Pianissimo walked out of the portal from the netsquare, out of the company of a crowd of weirdos and back into that of an even bigger weirdo, the Bird God statue himself.

"Alright, let's get this over with," he said dully. "Where's this factory?"
"Far, far away! The waste outputted by the refinery required that it be located on the outskirts of the industrial zone! Traveling by ground would take many hours, which the Bird God would not like!" With this explained, one couldn't help but wonder why the Bird God didn't just take a link closer to the refinery in the first place. "But, because the Bird God is here, there is rejoicing to be done, for the Bird God is the Bird God of the skies! Your dear friend, Warrior Pianissimo, is the Bird God, so the ground is beneath you! In every sense! Haha, the Bird God made a jest! Now come, join the Bird God in aerial aviation! The Bird God has spoken!"

As the golden self-tribute exhibited his brand of "humor", Pianissimo felt a very airy feeling around his feet. The Bird God then promptly lifted off high into the sky, and Pianissimo felt like he could follow...

(Pianissimo granted OmniShoes in the Bird God's presence)

Pianissimo.exe: 200 HP (On the ground below the Bird God)
Bird God.???: ??? HP (High Altitude, in the skies of Electown Net)
Pianissimo blinked.

That...wasn't funny.

Whether or not the Bird God was good at jokes or not became immaterial, however, as the Bird God took off into the skies, beckoning and granting Pianissimo the power to follow.

Right...I've never flown before, Pianissimo thought, crouching as he tried to figure out how exactly it would work. He kicked off the ground...

...and launched into the sky.

WHOA, too fast.

As soon as he regained control, he found that he could simply direct his body in the air and used that to fly after the Bird God
Pianissimo followed after the Bird God for quite some time, spending the meanwhile watching the ant-sized Navis, SPs and viruses go about their business in the world below. Being up in the sky was really an amazing thing. You were so detached from everything going on, being left alone to observe from high above. For a quiet guy like Pianissimo, this could possibly be a paradise... Well, it could've been, until the Bird God shouted something about the magical flying rock they were coming up on. "The Bird God sees a magical flying rock ahead, Warrior Pianissimo! The Bird God chooses to take a rest there, for this is the halfway point to the Bird God's destination! The Bird God has spoken!"

Indeed, there was a magical flying rock about 20 feet wide in front of Pianissimo. And as per the Bird God's orders, it was now a magical flying rest stop. The Bird God landed on the airborne boulder with a thud, which thankfully showed no signs of buckling under the weight. Why the Bird God wanted to rest was unclear, as his powers never even showed the slightest hint of weakening. Maybe he was just lazy.

Pianissimo.exe: 200 HP (Floating in front of the magical flying rock)
Bird God.???: ??? HP (Resting on the magical flying rock)

Terrain: 10% Normal (magical flying rock), 90% Missing (sky)
You can't be serious. Why do you need to rest? Pianissimo thought, gliding over to the rock and landing softly on it as well.

There was one other question on his mind, one that he actually voiced because of the ridiculousness of it. "I was joking about the flying rock anyway, why is there even one here?"
"Because it has been here as long as the Bird God, Warrior Pianissimo! The sky of the Net is far more than the grounded beings know! The magical flying rock is to the sky as the non-magical tree is to the ground! The Bird God has seen many features of the Net sky, and this is only one of them! The Bird God has spoken!" answered the mystical god in a cryptic yet largely useless manner. It had always been there? What nonsense, someone would have noticed it by...

"There is another part of the sky for Warrior Pianissimo to see!" shouted the Bird God suddenly. He turned his massive gold frame northwards, his eyes staring into the empty air. It was dead quiet all around, yet the Bird God seemed to expect something to come from the north. Pianissimo couldn't be sure what to expect, as this entire mission so far had just been one piece of nonsense after another.

"Alpha Delta!"
"Charlie Bravo Tango!"
"Tango Alpha Alpha Charlie!"

... And here came another oddity, straight from the southern skies, no less. A quintet of Fishys came soaring over Pianissimo's head at amazing speeds in a V formation, with all of them engaged in coded radio chatter. "The Third Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadron! The Bird God turns the Bird God's back on them because they do not respect the Bird God's rule over the Bird God's skies! The Bird God wants them defeated, Warrior Pianissimo! The Bird God has spoken!" With a clearly believable explanation, Pianissimo had his orders from the Bird God. It didn't look like they'd be going anywhere until he defeated these Fishys...

"Bravo Tango Charlie Charlie Delta Alpha Bravo!" chirped Fishy Fighter Bravo as it flew over in another pass, prompting the other squadron members to break formation and scatter across the area. Perhaps getting rid of these things was in Pianissimo's best interests after all.

Pianissimo.exe: 200 HP
Bird God.???: ??? HP

Fishy Fighter Alpha: 120 HP
Fishy Fighter Bravo: 120 HP
Fishy Fighter Delta: 120 HP
Fishy Fighter Tango: 120 HP
Fishy Fighter Charlie: 120 HP

10% Normal (magical flying rock), 90% Missing (sky)

Pianissimo put one hand over the eyepieces of his helmet and sighed as he landed on the rock. There was no way the flying rock could have always been there. None. Even on the net, flying rocks like this weren't an everyday occurrence, so someone would have had to have noticed and said something. If not by looking up then by flying, as many navis on the net were capable of doing even without a living statue dragging them along.

The Bird God, however, apparently thought nothing of that and instead pointed Pianissimo to look at... was just more sky.

No, this is stupid, I'm bailing ouwho's talking?

He turned around, to see five Fishys flying in formation, then breaking to scatter across the skies, presumably with the intention of attacking them.

Rather than another of his repeated expressions of exasperation, Pianissimo smirked when he was given his orders. Fishys. Ha ha...Fishys. Right, remind me to act worried next time because right now it's just not working. "Hey Duke, send me that chip we got from the tournament. And while we're at it, I think there's one I haven't gotten to try out yet."

"On it," Duke replied, sending the chips. "It didn't work in the volcano though, do you think the sky is enough?"

Pianissimo considered this. "It better be," he said. "Oh, and toss in the AirStorm while you still have that open."

"Right." Duke sent a Widesword as well, remembering something about the description of the Variable.

Pianissimo turned toward two of the Fishys farthest from him. After looking for a few seconds, he turned away, focusing on the other three instead. Behind him, however, the black, sickle-wielding form of a Nightmare virus rose from the shadow of the rock, stalking the viruses as they flew before rocketing through the sky as well and slashing at the two as it approached.

The assassin, meanwhile, raised one arm to stare at the palm of his hand. Half-formed data of a Widesword appeared in it as he looked. Satisfied, he drew his katana, which became enveloped in a gold-green aura that slowly shifted in shape. As if recognizing the data and reaching out, it pulled against the solid blade of the katana in the direction of the incomplete Widesword. Pianissimo brought the two together, causing them to merge into a single blade.

With his now free left hand, Pianissimo thrust the palm toward the remaining three viruses. Three whirlwinds erupted from it, pulling the remaining three viruses in. Once he deemed them close enough, he swung the merged blade in a wide arc, tracing a locus across all three before bringing the weapon back around in a second slash.

1. SummonBlack Tango and Charlie - 160+wide+slashing
-Equip VariableSword+WideSword
2. AirStorm2 Alpha, Bravo, and Delta - 60+pull
3. VariableWideSword Alpha, Bravo, Delta: 160+wide+slashing
4. VariableWideSword Alpha, Bravo, Delta: 160+wide+slashing
-splice, just in case-
Pianissimo sprung into action at the Bird God's orders, probably more to shut up the Third Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadron than to appease his client. Despite his assumption that this would be an easy fight, Pianissimo asked Duke for an arsenal that could make the average enemy weep. Shadows, swords, and storms, oh my! Before he could bask in the glory of his power, though, Pianissimo needed to make sure this would work...

Theoretcially, the sky itself was an empty space at this altitude. In reality, this was also true, as Pianissimo's dark minion materialized out of the shadow cast by the magical flying rock. With its existance confirmed, the SummonBlack looked around for targets to attack... only to find them spread out in the sky so randomly that it couldn't possibly chase after more than one. Perhaps that radio chatter from before was a scramble order? It would be a good strategy against a sword user, but viruses couldn't possibly think that logically... right? Whatever the case, Pianissimo's SummonBlack had to settle for what it could. Fishy Fighter Tango was apparently the most unlucky of the squadron since the shadowy creature picked it as the target and chased it down mercilessly until there no longer was a Fishy Fighter Tango in this fight (160 damage to Fishy Fighter Tango).

Now Pianissimo wanted to test out the fruit of his labor from the tournament: the VariableSword. The immaterial form of the blade swirled around Pianissimo's own katana, while in the other hand he drew his trusty WideSword. By taking advantage of his new weapon's property, he pushed both swords together to create a mystical glowing wide-bladed katana... or something of the sort. It was weird, but powerful, and that was all Pianissimo was looking for.

Before that, though, there was the matter of the Third Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadron flying around all over the place, and Pianissimo... not so much. This new super-sword wasn't going to do him much good if he couldn't catch them. Conveniently, Pianissimo had the foresight to ask for his AirStorm chip. With it he created a trio of whirlwinds to drag in 3 of the squadron and lead them to a very sharp death.

However... the victor of wind speed vs. Fishy speed wasn't so clear-cut. If these were just the every day, run of the mill Fishys, then the result would be obvious. The Third Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadron, though, only employed the elite. Every Fishy who dared to call themselves a Fishy Fighter was twice as strong and fast as a normal Fishy. And against a whirlwind like Pianissimo's AirStorm, they could resist the pull. Alpha, Bravo, and Delta all hit the afterburners in a struggle against the turbulence. The wind shear in itself was damaging, but that was nothing compared to what Pianissimo himself would do. In a true show of speed and willpower, Alpha and Bravo managed to break free of the pull and return to a safe altitude. Fishy Fighter Delta wasn't so lucky, though, and was quickly dragged into range of the assassin's super-sword and cut to pieces (160 damage to Fishy Fighter Delta).

In the midst of this assault, one Fishy Fighter managed to emerged unscathed. This was Fishy Fighter Charlie, and it was ready to avenge its comrades. Charlie keyed into its target as Pianissimo dealt with Delta and then hit the boosters. The flying virus tore through the air like a rocket, giving Pianissimo less than a second to react to the impending attack. He swung his sword in retaliation, but between the attack's speed and angle from behind, Pianissimo just couldn't do it. Fishy Fighter Charlie sideswiped the Navi, hard (30 damage to Pianissimo).

"This foolish virus dares to attack the Bird God's Warrior?! The Bird God is enraged!" roared the Bird God suddenly, breaking his silence up to this point. His ruby eyes gleamed for a second in the direction of Fishy Fighter Charlie. "The Bird God will see to it that this Fishy does not fly in the Bird God's skies again! The Bird God has spoken!" At the Bird God's command, Fishy Fighter Charlie stopped in its tracks. Or, rather, it stopped making progress. The Bird God created a similar effect to the Sky Shrine, only on a smaller scale. Fishy Fighter Charlie was trapped in a looping space roughly 1 meter wide, leaving the virus to go nowhere fast. All Pianissimo had to do now was pick that one off, then deal with the remaining two Fishy Fighters before he could be done with this distraction.

Pianissimo.exe: 170 HP
Bird God.???: ??? HP

Fishy Fighter Alpha: 60 HP
Fishy Fighter Bravo: 60 HP
Fishy Fighter Delta: HUNT'D HP
Fishy Fighter Tango: SUSHI'D HP
Fishy Fighter Charlie: 120 HP

10% Normal (magical flying rock), 90% Missing (sky)
How convenient, Pianissimo thought, watching the Fishy that had hit him get trapped in a screenwrap loop. He floated toward the trapped Fishy, swinging the legendary blade in an arc that would catch the Fishy in its path.

Which just left the two that had escaped his AirStorm pull. He radioed in another request for a chip, this time a boomerang. Knowing they were fast and scattered enough to not float and wait for him to attack, he decided to eliminate that problem altogether.

The boomerang materialized in his hand as Pianissimo floated up and away from the remaining two Fishys. He drew his hand back, and then let it fly in an arc that would hopefully catch both on its path.

5. VariableWideSword Charlie: 160+wide
*Speed of Darkness: Reposition self for better boomerang throwing path
6. Boomerang Alpha and Bravo: 60 each
Fishy Fighter Charlie was just sore out of luck in every way possible, because he was stuck in an infinite loop and there was a guy with a sword wanting to chop him into pieces. And, quite frankly, that's what happened. Interestingly enough, when Pianissimo's sword entered the looping sphere, the blade somehow refracted as it slashed the virus, creating an infinitely repeating attack that would've equated to hell if the virus hadn't been deleted with the first strike. As an unfortunate side effect, though, Pianissimo's VariableWideSword ended up stuck in the loop too, so he had little choice but to abandon the weapon. "The Bird God has never seen such a devastating attack before! The Bird God is pleased! The Bird God has spoken!" announced an elated Bird God, who had just discovered a new way to torture things.

Pianissimo was prepared to fight without his sword, though, since Duke had provided him with a Boomerang to finish off the last two members of the Third Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadron. Neither Alpha or Bravo were willing to go down without a fight, and prepared as they noticed the new weapon in the Navi's hands. Pianissimo adjusted his position to compensate for the constantly moving targets and threw the Boomerang, trying to clip both viruses. Unfortunately, both still seemed to have a bit of speed left despite having to fight the Airstorm earlier. Bravo was content with just dodging the incoming thrown weapon, but Alpha took a more offensive stance and went into a sharp dive towards Pianissimo, escaping the Boomerang through pure speed and hitting Pianissimo (30 damage to Pianissimo) before pulling back up as much as it could. "Warrior Pianissimo has been hit again! The Bird God curses you, Third Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadron! The Bird God would destroy you right now, but the Bird God must recharge before the Bird God can reuse the Bird God's powers again! The Bird God will leave it to you, Warrior Pianissimo! The Bird God has spoken!" And thus it was revealed that the Bird God had a cooldown on his powers. What a useless omnipotent deity.

Pianissimo.exe: 140 HP
Bird God.???: ??? HP

Fishy Fighter Alpha: 60 HP
Fishy Fighter Bravo: 60 HP
Fishy Fighter Delta: HUNT'D HP
Fishy Fighter Tango: SUSHI'D HP
Fishy Fighter Charlie: CHOP'D AD INFINIUM

10% Normal (magical flying rock), 90% Missing (sky)
Pianissimo managed to rip his katana out of the infinite loop, though the variablesword and widesword data were left behind, now made useless by the Bird God's power.

The same power that, he found out after he took another hit, apparently had a cooldown period just like any other navi ability. Wow, you are so useless, he thought, drawing his katana back. Though since you're not really helping me now, it's not worth hearing you talk. He sliced the air in front of him.

A crack resounded \ ---------------------------------------------- /as soundwaves themselves were split in half
-------------------------\with an echo following close behind/

This was followed by a brief rushing sound, then....complete silence. As soon as the sound vanished from the area, Pianissimo allowed himself to fall through the air, effectively dodging if one of the two survivors were to attack him head on. He fell into the shadow of the rock, but never continued out of it and through the air below. In fact, as soon as he had entered the shadow he dissolved into it.

He reappeared above and ahead of Fishy Fighter Alpha, bringing his katana forward in what would be a vertical rising slash if it got far enough for his arm and the blade to begin arcing upward. To deal with fast opponents, he thought, focusing on what would be the last Fishy, Force them to run into your attacks.

In fact, he continued, requesting an areagrab from Duke, At that kind of speed you don't even have to use something that's usually deadly. Ordinary objects can be as dangerous as bullets or thrown knives at great enough speeds. With this in mind, he sheathed his katana and removed the scabbard from his waist. Taking this in hand, he allowed the AreaGrab to activate and teleport almost directly in front of the remaining Fishy's flight path. In this position, he held out the sheathed weapon where the virus would run directly into it unless it could somehow stop itself in a split second.

What he wouldn't tell the Bird God, of course, was that he poured all the power imbued in him from the silent effect into the blade at that moment, just in case physics didn't run its natural course or the virus wasn't THAT fast.

1. Enjoy The Silence: Gain 5 instances of Strengthen30
2. Dodge
3. Cloak and Dagger: teleport+70 slashing to Alpha
4. AreaGrab to Bravo
5. Hold sheathed sword out to clothesline Bravo (1) (+150 from all five intances of Strengthen) (151 damage)
6. Prepped Dodge
((Right, last of my exams are tomorrow and I don't have to study so much for them, so time for a BUMP))
Being down to their last two squadron members, Fishy Fighters Alpha and Bravo went on a desperation-fueled offensive to prevent Pianissimo from fulfilling the duty he had been given by the Bird God. As the swordsman swung his blade through the air and cut through the surrounding sound, the duo of viruses divebombed straight down at him. Having already been hit twice like this, though, Pianissimo wasn't about to let it happen again. He backstepped off the magical flying rock and didn't activate his Omnishoes, instead allowing gravity to take over and drop him through the sky. This, in effect, was a flawless defense as there was now a magical flying rock between the Third Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadron and their target, forcing them to pull up from the dive and cancel the attack.

And, of course, Pianissimo had by then teleported in front of them, and had his blade raised right in front of Fishy Figher Alpha. The pride and glory of the Third Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadron was their amazing speed, but here that was their greatest shame, because Fishy Fighter Alpha was traveling far too fast to either stop or get out of the way in time. Fishy Fighter Alpha passed cleanly by Pianissimo... on both sides... because Fishy Fighter Alpha was now in two pieces, after losing the confrontation with the bladed obstacle in front of it.

The lone survivor at this point, Fishy Fighter Bravo, was ready to hit the GTFO afterburners and live to fight another day, but Pianissimo had another idea. He teleported once more to arrive right in the middle of Fishy Fighter Bravo's path. For the sake of variety, though, Pianissimo's sword was now sheathed, and said sheath was now clutched in his hand and bared at the high-speed virus. Now, normally, sheaths weren't very threatening, but when someone happens to infuse a sheath with the power unleashed from cutting sound, things get complicated. And painful, in Fishy Fighter Bravo's case. As the enemies collided, a bone-jarring crunch echoed through the sky, and all throughout the Net baseball-themed Navis got a strange feeling that someone had performed the most ultimate bunt in history.

Pianissimo.exe: 140 HP
Bird God.???: ??? HP

Fishy Fighter Alpha: OBSTRUCT'D
Fishy Fighter Bravo: BUNT'D
Fishy Fighter Delta: HUNT'D
Fishy Fighter Tango: SUSHI'D
Fishy Fighter Charlie: CHOP'D AD INFINIUM

10% Normal (magical flying rock), 90% Missing (sky)

Pianissimo GET: 1750z

"The Bird God is full recharged! Warrior Pianissimo, let us destro-" shouted the Bird God as his esteemed scion made a graceful landing on the magical flying rock. The Bird God turned his massive golden body around on its base to scan his ruby eyes around the area and saw that there were no enemies left to fight. "... Very good, then! The Bird God is pleased that you have done the duty given to you by the Bird God! It is time to continue moving! Follow the Bird God, Warrior Pianissimo! The Bird God has spoken!" announced the Bird God, taking flight without even giving Pianissimo time to respond...
"You....oh whatever," Pianissimo sighed, collecting the spoils from the battle. He was satisfied with the result of the battle, at least, and that he had smashed the last fishy apart by holding something in its face. He floated after the statue, hoping that they would be wherever they were supposed to be going soon.
((3+ day bump))
The Bird God and Pianissimo took flight from the magical flying rock, continuing their journey to the factory they were supposedly going to destroy. To reach that destination, they flew. And flew. And flew. They spent so much time flying that one couldn't help but wonder how they were still in Electown Net at all. Unlike their rest stop on the magical flying rock, the latter half of the flight was completely uneventful, since the First and Second Airborne Fishy Fighter Squadrons were out patrolling other areas and were unaware of the fall of their comrades. Really, it wouldn't be inexcusable for Duke to fall have fallen asleep as he did on occasion in regards to how simple this journey was.

Eventually, after god knows how long, the Bird God shouted, "The Bird God can see it! Behold, Warrior Pianissimo, for the Bird God has found the devil's factory!" The sky ahead was very... smoky. A dull, dirty gray fog was all that was ahead of Pianissimo. Following the smoke to its source, it could be seen that the pollution was emanating from a series of smokestacks on a large building below on the ground. "Vile refinery that pollutes the skies, you have earned the Bird God's rage! Come, Warrior Pianissimo, and destroy this assault on the skies! The Bird God will watch as this hideous industry goes up in smoke! Haha, the Bird God has jested again! The Bird God has spoken!" With that, the Bird God dove downwards... straight into one of the smokestacks. Guess the front door's no good if you're trying to destroy the place. Follow him and prepare for battle?

Pianissimo.exe: 140 HP (Flying above the factory)
Bird God.???: ??? HP (Dove into the refinery smokestack)
Duke did indeed fall asleep during the journey, though not so much out of being tired as simply being bored. For once, his navi didn't blame him, and silently considered setting his processes to autopilot and going on standby himself.

Any other navi would have been startled back to their senses when the Bird God finally spoke. He, however, had caught sight of the smoke just as it had begun fading into view, and almost expected the annoying voice that came less than a minute later. Nonetheless, he still couldn't help but facepalm at the smoke pun that followed the Bird God's proclamation. Sighing, he guided himself toward the smokestack as well and dove in after the statue.

His eyepieces compensated only slightly for the smoke that rose to meet him as he entered, giving him a murky view of the tunnel that was the smokestack. Would be nice if Duke fixed that targeting program, he thought.
As Pianissimo descended into the smokestack, the sounds of active machinery became louder and easier to hear. Looks like the Bird God wasn't (totally) crazy and this factory was at least still active. Soon enough he started to hear muffled voices too... Did the Bird God really have no idea what "stealth" meant?

"He's back! Hit the alarm!"
"That statue again?! Why can't he leave us alone?!"
"Someone go get the boss! We'll hold him off here!"

"Foolish servants of the modern industrial complex, you must kneel before the Bird God! Today is the day that your shameless destruction of the Bird God's skies comes to an end by the Bird God's will! The Bird God is confident! The Bird God has spoken!"

... Yeah, this wasn't even supposed to be a stealth mission. Oh well. As Pianissimo emerged from the smokestack, he took in the appearance of a very normal looking factory. Conveyor belts weaved their way through what Pianissimo assumed was the main room, carrying packets of data through various machines before sending them off to some other room. He caught a glimpse of a few NormalNavis running for the door in exception to an otherwise complete evacuation, leaving just him, the Bird God, and a trio of NormalNavis who were apparently sick of this arrogant golden statue that had been plaguing their workplace for so long.

"Someone else came out of the smokestack!"
"The Bird God brought help this time?!"
"Damnit, this is bad! Just hold out until the boss arrives, alright guys?!"

Congratulations Pianissimo, you have been marked as an enemy. The NormalNavis separated a little and each took a fighting stance more focused on the new arrival than the Bird God they were familiar with. Maybe they knew already that the Bird God was useless by himself.

"Warrior Pianissimo, you are here! Good, good! These heathens are defending this vile factory that pollutes the Bird God's skies! The Bird God wants you to defeat them for the sake of the Bird God, Warrior Pianissimo! The Bird God is waiting! The Bird God has spoken!" shouted the Bird God to only further stress the situation. Stupid statue... Battle start.

Pianissimo.exe: 140 HP (Surrounded!)
Bird God.???: ??? HP (Next to the smokestack)

NormalNaviA: 150 HP (To Pianissimo's left)
NormalNaviB: 150 HP (In front of Pianissimo)
NormalNaviC: 150 HP (To Pianissimo's right)

Terrain: 100% Normal (Factory floor)
Objects: Conveyor belts x ??? (Strung throughout factory), Data packets x ??? (On conveyor belts)