The break was over and the 3V2R was back on. Optimus was waiting for his ride to Phury’s home by the Vorton Gateway. His holo-form twirled the pair of sai he was going to use. He had a mode-lock attached so he would remain in his alt-mode. “Careful, Prime,” warned Jazz. “She’s crafty.”
“Crafty or not,” growled Optimus as he put his sai away and changed his outfit to a ninja suit, “I’m not going to let her cheating go unpunished! I’ll show her! I won’t become a cheater like her!” Black mist appeared and formed Nemengra.
“Phury is waiting within her forest,” she reported.
“Then bring me to her!” declared Optimus. His holo-form and alt-mode were surrounded by black mist and they all appeared at the edge of a dense forest. A camera appeared as Nemengra checked her hair and hair ornament. She then adjusted her skirts and began her broadcast.
“I am Nemengra,” she greeted, “the black princess of Chizara and the death leader! Representing G-W-3-N-1-0, we have Phury of Appoplexia with home turf advantage! Representing T-R-4-N-5-F-0-R-M-3-R-5-M-0-8-1-4-N-C-H-R-0-N-1-C-L-3-5, we have Optimus Prime! The competitors’ shadowy skills shall determine the victor of this bout! Both combatants are using the weapon they are weakest with. Whoever lands three hits on their opponent it victorious! No other weapons may be used, no force-fields and no outside interference! Phury, are you ready?”
“Let’s get this over with,” growled an image of Phury dressed in a ninja’s outfit.
“Optimus Prime, are you ready?” asked Nemengra.
“Let’s do it!” declared Optimus.
“This round is for Third Place prize!” reminded Nemengra. “While it’s not as powerful as the Master Wand, it WILL be as magnificent! As such, fight with honor, fight with pride, and, most importantly, fight well! Begin!” The image of Phury disappeared and Optimus pulled his mask over his face as he dashed into the forest. As he jumped through the trees, he looked around for any telltale movements that would give Phury’s position away. Something then hit him on the back of the head during his jump! He landed hard on the ground and looked up to see Phury twirl a pair of tonfa!
“One for me, whelp!” she taunted.
“Gonna have to come down from there sometime, kitty!” taunted Optimus.
“You have a point!” laughed Phury as she jumped down. Optimus performed a slash, but Phury blocked it.
“Ah, poopy!” swore Optimus. Phury then went of the offensive with a series of strikes that Optimus blocked. Soon, their weapons locked with each other.
“There’s no shame in surrendering to your better!” chuckled Phury.
“There is if they’re not my better!” shouted Optimus. Phury then shoved Optimus away and untangled the weapons in the process. Her tonfa then smacked Optimus in the face!
“Two for me, none for you!” taunted Phury. “Wish to reevaluate that opinion, child?”
“I didn’t say you weren’t a better fighter,” corrected Optimus as he bent down, “I just said you weren’t my better!” He then scooped up a pile of leaves from the forest floor with his sai and flung them at Phury. She swatted at them like mosquitoes targeting a sweaty human. When everything had settled, Phury no longer saw Optimus!
“…Where?!” she demanded. “Where?!”
“It must really gall you,” chuckled Optimus’ voice from above her. The sound came from all around her, so she couldn’t determine where he was.
“…What does?” asked Phury.
“How you lost your empire,” replied Optimus.
“Well, being betrayed by your white-furred sister…!” growled Phury.
“No, no, no, that’s not what I meant,” laughed Optimus. “I mean, yeah, having a sibling betray you, that stings. I completely understand, I’ve been there. However, that’s not the galling part. All of those people underfoot, suddenly rising up against you? That’s what I’m talking about. I’m willing to bet my Spark that you always ask yourself how it could have happened. After all, you’re their ‘better’.”
“I AM their better!” snarled Phury. “Superior strength! Superior soldiers! Superior intelligence! Superior in EVERY aspect!”
“Yet, here you are,” answered Optimus, “fighting someone beneath you in a tournament, CHEATING in said tournament, and making a sad bid for power just to reclaim your throne.” Phury then felt a strike to her knees and grunted in pain. “What do you know? One for me, now!”
“I’M the cheater?!” roared Phury. “You must have switched your holo-form off as I swatted the leaves aside!”
“He didn’t,” replied Nemengra’s voice. “His holo-form is still online; you just need to find him. He DID strike you with one of his sai. He’s correct, it IS one for him.”
“He distracted me!” countered Phury as she tore her mask off. “Optimus, come out and face me with honor!”
“Oh, yes, I know all about your ‘honor’, Ms. Tony the Tiger,” taunted Optimus.
“What’s THAT supposed to mean?!” snarled Phury as she struggled to hold it together.
“See, unlike you, I did my homework and read your dossier,” explained Optimus as his tone became one of disgust. “You personally butchered all of Anur Transyl and its moon, Luna Lobo! All of those men, women, and children of both the Loboans and Transylians you killed before the Ectonurites took command of the Anur System, CHILDREN, Phury! The blood of innocents and innocence saturates your hands, you demon!”
“INNOCENTS?!” shouted Phury as she finally let her anger take hold. “INNOCENCE?! LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, OPTIMUS PRIME, YOUNGEST PRIME IN CYBERTRONIAN HISTORY! BY RIGHT OF CONQUEST, THE ENTIRE ANUR SYSTEM WAS MINE TO COMMAND! THOSE MONSTERS REFUSED TO LEAVE THE PLANETS THAT MY SOLDIERS NEED FOR RESOURCES, FOR A TACTICAL POSITION TO END THE CYBERTRONIAN THREAT! THEIR BACKWARDS LIVES WERE NOTHING COMPARED TO THE NEEDS OF MY MEN!”
“Yet, your sister, the current Queen of Appoplexia, Rayj, didn’t agree with you, did she?” growled Optimus. “She got Verdona and her granddaughter, this universe’s Omnitrix bearer, Gwen Tennyson, to liberate Appoplexia from your rule and join the Plumber Alliance.”
“RAYJ WAS ALWAYS WEAK!” screamed Phury. “ALWAYS TAKING PITY ON THOSE BENEATH US! WHEN WE WERE CUBS, SHE USED TO SNEAK FOOD OFF THE TABLE AND GIVE TO THOSE WRETCHES THAT WERE OUR SERVANTS!”
“So, what in the Pit makes YOU any better than her?!” demanded Optimus.
“I WAS THEIR QUEEN!” roared Phury, her rage reaching animalistic levels! “ALL UNDER MY COMMAND MUST LIVE AND DIE BY MY COMMAND! WHILE RAYJ WAS WASTING HER TIME WEEPING AT THE GRAVES OF THOSE INFERIORS, I WAS LEADING THE CHARGE TO KEEP THE UNIVERSE SAFE FROM CYBERTRON! I WAS KEEPING OUR EMPIRE INTACT! WITH THE CYBERTRONIAN CIVIL WAR BURNING HALF THE UNIVERSE, WE WERE ALWAYS UNDER THREAT FROM OTHER POWERS! FROM THE PANTOPHAGE AND THEIR HERESY! FROM VILGAX’S MACHINATIONS! FROM THE RESISTANCE GROUPS THAT REFUSED TO CALL US THEIR MASTERS! I WAS THE ONE ENDING THOSE THREATS! ON PETROPIA! ON ARANHASCHIMMIA! ON ALL OF THEM! I WAS DEFENDING OUR VERY WAY OF LIFE WHILE RAYJ WAS GETTING DRUNK ON THEIR FILTH!” She threw her head back and turned her shouting to the forest’s canopy. “I HOPE YOU’RE WATCHING THIS, SISTER! DO YOU REMEMBER MURRAY?! DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN I FOUGHT VILGAX HIMSELF?!” While she ranted, she felt a sai strike her backside. She was swinging her tonfa wildly as she continued, like they were swords. “MY BATTLE WITH HIM LASTED HOURS! HOURS! I DIDN’T CALL FOR HELP! I DIDN’T CRY OUT IN PAIN WHEN HE STRUCK ME! I ONLY STRUCK BACK! WHEN IT ALL ENDED, I RAN MY CLAWS INTO HIS CHEST AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL HE STOPPED MOVING! HE BEGGED ME FOR DEATH! I REFUSED TO LET HIM DIE! BUT YOU RENDERED MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS MOOT! I DON’T EVEN HAVE SCRAPS TO COMMAND WHEN I ONCE COMMANDED AN EMPIRE! AND YOU DID IT! YOU TOOK IT ALL AWAY FROM ME! YOU BROUGHT AN ANODITE AND HER GRANDDAUGHTER TO TAKE MY THRONE! YOU RUINED EVERYTHING!”
“Yeah, how sad,” scoffed Optimus in an unsympathetic tone. He appeared suddenly in front of Phury, slammed the end of his sai’s handle into her chin, and sent her cartwheeling out of the forest near Nemengra’s position. As Phury readjusted her jaw, Nemengra made her announcement.
“This contest is over!” she cheered. “Third Place prize goes to Optimus Prime!”
“NO!” roared Phury.
“Optimus, I shall return you home,” declared Nemengra. “Phury, though you have suffered a…” she didn’t get far as Phury wrapped her fingers around Nemengra’s neck and started squeezing.
“REVOKE THAT DECISION, CHIZARAN!” demanded Phury.
“The victor…was chosen…by YOUR fight terms!” choked Nemengra.
“REVOKE IT OR I WILL TAKE YOUR HEAD!” roared Phury.
“Not…not much of…a threat…for an immortal!” gasped Nemengra. “The…the victor has…already been…been decided! Get your…fat fingers…off my neck!”
“I AM QUEEN PHURY OF APPOPLEXIA!” shouted Phury. “NONE DESERVE THE PRIZE MORE THAN…!” Nemengra touched her hair flower and it turned into black armor for her. As Optimus’ holo-form escaped the forest, Nemengra clasped her hands under Phury’s elbow and drove them upwards, bending Phury’s elbow in an unnatural way and breaking it. Phury roared in pain before she was punched square in the face, making her fly backwards into the forest and knocking the trees over with the impact. Nemengra then leapt upwards and landed on Phury, feet first. She got off and looked over Phury before snapping her fingers and restoring Phury’s bones to their unbroken state, but still leaving the pain. For once, an enraged Appoplexian was stopped by a few punches. Nemengra dismissed the armor, then glared at Phury.
“I’ll let you in on a little secret,” she said softly, “Because we can’t die, I’m the weakest Chizaran. Not the weakest of all the princesses, not the weakest of the minor princesses, the weakest of every single Chizaran. Even so, I still have more power in the loosest thread of my dress than you’ve ever commanded in your entire life! Article 1, section 1, subsection 1, paragraph 1 of the General Rules of Combat: violent actions towards the judges or competitors outside of a bout will NOT be accepted! The prescribed penalty is immediate banning from the tournament at a judge’s discretion! As of now, I intend to follow through on that! Let me tell you something, Phury, disgraced Queen of Appoplexia! You will no longer be welcomed to the Verse Vs. Verse Rumble Royale!” She snapped her fingers and Optimus and Nemengra returned to Vorton. “Congratulations, Optimus Prime, on your victory,” she bid before the mode-lock vanished in black mist and she left in the usual Chizaran manner. Megumi and Arsha had seen the whole thing.
“She’s the weakest Chizaran?!” gulped Megumi.
“Remind me not to make her mad!” muttered Arsha.
“I’m glad she’s on our side,” mumbled Optimus.
Blancalmarem and Nemengra began their post-round broadcast. “I am Blancalmarem, the white princess of Chizara and the life leader,” began Blancalmarem.
“I am Nemengra, the black princess of Chizara and the death leader,” finished Nemengra.
“We’d like to offer a small warning to those who wish to participate in other 3V2R’s,” continued Blancalmarem.
“We Chizarans like to consider ourselves gracious hosts,” supplied Nemengra.
“However, unlike our lives and power,” warned Blancalmarem, “our hospitality is NOT without limits.”
“So, please,” advised Nemengra, “be gracious in defeat and magnanimous in victory.”
“If not,” continued Blancalmarem, “as Nemengra and Phury can attest, the results WON’T be pleasant.”
“You’ll find out what it means to get on a Chizaran’s bad side,” finished Nemengra. “Please do everything legal in your power to stay in the tournament and we’ll all get along just fine.”
Phury was still lying in the crater that was created from the beatdown she had received. She was practically numb to everything. All she could do was think about how her last bid for power had slipped from her hands. She had nothing, no troops, no loyal subjects, no home, no title, nothing. She then started crying. She was nothing now. She sat up and looked at her claws, a thought crossing her mind. Desperation took hold as she wanted it all to end. She extended a claw, brought it to her neck, hesitated only for 10 seconds, then her arm was grabbed by a metal hand. “I see no logic in suicide right now,” remarked the hand’s owner.
“LET GO!” shrieked Phury as she got out of the stranger’s grasp. The stranger was the former Cyber-Leader, Gi. “There’s no logic in living now!” sobbed Phury. “I just had my power stripped of me and all of my future chances of regaining it are gone! Only death remains! I don’t care if it’s dishonorable! My life needs to end on MY terms!”
“What would you say if your chances of getting power AREN’T gone just yet?” asked Gi.
“What would YOU know of that?” dismissed Phury as she turned away.
“My organization has quietly conquered three universes,” explained Gi. “You’ve led an empire longer than I did, so there IS a place in my organization’s ruling council for you.” Phury stayed still for a while, then turned as her tears stopped flowing.
“…Go on,” she invited.
“I represent a new iteration of Shocker,” continued Gi. “Shocker Umbra. I’m sure you’ve heard of Shocker Rift?”
“You mean Vortech’s version of Shocker?” asked Phury as she wiped her eyes. “What about it?”
“My friend and I,” Gi went on, “are making a better, more stable version of that organization. We’ve got some rather tough universes, so we need someone who knows how to put down the most difficult of resistance groups. Your name was high on the list.”
“…How many is your ruling council at the moment?” purred Phury.
“Right now, it’s just me and my partner,” explained Gi.
“That’s no council,” scoffed Phury.
“No, it isn’t,” agreed Gi. “We need seven to make up our council. Your advice would be invaluable. Think about it, we have troops to do as you say with just enough initiative to make sure your goals are accomplished in an effective manner.”
“…What’s your name?” asked Phury.
“I am Cyber-Priestess Gi,” introduced Gi.
“Let me tell you something, Cyber-Priestess Gi,” declared Phury, “we need to discuss my place in this ‘Shocker Umbra’ you and your partner are making. I accept!”
“Splendid!” cheered Gi. She then took out a communicator. “Metaltron, we have our third! Requesting a rift home!”
“Coming up!” replied Metaltron on the other end. A rift opened and Phury and Gi entered it. It shut behind them, leaving that universe barren of any version of Phury of Appoplexia.