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Ver

Endearing Misanthrope
Forum Moderator: Convergence Series
The Convergence Series GM


"... Ah, right. That was the agreement you had settled with Ollerus, wasn't it?" Kyoko said to Jolyne and Ermes, narrowing her gaze toward them. Indeed, Ollerus had mentioned the girls' more... loose partnership compared to Touma and Fiamma of the Right, so this was the kind of result that she should have expected. Even with the multiverse at stake, it was understandable that some people would have just wanted to return home, especially since they weren't truly members of the Coalition anyway.

"I'll set up a trip for you soon enough. I suppose in the meantime, you'd like to... exchange words with your other partners," she said, gesturing toward Jotaro and Giorno with that, before leaving the conversation to them.

@Jeremi @CrunchyCHEEZIT
 

Atomic Knight

Bear With Me
The Convergence Series GM
Epilogue Part Deux
"Four No More"

As soon as the lower-ranking Coalition members had left the conference room and Kyoko had returned, Makoto stood in his seat, his eyes narrowed on Kyoko. He faltered slightly in his stance, but he stood resolutely. He had been told he had died in the other multiverse, but Makoto could not remember this in any way. Either way, the fight wasn't over, whether Makoto was dead or alive.



"Kyoko, why did you send them away?" he asked her. Many members of the Coalition were still in the room and even some who were not like Othinus, though this was something Makoto wanted everyone to talk about. "We need them to stay here at Knowhere. Many of our members are still out there fighting the Revanchist, and there are some who..." Makoto looked away, hurt, knowing that the likes of both Billy Kaplan and Sorey were still missing in the new world. Othinus, for whatever reason, said that had not been her doing.

Makoto looked up to face Kyoko again. He leaned forward and placed his palms down on the desk in front of him. "We don't have weeks. The next attack could come any day now... maybe tomorrow, even. I hate to say this... but we can't give our agents any time off, not now!"



"..."

Kyoko remained reticent initially as Makoto approached her, keeping a steely expression as she looked away from him. As Othinus, Fiamma of the Right, and Ollerus ventured off to attend to their own devices, leaving Makoto mostly with Kyoko and Doppo, the Ultimate Detective only moved slightly, her gloved hand resting upon her hip, while the latter of the two also averted Makoto's gaze, as though unwilling to engage in the conversation between the two, if only out of respect for their complicated relationship, at least for the time being.

"I thought you of all people would understand my reasons, Makoto. But I guess it looks like we've ended up switching places. Just like..." Kyoko began to respond, before trailing off. She bit her lip lightly, before finishing her sentence. "... like before."

The civil war. An ordeal that had long since passed, but that which had an impact that still reverberated to this day.

"Genji once told me that to isolate myself from others, to bury myself in these sorts of matters with a cold, calculated approach to all of the obstacles that came our way, was to isolate myself from what really mattered. I didn't know what he meant at that time, and a part of me still doesn't, but..." The young woman paused again, her hand visibly clutching the edge of her jacket tightly, "... The others deserve a chance to at least find that answer for themselves."

"Genji is dead."

The words were out of his mouth before he even realized what he was saying. He instantly softened his gaze and leaned back from the table, mouth agape in an expression of regret. He wanted to say he was stressed or that he was hurt, but instead, Makoto averted his gaze from the others and closed his eyes.

"... I don't want anyone else to die," he said softly. "I know there's nothing we can really do about that. Everything's moving too quickly now. We thought we knew the enemy, but we didn't, not really..." With a heavy sigh, Makoto looked to Othinus, catching her before she was out of ear-shot. "You need to tell us, right now, what's going on with the Great Spirits. You killed one... why?"

As Kyoko said nothing to Makoto, letting the gravity of his words and the fact that he'd say something like that at all speak for itself, Othinus turned toward the two high-ranking Coalition members, not caring much for their personal spat, but opting to answer the question directed to her all the same.

"Why, you ask? Why does a human do anything when granted with great power? Simply because he can, and I could," Othinus said callously. Not that she was exactly a fan of comparing herself to a human, but now that she was a fairy, it seemed that her pride had been kicked down a notch or two.

"Beyond that, if you need any more explanation, then I can only say this. Until a short time ago, I had little interest myself in these Great Spirits that you spoke of. After all, it was my belief that with the Arrow and Gungnir in my possession, I could easily override any entity that acted as some sort of authority on the space of the multiverse. It was only when the Revanchist had caught wind of that Great Spirit on your outpost -- Verius -- perishing that brought the notion of killing them to our attention," Othinus explained.

"The fact that they could be killed meant that they ought to be killed, at least in order to destabilize the multiverse and make it more... malleable. Call it what you'd like. A distraction, a whim."

Makoto didn't like that answer. It explained little of what the Revanchist might be up to. His first thought was that Othinus was not as willing to work with them as she had let on, but for all she had done, for her to be here now with the multiverse in the state it was meant she had to be serious. There was little else for her to gain from bothering with trying to trick them.

No... perhaps far more likely, and perhaps far more frightening was that Othinus possibly didn't have the whole story. That she had become the strongest being in the multiverse and still did not know the full machinations of Revan was not an appealing idea. Makoto was about to voice as much when a rift opened right in the middle of the conference room. Makoto felt a great wind push against him as a being stepped out of the mysterious portal...



Screams echoed across the city of Fennmont as citizens fled from the ensuing battle between the Coalition members and agents of the Revanchist. The smell of smoke and gunpowder hung heavy over the plaza as Milla Maxwell conjured a series of fireballs to disrupt the gunfire from the assassin droid, HK-47.

"Observation: If you are you to continue these attacks with reckless abandon," said the droid, taking aim on the woman, "then you are only going to kill the innocent meatbags."

"Then allow me!" said Meira, laughing as she leaped at HK-47. Her sword came down on him and the droid defended the blow with a part of his rifle that had been manufactured into a vibroblade. The droid slid across the ground from the force.

When Miss Frizzle had dropped the group off, it had been in the city of Fennmont, where Exodus soldiers were threatening civilians. Milla Maxwell, the Lord of Spirits who had originated from this universe, had arrived on the scene as well, but it seemed it had simply been a trap to draw the woman out. She was quickly attacked by the Revanchist, where Ludger and the others had rushed in to protect her.

"Milla, you need to retreat!" Ludger yelled at her. He had no idea why the Revanchist was so insistent on killing Milla, but this had been their second attempt now; clearly, they would keep trying until they succeeded.



"I can handle them just fine," said the woman coolly. She definitely looked it with her body glowing brilliantly from the spells she was casting. Her four guardians were at her side: Efreet, the Great Spirit of Fire, Undine, the Great Spirit of Water, Sylph, the Great Spirit of Wind, and Gnome, the Great Spirit of Earth. Ludger had a feeling all five were in danger.



"Mr. Ludger's right, Miss Milla! If they're specifically after you, then you should retreat while you can," Kenji said to Milla, as even the simple-minded boy was able to understand the gravity of the situation.

Ideally, the boy didn't want anyone to get hurt, but if bad guys like the Revanchist's forces wanted to specifically target Milla, then simply put, all of the best outcomes involved her getting off without a scratch. A bit of a complex idea for Kenji, but that only meant Doppo was making some headway into talking sense into the sheltered child.

Milla seemed to hesitate for just a moment before lightning rained down around her, cast by the Revanchist mage, Anders. The man roared as he twirled his staff through the air and aimed a stream of fire at Milla. Undine crashed down in front of the woman, spouting water all around her to cancel the attack.

Milla leaped into the air from behind Undine and fell into Anders, attempting to cut him in the process. The mage blocked the attack with his staff and leaped backward, but Milla chased easily, shooting forward in the air as if propelled by magic. Ludger came in from behind Anders, swinging his sledgehammer through the air and ready to take out the mage.

But, then, everything stopped.

Anders disappeared and Ludger swung into the air. His weapon then disintegrated in his hands, as did the ground below and everything around him. He watched as Milla's sword disappeared, as did the ground around her and everything else. Kenji, Meira, HK-47, and all the people of Fennmont were lost to the void, leaving Milla and Ludger to stare at each other amid nothingness.

"What's going on?" Ludger asked. He watched Milla bring a hand to her face and strike a thinking pose. Her four Great Spirits still remained and they moved to crowd around the pair.

"I feel something tugging at me," Undine said.

"It is like a... hand clamping down, pressing on my soul," said Efreet.

"Hmm." Milla was silent for a moment before she continued. "I feel it as well, but my status as Lord of Spirits might be causing interference, and it is likely protecting you four as well. As for you, Ludger..." She looked him up and down. "You carry with you a piece of Chronos' power, yes? I feel a force so incredibly consuming that it has likely... destroyed the multiverse as we know it. Great Spirits and those connected to them are immune to such passive destruction. We've been taken outside of time and space for the moment, as I feel a being is reforming the multiverse rapidly."

Ludger found himself frozen by such a heavy revelation and all he could get out for the moment was a strangled gasp. He shivered and began to look rapidly around himself, but Milla reached out a hand and took his shoulder. "It's all right," she said. "This is not an impossible situation, not while the Great Spirits still stand. I feel that Aska is gone, but... This being must be wielding a power capable of allowing them to control the Great Spirits, assisting them in recreating the multiverse."



Ludger blinked. "... How is this not impossible?"

"This can go two ways, Ludger. Either another will put things right, for we can't be the only ones left. Or, if I must, I should be able to slowly reverse what has been done. We would just have to wait."

Ludger was already nodding before Milla finished. "Right. Waiting. I can do that. I just..." Ludger dropped to the ground in a sitting position, feeling exhausted. "Just wait..."

Milla nodded and closed her eyes. She began to work on an incantation for the foreseeable future...

***

Ludger had fallen into a trancelike state, almost as if asleep. He hadn't known how much time had passed when Milla touched his shoulder, alerting him to the new development going on around them. The world was reforming, putting itself back in place like a rapidly completed puzzle. "The first outcome occurred," Milla said. "Someone else has managed to make it right. I feel as the multiverse is being put back into place, just as it was..."

To Ludger, that meant they would put right back in the middle of their fight. His weapon returned to him in a moment and he readied himself to attack, but a strange oddity was clear once the multiverse righted itself. It was clear things were not the same, for Ludger saw that Anders and his staff right through Undine's stomach. The man seemed to glow with a purple hue, a classic sign that he was being powered by the energy known as Fuse.

Anders wasn't the only one for, at that moment, HK-47 was pumping a series of purple gunfire into Sylph, who began to break off into energy and collapse to the ground. Milla called out for her Great Spirits and moved to run to them, but found herself grabbed by a third assailant, Bane. The big man tossed her aside before grabbing Gnome and crushing the small Great Spirit hard against the ground.

"W-What--?!" Kenji could only exclaim in astonishment at the sudden discrepancies before him. His simple mind was barely able to comprehend basic concepts of cosmology as it was, but from his point of view, Bane had practically appeared out of nowhere, as did the mysterious Fuse power that everyone was imbued with.

Still, he couldn't think about that now! No one ever relied on him to think, after all, and he always pulled through!

"Undefeated by the Rain!" Kenji yelled out the name of his ability, activating it. His body began to glow a faint green as his power began to manifest, imbuing him with superhuman strength. Ready to fight, the boy leaped toward Bane and attempted to tackle into him. Kenji didn't want to fathom the thought that it was too late for Gnome, but... He had to keep a bad guy like this away, at least from Milla if no one else!

Getting to her feet with a groan, Milla shook her head. "No! When things were put back, there were slight alterations--!"

"No time!" Ludger's entire body shifted into his fully powered form as he grabbed a hold of Milla by the waist. Swinging his spear in the air, he conjured an explosion of darkness that hid him and Milla from view. He caught Meira's view who nodded once she met his gaze. Ludger then leaped toward Kenji, grabbing him by the waist and leaping away from the battlefield rapidly afterward. Meira followed after, conjuring a spell behind them that obscured them in smoke. HK-47s shots went wide as they leaped away. The last thing Ludger saw of the battlefield was Efreet being crushed by Anders' magic. The Four had died protecting their master, Milla.

Milla was wriggling in Ludger's grasp. She probably had the power to escape but likely knew this was truly the only option. Still, she cried out for her guardians, the four Great Spirits who had raised her since she had been a toddler. After a moment, Ludger spoke. "They know how to track my movements." He looked behind him but could see no one following. "I'm getting you three to Frizzle, then I'm heading back to the Coalition. Alone. Kenji, Meira, it'll be up to you two to protect Milla."



Makoto watched as Ludger stepped out of the portal, his face grim. The Coalition had not heard a report from him in all of the commotions and figured they were just taking their time. Judging by the look on Ludger's face, Makoto knew that could not be true. "We failed," said the man. "The death of Verius was just the beginning. Once they knew they could kill the Great Spirits, the Revanchist must have enacted some kind of plan..." He sighed deeply, but after a moment, nodded to the video screen in the conference room.

The screen flashed to life, grabbing everyone’s attention. The image was hazy and flickered in an out like an illusion. It was the Lord of Spirits, Milla Maxwell, likely bearing a communication from a wholly different realm. An action such as this was unprecedented, that fact alone awe-inspiring to anyone who recognized its significance.

One might expect that the woman had something important to say. It had to be either good or bad, there could be no in-between. She was not here to waste time or mince words.

“My Four are dead,” she began, her voice cold and distant as if she was in shock, “and the others are being hunted as we speak. There is no time. We must save the Great Spirits.”



"What...?!" Kyoko exclaimed with wide eyes, taken aback by the sudden declaration Milla dropped upon everyone, "But... Aren't they scattered across the entire multiverse?!"

Makoto closed his eyes and sighed. This was the worst case scenario he had envisioned.

"With no guarantee they are safe, I have ordered them to seek refuge," Milla said. "Some have their own way... and some will need to make use of your forces. There is no time to deliberate on this. You must move now and do whatever is possible! If they die, then it will truly be chaos."

"It appears that they're already on the move. No doubt counting on my failure, all things considered," Othinus said calmly, but despite her collected tone, even she realized the gravity of the situation at hand, her brow furrowed.

"After all, the fate of the multiverse depends on it."
 
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Kaykay

Mhm.
"Back when Lindel & I met at the grim spooky place where we eventually fought Dracula, I sort of wondered if it was possible for me to learn magic from him. I was pretty new to the craft, after all, and still am, plus he seemed like a friendly person and an expert," Ben explains to Chise, "ultimately, he was a bit busy working for the hospitals on a place called Ash, and I had my own missions, but I guess he'll find some freetime someday. Until then, it's self-teaching."

He looks to the side.


"Speaking of magic mentors... give me a second, Chise. There's someone I need to thank."

He swiftly appears behind Leivinia.

"Hey, Ms Birdway. Just wanted to thank you. Been learning spells just by watching you fight. The only thing I didn't successfully perform when seeing you do it..."

Ben conjures the Gae Bolg in his arms.



"... is replicating your replica of the Gungnir. Had to think of something to complete the halfdone replication. Ahaha..."

@Takumi @Kaykay
"...Hm."

At first, Leivinia didn't have much to say, Ben's words only eliciting a small huff that sounded as though she were impressed. She took a look at the spear. A replica of a replica. It didn't really resemble Gungnir in any way other than the basic idea of being a lance, but there was undoubtedly still something supernatural about it. Eventually she placed a hand on her hip and spoke.

"I see. Well, if you don't fully understand the setting I used, it would be an impossible phenomenon to recreate. This doesn't even really look like Gungnir at all, but for an imitation of an imitation..." she paused again for a moment as she continued peering at the replicated replica. "Hm. Descended from Gungnir indeed. Though, if you took my explanations to heart and had the ability to use magic to begin with, I suppose something of this level isn't unexpected. You did alright."

Though she spoke with a flat tone, a genuine grin spread across her face.

"Feel free to ask for lessons, whenever I'm not busy."
Having conveniently not heard Severa's crack about target practice, the boy scratched his head idly as the others around him expressed a fondness for something to eat. Indeed, after everything that had happened, everything they had been through, the least that they could be granted was a nice snack or so, right?

"I didn't think you had a sweet tooth, Leivinia, but... I guess most kids do," Touma said jokingly with a light-hearted chuckle, even though he really wasn't that much older than the smaller girl. "Let's go, then. May as well enjoy what free time we have left... while the multiverse is safe, it seems."

@Alex Azure @Yun Lee @Kaykay
"It's perfectly mature for a woman to indulge in sweet things, I'll have you know," Leivinia spoke matter-of-factly while crossing her arms, as though speaking an absolute truth of the world.

@Crow @Alex Azure @Yun Lee @Ver
 

Jeremi

Well-Known Member
The Convergence Series GM


"... Ah, right. That was the agreement you had settled with Ollerus, wasn't it?" Kyoko said to Jolyne and Ermes, narrowing her gaze toward them. Indeed, Ollerus had mentioned the girls' more... loose partnership compared to Touma and Fiamma of the Right, so this was the kind of result that she should have expected. Even with the multiverse at stake, it was understandable that some people would have just wanted to return home, especially since they weren't truly members of the Coalition anyway.

"I'll set up a trip for you soon enough. I suppose in the meantime, you'd like to... exchange words with your other partners," she said, gesturing toward Jotaro and Giorno with that, before leaving the conversation to them.

@Jeremi @CrunchyCHEEZIT

"Thanks for that, girl!"
Jolyne grinned at Kyoko before turning her attention back towards Jotaro and Giorno. "I guess we gotta 'exchange words' in the mean time then. I figure both of you are sticking around for this huh?"

@CrunchyCHEEZIT
 

Gummi Bunnies

identity unknown...
Benefactor
The Convergence Series GM
-Metaworld Epilogue-
"Crumbling Resolve"


Given the current circumstances after the fact, Dlanor vouched to stay at Knowhere to be ready for any other incidents that could happen. With that in mind, Willard thought it would be best for him to return to the Metaworld to check up on what was going on and to update the Great Court with the info of his mission with Dlanor. A part of him felt stupid for thinking that he needed to check, considering that the entirety of the multiverse was restored.

Stepping into the familiar rose gardens, Willard saw that it was still the ominously lively Metaworld. For all he knew, most of the present Witches didn't look like they've experienced the collapse and recreation of the multiverse. Though, he kept in mind the fact that Othinus told them that there could be some minor differences here and there. He figured that it wouldn't be a perfect copy of the multiverse they were familiar with, but it was good enough despite what could be possibly out of place.

That was when he was roughly bumped into.

❝ Huh? ❞ Willard blinked once he got a glimpse of this particular Witch. For a moment, she appeared to be in pain, clearly in contrast with her radiantly blue eyes. That was different. It wasn't everyday that a Witch would somehow experience the feeling of pain, and express that pain in a genuine light. Before he could ask her on what was the matter, the blue-eyed Witch walked out of view, and soon leaving in a wake of blue butterflies. Normally he wouldn't feel anything for most of these Witches, but something about her made him feel a sense of curiosity. Or was it familiarity?

❝ Oh, it's you Willard. Did... did you see Lapis go by here? ❞ Ange immediately called out to him, running over in an obvious hurry.

❝ So that was Lapis just leaving then? ❞ He sighed in dismay, piecing it together that the ailing Witch was Lapis. Right, he talked about this new Witch of Miracles to Dlanor before departing into Knowhere.

❝ Great. Guess I'll have to tell Lambda that she's run off. Lapis is... a strange case. ❞ Ange sighed, realizing that there was more to deal with.

❝ Strange case? How so? ❞

❝ Well. I was with both Lambda and Lapis, discussing that Lapis would need a mentor and Lambda would be the only good fit. Then all of a sudden, Lapis collapses. Thankfully I was quick to heal her, since it just so happened to be that her heart started to shatter in an alarming rate. That's... weird since that only happens when she really uses her Miracle magic too much, and it didn't look like she used any in that moment. And even then, once she woke up, she started to run off without an explanation. ❞

That was weird, but that would be the case if Willard didn't go through that entire ordeal with that Magic God. Something about this felt like something wasn't particularly rolled back properly, but he wouldn't go into particular detail about that part to Ange. They did have a possibly dying Witch of Miracles running off.

❝ Go on. Tell Lambda about this. The Witch of Certainty should know more about how to track down our new Witch of Miracles whose run off to wherever. ❞ Willard figured that they should do more acting than talking if Lapis really did just leave the Metaworld for some reason.

❝ Yeah, I'll go do that. ❞ Ange nodded before she ran off back where she came from, and in return, Willard went the opposite direction to do what he needed to do.



A spark. A single spark animated into life in a barren wasteland, which soon became a mesh of blue butterflies. And soon after, those butterflies became the pained Lapis.

❝ This should be good enough... ❞ She mumbled to herself, ensuring that she was completely alone. Her heart gave a heavy ache. It worsened in rhythm when her mind falls upon strange flashes of warped memories. She didn't understand it entirely but she didn't like it either. She saw herself talking casually with Lambdadelta and Ange, and the next moment she saw that she was casting a heavy amount of magic towards the distorted reality headed towards her and the rest of the Metaworld.

After that, everything appeared as if nothing ever happened, but she was still in pain. Pain from overexerting her magic or from possibly being distorted like in that earlier memory. She couldn't tell which was it, but it all brought about bad omens. It didn't actually happen, but it felt like it actually did. What's to say that it was going to happen? That it was only a matter of time.

❝ N... No, I won't let that happen... especially what I saw... I won't! She shook her head. If that was the case, she wouldn't let that happen. Hell, she didn't want to waste the time to prepare for this incoming threat whenever it decides to occur, and that meant she wasn't going to try and convince the Metaworld inhabitants on what she experienced. It was a lot for her to take in by herself, the fact that Eliza gathered those Deadly Sins and now this?

Again, her heart aches even more. Lapis was only here by herself, so that meant she could prepare accordingly. Surveying her barren surroundings, she saw what was first on her to-do list: making changes to this place. She wasn't planning to return to the Metaworld or the apartment she shared with Abel. At the least she could practice using her magic once again, so soon enough, the barren wasteland was coated by glistening crystals. Crystals that surrounded Lapis from outside view.
 

Lucky

But We Were Happy
Phil Connors and Rita Hanson

Epilogue- "I know now that I know Nothing"

"
Phil, we need to talk you know, especially if we are going to stay here. We just can't keep avoiding each other," Rita said, looking over at him as he stared off into the distance of Knowhere.

" What is there to talk about? I have known you for years and you have known me for two days. And even if you do remember the loop, you don't remember every day like I do. You know when I first came to the multiverse, I thought of it as an escape. An escape from my problems, but I'm slowly starting to realize something. The problems weren't the town, they weren't the other people back with Mother and they weren't the other people here. It's me, I'm the problem. I don't think twice about murder or even betraying the greater cause if there is something in it for me. I am damaged, far too damaged. Maybe if I just died, everything will go back to normal, but I know that isn't true. For better or worse, I make an impact on people lives," Phil took a deep breath.


"
I know now that I know nothing, but I know that you are not a bad guy. You need help and yes, you are depressed, suicidal and probably even have some form of PTSD, but you know what else you are. You can be kind. You can be funny. You can be smart and rational. You can be brave. Don't let the darkness consume you, you're better than it."

" Am I though?" He asked.

" Yes, and I will tell you about it every day until you believe it." Phil sighed and leaned on Rita's head and somewhere in the distance, something rose in the distance that look like a sun. Maybe, he wouldn't be better today or tomorrow or perhaps even the day after, but one day he would be... and that would have to be enough.

And in the calm moment, alone with Rita, he was here and he was fine for the first time in a long long time.
 

Takumi

Member of the Yato Club
Chise and Ruth Epilogue: Sleeping Robin

After a while, Chise and her familiar decided to give brief goodbyes-ar least with reassurance that they would hopefully see the frie ds they made again soon undee better circumstances. Without sticking around too long afterwards, they would return home nd be greeted by Elias almost immediately.

"Welcome home." He greeted, once he saw Chise enter the house they shared.

Smiling tiredly, the effects of using too much magic along with Jotaro's boost having faded left her much more tired than usual.

"We're home...Elias, I-" she would start, before gasping softly in pain. Alarmed, Ruth's head turned to look at her quickly as she suddenly folded on herself, a ragged cough escaping her and blood staining the floor.

"Chise?!" Both Ruth and Elias were alarmed. What went wrong? She was fine not too long ago!



"...?"

Wiithout so much as a word her legs gave out. Luckily, Elias was quick to catch her. Her vision was fading, her body limp, and she could barely hear Elias as he called to her.

Before long, she fell into a deep sleep...

---

It had been no more than two days, and she wasn't awake yet. Ruth worriedly laid beside her, head resting on her shoulder as her body worked to recover. Hopefully, this recovery time would be quick, he didn't like the thought of her never waking up again. Sighing, he closed his eyes, deciding to rest himself.

Was she dreaming right now? Was she at peace mentally now that all she had worked hard to protect for the most part was back in place? But what differences came about thanks to Othinus? It would probably take longer to notice, but Ruth was sure that whatever happened Chise would be healthy again and they could all face it together.

End?
 

Crow

YOU MEAN
Interlude
The Wake of the Gray

(Collab between @Crow @York @Alex Azure @Hahli Nuva @Sark )

And so, the group of Toppo, Ben, Schala & Will arrived at the Universe 11. This particular city seemed to be shining bright for a good morning.

"The other Pride Troopers will need to know one way or another," Ben says, "let's find them fast."

Schala couldn't help but stop to gaze in awe at her surroundings... But when Ben spoke, she quickly nodded, picking up her pace.

It wasn't the first time she found herself in unfamiliar surroundings, but she couldn't help but feel nervous about the prospect about meeting new people.

Though, since she was here on Jiren's behalf, so to speak, she managed to fight back her fear, and move on, although she hadn't quite worked up the courage to speak up just yet.

"They will come when they are called..." Toppo muttered, raising his fingers into the air. With the flex of a mental muscle, a wave of Justice Flashes rained from his fingertips, burning the sky a glowing orange. "At the end of days, you can take the warriors from the Pryde, but you cannot take the Pride from the Warriors"

Across the rooftops, a wave of red flashes danced, leaping from the skies to the earth. Within moments they began to quake and blur, taking on the form of 9 proud titans.

"Toppo!" The first called, hunched over his anvil. "So you've finally returned to Universe 11, huh?"

"Finished you little 'Repentance Act', have you? Belmond's been down our necks ever since Jiren and you skipped world"

"So what's it like out there, Toppo? What's it like beyond the twel-"

Cocotte stilled her tongue, smiling down towards the warriors at her feet.
"Oh, I see you've brought some guests! Some friends from the Great Beyond; Travelers... Welcome to Universe 11"

Toppo listed off his old friends one by one in a state of disbelief, his eyes becoming 2 yellow moons.
"Dypso, Kettol, Cocotte... Are there only the 4 of us left?"

"You've forgotten, Toppo...? We all parted ways after the Tournament. Without your leadership and Jiren's strength, what did we have? Zoiray and the others... they didn't want to follow anyone in your stead... So I've been leading the Pride Triad the best I could... But evil thrives again in Universe 11. Tell us; did you find Jiren? Your last messaged felt like a lifetime ago..."


"Dypso... You rose to the plate in my moment of greed, and for that, I owe you my thanks. The Pride Warriors will return, that I promise you. Zoiray will feel nothing but shame when we return to the front lines... with or without Jiren"


"Without... Jiren? You mean...?

"Jiren... he lost his way. He turned his back on our Justice and found his own... and the price of his realization was a body count to rival Xeno's... come... we have much to discuss and much to plan. My friends and I... we wish to honour the man he was, not the misguided man he became. He deserves a burial... He deserves our pity"

Wil flew silently, taking in the sight of the Pride Troopers and how they dealt with Jiren's death. She didn't know the man very well, but she knew when one had friends close enough to be called family.

"I remember being so angry at him. So rage filled. I thought he was just some misguided strongman, but I was wrong. Jiren believed in his path, that it was the one true way to perfection and peace. Even if he was fighting for darkness, he still thought he was walking in the light."

"He was a warrior, and after all that's happened, I can definitely see what you all see in him. I'm really glad to have met him. Towards the end of it all, he lead me away from a violent option and towards the mercy that I thought I rid myself of, through his words and his heart. To think I started off knowing him as he who seeks power and power alone..."

Ben then extends a hand for a little handshake towards the Pride Triad.

"Ben, Ben Tennyson."

Following Ben's lead, Mason added his own thoughts on Jiren. "He believed in his path. That conviction is not something I can deny. I admire somebody who will put everything into their role. I think we all can agree that his perseverance and will are what made him so strong. Although he went down the wrong path, his heart, like Will said, thought himself in the right. I don't blame him for being fooled. The multiverse lost a great warrior."

"My name is Mason Moretti. I had the... privilege? Honor? ... Fate. I had the fate of meeting Jiren, along with others of the Great Beyond. Traveler is probably the best way to describe me."


Mason was more hesitant to put out his hand for a handshake. Instead he put his hand up for a high five. The concept that a high-five might not exist as a gesture in this universe failed to cross his mind.

After her initial awkward silence, once te rest of the Pryde Warriors arrived and introduced themselves.

Offering them a polite curtsy, she bowed her head.

"I'm Schala... Schala Zeal. As far as I know... I'm all that's left of my family..." She said, then seemed to stop as she heard the talk of Jiren, reminding her of the reason she came in the first place.

Raising her head, one of her hands instinctively clasped at a pendant that was no longer here... At the place it once hung near her chest.

"But... That's not what I came here for. I came here to honor Jiren..." She added, a sad smile crossing her face as she continued.

"It's true he lost his way... It's true his ideals lead him to do some... Regretable things... But in the end... Before he left this world... I think he... Became the man he used to be... ... One last time."

Of course, meeting him in Avalon was... Strange in many ways, after he had passed on. Even though the reality she had met him in no longer existed, perhaps... Some aspect of Avalon still remains. After all, her pendant had yet to return to her, when the multiverse as it should be was reformed...

"Even if I didn't always agree with his decisions, I hope he found his peace..."
She said quietly.

Her gaze shifted to the sky above her... As if she might find Jiren's soul somewhere amongst the stars, or a place beyond even them.

Will could only float on in silence as she watched the rest of her friends and Jiren's allies mourn his passing.

Cocette spoke with heavy words and an even heavier heart, her words weighed own by grief.

"I shall grieve for your family as you grieve for mine, Schala Zeal. We welcome your candour and honour. Should you search for one, you will always have a home in Universe 11"

"Fate..." Dypso hesitated "Fate is the only way I could think to describe knowing Jiren. He had the purpose we all lacked in the old days... that drive, that will... the same zeal you all saw within him. Whether you knew him for years or days, you understand him as well as anyone could..."

After a moment of silence, the Pride Warriors took in the moment, coming to terms with the sudden news. The thought of living in a world without Jiren filled them with a new sensation; fear. Watching Jiren fall to Goku and Frieza had chilled them once before, but even then they had known the under different circumstances- had Jiren not tired, had he not been forced to hold back in the name of mercy- he could have overcome each foe separately. He was still strong. He was still the mightiest warrior in their world. Even the only warrior to match him had been equally good.

But the possibility that even a power as great as Jiren's could be matched and overcome in the wider universe was a possibility they would not admit easily. That one of their own had not only been defeated but killed by a greater evil... what hells existed beyond the Circle of Zeno?

"How..." Dypso's whisper cut through the silence "How did he die? Who... what evil took him from this world?"

"Me" Toppo spoke without hesitance or fear. His words were no longer restricted by regret or confusion; he had long since accepted the path he had taken. His old friends would need to do so too. They were too smart to be lied to and too proud to let secrets be kept from them. The truth was the only way. "A woman named Othinus sought to destroy the multiverse and recreate it in her image. Her means were cruel. Her goal was, in many ways, selfish. She sought to undo all the progress mortals have made in the hopes of undoing the evils that had wronged her. She recruited a team of powerful warriors to assist her. Her own Pride Warriors: DIO, Pucci, Marian...Jiren... Her Revanites stood by her side throughout her pilgrimage of destruction. In the end, Jiren stood against us. He delayed us time and time again. He bought Othinus time. He sold her his soul. In a last-ditch effort to protect our home, I gave my life to destroy our fallen friend. I surrendered the Hakai. In the end..." There was no use in telling them of the world reborn. There was no use in complicating the matter with tales of a world that never was "In the end, we saved the multiverse. Were our roles reversed... I take comfort knowing that he would have done the same for me. I released him of his burdens"

"Oh really?" Dyspo spat "Then how are you here, gloating to us? Are you proud of you victory? That's you've finally surpassed Belmond's first choice for an heir? You're really growing into the boots of the Destroyer now, aren't you, Mr.Leader?"

"Calm yourself, Dypso" Cocotte threw her new leader a look that could shatter glass, seeking to force his anger back into his belly "If Toppo is to be believed, then Jiren abandoned justice... no, he abandoned our justice. These Outsiders speak highly of Jiren's character... perhaps... Perhaps he simply found another path... a not a right path or a wrong path, but simply a different one? One that cost too many lives for Toppo to let go on unchecked..."

"Of course Toppo would say that! Toppo the Coward! Toppo the Traitor! Toppo, the Lapdog! And we're expected to just take his word for it? So tell us, Old Killer, how did you defy death a second time?"

"Even... even a God can show Mercy..."

"I should have known"
Fury burned behind the hare's eyes "I should have known that Belmond would protect his precious protege!"

"Hold your tongue, Rat!"

"Why should I? Can't you see it, Toppo? Has your power blinded you? Belmond is grooming you. He's been doing it from the start! Even since Jiren turned down your seat, he's been setting you up to become Jiren two-point-oh! A grumpy old fool with too much power! You'll never be half the man he was! Jiren would never take orders from that clown!"


"And you would defy the Destroyer? I don't recall you raising an objecting hand to him ordering us to join the Tournament!"


"If I could harness the Hakai, you could stake your life that I would! He blows up planets, Toppo! If there was a poster boy for Evil, it would have Belomd's sick red grin printed across its centre!"


"I hate him as much as you, Dypso! If not more so! Don't convince yourself that I am the villain! If you were there... if you could see the look in his eyes... that I'd stake my life in turn that you would be standing beside me now!"


"Perhaps if you didn't insist on going in alone, then maybe we wouldn't have play these stupid speculation games! Admit it! You left this world under the Destroyer's Orders! You were sent out there to Assassinate Jiren the Grey, knowing that Belmond would bring you back if you failed! And admit that you're proud to have done your job!"


"I'll admit that I was proud to have defeated Jiren! I at least have the sense not to lie to myself! I am proud to have died for something I believe in! I am proud to have helped save the whole damn multiverse from an evil you didn't even know existed! Get your head out of the dirt, Rabbit! There's a whole damn multiverse out there, and the only thing stopping you from exploring it is your own fear!"


"Fear!" Dypso's power surged, engulfing him in a tower of purple flame "My Super-Maximum-Light Speed Mode will show you true fear, Coward!"

"Dyspo, stop!"


"Both of you, no!"

In a flash, the last of the Pride Warriors collided, desperately trying the part the parrying fists of the 2 old leaders. Perhaps they were fighting to defend their own pride? Or perhaps it was some sort of assertion of power or dominance? Or maybe they were simply fighting as a means of venting, a futile attempt to release the steam of grief.

As the four fists met at the centre of the clearing, a dancing foot protected them from a wrist shattering four-way collision.

"What happened to Jiren was a tragedy in every sense of the word" A 4th voice sung apathetically, almost condescendingly so "But I assure you, Lord Belmond has played as little role in recent events as he could. He lent Toppo his strength whilst he was locked in a difficult fight, nothing more; should he have interfered any more, he would have violated more multiversal laws that I care to acknowledge. Should he have tried, as the Angel of this world, I would have stopped him... I trust that this puts your conspiracies to rest, Dyspo?" She raised an eyebrow, starting Dyspo head to toe. Not wishing to receive another scalding from the Marcarita- or worse, a beating- he lowered his head and relaxed his arms. He turned his back on his old friends.

"I remembered the first time the 4 of your crossed fists- or should that be palms. It was some Earthing team building symbol, with a name I can't quite remember. You-know-who and I were watching from the Kai's Realm... The 4 of you all looked so happy- the founders of a brave new era of Heroes..."

"Those days are as dead as Jiren... now let's get this damn funeral over and done with... the sooner we bury the casket the sooner Toppo and I can settle our depts..."


"Dypso... Don't be like this...Please"


Turning to the Outsiders, Marcarita gifted them a squinting smile, spinning her staff between her finger and her thumb.

"I'm sorry about the Pryde Triad... as you said, they saw much of themselves within Jiren. No matter who he became, you are all right; he remained a symbol to many in Universe 11... and unless there are any other affairs you wish to settle, I can transport us to the funeral site: a nice, quiet spot on Jiren's homeworld. Simply touch my staff, and I will arrange the rest"

"I have heavy doubts that
he would like the sight of this."

Ben crosses his arms as he watches the bickering simmer down with Macarita's intervention.

"To see you all squabble like this over him, I mean. It's evident that he's a major reason why you all stuck like glue, would he like the sight of what are essentially his brothers and sisters that show concern and respect for him, that which he essentially served as a core for, falling apart like this?"

Ben approaches Marcarita, touching her staff.

"Time is of the essence. Let's set it all up."

"Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't. Doesn't really matter what he likes anymore now, does it?"

Upon touching Marcarita's staff, the Outsiders would find themselves transported across the universe in a cone of light, reappearing in the heart of a wild wasteland before they could fully comprehend what had just happened. Wherever they looked, all they would find were endless empty plains, separated only by fleeting freckles of dry grass.

"This is- or was- the site of Jiren's home. During his youth, the world was conquered by a group of outsiders. They were thorough, to say the least-- there is a reason his family cannot be in attendance..."

Gliding across the plain, Marcarita came to a stop at a humble hole in the earth, delicately dug out into a delicate 2.5m by 1m scale. Beside it sat an unmarked brown bird coffin, sealed with a silver fitting and engraved with the mark of Belmond.

"Jiren was never one for physical possessions, and in the absence of a body, we have had to resort to grave measures to find something to burry... if you would excuse my choice of words. Beneath the lid lies Jiren's cloak, found in the possessions of his old teacher's kin. Accompanying it is a holorecording of the Tournament of Power, one of the few remaining recordings of the Warrior, and a pair of his boots, also salvaged from the tournament arena. They're hardly the objects that most represents his character, but the life Jiren lived left us in a tight spot"

Approaching the coffin, Marcarita paused in a moment of confusion, a hesitant hand hovering over its lid.

"Strange..." She muttered, raising the oddity towards the sun "I could have sworn that this wasn't there earlier..."



"Do any of you recognise this? Its some sort of... necklace? Or maybe it's some bizarre Earthing eyeglass?"

"Anyway, I suppose we should get on with the proceedings. There was no formal funeral structure among Jiren's people, maybe it's best if we keep things simple:

If anyone wishes to say some final words, you're welcome to do so-- take all the time you need. And when you are ready- when you've said your goodbyes- please, place a handful of dirt on top of the coffin and give it your blessing. Once that has been done, we can lower it into the earth and Jiren can be laid to rest. Does anybody in particular wish to start us off?"


"I kept this for him," Ben says to Marcarita as he unveils the ripped piece of Pride Trooper uniform. "I believe this represents Jiren the most out of all of these items - his Pride Trooper uniform, or what's left of it, would naturally represent his allegiance, his pride, his very own definition of what makes a Pride Trooper a Pride Trooper, and the journey he will take to uncover it."

He looks at Toppo for a bit.

"You can take the warriors from the pride, but you can't take the pride from the warriors."

Ben then places it down with Jiren's other possessions, only to see a very familiar looking necklace that Macarita pointed out. He looks to Schala for a bit, then back to the coffin.

"Correction - perhaps there's something else among this that might also represents Jiren best. The piece of the uniform represents his pride, bonds and journey with family, but there's something here that represents his true happiness, emotions from Jiren that can only be achieved upon attaining his ultimate wish... his destination.

Journey and Destination. Both are just as important, one cannot exist without the other."


Ben then bows his head in respect, speaking few more words. What he needed to say to Jiren was said in the realm of the living. Now, he wanted Jiren to enjoy peace and quiet.

"... goodbye Jiren..."

He places a handful of dirt on the coffin to signify Jiren becoming one with his planet once more, tears being shed onto the dirt to moisten it with life.

Mason was the next to step up and say something. He stood next to the makeshift grave and spent a few moments in silence, searching for words.

"Jiren, you journeyed with us with nothing to lose but your life. You gave it to what you believed in, even if it led you astray. The gods of the great multiverse lead people this way and that along the thread of fate, but you made a choice. You took fate into your own hands, and that deserves much respect."

"Some people get a second chance in life. Others get their second chance in death. Wherever your soul rests now, I hope it is doing well. Let's meet again in another life."


Mason Moretti scooped a handful of dirt and held it high. His aura, his ki, glowed in his hand. He let the dirt fall atop the coffin, carrying bits of his aura with it. "A little bit of energy for you in the next life. Memento vitae, Jiren, and memento mori. We'll remember your life, and your death."

Schala gave Cocette a grateful smile, nodding a little.

"Thank you... ... I'll keep that in mind, should something happen to the place I now call... Home." She said.

Of course, it was going to take time to shake the strange feeling she got whenever she spoke of the Coalition as her 'home'. Perhaps in some ways, she had never truly forgotten the Kingdom she had lost.

As Toppo and Dypso began to quarrel, Schala clenched her fists, preparing to intervene... Even if she risked getting hurt herself.

However, the timely arrival of a fifth, who introduced herself as Marcarita avoided what would have likely been a chaotic scuffle. It was probably for the best that Schala never was given the chance to intervene in this case.

"Jiren thought he found a way to end all conflict... Ironically enough, what he sought most... Through the battles we fought him in... Was to grant us all eternal peace... ... The least we can do in his honor, is to grant this ceremony our peace... For his sake..." She said, before bowing her head as she reached to touch Marcarita's staff.

Truth to be told... She too, had seen at least part of herself in Jiren when she had fought him numerous times. His struggles... His anguish, his beliefs.

Perhaps... Were it not for the situation, they might have been friends.

As she felt herself being transported across the Universe, not unlike the transport methods used by the Coalition to some degree.

She took a moment to soak in her surroundings, eerily reminiscent of what remained of her Kingdom... That now rested at the bottom of the sea it once soared over... Along with her people's hopes and dreams.

As she listened to Marcarita begin to list off the few items she placed within the coffin, Schala's mind started to wander to the Tournament of power. Though now wasn't the time, she would like to have a copy of the footage of Jiren's battle.

Of course, it was difficult to forget him after having faced him herself, but... Something to remember him by would be nice, as he wasn't one to leave many things behind it seemed.

However, she was quickly jolted out of her thoughts when Marcarita held up a very familiar necklace. Feeling her heart leap a little, then sink, she frowned... Not sure what to make of its appearance here.

Making eye contact with Ben for a brief moment, she spoke up, the surprise evident in her face.

"Yes...! That's... ... My pendant. The last bit of my Kingdom I still had with me... ... I once used it to store magical energy... And operate the technology we once had... ... And for a while, I thought I needed it to traverse dimensions..." She said, frowning a little as she stared at the pendant intently.

"I left it with Jiren... In a moment I wasn't sure I could win against Othinus... Nor save the multiverse... As a memory of a time, and place long gone... But... ... Just like before... It must have found a way back to me..." She added, her hand reached out to the pendant, feeling a certain amount of magical energy still emanating from it, but in the end... She retracted it, a realization dawning upon her.

"... I think it belongs with the rest of Jiren's possessions... Like Ben said... It represent's Jiren's destination... Wherever he may be now..." She said, then she paused, looking around at the planet around her.

A sad, yet hopefull smile crossed her face as she looked to the sky above her, before she too bowed, putting a hand on the coffin, as if she were saying goodbye to Jiren one last time.

"If Jiren were here, he would no doubt wish for us to mention his strength. It was how he had always characterised himself. He sought to be the strongest in the room, in any room, in any universe. And whenever he said this to us, whenever he explained his motivations or his goals, I had always presumed his means to have been driven by envy. I thought he had fought for Pride, just as we all did. While we were fighting for glory or 'Justice', I've come to learn that Jiren was always fighting for... guilt. Shame. He was weighed down by all the burdens he was forced to carry, and the only way to lessen his pain was to redouble his carrying capacity. After all of, I admit to regret. I regret not finding a way to reach out to Jiren. I regret not finding a way to understand him, to get him to open up to us all. I keep asking myself 'what if?". What if I had done more? What if I had asked a different question? What if I had had the courage to follow in his footsteps? But now, they just feel like wasted words. Empty, wasted words, spoken to a ghost at a funeral.

So Jiren, I'm sorry. Beyond that, I'm sorry that I never got to tell you how sorry I was. I'm sorry that you were forced to endure the life that you did. I'm sorry that you had to endure the tragedies it contained. I'm sorry that I couldn't have done more- that I couldn't have been more. I'm sorry that I couldn't have known you better. I'm sorry that there's now no time for me to tell you that you are loved. You are loved and missed by all of us. We don't care about what you did. We don't care about the Gray or your philosophies or passion. We never needed your strength. We needed you. We still do. And now that you have reached your destination- now that you have found your peace- we won't let your spirit be resigned to memory. You live on in the three of us... no... all of us. The lived you touched and the strength you have lent to all will shine on long after you are laid to rest. My the Otherworld Bless You with Mercy, Old Friend"


With her palm raised to the sky, Cocette released a Purple Power Impact, its light burning into the skies above.

"I was the fastest in the universe... once upon a time. Now that I say it aloud, it sounds so bizarre. So smug. The idea that I could once consider myself unmatchable... I suppose that title was an old habit that failed to die, even when Jiren showed up. The day Belmond assembled the Pride Warriors for the first time- the first moment I laid eyes upon Jiren- I was struck with excitement. The very idea of an ally who could match me was enough to get me to join the team. And whenever we fought- in every battle in every world we liberated- Jiren and I raced side my side. We were equals. We were perfectly matched in power... Only once Goku truly began to push him did I realise how much power- how much speed- he had been holding back. To protect my pride- whether out of strategy or kindness- Jiren withheld his potential time and time again. In doing so he made me feel wanted. He made me feel valued. He made me... part of this team. And now that I'm its leader, and now that our numbers are so small... it's no longer the team I once knew. Because... The Pride Warriors aren't the Pride Warriors without Jiren. Your presence, however cold or down-right terrifying it could be, was the cement that brought us together. It was the rock that we built upon. It was respect. It was admiration. It couldn't be bought and it couldn't be sold. I know that you would fold your arms to our sentiments now, so I won't go on for too long... Yes, that'll be my excuse to shut up before I upset myself. But Jiren, if you were here now, I'd salute you. Simple as that. You have earned your place among the stars, Jiren. God Speed"

With his palm raised to the sky, Dypso released a Grey Power Impact, its light burning into the skies above.

"I've had a lot of time to think about what I'd say to Jiren if he were still here. A lifetime, in fact. As Othinus commanded the universe to dance in on itself again and again- amidst all that pain and chaos- it was all I could think about. Could I bring myself to face him? Could I look him in the eyes and confess to what I did to him? I haven't slept since then. Maybe I'm afraid that I couldn't do it. Maybe I'm afraid that the next time I close my eyes I'll have to have the justice I deserve. Or maybe, the one thing that worries me more is that Jiren has forgiven me. He told me so as we burned together. He accepted his fate. He accepted his freedom. He looked me in the eyes and stared back at me with eyes free of hate or fury. He was... at peace, for the first time in years. The storm in his heart seemed to have passed. That was the kind of man we met in the Otherworld: a man unrestrained by his guilt and grief, and free to live out the rest of his days a liberated man. It was the hero's welcome he had always deserved. I trust that, in his passing, Jiren has returned to that place. I trust that he has returned to his Nirvana.

But even the world he made wasn't built for him. He sought to build it for us all. A sacrifice. A gift that we could not bring ourselves to accept is a gift none the less. It was so easy for us all to call him a traitor. We were so quick to brand him as evil, or as unforgivable... myself included. But he never turned his back on us. He never fought for the Revanites. Even though he stood by Othinus' side, he still stood for us. He still stood for Justice. For Freedom. For Liberty. For Goodness and Soul. Fate is the cursed one for pitting us against him. Fate is the demon for forcing his hand to strike against us. Not him. And the day he made that impossible choice, the day he stood by Pucci and turned his back towards me, was the day a sin greater than murder; I anointed him as an evildoer. I will cast my pride aside now as I did then. You did not deserve that branding. You did not deserve that disgrace. You did not deserve to be fate punching bag nor the God's scapegoat. You were, are, and always will be a hero. My hero. And my friend. I pray that we meet again soon... though your spirit rests beyond our world and beyond the reach of our Gods, I pray that whoever's realm you fall in to sees the man you truly are. I pray that they see Jiren the Gray for the mighty soul he truly his. So long, Brother... enjoy your prize"


With his palm raised to the sky, Toppo released an orange Power Impact, its light burning into the skies above.

As silence settle in the air, the Pride Warriors bowed in unison. At long last, Jiren was at rest. His journey was at a close.

With a wave of her staff, Marcaritta lowered the warrior's coffin back into the Earth until it too was lost in to a sea of dust.

"Then this.. this is it" Toppo smiled "Jiren is finally free, and wherever is spirit dwells... I'm certain that it is happy... I'm certain that it is no longer so... troubled" With tears drying from his cheeks, Toppo turned back towards his new allies... no, he turned back towards his friends. "Ben, Schala, Manson, Will... we have all endured so much together. We have face death and hell and still stand strong. Should you the world need us again- and I am certain that it will- the Pride Warriors will be at its disposal. Out there, in the deepest, darkest depths of the Mutliverse, things are changing. Darkness is brewing, growing. As long as the Revanites are at large, we cannot share in Jiren's rest. We can not allow ourselves any more time to grieve; we must instead use this time to push on. To fight with power unrelenting"

Toppo flattened out his robes and turned to face the burning suns of Ki that shone above them. Orange. Purple. Grey. They all seemed to dance around each, their proud lights merging to form a blinding, burning whirlpool. At its heart sat a flicker of whiteness.

"I know what I must do. What we must do... Dypso... Cocette... We must reform the Pride Warriors. We must put our differences aside and repair what we have lost... though Jiren can never be replaced, we can still find courage without him. Our Universe still needs us. Our Multiverse needs us"

"You're... Don't make me say it, Toppo... But you're right..."

"Thank you, friend" Pride swelled within him "I knew that you of all people would understand the scope of things. Justice shines above all else. For its sake, we cannot fight any longer. There are forces out there that dwarfed Jiren- that dwarf even our combined might- so we must assemble and even greater army. We must return to the OMDA. We must return to the Coalition with our New Fighting Force. Marcaritta, send word to Universes 6 and 7. We'll need all the hands we can get. Tell them of the World Beyond our 12 Worlds. Tell them of Jiren's fall. Even if the Gods cannot help us, the Mortals still might. Son Goku. Vegeta. Gohan. Hit. Frost. Kale. We could use their power in the fight to come. Grant them membership into our force, should they accept it"

Marcaritta scowled

"You cannot form an Organization of your own, Toppo. You lack the power. You lack the influence..."

"It wont be an Organization, Angel. It will be... a Team. A team of... 'Super Heroes'. Pride Warriors without Pride. A Warriors for a New Era of Multiversal Justice...The New Warriors"

"But Belmond would never-"


"Belmond is a man bound to a single world. There are much greater things at stake here. This goes beyond him. It goes beyond us all"

With a fist over his heart, Toppo tuned back towards the Outsiders "I will stay among the 12 Worlds, for now, to rebuild our powerbase... and when the time comes- when the Coalition calls us all back into Active Duty, the New Warriors will be ready to strike, with hope in our hearts and justice as our shield. And when we are ready, we will be at your disposal; you have saved my life many, many times since we first met, I hope to repay those debts to you one day. Ben, Schala, Manson and Will... thank you, for everything. Thank you for hope"

Ben follows suit as Jiren was being sank into the ground. He rose a single hand and charged it with mana, releasing a pink glow of energy into the sky.

"You will be remembered..."

And so, it was time.

"So, I guess this is where we all part for the time being, huh?"

Despite this, Ben, based on his mannerisms seemed to have something to share with someone before he considered parting.​
 

York

Just a newbie...
Interlude
The Wake of the Gray

(Collab between @Crow @York @Alex Azure @Hahli Nuva @Sark )

And so, the group of Toppo, Ben, Schala & Will arrived at the Universe 11. This particular city seemed to be shining bright for a good morning.

"The other Pride Troopers will need to know one way or another," Ben says, "let's find them fast."

Schala couldn't help but stop to gaze in awe at her surroundings... But when Ben spoke, she quickly nodded, picking up her pace.

It wasn't the first time she found herself in unfamiliar surroundings, but she couldn't help but feel nervous about the prospect about meeting new people.

Though, since she was here on Jiren's behalf, so to speak, she managed to fight back her fear, and move on, although she hadn't quite worked up the courage to speak up just yet.

"They will come when they are called..." Toppo muttered, raising his fingers into the air. With the flex of a mental muscle, a wave of Justice Flashes rained from his fingertips, burning the sky a glowing orange. "At the end of days, you can take the warriors from the Pryde, but you cannot take the Pride from the Warriors"

Across the rooftops, a wave of red flashes danced, leaping from the skies to the earth. Within moments they began to quake and blur, taking on the form of 9 proud titans.

"Toppo!" The first called, hunched over his anvil. "So you've finally returned to Universe 11, huh?"

"Finished you little 'Repentance Act', have you? Belmond's been down our necks ever since Jiren and you skipped world"

"So what's it like out there, Toppo? What's it like beyond the twel-"

Cocotte stilled her tongue, smiling down towards the warriors at her feet.
"Oh, I see you've brought some guests! Some friends from the Great Beyond; Travelers... Welcome to Universe 11"

Toppo listed off his old friends one by one in a state of disbelief, his eyes becoming 2 yellow moons.
"Dypso, Kettol, Cocotte... Are there only the 4 of us left?"

"You've forgotten, Toppo...? We all parted ways after the Tournament. Without your leadership and Jiren's strength, what did we have? Zoiray and the others... they didn't want to follow anyone in your stead... So I've been leading the Pride Triad the best I could... But evil thrives again in Universe 11. Tell us; did you find Jiren? Your last messaged felt like a lifetime ago..."


"Dypso... You rose to the plate in my moment of greed, and for that, I owe you my thanks. The Pride Warriors will return, that I promise you. Zoiray will feel nothing but shame when we return to the front lines... with or without Jiren"


"Without... Jiren? You mean...?

"Jiren... he lost his way. He turned his back on our Justice and found his own... and the price of his realization was a body count to rival Xeno's... come... we have much to discuss and much to plan. My friends and I... we wish to honour the man he was, not the misguided man he became. He deserves a burial... He deserves our pity"

Wil flew silently, taking in the sight of the Pride Troopers and how they dealt with Jiren's death. She didn't know the man very well, but she knew when one had friends close enough to be called family.

"I remember being so angry at him. So rage filled. I thought he was just some misguided strongman, but I was wrong. Jiren believed in his path, that it was the one true way to perfection and peace. Even if he was fighting for darkness, he still thought he was walking in the light."

"He was a warrior, and after all that's happened, I can definitely see what you all see in him. I'm really glad to have met him. Towards the end of it all, he lead me away from a violent option and towards the mercy that I thought I rid myself of, through his words and his heart. To think I started off knowing him as he who seeks power and power alone..."

Ben then extends a hand for a little handshake towards the Pride Triad.

"Ben, Ben Tennyson."

Following Ben's lead, Mason added his own thoughts on Jiren. "He believed in his path. That conviction is not something I can deny. I admire somebody who will put everything into their role. I think we all can agree that his perseverance and will are what made him so strong. Although he went down the wrong path, his heart, like Will said, thought himself in the right. I don't blame him for being fooled. The multiverse lost a great warrior."

"My name is Mason Moretti. I had the... privilege? Honor? ... Fate. I had the fate of meeting Jiren, along with others of the Great Beyond. Traveler is probably the best way to describe me."


Mason was more hesitant to put out his hand for a handshake. Instead he put his hand up for a high five. The concept that a high-five might not exist as a gesture in this universe failed to cross his mind.

After her initial awkward silence, once te rest of the Pryde Warriors arrived and introduced themselves.

Offering them a polite curtsy, she bowed her head.

"I'm Schala... Schala Zeal. As far as I know... I'm all that's left of my family..." She said, then seemed to stop as she heard the talk of Jiren, reminding her of the reason she came in the first place.

Raising her head, one of her hands instinctively clasped at a pendant that was no longer here... At the place it once hung near her chest.

"But... That's not what I came here for. I came here to honor Jiren..." She added, a sad smile crossing her face as she continued.

"It's true he lost his way... It's true his ideals lead him to do some... Regretable things... But in the end... Before he left this world... I think he... Became the man he used to be... ... One last time."

Of course, meeting him in Avalon was... Strange in many ways, after he had passed on. Even though the reality she had met him in no longer existed, perhaps... Some aspect of Avalon still remains. After all, her pendant had yet to return to her, when the multiverse as it should be was reformed...

"Even if I didn't always agree with his decisions, I hope he found his peace..."
She said quietly.

Her gaze shifted to the sky above her... As if she might find Jiren's soul somewhere amongst the stars, or a place beyond even them.

Will could only float on in silence as she watched the rest of her friends and Jiren's allies mourn his passing.

Cocette spoke with heavy words and an even heavier heart, her words weighed own by grief.

"I shall grieve for your family as you grieve for mine, Schala Zeal. We welcome your candour and honour. Should you search for one, you will always have a home in Universe 11"

"Fate..." Dypso hesitated "Fate is the only way I could think to describe knowing Jiren. He had the purpose we all lacked in the old days... that drive, that will... the same zeal you all saw within him. Whether you knew him for years or days, you understand him as well as anyone could..."

After a moment of silence, the Pride Warriors took in the moment, coming to terms with the sudden news. The thought of living in a world without Jiren filled them with a new sensation; fear. Watching Jiren fall to Goku and Frieza had chilled them once before, but even then they had known the under different circumstances- had Jiren not tired, had he not been forced to hold back in the name of mercy- he could have overcome each foe separately. He was still strong. He was still the mightiest warrior in their world. Even the only warrior to match him had been equally good.

But the possibility that even a power as great as Jiren's could be matched and overcome in the wider universe was a possibility they would not admit easily. That one of their own had not only been defeated but killed by a greater evil... what hells existed beyond the Circle of Zeno?

"How..." Dypso's whisper cut through the silence "How did he die? Who... what evil took him from this world?"

"Me" Toppo spoke without hesitance or fear. His words were no longer restricted by regret or confusion; he had long since accepted the path he had taken. His old friends would need to do so too. They were too smart to be lied to and too proud to let secrets be kept from them. The truth was the only way. "A woman named Othinus sought to destroy the multiverse and recreate it in her image. Her means were cruel. Her goal was, in many ways, selfish. She sought to undo all the progress mortals have made in the hopes of undoing the evils that had wronged her. She recruited a team of powerful warriors to assist her. Her own Pride Warriors: DIO, Pucci, Marian...Jiren... Her Revanites stood by her side throughout her pilgrimage of destruction. In the end, Jiren stood against us. He delayed us time and time again. He bought Othinus time. He sold her his soul. In a last-ditch effort to protect our home, I gave my life to destroy our fallen friend. I surrendered the Hakai. In the end..." There was no use in telling them of the world reborn. There was no use in complicating the matter with tales of a world that never was "In the end, we saved the multiverse. Were our roles reversed... I take comfort knowing that he would have done the same for me. I released him of his burdens"

"Oh really?" Dyspo spat "Then how are you here, gloating to us? Are you proud of you victory? That's you've finally surpassed Belmond's first choice for an heir? You're really growing into the boots of the Destroyer now, aren't you, Mr.Leader?"

"Calm yourself, Dypso" Cocotte threw her new leader a look that could shatter glass, seeking to force his anger back into his belly "If Toppo is to be believed, then Jiren abandoned justice... no, he abandoned our justice. These Outsiders speak highly of Jiren's character... perhaps... Perhaps he simply found another path... a not a right path or a wrong path, but simply a different one? One that cost too many lives for Toppo to let go on unchecked..."

"Of course Toppo would say that! Toppo the Coward! Toppo the Traitor! Toppo, the Lapdog! And we're expected to just take his word for it? So tell us, Old Killer, how did you defy death a second time?"

"Even... even a God can show Mercy..."

"I should have known"
Fury burned behind the hare's eyes "I should have known that Belmond would protect his precious protege!"

"Hold your tongue, Rat!"

"Why should I? Can't you see it, Toppo? Has your power blinded you? Belmond is grooming you. He's been doing it from the start! Even since Jiren turned down your seat, he's been setting you up to become Jiren two-point-oh! A grumpy old fool with too much power! You'll never be half the man he was! Jiren would never take orders from that clown!"


"And you would defy the Destroyer? I don't recall you raising an objecting hand to him ordering us to join the Tournament!"


"If I could harness the Hakai, you could stake your life that I would! He blows up planets, Toppo! If there was a poster boy for Evil, it would have Belomd's sick red grin printed across its centre!"


"I hate him as much as you, Dypso! If not more so! Don't convince yourself that I am the villain! If you were there... if you could see the look in his eyes... that I'd stake my life in turn that you would be standing beside me now!"


"Perhaps if you didn't insist on going in alone, then maybe we wouldn't have play these stupid speculation games! Admit it! You left this world under the Destroyer's Orders! You were sent out there to Assassinate Jiren the Grey, knowing that Belmond would bring you back if you failed! And admit that you're proud to have done your job!"


"I'll admit that I was proud to have defeated Jiren! I at least have the sense not to lie to myself! I am proud to have died for something I believe in! I am proud to have helped save the whole damn multiverse from an evil you didn't even know existed! Get your head out of the dirt, Rabbit! There's a whole damn multiverse out there, and the only thing stopping you from exploring it is your own fear!"


"Fear!" Dypso's power surged, engulfing him in a tower of purple flame "My Super-Maximum-Light Speed Mode will show you true fear, Coward!"

"Dyspo, stop!"


"Both of you, no!"

In a flash, the last of the Pride Warriors collided, desperately trying the part the parrying fists of the 2 old leaders. Perhaps they were fighting to defend their own pride? Or perhaps it was some sort of assertion of power or dominance? Or maybe they were simply fighting as a means of venting, a futile attempt to release the steam of grief.

As the four fists met at the centre of the clearing, a dancing foot protected them from a wrist shattering four-way collision.

"What happened to Jiren was a tragedy in every sense of the word" A 4th voice sung apathetically, almost condescendingly so "But I assure you, Lord Belmond has played as little role in recent events as he could. He lent Toppo his strength whilst he was locked in a difficult fight, nothing more; should he have interfered any more, he would have violated more multiversal laws that I care to acknowledge. Should he have tried, as the Angel of this world, I would have stopped him... I trust that this puts your conspiracies to rest, Dyspo?" She raised an eyebrow, starting Dyspo head to toe. Not wishing to receive another scalding from the Marcarita- or worse, a beating- he lowered his head and relaxed his arms. He turned his back on his old friends.

"I remembered the first time the 4 of your crossed fists- or should that be palms. It was some Earthing team building symbol, with a name I can't quite remember. You-know-who and I were watching from the Kai's Realm... The 4 of you all looked so happy- the founders of a brave new era of Heroes..."

"Those days are as dead as Jiren... now let's get this damn funeral over and done with... the sooner we bury the casket the sooner Toppo and I can settle our depts..."


"Dypso... Don't be like this...Please"


Turning to the Outsiders, Marcarita gifted them a squinting smile, spinning her staff between her finger and her thumb.

"I'm sorry about the Pryde Triad... as you said, they saw much of themselves within Jiren. No matter who he became, you are all right; he remained a symbol to many in Universe 11... and unless there are any other affairs you wish to settle, I can transport us to the funeral site: a nice, quiet spot on Jiren's homeworld. Simply touch my staff, and I will arrange the rest"

"I have heavy doubts that
he would like the sight of this."

Ben crosses his arms as he watches the bickering simmer down with Macarita's intervention.

"To see you all squabble like this over him, I mean. It's evident that he's a major reason why you all stuck like glue, would he like the sight of what are essentially his brothers and sisters that show concern and respect for him, that which he essentially served as a core for, falling apart like this?"

Ben approaches Marcarita, touching her staff.

"Time is of the essence. Let's set it all up."

"Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't. Doesn't really matter what he likes anymore now, does it?"

Upon touching Marcarita's staff, the Outsiders would find themselves transported across the universe in a cone of light, reappearing in the heart of a wild wasteland before they could fully comprehend what had just happened. Wherever they looked, all they would find were endless empty plains, separated only by fleeting freckles of dry grass.

"This is- or was- the site of Jiren's home. During his youth, the world was conquered by a group of outsiders. They were thorough, to say the least-- there is a reason his family cannot be in attendance..."

Gliding across the plain, Marcarita came to a stop at a humble hole in the earth, delicately dug out into a delicate 2.5m by 1m scale. Beside it sat an unmarked brown bird coffin, sealed with a silver fitting and engraved with the mark of Belmond.

"Jiren was never one for physical possessions, and in the absence of a body, we have had to resort to grave measures to find something to burry... if you would excuse my choice of words. Beneath the lid lies Jiren's cloak, found in the possessions of his old teacher's kin. Accompanying it is a holorecording of the Tournament of Power, one of the few remaining recordings of the Warrior, and a pair of his boots, also salvaged from the tournament arena. They're hardly the objects that most represents his character, but the life Jiren lived left us in a tight spot"

Approaching the coffin, Marcarita paused in a moment of confusion, a hesitant hand hovering over its lid.

"Strange..." She muttered, raising the oddity towards the sun "I could have sworn that this wasn't there earlier..."



"Do any of you recognise this? Its some sort of... necklace? Or maybe it's some bizarre Earthing eyeglass?"

"Anyway, I suppose we should get on with the proceedings. There was no formal funeral structure among Jiren's people, maybe it's best if we keep things simple:

If anyone wishes to say some final words, you're welcome to do so-- take all the time you need. And when you are ready- when you've said your goodbyes- please, place a handful of dirt on top of the coffin and give it your blessing. Once that has been done, we can lower it into the earth and Jiren can be laid to rest. Does anybody in particular wish to start us off?"


"I kept this for him," Ben says to Marcarita as he unveils the ripped piece of Pride Trooper uniform. "I believe this represents Jiren the most out of all of these items - his Pride Trooper uniform, or what's left of it, would naturally represent his allegiance, his pride, his very own definition of what makes a Pride Trooper a Pride Trooper, and the journey he will take to uncover it."

He looks at Toppo for a bit.

"You can take the warriors from the pride, but you can't take the pride from the warriors."

Ben then places it down with Jiren's other possessions, only to see a very familiar looking necklace that Macarita pointed out. He looks to Schala for a bit, then back to the coffin.

"Correction - perhaps there's something else among this that might also represents Jiren best. The piece of the uniform represents his pride, bonds and journey with family, but there's something here that represents his true happiness, emotions from Jiren that can only be achieved upon attaining his ultimate wish... his destination.

Journey and Destination. Both are just as important, one cannot exist without the other."


Ben then bows his head in respect, speaking few more words. What he needed to say to Jiren was said in the realm of the living. Now, he wanted Jiren to enjoy peace and quiet.

"... goodbye Jiren..."

He places a handful of dirt on the coffin to signify Jiren becoming one with his planet once more, tears being shed onto the dirt to moisten it with life.

Mason was the next to step up and say something. He stood next to the makeshift grave and spent a few moments in silence, searching for words.

"Jiren, you journeyed with us with nothing to lose but your life. You gave it to what you believed in, even if it led you astray. The gods of the great multiverse lead people this way and that along the thread of fate, but you made a choice. You took fate into your own hands, and that deserves much respect."

"Some people get a second chance in life. Others get their second chance in death. Wherever your soul rests now, I hope it is doing well. Let's meet again in another life."


Mason Moretti scooped a handful of dirt and held it high. His aura, his ki, glowed in his hand. He let the dirt fall atop the coffin, carrying bits of his aura with it. "A little bit of energy for you in the next life. Memento vitae, Jiren, and memento mori. We'll remember your life, and your death."

Schala gave Cocette a grateful smile, nodding a little.

"Thank you... ... I'll keep that in mind, should something happen to the place I now call... Home." She said.

Of course, it was going to take time to shake the strange feeling she got whenever she spoke of the Coalition as her 'home'. Perhaps in some ways, she had never truly forgotten the Kingdom she had lost.

As Toppo and Dypso began to quarrel, Schala clenched her fists, preparing to intervene... Even if she risked getting hurt herself.

However, the timely arrival of a fifth, who introduced herself as Marcarita avoided what would have likely been a chaotic scuffle. It was probably for the best that Schala never was given the chance to intervene in this case.

"Jiren thought he found a way to end all conflict... Ironically enough, what he sought most... Through the battles we fought him in... Was to grant us all eternal peace... ... The least we can do in his honor, is to grant this ceremony our peace... For his sake..." She said, before bowing her head as she reached to touch Marcarita's staff.

Truth to be told... She too, had seen at least part of herself in Jiren when she had fought him numerous times. His struggles... His anguish, his beliefs.

Perhaps... Were it not for the situation, they might have been friends.

As she felt herself being transported across the Universe, not unlike the transport methods used by the Coalition to some degree.

She took a moment to soak in her surroundings, eerily reminiscent of what remained of her Kingdom... That now rested at the bottom of the sea it once soared over... Along with her people's hopes and dreams.

As she listened to Marcarita begin to list off the few items she placed within the coffin, Schala's mind started to wander to the Tournament of power. Though now wasn't the time, she would like to have a copy of the footage of Jiren's battle.

Of course, it was difficult to forget him after having faced him herself, but... Something to remember him by would be nice, as he wasn't one to leave many things behind it seemed.

However, she was quickly jolted out of her thoughts when Marcarita held up a very familiar necklace. Feeling her heart leap a little, then sink, she frowned... Not sure what to make of its appearance here.

Making eye contact with Ben for a brief moment, she spoke up, the surprise evident in her face.

"Yes...! That's... ... My pendant. The last bit of my Kingdom I still had with me... ... I once used it to store magical energy... And operate the technology we once had... ... And for a while, I thought I needed it to traverse dimensions..." She said, frowning a little as she stared at the pendant intently.

"I left it with Jiren... In a moment I wasn't sure I could win against Othinus... Nor save the multiverse... As a memory of a time, and place long gone... But... ... Just like before... It must have found a way back to me..." She added, her hand reached out to the pendant, feeling a certain amount of magical energy still emanating from it, but in the end... She retracted it, a realization dawning upon her.

"... I think it belongs with the rest of Jiren's possessions... Like Ben said... It represent's Jiren's destination... Wherever he may be now..." She said, then she paused, looking around at the planet around her.

A sad, yet hopefull smile crossed her face as she looked to the sky above her, before she too bowed, putting a hand on the coffin, as if she were saying goodbye to Jiren one last time.

"If Jiren were here, he would no doubt wish for us to mention his strength. It was how he had always characterised himself. He sought to be the strongest in the room, in any room, in any universe. And whenever he said this to us, whenever he explained his motivations or his goals, I had always presumed his means to have been driven by envy. I thought he had fought for Pride, just as we all did. While we were fighting for glory or 'Justice', I've come to learn that Jiren was always fighting for... guilt. Shame. He was weighed down by all the burdens he was forced to carry, and the only way to lessen his pain was to redouble his carrying capacity. After all of, I admit to regret. I regret not finding a way to reach out to Jiren. I regret not finding a way to understand him, to get him to open up to us all. I keep asking myself 'what if?". What if I had done more? What if I had asked a different question? What if I had had the courage to follow in his footsteps? But now, they just feel like wasted words. Empty, wasted words, spoken to a ghost at a funeral.

So Jiren, I'm sorry. Beyond that, I'm sorry that I never got to tell you how sorry I was. I'm sorry that you were forced to endure the life that you did. I'm sorry that you had to endure the tragedies it contained. I'm sorry that I couldn't have done more- that I couldn't have been more. I'm sorry that I couldn't have known you better. I'm sorry that there's now no time for me to tell you that you are loved. You are loved and missed by all of us. We don't care about what you did. We don't care about the Gray or your philosophies or passion. We never needed your strength. We needed you. We still do. And now that you have reached your destination- now that you have found your peace- we won't let your spirit be resigned to memory. You live on in the three of us... no... all of us. The lived you touched and the strength you have lent to all will shine on long after you are laid to rest. My the Otherworld Bless You with Mercy, Old Friend"


With her palm raised to the sky, Cocette released a Purple Power Impact, its light burning into the skies above.

"I was the fastest in the universe... once upon a time. Now that I say it aloud, it sounds so bizarre. So smug. The idea that I could once consider myself unmatchable... I suppose that title was an old habit that failed to die, even when Jiren showed up. The day Belmond assembled the Pride Warriors for the first time- the first moment I laid eyes upon Jiren- I was struck with excitement. The very idea of an ally who could match me was enough to get me to join the team. And whenever we fought- in every battle in every world we liberated- Jiren and I raced side my side. We were equals. We were perfectly matched in power... Only once Goku truly began to push him did I realise how much power- how much speed- he had been holding back. To protect my pride- whether out of strategy or kindness- Jiren withheld his potential time and time again. In doing so he made me feel wanted. He made me feel valued. He made me... part of this team. And now that I'm its leader, and now that our numbers are so small... it's no longer the team I once knew. Because... The Pride Warriors aren't the Pride Warriors without Jiren. Your presence, however cold or down-right terrifying it could be, was the cement that brought us together. It was the rock that we built upon. It was respect. It was admiration. It couldn't be bought and it couldn't be sold. I know that you would fold your arms to our sentiments now, so I won't go on for too long... Yes, that'll be my excuse to shut up before I upset myself. But Jiren, if you were here now, I'd salute you. Simple as that. You have earned your place among the stars, Jiren. God Speed"

With his palm raised to the sky, Dypso released a Grey Power Impact, its light burning into the skies above.

"I've had a lot of time to think about what I'd say to Jiren if he were still here. A lifetime, in fact. As Othinus commanded the universe to dance in on itself again and again- amidst all that pain and chaos- it was all I could think about. Could I bring myself to face him? Could I look him in the eyes and confess to what I did to him? I haven't slept since then. Maybe I'm afraid that I couldn't do it. Maybe I'm afraid that the next time I close my eyes I'll have to have the justice I deserve. Or maybe, the one thing that worries me more is that Jiren has forgiven me. He told me so as we burned together. He accepted his fate. He accepted his freedom. He looked me in the eyes and stared back at me with eyes free of hate or fury. He was... at peace, for the first time in years. The storm in his heart seemed to have passed. That was the kind of man we met in the Otherworld: a man unrestrained by his guilt and grief, and free to live out the rest of his days a liberated man. It was the hero's welcome he had always deserved. I trust that, in his passing, Jiren has returned to that place. I trust that he has returned to his Nirvana.

But even the world he made wasn't built for him. He sought to build it for us all. A sacrifice. A gift that we could not bring ourselves to accept is a gift none the less. It was so easy for us all to call him a traitor. We were so quick to brand him as evil, or as unforgivable... myself included. But he never turned his back on us. He never fought for the Revanites. Even though he stood by Othinus' side, he still stood for us. He still stood for Justice. For Freedom. For Liberty. For Goodness and Soul. Fate is the cursed one for pitting us against him. Fate is the demon for forcing his hand to strike against us. Not him. And the day he made that impossible choice, the day he stood by Pucci and turned his back towards me, was the day a sin greater than murder; I anointed him as an evildoer. I will cast my pride aside now as I did then. You did not deserve that branding. You did not deserve that disgrace. You did not deserve to be fate punching bag nor the God's scapegoat. You were, are, and always will be a hero. My hero. And my friend. I pray that we meet again soon... though your spirit rests beyond our world and beyond the reach of our Gods, I pray that whoever's realm you fall in to sees the man you truly are. I pray that they see Jiren the Gray for the mighty soul he truly his. So long, Brother... enjoy your prize"


With his palm raised to the sky, Toppo released an orange Power Impact, its light burning into the skies above.

As silence settle in the air, the Pride Warriors bowed in unison. At long last, Jiren was at rest. His journey was at a close.

With a wave of her staff, Marcaritta lowered the warrior's coffin back into the Earth until it too was lost in to a sea of dust.

"Then this.. this is it" Toppo smiled "Jiren is finally free, and wherever is spirit dwells... I'm certain that it is happy... I'm certain that it is no longer so... troubled" With tears drying from his cheeks, Toppo turned back towards his new allies... no, he turned back towards his friends. "Ben, Schala, Manson, Will... we have all endured so much together. We have face death and hell and still stand strong. Should you the world need us again- and I am certain that it will- the Pride Warriors will be at its disposal. Out there, in the deepest, darkest depths of the Mutliverse, things are changing. Darkness is brewing, growing. As long as the Revanites are at large, we cannot share in Jiren's rest. We can not allow ourselves any more time to grieve; we must instead use this time to push on. To fight with power unrelenting"

Toppo flattened out his robes and turned to face the burning suns of Ki that shone above them. Orange. Purple. Grey. They all seemed to dance around each, their proud lights merging to form a blinding, burning whirlpool. At its heart sat a flicker of whiteness.

"I know what I must do. What we must do... Dypso... Cocette... We must reform the Pride Warriors. We must put our differences aside and repair what we have lost... though Jiren can never be replaced, we can still find courage without him. Our Universe still needs us. Our Multiverse needs us"

"You're... Don't make me say it, Toppo... But you're right..."

"Thank you, friend" Pride swelled within him "I knew that you of all people would understand the scope of things. Justice shines above all else. For its sake, we cannot fight any longer. There are forces out there that dwarfed Jiren- that dwarf even our combined might- so we must assemble and even greater army. We must return to the OMDA. We must return to the Coalition with our New Fighting Force. Marcaritta, send word to Universes 6 and 7. We'll need all the hands we can get. Tell them of the World Beyond our 12 Worlds. Tell them of Jiren's fall. Even if the Gods cannot help us, the Mortals still might. Son Goku. Vegeta. Gohan. Hit. Frost. Kale. We could use their power in the fight to come. Grant them membership into our force, should they accept it"

Marcaritta scowled

"You cannot form an Organization of your own, Toppo. You lack the power. You lack the influence..."

"It wont be an Organization, Angel. It will be... a Team. A team of... 'Super Heroes'. Pride Warriors without Pride. A Warriors for a New Era of Multiversal Justice...The New Warriors"

"But Belmond would never-"


"Belmond is a man bound to a single world. There are much greater things at stake here. This goes beyond him. It goes beyond us all"

With a fist over his heart, Toppo tuned back towards the Outsiders "I will stay among the 12 Worlds, for now, to rebuild our powerbase... and when the time comes- when the Coalition calls us all back into Active Duty, the New Warriors will be ready to strike, with hope in our hearts and justice as our shield. And when we are ready, we will be at your disposal; you have saved my life many, many times since we first met, I hope to repay those debts to you one day. Ben, Schala, Manson and Will... thank you, for everything. Thank you for hope"

Ben follows suit as Jiren was being sank into the ground. He rose a single hand and charged it with mana, releasing a pink glow of energy into the sky.

"You will be remembered..."

And so, it was time.

"So, I guess this is where we all part for the time being, huh?"

Despite this, Ben, based on his mannerisms seemed to have something to share with someone before he considered parting.​
Schala Zeal
@Crow @Sark @Alex Azure @Others(?)

Hearing all that was said about Jiren... Tears welled up in Schala's eyes again, but this time, they weren't entirely born from sadness.

No... In a way, she was happy, Maybe even proud of the legacy Jiren had left behind. Despite the tragedies of his past, and some of the decisions he had made, in the end.

For a few moments, she was almost entranced by the power impacts detonating in the sky, shimmering like stars.

Feeling compelled to add something of her own to the sky, to help commemorate Jiren, she closed her eyes, murmuring an ancient prayer under her breath.

From her hands, sprung what looked like an angelic silhouette, shining brightly amidst the color... Spreading its wings, before it flew high into the sky, and finally dissipated along with the other orbs of light.

Normally it would have been a healing spell, a powerfull one at that, but because there was no-one to heal this time, it was simply a magical image she projected into the sky, that didn't seem to expend that much energy from her.

Upon Toppo's mention of reforming the pride warriors, Schala smiled once more.

"If you ever require my aid... Contact me at the Coalition. I'll be happy to lend you my strength. It's the least I could do... For all that you have done for me... For us... Toppo." She said.

There was a feeling deep down, Othinus was the least of our problems. Perhaps, she was nothing more than a diversion, but that would come later. However, now was not the time to worry about that.

Instead, she cast one last look at the planet around her, now devoid of the civilization that had once flourished.

But eventually, out of the corner of her eye... She saw Ben, with a strange expression on his face.

She wasn't entirely sure what to do, let alone what to say, but in the end, she followed her gut instinct and approached him. Though she found that she couldn't maintain eye contact with him, so instead, she cast her eyes downwards, a bit of awkward silence following this before she finally spoke up again.

"Is there... Something you wish to say to me?" She asked.

It was the best she could come up with, to make some kind of conversation.​
 

Crow

YOU MEAN
"Likewise for me, Toppo," Ben adds to Schala's words, "you're recruiting from Universe 7? I guess I would like to fight alongside Goku and friends again. Haven't seen them since the Cell Games 2.0, ain't that right, Mason?"

He then turns to Schala, who noticed that he had something to say.

"Actually, yes. It's about what I wanted to trust you with. You see, I... well..."

Ben stuttered with each word. There was something he had to say, but it wasn't coming out.

But you know what they say - actions speak louder than words.

"Well I... I'm terrible at words."

Letting his actions speak, Ben leans forward as his lips connected with Schala's for a good while.

A kiss, if you may.

Once he disconnected himself, he scratched his head and blushed, only just realising what he had done.

"Well, I guess... that was what I wanted to say all this time... ahaha...

Over the course of this good while, ever since we parted from the Lavos incident, I think I'm starting to like you..."


Ben's voice was most soft, sheepish and blurred at those last words.

Silence followed. Silence most awkward in nature.


"... so uh... you wanna hang out sometime? After the multiverse is saved from the Revanchs and all, of course."

@York @Alex Azure @Sark
 

York

Just a newbie...
"Likewise for me, Toppo," Ben adds to Schala's words, "you're recruiting from Universe 7? I guess I would like to fight alongside Goku and friends again. Haven't seen them since the Cell Games 2.0, ain't that right, Mason?"

He then turns to Schala, who noticed that he had something to say.

"Actually, yes. It's about what I wanted to trust you with. You see, I... well..."

Ben stuttered with each word. There was something he had to say, but it wasn't coming out.

But you know what they say - actions speak louder than words.

"Well I... I'm terrible at words."

Letting his actions speak, Ben leans forward as his lips connected with Schala's for a good while.

A kiss, if you may.

Once he disconnected himself, he scratched his head and blushed, only just realising what he had done.

"Well, I guess... that was what I wanted to say all this time... ahaha...

Over the course of this good while, ever since we parted from the Lavos incident, I think I'm starting to like you..."


Ben's voice was most soft, sheepish and blurred at those last words.

Silence followed. Silence most awkward in nature.


"... so uh... you wanna hang out sometime? After the multiverse is saved from the Revanchs and all, of course."

@York @Alex Azure @Sark
Schala Zeal
@Crow @Alex Azure @Sark

Schala had been so pre-occupied with trying to figure out what Ben was going to say, that she had unwittingly dropped her guard for the moment. There was something he had wanted to trust her with, that much she knew; he had been trying to say it some time earlier, but even now... He struggled with his words, despite there being no clear urgency to the situation at first.

It was then that Ben kissed her, catching her completely off-guard. Her face flushed, and this fluttering feeling in her heart emerged. It was a strange feeling, unlike anything she had felt before, though she faintly recognized having felt something similar, in a different time... In a different place.

Without really thinking about it, she kissed him back, at least until he ended the kiss abruptly.

It was only then that it became apparent to him that he hadn't exactly... Understood what he had done either. However, before she could think too deeply on that kind of thing, what he said next brought a look of surprise to her face, which she managed to quickly hide by covering most of her face, with the exception of her eyes maybe with her sleeve.

"You... Chose to remember it?" She said.

There was that fluttering feeling again, indescribable and strange. Familiar, yet unfamiliar at the time. It resembled what she had felt when she had re-united with Sorey, or perhaps more like when Serge had freed her from the clutches of Lavos once and for all.

"It's strange. I never thought anyone would want to remember all that I had put you through... But... Thank you."

When he asked if they could... Hang out some time, perhaps for the lack of a better words, Schala took a while to consider the prospect, before shrugging and smiling.

"Yes! I... I mean... I don't see why not..." She answered, somewhat timidly.

Much time had passed since the day she was freed from Lavos' grasp, and the day her past had come back to haunt her, in the form of Emnity. Since then, she had learned so much, about herself, about the multiverse, but even so... There were still many things that she found difficult to understand, and in this case, some of those things happened to be her own feelings.

But nonetheless, she found no reason not to take some time off from the coalition after this whole mess was over. After all, Othinus had only been the beginning, a mere diversion. The Revanchist, whatever they were doing, wherever they were... Had made their move, and it was going to be up to her and the rest of the Coalition to counter.

Afterwards? Schala figured spending some time with Ben was a good starting point as any.

Of course, the Multiverse was always going to need protecting, as danger was lurking at every unexpected turn, but... There was no harm in taking a break every so often, was there?​
 

Yun Lee

The Sculptor
Administrator
The Convergence Series GM
Epilogue: Libra and Severa
"A Beginning"

And so, the battle was won, and a powerful ally was gained. Through his brush with his own inner demons, Libra couldn’t help but feel a new inner peace of his own, one that would help him stay stronger in this upcoming war. But if he were to keep this peace, he knew his role within this battle would need to change. He had strayed from the light with his own desire for vengeance, and in order to stay on the right path, he would need to-

“Hey, you. Priest.”

“Hm?” Libra paused, hearing someone call out to him. It was only a few days after the defeat of DIO, and he had been wandering the halls of Headquarters, lost in his thoughts of what to do next. He turned to the familiar voice, finding Cordelia’s daughter standing there. She had changed out of her bride dress, and was back in her usual mercenary garb, with her same scowl to complete the look. Even so, Libra smiled at her.

PicsArt_12-28-09.34.06.png

“Good morning, Severa. Is everything all right?”

“Fine as it can be, you know, considering I’m even less useful in battle now.” Despite her snark, Severa’s heart wasn’t all that in it, which Libra could tell from her tone. No, he had heard this exact same tone back in Morioh; Severa wanted something. And she wasn’t about to waste time on small talk. “Look, I wanna ask you a favor. This is something I canNOT ask my mother.”

Libra frowned, raising an eyebrow. “I’m already highly dubious.”

“Ugh, it’s nothing bad, I swear! But I dunno…” Severa shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t want her to know about it. And you better not tell her, or I'll NEVER forgive you!”

“...” Libra was rather conflicted. He really wished she would just come out and say what it was, as sneaking around behind Cordelia’s back sounded very unsavory. But she seemed genuine, definitely, so...hm. Finally, the priest sighed. Naga, don’t let me regret this… “...all right. What do you need?”

PicsArt_07-24-08.53.59.png

“Weeeeeeell…”

---


Though cloudy, the bright blue sky still shone through, a gorgeous contrast to the emerald green of the valley below. A pleasant breeze cooled the air, where the sound bleating sheep and children laughing could be heard, even up on this hill. The air was crisp, the view refreshing, and it was something Libra never expected he would be so happy to see again. The kingdom of Ylisse, in a time of peace. A peace he and the other Shepherds had fought for, and had ultimately won. To think it was in jeopardy yet again...but he was ready. Whatever Revan had planned, Libra would do his part to stop it.

He closed his eyes, breathing in the spring air with a smile, before looking to Severa. Her back was to him, overlooking the valley herself. “Severa…?”

“...it’s beautiful.” She lifted up her arm, wiping away at her eyes. “I...I never imagined Ylisse could look like...like THIS.” She turned to him. “And you...you got to see it every day? Why?”

He blinked, puzzled. “Why…?”

“Why did you leave? Why not just...stay here? It’s so perfect! No war, no desolation...it's like the paradise Othinus gave us.”

Libra was silent a moment. “I never truly thought about it,” he finally said, walking to stand beside her. “I...suppose I was restless. Just because Ylisse was safe and at peace, I couldn’t help but wonder if there were other places, other people, who needed help. I just couldn’t sit by and enjoy paradise when there was so much else to be done.”

“...huh.” Severa crossed her arms. “Y’know...I think I’m kinda understanding that mindset, now. I could only ever really think about getting my mother back. But after all we went through...I guess helping the Multiverse isn’t HORRIBLE.”

Libra smiled. “I’m glad to hear that. The Multiverse is a beautiful place, and one that needs protecting.”

“Yeah. And with you as my teacher, I’ll be the best Bride ever! Revan won't know what hit him!”

“Er...teacher?”

---

“You WHAT?!?!

Severa had practically backed Libra into a corner in the cafeteria, hands balled into fists. “What do you MEAN you can only teach me healing?! Don’t you know how to use other weapons, too?”

“I know how to use an axe, nothing more.” Libra was not backing down, but this was definitely a situation he wanted out of soon. “I can teach you how to properly use a staff, but I won’t be fighting for a while. I want to stay here and tend to those wounded in Othinus’ attack.”

“Oh my GAWDS! You’re literally the WORST!” Severa stomped her foot. “How the heck am I supposed to learn how to use a stupid lance now?”

“Well for starters, maybe not causing a scene in the middle of the cafeteria?” The two Ylisseans turned to the newcomer, a man neither had ever seen before. “Once you get past the age of six, temper tantrums aren’t all that cute anymore.”

Severa scoffed. “Hey, butt out! This is a private conversation!”

The man idly picked his ear. “You sure about that? You’re so loud that I think everyone in Knowhere could hear you.”

“Ugh. Just back off, okay? This doesn’t concern you.”

“Eh, If you say so.” The man shrugged and turned away. “And to think I was gonna help you find a lance teacher…”

“What? W-Wait!” Severa reached her hand out as if to stop him. “YOU know someone who could teach me how to use a lance?”

“Hm?” He didn’t look behind him. “Oh, yeah, sure do. Best in the business, too. You’d be a master in no time...as long as you dropped the attitude, of course.”

“Grr...ugh, whatever. Beggars can’t be choosers right now.” She put her hands on her hips. “Just who IS this guy, anyway?”

The man chuckled, raising his hand. As if from thin air, a red lance materialized in it, which he spun around before resting on his shoulder, looking behind him with a smirk.



“Why, miss...you’re looking at him.”

To be continued...
 
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