In a large tower, deep within the Ghost Zone, two powerful beings observed the confrontation between Danielle Phantom, Jack and Maddie Fenton against Vlad Plasmius.
"She's improved greatly," Phantom said in amusement. "My investment was well placed."
"Considering her genetics, upbringing and training, it shouldn't be surprising that she's this capable," the child form of Clockwork responded.
Phantom sat in front of the Time Viewer while Clockwork floated next to him. The look-alike smiled as Danielle controlled the flow of the battle.
"She's almost to the same level as Danny; simply a few steps behind." The smile turned dark. "They're still nowhere near his power though."
Clockwork regarded his guest. "Are the children required to be that powerful?"
Phantom snorted. "They'll never be that powerful; at least not without something amplifying their powers."
Clockwork simply repeated his question.
Phantom observed how Danielle countered Plasmius' cyclone. A moment of silence later, he responded.
"It all depends on the outcome of Danny's battle. I highly doubt he'll respond well to learning the truth about Neil though."
The Time Viewer showed Danielle using the Ghostly Wail.
Phantom's eyebrows rose to his flaming hairline. "She can use the signature attack already? I am definitely impressed."
Phantom grinned at his host. "Let's see if Danny's fight turns out this good."
Despite Clockwork's stoic face still in place, his annoyance at being ordered was noticeable to Phantom.
The Master of Time lifted his staff towards the screen; the display turned to static before it came into focus.
A pillar of smoke drifted in the distance; the result of Vlad's mansion going up in flames. A few blocks away, in a dome shaped crater, four survivors of said explosion laid on the ground; alive but disoriented.
Danny Phantom, Jazz Fenton, Sam Manson and Tucker Foley slowly picked themselves up into sitting positions.
"Ugh. What happened?" Tucker asked.
"An explosion of some kind," Jazz said. "I think that whistling sound cause it."
Danny stood up. "What cause the explosion isn't important. What's important is finding out what happened to everyone else."
In a nearby rooftop, Dante Plasmius glared at the cause of an obscene amount of misfortunes that plague his father. The rest of the blame belonged to the fat, orange wearing buffoon.
Dante clenched his fists as the four insects (Dante doesn't have a high opinion on them) climbed out of the crater. His fists glowed with red energy. An evil smile dawned on his face as he fired at the unsuspecting teens.
Team Phantom didn't know what hit them. One moment they were about to go to the remains of Vlad's house, then the ground between them exploded, leaving them sprawled on the ground.
Danny was the first to recover. He stood and saw Sam and Tucker picking themselves up. They didn't appear injured.
Jazz however had fallen into the crater, and she wasn't moving.
Before Danny could even think to jump and check on Jazz, he was blasted in the chest.
"Gaaah!" he exclaimed
"Danny!" His friends shouted as they rushed to his side. As they helped him stand, the clone landed a few feet away.
"Why Father is so interested in you I'll never know." Dante got into a fight stance. "You're pathetic."
Danny Sam and Tucker spread out, all three ready to blast Plasmius' latest project.
"The reason is simple," Danny said. "Vlad is a Fruit Loop."
Dante's growl was inhuman. "You're going to regret that insult." The clone gathered a beach ball sized blast and fired.
Above Vlad's ruined home, an invisible armored figure observed the scene. He hummed as authorities worked around the crater.
So many options to choose from and I went with the most destructive one. Aaaahhh, it's just like old times, The man thought with a smile as he used a scanner on his left wrist.
It detected two groups of ecto-energy. A level eight and a level nine ghost alongside two other traces of ecto-energy on the northwest side of his position and two level eight ghosts with three traces of ecto-energy on the northeast side.
"So Danielle's taking care of Plasmius with the Fenton's help huh?" He murmured in regards to the northwest group.
"Well then." He redirected his glider to the northeast and took off. "Time to see if that child has gotten any stronger since we last met two years ago."
The aerial view of the battle was a depressing one. Jazz had her Fenton Peeler active but the helmet was missing. She was hiding behind a car, clutching her ribs and looking at the fight further down the street.
Said fight involved two Dannys trying to punch each other's lights out while Sam and Tucker laid unconscious on the ground.
"Better check on Jazz first," the man decided. He approached Jazz, who turned when she heard the glider.
"Neil?!" She asked in disturbed surprise.
She was surprised because Neil practically appeared out of nowhere, wearing a battle suit identical to Danny's avatar from that Doom game he's always playing instead of studying.
The disturbed part was because the suit's color scheme was the same as Danny's future self.
"How did you get here?" Jazz asked.
"I flew," Neil answered, pointing to the glider, a black and white version of the Red Huntress' glider. "What's the situation?"
"I don't know," Jazz admitted. "I've been unconscious for most of the fight."
Neil suspected that Jazz was mad at herself for not being more helpful, so he redirected her thoughts somewhere more positive.
"All right then," he said. "I'm going to go give your brother some breathing room." He handed her a first aid kit. "Use this on the four of you, and then join in if you get the chance."
Jazz nodded. Maybe he's not a huge jerk after all, She thought.
Dante felt ecstatic as he stalked towards the exhausted half ghost. Danny was on one knee, breathing heavily.
Dante stopped a short distance from the weak teen.
"Pathetic," he spat. "You're a waste of space. Time to get rid of you, once and for all."
He raised his ignited hands, eager to deal the final blow. "Good bye and good-Gah!"
He was blasted away by a green ray. Dante straightened himself and saw a strange sight.
There was an older looking Danny in an armored suit, standing beside an extremely surprised teenage Danny.
Dante growled and shouted, "Who the hell are you?"
He was furious. He was seconds away from destroying his father's bane, only to be interrupted by a ghost hunting wannabe.
The man smiled cockily. "My name's Neil. I'm the guy who's going to tear you apart molecule by molecule." The man emphasized the threat by blasting Dante straight into a building.
The damage caused the building to collapse on top of the clone.
Danny stared at the scene in front of him in disbelief. Neil, the jerk that's antagonized him all day, just saved his life.
"Where the heck did you come from?" Danny demanded.
Neil kept his eye on the fallen building. "Take your friends to your sister. I'll take care of the freak."
Danny didn't want to, but he did as he was told. His friends' safety was more important than his dislike for the man with a thousand secrets.
Neil stepped closer to the ruined building. He gathered energy in his palms, then blasted the remains, leaving behind a crater.
He scowled, as if the result was unacceptable. Suddenly, he tensed. He jumped to the side as a red blast passed by. He landed in a crouch, glaring at the abomination that carried his crest.
Bad enough that weakling has to carry my emblem, Neil thought. Now this thing has it as well.
Neil straightened, ready to attack or defend.
"What's the matter?" He said. "Your genius father didn't teach you to expect the unexpected?"
The mocking made the clone angry.
"No of course not," Neil mocked further. "How could he teach you, when he never learned that lesson himself?"
"I'm going to kill you!" The clone snarled. The clone rushed at him at high speeds.
Neil smirked. Just as the clone was about to tackle him, he turn intangible. The clone kept going and slammed into the building behind Neil.
"You? Kill me?" Neil asked in mocking disbelief. "I've faced the greatest hunters and the strongest ghosts. I was and still am the greatest power this world will ever know."
As he spoke, Neil floated in the air surrounded by a green aura.
The wind blew harder and the sky darkened as if a storm was forming in that very moment and location.
The clone looked on in surprise and slight fear. "What are you?!"
Neil gave a predatory grin. His aura glowed brighter and three copies formed, surrounding the clone.
"Your worst nightmare," the four Neils said at once.
They charged at the same time. The first blow was a punch to the clone's face. The clone crashed halfway into a wall. Neil grabbed the clone's foot, dragged the clone across the pavement then tossed him in the air. Before the clone could get his bearings, two Neils grabbed him by his arms and legs. They pulled him into a spread eagle pose.
"What's the matter?" The left one said innocent like.
"Not used to pain?" The right one grinned.
"We're just getting started!" They spoke in unison.
Both of them unleashed a strong electrical surge, causing the clone to scream in agony.
They pulled back and launched the clone into the ground in a belly flop. The ground cracked at the impact.
Slowly and painfully, the clone got into a sitting position.
"Ah, ah, ah," Neil chastised, holding a large, green mace. "I didn't say you could get up."
He swung the mace in an overhead swing. The ground tremble from the impact.
The mace vanished, revealing the clone embedded deep in the crater.
Neil smirked with sadistic glee. He grabbed the clone by the hair, lifting him up.
The clone opened a bruised eye, his entire body flared with pain.
"You're supposed to help Plasmius take over the world? Pathetic!" Neil spat.
He brought the clone to eye level. Neil's eyes bored into the clone's with absolute loathing.
"You might have been able to scare those foolish children, but I'm not even flinching," Neil said. "Back home, my name, my very existence strucked sheer terror into the hearts of the living and the dead."
Neil lifted his free hand, a soccer sized sphere formed in his palm. The clone's eye widened in fear. Neil pressed the sphere against the clones left torso.
"Let me show you why." The sphere brightened.
When the smoke cleared, Neil stood unfazed despite being covered in ectoplasm. His attention fell on the crumpled figure that laid in agony three feet away.
The entire left side of the clone oozed ectoplasm; worse still was the sight of the left arm that had been blasted clean of the shoulder.
"Can you feel it?" Neil drawled as he loomed over the clone. "That sense of fear flowing through your veins, filling your mind with thoughts of impending doom?"
The clone was in too much pain to answer.
"Luckily," Neil said. "I'm just about done." The sadistic smile on his face didn't make it sound like a good thing.
Neil lowered slightly and placed an iron grip on the clones remaining wrist. A strangled yelp escaped the clone's mouth.
"Did that hurt?" the sympathy couldn't be more fake if it tried. "How about some anesthesia?"
Another electric surge, stronger than before, coursed through the clone body. Neil grinned at the pained screams.
"You know something?" Neil said conversationally, as if he weren't electrocuting someone at that moment. "I don't think you have any use for this limb anymore."
Still forcing the current, Neil stomped on the clone's shoulder and pulled.
A horrible ripping sound joined the symphony of pain as Neil separated the clone's arm form the rest of his body.
Looking at his handiwork, Neil tossed the arm aside as if it were simple trash.
He then raised a glowing hand.
"Well," Neil started. "It's been fun; but now..." The glow brightened. "Game over."
Suddenly, Neil's instinct flared and he turned intangible. Four green blasts passed through his chest.
Hand still primed for extermination, Neil solidified and half turned towards the interruption.
Should have seen this coming, Neil thought.
Team Phantom stood a short distance from Neil, aiming their weapons at him.
"What's wrong with you?" Danny asked in disbelief and disgust.
This is the phantom that replaced me? Was Neil's internal musing.
"I'm eliminating the threat," Neil said coldly. "What did you think I was going to do? Trap him in a thermos, send him to the Ghost Zone so he can heal, plan his revenge, then escape so he can try to kill us again?"
Neil's statement had the intended effect. The four teens paused because that was exactly their intention.
Although they didn't want the negative parts like the revenge seeking and the kill attempts, but they knew that's exactly what would happen eventually.
Neil smirked. His hand glowed.
Team Phantom stood horrified at the sadistic manner Neil dealt with the clone.
How pathetically naive, were Neil's thoughts on the so called heroes.
"What wrong with you?" They all shouted.
Neil faced them fully, unfazed by their outburst.
"That's how you show gratitude to the person that saved your miserable lives?"
Danny leaned slightly to Tucker. "Try to hack into his suit."
"What are you going to do?" Sam asked worriedly as Tucker worked on his PDA.
The clone had the upper hand against the four of them for most of their fight when he found a way to deal with their numbers. Having seen the ease and sadism in which Neil dealt with the clone, she didn't want Danny fighting him.
Danny turned to answer, but a strong blow from Neil sent him flying. Neil waved his outstretched hand at Sam and Jazz, trapping them in a glowing cocoon.
Neil rushed after Danny. He delivered a strong punch to Danny's gut, knocking the air out of him. Neil then grabbed Danny by the neck.
"Even after two years, you're still as weak and foolishly naive as the day I met you."
Danny didn't understand. He only met Neil this morning when he showed up with Danny's clone/fake cousin/sister figure who apparently got adopted by the creep now choking the half-life out of him.
"You don't get it do you?" Neil said.
A chill went up Danny's spine with that phrase. The light reflected of Neil's glasses and Danny could swear they were red.
Neil pulled Danny closer and whispered in his ear, "Your time is up Danny. It's been up for ten years."
The trio watched helplessly as Neil blasted Danny into the asphalt like a meteor.
"Danny!" They rushed to his side.
Danny slowly crawled out of the crater in his human form. His friend helped him to his feet. He looked extremely pale and exhausted.
Neil landed a short distance away. He studied the teens, they all had expressions of anger and apprehension.
Except for Danny. His eyes spoke of hatred, betrayal and horror.
Neil smirked. He finally figured it out.
"So," Neil said. "Care to share the news, boy?"
"What news?" Sam asked. "What did he tell you?"
Danny saw his friends' worry of him. "He told me who he really is," he said.
Sam and Tucker were confused by that. Jazz looked between Danny and Neil, her mind going on overdrive.
Ever since she first saw Neil and Elle, she had been very disturbed by their similar appearance to Danny. Danny and Elle could pass as twins for goodness sake, and Neil could pass as their older brother.
But when she heard the truth about Elle as the group headed towards Plasmius, from how Elle was created to how Neil adopted her; another, more unlikely and even more horrifying theory floated in her mind.
"I told you Sam," Tucker hissed, breaking Jazz out of her thoughts. "I can't hack into his suit. There's no signal coming from it."
"How can there not be a signal?" Sam countered. "That means the suit isn't working or inactive, which means-"
Neil interrupted, "That I am the source of the ghost powers I've been using."
The teens were shocked by that statement.
He stood straight and proud like a king. "Allow me to re-introduce myself."
A white ring formed at Neil's waist. It split vertically, changing his appearance as it traveled.
Team Phantom's eyes were wide in disbelief and terror. They were staring at a monster straight out of their nightmares.
"My real name," the voice was as silky and deadly as they remembered, "is Dan phantom."
The teen's fear sky-rocketed when Dan took a deep breath.
Before they could react, Team Phantom was blowned away by Dan's ghostly wail.