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Story TCS-Lucky and the Trial of Jade

The Nightly Revenge

PopcornPie

Crossover Enthusiast.
This is a Chronology Series side story taking place right between the end of Blood Gulch Blues, and the beginning of Hunter of the Throne. We focus on Lucky, an ex-Solo team member who has moved in with fellow Solo teammate, Lealan. By all means, his story should have ended happily. But he will not be satisfied until he can no longer feel the joy that comes with a happily ever after...
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"Get the fuck back here, Laddie!" A red rabbit called desperately after the raptor he chased, knowing he couldn't afford to lose him. This was not because the lizard was a friend. He was a nemesis, with whom Lucky never had the chance to settle the score. His name was Toffee, and he tried to make Lucky into an obedient, greedy Solo team member. Ultimately, Lucky defied him and his wishes, but the guilt he felt carried on. Throughout the adventure in Blood Gulch, he fretted that Toffee would have each and every one of his friends killed for knowing too much. Even after they'd been freed, even after Lucky had never seen Toffee again, the raptor continued to torture him with the threat.

With a steady chuckle in his throat, Toffee outran his pursuer, and ducked around a corner to listen to him shout. "Goddamn you, Toffee!" Lucky cried, to his pure amusement. As he prepared to run ahead, however, he would notice a concrete wall, too smooth to climb, and sitting on ground too hard to dig under. Why, the raptor was trapped! And Lucky knew it, hopping before him with a triumphant grin. It looked like the end for Toffee, but why would he be afraid? Lucky no longer had any power over his own mind. Any second now, his greatest weakness would call, throwing him off his aim. Three...Two...

"Lucky!"

...One.

On cue, Lucky whipped his head around. "Lana?!" The Braixen's voice was unmistakable. As was her shadow. He could see it up against another wall, highlighted by some hellish red light. She flailed her head around, her ears down, searching for her knight. Only Lucky could see the shadow claws creeping up behind her. "Lana! Look out, Lass!" His shout was fruitless; The beast still grabbed her. "Luckyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" She screamed like a frightened child, and it made his ears hurt. His head thrashed back and forth between the smug raptor, and the terrified fox.

"Go on, knight." Toffee hissed smoothly. "Go ahead, ride into battle on your pony. You might actually save her!" His smile made Lucky want to pluck his eyeballs out. The lizard was still right; He could have the satisfaction of saving her here. But the satisfaction of Toffee's destruction was something he looked forward to for even longer.

Lana's safety.

Toffee's death.

Lana's safety.

Toffee's death.

While Lucky was frozen in place, struggling to decide, the shadow beast lifted its tail, and slammed it to the ground, making the labyrinth crumble to bits all around them. As the walls fell, he saw that it wasn't just Lana whom the creature possessed in its oily arms. Rex, Sora, Lealan, Umbra, Megumin, and Luffy, and even Pearl and that lass with the red and brown hood, found themselves ensnared. It was just Lana who could still scream.

"Well, Lucky?" Toffee was speaking as though the floor hadn't collapsed all around them. "Do you want to save me for another time, and save them? Or do you like to reenact reality in your dreams?"

Lucky snarled, but gazed at his friends miserably. He had so many chances to protect them, to make sure they weren't harmed further. He failed every single test. They should want nothing to do with them after he let them down so low. Why did they continue to haunt his dreams? Why couldn't his dreams be lonely again? Maybe, if he saved them this one time, they would go back to their own minds, and leave him be. But how did he know that it wasn't Toffee pulling tricks? What if Lucky shot him, and he would stop recreating his friends forever?

"Friends are temporary, Lucky. Enemies are forever." Toffee smirked. "Whatever happened to that? Are you just going to put some people who have forgotten about you by now over the one who put you through all this torment?"

Lucky's shoulders bristled. If he saved them, they would just move on from him regardless. But they would still get to move on with their lives. In one place, Lucky would finally fix his mistakes. In that same place, Lucky could finish the one who helped trap them in this Hell, and got away with it. Wouldn't that still be doing something noble for them, wouldn't it be avenging them?

Friends' safety.

Toffee's death.

Friends' safety.

Toffee's death.

Friends' safety.

Toff-

CRACKAKAKAKAKAKAKAKA.

The ground was falling apart beneath Lucky! He was going to fall any second, but there was a bridge of rocks leading to the shadowy monster. Or, if he wanted, he could hop to the platform Toffee stood on, and finish him. This was a fact of which the raptor was fully aware. "Choices, choices.~"

"Lucky, come back to me!" Lana begged from afar, making Lucky's ears fold. Why couldn't he just pull them off, make himself deaf? Why couldn't he just pretend he didn't know a thing about Lana? Why couldn't he just choose?

Why couldn't he stand up straight!?


"Looks like you took too long, Lucky..." Toffee beamed at the plummeting rabbit. In his desperation, he'd failed to notice the last of the platform falling to pieces beneath him. As Lucky fell into the void, he could hear his friends' cries, and Toffee's laughter. Both voices became stretched out, and echoing.

"Seeeeeeeee yoooooooouuu..."

Now Lucky saw nothing. He heard nothing. He could say nothing. There wasn't even a breeze beneath him as he fell. What would he do now...?

"...My little FRIEND!" The shadow beast appeared one more time, with Lucky having fallen into its lair. With all the speed of a barracuda, with the teeth to match, it swam towards Lucky, enclosing him with a heavy SNAP.

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"Guh!" Lucky rolled forward, and had a look around. Okay, okay. He was still with Lealan. He was alive.

He'd just lost another chance to take out Toffee, because he couldn't stop thinking about his stupid friends!

"You okay, Lucky?" His imaginary friend, Lupe, spoke urgently. "I woke up just in time to see you having a nightmare!...Same one?"

"Same one." Lucky replied wearily, climbing out of his bed. Perhaps a walk in the moonlight would help him.
 
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The Challenge Door

PopcornPie

Crossover Enthusiast.
With his Paw o' Death attached to his nub, Lucky padded outside with his head low. For what it was worth, this planet Lealan had taken him to was very lovely. Perfect for a rabbit, in fact. Nice and rural.

But he couldn't enjoy it. Not while the experiences he carried in Blood Gulch lingered. That was probably his one chance to actually be in a real army, and he was a complete, utter pussy. He wasted all his time caring for people he wouldn't even see after they beat the final boss. It could have been in and out, if he didn't give a shit. But no...He was a fucking joke the whole time, turned hysterical and worried about others.

Well, Blood Gulch was behind him. He couldn't change what he had done. He could only prevent it from happening again. But how? By saying they would close off his heart, and then saying they wouldn't when it was time to pay up, Project Freelancer effectively scammed him. Lealan's solution, while it did work, was just temporary. She never said anything about a permanent solution. As far as he knew, she didn't know one.

Suddenly, mid-step, Lucky was pulled backwards a little, and couldn't move. When he turned around, he noticed his dress snagged on a stone. Well, actually, it wasn't his. It belonged to Lana. Or, to be more specific, her Project Freelance-created clone. Either way, its owner was gone. During the final battle against Meta, she was dragged away by that shadowy thing, never to be seen again. He carried the dress in memory of her, and hoped to reunite it with her someday.

"Wooooooooooooa!"

Thud.

This must have been one of the holes Lealan was warning him about. Lucky scraped dirt off his nose, then had a look around. All that was of interest down here was the staircase he'd tumbled down, and a strange door. It had a bizarre writing on it, and it looked very old overall.

"Would Lealan want me to go in there?"

"I doubt it."
Lupé interjected. "I mean, she probably doesn't even want you going out for walks."

"Well...She's probably sound asleep right now." Lucky reasoned. "And this is probably just a maze or something. I could just peek..." But first, he pressed his ear to the door. He heard nothing. "Maybe that's just what this door leads to. Nothing."

So he turned on his heel, and prepared to hop back to Lealan's abode, only to hesitate. Well...He couldn't confirm that the door led to nothing, right? If he didn't check it out. Maybe there were some riches back there, Lealan would appreciate it if he brought back riches.

"You know somebody will just stop you, Lucky." Lupé pointed out. "That door could be someone's bedroom."

"If it was, then I could probably hear snorin' or somethin'."
Lucky was now overcome with curiosity, fiddling with the doorknob.

"Maybe they don't snore! Lucky, don't..."

The rabbit kept working.

"Don't..."

One more twist...

"DON'T!"

The rat's words fell on stupid ears.

As soon as the door opened, Lucky felt himself being pulled in; Not enough to yank him in, but enough to signal that he should come in. "If they wanted me to stay out, they wouldn't have the vacuum in there..." Lucky muttered to himself, as he gingerly stepped inside.

The door shut behind him as soon as he was all the way in! "Oh, shit!" Lucky banged in the air where the doorway once stood, to no avail. He was surrounded by stars, and stars alone.

"Great going, genius." Lupé grumped.

"Did we just...find a portal?" Lucky asked himself, as he swam in space. All doors lead to somewhere, so...was this the somewhere? He still felt himself being pulled along. Eventually, he would come to what he presumed was the real somewhere; a glowing, multicolored portal. Time would only tell what laid on the other side. Who knows? Maybe he'd end up where one of his friends lived!

All Lucky could do was hold his eyes on the coming exit, unblinking. So, when colors began to flash in front of his eyes, he thought it was just a function of staring too long. But then the flashing persisted, and became more and more frequent, accompanied by shrill computer sounds where soothing, otherworldly tones had been.

"What the fuck?!" As the space glitched around him, Lucky flailed, trying to launch himself back the way he came. It failed miserably. He was just one tiny red rabbit floating in a vast expanse of glitches. Lealan would know what to do, right!?

Then the stars beneath him tore themselves away, revealing another wormhole. This one had much stronger drag, which pulled him straight down.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!"


When the rabbit came to, he was laying face-first in a pigsty. In broad daylight. "Hey-lo there, little feller!" A farmer poked him out with his pitchfork. "Sorry, lil' feller, this spot's for pigs only! Shoo, shoo!"

The only conclusion Lucky could come to was that the door's teleportation thingy had glitched out, pulling him into an entirely different area than it had intended. In other words, curiosity killed the cat, and stranded the rabbit. "Lealan is gonna kill me..."
 
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The Legend of Mismakora

PopcornPie

Crossover Enthusiast.
Lucky dragged his nubs across the muddy town he'd found himself in, trying to see anything he could potentially recognize. Lealan's ship was nowhere to be seen, and this felt waaaaay too Earth-like to be her planet. Those were clearly Earth pigs he'd fallen into. And, instead of warm and arid, the world around him was actually quite marshy, and musty.

"Fuck, the dress..." Lucky had to keep pausing to flip the dress onto his back. It was soaking up the mud and morning dew like nobody's business.

"Seriously?!" Lupe snapped. "You've just gotten yourself stuck in another dimension, Lealan is probably gonna think that you abandoned her, and all you care about is the dress of a dead girl?!...By the way, did you ever stop to think about how creepy that is?"

"I just want to return it to her. It's not creepy."

"But she's DEAD! What're you gonna do, dig up her corpse and slide it on?"

"Hell no, ew! I'd just-" And, suddenly, he found himself being scooped up by a little girl. "Hey! Leggo!"

"Bunny! A talking bunny!" Her little blonde curls bounced as she nuzzled Lucky. "Mom, look, a talking bunny!"

Lucky placed his teeth over the young'un's arm, growling quietly. Nope, nope, nope. He had been picked up and snuggled enough times. And this time, he had very important business. He would give the girl three seconds. "3...2..."

"Mama, look! I found a talking bunny!" The toddler had already brought him all the way to her worried parents, who scolded her for running off while they weren't looking. The child was just so happy to have a new pet that she didn't mind being yelled at!

"...Ah, to hell with it." Lucky fell limp in her arms. "She's just a kid." He hated it, but he would have to take the pacifist route. "Hey. Lass. You're gonna have to find somebody else to be your pet. I'm on official talking bunny business. Oh, and don't call me 'bunny'."

Understandably, this freaked out the mother. "Egads! He really can talk! And why is one of his paws...metal?" She reached down to examine Lucky's Paw o' Death, which only earned her a smack on the wrist. "I don't care if you're the mother of Shirley Temple!" Lucky snarled. "I went through a lot of shit to get me paw back, and damn if I'm gonna let its security be threatened ag-" In turn, the rabbit was slapped across the cheeks. "Hey! Watch your mouth around my daughter!" The mother cautioned.

"Fine." Boy, if Lucky didn't need enough reminders of Rex's existence. He didn't like Lucky's cursing, either. "What are we even lookin' at...Ah?" The family was staring at a lovely statue of a kirin, composed of smooth marble. Even with the overcast, its jade horn brilliantly reflected light. Beneath the statue was a plaque, reading the following:

"Mismakora. Last seen about sixty years ago, estimated to be about six hundred years old. Kirin hailing from the Forbidden Havens, responsible for the armies against the demon Lapatido."

"Huh. Interesting." Even Lucky could admit it. But what good was this information to him? The answer laid at the bottom of the plaque:

"Infamous for her unique spell, the Barrijade. She could seal off the hearts of her soldiers, so they would not have their instincts swayed by emotion during battle."

Immediately, Lucky's world brightened, and a gigantic smile spread across his face. "She could close off hearts?! Holy sh-" The girl's mom hit her slapping hand against her palm. "In any event, I gotta find her! Forbidden Havens, I gotta remember that!" He gently kicked out of the girl's arms, then pounced on the father, taking his Atlas and running with it...Only to return it when the Forbidden Havens were not in it.

The only place he could go was to the town hobos.
 
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What Hobos Know

PopcornPie

Crossover Enthusiast.
Here's something no one in Blood Gulch learned about Lucky: Thanks to all his time spent in bars and shady parts of town, he spoke fluid drunkard. And he knew where to look in order to find some tipsy loons, usually between food markets if not between bars or fight clubs.

"Forbidden Havens!" The man with the tall, beaten hat guffawed. "Don't you know you follow the moon to reach those?" He inspired heckling and wheezy laughter from all his fellow homeless folk.

"No, I don't." Lucky was unamused. "I just tumbled into this overglorified mud pit. I don't even know if noodle horse is real." He could only hope that he was speaking in the right dialect, or that he wasn't overestimating his abilities. Not helping was how old this particular batch of hobos looked: If they knew the truth, then whatever Lucky could get was invaluable. If they were simply giving lipservice to their hallucinations, then following their words could be the last mistake Lucky was ever seen making.

"Noodle horse!" Wheezed another lowlife behind him. "I've seen a noodle horse lately...In a colorin' book..."

Lucky turned to face her. "What did the coloring book look like?"

"To be honest? Shitty." Replied the shambling woman. "It barely had any pages, it was, like, one big page they folded into four. Or eight. Some even number." She burped. "And the picture was all grayed, so that was a bitch to color over and have it show. Didn't come with any crayons or nothin'. And the captions underneath the pictures were waaaaaaaay too fuckin' long."

"A newspaper..." Lucky muttered. "Do you still have it?"

"Uuuuuh...I left it in that last alley." She hiccuped. "See that sign with the oranges? Look in the alleyway next to it."

During Lucky's (fortunately) brief search, it became apparent that the garbage system in this world wasn't very efficient. He had to burrow through layers of wasted food, worn out cloths and leather, and papers once used for various purposes, before finding the coveted newspaper.

The first thing about it that disappointed Lucky was the discovery that film was not a thing in this world. What was supposed to be Mismakora's picture was clearly just a painting that was reprinted in black and white ink. Not helping was the hobo's rather unsavory ways of coloring it, which not only did he not want to even think about, but smudged up her image. Even so, the picture did, in fact, depict her leading an army with strange blotches across their hearts. Was it Barrijade, or was it just printing issues? All he could go by was the text, which, thankfully, was intact.

"So, she's only been missing sixty years after fighting this demon?" Lucky carried the paper back to the bunch, his eyes scanning it up and down. "Seems like a sneeze to me, unless some punks vandalized the statue, and she wasn't really six hundred."

"Oh no, furry friend." One of the oldest hobos spoke. "I was a lad the last time we truly saw Mismakora. She guided her jaded soldiers with patience, and skill. The demons fell one by one." His voice was wistful, as though he was reading a fairy tale. But Lucky was still skeptical. "Sixty years still sounds like an oddly recent disappearance. You sure it wasn't a mischisel?"

"Bah! That was probably just a donkey. Mismakora actually flew high into the skies, disappearing into the clouds." The man raised his arm wide over the horizon. "You won't know unless you go. You know how they like to end stories with the people roaming into the sunset? Do that, but with the moon."

"...So that means I go West?"

"No! Go wherever the moon's goin'."

"But the moon goes to the same place as the sun."

"Oh, really? Uh, what did I say, then..." The hobo scratched his grizzly chin. "Uh, maybe you're supposed to go the opposite way to the moon. Or right between them."

"...Is there a museum I can look at?"

"Oh, not here, no. But Harris knows where it is!"

"Who's-GUH!" It sent a bristle down Lucky's spine to learn that Harris was a raven. Oh, sorry, not just any raven, but a raven popular with the avian community. He had a big flock of other ravens, crows, even sparrows and pigeons at the ready.

"Uh, no! I just had a ride in the talons of a big bird, I don't want toYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Lucky was quickly seized by the entire flock, and carried away.

"Bye bye, bunny!"

"Don't forget to write!"

"Hey, you didn't compliment my coloring!"

Lucky was too wrapped up in terrified-rabbit-in-the-talons-of-a-predator mode to address any of their comments. "EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE!" His cute little rabbit screeches faded into the horizon.

"EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE! EEE! EEEE-Ow!" Lucky was unceremoniously dropped at the door of a grand museum by the birds, who flew away as soon as Lucky was out of their feathers. The moment couldn't have come sooner for them; their bird heads were aching after all that screeching.


Lucky would be happy to report that he didn't just nearly have a heart attack for nothing; The exhibit about Mismakora told him just about everything he could want. If her existence was a hoax, then, sheesh, did these people put a lot of stock in it. There was even a sample of the mud she supposedly walked on sitting below paintings of her attacks, and written accounts of what it felt like to be blessed with the Barrijade. "In that moment, I felt nothing but vigor and valor...No empathy, no regret, no remorse held me back."

As Lucky read to himself, he stared at the paintings. Those people the kirin led had faces as hard and cold as the elegant, glowing jade across their chests. He could see just how effective the spell was, just from how angry and bitter they looked. They had enough blood pooling at their toes to paint a skyscraper, and they marched through it in intimidating rows. Sunlight highlighted their sharp features, creating striking dawn and dusk palettes. "If I can find her, I'll be one of them..." Lucky uttered greedily. "I'll show Rex who I am. I'll avenge Lana. I'll destroy Toffee...And all with no vulnerabilities!" Drool dripped from his lip as he jotted down the directions on a piece of scrap paper.

From the museum, Lucky now knew exactly where to go. It wasn't a straight path across the world, as implied, but it was doable. He would have to wander through just about any terrain he could think of, until he came to mountains which danced with cold mist all day long. Just as the homeless folk said, much of this journey would involve following the sun and moon.

Everything he needed for this journey was bundled up in Lana's dress, and fastened to him by the sleeves.

It was time to fix his heart.
 

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