The Zagan Route of the story mode of Clash of Mythics: Genesis, titled Greed Harvest, is one of the default story routes available at the start of the game. Naturally, this route is set in the perspective of Zagan the Gravebringer, the protagonist of the series.
Zagan Route - Greed Harvest
Westopolis, USA, North America - August 27, X026, 9:23 PM PST
Somewhere late at night within the outskirts of Westopolis, a squad of tough-looking assassins - with a particularly young-looking man tailing behind the rest among them - could be seen making a rapid sprint through the area. However, though they may appear to be making their way towards something at first glance, that simply was not the case. Rather, they were fleeing for their lives from someone.
One of the assassins far ahead of the young man at the back - a muscle-bound tiger with orange-brown fur and an outfit consisting mainly of an army vest, cargo pants, and combat boots - quickly howls to his squadmates to keep up the pace, as "he" could be on their tail at any time. Just as he had said that, however, a male figure, whose features could not be seen due to the darkness of the night obscuring them, suddenly leaps down at the one who had spoken from high above and forces his blade through him, putting a swift end to his life.
Panicked, most of the other assassins briefly fend the sudden attacker off while continuing their escape. Meanwhile, another one of the assassins - who greatly resembled the young man, only he was much older - tells him, as well as the others, to go on ahead without him. They then proceed to do so before the young man ends up hiding behind a nearby tree once his legs finally gave out.
Soon enough, he carefully pokes his head out to see what had become of the rest of his squad, only to see a trail of several dead bodies. At the end of that trail was the man responsible for their deaths, the man who had intercepted what was supposed to be a vital mission, the man who had just murdered his father in cold blood and was now carrying his lifeless body in his grip.
The young man slowly turned to the murderer's face and saw only eyes that burned with a flame more menacing than the fires of hell itself...
Central City, USA, North America - September 19, X028, 3:42 PM PST
A muscular Mobian wolf with blood-red fur and a dominantly-black outfit wakes up with a start. As his vision clears, he briefly examines his surroundings and realizes that he had fallen asleep while on a train heading to his destination, before rubbing his face for a moment.
That damn night again... that's the third time this month, the wolf - a mercenary named Zagan the Gravebringer, otherwise known as David Burnley to the public eye - thinks to himself. Just as he wonders why that one night played in his mind over and over - and from such a "weird perspective" on top of that, he notices that the train had finally stopped at Central City Station, his destination. As the doors of the train open, Zagan then reaches for his luggage, which consists only of a large and oddly-shaped casing of sorts, and exits the transport.
After around twenty minutes' worth of walking from the entrance of the station he had come from, Zagan eventually makes his way to his personal building, which served as both his place of residence and his office in which he receives calls from people asking him to take on a job, like most mercenaries like himself do.
Shortly after settling himself behind his desk and turning on his stereo, which began to play some rock music he was rather fond of, the doorbell suddenly rings. The Gravebringer then promptly calls out to whoever was behind the door to come in. The man who had entered the building was a rather wealthy-looking man, who then informs the mercenary that he had arrived to pay him for a job well done before handing him over a stack of cash.
After taking the money and making sure that it indeed amounted to a total of $15,000 - just as he had requested when he was first contacted about the job in question, Zagan gives the man his thanks for the payment and declares that he has no further business with him, prompting the man to depart. The Gravebringer examines the money he had just been given once more and thinks to himself, This'll probably last me a month and half, at least... It'll do.
But then his mind wandered back to that night from over two years ago. He began to ponder if it was supposed to be some kind of cryptic message of something that will happen in the future... Whatever it was, Zagan was sure he needed to prepare himself as soon as possible.
Stage 1 - A New Harvest
Central City, USA, North America - October 6, X028, 10:43 AM PST
It had been over two weeks since Zagan came to his decision, but nothing of note had happened within that time, leaving the mercenary - currently walking around the streets of the city with a cup of coffee in hand due to a need for fresh air - wondering if he had simply over-reacted for once. The thought of it left the Gravebringer rather embarrassed towards himself.
Just as he was about to continue making his way, however, a sudden announcement begins broadcasting itself live, catching Zagan's attention. The announcement reveals that an organization called the Genesis Corporation - well-renowned for its recent advances in genetic modifcation, among several others - has placed a bounty on one of their escaped test subjects - a female Mobian cat known only as Burst. At present, she was on the run from the organization's field soldiers and left a trail of destruction everywhere she went.
As Zagan continued paying attention to the announcement, a grin makes itself evident on his face as he says to himself, "Finally, something that actually sounds like fun! ...guess it's time I got myself a new harvest."
Grim Whisper Highlands, USA, North America - October 6, X028, 1:16 PM PST
After preparing his luggage - which, once again, consists only of his oddly-shaped casing - and a trip that took nearly three hours, Zagan finally makes it to the Grim Whisper Highlands - a treacherous mountain range infamous for its occasional howling winds that sound not unlike the wail of a ghost, as well as the last known location of his target, according to the earlier announcement.
As he began to make his way through the mountainous region, the mercenary sighs to himself how "it had to be this hellhole, of all places" before praying that he doesn't run into "that old fart" while hunting Burst down. After making sure that the coast was clear, he holds out the casing for a moment before it seemed to begin morphing into something else - as if it were magic - before it became enveloped by a bright light! As the light faded, it was apparent that the case had now become what appeared to be a large slab of metal shaped into a single-edged sword - the Tooth of Greed, Zagan's signature weapon.
"Alright, it's go time," Zagan says to himself before swiftly dashing further into the forest leading to the mountains, determined to find his next harvest as soon as possible!
Whispering Woods, Grim Whisper Highlands - October 6, X028, 2:05 PM PST
Zagan had been traversing through the forest for what he figured was almost an hour now, but he found no sign of his intended target. However, he did frequently see several trees and other plant life and a lot of ground charred or destroyed along the way. At least I'm on the right track, the mercenary thinks to himself upon taking note of that.
However, as he kept running, he suddenly sees a small squad of soldiers - five of them, to be exact - armed with run-of-the-mill assault rifles. After deciding to hide behind a nearby tree, he remembers that the announcement had mentioned something about field operatives from the Genesis Corporation itself were chasing after Burst as well.
He then continues to spy on the soldiers and noticed that they seemed to be emanating a kind of energy that he doesn't sense from most people. Actually, their energy's not unlike- Zagan was thinking to himself before realizing that one of the soldiers had vanished from the group. Just as he was wondering where he went, he hears the click of a rifle being primed right behind his head.
"Your bio-signature has been confirmed as that of a Mythic", the soldier calls out while pointing his rifle at the Gravebringer. "You will come with us, or risk being shot down!"
Zagan simply stays still for a moment, a single muscle not moving and the expression on his face unreadable. Just as the other four soldiers surround the Gravebringer, however, he quickly grabs hold of his weapon before taking down all five soldiers with a single strike. He then notices that several more soldiers were closing in on his position, most likely intending to take the Gravebringer down.
"You wanna have some fun, huh?" Zagan taunts to his incoming attackers. "Alright then, bring it on!"
|Mission||Cut down the attacking soldiers!|
Zagan continues to make quick work of the Genesis Corporation soldiers with little trouble, prompting him to comment how it's no wonder that the corporation placed a bounty even though they're around. He then sees a few more waves of soldiers coming in, but one of them looked to be piloting some sort of bipedal mech - one that was heavily-armed at that.
"Bringing out a bigger gun, eh? Alright, big guy, let's dance!" Zagan called out as he prepped himself for another fight.
|Mission||Take down the incoming Titan!|
After a long but not particularly tough fight, Zagan manages to take down all of the soldiers that had tried to attack him. Just as he begins to catch his breath, the Gravebringer suddenly remembers that one of them had referred to him as a Mythic - an umbrella term for creatures with supernatural powers and abilities, such as himself and a few other people he personally knew.
He begins to wonder how exactly the soldier, and presumably Genesis Corporation as a whole, came to know of the existence of the Mythics in the modern world. There might be something I don't know about going on... Zagan ponders to himself, before deciding to shift his focus back to capturing Burst and collecting the bounty placed on her.
Stage 2 - Devils Cross
Sunstreaker Plains, Grim Whisper Highlands - October 6, X028, 2:41 PM PST
After traversing the forest for a while, Zagan eventually finds himself in a relatively small plain, which looked like it had been recently ravaged. After immedtiately believing that Burst was behind it all, he begins to wonder just how his target even became capable of such unrestrainted carnage in a matter of seconds. As he was thinking of possible theories as to why that was the case, his mind wanderd back to the soldier who had referred to him as a Mythic - something he was positive that no one was aware of for years.
Before he could connect the dots any further, however, he hears the sound of what he assumed were a few jeeps heading his way, with more groups of soldiers from the Genesis Corporation following behind. "So, they're back for more, huh?" Zagan says to himself as he grabbed hold of his sword and began to charge forward!
|Mission||Get the incoming forces off of your back!|
In a repeat of what had transpired in the forest, Zagan had little trouble with crushing the enemy forces as they all fell by him, one by one. Eventually, the remaining forces that had not been attacked were forced to retreat lest they meet the same fate themselves, leaving the plains mostly empty once more - only this time, there were small bits of flame left behind from Zagan's attacks.
Meanwhile, a large amount of wisp-like spheres depart from the lifeless bodies of the fallen soldiers and immediately float towards the Gravebringer, revitalizing what few injuries he had sustained in the fight. "On the plus side, having all of these poor bastards go after me only means more souls for me to consume," Zagan says to himself as he began to continue his way towards the mountains. "...and more souls means the chances of me going on a rampage are heavily lessened, if only for a while..."
Unfortunately, the mercenary didn't get to cover much distance before hearing another voice call out for him to stay where he was. Prompted by the sudden voice, he then turns to the direction the voice came from and saw a large, muscular echidna with red fur and a pair of powerful fists. "Who the hell are you?" the Gravebringer asks with a slight frown.
"Funny you should ask that," the echidna responds. "I was about to ask for your name myself."
The echidna goes ahead and introduces himself as Knuckles the Echidna, the guardian of an artifact known as the Master Emerald. Visibly uninterested in the echidna's occupation, the Gravebringer then asks Knuckles if had heard mention of his public identity before, which the echidna had not. Upon hearing that, he proceeds to introduce himself to Knuckles and his purpose for being in the area before stating that he doesn't have time to waste talking any longer.
However, he is then intercepted by a suprisingly quick and equally-powerful strike from the echidna, showing the mercenary that his muscles were definitely not just for show. Knuckles then interjects that he came here after sensing that something was going on, and that he came to find some answers. Sensing that the echidna wouldn't simply let him go, Zagan then steels himself for a fight!
|Mission||VS Knuckles - Defeat Knuckles!|
After a tough battle, both Zagan and Knuckles find themselves unable to knock one another out and are growing slightly exhausted, indicated by their heavy breathing. The two then charge at one another for one final strike that would end the match. Ultimately, however, Zagan comes out as the victor, with Knuckles having been knocked down with the mercenary's attack, while the echidna's attack only caused him to slightly flinch.
In spite of his victory, Zagan admits that Knuckles was definitely as tough an opponent as his appearance suggested, and has thus earned his respect. Knuckles does the same as he gets back up on his feet, though he still refuses leave until some information is given, believing that the Gravebringer knew something.
Seeing as it would be easier just to tell him what he knows, Zagan discloses what he knew about the Genesis Corporation, as well as the escape of Burst and the prompted bounty placed on her. Though he figured that there still may be more about the situation he wasn't aware of, Knuckles accepts the information given and leaves the Gravebringer to continue on.
However, his encounter with the muscled echidna made the Gravebringer realize that the probability of other people being around the area was actually quite high, given that the announcement was public. Knuckles would not be the only one interrupting his harvest today...
Stage 3 - Lurking Shadows
Depths of Darkness, Grim Whisper Highlands - October 6, X028, 3:11 PM PST
Not too long after, Zagan manages to make it all the way to the dark valley stationed at the very bottom of the mountains, the Depths of Darkness. However, the fog that was said to permeate the areas closest to the mountains obscured much of the path ahead of him, making it difficult to tell if he was still on Burst's trail from a distance. Regardless, the Gravebringer decides to forge on with his mission and continue chasing after Burst and grab the bounty placed on her capture.
While traversing through the valley, Zagan couldn't help but feel that he was being followed, which annoyed him quite a bit, to put it lightly. He then takes a moment and tries to see if his suspicions were correct. The fog completely obscured his vision, however, meaning he'd have to rely on his ability to sense any nearby energy signatures. Unfortunately for him, his suspicions were proven correct, as he sensed several energy signatures that were similar to the soldiers he had fought earlier lurking behind and right ahead of him.
"You can stop your little game of hide and seek," Zagan calls out to the lurking soldiers. "I already know you're there."
He could then hear numerous footsteps closing in on his position, though it elicited little to no further reaction from the Gravebringer. After questioning if he'll have to "kick their asses" again, to which none of them respond and simply tighten their grip on their weapons, he sees someone else approach him and heard a female voice - no doubt coming from whoever was approaching him - speak, "You won't have to."
As the newcomer moved closer, Zagan could make out that she was a Mobian cat with white and grey fur and a head of black hair with a large fringe covering her left eye that also sported deep purple streaks. She wore an outfit consisting of a purple longcoat, a pair of grey-ish white fingerless gloves, a dark grey tank top that left her midriff exposed, and greyish-white pants with its lower legs tucked into a pair of black boots with purple accents. She also seemed to have what Zagan assumed was a lollipop, of all things, in her mouth.
The she-cat then begins to explain that she had received word of "a mercenary with a large slab of metal for a sword" making quick work of several of the Genesis Corporation's field operatives and that the aforementioned attacker was a Mythic, which had caught her intrigue. Zagan then confirms that he indeed was the one responsible and asks what she was gonna do about it.
The feline then slowly surrounded herself with what seemed to be an aura of darkness, prompting Zagan to think to himself, So, she's a Mythic too... dammit.
"They call you 'the Gravebringer', am I correct?" the feline inquires the mercenary. "Pardon me, but I merely wish to see if you're as strong as my subordinates say you are."
Zagan, grabbing hold of his sword and steeling himself for a fight, then requests that she at least give her name before they start, to which she responds, "For now, you may call me Streak, the Silhouette Black and follower of the Genesis Corporation!"
|Stage||Depths of Darkness|
|Mission||VS Streak - Defeat Streak!|
The clash between the two combatants was going on for a bit longer than Zagan thought, as Streak turned out to be a much tougher opponent than he had anticipated, primarily due to her expertise at keeping her distance in battle and safely striking the opponent from her position. Ultimately, the match ended in a stalemate, with the both of them still standing.
After a brief moment of silence, the shadows surrounding Streak quickly disappear as she states that she had seen enough. As Zagan gave a confused expression while keeping his guard up, the Genesis Corporation operative begins to comment that in spite of how sloppy and unrefined his attacks were, she did sense that the Gravebringer truly was as powerful as her allies had said.
Zagan questions Streak as to where exactly she was going with what she was saying, and she blankly responds, "We're after the same person, right? Why don't we team up for a bit, hm?", eliciting another confused reaction from the mercenary.
She then explains to Zagan that knowing how unstable Burst's power is and how even he might have some trouble, given the way he fights, the chances of successfully capturing her might tip in their favor. After giving the proposition some thought, the Gravebringer reluctantly accepts Streak's offer but then questions her about her reaction towards the fact that he had put down some of her allies.
After a brief moment of silence, the feline chillingly answered, "If they couldn't bring you down even with your sloppiness, then - as far as I'm concerned - they deserved their fate." As cold and heartless as that sounded, Zagan couldn't help but feel inclined to agree... and somehow, that only made him more uncomfortable.
There's definitely something off about this chick, Zagan thinks to himself upon making that realization. Whatever, capturing Burst and getting her bounty are all I came here for, anyway.
After Streak informs the mercenary that she would notify all remaining field operatives in the area not to attempt attacking him, on top of him being free to kill them should they disobey, the two then continue their way through the valley in their search for Burst.
Stage 4 - Encounter
Hollow Mountain, Grim Whisper Highlands - October 6, X028, 4:04 PM PST
After a long trek through the foggy valley, Zagan and Streak finally make their way to the lower levels of the mountain where Burst was last seen - Hollow Mountain. A quick examination of their surroundings confirm that Burst had indeed been through their position recently. That meant they were getting closer to her location.
Zagan then decides to take some time to ask Streak just how every single field operative in the Genesis Corporation could carry energy signatures that were similar to Mythics such as themselves, when Mythics were a mostly-elusive race of creatures for the longest time, as far as he knew. Streak then explains that a few years earlier, a biologist by the name of Professor Kain Genesis, the man who would go on to form the Genesis Corporation, came across a strange creature he had never seen before.
Genesis, noticing that the creature was wounded, had it delivered to his lab, both to see if he could help it recover and to study its DNA. He soon found through the creatures DNA that it seemed to possess properties that were not seen on the average Mobian or human, thus granting it capabilities that exceeded what ordinary people in present day could do. What really caught his attention, however, was how it also possessed supernatural powers that not many people he knew possessed.
One thing led to another, and soon he became determined finding out more about the nature of the creature and soon discovered that there were more creatures like the one he had found. It was then he realized that if he could find a way to synthesize the genetic material of these creatures, which he eventually found out were referred to as Mythics, with the rest of mankind through science, it could lead to the next step of mankind's evolution, leading him to establish the Genesis Corporation with that goal in mind.
Zagan then put two and two together and figures that the field operatives were the result of the organization's research and experiments, to which Streak responds with affirmation before revealing that she herself, as well as Burst, was another product of said experiments. Before they could continue further, however, the two hearda voice not far from their position comment on how interesting Streak's story was. The two then turn and see a male Mobian hyena with dark reddish-brown fur and a simple but stylish outfit with a dark blue coat as its centerpiece.
The Gravebringer, who recognizes the newcomer as Dustin Wylde - a fellow mercenary who considers the two of them friends, quickly asks the hyena with an annoyed expression if he wanted anything. The other mercenary then responds that he just wanted to have a little chat with his "old pal", prompting Zagan to turn to his companion for a moment and inform her that she should go ahead, as he knows that Dustin doesn't usually take "no" for an answer when he makes requests like that.
Upon hearing his response, Streak firmly nods and leaves the two mercenaries alone...
Once Dustin was sure that Streak was far enough that she couldn't hear them, he quickly asks Zagan if he came for the bounty placed on Burst, to which the Gravebringer confirms with a slight look of confusion. Upon hearing that, the hyena informs him that there was more to the whole situation than he probably knew, prompting the Gravebringer to question what he was talking about.
Dustin replies that he ran into Whirlwind Reyes, a well-respected GUN soldier also known as The White Hurricane, while traversing the region, and found out from him that the Genesis Corporation is not to be trusted at all. However, Zagan chooses to not bother listening to the rest of what the hyena had to say, saying that all he came for is the bounty on Burst. This prompts Dustin to interject that that was exactly what the organization wanted to happen in order to further their agenda, which he believed Zagan should know.
However, Zagan swiftly cuts him off, stating that he has had enough interruptions for one day and that he wants to get this whole thing over with as soon as possible. Seeing that his friend would not listen to him, Dustin decides that the only way to get him to stay longer was to beat him, something that Zagan couldn't help but find himself laughing at before ultimately deciding to humor him and fight.
"Fair warning, Wylde," Zagan called out as he prepared himself. "This will end like last time - with you lying on the ground."
|Stage||Hollow Mountain - Misty Steps|
|Mission||VS Dustin - Defeat Dustin!|
Just as Zagan had predicted, the gruelling match ended with Dustin down on the ground, bruised and wounded by the Gravebringer's attacks. However, the hyena was still determined to make Zagan hear him out and called out to him one last time while he still could.
"If you're that determined to get that bounty placed on that Burst lady, fine, go ahead," Dustin speaks through heavy breaths as Zagan turned to his direction. "Just know that if everything goes down the shitter... know that everyone will have you to blame..."
Visibly unable to keep himself up any longer, Dustin tells Zagan not to completely trust Streak under any circumstances before finally losing consciousness and collapsing onto the ground. Despite his disdain for having been interrupted again, Zagan had this strange feeling that Dustin may have had a valid point. Suddenly, he then recalls Streak's earlier comment about the fates of her fallen allies that he himself had delivered to them.
Leaving the unconscious hyena behind - believing that he would live, at the very least, Zagan figures that he had some important questions to ask the white feline once he caught up with her.
Stage 5 - The Turning Point
Hollow Mountain, Grim Whisper Highlands - October 6, X028, 4:32 PM PST
It had been a fair while since Zagan's battle with Dustin, and he was starting to worry that he might have taken too long, but judging by how he wasn't hearing anything out of the ordinary, he figured that Streak hadn't caught up to Burst yet and was not fighting her just yet. Then there's still some time left, the Gravebringer thought to himself as he kept up the pace.
However, luck seemed to continue its revolt against him, as he is then suddenly interrupted by a powerful, green-colored gale that covered his surroundings, preventing him from going any further or going back. Zagan cursed under his breath, as he was sure as to who had come for him at that instant and was all too familiar with the emerald wind that blocked his path. As soon as the gale dissipated, he sees a noticeably-shorter avian figure before him - one that he was all too familiar with.
"I was really hoping I wouldn't run into you, you old fart," the Gravebringer remarks to the avian - Slash Silverbolt, another fellow Mythic like Zagan - who then apologized for dashing his hopes, albeit in a mocking tone.
As Zagan asks just what Slash wanted with him, the avian Mythic responds that he probably has a good idea what it was before proceeding to transport the both of them someplace else by surrounding them within a ball of wind.
Zero Space - Unknown
As Zagan came to, he found himself in an area that was mostly empty. All he could see was grass as white as snow brushing his ankles and a pale yellow sky covering the upper atmosphere. After examining his surroundings for a while, he finds the brown-feathered avian levitating slightly above the grass and ran towards him. The avian Mythic then tells the mercenary that doesn't need to worry about time, as the rift there were in transcended such a concept.
Zagan then asks Slash what he wants with him, prompting the green-clad avian to reply that he had overhead his conversation with Dustin and felt inclined to concur with the hyena's sentiments. When asked by the mercenary why he was concerned all of a sudden, he replies that while travelling around the highlands to find answers regarding the current, his encounter with another GUN official - whose name escaped him - led him to some startling implications as to what was going on.
Slash then informs Zagan that, prior to that encounter, he also had a run-in with Streak and overhead from her that part of the genetic material of the woman the Gravebringer was after originated from a particularly powerful species of Mythic that "made the rest look harmless in comparison". While he was unable to hear which species she specifically meant, he was able to infer that the species in question surpassed even a Vampyrus as powerful as Zagan when in full power.
"Now, remind me, Zagan," Slash remarks to the mercenary. "How many species of Mythics can surpass even the mighty Vampyrus?"
After a long silence, Zagan finds himself coming to a startling realization and roared, "Slash, you gotta let me outta here! Forget the damn bounty, if no one brings that bitch down, there won't be much of a world left!"
The avian Mythic was almost inclined to comply with the Gravebringer's sudden request, but he simply couldn't at the moment. As Zagan asks him what the hold up was, Slash responds that he needs to see if the Gravebringer was as determined to prevent a possible crisis as he said he was, and the only way to know for sure was through a one-on-one match. Frustrated, but determined to end it before it even got a chance to start, Zagan takes up his sword and prepares himself for a tough fight!
|Mission||VS Slash - Defeat Slash!|
As Zagan had predicted, his fight with Slash was tough. Despite Slash's age and appearance, his prowess as a fighter had not waned in the slightest. Desperate to end it quickly, the mercenary begins to rush to the avian Mythic as he prepares to swing his sword with all his might. Just as he was about to land the attack, however, Slash suddenly stated that he had seen enough, prompting the Gravebringer to stop in his tracks before the two are promptly surrounded in another emerald gale.
Hollow Mountain, Grim Whisper Highlands - October 6, X028, 4:33 PM PST
The emerald gale began to dissipate, allowing the mercenary to see that he and Slash were indeed no longer in the rift that the latter had created. In addition, it did not look like that much time had passed from when Slash had put themselves in the rift in the first place to their current state, meaning he still had plenty of time.
Having gotten his priorities straightened out, Zagan promptly rushes past the older Mythic, who then inquires one last time if the Gravebringer truly knew what he must do. The mercenary quickly answered that he was more than sure, which the avian Mythic was glad to hear before he interjected:
"Don't go thinking I'm starting to soften up after all this time or that I'm doing this world a favor. I still hate it as much as I did back then... just happens that the world getting wrecked means that my business gets wrecked. That's all."
With a sigh, Slash then asks if he could assume that the Gravebringer still knew the potential dangers of the species of Mythic the both of them believed that Burst carried the genetic material of poses, to which Zagan to simply nods, tightly gripping his blade all the while, before beginning to walk forth again. Before he could go any further, however, Slash calls out to him once more and informs the mercenary of something that he needed to know:
"One last thing, Zagan. I ran into someone a while ago - a young swordsman, fast as lightning. I took a peek at his energy, and though not nearly as experienced as either of us, he's strong. You best be careful, if ever you run into him."
After giving Slash a firm nod, Zagan quickly resumes his way through the mountain, determined to take Burst down before the worst could happen...
Stage 6 - Lightning Strikes
Hollow Mountain, Grim Whisper Highlands - October 6, X028, 4:56 PM PST
Zagan had been making his way to the mountaintop as fast as he could ever since leaving Slash behind. Thankfully, he had faced no resistance on the way - something the Gravebringer was grateful for. Eventually, he took a brief stop and noticed that the weather was beginning to look a little less pleasant. It had been fairly cloudy a while ago, but the skies seem to have become darker over time - indicating the probability of a storm passing through. "Damn..." Zagan mutters to himself before continuing his way.
As he made his way to more evenly-leveled ground, Zagan couldn't help but constantly think of what the Stormhawk had told him before departing, and it annoyed the hell out of him. All of a sudden, the Gravebringer's mind wanders back to that night two years ago, causing him to stop in his tracks once more. As if in response to his current state of mind, a brief sound of thunder boomed across the sky moments before raindrops began falling down.
Zagan then pinched the bridge of his nose for a brief moment and sighed, "What the hell am I doing?", as he reaffirms to himself that he needs to find Burst as soon as possible and take her down.
Just as he was about to take a step forward, however, Zagan sensed something coming in from behind. With no hesitation, the Gravebringer swiftly leaps out of the way, barely dodging what turned out to be a lightning bolt. No doubt, he might have found himself toast had he moved even a second too late. Upon landing on the ground, he then turns to the source of the lightning and saw what seemed to be a young Mobian lion sporting a white longcoat and a dominantly-blue outfit underneath it.
"I've finally found you..." the Mobian lion calmly declares with a seemingly blank expression on his face before Zagan inquires him on who he is. The lion in white simply scoffs and responds, "My name is Raiden, and I am he who will end your life!"
He then zips towards Zagan at speeds fast enough to briefly catch the Gravebringer off-guard. However, Zagan manages to block the incoming strike from the newcomer's blade with his own. The two then clash swords with one another before sending one another back with a particularly powerful clash. Based solely on how quickly he had acted, Zagan had no doubt that Raiden was, in fact, the one Slash had been referring to.
"I'll kill you if you don't back off in the next two seconds, kid. I've got shit to do," Zagan angrily chimes towards Raiden, gripping his sword as tightly as he could.
"I guess I'll just have to kill you in one, then," the young lion retorted as he steeled himself for battle.
|Stage||Hollow Mountain - Dark Skies|
|Mission||VS Raiden - Defeat Raiden!|
Zagan and Raiden had managed to match one another's pace at a frighteningly even rate. Every hard blow from the Gravebringer, the young lion had dodged with ease, and every lightning-quick strike with Raiden's sword, Zagan had been able to parry. Damn, the old man wasn't making shit up! This kid's actually pretty damn strong, the mercenary thought to himself as he kept parrying blow after blow.
The two then fiercely clash their blades with as much force as either of them could muster. All the while Raiden angrily cries, "Have you really forgotten my face already, Gravebringer?! Have you already forgotten that night at Westopolis?!"
Zagan couldn't help but feel his eyes widen at Raiden mentioning Westopolis. As flashbacks of the memory in question began to play erratically through his mind, Raiden continues with rage clear in his voice, "Don't you remember slaughtering all my friends?! How about you taking the life of the man I admired the most - my father!!"
At that instant, the exact moment of when the older-looking Mobian was being carried by the assailant that had murdered an nearly entire squad of assassins flash right before the mercenary's eyes. However, it just so happened that the man responsible for their deaths... was none other than Zagan himself.
The Gravebringer then promptly knocks away the Mobian lion's blade before forcing him to back off by launching forth a wave of fire with an upward swing of his own sword. Both Zagan and Raiden were breathing heavily, though a slight smirk seemed to be present on the lion's face as he comments on how the mercenary's memory seems to have been jogged.
With a visible scowl on his face, the Gravebringer affirms that he now does and commented that it's been on his mind for the past two weeks. He then questions Raiden on why he chose only now to chase him, if he really came for some payback. Raiden then answers, "I didn't. I only came here to stop that woman myself. You just happened to be in the right place at the right time."
"Well, I came for the same reason. How about you set aside your little grudge for now and help me out?" Zagan, under the assumption that Raiden was referring to Burst, asks the lion with as much sincerity as he could show. "If she's not stopped, then everything can and will fall to ruin."
"Like I'd risk giving up my one and possibly only chance to kill you," Raiden responds firmly with almost no hesitation. "In fact, I think it's time I take off the kid gloves."
As Zagan's eyes widened at what he had just said, Raiden begins to enevelop himself within an aura of lightning. As if responding to the lion, the storm seemed to strengthen as he began to speak:
"O divine heavens,
Unleash thy righteous fury,
And cast thy judgment,
Mythic Enchant - Blitzdrake!"
Right as he finished his chant, a massive surge of power shoots out from Raiden's body, which instantly became enveloped in a veil of raw power while Zagan could do nothing but watch. The veil of energy then clears and reveals Raiden, who seemed to not have taken much of a change in regards to physical appearance beyond electricity now crackling all around his person and his noticeably-spikier golden hair at first glance. However, the mercenary noticed that the irises of the lion's eyes had shifted from green to a distinct shade of red. On top of that, he could also feel the boost in power that Raiden had just granted himself.
That settles it then... the kid's a Mythic, Zagan thought to himself as he kept his expression blank. ...and to have learned the Mythic Enchant this soon? This is gonna be rough... might as well even the playing field.
With fierce determination, Zagan then envelops himself in flames and begins glowing. All the while, he recites a few words of his own:
Let all souls be devoured,
The flames shall burn all,
Mythic Enchant - Vampyrus!"
The Gravebringer then shoots off a massive power surge of his own and, upon completing his transformation, could be seen enveloped in a fiery-red aura accompanied by what appear to be tiny, black ashes, as well as the irises of his eyes now glowing a much brighter shade of orange.
"Alright, kid. If you wanna die that badly, then I'll send your sorry ass straight home!" Zagan roars as he prepped himself for another grueling duel.
|Stage||Hollow Mountain - Dark Skies|
|Mission||VS Raiden - Defeat Raiden!|
The two swordsmen kept going at one another with raw ferocity and no hesitation emanating from either of them. As their duel kept raging on, despite the urgency of the bigger issue at hand, Zagan couldn't help but feel an ever-so-slight hint of excitement within himself. He could hardly remember the last time anyone other than Slash had forced him to put even the slightest bit of effort into his fighting, but this strange kid out for his head - inexperienced as he was - had provided him that feeling for the first time in several years. No matter the outcome of this battle, the Gravebringer could not deny that Raiden had earned his respect.
However, just as the two were about to land what may have been the deciding blow on one another, a massive explosion occurring not too far from where they were throws off their balance, putting their gruelling duel to a grinding halt. Zagan immediately feels the massive surge of power caused by the explosion, bringing him back from his brief moment of ecstasy and subconsciously deactivating his Mythic Enchant.
"Dammit, don't tell me...!" Zagan curses to himself as he begins to rush towards the direction of the explosion with Raiden, having subconsciously disnegaged his Mythic Enchant as well, following close behind while angrily calling out to the Gravebringer that he wasn't done.
If that was who I think it was, then there's not a lot of time left! Zagan, having not heard the young lion's cries, thinks to himself in desperation as he continued his mad dash to the explosion.
Stage 7 - Ashes
Hollow Mountain, Grim Whisper Highlands - October 6, X028, 5:11 PM PST
Zagan was near relentless in his mad dash towards the peak of the mountain, letting nothing deter him any further - not even the repeated cries of the white-clad lion behind him. As he continued further, gradually increasing the gap between him and the lion in the process, he could hear the already-loud blasts gradually becoming louder, indicating that he was still on the right track.
Not too long after, the black-clad mercenary finally makes it to the mountaintop, only to find everything on it either burning in flames or completely charred and coated in ashes. Only a short distance from him, he could see what clearly appeared to be a heavily-wounded Streak, as well as another woman who appeared to take on the form of a Mobian feline, who looked rather similar the Genesis operative. However, apart from having white streaks in her red hair instead of the purple streaks found on the fringe of Streak's black hair, the other feline also appeared to be struggling, as if she was losing control of her own power - assuming she had any at all.
No doubting it now, Zagan thinks to himself upon laying his eyes on her. This's definitely Burst.
Just then, the downed Streak quickly turned and saw the mercenary standing there before chiming in how he took his time catching up. With a wry smirk, the Vampyrus replies that he was sure she could handle herself before striding towards the other feline, who then growls at him, questioning if he came to capture her just as Streak had tried.
After clarifying that he did initially do so with the intention of collecting the bounty placed on her once all was said and done, Zagan responds that he only recently began to realize just how much of a danger to the world her mere existence is. Knowing this, he then gives Burst an ultimatum:
"As it stands, you've got two options: stand down and come quietly... or face oblivion."
"I'd rather die free than continue living in chains!" the clearly-unstable Burst angrily responds as her power began to grow even more out of control. "Come on, you bastard!"
Just like that, the Gravebringer and the crazed test subject rushed towards one another, ready for battle!
|Stage||Hollow Mountain - Spire of Ashes|
|Mission||VS Burst - Defeat Burst!|
Zagan was forecfully knocked back by a particularly powerful blow from Burst, taking quite a bit of punishment in the process but still able to maintain his footing as he landed on the ground. He then looks back to the out-of-control feline's direction and heard her cry, "I've taken down Genesis thugs a lot tougher than you! ...all I need is to take you down, and I'll finally be free!"
"Hmph. If you're that dead set on killing me for your freedom..." the Gravebringer begins to reply, remaining calm and composed. "...then you must be ready to die trying."
"I already told you; I'd rather die free than continue living in chains, so shut up and fight, dammit!" Burst replies back, still visibly angry, before charging right towards the mercenary. Zagan then begins channeling energy onto his blade and was about to swing it right at the feline. However, just as he was about to do so, a bolt of lightning suddenly shoost out of nowhere and strikes Burst, knocking her to the side.
Zagan quickly turns to the source of the lightning bolt, and sees that it was none other than Raiden who had intervened. At that moment, however, Raiden turns his cold gaze upon the Gravebringer, who returns it with a blank stare of his own. The two swordsmen then maintain deafening silence for several, agonizingly long moments...
-Zagan Route - End-