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My Little Persona: Another Way Round 2

By DisgruntledAnon
Created: 18th December 2020 09:03:10 AM

  1. >A gentle melody of the soul can be heard in the distance: the mixture of piano and voice creating a feeling of nostalgia and belonging.
  2. >Still, it's difficult to wake from your slumber, perhaps ironically due to such a gentle tune.
  3. >Your eyes remain sealed as a voice snakes through your muddled thoughts.
  4. >"...ke up... Wak... p!"
  5. >Five more minutes, you think there might be something happening in your thoughts: a vision perhaps?
  6. >But not of any sort of Equestria you've known before.
  7. >To start with, you're pretty sure Equestria doesn't have roving bands of demons or humans.
  8. >Wait, that human over there looks familiar...
  9. >Is that...?
  10. >"...I said, WAKE UP!"
  11.  
  12. >Something hard cracks into your ribs, giving you a moderate shock as your eyes open.
  13. >"Come on and wake up already! Why are you even sleeping on our table?"
  14. >You find yourself sprawled out on an aged oak table with half your face numb from drool.
  15. >"Oh, NOW you're awake: guess brute force always wins over gentle coercion, doesn't it, Justine?"
  16. >A particularly sassy young girl with buns in her hair looks at you with a satisfied grin, one of here eyes covered with an eyepatch.
  17. >She turns to another girl, who looks like her, but with braided hair instead, as she sighs in defeat.
  18. >It looks like they were betting on something, but you can't put your finger on it.
  19. >"For heavy sleepers such as this one, I suppose you are correct, Caroline. Welcome, intruder, to the Sable Library: the final barrier between the subconscious and the unconscious."
  20. >It's good to be back, though you're surprised that Lavenza isn't here to greet you.
  21. >These two obviously aren't her, though they definitely give you a similar impression.
  22. >Maybe they're sisters?
  23. >"My name is Justine, and this is my sister, Caroline."
  24. >Justine, the braided one, gives a curt bow while Caroline, the bunned one, looks at you like you murdered her cat.
  25.  
  26. >"Don't know why we're humoring this guy: he's not on our expected guests list, and he looks like a wardrobe vomited all over him!"
  27. >Well that's rude: you're the peak of fashion!
  28. >You're rocking that white suit and attendant's hat, with the garish rocket-drill hammer, and you're sure Rarity would agree with you.
  29. >Somewhere, you feel as if a fashionista's voice suddenly cried out in terror, and was suddenly silenced.
  30. >"While his attire is certainly... flamboyant, none enter this room without a purpose, Caroline."
  31. >"Hmph!"
  32. >"While you are here in the Library, we shall observe and keep watch of your visit."
  33. >Good enough, you suppose: it's not like you're here for any reason other than finishing what you started a year ago.
  34. >Ignoring the two sassy, lost children, you go through the various books in the library: searching for that collection of what-ifs.
  35.  
  36. >However, when you pull out Another Way, Justine and Caroline's eyes light up: almost as if something jogged their memory.
  37. >"This book, it looks familiar in some way, but I can't quite connect the memory."
  38. >Justine rubs her temple in annoyance as Caroline swiftly disarms your hold on it, flipping through the pages in curiosity.
  39. >"This whole book's full of 'hard' fights, generated from the visitor's memories? That's sorta cool, but..."
  40. >Caroline scowls.
  41. >"What's with this stale line-up during your solo fights?"
  42. >She practically pulls out the solo fights with Elizabeth and Grogar, the pages straining at the seams.
  43. >Also, it might just be your imagination, but your head begins to ache with each tug.
  44.  
  45. >"Ungarmax at the beginning of every fight, no changes to the line-up: whatever's designing this dream must be weeping from your 'creative potential'!"
  46. >Caroline's baton sparks to life, almost to accentuate her frustration, only for Justine to grab her shoulder.
  47. >"Now, sister, there's no need to criticize the visitor so: we cannot expect people to look for variety in a challenge."
  48. >Your new aggressive acquaintance huffs off to a nearby chair, swinging her baton around as her sister takes the book in her hands.
  49. >Justine thumbs through the stories within the book, stopping at the latter two stories with a surprised look in her one visible eye.
  50. >"Still, it looks like two of the memories have shifted during the time you were away: Midnight Sparkle and Another Way are no longer the same battles as you remember."
  51. >Caroline finally hops back up from her bored-looking posture, stretching a bit as pops can be heard.
  52. >"You're free to fight them now, if you want, but that'll be boring for us. So tell you what,"
  53.  
  54. >Justine quickly pens down something, far quicker than a normal person could do.
  55. >A bad feeling emanates from the fervent penmanship, and that bad feeling is justified as Caroline continues.
  56. >"We've got some special rules we want to impose on you, visitor: they may or may not make things more difficult, but if you follow them, I'm sure we can fit one more battle for you."
  57. >As she says that, the twins begin to exude an aura of power similar to Elizabeth's, but with something else hidden inside.
  58. >"After all, you like a challenge, don't you?"
  59. >Caroline's smirk outright taunts you to inquire more, but something tells you that the rules won't be terribly fun.
  60. >Still, it might be interesting to mix things up a bit.
  61. >As always, the choice, no matter how it ends up, must be yours to make.
  62. >What will you do?
  63.  
  64. >Hey, you weren't the one who designed things in a way that you could exploit the system.
  65. >Blame the game, not the player.
  66. >Still, something is nagging at your mind: you were expecting Lavenza to be here, like last year.
  67. >You ask the twins what happened to her, which gives you looks of confusion.
  68. >"I'm afraid I've never heard of a Lavenza within the Velvet Room before. How about you, Caroline?"
  69. >"I can only remember our older siblings, but none of them are named Lavenza. Look, are you going to take the rules or not?"
  70.  
  71. >Caroline is quite testy for such a normal question, to the point of near suspicion.
  72. >However, the two of them do appear to know nothing about the girl from before.
  73. >What could've happened to her?
  74. >Still, you get the feeling this is neither the time or place to solve this mystery, and you're likely not the one to solve it, regardless...
  75. >Besides, you're a sucker for challenges, and this should at least make things far more interesting.
  76. >You nod in agreement to the twins' offer, causing Caroline to cackle as Justine shows you an impromptu rules list.
  77.  
  78. 1. Double Jeopardy: While you're allowed to pick 22 Personas per battle, you cannot pick the same Persona more than once. After using a Persona in a battle, that's it.
  79. 2. Minimum Combo Requirement (MCR): Each fight will require a set amount of combos in order for them to count. If you get too greedy and kill the boss before completing them, its back to the drawing board.
  80. 3. No Items: All healing/recovery must be done naturally, or with spells.
  81. 4. Maximum Turn Limit (MTL): Each fight will have a turn limit to complete. If you take too long, the boss will instantly kill you.
  82.  
  83. >"I'd say those are fair enough rules, especially for someone as accustomed to fighting as you are."
  84. >Caroline nods to herself, jabbing the baton at your chest as she continues.
  85. >"That's not to say there aren't new things you can do in combat either: you've got quite a bit of vitality and spirit inside that weird amalgamation of yours. If you wanted to, you could spend some of it to summon specters of your past to assist you."
  86. >You mean like call for help?
  87. >Being solo was supposed to be part of the fun, you hesitate to describe such a thing as a useful feature.
  88. >Sensing your confusion, Justine attempts to elaborate by drawing several illustrations in her notepad.
  89. >"It is a give-and-take sort of function, visitor: the energy spent to create such phantoms will not return to you until battle's end. To be weaker yet numerous, versus being stronger yet alone: that is the choice presented to you."
  90. >So by giving some of your HP and SP, you'll be able to summon a past ally to fight alongside you.
  91. >However, it will permanently reduce your HP and SP for the fight, making you weaker as you gain more allies.
  92.  
  93. >"Keep in mind that these rules will only apply to the changed battles, Midnight Sparkle and Another Way, as well as the special fight we're offering."
  94. >Justine finishes her explanation as Caroline tosses the book back to you, the contents finally ready to peruse and experience once more.
  95. >"Well, if you're ready to start, go ahead and pick one!"
  96. >The selections appear before you, dancing before your eyes like a hologram:
  97.  
  98. >Elizabeth
  99. >Grogar
  100. >Midnight Sparkle (NEW!): MCR = 8, MTL = 20
  101. >Another Way (NEW!): MCR = 11, MTL = 25
  102.  
  103. >While only the latter two have new things attached to them, you get the feeling you could select the first two fights as well, should you desire.
  104. >Caroline and Justine await your decision, and the night is young: what shall you do?
  105.  
  106. >The new battles are certainly tempting, but it has been a full year since you fought: chances are that you're super rusty.
  107. >As you select Grogar, the twins seem to deflate a bit, but don't stop your choice.
  108. >"This one won't have any of the rules we've stated, but we'll still grade you, if you wish."
  109. >A list of sixty-six Persona lights up in front of you, ready to be selected, and a thought passes through your mind.
  110. >Why not go full villain mode with Nyarlathotep's line-up?
  111. >You select the 22 corrupted Persona with a slightly evil grin as the book's words begin to light up!
  112. >"Good luck, visitor."
  113. >"Yeah, you'll need it!"
  114. >Nodding to Caroline and Justine, you gotta admit that those little warden costumes look adorable on them-
  115. >Wait.
  116. >They look like officers.
  117. >And they didn't show their Badge Number.
  118. "AM I BEING DETAI-"
  119.  
  120. >Tambelon Throne Room, Blood Moon
  121.  
  122. "-NED?"
  123. >You never got to truly ask the question to them, as the scenery quickly changes to the decayed throne room of the necropolis Tambelon.
  124. >Grogar's skeleton is already in place, rigid as a statue, when suddenly his flesh and skin spreads across it like a cancer.
  125. >Rotting sinew binds the cadaver together with unholy magicks, while the bell fastens itself upon Grogar's neck.
  126. >Eventually, his eyes spark with a blue flame, as he glares down upon you.
  127. >"You dare use ME as your overglorified practice dummy?! You will regret your HUBRIS, human!"
  128. >The bell tolls, echoing through the halls while he shatters the floor with his cloven hooves.
  129. >"GRAAGH!"
  130.  
  131. [The Book of Souls is missing your names.]
  132.  
  133. [Finish the story!]
  134.  
  135. Battle 1: Grogar (Round 3)
  136.  
  137. [First Murder]
  138.  
  139. [Shatter the scriptures!]
  140.  
  141. You: 1000% HP, 1000% SP
  142.  
  143. >"I have no idea if this will work, but you're short-fused enough that I'll risk it. Infuriate that goat, Caligula!"
  144. >You shatter the card with a tap of your finger, calling forth a muscular, toned man with pitch-black veins coursing throughout his body.
  145. >The mad Roman Emperor lets out an ear-shattering screech, as the blood moon outside morphs into a hauntingly beautiful pale blue.
  146. >Shining from above, the lunacy of the moon's love slams into Grogar, leaving him unharmed physically, but his undead eyes reflect a unbridled madness!
  147.  
  148. >"GAhH, whAt DID you D o to MEEEEEE?"
  149. >The necromancer rushes you, slamming into your gut like a man possessed, though Caligula's armor mitigates the trauma.
  150. >Grogar continues to bleat uncontrollably as the lunacy overwhelms his senses!
  151. >That... wasn't what you were expecting with a Rage ailment.
  152. >If it works, it works, though.
  153. >With this, he should be more vulnerable to your powered attacks.
  154. >Still, you think back to what the twins discussed about summoning allies from the past.
  155. >Perhaps they might help stack on the damage and wreck this bone nerd?
  156. >Regardless, Grogar is primed for a bruising, so let's figure out how to trounce him!
  157.  
  158. Status:
  159.  
  160. You: 983% HP, 990% SP
  161.  
  162. >Seeing the terrible Grogar losing himself to the madness is hilarious.
  163. >You almost want to tip him over so he struggles to get up, with his incessant bleating.
  164. >It's probably not a good idea to celebrate prematurely, however: this was only step one, after all.
  165. "Come forth, Heracles!"
  166. >Cloaked in the pelt of the Nemean lion, the musclebound hero lets out a bestial roar, bulking up even further.
  167. >You can almost see the strain of the sinews within the Persona's arms, as he lifts his imposing pillar of a club.
  168. "Steady..."
  169. >Grogar looks at you with murder in his eyes, determined to defy fate and get another hit on you despite the invincible monster protecting you.
  170. >"I WILL KILL YOU!"
  171. "Steady..."
  172. >Heracles holds his position, his tension building like a finely crafted composite bow: ready to strike and release his fury.
  173. >With a mad war cry, the necromancer charges you, closing the distance within seconds!
  174. "Now, Heracles!"
  175. >The demigod mutes Grogar's roar with his own, catching the goat's horns with his weapon and cracking it into his skull!
  176. >The empowered strike lands upon the tunneled foe, dealing massive damage and sending him flying through a nearby pillar with a sickening explosion!
  177. >"ACK!"
  178.  
  179. >Eventually, the dust settles, revealing a slightly bloodied Grogar who has already summoned Koschei.
  180. >"I will not fall for such TRICKERY twice! Burn him, Koschei!"
  181. >The undying warlord makes a sigil with his hand, unleashing a gout of flame that singes your side, scorching part of your pristine white suit!
  182. "Oh, you did NOT just ruin this suit, you overgrown trash-eater. It's on now!"
  183. >"FOOL, that's MY line!"
  184. >Sparks fly in this heated battle as the two of you aim to ruin the other.
  185. >You did some good damage, but received some in return.
  186. >Memory sparks back to the bell behind the throne: how you sent someone else to ring it to disable his magicks.
  187. >It might be useful to keep that in mind, though you're liking your chances so far.
  188. >The ball's in your court, champ, what's next?
  189.  
  190. Status:
  191.  
  192. You: 904% HP, 990% SP
  193.  
  194. >The strength provided by Caligula has faded from your body.
  195.  
  196. >As you think of a way to get to that bell, a thought occurs: what if you attempt to blind Grogar?
  197. >I mean, it worked with the Rage, so it's not like that's impossible.
  198. "Let's see if lightning strikes twice. Come forth, Minos!"
  199. >From deep within the earth, the gates to Hell shift just right to punch through the castle floor.
  200. >Grogar hops back as a behemoth of a man rises through, his pale coils wrapping around you to steady your feet.
  201. >Suddenly, far faster than any snake, Minos's limbs strike out at Grogar's eyes, attempting to blind the villain!
  202. >But the necromancer appears to have anticipated this, snaking through the blows as he summons his Persona once more.
  203.  
  204. >Biting winds slice through the air, striking the immobile judge, but dealing little damage as a result.
  205. >Still, the rubble from the previous onslaught is picked up on the wind, landing in your eyes and temporarily blinding your sight!
  206. >"I believe the SLAVES have a term for this: Turnabout is FAIR play! Gahahaha!"
  207. >This should be simple to clear with an ailment cleansing magic, but you could still attempt to attack Grogar.
  208. >With your impaired vision, however, you will likely have trouble landing a shot.
  209. >Slightly battered, you consider what to do next.
  210.  
  211. Status:
  212.  
  213. You (Blind): 875% HP, 980% SP
  214.  
  215. >Perhaps you can make a break for the bell right now, slam it with a fusion attack or something.
  216. >No, probably not a good idea: you're blinded, Grogar is entirely in his senses, and there's no one else here to distract him.
  217. >Worst case scenario, he'd hunt you down easily.
  218. >Maybe summoning Rainbow Dash could help: with her speed, she might even get it done faster than anyone else.
  219. >But that's a problem for Future You, the shallow cunt.
  220. "I call upon thee, Edmond Dantes!"
  221. >A cloaked man, coursing with lightning, cackles to the sky above before enshrouding you within his mantle, providing a currently useless defense against electricity.
  222. >Now truly visible, the Count's maddening eyes focus on the Necromancer, giving a confident smirk.
  223. >"I don't like the way you're LOOKING at me!"
  224.  
  225. >Koschei pulls out a sword from his scabbard, swinging it forward as if signaling someone from afar.
  226. >The sky begins to cloud with arrows, all attempting to pierce the lone man standing between them and you.
  227. >But as the projectiles almost make their mark, they pass through his body as if he was made of air!
  228. >The afterimage dissipates as Edmond dodges them effortlessly.
  229. >Now for the matter of calling for help; you focus on your myriad hearts, thinking about the times you spent with the reckless pegasus who was loyal to her friends.
  230. "Hear my call, Rainbow Dash, I need you!"
  231. >From within your body, a sphere of light emerges, floating before you momentarily before transforming into Rainbow Dash!
  232.  
  233. >You feel weaker from the transfusion, but it seems to have worked perfectly, as your friend looks around the arena.
  234. >"So it's my turn now, eh? Need me to kick some tail?"
  235. "Not now, that'll be something we do after we negate this asshole's magic. I need to you get to the bell behind the throne and ring it for me!"
  236. >Rainbow nods, thumping her chest with a hoof and giving a cocky grin.
  237. >"No problem, it'll be done before you know it!"
  238. >And with that, she's off, leaving your still blinded self to deal with an angry goat.
  239.  
  240. >"Harrumph, another unwanted slave, but one I shall deal with later!"
  241. >With a wave of his hand, Koschei dispels the cloak that surrounded you, which swiftly binds itself back onto the Count.
  242. >Now why would he do that?
  243. >Could it be that he suspects that Edmond Dantes is actually weak to Electricity?
  244. >You might be able to bait him into doing something that greatly benefits you.
  245. >From the corner of your eye, you see Rainbow Dash zooming through the throne room.
  246. >If you can buy her just a little more time, she should be done with her task soon.
  247.  
  248. Status:
  249.  
  250. You (Blind): 775% HP, 880% SP
  251. Rainbow Dash (Away): 100% HP, 100% SP
  252.  
  253. >Your eyesight is almost back to normal, though it still hurts to open them.
  254. >They'll probably clear themselves after your next action.
  255.  
  256. >On second thought, it's probably more prudent to strengthen yourself for what's coming next.
  257. "Fill me with power, Pandora!"
  258. >You tap the midnight-colored Priestess card, summoning a beautiful girl with eerie eyes and butterfly wings.
  259. >She giggles, opening an ominous jar and releasing a foul-looking miasma that surrounds your body.
  260. >Strangely enough, the toxic mist invigorates your body, and you feel your physical capabilities skyrocket!
  261. >Grogar spends no time speaking with you as his Persona's blade tears through the sky, splitting the nearby clouds and unleashing a barrage of thunder down upon you!
  262. >Despite your enhanced abilities, the majority of them strike you for heavy damage, sending you reeling back!
  263.  
  264. >But before he can gloat upon it, Grogar is interrupted by the resounding gong of the bell.
  265. >It seems you bought enough time for Rainbow to complete her mission, and the bell around Grogar's neck dulls.
  266. >In no time, Rainbow is back in position: ready to continue the fight!
  267. >Perhaps now is is good opportunity to summon the other Rainbow Dash as well.
  268. >Given their similarities, the two might be able to unleash a power combination attack.
  269. >Still, even with the protections you received, that lightning hurt pretty bad: it might be prudent to heal yourself before continuing.
  270. >The two of you face down a still relatively uninjured Grogar, contemplating your next move.
  271.  
  272. Status:
  273.  
  274. You: 722% HP, 870% SP
  275. Rainbow Dash: 100% HP, 100% SP
  276.  
  277. >Your eyes are finally cleared from the debris that was covering them.
  278.  
  279. >You really hope this doesn't unintentionally end the universe or something stupid like that.
  280. "Appear before me, Gaea!"
  281. >Tapping the corrupted Empress card, you anticipate the familiar earth goddess to greet you.
  282. >However, what materializes before you is a monstrous beast with seven heads, each resembling one of your friends on the Dream Team.
  283. >The heads snarl and bite towards Grogar, as sitting atop of it is a beautiful, alabaster lady wearing a regal purple robe.
  284. >Her prismatic hair flows freely in the air, goblet filled with a toxic wine in her hand, as the name of the card changes before your very eyes!
  285.  
  286. Gaea has transformed into Mother Harlot!
  287.  
  288. >"That's... a little unsettling."
  289. "You're telling me. Still, she should do well enough while I summon our next ally!"
  290. >Ignoring the Beast before you, you think back to the other Rainbow Dash you connected to: the aspiring athlete and rockstar who always has Sunset's back.
  291. >Another ball of light frees itself from you, transforming into the Rainbow Dash from the other side of the mirror.
  292. >She looks around with her imposing spear, seeing you and giving a wave, before checking out her pony self.
  293. >"So that's what I look like over here. Sup, pony me?"
  294. >"Right back at you, though you look way younger than I do."
  295. >The two give a fist/hoofbump that thankfully doesn't cleft the fabric of the world in twain as the pony Rainbow calls forth Thunderbird.
  296. >A familiar jet rockets down from on high, firing a scrambling drone that homes in on the necromancer's position.
  297. >While he attempts to fall back, the projectile finds its mark, interfering with his ability to summon his Persona!
  298.  
  299. "Aw yeah, the meme magic isn't dead yet!"
  300. >"If only my Persona was that accurate... Oh well, just smash him like you always do, Achilles!"
  301. >With a flick of her Gae Bolg, Rainbow summons the towering fighter, as he strikes with the speed of a locomotive.
  302. >Grogar quickly positions himself to take grazing damage at best, but the blow still connects, dealing moderate damage.
  303. >He attempts to land a blow on his silencer, charging with his horns, but misses extravagantly as Dash glides out of the way.
  304. >"Gotta do better than that, bone bag!"
  305. >This is good: you've got two teammates with fight still left in them, as well as a debilitated Grogar.
  306. >Now might be the time to go on the offensive!
  307. >You contemplate what to do next..
  308.  
  309. Status:
  310.  
  311. You: 622% HP, 780% SP
  312. Rainbow Dash: 100% HP, 95% SP
  313. Rainbow Dash (Human): 70% HP, 100% SP
  314.  
  315. "The two of you should get prepared for a charged combo; I'll handle healing. Persona!"
  316. >Harpocrates descends from the heavens, his black leather suit and military gas mask contrasting the stark white wings on his back.
  317. >He holds a finger to the tube area where his mouth would be, generating a holy light that heals the human Rainbow's wounds instantly.
  318. >However, while you recover a large portion of your wounds, there are still wounds that haven't fully patched up.
  319. >It could be that, due to your immense vitality, that healing will only do so much each time.
  320. >"Can we even do a charged combination attack? I dunno about you, but I've never worked with a pony before."
  321. >The OG Rainbow waves off her younger self's worries with a pshaw, motioning to your efforts.
  322. >"Trust me, if I can get a combo working with those dorks, I think we can totally figure something out."
  323.  
  324. >"If you say so, then let's get ready to rock!"
  325. >Thunderbird transforms into its more mechanical form, its insides pumping electric blue fluid throughout its system.
  326. >Meanwhile Achilles breaks through his armor, revealing a muscular man in a jumpsuit, coursing with multicolored lightning.
  327. >Grogar attempts to break the drone preventing his casting, but is unable to catch the annoying little shit.
  328. >He settles for the larger human target, slamming into Dash for moderate damage as she catches herself with Gae Bolg.
  329. >"Alright, we're ready for that combination attack: just give us the word, and we'll let him have it!"
  330. >Looks like it's time for a lotta damage, what's your call?
  331.  
  332. Status:
  333.  
  334. You: 722% HP, 750% SP
  335. Rainbow Dash: 100% HP, 85% SP
  336. Rainbow Dash (Human): 76% HP, 90% SP
  337.  
  338. >You get the feeling the Heat Riser from Pandora will be fading away next turn.
  339. >From the look of the drone, it will likely stop suppressing Grogar after this.
  340.  
  341. >Alright, let's soften this meatbag up!
  342. "Come forth, Mother Harlot!"
  343. >The Whore of Babylon giggles in response to your call, extending the goblet before herself and pouring the contents to the ground.
  344. >Suddenly, the liquid that should be landing before her is actually pouring out from above Grogar, covering him in the disgusting fluids and weakening him!
  345. "He's all yours, girls: give him hell!"
  346.  
  347. >"I've been waiting for this! Persona!"
  348. >"Don't think I'll let you outspeed me! Persona!"
  349. >Achilles takes to the skies, bursting through the ceiling and bathing the entire throne room in crimson light.
  350. >It's difficult to see from this distance, but he positions himself against the star, priming himself for the lunge.
  351. >Meanwhile, Thunderbird primes his cannon to fire: the energies storing in the barrel threatening to go off at any time.
  352. >"We're gonna show you what it means-!"
  353. >"To mess with the best!"
  354.  
  355. Combo Activated: Hyperphotonic Rainboom
  356.  
  357. >You can't know for sure which went off first, Achilles or Thunderbird, but the moment before it all went down, everything seemed to go in slow motion.
  358. >That didn't last long at all, as the sound of the air shattering as the two Persona strike all but deafens you and pushes you back with the force of the impact!
  359. >Achilles's spear makes it mark, piercing through the necromancer's spine and eliciting a painful grunt as it punches through him instantly.
  360. >Thunderbird's plasma also washes over him, searing his flesh and causing convulsions as the electricity courses through his veins!
  361. >Grogar is unable to escape the two-pronged attack, as he's blasted through his own throne and into a nearby wall, suffering extreme damage!
  362.  
  363. >When he finally pulls himself back up, Grogar is looking far worse for wear: parts of his decrepit fur have been completely vaporized, revealing the rotting sinew underneath, and you can see part of his skull near the base of his horns.
  364. >And looking at the recolored bell, it appears the effects of the throne bell have finally faded away.
  365. >He let's out a fearsome roar, crushing the suppression drone with ease as Koschei removes the filthy substance off of him.
  366. >Then, before you can react, a dark orb charges in the Undying's hands, shooting out and exploding in front of your group!
  367. >You manage to dodge out of the way, thanks to your strengthening magicks, but both Rainbow Dashes aren't as lucky, taking heavy damage from the blast!
  368.  
  369. >"I won't let you KILL me again!"
  370. >The human Rainbow winces at her wounds, only made worse due to her amazing combo.
  371. >"If you could heal me again, I'd really appreciate it, dude!"
  372. >It appears that Grogar can now act twice during combat: future plans should take that into account.
  373. >What shall you do next?
  374.  
  375. Status:
  376.  
  377. You: 722% HP, 740% SP
  378. Rainbow Dash: 69% HP, 55% SP
  379. Rainbow Dash (Human): 15% HP, 90% SP
  380.  
  381. >Ringing that bell again sounds like a good idea: make it so Grogar can't hit you with Koschei's arsenal.
  382. "I'm sorry to ask this while you're hurt, Rainbow, but could you ring the bell behind the throne? We'll buy you time so you can get there without getting attacked."
  383. >She rubs her bruises in contemplation, thinking for a bit before nodding.
  384. >"It's probably better than just sticking around while injured. Just make sure to help me out when I get back, alright?"
  385. >And with that, she's off, jumping over debris and sprinting to the throne.
  386. >You keep her request in mind as you switch back over to Edmond Dantes, who unleashes a stream of lightning that surges through Grogar, dealing moderate damage and grabbing his attention.
  387.  
  388. >"Persona!"
  389. >Rainbow soars through her card, calling forth Thunderbird as it bursts its engines, filling both of your with increased agility.
  390. >Grogar wastes no time, charging at you before turning around to buck you with his hind hooves.
  391. >The first strike connects, but you're able to avoid the second one, taking only minimal damage, but sending you to the floor as the hoof strikes Edmond's weakness!
  392. >"What an INTERESTING heel, human."
  393. >He proceeds to kick you in the face two more times, dealing heavy damage and leaving you dizzy!
  394. >Koschei then snaps his fingers, summoning a fiery tornado that hunts down Rainbow Dash.
  395. >Thankfully, she manages to just barely move out of the way, thanks to the enhanced agility.
  396. >While Rainbow tries her best to help you recover from the dizziness, you can't quite pick yourself up.
  397.  
  398. >"Damn it, stay alive! Persona!"
  399. >Thunderbird lets out a powerful blast of plasma at the Necromancer, dealing heavy damage.
  400. >Grogar shoulders through the blast, leaping into the air and crashing into the floor, striking your helpless form but missing Rainbow as she effortlessly weaves past the tectonic shifts!
  401. >"Come on, geezer, I thought you wanted to kill me!"
  402. >Infuriated, he calls forth Koschei, who launches several icy spears at the smug pony!
  403. >...Only for them to strike at nothing as she evades them once more.
  404. >"Just... stand... still... and... DIE!"
  405. >"Gonna have to take a rain check on that one, boss."
  406.  
  407. >You finally manage to pull yourself off the ground, far more battered than you originally were.
  408. >If you had to take a guess on how badly you're hurt, you're just barely above half of your max vitality.
  409. >Go figure Grogar would exploit a weakness while you're down.
  410. >From the corner of your eye, you see the human Rainbow climbing over some of the rubble.
  411. >If you can buy just a little more time, you bet that she'd be able to finally ring that bell.
  412. >You might be hurt, but you're not out yet, chief.
  413. >What's next?
  414.  
  415. Status:
  416.  
  417. You: 437% HP, 680% SP
  418. Rainbow Dash: 69% HP, 30% SP
  419. Rainbow Dash (Human/Away): 15% HP, 90% SP
  420.  
  421. >The agility given to you by Thunderbird looks like it will wear off soon.
  422.  
  423. >No beating around the bush here: you got fucked hard by Grogar's assault.
  424. >Add that to Rainbow's injuries, and it's probably for the best that you patch up together.
  425. "I summon thee, David!"
  426. >A bony bard, fiddle in his hand, hops down from the wrecked roof, giving a bow with his hat before performing.
  427. >The fiddle alights with a green flame, its haunting melody filling your body with energy as some of your wounds vanish!
  428. >Strangely, though, it also feels like you have the odd urge to dance along with the fevered tune.
  429. >Rainbow lunges at Grogar with her wing blades, jumping side to side to catch him with his guard down!
  430. >As she strikes, however, her shadow begins to shift underneath her, striking up like spikes as she lands!
  431. >You try to warn her, but are surprised when the selfsame protrusion pierce your defenses as well, dealing heavy damage before Rainbow can fully fall back.
  432. >"Hey, that's cheating!"
  433.  
  434. >"There are no rules in combat, girl! Persona!"
  435. >Koschei conjures a bow and nocks two arrows, sending them flying into the air as they multiply into a hailstorm.
  436. >You are unable to avoid the rampage, taking partial damage, but Rainbow manages to weave through it once more, smirking at the still aggrieved necromancer.
  437. >Suddenly, his Persona's form begins to dissipate once more, with the sounding of a distant bell!
  438. >The human Rainbow limps back over, catching her breath before giving a thumbs up.
  439. >"That... That was super easy..."
  440. >Her grin seems slightly forced: perhaps it was harder to push herself due to her injuries.
  441. >Still, you're all back together now, and ready to deal with a suppressed Grogar.
  442. >You consider your options.
  443.  
  444. Status:
  445.  
  446. You: 483% HP, 660% SP
  447. Rainbow Dash: 56% HP, 30% SP
  448. Rainbow Dash (Human): 15% HP, 90% SP
  449.  
  450. >You feel the speedy tailwind surrounding you fade as Thunderbird's enhancements vanish.
  451.  
  452. >Things aren't looking entirely good for your group: you think it's time to bring in the heavy arsenal.
  453. >Tapping the Lust Arcana, you call forth Baphomet: the goat lady suggestively posing with her imposing scythe.
  454. >You focus your myriads hearts on the memory of your surrogate mother: original leader of Legion and stalwart ally.
  455. "Please, lend me your aid, Princess Luna!"
  456. >A familiar feeling escapes your body as the alicorn monarch forms before you, wielding a simulacrum of Nightmare against Grogar.
  457. >"What a strange dream you've found yourself in, wayward hearts: I shall assist you for as long as I am able. Heal our wounds, Artemis!"
  458. >The goddess of the hunt's presence temporarily changes the bloodstained moon into a calming blue: the gentle rays healing some of your injuries.
  459. >The pony Rainbow wastes no time with her enhanced vitality, speeding everyone's movements with Thunderbird as the human Dash looks at Luna in awe.
  460.  
  461. >"She's so... majestic. N-never mind that, let's get some payback, Achilles!"
  462. >Another powerful blow strikes Grogar, the sound of breaking bones resounding through the arena as he struggles to stay standing!
  463. >Even then, he has difficulty landing hits on his targets: Rainbow Dash, with all her luck, isn't even worried at this point as she dances around the necromancer.
  464. >When he tries the same against Luna, he is met with a merciless strike at his footing, collapsing to the ground with his own momentum!
  465. >"It seems Luck favors us this day: let us proceed with the All Out Attack!"
  466. "You've got it, mom!"
  467. >"The pain will be doubled!"
  468. >Newly invigorated, the four of you slam on this poor goat, dealing massive damage as he struggles to pick himself up!
  469.  
  470. >You can tell he's heavily injured now, though he still clearly has fight in him.
  471. >The feeling of death creeps up your spine as you consider summoning another ally: if you summon an ally who isn't capable of Analysis and storing allies, you know the Reaper will appear.
  472. >What will you do, with this new fortune?
  473.  
  474. Status:
  475.  
  476. You: 493% HP, 560% SP
  477. Rainbow Dash: 100% HP, 25% SP
  478. Rainbow Dash (Human): 70% HP, 90% SP
  479. Luna: 100% HP, 80% SP
  480.  
  481. "Let's go all out this turn, everyone! Hear my call, Amatsu-Mikaboshi!"
  482. >The shadowy kami raises a hand, a small universe forming within his palm while exuding radiant energy.
  483. >Mirroring its brightness, the point radiates a searing heat, evaporating the air around it as the pinpoint of energy grows ever smaller.
  484. >Then, just as the light is about to wink out of existence, the dam breaks, unleashing a powerful laser that carves parts of Grogar's body away with Nuclear energy, dealing heavy damage!
  485. >The twin Rainbows follow suit, the pony's prismatic wingblades and Achilles's spear cracking down upon his body!
  486. >Finally, Artemis fires an arrow towards the moon, calling down a meteor shower that blankets the floor in a massive explosion!
  487. >The combination of attacks leaves the room silent, a heavy cloud of dust covering the potentially gory aftermath.
  488.  
  489. >Human Rainbow lowers Gae Bolg and takes a sigh of relief, her body aching from repeated Persona attacks.
  490. >"Ugh, thank God that's over wi-"
  491. >Suddenly, a figure bursts through the cloud, striking her in the solar plexus and sending her flying backwards!
  492. >She lands roughly on the ground, knocked out cold from the assault.
  493. >Taking advantage of the critical strike, he focuses his attention on Luna, rearing his hind legs to buck her.
  494. >Luna barely manages to lessen the damage of the blow, though it causes Nightmare to groan under the force of it.
  495. >However, the defense leaves her open to Grogar's true opening, as he headbutts the Princess with a resounding CRACK!
  496. >"Curses! I was careless..."
  497. >The focused assault is too much for Luna to take, as she collapses from her injuries as well.
  498.  
  499. "Rainbow! Luna!"
  500. >He tries to go for another hit on pony Dash, but whiffs as he coughs up a sickly green substance.
  501. >"If I'm to die AGAIN... I shall take YOU with ME!"
  502. >His form is ragged and falling apart: more cadaver than corpse at this point.
  503. >If you can keep hitting him where it hurts, you might just be able to take him out.
  504. >However, both the human Rainbow Dash and Princess Luna have been knocked out by Grogar's assault.
  505. >It might be more prudent to get them back up.
  506. >As you consider what to do, his bell regains its former luster.
  507. >It appears he will be able to summon Koschei once more.
  508. >The situation is sticky, but not impossible: stay calm and figure out a solution.
  509.  
  510. Status:
  511.  
  512. You: 493% HP, 530% SP
  513. Rainbow Dash: 100% HP, 25% SP
  514. Rainbow Dash (Human/KO): 0% HP, 90% SP
  515. Luna (KO): 0% HP, 50% SP
  516.  
  517. >A maelstrom of voices echo through your mind, each pushing for a different plan.
  518. >One suggests to revive the fallen human and have the two Rainbows perform their remaining combination attack.
  519. >Another recommends bringing back Princess Luna and have her assist with defenses.
  520. >Perhaps summoning a analysis teammate like Fluttershy would help?
  521. >Each voice pulls a different direction: determined to see Grogar fall, but unable to decide what to do.
  522. >Eventually, enough of a consensus was reached for a strategy.
  523. "Rainbow, get ready for another combo. Bring back my ally, Harpocrates!"
  524.  
  525. >The leather-bound angel holds out a hand as an eerie pale light envelops Dash, causing her to jump back up with a shock.
  526. >"Geez, what the heck was that? Felt like someone was getting WAY too handsy for their own good."
  527. >She shivers for a bit, then shakes her head, looking to her pony self with a grin.
  528. >"Well, are you ready for round two of the smackdown?"
  529. >The smirk is shared, as the pegasus's muscles tense in preparation.
  530. >"Only if you can keep up; Persona!"
  531. >"Persona!"
  532.  
  533. >Thunderbird makes its way towards Achilles, its form morphing into a structure quite different from the mech from before.
  534. >"Is that what I think it is?"
  535. >Achilles grabs ahold of the bottom part of his alternate self, the transformation fitting around his grip.
  536. >"I... honestly have no idea what this is making, but it feels strangely familiar for some reason."
  537. >Both Rainbows' eyes are glued to the scene before them: one with intrigue and awe, while the other completely confused.
  538. >Eventually, the process is complete, revealing a weapon most powerful and terrifying.
  539. >"..."
  540. "... That's just a gun."
  541. >"The heck's a gun? You mean like the things Hickok uses?"
  542. >Using the targeting reticule on Thunderbird, Achilles lines up the shot and fires repeatedly, unleashing powerful blasts of energy at Grogar!
  543.  
  544. Combo Activated: Deceptive Shelling
  545.  
  546. >Each shot not only hits, but hamstrings the necromancer: blasting off body parts and disintegrating limbs!
  547. >The throne room is given the same fate as the remaining pillars keeping the structural integrity of the building collapse, causing debris to fall down from on high!
  548. >You do your best to pull Princess Luna somewhere safe as the bombardment eventually ceases, leaving the area silent.
  549. >Until your human friend shouts to the collapsed pile of refuse.
  550. >"Come on, you old goat, you can't just pull the same trick twice!"
  551. >And, as if to respond, two somber bell tones ring through the dead city, focusing on you and the pegasus.
  552.  
  553. >Hapocrates gives a muffled cry as shadowy binds bind the two of you, shrinking and twisting your body until you transform into a tiny fly!
  554. >You buzz in surprise as Rainbow is affected as well: two flies and a human being all that stand in the way of Grogar and an unconscious princess.
  555. >While injured from using her Persona, Rainbow takes Gae Bolg and leaps into the sky, all but disappearing into the clouds.
  556. >Seeing an opportunity, Grogar attempts to strike you and Dash with his hooves, determined to squish you under their weight!
  557.  
  558. >"Not on my watch!"
  559. >Like a lightning bolt, Rainbow pierces the goat with the prismatic spear!
  560. >You can hear his heart shatter from the impact, reducing his withered form to harmless dust.
  561. >Pulling herself up, she gives you a thumbs up and a cocky grin.
  562. >"That wasn't so bad, was it?"
  563.  
  564. VICTORY
  565.  
  566. Battle Stats:
  567.  
  568. Summoned Allies: 3/4 expected
  569. KOs: 2/0 expected
  570. Combos: 2/2 performed
  571. Turn Count: 17/15 expected
  572.  
  573. Grade: C+
  574.  
  575. Sable Library, ???
  576.  
  577. >You awaken back at the Sable Library, where the twins await to judge you.
  578. >"Welcome back, visitor. Congratulations on your victory."
  579. >"If this wasn't practice, that would've been an outright humiliating experience. But you still won, so good work on that."
  580. >You get the feeling you aren't going to figure out anything new about Grogar's fight that you didn't already know.
  581. >Still, some insight from the twins might be of some help.
  582. >In addition, you might be able to request them to modify the rules in some way, assuming you were struggling with something during that fight.
  583. >Will you say something to them, before the next battle?
  584.  
  585. >Well to begin with, expecting no KOs during that initial battle was somewhat harsh, wasn't it?
  586. >There was always the chance of losing someone to an unlucky hit, like with the human Rainbow and Princess Luna.
  587. >"While it's true that accidents can happen, there were strategies that would have allowed you to decrease the chances of getting caught."
  588. >Justine pulls out a Compendium and thumbs to the page with Nyarlathotep's Persona.
  589. >"For example, you might have noticed that Grogar was only capable of Physical attacks when silenced by the bell. Why didn't you switch to Heracles and grant one of your allies Tetrakarn?"
  590. >Part of you didn't even think twice about that particular detail, and you have difficulty arguing against her point.
  591.  
  592. >"It would help to pay attention to things not explicitly shown, if you plan to limit mistakes."
  593. >Caroline butts in with a quip, a mean grin on her face.
  594. >"Or just bring someone with Analysis next time."
  595. >Speaking of allies, just starting by yourself feels like you'll be at a severe disadvantage: especially with a limited amount of time to win.
  596. >Perhaps it would be more balanced to allow certain allies to be pre-summoned?
  597. >The twins mull over your point, looking to each other before Caroline speaks.
  598. >"We'll allow up to two allies to be pre-summoned, but they'll still require the energy and vitality from yourself."
  599.  
  600. >So up to two allies of any kind, then.
  601. >Suppose it's better than nothing, and it could be the difference between victory and defeat.
  602. >Now that you think about it, Caroline and Justine never answered if they were-
  603. >"Oh, that's right! We almost forgot about something we wanted your input on!"
  604. >Caroline quickly shuts down your train of thought, leaving you unable to do much but listen.
  605.  
  606. >"We noticed you were having trouble with keeping your allies' energy at full capacity, which could end up keeping you from performing combination attacks."
  607. >Justine nods, frowning at the conundrum she unintentionally created.
  608. >"The rule of 'no items' was more for you, who can regenerate your vitality and energy simply by your Persona. It becomes more of a nuisance when your allies suffer from it."
  609. >"That's why we've got two potential solutions, and you're gonna figure out which you prefer!"
  610. >Caroline pulls out a pair of newly edited rules sheets, each with a different modification of Rule 3.
  611.  
  612. >"The first is the simplest: you'll get a bag of items that can be used on your allies, but not on you. You'll literally be incapable of using them, so don't even think about trying!"
  613. >Justine continues, pointing to the opposite sheet.
  614. >"The other option is to allow yourself to transfer your own vitality and energy to your allies when they need it. This might put you in an awkward position, so be careful if you choose this path."
  615. >You feel like you were going to ask another question, but you can't quite recall the memory.
  616. >Eh, probably wasn't important.
  617. >The twins await your choice: do you pick the bag of ally-only items, or transferring your own HP and SP to allies instead?
  618.  
  619. >In the end, stability is always better than flexibility.
  620. >You take the rules sheet with the item bag, as the other bursts into blue flames.
  621. >Caroline pulls out a nondescript bag from a nearby table and tosses it to you, revealing a set of items.
  622. >However, these items look grey and ethereal to you.
  623. >Whenever you attempt to pick one up with the thought of trying them on you, they pass through your fingers.
  624. >Clearing your mind of anything other than the desire to grab them, they do eventually settle in your palm.
  625. >However, even then their physicality isn't entirely stable.
  626. >"Just remember, visitor, you can't use them on yourself. Well then, are you ready for the real deal?"
  627. >Another Way opens once more, showing the same entries as before.
  628.  
  629. >Elizabeth
  630. >Grogar
  631. >Midnight Sparkle (NEW!): MCR = 8, MTL = 20
  632. >Another Way (NEW!): MCR = 11, MTL = 25
  633.  
  634. >You feel warmed up from the Grogar rematch, but is that enough for these new battles?
  635. >Which battle will you pick?
  636. >Which Persona will you choose?
  637. >Which allies will you bring with you, or will you go alone?
  638. >The choice, as always, is yours to make.
  639.  
  640. >You select the Persona you desire for the first match, having to reselect when you accidentally choose the wrong Persona twice.
  641. >That done, you focus on Twilight and Sunset as your starting teammates.
  642. >"Looks like you're all set! Show us what you're made of, visitor!"
  643. >"Good luck."
  644. >The passage with Midnight Sparkle's picture shines brightly, enveloping you with light as you vanish.
  645.  
  646. >The Princess's Archives, ???
  647.  
  648. >You materialize in an black, oily room that seems to swallow all the light within.
  649. >Twilight and Sunset materialize as well, though strangely, Twilight is a pony, while Sunset is a human.
  650. >Before you can make mention of it, a lone light shines in the center of the room, revealing Midnight Sparkle sitting upon her crystalline throne.
  651. >You can tell she is bored out of her mind before she recognizes you.
  652. >"Oh, so now you finally show up. I suppose waiting in this dream was worth the boredom."
  653. "Wait, you've been waiting?"
  654.  
  655. >Midnight snickers at your question, standing up and nonchalantly swiping her hand to her left.
  656. >As if made of wet toilet paper, a portal rips open, revealing a horrifying sight: all of the world outside appears to have been consumed by Decoherence!
  657. >Canterlot High has been completely assimilated by Midnight's Fantasia, with Shadows hunting down fleeing civilians in the distance.
  658. >Noticing several odd shapes on the streets, you recognize those as tanks and cars completely wrecked: some smashed, while others are melted piles of scrap.
  659. >"You see, there's not much to do when you've already conquer the world. It truly was dull, dealing with mirages of people."
  660. >Elizabeth and Grogar's lucid awareness of being fake during your solo bouts come to mind when she says this, but were they able to leave their own arenas?
  661.  
  662. >"Well, we both know you're not here to care about a world that never was: you want your fight."
  663. >Her eyes glow with corrupted magic as she unfurls her wings, ready for combat.
  664. >"Do try not die too quickly: you owe me a good show for a whole year of nothing!"
  665. >Sunset and Twilight run to your side, readying their weapons.
  666. >"Don't worry, we're with you all the way. Persona, Henshin!"
  667. >"Carpe Diem. Are ya ready?"
  668. >She jams her card into her belt buckle, activating her Persona and readying for combat!
  669.  
  670. [If it has a pulse, take its skull!]
  671.  
  672. [ARE YOU READY TO MEET GOD?]
  673.  
  674. Battle 2: Midnight Sparkle (Round 3)
  675.  
  676. [FIRST TRY]
  677.  
  678. [BLAZE WITH GLORY]
  679.  
  680.  
  681. "Twilight, Sunset, do your thing while I call on some more help!"
  682. >You swap Razgriz into your thoughts, focusing on the memories of Luna.
  683. >An orb of light emerges from your body, manifesting itself as the familiar lunar Princess.
  684. >"Shield Twilight's weakness, Artemis!"
  685. >A stellar lion pounces at Twilight, covering her with a shimmering red aura as she looks at Midnight with a troubled expression.
  686. >"So this is what the me on the other side became? Such power emanating from her, but I can't help but feel a sense of loneliness in her smile..."
  687.  
  688. >Sunset pats her friend on the side, giving a thumbs up as she readies her gladius.
  689. >"That's why we're here to stop her: the original Midnight was saved, and even if we can't save this one, we can still stop this!"
  690. >"You're right, Sunset, no amount of loneliness justifies harming the world around you. Persona!"
  691. >"Persona!"
  692. >The two shatter their cards in unison, as Nimue freezes the ground beneath Midnight Sparkle's feet!
  693. >She holds her arms in a defensive position as Twilight and Sunset leap at her, their weapons finding their mark with lethal accuracy.
  694.  
  695. >Nimue calls forth a legion of icy blades that join the fray, cutting deep with each slice as the two girls switch to magical attacks.
  696. >A beautiful lightshow of soft purple and passionate red spells bombard Midnight, leaving her gritting her teeth as blood trickles from her lips!
  697. >"Sunset!"
  698. >"Time to end this!"
  699. >The two throw their weapons to the air, focusing their magic on them as a powerful gravitational field generates between the two.
  700. >Though she attempts to fly back to escape, Midnight is sucked into the vortex, enveloped in the unstable mixture of magic!
  701.  
  702. Combo Activated: Eternal Jam Session
  703.  
  704. >A powerful explosion erupts, sending the weapons back to Sunset and Twilight's possession and releasing a heavy cloud of smoke.
  705. >When it fades, you see something you've never witnessed before: a mostly cracked barrier that seems to have eaten most of the blast!
  706. >Midnight is still heavily injured, but she gives a smile as she moves out partially unscathed.
  707. >"You like it? It was a little something I prepared for our little fight, though it only works once."
  708. >An orb of radiant light manifests in her hand, as she looks directly at you.
  709.  
  710. >"I was expecting to use it against Ungarmax, judging from your earlier fights, but that was worth blocking as well!"
  711. >She fires the beam at Sunset, who manages to avoid it barely.
  712. >It seems she knows about your previous solo bouts, though not necessarily your own Persona's weaknesses, considering how she didn't exploit Razgriz's.
  713. >She's quite injured from the attack, but not as much as you hoped, thanks to that barrier.
  714. >Still, now that she's used it, this is a perfect time to really pile on the damage!
  715. >You consider your options as the battle continues.
  716.  
  717. Status:
  718.  
  719. You: 700% HP, 700% SP
  720. Luna: 100% HP, 90% SP
  721. Sunset: 70% HP, 70% SP
  722. Twilight: 70% HP, 70% SP
  723.  
  724. "You sure got yourself a voyeuristic streak, huh, Midnight? Are you ready to slam her, mom?"
  725. >Luna nods, her card hovering before her lips.
  726. >"On your mark!"
  727. "Persona!"
  728. >"Persona!"
  729. >Razgriz begins the assault with a volley of bullets, tearing through Midnights body with sickening accuracy!
  730.  
  731. >Artemis calmly nocks five arrows onto her bow, aiming their trajectory to the sky as a beam of pale moonlight shines down.
  732. >The mechanical valkyrie doesn't let up on her assault, firing explosive rounds that catch her opponent's blind spots and sending them careening forward!
  733. >"Ack!"
  734. >With a clear breath, Artemis sends the arrows flying, shooting through the oily night and bathing themselves in the soothing moonlight.
  735. >Now imbued with lunar radiance, the projectiles home in towards Midnight, pinning her in place as Razgriz opens all her missile silos!
  736. "I have you now!"
  737.  
  738. Combo Activated: Moonlight Butterfly
  739.  
  740. >The silos all light up, unleashing myriad missiles that track down Midnight's magical signature, covering the entire area she stood with a resounding cascade of explosions!
  741. >She got pretty banged up from that: looks like she's about halfway done with this form.
  742. >Of course, she will likely transform into Pandora when she's truly in danger, so be wary.
  743. >"It's time to bulk up!"
  744. >A catchy tune sounds from Kamen Rider Phoenix Requiem, reinforcing your defenses as the music echoes in your ears.
  745.  
  746. >"Heal my friends, Nimue!"
  747. >The Lady of the Lake cups some holy water in her hands, sprinkling them on the team and healing their wounds completely.
  748. >Midnight brushes herself off and looks at Twilight with a smirk.
  749. >"So that is the me from the other side, huh? I wonder what mirror me looks like on the inside."
  750. >The way she looks at her princess self is akin to a fox leering at a poultry from behind a fence.
  751.  
  752. >She makes hand gun, gives you a wink, then "fires" at Twilight, shattering the fiery lion that was protecting her!
  753. >"And what did you expect for me to do, when you left me alone for a whole year? Invest in stocks?"
  754. >Balls of fire light from her fingertips, growing exponentially as she flings them all at you!
  755. >"The veil of dreams has been thinned to the point that I can see your other fights."
  756. >Several will-o'-wisps slam to your side, searing you badly and leaving a nasty burn, as Luna and Sunset take heavy damage.
  757. >"...It also showed me that my existence is as ephemeral as the phantoms you've summoned for your aid: doomed to fade away when the book finally closes."
  758.  
  759. >Twilight looks like she's in danger, as the flames begin to lick her feet.
  760. >Suddenly, the Chaos Naginata springs to life, sending her flying through the air into a safe spot, remaining unscathed!
  761. >Midnight clicks her tongue in annoyance, before turning her attention to you.
  762. >"I figured there wasn't much point in standing idle while I never knew if you would return. So I conquered the dream within the dream I lay in, and have been practicing."
  763. >Fairly injured, she takes to flight once more, giggling with a mad gleam in her eyes.
  764.  
  765. >"Only a few more hits until I relinquish this shell, dreamers. I wonder what you'll do when you see what's changed?"
  766. >You check the item bag the twins gave you, since you never really kept in mind of the contents.
  767. >It appears there are 7 Ash Potions, 7 Ephemeral Candies, and 7 Fading Feathers.
  768. >They likely do the same things Zebra Healing Potions, Zap Apple Candies, and Phoenix Feathers did before, with the stipend that they don't work on you.
  769. >Keeping that in mind, what will you do next?
  770.  
  771. Status:
  772.  
  773. You (Burn): 650% HP, 630% SP
  774. Luna: 56% HP, 60% SP
  775. Sunset: 55% HP, 60% SP
  776. Twilight: 100% HP, 55% SP
  777.  
  778. >You feel tempted to unleash Ungarmax, but now's not the time: preparations must be completed first.
  779. "Change, Tarzan!"
  780. >The bestial man lets out a rallying howl, boosting everyone's potential for a critical strike.
  781. "If it makes you feel any better, the stories keep on going."
  782. >The pain from the burn makes you wince, dealing moderate damage due to your enlarged health pool.
  783. "Don't get me wrong, we're still going to kick your flat, scrawny ass, and part of it is for the pure thrill of it. But we wouldn't keep coming back to these stories if we didn't enjoy seeing your story continue, too."
  784.  
  785. >"Persona!"
  786. >Luna kisses her card, as Artemis covers the team in a gentle moonlight, restoring everyone's wounds.
  787. >"Unfortunately, I cannot heal and cure ailments at the same time. I might be able to take care of that burn later."
  788. >Newly patched up, Sunset plays another melody, boosting everyone's speed as Twilight prepares her special attack.
  789. >Charging Midnight, she bucks her into the air with an earth pony's strength!
  790. >"Geez, you're hitting WAY too hard for pastel horses!"
  791. >Ignoring her remark, she lights the Chaos Naginata with magic before taking off, catching her mid-air with a precise slice!
  792. >"Trinity Blade!"
  793.  
  794. >The blow causes Midnight to shriek in pain as you continue.
  795. "Doesn't even have to be as a villain, it'd be cool to have you on our side."
  796. >Suddenly, Midnight smirks and grabs Twilight by the horn, keeping her in place.
  797. >"That was the wrong move, Princess."
  798. >With that, she explodes with thermal energy, the blast extending to all but the far reaches of the room!
  799. >You manage to barely escape the blast, but Luna and Sunset are badly injured, while Twilight lies limp in Midnight's clutches.
  800.  
  801. >"You don't seem to understand a thing at all, dreamers. I have no story."
  802. >She tosses Twilight to the ground unceremoniously before blasting your with a nuclear beam!
  803. >Due to your burns, you sustain heavier damage as she continues.
  804. >"I'm a modification of a fake memory in a dream within a dream. Unlike the REAL Pandora, I'm the butterfly being dreamed of: there is no possibility that I am dreaming of the man."
  805. >Blue-black flames erupt from her body as she focuses for a future attack.
  806. >"Like your allies, I can interact with you: fight against you. But the moment I fail, and you succeed, I will simply fade away into nothingness once more."
  807.  
  808. >Midnight shrugs, floating down from where she was casting.
  809. >"So since I have no existence outside of your eyes, I fully intend to keep them on me for as long as possible!"
  810. >Twilight is knocked out at the moment, and the others are fairly injured.
  811. >There are items available to fix them up, but Midnight is also most likely planning something nasty with that Mind Charge.
  812. >Just a little more damage, and it should be enough to push Pandora out of hiding.
  813. >What's your move?
  814.  
  815. Status:
  816.  
  817. You (Burn): 620% HP, 620% SP
  818. Luna: 51% HP, 45% SP
  819. Sunset: 49% HP, 50% SP
  820. Twilight (KO): 0% HP, 25% SP
  821.  
  822. >This might be a rough patch, but maybe you'll be able to stop whatever Midnight's planning if you hit just hard enough!
  823. "I call upon thee, Cain: it's time to get rough. Card Fusion!"
  824. >Switching to your Devil Persona, you combine the Fool and Devil together in a brilliant flash of light!
  825. >Coyote cackles wildly as a caustic black ichor drools from its maw, catching Midnight by surprise as it restricts her movements.
  826. >Cain doesn't let up either, leaping into the air and pinning her down with his pitchfork!
  827. >Necrotic energy seeps through the wound, causing Midnight to cough up blood as the farmer moves to one of the crystalline pillars in the room and demolishes it with his hands.
  828. >Taking a sizable piece of crystal, Cain lifts it above his head and slams it into his unfortunate victim!
  829.  
  830. Combo Activated: Sinner's Lot
  831.  
  832. >The force of the repeated bludgeoning results in her magical horn shattering from the impact, as well as several teeth being knocked out.
  833. >A rather brutish way to make a point, but an effective one, nonetheless.
  834. >With a final cry that rips his sewn mouth open, he slams the fragment into Midnight's gut, earning a pained grunt as the air escapes her!
  835. >"Come back to us, Twilight!"
  836. >Luna takes one of the Fading Feathers and places it on Twilight, the temporary energies within restoring her to full vitality as she picks herself up.
  837.  
  838. >"Dark Blaster, fire!"
  839. >Several orbs of darkness shoot from Sunset's armored hand, slamming into the collapsed Midnight for heavy damage!
  840. >"Sorry about that, everypony! Here's another round of healing!"
  841. >Twilight brings everyone's health back to full capacity, including yourself, as Midnight's form begins to crack and break.
  842. >"Nice work, dreamers, you got me. But I wonder if you're truly ready for this!"
  843. >A bright light blinds you all as several shapes escape the dying Midnight.
  844.  
  845. >When your eyes finally clear, you see something that certainly surprises you: all of the Evils associated with Pandora stand before you!
  846. >The standard-looking First Evil: Sickness.
  847. >The skull-winged Second Evil: Death.
  848. >The Pink and Blue-haired twins, also known as the Third and Fourth Evils: Turmoil and Strife.
  849. >The overtly feminine Fifth Evil, as well as the masculine Sixth Evil: Jealousy and Hatred.
  850. >The withered Seventh, with a lamprey-like mouth, that you never truly experienced: Famine.
  851. >And the Eighth Evil, with her maternal mockery: Passion.
  852. >All eight ready themselves, as the final, more prismatic, Final Evil, descends with a smile.
  853.  
  854. >"Behold, dreamers, a new challenge: can you defeat us all before I wipe you out? This will certainly be interesting."
  855. >With a giggle, the Final Evil falls back to the furthest end of the throne room, as the first four Evils face you down!
  856. >Looks like you'll need to kill all eight Evils before you can take a crack at finishing this once and for all.
  857. >Fully healed, if not drained of magical power, you consider how to start this second phase.
  858.  
  859. Status:
  860.  
  861. You (Burn): 700% HP, 590% SP
  862. Luna: 100% HP, 45% SP
  863. Sunset: 100% HP, 30% SP
  864. Twilight: 100% HP, 5% SP
  865.  
  866. You have performed 3 out of the 8 minimum combos.
  867. You have 16 turns remaining.
  868.  
  869.  
  870. "If I had to take a guess, the Second Evil must have some form of Curse Absorption. Let's change that, Tokoyami no Amaterasu!"
  871. >Tapping the Lust Arcana, you call forth the corrupted sun goddess who takes the flaming mirror on her back and flings it at the skull-adorned Pandora.
  872. >The flames surrounding it squirm as though they were alive, latching onto the Second Evil and creating a conduit for Curse magic to flow within!
  873. >"Persona!"
  874. >Artemis calls forth her lion friend once more to shield Twilight, granting her a resistance towards the flames.
  875. >"And you know, at the end of the day, it is we who survive~!"
  876. >Sunset reapplies her defensive buffs with another tune as Twilight chomps down on one of the grey candies, restoring her energy.
  877.  
  878. >"Well, if you're going to prepare for your next attack, then so shall we!"
  879. >The First Evil holds her hands to the sky as a sickly green miasma pours from her fingers.
  880. >The gas encircles the whole field, making everyone more susceptible to ailments!
  881. >Even with the corrosive flames enveloping her, the Second Evil holds a hand out to Sunset, a beam of light coalescing within it.
  882. >The laser fires, striking a vital point as Sunset drops like a rock!
  883. >"Get back up, champ! The party's just getting started!"
  884. >A tinny voice sounds from Kamen Rider Phoenix Requiem, revitalizing Sunset and bringing her back into the game.
  885.  
  886. >Meanwhile, Death gives off an intimidating aura, her twisted smile widening.
  887. >Most of you are unaffected, but Twilight begins to break out in sweat at the sight: fear clouding her eyes!
  888. >"And that's my cue!"
  889. >Turmoil points a finger gun at the fear-stricken Twilight and fires a psychokinetic shot at the alicorn, taking advantage of her distracted mind to deal massive damage!
  890. >"You know, most people would heal a burn when they're affected by one. Still, you made my job much easier!"
  891. >Strife leaps at you and swipes a radioactive claw across your chest, sinking into the burn and dealing far more damage than normal!
  892.  
  893. >Finally, the burn fades away on its own, leaving you to consider your condition.
  894. >Sunset's free revive has been spent, thanks to Death's lucky hit, and Twilight is currently frightened.
  895. >It doesn't take much to suspect the Second Evil might exploit that if it's not taken care of.
  896. >Still, if she had a Curse resistance, there's no way it will protect her from your arsenal now.
  897. >What will you do?
  898.  
  899. Status:
  900.  
  901. You: 617% HP, 580% SP
  902. Luna: 100% HP, 35% SP
  903. Sunset: 100% HP, 20% SP
  904. Twilight (Fear): 34% HP, 100% SP
  905.  
  906. You have performed 3 out of the 8 minimum combos.
  907. You have 15 turns remaining.
  908.  
  909. "Nemo, switch!"
  910. >The time is now: there's no going back.
  911. >You take out your trusty Justice and Emperor card, looking at the Evils with a grin of your own.
  912. "You want Ungarmax? I'll give you Ungarmax; Card Fusion!"
  913. >From the inky black floor rises the glorious Nautilus, readying its missile silos as Napoleon sets his first line of troops in place.
  914. "All silos, fire at will!"
  915. >Napoleon's troops fire first, punching holes into the Evils as Nemo locks on target.
  916. >With a pained groan, the silos fire one after another, blanketing the entire area with frigid missiles!
  917.  
  918. Combo Activated: Ungarmax
  919.  
  920. >Caught in place by the endless barrage of the general's troops, the Evils are unable to escape the bombardment, the freezing mist locking them in place!
  921. >"Time to pay you back for that dirty kill doublefold! Dark Blaster!"
  922. >Sunset focuses all her energy into one shot, charging the ball to thrice the normal size.
  923. >The darkness coursing through it begins to rupture out of the orb, the dark tendrils trailing behind the Rider.
  924. >Finally the shot rings out, soaring through the air and punching a hole through Death with the help of the corrupted mirror on her body!
  925. >The frozen Evil collapses to the ground, still unable to truly move as Sunset seizes the moment.
  926. >Her helmet opens temporarily as she takes another Ephemeral Candy to pop in her mouth, restoring her spirit.
  927.  
  928. >Twilight almost looks like she'll flee the area altogether, but Luna holds a hoof to her shoulder, giving her a reassuring smile.
  929. >"Stay calm, Twilight, we can do this together."
  930. >"R-right, you're right. P-persona!"
  931. >"Persona!"
  932. >The two women begin to dip into their own bodies of 'water', Nimue manipulating the holy water of the Lake, while Artemis takes a cupful of the starry sky.
  933. >They mix the two liquids, swirling with harmonious energy that already heals your wounds and wipes the fear from Twilight's expression.
  934.  
  935. Combo Activated: Celestial Doping
  936.  
  937. >Fully synthesized, the starry ambrosia pours itself all over the group, granting you vitality beyond normal limits!
  938. >You can feel the life swiftly fading, however: it will not last forever.
  939. >The Evils on the field are unable to act this turn, but you see them beginning to break free of their restraints.
  940. >You likely only have one turn to truly bring on the pain, so optimization is key.
  941. >Frozen enemies take extra damage from physical and Nuclear damage, as you recall.
  942. >What you do with this knowledge is entirely up to you.
  943. >You scratch your bald head as you consider your options.
  944.  
  945. Status:
  946.  
  947. You: 900% HP, 530% SP
  948. Luna: 200% HP, 5% SP
  949. Sunset: 200% HP, 100% SP
  950. Twilight: 200% HP, 70% SP
  951.  
  952. You have performed 5 out of the 8 minimum combos.
  953. You have 14 turns remaining.
  954.  
  955. "Now's the time to really pile on the pain! Change, Diarmuid!"
  956. >The beautiful warrior unsheathes his pair of spears and swords, throwing each into the air with stylistic flair.
  957. >The light of the crystal throne makes each weapon gleam as they embed themselves to the cardinals of the room, encircling the helpless Evils.
  958. >Diarmuid gives a smug smirk as he begins his deadly dance, leaping between each weapon to strike at the frozen enemies in a bloody waltz!
  959. >While each thrust and stab frees the Evils from their icy prisons, Strife is caught by a wayward stab, sending her collapsing to the ground!
  960. "Luna, catch!"
  961. >You grab another ashen candy and toss it to the Princess, who chomps down and recovers her energy.
  962.  
  963. >"Thank you. Let us focus all attention on the Second Evil!"
  964. >Artemis readies a charged arrow that strikes the downed Death, dealing heavy damage!
  965. >The focused fire overwhelms the Second Evil, disorienting Death as she is unable to pick herself up.
  966. >It appears the Evils can be Dizzied, though you'll still need to guess the weaknesses of each of the other Evils.
  967. >A tinny rock tune plays from Kamen Rider Phoenix Requiem's speakers, filling you all with a surge of strength.
  968. >"Trinity Blade!"
  969. >To pour salt in the wound, Twilight skewers Death, earning a satisfying shriek of pain as she is unable to escape!
  970. >Sickness holds a finger to her lips and hushes your group, an uneasy wind sweeping around you.
  971. >You attempt to move out of the way, but you feel your throat tighten as your Persona is sealed away!
  972. >It appears Luna and Sunset are affected by this as well, though Twilight manages to dodge in time.
  973.  
  974. >"Are you ready, Strife? Let us engage them together."
  975. >The Fourth Evil nods to Turmoil, giving a nasty grin.
  976. >"They cannot hope to evade us both."
  977. >Turmoil and Strife position themselves between the four of you, as Strife slices a radioactive "X" before her.
  978. >With a war cry, she strikes the cross, sending it flying through your group and towards Turmoil!
  979.  
  980. >The Third Evil kicks it back with her foot, infusing it with psychokinetic energies that rupture through your ailment-ridden bodies!
  981. >The deadly game of pong rages on, tearing through most of your temporary vitality before exploding in a mixture of radioactive psychedelics!
  982.  
  983. Team-Up Attack: Crosshatch
  984.  
  985. >The two hop back to their positions, giving each other a high five before returning to combat.
  986. >From what you can see, Death is almost out of the picture, and she won't be getting back up until after you have your way with her.
  987. >However, with the Silence creeping upon you, you'll not only be unable to perform skills, the ability to even change Persona has been locked as well.
  988. >Thankfully, however, whatever attack the Third and Fourth Evils performed doesn't look like it can be done more than once.
  989. >What will you do now?
  990.  
  991. Status:
  992.  
  993. You (Silence): 777% HP, 530% SP
  994. Luna (Silence): 67% HP, 100% SP
  995. Sunset (Silence): 70% HP, 90% SP
  996. Twilight: 87% HP, 40% SP
  997.  
  998. You have performed 5 out of the 8 minimum combos.
  999. You have 13 turns remaining.
  1000.  
  1001. >It's odd that Princess Luna was affected by an ailment: her alicorn nature should render her immune.
  1002. >Could it be something unique to Sickness's ailments?
  1003. >Now's not the time for speculation, though, as you toss an Ash Potion at Luna.
  1004. >When it connects, the glass shatters as a white, powdery, yet liquid substance seeps through her body.
  1005. >"Thank you; it seems we cannot be careless around these Evils. Persona!"
  1006. >Artemis removes the silence surrounding you and Sunset, allowing the Rider to go all out.
  1007. >"Time for you to get lost! Burning Justice!"
  1008. >Sunset slams her fiery fist to the ground, unleashing a powerful maelstrom of fire that incinerates Death and deals heavy damage to the other three Evils!
  1009. >As the fires rage on, you notice Strife getting blindsided by a pillar of flame, searing her back and leaving a nasty burn!
  1010. >Twilight slices into the First Evil, carving her mercilessly with her Arthurian blade.
  1011.  
  1012. >Famine takes the place of the ashes that used to be the Second Evil, kicking them out of the way as Sickness focuses her energies for a magical attack.
  1013. >The Seventh Evil points a gnarled finger at you, and you feel the strengthening magicks on you fade away, your movements turning sluggish.
  1014. >Turmoil thrusts her breasts and butt out, wiggling them at your group as she attempts to seduce you.
  1015. >A damn shame she rolled a Nat 1 on her Charisma check.
  1016. >"Boorish."
  1017. >"Not interested."
  1018. >"Technically you're still me, so that's kinda weird..."
  1019. ">no hooves"
  1020. >You see the Third Evil blush hard and scowl at you all, retreating back in embarrassment.
  1021.  
  1022. >"Ha, you're leaving yourself wide open!"
  1023. >Strife, ignoring the burn, lunges at Twilight with a fiery blade, connecting with a dastardly grin!
  1024. >...Unfortunately, it seems she forgot about the protections Luna provided, as a fiery lion catches the blade with his jaws!
  1025. >"Shit!"
  1026. >She leaps back to safety, grunting in pain as the burn sears her flesh.
  1027.  
  1028. >The Second Evil, Death, is defeated: eight more to go, and it looks like three of them are fairly injured.
  1029. >With Strife's Burn, Wind and Nuclear attacks and combos will do much more damage.
  1030. >Sickness's Mind Charge might be something to keep an eye on: you recall Lavenza saying that she sometimes sets up her ailment attacks.
  1031. >In addition, you have no experience fighting the Seventh Evil, Famine, yet.
  1032. >What will you do next?
  1033.  
  1034. Status:
  1035.  
  1036. You: 757% HP, 530% SP
  1037. Luna: 100% HP, 90% SP
  1038. Sunset: 70% HP, 60% SP
  1039. Twilight: 37% HP, 10% SP
  1040.  
  1041. >You see the protective magicks of Sunset's defense song and Luna's fire barrier fade away.
  1042.  
  1043. "Focus all attention on Sickness: we can't have her casting that spell! Persona!"
  1044. >Diarmuid leaps into the fray, dealing heavy damage to Sickness and Famine, though Turmoil and Strife are spared from the worst of it.
  1045. >Luna follows after, calling down a chunk of moon rock that crashes into the inky arena!
  1046. >A great splash cascades from the point of impact, covering you all with the foul substance temporarily as everyone but Turmoil takes heavy damage!
  1047. >Sunset takes advantage of the distraction and unleashes another blazing inferno at the Evils, catching all of them except Famine in a scorching blaze!
  1048. >Nimue catches the heavily injured Sickness with her crystalline blades, slicing in a cross formation and splattering blood across the oil below!
  1049.  
  1050. >The four of you wait with bated breath as the First Evil staggers from the focused assault.
  1051. >Then she gives you a wide grin.
  1052. >"So close, but no cigar. Thanks for leaving yourselves wide open!"
  1053. >Sickness raises her hands in the air as the black liquid around the arena coalesces into a gargantuan wave that crashes into your group hard!
  1054. >You feel your body age rapidly in the corrosive waters, leaving you and Sunset much older than before.
  1055. >Twilight, with her low vitality is knocked out cold from the attack, earning a giggle from Famine.
  1056.  
  1057. >"And I'll just take care of that pesky spirit of yours, Sunset."
  1058. >The Seventh Evil latches her lamprey-esque mouth onto Sunset's armor, draining her SP completely before falling back.
  1059. >"Finally, it's time you go down for good!"
  1060. >Turmoil charges a powerful-looking psychokinetic blast that arcs towards the Rider!
  1061. >...Only to outright miss completely and soar through the nearby portal, disintegrating a fleeing passerby!
  1062. >"Oops."
  1063. >Strife attempts to catch Sunset with a frigid sword, but even with her old age, she dodges it effortlessly!
  1064.  
  1065. >Your mind feels as though there's a fog enveloping it: while Enervated, you'll be much weaker than usual, and you might forget what you're doing.
  1066. >You might be messed up, but judging from Sickness and Turmoil's expressions, they're just as fucked up as you are.
  1067. >One more solid push might be enough to take them out.
  1068. >Trying your best to keep your mind focused, you consider your next plan of attack.
  1069.  
  1070. Status:
  1071.  
  1072. You (Enervated): 670% HP, 530% SP
  1073. Luna: 44% HP, 60% SP
  1074. Sunset (Enervated): 1% HP, 0% SP
  1075. Twilight: 0% HP, 10% SP
  1076.  
  1077. >It's difficult to keep your withered mind focus on your task, but with enough willpower, you force your body to move.
  1078. >Pulling out a Fading Feather, you snap it half on top of Twilight and empty the contents on her.
  1079. >The ethereal dust swirls around the alicorn, restoring her to full health and bringing her back to the battle.
  1080. >"Cure our silent friends, Artemis!"
  1081. >The huntress pulls out a pair of poultices and tosses them to you and Sunset, their restorative effects clearing your minds and restoring your youth.
  1082. >"Catch, Twilight!"
  1083. >Sunset pulls out yet enough Ethereal Candy, passing it to Twilight who chomps down on it, restoring her spirit.
  1084.  
  1085. >"Freeze them in their track, Nimue!"
  1086. >The Lady of the Lake conjures a volley of ice chunks, launching them at the Evils with a playful twist of her wrist.
  1087. >Sickness and Strife are outright pulverized by the frozen spears, their bodies melting into the ink below as Turmoil takes heavy damage!
  1088. >Famine, however, makes no efforts to move out of the way of the attack, smirking as the attack heals her wounds instead!
  1089. >Taking advantage of the free real estate, the overtly feminine Jealousy and the masculine Hatred take the field.
  1090. >Famine looks to the barely standing Sunset, leaping at her with killing intent as her claws extend!
  1091. >Then she lands in front of the Rider, takes a single finger, and lightly flicks her, knocking her out cold!
  1092.  
  1093. >Turmoil unleashes a high-pitched scream that snakes into your ears and deals heavy psychokinetic damage, as well as potentially hearing damages.
  1094. >"Normally I would power up my attacks before using them. However, with how the Princess over there looks, I don't think I even need to bother!"
  1095. >A ball of chaotic energy coalesces into Jealousy's hands, growing to immense size before being launched at your group.
  1096. >It's impossible to escape the blast zone, causing heavy damage to you and Twilight while Luna collapses to the ground as well!
  1097.  
  1098. >"And now, a little present from me. After all, I heard you liked Pralaya!"
  1099. >Hatred launches itself into the air before crashing into the inky hole Luna made with her Megidolaon earlier.
  1100. >The black waves transform into an obsidian tsunami, crashing into you and Twilight with an almost serrated texture!
  1101. >A cold feeling courses through your body as you feel a part of yourself die: it seems Pralaya's second effect worked on you, but not the way it usually does.
  1102. >Normally, the effect would take 100% of your life when it activates.
  1103. >However, it appears that your enhanced vitality grants you leeway to survive.
  1104. >The same, however, cannot be said for Twilight, who also lies on the floor, completely knocked out cold.
  1105.  
  1106. >You probably don't need me to tell you, but this looks bad.
  1107. >If you want to get your entire team back up, it'll result in the Evils having a free turn to mess you up.
  1108. >At least you took out two more Evils: it's all about the little things, in the end.
  1109. >This is a precarious situation, but not impossible.
  1110. >What will you do, I wonder?
  1111.  
  1112. Status:
  1113.  
  1114. You: 446% HP, 530% SP
  1115. Luna (KO): 0% HP, 50% SP
  1116. Sunset (KO): 0% HP, 0% SP
  1117. Twilight (KO): 0% HP, 80% SP
  1118.  
  1119. You have performed 5 out of the 8 required combos.
  1120. You have 10 turns left.
  1121.  
  1122. >It's not over until it's over: as long as you're standing, there's always chance for a comeback!
  1123. >Also, it'll be useful to experiment and gauge weaknesses before your possible demise.
  1124. "Switch, Father Time!"
  1125. >Pulling out a Feather, you place it on Luna's body, revitalizing her.
  1126. >"Thank you for your assistance. Come back to us, Sunset!"
  1127. >She pulls out another Fading Feather, placing it upon the Rider as the energy within brings her back into the game!
  1128. >Wasting no time, Sunset pokes Twilight with an additional Feather, earning a yelp of pain as the princess hops up.
  1129. >"If Famine isn't weak to Ice, maybe Hatred is? Persona!"
  1130. >Nimue pulls out several icy blades from the lake, hovering them around herself before sending them flying at the Sixth Evil.
  1131. >The swords make contact, dealing heavy damage as they pierce its skin, but Hatred still stands strong.
  1132. >"That's a negatory on that, Princess."
  1133.  
  1134. >Famine makes arcane gestures with her hands, weakening your group's defenses as Turmoil focuses her attention on you.
  1135. >Putting her hands in the shape of a gun, she fires a red-hot beam at you, which barely misses.
  1136. >You get the feeling that would've been bad news, as you breathe out a sigh of relief.
  1137. >Jealousy appears to giggle, focusing her magic energy to prepare for a powerful attack.
  1138. >Hatred smirks, lunging at you with killing intent.
  1139. >Even with your increased agility with Father Time, the Sixth Evil is relentless, striking your chest for heavy damage!
  1140. >Eventually, you feel the spring come back to your step, though Jealousy's Mind Charge makes you worry.
  1141. >Unless you can figure out her weakness, it's very unlikely a focused assault will stop her from nuking you.
  1142. >And if the defense down from Famine is any indication, that's very much the plan.
  1143. >Focus on a potential Hail Mary, or take the defensive route?
  1144. >You contemplate which step to take next.
  1145.  
  1146. Status:
  1147.  
  1148. You: 402% HP, 530% SP
  1149. Luna: 100% HP, 50% SP
  1150. Sunset: 100% HP, 0% SP
  1151. Twilight: 100% HP, 50% SP
  1152.  
  1153. You have performed 5 out of the 8 required combos.
  1154. You have 9 turns left.
  1155.  
  1156. >At first, you consider switching to Iscariote to tank through the damage, but a thought pops into your mind.
  1157. >You don't have to protect yourself from an attack if you keep them from attacking, no?
  1158. "Everyone, I know it sounds risky, but focus on complete offense. Twilight and I will make sure Jealousy doesn't get to fire!"
  1159. >While somewhat hesitant, your comrades nod, with Luna beginning the assault.
  1160. >"Come forth, Artemis!"
  1161. >Another large chunk of moon rock crashes into the arena, dealing heavy damage to all of the Evils and leaving Turmoil in a seriously bad condition!
  1162. >Sunset grabs another Ephemeral Candy and chomps it down, restoring her energy as Twilight finishes her preparations.
  1163.  
  1164. >"Alright, I'm ready when you are!"
  1165. "Good, time to sink their battleship. Change, Nemo!"
  1166. >Nimue holds her arms out wide as her lake erupts into a grand ocean, the blue waters overwhelming the inky background of the room.
  1167. >From underneath the water, thousands of frigid anchors latch themselves to the Evils, binding their movements and solidifying all but Famine in ice!
  1168. >With a violent tug, all four are dragged under the sea, where the Nautilus is awaiting them, its bow opening to reveal an imposing spike.
  1169. >The ice from the anchors gathers around the spike, forming an icy drill that begins to spin and contort the ocean around it.
  1170. "Ramming speed!"
  1171. >Engines howling, Nemo crashes itself into the Evils, catching all of them in its impact!
  1172.  
  1173. Combo Activated: 20,000 RPM Under The Sea
  1174.  
  1175. >The impact deals immense damage, sending the unfrozen Famine and the frozen Jealousy and Hatred careening back to the battlefield!
  1176. >Turmoil, however, is caught in just the right spot to shatter her completely, leaving her as little more than icy fragments on the ground!
  1177. >Twilight takes this opportunity to throw another Candy at Luna, restoring the Princess's spirit to full while frowning at the bag.
  1178. >"It looks like we've only got one more Candy left: we should make sure to make it count."
  1179.  
  1180. >As Twilight says this, however, Famine latches her sucker mouth to her side, earning a scream of pain as the Princess's vitality and spirit are drained!
  1181. >The Seventh Evil retreats shortly afterwards, giving a lopsided grin as some of her wounds begin to heal.
  1182. >While I'm sure the Fifth and Sixth Evils would like to do something, their frozen state effectively renders them helpless.
  1183. >The Eighth Evil, Passion, saunters her way onto the battlefield, giving a warming smile to you all before preparing for battle.
  1184.  
  1185. >From what you recall, Passion buffs her allies, including with magical and physical repel.
  1186. >It would be wise not to underestimate such a moveset.
  1187. >Still, these are the last four Evils before you tango with the Final Evil herself: even if you don't make it, you've managed to get to the final stretch blind.
  1188. >What shall you do, now that the end might be in sight?
  1189.  
  1190. Status:
  1191.  
  1192. You: 372% HP, 530% SP
  1193. Luna: 100% HP, 100% SP
  1194. Sunset: 100% HP, 100% SP
  1195. Twilight: 67% HP, 0% SP
  1196.  
  1197. You have performed 6 out of the 8 required combos.
  1198. You have 8 turns left.
  1199.  
  1200. >You want to bring on the pain, but unless Jealousy ends dead from an attack, she'll easily be able to retaliate hard.
  1201. >Switching to Cain once more, you pull out the Death card as well, pushing the two Arcana together with killing intent.
  1202. "I hope this pays off! Card Fusion!"
  1203. >Baron Samedi swings his cane around whimsically before thrusting it into the ground, a thick mist billowing out of the skull head on the top.
  1204.  
  1205.  
  1206. >The mist envelops the arena and transforms the surroundings into what appears to be an old Victorian town.
  1207. >Contrary to its initial appearance, however, a closer look reveals alien-looking trees, cackling devils, and pits of magma.
  1208. >Interestingly, with all the demons and horrid scenery, you notice that Famine is doing her best to avoid the magma in particular.
  1209. >Ringing from an old clocktower echoes through the streets as Cain walks towards the Evils, his pitchfork scraping loudly in his wake.
  1210.  
  1211. >As he passes each abode, the screams of men, women, and children cry out, releasing a dark fog from within them.
  1212. >The fog envelops the cursed farmer, transforming him into a vicious-looking demon with burning eyes and a poisonous grin!
  1213. "Rip them apart, Cain! Leave nothing in your wake!"
  1214. >Cain lets out a bloodthirsty howl as he lunges towards his targets, his body splitting into multiple copies of himself to create a ferocious pack.
  1215.  
  1216. Combo Activated: From Hell
  1217.  
  1218. >The hounds descend upon the Evils, biting and tearing through each of them for massive damage!
  1219. >In particular, Jealousy and Hatred suffer immense damage as their frostbitten skin shatters from their blackened jaws!
  1220. >You can see parts of their bodies breaking from the horrible mutilation, leaving them vulnerable to more damage in the future.
  1221. >Cain roars to the heavens one last time before the bell tolls once more: the rising sun dispelling the horrors of the night.
  1222.  
  1223. >"Persona!"
  1224. >Luna gives a quick peck to her card as the heavens crash into the weakened Pandoras, dealing heavier damage than usual!
  1225. >Sunset gives a smirk as she taunts Famine, successfully rustling her jimmies and driving the Seventh Evil into a rage.
  1226. >Twilight does her best to make her strike count, the Chaos Naginata snaking through the air in order to strike a weak point in Famine's defenses.
  1227. >However, it appears the Seventh Evil is simple too angry to care, almost bulldozing past the Princess to lunge at Sunset, scratching her armor for heavy damage!
  1228.  
  1229. >Passion strokes her body and gives a coo of pleasure, strengthening her allies as Jealousy pulls herself back up.
  1230. >"From the look you're giving me, it looks like you shot your load too early, huh?"
  1231. >The Fifth Evil doesn't wait for your response, as a dazzling explosion of pure energy tears through the arena, catching all of you in the explosion!
  1232. >When the light fades, you find your allies knocked out cold, while you cough up some blood.
  1233. >You're not dead yet, but fuck, does it hurt.
  1234.  
  1235. >Hatred focuses its energy into its next attack, its muscles bulging beyond what you would've thought was physically possible.
  1236. >Things look bad: the Fifth and Sixth Evils got broken out of their frozen state thanks to your combo, Hatred's ready to kick you in the dick, and all your allies are out cold.
  1237. >Still, your assault did deal immense damage: perhaps there's still hope left?
  1238. >What will you do now?
  1239.  
  1240. Status:
  1241.  
  1242.  
  1243. You: 176% HP, 500% SP
  1244. Luna (KO): 0% HP, 70% SP
  1245. Sunset (KO): 0% HP, 90% SP
  1246. Twilight (KO): 0% HP, 0% SP
  1247.  
  1248. You have performed 7 out of the 8 required combos.
  1249. You have 7 turns left.
  1250.  
  1251. >Your chances look grim, to be optimistic: there's little chance of recovering from this.
  1252. >But if you're going down, you're going to take some of these Evils down with you!
  1253. >You'll not go down gentle into that good night!
  1254. "Card Fusion!"
  1255. >Combining the Hierophant and Devil together, Iscariote wraps his frozen chains around Cain's pitchfork, the wood cracking under the weight of their penance.
  1256. >Cain tosses it like a harpoon, the shackles wrapping themselves around the Evils and dragging them below the inky waters.
  1257.  
  1258. >In that realm of purgatory, the Destined Traitor breaks free from his binds, his frostbitten hands wrapping around the cursed farming tool.
  1259. >With a speed almost too fast for human eyes, Iscariote begins to pummel the four Evils with the Devil's pitchfork, punching dark holes into each of them and tearing through their bodies!
  1260. >Iscariote gives one final howl of pain and rage, his sin coalescing to the tip of his weapon as he plunges it into the ground, causing a massive explosion!
  1261.  
  1262. Combo Activated: Oblivion
  1263.  
  1264. >The force of the blast decimates Famine and Hatred, leaving not even ash in their wake as the world returns to view.
  1265. >You breathe a sigh of relief as the danger seems to have passed.
  1266. >However, Passion and Jealousy are still standing, as the Eighth Evil sweeps your leg and causes you to crash to the oily ground!
  1267. >Taking advantage of this, she grinds her heel on your chest, causing your insides to burn!
  1268. >"Better luck next time, dreamers!"
  1269. >Jealousy fires off one final beam of pure energy, disintegrating you completely and leaving nothing behind.
  1270.  
  1271. DEAD END
  1272.  
  1273. >Sable Library, ???
  1274.  
  1275. >You wake up in a jolt, catching your head on the bottom of the table that you were apparently resting under.
  1276. >Rubbing your head, you look to the Twins, waiting for their critique.
  1277. >"Gotta say, visitor, you're really bullheaded when it comes to using Analysis Persona, huh."
  1278. >Caroline looks at you with the same slightly annoyed look as usual.
  1279.  
  1280. >"Still, they did manage to nearly get to the Final Evil with blind luck. That much, I believe, is worth praising."
  1281. >Justine looks through her notebook, apparently gauging how you ran through the fight.
  1282. >"I suppose you've got questions you want to ask about the fight you just lost."
  1283. >Sitting at the table that served as your bed previously, Caroline thumbs through Another Way before looking at you.
  1284. >If you've any questions, now is the time to ask them.
  1285.  
  1286. >The first thing that confuses you is how Princess Luna was affected by Silence during the battle.
  1287. >Alicorns are supposed to be immune to ailments, and even Twilight is immune to Exhaustion and Enervation.
  1288. >"Indeed, normally an alicorn like Luna would be unaffected by such attacks. However, the Stagnant Wind Sickness used appears to have added susceptibility to all of their targets, not just increased it."
  1289. >Caroline brings out a blackboard as Justine is explaining, chalking down a 0% and adding 30 to it.
  1290. >"Effectively, the First Evil made Luna vulnerable to ailments, which doesn't normally happen. Go figure the Evils would have such tricks."
  1291. >So Sickness's Stagnant Wind is special: giving weaknesses to ailments where there originally was none.
  1292. >Something to be careful about, to be certain.
  1293.  
  1294. >You're also worried that you might be stuck with the current deck of Persona you originally chose for the battle.
  1295. >"Don't worry about that: you can change out Persona whenever you come back here."
  1296. >"Just keep in mind that the deck you win with will be locked out afterwards, as per the rules."
  1297. >That is good news, considering how you might make errors while designing the decks.
  1298. >You recall the original Midnight Sparkle chapter having a bookmark that allowed you to skip to Pandora Awoken.
  1299. >Is there such a bookmark here as well?
  1300. >The twins check the book again, nodding to your question while pulling out a charred bookmark.
  1301. >"It does appear you can avoid fighting Midnight Sparkle, should you choose to do so."
  1302.  
  1303. >Justine gives you the cursed piece of paper as Caroline continues.
  1304. >"But it looks like it won't be free: you'll have to take a 6-turn penalty if you choose to skip the first part."
  1305. >So you'll only have 14 turns to take out the Evils?
  1306. >"Looks like the book doesn't want you to sequence break."
  1307. >There might be a gimmick you're not getting here: something that might give you an edge in battle.
  1308. >Would the twins even tell you if there was?
  1309.  
  1310. >The two of them huddle for a moment, discussing something with serious looks, then turn back to you.
  1311. >"While it's inappropriate for us to guide you through challenges we imposed on you, there are certain things we can tell you."
  1312. >Justine begins, showing a clip of Death, the Second Evil.
  1313. >"You discovered, though partly by accident, that Death was weak to Curse. In that same vein, it's very likely the other Evils have their own personal weaknesses you can exploit to destroy them faster."
  1314. >They even get Dizzied, so finding those out would be helpful.
  1315. >Caroline goes next, showing Midnight flaring Twilight and Death smiting Sunset.
  1316.  
  1317. >"Another thing we noticed is that Midnight and her Evils focused on exploiting weaknesses. Now, chances are likely that she merely guessed Twilight's weakness from Luna shielding her,"
  1318. >The bunned warden gives a smug little grin as she points her baton at Sunset.
  1319. >"But why would Death already know Sunset's weakness?"
  1320. >Well, the first thing that comes to mind is that Midnight was able to look beyond the veil into the other stories.
  1321. >However, Justine shakes her head.
  1322. >"Another Way's fabric is frayed, certainly, and someone with enough power could peer beyond their own story, but they would be able to learn little except the fact that they are mere puppets: dancing on their strings."
  1323.  
  1324. >"We think it's because she remembers the fight that she had with Sunset's group in the original story. She likely knows the weaknesses and resistances of all the Wondercolts and Shadowbolts."
  1325. >So it's risky to even bring them into the battle to begin with.
  1326. >"Somewhat, but it appears only Midnight and possibly Hope have all the types of damage possible to truly exploit weaknesses. All the rest have very specific movesets that aren't so easily used."
  1327. >Midnight and Pandora know all the resistances and weaknesses of the girls who fought them.
  1328. >That's certainly something to keep in mind for the future.
  1329. >The twins wait to see if you have any more questions.
  1330.  
  1331. >You know what?
  1332. >These two sassy, lost children have evaded your real question for far too long!
  1333. >You need to know the truth!
  1334. "By the way, are you two-"
  1335. >"Oh, that's right, I almost forgot! We were noticing you were having trouble remembering all the nuances of combat."
  1336. >Caroline interrupts your thoughts yet again, as Justine continues from where she left off.
  1337. >"If you'd like, we would be happy to remind you about everything you need to know. In fact, we can offer a shorter, general lesson, or a more detailed one that might take some time to go over."
  1338.  
  1339. >It's hard to admit, but they're right: over 5-6 years of evolving mechanics can make a man dizzy, and field tests aren't as effective if you don't remember everything to begin with.
  1340. >It probably wouldn't hurt to have them remind you about how things go.
  1341. >There's a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that there was a question you wanted to ask, but it's completely slipped your mind.
  1342. >Maybe next time you'll finally get around to asking.
  1343. >Still, do you take up the twins' offer to relearn everything again?
  1344. >If so, should it be the general or detailed lesson?
  1345.  
  1346. >It wouldn't hurt to get the full rundown of everything, just in case.
  1347. >Suddenly, without so much as a transition, you find yourself in a miniature classroom: the desk slightly smaller than what would be comfortable, and the same blackboard from before on the wall.
  1348. >Caroline and Justine take their places on different sides of the board, the two of them wearing glasses that make them look sorta cute.
  1349. >"We will start with your original adventure. Originally, Anonymous had the following types of skills to keep in mind: Physical, Fire, Ice, Wind, Lightning, Light, Dark, Almighty, Healing, and Support."
  1350.  
  1351. >Justine draws a little doodle of a hammer bonking a Shadow for clarity.
  1352. >"Physical is your basic stuff: you hit a target, they get hurt. While your basic attacks have a higher natural crit chance and are free to use, some Persona can use Physical attacks as well that are more powerful than weapons."
  1353. >Caroline adds a small drawing of Loki bucking the unfortunate Shadow with his hindlegs.
  1354. >"Of course, such a power increase means you'll have to pay in HP in order to activate them: normal Persona attacks will cost less HP than something like Pralaya, Brave Blade, or Hassou Tobi."
  1355. >"Physical is one of two types of damage types that can land critical hits, which inflict the Down ailment on the target. A Downed target can then be Dizzied if hit with a critical hit or weakness."
  1356. >A picture of what you can only assume is a badly drawn horse with a spiral over its head is scribbled down.
  1357. >"Dizzied targets will be out of commission for the turn they are Dizzied, whereas Downed targets will be able to pull themselves back up and attack on the same turn."
  1358.  
  1359. >The twins proceed to erase the board and draw a flame, a snowflake, some wind, and a lightning bolt on the chalkboard.
  1360. >"Fire, Ice, Wind, and Lightning were the original four elemental spells that were used. Unlike Physical, they cannot land a critical hit on their target."
  1361. >"However, they made up for this by being the standard types that Shadows were weak to, giving them versatility. You have access to Level 3 spells, such as Agidyne and Maragidyne, that can be both single target and AoE; however, Ultimate, or Level 4 spells, such as Ragnarok, can only be performed on single targets."
  1362. >The words "SP" are drawn on the board as the two teachers continue.
  1363. >"All spells cost SP in order to be used. Unlike HP, SP does not heal from normal spells, and can only be regenerated, restored via items, or drained from enemies."
  1364. >"As most skills require the use of SP, including all spell-based combination attacks, it is important to keep in mind how much SP an ally has at all times."
  1365.  
  1366. >Pictures of a crucifix and skull are drawn at the center of the board.
  1367. >"Light and Dark spells, now known as Bless and Curse, originally were used as instant-kill magic. However, in Another Way, it appears it can be used to deal a lot of damage instead, should they land."
  1368. >A picture of Luna dropping a chunk of moon on another Shadow is drawn in a corner.
  1369. >"Almighty magic is powerful and ignores all resistances, at the cost of being more expensive than most spells. The two most powerful spells in that category are Black Viper, which targets a single target, and Morning Star, which attacks all targets."
  1370. >You're reminded of Jealousy's liberal use of Morning Star, shivering as the board is wiped clean once more.
  1371.  
  1372. >"There are also Almighty Physical attacks as well, Myriad Hearts and Trinity Blade, that ignore all resistances and can even deal critical damage."
  1373. >"Healing and Support spells are similar, in that they don't actively harm targets. Healing magic used to be in tiers, but most of the time you'll use Diarama, Diarahan, Mediarahan, and Salvation."
  1374. >"Diarama heals the least, but is cheap and still heals a good third of most allies' HP, while Diarahan and Mediarahan fully heal one target and the entire party respectively. Salvation, meanwhile, not only heals, but cures all ailments as well."
  1375. >The two begin to scribble down a list of words, with other words spaced across from the for grouping.
  1376. >"Ailments and cures are effectively two sides of the same coin: an ailment can either be cured by having someone who can cast the ailment do so, or with Amrita, which cures all ailments. Ailments that can be cast on a single target can also be cast as an AoE."
  1377.  
  1378. >"Poison deals 10% of the target's maximum HP over time. Rage makes the target uncontrollably aggressive, with increased attack, but less defense and accuracy."
  1379. >"Fear makes the target have the possibility of being unable to perform actions, and makes vulnerable to the instant-kill attack Ghastly Wail. Silence seals the target's skills or Persona, leaving normal attacks as the only thing they can do."
  1380. >"Exhaustion drains the target's SP over time, and leaves them more vulnerable to attacks. Enervation lowers all of the target's stats, and makes it likely that they'll forget what they're doing, making them lose their action."
  1381. >"Finally, Charm makes the target fight for the caster for a set period of time. This is potentially dangerous, since charmed allies can and will use healing spells on the enemy."
  1382. >"The skill Stagnant Wind can be used to increase the likelihood of landing an ailment on targets. Keep in mind, though, that it also increases your own likelihood as well."
  1383.  
  1384. >Next they write down the words "Wall" and "Break" next to each other, arrows pointing at them.
  1385. >"Wall spells are used to grant elemental resistance to a target, while Breaks remove elemental resistances. It is important to note that, when using a Break on a target, it will target a previously existing Wall before affecting the target's actual resistance."
  1386. >"The original adventure had Red Wall for Fire, White Wall for Ice, Blue Wall for Lightning, and Green Wall for Wind. Tetraja is similar in that it protects a target from instant-kill, as well as acting as a Wall for Bless and Curse spells."
  1387. >The chalkboard is cleaned once more, as pairs of arrows going up and down are drawn.
  1388. >"Buffs and debuffs are similar to each other as well: a Persona or ally that can cast one can normally cast the other, except for certain circumstances. Tarukaja and Tarunda buff and debuff attack respectively, Sukukaja and Sukunda affect agility, and Rakukaja and Rakunda affect defense."
  1389. >"Heat Riser increases all stats on a single target, while Debilitate reduces all stats. Keep in mind that casting the same buff or debuff spell will only extend how much time the spell lasts."
  1390. >"If you want to get rid of buffs on an enemy, use Dekaja; if you want to get rid of debuffs on yourself, use Dekunda."
  1391. >Next, the two draw an extra arrow on top of an upwards one.
  1392. >"Power Charge and Mind Charge double the damage of a Physical/Ranged and spell attack respectively. They also change the nature of certain combination attacks."
  1393.  
  1394. >Justine draws two mirrors that seem to be repelling a sword and lightning bolt respectively.
  1395. >"Tetrakarn allows one target to repel a single Physical or Ranged attack back to their target, while Makarakarn allows the target to repel one spell attack. Almighty cannot be repelled, though Makarakarn halves the damage."
  1396. >"Keep in mind that any Persona or ally that can cast Tetrakarn and Makarakarn can break the same spell on an enemy target."
  1397. >"HP Drain and SP Drain are self-explanatory: they drain HP and SP from the target and transfer it to the user."
  1398.  
  1399. >After this, they write down the words "Legion", "Trinity Blade", "Dragon Heart", "Pinpoint Rainbow Breaker", "Ascending Phoenix Inferno", "Senmyougan", "Light Saber", "Ox Reflector", and "Diamond Dream" on the board.
  1400. >"First thing's first: how the myriad Hearts work for Legion and Nyarlathotep. You likely already know this, but those two's strength evolve as more hearts join your collective."
  1401. >So basically, more posters = more power for Legion and Nyarlathotep.
  1402. >The two give you a look of abject confusion before shrugging their shoulders.
  1403. >"We'll just say yes to that and move on."
  1404. >"Trinity Blade is the special attack Discord taught Twilight Sparkle, which has as much damage potential as Legion's Myriad Hearts. It's very costly for her HP and SP, however, so it is important to use it at the right time."
  1405. >"Spike the Dragon has the ability Dragon Heart, which restores his SP to maximum and increases all his combat stats for three turns. Keep in mind, however, that you can only slightly control his actions, and that he will need to recover after three turns have passed."
  1406. >"Pinpoint Rainbow Breaker is a powerful Physical attack that Rainbow Dash can perform while under the effects of Mind Charge. Using it won't get rid of the Charge, so it is useful for keeping the assault on while preparing for an attack."
  1407.  
  1408. >"Sunset has the spell Ascending Phoenix Inferno, though you know it more colloquially as 'Burning Justice'. It's an extremely powerful Fire AoE that costs quite a bit of SP to perform."
  1409. >"As Fluttershy committed to her role as Analysis, her moveset is unique: Senrigan has a chance to stun all enemies, Senshigan deals immense Almighty damage to a single target, and Senmyougan deals extreme Almighty damage to all enemies. Keep in mind, however, that such abilities will completely drain her SP."
  1410. >"Light Saber is the unique skill of Pinkie Pie, allowing her to deal Physical damage to a single target while ignoring Physical resistances. While it cannot bypass something like a Tetrakarn, it can ignore an enemy's innate Null or Repel nature."
  1411. >"Applejack can cast Ox Reflector on a single ally, giving them a protective barrier that repels either one Physical/Ranged or spell attack. Unlike Tetrakarn and Makarkarn, this spell cannot be broken preemptively."
  1412. >"Finally, Rarity has access to the spell Diamond Dream, which effectively acts as a Level 3 Almighty AoE. With her larger SP pool, that means she can cast it more."
  1413. >"Each of the Dream Team has their own unique weapons as well: Twilight's weapon allows her to evade Fire spells, Spike's does increased damage, Rainbow's grants increased evasion across the board, Pinkie's allows for multiple attacks on random targets, Applejack's deals more damage on a critical hit, Sunset's allows her to evade Bless spells, and Rarity's has a chance to inflict a random ailment to the target. Regardless, all have a higher critical hit range."
  1414. >"Though I won't lie, some of these abilities are likely not the same as they used to be: details of an old dream have a tendency to disappear and warp over time."
  1415.  
  1416. >The board is wiped clean, as Princess Luna and Twilight are drawn on the board.
  1417. >"As alicorns, Luna and Twilight have specific immunities to ailments. While Twilight is only immune to Enervation and Exhaustion, Luna is immune to all ailments, with certain exceptions such as Sickness."
  1418. >"In addition, your allies that can cast specific ailments have a stronger resistance to said ailments. For example, Sunset, who can cast Rage, is less likely to fall into a Rage."
  1419.  
  1420. >Caroline kicks the entire board out of the room, pulling out another board from the side and titling it "Gaiden".
  1421. >"Your adventure into Grogar's realm of Tambelon changed quite a few things. To begin with, Despair became a new ailment, and the following types of skills were added: Ranged, Psy, and Nuke."
  1422. >"Ranged is similar to Physical in that Tetrakarn affects it, however it is treated as its own type of damage, and can target weaknesses. It deals less damage than Physical overall, but it also has a likelier chance to score a critical hit."
  1423. >"Psy, or Psychokinesis, deals Technical damage when you use it on someone affected by an ailment that addles their mind. Meanwhile, Nuke, or Nuclear, deals Technical damage when you use it on someone affected by an elemental ailment."
  1424. >"These two elements also added Psy and Nuke Wall, as well as Psy and Nuke Break."
  1425. >The board is once again filled with the elemental table, with a swirl and nuclear sign added.
  1426. >"Ailments that count towards Tech with Psy are Charm, Rage, Fear, Enervate, Exhaustion, Silence, and Despair. Meanwhile, ailments that count towards Tech with Nuke are Burn, Freeze, Shock, and Blind."
  1427. >"Despair is a dangerous ailment: while always stuck with the lowest possible chance to connect, targets afflicted with Despair cannot act and constantly lose SP. After three turns of Despair, the target either dies, or suffers immense damage."
  1428.  
  1429. >"Burn works like Poison does, except it can only be afflicted by Fire spells. Burns not only Tech with Nuke, but also with Wind spells."
  1430. >"Freeze prevents the target from performing actions, and it can only be afflicted by Ice spells. Freeze can Tech with Nuke, Physical and Ranged, but a Tech will also unfreeze the target."
  1431. >"Shock also prevents the target from performing actions, and it's afflicted by Lightning spells. Shock Techs with Nuke, Physical and Ranged, and does not unshock after tech; however, be mindful that Techs with Physical or Ranged can transfer the Shock onto another target."
  1432. >"Finally, Blind halves the chance of hitting any target, and is afflicted by Wind spells and Blind ailments spells. Nuke is the only thing that Techs with Blind, but all attacks have advantage to hit on a Blind target."
  1433. >"Both Bless and Curse finally obtained damaging spells during this adventure as well, giving them more versatility."
  1434.  
  1435. >"Drat, we forgot to talk about the One More! mechanic. So when you land a critical hit or weakness on a target, you get a One More!, which is effectively another turn to exploit before moving on. You can't get a One More! if you hit a Downed or Dizzied target."
  1436. >"In addition, you can choose to give your One More! to a teammate with the Baton Pass ability. Each Baton Pass increases the potency of the ally's attacks or heals."
  1437. >"Keep in mind that you can only Baton Pass to a person once. With a team of four members, you could only Baton Pass three times."
  1438.  
  1439. >Finally, a new board comes up with "Bonds of Flame" written on it.
  1440. >"Your latest adventure technically brought no new mechanics along with it, however the allies obtained during it have unique weapons and skills as well."
  1441. >"Human Rainbow Dash has the Gae Bolg, which allows her to attack last in the turn order for a guaranteed hit. Human Pinkie has the Gummi Cannon, which has a low chance to inflicting the Gummi ailment to targets: the ailment deals 10% damage over time and has a chance to stun the target, but only one Gummi can be out at a time."
  1442. >"Human Fluttershy has the Bloody Kunai, which used to give health back for every kill, but now has a small HP drain effect to it. Human Applejack has the Great Oak Greatbow, which can be planted into the ground for increased damage, but she will be unable to dodge afterwards."
  1443. >"Human Rarity wields the Rapier of the White Rose, which gives her double the chance to evade attacks, and a chance to counterattack when she dodges. Lemon Zest has the Tombstone Special, which deals 2-5 Ranged attacks whenever she attacks."
  1444.  
  1445. >"Sugarcoat uses the Overcharged Taser which, while having lower damage than the others, Dizzies targets she crits. Indigo Zap has the SAP Gloves, which can bypass all damage resistances for 10% of her SP."
  1446. >"Sour Sweet wields the Electric Asp, which deals Lightning damage instead of Physical. Spike the Dog holds the Fires of Storge in his jaws, allowing him to deal more damage against a target someone else attacked that turn."
  1447. >"Finally, Sunny Flare has the Shadowbreaker, which grants Belial Mode. When Belial Mode is activated, her combat stats increase, though controlling her is impossible, and after three turns she is left severely weakened for some time."
  1448.  
  1449. >"As Analysis, Human Fluttershy can Stun a single target with 100% accuracy, while stunning a group has a lower chance. Sunny Flare, on the other hand, can deal heavy damage to a group of enemies."
  1450. >"Sour Sweet's Persona, Doppelgänger, has a unique ability: whenever she gets hit by a specific enemy, her resistances and weaknesses change to mimic the attacker's."
  1451.  
  1452. >"Finally, we need to talk about Combination attacks. There are two varieties: Combos and Card Fusions."
  1453. >"Combos are done between two allies, and can cost HP, SP, or both in order to activate. While the ones that cost both to activate will deal multiple types of damage, combos that only cost one will deal more damage of a specific type."
  1454. >"Card Fusion is something only a wielder of the Wild Card can do, where you fuse two of your Persona in order to unleash a powerful attack. The cost of the combo will only come from you, and you'll need to switch to one of the two Persona required for the Fusion."
  1455. >And with that, the lesson finally ends, and the Twins quickly take a water break before returning.
  1456.  
  1457. >"Hopefully that jogs your memory enough to fight to the best of your ability."
  1458. >"And if we forgot anything, we'll shout it at you while we watch your fights."
  1459. >Wait, what?
  1460. >The two nod as Caroline continues.
  1461. >"Waiting for you to be done with those fights is just boring. While we can't influence your fights, we want to at least watch them, so we'll be watching and commenting from a distance."
  1462. >Justine nods, returning Another Way to your hands.
  1463. >"If you are ready, simply choose your Persona deck and starting allies."
  1464. >That certainly took a while, but hopefully all that information sticks with you during the battles.
  1465. >Are you ready to face off against Midnight once more?
  1466.  
  1467. >After a long while mulling over things, you decide it's finally time to take on Midnight once more.
  1468. >Choosing Anonymous's original Persona deck, and keeping Fluttershy and Spike in your mind, you open the book once more.
  1469.  
  1470. >The Princess's Archives, ???
  1471.  
  1472. >As you rematerialize back into the inky black chamber of Midnight Sparkle, you notice that she's already waiting for you.
  1473. >"Oh? Looks like someone's come back for more."
  1474. >She gives you a shit-eating grin as Spike and Fluttershy are summoned behind you.
  1475. "...So you remember what happened?"
  1476. >Midnight pauses somewhat as she notices Spike, the taller dragon doing his best to deflect her crazed eyes drilling into his soul before she shrugs.
  1477. >"Eh, not really: if anything, the unstable nature of this dream makes it all but impossible to gauge the results of any conflict. Even had you been victorious before, and are only here for the bloodsport, I would be unable to tell."
  1478. "Then how...?"
  1479.  
  1480. >She chuckles, teleporting right to your face and tapping a single finger on your cheek.
  1481. >"You've just got that look of someone who's already lost once."
  1482. >Before you can react, she teleports back, her caustic energy filling the room as she floats mid-air.
  1483. >"So let's see if we can make that happen twice!"
  1484. >Caroline and Justine sit nonchalantly on the crystal throne behind the lost soul: keeping a close eye on what you do.
  1485. >Spike blows out a test flame from his mouth as Fluttershy calls forth Argus.
  1486. ><Don't worry, we've got your back this time!>
  1487.  
  1488. [On this HOLY NIGHT]
  1489.  
  1490. [Live to forget!]
  1491.  
  1492. Battle 2: Midnight Sparkle (Round 4)
  1493.  
  1494. [SECOND DRAW]
  1495.  
  1496. [Go Apeshit]
  1497.  
  1498. ><I'll go ahead and scan Midnight Sparkle, unless you want me to do something else!>
  1499.  
  1500. "A scan would be nice, but also check how vulnerable she is to Silence!"
  1501. ><Alright, scanning now!>
  1502. >Switching to Father Time, you focus your hearts on the memories you shared with Rarity, calling her forth in a ray of light!
  1503. >"Thanks, darling; now let's weaken this miscreant! Persona!"
  1504. >Peter Pan plays a high pitched tune from his pipe, the discordant melody worming its way into Midnight ear and weakening her offense.
  1505. >"I'm not sure what caused you to end up this way, Midnight, but I won't let you harm my friends. Come on out, Ouroboros!"
  1506. >The eternal dragon takes a deep breath, gathering embers before unleashing a devastating inferno at Midnight enveloping her in fire!
  1507. >She shrieks in pain as the flames catch her off guard, dealing immense damage!
  1508.  
  1509. >"So you're the mirror's version of my dog, huh? Let's see if you follow directions as well!"
  1510. >A miniature tornado forms in Midnight's hand, which multiplies at an alarming rate into a legion of small storms.
  1511. >"Sit, boy!"
  1512. >The wind cutters soar through the air, striking Ouroboros's hide as he weathers through most of the damage!
  1513. >Midnight pouts at the results, turning to Rarity with her mad eyes.
  1514. >"Well, if you're not going to play, then I'll just have my fun with that pony!"
  1515. >You can feel the hairs on your arms rise up as a horrible thunderstorm forms above Rarity.
  1516. >Before the lightning can surge down upon her, though, Spike pushes her out of the way, taking heavy damage as a result!
  1517. >"Oh, Spike, you know that wasn't for you."
  1518. >The dragon scowls at Midnight's chuckle, nursing his wounds as Fluttershy catches your attention.
  1519. ><Alright, I've got a scan on Midnight Sparkle:>
  1520.  
  1521. Midnight Sparkle (Priestess) -
  1522.  
  1523. Resist: None
  1524.  
  1525. ><There's a chance that Silence will work on her. Here's everypony's status:>
  1526.  
  1527. You: 700% HP, 700% SP
  1528. Rarity: 100% HP, 95% SP
  1529. Spike: 38% HP, 70% SP
  1530.  
  1531. Fluttershy: 100% SP
  1532.  
  1533. >While Rarity's addition is welcomed, it's not enough: you're going to need a full vanguard to really bring the pain.
  1534. "Change, Don Quixote. Hear my call, Pinkie!"
  1535. >Another orb of light leaves your body as Pinkie Pie emerges with a party horn and confetti.
  1536. >Confetti that quickly sinks into the ground with a sad plorp.
  1537. >"Heya, guys, glad to get invited to the party! Let's patch you up, Spike!"
  1538. >With a blast of her Cock Cannon, Pinkie calls forth Apollo Medicus: the beautiful man strumming a pleasant tune that heals Spike's injuries.
  1539. >"Persona!"
  1540. >Peter Pan waves his dagger around, rousing your spirits and increasing your attack.
  1541. >Ouroboros, meanwhile, unleashes another torrent of fire, catching Midnight and dealing heavy damage!
  1542.  
  1543. >"Take this!"
  1544. >Midnight releases a bone-chilling wind that envelops Pinkie, dealing reduced damage thanks to her bulk, but freezing her in place!
  1545. >"And since I was so rudely interrupted before, let's try Electricity again!"
  1546. >A burst of lightning erupts from her body, striking you and Pinkie for heavy damage, while Rarity and Spike hop out of the way.
  1547. >"Would you PLEASE get hit by those already? How am I supposed to run an experiment when my subjects refuse to work with me!"
  1548. >"That sounds like a you problem, darling."
  1549. ><Pinkie's frozen: she won't be able to fight back until she's broken out. Don't forget we have items to use if necessary!>
  1550. >The status of your group is shown before you.
  1551.  
  1552. Status:
  1553.  
  1554. You: 516% HP, 590% SP
  1555. Pinkie (Frozen): 83% HP, 85% SP
  1556. Rarity: 100% HP, 90% SP
  1557. Spike: 100% HP, 40% SP
  1558.  
  1559. ><There's a very low chance Enervation will work on Midnight.>
  1560.  
  1561. You have performed 0 out of the 8 required combos.
  1562. You have 18 turns left.
  1563.  
  1564. "Let's cure Pinkie before Midnight can take advantage of that Freeze! Change, Johnny Appleseed!"
  1565. >The farmer pulls out a golden apple from one of his branches, pulling his arm back as he tosses it straight at the frigid Panko.
  1566. >Strangely, even with her body completely encased in ice, you catch her chomping down on the fruit, allowing her to break free of her prison!
  1567. >"Thanks, time to see if I get lucky! Horseona!"
  1568. >Pinkie fires at her card as Apollo Medicus calls forth a baleful sun and focuses the rays at Midnight.
  1569. >However, the rays miss Midnight by a long shot, evaporating some of the black ink in the room and leaving a deep hole that slowly fills back up.
  1570. >"No luck this time either, huh?"
  1571. >As Pinkie deflates, Spike and Rarity look to each other with a knowing nod, their cards floating down before them.
  1572. >"I believe it's time to really bring the pain to this ruffian, don't you agree, Spike?"
  1573. >"Yeah, we can do anything when we put our hearts into it!"
  1574. >"Persona!"
  1575. >"Persona!"
  1576.  
  1577. >Peter Pan flies over Ouroboros, dropping a golden fairy that envelops the obsidian dragon with fairy dust.
  1578. >With a deafening roar, Ouroboros charges at Midnight and eviscerates her with his fangs and claws!
  1579. >"Spike...!"
  1580. >"Rarity...!"
  1581. >The two hold each other, claw to hoof, as they look deep into each others eyes.
  1582. >No words need to be shared with such unbridled passion, as their mutual love begins to change the color of the dragon's scales from black to gold!
  1583. >"I love you!"
  1584. >The confession between two lovebirds is enough to imbue Ouroboros with a surge of power!
  1585. >He takes Midnight in his jaws and leaps into the air, using the momentum to spin at an insane speed!
  1586.  
  1587. Combo Activated: Think Happy Thoughts!!!
  1588.  
  1589. >Spinning higher and higher, the dragon becomes a golden tornado that all but disappears into the oily ceiling.
  1590. >To seal the deal, Rarity and Spike kiss, their tender moment being the final trigger as the tornado explodes into a golden heart!
  1591. >The two bask in the glow of the romantic fireworks, all but ignoring Midnight as she crashes into the ground hard.
  1592. >Coughing a little blood, she unleashes a barrage of twin bolts that close in on the group.
  1593. >You and Pinkie take the worst of the assault, as even with the weakening magic from Rarity the storms crash into you hard.
  1594. >Spike weathers one of them, but manages to take advantage of the gap to sweep out of the way.
  1595.  
  1596. >Meanwhile, Rarity moves like a mare possessed: weaving through the bolts of lightning to much of Midnight's chagrin.
  1597. >"How?! Statistically speaking, I should have hit you at LEAST once already!"
  1598. >Are you sure that pony Rarity doesn't have Angelic Grace, like human Rarity?
  1599. >Justine, safe in her spectator seat, cups her hands as she calls out to you.
  1600. >"No, visitor, the pony version of Rarity doesn't have Angelic Grace. It looks more like Midnight Sparkle cannot aim."
  1601. >If Midnight could hear her comments, she certainly isn't showing it, as she's far too heated to care about anything other than hitting Rarity.
  1602. >Fashion horse simply fixes her hair and gives a coy smile.
  1603. ><Good work, Rarity, but don't get too confident with your dodging: maybe there's a way to trick Midnight? Here's everypony's stats:>
  1604.  
  1605. Status:
  1606.  
  1607. You: 445% HP, 580% SP
  1608. Pinkie: 50% HP, 75% SP
  1609. Rarity: 70% HP, 90% SP
  1610. Spike: 35% HP, 40% SP
  1611.  
  1612. ><Fear has an very low chance of working.>
  1613.  
  1614. >If you need to trick Midnight, maybe reflecting the damage will help?
  1615. "Change, Merlin!"
  1616. >The wise wizard etches a runic barrier over Rarity, granting her protection against a single spell.
  1617. >"Horseona!"
  1618. >With a soothing melody, Apollo Medicus recovers the group's injuries, nearly putting yourself back to full strength.
  1619. >"Now let's see how effective this new power of mine is. Dazzle her, Peter Pan!"
  1620. >Giggling maniacally, the horned trickster tosses several technicolored pixies at Midnight, each of them exploding in a rainbow of colors and sounds.
  1621. >The explosion catches her off guard, dealing heavy damage as Spike attempts to burn her once more!
  1622.  
  1623. >"I won't fall for that again!"
  1624. >Midnight manages to shake herself out of her stupor enough to edge past Ouroboros's gout of flame, the electricity in the air charging for another assault.
  1625. >It's a good thing no one's going to be affected by that.
  1626. >"Visitor, you do realize Merlin's weak to Lightning, right?"
  1627. >Caroline's question comes all too late, as the storm strikes through your body, as well as the others, sending you to the ground!
  1628. >Rarity's shield sends the bolt targeting her back to its sender, earning an annoyed growl from Midnight.
  1629. >Spike's body begins to convulse as the shock overwhelms his body!
  1630.  
  1631. >"Well at least one of you is weak to Lightning. You'll forgive me if I'm a little rough, won't you?"
  1632. >Before you can respond, a far more powerful storm breaks through, leaving you disoriented on the ground and striking everypony but Pinkie!
  1633. >Finally caught in the blast, Rarity crashes hard, leading to an evil cackle as Midnight is edified.
  1634. ><Oh no, Rarity!>
  1635. >"But wait, there's more!"
  1636. >Another blast washes through the arena, finally knocking Rarity and Spike out, and leaving you heavily injured and Dizzy!
  1637. >"And again!"
  1638. >The assault never ends, though Pinkie is thankfully able to jump out of the way of the last volley of bolts.
  1639.  
  1640. >"Don't worry, I'll think of something!"
  1641. >Pinkie brings Spike back up, and he begins to blaze with the power of love, having activated his Dragon Heart.
  1642. >"Now, let's see: if you're spewing fire, and wind did nothing, then how about ice?"
  1643. >A frigid blizzard coats the arena, catching everyone in its wake as Spike collapses to the floor again!
  1644. >"Ahahahaha!"
  1645. >Harsher frost continues where they left off, knocking Spike out again and catching you and Pinkie in the blast zone!
  1646. >"And just for you, dreamers."
  1647. >One last bolt of lightning strikes your form, as you finally pull yourself back up.
  1648. ><This is bad: you're extremely injured, and Rarity and Spike are down! I can try to stun Midnight with Argus, if you need me to! Here's everypony's stats:>
  1649.  
  1650. Status:
  1651.  
  1652. You: 2% HP, 600% SP
  1653. Pinkie: 62% HP, 40% SP
  1654. Rarity (KO): 0% HP, 70% SP
  1655. Spike (KO): 0% HP, 100% SP
  1656.  
  1657. ><Rage has a Good Chance to work against Midnight.>
  1658.  
  1659. You have performed 1 out of the 8 required combos.
  1660. You have 15 turns left.
  1661.  
  1662. "We're not done yet: Fluttershy, try to stun Midnight with Argus. Change, Tarzan!"
  1663. >Securing a lifeline, you pull out one of the Fading Feathers and place it onto Spike, bringing him back into the game with a jolt.
  1664. >"Come back up, Rarara, it's too early to be sleeping!"
  1665. >A heavenly light shines down upon Rarity's body, bringing her back to the world of the living as she readies her card.
  1666. >"Allow me to patch you two up. Persona!"
  1667. >Peter Pan sprinkles some fairy dust onto the group, healing their wounds.
  1668. >Ouroboros attempts to use his presence to intimidate Midnight Sparkle, but she remains unfazed as she looks at Rarity.
  1669. >"Now that I KNOW you're weak to Lightning, let's have some fun!"
  1670.  
  1671. ><Not so fast!>
  1672. >Argus focuses all his eyes on Midnight, attempting to catch her with their focused gaze!
  1673. >Unfortunately, it appears as though the attempt was unsuccessful, as she smiles gleefully at her target.
  1674. >A powerful bolt of lightning comes down from on high, dead set on striking Rarity.
  1675. >However, Spike once again shields her from the blast, taking heavy damage in return as Midnight pouts.
  1676. >"Well, if you're not going to humor my attempts to kill you, then I'm going to have to bring the big guns."
  1677. >You feel the air tighten around you as she focuses her magical energy for the next attack.
  1678. ><Everypony's back in the game, but be careful about whatever Midnight is planning. Here's everypony's stats:>
  1679.  
  1680. Status:
  1681.  
  1682. You: 102% HP, 600% SP
  1683. Pinkie: 100% HP, 20% SP
  1684. Rarity: 100% HP, 60% SP
  1685. Spike: 49% HP, 90% SP
  1686.  
  1687. Fluttershy: 0% SP
  1688.  
  1689. ><Sorry I wasn't able to stop her...>
  1690.  
  1691. "Everyone, be ready: I think she's going to unleash something nasty!"
  1692. >Your group does their best to put their guard up as Midnight finishes gathering energy.
  1693. >"Die!"
  1694. >A miniature sun erupts in the center of the field, enveloping your vision as the destruction rains down!
  1695. >Thanks to everyone guarding, the damage isn't nearly as bad as it could be, but Spike is once again down for the count.
  1696. >The assault doesn't end there, though, as Midnight releases another blast of pure energy that finishes off Rarity and puts you on the edge!
  1697. ><Midnight just keeps getting ahead of us, I don't know what to do... Here's everypony's stats:>
  1698.  
  1699. Status:
  1700.  
  1701. You: 25% HP, 600% SP
  1702. Pinkie: 49% HP, 20% SP
  1703. Rarity (KO): 0% HP, 60% SP
  1704. Spike (KO): 0% HP, 90% SP
  1705.  
  1706. Fluttershy: 0% SP
  1707.  
  1708. ><Your attack buff has worn out.>
  1709.  
  1710. >This is tough: you got caught with your pants down, and it doesn't look like you'll be able to recover in time.
  1711. >In situations like this, there's only one thing people can do.
  1712. >Completely give up!
  1713. >You motion silently to the Twins, who seem to understand what you're getting at.
  1714. >"Well, this battle's all but decided. Time for this chapter to end."
  1715. >Justine and Caroline hold their hands near each other as Midnight continues to rage.
  1716. >"...And your children, and your children's children!"
  1717. >With unerring synchronicity, the two clap, waking you from this dream.
  1718.  
  1719. >Sable Library, ???
  1720.  
  1721. >That... certainly wasn't your best showing of things.
  1722. >"I'll say, you got absolutely trounced by Midnight that time!"
  1723. >"Yet they say failure is the best teacher. Hopefully you learned something from your mistakes, visitor."
  1724. >The two await any new questions you might have for them.
  1725.  
  1726. >The first thing that comes to your mind is the final Almighty dual attack that smashed you all.
  1727. >Could a defensive spell have given Rarity enough bulk to survive the assault?
  1728. >"We can't say that for certain, as factors beyond anyone's control affect how hard an attack hits. But we will say this: if any of you had decided to not guard during that first Mind Charged Morning Star, you would have died."
  1729. >Getting stuck in that position doesn't seem good for anyone's health, so it's probably a solid plan to not give her leeway for it.
  1730. >That being said, it would probably help to understand how sturdy your allies are, considering how much damage you're taking.
  1731. >"Due to Pinkie Pie's higher Health pool she takes less damage from attacks, and it allows her to use Light Saber at a lower cost than other Physical skills. Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Twilight, Spike, and Luna all take normal damage."
  1732. >"Applejack's resilience allows her to take the least amount of damage, while Sunset has the lowest HP and, as such, takes more damage than usual."
  1733.  
  1734. >There is one thing you want to quickly verify, especially considering the value of said trait.
  1735. >Does Absorption heal for as much damage as the attack would have normally done?
  1736. >"Yes."
  1737. >Which of your combination attacks with the Dream Team are considered single target vs area of effect?
  1738. >Justine takes a while to write down the list of combinations before handing them to you.
  1739.  
  1740. >Spike + Rarity = Think Happy Thoughts (Fire/Physical) Single Target
  1741. >Spike + Twilight = Thuban (Almighty) Single Target
  1742. >RD + AJ = Sparking Meteor (Elec) Single Target
  1743. >RD + AJ (Double Charge) = Akashic Buster (Elec/Physical) AoE
  1744. >RD + Pinkie = Party Time (Physical) AoE
  1745. >Fluttershy + Spike = Mega Ryushi Cannon (Almighty) AoE
  1746. >AJ + Rarity = Terrible Combination (Physical) AoE
  1747. >AJ (Power Charge) + Rarity = Abhorrent Union (Wind/Physical) AoE
  1748. >Sunset + Twilight = Eternal Jam Session (Almighty Physical) AoE
  1749.  
  1750. >Sunset + Pinkie = Freebird (Dragon Hustle)
  1751. >Spike + Luna = Gamma Burst (Nuke/Tarunda) AoE
  1752. >Rarity + Luna = Subterranean Rose (Psy/Sukunda) AoE
  1753. >Sunset + Luna = Dáinsleif's Thirst (Curse/Rakunda) Single Target
  1754. >Pinkie + Luna = Longinus (Bless/Debilitate) Single Target
  1755. >RD + Luna = Flash Bang (Ranged/50% Chance to Stun) AoE
  1756. >Twilight + Luna = Celestial Doping (Heal/Temp Doubles HP, 20% Decay Each Turn)
  1757. >AJ + Luna = Wall of Thorns (Round-long Repel)
  1758. >Legion + Spike = Double Dragon Punch (Physical) Single Target
  1759. >Legion (Power Charge) + Spike = Triple Dragon Punch (Physical) Single Target
  1760. >Merlin + Spike = Flaming Love Attack (Fire) AoE
  1761. >Helene + Twilight = Walls of Troy (Ice/Charm) AoE
  1762. >Nemo + Twilight = 20,000 RPM Under The Sea (Ranged/Freeze) AoE
  1763. >Maui + Pinkie = Prominence Hammer (Bless/Physical) AoE
  1764. >Baast + Pinkie = Sun Dance Festival (Revival, 35%+ MP, Invincibility)
  1765. >M.A.R.A. + Rainbow Dash = Hadron Buster Cannon (Elec) Single Target
  1766. >M.A.R.A. + Rainbow Dash (Double Charge) = Orbital Hadron Buster Launcher (Almighty) AoE
  1767. >Father Time + Rainbow Dash = Supersonic Rainboom (Physical) Single Target
  1768. >Father Time + Rainbow Dash (Double Charge) = Hypersonic Rainboom Rush (Almighty Physical) Single Target
  1769. >Gilgamesh + Applejack = Double Tomahawk Boomerang (Physical) Single Target
  1770. >Gilgamesh + Applejack (Double Charged) = Final Tomahawk (Physical) AoE
  1771. >The Musketeers + Applejack = Battle Alteration Blue Emperor/B.A.B.E. (Elec) Single Target
  1772. >Tokoyami no Amaterasu + Sunset = Black Hole Sun (Curse) Single Target
  1773. >Dullahan + Sunset = Philistine (Curse/Physical 2-3x Hit) AoE
  1774. >Robin Hood + Rarity = Archer's Dream (Ranged/Random Ailment) Single Target
  1775. >Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto + Luna = ??? (Almighty) AoE
  1776. >Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto (Mind Charge) + Luna = Nightmare Moon (Almighty) AoE
  1777. >Don Quixote + Luna = Giga Drill Breaker (Physical) Single Target
  1778. >Don Quixote (Power Charge) + Luna = ??? (Almighty Physical) Single Target
  1779.  
  1780. >"Hopefully that's all of the ones for Dream Team. Like we said, we'll let you know if there's any we forgot during the battle."
  1781. >There is one more thing you're curious about: Fluttershy mentioning that there might have been a way to "trick" Midnight.
  1782. >Was she simply just wrong, or is there something you're missing?
  1783. >Caroline shrugs, while Justine is lost in thought.
  1784. >"Mistakes happen: it's not like Analysis can be infallible in anything other than scans."
  1785. >"But what if she was correct? Let's look over what we know about Midnight Sparkle."
  1786. >A little display shows multiple angles of your previous battles.
  1787. >"It appears that Midnight attempts to figure out what exactly her target's weak to, before she uses her stronger magic. And she'll always remember, so keeping her from knowing seems optimal."
  1788. >"So what's the way to trick her? Makarakarn only temporarily stopped her, then she was back to slapping him around!"
  1789. >A way to trick Midnight into not attacking weaknesses...
  1790. >If simply repelling the attack doesn't do anything, then maybe it has to do with another Support ability?
  1791. >What could possibly be used in order to fool Midnight into wasting her turns?
  1792.  
  1793. >...
  1794. >It really shouldn't be as easy as it sounds, but what about tricking Midnight with Walls?
  1795. >After all, Breaks only destroy the Wall, even if the Persona has a latent resistance.
  1796. >The Twins look at you with a bit of surprise, Caroline rolling her eyes at your suggestion.
  1797. >"Did we not just talk about how smart Midnight is? Even if you managed to trick her once, it's not like she'll fall for the same trick multiple times."
  1798. >True, it's not like literally hiding everything but their weaknesses would work more than a few times.
  1799. >But isn't that when you pull out the gigabrain maneuver and actually put a Wall on the target that IS their weakness?
  1800.  
  1801. >Justine rubs her chin as she considers your stratagem.
  1802. >"So you're thinking to play mind games to waste Midnight Sparkle's time. While it may be difficult, being able to buy time to take her out quickly would be invaluable."
  1803. >It's better than having her take educated guesses all the time, at least.
  1804. >"We shall certainly see: if you feel you are ready for your next battle with Midnight, then pick your deck and teammates."
  1805. >"Try not to lose so quickly next time, alright?"
  1806. >You nod, considering how you want to build your opening team and deck.
  1807.  
  1808. >Keeping Applejack and Pinkie in mind, you select your next deck and open Another Way as its narrative spell enthralls you once more.
  1809.  
  1810. >The Princess's Archives, ???
  1811.  
  1812. >"Back for more, huh? You've got this look of someone who's died twice already."
  1813. "Well, at least you're keeping count."
  1814. >Midnight chuckles at your remark as Applejack and Pinkie prepare for battle.
  1815. >"I'm just flattered you're having so much trouble with me, considering. Now,"
  1816. >She rises to the air once more, the madness consuming her as her cackle echoes throughout the Fantasia.
  1817. >"Let's see if I can kill you again!"
  1818.  
  1819. [Set loose the dogs of war!]
  1820.  
  1821. [Don't disappoint us.]
  1822.  
  1823. Battle 2: Midnight Sparkle (Round 5)
  1824.  
  1825. [Chapter Three]
  1826.  
  1827. [FIST]
  1828.  
  1829. "Then riddle me this, Midnight: what exactly are we weak to? Come forth, Cain!"
  1830. >With a snarl, the cursed farmer shoves his pitchfork into the ground, sprouting a withered tree above Applejack.
  1831. >"And I'll soften her up!"
  1832. >Apollo Medicus strums a discordant tune that worms into the very fabric of Midnight, lowering all of her combat capabilities as a result.
  1833. >"Keep us safe, Paul Bunyan!"
  1834. >Applejack bucks her card as the mechanical behemoth of a lumberjack hisses and releases a mist of steam that settles around the group.
  1835. >Instead of getting burned by it, the exfoliation hardens your skin, protecting your from future attacks!
  1836.  
  1837. >"Hmm... That Wall is certainly intriguing, but I can't help but notice none of you decided to attack. Isn't that a little too complacent?"
  1838. >With that Midnight generates two orbs of chaotic energy, tossing them at you as they formed a Venn diagram of destruction!
  1839. >Forced between taking one or two blasts, the three of you bite the bullet and dodge into different ones, taking less damage as a result.
  1840. >"Showing your hand is all fine and dandy, dreamers, but don't forget we're fighting right now."
  1841. >Thanks to your preparations, the attacks don't deal as much damage as you were fearing, but it looks like Midnight doesn't appreciate you doing only support at the beginning.
  1842. >Still, she doesn't seem to suspect your mind game just yet, so keeping the act might prove helpful.
  1843. >What will you do next?
  1844.  
  1845. Status:
  1846.  
  1847. You: 675% HP, 700% SP
  1848. Pinkie: 84% HP, 90% SP
  1849. Applejack: 89% HP, 90% SP
  1850.  
  1851. You have performed 0 out of the 8 required combos.
  1852. You have 19 turns left.
  1853.  
  1854. >Got to think of more ways to distract Midnight: something that will really grab her attention.
  1855. "Change, Baron! So, Midnight, you like math?"
  1856. >Samedi's rod opens, releasing an unsettling smoke trail that attempts to catch Midnight in its grasp.
  1857. >Unfortunately, the question you asked seems to have made her more mobile, as she floats slightly to the right and avoids the attack entirely.
  1858. >"Well, I guess I somewhat like math: mathematics is a good, solid foundation that helps pave the way to really understanding more abstract concepts like-"
  1859. >Pinkie seems to catch on to your plan, hopping up and hollering to interrupt Midnight's rant.
  1860. >"Oh yeah? Name all the numbers in pi!"
  1861. >Apollo claps his hands together, separating them to reveal a radiant saber that cuts into Midnight for heavy damage!
  1862.  
  1863. >"I don't recall pie having any numbers, Pinkie."
  1864. >Applejack's confusion aside, Midnight appears to change character for a while, being really giddy about the idea.
  1865. >"Well, we don't really have time to go over ALL the numbers, considering the nature of the battle we're in, and the property of irrational numbers, but I could certainly go through around a hundred. Let's see..."
  1866. >As the nightmare's mind begins to churn, Applejack quickly slaps you with an Oxen shield, giving you temporary protection.
  1867. >"3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971..."
  1868. >While counting them, she disables the Blue Wall on Applejack, preparing a shocking strike.
  1869.  
  1870. >"...6939937510582097494459230781640628620899..."
  1871. >A bolt of lightning arcs towards Applejack, connecting, but dealing little damage as Midnight finishes.
  1872. >"...8628034825342117067, and 9. Oh?"
  1873. >She finally notices the still standing Applejack, who gives a smug grin.
  1874. >"Wrong guess, sugarcube."
  1875. >"So it seems: looks like you're playing smarter than I suspected."
  1876.  
  1877. >Instead of being angry, though, her mad smile returns once more, the excitement from before turning a darker shade.
  1878. >"But if you think I won't try to break through your mind games, you've got another thing coming!"
  1879. >Looks like your plan worked somewhat, given that she only managed to attack once.
  1880. >Still, you should be careful fighting fire with fire: be sure not to be the one played.
  1881. >With the 5D chess beginning, it's time for the next move.
  1882.  
  1883. Status:
  1884.  
  1885. You: 675% HP, 680% SP
  1886. Pinkie: 69% HP, 90% SP
  1887. Applejack: 73% HP, 70% SP
  1888.  
  1889. You have performed 0 out of the 8 required combos.
  1890. You have 18 turns left.
  1891.  
  1892. >Now that you've introduced the bait that is mind games, now is the time to truly giga-brain.
  1893. >"Hear my call, Princess Luna!"
  1894. >The princess of the moon materializes onto the battlefield once more, looking at the situation before nodding.
  1895. >"I do not know if this will pay off, but I'll do my best to play my part. Persona!"
  1896. >Artemis conjures a icy polar bear that crashes into Applejack, creating a barrier against her weakness.
  1897. >"Let's patch everypony up, Apollo!"
  1898. >Everyone's wounds patch up as Applejack's eyes take a dangerous glint.
  1899. >"Yer wide open! Waste her, Paul!"
  1900. >The towering behemoth lets out a mechanical howl as he chucks his axe at Midnight, catching her shoulder and sending her crashing to the floor!
  1901.  
  1902. >"Ya ready to go all out?"
  1903. >You think about exploiting the big damage, but another idea pops up.
  1904. "No, go ahead and pass the baton over!"
  1905. >"Yeeeee- oh, alright, I guess."
  1906. >A bit dejected, she gives you a high hoof as you're filled with power..
  1907. "Can't have you cast something on us, now can we?"
  1908. >Another stream of smoke comes from the rod, enveloping Midnight and sealing her powers!
  1909.  
  1910. "What's wrong, Midnight, can't talk due to shit in your mouth?"
  1911. >You give a smug grin as she responds with the universal middle finger.
  1912. >She attempts to catch Applejack with a fist, but misses, using the momentum lost to launch herself at Pinkie.
  1913. >While not striking a critical hit, her foot hits hard, leaving an imprint on your teammate as she silently falls back.
  1914. >That Silence will hopefully keep Midnight from slapping your ass too hard, but don't expect it to last too long.
  1915. >It looks like you've got a plan, though, so let's see what happens.
  1916.  
  1917. Status:
  1918.  
  1919. You: 600% HP, 580% SP
  1920. Luna: 100%, 90% SP
  1921. Pinkie: 74% HP, 70% SP
  1922. Applejack: 70% HP, 70% SP
  1923.  
  1924. You have performed 0 out of the 8 required combos.
  1925. You have 17 turns left.
  1926.  
  1927. >You get the feeling this will be it, so let's tear this woman apart and get on with it!
  1928. "Change, Skinwalker: Card Fusion!"
  1929. >Taking the Moon and Magician cards, you combine them as a flash of light envelops the arena.
  1930. >Midnight stands alone in a heavily wooded forest, the sounds of wilderness drowning all resistance as a pale moon hangs high.
  1931. >You can sense her shiver as pairs of eyes begin to light up in the foliage, all gauging her reactions.
  1932. >Skin-walker leaps off one of the trees, his feral demeanor eyeing Midnight with a primal hunger.
  1933. "The Hunt begins as the full moon shines down. Be ye hunter or hunted?"
  1934.  
  1935. >As the moonlight shines down on the warrior, he drops his hatchets in shock, pupils dilating as his form begins to twist and turn!
  1936. >Muscles bulk, skin tears as fur breaks through, and his face forcibly elongates as Skin-walker lets out a pained, feverish howl to the night's sky.
  1937. >What's left of the proud warrior is a slavering, feral lupine, drool running down his jaws as he lunges at Midnight!
  1938. >Faster than any normal eye can see, Skin-walker launches her into the air, chasing after her as afterimages tear her apart!
  1939. "And now, the feast begins! There won't be even a single scrap left!"
  1940. >Finally, with one final leap into the air, Skin-walker delivers a powerful axe kick down on Midnight's head, sending her plummeting towards the earth as the ground below begins to shake and shift.
  1941. >Suddenly, bursting through the earth, Fafnir surges forth to meet Midnight, jaws wide open!
  1942.  
  1943. Combo Activated: Andvari's Gift
  1944.  
  1945. >His jaws clamp down hard onto her side, earning a scream of pain as the illusion fades.
  1946. >Luna kisses her card, calling another polar bear to embed itself into Pinkie Pie, granting her defense from frost.
  1947. >"Alright, Cock Cannon, let's see how you crow!"
  1948. >Three clucks heralds a barrage of explosions that catch the distracted Midnight off-guard, causing her to collapse!
  1949.  
  1950. >"Let's go all out on this one!"
  1951. "Hell yeah!"
  1952. >Pinkie leads the charge as the four of you batter Midnight's helpless form, dealing heavy damage as her body shatters, summoning the other Evils.
  1953. >This time, Turmoil, Strife, Famine, and Passion take point, readying for combat.
  1954. >Looks like they don't always start in numerical order.
  1955. >You know for a certainty that Death is weak to Curse, but you'll need to figure out the others as the battle goes on.
  1956. >What the next plan?
  1957.  
  1958. Status:
  1959.  
  1960. You: 540% HP, 580% SP
  1961. Luna: 100%, 80%
  1962. Pinkie: 74% HP, 70% SP
  1963. Applejack: 70% HP, 70% SP
  1964.  
  1965. You have performed 1 out of the 8 required combos.
  1966. You have 16 turns left.
  1967.  
  1968. >Now's the time for Analysis: switching to Diarmuid, you focus your shared memories of the human version of Fluttershy.
  1969. >With a shine of light, she plops into existence, looking around for a bit before nodding.
  1970. >"I'll do my best to examine these Evils. Tzaphkiel!"
  1971. >The angel takes Fluttershy into her gentle embrace, keeping her lone eye focused on the battlefield.
  1972. "Good, focus on Famine for now!"
  1973. ><Understood!>
  1974. >"We should remain wary of our injuries. Persona!"
  1975. >Luna quickly restores everyone to full fighting spirit, as Pinkie readies her fat cock once more.
  1976.  
  1977. >"Bombs away!"
  1978. >Three clucks resound as Turmoil and Strife are caught by the barrage, though the final blast misses Famine.
  1979. >"And I'll soften them up!"
  1980. >Paul Bunyan releases an immense amount of heat from its mechanical body, tenderizing the Evils and making them more susceptible to damage.
  1981. >Once again, Turmoil attempts to seduce you, but the Ox Reflector stops any of that nonsense from flying, negating the attack.
  1982. "Begone, thot."
  1983.  
  1984. >Strife pulls out an electrified blade as she pounces on Applejack, carving into the pony as she grins in delight!
  1985. >Applejack's body begins to seize as the shocks from the blade course through her body!
  1986. >"You know, Passion, I really like how their strengthening magic looks."
  1987. >The Seventh and Eighth Evils share a knowing grin as they prepare for something.
  1988. >"Then why don't we trade for them?"
  1989. >Without warning, a portrait emerges from behind both the Evils as well as you, portraying the two of you in a normal light.
  1990. >Suddenly, you begin to feel your strength drain from your body, as the ink from the picture is drained into the Evils'!
  1991. >You notice the shields around Applejack and Pinkie join the ink as Famine and Passion are now engraved with the polar bears.
  1992.  
  1993. Team-up Attack: The Picture of Twilight Sparkle
  1994.  
  1995. >You weakly look back to your portrait, which looks as decrepit and ancient as you feel, before they sink back into the inky waters!
  1996.  
  1997. ><It looks like that skill lowered all of your attack, defense, and agility, while strengthening the Evils! Famine and Passion now have White Walls active, so be cautious!>
  1998. >That was a dirty tactic, but knowing how Crosshatch worked before, it doesn't look like they'll be able to do it again in this run.
  1999. >What will you do now?
  2000.  
  2001. Status:
  2002.  
  2003. You: 500% HP, 480% SP
  2004. Luna: 100%, 60%
  2005. Pinkie: 100% HP, 70% SP
  2006. Applejack (Shock): 78% HP, 60% SP
  2007.  
  2008. ><It looks like Fear has a chance of working on Famine.>
  2009.  
  2010. ><Oh, also here's a full scan on Famine:>
  2011.  
  2012. The Seventh Evil, Famine (Priestess) -
  2013.  
  2014. Absorb: Ice
  2015. Weak: Fire
  2016.  
  2017. >Clearly, you need to exploit Famine's weakness as soon as possible, though you're having difficulty deciding which Persona to pick.
  2018. >Eventually, you flip out the Emperor card, an ominous feeling crawling up your back.
  2019. "Change, Napoleon, let's take out this leech!"
  2020. >Thinking about why the Emperor card was giving you such a bad feeling, you call forth the general, who pulls out a cannon and lights the fuse.
  2021. >A large cannonball rockets through the air, determined to destroy Famine completely and utterly!
  2022. >... Only for the shot to careen out of a nearby window and land on some poor sod outside.
  2023. >Oh yeah, that's right, Napoleon's fucking cursed.
  2024.  
  2025. >"That Persona really doesn't have a track record on hitting enemies, does it, visitor?"
  2026. >The question from Justine notwithstanding, it seems your aim is being muddled by the previous combo the Evils did.
  2027. >"I'll take care of Applejack's condition. Persona!"
  2028. >Artemis presses her fingers down on certain parts of Applejack, dispelling the shock and putting her back into the game.
  2029. >"Batter up!"
  2030. >Apollo slices into Famine, dealing heavy damage that is somewhat muted by the support magic on everyone.
  2031. >"Persona!"
  2032. >Paul Bunyan negates the defense down on the group, leaving only the strength and agility debuff remaining.
  2033.  
  2034. >Rethinking her plans, Turmoil gives off a smug aura that begins to irritate you.
  2035. >Thankfully, you manage to shake off the anger boiling up, but Applejack begins to see red, looking at the Third Evil with murder in her eyes.
  2036. >"You take that back! My mother was a saint!"
  2037. >Sensing her opportunity, Strife pulls out an icy blade and lunges at Applejack!
  2038. >"I wonder if that White Wall meant anything?"
  2039. >Sure enough, the sword finds its mark, dealing major damage as Applejack collapses in anger-induced pain!
  2040.  
  2041. >"Jackpot; let's see if I can get a twofer!"
  2042. >She looks at your Persona for a while, thinking for a moment, before pulling out a hollow-looking weapon.
  2043. >Strife slices in the air, creating blades of wind that catch you off-guard and send you plummeting to the ground!
  2044. >To make things worse, the wind also catches your eyes, temporarily blinding you!
  2045. >Finally, she unleashes a massive nuclear explosion, catching you for immense damage and striking everyone else, knocking Applejack out cold!
  2046. >Famine latches her sucker on Luna, draining her spirit, while Passing forms a crimson shield on the Seventh Evil, likely protecting her from Fire attacks.
  2047. ><Oh dear, this really got out of hand fast: you won't be able to do much while blinded, so try to take care of it as soon as possible! Here's everyone's stats:>
  2048.  
  2049. Status:
  2050.  
  2051. You (Blind): 463% HP, 560% SP
  2052. Luna: 52%, 18%
  2053. Pinkie: 51% HP, 70% SP
  2054. Applejack (KO): 0% HP, 50% SP
  2055.  
  2056. ><Here's a scan for Turmoil:>
  2057.  
  2058. Third Evil, Turmoil (Priestess) -
  2059.  
  2060. Absorb: Psy
  2061. Weak: Nuke
  2062.  
  2063. ><And it looks like all Evils seem to share the same chances for ailments as Midnight. Blind has a chance to work on all of them.>
  2064.  
  2065. "First thing's first, we need to get Applejack up. Catch, mom!"
  2066. >You pull out an Ephemeral Candy and toss it to Luna, who catches it in her mouth as her energy returns to her.
  2067. >"Pinkie Pie, once you get Applejack back up, we should be able to protect the group for a while!"
  2068. >"Okie dokie lokie! Up you go, Applejack!"
  2069. >Pinkie pokes her friend with one of the feathers, springing her back into action.
  2070.  
  2071. >"So we're gonna do that, huh?"
  2072. >"Indeed, let us hope they don't fully understand our intentions; Persona!"
  2073. >"Persona!"
  2074. >Strangely enough, when the two begin their combination, you don't see any trace of Paul Bunyan or Artemis.
  2075. >Instead, the ground below you begins to shift and tear, revealing a swarming mass of thorny vines!
  2076. >Slithering out of the ground, they begin to form a living barrier that wriggles threateningly at the Evils!
  2077.  
  2078. Combo Activated: Wall of Thorns
  2079.  
  2080. >"Really, that's all you've got to stop us? Let's tear it apart, Strife!"
  2081. >"Indeed."
  2082. >The Third and Fourth Evil leap to perform their combo, the combination of psychokinetic and nuclear energies crashing into the wall with a resounding explosion!
  2083.  
  2084. Team-up Attack: Crosshatch
  2085.  
  2086. >However, you notice the explosion doesn't go past the first layer of vines, which begin to glow in an unnatural light and flex violently.
  2087. >"What the-?!"
  2088. >The thorns launch themselves into the two Evils, piercing through their resistances and striking their weakness as they collapse to the ground!
  2089. ><Incredible, the thorns not only repelled the attack, but managed to divide the damage in a way to really hurt the Evils. I've got confirmation that Strife is weak to Psy damage!>
  2090. >When Famine attempts to sap energy from Applejack, the thorns instead halt the sucker, draining her energy instead and giving it to the cowgirl.
  2091. >"Well I'll be, that sure is a useful combo."
  2092. >Passion decides against attacking, putting a protective barrier around herself.
  2093.  
  2094. ><Passion currently has a Makarakarn active: any spells cast on it will repel! Here's everyone's status:>
  2095.  
  2096. Status:
  2097.  
  2098. You (Blind): 463% HP, 560% SP
  2099. Luna: 52%, 70%
  2100. Pinkie: 51% HP, 70% SP
  2101. Applejack: 100% HP, 32% SP
  2102.  
  2103. ><And here's the scan on Passion:>
  2104.  
  2105. Passion (Priestess) -
  2106.  
  2107. Absorb: Fire
  2108. Weak: Ice
  2109.  
  2110. ><It looks like Charm has a low chance of working on the Evils, but it might not do what we expect it to do.>
  2111.  
  2112. >You need to get the Third and Fourth Evils out of the picture, even if it's only for a short while.
  2113. >Pulling out the Hermit and Tower cards, you look at Strife with fire in your eyes.
  2114. "Card Fusion!"
  2115. >Lancelot begins the assault with an array of masterful sword swings, carving through his opponent with ease as Dantalion takes pot shots from the distance.
  2116. >Eventually, the devil summons tendrils of darkness that sneak upon the knight, slowly wrapping themselves around Lancelot until he notices too late.
  2117. "Lancelot, fall from grace! Show the world your fury and grief!"
  2118. >A madness begins to engulf the knight, his pearly white armor blackening as he howls in rage and sorrow.
  2119.  
  2120. >His sword shatters with one swing, leading him to tear into Strife with his bear hands, earning a scream of pain in return!
  2121. >With no more weapons to spare, the berserker takes ahold of Pinkie's cannon, tearing it from her grasp!
  2122. >"Hey, I was using that!"
  2123. >The darkness begins to infest the rooster gun, transforming it into an imposing Gatling gun that locks onto the injured Fourth Evil.
  2124. "A knight does not die with empty hands, Lancelot! Leave nothing standing!"
  2125.  
  2126. Combo Activated: Knight of Owner
  2127.  
  2128. >With a bestial cry, he unleashes a barrage of psychokinetic rounds at Strife, dealing immense damage and leaving her completely disoriented on the ground!
  2129. >Lancelot melts into the ink, leaving the Cock Cannon to return to Pinkie's possession.
  2130. >"That Red Wall has to go, Artemis!"
  2131. >The lunar huntress pulls out a red-tipped arrow, shooting it at Famine as the two resonating frequencies cancel each other out.
  2132. >"No need for you to come back up, Turmoil!"
  2133. >Pinkie blasts her card, calling forth Apollo Medicus who fires a blast of Nuclear energy from his hands that slams into the Third Evil, knocking her out!
  2134. >Applejack applies another layer of protection magic, increasing your defense.
  2135.  
  2136. >With the Third and Fourth Evils unable to do much, Famine makes a sigil with her hands that continues to sap the strength from your group, as Passion creates another shimmering barrier around the Seventh Evil.
  2137. ><Be careful, both Famine and Passion have Makarakarn active: any magical attacks done to them will repel back unless they're Almighty! Here's everyone's status:>
  2138.  
  2139. Status:
  2140.  
  2141. You: 433% HP, 530% SP
  2142. Luna: 52%, 60%
  2143. Pinkie: 51% HP, 30% SP
  2144. Applejack: 100% HP, 22% SP
  2145.  
  2146. ><Poison has a good chance of working on all the Evils.>
  2147.  
  2148. You have performed 3 out of the 8 required combos.
  2149. You have 12 turns remaining.
  2150.  
  2151. >Back to Lancelot: there's something else you can do with him.
  2152. >Pulling out the Strength card as well, you slam you hands together, a surge of strength circulating through your body.
  2153. "Card Fusion!"
  2154. >Papinijuwari, currently the size of an insect, leaps into the air as Lancelot lunges at the Evils, blade unsheathed!
  2155. >With masterful footwork and swordplay, the sterling knight bisects Strife and catches Famine in the gut with his gauntlet, knocking the wind out of her and sending her crashing to the ground!
  2156. >Turmoil and Passion aren't spared from the carnage, forced to weather the onslaught as their blood begins to float skyward.
  2157. >Looking up, you see the one-eyed beast consuming the bloodbath, growing to a bloated size as gravity sends his elbow plummeting to the unsuspecting Evils!
  2158.  
  2159. Combo Activated: Sanguineous Starfall
  2160.  
  2161. >Lancelot falls back in time to avoid the titan crashing into the arena, sending ripples throughout the throne room and nearly shattering the crystal throne the Twins are on!
  2162. >"Hey, watch where you're swinging! Should've put a penalty for hitting the judges..."
  2163. >Caroline grumbles darkly to herself as you pull out another Candy and toss it to Pinkie, restoring her SP to full.
  2164. >"Those Makarakarns will likely limit the damage this will do, but devastate them, Artemis!"
  2165. >Another moon rock crashes into the arena, dealing heavy damage to Turmoil, but little to Famine and Passion, who are protected with their barriers.
  2166.  
  2167. >"We're not out of this party yet! Horseona!"
  2168. >Apollo strums a healing melody that restores your team's fighting strength, as Applejack gives a confident grin.
  2169. >"I've got you in my sights now!"
  2170. >Paul Bunyan tears his axe into a pair of hatchets, launching them at the enemy.
  2171. >Turmoil catches one in her chest, causing her to collapse before vanishing, while Famine is devastated by another critical hit!
  2172. >Passion takes some damage, though immediately afterwards she provides defensive magic for herself and Famine.
  2173.  
  2174. >You see Sickness and Death take the field next, readying themselves as Tzaphkiel examines the First Evil.
  2175. ><Good news: thanks to already scanning the other Evils, I had enough time to scan Sickness. Here's what I've got:>
  2176.  
  2177. First Evil, Sickness (Priestess) -
  2178.  
  2179. Absorb: Curse
  2180. Weak: Bless
  2181.  
  2182. ><Exhaustion seems to have a low chance of working. Here's everyone's stats:>
  2183.  
  2184. Status:
  2185.  
  2186.  
  2187. You: 533% HP, 590% SP
  2188. Luna: 100%, 30%
  2189. Pinkie: 100% HP, 80% SP
  2190. Applejack: 70% HP, 22% SP
  2191.  
  2192. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 100% SP
  2193.  
  2194. You have performed 4 out of the 8 required combos.
  2195. You have 11 turns remaining.
  2196.  
  2197. >Looks like you know all the enemies' weaknesses now.
  2198. >You know what that means, don't you?
  2199. "Card Fusion!"
  2200. >Pulling the trusty duo of Devil and Fool, you combine the two in a flash of light!
  2201. >The ichor from Coyote's maw only seems to have eyes for the Second Evil, ignoring the others as it latches itself onto her.
  2202. >Lunging with his pitchfork, Cain catches Death in the gut, sending her careening into the air as the farmer changes his stance!
  2203. >What starts as a single jab evolves into a flurry of thrusts, juggling the unfortunate Evil in the air as her injuries begin to blacken.
  2204. "I know this won't kill you, but I really don't want to humor you again after what happened last time. Get her, Cain!"
  2205. >With a demonic grin, the first murderer catches Death with one hand, using the momentum to send her crashing into a nearby wall!
  2206.  
  2207. Combo Activated: Sinner's Lot
  2208.  
  2209. "We're not done yet!"
  2210. >With his other hand, Cain launches his pitchfork at the Second Evil, pinning her in place as his jaw unhinges!
  2211. >A powerful blast of curse magic launches from his maw, dealing heavy damage as she becomes unable to fight!
  2212. >Luna takes this chance to consume another Ephemeral Candy, which makes you wonder if you've been keeping track of how many you have.
  2213. >You have seven of each type of item, so don't forget.
  2214. >"I've got a really good feeling about this one, Apollo!"
  2215.  
  2216. >Apollo Medicus conjures a huge, spindly disk of light that barely manages to keep rotating in his hand.
  2217. >A part of you feels like you've seen this song and dance before, but wait to see how it goes nonetheless.
  2218. >Launching it at Sickness, she manages to avoid the attack initially, but with a subtle motion of the sun god's fingers, the disk strikes her from behind, causing the First Evil to collapse!
  2219. >"And they say you can't teach an old horse new tricks!"
  2220. >"Pretty sure they meant 'old dogs', Pinkie."
  2221. >Applejack's comment is largely missed by Pinkie as she blasts Sickness with another beam of light, knocking her out!
  2222.  
  2223. >"Well, suppose no one cares about idioms if the job gets done, so let's do our part!"
  2224. >Another barrage of blades sing through the battlefield, dealing slightly weakened damage as Applejack begins to look fatigued.
  2225. >Famine pulls herself up, latching onto Applejack as she drains both life and spirit from her!
  2226. >Passion motions to Death, creating a heavenly shield around the Second Evil that protects her from instant death.
  2227. ><Be mindful of the Second Evil's Tetraja: not only does it protect her from instant death, it also nullifies her Curse Weakness! Here's everyone's status:>
  2228.  
  2229. Status:
  2230.  
  2231. You: 533% HP, 510% SP
  2232. Luna: 100%, 100%
  2233. Pinkie: 100% HP, 40% SP
  2234. Applejack: 29% HP, 11% SP
  2235.  
  2236. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 100% SP
  2237.  
  2238. ><If you need a break, I can use Tzaphkiel to try and stun all of them, or guarantee stun one of them.>
  2239.  
  2240. >You don't want to humor what the first two Evils will do when they get back up, so let's prepare to wipe them out in one go!
  2241. "Fluttershy, make sure to immobilize Passion this turn: the sooner we neuter her ability to buff, the better!"
  2242. ><Understood!>
  2243. "Switch, Prometheus, and focus your power!"
  2244. >The crimson-robed titan burns with energy, his flame raging as he prepares for what comes next.
  2245. >"Even with those Makarakarns, those two Evils are beginning to fall apart. Soften them even more, Artemis!"
  2246. >Instead of the same moon chunk crashing down, a barrage of asteroid pelt the Evils instead, dealing heavy damage as Pinkie restores Applejack's vitality.
  2247. >"I dunno what's going on lately, but I feel unbeatable! Target Passion next, Paul!"
  2248. >The lumberjack crashes down on the Eight Evil, knocking her down as the force of the impact sends the black ichor on the floor into the air!
  2249.  
  2250. >"Pinkie!"
  2251. >"Hi-yah!"
  2252. >Applejack high-fives her compatriot, giving the bubbly horse a burst of energy as Apollo thrusts down with his saber of energy, knocking Passion out cold!
  2253. ><Oh, Passion's already out of the picture; I think I have an idea what to do next. Everyone, close your eyes!>
  2254. >You quickly avert your gaze in time as a cold, merciless feeling flashes through your body.
  2255. >Fluttershy must have attempted to stun someone, but which Evil?
  2256. >When you open your eyes once more, you find that all of them are immobile, rendering their turn effectively canceled!
  2257. ><Sorry if I decided to use the group attack when you wanted a single target, but I managed to get all of them! Here's everyone's status:>
  2258.  
  2259. Status:
  2260.  
  2261. You: 533% HP, 500% SP
  2262. Luna: 100%, 80%
  2263. Pinkie: 85% HP, 45% SP
  2264. Applejack: 70% HP, 11% SP
  2265.  
  2266. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  2267.  
  2268. You have performed 5 out of the 8 required combos.
  2269. You have 9 turns remaining.
  2270.  
  2271. >The time is now: unfurl your wings and rain down devastation!
  2272. "Let's do this, Princess Luna! Persona!"
  2273. >"I shall follow your lead for this one. Persona!"
  2274. >Artemis calls down the moon once more, its beautiful, yet sorrowful light bathing the black room as Razgriz rises to the sky.
  2275. >The mechanical valkyrie lets out a hiss as her back opens to reveal two batteries that begin to absorb the moonlight.
  2276. >As the lunar power is sucked in, a pair of ethereal butterfly wings sprout from the compartments, shining down a prismatic shadow upon the Evils.
  2277. >Suddenly, the suction increases tenfold, all but devouring the natural light of the moon as the wings branch out into a skeletal design.
  2278.  
  2279. "There won't be anything left of you but sand!"
  2280. >With the only source of light being from the angel of death, what happens next is center stage, as Razgriz charges at the Evils, enveloping them with her wings!
  2281. >Death and Famine are disintegrated instantly, quietly fading away, but Sickness and Passion survive the first assault, with parts of them dissolving into sand.
  2282. >Razgriz stands behind the two, the light emanating from her almost looking biblical as she embraces the two remaining Evils with her touch of death!
  2283.  
  2284. Combo Activated: Moonlight Butterfly ver. Ɐ
  2285.  
  2286. >The skeletal wings crash into each other, creating an enormous explosion that temporarily obliterates even the pitch-black tar on the floor!
  2287. >When the dust settles, none of the four Evils remain, simply leaving piles of sand in their wake.
  2288. >The final two Evils, Jealousy and Hatred take the field, readying themselves as Tzaphkiel scans the Fifth Evil.
  2289. ><I've got confirmation on Jealousy's weakness:>
  2290.  
  2291. Fifth Evil, Jealousy (Priestess) -
  2292.  
  2293. Absorb: Lightning
  2294. Weak: Wind
  2295.  
  2296. ><If we take the other weaknesses into account, that means that Hatred should be weak to Lightning! Here's everyone's condition:>
  2297.  
  2298. Status:
  2299.  
  2300. You: 533% HP, 460% SP
  2301. Luna: 100%, 50%
  2302. Pinkie: 85% HP, 45% SP
  2303. Applejack: 70% HP, 11% SP
  2304.  
  2305. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  2306.  
  2307. You have performed 6 out of the 8 required combos.
  2308. You have 8 turns remaining.
  2309.  
  2310. "Change, Huitzilopochtli!"
  2311. >You feel the immense bulk and regeneration of the sun god, playing with the Star card in your hand.
  2312. >The chances of landing weaknesses on both Jealousy and Hatred are next to impossible, not without summoning another teammate.
  2313. >If that's the case, then going all out to brute force them out of the picture is the second best thing!
  2314. "Card Fusion!"
  2315. >As Huitzilopochtli prepares for battle, the exotic storyteller pulls out a familiar-looking rapier seemingly out of nowhere, tossing it to her compatriot.
  2316.  
  2317. >It seems he was prepared to swing his old friend around once more, as he deflates somewhat as he grabs the sword instead.
  2318. >Still, Huitzilopochtli begins to swing the swords with wild abandon, at first with no visible purpose, but eventually you can see that each swing of the blade is generating a gust of wind.
  2319. >The wind coalesces, creating a miniature tornado that rushes towards the surprised Jealousy!
  2320. >She is unable to avoid the attack in time, the force of the gale sending her flying into the air as the sun god follows in pursuit!
  2321. >Now helpless in the air, the Fifth Evil can only watch in horror as the dual-wielding monster unleashes a barrage of wind that slices through her defenses!
  2322.  
  2323. Combo Activated: Anubis Style: Sandstorm
  2324.  
  2325. >The force of the attack sends her plummeting to the ground, leaving her vulnerable as Huitzilopochtli goes in for the body slam!
  2326. >Jealousy can only scream in pain as she is crushed by the overwhelming amount of muscle above her.
  2327. >However, it doesn't look like she was disoriented from the assault.
  2328. >Oh well, can't expect critical hits all the time.
  2329. >"Pinkie, let us do something about Hatred as well."
  2330. >"You got it, Princess, that bully won't know what hit 'em! Horse-ona!"
  2331. >"Persona!"
  2332.  
  2333.  
  2334. >Apollo Medicus places his hands upon his chest, gripping tightly before pulling apart.
  2335. >His chest cracks first, then rips open from the constant pressure, a crimson, pulsing thing peeking out from inside.
  2336. >Though his pain is palpable, Apollo thrusts a hand inside, pulling out a twisted lance that drips a red liquid that dissolves as it hits the ground.
  2337. >"One Spear of Destiny, fresh from the oven!"
  2338. >With a heavy heave, Apollo tosses the weapon to Artemis, who notches it to her bow.
  2339. >Luna bites down on her lip as she does her best to focus, twisting the twin-headed spear into an imposing arrow!
  2340. >"And release!"
  2341.  
  2342. Combo Activated: Longinus
  2343.  
  2344. >The holy arrow tears through the air, embedding itself into Hatred as it morphs into a drill!
  2345. >The Sixth Evil lets out a pained grunt as the Spear of Destiny twists through his form and weakens his combat capabilities!
  2346. >"Persona!"
  2347. >Applejack bucks her card, as Paul releases another wave of steam that hardens your skin, increasing your defense.
  2348. >Jealousy pulls herself back up, gravely injured, but not defeated.
  2349. >She nods to Hatred, as the two charge up for a powerful attack!
  2350. ><Be careful, if we can't take out at least one of them soon, we'll probably have to deal with a powerful combo from them! Here's everyone's condition:>
  2351.  
  2352. Status:
  2353.  
  2354. You: 533% HP, 430% SP
  2355. Luna: 70%, 50%
  2356. Pinkie: 75% HP, 0% SP
  2357. Applejack: 70% HP, 1% SP
  2358.  
  2359. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  2360.  
  2361. You have performed 8 out of the 8 required combos.
  2362. You have 7 turns remaining.
  2363.  
  2364. "Come forth, Scheherazade!"
  2365. >You call forth the storyteller, who calls forth a powerful sandstorm that engulfs Jealousy, slamming her to the floor once more!
  2366. >The storm continues to buffet the Fifth Evil, not quite killing her, but knocking her out cold as Luna tosses a Candy Fluttershy's way.
  2367. >Pinkie and Applejack also consume a Candy each, leaving you with a single Candy that almost is unnoticeable in the field of Feathers and Potions.
  2368. >Hatred looks to its collapsed partner, gritting its teeth as the Sixth Evil prepares to strike at you with its fist!
  2369. ><I won't let you!>
  2370. >Tzaphkiel's eyes widen, letting out a vicious killing intent that freezes the muscular Evil in place, its anger growing more and more palpable.
  2371. ><One more attack should be enough to take out the Fifth Evil, and she won't be able to dodge in that state. Maybe we should focus more on Hatred? Here's everyone's condition:>
  2372.  
  2373. Status:
  2374.  
  2375. You: 533% HP, 390% SP
  2376. Luna: 70%, 50%
  2377. Pinkie: 75% HP, 100% SP
  2378. Applejack: 70% HP, 100% SP
  2379.  
  2380. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  2381.  
  2382. "Switch, Athena!"
  2383. >You feel your form begin to sharpen as you switch Persona, resolving you against critical strikes.
  2384. "Time to show these heathens the power of the gods! Card Fusion!"
  2385. >Combining the Priestess and Justice cards, the bright flash of light changes the arena into a stone circle, drenched in torrential downpour.
  2386. >Athena begins the assault, barreling at Hatred and jamming her spear deep within the Sixth Evil!
  2387. >Before it can react, Perseus flings his shield at Hatred, tossing the Evil back as Athena uses the momentum to tear her weapon out effortlessly!
  2388.  
  2389. >The clouds darken, sending down a barrage of lightning upon the Sixth Evil and grounding it to the ground as Zeus descends.
  2390. >The three Greek legends ready their weapons before going all out, Zeus leading the assault with his twin blades!
  2391. >Lightning continues to course through Hatred, dealing immense damage as the King of the Gods falls back.
  2392. >Athena and Perseus catch the invisible cue, holding the Sixth Evil in place as Zeus combines his two blades into a formidable sword!
  2393. >Charged with electricity, Zeus thrusts his blade into Hatred, using his brute strength to swing his sword skyward, cleaving the Evil in half!
  2394.  
  2395. Combo Activated: Wrath of the Gods
  2396.  
  2397. >As Hatred collapses to the earth, Zeus ascends to the heavens, dispelling the illusion and returning the arena back to normal.
  2398. ><Hatred is still alive: use this opportunity to unleash an All Out Attack!>
  2399. "Let's do this, girls!"
  2400. >The four of you clobber the immobile Evils, tearing them apart and finally defeating the main eight Evils!
  2401. >Hope, giggling at the conclusion, makes her way to the field, her platinum skin shimmering as she speaks.
  2402. >"And so it falls to me at last: I'm truly happy you managed to make your way to this point. We might not have a lot of time to play, but let's make it count!"
  2403.  
  2404.  
  2405. >Unsure what she means at first, you get a cold feeling in your gut as Caroline grabs your attention.
  2406. >"You better hurry, visitor: you've got 5 turns left!"
  2407. >You're uncertain if that's truly enough time to take out Midnight, but you've gone too far to give up now!
  2408. ><Hope's the last Evil remaining, but be careful: we don't know what she can do yet! Here's a scan:>
  2409.  
  2410. Final Evil, Hope (World) -
  2411.  
  2412. Resist: All
  2413.  
  2414. >Similar to how it was before: unless you use your Break spells or Almighty, you'll be dealing with half damage.
  2415. >Let's make each turn count.
  2416. >You recall that Applejack's weakness is known to Pandora in some shape or form, as Luna provides protection for Applejack.
  2417. >Applejack summons an oxen barrier around Luna as well, providing her with a perfect reflect as Fluttershy continues.
  2418. ><Here's everyone's condition:>
  2419.  
  2420. Status:
  2421.  
  2422. You: 503% HP, 320% SP
  2423. Luna: 70%, 40%
  2424. Pinkie: 75% HP, 100% SP
  2425. Applejack: 70% HP, 100% SP
  2426.  
  2427. You have performed 9 out of the 8 required combos.
  2428. You have 5 turns remaining.
  2429.  
  2430. >Switching back to Razgriz, you feel like your normal attacks will deal far more damage than usual, as you take out Death.
  2431. "Card Fusion!"
  2432. >Vegetation begins to grow rampantly on the battlefield, transforming the arena into a pseudo-swamp.
  2433. >Suddenly, a hand pierces through the earth, followed by another, and another, until a legion of bog zombies swarm upon Hope, doing their best to bite through her titanium hide!
  2434. >The corpses keep Hope in place as Razgriz fires all her silos, her bullets and missiles striking Evil and zombie alike!
  2435. >Snakes seem to slither out of nowhere, sinking their venom-filled fangs into the helpless Evil as Razgriz soars higher in the sky.
  2436. "Razgriz, fire everything you've got. It's time for the grand finale!"
  2437. >One of the valkyrie's hands forms into a cannon that fires a massive nuke, aiming directly at the mess of technology and voodoo!
  2438.  
  2439. Combo Activated: Leveler
  2440.  
  2441. >The resulting explosion deals siginificant damage as the zombies and snakes are outright obliterated!
  2442. >"I doubt we've the time to be subtle with our mind games. Come forth, Artemis!"
  2443. >The goddess forms an angelic aegis around Pinkie, protecting her from instant death, as well as her own weakness.
  2444. >"Horse-ona!"
  2445. >Apollo lets out a baleful red light that sears into Hope, lowering her combat capabilities as Applejack takes a deep breath.
  2446.  
  2447. >"Alright, you can do this, Paul!"
  2448. >The titanic lumberjack crashes his axe down on Hope, dealing minimal damage as the blade glances against the Evil's skin.
  2449. >You can tell from her breathing that Applejack is running a bit ragged.
  2450. >With a finger gun, the Final Evil shatters Applejack's protective barrier, unleashing a hellish snowstorm that blankets the arena!
  2451. >Thankfully, Applejack manages to escape the chill, while the rest of you do your best to weather the storm.
  2452. >The ox-headed shield pushes back against the cold and repels it against Hope, dealing minimal damage back.
  2453.  
  2454. ><We might be running out of time, but don't forget to keep everyone healed! Here's everyone's condition:>
  2455.  
  2456. Status:
  2457.  
  2458. You: 518% HP, 260% SP
  2459. Luna: 80%, 30%
  2460. Pinkie: 45% HP, 90% SP
  2461. Applejack: 40% HP, 100% SP
  2462.  
  2463. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  2464.  
  2465. ><Your defense up spell has run out.>
  2466.  
  2467. You have performed 10 out of the 8 required combos.
  2468. You have 4 turns remaining.
  2469.  
  2470. >The timer's ticking, so let's keep those combos flowing!
  2471. "Luna are you ready?"
  2472. >"I am, but this will be the last thing I can do without the last Candy. Persona!"
  2473. "Persona!"
  2474. >Like during your first battle, Hope is juggled into the air with the combined effort of bullets and arrows.
  2475. >The two Persona unleash their arsenal, Razgriz's bullets and Artemis's arrows catching their mark!
  2476. >By the time the valkyrie's silos fire off, the Final Evil has been riddled with holes, shining the moonlight from behind her for all to see!
  2477.  
  2478. Combo Activated: Moonlight Butterfly
  2479.  
  2480. >Hope collapses to the floor after the assault, grunting painfully as she attempts to close the wounds on her body.
  2481. >Though they seem to close, you get the feeling that she's about half dead now.
  2482. >"Here's a pick-me-up, everypony!"
  2483. >Apollo strums a gentle composition, recovering the group's fighting strength as Applejack forms another Ox Reflector on herself.
  2484. >"Can't negate one o' these, can ya?"
  2485. >Hope only gives a smile in response, firing a bright white pellet at Pinkie.
  2486. >"I don't believe I need to."
  2487.  
  2488. >The projectile shatters the angelic part of her barrier, as the Final Evil unleashes a massive flash of light that blinds the arena!
  2489. >Everyone else is unaffected, thanks to their resistances and barriers, but Razgriz screeches at the light, sending you to the ground in searing pain!
  2490. >"Oh? And here I thought I had Pinkie all figured out."
  2491. >Hope sends another blast of light at your motionless form, but Luna manages to push you out of the way in time, Artemis dispelling the blast with an arrow.
  2492. >"We'll need to be careful with weaknesses: if one of us gets Dizzied, that might just be the right amount of time wasted to fail."
  2493. ><Good job on the save, Luna: just like she said, make sure you're mindful of resistances! Here's everyone's condition:>
  2494.  
  2495. Status:
  2496.  
  2497. You: 418% HP, 230% SP
  2498. Luna: 100%, 0%
  2499. Pinkie: 100% HP, 70% SP
  2500. Applejack: 100% HP, 80% SP
  2501.  
  2502. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  2503.  
  2504. You have performed 11 out of the 8 required combos.
  2505. You have 3 turns remaining.
  2506.  
  2507. >If you don't hurry, it won't matter how defensive you play!
  2508. "Focus on as much offense as we can! Change Papinijuwari!"
  2509. >Swapping to your Strength Arcana, you grab hold of Judgement before it can fully fade away.
  2510. "Card Fusion!"
  2511. >Before Papinijuwari even forms, his bloated arm crashes into Hope, sending her flying across the arena!
  2512. >Razgriz dashes to her trajectory, pulling out a polearm and slamming into the Evil's back with a sickening crack!
  2513.  
  2514. >The two Persona take turns walloping Hope, Papinijuwari's feral swings contrasting with Razgriz's elegant thrusts.
  2515. >Eventually, the cyclops sends the Final Evil careening into the sky, as the polearm in the valkyrie's hands hums with energy.
  2516. >Blades of plasma erupt from the top, creating a menacing axe that tears into Hope as Razgriz chases after her!
  2517. >Beginning to lose momentum skyward, Razgriz flies above the Final Evil and thrusts down at her, piercing her torso and sending the two crashing back to the arena.
  2518. >Papinijuwari lets out a bloodthirsty howl as he swings his club with all his might, catching Hope in one final do-or-die smash!
  2519.  
  2520. Combo Activated: Titanomachia
  2521.  
  2522. >Hope is launched into a nearby wall, though she swiftly pulls herself off as Luna consumes the final Ephemeral Candy.
  2523. >"It's over, Hope, we've got the high ground!"
  2524. >Apollo Medicus lunges at the charging Evil, catching her midway with his saber of light as it almost melts through her titanium skin!
  2525. >"Don't you underestimate me!"
  2526. >"We ain't: that's why we're giving everything we've got!"
  2527.  
  2528. >Paul conjures a tree from seemingly nowhere, swiftly slicing it to pieces and using the logs as shrapnel that pepper the Final Evil.
  2529. >One of the wayward sticks stabs into the wound created by Apollo, causing her to collapse to the floor in pain!
  2530. >"All together, now!"
  2531. >The four of you hammer away at Hope, denting her impervious skin and dealing massive damage!
  2532. >Hope finally pulls herself up, coughing up blood and wheezing harshly.
  2533.  
  2534. >"No... No! I'm not done yet!"
  2535. >Hope charges her energy and releases a powerful wave of magic that you barely manage to dodge!
  2536. >Luna is knocked out cold, but Pinkie and Applejack manage to weather through the worst of it!
  2537. ><Hope's almost defeated: this is the perfect chance to finish this! Please, let me help fight her with you all!>
  2538.  
  2539. "But what about your weaknesses? Midnight knows them."
  2540. ><Even so, I'm not much help being Analysis at the moment. I'll leave the decision to you, but please, let me help!>
  2541. >If Hope is truly so close to death, more firepower might be the difference between victory and defeat.
  2542. >Still, if Fluttershy is wrong, that's just one more bullet Hope has to cap you.
  2543. >Your status flickers before your eyes as you consider what to do next.
  2544.  
  2545. Status:
  2546.  
  2547. You: 388% HP, 190% SP
  2548. Luna: 0%, 100%
  2549. Pinkie: 28% HP, 70% SP
  2550. Applejack: 44% HP, 80% SP
  2551.  
  2552. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  2553.  
  2554. ><Hope is no longer debilitated.>
  2555.  
  2556. You have performed 12 out of the 8 required combos.
  2557. You have 2 turns remaining.
  2558.  
  2559. >It'll be pushing things far too close, but you'll certainly be able to take Hope out with a little preparation.
  2560. "Alright, Fluttershy, you can turn off Analysis. Help get Luna back up!"
  2561. ><You've got it!>
  2562. >You change to Prometheus, focusing your mind to unleash a powerful attack later.
  2563. >"Here's another round of healing, everypony!"
  2564. >A holy light shines from Apollo, restoring everyone's fighting strength as Tzaphkiel vanishes in a flash of light.
  2565. >Now free to take action, Fluttershy quickly places a Fading Feather on the unconscious Luna, pulling herself back from unconsciousness.
  2566.  
  2567. >Applejack unleashes another barrage of logs, catching the Final Evil with some of them, but Hope manages to weave through some of them, taking minimal damage!
  2568. >"Die!"
  2569. >Hope unleashes two powerful explosions on the field, and while you manage to avoid one of them, you are blasted away by the other, taking massive damage!
  2570. >While Applejack is able to protect herself from the brunt of the blast with her oxen shield, your other comrades are consumed by the blast, leaving them unconscious on the floor!
  2571.  
  2572. >"You're out of time, visitor! If you've got an ace in the hole, now would be the time to use it!"
  2573. >Injured, but not yet broken, you and Applejack stare down the Final Evil, who smiles gleefully.
  2574. >"Give me all you've got, dreamers: I'll not show you any mercy!"
  2575. >This is the last shot: if you fail to defeat Hope with this last attack, she will vaporize you instantly.
  2576. >But you've got everything you need in order to take her out in a spectacular fashion, don't you?
  2577. >Time for the grand finale!
  2578.  
  2579. Status:
  2580.  
  2581. You: 417% HP, 180% SP
  2582. Luna (KO): 0%, 100%
  2583. Pinkie (KO): 0% HP, 40% SP
  2584. Fluttershy (Human/KO): 0% HP, 0% SP
  2585. Applejack: 34% HP, 80% SP
  2586.  
  2587. You have performed 12 out of the 8 required combos.
  2588. You have 1 turn remaining.
  2589.  
  2590.  
  2591. >There's no second chances, and second guessing will only earn you an early grave.
  2592. >Are you a bad enough dude to claim victory through the jaws of defeat?
  2593. >Taking a deep breath, you pull out the Priestess card before looking to Applejack.
  2594. "Get Paul Bunyan to grab the others and fall back. This will likely blast half the arena apart."
  2595. >She nods, calling forth Paul and taking your unconscious teammates back as Hope looks on with interest.
  2596. >"And how do you expect to take me on, all by your lonesome?"
  2597.  
  2598. >You give a fearless smile combining the two cards one last time.
  2599. "You're wrong, Hope, no, Twilight: we've all shared our hearts through these journeys together. No matter who we are, where we go, what we do, we are never alone!"
  2600. "Card Fusion!"
  2601. >You hop onto Athena's back, soaring into the sky as she vaults upward with her spear.
  2602. >Prometheus follows just behind, as you soar higher and higher into the inky ceiling!
  2603. >"Then I will overpower those hearts of yours: your journey ends here!"
  2604. >The Final Evil releases a caustic fire that erases even the air around her, creating a field of nothing as she prepares herself.
  2605. "Wrong: we'll win this like we always do, and finally move on to the next story!"
  2606.  
  2607. >The titan holds his hands outstretched as he gathers the latent energy around him, whipping up a powerful storm around you!
  2608. >"And I'll simply be left behind, forced to forever watch your back. I will not allow myself to be forgotten!"
  2609. >The negative energy around Hope coalesces into her hands, growing more powerful by the second.
  2610. >Athena points her lance down at her, the head of the spear expanding as it transforms into the barrel of a rifle.
  2611. "We won't forget you: even if there are hearts here that will inevitably move on, a part of us will remember and cherish this battle."
  2612. >The air around you begins to crackle, as thunder clouds form above you.
  2613.  
  2614. "But all dreams must end: for when one dream is completed, a new one is born to help carry the torch!"
  2615. >Prometheus focuses his gathered power into Athena's spear, the barrel surging with untold power!
  2616. >"If you think you can move on, then I will force you to understand the truth: this dream ends when I say so!"
  2617. "This ends now. FINAL-"
  2618. >"DIE!"
  2619. >The Final Evil unleashes her corrosive beam, the force of the blast tearing through the air and creating a vacuum in its wake!
  2620. "SPARK!"
  2621.  
  2622. Combo Activated: Final Spark
  2623.  
  2624. >A thin, rainbow beam fires from Athena's spear, seemingly unprepared for the force of Hope's attack.
  2625. >But as the two clash, it is evident that there is more force to the laser than you could give it credit for.
  2626. >After a tense struggle, the razor-thin beam slices through the foul magic, bisecting it cleanly in two as it fades away.
  2627. "Full power!"
  2628. >Suddenly, the beam grows to a gargantuan size, engulfing the arena as Hope simply stands there and receives the full brunt of the blast!
  2629. >?
  2630. >Perhaps it's your imagination, but you could've sworn she was smiling...
  2631. >After a while, the blast recedes, revealing a massive hold that all but bisects the entire arena, with Midnight lying down in a mess of platinum shards.
  2632. >You descend and make your way back to here, as she coughs up some blood and grins goofily.
  2633.  
  2634. >"...Guess that's it then. Before I disappear, you mind humoring me one question?"
  2635. >You nod, lifting the girl and using your arms to support her as she searches your eyes.
  2636. >"How many times did you actually lose?"
  2637. "Twice; you were pretty spot-on with your guess, Twilight."
  2638. >The sun finally rises outside the hole, its warmth touching your skin as Midnight looks out with a sad look in her eyes.
  2639. >"This was really fun. I wish I could have the adventures you guys go on."
  2640. >You give her a shit-eating grin as you do your best to wink.
  2641. "The offer's still up, if you're up for it."
  2642.  
  2643. >For the first time, potentially since you started fighting her, Twilight gives a genuine laugh at your response.
  2644. >"Please, save that for the real me. She needs it far more than I ever would."
  2645. >Her body begins to fade as the sun rises higher in the sky, closing her eyes as she vanishes from your grasp.
  2646. >"Really, though, that was so much fun..."
  2647. >And with that, the Twins walk over and escort you back to the Sable Library.
  2648.  
  2649. VICTORY
  2650.  
  2651. Battle Stats:
  2652.  
  2653. Summoned Allies: 4
  2654. KOs: 5
  2655. Combos: 13/8 performed
  2656. Turn Count: 20/20 maximum
  2657.  
  2658. Grade: A
  2659.  
  2660. >Sable Library, ???
  2661.  
  2662. >You open your eyes to see Justine and Caroline clapping their hands in applause.
  2663. >"Congratulations, visitor: you managed to defeat Midnight Sparkle under the restrictions we gave you."
  2664. >"Though you really like to cut things close, don't you?"
  2665. >Shrugging, you see that Midnight's section of Another Way has lost its luster.
  2666. >You get the feeling that, while you can go back and do the fight again, if you want, the uniqueness of the battle has likely passed.
  2667. >"I feel as though things were perfectly explained before, but should you have questions, we will be happy to answer them."
  2668. >Is there anything you'd like to ask the Twins before you continue with your next battle?
  2669.  
  2670. >The first question that comes to mind is how hard you were hitting Hope, exactly.
  2671. >"Well, as Fluttershy's Analysis suggested, the Final Evil was resistant to all types of damage, Almighty excluded. Most of the damage done was thanks to the combos you saved up."
  2672. >And you take it that everyone else's damage was minor in comparison.
  2673. >"Princess Luna had her Almighty magic, and Pinkie's Light Saber ignored Hope's resistances entirely, so it's not like they didn't contribute. However, had Applejack not landed a critical hit so you could use an All Out Attack, she wouldn't have been much help otherwise."
  2674. >Was there anything in terms of mechanics you missed during the fight?
  2675. >"Other than the two combos the Evils could perform, that you missed, I don't believe so."
  2676. >Justine jots something down on her clipboard, before presenting it to you:
  2677.  
  2678. Sickness + Death (Mind Charge) = 1,000 Year Curse (Almighty + Despair)
  2679. Jealousy (Mind Charge) + Hatred (Power Charge) = Kali Yuga (Almighty Physical)
  2680.  
  2681. >"With 1,000 Year Curse, keep in mind that the Despair would have been guaranteed if you didn't guard, just like with Sickness's World's End."
  2682. >So that combo is effectively a team killer unprepared.
  2683. >As you mull over that, you remember that Lavenza gave you rewards for beating the fights solo.
  2684. >While you did fight with a team, the extra rules place effectively make the fights just as hard.
  2685. >So is there anything you got from winning?
  2686. >The Twins look to each other, clearly at a loss with your puppy dog eyes, before Caroline tinkers away at something.
  2687.  
  2688. >"We didn't exactly prepare anything other than the fight after this next one, but maybe there's something around here."
  2689. >After a while, she tosses a round thing that you catch with one hand, revealing it to be an amulet.
  2690. >This certainly looks familiar, but-
  2691. >Wait.
  2692. >This isn't THAT amulet, is it?
  2693. >"I threw it together using some of your old memories. If you put it on, you should be able to transform into an Earth Pony, Pegasus, or Unicorn."
  2694.  
  2695. >Caroline seems proud of herself, so you keep the sordid history of the artefact to yourself, pocketing it.
  2696. >There was one thing left on your mind, though: was what you said to Midnight true?
  2697. >Is there a chance for her to join us on adventures?
  2698. >After some thinking, Justine gives a slight shake of her head.
  2699. >"For that Midnight, it is all but impossible: she is shackled to the haphazard dream of Another Way. But for the true Twilight you know,"
  2700. >Caroline continues her sister's sentence, a grin plastered on her face.
  2701. >"If you guys dream of it, there's no reason it can't happen! Maybe in another dream, you'll get that adventure."
  2702. >The two wait to see if you have any other questions.
  2703.  
  2704. >Now all that's left is your reunion with Nyarlathotep, so you take stock of what options you have going in.
  2705. >The Persona that the Arcanons used have locked themselves in your mind's eye: you won't be able to use those Persona again for this challenge.
  2706. >That just leaves Anonymous and Nyarlathotep's Persona decks to run through.
  2707. >Looking back at the book, it looks like the Minimum Combo Requirement for this fight is 11, while you'll have 25 turns to defeat him.
  2708. >Before you decide on what to bring with you, you look to the Twins with a feeling in your gut.
  2709.  
  2710. >You've been waiting on this question for a while now, and you get the feeling you'll be waiting a while longer.
  2711. >Still, it never hurts to ask: are the Twins co-
  2712. >"Wait, what the heck is that!"
  2713. >Your annoyance at being interrupted like clockwork is muted as you notice a letter spitting itself out of Another Way, landing in your hands.
  2714. >When you open it, there's no signature, only a small bit of writing.
  2715.  
  2716. Once you figure out your Persona layout, jump on in before we actually start things. You don't have to bring the dolls with you.
  2717.  
  2718. >Dolls?
  2719. >The girls are just as confused as you are, as they look at your letter.
  2720. >"This is certainly odd... We've never had an instant of something breaking through a fractured dream such as this."
  2721. >"Not to mention that this reeks of a trap. Don't tell me you're even considering to humor it?"
  2722. >It's certainly ominous, but is there truly any harm in humoring the invitation?
  2723. >You should probably pick your Persona before jumping in blind, though.
  2724. >Which ones will you bring for this battle?
  2725. >Or could you have more questions for the Twins?
  2726.  
  2727. >Possibly against your better judgment, the idea of meeting with Nyarlathotep alone, even a fake one, intrigues you.
  2728. >Still, you are curious if the Twins know anything about it: will it be anything like the Massacre fight you did last year?
  2729. >Caroline and Justine are clearly not happy with your choice, but say nothing more about it as the flip through the back pages of Another Way.
  2730. >"I don't believe it will be anything like Massacre Mode, since this is a recollection of fighting Nyarlathotep. Still, as that story has changed as Midnight's has, we cannot truly give you information until after the fight begins."
  2731. >It's fine, then: nothing just jumping in won't solve eventually.
  2732. >You place the amulet around your neck, transforming your form into that of a green pegasus.
  2733. >Picking Anonymous's old deck, you focus on the twisted, blackened pages of Another Way.
  2734.  
  2735. >???, ???
  2736.  
  2737. >Opening your eyes, you find yourself in a forested meadow, similar to the one he was sleeping during the final confrontation.
  2738. >The moonblossoms light up an otherwise dark scene, creating a beautiful scene of ephemeral twilight.
  2739. >Still, no matter how beautiful the scenery around you is, this is still a combat scenario, and you've no idea where he is.
  2740.  
  2741.  
  2742. >"Hey there, killer, long time no see! Feeling good, feeling sassy?"
  2743. >Turning around, you see Anon- no, Nyarlathotep in Anonymous's skin, lying down nonchalantly against a tree.
  2744. >He gives a wide grin as he rises up and looks around.
  2745. >"And I see you didn't bring Philemon's dolls with you."
  2746. "You mean Caroline and Justine?"
  2747. >Nyarlathotep scowls as you mention their names, rolling his eyes as he dusts himself off.
  2748. >"Oh, please, don't start giving those things names. They barely qualify as glorified dolls, let alone people."
  2749. >It's clear the Crawling Chaos doesn't like the Attendants of the Velvet Room.
  2750. >Rather, he is wholly disinterested in them, given his disgust.
  2751.  
  2752. "Are you like Midnight, where you're aware of the dream we're in?"
  2753. >He laughs, flexing his stolen body in response.
  2754. >"Oh please: you can love me, kill me, but there's no replacing me! If there is a depiction of the Crawling Chaos, they are but another mask of mine."
  2755. "Then why even come to a false dream like this? Surely you've got better things to do with your eternity."
  2756. >Nyarlathotep scratches his chin, walking around you as he looks around the hauntingly beautiful scenery.
  2757. >"Well, this story is the only chance someone like me has a chance to return here, after I was forcefully evicted. However, more than that,"
  2758. >A branch snaps nearby, causing you to look over in that direction for just a moment.
  2759.  
  2760. >When you look back, Nyarlathotep is directly in front of your face, his smile widening even further.
  2761. >"It's YOU I'm more interested in: that beautifully ugly soul that will risk life and limb to save those he loves, but at the same time, will kill those same loves with a sick smile."
  2762. >With a snap of his fingers, the scenery begins to shift, and you can feel a horrible feeling in your stomach.
  2763. >Looking around, you see the place hasn't changed physically, but the smell tells you that something has changed.
  2764. >The change becomes immediate as your hooves step down on something that snaps.
  2765.  
  2766. >When you check to see what it is, you find the skeleton of a pegasus with its skull smashed in.
  2767. >"I must say, you handled Fluttershy with such grace: doubt she felt anything when she died! Kuhahaha!"
  2768. >You shortly find the other girls, as well as Spike, with Luna's skull lying neatly on a pile of crimson moonblossoms.
  2769. >"But that isn't why I'm here: you see, I want to make this battle more interesting."
  2770. >With another snap, the scenery returns to normal, the whiplash stunning you temporarily as the Crawling Chaos continues.
  2771. >"You see, for this fight, we've got some options on how we can do this. Pick whichever one you like, killer."
  2772.  
  2773. >"Option 1: I'll let you choose as many allies you want to fight alongside, assuming you have the reserves to summon them. After you choose your allies, I'll summon some friends of my own."
  2774. >So you'd have your teammates out of the gate, but you wouldn't be fighting Nyarlathotep by himself.
  2775. >"Option 2: We'll have a bit of role reversal, with you as the villain, and myself as the hero. I'm afraid I can't say much more that isn't spoiling the whole fun, so I'll only go into it more if you agree."
  2776. >That option gives you flashbacks to Massacre Mode, and a chill runs down your spine.
  2777. >"Option 3: We drop all that nonsense and have a good ol' game of fisticuffs. We'll keep going until one of us 'dies'."
  2778.  
  2779. >That barely sounds like a plan at all!
  2780. >How would you even work around the combo requirement?
  2781. >"Oh, don't worry about that too much: I hold all the power in this dream, and can modify the victory conditions as I please."
  2782. >Having said his bit, the Crawling Chaos leans against a tree as he waits for your answer.
  2783. >Which option will you choose to fight Nyarlathotep?
  2784. >What allies will you choose for this battle?
  2785. >The eerie moonblossoms sway in the wind as you make your decision.
  2786.  
  2787. >You know what?
  2788. >A good ol' fashioned brawl to the death sounds like an excellent way to blow off some steam.
  2789. >No need to think about Persona, weaknesses, or weapons.
  2790. "I'll take option 3, Nyarly-chan. Sure hope you punch as good as you talk."
  2791. >The Crawling Chaos gives you a smug grin back, snapping his fingers once more as you feel your weapons and Persona seal themselves away.
  2792. >"I had a feeling you'd go that route, but there's still one last thing left to do."
  2793. >With a swift motion, he tears the amulet off your form, turning you back to your human-like form.
  2794. "Hey!"
  2795.  
  2796. >Nyarlathotep chuckles as he pockets the amulet, giving a shrug as his form shifts.
  2797. >"Not much of a fisticuffs if you don't have fists, killer. If you want this back,"
  2798. >His form changes to a much older gentleman, Asian, with slicked hair and a black suit with tie.
  2799. >"You'll just have to take it from my cold, dead hands, won't you?"
  2800. >He gives off his signature harsh laughter, cracking his bones before entering a fighting stance.
  2801. >"Heaven or Hell-"
  2802. >You take up your own stance, a grin forming on your face as well.
  2803. "Let's rock!"
  2804.  
  2805.  
  2806. [Set loose the dogs of war!]
  2807.  
  2808. [Don't disappoint us.]
  2809.  
  2810. Battle 3: Nyarlathotep (Round 2)
  2811.  
  2812. [Chapter One]
  2813.  
  2814. [FIST]
  2815.  
  2816. >This calls for the classic one-two, as you lunge at the Crawling Chaos and strike his chest!
  2817. >"Oof, you've got the handle of the force of your attacks, at least. However!"
  2818. >When your second fist catches its mark, Nyarlathotep strikes your eye in return, giving you an intense pain as you stumble back!
  2819. >"This isn't a game, killer: we're trying to beat each other to death! Don't just think about how you're striking, but where!"
  2820. >With that, he strikes your shins with his legs, not doing much damage, but hurting like hell.
  2821. >You touch the skin around your eye, which swells with internal bleeding from his strike.
  2822. >Judging by how much less it hurts now, you should recover after a while, but your vision swims somewhat as you try to focus on Nyarlathotep.
  2823. >It seems you can focus your attack on certain areas, in order to inflict specific effects.
  2824. >Taking a deep breath to realign yourself, you shuffle around the Crawling Chaos as you think of a plan.
  2825.  
  2826. Status:
  2827.  
  2828. You (Black Eye): 939% HP
  2829.  
  2830. >If Nyarlathotep is going to be a cheeky son of a bitch about this, then it's only fair to fight fire with fire!
  2831. "Then how about this!"
  2832. >You go for the Crawling Chaos's stupid face, starting with his nose, shooting your arm like a piston.
  2833. >With your other free arm, you also go for his chin, creating a powerful two-pronged attack!
  2834. >Nyarlathotep holds his arms up to protect his face, crippling slightly as the force of your blows cause him to kneel!
  2835. >Letting out a war cry, he pushes both your arms back, leaving you open as he punches your gut hard!
  2836. >The strike knocks the wind out of you, giving Nyarlathotep ample time to strike you once more.
  2837. >"Don't tell you only know how to use your fists, killer! You've got to be more clever than that!"
  2838. >You managed to deal some damage to Nyarlathotep, but it looks like he guessed what you were doing and protected himself from most of it.
  2839. >Perhaps mixing things up will throw him off guard?
  2840. >Spitting out some blood, you psyche yourself up for another round.
  2841.  
  2842. Status:
  2843.  
  2844. You (Black Eye): 872% HP
  2845.  
  2846. >Damn, he's good at this: probably isn't his first rodeo when it comes to bar brawls.
  2847. >But you're no slouch either: it's time to show off Nut Cracker Technique #105!
  2848. "That's my purse! I don't know you!"
  2849. >You go for the strongest kick to Nyarlathotep's groin as you can, but he catches your motions and hops back in time.
  2850. >"Ha, you can't hit me with that sort of shit!"
  2851. >He then lunges at you, intent to grapple you, but he pushes himself too far, giving you enough time to duck under him.
  2852. >The Crawling Chaos looks down at you long enough to see the fire in your eyes as you grin.
  2853. "Shoryuken!"
  2854. >You catch his stupid face just in the right spot to send the bastard flying, a tooth being knocked out as he goes airborne!
  2855.  
  2856. >Taking this opportunity, you position yourself in just the perfect position to catch him for another maneuver.
  2857. "We're not done yet, Nyarly-chan! Let's see how you like this!"
  2858. >Using the momentum of his descent, you slam Nyarlathotep into the ground with a powerful suplex!
  2859. >After a moment collecting himself, the Crawling Chaos pulls himself back up while laughing.
  2860. >"Kuhahaha, now THAT is what I'm talking about!"
  2861. >He took a lot of damage from that round, but he's nowhere close to tagging out just yet.
  2862. >Letting out a laugh yourself, you think about how to bring on the pain next.
  2863.  
  2864. Status:
  2865.  
  2866. You (Black Eye): 872% HP
  2867.  
  2868. You notice Nyarlathotep's eyes light up as he eyes your stance: he's clearly planning something.
  2869. >And like hell you'll let him do whatever he's planning!
  2870. >The two of your charge at each other, as you shoot out your kick in order to trip him.
  2871. >Unfortunately, it seems he had a similar idea, as he kicks out his leg as well, causing the two to collide!
  2872. >As bone meets bone, both of your faces cringe in pain, causing the the two of you to back off a bit as the pain vibrates through your body.
  2873. >"That was... unfortunate, to say the least. Ouch."
  2874. "Oh yeah? Not as unfortunate as you're gonna be!"
  2875.  
  2876. >Doing your best to ignore the pain, you try to grapple with the Crawling Chaos, but miss the mark as your eyes blur.
  2877. >"That eager to get another black eye, huh?"
  2878. >Nyarlathotep attempts to strike your good eye with his fist, but you manage to lean slightly out of the way, causing it to glance your cheek!
  2879. >That was a rough round, but you still feel as though you've got the most stamina out of the two of you.
  2880. >You feel the bruise on your eye fade, possibly an effect of the dream you're in?
  2881. >Regardless of the origin, your black eye has faded, returning your accuracy to normal.
  2882. >Nursing the cut on your cheek, you consider what to do next.
  2883.  
  2884. Status:
  2885.  
  2886. You: 819% HP
  2887.  
  2888. If offense does you no favors, then how about defense?
  2889. >Instead of immediately charging in like before, you wait for Nyarlathotep to make his move, which he does with another fist barreling towards your eye.
  2890. >You're prepared for this, however, as you deflect his fist away, the force of the punch causing your arm to ache!
  2891. "I've got you now, you slippery bastard!"
  2892. >Using this opportunity, you swing at his eye, giving him a taste of his own medicine!
  2893. >Your fist leaves a nasty bruise that begins to swell, limiting Nyarlathotep's accuracy.
  2894. >Staggering back, the Crawling Chaos attempts to knee your family jewels, but you twists your hips just enough to keep them safe.
  2895. >"Now that smarts quite a bit, killer! Looks like you've got a handle of the basics now."
  2896. >Nyarlathotep shifts his stance, watching you like a hawk eyes a mouse.
  2897. >"Let's see how you handle the Intermediates."
  2898. >Unsure what exactly he means, you simply put your dukes up once more, planning your next move.
  2899.  
  2900. Status:
  2901.  
  2902. You: 796% HP
  2903.  
  2904. >If we're going intermediate now, perhaps this might work?
  2905. >Shifting into a more visibly aggressive stance, you lunge in with your right fist goading Nyarlathotep to react.
  2906. >But before your shot goes all the way through, you suddenly jab with your left, catching the Crawling Chaos with a surprise punch, dealing far more damage than usual!
  2907. >However, it's quite odd he didn't bother to dodge your blows, weathering through them even as your fist draws blood.
  2908. >"Gotcha!"
  2909. >Suddenly, you find your weight shifting as Nyarlathotep uses your momentum to send you flying forward!
  2910. >You crash into the grass, the breath knocked out of you as he slams his fist down on your throat!
  2911. >A horrible pain bursts from your neck, causing you to gurgle in pain as you struggle to breathe.
  2912.  
  2913. >"You're fine, killer, the fear is just your real body alarms going off. You can still function in this dream: just focus on breathing."
  2914. >Doing your best to calm down, you find that you can still breathe, albeit the pain is still very apparent.
  2915. "Why are you even helping me with that? Me being on the ground should be an advantage for you."
  2916. >Your voice is hoarse, struggling to escape your damaged windpipe.
  2917. >"I want a fight, not a beatdown: this isn't fun for me if I don't rip your hearts out myself!"
  2918. >The pain aches throughout your body, and it's likely that it will keep hurting you for a while as it recovers.
  2919. >Doing your best to keep your body upright, you think about how to get back at Nyarlathotep.
  2920.  
  2921. Status:
  2922.  
  2923. You (Throat Punch): 715% HP
  2924.  
  2925. >The pain in your throat shoots through your body, causing you to cough up some blood.
  2926. >But you're not done yet!
  2927. "Let's see how you handle something like this!"
  2928. >You balance your weight, bending your knees slightly as you tuck your chin, focusing on Nyarlathotep's chest.
  2929. >"Call my interest piqued, killer. Whatever are you planning to do with a stance like that?"
  2930. >Stepping to an angle, you prepare your move, loading your weight into your front foot before lifting it.
  2931. >The split moment where your weight is transferred to your back foot, you use the energy to push yourself forward!
  2932. >The Crawling Chaos throws a jab at your jaw, but you expected this, bobbing and weaving through the punch as you get even closer!
  2933.  
  2934. >You roll your right shoulder, building up tension in your muscles even as your body cries out for air!
  2935. >All the while, you keep your eyes on Nyarlathotep, earning a click of his tongue as he tries to step back.
  2936. >But it's too late: stretching your arm until its muscles become taut, you shoot for fist forward, moving at an insane speed!
  2937. >The first strike catches his jaw, causing him to stagger as you bombard him with a flurry of fists!
  2938. >Each shot hits their mark, sending the Crawling Chaos crashing to the earth hard.
  2939.  
  2940. "And we're not even done yet! Get over here!"
  2941. >Picking the collapsed bastard and grappling him, you go for a Tombstone Piledriver, slamming him to the floor once more!
  2942. >As you get up, however, you notice Nyarlathotep's leg too late, striking at you from below as he pulls himself up.
  2943. >"That was pretty good, killer. I'm gonna have to remember that for later."
  2944. >Both of you look particularly bloody, but neither of you are done just yet.
  2945. >You consider what else you could do to keep up the momentum.
  2946.  
  2947. Status:
  2948.  
  2949. You (Throat Punch): 635% HP
  2950.  
  2951. >You take another ragged breath as you prepare your next move.
  2952. >Perhaps Lady Luck will give you the cool shit you wanted to do before.
  2953. >Before you can finish your preparations, however, Nyarlathotep goes in with a surprise punch, striking your shoulder hard!
  2954. >The strike causes you to lose balance, as you begin to fall.
  2955. >Using your momentum to your advantage, you strike at the Crawling Chaos's leg, causing him to collapse as well.
  2956. >The two of you on the ground, it takes far too long to get yourself back up.
  2957. >"Man, we've got the weirdest luck sometimes, killer. Kuhahaha!"
  2958. >Your throat recovers, putting you back to peak condition, though now the two of you are tied in terms of stamina.
  2959. >Luck always seems to be fickle at the worst times, but you're not down and out yet!
  2960. >What will you do next?
  2961.  
  2962. Status:
  2963.  
  2964. You: 552% HP
  2965.  
  2966. >The two of you hop back, shaking off the fatigue before lunging at each other once more.
  2967. >You spin to build, momentum, shooting out your leg like a rubber band as it crashes into Nyarlathotep's gut!
  2968. >From the sharp pain in your side, it seems he intended to aim for your nuts, but merely bruised you instead.
  2969. >The force of your kick forces the air out of the Crawling Chaos, forcing him to stagger back!
  2970. >Lunging forward, you dodge past his defensive punch, aiming your fist at his vulnerable throat.
  2971. >Nyarlathotep barely manages to lean away, taking the blow to his cheek instead, as it draws blood.
  2972.  
  2973. "Don't think I'm done yet, Nyarly-chan! Gotta pay you back for that dirty move earlier."
  2974. >You kick at his junk as hard as you can, but he catches it with his thigh in the nick of time, causing him to flinch in pain!
  2975. >Nyarlathotep grins through it all, however, as his black eye finally fades away.
  2976. >"Damn, you're a lot better than I could've hoped for. I think it's time to bring in the advanced techniques!"
  2977. >A surge of energy enters your body, but it doesn't feel like the same energy a Persona gives you.
  2978. >"Have fun with that Adrenaline, killer: let's see if you can get the handle of it!"
  2979.  
  2980. >You've finally bloodied Nyarlathotep, but this Adrenaline is a new wrench into the formula.
  2981. >It seems you can use it to power your strikes, or make it more likely to strike your intended target.
  2982. >But you're certain there are other uses: you'll just have to hunt them down.
  2983. >Readjusting your guard, you prepare for the big leagues.
  2984.  
  2985. Status:
  2986.  
  2987. You: 522% HP, 100% AP
  2988.  
  2989. >Well, if this Adrenaline can make you do some sick shit that isn't entirely realistic...
  2990. >You take a deep breath and shift into a familiar stance, leaping into the air as you focus on your spin.
  2991. >At first, it feels like you're going to lose balance and fall, but the burning fire inside you focuses your muscles as you spin faster and faster!
  2992. >Eventually, you can feel yourself becoming one with the hurricane of feet, launching yourself directly at Nyarlathotep!
  2993. "Tatsumaki Senpukyaku!"
  2994. >Your tornado kick strikes the Crawling Chaos, dealing heavy damage as you blast right through him!
  2995.  
  2996. >"Guh, Street Fighter?! Well, if you're so incline to copy moves like that, then how about this!"
  2997. >You feel both his feet crash into your back, causing you to topple forward as you catch your footing and turn around.
  2998. >Nyarlathotep has crossed his arms, giving a smug grin as he lunges at you, spinning like a missile!
  2999. >"Psycho Crusher!"
  3000. >The dark forces of the blow send you reeling back, causing you to cough some blood as you focus your mind.
  3001. >Putting your hands together, you focus your Adrenaline into your palms, a raging heat burning inside of them.
  3002. >As the heat becomes all but unbearable, you push it forward, releasing the blast!
  3003.  
  3004. "Hadouken!"
  3005. >The fiery orb of chi crashes into Nyarlathotep, shooting him into a tree as some branches snap from the impact!
  3006. >"Smart moves, killer, but don't forget that Adrenaline doesn't restore normally. You won't be able to keep using those moves forever!"
  3007. >He's right: with the amount of Adrenaline in you, you doubt you could do the same attacks as before without conserving your energy.
  3008. >Still, you've got quite the reserve now if you want to continue experimenting.
  3009. >Dusting yourself off, you continue the deadly dance.
  3010.  
  3011. Status:
  3012.  
  3013. You: 440% HP, 50% AP
  3014.  
  3015. >You've got an idea, but first you need to generate more Adrenaline.
  3016. >Pitching a swift, yet weak punch, you shift your stance to defense as Nyarlathotep locks his hands together.
  3017. >He raises them over his head before swinging down, creating a makeshift hammer!
  3018. >The fists connect with your arm, sending force rippling through your muscles as they make contact!
  3019. >But you were waiting for this: yelling a war cry, you shoot your arm out, parrying the Crawling Chaos and leaving him open for an all out assault!
  3020. >You feel some of your Adrenaline return to you, and time almost freezes.
  3021. >The spilt-second seems to last forever, your eyes locking with each other as you prepare your counterattack!
  3022.  
  3023. Status:
  3024.  
  3025. You: 425% HP, 80% AP
  3026.  
  3027. >The excited screams of a crowd you cannot see echo in your mind: you know exactly what you need to do.
  3028. >Leaping into the air, you slam your foot into Nyarlathotep, landing low to kick his shins, then do a short jab to his jaw.
  3029. >Using your momentum you begin to unleash a barrage of spinning kicks, each striking vital points and causing the Crawling Chaos to spit out blood.
  3030. "We're not done yet!"
  3031. >You use the last spinning kick to propel yourself upwards, pelting your target with a tornado of kicks!
  3032. >Nyarlathotep is shot into another unfortunate tree, the impact snapping the whole thing in half as her pulls himself back up.
  3033. >Seizing the opportunity, you try to punch his eye, but he manages to twist enough to send the blow crashing into his cheek instead, loosing a tooth instead of his sight.
  3034.  
  3035. >"Don't think you've won yet, killer. Hissatsu!"
  3036. >The Crawling Chaos takes a familiar stance and lunges at you fast enough to generate after images.
  3037. >His blows are so fast and rough that you can barely even see them, knocking you to the ground as he towers over you!
  3038. >He attempts to slam his fist into your throat again, but you roll out in time, the blow leaving a huge hole in the ground.
  3039. >Nyarlathotep is still alive, but you can tell he's getting close to his limit: he stumbles a bit as he goes back into his stance, and blood is leaking everywhere.
  3040. >You're not in peak form yourself, though, as you feel your breath running ragged.
  3041. >Determined to finish this soon, you ready for your next round.
  3042.  
  3043. Status:
  3044.  
  3045. You: 333% HP, 20% AP
  3046.  
  3047. >If it worked well once, maybe it will work again?
  3048. >You attempt to strike Nyarlathotep in the shins, but he steps back, avoiding the blow.
  3049. >Guarding your vitals once more, you're surprised he hasn't tried to hit you.
  3050. >Then you feel yourself getting grabbed, followed by your whole world turning upside down!
  3051. >"Tsk tsk, using the same tactic twice in a row. I'm disappointed, killer!"
  3052. >Now caught in a grapple, the Crawling Chaos leaps into the air, spinning rapidly as he slams your body to the ground!
  3053.  
  3054. >You see pain and you feel the colors flashing past your eyes, the breath knocked out of you as he pulls himself back up.
  3055. >"Now let's see what you can do proper! Kuhahaha!"
  3056. >Laughing at your pain, Nyarlathotep steadies himself somewhat, though you can tell he's putting more effort into it than he'll ever admit.
  3057. >You don't think you can take many more hits for long: keep whaling on him until there's nothing left to whale on!
  3058. >Focusing your mind, you think of new tactics to employ.
  3059.  
  3060. Status:
  3061.  
  3062. You: 283% HP, 50% AP
  3063.  
  3064. >Nyarlathotep acts before you have the chance, kicking your shins before going in for the tell-tale dick kick.
  3065. >You hop to the side to avoid the leg, though your shins scream at you for doing so, socking him in the gut for trying.
  3066. >Unfortunately, you don't seem to strike deep enough to stagger him, but that's not your main intent!
  3067. >You pursue your target, striking at his eye, but landing on the cheek instead, knocking some more teeth out!
  3068. >Adrenaline rushes through you, but you're not yet at maximum capacity.
  3069. >Do you risk one more turn to unleash something devastating?
  3070. >Or use what you have now to continue the onslaught?
  3071. >The final quarter has begun, and only one will step out of this conflict standing!
  3072.  
  3073. Status:
  3074.  
  3075. You: 251% HP, 80% AP
  3076.  
  3077. >As you consider the amount of teeth Nyarlathotep has lost during this bout, you catch something with the corner of your eye.
  3078. >That bastard's just regenerating his lost teeth!
  3079. "Hey, man, what the hell!"
  3080. >He gives you his newly replenished toothy grin, shrugging at your accusation.
  3081. >"It's not like I'm literally healing myself. Technically, this is totally legal, kuhahaha!"
  3082. >Stupid Crawling Chaos and his bullshit technicalities...
  3083.  
  3084. >The two of you trade blows: you going for Nyarlathotep's throat, while he aims for your gut.
  3085. >Neither of you manage to strike hard enough to affect the other, however, and the two of you slam into each other!
  3086. >"You really want to try and out-grapple me, killer?"
  3087. "Won't know if it works until I try!"
  3088. >Both of your muscles bulk as you try to overpower the other: with neither of you giving an inch as time almost stands still.
  3089. >Unfortunately, you feel your body losing the race, as you are lifted and spun around!
  3090. >"Guess you lost this little contest. Have a fun trip, kuhahaha!"
  3091. >Nyarlathotep sends you flying into another tree, earning a sickening crack as your back connects!
  3092.  
  3093. >You're not out yet, but it's becoming more difficult to stand, as you pull yourself up.
  3094. "No, I'm not finished yet! You're going down, Nyarly!"
  3095. >The Crawling Chaos laughs, keeling over in laughter for a moment before returning to his stance.
  3096. >"Ah, it's that beautifully ugly determination that makes me hate humanity all the more; very well, then, let's see what you've got!"
  3097. >Your Adrenaline is at full capacity now: if you use all of it at once, you get the feeling you might achieve the impossible.
  3098. >You think about what to do next, as your body fights to keep going.
  3099.  
  3100. Status:
  3101.  
  3102. You: 196% HP, 100% AP
  3103.  
  3104. >This is it: your coup de grace, your final shot!
  3105. >It appears Nyarlathotep is thinking the same, as his style mirrors your own.
  3106. >"Guess there was only one way we were going to finish this. Isn't that right, killer?"
  3107. >You find that your smile matches the Crawling Chaos's, almost as if you have some matter of understanding.
  3108. "I suppose not, you piece of shit. No hard feelings, after all this is done?"
  3109. >"Kuhahaha, bold of you to assume I'd hold any feelings other than pure contempt!"
  3110. >The two of you lunge into each other, grabbing each other by the shirt as you whale on the other!
  3111.  
  3112. >Your fists are almost too fast to see with your eyes, but eventually you can see his moves.
  3113. >No, you can predict them.
  3114. >What starts as an even match of arms quickly devolves to a one-sided slug that sends Nyarlathotep flying!
  3115. >As you stand there, your breath ragged and body bleeding, you know he's not down just yet.
  3116. >The Crawling Chaos lunges at you one last time, his fist glowing with hatred as he aims for your face!
  3117. >But it's not close enough, as you strike your arm through his chest, all but obliterating his facsimile of a heart.
  3118. >"Urgh, damn, I was so close, too."
  3119. >As he coughs up blood, you reach into his pocket and reclaim your amulet, pulling your arm out as he collapses to the floor.
  3120.  
  3121. "You know, that was a lot more fun than I thought it'd be."
  3122. >Sitting next to the dying shell of Nyarlathotep, you take a deep breath as he chuckles through the pain.
  3123. >"And there were other ways we could've played as well. Maybe some other time, we can have some more fun; but for now, I bet those dolls want to give you that one last fight."
  3124. >You nod, turning to leave as the Crawling Chaos's words follow you like a ghost.
  3125. >"I'm not just your Shadow, I'm everyone's Shadow: I hate and love everything about you beautifully ugly beings. After all,"
  3126. >Closing your eyes, you find yourself drifting away from the dream.
  3127. >"That's how you made me."
  3128.  
  3129. Critical Victory!
  3130.  
  3131. Remaining HP: 100/1000
  3132. Turns spent: 16
  3133. Special Used: 4
  3134.  
  3135. Rank: A
  3136.  
  3137. >Sable Library, ???
  3138.  
  3139. >You awaken to see the Twins rushing over to you.
  3140. >When you attempt to meet up with them, your body shrieks in pain, causing you to fall back to your seat.
  3141. >"Visitor, are you alright?"
  3142. >"Geez, whatever you did really pushed your body to its limits! This is why we wanted to come along with you."
  3143. >Caroline and Justine do their best to restore your health, patching your wounds up.
  3144. >You get the feeling that the Twins wouldn't be able to answer all your questions about the match, considering how they never witnessed it.
  3145. >However, if there are things that still bother you about it, it wouldn't hurt to try asking about them.
  3146.  
  3147. >You were a bit surprised to see Nyarlathotep being fully aware of the nature of Another Way.
  3148. >Perhaps it has to do with him being an actual god, or being everyone's Shadow like he said.
  3149. >The moment you brought that up, both of their eyes widen.
  3150. >"Wait, you said that was the ACTUAL Nyarlathotep? Not an echo like Midnight, but the actual one?"
  3151. >Well, yeah, he said that himself, so the two of you should know that much.
  3152. >...
  3153. >Right?
  3154. >"Visitor, listen to me: the moment you chose to enter that dream, we could no longer see you. That fight wasn't supposed to literally have the Crawling Chaos!"
  3155.  
  3156. >Oh, so that wasn't a planned scenario: that was literally Nyarly-chan breaking into the only place he could.
  3157. >So does that mean the two of them didn't see all the cool shit you did?
  3158. >"Unfortunately, we did not witness any of your conflict with Nyarlathotep."
  3159. >Damn it, guess that means it didn't count, then.
  3160. >"We never said that: judging from your injuries, as well as the grade that popped up in the book, we can call that a success."
  3161. >Three cheers for technicalities!
  3162.  
  3163. >Another thing that bothers you is how you're still beaten up, even after returning.
  3164. >That shouldn't happen if this is just recollections of dreams, right?
  3165. >The Twins look to each other before shaking their heads.
  3166. >"When we have a connection with you, visitor, our authority over the dream keep you mostly safe. While you can get injured from the fights, returning to the Sable Library should return you to full health."
  3167. >"But if Nyarlathotep has control over that part of the dream, he could decide to not give you that same protection."
  3168. >So if you lost, you might have really died?
  3169. >"I do not believe that was his intention, but had he desired it, it would not be difficult to do so."
  3170. >Having finished with the last of your recovery, Caroline and Justine offer a round of applause.
  3171. >"Congratulations, visitor: though the path was both difficult and odd, you have successfully beaten both new dreams with our challenges."
  3172.  
  3173. >You feel a glow of accomplishment as you give off a satisfied smile.
  3174. >"But that wasn't all we promised, was it? You want that new battle, don't you?"
  3175. >Boy howdy, you do, especially with all the trouble you went through to unlock it.
  3176. >"Then before we start, keep in mind that all the Persona you selected up to now are no longer selectable. Instead, your final deck is from what you have remaining."
  3177.  
  3178. >That just leaves Nyarlathotep's Persona, as the blackened cards form before you.
  3179. >"For this battle you are free to select as many teammates as you desire, so long as you have the reserves for them. When you are ready, we will begin."
  3180. >So this is it: all your difficult trials have led up to this final battle.
  3181. >Select your allies and prepare yourselves for whatever it is these Velvet Twins are planning.
  3182.  
  3183. >Your will calls forth the human Fluttershy, Indigo Zap, Sour Sweet, and Sunny Flare, as the Twins smile.
  3184. >"I see you have made your decision then, visitor. Well, then, let us begin the final match!"
  3185.  
  3186. >Selene Gaol, Moments Before Waking
  3187.  
  3188. >You find yourselves placed in a familiar location: the Fantasia that was locked inside Anonymous, where you learned the truth about his nature.
  3189. >As you look across the gray landscapes of the moon, you notice Caroline and Justine waiting for you at the center of the arena.
  3190. >"For your final fight, we shall be your opponents, visitor."
  3191.  
  3192. >"We'll see if you learned anything from the other fights. Oh, and to answer your questions:"
  3193. >Caroline smirk widens as she activates her electrified baton.
  3194. >"We're the police in this dream, and you can call this your detainment!"
  3195. >You ready for battle as the blue marble in the sky shines down.
  3196.  
  3197. [The open road beckons...]
  3198.  
  3199. [Prove your will is eternal!]
  3200.  
  3201. Battle 4: Velvet Wardens (Round 1)
  3202.  
  3203. [FINAL BREAKDOWN]
  3204.  
  3205. [Ready Your Weapons!]
  3206.  
  3207. ><Judging from my initial scans, both Caroline and Justine count as different combatants! Which one do you want me to scan first?>
  3208.  
  3209. "I knew it, you slippery fucks won't get me this time. Come forth, Der Freischütz!"
  3210. >The shadowy sniper focuses down his sights, as several target signs appear on everyone.
  3211. >"Let's lock and load, Pheidippides!"
  3212. >Indigo crushes her card as Pheidippides lets out several shots at the Twins, dealing heavy damage.
  3213. >"Persona!"
  3214. >Doppelgänger lets out an eerie laugh as it mad-dogs Justine, lowering her combat capabilities.
  3215. >"I don't know if those girls know your weakness, Indigo, but I'm not risking it. Persona!"
  3216. >Phoebe weaves a blanket of stars, wrapping it around Indigo as her weakness is covered.
  3217.  
  3218. >"I guess you're done now, visitor, so now it's my turn! Change, Baron Samedi!"
  3219. >The voodoo doctor unleashes a wave of darkness upon you, the shadows writhing unnaturally!
  3220. >Searing pain rushes through you as the shadows claw you, sending you collapsed to the ground as Indigo and Sour Sweet are knocked out cold!
  3221. >With a hop and a skip, Samedi attempts to release a strange mist on you and Sunny, but you both manage to hold your breath.
  3222. >"I summon thee, Nemo!"
  3223. >With a crash of stone waves, the submersible rams the two of you, missing Sol by a hair but catching your weak point again, making you disoriented!
  3224. >"I must say, visitor, we're somewhat disappointed."
  3225. >"Surely you're gonna put more into fighting than that!"
  3226.  
  3227. >Sunny tosses a feather onto Indigo, restoring her to fighting strength as Fluttershy attempts to stun the duo.
  3228. >Justine is frozen solid, but Caroline shields her eyes in time.
  3229. >"Change, Diarmuid!"
  3230. >The beautiful warrior winks at the stunned Justine, removing her debuffs.
  3231. >You pick yourself up, dusting off as Fluttershy's voice comes in.
  3232. ><This is rough: those Twins are not pulling any punches. Here's a scan on Caroline:>
  3233.  
  3234. Caroline (Death) -
  3235.  
  3236. Repel: Curse
  3237. Null: Fire, Psy
  3238. Resist: Bless
  3239. Weak: Physical, Nuke
  3240.  
  3241. ><It looks like they take the resistances of the Persona they're using. Here's everyone's stats:>
  3242.  
  3243. Status:
  3244.  
  3245. You: 300% HP, 590% SP
  3246. Indigo: 100% HP, 100% SP
  3247. Sour Sweet (KO): 0% HP, 100% SP
  3248. Sunny Flare: 100% HP, 90% SP
  3249.  
  3250. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  3251.  
  3252. ><Caroline has a chance to be Silenced.>
  3253.  
  3254. >Man, these two coppers sure hit like trucks!
  3255. >Switching to Amatsu-Mikaboshi, you unleash a fiery barrage on Justine.
  3256. >However, it seems she was expecting this, ducking out of the way in time as the flame sizzles off the ledge.
  3257. >Indigo cracks another Feather onto Sour Sweet, bringing her back into the game.
  3258. >"The hell is with how Doppelgänger looks? Feel like I've turned into a clown!"
  3259. >True enough, as she calls forth her Persona, the shadowy double has the color palette of Baron Samedi.
  3260.  
  3261. >With a high pitched laugh, it tears through the Twins, knocking Caroline down while dealing massive damage!
  3262. >Doppelgänger continues the assault, dealing even more damage but not dizzying the downed Twin.
  3263. >"Persona!"
  3264. >Sunny calls down Phoebe, who releases a wave of stardust that mutes everything around Justine.
  3265. ><Good work, Sunny, Justine's Persona is now sealed. She won't be able to use Nemo's skills or switch out.>
  3266. >You see Caroline pull herself up as her Persona switches from Samedi to Athena.
  3267.  
  3268. >"Well then, I suppose I'll have to make up for her lack of Persona: Card Fusion!"
  3269. >Your scenery changes to a rainy pavilion as Athena and Perseus stand before you.
  3270. "You can do combos t-!"
  3271. >There's no time to express your shock, as Athena slaps your cheeks with her electric lance!
  3272. >Perseus follows behind, cutting into your wounds with his sickle-sword, the two warriors leaving you no time to recover!
  3273. >Zeus soon descends, tearing into you as Athena and Perseus hold you down.
  3274. >A final lightning bolt crashes on your form, pinning you to the ground as the shocks rupture throughout your body!
  3275.  
  3276. Combo Activated: Wrath of the Gods
  3277.  
  3278. >Zeus vanishes, taking the weather away as Caroline continues her assault, charging at Sour Sweet and striking her gut with a spinning kick!
  3279. >Having expended her vitality in her assault, Sour collapses to the floor again, knocked out cold!
  3280.  
  3281. >"I almost feel bad, exploiting your own buff."
  3282. >Athena launches her spear at Sunny, landing exactly on one of the ethereal targets you painted early and knocking her to the floor!
  3283. >She attempts to do so again with Indigo, but the lance only glances her, leaving her still kicking.
  3284. >But before she can fully rest, Indigo is tripped up by a silent Justine, leaving your group helpless.
  3285. >The Twins waste no time, lunging into your group and performing their own All Out Attack!
  3286.  
  3287. >As the dust settles, you pull yourself up, bruised and bloodied.
  3288. >Your teammates are all knocked out, leaving only you to stand up to the police.
  3289. >"Just so you're aware, visitor, this fight won't end until we beat you to submission."
  3290. ><This looks bad: you're badly injured, and the others are knocked out! Is there a way to salvage this?>
  3291. >As Fluttershy mutters to herself, you see the status screen pop up in front of you.
  3292.  
  3293. Status:
  3294.  
  3295. You: 105% HP, 560% SP
  3296. Indigo (KO): 0% HP, 100% SP
  3297. Sour Sweet (KO): 0% HP, 90% SP
  3298. Sunny Flare (KO): 0% HP, 90% SP
  3299.  
  3300. ><By the way, the Twins are immune to Charm.>
  3301. >You see the blue targets on everyone's bodies dissipate, lowering the chances to land a critical hit.
  3302.  
  3303. >You're almost dead, your friends are actually dead, and it doesn't look like you'll be winning this round.
  3304. >The weight of the truth freezes you in place, as the Twins wait to see what you'll do.
  3305. >Then the fear slowly transforms into anger, spite: if you're going down, it will be on your own terms!
  3306. "You ain't gonna take me alive! Card Fusion!"
  3307. >Pulling out the Lovers card, you force the two together, as Kiyohime lets out a sorrowful wail.
  3308. >The lovestruck maiden slowly transforms into a terrifying sea serpent, looking down on the Twins with scorn in her eyes.
  3309. >"I wasn't expecting you to take your failure well, but I was expecting something more dignified than-"
  3310. >Before Caroline can finish her sentence, Amatsu-Mikaboshi releases a blast of gamma radiation at the two, trapping them in a pillar of multicolored light!
  3311. >Kiyohime begins to exude abnormal amounts of heat, her draconic mouth drooling azure flames as she takes a deep breath!
  3312.  
  3313. Combo Activated: Passionate Pyre
  3314.  
  3315. >The sea serpent unleashes a lovelorn inferno on the Twins, knocking Justine to the ground as a nasty burn spreads across Caroline!
  3316. >"Ow, that actually hurt! I was going to quickly kick your ass and be done with it, but if you're going to be like that-!"
  3317. "Change, Itztlacoliuhqui: Card Fusion!"
  3318. >You waste no time switching to your Death Persona, pulling out Likho and beginning another fusion.
  3319. >The blackened god pulls out a long, jagged obsidian knife, carving into his flesh as a sable ichor drips to the ground.
  3320. >Likho mutters curse after curse, creating a foul miasma from the pool of blood that weakens the Twins' combat potential.
  3321. >Suddenly, with a mind of its own, the black liquid lunges at Caroline and Justine, striking both their weak points as they collapse once more!
  3322.  
  3323. Combo Activated: Anathema
  3324.  
  3325. >Using this to your advantage, you make Itztlacoliuhqui form a starry barrier around you, protecting you from magic damage.
  3326.  
  3327. >Caroline switches to Diarmuid once more, clearing the debuffs as the silent Justine attempts to tackle you.
  3328. >With the grace of a seasoned jogger, you leap over the attempt, as she slides across the floor.
  3329. >"I don't get it: how in the heck are you able to fight so well when you're basically beat?"
  3330. "I HAVE RIGHTS, WHERE'S YOUR WARRANT?"
  3331. >Justine retreats back to Caroline, her words finally escaping her lips.
  3332. >"It seems we might have underestimated these hearts. Perhaps we shouldn't have played along with his fantasy?"
  3333. >As you rage against the system, you're interrupted as a familiar voice comes out from behind the Twins.
  3334. >"Oh, my dear younger sisters, you should know that a cornered animal will tear you apart if you mindlessly approach them."
  3335. >Followed by another.
  3336. >"Indeed, perhaps you're too young to fully understand the art of combat. So I suppose your older siblings will need to assist you."
  3337.  
  3338. >Descending from the sky are two alicorns you weren't expecting to see.
  3339. "Elizabeth AND Theodore? But I thought Liz vanished!"
  3340. >The assistant giggles, her yellow eyes shining down like lightning bolts.
  3341. >"Oh, we aren't actually here: merely shades of memories to assist our adorable sisters in their time of need."
  3342. >Theo is the first to land, looking at Caroline and Justine with a knowing grin.
  3343. >"Of course, a jumbled aesthetic is no way to portray the Velvet Room. You do know what I mean, don't you?"
  3344. >The two look to each other with dread in their eyes as they petition their case.
  3345. >"Oh, come on, those forms look way too girly!"
  3346. >"I much prefer our normal forms..."
  3347.  
  3348. >Liz hugs the two with her wings, sharing Theo's smile.
  3349. >"It'll be fine, I'm sure they want to see your new forms as well."
  3350. >After exchanging desperate glances, the Twins finally relent, giving a sigh.
  3351. >"I guess if we really need to."
  3352. >"You better not laugh at us, visitor, or your beatdown will hurt even more!"
  3353. >Caroline and Justine then rise into the air, their forms transforming before your eyes.
  3354.  
  3355. >When they finally descend, you see that Caroline has transformed into a grey pegasus.
  3356. >It appears her baton has transformed into a set of wingblades, though electricity still courses through them
  3357. >Justine, however, is a unicorn, her horn lighting up to hold onto her clipboard.
  3358. >Though they seem used to the form physically, their mixed expressions indicate that they aren't entirely used to showing them to others.
  3359.  
  3360. >That's cute and all, but...
  3361. "It'll take way more than that to put me behind bars!"
  3362. >You ready your weapon once more as the Velvet Siblings look to each other.
  3363. >"Well, it does seem he's quite ready for us, wouldn't you say?"
  3364. >The Alicorns pull out decks of cards that float around them as the Twins take center stage once more.
  3365. >"Then it's time you face the real threat of the Velvet Family!"
  3366. ><Those two alicorns don't seem to be as sturdy as Caroline or Justine; still, it'll take some time for me to scan them. Here's your status:>
  3367.  
  3368. Status:
  3369.  
  3370. You: 105% HP, 440% SP
  3371. Indigo (KO): 0% HP, 100% SP
  3372. Sour Sweet (KO): 0% HP, 90% SP
  3373. Sunny Flare (KO): 0% HP, 90% SP
  3374.  
  3375. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 0% SP
  3376.  
  3377. ><Keep in mind that Caroline's Burn leaves her vulnerable to Wind or Nuke damage.>
  3378.  
  3379. >Now there's more of them, and you're still alone with no allies.
  3380. >But even with the odds against you, part of you screams to keep fighting: it's not over until you lose!
  3381. "Change, Azathoth!"
  3382. >The Daemon Sultan expands infinitely into the starry sky as you pull out the Hanged Man card.
  3383. "Card Fusion!"
  3384. >Gustaf Johansen cries out in primal terror as his body bloats and stretches.
  3385. >The sailor explodes into a fountain of blood and gore, the sacrifice feeding Azathoth as its center eye finally opens and focuses upon Justine.
  3386. >Dozens of tentacles descend upon the unicorn, slamming her left and right before a final one sends her flying into the air!
  3387. >The remaining appendages close in on her, piercing her from all sides!
  3388.  
  3389. Combo Activated: Come Unto Your Maker
  3390.  
  3391. >As the idiot god fades away, Justine collapses to the ground, creating a window of opportunity.
  3392. >Press this advantage, give them no quarter!
  3393. "Get back up, Indigo!"
  3394. >You place a Fading Feather onto Indigo, resurrecting her as she begins the chain.
  3395. >She resurrects Sour Sweet, who jabs a Feather into Sunny.
  3396.  
  3397. ><We've got 3 more Feathers left, so please keep that in mind. We also have 8 Potions and Candies remaining.>
  3398. >"You picked the wrong time to be burned. Nuke her, Phoebe!"
  3399. >The titan releases a solar burst, striking Caroline square in her injury and causing her to collapse!
  3400. >Phoebe then attempts to hush the four opponents, though none of them appear to be affected by it.
  3401.  
  3402. >The Twins look quite injured, but neither seem ready to give up.
  3403. >"Change, Prometheus!"
  3404. >Caroline calls forth the fire-bringer, focusing her mind for a powerful spell.
  3405. >"And come to me, Gilgamesh!"
  3406. >The golden-clad hero laughs arrogantly, boosting Justine's strength for a powerful attack.
  3407. >Elizabeth seems content to not strike, but she pulls out a strange card you haven't seen before.
  3408.  
  3409. >"Strengthen their blows, Asaruludu!"
  3410. >A fiery-winged god raises his sword to the sky, strengthening the group as Theodore looks to Caroline.
  3411. >"And heal her wounds, Holly King."
  3412. >With a hearty laugh, the jovial man with sprigs of holly for hair sprinkles dust onto Caroline that patch some of her injuries and removes her burn.
  3413. ><I've never seen these Persona before, but it's odd they aren't using them for combat. Here's a scan for Theodore:>
  3414.  
  3415. Theodore (Null) -
  3416.  
  3417. Resist: None
  3418.  
  3419. ><It looks like those two are going to release a powerful attack soon: perhaps we should use your invincibility combo? Maybe I could stun them if someone hands me a candy. Anyways, here's everyone's stats:>
  3420.  
  3421. Status:
  3422.  
  3423. You: 105% HP, 390% SP
  3424. Indigo: 100% HP, 100% SP
  3425. Sour Sweet: 100% HP, 100% SP
  3426. Sunny Flare: 100% HP, 40% SP
  3427.  
  3428. ><Looks like they've got a good chance to be Poisoned.>
  3429.  
  3430. "Wait, all of them have a chance to be inflicted by ailments? What happened to alicorns being immune?"
  3431. ><Well, Caroline and Justine are just a pegasus and unicorn, so they should still be affected. As for Elizabeth and Theodore, I suppose it's due to their incomplete nature?>
  3432. >Well, no use complaining to a gift horse, as you switch to Edmond, the feeling of alacrity rushing through you.
  3433. "Card Fusion!"
  3434. >Minos pulls himself from the earth, the monstrous judge creating an imposing prison within the Gaol as Edmond cackles with glee.
  3435. >You find yourself almost joining him, as a rush of information floods your mind, slowing down the world as you process it.
  3436.  
  3437. >No.
  3438.  
  3439. >The world's not slowing down: you're thinking way too fast!
  3440. "Ah, so that's why Nyarly was having the time of his life."
  3441. >As you say this, the Count of Monte Cristo begins his assault, his movement so fast that even his afterimages have form!
  3442. >Caroline and Justine look at each other with surprise as the lightning courses through the Twins' bodies!
  3443. >Liz and Theo aren't spared either, as even the speed trails shock them, entrapping the four into an even deeper cell.
  3444. >Edmond, along with his phantoms, release one last barrage of lightning, which arcs through the Velvet Family and continues onward beyond love and hate!
  3445.  
  3446. Combo Activated: Enfer Chateau d'If
  3447.  
  3448. >The double cells collapse within the same moment they form, causing the Twins to collapse while leaving Liz and Theo heavily injured.
  3449. ><I wasn't able to fully process that, but it looks like Caroline and Theodore are silenced!>
  3450. "I'm not giving up until you beat the life out of my eyes!"
  3451. >Another storm of lightning tears through the group, hitting all but Theodore, who dodges in the nick of time.
  3452. >"Yo, Butters, catch!"
  3453. ><It's Fluttershy.>
  3454. >Indigo tosses a candy to Fluttershy, ignoring her comments as Sour lowers Caroline's combat potential.
  3455. >"It's got to work now: come forth, Phobe!"
  3456. >Another starry mist pours into the arena, sealing all but Elizabeth's Persona.
  3457.  
  3458. >It's clear that the Twins are having a harder time standing now, but Caroline refuses to give up, attempting to catch you with her wingblades!
  3459. >"Not this time, you pigeon!"
  3460. >You find yourself booted out of the way by Sour Sweet, who takes the hit for you.
  3461. >Doppelgänger's form shifts once more, a red sash furled before it.
  3462. >Justine attempts to strike you as well, but you're expecting it this time, moving out of the way of the goring horn!
  3463. >"Well, seeing as how they cannot fight, let's make this turn a little more interesting. Persona!"
  3464. >Asaruludu thrusts his sword into the ground, a ring of fire exploding towards all of you.
  3465. >You manage to dodge through the flames, but the others aren't so lucky, taking heavy damage.
  3466. >However, that doesn't seem to be the case for Sour Sweet, who absorbs the fire with a smug grin.
  3467.  
  3468. >Theo bucks her in response, removing her resistances as he mouth opens afterwards.
  3469. >"So we can be affected after all; what an interesting discovery, isn't it, Elizabeth?"
  3470. >"Indeed, it seems these forms are far more imperfect than we suspected. Ah well, that's all the more fun!"
  3471. ><It looks like ailments only last for one turn when it comes to Elizabeth or Theodore, but the Twins are still Silenced!>
  3472. >Indigo looks to Sour with an excited grin.
  3473. >"Oh, we can do our combo now, yeah?"
  3474. ><I'm not sure you have enough time to charge up for the stronger variant, but maybe you can hit one of them with the standard version? Here's everyone's stats:>
  3475.  
  3476. Status:
  3477.  
  3478. You: 105% HP, 300% SP
  3479. Indigo: 66% HP, 100% SP
  3480. Sour Sweet: 72% HP, 90% SP
  3481. Sunny Flare: 55% HP, 30% SP
  3482.  
  3483. Fluttershy (Human): 100% HP, 100% SP
  3484.  
  3485. ><There's a low chance for Exhaustion to work.>
  3486.  
  3487.  
  3488. >You have a plan, but there's always the chance it won't be enough.
  3489. >What if there's another enemy waiting beyond them?
  3490. >But as you think that, a new thought blossoms within you: shouldn't you believe in her?
  3491. >That even if you don't believe in yourself, or the others, that you can believe the Rider.
  3492. "One more time, Sunset!"
  3493. >You nearly collapse as your vitality and spirit drain out of you, a single fiery orb emerging from your heart.
  3494. >With a burst of flames, Sunset Shimmer takes to the field, as you limp to Tzaphkiel's protection.
  3495.  
  3496. >"I won't let you down. Alright, girls, are you ready to finish this for good?"
  3497. >The three nod, as they make their own preparations.
  3498. >"Monomane...!"
  3499. >"Meteor Ready?"
  3500. >"Standing By."
  3501. >The seasoned Rider pulls out her card, giving a confident smile as she slams it into her belt!
  3502. >"Persona, Henshin!"
  3503. >"Henshin!"
  3504.  
  3505. >Indigo hops into Phedippides and rushes the silenced Caroline, catching her with a supersonic double kick that knocks her back!
  3506. >"But wait, there's more!"
  3507. >Rushing towards the pegasus's trajectory, Indigo launches her skyward, Caroline spinning at ludicrous speeds!
  3508. >Sunny targets Justine with her top, the spinning death toy crashing hard against the unicorn's horn as sparks fly!
  3509. >Distracted, Justine doesn't catch the following slam of Sunny's staff, granting the top ample time to swarm her defenses!
  3510. >It tears the unicorn up before sliding under her and lifting Justine upwards, looking both humorous and painful.
  3511. >The berserk-esque Monomane Rider slams her hands to the floor, the shadows surrounding Sour Sweet shifting under Elizabeth and Theodore.
  3512. >Suddenly, a myriad of deadly swords, lances, and axes burst out, as dozens of shadow clones rip and tear through the facsimiles!
  3513. >The two alicorns are forced skyward as all four Velvet Siblings are launched to the same spot.
  3514. >"Alright, girls, together! Toh!"
  3515. >Everyone leaps into the air, their legs glowing with unimaginable power!
  3516.  
  3517. >The four Riders lunge at the ponies, as Sunset's form is bathed in flames!
  3518.  
  3519. S-S-SECRET MOVE!
  3520. 4x TEAM UP ATTACK!
  3521.  
  3522. >"Final!"
  3523. >"Dynamic!"
  3524. >"Rider!"
  3525. >"Kick!"
  3526. >Illuminated by the rising sun, their foots slam through the Twins, Liz, and Theo before landing behind them.
  3527. >As they stand, they wait for the inevitable conclusion, as are you, if your whooping and hollering is any indication.
  3528. >3...
  3529. >2...
  3530. >1...
  3531.  
  3532. >BOOM!
  3533.  
  3534. >The Velvet Family explodes violently, creating a fiery phoenix in its wake as they crash back into the Gaol!
  3535. ><I can confirm that the combatants are no longer in a state to fight! We've won!"
  3536. "Hell yeah, that's what I'm talking about!"
  3537. >You hop from Tzaphkiel as fast as your tired body can allow, as the girls make their way back.
  3538. "Now call me your little pogchamp and-!"
  3539. >An armored fist thunks on top of your head, as Sunset glares you down.
  3540.  
  3541. >"Really, with how you would've given up if they allowed it?"
  3542. "Well, uh, I..."
  3543. >She hugs you tight, her warmth feeling scorching in the coldness of the Gaol.
  3544. >"I hope you had a fun time."
  3545. >You smile, hugging back as she begins to vanish.
  3546. "I'd like to think I did."
  3547. >And with that, the girls finally vanish, leaving you the battered, yet undisputed champion!
  3548.  
  3549. Critical Victory!
  3550.  
  3551. Remaining HP: 5/500
  3552. Turns spent: 7
  3553. Combos used: 4
  3554. Secret Combos used: 1
  3555.  
  3556. Rank: S
  3557.  
  3558. >Surprisingly, you haven't left the Selene Gaol just yet, as Caroline and Justine are back to their original forms.
  3559. >"Man, I don't get it: we knew his weaknesses, we had combos, we even had the best opening we could've asked for. And we still lost!"
  3560. >Caroline kicks a moon rock as she sulks, and Justine doesn't seem much better.
  3561. >"Did we miss something while we were fighting? Were we too reckless?"
  3562. >Though it's clear that Liz and Theo are falling apart, they still wrap their wings around the Twins.
  3563. >"That's simply the power of bonds, dear sisters: a ruler over power cannot rely on such power alone when dealing with a wild card."
  3564.  
  3565. >The Twins look to you with new eyes, as Elizabeth mischievously giggles.
  3566. >"Even with that being said, though, perhaps you unintentionally made things easier for him."
  3567. >"Easier?"
  3568. >Theo nods, motioning to the mini-contract you signed earlier.
  3569. >"While he certainly could not use any items during this battle, did you give him a set amount of turns to fight? A minimum amount of combos he had to use?"
  3570. >Caroline and Justine attempt to answer, but their mouths are left empty as they realize their error.
  3571. >"Honestly, it's so adorable that you were so excited to fight the visitor that you didn't think too much about the preparations."
  3572.  
  3573. >Liz and Theo chuckle at the Twins' reddening faces, the two pouting as a last-ditch effort to save face.
  3574. >"Though, really, I suppose what truly matters in fights like these is the entertainment value. So long as the visitor enjoyed themselves, all should be well."
  3575. >Elizabeth and Theodore look at you, almost entirely dissolved back into the dream from which they came.
  3576. >Caroline and Justine also look your way, slightly worried, but determined to hear your response.
  3577. >...
  3578. >I'm afraid it's impossible for me to answer how you feel, after all the trials and tribulations you went through.
  3579. >This is a question you, and only you, can answer.
  3580. >Did you have fun?
  3581.  
  3582. >After some soul-searching, you look to the girls and nod.
  3583. "It might've been rough at the start, but in the end, this was all pretty fun."
  3584. >Satisfied with your answer, the phantom Attendants fade away, as the dream closes.
  3585.  
  3586. >???
  3587.  
  3588. >When you open your eyes, you find yourself in the strangest of locations.
  3589. >Stone floors, a velvet blue circular carpet, cells as far as the eye can see.
  3590. >If you didn't know any better, you'd think you were being detained!
  3591. >But judging by the surprise in the Twins' eyes, this doesn't seem to be the case.
  3592. >Before you can ask them what's happening, a deep voice comes from the center of the room.
  3593. >"Well, this is an unexpected surprise: while you are a Trickster, you are not the one I seek. Regardless, welcome to the Velvet Room."
  3594. >A light shines from above, revealing someone you weren't expecting to see.
  3595. "Igor?"
  3596. >At first, the eternally smiling man seems to flinch as you call out to him, but any trace of that disappears as he looks at you.
  3597. >"Ah, you must be a previous visitor. I suppose I must apologize for not greeting you proper: my memories of past guests are stored in the Sable Library after our deal is concluded, so as to focus on the current's journey."
  3598. >Something doesn't rub right with you on that explanation: it all sounds correct, but your gut is telling you to be wary.
  3599.  
  3600. >Before you can voice your concerns, however, Caroline speaks up.
  3601. >"Does that mean our next guest has been discovered?"
  3602. >Igor nods, crossing his hands as he eyes a particular cell in front of him.
  3603. >"Oh yes, quite a dangerous guest indeed; we must be quite strict in our guidance for this... inmate."
  3604. >He returns his gaze to you, his smile unchanging yet different.
  3605. >"As for you, Trickster from another dream, I must ask you to wake up and return to your life."
  3606. >Igor's hand glows with a gentle light as he aims it towards you.
  3607. >"Ah, wait, Master, we have something to give him!"
  3608.  
  3609. >Caroline and Justine quickly run over to you, rummaging through their pockets.
  3610. >"We didn't exactly have anything prepared for you, but we did throw something together while you were fighting."
  3611. >Justine hands you a blue paper bookmark, slightly crumpled and drawn on, but perfectly serviceable.
  3612.  
  3613. Obtained: Makeshift Bookmark
  3614.  
  3615. >"It's no Velvet Bookmark, but we worked with what we had. So you better appreciate it, visitor!"
  3616. >Man, who could ever see these cute little shits as anything close to cops?
  3617. >You pocket the bookmark and grab the two for a big hug.
  3618. "Thanks, you two, this was probably one of the better years we spent. I hope that Trickster enjoys your company like I did."
  3619. >They're not too keen to share your hug, but they wait until you're satisfied to pull themselves out of your arms.
  3620. >You stand up, looking to Igor as he nods knowingly.
  3621. >"It appears the three of you had a wonderful dream together. Farewell, visitor from another world."
  3622.  
  3623. >The light from his hand shoots out, enveloping you with warmth as you close your eyes once more.
  3624. >Just like before, another dream of demons, ponies, and humans dances before your vision.
  3625. >Maybe next time, your dream will be even crazier than the one you just experienced.
  3626. >That would be nice...
  3627. >Such were your last thoughts, as sleep takes you.
  3628.  
  3629. FIN
MLP: SLAM SAFE OC Anon CYOA Persona

Incomplete CYOA by JESTER

by DisgruntledAnon

My Little Persona: Another Way (11/13/2019)

by DisgruntledAnon

My Little Persona: Bonds of Flame Section 2 (3/3/2019)

by DisgruntledAnon

My Little Persona: Bonds of Flame Part 1 (11/11/2018)

by DisgruntledAnon

Justice's Reaper Brawl at the Selene Gaol (8/17/2018)

by DisgruntledAnon