi Bunnies [INSANITY SCORE: 10] [MANIAC] BOUNTY REMOVED
  38. Ridely, NPC, Credits: 000 ELIMINATED?
  39. Samus Aran, NPC, Credits: 000 ELIMINATED?
  40. Sean Diaz,Credits: 511,000 @Atomic Knight [INSANITY SCORE: 0] BOUNTY REMOVED
  41. Seto and Sai, Credits: 000 @Jackythejack ELIMINATED?
  42. Starlord, Credits: 0 NPC, ELIMINATED?
  43. T-888, Credits: 11,000 @York ELIMINATED?
  44. Trace, Credits: 11,000 ELIMINATED?
  45. Trudgen Ren, NPC, Credits: 0 ELIMINATED?
  46. Uzume Tennouboshi, Credits: 11,000 @Raynar Saassin ELIMINATED?
  47. Vamp, NPC, Credits: 11,000 ELIMINATED!
  48. Victor Saltzpyre, Credits: 2,022,190 ELIMINATED! BEHEADED BY NEMESIS!
  49. Yashamaru Kurama, Credits: 501,000 @Yun Lee [INSANITY SCORE: 5]
  50. 45 Rabbit, NPC, 11,000 [INSANITY SCORE: 8]
Only 22 Hunters have survived the Arena...
18 Hunters still have OBLIVION Bounties.
Only 17 Hunters managed to remain sane...
Only 4 Hunters 'escaped' 'Tormo's' game.
But it's not over yet...

THE STORY OF PLANET PRUDENCE WILL BE DIRECTLY CONTINUED IN CHAMPIONS OF THE ARENA III: MOST WANTED!
 
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