The Dark Knight Returns Once More!

A blast of cobalt energy soared through the air of ACDC Net. The bolt struck the earth with a tremendous explosion, spears of black lightning erupting into the sky from the impact point. Runic symbols in black and cobalt swirled within the pillar of energy, coalescing to form a tall Navi clad entirely in jet black armor. The energy faded away, leaving only the kneeling Navi. The figure rose, his cobalt cape billowing in the breeze. He lifted his left arm out to his side, unfurling his fingers as a line of dark blue energy appeared in the air. The energy flashed, leaving behind a long, finely crafted spear.

"ACDC, Sire?" The armored Navi asked as he looked around.

"Yeah," Zan's voice came from nowhere. "We don't know the full extent of these BattleChips, so I figured that we would test them out in simple environment."

"As you wish, Sire."

"Besides, this Chip package lacks some important elements. We may as well start procuring some more BattleChips with a few easy encounters. Besides, ACDC Net is part of our patrol route as well."

"Yes Sire, as you say."

The armored Navi began moving resolutely away from his jack-in point. He keep his eyes peeled for any viruses or NetCriminals that may appear.

(Ready for battle)
Viruses line up for Runeknight to knock down!

CanodumbA: 50
ShrubbyA: 50
CanodumbB: 50
ShrubbyB: 50
CanodumbC: 50
ShrubbyC: 50

Runeknight: 140

"Sire," Runeknight said in warning as he spotted a small group of viruses off in the distance. "I have encountered a troop of virus. They so not seem to be a threat. Shall I attempt parlay?"

"Hm," Zan examined the group of viruses as he thought about his Navi's request. "Three Canodumbs and three Shrubbys, eh? I doubt you'll have much luck in reasoning with a trio of mechanized turrets and some shy bushes."

"True enough, Sire. Shall I engage them in skirmish?"

"Sure, though I can already see a problem with these new BattleChips."

"Oh, are they not scanning properly?"

"Nah, nothing mechanical. They are not balanced strategically. There is a definite shortage of area effect or multiple target weapons. It seems that the person who had these chips before us specialized in brutal, single combat."

"A bruiser, Sire? Some uncouth ruffian? How would the weapons of such a being be acquired by the NetPolice?"

"I don't know, though the former owner was not necessarily a brute. There is an AreaGrab in this collection. Perhaps he preferred quick, decisive strikes like a ninja or something."

"Ninja are also unscrupulous rogues and not to be trusted. Few are the valiant souls who lurk in shadow."

"True enough. Anyway, no need to keep those viruses waiting."

"As you say, Sire."

"Full offensive. Concentrate on the turrets. The shrubs will fall without backup."

Runeknight nodded silently in reply as he stalked toward the group of viruses as Zanallen quickly slotted three BattleChips into the Pet. With Zan's estimation of the BattleChips, Runeknight doubted that he would be able to slay the sextet of virus without fear of reprisal. The turrets would definitely counter if given the chance. With a full out offensive, he would have to rely on the cowardice of the Shrubbys to aid him.

As the first of the BattleChips loaded itself into his systems, black data swirled around Runeknight's armored, left fist. A crossbow crafted of finest ebony formed within the Navi's grasp, a peculiar arrow already locked and loaded. The knightly Navi crouched low as he neared the closest set of viruses. He lifted the crossbow, stock held firmly against his shoulder, and took aim. One of the turrets stood a few yards in front of him while one of the bush viruses lounged next to it. Runeknight took careful aim and pulled the trigger.



The arrow was launched from the bow. It sailed through the air for several feet before it seemingly broke apart. A compartment hidden within the arrow head released a swarm of small, metal pellets that rained down upon the duo of viruses. Runeknight couldn't be sure if any actual damage was done, and he didn't really care. He was already on the move, another BattleChip surging through his systems.

The Navi's left hand stung with an icy chill. He looked down to see the crossbow replaced by a small crystal ball and his armor covered in a white frost. Not knowing what the BattleChip would do, Runeknight cocked back his arm and hurled the icy sphere at the closest of the towering Canodumb. The crystal expanded as soon as it left Runeknight's hand, elongating into a wave of ice and snow that obscured the turret from view.

"I understand what you meant by singular, powerful weaponry, Sire." Runeknight whispered.

"You haven't seen anything yet." Zan countered. "Still no need to rely entirely on these new BattleChips."

"As you say, Sire."

The icy chill was replaced by a familiar warmth as cobalt flames wreathed Runeknight's armor. The inferno gathered into the palm of the Navi's hand a he charged toward the next turret in line. Runeknight raised his arm, palm pointed up toward the turret. He shouted a word of power, the arcane language well practiced and flowed effortlessly from his lips, and the cobalt fires erupted. The flames engulfed the turret, blocking it from sight.

Runeknight turned from the virus, spotting one of the small shrubs hiding behind the turret. He flicked the fingers of his right hand, a small orb materializing within his grasp. The orb was seemingly formed of glass with a constant flow of swirling blues and greens mixing within. Runeknight tossed the orb toward the Shrubby and jumped back. He was unsure of what the BattleChip would do and he didn't want to be caught up in its effects.


1. Shotgun (50) to CanodumbC with spread(50) directed to ShrubbyC
2. IceWave(80) to CanodumbB
3. Rune Blast (90) to CanodumbA
4. Energybomb(120) to ShrubbyA
Runeknight's first arrow effectively took care of one cannon-shrub pair. His ice wave and arcane blast took care of another two enemies. The shrubby he had aimed for was quivering where it stood, and Runeknight's bomb took it out in a devestating explosion of light. The remaining enemy was alone, and didn't seem to have the will to attack.

CanodumbA: DELETED!
ShrubbyA: DELETED!
CanodumbB: DELETED!
ShrubbyB: 50
CanodumbC: DELETED!
ShrubbyC: DELETED!

Runeknight: 140
"Sire," Runeknight's voice held an edge of sadness. "I cannot justly finish this battle. The enemy is weak, defenseless and cowering in fear. It would bring shame upon us if I were to strike the final blow under such circumstances."

"I understand," Zan said softly. "However, we can't just leave a potentially dangerous virus running around ACDC. We have to do something."

"Then I shall give it an ultimatum." Runeknight's spear reappeared in his hand and he leveled it at the center of the leafy virus. "I shall not slay you, Shrubby. Such an act would be unjust as you are of no threat to me. However, I also cannot allow you to run free and damage the Net. Therefore...You must swear to me an oath. Swear that you shall not commit an act of harm to the Net nor any Navi, for as long as you should live. These are the conditions by which I set you free this day."

The knightly Navi was ready for anything. He was unsure as to how the virus would react to such a statement. Would it understand? Or would it lash out and force him to delete it once and for all? It was a strange situate for both Navi and virus, and Runeknight was primed for any outcome. The deep blue eyes behind the cobalt visor were locked in place on the Shrubby, judging its every movement.

"Do you understand and agree to such terms?"

Give virus ultimatum.
Watch virus.
Dodge if virus attacks.
The virus stared at Runeknight for a few moments, still shivering in its shrubbery, than slowly nodded. It let out a gasp, dropped a few zenny at the Knight's feet, than headed off into the expanse of the Net.

Had the virus had its toes crossed? The knight might never know, but what was done was done.

CanodumbA: DELETED!
ShrubbyA: DELETED!
CanodumbB: DELETED!
ShrubbyB: SPARED!
CanodumbC: DELETED!
ShrubbyC: DELETED!

Runeknight: 140


Rewards: 450 zenny.
"Runeknight," Zan said as he smiled. "I am proud of you. It takes real courage not to strike the final blow and allow your opponents sanctuary."

"Thank you, Sire. It just, would not have been honorable to strike down a defenseless foe."

"Well, at least we have figured out that most of these BattleChips work. I just wish that we could use them for more strategic purposes. Well, the longer we fight, the more experience we'll gain with these new weapons."

"As you say, Sire."

Runeknight dismissed his spear in a flash of cobalt light and continued his trek deeper into the Net.

(Next round please)
Enemies of greater caliber arise to challenge the knight's blade!

SpikeyA: 90
SpikeyB: 90
MetoolA: 40
MetoolB: 40
MetoolC: 40

Runeknight: 140

"Sire," Runeknight called out. "A second wave doth approach."

"I see them." Zan answered. "Those Spikey look to be a bit stronger than average. I doubt any of these viruses will surrender."


Runeknight observed the small group of viruses from his perch a few yards away. He couldn't tell if the viruses had seen him, as they were moving perpendicular to his position, but it was obvious that they were up to no good. The trio of Metools were flanked by the two Spikey, the snarling wolf-like viruses controlling the weaker viruses through fear and intimidation. The wolves were larger than the knightly Navi remembered from his last time patrolling ACDC, with rippling muscles under their blue coats and embers of flame escaping their mouths with every breath.

"How shall I proceed, Sire?" Runeknight inquired.

"Give them hell," Zan aid simply as he slotted in a trio of BattleChips.

Runeknight nodded grimly as the surge of chip data was uploaded into his temporary battle systems. His spear appeared in a flash of cobalt light, but it did not stay that way for long. The shaft shorted to less than half its normal length, the tip lengthening and widening until a large slab, 40% metal and 60% stone, replaced the stylized head. Runeknight looked down at the new weapon with an expression of surprise. The weapon was about as long as his spear, but far wider and resembled a giant, blunt-edge sword.

"A zanbato," Zan answered the unasked question. "It is a weapon from feudal Japan. It was used to take down mounted soldiers, horse and all."

Runeknight rose to his full height, hefting the massive weapon onto his shoulder. One of the Spikey saw his movement and growled in warning. The Navi paid the beast no mind and began his charge, both hands wrapped tightly around the hilt of the giant sword. His dash brought him within range of the first Spikey and Runeknight stopped sort, dropping low to allow his momentum to transfer to the zanbato. He swung his arms, using inertia to smash the zanbato down toward the growling virus.

The blade of the massive sword shattered, obscuring his vision of the virus, but Runeknight was already moving. He dropped to one knee, rolling to the side as his hand reached for his belt. His armored hand grasped a wooden handle and Runeknight rose to his feet holding a loaded crossbow at the ready. Two of the Metool graced him with their presence and Runeknight countered by adjusting his aim and squeezing the trigger of the bow. An arrow launched from the weapon and exploded into a wave of small iron pellets.

A cobalt flame washed over Runeknight's jet black armor, the inferno amassing into a sphere that he held in his left hand. Runeknight dashed further into the ranks of the viruses, searching for his target. Another Spikey, or perhaps the same one, loomed in front of him and Runeknight unleashed the built up runic power in a wave that engulfed the wolf-like virus.

A soft click greeted Runeknight's ears as his crossbow reloaded. The Navi scanned the battlefield, gazing intently for any sign of the rogue Metool. Light refracting off a domed object caught his eye and Runeknight took aim at the yellow helmet of one of the Metools. The searched for a weak point in the virus' defenses and fired. The arrow soared straight for the small virus, leaving a blue streak in the air as it flew.

1. BigHammer1(160) to SpikeyA
2. Shotgun(50) to MetoolA with spread(50) to MetoolB
3. Rune Blast(90) to SpikeyB
4. Cannon(40) to MetoolC
Runeknight stared across the battlefield, searching for some response from the virus group. Surely they could not have survived his onslaught, but he had learned to never take chances when it came to the vile creatures.
"Sire," Runeknight asked. "Shall I request a bump?"

"Yeah, go ahead." Zan answered.
One spikey cheats death by dodging Rune's zanbato, while a met cowers in its helmet to avoid a cannon shell. The buckshot wipes out its brethren, and the other hound falls before the might of the Rune Blast. The unharmed cur then unleashes a successful counterattack, the blast leaving clear, yet minor singes on the back and sides of his armor...

SpikeyA: 90
MetoolC: 40(Cap'd)

Runeknight: 110
The fog of war had lifted and Runeknight found himself staring at a single Metool hiding under its helmet. The ground around the virus was scorched and its helmet was smeared with soot, but Runeknight knew the virus to be unharmed under its thick, golden shell. The Navi lowered his spear, unsure of whether to flip the creature and deliver the final blow or to allow it to escape as he had the Shrubby. After all, Metools were no real threat to the Net as a whole.

A low growl interrupted his inner monologue and Runeknight turned to see one of the Spikeys drag itself from the rubble left behind by his zanbato. The Navi attempted to dodge, but the virus was faster and an explosion of flames caught the Navi in the side as he rolled away. Singed, but still ripe for battle, Runeknight leaped to his feet, spear held at the ready.

"Sorry," Zan called over the microphone. "You're armor isn't quite complete, but you should take less damage from now on."

"Thank you, Sire." Runeknight nodded. "Your work is truly appreciated."

"Your Purge is ready as well, but lets try out a few more of these new BattleChips."

Runeknight nodded, a small targeting sensor appearing in his visor as the BattleChip data surged through his systems. This was a chip that he was very familiar with, though Zan's tweaking of his systems had caused the chip to visualize in an unfamiliar manner. The crossbow materialized in his hands once more, the wooden weapon forming from a flash of cobalt light. A small glass scope was affixed to the crossbow, the sight matching perfectly with the targeting reticule within his visor. Runeknight took aim at the offending Spikey, allowing the crossbow to correct his targeting. He pulled the trigger, the arrow exploding into a beam of energy as it soared toward the wolf-like virus.

The scope shattered as another BattleChip loaded itself into the crossbow. The bow altered, becoming more compact with a spring loaded clip filled with several more bolts. Runeknight kept his aim, merely steadying his arm as he fired at the Spikey once more. He held down the trigger of the crossbow, five small bolts exploding from the bow at a rapid pace.

"Sire," Runeknight asked as he switched his attention back to the hiding Metool. "It is cowering. Shall I allow it to flee?"

"No." Zan answered matter-of-factly.


"Those Metool were enslaved by the Spikey. Unfortunately, it probably knows nothing but violence and destruction. If you were to release it, it would most likely just attack the next Navi and be deleted."

"And yet, how may we know for sure?"

"That's the problem. We can't," Zan sighed. "However, if we allow all the the viruses to escape, then we wouldn't be doing our duty as NetPolice. It is our job to delete those that would harm the Net."

"Yes, Sire..."

Runeknight sighed as he began a solemn chant. His body began to glow with an azure light as a circle of darkness appeared on the Netfloor, encompassing the lone Metool. The darkness began to swirl and churn as the azure light brightened. As Runeknight reached a crescendo, the azure light washed away the burns on his armor as an explosion of dark flames erupted from the jet black circle, engulfing the Metool.

1. MarkCannon(70) to SpikeyA
2. Vulcan2(5x10) to SpikeyA
3. Rune Purge(70) to MetoolC with a Heal(25) to Runeknight.
4. Whatever...
Runeknight executes the remaining virii. And buffs his armor, to boot.

SpikeyA: !DELETED!
MetoolC: !DELETED!

Runeknight: 135


GET: Guard, 300 zenny
"Tis a shame," Runeknight sighed as he gathered up the left behind core data and Zenny. "How many viruses lose their lives each day."

"They are viruses," Zan reminded his Navi. "They seek to destroy the Net where you and many others make their homes. If you didn't delete them, then they would surely delete you."

"I know, Sire, and I do not regret my oath. The creators of these poor creatures are truly vile men."

"More evil than even the most horrid virus is the man who made it."

"At the very least," Runeknight declared as he brandished his spear. "I can make sure my blade strikes true and that none shall unduly suffer."

"You can at that," Zan smiled as he spoke. "And look what we have here, that Metool has graced us with a gift. We have been reunited with an old friend, the Guard BattleChip."

"That shall assuredly be useful in the battles to come, Sire."


Runeknight nodded, his spear vanishing in a flash of light, and continued deeper into the Net, on patrol for any who would harm his home.

(Battle 3 please))
Runeknight finds more viruses!

CannondumbA 50HP
ShrubbyA 50HP
CannondumbB 50HP
ShrubbyB 50HP
BunnyA 50HP
BunnyB 50HP

Runeknight 135HP

"Hey Runeknight," Zan's voice was a tad more cheerful.

"Yes Sire?" Runeknight asked as he stopped to listen to his NetOp.

"Remember those rabbits that kept giving us the runabout a few years back? Well, some of their brethren are congregating a few yards to your left. Let's attempt to get that Zapring a little quicker this time around."

"Aye," Runeknight nodded as he changed direction and headed toward the viruses.

The knightly Navi spotted the duo of Bunny right off, but they were not alone. Two turrets of viral origin stood alongside the nimble rabbits while two of the small shrub viruses shuddered in the cool breeze. The Navi scanned each virus, his trained eye spotting holes in their defense like chinks in a suit of armor. The wild rabbit viruses were the most dangerous, their electrical blasts having enough power to stun the Navi and allow the turrets to lock on. He would need to quick and accurate to disable the agile creatures before they had the chance to put up a fight.

Zan slotted in a few choice BattleChips, imagining a wave of firepower that would demolish the majority of the viruses allied against his Navi. Runeknight would need to come out swinging if he was to avoid as much damage as possible in the battle to come. He pressed a button on the PET, sending the BattleChip data soaring through the Net to aid his Navi.

Runeknight could feel the Chip data flood his systems, the surge of energy so very familiar to him after the countless battles and almost two decades of warfare. He felt a subtle shift to the weight of his hand as a scoped crossbow materialized in a flash of cobalt light. From his vantage point, he took aim at one of the two rabbits, the hopping viruses making it hard to aim with conventional means. The targeting reticule in his visor locked onto the virus, turning a deep shade of crimson, and Runeknight slid his finger along the metal trigger. The blast of energy sailed clear of the crossbow, traveling straight toward its intended target.

Runeknight rose from his position, charging toward the twin turrets while reloading the crossbow with another BattleChip-charged bolt. The scope shattered as the other chip took effect, and Runeknight was forced to take careful aim. He strafed to the right, attempting to line up both of the turrets to maximize his effectiveness. He pulled the trigger, the bolt discharging from the bow and exploding into a hail of iron shrapnel designed to rip through anything caught within the area of the blast.

A third BattleChip loaded into the crossbow, a small container of bolts lodging itself along the bottom of the wooden weapon. The device would allow the Navi to fire bolts at a rapid pace, the perfect thing for hunting down the speedy rabbits. He pivoted, turning his body toward one of the Bunny as his cape billowed behind him. He took aim at the rabbit and held the trigger down, a series of lightning fast bolts of steel exploding from the crossbow to rip through the air toward the electric virus.

Hoping to have disabled the majority of the heavy hitters in this group of viruses, Runeknight focused on defense. He raised his right arm, a jet black shield with cobalt trim formed along his arm. The knightly Navi hefted the shield as he crouched low, ready to defend against any counterattack from the viral horde.

1. MarkCannon(70) to BunnyA
2. Shotgun(50) aimed at both Cannondumb
3. Vulcan2(10x5) to BunnyB
4. Guard to self
The Markcannon tore through the Bunny's vital coding before it could do a thing, ripped to shreds by the powerful blast. The Shotgun was launched a moment after, and hit its desired target, although its spread fell just short of the second Canodumb. The Vulcan made short work of the other Bunny. Just as Runeknight pulled up his guard, a Shrubby chanced to roll a log, but it simply bounced off the Guard and hit the Canodumb that the small virus was hiding behind.

CannondumbA DELETED!
ShrubbyA 50HP
CannondumbB 40HP
ShrubbyB 50HP

Runeknight 135HP
Runeknight grunted as the wooden log smashed against his upraised shield, the rolling projectile being repulsed as the enchanted shield radiated a golden light. Shrapnel form the splintered log was sent flying back toward the Shrubby, but the cowardly virus dived behind the remaining turret, the stationary virus being pelted with sharp wooden shards. The knightly Navi stood up from his crouched position, staring down the three remaining viruses with a slight smirk on his face. The shield, its magic spent, dispersed in a mist of data as the Navi strode forward.

Zanallen slotted in a few more BattleChips, trying to make use of the last few in an attempt to gain a bit of knowledge on their usage. One was another Vulcan BattleChip, though it seemed weaker than the last and the other was some sort of melee chip, but he had never seen it used before. Still, it seemed interesting enough so he activated it first.

Runeknight felt the familiar surge of energy as the BattleChip data was uploaded into his systems. He felt the surge travel through his body, settling in his left arm. The energy felt familiar, much like the Sword BattleChip that he had used when he was new, but it held a strangeness as well. His spear appeared, unbidden, in a flash of cobalt light; however, the tip of the spear split into three and the shaft shorted into nothingness. Runeknight was left with three razor sharp, serrated claws of blackened steel sprouting from the back of his gauntlet. He examined the new weapon, feeling an enhanced strength surge through his arm as he flexed. This BattleChip held an awesome power.

Runeknight charged toward the viruses, letting his clawed hand dangle behind him. He darted to the left of the trio, pivoting as he did so and swiping one of the bush like viruses. He put too much strength behind the swipe, possibly flinging the Shrubby into the damaged Cannodumb. Runeknight continued the charge from his pivot, circling around the viruses to repeat the manuver, attempting to fling the second Shrubby into the Cannodumb as well.

The claws shattered as the repeating crossbow materialized in a flash of light. He aimed quickly at the trio of viruses, locating one of the Shrubby and opening fire. The clip of crossbow bolts extinguished quickly and Runeknight tossed the weapon aside. He began a low chant, his armor beginning to glow with an azure light. A dark circle opened under the other Shrubby and a pillar of black flames engulfed the small virus, hiding it from site.

1. RageClaw(20) to ShrubbyA and CannodumbB
2. RageClaw(20) to ShrubbyB and CannodumbB
3. Vulcan1(10x3) to ShrubbyA
4. Rune Purge(70) to ShrubbyB and heal(20) to Runeknight