Sunday, December 31, 2017

Episode 31 : Hidden Fire! Is This the End?!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 31 : Hidden Fire! Is This the End?!

The episode opens with Doubashira and Skull Kaiser squared off against each other as they begin fighting. They seem relatively evenly matched and exchange blows for some time until Doubashira steps up his efforts. He lets loose the Sagitta Tempestus, which Skull Kaiser is able to mostly fend off. He's left with a number of quills stuck in him at random and isn't terribly impressed with Doubashira's move. Doubashira shrugs and laughs informing Skull Kaiser that the move is more than sufficient for many, but that Skull Kaiser is very strong.

Doubashira's light-hardheartedness disappears instantly, though, when he warns Skull Kaiser not to underestimate a blow delivered as things are not always as they appear. He calls attention to a particular rose-colored quill (the rest are all white) stuck in Skull Kaiser's chest. Skull Kaiser is worried and goes to remove the quill when Doubashira shouts, "Carnis Fornax!" Skull Kaiser immediately erupts into translucent flames and he cries out in agony. Doubashira is pleased saying that while he passed the test of the Copper Pillar, he still harbors lust which can be used against him. Doubashira notes Skull Kaiser's amazing will power, which enabled him to escape the embrace of the Pillar, but the Carnis Fornax bypasses the mind's defense and attacks the lust directly, stoking it like a fire and causing it to burn furiously, which may have the effect of consuming his opponent entirely. The fire starts to burn out and Skull Kaiser drops to one knee, asking what inside him is causing this fire to burn so painfully. Doubashira is confused for a moment and realizes/remembers that Skull Kaiser doesn't recall his life prior to Samhain. He tells Skull Kaiser that he was weak in all ways before becoming Skull Kaiser and he reiterates this irony originally pointed out by Lord Ox in episode 24.

Skull Kaiser acknowledges what he saw in the Copper Pillar, but cannot understand how that representation can be connected with his previous life. Doubashira explains that all souls have echoes, but goes no further than that except to say that recollection will come soon, but to beware its impact. Doubashira changes the subject and explains that true love is comprises many things and that a desire for intimacy is not wrong, just a part of the whole. However, Skull Kaiser's two identities have disproportionate guilt with regard to lust and that's why he's suffering now.

Skull Kaiser forces himself to stand and acknowledges the sins of his past; he still doesn't understand the connection between his past and present lives, but he is committed to success and will not give up. Doubashira is taken aback by Skull Kaiser's endurance but he gathers himself, holds his palm out and shouts, "Carnis Fornax!" Another rose-colored feather issues forth, but Skull Kaiser catches it between two fingers and counters with the Kaiser Beam.

Doubashira is standing with smoke rising from his body, his armor is ragged, his faceplate has partly broken away exposing one glazed eye. He drops to his knees and falls on his face.

We cut to Agrippa and Merlot who are bowing before Champagne. Merlot stands and gives a report on the advancing Halloween armies. We see a scratchy and dark video feed, presumably from the robot ant we saw in the previous episode. Champagne asks for suggestions, and Merlot looks as if she has one but is afraid to present it. Champagne urges her and Merlot posits first that if Gran Mal arrives with Samhain's remaining forces, there will be little hope for keeping the Loss Tower secure, but if they can intercept Gran Mal and at least avert that amount of firepower coming to bear, then they have a chance. Champagne acknowledges the simplicity of that plan and asks what Merlot was concerned about. After a moment of deliberation, Merlot explains that if Agrippa can utilize his Tabehoudai against Titan Foiler and acquire the power of the Titan Star, their odds would be greatly increased. With the one possible exception of the Unstable Amethyst, the Titan Star seems to be the one artifact that possesses the kind and degree of power that would impart permanent benefit to Agrippa—plus it would eliminate Titan Foiler as a threat. She bows her head and provides her calculated odds for Agrippa's success and they are not favorable. Before Champagne can say anything, Agrippa stands up full of tearful pride and begs to be allowed the chance to defeat Titan Foiler. They have nothing to lose by trying and they can only succeed if they try. Champagne's eyes well with tears, and she thanks Agrippa whole-hardheartedly for his devotion as the episode closes.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Episode 30 : Halloween Soldiers, Assemble!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 30 : Halloween Soldiers, Assemble!

This episode opens with Samhain reviewing the remains of the destroyed Skeleton and Corpse armies along with their respective generals. He curses to himself before addressing all his remaining commanders assembled before him. He acknowledges that they have no information on Champagne's remaining forces. The only thing that's for certain is that they are still quite formidable. Still, Samhain has numbers on his side and it's time to make a push and storm the Loss Tower. He orders Nou Wire to lead the assault while Titan Foiler will take command of Gran Mal in Gear Binder's absence and set off for the Loss Tower as well. Titan Foiler orders Schatten Messer to take advantage of his shadow teleportation and retrieve as much information as possible. He looks disdainfully to Kali Dharma and Phantasma King telling them that they are with him. Kali Dharma bows her head in shame, Phantasma King shrugs. Samhain says that he must go and make preparations for transporting the Root Palace when all is ready; he gives the word and everybody salutes him.

We cut to an exterior view of Gran Mal and zoom in to an open dock that gives us a view of the wide engine room. Titan Foiler is giving orders to countless Machine soldiers to ready the Gran for departure. Once satisfied, he steps into a small Jump Station and transports himself to the bridge. Here, the lights are dimmed and Machine soldiers sit at Gran Mal's controls. Titan Foiler gives the order to move out and looks out the main window while we get an internal monologue of how he's very angry and bitter towards Skull Kaiser for causing so much trouble.

We cut to an exterior shot of Gran Mal as it begins its lurching march towards the Loss Tower. Our vantage point shifts just slightly to reveal a small blinking light accompanied by the whirring noise of a focusing camera lens. We zoom in closer to this and see that it's a small, robotic ant tracking Gran Mal's progress.

We cut to Skull Kaiser who's being greeted by a very pleasant man dressed in luxurious silk robes. He welcomes Skull Kaiser and introduces himself as Doubashira. He seems very cultured and somewhat effeminate. He explains to Skull Kaiser the significance of all the thousands of towering copper pillars he sees, that each pillar represents a destructive lust harbored by the one of the damned. He starts leading Skull Kaiser to his first test, to confront his lust and then move on to compete with Doubashira in combat. Doubashira explains that the combat is a mere formality and that this hell in general is nothing for Skull Kaiser to worry about in the grand scheme of things. As they walk on, Doubashira explains how this hell works: when the damned are in the presence of the their assigned pillar, that pillar takes on the likeness of whatever overpowering lust they suffered from while living. Those not strong enough to utilize their willpower are drawn to embrace the thing they cherished most, but they are burned to death by the scalding touch of the copper pillar which is kept at a constant 1000 degrees C. Doubashira stops and tells Skull Kaiser that he's reached his pillar. Skull Kaiser continues and stands before the pillar blocking it from our view. He simply stares for moment, then slowly removes his helmet. He continues to stare, heaves out a big sigh, then bows his head. After a while, he turns away, so that we never see what the pillar represented and Doubashira places a reassuring hand on his shoulder. This is the first time we see Skull Kaiser's face since he's been in Hell and his eyes are brimming as if he's on the verge of tears. Doubashira jokes good-naturedly with Skull Kaiser, saying that it was easy, right?

They walk together and Doubashira keeps talking the whole way, while we cut to where they end up. Now, they're on the top of a very large copper pillar (apparently, this one isn't hot) and Doubashira has just finished snapping his armor on (his attendants were providing it to him piece by piece). He looks like a wiry bronze and ivory cherub with sharp, angular joints and ragged taffeta wings. He puts on his mask (which IS the face of a cherub) and tells Skull Kaiser to defend himself and win for the sake of the Loss Queen.

To Be Continued...

Friday, December 29, 2017

Episode 29 : Past Vs. Future—Chuugun's Dilemma

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 29 : Past Vs. Future—Chuugun's Dilemma

The epsisode opens with Skull Kaiser staring in shock at Chuugun. They are on a precipice, looking out over the myriad sharp treetops against the purple-gray sky and some of the other hells can be seen. We can see the Copper Pillar, the Lake of Blood at the foot of Needle Mountain and beyond that we can see a hint of the massive Sword Tree.

Chuugun laughs at Skull Kaiser's surprise and comments upon it with a deep, resonant voice. Skull Kaiser cannot ignore an overwhelming sense of guilt. Chuugun was long dead before Samhain's arrival, but the Loss Queen's world was able to defend itself from any assault before Samhain's arrival and Skull Kaiser was almost solely responsible for ravaging her world. Skull Kaiser bows his head in silent shame, listening to Chuugun tell him what he already knows. Chuugun confesses that he was eager for Skull Kaiser's arrival so that he could both do his part for Lord Enma and have an opportunity to avenge his home and fallen descendants as well.

He tells Skull Kaiser to defend himself, to triumph if he can, and attacks immediately. Skull Kaiser barely nods before avoiding Chuugun's first strike. They exchange a few blows, each matching the other. Chuugun smiles and says that it's time to step up the combat. He backs off and prepares for his special technique, the Dark Harvest. Skull Kaiser leaps out of the way narrowly escaping the blow, the progress of which he turns to watch: it shears off the tops of all the trees in its path as far as the eye can see. Skull Kaiser is shocked. This will be his first real challenge. So far none of the other Lords of Hell have had a personal grudge against him and this passion combined with Chuugun's experience might prove to be too much.

Taking a moment to breathe, Skull Kaiser tells Chuugun that he wants the challenge he was expecting, but that Chuugun must believe that he has changed; his progress through the last Hell is proof of that. Chuugun stops to listen to Skull Kaiser's plea and has a moment of self-doubt. He acknowledges that he's compromising his position as one of Lord Enma's gatekeepers, but he cannot ignore the damage done to his homeworld. He is torn but his passion wins out over his duty and he renews his attack. Skull Kaiser is now only defending himself. At first he appears to be playing catch up, but then he begins matching Chuugun until his defense gets stronger and more effortless the more they fight.

Chuugun notices what Lord Horse did, that the Kaiser Bones are storing up vast quantities of Ghost Light and that Skull Kaiser may be far more dangerous than he ever thought. Chuugun backs off and performs another Dark Harvest attack, but Skull Kaiser merely raises up his forearm and catches the sickle shaped energy and flings it back into the ground in front of Chuugun. This cleaves the ground, which falls away, forcing Skull Kaiser to leap up into the air towards Chuugun. Chuugun is shocked by this display and unable to move—an easy target for the Kaiser Beam.

Charred by the attack, Chuugun flies backwards and is impaled on some of the thick thorns growing from the trees. He congratulates Skull Kaiser on his feat, but he is Chuugun, Lord of the 5th Hell and not without his own powers. He dislodges himself from the thorns and powers up for his most powerful technique, the Armageddon Swarm. Millions of fist-sized locusts are sent out and attempt to devour Skull Kaiser. However, the locusts are having no effect on him. Skull Kaiser then does Chuugun's job for him, explaining with a laugh the irony of being the Skeleton General, that his bones are already clean with nothing left for the locusts to consume. He doesn't know if he was greedy before becoming Skull Kaiser, but it's clear that he is without greed now.

In tears, Chuugun tells him to shut up, that his world has fallen because of Skull Kaiser's evil and his desire to conquer. Chuugun pushes his attack harder but the last thing he sees are Skull Kaiser's hands forming a Kaiser Claw and the world turns upside down.

The scene changes immediately and the landscape looks as it did before the fight as if nothing had happened. Skull Kaiser stands calmly before Chuugun, who's head is bowed in shame, and explains to Chuugun that his fighting spirit comes from his loyalty to a cause, not the desire to conquer. Skull Kaiser turns and makes the realization that he must have gotten that from Samhain at some point, but he'd lost sight of right and wrong. Chuugun looks up and apologizes to Skull Kaiser, he can see the truth of his words and the futility of his hatred.

Chuugun gives passage through the gate but offers one last apology: three of Champagne's generals killed by Skull Kaiser have petitioned Lord Enma to challenge the Skeleton General and Chuugun used his influence to put it through. Skull Kaiser can expect additional challenges here in Hell besides the Gatekeepers. Skull Kaiser nods his understanding and tells Chuugun not to worry and not to feel the least bit guilty. All is for the Loss Queen and defeating Samhain!

To Be Continued...

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Episode 28 : In the End, the Greedy Get Nothing

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 28 : In the End, the Greedy Get Nothing

The episode opens with Skull Kaiser dashing from spare, skeletal treetop to spare, skeletal treetop. The branches look dead, sharp, and brittle, but they support him. There are other people around, climbing to the tops of the trees where fresh, green shoots sprout out, bearing plump fruit. Every time someone reaches the fruit, a swarm of insects falls upon the new growth and devours it down to look like the branches we first saw Skull Kaiser jumping on. From the lower branches, thorns grow fast and thick forcing the damned to climb or be speared. If they get too close to the insect swarm, they suffer the same fate as the fruit. Skull Kaiser is not interested in the fruit because, as the Kaiser Bones explain, he is attuned to his Ghost Light. The rest, however, see the fruit as salvation and try, try, try to acquire it, but are never successful.

The insect swarms make several passes at Skull Kaiser who defends himself by slapping them away (they're pretty big locusts!). After their third pass at him, the swarm speaks to him with a collective voice, that of Chuugun. They acknowledge his lack of desire to acquire the fruit, and the treetop branches bend to form a corridor for him. They beckon him to follow them.

We cut to Agrippa and Merlot standing before what's left of the Loss Queen's army. Agrippa steps forward to meet Bone Reaper and Jeder Man, who is sitting atop Gran Pham. They tell them to give up this pitiful stand and to just accept the inevitable. Agrippa snickers and acknowledges that while he was the first to die by Skull Kaiser's hand in the dream, their fight was real and he's still alive; if Skull Kaiser was Samhain's best general, then he should have little to fear from Skull Kaiser's inferiors. His confidence makes both Jeder Man and Bone Reaper uncomfortable. Agrippa continues, saying that of the two here, Jeder Man is the only real threat. Bone Reaper is incensed and thinks to himself that things would be different if Gran Mid were responding to his commands the way he was supposed to. Agrippa questions how effective Bone Reaper would be even with Gran Mid, which pushes the new Skeleton General over the edge. Bone Reaper leaps for Agrippa who is far too much for him. The Ivory Scythe is broken in two and Bone Reaper's head is smashed with a single punch from Agrippa; Agrippa immediately shouts out, "Tabehoudai!" and drains the nearby enemy troops of their life force. Sensing the danger, Jeder Man gets Gran Pham to perform his Charge attack as an escape measure but it's just not fast enough: Gran Pham's front leg gets caught in the draining sphere and it is destroyed causing the elephant to veer violently to one side and drive itself into the ground, now unable to move.

Merlot performs her Phantom Army attack which destroys Gran Pham, but Jeder Man is able to leap clear. Jeder Man is in a quiet rage and walks towards Merlot slowly. She waits calmly and patiently, only holding out her palm until Jeder Man breaks into a run, at which point she uses her Jakuten Drill. This stops Jeder Man's momentum but he's close now. He's bleeding from the wound, but he apparently doesn't consider it serious.

Agrippa and Merlot share a look and Agrippa continues destroying Skeleton and Corpse troops with abandon. Jeder Man raises his arms and is about to grab hold of Merlot. He uses his Den Geki Ha attack, but Merlot is able to deliver a punch that sinks right into the wound she left with the Jakuten Drill! Jeder Man's eyes go wide and he realizes the power of the Jakuten Drill. It not only wounded him but created a flaw in the Den Geki Ha's coverage, which Merlot was able to exploit. Jeder Man falls down dead after expressing his thorough disgust.

We cut back to Skull Kaiser who is greeted amiably by Chuugun. Skull Kaiser is shocked because he realizes that Chuugun, a locust man, is a long-dead, legendary commander of the Loss Queen's army!

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Episode 27 : The Valley of Deceit

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 27 : The Valley of Deceit

This episode opens with Samhain conferring in private with Gear Binder. He tells the Machine General that, under the circumstances, he is the only one he really trusts. Samhain tells Gear Binder to take a division of machine troops and call in three reserve agents who've been granted what amounts to retirement. As they're talking, Samhain is gesturing to a 3D figure which represents all the worlds he's conquered. Each one is connected by what looks like a tether (it's the Undead Vine!). Gear Binder accepts the request for Luft Schloss and i (that's right, the character's name is just "i"!) easily enough, but when Samhain tells him to bring back Pythagoras, Gear Binder nearly chokes and asks if Samhain feels that matters have gotten that serious. Samhain merely gives him an enigmatic look. Gear Binder bows, swallows his fear, and accepts his assignment. He is told to leave immediately because he'll need to cover quite a distance and time may be running short.

We cut to Skull Kaiser who's found himself in the 6th Hell. He gets a chill because the place appears devoid of life entirely. He's walking down a wide valley which is paved with flat stones. Dead grass sprouts up between them and old, dead moss clings to each. As he walks, he asks the Kaiser Bones to talk if only to keep him company. They explain that this is Lord Rustubo's domain, where the deceitful are punished. Skull Kaiser asks where the deceitful are and as he continues, asking what sorts of punishments they receive, the landscape warps. The paving stones grow very large—or Skull Kaiser grows very small—and the ground seems to fall away.

Skull Kaiser falls for a long time and is bombarded with imagery of the most horrible results of deceit: lovers committing suicide, civilizations falling for one man's lie, etc. The imagery is raw and realistic and Skull Kaiser more than once attempts to shield himself from the events that surround him. Finally, Skull Kaiser lands on a large, round surface, which is the only thing visible in the dark now. A similar surface lights up before him and reveals Rutsubo, who looks like an anthropomorphic boiler. Attached to each shoulder is a large, sealed, steaming vat of some unknown substance. His entire body is encased in blackened copper. He introduces himself to Skull Kaiser and welcomes him to his realm. He tells Skull Kaiser that his trial here will be somewhat different than the previous two. Rutsubo begins to explain how his Hell works and fire leaps up and fills all the black space, so that it now looks very close to the Western idea of Hell. Skull Kaiser shifts his footing to keep alert and safe from the increasing flames. The surface Skull Kaiser is standing on suddenly shows a seam down the middle and just as he looks down, the two halves open inward into a pool of boiling oil, and he falls into it screaming.

Rutsubo provides a voice over as we see what usually happens to those being punished in this Hell. They have the deceit boiled out of them until all that's left is the truth. This has differing effects on the damned, depending on the kind of life they've led—sometimes there's nothing left! He explains that, while Skull Kaiser may have been misdirected both before and after becoming Skull Kaiser, he is not really guilty of gross deceit. Skull Kaiser has told his share of partial truths, but no more than any other essentially good human being, and because of this, his trial won't be particularly painful or long.

Skull Kaiser's screams subside and the oil starts to drain away, leaving him essentially unscathed, standing at the bottom of the vat. Rutsubo confesses that this trial is ineffective against only one form of deceit and that is self-deceit. He assures Skull Kaiser that his memory loss is self-inflicted, not something done to him by Samhain. Skull Kaiser bows sheepishly at this and Rutsubo asks wryly if he was hoping for the opposite. He continues, telling Skull Kaiser that there will be a reckoning soon and that he must be prepared for it or it will destroy his mind utterly. He echoes Lord Enma's words back from episode 23: "Learn from your experiences, but don't be ruled by the past." Skull Kaiser immediately recognizes the phrase as Lord Enma's and while he's trying to fathom the significance, Rutsubo simply nods his grate-faced, copper head.

Once again, Skull Kaiser is standing in the paved valley, but now the stones show their true form, as the lids to countless boiling vats similar to the one he just fell into. He looks solemnly around amazed at the number of people suffering in this Hell and walks off toward the gate of the next Hell.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Episode 26 : Who Is Guilty of Pride?

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 26 : Who Is Guilty of Pride?

The episode opens with a brief replay of the final moments of the previous episode with Lord Horse's bellowing cry of, "Who, indeed, is guilty of Pride?!" All his attendants cower under the volume of his voice and Skull Kaiser looks on with interest as Lord Horse rises from his throne. Lord Horse chides his attendants, as they in fact are guilty of pride. He recounts their encounter, pointing out to them that he knows everything that goes on in his realm. Lord Horse apologizes to Skull Kaiser, who in turn bows to him.

Lord Horse explains the kinds of individuals who are punished here and what their sentences are like. He goes on to tell Skull Kaiser that every Hell will be different, but he wants to expedite matters as much as possible since time is of the essence and the Loss Queen and her Tower are in danger. Then he stares at Skull Kaiser for a moment and seems to size him up. He nods sagely and says that Skull Kaiser has never really been guilty of Pride. He has developed high personal standards and expects the same of everyone, which in and of itself is not wrong. In his life prior to Samhain and even during his entire career as Skull Kaiser, he's maintained a delicate balance. Once again, Skull Kaiser cannot really speak to anything that occurred before Samhain and Lord Horse says he understands.

Despite Skull Kaiser's lack of pride, however, Lord Horse will have to test him to ensure his value to the Loss Queen. They square off and begin fighting. This fight is not as messy as the fight with Lord Ox, and it takes longer. Lord Horse is more skilled and more precise than Lord Ox and this fight appears far more technical, with each countering and countering and countering. Both think to themselves that the other is a superb fighter and each are pleased at the opportunity to test themselves against the other. As they fight, Lord Horse begins to notice that the Kaiser Bones are acting like a battery drinking up Skull Kaiser's Ghost Light and storing it, and to store Ghost Light like that would provide a distinct advantage. He realizes that Skull Kaiser has been pacing himself far more than he has been himself and he begins to fear the power Skull Kaiser has built up if it should be released. As if on cue, Skull Kaiser catches Lord Horse a split second off his guard and punches him so that he's knocked clear of the fight momentarily. But this is followed immediately by Skull Kaiser's Kaiser Beam, which fries Lord Horse, turning his eyes white and blank.

Lord Horse revives moments later and rises to his feet with Skull Kaiser's aid. At first Lord Horse seems frightened then he nods and grins (as best his horse head allows him). He says that by his estimation, there is no better candidate for the job at hand than Skull Kaiser and he sends him off to the next gate. Skull Kaiser thanks him heartily and takes his leave.

To Be Continued...

Monday, December 25, 2017

Episode 25 : Legacy of a Dream

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 25 : Legacy of a Dream

Entering into the 7th Hell, Skull Kaiser notes that countless thousands are being subjected to humiliating tortures and taking savage beatings. The Kaiser Bones explain to Skull Kaiser that, in this hell, the Proud are punished for their sins in life and that this realm is presided over by Lord Horse, who is stronger, faster, and more skilled than Lord Ox. Skull Kaiser inquires about how the Kaiser Bones are so knowledgeable and they explain that wherever they are, the bones are tied to the dead heroes of that realm. All souls have echoes which populate all worlds. All these echoes retain some vital baseline characteristic which remains true and constant throughout all creation. Thus, the Voice of a Hundred Heroes can be heard anywhere, though it may differ subtly from world to world.

As Skull Kaiser moves along, he's spotted by some demon attendants of Lord Horse, they immediately fall on him and try to inflict various humiliations on him. He is polite in his refusal and tells them he's been charged by Lord Enma to challenge all the gatekeepers to combat. If Lord Horse's attendants can beat him, then he will be forced to submit, of course, but otherwise, he will see Lord Horse. They accuse him of being extremely proud and tell him how they're going to make him suffer. Skull Kaiser tells them they've mistaken purpose for pride, but that he'll only submit when he's been made to.

We cut to Samhain's court, where there is squabbling going on between members of the Darkness Squad. All the generals are in attendance except for Jeder Man whose face is up on a view screen. Samhain shouts for silence and tells Jeder Man that more troops will be sent immediately to his Jump Deck and that he should expect Bone Reaper to accompany him soon. Dust Pharaoh speaks up and addresses Samhain, saying that he will not take orders from Titan Foiler. Titan Foiler shouts over him, saying he'll do what he's ordered to. Dust Pharaoh turns and leaves the room saying he'll do what he pleases. Titan Foiler is incensed and gets no support from Samhain. He glances at each of the Darkness Squad members: Kali Dharma bows her head in shame; Phantasma King, whose face we see for the first time, looks away in disgust; only Schatten Messer appears to respect him. Everybody seems unsure and shaken. Only Gear Binder is calm and collected like the machine he is. He comments on the lamentable effect of the shared dream they've had; that Skull Kaiser has managed to crush their morale even after his death. What kind of power is that, he demands to know. Samhain chuckles and says that it's really no power at all, and that this enmity will pass soon enough. They are close now to actually infiltrating the Loss Tower and they cannot overlook that.

We cut to Champagne's chamber where Agrippa and Merlot are bowing before their queen. Merlot is giving her report, confirming the effects of Skull Kaiser's dream on Samhain's main force. Champagne, smiles and turns to Agrippa, telling him that, indeed, Skull Kaiser has been a great ally and his work is not finished. Agrippa agrees in somewhat disturbed confusion.

We cut back to Skull Kaiser who is holding his own against a throng of demon attendants until their fight is stopped by a loud echoing voice. The surroundings warp and fade and the lot of them appear on a raised dais before Lord Horse who shouts out, "Who indeed is guilty of Pride?!" and the episode ends.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Episode 24 : Pettiness Is Behind Me

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 24 : Pettiness Is Behind Me

This episode opens with Agrippa addressing Champagne. He is kneeling down on one knee with his head bowed and looking very solemn. Champagne tells him not to rest on formality under the circumstances. Agrippa looks up, beaming as Champagne tells him he may go and meet "her". Agrippa thanks her heartily and rushes out.

We cut to the exterior of the Loss Tower, where Agrippa has just exited. He cautiously passes by Gran Mid who is coiled up and looks, if it's possible, very sad. Agrippa correctly realizes that Gran Mid misses its master. There are remnants of skeleton troops strewn about and some are even standing idly by, as if their batteries had died. Agrippa looks forward and sees a lone, tiny figure approaching. He's suddenly all smiles and runs out to meet Merlot. Merlot is just as elated to see Agrippa and the two embrace. But she interrupts their tear-filled reunion and says she has important information for the Loss Queen.

We cut to Jeder Man's castle, where one of his smarter corpse advisors informs him that Skull Kaiser's castle has been destroyed. He is perturbed by this and wonders if the dream is starting to come true. He dispels that thought as Samhain has indicated that Skull Kaiser is indeed dead, and clearly, the Loss Queen still has some resources. Jeder Man tells the advisor to raise Bone Reaper and have him and his troops Jump here immediately.

We cut to Lord Ox, who indeed has the head of an ox. He's questioning one of his attendants about Skull Kaiser's activities. Apparently, Skull Kaiser has taken up under a tree and seems to have been meditating for some time. When left to their own devices, the denizens of any of the hells will inflict punishments and tortures, but this new addition seems different and word has spread that Lord Enma has a special purpose in mind for him, thus he's been left alone. Besides, he exudes a terrible aura of menace which inspires fear. Just then another attendant arrives breathless and announces Skull Kaiser's arrival.

Lord Ox explains to Skull Kaiser that, here, the petty are punished with beatings doled out by himself and his attendants. He tells Skull Kaiser that he knows all about him, that there was a time when he was petty, but that was long ago. He chuckles and continues saying that it took excelling in the martial arts and becoming evil to break him of his pettiness and that there's a certain amount of irony there. Skull Kaiser apologizes and says he doesn't remember the time before he became affiliated with Samhain. Lord Ox nods gravely and tells him to begin. The Kaiser Bones remind Skull Kaiser that Ghost Light can make the body strong. Skull Kaiser thanks the Bones and he and the gatekeeper fight. He finishes the fight with a Kaiser Claw and we focus on Skull Kaiser with Lord Ox off screen. Lord Ox laughs and Skull Kaiser turns to face him. His head is twisted upside down and turns back right-side up. He tells Skull Kaiser that he's earned passage through the 8th gate, but to be careful along the way. Skull Kaiser graciously thanks him.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Episode 23 : Awaken! Ghost Light!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(In Hell)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 23 : Awaken! Ghost Light!

The episode opens with Skull Kaiser plummeting with incredible speed until he crashes into a pile of bones, other piles of which litter the landscape like thickets. He's fallen into what appears to be an expansive bog where anguished howls come ceaselessly. There are dark twisted trees at intervals which act as gallows for corpses that appear to revive only to slowly strangle again. Skull Kaiser asks himself if this is Hell and chuckles to himself out of hopelessness. He has no strength and he feels as if his body is completely broken. He realizes that whichever part of Hell he's fallen into, he has lifetimes of punishment and torture to look forward to and he accepts this as the natural result of his deeds in life. A booming voice, full of command, tells him, "Just so!"

Skull Kaiser's surroundings begin to flicker around him and he finds himself supported by two giants, one with the head of an ox and the other with the head of a horse. He's in a huge dark chamber lit by braziers and before him is the impossibly large and imposing figure of Lord Enma, Judge of the Dead. Skull Kaiser bows in deference while Lord Enma addresses him. He asks Skull Kaiser his true name and after a pause, Skull Kaiser says he has forgotten it, that he only remembers his life as Skull Kaiser. Lord Enma laughs and says it doesn't matter, that memory has a way of intruding when unwanted and even the best memory is sometimes suspect and always subjective. He concludes this line with, "You have lived many lifetimes because of your affiliation with Samhain and your aptitude. Learn from your experiences, but don't be ruled by the past." Lord Enma then recounts but a fraction of Skull Kaiser's evil deeds but says that what's most important was the awakening of his conscience and his sincere regret. He goes on to say that Skull Kaiser has the potential to be of great aid to the Loss Queen whose safety is more important than perhaps anyone realizes. Samhain's evil spreads like a cancer and if unchecked, will ravage all worlds in the end. Lord Enma offers Skull Kaiser a chance: Defeat the 8 Lords of Hell and receive a permanent appointment as Lord Enma's agent.

For a moment, Skull Kaiser is lost in thought, thinking about his last adventures and how they were all a dream. He doesn't have the power of Gran Mid and Gran Pham. He is one man, but as one man, he did rise through the ranks of Samhain's forces and distinguish himself; if it's at all possible to make amends for the evil of his past, he will do so. And besides, his commitment to the Loss Queen was real and heartfelt, he will not fail her. As before, there seems more to his relationship to the Loss Queen, but he stops there, and offers a respectful acceptance to Lord Enma. Lord Enma's audience chamber flickers out of existence and Skull Kaiser is once again lying in the thicket of bones.

Skull Kaiser still feels broken and weak, but if Lord Enma offered the opportunity, it must be attainable so he forces himself to stand. He suddenly realizes that he's still wearing the Kaiser Bones and he is confused. The Bones explain that they have chosen Skull Kaiser as their host and that they cannot be separated now. Skull Kaiser is moved by the gesture and his spirits are raised by their entreaties to persevere. They are interrupted by shouts and suddenly they are surrounded by demons and the damned alike. One of the demons punches Skull Kaiser in the stomach and he doubles over. He is aghast—he knew he was weak, but the power of the blow was completely unexpected and he begins to lose heart once again thinking that such strength at the beginning of his long road is futile to fight against. He is beset by those surrounding him and begins to receive a nasty beating.

The Kaiser Bones speak up again and tell him not to give up. They inform him that in life, food nourishes the body and the body is made stronger by exercise. In death, the body remains as a vessel but is nourished only by Ghost Light which in turn can be made stronger with exercise, thus making the body powerful. Skull Kaiser is told he has a powerful Ghost Light, but that he must learn to control it. The Kaiser Bones continue, "Concentrate! When your limbs lack the strength, still do you have the means. Lash out with your fighting spirit!"

For a moment, we can hear nothing but Skull Kaiser's heart beat, then he becomes aware of something within himself, a low hum which he identifies as his burgeoning Ghost Light. Something snaps inside him and he begins to cry out. A very large demon before him is about to brain him as Skull Kaiser raises his shout to a crescendo and there is an explosion around him. All the demons are sent flying but the one who was about to brain him is pinned to a gnarled tree by the crackling power of the Kaiser Beam, a jagged lightning bolt that shoots from an aura around his head! The demon smoulders to ash as Skull Kaiser stands up and brushes himself off. Many of the demons lay scattered. Some are burned to death, some are rolling on the ground in agony, some are staring wide-eyed and fearful at Skull Kaiser, but no more do they approach him. Skull Kaiser thanks the Kaiser Bones and says he feels very powerful. The Kaiser Bones tell him that's because he's awakened his Ghost Light and it'll only get stronger.

Skull Kaiser turns to one of the demons and politely asks the way to the 8th gate. Shaking, the demon points to a winding road of cobblestones. Skull Kaiser traces the road with his eyes and in the distance sees a large raised platform with what looks like a giant Shinto gate against the gray sky. He sets off down the road, thanking the demon.

To Be Continued...

Friday, December 22, 2017

Episode 22 : The Wicked Truth! Farewell, My Queen!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 22 : The Wicked Truth! Farewell, My Queen!

The episode opens with Skull Kaiser dashing through the well-guarded corridors of the Root Palace. He is beset by faceless troops who offer little resistance to his strength and do little to slow him. Throughout this sequence, we have a voice over from Skull Kaiser, recounting the bulk of his trek and he finishes by vowing success over Samhain and that as long as he lives, he'll protect the Loss Queen. Finally, Skull Kaiser stops as Titan Foiler steps out into his path. All of Titan Foiler's former apprehension over the state of their friendship is gone, he is terse and cold. Titan Foiler tells Skull Kaiser to go back to his precious Loss Queen and await the inevitable. Skull Kaiser laughs and assures Titan Foiler that there will be time for such leisure once he's finished here. Titan Foiler continues, telling Skull Kaiser that he's good but not that good. While unaided, the two may be an equal match, but the Titan Star is too strong, and Skull Kaiser has expended too much energy to make adequate use of the enhanced Ghost Kaiser. Besides, even if he did manage to destroy Titan Foiler, how could Skull Kaiser defeat Samhain when he'd be totally exhausted just reaching the Ultimate Shade King? Skull Kaiser cannot help thinking that Titan Foiler is right. He has spent nearly all his energy on the way to his goal; what will he have left for Samhain? Before they can begin fighting, a purple light appears between them and from it issues echoing laughter. Wrappings come from all directions and form Dust Pharaoh, who says that Titan Foiler is right, that Skull Kaiser needn't be burdened with this fight. Besides, he has a student to avenge. Dust Pharaoh tells Skull Kaiser that this is the last of his three boons to bestow and to make good on it. Skull Kaiser thanks Dust Pharaoh solemnly and proceeds. Titan Foiler is furious and orders Dust Pharaoh to stand down. The other laughs contemptuously and goes on to tell him how small a man he is. Titan Foiler lashes out in rage with the Titan Lance and the two begin fighting. Skull Kaiser reaches Samhain's chamber and violently knocks the doors in. Samhain grows to a great height and demands to be shown proper respect. Skull Kaiser tells his former king that he apologizes for what he has to do, but his conscience finally awakened and he couldn't deny it any longer. Samhain chides him for being a pawn always, first of his, then of the Loss Queen. He criticizes him for taking gifts and then turning on his benefactor. Skull Kaiser laughs and counters, knowing the origin of the Kaiser Bones, and criticizes Samhain for taking advantage of the weak-willed to further his own evil. Samhain tires of Skull Kaiser's talk and breathes fire down on his former general. Skull Kaiser uses the Ghost Kaiser and tears through a portion of Samhain's large pumpkin head. The trail of the Ghost Kaiser has a vacuum effect and drags Samhain's own fire back over him. The force of the combined fires chars Samhain and knocks him backwards. He stumbles backwards as he falls and shrinks down. When he hits the floor there is a great convulsion in the Root Palace. We cut at that moment to Dust Pharaoh and Titan Foiler who are both taking a breather from their fight. Both are ragged with damage from the other and each know the significance of that shock wave. They turn again to each other and renew their fight. Skull Kaiser is walking towards Samhain who is getting up from the ground. Samhain touches a hand of bundled twigs to the broken portion of his face left by Skull Kaiser's attack. We can clearly see the candle flame inside his head guttering. Samhain growls and shouts for Skull Kaiser to stop. He starts backing away, telling him he doesn't know what he's doing. He cries out one final time, but Skull Kaiser breaks into a run and shouts, "Kaiser Claw!" As he appears to make contact with Samhain, he instead seems to hit a glass pane which shatters, the dark giving way to warm light. We are now looking into the face of Champagne. A tear rolls down her cheek and she bows her head. Down below her lies Skull Kaiser, his helmet lying off to the side. Blood is coming out of his mouth and he appears to be choking on it. She takes up his hand in hers and tries to soothe him. "I did it," he says beaming in between coughing fits. Agrippa, with a nasty mark on his neck, appears beside Champagne, and scoffs, wondering what Skull Kaiser is so smug about since he obviously failed. Champagne shushes her bodyguard and says that though Skull Kaiser sought to destroy them, they have made a great ally this day. Agrippa is confused since he's only known Skull Kaiser as the scourge of his people and also because he's dying on the floor. Becoming lucid, Skull Kaiser damns the truth and apologizes to the Loss Queen that his success is also his failure—since the fever dream is over, so now is his life. She cradles his head in her arms upon her lap and says that he did not fail, that in fact, his was the greatest success.

Season 1 : END

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Episode 21 : Golden Machine Castle Gran Mal

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 21 : Golden Machine Castle Gran Mal

The episode opens with Skull Kaiser floating high above the Machine City facing Gear Binder. Gear Binder tells him that he still has no chance to succeed. He reminds Skull Kaiser of the Loss Tower's proximity and how it's only a matter of time before its secrets are exploited and Samhain is free to plunder any and all worlds. Moved to anger, Skull Kaiser powers up the 2nd level Ghost Kaiser and tries once more to attack Gear Binder. This time, he's far too powerful for the barrier and it shatters. Gear Binder, fearing for his life, cries out, "Clockwork Beam!" and Skull Kaiser narrowly escapes the attack which strikes a spire in the distance. Skull Kaiser turns and watches the effects of the Clockwork Beam and decides to re-evaluate his opponent as the spire is immediately consumed with what appear to be living, growing cogs and gears which spread rapidly and act like a cancer. Skull Kaiser turns back to face Gear Binder, but the Machine General has disappeared and several heavily shielded doors slide down into place to bar Skull Kaiser's passage. Before Skull Kaiser can decide what to do, there is a loud rumbling and steam jets from various points all over the machine castle. Gran Mal begins to shake violently and then it lurches forward! At first he's mortified but then Skull Kaiser recalls that this is in fact Gran Mal's power. Skull Kaiser regards Dust Pharaoh, who is hovering in the background with arms folded across his chest. He says to Skull Kaiser, "Consider me in reserve." Skull Kaiser sighs and repositions himself for a new strategy. Trying to best guess the castle's center of gravity, Skull Kaiser does a Ghost Kaiser attack. When he meets Gran Mal, the two seem to be the perfect example of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Gran Mal's progress is halted and its forelegs even rise slightly off the ground, but other than that, they seem too evenly matched. Skull Kaiser realizes that he doesn't have enough power to do this for long nor is it really benefiting him in any way. He focuses his will and tries to power the Ghost Kaiser to new limits. He succeeds but not in the manner chose. The bulkhead he was up against buckles and he tears through Gran Mal like a bullet exiting its back and crashing into the ground beyond. Skull Kaiser gets up and shakes his head clear of stars and sees Gran Mal, essentially unharmed, proceeding towards the Loss Tower. He curses and doesn't know what to do but then his attention is caught by Dust Pharaoh who's put himself between the Loss Tower and Gran Mal. He shouts, "I once vowed that if I were to encounter a great man, I would bestow upon him three boons. Skull Kaiser, this is the second of your three. Zen Zen Nai!" As Dust Pharaoh begins to power up his attack, the panicked voice of Gear Binder is heard over a loudspeaker calling out, "Gran Mal Salvo!" Undeterred, Dust Pharaoh appears to claw at the air and his fingers drag with them two streams of visible wind which buffet Gran Mal and sweep up the barrage of missiles just launched. The missiles are disintegrated and Gran Mal seems caught up in a blurry haze that razes all surface features of the castle. The leg joints, bearing so much weight, crumble first and turn to powder causing the castle to cant and collapse. When Dust Pharaoh's assault is done, Gran Mal looks like a derelict wrecked millennia ago. In many places it is just a skeleton of I-beams which are themselves warped and rent. Skull Kaiser starts walking towards the wreck to find Gear Binder. We cut to Skull Kaiser avoiding the Clockwork Beam until he gets close enough to execute a Kaiser Claw. The head of Gear Binder continues to tell him that his success here is meaningless, that Samhain will win no matter what. The head cackles as Skull Kaiser drops it then crushes it under foot. He tears the Creation Cogs out of the still standing body of the former Machine General. He looks off through a hole in the wall towards the Root Palace and vows to destroy Samhain.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Episode 20 : Machine General Gear Binder

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 20 : Machine General Gear Binder

Skull Kaiser has reached the Machine Territory and is wreaking havoc with the 2nd level Ghost Kaiser. While at the peak of a jump to descend again for destruction, Skull Kaiser is addressed by Gear Binder from one of the balconies of his machine castle. Gear Binder tells him he's finished and stops Skull Kaiser cold with the flick of a button from a remote control that disables both the charge and fire circuits! Gear Binder also tells Skull Kaiser that his valiant fighting would have paid off, but his latest invention does exactly what it's supposed to do. Gear Binder calls Skull Kaiser's attention to the horizon and oddly enough, Skull Kaiser sees lots of blurry stuff in the periphery but right there on the horizon and getting bigger is the Loss Tower! Gear Binder has created a machine which slowly folds space bringing the Loss Tower right to where Samhain can unleash his greatest arsenal on it. The problem has been that Samhain's forces were spread out and destroyed, but the Machine General has the strongest force, the largest army, and the most powerful weapons systems which are designed to protect the Root Palace and the Undead Vine. Using all that power offensively proved difficult, but was not necessary in the past. Thanks to Gear Binder's innovation, all that has changed. Gear Binder goes on to describe what will happen once Samhain has control over the Loss Tower and we're treated to a montage of different worlds being conquered by Samhain. Skull Kaiser is infuriated but won't give up yet. From his position still in the sky, he launches himself forward and performs a Kaiser Claw, seeking to destroy Gear Binder. There is a great flash, but Skull Kaiser is repelled by an energy barrier protecting Gear Binder (it's generated by Gran Mal, actually). Gear Binder laughs hysterically and tells Skull Kaiser to give up. Skull Kaiser loses heart. It looks as though he's been beaten. Then a disembodied voice echoes throughout and says something to the effect that it doesn't take much to make a fair fight: If one man girded by stolen technology can defeat an empire, than that man is great; if an empire is afraid to meet that one man with his comparatively minor powers, then that empire has already fallen. A purple light appears and is surrounded by mummy wrappings, which continue to wrap around an invisible figure until Dust Pharaoh is complete. Gear Binder is confused and becomes fearful when Dust Pharaoh assures him that his powers cannot be denied by Gear Binder's technology. To prove his point he waves his hand and Gear Binder's remote control disintegrates. Gear Binder is enraged and makes threats but Dust Pharaoh performs the Interstitial Strut which leaves what looks like a bullet hole in glass through the barrier and nearly spears Gear Binder's head. Skull Kaiser and Dust Pharaoh share some unspoken communication as Skull Kaiser begins to charge up the Ghost Kaiser again. He condemns Gear Binder as the episode closes.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Episode 19 : Phantasma King, You'll Not be Forgotten!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 19 : Phantasma King, You'll Not be Forgotten!

Skull Kaiser is asleep in a makeshift camp as Phantasma King keeps watch. Phantasma King does a little monologue recounting their progress. He's pleased with his decision to follow the Loss Queen and aid Skull Kaiser. The only thing that bothers him slightly is that he is probably disappointing his teacher, Dust Pharaoh. This is something that cannot be helped and he accepts it as best he can for now. Perhaps in the future, Dust Pharaoh can be won over to their cause as well. Caught up in his reverie, Phantasma King turns around and is befuddled finding himself face to face with Titan Foiler. Titan Foiler takes full advantage of his non-action and, calling him a traitor, lances Phantasma King right through the Whirl Plate. Phantasma King staggers backwards uttering confused gibberish clutching his stomach. He falls backwards and the pierced Whirl Plate explodes. Titan Foiler is livid at Kali Dharma's death and he rants for a bit as Skull Kaiser, now awake and unseen by Titan Foiler, takes in the scene and listens to Titan Foiler's speech. Skull Kaiser is twice as mad as Titan Foiler because it's clear that Titan Foiler killed Phantasma King in cold blood. Skull Kaiser calls attention to himself, they exchange some heated words and a fight ensues. They wound each other variously but Skull Kaiser finally uses the 2nd level Ghost Kaiser attack which appears to overwhelm (short circuit?) the Titan Star. With his back to Titan Foiler, Skull Kaiser tells him to leave unless Titan Foiler wants to be shown the same kind of ruthless treatment Phantasma King received. Titan Foiler is unsure of what to do. Skull Kaiser shouts with tear-filled fury and Titan Foiler finally limps away. We cut to Titan Foiler in his chamber after the Titan Star is repaired/healed. Dust Pharaoh enters and Titan Foiler assigns him to kill Skull Kaiser. Dust Pharaoh is amused by the request and is preoccupied with Phantasma King's death. They have an argument, in which Dust Pharaoh points out that Kali Dharma was sent on a mission and died fighting. Phantasma King was clearly outclassed but didn't even have the opportunity to fight back. Titan Foiler threatens Dust Pharaoh, but Dust Pharaoh is clearly a match for him, easily evading his Titan Lance and striking him in the stomach with a thumb punch—the Interstitial Strut! Dust Pharaoh voices his disgust and walks out.

To Be Continued...

Monday, December 18, 2017

Episode 18 : The Crooked Wheel of Law

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 18 : The Crooked Wheel of Law

Skull Kaiser and Phantasma King emerge from the Trap House exhausted. Both have been fighting nonstop for some time and could use a break. Unfortunately for them, Kali Dharma arrives, smug and haughty, issuing a challenge to Skull Kaiser. She sneers at Phantasma King and tells him that he's worth less than dirt and that his punishment can wait until after Skull Kaiser's been dealt with. She turns her attention back to Skull Kaiser and glowers at him. After a time, her composure cracks and she begs to know what happened to him, why has he turned against Samhain and his friends? She confesses with cast-down eyes that she once loved Skull Kaiser. Skull Kaiser balks at this, is shocked by the news, as Kali Dharma voice-overs us into a flashback. We see images of Kali Dharma with Titan Foiler, though she's looking longingly after Skull Kaiser. When she's done telling her tale, Skull Kaiser laughs bitterly at the sick irony: he loved her too, but stepped down because he knew that his best friend also loved her. He avoided going into the Darkness Squad specifically so he could be free of that heart-wrenching torment of seeing his best friend with the woman he loved. Now she stares dumbfounded, unable to say anything. She gingerly approaches a subject that Skull Kaiser quickly quashes (presumably that there might be a chance for them again as he tells her it's too late for such things). Her beauty and softness contort into instant rage and bitterness as she proceeds to engage him in physical combat. Eventually she rises into the air and uses her Dharma Wheel attack. Due to his exhaustion, Skull Kaiser is unable to avoid the attack and he suddenly appears to be crucified, spread eagle on a great black wheel. Skull Kaiser's mind is flooded with images of past deeds which begin to crush him with guilt. He's also undergoing a great deal of physical stress from the attack and not faring well. While he feels it inappropriate to interfere physically, Phantasma King has to do something. He shouts to Skull Kaiser that while the root of the Dharma Wheel's power lies in the victim's own mind, it is fueled entirely by Kali Dharma's will and emotions. Skull Kaiser's mind clears somewhat. His quest to destroy Samhain is his penance for the misdeeds of the past. He masters himself and the Kaiser Bones start to glow until they seem to burn with blast furnace force. He uses the newly upgraded Ghost Kaiser attack, which shatters the Dharma Wheel, and he flashes through Kali Dharma until he stands just beyond her. For a moment, each are still then Kali Dharma erupts into flames as she cries out. Skull Kaiser offers a tender and choked up, "Farewell." He walks away from the conflagration as Phantasma King looks on.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Episode 17 : The Trap House

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 17 : The Trap House

This episode opens with Samhain berating Titan Foiler. He seems to be taking out all his frustrations on the leader of the Darkness Squad, and Titan Foiler is taking it like a good retainer. Samhain tells him that Skull Kaiser and Phantasma King have already gotten deep into Nou Wire's territory, that Nou Wire's troops are useless without the Relic Cords to guide them, so the territory is completely unprotected. Skull Kaiser and Phantasma King will arrive in the Machine General's territory very soon and that's very dangerous, since it's the last line of defense for the Root Palace, where Samhain is located. Luckily, Machine General Gear Binder has been busy and despite Skull Kaiser's progress, the tables could well be turned. We cut to Skull Kaiser and Phantasma King who are taking a brief rest on their journey. Skull Kaiser has just finished installing Gran Mid's Fire Circuit into the Kaiser Bones. As the two are discussing the merits of the upgrade, the atmosphere becomes odd, eerie, and it starts to change. Suddenly they are in the middle of walled yard, like that of a prison. Ahead lies a huge gatehouse, which seems to be the only way out. They look at each other, nod, and proceed to enter. The moment they do, they both fall down separate chutes. The place is riddled with traps and each finds his way and is able to deal with one of Gear Binder's three commanders. They meet up eventually and together they defeat the third commander and find the exit. We cut to Kali Dharma begging Titan Foiler to be sent after Skull Kaiser and Phantasma King. Titan Foiler looks to Dust Pharaoh, standing in the background with his arms folded. After a moment, Dust Pharaoh just shakes his head and exits with an air of disgust. The episode ends with Titan Foiler reluctantly agreeing to send her.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Episode 16 : Puppet General Nou Wire

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 16 : Puppet General Nou Wire

The episode opens more or less where the last left off: Phantasma King and Skull Kaiser are taking on Gran Lej and the rest of the puppet army all by themselves. Gran Lej did wonderfully against Gran Mid, but it's not anywhere near as effective against two small, and very skilled opponents. Skull Kaiser, sure that Nou Wire is nearby somewhere, posits that the Puppet General is a coward. Nou Wire cannot stomach such an insult and he's also growing concerned about the state of his army/Gran so he becomes visible and orders his army to stop fighting. He assures Skull Kaiser that there are many ways to fight. Skull Kaiser is disdainful and tells him to prove it. Further rankled, Nou Wire attempts to lash Skull Kaiser with the Relic Cords, using his Shinkei Whip attack. Skull Kaiser catches the cords which wrap about his arm as the Voice of a Hundred Heroes explain that Nou Wire attempted to posses him, but the Kaiser Bones, being possessed of many spirits already, made him proof against the attack. Skull Kaiser asks if this is all Nou Wire can do. Nou Wire is mortified but quickly changes his approach, striking at Phantasma King this time with the Shinkei Whip attack. Phantasma King has no such proof against the attack and is taken somewhat by surprise. Nou Wire laughs maniacally and disappears as Phantasma King, under Nou Wire's control, starts trying to attack Skull Kaiser. He is easily repelled by Skull Kaiser, and Skull Kaiser tells him that it's no use. Nou Wire laughs again and this time Phantasma King disappears as well. Just as Skull Kaiser is about to use the Kaiser Scan, a loud shout heralds Titan Foiler's arrival. Skull Kaiser stands straight and brushes himself off to properly greet his best friend (this is the first time they've interacted since Skull Kaiser's defection). Nou Wire decides to remain silent and hidden to see if the great Titan Foiler will take care of his job for him. Titan Foiler expresses concern for Skull Kaiser, he fears that he's been put under the Loss Queen's spell. He tells his friend to open his eyes, to come back to Samhain, that he'll use his influence to reduce his punishment, that there's still time to give up this foolish quest. Skull Kaiser shakes his head and refutes the notion that he's been put under a spell. He tells Titan Foiler that he cannot and will not turn back. Skull Kaiser appreciates the appeal, but he must move forward, whatever the consequences. Titan Foiler, bows his head in resignation and tells his friend that he understands. He will leave now in honor of their friendship, but next time they meet, it will be as enemies. Nou Wire is so appalled at Titan Foiler's giving Skull Kaiser a chance that he cries out. This gets Skull Kaiser's mind back on the matter at hand and he uses the Kaiser Scan to locate where the two are. Skull Kaiser tells Nou Wire that it doesn't matter what kind of tricks he uses, he's been discovered. Skull Kaiser can "see" Phantasma King and just behind him, operating the Relic Cords, is Nou Wire. Skull Kaiser uses the Ghost Kaiser, passing harmlessly through Phantasma King, and severs the bond between him and Nou Wire. He tears the root of the Relic Cords from the back of Nou Wire's neck and destroys them (they're squirming and look like they have a life of their own; actually once they're entirely free they look rather like a squid). Nou Wire limps off as Skull Kaiser sees to Phantasma King who is disconcerted from the experience. We cut to Nou Wire raising Samhain on a video screen. Once he makes his failure known, Samhain becomes very angry, telling him that he's dead already, what business does he have trying to talk to him? The light in Samhain's head begins to glow and his face takes up the whole screen as a torrent of fire spews out of his mouth and through the video screen, engulfing Nou Wire.

To Be Continued...

Friday, December 15, 2017

Episode 15 : Farewell, Gran Mid!

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 15 : Farewell, Gran Mid!

The episode opens with Skull Kaiser and Phantasma King kneeling before the image of Champagne. Phantasma King swears his allegiance to her in an extremely deferential manner. Skull Kaiser is silent during the exchange, as Champagne offers her sincere thanks and is somewhat embarrassed by Phantasma King's use of honorifics. They apprise her of their progress and Skull Kaiser indicates that he's not overly familiar with the Puppet General's abilities or methods. She wishes them luck and we cut/fade to Skull Kaiser and Phantasma King standing on Gran Mid's head as they cruise through the dark and craggy countryside. Skull Kaiser continues the previous conversation saying that Nou Wire, the Puppet General, is from a world unfamiliar to him and he's always kept to himself despite his position. Phantasma King knows little more except that Nou Wire's Artifact, the Relic Cords, is what enables him to direct his army as a conductor does an orchestra. As they are discussing, Skull Kaiser thinks he spots something odd, a flash of movement, but further scrutiny reveals nothing. In truth he spotted one of Nou Wire's advanced scouts. We cut to a dimly lit chamber done in rough timbers and a bead of light glimmers along a thread that is connected to the fingers of an outstretched hand. The light reaches the hand and the hand clenches into a fist, a motion which is accompanied by dry, superior laughter. Nou Wire turns to face us, his face is featureless wood: smooth, polished, glossy (he looks a lot like a very menacing wooden artist's model). His entire body is made up of wood, with joints only visible because of the glint off the metal. He makes some egotistical remark about the intentions of the two heroes; he's set a trap and they are headed right for it. We cut back to Skull Kaiser and Phantasma King as they are approaching a bridge over a rushing river. Skull Kaiser is still uneasy from nearly catching sight of the scout and thinks that something is going to happen, but he just can't put his finger on what. They begin to cross the bridge and Phantasma King notices just as Skull Kaiser does—too late—that the bridge is made of wood, but more specifically, it's made of interlocking wooden soldiers. Once Gran Mid is completely on the bridge, the bridge scatters like a cloud of insects and swarms the skeleton snake as it splashes and flounders in the turbulent water. Skull Kaiser curses; he knows immediately that Nou Wire's soldiers have one thing in mind at this moment, and that's destroying Gran Mid! As if he needed any more proof, the wooden puppet soldiers begin climbing upon one another until they form a great and growing figure of amassed soldiers. This is Gran Lej and he proceeds to wrestle with Gran Mid. Within the water, straggling puppet soldiers beat and tear at Gran Mid while their larger cousin inflicts major damage. Skull Kaiser shouts for Gran Mid to fight, to persevere, but it doesn't look good. Gran Mid uses his fire and blasts an ample hole right through the middle of Gran Lej, but new puppet soldiers climb over the body like ants and close the wound. Moments later, Gran Lej twists his grip on Gran Mid's head and there is a nasty crack that reverberates off the water. Skull Kaiser cries out and the water around him begins to bubble as he powers up in rage until he shouts, "Ghost Kaiser!!" A flash connects his former position to Gran Lej's head which explodes, sending broken bits of puppet soldiers flying. But still, more soldiers arrive to regenerate the giant. Phantasma King rises into the air, framing his hands around the Whirl Plate, and executes a Phantasma Spiral attack. Everything seems to warp and slow, including the course of the water. He follows up by making several Phantasma Screw attacks, picking his targets carefully to inflict the most damage. Skull Kaiser is heaving with grief and rage but is able to see what Phantasma King is accomplishing. He starts with one puppet soldier, crushes him, and moves on to another. The episode ends with a passionate voice over speech from Skull Kaiser on his destructive rampage: He says farewell to Gran Mid and promises to avenge him. He then shouts out a challenge to Nou Wire, telling him that he'll destroy each and every puppet soldier if he has to, but Nou Wire will not live and Samhain's days are numbered.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Episode 14 : Friendship Out of Strife

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 14 : Friendship Out of Strife

The episode opens with Skull Kaiser completing installation of the Charge Circuit into the Kaiser Bones as Phantasma King awakens. He gets up shakily, challenges Skull Kaiser, and gets no response. He then demands that Skull Kaiser fight him and finally Skull Kaiser stands slowly and tells Phantasma King to attack him. Phantasma King is initially confused, and Skull Kaiser snaps this time for Phantasma King to attack him. Phantasma King scowls and goes through his preparation pose, then delivers the Phantasma Screw. Skull Kaiser shouts, "Ghost Kaiser!" as the Kaiser Bones glow and shimmer and he bolts forward almost as fast as light. The Phantasma Screw passes right through the flash, and Skull Kaiser's hands are clutching Phantasma King's head ready to twist with the Kaiser Claw. Skull Kaiser releases him and turns away while Phantasma King drops to his knees, bowing his head in utter defeat. Phantasma King now realizes that he hit Skull Kaiser as hard as he could before, and while Skull Kaiser's blow hadn't been fatal either, he had been wounded by Schatten Messer, not to mention the fact that he's been fighting almost constantly over the last several days. He asks why Skull Kaiser didn't kill him the second time and is told that to have done so would serve no purpose. Skull Kaiser questions Phantasma King's loyalty to Samhain, telling him that the while the Artifacts are powerful, they don't make men what they are. Men have decisions to make and they have to live with them. Skull Kaiser confesses to living a long time avoiding the implications of his decisions, but the Loss Queen opened his eyes. Skull Kaiser offers Phantasma King a choice: He can retire somewhere on this world from war and have Skull Kaiser destroy the Whirl Plate, or he can join Skull Kaiser in his quest to defeat Samhain. Like Schatten Messer, Phantasma King suffers from hero worship to some degree and cannot ignore Skull Kaiser's appeal. Eventually, Phantasma King decides that it would be better to clear his conscience and fight against Samhain, plus he cannot escape the awe he feels for Skull Kaiser.

To Be Continued...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Episode 13 : The Dark House on the Hill

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 13 : The Dark House on the Hill

Skull Kaiser wakes up with a headache from his fight with Phantasma King. Something doesn't seem right to him. He doesn't see Gran Mid or Phantasma King anywhere. The dark sky is flickering with lightning as thunder sounds. One of the lightning flashes illuminates an angular mansion at the top of a rocky hill. He's very confused since this world has been conquered—there shouldn't be any signs of civilization except that of Samhain. He sets out to investigate. He reaches the house, tries the door, and steps in. The door shuts behind him and, once inside, the light increases somewhat, but Skull Kaiser is no longer wearing the Kaiser Bones, but a straight jacket! (This is, in fact, the last time we see his face until the final episode of the first season.) Standing all around are a number of figures wearing white coats and they all seem rather familiar and that's because they all look exactly like Champagne's generals! Standing behind them is Champagne herself wearing glasses and with her hair up. Skull Kaiser is very confused. One of the doctors, the one who looks like Agrippa, says something like, "There you are," and goes on about how it's amazing that Dr. Shields has been able to make such strides with this patient. There is talk that his violent episodes have turned from the doctors to the other patients and he's become fixated on one Mr. Gordon. Dr. Shields (Champagne) gently ushers him back into the hospital and as they walk down a dim corridor, the baleful eyes of the other inmates are on them. Skull Kaiser makes various associations, seeing all of Samhain's generals and members of the Darkness Squad in the patients. He tries to tell Dr. Shields how dangerous it is for her here and he starts struggling against the grip of his straight jacket. She takes him to his room and tells him to hush as she gives him an injection, after which, he blacks out. He wakes up in the darkness of his padded room to a loud noise. His door is wide open and dim light from the hall streams in. He cautiously exits his room and proceeds down the hall. The place seems deserted until he reaches the room he first came in. Here there are a number of patients with their backs to him and all the doctors are on the floor and there's blood. Hovering over a dead Dr. Shields is a crazed looking man with a very sharp smile. Somehow Skull Kaiser knows immediately that this is Mr. Gordon and he reminds him unfailingly of Samhain. Mr. Gordon looks up as Skull Kaiser enters and begins to laugh at him. All the other patients turn and start to move menacingly towards Skull Kaiser who is forced to put up a limited fight with his legs alone as the other patients have their arms free. He decides that a retreat might be better and turns to flee. He passes some rooms and catches fleeting glimpses of strangeness until he crashes into someone at the end of the hall. He looks to see who it is and what he sees startles him: A golden, glowing lion figure whose eyes alone stop him cold. Skull Kaiser shakes his head clear and looks again. An unfamiliar patient, also wearing a straight jacket, stands before him with a pleasant smile. His name is Strauss. Strauss tells Skull Kaiser that he doesn't belong here, that he has more to do, and offers to show him the way out. Skull Kaiser is just confused so goes along with him and finally finds his way out of the hospital. He finds himself wearing the Kaiser Bones again wandering down the hill. He looks behind him for the mansion, but it's gone now. He walks back down toward Phantasma King, who is still lying on the ground, as the episode closes.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Episode 12 : Dangerous Distortion! Have I Met My Match?

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 12 : Dangerous Distortion! Have I Met My Match?

The episode opens on Champagne in her chamber. She recounts how this world has been overrun and conquered by Samhain and his generals. We get another nice montage of what this world used to look like before Samhain's arrival, but then how it was changed as the occupation became complete. She curses the Undead Vine that gave birth to him and it's ceaseless need to leech life energy away. She mourns her own fallen generals. While they were powerful, they didn't have the kind of experience that Samhain's armies did. She is very grateful that Skull Kaiser had a change of heart and became her champion. While here in the Loss Tower she is all powerful, her power is tied almost solely to the Tower so she is condemned to forever remain guardian, waiting always for a new assault. We cut to Skull Kaiser who is standing over Schatten Messer's body and holding his own ribs, which are still bleeding from the one and only real wound Schatten Messer inflicted. He apologizes to the youth for what he had to do as he takes the Carving Knife and destroys it. Suddenly, Skull Kaiser is not alone and he whips into a fighting stance to the sound of approaching footsteps. Phantasma King stands with a hand on his hip and asks Skull Kaiser how he feels about killing Scahatten Messer who was not his equal. Skull Kaiser is clearly remorseful, but says that he was left with no choice. Phantasma King was unprepared for such an answer, but he has a job to do. They begin circling each other and Phantasma King wants to know just what happened to Skull Kaiser, what made one of Samhain's greatest fighters turn? As with Jeder Man, Skull Kaiser answers simply and honestly and says that for the first time in his life, his conscience was awakened. Phantasma King scoffs weakly and they engage each other. Blow for blow, they seem very evenly matched. They both think to themselves that the other is an exemplary fighter. Finally, Phantasma King rises up into the air about 20 feet, framing his hands around the Whirl Plate set in his belt, and shouts, "Phantasma Spiral!" The backdrop begins to swirl and warp and Skull Kaiser clutches his head and staggers about, trying to keep from falling. He makes a number of retching noises as the Voice of a Hundred Heroes explains the effects of the Whirl Plate's power. Skull Kaiser also knows something of Phantasma King and he knows that the Phantasma Spiral is usually a set up for his killing maneuver, the Phantasma Screw. He has to act immediately, so gathering himself, he leaps up to meet Phantasma King and they shout out at the same time, "Kaiser Claw!"/"Phantasma Screw!" Both of them seem to connect, though Phantasma King's blow is a direct hit, his foreknuckle cracking right in the middle of Skull Kaiser's brow. The two are cast backwards, landing hard on the ground. The episode ends with both of them lying prone and potentially dead.

To Be Continued...

Monday, December 11, 2017

Episode 11 : From the Shadows, a Knife

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 11 : From the Shadows, a Knife

Skull Kaiser checks on Gran Mid who is still coiled up and recuperating. He moves to go back to work on the Charge Circuit taken from Gran Pham when he is blindsided. He staggers backwards clutching his ribs where blood is coming out. He is confused and can see no opponent. He looks around carefully and sees nothing. He bows his head and appeals to the Kaiser Bones to help him locate the threat, finishing by saying, "Kaiser Scan!" Each of the bones begin to glow and send off a visible radar wave. He skips away, blocking another blow from Schatten Messer just in time. They exchange words, Skull Kaiser is calm despite his wound, but Schatten Messer is passionate about avenging Jeder Man. Schatten Messer advances but Skull Kaiser blocks each strike easily with his forearms (those Kaiser Bones are pretty tough!). Skull Kaiser punches him once knocking him back several yards but not really hurting him. He tells Schatten Messer to go back to Titan Foiler, that he was wrong to send such a young and inexperienced fighter. Further he comments on the inferior quality of Schatten Messer's knife, and that if Samhain is equipping his top fighters with such, Samhain doesn't stand a chance. Schatten Messer laughs hysterically at him. He tells Skull Kaiser that he was a hero, that all soldiers followed his exploits and wanted to be like him, but now Schatten Messer sees that all that was wasted. Skull Kaiser is washed up if he thinks that mundane knife is in fact the Carving Knife from Samhain. He pulls out another knife that doesn't look much different from the first, but Skull Kaiser can see something different about it right away. Shcatten Messer unleashes his Tracks attack and Skull Kaiser is nearly overwhelmed by the force of the blow and he's driven back several yards himself now. He pleads with Schatten Messer to stop but to no avail. We cut briefly to Phantasma King cruising through warped space trying build up more and more speed. He's concerned about Schatten Messer's safety. We cut back to the fight, Skull Kaiser is mostly on the defensive. He finally resolves himself to fighting Schatten Messer in earnest and apologizes out loud to Champagne. We cut to a bluff where we cannot see the fighting but can hear it. There are some shouts and finally, we hear, "Kaiser Claw!" Upon the bluff, Phantasma King appears and curses, striking the ground with his fists. Too late. He mourns Schatten Messer's death—he was in fact too young and too impetuous. At least he would be with his brother now.

To Be Continued...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Episode 10 : Enter the Darkness Squad

Skeleton General Skull Kaiser
(Halloween Empire)

Skull Kaiser, formerly one of Samhain's greatest generals, stages a rebellion against impossible odds. The fate of countless worlds rests upon his ability to protect the Loss Queen and beat back her assailants. Along the way he is forced to fight old friends and make new allies...

Episode 10 : Enter the Darkness Squad

From a video screen, Samhain addresses a shining silver figure, kneeling before him. Samhain informs Titan Foiler of Skull Kaiser's defection and orders him, as leader of the Darkness Squad, to use his team to eliminate the rebel. Titan Foiler stands as Samhain's image fades and cannot believe what he's just heard. He remembers training with Skull Kaiser in his youth—though the figures are always shadowy, we get a nice flashback here of them training with some intricate contraptions, sparring, and then finally being awarded their Artifacts by Samhain. He sighs heavily beneath his armor and calls the rest of the squad to him. We cut to Skull Kaiser tinkering with Gran Pham at an access panel. Gran Mid is nearby coiled up and Skull Kaiser inquires as to his recuperation. The snake groans and Skull Kaiser chuckles, saying that he'll be okay soon enough. Skull Kaiser finds what he's looking for, dislodges a component, and is relieved to see that it's fully intact and still functional. He apologizes to Gran Mid for not letting him use his fire on Gran Pham, but he had a good reason. Skull Kaiser steps away from Gran Pham and turns in the direction of the Loss Tower. Kneeling, he speaks Champagne's name. Her image appears before him, and she's startled by all the destruction around. Anticipating her feelings, Skull Kaiser apologizes to her for his mean talents. She looks to him reassuringly and shakes her head, telling him that she knows this is the only way, but that she wishes it could be different. He tells Champagne that he's acquired the component he needed and that once it's been modified and installed, he will have a distinct advantage, even without his troops. The voice of the Kaiser Bones speaks up and praises Skull Kaiser for his ingenuity, the use of Gran Pham's Charge Circuit indeed changes the odds. We cut back to Titan Foiler's chamber where he's summoned his four junior team members. We get brief introductions of each with neat little subtitles. Titan Foiler explains Skull Kaiser's defection and eventually tells them about Jeder Man's fate—he does this last as tactfully as possible, but Schatten Messer, the youngest member of the team, loses his temper immediately. Jeder Man was his brother! He sputters curses and before anyone can stop him, he throws his cloak over himself and disappears. The remaining members of the team step forward, except for Dust Pharaoh, and ask what to do out of concern. Titan Foiler orders Phantasma King to follow Schatten Messer as quickly as possible, to back him up, but they all realize that Schatten Messer is too fast with his ability to travel instantly through shadows.

To Be Continued...