Ok, guys. I think most of you are familiar with the fact that I've been trying to find a suitable way of killing off Arbiter for a long time. So after months of pondering, I was suddenly hit with an idea like a smack to the face; we'll just make a contest out of it.

You see, this story will be open. ANYTHING can happen as long as:

  1. Happenings are reasonable in the canon.
  2. Arbiter dies near the end and his death is a meaningful one.

So bring on your villains, your monsters, and madmen. (Maybe a few allies can be present, too.) We have to kill the longest-running character of the entire Villains canon by the end of this story.

Also, a note: as the main author of this story I will ensure Arbiter's survivial until I feel that the time is correct for his death. That time will be determined by how you all play out this story.


(Deathwalker 13000) 19:44, April 13, 2012 (UTC)

P.S. I think the most suitable options for killing off Arbiter are Arodnap, Neo-Voice, Carmine (?!), Seya & Co., Morpheus, or maybe even one of the Dark Ones. But who knows? You might just surprise me with a surprisingly viable option.

A Butterfly's Wing

Chapter 1

Arbiter sat atop a large rock and watched his pupil, Karma, in silence. She sat next to him, sketchpad open, working furiously with a slab of charcoal to sketch the ruins that stood before them. Her technique was perfect; within minutes, a duplicate of the ruins was etched onto the paper. Yet Karma was still displeased.

"What troubles you, my pupil?" Arbiter asked.

"The same thing as always, Master," Karma said bitterly. "My drawings are missing something. But I don't know what." She punctuated her last word by slamming her sketchbook down on the stone, snapping the slab of charcoal in the process.

Arbiter grinned. "Perhaps you ought to try something else, then."

"What do you mean?"

"Why do you draw, Karma? Why is it that you take the time and effort to make such life-like sketches?"

"I... never thought of that before, Master."

"Think on it, then," Arbiter said, standing up and sliding off of the rock, landing on the hard ground. "Come, I'll walk you home."

Karma nodded, collected her sketchbook and got to her feet, walking alongside Arbiter.

"Master? I have a question."

"Ask away, child."

"Why is Terralius dead? You've never told me."

Arbiter sighed slightly. "Have you ever heard the idea that the wind created from a butterfly's wing can create a hurricane on the other side of the world?"

"I doubt a butterfly caused this, Master."

Arbiter chuckled. "You take things at face-value, dear student, way too literally. It was a metaphor. It stands for the idea that a rather small thing has the potential to grow into something incredibly potent. Like the battle that tore apart this planet. The seeds of war were sown ages before the actual conflict. Yet as they aged, they grew larger, and more noticeable."

"Seeds of war? Is that another metaphor, Master?"

Arbiter grinned again. "Yes, my pupil. I'm glad to see you're catching on."

"Can you tell me what these 'seeds' were?"

"The evolution of two races, with two entirely different creeds, who walked entirely separate paths. The Intrids explored the ways of science while the Archics followed the ways of tradition and magic. Mistrust bred hate, the hatred grew and fanned the flames of conflict."

"You speak in a lot of metaphors, Master."

"I can't help that, child." Arbiter laughed gently as they arrived at Yakuro's mansion, a rather bizarre sight contrasting the dead world around them. "Go now, I will return in time."

"You're not coming with me, Master? Mother always seems so happy to see you."

"I..." Arbiter began. His grin faltered slightly. "I'm a busy man, my child. Besides, I don't wish to bother your mother too often. Hecate will arrive soon, okay?"

Still not entirely satisfied with Arbiter's answer, Karma nodded. "Okay," she said, somewhat crestfallen.

Arbiter sensed her disappointment. "I'll return soon, I promise."

"Goodbye, Master," Karma said.

"I'll see you soon, child," Arbiter said.

He stood there as Karma walked the rest of the distance to the house, not leaving until Karma had entered. He teleported away, back to the rock that he and Karma were sitting on together not too long ago, and sat down. The grin finally disappeared from his face now that his beloved student was gone.

"Dear pupil... no, dear daughter... how I long to call you who you truly are... but what kind of father gives his child the fate I have left for you? It is selfish of me, I know it... but I couldn't live with myself if you loathed me like you should... there is pain in your future and it is my fault... you should be hating me... that's why I can't tell you that I am your father... I don't want to see the loathing in your eyes, knowing that it is directed towards me..."

Arbiter looked to his side and noticed the slab of charcoal that Karma had left behind, fractured into halves, Arbiter picked it up between two fingers, observing it for a moment, before deftly crushing it.

"I wonder if she does hate me already... she'd only hate me more if she knew..."

"You are a selfish fool, Arbiter," his own voice said. Materializing out of nothing and sitting cross-legged on thin air before him was a nearly identical Arbiter, except that this copy donned a crimson traveler's cloak, pitch black skin, and sported yellow eyes that gleamed with malice.

"I've nothing to say to you," Arbiter said forcefully.

"What kind of a father are you?" corrupt Arbiter asked with no emotion. "Forcing that kind of a fate upon your own child? You might as well drag her though hell itself..."

"I had no choice..."

"No choice? Don't give me that weak excuse. You are fully aware of the hell that Balance-Keepers live through, and you trained her to become one nonetheless. Congratulations, you've condemned your daughter to a life of suffering; are you happy?"

Arbiter was silent.

"With what you are going to put her through, I can only imagine that deep down she truly does resent you- who wouldn't resent you?

"You're lying," Arbiter hissed.

Corrupt Arbiter laughed, before fading away, yet he made sure to have the last word: "Why would I lie if the truth is enough to make you miserable?"

Arbiter sat there for what seemed like hours, with only his anxious thoughts for company. The worst part was that he knew he was right; his daughter, deep down inside her heart, resented him- how could she not? A sickening feeling grew in the pit of his stomach as he stood up and faded away, reappearing in a place where he knew he'd be alone; a rather barren, tiny world, the sole planet of a universe of his own creation, several decades ago.

"I'm a fool," he muttered to himself, staring up into the dark, black void of space. Only the stars were present to hear his lament. Or so he thought...

Chapter 2

Suddenly a dark portal opens nearby and a disturbing figure steps out, at first Arbiter would be forgiven for giving a small smile as it appears his old friend Inferno has returned from beyond - only for that smile to quickly fade away as the figure is revealed to have visible circuitry all over his body.

"Who-what are you?" Arbiter asked.

"That is not important, Ryou.." the figure says, his glowing eyes looking over Arbiter as the artificial wings fold over his shoulders in the same manner normal Pegacorn's did: standing tall as he continues to stare for a moment or two before continuing.

" children hate me as well.. Para, Dox, Sangria.. they despise me.. this is of no concern to me..".

"They aren't your children... you aren't Inferno... Inferno is dead, I saw his death with my own eyes."

The figure barely even blinks: "..true.. I am not Inferno.. I am better.. stronger and far less foolish.. all those years of abuse filled him with a need to belong - that need eventually took control and broke his control of the Twilight Force... I on the other hand have no such need..".

"Why are you here? Can't an old man such as I have even a moment of peace?"

The figure remains emotionless as he states, "..I came to tell you to stop this foolishness.. you actually *care* what others think of you? I am beginning to see where Inferno's weakness began.. in you.. yet it doesn't have to be this way.. do you remember when you were truly free? when no one questioned you.. save yourself? the destroyer of worlds.. that was you.. it can be you again.. if you only stop with this pathetic display.. compassion is what killed Inferno.. why share his fate? don't you owe it to him to survive? no matter the cost?".

Arbiter laughed. "Since when did you care so much for my welfare? What is it that you have to gain by trying to turn me back to my madness?"

The figure seems ready to reply when he is interupted as another portal opens and a small dragon leaps out, leaping at the figure "LEAVE HIM ALONE!".

The figure is too strong for the dragon however and simply grabs said dragon with one hand and lifts him by the neck, the dragon struggling as the figure turns back to Arbiter " mistake me for a petty criminal, Ryou.. as if your actions.. or inaction.. have any meaning to me.. I came here to tell you how pathetic you are becoming.. yet you are blind.. just like Inferno was..".

Arbiter stood quickly to his feet and summoned his blade to his hand, pointing the blade at the figure.

"Thank you for your message," Arbiter said, suddenly much more serious, "but you'd do well to put down that dragon and leave now."

The figure tosses the dragon towards Arbiter and turns, a large portal forming behind him as he faces away from the pair - "..hold onto that fighting spirit, Ryou.. you will need it.. for the Twilight Emperor has returned.. this time he will not be swayed by your empty words or your feeble threats.. as for you, Murk.. enjoy your existence while you can.. soon all who have the Twilight Force within them shall perish.. save for me..".

The dragon gets up and flies towards the figure as he enters the portal, only to be hit and sent crashing back again "IGNIS!" - it was too late though, the figure disappearing along with the portal.

Arbiter stares for a moment, watching as Ignis disappears, before slamming his blade into the ground and sitting down, cross-legged.

Murk growled as he got to his feet and turned to Arbiter, "you're just going to let him get away? do you have any idea what he's going to do? he's going to destroy everyone who has a connection to the Twilight Force - including Sangria..".

"How is that even possible, young one?" Ryou asked, bowing his head slightly in thought.

Murk went quiet for a moment, then replied - "..he's going to wake -her-..".

Arbiter was stricken with silence. He finally stood up. "That is a problem," he finally said.

<<You have no idea>> a dark voice notes, a large female dragon manifesting nearby - growing out of Murk's shadow.

Arbiter frowned. "So much for spending time alone..."

Murk growled again as he turned to the female dragon " got some nerve showing your face again, Kaosa.. after you betrayed your own kind to Ebonscale like that..".

<< the end Ebonscale fell, the sacrifice was worth it..>> Kaosa replied.

"If you have words for us, go ahead and say them," Arbiter said bitterly. "I'm only getting older just standing here."

<<..your age is not what makes you useless.. it is your lack of action that does that..>> Kaosa retorts << for what I have to say: you will be hunted down by many beings seeking your end today.. see to it you don't embarass yourself.. as for us..>> - she lifts Murk - <<..we must depart and deal with Ignis before he completes his plan.. good luck staying alive, Balance-Keeper.. you'll need it>>.

With that Kaosa disappears alongside Murk, into the darkness.

"Hunted down by many beings seeking my end... nothing new," Arbiter thought darkly to himself; the keeper of Balance did make many enemies, after all. Still, what Murk said did not bode well with him:

"...he's going to wake her..."

The mere idea of Arodnap's return sent a shudder through his spine. "Perhaps I ought to assist and destroy that robotic copy of Inferno... but why does it even exist in the first place? As much as I hate to admit this, Kaosa is right- my lack of action does make me useless. Perhaps I'll find a few answers in Avalon..."

Arbiter faded into thin air once more, heading towards the kingdom of the pegacorns...

Chapter 3

It didn't take long for Arbiter to notice something was wrong as he found himself on the streets of Avalon, overlooking the great Palace - only it seemed different, somewhat darker than usual and clouds seemed to gather over the great building as armored guards approached him.

"Is King Equis present?" Arbiter asked the approaching guards.

The guards part slightly and Arbiter is greeted to the sight of a young female Pegacorn dressed in a rather revealing suit, painted red - with a gnarled staff ending in a black pulsating gem: "..ah, the Balance-Keeper.. just as expected..".

"Expected..." Arbiter repeated, frowning. "I see..."

"Now.. don't be rude.." a voice speaks out, the guards parting further as a figure walks forward - to Arbiter's surprise it is not Equis but a human dressed in a black on red suit:- familiar yet also alien.

"...what's going on here?" Arbiter asked darkly.

"Let's just say Ignis is the least of your concern right now.." the figure says, turning away as he raises his arms out " who wants the first go? come on! here he is! the man who allowed Avalon to die!".

"Approach and I will not hesitate to gut you," Arbiter snarled, holding his blade out.

"Striker.. wait.. Ignis is our concern now as well.. he plans on awakening Arodnap.. this goes against the will of the Queen.." the female Pegacorn replies.

"Your Queen? So who is pulling your strings, little puppets?" Arbiter asked.

"Why do you ask questions even an infant should know?" another voice replies, this time from behind - revealing a cloaked being in red, her feature concealed save for glowing yellow eyes.

"I knew it..." Arbiter thought to himself. "What do you want, Misery?"

"First of all, Ignis won't get Arodnap out of the Realm of Madness.. second of all.. that's the dragons' problem - as for us.. we're just going to drive this precious "Balance-Keeper" over the edge.. then some opportunist will come along and *BAM*! " Corrupt Freedom-Striker notes, making a gun-gesture with his hand and pointing it to his head.

"Again.. asking questions with obvious answers.. how.. typical.." Misery replies - then clicks her fingers, as she does so the environment disappears around Arbiter, leaving the group (minus the guards) floating in empty space.

"..we don't have much time, so I will enlighten you on certain developments.. then you will act.. as you always do..".

"By all means then, enlighten me, Misery," Arbiter retorted.

"..there are a great many Corrupted Ones, beings that were born from the negativity of others.. they exist to spread forth and eventually replace your reality with one of my own making.. Ignis is planning on awakening Arodnap in order to purge the Multiverse of those who can utilize the Twilight Force, so that he may become the sole inheritor of its might.. such a loss of life will not be tolerated and will prevent the creation of further Corrupted Ones.. which is why I reveal my plan to you now, Balance-Keeper.. so you can make a choice based on reason: do you stop me or do you stop Ignis? which is the greater threat?" Misery said.

To Arbiter's left, Corrupt Arbiter faded into view. "So, what will it be, Balance-Keeper? Save a few worthless Twilight Dragons in the short run, or let Arodnap rise and stall the conversion of the Multiverse into Misery's personal hell?"

Arbiter was silent for a moment. "I've made my choice, Misery," he finally said. "I'll stop the resurrection of Arodnap... but I will do everything in my power to keep you from achieving dominion over the Multiverse."

Misery simply nods, her eyes glowing brightly "..ever the free-spirit.. you and I aren't that different in that regard you know.. we both have orders we should obey.. yet we make our own decisions.. for the greater cause.."

Arbiter had no retort for Misery; though by the scowl on his face, it was obvious that he loathed the idea of being comparable to her.

Misery simply observed Arbiter for a moment before she speaks again: "..what? no witty reply? no brave words? I come all this way and this is the best you can do? I'm disappionted..".

"I've no more time for witty banter... Too long have I been idle."

Suddenly a door appears out of thin air and lands next to Misery, the Corrupt Freedom-Striker looking very confused as purple smoke begins to emit from the door and a note appears stuck on the door: scribbled in colorful writing "OPEN".

Misery herself shows a rare moment of mild confusion as she looks at the door "..I warn you, Balance-Keeper.. if you seek to trick me with illusions I will double your suffering in the world to come.." she begins.

"This is not of my doing," Arbiter retorted, before sending a bolt of energy at the door to blast it open.

The door shatters and thick purple mist spreads out as a funeral march plays across the area - a figure slowly coming out, dressed in a flowing black dress with an old-fashioned "widow" style hat complete with a long veil that covers the face: the figure carrying a bunch of black roses close to their chest.

Misery hovers in place as she observes this, clearly not too impressed with the unexpected arrival - though she seems unable (or more likely unwilling) to do much to stop the events unfolding.

Arbiter too stood in place, seemingly irritated at the random funeral procession. "What sort of joke is this?" he wondered aloud.

The figure in the dress suddenly stops as a clearly male voice speaks out, "..the final joke, Mr. Arbiter.." - then the figure pulls the hat and veil off to reveal a grinning, manic Kane: the funeral march fading away as the dress fades away to reveal his usual rag-tag clothing.

"You think you can kill me?" Arbiter asks Kane darkly. "Now that is a joke."

Kane smirks, his eyes glowing bright blue in a very familiar manner as he shakes his head "..mother always did say you were arrogant, Mr. Arbiter.. spoiling her and Uncle Inferno's fun: if I was going to kill you, you'd be dead.. no no.. I just came to pay my respects for a soon-to-be parted adversary.. if you will..".

Kane motions towards the open portal which made the door "..I made you a present.. in memory of your life..".

"Enough of this," Arbiter said, turning as if to walk away. "I won't play your little games."

Kane grins as a giant cake is dragged out of the portal with the help of brutish creatures wearing party-hats and messy clown make-up that smears across their deformed faces: "..oh Arbiter, where are you going? to save the day? Ignis may not kill you.. Misery may not break you but I can tell you this much: when you are dead I will still be alive and I think I shall visit Sangria.. yes.. we shall have much fun together.. without Uncle Arbiter to ruin the surprise..".

Arbiter's reaction was instantaneous; spinning around, he unleashed a violent, crackling wave of energy towards Kane that arced from his blade.

Kane is sent hurling backwards and crashes into the cake, which falls on top of him - the servant-creatures scattering, Kane bursts into laughters as he looks to Arbiter: "..if you didn't like the cake all you had to do was say so! hahaha!".

Arbiter was already running towards Kane. He raised his blade to deal a deadly blow.

Kane laughs madly as he disappears in a cloud of purple smoke, alongside the cake and the creatures - even his portal disappears: "..catch you around Mr. Arbiter.. catch you around.. hahaha!".

"KA-A-A-A-ANE!" Arbiter roared in fury.

Misery simply frowned at this display and muttered "..the Watchers and their idiotic pawns are beginning to grow most tiresome.. well Arbiter? are you going to continue making a fool of yourself or are you going to make good on your bluff and stop Ignis before it is too late?".

"I need no parasite such as yourself to tell me what to do," Arbiter retorted bitterly to Misery, before vanishing in a burst of green flame.

(occ: Inferno and Misery, finish up here if your characters have anything to add.)

Misery hovered in silence for a few moments as Arbiter left, then commented with utter calm : "..I do so love heroes - they suffer so willingly.. blaming the "parasite" when truly they have no one to blame but themselves.." - with that she fades in a red mist, her yellow glowing eyes being the last to fade away.

Chapter 4

(occ: Secret, you may enter now, here with either Yakuro or a villain.)

Yakuro was sitting outside of her large mansion, drawing the landscape and the vast sky from above in her painting. Sure, it was quiet, and seemingly lonely, due to Terralius being a 'dead' planet; but to her, she didn't mind. Not anymore.

After a few more strokes of her paintbrush, she finished her work and sat back to actually admire her painting for once.

"It's good, but it's missing something.." She mutters dejectedly, unsure of how to make the picture more elegant.

Yakuro, on the other hand, had found to place one more thing upon the picture, three human-like shapes standing atop the hill that was the centerpiece of the whole work. She smiled, knowing that now it was complete. "Ryou.. Are you going to return soon?"

She questioned herself, being alone was her least favorite pasttimes. She had been out on Terralius for many ages, way before the Science-Magic war began, and even then, she was alone and quietly secluded. Not on hr volition though.

A powerful demon had hold of her, and it was until the Balance-Keeper, Arbiter came to save her.

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