Elijah Snow is a Century Baby, a handful of individuals born on the first day of the first year of the new century, meant to act as the Earth's immune system and gifted with metahuman powers. Elijah recognised his importance at a young age, and he set out to investigate an apparent grand conspiracy that was controlling humanity. Elijah's investigations brought him into combat with the likes of Frankenstein's Monster, the Invisible Man, and Carnicki the Ghost Finder before confronting the leaders of the conspiracy: Dracula and a remorseful Sherlock Holmes, who takes Snow under his wing after he kills the vampire lord.
Elijah's travels took him all over, from the hidden city of Opak-Re to alternate dimensions to alien worlds, and it would lead to him using his considerable resources to create Planetary, an organisation dedicated to uncovering the secret history of the world, and recruiting three field operatives, Ambrose Chase, Jakita Wagner, and the Drummer, with himself as the mysterious "Fourth Man". Elijah ran afoul of a new conspiracy to control mankind, this time run by "The Four Voyagers", a group of astronauts who journeyed to space and returned with incredible powers at the cost of their humanity. Planetary engaged the threat, but Elijah was outplayed by their leader, Randall Dowling, who wiped his mind in exchange for sparing the other agents.
Isolating himself in the desert, Snow was left on his own for nearly a decade before Jakita disobeyed orders and "recruited" him into Planetary, taking him on several adventures before secret agent John Stone was able to break Dowling's memory blocks and reveal to Elijah the truth of his role in the organization. Armed with his full knowledge and resources, Elijah battled the Four once again, capturing or incapacitating two of the team before having a final showdown with Randall and his lover Kim Suskind where he lured them into a trap and killed them. With the Four dealt with, Planetary took possession of their numerous stolen technologies and secrets and used them to make the world a better place, fulfilling Elijah's purpose as a Century Baby.
Color Battle Royale (by BeastMan14)
The bus comes to a gentle landing in front of the DFederal Battledome, standing proud in it's (partly unfinished) glory, and out steps a young man in a green hoodie, followed closely by a blue-haired girl on skates. Despite her edge in speed, Ramona follows her boss as he walks into the building, walking through the doors and heading down the hallway into a room labelled "Simulation Control". With a smile, Beast flicks the lights on and stops to listen as the computers whiz to life. Ramona takes a seat at the lead computer and begins typing, while Beast, hands behind his back, watches the various TV screens, each synced to a different camera hidden within the area.
After a few seconds, a holographic map of the arena appears before Beast, while nine holographic figures appear above it, each a different color. Inspecting the figures, Beast's smile turns into a frown when he sees one, a hooded man, is rendered in teal. Confused, he points to it.
"What the hell? Why isn't he Indigo?"
Without looking away from the computer, Ramona shrugged and replied, "Well, we don't have indigo, so I improvised. We're live in 90 seconds, so I could make a new icon if you wanted me to delay it?"
Beast sighed and rubbed his temples, waving off his assistant's query. With a smirk, she went back to her work, while he dragged each icon to a different point in the arena. His work finished, he gestured to her, and she hit enter, spawning nine small pieces of paper next to where the warriors themselves would spawn before a rainbow, complete with the addition of black, white, and a garish teal, stretched across the sky.
With all preparations completed, Beast's smile returned and he checked his watch. Ten seconds.
"Let's do this. Without any further ado, Ramona, hit it."
Ramona nodded and pressed a red button by her desk. Across the arena, every camera activated, clicking into place, while across DFederal, TV screens were filled with a garish green and red logo that read:
COLOR BATTLE ROYALE: A BEASTMAN14 PRODUCTION
As the music played and the warriors spawned, Beast smirked to himself. Months of planning and countless favors, all culminating in this.
Part 1: Catch the Rainbow
Elijah Snow awoke with a groan, stretching as he stood from the couch he had been lying on. Where the hell were Jakita and Drummer, and where the hell was he? The room reeked of death and a dim light shone in through one of the windows. Taking a moment to adjust to his surroundings, he glanced in morbid curiosity at the table in the center of the room, where two skeletons, one holding a rusted pistol, lay in front of a note.
Assuming it to be a suicide note, Elijah's eyes widened in surprise when he saw the note was addressed to him. Picking it up, he noted it's relatively new condition in comparison to the rest of the room before reading it.
You have been selected as the champion of White (not like that!) in the first ever Color Battle Royale. The objective is simple: survive to be the last man standing. You can make allies, scavenge for supplies at one of the loot boxes around the city, or fight everyone you see, but there can only be one!
If you win, you'll acquire one of the nicest homes in DFederal and even a chance to call in a favor from yours truly.
Be sure to watch the rainbow!
After reading the note over twice, Elijah shook his head and tossed it aside. What the hell was DFederal? Who was Beast? Where had he been taken? He needed answers. Fortunately, he was good at acquiring those. Popping his collar, he took one last look at the apartment before heading out the door.
The Oracle scowled and tore the note apart before letting the scraps fall to his feet. First, he had been taken away from his plans, from the Clan, and dumped in a gas station on the edge of a ruined city. Now, he was told he needed to fight to the death at the whim of some greater power? This kind of game was beneath him, and whoever had done this needed to be dealt with.
As he stomped out of the station, he paused to reconsider. If a being was strong enough to take him unaware, then perhaps he could use this power for his own ends. Of course, that would require winning the game and meeting this "Beast" personally.
With a smirk, the Oracle floated in the air to survey his surroundings, his gaze settling upon a wilting skyscraper that loomed in the center of the city. It would do nicely as a base of operations. He soared towards it, paying little attention to either those beneath him or the strangely-colored rainbow that hung even higher in the sky than him. He had his task, and he would not stop until it was completed.
Floating gracefully through a broken window, the Oracle came to a stop and looked around. It appeared to be an office building, the room littered with broken furniture and fully rotted corpses, a grim reminder of his world if the Purple Clan were to succeed. Banishing the thought from his mind, the Oracle sat down, closed his eyes, and cast his mind out. If he was going to eliminate the others, he would need an executioner.
Sara Lance shattered the wooden door with a kick, knocking it off it's hinges, then walked out onto the rooftop to survey wherever the hell she had just woken up. One minute, she was in bed with Ava, the next she was in a ruined city. This was the last time she'd leave Mick unattended with the Waverider's controls. The city was bombed to hell, most of it's buildings totally rundown, but in the horizon lay a lush forest.
Taking a moment to ignore how it reminded her of Lian Yu, Sara laid out a plan in her mind. If that note was for real, then she needed to be the last girl standing, and her best shot of that was getting the hell out of the city and moving to the forest, where she'd be able to set a trap for anyone that stumbled in after her. The final detail she noticed was the rainbow hanging high in the sky, giving her a brief flicker of annoyance. Her name was White Canary. Why the hell was she yellow, unless this Beast guy somehow knew about her name from the League? If he did, then maybe he really was as powerful as his note implied.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of gravel crunching, and she turned just in time to dodge a sword strike from a well-dressed woman wielding a glowing sword. Drawing her staff, Sara managed to deflect the next strike and move away from the edge of the roof. Taking a proper stance, she circled her attacker, looking her over for any sign of weakness.
Orlando smirked as she ogled her foe. She had been sleeping over a particularly tiresome night with Mina and Jack and now she was dueling a gorgeous blonde in some sort of battle royale. Perhaps she had OD'd and gone to Heaven. Was it even possible for her to OD? She'd have to ask once she got back. Clearing her throat, Orlando broke the awkward silence with a suave, "Well, you're a sight for sore eyes, darling. Perhaps we can put the sword down and work something out?"
She raised an eyebrow suggestively before adding, "I can teach you all sorts of tricks."
Sara chuckled and swung her staff for her neck, with Orlando easily dodging and responding with a swipe that she rolled to avoid, before replying, "Sorry, but I'm spoken for."
Swinging Excalibur to try and catch Sara mid-roll, Orlando scoffed.
"Eugh. Monogamy? Perhaps I should kill you for being boring, then."
Returning to her original stance and circling Orlando, Sara smirked and replied, "C'mon, then. Take your best shot."
Fleeing through the treetops, a red squirrel jumped from branch to branch, it's instincts triggered by the rainbow in the sky. It was supposed to be lonely, these woods, but it felt different, like new predators were here. Once it safely reached a particularly thick tree, it stopped, nose twitching, and listened for the sound of anything following. When no noise greeted it, it relaxed slightly, contemplating it's next move, only for an arrow to soar through the air and pierce it's eye, knocking it out of the tree and killing it instantly.
Jumping down from his perch, Clint Barton strolled over to his kill, crouching to collect his arrow and admire his handiwork before looking to the sky at the rainbow. This wasn't the first time he'd been snatched for some cosmic game, and he was gonna sit this one out rather than play along and kill people for some lunatic that didn't even know what a rainbow looked like. Cap wouldn't play, so neither will he.
Clipping the squirrel's corpse to his belt, Clint prepared to climb back into the tree and find a place to set up camp when he felt a sharp pain in his forehead. Grunting in pain, he massaged his temples, then cried out in agony as the pain rapidly increased. It felt like someone was digging into his skull.
Clint fell to his knees, images flashing faster than he could process them, accompanied by a deep voice with two simple commands.
Find the others. Kill them.
Clint fell limp before staggering back to his feet. His eyes rolled into the back of his head, leaving only white, and he stood up. The pain was gone. Staring blankly ahead, he climbed into the tree and began to move towards the city. Across the arena, the Oracle, eyes still closed, smiled to himself. The archer would do quite nicely. Perhaps he'd even let him live after the first kill.
Pretty sure I was hoping to avoid this kind of nonsense.
Rifle pointed forward, Erron did a sweep of the perimeter before moving down the empty street. He'd been lucky to avoid any kind of that "Mortal Kombat" malarkey back home, but this seemed awfully familiar. It didn't matter, because he'd win this, get that nice new home, and maybe even sweet-talk this Beast fella into giving him a hefty paycheck. Something told Erron he wouldn't be too jolly when he was on the end of his six-shooter.
He came to a stop when he saw a large package in the middle of the road. Maybe this was one of those care packages the note had mentioned? He prepared to make his move when he saw a new figure, some man in a white suit, exit the building just a few feet away from it, and start to walk towards the package.
Like hell you will.
Taking aim with the rifle, Erron lined up a headshot, his finger a mere inch from the trigger, when a burst of flame sent the white-suited man scrambling for cover. Almost out of the shadows, a shaggy-haired kid in red and black robes landed on top of the package and threw a fireball at the man, who froze it out of midair and shattered it with his bare hands before throwing a set of icicles back. The kid rolled off the package to dodge it before sending a jet of flame at the man, who once again managed to freeze it.
Cursing to himself as the constant motion made a shot impossible, Erron holstered the rifle and drew a sand grenade. Easy enough to land a cheap shot while they were distracted. He flicked it on and let it roll, smiling under his bandana as the burst of sand made both of his new enemies cover their eyes. He charged forward, drew his revolvers, and fired.
Zuko heard the crack, the sound resembling a small cannon, and managed to move, gritting his teeth through the pain as he tried to wipe the sand from his eye. The projectile slammed into the wall behind him, and he turned to see some form of masked assassin baring down on him and the man in white. The man fired again, and Zuko quickly formed a fire blade to slice the projectile in half before hurling it at him, sending the man ducking behind the crate. Feeling a chill down his spine, Zuko turned just as Elijah lunged forward and headbutted him, drawing blood from his nose and staggering him.
Elijah hurled another icicle at the dazed (due to both the headbutt and the headache he was inflicting on him) Zuko, who winced as it pierced his shoulder, knocking him to the ground fully. Before he could move closer, another bullet whizzed towards him, forcing him to freeze it and let it fall to the ground. He locked eyes with Erron, who cocked back the revolver in response, and charged forward, creating a stream of ice under his feet to quicken his pace, quickly moving his head to dodge both shots before landing a punch to the gunslinger's gut.
The headache alleviated, Zuko pulled himself to his feet and shot a jet of flame, separating Erron and Elijah long enough for him to close the distance and draw his swords. All three briefly stood in a standoff, Elijah with his fists clenched as Zuko and Erron both trained their weapons on him and each other, before Zuko and the white-suited man made eye contact. Almost imperceptibly, their eyes both flitted back to Erron before locking again. After a moment's hesitation, they both nodded and lunged towards the cowboy.
Erron tried to squeeze a shot off, but he swore as his guns jammed. He had carried these for almost two centuries, and they had never once jammed on him at a time like this. Quickly switching them for his blade, he jumped back, narrowly avoiding a dual attack from Zuko and Elijah before stabbing forward wildly, both men easily dodging the swings before Elijah finally spoke.
"Don't be too upset at the guns. They tend to jam when you expose them to temperatures matching the surface of Pluto."
Before Erron could respond, Zuko knocked the armblade from his grasp with one sword before driving the other directly into his chest. Blood trickled from Erron's mouth before Zuko pulled the blade free and let his body fall to the ground.
After taking a moment to wipe his sword on Erron's poncho before sheathing them both, Zuko turned to face Elijah, who grimly nodded and took a fighting stance. Zuko responded by swinging with a fire lash, only to stop in surprise as a massive wall of ice extinguished it and blocked the two from fighting. Dreading another three-way fight, both turned to see a red-haired woman in a blue robe emerge from an alleyway and give them a stern look.
"Now, if you're both done with this little pissing contest, perhaps we could discuss an arrangement."
Zuko scoffed, while Elijah seemed to relax slightly, turning to look at this new arrival with curiousity.
"What exactly could you offer me?"
Looking the brash teen in front of her over, Sypha rolled her eyes, then pointed to the sky, where they all witnessed the black line disappear from the rainbow.
"I offer you an alliance. If that rainbow is really tracking how many competitors there are then that means two things. One, this poor fool-" She said with a gesture to Erron's corpse. "-was Black. And two, there's still five more competitors out there. I say we divide and conquer, then we settle it when it's just us.'
This time Elijah spoke, looking at the girl skeptically.
"Why should we trust you?"
"If you really saw me for a threat, you would've struck by now. And besides, you two won't admit it but you work well together. Just ask him. "
After a long pause, Zuko finally relented, lowering his hands and letting the flame die out, and Elijah nods. With a smile, Sypha let the wall dissipate before stepping forward to greet her new allies. She offered her hand, and both reluctantly shook it.
"I'm Sypha Belnades. And you?"
"And what's the rest of your name?"
"It's just Zuko."
With the introductions settled, the trio opened the package, with Zuko eagerly taking the medical supplies for his shoulder while the others packed the food, largely ignoring the cases of bullets and arrows left to the side. Fully stocked, the newly formed alliance headed deeper into the city.
Sara and Orlando continued their duel, blade clashing with a slowly wearing away staff as they circled the rooftop, neither giving an inch. In spite of it, Sara was enjoying herself. Under better circumstances, this chick could've been a Legend. Their weapons locked and they stood still, pushing against one another, both smiling. Orlando blew Sara a kiss, then knocked her back, knocking her to the ground.
Twirling Excalibur between her fingers, Orlando walked towards Sara, growing more assured as the assassin struggled to her feet.
"Sorry, luv, but I'm a bloody immortal. Ain't gonna get one over on me."
Sara groaned. Of course she'd have to deal with a Vandal Savage type in all this. Admittedly, this one was much cuter. Drawing a knife from her belt, Sara threw it forward, with Orlando easily blocking it with a sneer.
"C'mon, ain't ya listenin'! I shagged Robin Hood, you really think a quick knife is gonna trip me-"
Orlando's gloating was cut off by Sara quickly following up with her scarf, throwing it and wrapping it around the immortal's wrist. With a clean yank, she manages to pull Excalibur free and pull Orlando in for a firm kick to the chest, knocking her to the ground. Orlando beamed, a mixture of surprise and arousal crossing her face as she leaped to her feet and put up her fists.
"I'm lovin' you more and more by the minute."
Orlando swung her fists, Sara ducking each blow and slowly falling back until she found herself standing precariously close to the edge. Victory assured, Orlando gave a largely insincere "Sorry." before throwing a punch aimed square for Sara's jaw, the confidence vanishing as Sara managed to avoid it, grab Orlando's arm and sweep her leg as she pulled her forward, sending Orlando hurtling off the side of the building. As she rapidly plunged to the pavement, Orlando could swear she heard Sara yell down, "I'm not!"
"Jesus Christ," Beast remarked as the orange line of the rainbow vanished. He sat back in his chair and took a sip of his Mike's Hard before turning to look at Ramona, who was absentmindedly texting on her phone.
"This has been going for an hour and we've already lost two people. Should I have added more colors?"
"You're right. I'm certain the game will slow down once the hotheads are gone."
As he sat back to watch the Royale, his computer pinged and his pulse sped up as he saw a message from Leo. Opening it, he breathed a sigh of relief as he saw it was just a small Indigo template, complete with a small note that read:
Now you owe me two favors.
Sending the data to Ramona, Beast smiled as the rainbow took it's proper shape. He was certain no one would notice.
Part 2: Catch This
Kakyoin was so distracted as he watched the teal line of the rainbow shift to indigo that he didn't even notice the remains of Orlando until he stepped in them. Feeling his shoe squelch into a puddle, he grimaced and looked down, assuming it to be a mere pool, only to be greeted with the shocking sight of a bloody stain on the ground. He jumped back, eyes widening in horror as he recognized the various pieces of human body scattered across the pavement. He knew this was a death game, but he hadn't expected something like this.
He crouched down, taking a moment to inspect the corpse. Either they had exploded from another attack, perhaps an enemy Stand user, or they had fallen from a great height. He looked up at the building and activated Heirophant Green, which quickly extended itself towards the building. If the killer was in there, he'd find them and get justice for...whoever it was on the pavement.
Sara descended the stairs, two at a time, as she headed for the exit. The duel had been fun, but she knew her next enemy wasn't going to be so much of a showboat. All the more reason to get the hell out of the city and head for those woods. As she turned down to the thirteenth floor, she skidded to a halt as the stairs came to an abrupt stop. She swore under her breath as she saw the remaining flights had been destroyed, leaving a steep fall in it's place. To her left, a doorway led to a ruined office building, desks and chairs strewn about in front of windows overlooking the city.
Pausing to catch her breath, she weighed the options.
Either I risk that jump and break my legs, or I take a quick detour.
She turned and headed through the doorway, hoping no one spotted her through the windows. After all, there were only six other people in this entire area, so what were the chances?
Kakyoin smiled as Heirophant Green honed in on the mysterious woman walking through the thirteenth floor. Almost certainly the killer, and she didn't appear to notice Heirophant Green as it watched her from the window. Charging an Emerald Splash, he waited for her to get clear of a desk before letting loose, the blast shattering the windows.
Sara heard the windows shattered and rolled, feeling...something blow past her and smash a series of holes through the wall. She prepped a shuriken to fire back, but there was nothing at the windows. Lowering her hand in confusion, Sara cried out in pain as a dozen projectiles slammed into her, tearing her suit and knocking her into a cubicle. She took cover behind the thin wall, wincing as she took a brief second to inspect her various wounds before peeking out behind the wall. There still was nothing there, but something had definitely just knocked the wind out of her.
Of course someone has to be invisible. It's always something.
Kakyoin prepared another Emerald Splash as he waited for the girl to pop out of cover. She had dodged the first one, but fell victim to the second. Naturally, as no one could hope to deflect it. It was only a matter of time before she slipped up, and he knew just how to make that happen. Closing his eyes and concentrating, he extended Heirophant into the open window, winding it's body throughout the floor. If she so much as tapped a coil, she was done for. Satisfied with his handiwork, he sat back and waited for her to make her move.
Sara was about to move when she heard it. A low hissing, slithering noise that echoed throughout the room, accompanied with a the sound of the broken glass cracking under it's weight. She squinted, watching as the glass shards were moved aside by some invisible force. Readying a knife, she eyed the nearby sprinklers and silently hoped that they still worked before hurling it at the nearest one. The knife connected, snapping the sprinkler and causing a jet of water to rain down, initiating a chain reaction of water throughout the room, the water helpfully moving around the invisible wires (assuming that's what they were). Kakyoin felt the drizzle of water, but ignored it. She was trying to distract him. Sara stretched before crawling under the first spot, then gently moved from coil to coil, using the water to guide her movement.
Gonna have to Catherine Zeta this.
Ever so softly, she worked her way to the door, then breathed a sigh of relief as she pushed through it and into the stairway, leaving the door to close on it's own. Kakyoin jolted as he felt the water stop and an eerie stillness replaced it. Of course, she had snuck by him! Quickly undoing the coils, he activated Heirophant and fired off an Emerald Splash, knocking the door of it's hinges and charging through the gap, but she was gone.
Sara jolted as she heard the door shatter behind her, but she was already clear. At least, she hoped. Entering the lobby of the building, she could see her apparent attacker, some teenager in a green uniform, watching the building. Resting her hand on a shuriken, she contemplated going for it, but if he was really some sort of telepathic/telekinetic meta, she'd rather take her chances. She'd heard about what Barry had done to the League in a matter of seconds, and would rather not be on the receiving end of that. Quietly exiting through a side door, she made a break for the woods.
Kakyoin frowned as Heirophant returned to him, the search having turned up no sign of the killer. Giving one last apologetic look to the remains of her victim, he continued down the street, keeping an eye out for any other attackers.
After finally clearing the city, Sara stopped to catch her breath, taking a moment to listen to the sounds of nature. She looked up at the rainbow, making a note of the remaining colors and the odd shift from teal to indigo, then continued onward, hoping to find some shelter. The woods brought her back to training under Nyssa, and nights spent under the stars, and-
No. She can't get nostalgic when she's fighting for her life. She pushed the thoughts from her mind, and continued onward. After a few minutes of walking, she began to feel as though she was being followed. She could hear the slight creaks of the trees above her, and the way the branches sagged meant something heavier than any squirrel or bird was above her. She froze and threw a shuriken, the element of surprise enabling her to make her mark as it embedded itself in Hawkeye's shoulder.
Grunting as he hit every branch on the way down, Clint braced himself to hit the ground before staggering to his feet. Across the arena, the Oracle looked at his new target with interest. None of the competitors had fled to the woods thus far, meaning he'd had to work his way in-land. The girl would be the first of many to fall before him.
Clint quickly nocked an arrow and fired, with Sara easily deflecting it with her staff and a frustrated sigh.
"Look, pal, I've already dealt with two other lunatics trying to kill me. How about you put the bow down and we can just say we didn't see each other?"
Clint offered no response beyond raising his bow and staring blankly ahead. From the sheer white of his eyes and his blank expression, Sara could tell he wasn't really in control. Well, maybe kicking his ass would wake him up. She was pretty good at that. Sara lunged forward, dodging another arrow and swinging her staff, only for Clint to block it with his bow and deliver a firm kick to her gut. She grunted and stumbled back, moving quickly to dodge another arrow.
If it weren't for the life or deaths circumstances, this would've been like dueling with Ollie. Using the momentary distraction to his advantage, Clint quickly nocked a smoke arrow and fired it into the ground, clouding Sara's vision as she coughed and pushed through it. She swiped her staff, pushing away the smoke to see the archer was gone. The distinct twang of a bow from behind her was her only warning, and she turned just in time to grab the arrow in her hand. She grinned, admiring her handiwork, only realizing a second too late that Clint had fired an explosive arrow.
As the blast tore her apart and sent her smoldering remains scattering into the woods, Clint holstered the bow and vanished into the trees again. The Oracle nodded in satisfaction as he saw the yellow line vanish from the rainbow. The first of many.
As the trio searched for a place to camp, Sypha stopped as the sound of the explosion echoed through the city, and her companions were quickly alerted as well. She glanced to see the sky to see the yellow vanish. Another death. Stepping forward and drawing his swords, Zuko spoke first, with Sypha following close behind.
"It sounds like it came from the woods. Come on, we should-"
Elijah reached out a hand and stopped him before they could move towards the woods, his eyes narrowing warily. Zuko bristled, but stayed put, while Sypha watched anxiously between the two.
"Don't be so damned hasty. We have no idea what could have made that blast. Last thing we need is to walk headfirst into an ambush, especially when we don't know the layout of the city."
Sypha shook her head.
"But, someone could be in danger! We should see if they need help."
"The only other people in this city are trying to kill us too. Trust me, our best bet is staying back and letting them sort each other out."
She hesitated, Snow's advice sounding very much like something Trevor would say if he were in this mess, and finally, nodded in agreement, prompting Zuko to sheath the swords and take a step back. Heading away from the sound, the group ventured further into the city. Elijah noted his allies hastiness, glad he talked them out of it. Only an idiot would rush towards something like that.
As soon as he had heard the blast, Kakyoin bolted towards the sound of it, summoning Heirophant Green to scan ahead. Looking through it's eyes, he could see a small fire slowly dying out, and the burning remains of someone else. From what little he could see of it, it looked like the girl he had seen in the city. Finally reaching the area and looking her over, he was happy to see her brought to justice, but confused as to who killed her.
The question was quickly answered when an arrow flew through Heirophant Green and embedded itself in a tree. The Oracle was briefly taken aback by this. What sorcery could this be? Perhaps he had chosen improperly in selecting an executioner. He quickly fired two more arrows, the spirit ignoring both, then jumped out of the way as a blast of emeralds tore the tree apart. As he hit the ground, Clint looked at Kakyoin, and the Oracle watched with interest as the young man appeared to control the being connected to him. Perhaps he could slay it by attacking the user?
Quickly prepping a sonic arrow, Clint fired, the arrow slamming into the tree behind Kakyoin, and the ensuing high-pitched scream brought him to his knees. Smirking, Clint drew another arrow and approached Kakyoin, intending to finish him off up-close. Through gritted teeth, Kakyoin managed to raise his hand, and an Emerald Splash hit Clint dead-on, smashing him through a tree, giving Kakyoin time to stagger to his feet and destroy the arrow before turning to face off with the archer.
Scrambling now, Clint fired three more arrows, each blasted out of the sky, and Heirophant quickly wrapped his arm in a coil, trapping him, before firing a final Emerald Splash that punched clean through him.
The Oracle's eyes snapped open and he winced in pain. The champion of Green's movement had been incredible, and with the spirit by his side, he could be unstoppable. It was time to select a new executioner. Sitting back down, he closed his eyes and sent his consciousness forward.
Winded and reeling, Kakyoin sat down on a newly created stump, taking a few deep breaths and looking over at Clint's ventilated corpse. He turned his eyes to the rainbow, which now lacked it's violet color, and nodded to himself. Only five more people remained. Before he could think further, pain shot through his temples, and he fell to his knees, holding his forehead and crying out in pain. It was like the flesh bud again, but even more agonizing. After a few moments, the pain subsided, and a deep voice soothed him.
Three remain. Kill them.
Standing up and dusting himself off, Kakyoin headed into the city. He had a job to do, and the sun was beginning to set.
As she slightly slid the sun slider down and the moon one up, Ramona's other hand began to go towards shutting off the rainbow, but Beast stopped her with a wave of his hand.
"A rainbow at night? It's going to look idiotic."
He shook his head and took another sip of his drink.
"Nonsense. It'll keep track of the warriors status, and it'll look super cool against the night sky. Contrasts, y'know?"
Ramona rolled her eyes, but did as she was told.
The trio of Elijah, Sypha, and Zuko came to a stop in front of a three-story building, devastated like the rest but without the massive holes in it's structure. Looking it over, Elijah seemed to approve.
"This could do for a place to camp. You two, stay here, I'll scout ahead."
Zuko follows him, starting to disagree, and Elijah turns to face him with a sigh. The teenager looks up at him, and Elijah points at him to stay back.
"You can't go alone. I should be with you."
"I can handle myself. Keep an eye on her, will you?"
Sypha seemed taken aback by the implication.
"Excuse me. I'll have you know I can also handle myself. I don't need the hothead to stay safe out here."
Elijah groaned and massaged his temples.
"Fine, then you two stay out here and protect each other, for god's sake. If anyone comes, work together and kill them."
Grumbling to himself about working with young people, Elijah froze the door before kicking it off it's hinges and venturing inside, his white suit vanishing into the darkness, save for the lit match he carried with him. Zuko watched him leave, then turned to see Sypha watching the rest of the city. He glanced up at the rainbow, shining brightly through the night sky, and contemplated that only five of it's lines remained. This alliance hadn't produced much in the way of real help, and he wagered he could probably beat either of them one on one if he played it smart.
His hand weighed on his sword, drawing it slightly. He could very easily take out Sypha from here, and then ambush the old man when he came out of the building, so why was he hesitating? He could practically hear Azula or his wretched father mocking him, calling him weak, but he could see Aang and Katara, placing their faith, their trust in him. After a few seconds, he took his hand off the sword. He'd had enough betrayal to last ten lifetimes.
Just as he did, Elijah shouted out, "All clear." and Sypha turned back to the building, none the wiser, and headed inside, Zuko close behind. Unbeknownst to either, Elijah watched from the window. He'd have to keep an eye on Zuko for the time being, but conflict would come sooner rather than later.
Part 3: Friends in Low Places
Elijah grunted as he lifted the table upright. It had a few cracks and holes in it, but it would do for the moment. He nodded at Sypha and Zuko as they climbed the stairs, and Sypha responded with a quizzical look at the table.
"You expect us to eat off this?"
Elijah shrugged before replying, "Beggars and choosers.", then sitting down and tearing open a bag of the food from the crates. It resembled the MREs he had once eaten during a particularly grueling expedition, but he'd had far worse.
Zuko looked over the room. It was well-placed, overlooking the street and with enough room for the three of them to sleep comfortably. He sat down across from Elijah, who offered Zuko his bag of food, only to retract it and shake his head when Zuko reached for it. When the younger man looked at him in confusion, he tapped his finger on the front of the bag, which read "Best if Heated." With a sigh, Zuko lit a small flame, warming the food and earning a grateful nod from Elijah. Warming her own food, Sypha chuckled quietly.
The trio ate silently for a few minutes before Elijah finally spoke.
"So, I take it neither of you are from whatever this place is either?"
Both shook their head, and Sypha replied first, giving Zuko time to finish chewing.
"My people are wanderers, so I'm not from anywhere, really. I suppose if I were to name somewhere it would be Wallachia."
Elijah took another bite before nodding.
"I recognize it, though I've never encountered anyone quite like you in my travels."
Sypha smiled warmly at the apparent compliment.
"There aren't many like the Speakers, no."
Zuko spoke next.
"And I'm from the Fire Nation. Born right in the capital."
Elijah raised an eyebrow at the name and set his empty packet aside.
"They don't sound too friendly."
Zuko shook his head and quietly retorted, "They're not, but I'm going to change that once I get home. Assuming I can go home."
Sypha tried to pat his hand reassuringly, but he recoiled, shifting slightly to continue eating.
"I'm certain this will all be like a bad dream once it's over. We'll wake up and-"
Zuko quickly shushed her, and Elijah turned towards the sound of a low, quiet hiss as a long green coil stretched through the window. The trio quickly stood up from the table and peered out the window to see a green-clad man with red hair looking back at them with a sneer. With a wave of his hand, a green and gray being appeared behind him and fired a burst of green crystals.
Sypha waved her hands, using gusts of wind to knock Elijah and Zuko to the floor before quickly freezing the crystals and firing them back at the man. Kakyoin dodged the attack, and the Oracle, seeing through his eyes, noted the strength of the counter. So, it appears the remaining competitors had formed an alliance. It wouldn't matter, as they would fall before him.
Sypha used a wind burst to launch herself through the open window and hurl a fireball at Kakyoin, who leapt out of the way and returned fire with an Emerald Splash before blocking another fireball from Zuko, who quickly followed Sypha out the window. Elijah sighed as he dashed down the stairs. He was hoping to think up a strategy, but these two had decided that they didn't need one outside of "leap outside the goddamned third-story window."
Outside, Zuko and Sypha combined their efforts, blasting Kakyoin with flames as he alternated between blocking and dodging. Sensing an opening, he lashed out with a coil, quickly wrapping around Zuko's arm and aiming it at Sypha, who just barely managed to redirect the jet of flame into a nearby lampost, melting it and sending it crashing to the ground. Zuko struggled vainly against the coil, gritting his teeth in pain as it tightened and forced him to fire again, only to suddenly freeze as Elijah stepped onto the street.
Sensing his presence, Kakyoin quickly retracted, managing to avoid a kick from Elijah that would've shattered it, before taking a step back and surveying the three foes around him. Conjuring up fire, Zuko turned to Elijah, who stood between him and Sypha, and nodded towards the Stand as it floated above them, wrapping the area in coils while Kakyoin looked them over.
"Oh, now you'd like a plan?"
As the other two bickered, Sypha conjured an ice wall and sent it forward, blocking an Emerald Splash. Clearly the man was controlling the spirit, so any attacks on it would be worthless. She snapped her fingers, catching the others attention, and yelled, "We need to get close! Give me an opening!" After a moment's hesitation, Zuko and Elijah nodded, then split up, forcing Kakyoin to attack from both angles, firing a Splash at Elijah, who shot it down with a blast of ice, and lashing with a coil at Zuko, who coated his sword in flame and cut it down. Kakyoin gritted his teeth and fired a 360 Splash, forcing everyone to take cover.
Using wind to knock the small projectiles aside and running up the middle as Kakyoin fought her allies, Sypha blasted herself into the air, using the coils as stepping stones to vault over Kakyoin and land behind him. Just as he turned to face her, giving a view of his milky white eyes, she placed her hand on his chest and sent a blast of fire straight through his heart, punching a hole clean through him. The force blasted him down the street and into a wall, where Heirophant Green momentarily wavered above his body before fading away. Surveying the carnage, Elijah gave Sypha an impressed look before nodding in thanks to Zuko.
The force jolted the Oracle from his meditation and brought him to his feet. With a roar of frustration, he lifted a desk and flung it against a wall, shattering it. He had gone through two different executioners and had managed to kill a measly two of his opponents. Clearly, if he was to win this game and claim this power he had been promised, he would need to do everything himself. As always.
Floating out of the window, he headed to where the trio had set up camp. He'd watch from a distance, seeing how they operate and reacted, then strike when the time is right.
The group watched as the green line vanished from the rainbow, leaving four colors, then turned to look uncertainly at each other. Elijah cleared his throat, breaking the silence as he quietly positioned himself to face both Zuko and Sypha.
"So, is this the part where we start slaughtering one another?"
After a pause, Sypha shook her head, though neither Zuko nor Elijah relaxed.
"There's still indigo, and judging from how the one in green looked, I suspect that they may be more dangerous than anyone we've faced so far. I say we stick together until they're dealt with, and then we can start slaughtering each other like rabid dogs."
Zuko smiled subtly, happy not to have to attack just yet, then added, "If we're not going to start another fight, can I at least finish my food? It's getting cold."
This joke earned a reluctant laugh from Sypha and Elijah who stepped back. He was starting to like these two. The trio walked inside and trudged back up the stairs, hoping to rest before hunting down the final opponent, pushing the thought of the coming betrayal from their minds. Sypha excitedly followed Zuko, looking at him curiously.
"You said you were going to change this "Fire Nation"? Are you a king, or a prince, or-"
"The proper title is Fire Lord, as much I hate to say it."
Chapter 4: With Apologies to Guido Mista
"So, what you're telling me is: not only did you kill Dracula, you castrated him?"
Sypha laughed in amazement as Elijah nodded and took a sip of water. Setting the drink down, he leaned in and smiled, a rarity for him, when he added, "Spit right in his eye too."
This earned another laugh from Sypha, which built further when Zuko chimed in with, "Whose Dracula?"
Elijah smiled again.
"I hunted him down myself, well before I had the rest of the team."
The mention of a team intrigued the others, with Sypha pouncing on the idea first.
"So, you had friends at some point? That may be the craziest part of all this."
Elijah shifted uncomfortably in his seat before responding, "Not really friends. More...employees. Associates, maybe. You two remind me of them, actually. Forget it, I'm not reading into this anymore, given that I'd still like to hear about this "Avatar"."
Leaning back in his chair, Zuko shrugged. "It's not complicated. Master of the four elements, strongest bender, and he just happened to be a kid from an Air Temple. Although, he is older than me. It's...complicated."
Sypha watched him explain, eyes wide with awe at his tales of a powerful child in a world full of magic.
"I would love to meet him."
"Yeah, he'd like you. They all would. You and Katara would certainly get along. Mai might not be so friendly."
The name brought a sad look to his face, and he glanced warily at the moon before standing up and pushing his chair in. Taking their cues, the others stood up and turned to look at the two beds, worn out mattresses on rusted frames but still usable. Taking a perch by the window, Zuko gestured for the others to rest.
"You guys should rest, get ready for tomorrow. I'll take first watch."
As Elijah made his bed and stared at the ceiling, Sypha stood beside Zuko and placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. This time, he didn't move away, though he didn't look her way.
"You'll get you back to your friends, Zuko. I promise. We all will."
On that final note, Sypha closed her eyes to sleep while Zuko stared out the window, ready for any danger that approached.
The Oracle watched with increasing satisfaction as the others went to sleep, leaving only the boy. He had quietly probed their minds, avoiding the eldest one, and determined he would be the weakest target. Together, they could crush him, but dividing and conquering could prove fruitful. Now, all he needed was bait.
Probing through the boy's memories, the Oracle felt one regret, one unresolved mystery that plagued his waking moments. Sensing the weakness, he seized upon it.
The voice was no louder than a whisper, echoing through the empty streets, but Zuko recognized it well. A voice he replayed in his head just so he wouldn't forget it. A small bit of solace in a life of cruelty. Standing from his perch, he drew his swords and whispered back, "Mom?"
It had to be a trap, a way to flush him out and endanger his friends. Surely, this "Beast" wouldn't be able to learn something so personal? But what if it wasn't, or his mother really was here and really in danger and she needed-
He angrily shook his head, indecisively looking between the sleeping Elijah and Sypha and the building where the sound had come from. After a few more seconds of hesitation, he crept down the stairs, hoping not to wake them in case it was nothing?
Zuko, please. Hurry!
His creeping steps turned into a sprint as he dashed towards the building, quickly moving inside, sheathing a sword and instead creating a small flame to light the room. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see something, a shadowy figure which beckoned to him. He turned, a sense of hope coming to him in spite of himself, and cried out as he felt a shooting pain through his forehead. Falling to his knees, he could only see the blurry outline of his attacker, a pale, hooded man who crouched to watch him struggle.
"Poor Zuko. Your loss has made you weak. Now, for your brashness, you will-"
The Oracle snapped his head back just as the boy raised a hand and shot a burst of flame. Quickly moving back, the Oracle watched in surprise as Zuko staggered to his feet, eyes hot with rage. Perhaps he had underestimated him.
With a guttural cry, Zuko fired a series of fire comets, the flaming orbs following the Oracle as he attempted to avoid them. Quickly teleporting away, leaving the flames to crash into each other, the Oracle appeared behind Zuko and uppercutted him, the force knocking him into the second floor, which at one point had likely been a living room. Following him with a much more graceful float, the Oracle laughed.
"You're our of your depth, boy. You're challenging someone far beyond your understanding."
Spitting blood, Zuko drew his swords and charged, once again forcing the Oracle back as he alternated between blocking strikes and sidestepping to avoid them. Using a feint, Zuko swung down, only to pause in confusion as the blade sailed through empty air. He turned just as the Oracle appeared behind him and grabbed him by the throat, lifting him into the air and forcing him to drop his swords. Looking the man in the eye, Zuko grinned, sucked in what little oxygen he had left, and blew a blast of flame directly into his face.
The Oracle screamed in agony, dropping Zuko to pat out the flames, and stumbled back, only to be sent flying by a kick to the chest. A mixture of his own power and anger keeping him going, the Oracle, face scarred, pulled himself up and hissed, "You will suffer for that."
Sypha's eyes opened at the sound of fighting. Instantly awake, she shot up in bed and ran to window, where she saw bursts of orange and red coming from a window down the street. A hand touched her shoulder and she nearly jumped out of her skin until she saw Elijah, who nodded grimly towards the building before running down the stairs with a grumble of, "Can't even leave him unattended."
Sypha followed close behind, hoping to help Zuko before it was too late.
Using his telepathy, the Oracle hurled a couch at Zuko, who near-instantly incinerated it as he advanced forward. Keeping his distance, the hooded man levitated several bricks and rapidly shot them at the firebender before teleporting to his side and landing a kick. Zuko staggered and threw a punch, but the Oracle vanished before appearing in front of him and landing a punch on his jaw. Zuko fell to his feet as the Oracle appeared behind him, preparing to finish him off, only for a full circle of flame to surround the boy and force him back.
Leaping to his feet, Zuko followed up with a kick to the chest, adding a jet of flame for good measure, that crashed the Oracle into a wall. Trying to pull himself off the ground, the Oracle cursed his newfound weakness and the child who would surely kill him. This was disgraceful, not fitting of a warrior, no, the greatest warrior of the Orange Clan. Advancing towards him, Zuko prepared a fire blade, pausing only to hesitate as the Oracle feebly stood up and raised his hand before mumbling, "Wait...please..."
Sypha used a blast of air to propel herself through the hole in the floor, and Zuko turned, just for a moment, to look at her. But that moment was all the Oracle needed. With a sneer and a wave of his hands, he lifted Zuko's sword and quickly dragged it across his throat. Sypha cried out in shock as Zuko's hands went to his neck, his face a mixture of confusion and pain, before he fell to the ground, dead. Before Sypha could move towards him, the Oracle telepathically forced her back, sending her out the window.
Satisfied, he prepared to teleport away, but a vicious pain shot through his head and brought him to his knees. He gazed over at the stairs as Elijah coldly and calmly ascended them, a momentary look of sadness crossing his face as he laid his eyes on Zuko's body. The sadness was quickly gone, replaced with a cold, bitter stare.
"You're not going anywhere, you son of a bitch."
Flailing for anything he could find, the Oracle latched onto a chair and psychically shot it at Elijah, who froze it and shattered it with one punch. Using the brief distraction to his advantage, the Oracle levitated through the window, only for Elijah to jump after him, grabbing onto his legs and bringing him to the ground. Rolling to recover as he hit the ground, the Oracle glared at Elijah and snarled, "You should have stayed back." before gritting his teeth and hurling a broken down car at his enemy. Elijah, dazed from the fall, turned just in time to see it coming, the crash sending him tumbling down the street.
Elijah groaned, trying to stand, as the Oracle staggered up and limped over to a street sign before pulling it out of the ground. Moving through the pain, the Oracle dragged the sign behind him before stopping at Elijah's feet and raising it above his head, poised for a final strike, only for a fireball to hit him in the back and send him flying over Elijah.
He looked up to see his new attacker, Sypha, bearing down on him, throwing an onslaught of fire and ice at him that he teleported to avoid. Appearing beside her, he tried to land a hit, but she formed an advancing set of ice spikes out of the ground. Leaping to avoid each spike, he gathered bricks from the rubble and fired at her, only for her to raise the spikes into the air and effortlessly shoot them down.
This wasn't possible. He was a warrior, the champion of his Clan, and he was being stymied by a girl and a old man. He needed to fall back to build a new strategy to defeat these two, but first of all he needed to get this witch away from him. He quickly threw the tossed-aside sign at Sypha, forcing her to turn away from him to block it, then instantly closed the distance, grabbing the girl by the hair and striking her across the face before letting her fall. As she tried to stand, he placed his foot on her throat and grinned.
"Stupid girl. Thinking you could stand against me for even a moment. It doesn't matter now. None of you will."
He raised his foot to finish her off and his eyes widened in shock as it froze in midair, the ice traveling up his legs. As his body betrayed him, he turned to see Elijah limping towards him, smirking.
"That's the problem with people like you. So busy looking at the big picture you forget the tiny details. Like the man you left lying down the street."
Oracle tried to teleport, to fly away, anything, but the ice had spread to his arms and the searing pain in his head had returned, leaving him only able to mumble, "No...the prophecy. I had...a destiny..."
As the ice enveloped him entirely, leaving his face trapped in a look of despair, Elijah shook his head.
"That's the funny thing about the universe-"
"It doesn't give a damn about destiny."
Paying the remains of his foe no more attention, Elijah helped Sypha to his feet, then sat down wearily on the nearby sidewalk. Sypha looked up to see the Indigo vanish from the rainbw, leaving only two colors, then sadly looked back to Elijah, who simply nodded. She took a step back and shook her head.
"I don't want to do this."
With a quiet groan, Elijah stood up, rolled up his sleeves, and took a fighting stance before replying, "Neither do I, but it doesn't appear we get a say. So, don't hold back."
Chapter 5: We're Endgame, Archie
An unnerving silence hung over the arena as Sypha and Elijah stared each other down, waiting to make a move. Elijah broke first, charging forward and freezing a fireball from Sypha before shattering it with a single punch. Before he could fully reach her, Sypha lifted herself into the air with a blast of wind and gracefully spun through the air over Elijah, blasting him with a massive jet of flame that he leapt out of the way to avoid. She landed behind him and redirected an ice shard before responding with several of her own, Elijah gritting his teeth as one sliced his shoulder. With a gesture, Sypha surrounded Elijah in a wall of flame that quickly advanced on him, forcing him to quickly extract the heat, freezing the flames, before kicking it at her.
The wall slammed into Sypha, knocking her backwards, and Elijah capitalizes by quickly firing several more shards. Sypha gritted her teeth through the pain as they cut her arm and cheek, and slashed her cloak to ribbons. Tossing the cloak aside, she raises her arms, quickly summoning an ice pillar underneath Elijah that throws him into the air. Cursing to himself as he tumbled through the sky, angling his body to avoid fireballs and icicles fired by Sypha, Elijah managed to reorient towards a building and crash through an open window. Thankfully, a table broke his fall. Dusting himself off, he leapt from the window, creating a pillar of his own, and hit the ground with a roll, avoiding a fireball before countering with a shard.
Sypha shot down the shard and took a deep breath, focusing and drawing from her inner strength. Hesitating for a moment, a shocked expression crossed Elijah's face as lightning crackled from her fingertips.
"Well, that's new."
A massive burst of lightning flew from Sypha's hands and towards Elijah, blasting him in the chest and knocking him through the pillar. Tumbling down the street, Elijah froze it beneath him, reducing his momentum and helping him easily slide to avoid a set of fireballs. Before he could recover, Sypha created a whirlwind beneath him, lifting him and rapidly spinning him before he froze the air and kicked off the newly made platform, sending it to the ground while the momentum knocked him through a wall and back into the building where they had fought the Oracle.
Sypha waited for him to emerge, lowering her hands in confusion when he didn't, then quickly used the wind to lift herself through the hole he had made. Taking a defensive stance, she scanned the room, pausing only to look sadly at Zuko's corpse and his cast-aside sword before continuing to look around. She heard the scuff of shoes and turned just as Elijah popped up from behind the shattered remnants of the couch and hurled a brick, striking her in the head.
As she staggered, ears ringing, he leapt over his cover and charged, ice shard in hand and raised above his head. Stumbling, Sypha managed to grab his wrist and light her hand, the flame scorching his wrist and melting the shard, before she felt a sharp pain in her gut. Shocked, she looked down to see Zuko's sword planted in her stomach as Elijah looked at her with a mournful expression.
As Elijah gently lowered her to the ground, Sypha coughed up blood and smiled.
"So, I guess you win, then. You're tricky for such an old man."
Elijah chuckled in spite of himself.
"Not tricky. I just pay attention to the little details."
His small smile vanished as the light left Sypha's eyes, her final words a quiet "Trevor." before her head fell back. Closing her eyes before setting her body down and pulling the sword free, Elijah stood up and watched as the blue faded from the rainbow, leaving a shining white. Shaking his head in contempt, he walked past the bodies of his allies and headed down the stairs, waiting for whatever came next.
"Holy shit, what a comeback."
Beast leaned back in his chair, stunned, while Ramona cued the victory music, which echoed through the empty city. Popping a bubble of gum, she looked to him and asked, "What's next?"
Beast stood up and smoothed out his hoodie before turning to her and replying, "You can head home after you cut the feed, Ramona. I'm going to give Elijah his prize."
Ramona seemed skeptical, but nodded as she typed in the commands to end the feed on video of Elijah quietly sitting on the sidewalk, ignoring the music as it blared around him. She wasn't sure talking to him at this moment was the best move, but she didn't feel like getting on the boss's nerves when she had time off right around the corner. Shutting down the computer, she watched as Beast headed for the elevator, then put on her goggles and skated back to the bus stop.
Elijah clenched his feet, trying to ignore the music as it surrounded him. If it didn't stop in the next sixty seconds, his new objective was finding the speakers and smashing them to a thousand tiny pieces. Blissfully, the music cut off as a small, shining hole appeared in the sky. Squinting at it, Elijah watched in confusion as a young man in a green hoodie descended from the sky on a metal platform. With a grin, he waved towards Elijah, who did not return the gesture.
The platform set down gently and Beast stepped off, adjusting his glasses before falling to the ground in agony as a searing pain shot through his head. Adjusting his sleeves, Elijah walked up to Beast as he writhed on the ground and crouched to look him in the eye.
"Eight people are dead because of you, two of whom I would consider friends. So, give me a reason I don't end you right now?"
Through gritted teeth, Beast replied, "Your...house."
Elijah laughed and applied more pressure to Beast's brain, earning a cry of pain.
"Do you think I give a damn about a house? Try again."
Sputtering now, Beast silently thanked the fact that he had ripped off Leo's wish idea and grunted, "I can give you...anything. Just...name...it."
Elijah paused to consider. Clearly this kid had power and resources, and he still had no idea where exactly he was, or how any of this worked. He could bring Planetary here to investigate. But, there was the issue of his friends to consider. Turning back to the still in pain Beast, Elijah slightly alleviated the pain.
"I want Zuko and Sypha back."
Beast shook his head, quickly replying, "They come back naturally, it's part of the city's rules."
"Tell me more about the city."
"I...can't. Not allowed...to."
Elijah stood up and adjusted his tie before looking over at the elevator.
"Alright then. I want the resources to build a new Planetary, so I can get the answers I need on what exactly this all is."
Beast nodded, and Elijah finally alleviated the pain, allowing Beast to take a deep breath and stand to his feet. He nodded gratefully to Elijah before responding, "I can do that. Just send me a list of the equipment you need and I'll work on getting it for you. I assume you want Jakita and Drummer as well?"
Elijah shook his head, confusing Beast.
"I'm not bringing them into whatever this hellscape is. Besides-"
He nodded towards the building where Zuko and Sypha's bodies were.
"I've got two candidates already. Now, I'd like to leave this damned arena."
With that, Beast led Elijah to the elevator and pressed a button, sending it back up the way it came.
Two weeks later...
Zuko glanced down at the directions given to him by the girl with blue hair that had stopped by his apartment. All the note read was "A special opportunity." and it had directions that had led him to the nicest district in the city. After a few more moments of walking, he found himself at the door of a large mansion, a symbol of the Earth carved into the door. This looked like the place.
Before he could knock, he felt a pair of hands on his shoulders, and he tensed until he heard a familiar voice yell, "Zuko! I can't believe it!"
He turned as Sypha threw him into a hug, which he reciprocated after a moment's hesitation. Pulling away, she smiled warmly at him, then held up a piece of paper just like his.
"So I assume you've gotten the invitation too?"
Zuko looked down at the paper again, then up at the mansion as it loomed over them before responding, "Yeah. This place feels wrong, like there's ice down my spine."
"That might just be me."
The door swung open and Elijah emerged from the mansion, a confident smile on his face. Dropping her paper, Sypha pushed past Zuko and hugged him, which he gladly returned before curtly shaking hands with Zuko. After a moment of catching up, he gestured for them to follow him inside. As he led them into the entryway, Zuko looked over the massive building with a mild hint of jealousy, while Sypha immediately gravitated towards the study, a room full of alchemical tools, scientific equipment, and a massive bookshelf with hundreds of books alphabetized on it's shelves. Zuko noted with interest a whiteboard in the corner that had, in big letters, "POSSIBLE FOURTH CANDIDATES" written on it, with a list of names under it, including "P. Wisdom", "J. Constantine", and "T. Krios".
Zuko turned to Elijah, who was leaning against a desk and watching them react to their surroundings, and asked, "What is all this?"
Elijah nodded and cleared his throat, getting Sypha's attention as she flipped through a book titled "The Black Dossier". Setting the book down, she looked at Elijah as he gestured towards the room.
"This is the new Planetary. This...DFederal is a whole new world, with an endless sea of secrets, and I intend to learn every single one of them. And, I'd like you two to join me. Now, we don't know what we're dealing with, and it might be dangerous, so I understand if-"
Zuko and Sypha both said "We'll do it." in unison, earning a genuinely surprised silence from Elijah, who eventually stammered, "Wait, what?"
Sypha stepped closer and placed a hand on Elijah's shoulder.
"I'm always ready for new adventures. Besides, it'd be cruel to leave an old man all alone in a big house like this."
Elijah nodded, then replied, "Alright. Then let's get to work."
Beast sighed as he kept working on the Expert's Opinion for Color Royale. He was beginning to regret letting Ramona acquire so much paid time off, but on the other hand, she had been crucial in helping him prove the worth of the Battledome to the others, so he owed her that much.
What's the next arena gonna look like?
He pushed thoughts of the future from his head as he kept typing. He needed to focus on this, and make sure he could keep an eye on Planetary. There were plenty of adventures they could go on without disrupting the leadership, and he just needed to gently guide them along to make sure they dealt with those.
After a few more minutes of typing, Beast smiled as he finished. Finally, he could punch out and head home. Standing from his desk and hitting "Publish", he felt a strange sensation, like he was being watched. He looked around his office nervously, then laughed it off. Being cooped up was making him lose his mind. Throwing on his sweatshirt, he headed for the elevator, while, on a rooftop across the street, a black-armored figure in a wolf mask watched him leave before pressing a button on his ear.
"Alpha, I have him in my sights. May I proceed?"
There was a brief pause before his master, his savior, spoke.
"All the pieces are in place, Kai. You may move when you are ready."
Kai grinned as he began to scale down the building. It was time, after so many months, to strike at those who had condemned to a life of sewage. In due time, this whole city would burn.
- 9th Place: Erron Black. Erron had an impressive skillset and equipment, but his flashy, close-range fighting style made him an easy target for more versatile warriors.
- 8th Place: Orlando. Orlando's strength and experience was heavily undercut by their headstrong, brash nature, meaning that while they had the skills to succeed, they were easily overpowered by blindly charging into the situation without much thought.
- 7th Place: Sara Lance. Best Girl got farther than the previous two thanks to a mixture of her stealth skills and wit, which enabled her to avoid confrontation and outsmart more powerful warriors. Unfortunately, her more mundane equipment made it harder for her to get past foes wielding power substantially above her skillset, meaning she was easily overpowered once she was cornered.
- 6th Place: Hawkeye. Clint had similar strengths and weaknesses to Sara, but was able to outlive her thanks primarily to his range advantage and more versatile arsenal that enabled him to pull out more surprises. Ultimately, he was reduced to a guy with a bow against people with far greater powers, making his loss inevitable.
- 5th Place: Noriaki Kakyoin. Kakyoin is a skilled, intelligent Stand user, but Heirophant Green's limited abilities combined with it's flashy nature and appearance made him an immensely easy target for warriors that could engage him up-close.
- 4th Place: Zuko. Zuko was one of the most powerful and skilled fighters in the match, but by this point, his brash nature weighed him down when his remaining enemies all had skillsets designed to counter his.
- 3rd Place: The Oracle. The Oracle was able to survive this far thanks to his powers and manipulation making it easy to hang back and strike from the shadows, but his lack of fighting experience meant that once he could no longer play the long game, he was screwed against more capable fighters.
- 2nd Place: Sypha Belnades. Despite her more versatile powerset and skills as a magic wielder, Sypha was ultimately outplayed by a craftier, more experienced foe in the form of...
- 1st Place: ...Elijah Snow! Elijah had everything he needed to win the match, thanks to his greater experience and intelligence, which gave him the expertise to use his more limited skillset to it's fullest potential and come out on top in the first ever Color Royale.