Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Future of Neostriker: Shining and Fanfiction

    Can you believe it's all done? When I wrote the story over 5 years ago, my intent was just to have fun with it. I didn't care so much about it back then, but as I developed it more and more, I became very attached to this story. It was a fine tribute to the many things that developed Neostriker as well as being a good tool for developing the series. There a few things that I didn't put together until I began writing David's story, but when I look at it, I can't imagine a better way of making it all fit together.
    You may be wondering about the ending for the book. I personally think it is a fitting ending for the major themes of the book. Before I had a sentimental ending, but it turned out less than satisfactory. The current ending may make some people question what was and what wasn't, but that's fine. I originally intended the book to be a complete story to stand on its own, but as I got closer to the end, I wanted to leave an opening that I would allow me to write the sequel I had planned. However, the sequel that has been in my mind for the past 5 years is not right for a book. As much as I want to write the story, I believe it would be best as a movie or TV show. It's something that needs to be seen. As a result, I'm holding back on writing that story for now and focusing on developing the Neostriker Universe.
    I don't know how long it will take before I am finished with my next book, but I can tell you it will take place at the beginning of Neostriker. That's right, it will be partially about Xagem, the character I made which began my development of Neostriker as a whole. I have been planning this story for years, but I wanted to finish Shining before I started actually writing, mostly for practice. In the meantime, I intend to be publishing a mini-series called Legends, which will contain many short stories concerning the characters in my next book.
    Now back to Shining. As I mentioned before, many series were inspirational in my development of Neostriker. Before, I simply copied what I saw. It wasn't until I had a lot of practice with it that I began to transform it into something new. I shall be honored if my series will be the same for others. Therefore, I am encouraging fanfiction for the Neostriker: Shining world. I only ask that you do not write about the beginnings of Neostriker as that is my next subject. I actually have about 7 stories planned, and most of them are hinted in the story. I do hope I will have the time and talent to write all of them eventually.
    The plan to encourage fanfiction was actually part of the intent when writing the ending to Shining. I want people to feel okay with misunderstanding something occasionally, because misunderstanding something can actually be inspiration to the imagination. Neostriker is full of things like that. An example would be Saiber Armor. Yes, I know what happened and what didn't, but I also like playing with the idea of certain things changing. There is actually one thing I would like seeing changed that would make things even more interesting, but I also believe it's time to move on from Shining.
    Now to encourage fanfiction even more, I would like you writers to send me your fanfiction. That way, I can publish them on this blog for everyone to read. If I find something objectionable or controversial, I may edit it for protection of my story and characters. I actually had a very controversial chapter in the early drafts of Shining, but it betrayed the idea of creating a simple story for everyone to enjoy. As a result, I prefer to keep things simple and good while the controversial topics can be for another series.
   
Sincerely,
J. D. Nyle

P.S. You can send your fanfiction to jnyled@gmail.com, just put the story in the text of the document

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Episode 24: A Shining Hero

This is it. This is the last episode of Neostriker: Shining. I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I had creating it. If you haven't read Episode 23, I suggest you do that first. Thank you for reading my creation, and I hope you will participate in my idea that I will post after this.

EPISODE 24: A Shining Hero

            All of the warriors were lying on the ground, de-formed by the infernal breath. The evil beast was victorious before anyone could even attempt to fight it.
Seeing everyone had been defeated, the fell dragon spoke in a sinister voice, elongating the end of each sentence “Very gooood! You have done welllll.”
“What are you talking about?” Dyl cried out.
The Dark Master laughed maliciously and said like a serpent, “You have done all according to my plans. Long ago, the Nellenion King sealed me with the Elements. The Elite Stones were the key, and you gathered them for me.” It cackled once more and the warriors felt their hearts sank to a new low.
            Zenoth continued disturbingly, “And you, Crawn. You acted exactly how I wanted you to.”
            “What do you mean?!” Zack looked up struck with terror as the black dragon answered.
            “When I sent you against these warriors, I had no care that you would win. I needed you to reveal this location so that the Nellenion army would gather here. I let you gather only so that I may destroy you all!”
            Zack lowered his head in despair and muttered, “So I was only a puppet.”
            “Then why the battle, if that was your plan all along?!” Nathan shouted out.
            “Simple. The hearts lost to despair are the most delicious to me. What better way to do so than to raise your hopes as high as possible and then crush them with ease? Though I will admit, I started to grow tired, and so made things easier for you.”
            “That’s why you brought out the portals!” Reid exclaimed. “It was not for faster development, but so we could shut them off!”
            “Exactly! And that is also why I had Alfran die after she was defeated. She was delaying your ‘offering’. Muwhahahahaha!!!”
            The dragon did his evil laugh in delight of its victory. All opposition had been de-formed. When he had finished his triumphant hysterics, it lowered its head to their level and stared directly into David’s eyes.
"Boy,” said the Dark Master. “I can crush you right now. I can bite your head right off and spit it across the ocean. But because you have freed me and gathered those would oppose me to my fire, I will make you an offer.
“You have bested those I have sent, the strongest of my army. You have cemented yourself as worthy to stand at my side as I rule this world. Swear your allegiance to me and accept the Dark Power. If you do this, I shall spare you, give you power, and you can even keep your little girlfriend. In fact, I could make her your slave if you so wish.  But if you refuse…” it spit on the youth’s face. “…then you all will die. That's how simple it is."
            It lifted its head and roared in a sinister laughter, assured of its reign of terror and no cares as to what David may answer. As it roared, the terrain began to transform. Little volcanoes appeared and erupted. Trees emerged from thin air but dead and scorched. Dark clouds filled the sky and blocked the sun. This was the Dark Area made present.
The youth’s heart was lost. No emotion could be seen in his face. It was like stone, solid, speechless, and cold. But then he saw something different.
            He blinked and saw himself in a place of light, a place he had been before. And he saw a figure he had seen before.
            “So that’s it? You’re just going to throw in the towel?” It was grandpa.
            “There’s nothing I can do,” the youth said. “It’s over. I lost before I could even fight.”
            “You lose if you give up. The fight between Good and Evil is not just a game with a simple end. It continues until you either give up fighting or you emerge victorious. Even after you win one battle, it will come back in the same or different form for you to beat again until you die and come out as a true victor.”
            “But what hope do we have against Zenoth?”
            “David, David. Hope is not something you have when everything is right. True hope emerges when things are wrong and when you still can see the potential of good coming out.”
            “B-but I can’t beat him. He already defeated my strongest form with his breath. I have no choice.”
            “David, the greatest tool of Evil is deception. You still have a choice. It may be hard, but I will show you what choices you have.”
Back in the real world, Jenny noticed a tear drop from David's eye.
"Are you okay?" she asked still concerned.
"No," he shook his head. "But this is something I must do. I must give up… my dream," and as he said it, another tear ran down his cheek and a deep blow to heart, but now it was there. 
The youth stepped forward, took a deep breath, and stared at the dragon. He turned to the others who could see the sorrow in his face and then back to the evil monster. Those around felt this tugging at their hearts that David would accept Zenoth's deal. Their hope had been shattered. Zenoth had purposely raised it high only so that he might crush it. Yet it was not so.
Nine feet tall may not seem so big considering how few steps it takes to walk that distance. Yet at the same time, when you come close someone of that size, he really is a giant. Add that this was an all-powerful dragon and you would have every right to be terrified, but the youth stood strong. Facing defiantly and with the stones gathered, he wiped the tear from his eye and made his proclamation.
"Zenoth," David began, taking another breath. "You can take your offer and shove it down your throat! I will defeat you!"
The challenge had been played. With a thunderous voice, the dragon shouted, "What?!" And then it began to laugh again. How in the world could a boy hope to slay a 9 foot tall dragon with no weapons?
"You fool!" the dragon heckled, still cackling over the rebelliousness. "No one but the Nellenion King has defeated me, and he needed Xagem's help. You are neither."
"You're wrong!" David replied defiantly. "I am both! And I will defeat you, because I made you!"
"Nonsense!" Zenoth shouted, but the dreamer continued.
"I made Neostriker out of the various things I had seen and heard growing up. I combined and tweaked these concepts, as well as adding my own, until I ended up with this and it became its own. I cannot explain how or why, but my dream world became real. But now I must put an end to it and defeat you once and for all! The Nellenion King and Xagem were just two characters designed for me to play as!"
The dragon had enough of this talk. He blew his infernal flame once more, but a barrier of light blocked it. It was Jenny!
"You might have to explain all of this again, but you need to beat this guy first!" she said while maintaining the barrier. "I can grant you the ability to enter forms once more and reenergize the Elite Stones, but it's up to you from there."
David smiled and nodded. White lights began to fill the area under the barrier's protection. The Elite Stones power returned to them and they floated around David, as if attracted by an invisible force. Just then, Zel appeared on David's Neot.
"I have ordered everyone to send their forms over to you. I believe you know what to do from here," the Asen reported.
"Thank you, Zel," the Guardian replied. "Now let's do this! Full Power! All forms unite!"
He performed Neoformation and had on a glorious white armor and his Angelic Sudron, but that was not all. Yet the sword’s conversion was not complete.
            David next pulled out the three ancient neocards saying, “Guardian’s Block, Guardian’s Slash, Guardian’s Power. Ancient Neocard Combo: Earth’s Power!” and with that, the blade of Sudron changed to a jade green while maintaining its glory. It was now the Angelic Sudron in its Final Sword mode.
Next, he manipulated the Elite Stones and as he was doing this, he spoke,

“As Fire rises to the North
Nature stays below
The Moon shall follow the Sun West
While Lightning Races to the East
Water and Ice encase the Land
And the Wind blows Northwest
All come from and to a Great Light
And from that light shall emerge a Legend”

He placed the floating stones in a formation like an 8-pointed compass. A bright golden light enveloped David and the Elite Stones as he called out, “Activate now! Warp Golden Armor Neoformation!”
Perhaps this was the most amazing thing of all. When the light faded, David’s armor had turned to the finest gold. A magnificent cape bellowed in the wind with an emblem printed on it in the form of a circle and eight lines emerging from it. It was like the sun casting its rays in the eight directions.
Similarly, on his left arm, the youth bore the finest shield with the same emblem. This was the Legends Shield, forged by the power of the Elite Stones. The dreamer drew the Angelic Sudron and faced the ferocious dragon of evil, the Dark Master, but with no fears holding him back. Here stood a man of courage! A Warrior of Light!
“So we finally get to see it after all these years,” Dyl commented to Reid.
            “Yeah. The Golden Armor, Legends Mode Advance.”
The fact that all of this happened did not mean Zenoth simply stood by waiting in good sport. No, it had been blowing his infernal flame the entire time, but it could not pierce Jenny’s barrier. By the time the barrier did drop, David’s transformation was complete and a new Nellenion field appeared all over the area, keeping everyone other than David and Zenoth under its protection.
            Zenoth was enraged. It took to the air and blew its infernal flame once more. But the Golden Neostriker stood firm and raised his Shield of Legends. The fire blazed against the surface of that mighty shield and reflected back at the black dragon! For the Legends Shield could reflect any blasts of the eight elements as long as David could identify to which it belonged.
            The black dragon tried again and again to penetrate the shield, but time after time, the Guardian would reflect each blast. In addition to using this mighty shield, the Warrior of Fire sheathed his magnificent blade and fired rapid blasts of light at the fell beast.
            The serpent flew through the air avoiding as many of the shining blasts as it could. It would try to lose the trial of blasts and then attack. Since its energy blasts were ineffective, it would charge straight at David, forcing him to move quickly as well.
            The defiant knight soared into the air, granting him more options of movement. He continued to let loose his fury of shining blasts to weaken the Dark Master while evading any ramming attacks.
            The furious beast spread its wings, and with a flap the power of a hurricane, unleashed a wave of energy in the form similar to David’s sonic sword. But the man of courage raised the Angelic Sudron skyward and released a sword wave called “solar wind slash” to counter. After that, he boosted through a sonic boom and sliced through the giant serpent.
            Zenoth roared, infuriated. As it roared, the Dark Area appeared to grant it power in the form of dark energy. The purple aura encased the Dark Master as it grew! The dragon was now a colossal titan of 50 feet tall. Now that might seem small in comparison to some buildings, but how much bigger does one need to be in order to be terrifying? 
            But the Golden Neostriker kept his courage. He would not abandon his hope. The Shining Power filled his heart and soul. Nothing could overcome him now, not even a titanic dragon.
            He fired bursts of his shining blasts again, but the effect had lessened greatly.
            “David,” Zel chimed in, never had left David’s side. “The power of the Dark Area has amplified Zenoth’s defenses. However, that came at the sacrifice of his mobility. Also, there are weak points we can find and concentrate on.”
            “Right, let’s do this, my friend!”
            It was now David’s turn to maneuver. The massive enemy summoned giant boulders and hurled them to form the equivalent of an asteroid belt. Even while avoiding the boulders, the dreamer had to worry about whatever blast might come his way. After clearing the meteors, he had to be careful of the powerful gusts of wind a flap of the wings would cause or being swatted by the tail or claws.
            After encircling the Dark Master, Zel was able to identify eight weak points, each requiring one of the Elite Stone’s power to pierce it. As a result, the Golden Neostriker would alternate different elemental blasts and techniques, including boosting at sonic speed through the dragon’s wing.
            Once all eight points had been dealt with, a sore spot was revealed on the dragon’s head. David took his angelic jaded blade of the sun and plunged it into that spot. Next, he performed a rite called “Legends Bind” which sacrificed the Legends Shield and paralyzed the colossal evil monster. After that, the eight Elite Stones appeared and took the positions David assigned them and two circles, one inside and one outside, encase them. The warrior then fired a charged shot which stopped inside the circle, received a charge from the eight rocks, and then emerged as a giant blast, called the Elite Blast, through the wicked mastermind. The Elite Stones then lost their luster and vanished as well.
            The legendary warrior landed and looked up at the titanic dragon, weakened by all the attacks. Nevertheless, Zenoth scoffed and said, “You cannot win. You have sacrificed your shield, your sword, and now the Elite Stones. You are finished.”
            “No,” David calmly replied. “I still have one technique left. This ends now!”
            The youth closed his eyes and began to meditate. His armor began to shine a bright brilliant white. The Daelian lord recognized this surge of power and called out, “You fool! You would risk your own life in attempt to defeat me when you could have joined instead?!”
            The Dark Master broke free from the chains that bound it and unleashed one final dark blast, bigger than the Elite Blast. But David cared not. First he put out his left hand. He breathed deeply and white energy charged in his right palm. He then pushed his right hand forward and fired a ray of light, while shouting, “Final Strike: Chaos Destroyer!”
            The ray of white light met the black counterpart. When it did, it appeared it was overpowered at first, but then the ray grew bigger and bigger. Soon, it engulfed the opposing attack and finally Zenoth as well, annihilating the Dark Master.
            The Dark Area disappeared. The land returned to normal. The dark energy that had filled it was gone, and David found himself in the white space one more time.
           “Grandpa… I did it,” he said, triumphant and yet a sorrow still tugged at his heart, for all of it was now over. Last to be sacrificed was Neostriker itself.
            “You made the right choice. I’m proud of you,” his grandfather smiled consolingly.
            David looked at his grandfather and then away. In the distance he could see his friends and was torn but still spoke, “Can I stay with you now?”
            “No,” the elder figure placed his hand on the younger’s shoulder and who could not raise his head. “It is not your time.”
            The youth tried to regain his composure, but all he could say was, “What do I do now? Neostriker gave me a purpose, but now it’s gone.”
             “Live,” his grandfather answered. “Your dream may be over, but not your life. Make it meaningful. Accept that bad things will happen, but remember. There are plenty of things in this world to give you a meaningful life. Just because you can’t have your dream, doesn’t mean you can’t have another in which you can find purpose. Even if you don’t, cherish the presence and memory of those who love you. Sometimes you have to give up the things you want the most, but you can still find satisfaction with what you do if you see and appreciate the good in it. That is always your choice.”
The youth wiped his tears. “Thank you, grandpa. I miss you,” were his last words as the vision slowly faded away.
When David opened his eyes, the morning sun was shining in his eyes. As he came to, he found himself in a hospital bed. Looking around, he saw Jenny’s face by his side. She smiled, hugged him, and said, "David! You're finally awake!"


The End

Episode 23: The Battle of Fort Tempest

Note: For those who have been reading, you may be confused by the villain's name change from Zeforoth to Zenoth. I meant to change this earlier, but it slipped by. I know I mentioned how my story was influenced by many games, but Zeforoth being the name was actually by pure accident. When a friend pointed this out, I decided I needed to change it to something else. At some point in the future, I do hope to go into detail about the development of these chapters and characters, I just haven't decided how yet. 

EPISODE 23: The Battle of Fort Tempest 

            The anticipated day arrived and everyone made their way to Fort Tempest. Along the way, the professor posed a question concerning the previous day’s events.
            “So Reid or David, can you explain what that ‘Elite Overdrive’ was at the end of your battle?”
            “That?” Reid started. “Sure. It basically is when two Elite Slashes, generally used to decide a match clash, meet. In order to reach that conclusion, the two warriors then enter a higher state of focus and speed. You could say it is using Full Power continually instead of just one attack.”
            “So since you two have learned that technique, could you use it in the upcoming battle?” Jenny asked.
            “No,” David answered. “Like Reid was saying, first the two slashes must meet. The other requirement would be those balls of light you should have seen on the field. Those are what gave us the energy to continue in Elite Overdrive. To use it on command would otherwise be impossible. Besides there are better things than that.”
            “Like what?”
            “Remember that form I took in the Black Tower? That was Legends mode and it’s far superior.”
            “Then hopefully you can tap into that again,” the professor commented.
            “Hopefully it won’t be needed,” the Guardian replied.
            The drive was not a short one, even though traffic flowed for them. Fort Tempest was located on the opposite side of California, closer to Sacramento. Its location was by the ocean, though on the other side was a rocky desert. At least they did not have to worry about sand. So by the time they finally arrived, they were overjoyed to stretch their legs and appreciate the ocean view.         
            The group was the last to arrive. Inside awaited Nellenion soldiers that numbered around 500. Yet there was one person there some did not expect.
            “Zack!” Jenny cried out in delight as she ran to her brother and embraced him. “What are you doing here?”
            “I ask the same of you,” he replied, also surprised by his sister’s presence. “This is dangerous.”
            “Like you, and as our Shining Princess, she has an important part to play,” Reid explained.
            “She’s the Shining Princess?” the older brother reacted understandably surprised. “With the Daelians unable to find her, I would have thought she didn’t exist.”
            “I guess you can say that’s the benefit of her powers developing so late,” Dyl remarked. “But dude, who else do you think cleansed you of the dark energy that was inside of you?”
            “Uh, possibly Guardian here?”
            “Hey! Don’t take credit away from me,” Jenny rebuked in a stubborn but cheerful manner. “I saved your life, so you owe me later. Chocolate will not be enough.”
            They laughed and Reid began to explain Zack’s presence. Despite no longer being part of the Daelian army, they found that he could still turn into Crawn and thus fight for the Nellenions. Reid’s father pulled some strings in allowing him to serve in such a manner to help atone for his crimes. He also figured that Zack could be useful in infiltrating the Daelian base.
            “You know, I wouldn’t have thought the idea of trickling in here would work,” Nathan commented. “I was expecting that the Daelian’s would have attacked by now.”
            “Well, the Daelians are aware of the Nellenion army thanks to the various battles that have been happening across the state. So they have a taste of what they are up against. I think the Dark Master is prepping a large force for battle,” Zack proposed.
            “Alright then, let’s start preparing our strategy,” Reid urged them.
            They brought out a map and called their generals over to begin planning. Zack pointed out the location of the cave that led to the Daelian base, not far from their location. He also detailed the process used to make DE neomon and how it could be stopped in the base. They decided to split their company into two groups: a main attack force and a support force. The attack force would march on foot to the Daelian base and attempt to infiltrate it. The support force would consist of snipers on the fort walls and occasional aerial support. That way, there would be cover should the main force need to retreat.
            Zel informed them that Jenny’s powers could be used to provide a barrier for the walls, should the Daelian forces try to breach. They determined it best for Jenny to stay behind in the support force until they could be certain they could bring her safely to deliver the final blow to the Dark Master.
            In choosing the leaders for the main force, they picked David, Reid, and Zack. Dyl, Nathan, and Emily were to stay behind to protect Jenny. At first, Emily protested the idea of being relegated to the rear, but Nathan explained the idea was if the Daelians broke through the fort while the main force was out, they need would capable close range fighters.
            After all the details were worked out, they broke session and decided to rest for a short while before their attack. During this time, David went up to meet with Jenny, looking over one of the walls toward the ocean.
            “So this is it,” she muttered, staring spaciously at the waves as they rolled in. “After this, it should be all over.”
            “Yeah,” he replied with a deep breath as he joined her wave-watching. “Hard to think it has only been a few weeks. Yet at the same time, it has gone by so fast.”
            “So what do we do after this? Just go back to our normal lives?”
            “I don’t think there is a going back. Sure, things will be the same as before, but we’ve changed a bit and that will affect how we see things. I will have to go back to a school I don’t like when fall comes, but I might be able to stand it now. And I think I do appreciate the changes that have happened.”
            “Mm-hmm. David, do you remember that one scene we came across during the trials? With the ocean and stars?”
            “Yes. Quite fondly.”
            “I hope life becomes like that. Peaceful and Beautiful,” she daydreamed with a pleasant smile. “I know it won’t be. I guess I just have to accept the bad with the good, but I can dream, right?”
            Just then Nathan came running up calling David. They spotted Daelian forces approaching in large numbers. They entered forms and went out to see the situation.
            “It looks like we will be on the defensive from the start,” Sanger commented.
            “We can still stick to our plan for the most part,” Shatl concluded. “Everyone! Let’s do this!” Everyone roared. The old friend then turned to David and asked, “Do you have any inspiring speeches to give them?”
            “Nope,” came the reply. “Your words summed it up. Let’s go!”
            The main force gathered outside the fort and lined up facing the incoming horde. David then took a moment to turn to Crawn and ask, “Are you sure you’re up to this?”
            The old Daelian colonel smirked and replied, “Yeah. To be honest, I feel like I am more powerful than I was before.”
The Nellenion army charged forward. As the snipers worked to take out as many as they could, Cyonex looked up and spied a news helicopter arriving.
            “What in the world are they doing here?”
            “Don’t they know it’s dangerous?” Crawn scowled at the media’s presence.
            “Commander Cyonex, might I make a suggestion,” a soldier walked up to the Guardian and said.
            “What is it?”
            “If they are airing live footage, we might be able to use it to our advantage. Someone inside the fort can relay the information to us.”
            “It can only help. Go back and tell Drame.”
            Meanwhile, Emily had spotted the copter as well and rushed over to Jenny, with a shirt in hand.
            “Here,” she said, handing it to Jenny. “Put this on. We don’t want you to get any unwanted publicity.”
            The Shining Princess took the shirt and put over her head. She then proceeded to wrap it as if it were a ninja mask. She thanked Emily and summoned her bow. She pulled back the string and let loose a missile of light. As the arrow flew through the air, it multiplied and took out a dozen DE neomon.
            In awe of this spectacle, some of the soldiers asked among themselves, “Who is this girl that even without a form is as effective as a dozen Nellenion soldiers?”
            Jenny turned to Emily and said smiling, “Am I still ‘useless’?”
            “Totally,” she replied sarcastically. “Now go and don’t stop shooting those arrows.”
            At that time, the news copter began its report.
            “…and we’re coming live from the skies above Fort Tempest. There appears to be a battle going on between a host of yellow or gray armored warriors and a legion of monsters! The warriors look to be based inside Fort Tempest while the monsters are emerging from a cave not far from it. I can’t believe my eyes here. The monsters appear to be everything from mutated panthers to dinosaurs to… Is that an upside-down pyramid holding a flaming sword?! I can’t describe these things. But wait! In the rear of the monsters’ force… it’s a purple knight. It looks like that knight is commanding the monsters. What in the world is going on here?”
            Drame relayed the information about the knight to David, Reid, and Crawn.
            “That’s Alfran,” Crawn told them. “I believe that is the governor herself. We’re going to have to be careful. Her power is substantial and greatly exceeds my own.”
            “Well, if all three of us go against her, we can probably take her down,” Shatl suggested as he continued to blast incoming neomon.
            The Nellenion force charged toward their wave of foes. With a few lobs of bombs, as well as the cover fire from the fort, they were able to break through the enemy lines. They blasted, hacked, and slashed through the numerous monsters, but there seemed to be no end to them.
            Meanwhile, another squadron of DE neomon tried approaching from the sea. Knaidow and Drame led a good number of men from the support force to fend them off. However, this meant the numbers aiding the main attack force had been reduced.
            At the same time, the reporter continued to provide details of the battle.
            “I don’t believe it. The monster forces have brought out machines from their cave. It appears that the monsters are spawning from the machines. Would portals be an apt term to describe these things? I don’t know what else to say. I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s like a window floating in air and the monsters are emerging from it!
            “Wait! There’s something else coming from the cave. It’s a giant purple ball being carried by more of these monsters. It looks like there is something inside it. Is that a dragon?!”
            True enough, the monsters had brought out Zenoth, their Dark Master, raised in a mini tower of sorts. It was the shape of a dragon, but imprisoned in this giant ball probably about 20 feet in diameter. The head was at the top but its tail also was raised up. Shatl commented that it looked as if “a giant evil eye was staring at them.”
            “What’s going on?” Cyonex said as his heart weighed heavy by the appearance of the Dark Master.
            “They must be trying to discourage us,” Shatl answered. “Looking back at our forces, it has appeared to have succeeded.”
            “Guardian!” Crawn called out. “If we can shut those portals, the neomon will stop coming.”
            “Why would they bring out their spawning points?” Cyonex wondered aloud. “Is it just for more efficient deployment? I don’t like this.” Nonetheless, the Warrior of Fire determined it necessary to take out those portals. So with a strong and determined voice he called out to his soldiers, “Alright! You hear that men? The focus is those portals. We need to shut them down! While their leader is still imprisoned, he can wait! Don’t try to take him on! He’s still powerful even when imprisoned! Now let’s go!”
            The Nellenion warriors regained their strength and marched forth, neofying all their way. The main three continued to stick together as they paved their way to Alfran, who also began moving toward them. They met about halfway to Zenoth’s position.
            The armor of Alfran was dominantly purple, but it was armor unlike that of the other Neostrikers. It was a massive full knight’s armor. It had silver embroidery and a scarlet cape bellowing in the wind.
            The three warriors still intended to take her on together. However, as soon as they got close, a Dark Arena appeared, ensnaring Cyonex alone to face the general. There was no time for comments or to be surprised, for Alfran came rushing in with her sword drawn. The youth dived out of the way and regained his composure.
            “Natasha Banks, I assume?”
            “Correct on the first try,” she answered. “I’ve heard stories about you. Considering your impressive behavior against my old test subject, I will enjoy crushing you.”
            “I will admit I did not anticipate the Dark Arena to isolate me from my friends, but you will lose if you underestimate me.”
            “Not a chance,” the governor scoffed. “I can see your limits, they are inferior. I was bestowed the legendary Alpha Armor, reformed as the Dark Armor, not that you know anything about it. All you need to know is your fate is sealed.”
            “I’ve heard a few things,” the youth quirked. “If I’m right, the Alpha Armor was stolen by a wicked knight. It was considered the most superior armor at the time, meant to rival those told in legends.”
            “Now how would you know that?”
            “That’s the mystery for you to find out,” he said while rolling out of the way of another attack. Then to Zel he asked, “That’s really what happened?”
            “Yes. You never developed it any further, and there was no need to edit it.”
            “Yeah, it was just a floating idea, but I thought the designs were cool.”
            “And now you can see it in action,” the Asen smirked.
            David did not have a chance to reply. Alfran had charged in again and swung her blade. The youth put up Sudron to block, but even in Power Mode he was having difficulty fending off the weight of the governor’s blade. It almost appeared hopeless until his armor began to glow. With a sudden burst of power, he threw off Alfran and a light enveloped him.
            As the light began to fade, Alfran could hear David’s voice call out, “Since you have the Alpha Armor, you must know of its twin; the Rising Armor!”
            He emerged from the light with his armor transformed. It was now pure sapphire blue with gold embroidery and a crimson cape. He had new shoulder guards that were like shields. For his shins, there were silver greaves. He was a full knight. Yet it was not just his armor that had changed.
            The youth looked at his sword. It was no longer Sudron, at least how it used to be. He asked Zel, “Is this what I think it is?”
            The Asen replied, “Yes. Sudron and the Angelic Sword have fused into a new blade; the Angelic Sudron.”
            The new sword maintained various elements of the two swords. The fuller of the blade had the red strip on one side and the white on the other. The hilt and cross guard were reshaped. The wings acted as the primary guard, but now they were raised up in a Y-shape. The cloud-evoking guard was beneath that. The sun design with the ruby piece was kept and complementing it on the other side was the star sapphire.
It was a sword magnificent to behold, but David had no time to admire it, at least not then. The governor held no patience, especially for this new development of power for her enemy. She swung her blade with a force equal to what had previously given the Guardian trouble. To her dismay, this was no longer the case.
Cyonex parried the strike with ease and countered with a thrust. Alfran stepped back and tried again. This time, the youth waited until the last instant and swirled out of the way and delivered another blow, the technique he learned from Miyano. Next, he tried the same leaping summersault technique he used against Crawn. Alfran was able to block the mid-air swings, but unable to deal with the rising slash.
The Guardian backed up, smirked, and commented, “It’s plain to see that between you and Crawn, Crawn is the superior swordsman.”
“Silence!” the governor yelled out, charging in with poor form once more. She swung her menacing-looking blade but the Falcon brushed it aside and glided past her, slashing through her arm.
The sapphire armored knight continued, “You rely only on the strength and power that armor grants you. Your skills have a long way to go.”
“I will cut off your head!” Alfran shouted and fired a blast of ice from her left hand. She had used Elite Ice to freeze the Guardian! There was no hesitation for her to quickly follow up with an attack, even while taunting with “Your skills are useless if you can’t move!”
However, as she got close enough, Cyonex unleashed Elite Fire to emit a burst of flame, breaking the ice and pushing back the purple knight.
“You must not have realized I am the Warrior of Fire. No matter now. This is over!” He readied his silver blade and with Full Power, slashed through the Dealian general, deforming her.
David then rushed over, snatched the Elite Stone of Ice and proceeded to catch up with Shatl and Crawn. Once they had seen that David could handle things, those two ran off to deal with the portals.
Meanwhile, the news copter had been focusing its attention on the duel between Cyonex and Alfran. When they saw that Alfran was the governor, there was a freak out and constantly focused on her. They saw her get up and try to chase after Cyonex, only to fall down again and die from what looked like a stroke.
After all of the remaining DE nemon had been neofied and the portals destroyed, Cyonex, Shatl, and Crawn met in front of Zenoth’s prison. They waited for Jenny, Drame, Cepos, and Knaidow to arrive with the remaining Elite Stones.
            “So what do we do now?” Jenny asked after gathering together.
            “I think we’re supposed to use the Elite Stones somehow. David, what do you say?”
            But before David could answer, the Elite Stones were suddenly pulled away from them by an invisible force. They latched onto the spherical prison and dark energy appeared to be absorbing their power. When it was done, the stones we tossed at the feet of the warriors with all energy drained and that was not the end of it.
            The eyes of the dragon lit up a fiery red and the sphere broke open! As the sphere burst, a blast of dark energy blew in all directions. It knocked the helicopter back and shattered the reporter’s camera equipment. As a result, the pilot, fearing for his own life, despite the reporters pleas, flew the helicopter away to safety.
The warriors looked up to see the newly freed Zefortoh. It was a giant black dragon with ferocious horns. As it broke the prison it roared as loud as thunder “I’M FREE!!!” and cackled maliciously. Its roar was so powerful, all remaining Nellenion soldiers were de-formed.
When everyone saw this evil monster, they were paralyzed with terror. Its aura was large and powerful, and those who were weak of heart looked into its eyes felt total despair.

            To make things worse, there was no time to recover strength. As soon as it had finished cackling and spotted the Neostrikers before him, it blew from its hideous mouth an infernal blazing fire at them. Recognizing the danger, David rushed to shield Jenny.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Episode 22: The Match of Seals, Fire and Wind

If I was asked which episode was my favorite, it would be hard to answer. I like a lot of different episodes for different reasons. That being said, this would be a contender due to it's epic scale. Both this and Episode 19 were played through my head maybe over 100 times each because of how awesome I felt they were. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

EPISODE 22: The Match of Seals, Fire and Wind 

            David walked up to his defeated adversary and offered his hand. Dyl grasped and shook it, conceding his defeat.
            “Looks like you are the better one,” he admitted.
            “If you didn’t make a couple mistakes back there, then it would have been closer,” David said reassuringly. “Like if you saved that one trick for the end, you would have gotten me.”
            “Yeah right, you knew it was a trick from the start. That’s how you were able to block my attack. I thought it was a great one too.”
            “It was!” the dreamer laughed. “Combining your cloaking ability with your Shadow Copy Full Power technique was a cool idea. But maybe next time, have your illusion move, otherwise it’s pretty obvious what you were planning.”
            “I should have known you knew about that,” Dyl grumbled. After exchanging a few more comments they reached the rest of the group. They applauded the exciting duel and congratulated David on winning both of his matches.
            “Good job on your victories so far, old friend. But later, be prepared to lose,” Reid said with confidence in his skills.
            “I wouldn’t be too sure of that,” David responded.
            “Hey,” he shrugged. “I’m two for two. Adding one more shouldn’t be a problem.”
            “Those don’t count and you know it.”
            They joked around as they headed to get equipment. They allowed David and Dyl to rest for a little bit before doing some paintball. The group divided into teams and played with the other Nellenion soldiers. They had a good time and were all covered with paint by the end of it. After cleaning up, eating dinner, and discussing plans for the next day, they took time to relax. Rather, everyone was meant to relax, but David and Reid went off each on his own to prepare.
            “Ready for those purchases?” Zel asked.
            “Yep. Couldn’t let Reid see them beforehand. We’re going to need to be at our A-game if we want to win.”
            “Definitely. You two are like brothers, aren’t you?”
            “If I were to have a brother, I certainly would wish it was Reid. He’s a good friend. If I was Hamlet, I’d consider him Horatio.”
            “Perhaps he thinks the opposite.”
            “Possibly. At the same time, if there is anyone I consider to be my rival, it’s him.”
            The time came and everyone gathered again. This time at a completely empty flat field. As the two warriors walked to the center, the others started muttering among themselves.
            “Who do you think is going to win?” Emily posed to the crowd.
“Well,” Jenny started, “I’m rooting for David…”
“Of course,” everyone sang in harmony. With Jenny silenced by that, Dyl gave his input.
“The thing is, there’s no way to tell. Every time these two have faced like this, it has been a draw.”
“What do you mean ‘every time’?” Emily poked at the terminology.
Dyl kept his cool and explained, “You might not know this, but both Shatl and Cyonex are inherited forms. They existed a long time ago and dueled. But no matter the situation, the outcome was always a draw. They are equals when it comes to facing each other. Now from what I have seen between Reid and David, the case is the same.”
“So before the odds were unfair, since Reid was either facing Neocyx, the inferior form, or was fighting with you against him. Now that David has Cyonex and Sudron, it’s even?” Jenny asked.
“More or less,” Nathan answered. “We still don’t know what they have done in preparation. But it looks like we are about to find out.”
Both warriors entered into their mega form. However, what happened next was not expected. They drew their swords and called out, “I challenge you to a Nellenion Match! Match of Seals!” A seemingly normal Nellenion field appeared. Both sheathed their blades and then began the duel in their heads, playing out various strategies.
“What’s the Match of Seals?” the professor inquired of Dyl and Nathan.
“It’s a higher order of a Nellenion Match,” Dyl explained as the group had already come to recognize his knowledge of Neostrikers. “The field changes throughout the duel randomly. You could say it’s the best setting for an epic duel.”
“That doesn’t explain the name,” Emily critiqued.
“No, but the fact that it was used to ‘seal’ the Zeforoth does. However, Reid and David are just using it for a battleground. It appears they want to have a winner.”
The action appeared ready to start. Cyonex took out his torch sword and shock sword. However, as soon as the shock sword appeared, it was gone. The Warrior of Fire looked at his left hand and then at Shatl. He summoned the shock sword again only to have it vanish again. Meanwhile, the Warrior of Wind called out a torch sword and an air sword. They began to cross swords.
“What just happened?” Jenny wondered aloud.
“It was a duel of neocards it seemed,” Sanger answered.
“That was it exactly,” Nathan responded. “David used his shock sword neocard like normal, but Reid has a ‘negate’ neocard that cancels it. It looked like David used his recover neocard to use the shock sword, but Reid also has a “copycat” neocard, which allows him to reuse any neocard and he chose to cancel the shock sword again.”
“Why would he do that?” Emily asked a little confused. “Shock sword is probably the weakest of David’s neocards. Wouldn’t it be better to use it on a neocard combo or barrier?”
“Nah,” Dyl replied. “The thing about David’s shock sword is how he uses it. Even though he has it as his off-hand weapon, it’s the one you have to be careful of the most. Because it can stun you, it allows him to get a second, more serious strike in. So if you are concentrating too much on blocking that, you are bound to get hit. Though I think Reid is capable of having the right focus.”
“But it seems he’s not taking any risks with that,” Jenny added while still watching the duel.
No blows had landed yet. Both sides were being fairly conscience in not over-committing. Yet that did not mean they were not attacking. To the normal and undiscerning eye, it would appear as if they were going at full force.
Since Cyonex could not use the shock sword, he pulled out his sonic sword to replace it and had been fending off the Wolf. He launched the first of the two sword waves but Reid ducked below and darted towards him. They locked swords, but the Falcon was eventually able to break free. He launched the second wave and hit before Shatl could block it. As normal after firing two waves, the sonic sword disappeared.
“A little careless I see,” Cyonex threw a taunt.
“Don’t worry, I’ll make up for it,” Reid retorted keeping his cool.
“Well, you’re going to first have to break through my barriers. Here’s a new one. Mega armor!”
            The Guardian attempted to summon one of his new neocards but it would not work. He realized Shatl had another trick up his sleeve.
            “Sorry, but I just happened to obtain a ‘Barrier Blocker’ neocard,” the Wolf smirked.
            “That’s even rarer than the ‘Negate’ neocard you used earlier. But that means you can’t use any barrier neocards either.”
            “Whatever works.”
The center of the arena where they stood began to glow. Being aware of it, both parties leaped backwards, away from each other and the field changed. The ground became a meadow and in the center emerged a stationary tornado. The wind force was so strong that both warriors had to plant their feet. They stood across facing each other while enduring the harsh wind.
Normally, the force of the wind would overpower them and pull them inside, but these two also obtained a “static armor” which allowed them to resist movement. It almost was like their boots were made of heavy metal. Again, the match became a thinking game.
Deciding to attack, David attempted to fire a charged blast through the tornado, but the wind pushed it aside. Reid took a stab at throwing a bomb and using the wind current to land it on David, but with no success.
The tornado kept on going. Shatl then put away his blades and placed his palms out. Energy appeared to be collecting in his hands. Cyonex recognized this as Shatl’s recovery technique, which allowed him to heal while he is not moving. Knowing this would cancel any advantage he had, David became determined to conquer the tornado.
He contemplated removing his static armor and using the current to hurl himself at Shatl, but that would only open him up for an attack. He attempted Reid’s earlier bomb attempt. He tossed one to judge how the tornado would move it. He then followed with the bigger ultra bomb. It would have worked too, except as it was about to hit Shatl, he swiftly moved backwards without lifting a foot.
“He has a “quick dodge” neocard too?!” David moaned.  
“You were right about him being a challenge,” Zel told him.
“Yeah. Hmm. A charge shot won’t make it past the winds here.”
“What if you used a more powerful blast?”
“Exactly what I was thinking. Let’s try it. Neo gun, super gun, ultra gun. Neocard combo, mega gun!”
Using a couple of new neocards, the dreamer was able to pull off this new combo. The energy from the cards fused to form a huge canon. He aimed and fired it directly through the tornado and at Shatl. Breaking through the tornado was a success, but to his surprise a mini tornado enveloped Shatl and redirected the blast away from him.
“You gotta be kidding me! A tornado block too?!” he shouted across the field, amidst the strong winds.
“Hey! If you didn’t fire it through the tornado in the first place, my card wouldn’t have been able to stop it. At least you got me to take some damage.”
The tornado faded away and the field transformed again. This time, it evoked the presence of a volcano. The rocky terrain took over but not without various boulders floating down a river of lava. To add to it, meteors came crashing from the sky and lightning crackled brightly together with its accompanying thunderclap. However, the change failed to distract the two warriors as they resumed close combat.
They kept at it, amidst the surrounding chaos, but neither was able to obtain an advantage. They took the battle to the floating boulders only to return to higher and more stable ground after no more success there. Both attempted to use their “mega sword” neocard combo for the lead but both hit.
            Next, the field converted to a beach-like scene. The sides were all sand, spotted with a few palm trees. Shallow water filled the middle except for a patch of land, where the battle raged on. Cyonex activated his aqua gun, which somehow received a boost in power due to the surrounding landscape, but he was only able to hit with a couple shots.
            The arena changed yet another time to a forest area. The two warriors take to the treetops to continue their duel. The advantage fell to Reid here as he was able to nick David with one of his blades, but that was all until next change.
            A rink of ice claimed the next territory. Here, the two warriors had to glide across the ice, or be careful not to slip.
            The intensity was blazing. For the next terrain alteration, it became a mountain path with Cyonex on the higher ground. He lunged at Shatl, ready to slam the drawn Sudron. The Wolf decided to meet him in the air and made a leap, aiming for the legs of the Falcon with Widrond. However, David was able to shift his weight and flip forward. After a clash of steel, both sides landed. The legendary swords had been drawn, and the sparks flying from the repeated clashes lit up the land.
At one point, Reid committed to a big slash, but David moved at the last possible instant, swirled around, and was able to slash from behind. From there, they were locked in a stalemate until the field transformed one last time.
The final mode of the arena was actually a fairly peaceful one. No one could explain how, but the field blocked the sunlight and created an illusion of night. The complete it, a ball of light, mimicking the moon hung a giant tree. Beneath the tree flowed a gentle stream, but that did not matter to the warriors.
The Wolf readied his glistening steel blade as he focused intently upon the Falcon whose golden decorated hilt was raised in response. Then, like two renowned samurai under the shadow of the tree, they dashed in, crossed swords for three strikes, and separated. In the end, they only countered each other and stood facing off again in this passionate duel. The onlookers momentarily forgot they were spectating a duel but instead a magical sword dance.
Reid and David finally halted their seemingly never-ending combat. The illusion of night faded away and the sunset shone perfectly on the giant tree. The two warriors stood still, again plotting every possible action in their heads. Finally, as white spheres of light began to fill the air, David broke the silence called out his challenge, the same that Reid was ready to do as well.
“Time to end this! Elite Overdrive!”
With those words, the white and scarlet auras envelop the warriors as they charged at full speed and power, using their Elite Slashes. The blades cross, but the auras did not die. Instead, the warriors continue to swing their blades at high speed in close combat with the golden auras still about them.
            The intensity and excitement cannot be captured by language. It was a spectacle that had to be seen. What words and descriptions I have used fail to do it justice. The best that can be said is this was perhaps the greatest swordfight anyone there had seen.
            The two warriors maintained perfect focus and fought hard. They had become titans under the setting sun. Both made and continued to make perfect attacks and counters. They would strike one area, only to bring it back in time to parry the counter. The legendary swords saw movement everywhere; left and right, up and down. Even when they would break apart and resort to using their guns, their executions were breathtaking while dodging beautifully with rolls and side steps.
            Nonetheless, they would soon return to sword combat, the ideal way to end such a duel. The force and energy behind each and every swing was inspiring, as the golden auras grew and grew. This was the combat of legends.
            Finally, the golden auras burst and encompassed the arena as if it were the sun. When the light had finally vanished, the Nellenion field was gone. Cyonex was still standing while Reid lay on the ground. Yet not more than a second later, Cyonex too de-formed and fell to the ground. Both of them then said despite their heavy exhaustion, “That… was… the… most… fun… ever,” and then they passed out.
            What happened was in that great light, both of them had charged in like they did before with their Elite Slashes. The blades crossed, and they both quickly recovered and thrusted, aiming for the chest. But Cyonex was able to sidestep just enough for Shatl to miss by only a millimeter!

            It took a few moments before David and Reid awoke from their rest. After thanking Sanger and the soldiers for their time and effort, they returned to Reid’s house for the night. And everyone there was now inspired by what they saw and ready for the next day’s fateful climax. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Episode 21: Stealth and Tactics

EPISODE 21: Stealth and Tactics

            By the time the two travelers got back to Reid’s house, it was early afternoon. As soon as they entered the door, the others came bustling with news.
            “Did you guys hear?!” Dyl shouted before they could get their bearing. However, they did not have to answer as Emily revealed what they were talking about.
            “The governor has disappeared.”
            “What? Did she do another show?”
            “Nope. She just ran off. The media is having a blast, but no one knows what happened,” Reid said.
            “It could be because Zack has connected her to the Daelians,” Nathan proposed.
            “But she’s skillful enough to manipulate the details of something like that,” Dyl chimed in. “It’s more likely they are in the final stages of their scheme, and she doesn’t care about the office anymore.”
            “Did you retrieve the sword?” Reid asked, changing focus.
            “Yeah, even got a little rest at the village,” Jenny answered.
            “Oh! So you’re in condition to partake in our plans,” Nathan piqued up. 
            “Can you guys please slow down on the barrage? What are these plans?” the dreamer spoke as one could expect.
            They all took a deep breath and Nathan began.
            “Okay. While you were gone, we started rounding up the Nellenion Army we have been forming. We’ve made arrangements to meet at Fort Tempest in two days.”
            “So Sunday,” David nodded.
            “Yeah,” the army child continued. “Since we have these next two days to do any final preparation, we decided it be best to see how much you have improved.”
            “I think I catch your grip. You mean for each of you to challenge me in a one-on-one duel.”
“Yeah, wasn’t how I was going to phrase it, but that’s the gist of it. We’ve even procured the battlefield for today.”
            “Wait! I have to fight all three of you today?!” he moaned.
“No, don’t worry.” Reid reassured him. “The plan is you fight us tomorrow. Nathan in the morning, Dyl in the afternoon, and me last.”
“You don’t give me much time to get battle-ready.”
“Better to be battle-ready for the final battle than a skirmish,” his old friend retorted.
David sighed. “At least it’s tomorrow.”
“Yeah, but then get ready to get messy. After all this, we’re going to have some fun.”
They used the rest of the day to relax and prepare for their trip on Sunday. The next morning, they arrived at an outdoor paintball site. There were quite a few people there actually, but all adults. Anticipating David’s concern, Nathan began to explain.
“Don’t fret. Everything here is okay. This place is run by a friend who happens to be in our Nellenion Army. So for today and tomorrow, he closed off this place to the public so we can practice. Some of our soldiers are here as well to train.”
Before David could respond, the owner came by and greeted them.
“Hello everyone!” he welcomed in a strong voice. “I am former lieutenant Sanger. As you can see, we have been training for our attack on Sunday. I think you troops have gathered a fine army, and this is just part of it. We have young veterans as well as civilians, who still have a strong morale. Though I’m a little surprised to see some girls with you.” 
            “Yes, and they will be critical to our operation,” Reid stated with no hesitation.
            “No problem here,” Sanger responded. “You kids have taught me that being a strong Neostriker doesn’t matter with age or battlefield experience, why should gender be a problem? I’ve met some strong women in my time with the armed forces. I look forward to serving with you all and hopefully we can put an end to this Daelian threat.”
            “Do you have an area for us?” Nathan asked, feeling finished with all this talk.
            “Yes, this way,” the lieutenant led them to a one of the paintball arenas. This one was primarily hills. There were a few trees and bunkers to take cover behind.
            “Some of the men are looking forward to see your battles. In fact, only some of the vets can match with this young man’s accuracy,” he said, patting Nathan on the back.
            “Too bad it doesn’t carry over to paintball,” Nathan said modestly.
            “Well, I look forward to beating you in both,” David started the banter.
            “If it’s like the chess game we played the other day, I’ve already won.”
            “Too bad it isn’t.” David smirked with confidence.
            They entered forms and called a Nellenion field. Then, they decided to play it like paintball and give each other time to get ready on different sides of the field. After a minute to allow them to find a good spot, Sanger fired a signal for them to begin. Both of them took cover.
            “Shoot! I just remember Cepos has camouflage,” David thought to himself, but still careful not to speak aloud.
            “Yeah, it certainly gives him the advantage,” Zel pointed out.
            “I know, I know. You don’t need to be captain obvious,” the youth muttered. Just then, a shot nearly hit his location. “Did he find me already?!” David grumbled going for cover.
            “It might have been a scouting shot,” Zel insinuated.
            “That’s a sound possibility, but I don’t know if I should risk it. If he has found me, then I should move somewhere else. Can you tell me where the shot came from?”
            “From where you are facing, 5 o’clock, from the hill,” the Asen informed him.
             “Remind me for paintball to not start on the lower ground.”
            Another shot fired and nearly hit him. Zel reported that it came from the 3 to 4 o’clock direction this time. Realizing that if Cepos is as accurate as Sanger claimed, he should have been hit. Basing his logic off that, Cyonex decided that they were shots to lure him out. Helping cement his reasoning, He saw another shot fired at a different location further away. This time, he spied the bushes where it came from.
            He moved from his cover behind the tree and took a side route that kept him hidden from the sniper’s angle. He made sure not to make any obvious sound, but when he got around the bend, another shot nearly hit him.
            “That wasn’t a guess, he actually saw me,” the dreamer realized. “But how? From where he was, he couldn’t see me move. And that shot was fired as soon as it could. That means he was waiting for me to come around that bend. Wait, Zel. Is it just me or was that shot a little slower than we’ve seen in training?”
            “It’s no mistake, that was slower,” the Asen confirmed.
            “Alright. I think I get the idea of what’s he doing. Do you remember if he has a remote turret?”
            “He didn’t use one in our training sessions. Is that what you think he’s using?”
            “Yeah,” the Guardian affirmed. “That probably means he’s hiding in a good spot for scouting. Like that big tree!”
            Sure enough, the sniper was there, not with a gun in hand, but just watching over the area. The branches did a good job of covering him while providing an outlet to watch Cyonex’s movements.
            “I probably never would have thought to look in the trees,” David confided in his Asen.
            “With him using remote gun at ground level to cover his tracks, you wouldn’t be blamed for not thinking it.”
            “Alright, so assuming that the turret is not as accurate as his rifle, but also how close that shot was, he probably has to put all his focus in it to operate. That means, when he fires it, he’s not scouting from the tree.”
            “If you can reach the tree without revealing you know he’s there, then you can get in a few extra blows,” Zel recommended.
            Cyonex took a peek past the wall to see if the gun was still there. A shot was fired to confirm his suspicion. It hit him, but he had a saiber armor to absorb the blow for him.
            “Okay, so I can’t blow up that turret if I want to use it for my advantage. Zel, can you give a map layout of the playing field?”
            “Certainly. I was a little surprised you didn’t ask for it sooner,” the Asen quipped while bringing up the map display on David’s visor.
            The dreamer took a look at the map starting plotting. He did not have much more time, however, as a grenade rolled to his side of the wall. He dove out of the way and then proceeded to make for the tree by a different route.
            When he got there, he tossed an ultra bomb and knocked Cepos down from where he was perched. Taking the opportunity, he dealt another strike using his sonic sword. He attempted another, but the sniper got up and dashed out of range by using his Elite Stone of Speed. However, the momentum never left Cyonex’s side from that point and he was able to emerge victorious.
            “Man, David, I thought my plan was going to get you,” Nathan commented after the match. “I even just picked up that turret neocard.”
            “Was your plan to fire so many shots on the ground so I never would have expected you were in the tree?” David asked and Nathan nodded affirmatively.
            “Alright, so now it’s my turn!” Dyl said psyched up.
            “Well, your turn will have to wait,” Emily soured his mood. “David has to wait a while before he can enter forms again.”
            “You had to say it,” Dyl retorted. “Oh well, we can at least do paintball or get lunch until then. It’s only 10:30. You think an hour and a half will give you enough rest?”
            “I have no quarrels with that,” David said, though he was a little worn out by the mental game Nathan had prepared for him.
            When the time came, the warriors were prepared. They decided on a flat and fairly empty zone. There were two long buildings along the side of the arena, but otherwise it was empty. In the center, the two warriors stood facing each other, like cowboys ready to draw. No banter, just a battle of silence.
           The Nellenion field came up and both sides continued their stare down, waiting for the other to make a move. This seemed to go on for so long that Emily shouted, “Hurry up and start or your faces will stay that way!”
             With that cue, they did begin. In classic fashion, they fired their first shots while jumping out of the way. Both missed, but they didn’t stop. Instead, they took up dual swords and started swinging. Clash after clash, no strikes penetrated.
They break apart and Cyonex switches one of his blades with his favored sonic sword. He performed his one-two slash but Knaidow was able to dodge both waves. He returned fire with his own sonic sword, but David was able to withstand it thanks to his saiber armor neocard.
            Returning to close-combat, they crossed blades, but this time, David was able stab Dyl with his shock sword. This stunned the Thief of the Night long enough for the Guardian to follow through with the mega sword neocard combo.
            In hopes to make up for that combo, Dyl jumped back and pulled his cloak over to disappear. Everyone outside was watching, but they were a little confused to hear Reid ridicule the move aloud, “Foolish move, Dyl.” They would have questioned the outburst had they not seen what he meant.
            In response to Knaidow’s tactic, Cyonex activated his smoke screen. The next thing they saw was a bomb explosion inside the field.
            “I see!” Jenny exclaimed. “David negated Dyl’s cloaking advantage by effectively mimicking it. Since Dyl, can’t see him either, it was just a wasted move.”
            “Yeah,” Nathan agreed. “And since Dyl used Elite Night to pull off his trick, he wasted a valuable asset. David used two neocards, but that’s nothing compared to the Elite Stones.”
            “You’re both right,” the stalwart Reid approved. “Also, his cloak ability is more for escape than attack. As soon as he attacks, he becomes visible again. It would have been better if he just waited and used it for an Elite Slash. The only chance he has to pull that off is if he can have David waste his or stall long enough to recharge. It’s more likely he has to defeat David before he gets his slash ready.” 
            After the smoke cleared, both parties were visible again. They returned to swords, but Dyl knew he could not keep at it for long. While he wasn’t bad with the blade, he had watched Cyonex practice with Shatl and also the match against Crawn. He knew that Cyonex was superior.
            Sensing the disadvantage in close-range, Dyl leapt back and took to the air. His cloak transformed into the shape of a kite, carrying him up like a shinobi. From there, he proceeded to throw ninja stars. They curved to home in, but David was still able to avoid them.
            The dreamer returned the favors with shots, but they missed. The ones that would have hit were blocked by Knaidow’s barrier neocards. Deciding to accept the supposed challenge, Cyonex jumped onto one of the roofs and from there made a leap toward Knaidow with Sudron drawn.
            They proceeded to cross swords in mid-air, with Cyonex using his jetpack and a booster to stay afloat. His time in the air was still short, though, and he had to land before he could deal any blows. However, after he landed, he fired a boomer shot that was able to cut the kite, forcing his foe to land.
            Dyl alighted on top of one of the roofs and proceeded to run down it while throwing ninja stars. The stars did not hit, but that was part of the plan. What did work were a couple of the bombs he threw in addition to the throwing stars. However, by then, he was out of space to run.
            Cyonex jumped on top of the roof and charged at Knaidow. He saw him wave his cloack again, but Dyl didn’t appear to vanish this time. The shadow warrior stood still but when Sudron was swung, he phased out only to reappear with his legendary sword attacking from behind. Yet, it appeared the Warrior of Fire anticipated this as he spun with his swing to block the sneak attack.
            The clash of steel continued upon the rooftop with no side yielding. It went on for a moment until Cyonex overpowered Knaidow with a sudden burst of strength thanks to Power Mode. After shoving him back, the Guardian then unleashed a streak of lightning that paralyzed the agile Neostriker. With a Full Power slash, the match was over.