X stood in his room, his back to Leviathan, “You failed me Leviathan. You know the price of failure…”

“Please master, I’m sorry… All I need is one more chance…”

“You have used up all your chances. My mercy has run short for you…”

Harpuia arrived at the door to warn Master X that the resistance was expected to attack Inner Heaven at any moment, when he stopped and looked in at a softly sobbing Leviathan on her knees as Master X formed a buster on his arm and took aim….

“Members of the resistance,” began Ciel. “The day we have long awaited has come. Today we storm the Inner Heaven and free ourselves from a life of constant struggle, we will put a stop to X! Go and make us proud. For our freedom!”

The resistance forces, one again led by Zero, transported into the innermost part of Neo Arcadia. Many of their forces were still scattered around from dealing with the attacks elsewhere, and Arcadian command was trying franticly to recall all available units back to the capital where, for the moment lay only a skeletal force of peacekeepers. Pantheons with jetpacks, while still troublesome, were clearly suited for patrol and lacked the numbers to stop the resistance forces advance.

In the distance X's palace could be seen. It was a massive stone building with collumns, a large courtyard, and looked out over the citizens district of Neo Arcadia. The resistance members noted as they hurried through the district that most of the civilians had been activated. Despite this, the Arcadians seemed unwilling to engage in combat in the proximity of all of the homes. The main force, would surely lie within X's palace. The resistance members began their long climb up the stone stairway. Eventually everyone made it to the top, though with some complaints about the stairs sapping their energy reserves.

X slashed at Leviathan with his energy sword, leaving a deep gash in her armor. “Is there a reason you resist your fate? You know you stand no chance against me. Or are you desperate for life you’d fight for 5 more seconds?”

Leviathan merely tried to crawl towards the door where she could see what looked like Harpuia. “P… please Harp…” X jumped and kicked her head into the ground.

“You realize of course this could’ve been swift and painless. But you had to resist. Now you shall suffer for your failures!” He blasted her back, fluid starting to leak from the wounds covering her body. X stepped back, a slightly cruel glint in his eyes. “See Harpuia the price of failing a God? Can you see?!” He laughed a dark, chilling laugh and continued firing his buster at her helpless body.

Harpuia tried to close his eyes, or turn his head away. But he found it like one watching a train wreck, unable to pull his eyes away from the blue whimpering heap on the ground. That heap had once been his friend, he had thought of her as a younger sister.

X laughed again and walked over and kicked Leviathan in the gut as she struggled to stand, causing her to cough up more fluid. X brushed some of the fluid off his armor and looked down at her body. “And now you know why you never fail a God!” He raised his saber and started to bring it down upon her, for a final blow.

“NOOOOOOOO!” Harpuia cried out and dashed forward, blocking X’s saber with his two red ones. “You are no God! Would a God do this?!”

X blinked, and stepped back. “Hmm… maybe you right…”

Harpuia sighed and relaxed a bit.

“On the other hand YOU DARE to question ME, a GOD?! You shall share her fate!” X cried out as he dashed forward slamming Harpuia against the wall. “You shall pay far worse then she for daring to question my judgement..!” He jumped back across the room and readied his buster. Harpuia stood up and drew both of his sabers. They paused for a moment, before dashing forward towards each other. It had begun.

“This seems too easy,” Zero commented as he and the resistance fought their way through X's massive courtyard. He ran up a pillar and leapt off, slashing a golem in two. “I mean, Fefnir and Phantom’s armies seem as always, decently lead and coordinated, but Harpuia’s and Leviathans seem… I dunno… Unlead?” Several resistance members nodded in agreement.

Suddenly a large fireball ripped past the group. Fefnir could be seen halfway up the steps leading inside the palace. Zero snarled and dashed off towards him.

Several members of the resistance tried to follow him but suddenly several shurikens fell from the sky. There was a small bang and a cloud of smoke, and from it emerged the guardian Phantom. “Not so fast, now you have me to contend with.”

“Troops…” It was Ciel, “Theres no avoiding this fight, you'll just have to give it your all!”

Several of the resistance forces panicked, recalling their last battle against one of X's Guardians. But with Zero occupied, they knew that somehow they'd have to overcome Phantom by themselves.

Phantom seemed to be as fast as Zero, able to dodge and parry every attack the resistance forces threw at him. After being knocked to the ground, one resistance member threw a handful of dust into Phantom's eyes, temporarily blinding him, yet he was still able to block the next sword attack instinctually. Phantom didn't have as much luck with busters however, and the resistance forces were able to land their first attack on the Guardian. Which meant he wasn't unbeatable.

Phantom reacted by dropping a smoke bomb. When the air was clear the resistance forces now percieved a total of 8 Phantoms, with no way of knowing which one was the true guardian. The Phantoms engaged the resistance forces, some charged forward to slash with their katanas while others hung back to throw kunai and shuriken. Eventually the pantheons were disposed of, and when a rain of kunai came from above the resistance forces knew where the real Phantom was. He'd been balancing atop one of the large stone pillars in the courtyard, and upon seeing him several of the resistance members attacked the base of the pillar, causing it to fall. Phantom was undeterred, hurling his Dark Cross and leaping atop it, balancing perfectly and throwing more kunai as it spun.

The resistance forces had grown wise to this trick and filled the air with all manner of bullets and energy blasts, Phantom growled and dropped from his Cross, sliding down a pillar and back to the sandy ground. Suddenly a resistance member darted around the pillar and dealt a glancing blow to Phantom's shoulder, shortening his scarf. These resistance members were everywhere, Phantom realized, parrying the next swipe and kicking the offender away. Phantom drew and handful of kunai and hurled them at the onrushing resistance members who grinned confidently when they fell short of their mark. Phantom grinned back as the kunai exploded, knocking the forces off of their feet.

Phantom dashed in for the kill, but another resistance member moved to block him, there were too many to deal with directly. He leapt backward with his back to a pillar as 3 more resistance members cautiously approached. Phantom parried the first blade, but the other two caught his shoulder and chest. The pantheon that had been disguised as Phantom fell over, as the real Guardian hurled his Dark Cross into the group, severing one resistance member at the waist. As Phantom flipped away into the darkness, one resistance member realized they'd have to play the same tricks as Phantom and discharged as much electric energy as his newly acquired electrical chip could muster into Phantom's Dark Cross. As the guardian called his weapon back to him the electricity it still carried shocked him, allowing the opportunity for one resistance member to slash his exposed backside and for another to tackle him to the ground.

Phantom's eyes bulged in disbelief, there were too many of them and he, a sworn guardian of Master X had failed. “No…” he whispered. “No,” he said again with grim determination in his voice, “I won't allow you to reach where Master X is. I'll… I'll take you down with me!”

With these words a powerful explosion ripped through Phantom's body. Realizing what was happening, Raikari summoned a shield with his cyber elf, protecting the resistance members from the blast. All except for the one who had been holding Phantom down, Phantom's self destruct had left no trace of either of them, save for a small crater in the dusty courtyard. The resistance forces were stunned, none of them could have anticipated that Phantom would have willingly self destructed to save his master.

Someone finally broke the silence, “Come on, we have to get to X.”

Harpuia was slammed against the wall again. Coughing up blood he looked up at X, “You… you were always evil. I don’t know why I didn’t try to stop you before.”

X smirked, “You would’ve done nothing, just as you are doing nothing now!” He raised his saber for a killing blow when the door was blown inward and the resistance fighters hurried into the room. “Oh look, more playmates!” He kicked Harpuia in the head and turned towards the newcomers. “You’ve come to die I suppose?”

The resistance forces looked shocked at Leviathan and Harpuia’s unconscious forms and looked back at X. “Well, safe to say we didn’t expect to see this,” one of them said. He shook his head and glared at X. “You're outnumbered. Come quietly and we may go easy on you.”

X laughed and charged forward, not even dignifying his foes with a response.

The ensuing fight was a slaughter. As the resistance had stood little chance against Phantom, they stood no chance against X.

Back at Resistance Base, Ciel was monitoring the mission. Things had quickly gone sour after X had entered the picture. Ciel knew she had made a grave mistake, but she'd thought that they'd have been able to defeat a copy! He wasn't the real X, how could she have known he'd be so strong? She hadn't even built him for combat, just as a diplomatic figure so the people of Neo Arcadia wouldn't panic… But in X lay limitless potential and his copy had evidently been heir to a portion of that.

“Operator, can you get a fix on all of them?”

“Yes Ma'am, thanks to our earlier disarment of their outer defenses we can still transfer people in and out of Neo Arcadia. It probably won't last after today but-”

“Never mind that!” Ciel screamed, “Just transfer everyone out of there, everyone in that room except X!”

Almost immediately there was a flash of white light and the entire team was transfered back to the Resistance Base. Ciel started barking orders to those standing by, “Get all of these guys to med bay now! And start beaming back our other troops ASAP. Yes even Harpuia and Leviathan, stop standing there GO!”

Cerveau walked into the room and over to Ciel as the injured were quickly rushed to the med bay. “Everything was going great until the fight with X started,” Ciel informed him. “He took them all out single handedly. Also it appears Harpuia and his little blue friend there rebelled against him, I didn’t quite get the full story there.”

Cerveau nodded, taking it all in. “And how did the legendary hero fare? Where is Zero?”

“Zero?” Ciel asked as though she'd never heard the name before, “Zero!”

Zero walked into the throne room, Fefnir's head in his left hand. X was overseeing a cleaning crew but turned when he heard someone enter, he wasn't expecting any more challangers that day. Upon seeing X's face, Zero's jaw and Fefnir's head dropped.

“X…. X?” All of a sudden conflicting memories and thoughts poured into his head. His thoughts told him this was the enemy he was supposed to fight, to destroy. But his memories told him differently. He saw X and himself hanging out, fighting side-by-side, and one memory where X told Zero he’d always be there for him.

X noticed the pause, and the conflicting emotion on Zero’s face. “Zero… Is that you? I thought you were dead! It’s so good to see you!” He walked forward, his arms stretched out ready to give Zero a hug.

“X? You're the.. Enemy aren’t you… They say your evil… That you're trying to kill us all!”

A look of shock passed over X’s face, “I never! I’ve done everything I can to help save and protect humanity! Just like we used to do! Don’t you remember?”

More memories passed through Zero’s mind, more of him and X saving everyone. Fighting renegade reploids. Wait… Does this mean…. I’ve been fighting on the wrong side? It was always us versus those that would disrupt balance… Isn’t that what the resistance is trying to do? It was me and X… We were always on the side of good. He obviously still has all his memories.. I… I feel I should trust him. “What… What have I been doing?!”

X smiled and embraced his old friend. “It’s ok, you didn’t know any better. But now we're back, it’ll just be like old times, you and me, protecting humanity once again.”

Zero looked up and smiled, “Yeah.. yeah. Together, you and I will restore peace.”

X smiled back, “Yes… together.”