Interlude: Meanwhile, Elsewhere
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She appeared on the platform with a flash of green light; with a nod to the operator, she stepped down and made her way out of the room.

She paused when she reached the corridor; reaching up with her hand, she gingerly touched her shoulder. There was a dull ache there, where the tip of the sword brushed her. Just barely noticeable, but it was there.

She slammed a fist into the wall in anger; the tiles shattered around the point of impact.

“My, such a temper on you.”

She turned around. “Ipsum,” she spat out.

“Lorem, my dear,” the man in the shimmering red armour said. “What happened out there today? Why are you so upset?” He paused, then continued, “Are you perhaps mad at your failure on the mission?”

Lightning began to crackle around her fists. “If you’ve come here to mock me…”

“Oh, perish the thought,” he replied. “I simply wanted to tell you that the Emperor wants to see us. Now.”

She held his gaze for a few moments, then nodded. With twin flashes of light, green and red, they disappeared.

They appeared again in front of a throne, and immediately sank down to one knee. “Your Highness,” she said.

“I have been informed of something… Disappointing,” the Emperor said; his voice was deep, and seemed to echo all around. “It appears that Defender Red is back in action.”

“He is,” she confirmed; there was no reason to deny it.

“How is this possible?” the Emperor asked. “I had been told he was dead.”

“It is not the same Defender Red, my lord,” she said. “It is someone else, wearing his suit.”

A brief pause. “Disappointing,” the deep voice said again. “As soon as we thought we had defeated one of the Defenders, and at a high cost, too, another one appears to take his place.”

“My lord, if I may,” Ipsum said.


“I am the one who killed the first Defender Red,” Ipsum continued.

He raised his hands and spread them wide. Flames began swirling around them.

“Would you like me to take care of the new one, too?”