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If you defeat the monsters in this land, the people will be safe once again. Are you ready, sir? May luck be with you!
— The Master's servant

The Master, known as God in Japan, is the protagonist of the video game ActRaiser. He is the god of all that was good and the archnemisis of the evil god Tanzra. The Master never enters the battle field in person, instead imbuing a statue of himself with his consciousness.

After defeating Tanzra is a battle, the Master retreated to the sky palace to tend to his wounds and fell into a deep sleep. Upon awakening, the Master found that his powers had decreased because of the people's lack of faith in him and that Tanzra conquered the six lands of the world and divided them among his lieutenants.

One by one, the Master freed the six lands alongside the Angel and rebuild civilization, regaining his lost power in the process. Eventually, the Master faced and defeated Tanzra once more, bringing peace to the world. Without the need of protection, however, humanity caesed to worship the Master. Deciding that humanity did not him anymore, the Master and the Angel returned to heavens to await a time where they would be needed once more.

Battle vs. The Hero of Grove (by El Alamein)[]

Since oldest living memory, the dungeon gate has stood in the heart of the old wood. Its doorways lead to infinite possibilities, to subterranean lands fabled in stories and myths. Many adventurers have passed over that ancient threshold - some to find fame, glory, and wealth beyond telling... others, never to return. 

The Master jerks awake from his fitful sleep, his eyes scanning the room in a moment of panic. He settles back into his bed as he recognizes the safety of his Sky Palace. The Angel hovers overhead, maintaining a respectful distance. Below the Sky Palace sits the town of Grove, quiet and calm. 

"Are you ready Sir?" the Angel asks. "If we destroy all monsters in this land, people will be able to live here again. Are you ready? May luck be with you!"

And as he prepares to enter battle once more, the Master takes one final breath before plunging down from the Sky Palace, spiraling downward, downward, downward, ever closer to the dungeon gate that threatens Grove. Flying through the ground, deep into the dungeon, and into the dank rooms below, he flies into his warrior statue and readies for combat.

The Hero, meanwhile, a floor above the Master, has just finished dispatching a minor dungeon lord - Erekdum the Barbarous is no more. His pet, a friendly beagle, trots furiously to keep up with his powerful striding steps. The fourth floor has been cleared, and the corpses of foes fallen litter the ground. Stepping gingerly over a goblin nearly cleaved in half, the Hero looks down the corridor and spots the stairs that spiral ever lower, deeper into the dungeon. 

Each level deeper is more dangerous than the one before. And each level deeper brings with it a greater thrill, a greater call to glory... a greater sense of Fate. The Hero takes each step full of confidence. At the top of the stairs, he reaches into his inventory and pulls out a fish. As his beagle eagerly laps it up, it disappears in a puff of smoke, transforming into a venomous Tunnel Spider, standing six feet at the shoulder.

It is dark, and the Hero's footsteps echo in the empty dungeon air. It is musty and damp, but not deep enough to hamper breathing. The Hero stumbles over something soft, still, and squishy. Surprised, he looks down and finds a dead Forest Imp... which was immensely strange, considering he had not ventured this deep before. Confused, but determimed, he pushes forward. The Master appears around the corner moments before the Hero loses interest, sword held firmly in both hands and the fearsome look of tenacious anger cemented into the statue's gaze. The Hero stands, defensive, but the pet rushes forward. The Master strikes viciously with his sword, an arc of crackling blue energy surging forward and tearing through the massive spider approaching. The pet is thrown to the side of the dungeon wall, slamming hard on impact, before mustering enough energy to raise itself and flee. 

The Hero darts back a few steps, vanishing into darkness, giving him enough time to cast a Spectral Armor spell. An opaquely-white mist shrouds over his body, the only visible effect on an otherwise immensely-bolstered chestplate. With Spectral Crossbow in hands the Hero opens fire on the Master, who dodges the first wild shot. Taken aback at the rate of fire of the weapon, the Master flinches as one of the bolts passes through his statue, but pushes forward, slashing with his sword and sending arcs of energy flying. The projectiles strike the Hero, who holds his ground - though the Spectral Armor does its best to negate the blows, the pain surges through. Staggering back, the Hero drops the Spectral Crossbow to the dungeon floor. It skitters into an unlit corner and disappears into the darkness. The Master leaps forward, slashing with his sword and sending a barrage of projectiles flying toward the Hero. The Hero can only brace himself as best he can before impact, with each new blow more and more of his energy draining out. 

Panic surges through the Hero's body as he looks up to see the Master raising his sword skyward. A brilliant flash of blinding white pierces the darkness of the dungeon, as two pillars of divine light shoot down and envelop the Master. They spread outward, one column tearing right through the Hero and knocking him down. As soon as his vision recovers, the Hero digs through his inventory and tears out a Town Portal scroll. The Master charges furiously forward but it's too late - the Hero vanishes within the swirling blue vortex and is safely transported back to Grove. Only the inacessible return portal hovers tauntingly, daring the Master to wait for the strengthened Hero to return. The Master's statue raises its sword skyward once more as the Master flies out from the warrior's shell, soaring higher and higher, through Grove and above, into his Sky Palace.

Grove is a noisy little town, quiet in its own quaint respect, with the bustling sound of a busy marketplace but also the soft and serene bubbling of a brook nearby. The Hero walks calmly through the town, his pet at his side - the effects of the fish have worn off and it is back to its old form again. Dreya the Healer sits near the graveyard, always charitable - she fixes up the Hero for no charge. The pet is also examined. The Master watches with anger and rage, infuriated at the gall that his opponent has to put their battle into an intermission. The Angel hovers nearby. This time, the Master promises himself, he will bring support.

The Hero takes in one last, deep breath of clean open air, that surges into his lungs and puffs out his chest. But he is as healthy and fit as he was when first entering the dungeon. He will not let the Master surprise him again. And so, with one final glance over his shoulder at the town he loves, the Hero dives headfirst into the dungeon portal, allowing the swirling blue vortex to consume him in a violent blur of sound and noise. The Master, meanwhile, has again fallen down into the dungeon, back into the waiting body of his statue. The Angel flitters overhead, bow strung. As the Hero steps out from the portal, the pet barks noisily, alerting the Master to their presence. An arrow flies down and pierces the pet's paw, stunning it into a brief silence moments before the dog charges forward. As the pet and the angel spar, the Master approaches the distracted Hero, striking him with one powerful overhead chop. The Hero is knocked aside, right into the oncoming path of the blue arc that swishes out and slams him into a wall. As the Master takes a step back the Hero leaps forward, stabbing with his enormous greatsword, metal clanging on metal. But the faster, more agile strikes from the Hero's blade outmaneuver the Master's slow, concentrated power attacks, and it is the Master's turn to stumble in shock. The Hero follows up with a fireball spell, the flaming projectile slamming into the Master and exploding on contact. But as the smoke clears, the warrior statue stands untouched. In response, the Master summons through a bombardment of Magical stardust. Running wildly to avoid the falling stars, the Hero manages to escape relatively unhurt, but the pet takes a direct hit. This strike, coupled with the constant attacks from the angel, send it back to its fleeing state. The Hero is, once again, alone.

Targeting the Angel this time, the Hero calls down a meteor strike. The enormous boulders crash down over the armed cherub's fragile body, and the bow is shattered. The Angel hovers weakly, knocked out of the fight, and can only watch and pray for the Master's success. The Master sends another arc flying the Hero's way. The Hero, wising up to his foe's tricks, sidesteps and casts Spectral Armor again. Feeling stronger and more confident than before, the Hero prepares for the final clash of blades. Although one more arc crashes into his body, the Hero pushes through and swings his Greatsword in one enormous attack. The Master parries, driving his blade downward into the Hero's leg. The Spectral Armor fails at once with the attack. 

Blood spurts from the wound, splashing onto the dungeon floor and shining sleek and black through the darkness. The Hero winces and clamps a hand down over the injury, holding his greatsword out with one hand. The Master looks back, watching the pet skitter frantically across the dungeon and the Angel hover calmly, recovering, and waiting for the Master to deliver the coup de grace

The Master's distraction is all the Hero needs. Standing still, the Hero casts Holy Light, as a ring of pure whiteness shines out and lights up the room. The Master is thrown back by the blast and crumples to the ground, struggling to push himself up. The Hero charges forward and casts the spell again, incapacitating the warrior statue. As it raises one mighty arm in feeble defiance, the Hero pulls back his greatsword for one horizontal slash and brings the blade home. The statue does not break, but the color of its skin and robes fades into a muted gray and a small, glittering spark of light shines out from the helmet and retreats into the air, soaring upward. The Angel quickly follows suit. 

Silence falls over the dungeon once more, save for the quiet and persistent crackling of the few torches mounted at irregular intervals on the wall. The echoing footsteps of the fleeing pet slow to a walk as the Hero feeds it a health potion. The Hero touches the abandoned statue, then pushes it, toppling it with a clang. The metallic ringing flies across the dungeon, bouncing off the walls and into a dying echo. The Hero's footsteps approach another staircase spiraling downwards, down to the next level of the dungeon. 

And far above, the Master, in the safety of his Sky Palace, must wait for the departure of the Hero of Grove before he can help the people of the region. After all, they have their Hero. They need no Master.

Expert's Opinion[]

Although the Master is incredibly strong and has countless years of experience, it was the more youthful vigor of the Hero that overcame the slow, precise power behind the Master's attacks. That, coupled with the advantages of a situationally superior ally in the pet and a greater variety of magical supplements, and the Hero was able to use his speed and agility to great effect.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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