Heirs of the Void is the saga that takes place in the aftermath of The War of Worlds saga, and is told from the perspective of White and her few allies seeking to put an end of the threat of Itami and his remaining pawns once and for all. This arc is closed for participation unless one's characters are already part of the cast, such as the numerable Heirs, all of which can be found here.
Please speak directly with Axis of Destruction prior to making any plans to participate in this story arc.
Heirs of the Void 000: Precursors to AnnihilationEdit
Vulkas finds the entirety of the last few moments flashing before his eyes, recreating itself over and over again. "I cannot let it end here, I cannot let all of this be finished by someone else, I need to act.!" Before he is sent away, he opens his mouth. "Wait! Before I am sent away with you others, you must listen to what I have to say. I understand if you do not believe me to be worth giving an ear to, but I assure you, it is in your best interests to listen."
Strangely, he feels as though he had not even been budged, and slowly he sees White, in front of the now confined and immobile girl, turn toward him, an ironclad expression on her face.
"How and why are you still here?" She says in a low voice, her voice carrying an incredibly deadly omen of barely restrained wrath.
Vulkas breathes in and out deeply. "Perhaps I am destined to speak with you here. I understand your anger but..." Vulkas stares back with extreme strength. "I cannot let you walk away from this alone. I ask, and insist, that I accompany you."
Her eyes narrow. "What possible reason do you have?" She points to the bound girl. "Do you feel some kind of misplaced sympathy for that thing? Or despite the fact I went out of my way to save you, no, everything at my own expense, you do not trust my intentions? ...Or perhaps you fancy that you can service your desires of flesh with it?"
Vulkas shakes his head. "Please, cease the assumptions. One, any sympathy I could give that thing is minimal. It is born of murder and destruction, and every waking moment near it makes me...rather furious." He moves closer. "And as for trust, I thank you for saving me and my allies but a single act of kindness does not a trusted friend make. I will not even adress your final accusation for its absurdity." He breathes. "I wish to continue the fight. While I am tired of today's events, I understand that the battle isn't over, there is more to be done that I assume you will continue. I wish to assist you."
She looks at him now as if she desperately wants to be angry at him, but is struggling to muster the energy to do so.
"...A positive spirit, Duty, are you not?" She seems to grimace with the words.
"Indeed, I need not indulge more in what I am then." He puts his hands behind his back. "But please, consider my words and if you accept, I assure I will be a valuable comrade."
She seems to take on an exasperated expression. "...Figures. Duty never deviates, no matter how obtuse they require themselves to be in order to make sure their duty in life is followed... ...what a pain in the ass."
She briefly looks toward the girl. "We have rules here, and you will follow them. Break them, and I will exile you for real next time, or you will die. Am I understood, Vulkas Iradrek?"
Vulkas nods, moving one hand forward and extending it. "I understand every word, do not worry."
She turns her head toward him. "You may not aknowledge that thing as a person, or even specifically as having a gender. To do so will aknowledge it as an individual, and I have no intention of preserving its present state of being. I need only keep it alive for that time in which I must prepare for my brother's return. I will not and you shall not offer it any kindness, not matter how draconian my actions may seem toward it. Its bindings may never come off under any circumstance, unless you feel the need to be responsible for the ensuing apocolypse this world eater will bring.
Furthermore, at the risk of your own life, you are to obey my instructions to the letter and either purge or slay those I designate. Not a single mark may be left unattended. Also, do not interact with the being in any capacity, or I will hamstring you."
Vulkas blinks, breathing again. "I have memorized everything you have said, if need be I will run through it every day to prove my understanding."
Her eyes narrow slightly again, before she turns and sits down before the girl. "Uuuuugh. Leave me be for the moment. I need to decompress. After a while I'll call for you. Are you familiar with spacial shaping?"
He creates his Shift of Planes. "I've never had the need to attempt such a thing, but If I must I shall try."
"Create a dwelling within this void then if you can, and excuse yourself. I need to be alone." She pauses, before smiling faintly. "And don't worry, the Void here obeys me, well, at the very least, it won't eat you immediately. Just don't stare too deep..."
Vulkas nods, before walking away as he begins to play. As he walks, stone like material begins to form around him, and after a moment a medium sized castle like home is created, with him walking inside and closing the door with a final, sharp note.
Once he has departed, she seems to lose her ridged air, and breathes a soft sigh. "...Forgive me brother, I hope in whatever form you do exist... ...that this does not cause you pain. ...Hang on, at least for her sake..."
Vulkas sits down inside, and three orbs of light in different colors begin to dance around him rather frantically.
She isn't heard from for a very long while, in fact things are incredibly quiet outside.
Vulkas eventually gets fed up and waves the orbs away, standing up and going upstairs, going to what appears to be a balcony.
He eventually gets a summons from White to return.
Vulkas leaves the balcony and eventually walks out of his home.
Heir of the Void 001: Sanctified Archer Edit
FWhite sits kneeled before the bound Child, not turning as he approaches."Are you ready to put yourself to the test? This will determine if you are worth teaching and following in my path." She intones.
Vulkas squints. "As ready as I can be, what is it that I must do?"
"As you may have gathered, we have won merely a battle, not a war. In order to subdue their most prized avatar, I had to disperse the power of Itami and Alpha across the realms. Pieces of them have now awoken in those they had long before selected, their Heirs, so to speak. I was once such a Heir, before I... ...well that's not important. The point is, our task is to either purge or destroy the Heirs. If they do not consent to being purged, then they must be eliminated. No mercy."
She looks back upon the Child. "You may think my treatment harsh, but the truth is that thing is the Primary Heir. If released, Itami's power will flow back into it once again. In order to keep his power fragmented, the Primary Heir must not be destroyed or otherwise purged of its contamination until all other Heirs have been neutralized. That is why we must wage this campaign. Your first target is one whose status as a Heir has recently awoken. I need you to infiltrate this facility."
She creates a spacial diagram of a massive flying fortress, at the very center in some kind of vault is a biosignature highlighted compared to the others.
"The occupants there will view you with hostility most likely, so do not let yourself be captured or noticed. Break into the secret vault, purge the newly awakened Heir, and then bring her here. ...Oh, and she looks like this."
Another diagram replaces the first, showing a woman with long white hair, deep in slumber inside a strange giant laboratory tube, curled in a fetal position. Her face seems vaguely similar to White's.
Vulkas tilts his head. "They have a rather large resemblence to yourself, but I assume the reason for that is not important. In the off chance that I am noticed, am I allowed to use as much force as possible to make sure that my mission isn't detoured?"
"Correct, you are. Dispose of bodies and do not allow them to spread an alert throughout the fortress. You may very well die if their full numbers march upon you."
"I understand. Must I return within a specific amount of time or just soon?"
"Return as soon as you are able, but do not rush, stealth is required here."
Vulkas nods. "I am ready to begin my mission then. Anything else you must tell me?"
"...No." A silver - black portal appears behind her.
Vulkas walks through the portal, taking out his Twilight Siphon as he goes through it.
His vision warps and distorts in a sea of greys, whites, and blacks, before he finally appears at the fortress, miles upon miles into the atmosphere. The fortress appears incredibly beautiful and ornate, silver and white metals adorn its features, with hints of diamond. Upon a brief inspection of his surroundings, he appears alone but he feels making rash assumptions could get him in trouble fast.
Vulkas spends little time admiring the fortress after taking his quick glance. He remembers the diagram White originally showed him, knowing he has to make it to the center. He quietly scales up the fortress, looking to find a way in that isn't the front door.
A rush of wind nearly knocks him over as what looks like a demonic-angelic dragon surges overheard, with what looks like an angelic winged humanoid riding it with a long spear.
Vulkas cocks his head, somewhat curious before he continues scaling the fortress.
The dragon and its rider appear to be making another pass.
Vulkas quickly creates a seal in front of him, which seemingly melds him to the wall hes scaling.
When he gets to the top, he find a huge battalion of angelic soldiers patrolling the courtyard.
Vulkas takes his time to form a plan, sitting down as low to the ground and out of sight as possible, and has his astral self quickly move across the courtyard, invisible. When he reaches past the courtyard, he calls his body to him, which instantaneously comes out and back in of existance, appearing where his astral self is.
A few of the soldiers seem to look around, as though feeling a disturbance, but not in a manner that indicates he has been noticed. He is now closer to the center of the complex, where a massive central tower looms. He catches a glimpse of a batallion entering a concealed elevator, heading down, nearby the central complex.
Vulkas quietly heads across to the elevator, entering the shaft and hanging on the wall, looking around to make sure he hasn't been, and wont be spotted.
Without warning, the elevator drops at unholy speeds straight toward the ocean, making a sonic boom as it travels.
Vulkas eyes bulge in surprise, barely able to hold back any noises that would give him away. He recovers, getting used to the speed quickly though.
The elevator keeps barreling down, and far below, he can start to see the bottom. And the elevator shows no signs of slowing down.
Vulkas keeps his conviction. "I doubt their elevators are methods of execution..."
The Elevator slams into a base of water, sending a massive waterspout almost all the way back up, drenching him and deeply rattling him from the impact force.
Vulkas still hangs on, ableit now extremely annoyed.
The elevator has stopped, leaving Vulkas to freely curse the psychopath who designed the elevators.
He does so in his mind, quickly leaving and creating a symbol where no one is around, melding himself to the wall as he looks around to gain an idea of his surroundings.
He appears to be in a deep interior labortory section, filled with human sized lab tubes, many filled with the shadows of humanoid beings inside. According to the map he was given, this section of the fortress is where he will find his mark.
Vulkas leaves from his observation point, gazing at the various lab tubes.
They appear to have some sort of humanoid beings, some in various stages of some sort of transformation. Some look like meager dolls without any form of identifying features, while some sport red or white hair, and six wings from their backs, like the angelic beings outside. However, he senses his mark is much further in.
Vulkas eyes each being with a sense of whimsy, continuing his search for his mark.
Far deeper within, he soon runs into a wall where there should be an entrance to the chamber described.
Vulkas looks around to the closest thing to a door.
There is no sign of any door. However, a series of three dragon statues, each with a different colored crystal in their mouths can be seen. The wall he is faced with appears to have similarly sized holes.
Vulkas inspects the statues, particularly the crystals as he eventually removes one, placing it into one of the holes.
The crystal does not seem to achieve anything, but does not react in any way. Listening closely however, he hears a mechanical noise sometime later, suggesting a mechanism is engaged.
He does the same for the other two crystals.
Surprisingly he is able to solve the puzzle, and a release mechanism engages, beginning to pull the wall open.
After the wall fully opens, Vulkas slowly walks in.
He walks into a central large chamber with sealing runes across the whole circular room. At the very center is a console with a huge tank filled with liquid. Inside, he finds the woman he had been enlisted to find. He notes an odd red crack in her side spreading to her stomach and right side of her chest. She appears asleep.
Vulkas inspects the crack from afar, being eventually looking to see if he can find a console of sorts to let her out.
As he looks, she opens her eyes, and they seem to be the same pinkish red as the Child. He finds the console right in front of the tank.
Vulkas eyes the console before attempting to release her.
The tank's glass implodes, sending huge waves of liquid surging onto the floor, her body tumbling onto the floor, being drug along the floor.
Vulkas walks over to her body, creating a symbol on her body that covers her with a robe. He picks her up, starting to leave.
After the shattering of the tank, alarms begin to blare in great numbers, and the crack begins to glow, yet the woman's surroundings grow darker and darker. She seems to shift in his arms, her arm extending toward his face.
Vulkas doesn't notice her arm at first, as hes caught up with the alarms going off before looking back down.
She grabs his face hard, and forces herself free from his grasp, and flings him into a wall. She gets up, though is slightly hunched over, a trance like expression on her face as her eyes glow unnaturally with the strawberry red color.
Vulkas quickly recovers, stretching. "I apologize if you have been deeply disturbed. Im only here to help you. If you do not allow me to do so, the both of us will be in a mess that would stop the both of us from digging ourselves out of." He looks around, wary over both the alarms and her expression.
The crack in her side begins to grow rapidly, and he begins to feel the same sensation from her as he did the Child when in battle with it. Her side itself is turning into pure red energy, which oozes from the site outward to the rest of the body. The very center of the opening begins to form a poreclain white skin with hardening scales, and as it travels down her leg, begins to turn it dragonic in form, with a similar skin color. He realizes that the corrupt force inside her is altering her at a drastic rate.
He remembers what White had said: Purge the awakened Heir, and then return her here. His trial had begun in earnest.
Vulkas' eyes widen before he charges up a wave of pure positive energy, flinging it towards the clone as he coats his arm in it.
She ducks under the wave, manifesting an unstable blade of negative energy and slashing at him.
A blade of his own, made of positive energy emits from his arm, clashing with her blade as he covers his other arm with it, attempting to grab her wrist.
The two blades violently react to each other, bucking and tearing at each other. She makes a strong attempt to evade his grasp.
He steps forward, moving her blade out of the way as he fires a close range blast of positive energy at her wound.
She screams in agony as the energy begins to circuit through her body, disrupting the flow of negative energy.
Vulkas gets rid of his blade, grabbing the wrist that her blade is on. He then pushes her to the ground, surging more positive energy into the wound.
She squirms, trying to break free, her strength nearly overwhelming.
Vulkas increases the amount of positive energy hes using as a response.
She blasts him away with a massive burst of negative energy that heavily singes him.
Vulkas grunts in slight pain, healing himsef with his own positive energy as he moves in again, creating a whip of positive energy that he swings, trying to wrap around her leg.
She doesn't notice, as the corruption continues to spread, both legs are dragonic and now a tail is beginning to sprout.
Vulkas uses her not noticing to his advantage, pulling quickly with all his strength to throw her off balance.
She tumbles down with a heavy crash.
He rushes over to her and holds her down, creating claws of positive energy, ripping into the wound, and starts to pull.
She screams as the corruption furiously fights back, attempting to hasten her mutation into an avatar, her lower half fully compromised.
Vulkas grits his teeth, using more positive energy to strengthen the claws as he continues to dig and pull.
The corruption begins to lose ground.
Vulkas rips out the corruption, blazing both the corruption and the exit wound with positive energy to finish the job.
The woman lets out an agonized howl of pain as the corruption is ripped out of her, collapsing on the floor, her wet exposed body dripping water and blood onto the floor, unconscious.
Vulkas takes a moment to collect himself. "That corruption was far too vile..." He picks up the robe he had created for her earlier, picking her up and covering her as he starts to leave after healing her wound to stop the bleeding.
Her breathing begins to settle as he walks, but he can start to hear the footsteps of soldiers.
You're short on time. Get out of there.
Vulkas quickly makes his way back, avoiding the soldiers and using symbols to warp around.
A pillar of jagged ice erupts in front of Vulkas, he feels a presence above him on a terrace.
Vulkas stops in his tracks, quickly glancing above him to see the source of the ice.
He sees a silver haired male with pale blue eyes staring down at him, an aura of cold surrounding him.
Vulkas creates a dark shroud over his mark's face. "I am not here to disrupt or do harm. Nor do I wish to engage in combat." He eyes the area to scout out his escape.
A ring of ice blades erupt around him.
"That is not an explanation. Shall I call the soldiers who are currently hunting you down over?"
"...I came here to retrieve something. Its nothing of importance to you or anyone here."
"Do you speak of that woman? Do you take me for a fool? What is her significance?"
"If she was left here untreated, it was likely that this fortress would have fallen to her and her corruption. I am removing her from the premises for both my sake and yours."
"...Who sent you? And how could you known of this place, let alone that chamber?"
"It seems you overestimate the loyalty of those around you. Not that it is compromising. It was one of your own, but it was done for the right reasons."
"..." This information seems to cause some manner of pause. He tosses some manner of sigil at Vulkas, after which the ice disappears, with him leaving soon after.
Vulkas catches the sigil with his spirit hand, and inspects it while on the move.
He isn't able to discern anything from it immediately.
Vulkas looks for the portal he came from.
He sees it open in the distance, toward the edge of the fortress.
He darts for it, diving through it.
Heirs of the Void 002: Children of Destiny Edit
Vulkas arrives from the portal, his mark in his arms and the sigil given to him seemingly pocketed in his robes. He takes a moment to catch himself, slowly walking as he looks down at the woman. "What could have happened if that corruption was left to fester?"
A new avatar would be born, and Earth's demise assured. Our cause would be held back from the effort to destroy her. Better to purify before that point.
A rumbling voice responds, both White's voice and entirely not. The voice surrounds him from all directions, and his eyes seem to imagine the lurking shadows of dragons amidst the endless darkness. This fades as White reemerges.
Vulkas seems somewhat taken aback by the initial voice, but shakes it off. "Thank you. However I must be honest. Unfortunately, I do believe I gained unwanted attention."
"Not a concern. It would have been unlike his character to enduldge violence in this instance."
"Would it be within his character to give a stranger something without reason?" Vulkas shows her the sigil. "I assume not."
She gives him a smile. "That knowledge is not important at this time. It would unfairly grant you an advantage in your destiny."
Vulkas squints but decides to make no resistance. "Very well. As for her..." Vulkas nods towards the person hes carrying. "What shall be done?"
"I will take care of the rest. You on the other hand..." She stands aside, revealing the unbound, slumped over Child. She appears sprawled helplessly on the 'ground', her strawberry red eyes wandering aimlessly.
"I need you to oversee its bathing and general stability. You know, so it doesn't cause another apocalypse?"
White smiles mysteriously. "No pressure."
She disappears in a wave of black rippling energy along with the woman Vulkas retrieved.
Vulkas blinks. "Im sorry im to do what?" He looks around, realizing White has gone and left. He slowly walks over to Child, rather wary.
Watch for a maw on the belly, its stomach growling, or it trying to gnaw on you. If persistent in the third or immediately after the first time, inform me. And don't be too rough or you'll make it react, ranging from increased difficulty in your objective to an intense outburst.
Obviously don't be a pervert. I will gladly end you.
By this time, the unintelligent being awkwardly manages to look at him in a gawking manner.
Vulkas nods, once more creating a robe and gently putting it over the being, picking her up and walking to the home he made for himself earlier.
The Child jumps out of her skin, his touch causes her pores to jolt out as if in freezing water. Her sense of touch only recently permitted overwhelms her primitive mind. She doesn't attempt to flee, but has gone statue still.
Vulkas is seemingly confused by this, but makes nothing of it. He enters his home, walking to the bath in which he begins to fill with water.
The Child shakes noticably, though regards the water curiously.
"A-Aoyu~?" The phrase seems to be just babylike gibberish.
Vulkas shakes his head. "It is called water. It cleanses the body and soul." Vulkas creates a small orb of water in his hand and molds it around.
She definitely doesn't understand him.
Vulkas looks a little dissapointed but says nothing, instead he gets rid of the orb of water and creates a symbol that creates soap. He takes the robe off her and gently starts placing her into the bath.
The cold sensation of water against the skin makes the Child flinch and squirm.
Vulkas makes the water a little warmer to calm her down. "Do not make this any harder for me, that is all I ask."
After a mild tantrum, the Child appears to settle down, sinking a fair bit into the water.
Vulkas lets her settle before he rolls up his sleeves, grabs the soap and what appears to be a brush, wetting both and putting some soap on the brush. He then begins to gently scrub her down.
The next hour is a virtual wrestling match due to the brush itching her skin, but he finally accomplishes his task. She lays in the bath, panting.
Vulkas wipes sweat from his forehead as he sets the brush down, getting rid of the water as he creates a towel that he uses to dry her.
I see you two have had a lovely time, White remarks in his head, her tone makes it hard to tell if she is teasing him.
Vulkas rolls his eyes. "Of course. The constant fidgeting and occasional splashing was absolutely wonderful."
Good, then that means you will bathe it every week. Dry it off and meet me outside.
Vulkas makes a huff of contest and finishes drying her off, putting the robe back on her and picks her up, heading outside.
As he walks, he notices the Child seems to be gumming his wrist, he can feel her teeth touch his skin but almost no force behind it.
Vulkas doesn't pay it any mind other than finding it only slightly annoying.
The Child regards him with a meek look.
He raises an eyebrow, somewhat curious but continues walking.
The Child begins to press against him, trying to more securely wrap her legs and arms around him, this proving difficult, she appears to be trying to make laying against him easier and more comfortable, making him feel the opposite as she continues pressing herself against him. She also lightly puts her mouth on him again.
Vulkas sighs, before finally giving in and giving up his own comfort to allow her to take a much more comfortable position. "There. Happy?"
"Bouuu?" Another unintelligent response is his reward.
He just looks at her, somewhat squinting his eyes. "Vulkas. Vool. Khas." He points to himself.
She nibbles his shoulder, this time he can feel the teeth.
He gives up communicating with her, leaving his home to finally find White.
He finds White and the woman from before, now clothed, her hair styled, and awake, standing over her. White appears to be studying a strange multicolored orb, before finally dismissing it with a wave and standing up to face him. She seems to gesture as though she wants him to hand the Child over.
He happily gives White the Child. "She's is a tad...clingy. In a literal sense."
"It," White stresses with a light hiss. Without warning, bandages begin to wrap around the Child's head, quickly muffling the short cry out of alarm it gives out, and before long, is completely encased.
White soon has the being returned to her sealed state. She gestures to the woman, who is clad in simple green robes and braided hair. The woman regards him with a quiet, dignified look.
"I had to do a manual operation to complete her genesis, she wasn't entirely completed, much less operational." White explains. On the woman's back is a strange, yet simple bow, that appear to have a surreal quality to its presence.
"She lacks a name, but perhaps as her partner, you'd be willing to offer one?" White suggests.
Vulkas thinks for a second, before placing a hand to his chin. "Kyomu." He seems to regard the woman. "Would you like that name?"
"It would be... acceptable. You are... Vulkas, my partner?" She says slowly, as though trying to process her thoughts.
He nods. "Yes, that is me. I look forward to our working together." He smiles, slightly bowing.
She offers a nod of her head.
Vulkas turns to White, suddenly more formal. "I do believe that you have called me here for reaons more than just introductions." He seems to have something on his mind, quickly spurting it out. "How exactly did all of this...begin, per say?"
She seems like she is about to disregard his question when Kyomu speaks as well.
"Yes, how did things come to this? Surely it could have been avoided?"
White seems to become heavily burdened, and closes her eyes, and begins to tell them everything that has transpired up until that point, before Phoenix and her actions then, being recruited by them, her long and wartorn history with her brother, his crusade for justice, and her own failings that led to this state of affairs.
Vulkas seems extremely interested. "Its strange as to how all of that unfurls to create the current situation. Regardless of whether this could have been avoided or not, it is our job now to fix things, yes?"
"Indeed. I ask that you stay dedicated to your tasks. We cannot deviate."
"Of course." Vulkas looks ready for the next mission, more determined than ever as his eyes turn from yellow to a golden orange.
Heirs of the Void 003: The Nonexistent City Edit
Break time's up, if you plan on doing a second dive anytime soon, get back here.
Shinwa sucks in a breath, part of her consciousness retrieves something she had stashed away a long time ago from a discreet location.
Drei. I need to know... are the Dives merely the fastest way to bring him back, or is it more than that? A less than pleasant individual warned me to stop and implied I would regret further dives.
Shinwa soon falls silent, and after some period of time, when a search to find her is sent, only a pile of clothes and ash are left of her. Soon after this, a great extended period of time passes in which everything is frozen, as if all possibility had become zero. When the group finally is unfrozen from this state, the city, minus the World Tree, has appeared into what seems an endless inky black abyss, where no possibility seems to exist.
In fact, the only forms of 'life' is Drei, the three familiars, and Volmond. The familiars and Drei note strange red and white threads floating about them in the billions, each individual possessing very different threads, with only a few intermingling with each other's. Curiously, most of the red threads surrounding Volmond have been turned to ash. In conjunction with this, his condition has been rectified, though no possible means could have done such a feat in such a timeframe.
"...You've awakened then, Zwei," notes Drei. "Are you... whole again?"
"I see, very well then." Drei swishes his tail lightly. "Will you be fine with that?"
"What's going on, Drei," asks Elstia. "I can see him, but... can't sense him."
"He's here and not, awake, but distant. Essentially his mind is omnipresent at the moment, but condensing. As such direct communication with him is impossible."
As they look about the doctor's chamber, they notice all signs of technology and its operation have frozen, everything colored in a deep dull grey. The passage of time seems irregular if wildly abnormal, and the only animate entities are themselves and Volmond. However, after enough time, they begin to make out faint, moving shapes, darker than the void they are in. These indistinct shapes appear to orbit an incomprehensible radius, with them seemingly on its outer range, the focus of their orbit seemingly far off into the void.
In addition, the sense of being watched is noticeable, but no entity, much less any particular intent can be discerned at this time, but there is a strange sense of anticipation, as though the unseen was anxiously waiting for something.
"The surroundings. He noted them briefly."
For a while, things remain as they are, the silent presence lingering over them. What feels like hours pass before a strange signal like vibration begins to resonate, the reverberations begin to register a pattern in morse code that seems to indicate the group head outside.
"...Drei," says the doctor finally. "Recall the Fifth."
"If I must," sighs the cat, eyes flaring with bright blue light. A ring of light forms around him briefly, with seven odd symbols forming around said ring. Soon afterwards the ring and symbol disappear and a small collar like object appears around Drei's neck.
"Zwei, what's going on," asks Fyryg quietly. "You seem... different."
"Ah, Fyryg. I'm simply putting my countermeasures in place," he says. "I'd rather not unconsciously warp my- our- surroundings."
"And that involves Drei, how." questions Luciel, studying the cat carefully.
"You could say he is the bearer of the fail safe I made for myself long before I... divided myself."
"Divided? You don't mea-! Y-you couldn't have, not without having dissociated yourself from-"
"Unwanted ears are listening, Luciel. Do you really want to reveal that now?"
"It's nothing to worry about. I'll be fine while I readjust," the doctor says. "Drei, have you finished?"
"Indeed. Gordias is enabled," nods the cat, padding past the doctor."
"Good," he says before glancing at Elstia. "Thank you for attempting to help."
"Think nothing of it, Zwei," she says with a shallow bow. "But are you certain you are alright?"
"Yes, now let us go," he says, his face going from soft to blank in a matter of seconds." He silently strides forward, his clone and familiars following close behind.
Upon reaching the exterior, a faint light far in the distance off in the abyss can be seen, a final pulse emitting from it before the light fades out. The lingering presence becomes sharper, a distinct entity is in the area, far off in the abyss, closing in. After a few minutes, or what feels like it, a green hooded female figure is emerging from the darkness, on their back is a peculiar bow. Despite the distance, it appears that they are closing in rather quickly, in spite of the small stride they take.
At about a league apart, they stop, a glint of blue flashes under the hood of the figure, before they resume their approach, finally appearing several meters away, but distinctly in audible range. They appear to be giving themselves enough distance to remain safe from an attack. It is at this point the figure speaks.
"Volmond Blatt, you've awoken, and relatively intact? Please trust me, answer my questions, and allow me to do my tasks unimpeded. It is for your benefit- -and those around you. My master desires no ill will, but do not think to engage in hostilities. You will lose, especially in this domain."
The woman speaks with a faintly familiar manner, from what he can see of her, she possesses cream colored hair tied in long braids that dangle past her chest, baring a red leather jerkin under the simple green robes. The presence they've been feeling stems from her, but seems to fade now that they are close, to the point her presence cannot be felt, they'd be convinced she wasn't real if she told them so.
"Intact? I suppose that word works," muses the doctor, "And you are? Or rather the designation your master takes."
"If it is that important to you, I am Kyomu. As for my master, well, they will introduce themselves once we have finished our business. The first of which is; is any of the following within the city: Nanashi, Nageki, or the Relic God of Pain?"
"No, unknown and no," he says bluntly. "Angelius is handling his business, the child is where ever and the deity is likely with her counterpart."
"Ah, unfortunate. That makes our job more difficult." She removes the bow from her back. "I'm going to need you to hold still so I can conclude my business with you. This will be painless and quick, and we can both carry on. Though I would allow my master to discuss the greater length of details of matters since your slumber."
With this said, she aims her bow with a blue arrow towards him. "Don't move, or disrupt in any way. A harmless purge becomes insidiously harmful if not done precisely."
"Very good. Fire away."
Within a nanosecond, the arrow flies and sails straight through Volmond without causing any harm, though it briefly snags before dragging something out, a massive red cloud of noxious energy, which begins to twist into a horrid abomination of many fangs and wings until being shot by a powerful arrow from Kyomu that disintegrates the corruption in mere moments.
"...Contamination eradicated. Thank you for the cooperation. Under my orders I was not permitted to speak of my intentions lest an unfavorable response occur. Now that it is destroyed I may speak freely but I imagine the master will wish to inform you themselves."
She sucks in a breath. "Apologies for the sleight of hand."
"I figured as such based on your mannerisms," he replies, eyes turning violet. "I had only planned to attack if you'd attempted to strike out."
"Very well, my role for now is finished. The master will speak with you now. Be careful of what you speak of next. The master is not currently alone, they safeguard a prisoner you would best be wary of."
What appears to be a tunnel of intense, solid darkness opens up, which Kyomu travels through, and remains open for the group.
"Hm... Interesting. What designation they choose indeed..." Mutters the doctor, passing through the rift, followed by the others.
Passing through the rift, they soon arrive in a place whose darkness feels far less imposing. Standing in the middle of the space is an armored figure, standing in front of some manner of female with cream colored hair wrapped up and restricted by some manner of wrappings.
The figure silently turns toward Volmond. "So you appear before me, 'doctor'. What 'you' has come before me, I wonder? Ah, but I promised answers and not questions. There has been much change since your slumber, much indeed. Destiny and purpose have been twisted to suit higher powers, and the corruption spirals out of hand. The world was all but eclipsed, and I would have to set everything back to its origins, all so it may happen again. But first, are you well?"
"Well is a way of putting it," he says, eyes sharpening. "And yourself? Returning things to the origin from the point at which things diverge will be trying, I suppose, what with the ending making a power play..."
"Power play? Hardly... you should blame infinity for that... If anything, I've made the conscious decision not to continue the farce by directly intervening... if I hadn't, you and I would not be speaking right now, the Harmonic Realm would not have become a void eating away at the foundations of everything, and you would be on Earth, in your pod, while your loved one looks on helpless and confused."
The being seems to shrug. "Hardly relevant matters I'm sure to you. As things stand, the Harmonic Realm- -I suppose I should refer to it by a name you will be more familiar, Echo, is lost, and the world is entering a dangerous death spiral that will need fixing before this is all said and done, my plate is very full. Tracking down my counterpart Infinity has been taxing, as you've seen with yourself, it likes to be creative with its options...
...Which I suppose brings me to another matter. I believe though, another can more easily speak for me on this matter. We'll speak again, I'm sure, time traveler. I've let that go given your circumstances but I am not a fan of repeat offenders." With this, the being seems to implode like glass, revealing what appears to be Shinwa in its place, though her appearance is ragged, her appearance somewhat shattered like glass, with the holes filled with static. She is listless for a moment, before realizing he is there, her awareness sharpened.
"...You... you're awake. ...I suppose that is some manner of good news amidst all of this... ..." She sighs. "...Ah, don't be too concerned... I did this to myself, after all. ...All power bears a price."
"What did you do," he says, barely above a whisper, less of a question. His eyes further sharpen, as if closer to blades and his knuckles go white. A faint dampening of the air briefly occurs before his composure returns.
"...Do you know how many beings knew what was going to happen? How many even cared? ...I knew, and I couldn't let some cosmic asshole toy with people's lives for its own self satisfaction... ...So I made a pact with it. With Omega. I had to, if I was going to stop Alpha. ...If I was going to be able to stop myself.
...I never told you, but your mark wasn't the first time I met one from beyond. They found me when I was a little girl. They tortured me, warped me, broke me. I wasn't myself for the longest time afterwards. That eye... the one that transcends boundaries... ...they forced it inside of me.
...Forced their corruption into me. Alpha... ...it's been using me, my family, so many others, for eons now... ...I had to make a choice, I had to decide if I was ok with everything ending... with losing myself to that monster... ...or if I take a stand, and sacrifice everything to not only free myself, but save everyone from that monster.
...I'm making progress toward my end of the bargain but... ...but..." She falters, then slowly turns her head toward the being bound behind her.
"...That is the... ...other condition. ...That thing... ...that thing was born by turning my brother... ...little Kado... Iaitai... ...my whole world... ...into its vessel. ...My... ...my little brother is gone, he's gone... ...and I... ...I don't know how to fix him. Ideas, frantic, maddened, desperate... ...but nothing. ...I have to fix him or... or... ...I have to... k-kill..." She can't finish the thought.
"...If I complete its deal, it will release me from my state. If I fail, I will remain here. ...I'm sorry. ...I always choose others over myself." She can't look him in the eyes.
"Were I my younger self, this place would have shattered," he says after a moment of silence. "Instead, I will compose myself and hold my judgment."
He sighs. "I've much to say, but not now. I'll let my emotions loose and those are unnecessary currently."
"...I'm sorry..." She looks over to the bound being. She remains like this for a time, before her shattered form seems to solidify into something more akin to what he remembered of her. Not complete, but far better, as if her resolve had strengthened.
She silently approaches the being, quietly observing. "This being... ...it was formed through the sacrifice of the Kanjo, Echo itself, and its inhabitants... ...and my brother. ...In addition to slaying Alpha's avatars, I must rectify this wrong before it causes any more harm to the universe. ...I'll help you with anything, Omega has vouched support in this matter, if you can help me save my brother. My home. My people. ...I will understand if you have other priorities. I will return the city to Earth if you wish to leave, I won't keep you any longer. I've been selfish enough as it is."
"Being selfish isn't the worst trait," he says. "Be more selfish."
"Zwei, shouldn't you tell her?"
"Not yet, I've several chains to break first." Volmond's tone shifts. "The 'Yellow King'..."
"...What about him?"
"Oh, musing aloud about an eventual obstacle. The Nine Gates of the Nameless One will interfere there."
"..." Shinwa makes a gesture with her hand, and the wrappings tethering the being to its restraining pillars snap off, and she cradles the being, still confined in its bindings, stroking the hair, sitting down. No response seems to come from it. She sighs.
"My family could never forgive me what I've allowed to happen to you..."
The doctor uses this time to think if only for a moment. Too idealistic and shallow sounding. There's more in play here that hasn't popped up on the field.
Or you overthink. Omega's voice resonates through the darkness into him. There is a flow that is governed by Alpha and Omega, the Beginning, the Infinite, Possibilities, and the End, the Finite, and Destiny. For eons we governed ourselves and slid into reclusive tendencies as other beings of our time regressed into forms you are familiar with, but are strangers to us. Now the flow has been tampered with, out of fear of the inevitability of my power. I seek the flow to return to its state as intended.
The flow should not be disturbed, only maintained. Possibility reigned in by Destiny, Destiny's shackles unlocked through Possibility. That is what was meant to be. They have forgotten their role in the flow. I shall ensure the flow remains eternal. That is my only motivation. The lives of you fleeting existences mean little, so long as your original flows remain true. That amalgam is an affront to the flow, a dam where a river must be. If I did not see a reason to involve myself, I would not have. My original avatar was destroyed, and thus I had to seek alternative methods of correction. And here we stand.
Doubt my intentions if you will, your doubts, like all things, are not meant to stand, not against the endless river. What matters is what you intend to do.
Omega's voice fades out. Meanwhile, Kyomu stands at her post at the entrance to the rift, eyeing the group in silence.
I wonder about that, but ultimately hypothesizing another's intent is as important as chattel. Still, from a perspective such as my own, doubting the higher powers is to be expected, having long found them... unnecessary. Ultimately, however, many others see that the other way, but that's not my problem compared to the birth of the Nine Gates and the Silver Song.
Shinwa quietly eyes the doctor and the familiars, before reattaching the bound being to its restraints.
"If you have any thoughts in regards to its situation, I am desperate for a lead. ...Otherwise, it would be best you return. This space does not agree with... ...your ilk."
"The Rite of Dissociation or a concentrated, pinpoint 'lancing'," the doctor mutters, hand on chin as lights dance in his eyes briefly. The flow distorted, but even if the infinite continues to twist things to its accord, an ultimate end will not be reached. Instead time itself will unravel and all will become fixed in place. While in technicality, this is an 'end' so to speak, this could be considerably more catastrophic without the avatars wreaking havoc before the point of no return. And then there's the one lurking just out of reach still no doubt smiling as he watches this unfold. How irksome... He appears to be lost in his thoughts.
"I wouldn't bother, doctor. You're talking to a being that isn't bound by concepts like us, no, its very mind would be an affront to logic itself, enough to render all purpose and meaning useless if brought into the waking world. The only reason it even needs a vessel is to be able to counterweight its opposite, as a direct clash between the two forces of any kind on purely their terms would induce a calamity on scales not seen since the earliest days of the Veil, if not before. They settle all disputes on our plane for that reason, lest not even atoms remain in the aftermath." Shinwa says with a sigh.
"And I'm not saying that purely for reasons I've described, hearing you two echo in my head gets tiresome. Nay, more accurately, it's draining to channel its voice."
She begins to intone in a low voice as azure sigils blaze around her, some ancient and elusive as Eldritch, others are more contemporary in nature.
After a few minutes... "...Bah, my reserves are too low." The sigils disappear. "You'll have to educate me on the specifics, Omega's already drained me a lot in the past few days." Her appearance soon becomes similar to its initial ragged state.
"Hm? Oh," the doctor snaps from his thoughts. "The Rite of Dissociation isn't anything that needs to be performed unless one is ready for its repercussions. But that isn't the meat of the matter even if that were a solution for saving your brother that were viable. He'd be fragmented by the cost of the rite unless another took his place, but even then... No one in this realm can perform the Rite, I can guarantee that fortunately. As for lancing, the archer has an idea of what I mean, but not the means to do so. With that said, I must go lest everything be drowned in the flames of animosity and ill-tempered spite."
"...So you mad at me? Mmmm, be on your way if you must. Make sure the others get to the city at the very least. They will not feel well otherwise due to being spacially displaced more than a centimeter from their original position in Existence."
"Not angry at you, but I doubt my presence will be appreciated much longer considering any solutions I bring to the table will not end pleasantly." He says. "We'll meet again soon..."
"If that is what you say." She looks to Kyomu. "Kyomu. I trust you will escort them safely back to reality."
Kyomu glows sapphire, before gliding into the darkness, the group being pulled away from Shinwa.
"Fare you well, Volmond, try to take care of yourself Fyryg, Luciel, you still are a lovely lady. Remember that, and try to live a good life. I'll be watching. Elstia, I would have liked to know you better, so I will ask that you take care of him. ...And cat, you should get a bell to go with that collar. ...Goodbye." Shinwa's face is stone as they fade into the dark.
"Are you certain it wasn't the time to tell her, Zwei," asks Drei after awhile.
"She has more than enough to worry about, Drei. Adding anymore to that would be cruel," replies the doctor. "Besides, this is for the best..." And for a brief moment, in the doctor's place is not a human, but a being of ash and metal, shrouded in a mantle of sheer black.
"No wonder you requested Gordias then..."
"Zwei, Drei, politely stop being cryptic and explain what's going on." states Luciel. "I've been quiet about this for awhile, but you can actually trust us, considering we are linked to you despite our autonomy. We are unable to do anything that would endanger you."
"Yeah, Zwei you've been strange since you woke up," adds Fyryg. "Not entirely sure what happened but you've been more distant and quiet. At least before you would humor us..."
"It's nothing that concerns you-"
"The hell it isn't! It's one thing to dislike gods and the like and not trust them blindly, it's another thing to kill your emotions entirely in front of mo- the person you're enamored with. There's clearly something bothering you a great deal or els-"
"Luciel that's enough," says Elstia, her tone frigid. "He's keeping us, or rather you, out of the loop because it would worry you more than his distance."
"And you know what's going on then," snaps the archfiend.
"I've a theory or two, but they need confirmation and ultimately observing will do so," she says in a matter of fact tone before looking at the doctor, eyes flaring with a dark radiance. "Zwei- no, Legna Aurius Altana Divinus- remember that you can only delay that which is set in stone with the methods you are using. If that will suffice for you, so be it, but it will only bring greater tragedy."
"So you do know," notes the cat, "We will have much to discuss later, Elstia."
"I look forward to it."
"Great Spirit, while I praise your observational skills, loose lips sink ships. In any other situation you would have dealt a rather severe blow to the Doctor's privacy, if not much worse." A loud 'pop' is audible, followed by a strange, deep growl ahead of them, followed close behind by the berating voice of Kyomu, deepened and formidable.
Looking ahead of them they can see what looks to be a bizarre white humanoid creature with billowing cream colored hair, with dark eye holes with only faint red light flickering to form vague pupils, looking back at Elstia. It has the same glow as Kyomu had as she had guided them into the darkness, making it clear who it is.
Kyomu turns her head back toward their destination, Atlantis, which they are quickly approaching.
"Beyond that I have no commentary. I will again warn you the dangers of speaking secrets in this 'place', as while protected in this small region, and yes, it is quite small, you still have dangerous ears lurking beyond our borders. After all, the Doctor should know more than anyone the dangers of the Void."
"Your warning, while fair, is meaningless unless it would reach his... chosen's ears," Elstia says coolly. "For this particular matter anyways."
"Unfortunately true," says the doctor, "The ones who would actually benefit from knowing already do and not because of loose lips."
They arrive at the edge of the city, and Kyomu stops abruptly, meanwhile they sail on untill they land on solid ground.
"A word before parting. Omega is Destiny, the Finite, the Inhibitor, the Prophet. Time and time again you've put off the truth, lied to those close to you, shirked any semblance of honesty. I ask you a hypothetical question: what do you imagine the avatar of Omega can see? You may find that your cowardice, your refusal to be honest with yourself, has already damned you. Farewell, and may your journey to Existence meet not a delay. ...For I would be very displeased to see you any sooner."
With a swipe of her hand, a gigantic white clawed armored gauntlet grasps the entire city and flings them into the deep abyss, which soon breaks into billions of multicolored streaks surging past them at blinding speeds, nauseating to the senses. In a split second, however, the city appears as it always had in the ocean, as though it had never left. The city comes back to life, as though it had never stopped functioning.
And for a moment, a massive black void over the skies of Earth is seen, for mere fractions of a second before closing. In that time, someone seems to stand at the entrance, a woman akin to Shinwa, before she too disappears.
They are now alone.
"How foolish," sighs the doctor, eyes iridescent now. "All that is finite will crumble, all that is infinite will be lost and yet again the pieces will need to be picked up. I loathe this cycle, Dr- Rozalind."
"And yet you would let it continue one final time rather than finally end it, Legna," says the cat, assuming a form similar yet very different from the doctor's own. Platinum blonde hair hangs from the future's head, long and straight, trailing down their back. Silvery white eyes filled with warmth contrast the cold myriad of colors in the doctor's own eyes. The person is almost androgynous in terms of figure, but their soft facial features and the slight swell of their chest denotes their feminine nature. The figure stands slightly taller than him, wearing white leather boots and beige pants laced with two belts beneath a white flowing top slit open from the waist to the sternum, a silver colored shirt visible beneath it, tucked neatly into the pants. The top's sleeves flow long past the person's arms, down to about their knees. A white a pink sword rests at their side, identical in appearance to the black and blue sword the doctor carries, save for lacking the chains binding the doctor's version.
Luciel immediately pales. "You're the one who... How did you even get here!?"
"Be at ease, Luci," says the transformed Drei. "You should know by now that the people related to your father are much more difficult to slay than most. As the incarnation of him from another world, a simple Hades Blade through the chest is nothing."
"But you died-"
"I somewhat feigned death," corrects Rozalind. "Not out of malice, but due to the surprise of being run through while telling you to flee. Regardless of how hard I am- we are- to kill, a sword through the chest is still a sword through the chest. Back then I wasn't as aware of what I could do compared to now, so forgive me for not deflecting the blade without a glance."
"S-so then... I wasn't alone then, you were there."
"Yes, though I couldn't quite show up and go 'Hello niece, I didn't actually die from being stabbed by a sword meant to kill gods, I fell into a deep slumber instead and was perfectly fine after I awoke. Good work on becoming an Archfiend, now let's go fix the world now that your father slew the Apocalypse'. Instead I could offer small 'miracles' to help you on your way."
"The Laplace Overlords and the Light of Rebirth then..."
"Indeed, but enough of that. More important things than revisiting the past must be done, Luci."
"Right," nods the Archfiend. "Zwei's dissociation from the Beast, actually breaking the death spiral this world faces, and clearing the way for both of you, no?"
"Among things, yes," answers the doctor instead of Rozalind. "But first, all of you need to rest. A lot has happened in a short span of time."
"Fair enough," says Rozalind, a general sense of agreement coming from the others.
The doctor waits quietly for several hours, peering over old notes. He scratches out some things and adds notes in thin wiry script. His mouth purses into a thin line as he spreads out his notes and cross examines them, rearranging them to better fit with each other. As he finishes this up, he feels a warm mug touch his cheek.
"Announcing your presence would be nice from time to time, Rozalind," he says, accepting the mug. "I take it you slept fitfully?"
"Aye, finally got to stretch out," says the doctor's counterpart, taking a seat behind him and crossing her legs. "And yet you didn't rest in the slightest, as per usual."
"A lack of sleep is less detrimental to me than it is most others, you know that," he returns, waving a hand to cause a near identical table to the one he sits at to form in front of Rozalind. "Besides, I've slept more than long enough thanks to the Perfect Avatar."
"So it wasn't a Named that struck you? Seems like he's getting ready if a Perfect Avatar could do so much to you."
Indeed," nods the doctor as he takes a sip of the coffee, only to frown. "Why Dragon's Isle?"
"It was that or Stone Sea," shrugs Rozalind, sipping her coffee as well.
"The lesser of two evils then."
"Aye, I'd rather not have to deal with caffeinated chalk flavour, even if I have to experience sweet, sour and bitter coffee," agrees the counterpart with a whisk of her long hair. The two then drink in silence, finishing their drinks at about the same time.
"The Great Spirit didn't sleep either," says Rozalind after a few moments. "Seems like she wanted to make sure nothing happened to anyone according to Tyrfing."
"I doubt that one on the cusp of Godhood's end needs rest," says the doctor. "But still, how worrisome."
"That's your own fault, Legna," chides Rozalind. "You do things that make the women who love you worry all the time. Guess who generally has to pick up the pieces?"
"Does that mean you...?"
"Of course not, you eternal widow," huffs Rozalind, annoyed by the bemused expression she can feel coming from her other. "Remember, I'm a married woman and I have no inclination towards myself."
"You know I jest, Rozalind," says the doctor airily. "How has your family been?"
"Well, my niece is in a worrisome mood, my daughter is learning magic and my husband is off fulfilling his duty as a guardian. My daughter and I scry often and my husband and I can sense the other's well being. My niece is currently trying to figure out how you dissociated yourself from destiny itself while unconscious."
"All in due time for the answer to the final question," says the doctor. "Otherwise, good to hear."
"And why per se were you of all people interested in the well being of my family?"
"Because I never ask about them while I keep you mostly away from them with work."
"Fair enough." A deep silence reigns between the two for several more moments until a new voice joins in.
"I'm not interrupting anything am I," asks Elstia, observing the silence then making her decision to sit opposite of the doctor in her night clothes.
"No, you're fine," replies the doctor. "We've been catching up."
"I see," notes the Great Spirit. "Is it fine if I'm blunt?"
"By all means."
"Legna, you aren't going to help anyone if all you do is put yourself in harms way and refuse to ask for help. If anything you're going to get yourself killed because you refuse aid unless it is forced on you. A prime example is when you went off to face whatever put you in such serious condition that you would have been unconscious for decades. Hiding things, while foolish, is understandable. Killing yourself because you refuse help is not."
"That's fine and all, but what happens when the threat eclipses the aid possible? Am I to simply tell others to continue supporting me in a bout they'd be hindrances in?"
"Not at all, but immediately judging people as unable to be helpful or useful without seeing where their talents lie will just put you in a position where you don't know the true capacity of those around you."
"And what pray tell is your talent? Your forte, your specialization. What makes you able to tell me such a thing barring the consequences of my actions?"
"My talent lies in Scattering," replies Elstia, earning raised eyebrows from bother Volmond and Rozalind.
"Scattering, eh? That's something I haven't heard of in ages," says Rozalind. "You do mean dividing things from themselves or breaking things so thoroughly that they can never be restored, correct?"
"Yes, and spreading power or essence over an area or alternatively removing it," says the Great Spirit. "Fyryg, as you've no doubt noticed, Purifies things and Luciel..."
"I create Crests," says Luciel, awake and in her human form. She gives Rozalind a slight bow before manifesting a chair from thin air and plopping down on it. "Father created Sigils, I inherited that from him and then that ability evolved to better suit me."
"I see. It's good that you're awake, Luciel."
"I sleep with an 'eye' open, Zwei. I know when things are happening around me," she says courtly before turning to Rozalind. "So this... Idiot Dissociated himself from the Beast. Last I checked Roles were inescapable. Explain."
"I killed it," says the doctor, "Not the Role itself, but its... Shall we say representation within myself. That instead brought forth the Role of the Calamity and when that too was slain, my Role became the Crusader."
"You slew a Role!? That's quite literally impossible!"
"Not with Law Breaker," says the doctor, looking down at his hands. They briefly flash into an armored ashen form then return to normal. "At a cost, mind you. Law Breaker used to just work, but having used it to break away from two Roles, it's encroachment reached a peak and fused with the third Role."
"That sounds more ominous than it should," notes Elstia.
"It means he's close to becoming a Named Avatar," sighs Rozalind. "That's the reason he asked for Gordias, to slow down and suppress the encroachment else he might turn into a true monster, not like one the universe has seen."
"Wouldn't the arrow that strange lady shot purify that?"
"No," says the doctor. "It wasn't her target and even if it was, Law Breaker would simply activate and nullify the arrow."
"And I take it your Paramour doesn't know about this," says Elstia, her frown deepening when Volmond nods. "Legna... "
"She has much to deal with. Adding that to the plate would only worsen things with her knowing what to worry about as opposed to the worrisome thing being minor potentially. Besides, I plan on resolving that issue myself, as only Rozalind and I can remotely handle this particular problem."
"Very well, but could I not attempt to Scatter the encroachment?"
"That would put you at risk of many things, even with Fyryg Purifying you both," says Rozalind.
"Not to mention, Scattering the encroachment would only delay it without removing Law Breaker from me, which would have been possible before it became one with a Role," adds the doctor. "Let's change the subject shall we?"
"Then onto saving your paramour's brother," says Elstia. "You mentioned that the Rite of Dissociation could do it, but that it would also potentially break him."
"Yes, if his presence lacked stability, which it did when I last met him, Dissociating him from the being that he is a part of would, in simpler terms, Scatter him. Not the outcome wanted."
"And the 'lancing' you mentioned?"
"More feasible, but I don't want any of you in direct contact with an Avatar," says the doctor. "If that weren't the case, before I knew your talents, I'd have just used the Flame of Purification." He waves a hand and silvery white flame fills his palm. "But that too comes with a possible detriment."
"The Flame of Purification cleanses things of all impurities, but it also burns away things that get in its way. Flesh, bone... personality, memory." The doctor dispels the flame. "I'd rather her brother not come back as a vegetable."
"Any other solutions?"
"Spear his very being and rip it away from the being he is a part of. Of course, that might also shatter his soul," says Luciel. "Then there's killing all of the souls except for his, but the backlash from that would kill an ordinary person and most Minor Gods... Or you could... No, that would simply break everything wouldn't it?"
"You and my aunt are counterparts, no?"
"Then you have her ability to see the true form of Primordials and incomprehensible beings, no?"
"I do- Ah, I see what you're going for. I could do that, but that would immediately maximize the encroachment regardless of success or failure."
"I figured as much."
A wisp of white flame appears over Luciel's shoulder before manifesting as a white phoenix resting on her shoulder. Luciel can feel its energy is similar to Shinwa's likely a messenger familiar.
We are on the move. A rare moment of luck, might be able to better our chances to help brother. This one will let me communicate if the matter is urgent enough.
"Zwei, let us handle this," says Luciel. "I'm certain El-"
"Absolutely not," says the doctor in tandem with Rozalind. "Rozalind, would you?"
"No need to ask," she replies, returning to cat form. "Give us your location."
Kyomu is dealing with the situation for now. When she has made sure that we won't lose the source of its ire she will take you, assuming you don't mind a certain individual neither of us care for being involved and protecting them.
The bird now looks directly at Volmond. I have words for you and Luciel at a later time. Follow Kyomu's instructions, or she will expel you from the situation.
"Drei will be going in my stead, so have them collaborate," he says, "Intact I may be but not at full capacity."
An arrow strikes Drei and the cat vanishes.
"Why not let us go," asks Luciel.
"Aside from not wanting you in contact with a potential Avatar, call it intuition." The doctor looks at Luciel. "You're my niece from another world. You're strong, smart and ambitious, but that doesn't mean I'm going to send you into an unknown situation when I have someone who is essentially myself who can resolve the issue as well and potentially cleaner than you could."
"He makes a point, Luciel," sighs Elstia. "That person, when in that form is about as powerful as the doctor in his current state. If they change to their true form... I don't think many things in this universe would reach their feet."
"If she really was around for both the Laplace Overlords and the Light of Rebirth... I doubt even father could stop her if she got angry..."
The Phoenix preens Luciel's hair.
The Origin is in extremely mint condition all things considered. I rather believe you wouldn't want to face your uncle in his prime anyway. Especially not when he resorts to 'The World'.
...When you have time and you have no immediate obligations, I would... ...I would like to discuss things with you. That is... ...if you wish to learn about your mother, at least from this life.
"Sure, not much I can do with sir nagsalot here."
"Call me what you wish, Swordcraft and Crests aren't the most diverse arsenal," returns the doctor before paling. "Oh no, not now... The sequence is rushed..."
He begins muttering things to himself rapid fire, various ethereal hands appearing in the air and writing in it in a multitude of languages.
I have a feeling that will require attention for the moment. Another time then. Shinwa's voice sounds cross, but towards something else. I'd rather not have a stability crisis while talking with you anyway, perhaps in a few hours once I've settled a bit. Take care, Luciel. ...Ah, take this.
A silver metal necklace with a blue sapphire appears around Luciel's neck.
It's a family heirloom. It dishonors my family for me to have it any longer. It would honor me if you'd keep it.
"Thank you..." Luciel clutches the necklace dearly for a moment.
"We need to find Angelius before his Other reaches him," says the doctor, out of his ramblings. "Else we'll be dealing with Angeli Dei too soon."
"Possibly the one being aside from Ignia Dio who can fight Zwei and break him," answers Drei appearing, alone. "The two targets are in your domain by the way, birdie, unconscious and not impaled on spikes."
"Already calculating the King's transport route and and Angelius' location."
"Your brother is in the Hanging Gardens."
"We're going then."
I would lend you Diablos, Fatalia, and Orneis, Luciel, but I have need of the two swords and armor of Nyusatsu still. Perhaps if things come to pass and I must fade... She seems to be interrupted.
Another incident? A man's voice speaks.
Nobuyuki? How did you get over here-
Let me speak fledgling. The sound of a slap and a dragon's frustrated roar rapidly fading out is heard.
Is assistance required? The man speaks in a neutral but slightly annoyed tone. The manner of speech is akin to Drei's.
"I'll give you a rain check," says the doctor, a faint crackling aura about him. "Drei, you know what to do."
"Aye," nods the cat before looking at the bird. "That's a yes, by the by, you'd not get an answer otherwise."
"Luciel, I'll be blunt: I'd rather you not see me potentially fight my brother to the death because something decided that it wanted him to 'disappear' and be replaced by pale imitation of himself," says the doctor, tone gravelly. "As much as we don't see eye to eye, Angelius is my brother and I'd rather his peaceful life not be ruined because something decided to send his other half on a collision course with him. I know that in this situation, you'd be infinitely more useful since you'd have seen his fighting style and abilities before, but... Not this. This is... Too personal."
"But you'd bring a complete stranger along!? Bullshi-"
"Enough," shouts Elstia. "I don't agree with Legna, but think about it this way, Luciel: You've yet to meet Angelius and yet Legna says you would know his fighting style. You understand what that means, no?"
Luciel goes quiet, something clicking for her. "I want to be alone. You'll know where to find me, Shinwa." And like that, she vanishes.
"Legna, I know. As much as I think you're being unreasonable... You have a point should the worst happen, especially considering that your brother is related to the present affairs," she sighs. "I'll awaken Fyryg and search for the child while you are away. Luciel will need space however."
The doctor nods. "Thank you Elstia."
"Don't thank me, I'll get angry," she says as the doctor vanishes. "He's speeding things up as well, the fool. He can't... Not now..." She collapses to her knees, the area around her rapidly warping to a worn and tarnished black space.
It isn't for a while until Shinwa finally communicates, the bird seemingly having little issue following Luciel to begin with however.
...Hey... She speaks faintly through the bird. The voice is faint, as though Shinwa is still fairly drained, or speaking from a great distance.
...What do you know of your mother? Or me? ...I guess both is correct? The Grand Eye always gave me low points on Advanced Time-Space Convergence Theories. I understand them, but they are still headache inducing. Fair teacher, but merciless. ...Maybe that's why the Phoenix trainees always complained.
"My mother and father were brilliant scientists. Mother researched hybridizing elemental magic with modern technology to repair the world after her sister brought about the first cataclysm. Father researched the classical elements and the long forgotten elementals, forging pacts with them in exchange for their wisdom and knowledge. They met by crossing blades," begins Luciel. "Father, before he lost mother to the Lost Virus, would always speak of her brilliance and how much I resembled her. Her looks, her wit, her temper and all that jazz. Mother often was away from home due to research or meetings, leaving father to watch over me and my brother. That changed when mother lost an arm in a home invasion while father was away." Luciel scoffs. "Being related to the person who destroyed the world from the ground up despite actively opposing them and rallying against them didn't mean anything to those people. And so, in the act of protecting Auros- my brother- she lost her arm. She eventually replaced it with a hybridized prosthetic arm made from a merger of her research and father's, but she never left our home again, for fear that another would try to attack her and her own. Father was fine with this and so was I and Auros and then the Lost Virus broke out. The rest... You've heard." The bird notices that Luciel's hands are bleeding, her nails having cut through her palms despite the calm tone she took as she spoke.
Shinwa seems to sigh. Such burdens... Was your mother the same as I, in terms of her racial origins, or did she hail from another? There are things that tickle the back of my mind as I converse with you, but I wish to know for certain. Having the role of Moia is unexpected, but one I wish to honor as best I can.
"She was the same as you, before you made your deal," she says. "I gave up that form to be here." ...How much do you know of my people?
She asks, faintly appearing in a ghostly form, seemingly composed of a milky white flame. The cityscape feels farther away, and she can almost feel the touch of soft grass instead of city, if she imagines hard enough, the two are alone in a forest glade, in the distance are small village huts. She seems to be receiving special imagery related to Shinwa, things closer to her heart. Focusing in on this dreamscape, she is able to see Shinwa in a more solid form, though it's far different from the Shinwa she's seen. Instead of the regal, elegant white and black dresses she seems more known for, she seems to have a handmade cloth dress tarnished by a rural lifestyle in the wilderness, with hand sown beads and jewelry only a commoner would appreciate.
Her hair is tied in a ponytail composed of four beads, and a ghostly version of the necklace now on Luciel's neck is on her own.
...Ah, it's been a while since I've used this. The familiar is Aster, she can emit an 'aurascape' that appeals to the broadcaster's intents, as well as depict the thoughts and memories of a person. She has some of the best message encoding you'll find, an outsider would find this to be a garbled mess grating to focus on, rather than any real meaning.
...Anyway, we're outside the place of my birth, a village tucked away deep in the East Flora- -ah, you probably don't know it. The East Flora was a large section of land essentially like one giant rain forest with bogs, swamps, and endless forest. The capital of the Chinmoku people- -what we Shapeshifters refer to ourselves as, was nestled deep inside. A magical, wondrous place, but equally dangerous. Echo was a world based on survival of the fittest. You had to learn to adapt and survive in life, or meet an early end.
"I... See," says Luciel, taken aback by the scenery change for a moment before accepting it and closing her eyes. "Mother never got much of a chance to talk about her past or her people, thanks to being busy for so long. She would tell me little things as we trained, but we never had time to really sit down and talk before she was gone."
When she next opens her eyes, one is a crystal blue and the other is an odd mix of silver and green, both with white diamond shaped pupils. She has a far away look in her eyes.
"What would you like to know? I can teach you of our culture, about me, my family lineage, places I have been, or even the Royal Tongue if you wish, but that will be a lengthy affair. It's a tongue of magic and for that reason there are rules that must be followed. As with everything there are things I will leave unsaid." Her voice seems clear now that Luciel accepted the dreamscape.
"Your past, I've gotten bits and pieces from interactions with Zwei, but not much and I don't want to look at things to learn more, that only causes more issues than it solves."
Luciel, we'll be joining you soon if you're fine with a bit more company.
"...Can you wait a bit?"
Not an issue, just let us know when.
"...The cat wants to join us a little later," she sighs, "Well, maybe not him, but essentially him."
Luciel cannot help but notice the faint bristling sensation when this is mentioned, but it passes quickly.
"...Ah." Shinwa recomposes and then goes to speak again when she falters. ...Wait... ...do you have, 'the eye?'" Shinwa looks faintly pale.
"Yeah, I was born with it," she says, covering the green silver eye with a hand and yet it simply seems to glow through her hand. "I used to unconsciously use it, but when father realized what was happening he sealed it until I could control it. I never use it unless I have to, else the backlash hurts more than necessary."
"....At least your father had sense. That worries me a bit. Beyond that... ...I was born one night under the full moon, and in the tradition of the royal family, gave me a name in the native tongue, and later, the common name you know as Shinwa. My brother Kake was not much older than I, we grew up as most children did, but it was only for a few years before my whole being was violated by the void and made to awaken my divine blood as a descendant of Nyusatsu, the Dragon Princess. After that time, I retreated into a shell, too terrified to express myself lest my warped being unravel and elevate me into power too vast for my own body to maintain.
It was my little brother's birth and my elder sister's heckling that freed my spirit and I began to live again. I cherished those days the most. Aside from the days when I met Furue." She has a happy yet somber air as she describes these events.
"Furue was everything. He made me forget that darkness. I wasn't afraid, or at least he made me able to forget. When he proposed to me, I wanted to throw myself in with abandon. And I did." Luciel can feel a twisting sensation in her stomach as if feeling the inner torment of the years that followed. Silent, Shinwa hands Luciel a diary that explains how Phoenix entered her life, the lies told to her by Eien, her studies under the Emperor, and the death of her fiancé by her own hands, and the sealing of her emotions after the fear of blood crippled her.
Luciel frowns. "I'm sorry for your loss... I can see why Zwei hates the observer now. I wish we'd been able to meet on better circumstances, not like this."
"I don't regret these events, if you and Legna are the reward for my endurance."
Luciel smiles briefly, but it vanishes faster than it appears. "I hope we can talk like this more."
Are you available now?
"I believe so."
There is a faint flash and Drei appears followed by a woman Shinwa hasn't met before. She resembles the doctor when he briefly reverted to his younger self, if far more mature. She wears a pure white sun dress and a wide-brimmed straw hat. Her feet are bare save for a silver anklet on her right leg.
"Hello," she says, a polite smile appearing on her face. "I guess this is our first official meeting. I'm Rozalind, but you can call me Vier if you're so inclined."
"Dragon," says Drei, acknowledging Shinwa with a glance before focusing on Luciel. "Are you feeling any better, young one?" His normally cold tone is instead warm, as if regarding her affectionately.
Shinwa does not respond to Drei but whatever faint color in her eyes denoting her feelings at the moment abruptly become coal black in his presence, those familiar with shapeshifters know it as a sign of suppressing intent or emotional response to others.
"Hello," She returns to Rozalind. There is a subtle shift in the environment, the huts no longer seem intact and the sounds of the populace fade away. The area is far quieter and seems like less of Shinwa's impressions of the area are present, a lot colder in nature.
"You're that other instance Omega alerted me to," She remarks. "Though the semblance alone is enough." Shinwa appears to have also shifted toward her more elegant clothing, and has seated herself in the grass.
"Aye, it's nice to be able to talk in person," responds Rozalind, "Alas, I wish we could simply talk about good experiences and happy things. Instead our subject is Legna himself."
"What did Zwei do," sighs Luciel.
"Not what," says Drei, "Will. He refuses to talk about it, but you most likely already know his time is short."
"Aye, if things continue as such, he won't last more than a decade, if that," says Rozalind, eyes glowing a deep blue. "You no doubt noticed his eyes. Violet isn't a natural color for us. Green is neutral, red is fury, blue is concern, amber is irritation, but violet? Violet is infection."
"..." Shinwa is silent for a moment. "Aye, but that was not my first tip. He is a terrible liar even if he thinks himself clever. I didn't need Omega's far reaching influence or Legna's eyes to warn me. He might as well have saved the trouble of consciously lying. Ignoring of course, the power of my eyes, which did play a part of the observations.
He's not the only one who practices deceit. Unfortunately, I have done it enough to know a rat." She closes her eyes.
"So in reality, my suspicions of late have little to disprove them," She mutters.
Rozalind shakes her head. "His lies are... Another layer of deceit meant to throw you and others off."
"He wanted you to eventually hate him," supplies Drei. "He figured that would make him Scattering himself after he achieved his goal less painful, the coward."
"Harsh," finishes the cat, "But not a fallacy. He wants to be remembered as the grand villain who disappeared after triumphing, not a hero who chose to damn himself in order to save a handful of people. He's thought about this methodically for years and years, Rozalind, swaying back and forth between watching everything from the dark and ending himself before he caused too much of strain on this universe. His choice is his own, though. I disagree with it, as you can tell, but unless he can be prevented from reaching critical levels of encroachment or otherwise purified, he's going to go through it."
"So the me of this world would lose her father," notes Luciel, hands balling into fists as a toxic green aura seeps from her for a moment. "I refuse to accept that, Drei."
"That's why we're here, Luci," he says before turning to Shinwa. "Dragon, I don't like you in the slightest, but I- we need your help if we're gonna stop that idiot from offing himself. You don't have to like me, I honestly don't care, but if you do care for Zwei as you claim to, I'll be willing to put aside my growing animosity towards you and work with you to my fullest capacity as long as necessary to stop that end result."
Shinwa doesn't visibly react to the conversation until Drei's last words are spoken. Her blackened eyes slowly begin to emit a silver glow, which gradually spreads to her body.
For a second, she seems to come to an eerie stillness, but it passes just as quickly, though during this time the background becomes complete static, when she resumes movement she appears as a simple light that gradually begins to emit an aura, her own natural aura. The strength of the aura begins to skyrocket to absurd levels, then beyond even that, before leveling out at near crushing levels, before becoming subdued in tone. Shinwa soon stands before them, far more vivid than before, but this time, they can feel her, far beyond mere imitations provided by the familiar- -Shinwa's existence seems to have been resuscitated.
For some reason, her circumstances seem to have been changed, her demeanor makes it clear though that her willpower has surged, the intensity is palpable in the air. She takes in a breath, then exhales.
"...First, let's wait for her..." A moment later, a shadowy version of herself with six angelic wings and red spirit brands appears behind her, arms crossed. She is Shinwa, yet, not.
"You've wasted no time I see." Shinwa remarks to the shadow.
"Of course not. I assume you lot have a plan of some manner, or you would not have made the effort." The shadow speaks. "Refer to me as Hora, or White. I don't care which. Destiny decided to give the two of us a looser leash."
"Three solutions exist," says Drei, nonplussed. "One, you remove the Law Breaker from him. Sounds easy enough, but it's always the simple things that are complicated. For one, its bound to a Role now, which translates to needing to slay that Role's manifestation within him, which translates to trying to kill the ocean with a mundane knife if you can't use the Law Breaker yourself. Then there's actually removing it from him, which he isn't going to allow while he still needs it to reach his end game, else no one'll have a chance against what he's planning on facing. The second is dividing him and that's not on the table, end of story. The third is... Rozalind you explain."
Rozalind sighs. "The third is an act of intimacy that bonds body and soul together permanently. This is the easiest, but hardest to time solution. If done too early, the threat increases exponentially and the world ends, if attempted too late, the threat is doubled and the world ultimately ends. The timing has to be perfect and the action cannot be halfhearted else it'll fail and you'll die. The issue here is when is the right time, which is a fair question to which I have the answer: You have to let him go past the critical point or point of no return, but no more than five minutes afterwards. Any time before that and both of you are affected by his encroachment and the encroachment increases at the same time for both of you until purged or you both cross the threshold, too late and it'll instantly fully encroach you and the same thing happens without a chance at stopping it."
"And how do you know this," asks Luciel.
"Because I was once in the same situation," she responds, "it was after the Hades Blade near slew me, long afterwards. I wandered the world until one day I left it without realizing it. I'll spare you the full details of that, but I met Einsel, Zweilana, the first Dreivious and my now husband in that... place. The five of us were 'granted' different incarnations of the same ability: Einsel's Law Eater; Zweilana's Law Breaker; Dreivious' Law Ruination; my Law Eraser; and my husband's Law Slayer. The five of us worked together to leave that place, but ultimately, having had to use Law Eraser often, combined with not knowing of the encroachment at that time, I ended up passing that threshold and becoming the personification of the Law Eraser. If not for... for Graven, I'd still be ..." The last 'word' Rozalind says distorts before it reaches anyone's ears. Instead the imagine of a white clad armored warrior wielding a sword that doubles as a great spear in a single hand. They float above a white void carved into the ground, one that slowly but surely seems to eat away at the surrounding area until the warrior clenches its free hand into a fist, rapidly accelerating the spread of the white space as a white and black field erupts from them. The figure then vanishes along with the vision, though small parts of the area seem to have fully been drained of color and a minor headaches greets those who saw it. "That being, the Eraser of Precepts in the common tongue."
Shinwa seems to consider the options. "I can think of a few things regarding the first but all have issues of their own, please explain... the third. Like what do I actually do?"
The shadow Shinwa narrows her eyes but says nothing.
"It's something better to show than tell," says Rozalind before saying another 'word' thst shows a vision of the white clad warrior again embraced by a red haired man with an ivory horn, both run through by the warrior's great spear. The man mutters something and the warrior goes rigid as he begins to glow, faintly at first but soon bright as the brightest star. The light pours into the armor, causing bits and pieces to fall away until a younger Rozalind in a tattered white dress appears briefly, eyes black and violet. She soon closes her eyes and accepts the embrace, being pulled into the light as the weapon binding them shatters. The light flares brighter, part a faint red the other part a light yellow, both soon merging into a bright orange before the light fades revealing the two collapsed, a crest of sorts visible through the place where the great spear once stabbed them both through.
Shinwa considers the vision for a while. "...That is something to consider. I imagine the words muttered are part of the execution of some description?"
"If he's too far gone, yes. Otherwise just the contact itself should do," says Rozalind. "While I was as I was, only Graven could reach me. He took a risk, but it paid off."
Shinwa breathes for a moment. "...I was going to offer the round about option of utilizing Stagnation in its purest form against Law Breaker, but... ...given what that would require and the risks, I'm not sure if I should elaborate. I don't know much about it as is, which I'm sure you are not surprised in the slightest about. ...He certainly doesn't make things easy for anyone..."
She sighs. "Oh the things I do for you... ...you will owe me in spades one of these days, and I hope your bank doesn't go bankrupt from debt. ...Is there anything else?"
"There's one more thing," says Drei, but you'd incite the wrath of your... master, contract binder. You could bring the other three wielders of the Law Killer into the world via proxy or direct summoning, but you'd risk a great deal in doing so. I know that Funfal- Graven- exists within this plain to help out a friend of his and some spirit related to you. Victor? Valkus? Something along those lines, leaving Einsel and my namesake, one of which is Scattered and the other purposely 'forgotten' by time."
"The downside is, barring Graven, Einsel would likely refuse due to the instability of the Law Eater and Dreivious is disagreeable at best, contrarian at worst, if he doesn't like you."
"More than myself," notes the cat, swishing a tail before tensing. "Zwei is angry."
"Angry," starts Luciel, "I don't think anger is the right word, Drei. I don't know what's going on with him and his brother but this... this outrage is far greater than anything I've sensed from him before."
The brief brightening of the sky before it goes pitch black then swiftly returns to normal before the sun falls into an eclipse in only too telling.
"..." Shinwa's face strongly implies she knows what is going on. "...I figured there was more time before Phoenix made another move. I should have known better than to leave that shit stain alone."
Drei sighs, tail covering his eyes in an exasperated manner. "Of course it would be literally now. Rozalind."
"Because one, if Legna goes down, his Crusader is gonna act up. Two, the Key is in the area as well, unwittingly fueling both of them. Three..." She turns in time to see Luciel tense, a stern look on her face, then teleport. "Auros is here as well..." She buries her head in her hands and sighs. "Drei, you can hold fort and not get yourself filleted, no?"
"Aye, stop your neice and nephew from getting themselves killed and scold them for me."
"Glad you understand." Rozalind begins to glow then vanishes in a flash of light.
Shinwa sighs. "That child..." She rubs her forehead. After a while, Shinwa begins to drift to sleep, the vision dispels. Contact me if anything important happens... ...I must rest.
The Hanging Gardens, a lost paradise of sorts. Floating in the center of the continent sized flying island is a great crystal glowing white. Plants and flowers from eras long past grow in vivid floral arrangements that line the many walkways, some leading to stairs while others lead to small, elegant homes. Uniform labyrinthine sets of stairs dot the area, carved into the stone when descending and seeming to free float when ascending. The edges of the island spill over long hanging vines decorated in bright flowers, forming a floral 'barricade' beneath the island. Above the great crystal in the center of the island floats a ringed, tiered platform, but its contents are hard to discern from below. If one were to look closely at the skyline, one would occasionally notice a faint dome around the island, extending across the entire surface of the island.
"It's the same as before," sighs the doctor as he appears on a walkway near the edge of the island, pinching the bridge of his nose. "That Drei isn't here means he's opted to take care of business... Or rather, that they have. Fair enough."
He walks through the gardens, his pace seemingly nonchalant for the urgency he regarded the matter with, but in reality is scanning the area for any signs of abnormality or oddity. So far so good... He makes his way to the crystal in the center of the island, a look of familiarity passing through his eyes as he touches it, aura pulsing.
User Legna Divinus Detected and Identified. How are you, Administrator?
The crystal hums, a soft yet metallic voice echoing in his head as it does.
"I'm doing well, Soliel," he says, "Is Angelius available?"
Administrator Angelius is currently in the midst of teaching, however his lesson appears to be coming to a close. I can send you to his location.
"If you wouldn't mind."
I do not. A sphere of light emerges from the crystal and envelopes the doctor, transporting him to the ringed platform above it. He appears in front of a group of around six dozen people, further divided into groups of four, all practicing what appears to be an elaborate, slow, flowing dance with varying degrees of finesse and understanding. Among those in the group, he sense that four of the people appear to be subconsciously connecting with the natural elements around them, allowing them to move through them and back to their origins rather than keeping them indefinitely within themselves. He also notes the three people stationed at various points within the room, all three hooded and masked, watching him intently, gauging him. Soon the group notices him, stopping their exercise as the three figures make their way to him, gliding across the ground rather than walking.
"State your business, outsider," hisses the first of the three, a beady black-eyed raven mask staring directly into the doctor's eyes.
"I'm here to see the master of this place," he replies, "And before you say anything I know for a fact that none of you are that person."
"Truly? How so," questions another, this one wearing a mask with only eye holes.
"Aside from the master of this place being too old to play dress-up, I doubt Angelius has shifted to the fairer sex." "A fair assessment," comments the third masked figure, this one completely devoid of features. "But what is your business with the master of this place?"
"To prevent him from getting himself into an inescapable situation," says the doctor before tensing. Soon enough the ringed platform rumbles. "And that would be my cue. Soliel."
Affirmative. Commencing transportation.
The doctor is consumed by another sphere of light and brought to the highest points of the gardens, what appears to be the top of a tower overlooking a misty sea far below. Standing at the edge of the tower, facing the sea is a white haired child holding a thin sword out, a deep gash parting the sea and mist for leagues and leagues.
"Legna," says the child, growing older as he turns to face the doctor, his blue eyes filled with a cold fury. "As much as I would like to speak with you, I've business to attend to."
"Angelius, calm yourself," tries the doctor, tone neutral. "I'm not sure what is happening on your end but-"
"The one I love has become a puppet," seethes the elder brother, "A puppet of war and destruction, a fate I thought she'd escaped. Please excuse me, but I believe I have a right to be angry, Legna."
"Be that as it may, calm yourself and thin-" The doctor barely avoids a slash that carbonizes the space he once stood at, a thin white line of heat and light ripping through the sea and landscape far beyond him.
"Be calm you say," he replies. "Legna, this is me being calm. I suggest you state your business or leave before I lose my 'calm'."
"...You leave me no choice then," sighs the doctor, his black and blue blade materializing in front of him. "At this rate you'll do something reckless and it falls to me to prevent that."
"Truly, then come." Angelius narrows his eyes before vanishing at the same instant the doctor does. What could be described as only an explosion of light, heat and sound rips through the area afterwards, followed by many more of greater size. A flash of the doctor followed by an instance of his brother are all that denote the source of these explosions, rocking the gardens below as the air vaporizes in areas before being filled by vacuum after vacuum. A radiant slash tears the sky open, splitting stars and planetoids followed by an iridescent lash across the sea below ionizing the majority of the water and ripping through stone that instantly turns to molten rock. The two reappear on the tower, weapons clashing as the mist over the sea is blown away along with the clouds hanging above them. The brothers remain locked in a stalemate before disengaging, both hoping back and brandishing their swords in their respective styles. The doctor holds his blade in a reverse grip, most of the chains on it shattered as multicolored light spills from its sheathed form while the sage grips his sword with both hands, facing it towards his brother. The two remain stock still for a moment before vanishing again, this time a sea of slashes carve through the sky like a wild dance stretching in every direction. Barely a second later magic flashes through the sky, hundreds upon thousands of spells colliding between the deadly dance of blades, a dragon of fire having its neck bitten through by a wolf of water, a lion of stone tearing through a bird of wind. Ice and lightning rage as sharp hail rains from the cloudless sky while wild streaks of lightning accompany it. Those in the gardens below cower at the ferocity of the events above, each titanic strike growing closer and closer to them until the sky abruptly whitens, the power and glory of the sun brought to its peak as a fusillade of beams unfiltered light dominate the sky only for the light of the sun to just as abruptly vanish, torn from the sky above. Mere seconds later the darkness explodes, the sun blazing, but not nearly as brightly as before revealing the outlines of two figures wreathed in blue and white flame.
Two catastrophic strikes collide, stripping the world of color beyond white and black before a prismatic explosion rips away any semblance of a sky, replacing it with an empty white void for a split second as the pair hurtle away from each other. The two catch themselves, the doctor replaced by a smoky black and blue figure emitting embers, his brother replaced by a white and silver knight of sorts. Neither have their swords, instead the doctor holds a jagged twinblade and the sage holds a twin spear with interlocking gears connected to triangular blades as points. The two vanish for a third time, the former turning into a meteor of smoke while the latter becomes a sphere of light, both colliding with each other multiple times until they revert back to their physical forms, weapons meeting again only to blow themselves back once more.
"That's enough," bellows a voice as the two prepare to clash again, the king of endlos floating between them, a great sphere of black and white floating beneath him. "Both of you are going to cease or I'll make you both."
"So you finally arrive," growls the doctor, weapon floating near him but out of hand. "Leave before you cause more harm than good.
"Not happening," states the king, "Not when you two are going on a rampage terraforming the world. Cease and talk."
"You're the Silver Tyrant," states Angelius, his voice echoing through the armor he wears. He soon however goes slack, limbs falling to his side "..."
"Aye, now calm down," he says.
"Endlos, remove yourself from the area now," states the doctor, a rare sense of urgence in his voice.
"Only if you two- Geh!" The king begins to speak when he too goes slack, his eyes dulling. He floats towards Angelius, his form dissolving into that of a sword. The doctor wastes no time getting between his brother and the sword, attempting to push his brother away only to be repelled himself. Just as he recovers, the sword and sage meet, imploding into a sphere of light that soon goes black. The sun too darkens, an eclipse starting without warning as the sphere begins to ascend...
A brown haired man bearing a white jacket and black pants appears, a wrapped sword floating behind him.
"Explain the bond between the two so I can separate them before this becomes a headache." He appears to be the same man that spoke through Shinwa's familiar.
"I may be a Sword Sage but I have my limits."
"Bound to each other through a Divine Power," growls the doctor as the sphere completes its ascent and cracks open. From it floats a being akin to Angelius, though his eyes are a silver tinted blue with fiery slit pupils. His white hair is fashioned into a short ponytail reaching just past his shoulders, a gold clasp keeping it together. A black and silver set of armor adorns his form, decorated with sigils and glyphs that occasionally flare to life as four wings comprised of what appears to be prismatic light wrap around him, forming a mantle of light to rest upon his shoulders.
"Come, Dies Irae," he says, tone emotionless as he stretches out a hand, manifesting a twinblade with equilateral triangular blades and a buckler. Both weapons appear to draw in the shadows around them, giving them a dark aura as he turns away from the doctor and the man. "It would be best if you left me be. You two are unnecessary in this conflict." He raises the twinblade into the air, the blades burning with white light as he shatters the forced eclipse on the sun, now wreathed in multicolored light as well.
"Divine Power you say? How tiresome. You're going to have to help in that case." The man presses his palms together, and almost immediately an odd rippling stretches from him as a silver light envelops him.
Alternative Shift, didn't think I'd have to deploy it. Not as good as the Master, who would probably blink and this matter would be over with... ...now then... all bonds can be broken, all boundaries distinguished... ...given time. So where's yours?
Doc, I'm going to have to break a few things, repair them, while enforcing boundaries and breaking bonds. This isn't easy for me, so either help boost it so I can fight back, or watch my ass. If you have any advice, you had better let me have it before I go too deep into it.
I can hold his attention, but should his focus turn to you, avoid, do not defend.
The doctor flies towards his brother only for the sage to disappear and reappear behind him. "Then you would get in my way still. Unfortunate." He brings down his weapon but hits only air as the doctor disappears as well, reappearing in his chosen sword stance. Color drains from the area, leaving it a mix of black, grey and white as the area around them seems to burn and shrink. The sage retaliates by spinning his twinblade, gathering more power into it.
Nobuyuki feels color return to the world but sees no sign of the attacks the two used. Instead he feels two presences from afar and one further away.
Nobuyuki maintains his vigil as the rippling spreads through the air in a globe around him. Meanwhile, purple brands appear across his form, both angular and smooth, combining negative and positive aspects.
First... ...sorry, don't feel like obeying your rules, begone.
The rippling seems to condense into a dense layer on the edge of the dome but no longer passes it, as if building pressure. The dome appears a few feet across.
"A distraction effort while attempting to not harm unrelated parties, you understand me well." The sage glances at Nobuyuki, an icy gaze seeming to pierce through him. "But if I must knock you both down, I must. Rune." A massive glyph appears to stretch over the sky. "Worldless Life." Groaning spheres rain from the sky, slowly and deliberately turning towards the doctor and Nobuyuki.
Nobuyuki is unfazed as a white armor flickers over his form and the ripples now rebound back inside and intensify, gaining speed as the trapped ripples become more and more vicious, until Nobuyuki's form is indistinct entirely. Inside, Nobuyuki separates his palms, a white static lightning flickering between them, the 'spark' seems to cause an adverse reaction as a massive grey pulse surges across the globe and into the stars, the rippling surging outward from Nobuyuki at massive speeds, the whole of the world engulfed in the rippling effect.
Ah, it's progressing. Good.
A shattering sound can be heard, but nothing is seen. However, the doctor can sense that another ability of the Sword Sage is at work, one that will probably activate if the spheres get too close. He gets the feeling the purple brands on the Sage is related.
At this point, Nobuyuki is entirely inside the armor, which the doctor remembers as being nearly the same as Omega's, and it is at this point the phantom image of hundreds of blades lurking behind the Sage is noticeable. The Sword Sage has put his hands down, but clearly his technique is still progressing, but on an entirely different scale.
Make sure that your brother doesn't do anything stupid. I am almost ready to start Shifting.
As if provoked, the being replies mechanically. "Swordcraft: Peace Maker. Swordcraft: Hades."
The orbs groan and wail as they continue their approach, but behind them float two gargantuan blades, one white and blue, embodying peace, the other black and violet, embodying death.The spheres react to these, their groans and wails growing agonized as they dissolve into featureless beings with replicas of either sword driven through them. "Go forth."
As this happens, Nobuyuki notices the three presences getting closer. Meanwhile the doctor crosses blades with his brother again. "Angelius, get a grip!"
"All I must do is knock you down before I can strike down the source of my ire. Leave now." A rift forms behind the doctor and begins to draw him in.
Nobuyuki's armor grows eight eye holes. "...Ah, about time." The Sword Sage for some reason seems to have captured the sage's undivided attention, as though magnetized toward them. The eyes are almost hypnotic, but that doesn't explain the pulling sensation. At this same time, the rippling seems to intensify to a debilitating degree as the environment around them is lost to the ripples.
To the Sword Sage's eye, the properties of the sage being to represent themselves as distinct colors, his eight eyes rapidly filtering unneeded information.
Bond Threads, Manifest.
"I see, very well then." The being closes his eyes and thousands of silver and black threads form, some taut, others hanging limply. Some threads have spheres tethered to them, others circle a larger pulsating sphere. Connecting these threads are two crystals, one pure white, the other silver and lacking any impurities. Further out is a third, pitch black crystal releasing an ominous aura, peaking as if it notices Nobuyuki. "So these are meant to be cut by your blade, are they? Then proceed with caution, lest you wake the Dark One."
As these words are spoke, he notices that Angelius' hair seems to have turned black and grown well past his feet, now tied into a long braid.
Nobuyuki seems to disappear along with the threads and related spheres and crystals. In darkness, the only thing the sage can see is for a fraction of a second, a faint flash, with two colors split in half, followed closely by a cut to their chest, an odd symbol centered at the same place, a light seem to bloom forth, blinding the sage. The scenery faintly ripples, before Nobuyuki and the Doctor are standing together, as they were before the bout took hold. Similarly, no sign of what had transpired with the souls can be detected, even on an existence level. The only sign things are different is the faintly fading warping immediately around the Sword Sage, a faint silver aura rapidly fading, and what looks to be an odd sword broken in twine, before too fading away.
The Sword Sage sighs. That never gets any easier.
"Hmmm... Legna, why am I awake," asks the sage, hair raven black as opposed to pure white. He swishes his wrist and his hair coils into a long braid. His eyes are a bright red and by this point Nobuyuki realizes that, while his technique was successful, something is off. The figure's attire, no longer a robe with connecting pieces of armor, has turned to a simple fur top of sorts, right side with a sleeve, left side cutting off at the collar, giving way to a black body suit of sorts with thick black pants tucked into fur line boots. A small orb rests in his hands, which he barely acknowledges as he looks at his brother. Floating beside him is large a metallic sphere, blue, black and silver in color. "I remember choosing to sleep to help out my other self, but why have we switched places?"
He glances at Nobuyuki, eyes piercing through him despite there being a severe lack of killing intent. "Ah, that's why. He lost himself to anger and needed to be put to sleep. I warned him." For a brief moment Angelius' eyes flash green and an ominous black and green aura circles about him only to be instantly replaced by a calm prismatic aura. He then looks down at the orb in his hand. "Perculiar. I wonder if this is edible." He takes a bite of the orb in his hand, eyes flashing for a moment as the orb dissolves into a thin sword. Six similarly shaped, compact sized swords manifest behind him soon afterwards. "Ah, I see..."
He swings the sword a few times to test its feel, nodding once he finishes. "Just right. Now, Legna, why was I so angry that that I had to be awakened? Don't tell me you tried to calm an inferno with a pail of water."
"And if I did?"
"Then of course I'm going to reprimand you for that. You know better than most that telling the irrational to do the rational is courting disaster, a great amount of such if the current timespace and the last recorded timespace are different by several degrees," he retorts. He then looks past Nobuyuki. "Hm, two familiar, one foreign." As he says this Luciel, Rozalind and a blonde haired male arrive. The male bears a striking resemblance to Angelius and the king, but years younger wearing a mix of leather and metal armor with two short swords at his side, each engraved with runes.
At this moment, Nobuyuki collapses as a cloud of dust begins to rise off of him, he coughs up blood which too turns to ash as it hits the ground.
"What do you two kids think you're doing?" He rasps, before coughing more blood.
"Giving you a break, old timer," says the male. "Luci?"
"Assessing," says the girl, eyes a green silver glowing brightly. "Only one soul there and not blended together. That's... Father's counterpart." Her eyes narrow as a blue and white sword akin to the doctor's appears in her hands.
"Don't look too deeply," warns the male, drawing both of his swords, runes flaring to life. "He looks about fast as him, but not as strong."
"Auros, Luciel, do not engage him," says Rozalind, floating to Nobuyuki and pressing a hand to his back. "You're outclassed."
"Rozalind care to explain," asks the doctor.
"They sensed him and came here," sighs Rozalind, a faint floral pulse coming from her hand. She tuts. "Existential damage. That's annoying to fix."
"More guests, Legna," asks Angelius, "Though two seem interested in subduing me. Care to try?"
Auros says nothing, shifting his weight onto his back leg while Luciel closes her eyes, sword positioned by her side.
"Aye, price I pay, a wish with a price tag. I had little chance else to rectify the issue. A specialty of those who have ties to the End, you could say. A price I pay as a Knight of Balance. I should stablize after a while..." He continues to cough.
"I'll patch you up, just try and keep yourself from losing too much substance," says Rozalind, white and pink flowers sprouting around Nobuyuki. As this happens, Auros and Angelius disappear without a warning, the only sign of them coming when they return, swords clashing. The six sword like objects around Angelius seem to focus on Auros then fire beams of scintilliant light at him only to hit nothing as the young man disappears then reappears mid slash behind Angelius, meeting his blade once more as the older man moves his sword without looking. In the meantime Luciel tenses and tightens her stance, releasing a deep breath as her sword begins to glow.
During this time the doctor sighs, getting ready to draw his sword but stops when he notices more orbs like the one from before scattered around the area.
Nobuyuki coughs, the ash slowing down to some extent. "The girl is of Shinwa's blood from another time, yes?"
"Aye, as is the boy," says Rozalind, the flowers releasing a soothing energy around Nobuyuki.
"Grove," shouts Luciel, sword flashing from its sheath as a thin line of light shoots from it only for Angelius to parry it and a second strike from Auros at the same time. She then mirrors the doctor's stance. "Iron..."
While this is happening, Auros' blades glow black. He lashes out, his blades distorting in a wavy manner as the shadows dance beneath them. "Shadow Snare." While this happens, Angelius jumps back, a small smirk on his face.
"You're decent and your swordplay is great in tandem with the girl's. You're used to fighting together, no?"
Nobuyuki's face tightens. "Mmm, more reason to be a stubborn old man. Those two should not be fighting an opponent such as this." Without another word, he takes something from a pouch, and pulls to his lips some manner of war horn, and blows, a clear, powerful blare that echoes heavily, but he only plays for a brief moment.
"Ah, should be more than enough for the message to be heard." Seemingly from nowhere, the vague outline of a woman crouched behind Angelius is seen for a fraction of a second before Angelius feels an unexplained kick from behind, yet no presence was felt, the kick propelling him into the path of Auros' technique. At the same time, a woman appears mere seconds later by Nobuyuki's side, a woman with short cream hair but long bangs drifting in the breeze, gold eyes, and a green kimono with floral imprints and baring a set of fans looks over him and tisks.
"You went overboard." She remarks with disapproval.
"The circumstances demanded it." He returns.
The woman turns her attention toward Rozalind and Volmond.
"Hmm, odd." She returns attention to Auros, Luciel, and Angelius. Meanwhile, the similarity to Shinwa is rather blatant, suggesting to Volmond that she is somehow related. The air she gives suggests she is significantly older, but now that she has revealed herself, he can't help but feel like the person is less a person and almost... ...something else, almost like the presence of a familiar, but incredibly faint, as if incomplete.
"Gotcha, Dark Bind," grins Auros, blades branching into a net only for Angelius to disappear then reappear behind him, pseudo-swords positioned to fire. The moment they do however, Auros dissolves into shadow, reappearing through a lunge at Angelius, only to hit a column of fire where Angelius was, who appears in the arc of a slash, missing Auros as the young man splits into two shadows, both forming into copies of him with a single sword that attempt to stab Angelius only to strike air and recombine in time to duck under a roundhouse kick from the man and attempt another slash, only to roll away from six prismatic beams from the pseudo-swords.
"Forest," breathe the doctor and Luciel in tandem, the area briefly losing color as the loose their blades, creating a thin cross that rockets towards Angelius only for him to phase through the strike, releasing a wave of multicolored flames from his blade towards the two as Luciel draws her blade behind her, black light surging into the weapon as she does so. The doctor cleaves the wave in two, but Angelius is now gone from his position, having appeared behind Nobuyuki and Rozalind. He ignores the duo, instead collecting another sphere and crushing it, his blade becoming more solid and the sword projections behind him becoming more apparent as gun like objects. Faint iridescent flames now come from his form, his eyes no longer red but prismatic in nature.
The ash seems to stop flowing from Nobuyuki, though this seems more due to the effect of his ability completing thus removing the strain on his existence than any healing. His brands turn blue and a healing aura surrounds him briefly, his throat seems to clear, improving his breathing, the blood fades, then the brands turn purple, and he makes an effort to stand.
"I'm going to insist you pull out, kids, unless you can provide me reason to believe your actions are necessary. As an Aduscien, the notion of letting my Niniscien get into the cross fire irks me. I already lost an underling recently, I'm loathe to let it happen again."
The woman frowns at him. "You shouldn't push so hard after using that ability, you know what happened last time. And the situation with the boy was tragic but not your fault."
Nobuyuki's brands briefly turn red and angular for a fraction of a second, a minor spike of anger. He uses one of his swords at his hip to prop himself up.
"They're trying to incapacitate him, but," Rozalind begins. "He's seen through that. He's testing them."
"Abyss Pin," Shouts Auros, hurling his blades at Angelius, who easily catches both and returns them at a higher speed than before. He then frowns slightly, his movements stiffened briefly as shadowy chains form around him. The teen catches his own weapons, spinning them together before fusing them into a twinblade, eyes going violet as his hair burns white. He brings his free hand to his face, index and middle fingers touching his forehead as he closes his eyes and glows brighter, an aura akin to a white dragon forming around him as a singular violet spirit brand appears in front of him. "Swordcraft Aspect Summon: Divider." The runes on the twinblade begin to glow a bright violet as the dragon coils around it, the blade losing its physical form to become a blade comprised of wild positive energy on one end and controlled, contained negative energy on the other end. Auros seems to be muttering an incantation of sorts as this happens before bounding towards and Angelius, the air vaporizing as he vanishes, light brighter than the sun exploding forth from his original position. Angelius simply smirks at this however, form turning as iridescent as the flames surrounding him.
"I wonder if you can keep up, child..." He says, shadow chains crumbling as he rushes Auros. Luciel in the meantime takes a deep breath, a serene aura overtaking her as the dark energy flowing into her weapon seems to speed up, turning into a violent storm before calming down. "Steel..."
"Crystalline..." Her voice echoes as three spectres of her appear, each in a different stance, each with the same serene aura about them. The doctor sighs, a sphere of dull energy forming in his hands.
"I'm going to open a gate," he says, "Push the children through the moment they are lined up, but time it to where they don't get hurt and they finish their attacks. I can't move fast enough to intercept them as they are, but I can catch them."
"I'll handle Angelius should he follow, but not for long," Says Rozalind, "Something's off about him and it's not his attitude. He feels... corroded at, but just barely. Enough to make him off putting though."
"Could be what Shinwa's group was aiming to deal with. If that's the case, I may have to use my One True Blade. I'm not the best purifyer, I'm more accustomed to destroying its Avatars... ...perhaps Kyomu could lob an arrow or even get herself involved. That being said, Sukina."
"Understood." The woman, Sukina, abruptly throws down smoke bombs, which cover the edges of the area, and when it clears, what appears to be a ring of duplicates of herself surrounding them appears. Each holds a large fan.
"Tch... Oi Shinwa, would you pass me Mother's things?" He calls out. "I don't have a minute..." He grumbles.
As this happens, there is a light, too bright to call a flare, brighter than the brightest of lights barring the first light. For a moment, around them is not a vast sea of mist and water, but a great sea of molten rock punctuated by violent red lightning and columns of flame erupting from the molten sea below. Intense heat rolls over the area, capavle to carbonizing flesh if not for the complete and utter disregard for it shown by the combatants. Yet, just as fast as it appeared, the vision is gone, replaced by the prior environment. Auros dangles helplessly from one of Angelius' hands, the other poised to pierce his heart before Luciel's voice rings out in four tones, from serene to cold to icy to frigid.
"Dungeon..." The four attacks, flowing together in a beautiful and deadly array of slashes. The first tempestuous, the second light as air, the third precise and calculated, the last heavy and solemn. As the attacks reach Angelius, they just... Shatter like glass at his hand, him choosing to toss away Auros rather than finishing him off.
Auros groans, the white aura flickering as he gets to his feet. "Almost had it," he hisses, the red portion of his blade glowing brighter, a thin red crack skewered on it before dissolving away. He then falls to a knee, the aura fading from his form. Angelius focuses his gaze on the young man, eyes narrowing as dozens of his pseudo-swords form all aim at him.
Without warning, a huge gale blasts toward Auros and Luciel, blowing them toward Volmond, meanwhile Angelius is buffeted by an opposing wind, with an almost blade like quality to its gusts.
Meanwhile, Nobuyuki appears to be holding two elegant swords, wearing a pristine set of armor. He eyes Angelius with a leveled expression, but an intense pressure begins to emit from him.
As the teens fly towards the doctor, a rift opens, pulling them through as Angelius attemots to follow only to leap back, a searing wave of lightning streaking past him.
"My my," he comments. "I was only testing the boy." His eyes narrow at Nobuyuki. "Problematic." Prismatic flame once again forms his being. "Speed Gate Initialize." As the pressure from Nobuyuki reaches its peak, it is dispelled by an equally strong pressure from Angelius, a fsint red crack visible in the flame form, seemingly being consumed by the flame. He does not seem to notice however, instead raising a hand. "Sea and Shadow, Turbulence and Peace, Violent Reflection of Water in the Still Mirror, return." Nobuyuki gets the impresdion that this, until the final word was theatrics, the final word echoing and echoing, splitting over itself until it becomes meaningless noise in deep mist, finally having returned to the area. Yet... Something feels utterly wrong now.
The pressure only dims for a brief moment before resurging, and nothing seems to have happened. "Tell me, do you always jump into things without a care, or are you truly that naive? No matter. It's always like this when I fight. The same mistakes, again, and again, and again."
"Indeed, you are as reckless as your counter. Indeed, you and Legna must learn the aspect of Distance, it is pitiful neither of you comprehend it as things stand. Both of you are headed to the path of Ruin. I'll say naught more than that, other than the time thy beloved will be freed and what you will free her from is very different from your intended design. Aye, strike now, and you, she, and the world will be plunged into Ruin, Nanashi. Distance, but not seperation, Distance, but not the dominion of the mind by emotion. That is the only way forward for ones such as yourselves. Extremes bring Ruin."
The outline of Nobuyuki seems different, like the phantom image of horns, long billowing hair, and a dragonic tail are superimposed over him. The doctor notes the Sword Sage's left sword has shifted position by a fraction of an inch, and in a timeframe that could not be explained by either a sword slash or idle movement, for indeed every movement is regulated and in synch, a form of perfect harmony with the self.
"Distance? If only that was useful while purging oneself of Corruotion while releasing 'steam,'" he replies, surprisingly calm. "You happened to be here as several things peaked and shifted. Anger gives way to many things, as does sorrow, as does a third voice in your head telling you to break everything and, while the present me isn't above playing along before cutting that voice out, my other self is lacking in anger management." The red crack surges and seems to grow but is then smothered by the flame around it as Angelius plucks it from his form. "Besides that, the grand design, if it isn't to my liking, can go shove it. People should not have to suffer in order for history to flow correctly towards the future and line up. If that is the state of this world, I'd much rather rebel against providence and grand design, even if it cost me large amounts of myself, to change that. Call it foolish, call it idealistic, call it as you wish, but that does not prevent the outrage felt when you lose your loved ones twice, thrice unto infinite times to the world having to be 'correct'." Angelius' tone shifts as the crack again surges but is soon overwhelmed by a warm light and dissolves in hand. "My other self couldn't stand that, unconsciously loosing a catastrophic wish to change that. Myself, however, the me speaking to you rather than sending the next wave of strikes at you, can stand that, but largely refuses to. After all, one can only see the same thing happen so many times before it grows annoying or tedious." He lets off a sigh, ancient and tired. "Distance has never done me any favors, why should I trust it now when it has brought nothing but suffering and pain each time I attempted to before in this life and the many 'circles' before this?" The iridescent flames fade to black and green as a symbol appears in front of his hand, shattering a moment later as the twinblade from before materializes. "Dies Irae Paradigm Two: Grand Finale." The blades warp into lightning bolt themed blades on either end of the pole. Angelius then looks at Nobuyuki, eyes tired. "Do as you must."
A faint rumble is heard as some manner of oppressive presence is banished. "While wary of you, there are other reasons I have my guard up. The Arbiter has been watching the past couple of engagements with the Heirs, she's been getting more nosy and I suspect she will try to intervene relatively soon."
Nobuyuki's stance shifts, the pressure remains but Angelius is able to detect the pressure as the passive mode of the armaments in his possession, and if continually provoked will let forth the real power of the weapons. The stance Nobuyuki has taken is more indicative of him lowering his defense as opposed to broadcasting a combative interest.
"My interests lie in keeping a certain level of harmony, true, but there is more to it than that. I speak partially of my own experiences, less with the intent to belittle. All of my life I have struggled with my emotions, more so than most spirits. An existence such as mine is a blessing, and a curse. You can see the middle but both extremes cloud the mind. Mmm... ...how did Master put it? 'Those you love must be allowed to fly lest they become dependent and are incapable of growing beyond themselves. You must learn that not everything can be solved purely by your hands, and sometimes, the proper moment is the difference between Ruin and Fortune.' Mmm, something like that, I was one hundred then."
He gestures to the purple brands on his face before continuing. "If I move left, I become one thing. If I move right, I become another. If I stay in place, I am at peace, but I can only watch. It is infuriating at times, but in the end, I am happy with my life. Duty and Family, Purpose and Freedom. Fulfillment and Deprivation. Such a fickle balance..."
He is silent for a moment.
"It's been a long time since I've seen my family. But I am glad they can now fly together with me. Now I do not fear, now I do not worry, because I know they will be strong, that they fly to the beat of their own wings, and that our paths share one wind. The wind may blow harshly, but for both of us, it will soon bring back connection, even if we had once drifted far apart." He seems to be a bit more relaxed.
"Do you not wish to believe that it will be so?"
Angelius is silent before sweeping his twinblade forward, a thin line of green energy flowing from it, followed shortly by a veritable sea of green and black flame. It shoots past Nobuyuki and the others, stretching far into the horizon and obscuring Angelius from view. When the flames dissipate, Angelius stands there still, his eyes blue tinted prisms of color and the tips of his black hair now glowing blue. The large metallic sphere is gone, replaced by a silver sword. His attire has changed once more, a sleeveless grey turtleneck replacing his half top from before. A layered sash, red, yellow, blue and white hangs across his waist while his pants are replaced by a long kilt, armored faulds visible on the side not crossed by the sash. He seems far less human than before but more composed and together. He sighs. "I'll give this possibility a chance, but should it too court ruin..." A brief flash of what is probably lightning rips through the sea. "I shall be very cross."
Beside Nobuyuki a strange small crack in reality forms, cracking more and more and giving off iridescent energy before shattering completely, as Vulkas steps through, Shift of Planes in hand as the crack quickly reverts back. He seems confused, but composed. "Dear uncle, I...what is going on, exactly?"
"...Ah, Violas. I was doing a favor for a family relative. I'm sure they understand they owe me, but beyond that, the situation seems stable... ...for now. Perhaps you can melt some of the tension."
He sighs, shaking his head. "If I must be clear, im not entirely sure what I am melting. Nor am I sure of what- erm, who I am looking at." He gestures to Angelius before them.
"Play your violin, if you wish. They are... related to a relation to a distant relative. There, that's about right. I'm not going into how many grands go into my relationship with Shinwa."
"That was my intention. I am not too entirely clear on what has happened but it feels like a right mess... do give me some time and, enjoy the show." He nodded, closing his eyes as he slowly begins playing. Astral Energy begins to radiate off his body, the song picking up in intensity rather quickly as reality itself begins to shift and change with each note, damage from current events begining to both be restored and completely and utterly rejected by the song.
"Call me, Angelius or Nanashi. I prefer my given name, but the latter works as well," says Angelius, "Alternatively, you may call me Endlos or Arcaius, I do not mind that name either. Were we foes, however, you would refer to me as Angeli Dei." He then looks to Nobuyuki. "You've my thanks, old friend. My blade or pen is yours when necessary."
"Mmm, I have something for you and your brother, consider it a boon or omen from Shinwa, and may grant some insight into things to come related to the two of you. There's a lot of work to be done and the stakes will only climb higher, but she has faith things will finally change.
Beyond that, this is Vulkas, my nephew. He's a prodigy with his instrument and being mentored by Shinwa in regards to these affairs. Perhaps you can relate with him in your own way, 'artist'. ...It has been quite a long time since I've heard him play..."
Nobuyuki falls quiet, Angelius is able to notice a faint shift in the demeanor of Nobuyuki, a ridged air seems to collapse from the Sword Sage, the faintest of expressiveness in his eyes becomes apparent as he listens to Vulkas' song.
Angelius closes his eyes, listening to the music as well. Soon however it becomes clear that he is focusing on something as a faint layer of energy forms around him.
Nobuyuki sits down, and seems to be manifesting two spheres, both seem to contain energy from Shinwa.
"I'll be checking on the children," announces Rozalind, glowing faintly then vanishing with a snap.
"Reconstructing the ocean biome," intones the doctor, dropping a small white stone into the sea followed by a larger, rose tinted stone, both produced from one of his numerous pockets. The sea begins to froth and bubble, turning a putrid black with yellowed decaying bubbles, but slowly changes to a sickly green with peach colored bubbles then finally settles, a clean blue color. The doctor then carves a symbol into the air, watching it fizzle and spread through the air before fading. "Ocean biome restored."
The Sword Sage solidifies the spheres into physical form, and pockets them for the moment.
The song finally slows down, eventually coming to a stop. Vulkas has healed and restored a large amount of the damage done by recent events, as well as getting rid of lingering energy.
In the meantime, Angelius' focus seems to reach a peak as various symbols begin to appear around him, some in energy or light, others in what appears to be ink. He flourishes a finger and a faint heaviness fades from the area.
"The observer is now gone, though I doubt they know why they were here," he says, more to himself than anyone else. He then sighs aloud. "You've things to do, each of you, no? Take care of those things while I finish this off."
"Are you sure Angelius," begins the doctor.
"Yes, else I'd ask for more assistance," the sage returns. "I need time to reflect on things and put together pieces of things, because, while I am a single entity, neither half of my being is fully aligned with the other. That needs to be fixed if I'm to save the one in my heart."
Nobuyuki takes one of the spheres and tosses it to Nanashi. "When you are ready, that will lend some potential insight."
The Sword Sage then turns his head to the doctor. "I will hand the other to you after we have a small talk. In private, if you don't mind."
"I do not," he replies, "We've a long overdue conversation I imagine. Angelius, don-"
"Aye, no attacking the fortress with an army of undead and interdimensional beings. I'll be focusing on my reflection, Legna," dismisses Angelius. "Go have your talk."
"You know this place better than I, I'll leave the location to you," Nobuyuki states simply.
"We'll go to my personal haunt then," says the doctor, offering the sage a hand.
The sage quietly takes his hand.
The two simply vanish, with neither flash nor spark, as Angelius watches.
Once alone, Angelius muses to himself as three figures appear near him. "You arrived. Did you quell the panic?"
"Aye, but... what did you do to shift us back in time and through dimensions," asks the crow masked figure.
"I... 'awoke'," he says, eyeing the three figures. "And no, I am not going to wage a one person war. That is gone from my system. Instead I need to focus and meditate for a time, Luciola."
"I see," says the masked figure before barking an order to the other two masked figures. "Volan, Magn, watch over lord Angelius while he meditates, I'll continue acting as his proxy."
"Indeed, that is the intention."
The other two figures nod and fade into the background, where Luciola continues. "I'll be going. Don't have another tantrum without us there, Lord Angelius."
He grunts then begins to focus, in part on the orb, in part on himself, his eyes close and the air around him seems to fold in on itself as he begins to meditate, floating with his legs crossed and his hands clasped.
Speaking to One's Self (Sort of) Edit
Kyomu looks down from the abyssal hole she had created with her strength, as her form, minus garments, returns to her. She flexes her hand, finding them both incredibly stiff. Without a movement, her clothes reappear in a flash of light, but her now unbound hair is still free to bellow about, she seems to care very little about this.
"Ah, still little progress, it seems. I would surmise that exposure to more powerful forces are needed to properly 'progress' to more difficult phases of my being. I will have to fight harder in future fights, it seems. Or at least show Vulkas up in battle for now on. He could use a good push too..." She trails off, looking down at the hole as it closes, down on the barely visible individuals in the city. Without a word, she turns and walks away as it completely disappears.
I can't see what my original sees in him. He's naught but a liar, even unto himself. Has she forgotten the warning of that one being? Heaven, wasn't it...? ...Aye, it was... ...I suppose that in of itself is a mark of her foolishness. Her weakness. But what do I know, being a mere copy? Bah.
She travels through the deep dark until she reaches the center, where Shinwa waits, greeting Kyomu with a scowl.
"Was I a bad girl and said something you were too afraid to say?" She responds to the glare with a condescending mannerism cloaked with fake surprise.
Shinwa, not having any of this, slaps Kyomu across the face. "You had no right, he-"
"-Had no need to know? Oh I've heard that line. From both of you. You're both habitual liars, I'm almost disgusted by the fact I'm based off you." Kyomu tanks the hit and continues.
"You're both pathetic. You're both children playing at the vague concept you've yet to even truly grasp, 'love'. Love... ...you don't love each other, not if this is your way of 'loving' each other. Words said unspoken that serve instead as daggers of worry and anxiety that eat away at your very emotions...
...Quit lying to yourselves, tell me, if you love him so much, then why haven't you told him your name?"
"-Don't give me that," Kyomu snaps.
"Why don't you tell him the name of your birth? Afraid he'll take advantage of you? Afraid that knowledge will affect how he treats you, when he knows the word that sits at the depths of your soul above all others? The Name of Binding, used to display absolute unconditional fealty and love? Where rings on Earth signify oneness, instead the sharing of a name for one such as you would be the highest honor for him, and you have yet to tell him it. Don't give me your excuses, you know full well what you've yet to tell him. I will give you credit, I didn't expect to hear your confession about your... ...condition. ...But that's not nearly enough."
Kyomu walks off. "You take a rest, I can't sense the next targets which means things are still brewing after we foiled its most recent plans. I'm going to shower in Vulkas' little place, might as well make use of it. We'll talk later, Silky."
Shinwa bows her head quietly, and slowly fades into a vague nebulous cloud of light particles around a fractured core.
Kyomu, showering in Vulkas' place, relaxes for a while, but isn't able to focus after a while, something prodding at her attention.
Is that... ...what I think it is? ...Initiating scan. This might be important for our plans.
..Indeed. Silky, we have a problem. You know that theoretical you suspected but couldn't plan on it? It seems it happened.
...! You mean, 'it' appeared?! Shinwa's voice responds, frantic but a glimmer of wild hope echoing in her response.
Aye. We need to move quickly though- -it just manifested in its negative connotation. Some fools including a Heir provoked it. We'd better hurry before it kills them and we lose this chance.
Go, buy us time and don't let it kill them. I'll join you when I regain my strength. Don't kill it!
Within second Kyomu finishes her preparations and hurtles back into reality, toward the source of the distortion.
Heirs of the Void 004: The Incubating Contagion Edit
White looks at the two for a moment. "I have another target of concern. Are you two ready?" Kyomu seems to look at Vulkas before beginning what appears to be warm up exercises.
"I shall be ready shortly."
Vulkas glances at Kyomu with slight confusion. "...I am uh...ready, yes."
"Stiff muscles. Why are you looking at me like that?"
He looks away. "Aplogies, its just that I usually don't expect people to start random bursts of stretching." He laughs a bit, but clears his voice after.
"I shall be apt to inform you before I take care of my body's needs including urination, digestion, sleeping, and other such nessessities of the body."
She replies in an even, perhaps incredibly subtle dose of sarcasm.
Vulkas rolls his eyes a bit.
"You two will get along just fine if you are already having a lovers quarrel." White says with a faint smile.
Vulkas only appears slightly embarresed now, but quickly shrugs it off.
"Your next target is a more minor issue, but could present a serious problem if unattended."
Vulkas and Kyomu are presented with a hologram like image depicting a human woman undergoing a horrific transformation, angelic wings ripping out of her back, a stinger tail extending from her posterior, while black crystalline structures are ripping open her skin, growing into almost armor plated structures. She is oozing black and red liquids, similar to blood.
"This woman needs to be removed of her corruption before it takes advantage of her present situation. The facility she is in lies within poses a problem however."
Vulkas grimaces at the sight of the transformation. "More of a problerm than Yosei?"
"This facility having no exterior, given that it is located at the bottom of the ocean."
"I see. And where exactly is our mark within this facility?"
He sees what looks like a deep vault far below the rest of the facility on the hologram.
"At the lowest point of the facility. It's their highest security vault."
"Its rather strang how common putting the things with the most security at the bottom of it all."
"Don't get comfortable. When you are ready, let me know."
"I was ready moments ago, and I still am."
A grey portal begins to open before them. "Then get ready. I don't imagine this will go easy for you."
Vulkas nods and walks through the portal.
Kyomu flickers as she enters the portal, temporarily a black figure, before too disappearing through.
White watches with a quiet demeanor.
Was this all worth it? Can I even change anything?
They soon appear in a dark metal area, what looks to be a simple closet.
Vulkas carefully listens, making sure that no one is nearby.
He can hear the sound of footsteps marching through metal halls, echoing in such a way that he can never feel truly at ease, considering the sound dynamics throw off exact positioning. Kyomu seems to be moving to open the closet door.
Vulkas lets her open the door, creating a sigil in his hand just in case people were nearby.
She has an odd bow on her back as she opens it, but no one is outside at present. The doorway reveals part of a pure metallic sheeting for walls on the opposite end of the hall facing them.
Vulkas walks out, looking around.
Vulkas can see the facility is mostly metal, lit by neon blue lights running through the walls. He soon hears White speaking to him.
Beware, I sense two Heirs now in this location. Be advised.
"Two Heirs? This won't be changing the original target, no?"
It may complicate matters if one's defeat triggers an early relapse. Consider it a precaution in the face of potential danger.
Vulkas nods. He turns to Kyomu and simply shrugs.
Kyomu appears to be looking down a hallway, quietly scouting.
Vulkas does the same, placing sigils here and there that hide and meld with the walls.
Kyomu seems to be now traversing down the hall, as though she has decided that this way is the way she is going.
Vulkas follows after Kyomu, ever vigilant. He leaves behind sigils wherever they go, all giving a faint glow of confirmation to settle there before they turn invisibile both in sight and in sense.
Eventually they start hearing louder footsteps than normal, as though heavy armored boots are clomping through the same hallway.
Kyomu's eyes glow with blue circuit like features. "Patrol of three walking towards us at significant distance, two behind us. They appear to be facility guards. Threat level under assessment."
"It's likely that they aren't worth taking out. I suggest hiding. We are capable of melding with the wall because of the sigils I have put on the walls."
Kyomu seems to shimmer before fading from view, his awareness of her presence fades as well, to the point he feels alone in spite of the contrary. The footsteps are now much louder, and gruff voices can be picked up.
He shakes his head and melds to the wall, assuming that Kyomu is just hiding.
The soldiers come out from around the corner, talking amongst themselves.
"So why the security hike?"
"It seems that the cousin of the big boss is suffering an unknown mutation due to contact with the enemy."
"Knowing him, the boss is losing sleep over it."
Vulkas waits for them to get far away enough, but that doesn't stop him from listening in on the conversation.
"Certainly is freaky. I wonder where Director Lux is at a time like this."
"I don't know, but that weird red glowy shit creeped me out."
"I know right?!"
Vulkas eyes widen, gritting his teeth. "Seems the corruption has already started....I need to get to them, fast."
The soldiers start to make their way further away.
He melds out of the wall, seeming much more determined. "Kyomu, we might not have all that much time as we would hope for."
She seems to 'pop' back into view as though she was always there, running ahead.
He doesn't question it at all, quickly catching up and already surging positive energy across his body, preparing himself.
They make decent progress, when they pass a window overlooking a central chamber down farther below. They see the white haired woman from White's report, and her on going horrific transformation. Her body is almost completely crystaline, having turned completely black save for her hair, which is now iridescent. Despite the jagged spikes erupting from her back, she appears to becoming beautiful in a divine sort of manner, but it is just as easily being corrupted by her still exposed skin appearing to boil like water, her body seems to be warring against itself, the black crystal vs the broiling skin, which seems to grow random mythic shapes, at one point part of her shoulder become's a dragon's head with half formed eyes as but a mere example of the many grotesques forming and returning to her still fleshy body.
He is barely able to make out the tell tale sign of red cracks sprouting from her face, moving down her cheeks toward her neck. The most apparent thing he can detect however is her screams of wretched agony.
He grimaces upon hearing her screams, coating his arms in pure positive energy and forming claw like hands with them. What he sees is a being of true horror, and it hurts him to watch. "Kyomu...we must save her. This...this isn't right."
"Our mission is to purge the corruption from her system as to not take advantage of the transformation. We were not told to assist otherwise. I suspect we would kill her if we did both, the agony of tearing out the corruption will be extreme as is."
He grits his teeth even harder, but complies. He wasn't about to compromise the mission for this. "Understood...lets get this done, then."
Kyomu walks to the window glass. "You head further down to the ground level of that chamber. I will distract them from up here. Be sure to take the normal route or you'll grab their attention."
Vulkas nods, and takes a deep breath. "Good luck. I will do my best to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible." He quickly heads off, going through the normal route.
She turns her atttention to the glass, before summoning her bow, notching it with an energy arrow...
As Vulkas continues downward, he begins to feel the presence of a second Heir, much like White had reported. However, before he can dwell on that, two armored guards attack him with their riot batons, hiding behind riot shields as they strike.
Vulkas ducks and slams open palms into their shields, pushing them both back and getting better distance between them, and small sigils begin to glow on their shields.
One of them charges at him while the other seems to race for a button on the wall.
Vulkas jumps onto the shield of the one charging him, and the sigil launches him into the other, drop kicking them at an insane speed before they can hit the button.
The baton flies out of the guard's hands and just before the baton can hit the button, the alarms go off anyway as a loud explosion and the sound of glass shattering goes off. Kyomu seems to have been getting busy.
Vulkas' eye twitches and he lets out a loud sigh, and he picks up the guard, throwing him at the other. "Oh dear..."
He manages to make a lot of progress, though the number of stationed guards is impressive. Finally he starts to reach the bottom floor, but it is there he feels the presence of the second Heir. Judging by the violet cystals growing on the door into the main chamber, they are already compromised and aware of him. He can feel their presence, a sharp, tense sensation.
The presence makes him take a deep breath, still keeping positive energy flowing through out his body. Without hesitation, he enters the main chamber.
Almost immediately a crystalline female being lands in front of him, her entire body composed of violet crystal, some almost bladelike in design. He notices that red cracks are rapidly swelling, the corruption seems deeply agitated, as if it knew they were coming for it and its other sealed in the next room.
It appears to be in a hurry to take over the woman, as if sensing the urgency of preventing itself and its other from being destroyed. However he is able to take note that her movements are awkward and stumbling, her feet occasionally dig in and she almost leans away from him, as though trying to resist the inevitable process.
Vulkas is disgusted by the sight, coating his fists in positive energy as he stares down the corrupted woman. While he felt extreme pity for her, he felt no remorse for the corruption creeping throughout her being. He starts walking forward, eyes glowing a faint orange with pure determination.
A crystaline sword appears in her hands and she hefts it as she prepares for his attack.
From his fist grows a blade of pure positive energy, and he swiftly steps forward, raising his hand up in an arc and bringing it down onto the corrupted woman.
She swings her arm and a burst of violet crystals with red energy flickering off of them soar toward him.
He dodges some of them, quickly darting back and cutting some of the violet crystals with the positive energy sword, creating a sigil on the ground that causes the floor to create a shattering wave that hurdles towards her to sink her down.
She flaps her wings, rising up into the air, before beginning to charge a large sphere of negative power.
He does the same, just with positive energy as he grits his teeth, as a green aura covers him, giving him green eyes and insect wings.
The sphere surges toward him while the crystaline female attacks with another volley of crystal spikes.
He fires out his own sphere, colliding and clashing with hers, and the force from both causes a massive explosion that destroys the new volley.
She charges through the explosion, moving to stab him with one of her arms turned into a long broadsword of crystal.
He suddenly has a black chain in his hands that blocks and redirects the broadsword to the side, and he swings the chain, revealing a kama that swings down onto the woman.
She seems to not expect the attack and suffers a hit to the shoulder.
He uses it to pull her in closer, coating a fist with positive energy to punch her.
The damage seems to have disoriented the infected woman, making her sluggish to respond to his punch.
He uses the moment to sharpen his fingers with positive energy, digging them into her body to try to rip out the corruption.
The punch itself seems to have disoriented the control of the corruption, making its control completely unfocused. As a result, he hears its victim moan in pain, as well as...
"Clare... Clare... ...I'm so... ...so... ...sorrrrrryyyy..." Her voice is in agony.
As horrible as he feels for this being, he keeps his attempt at ripping out the corruption.
The corruption, unfocused, bulges and oozes out of her slowly as he pulls. Meanwhile, the pressure from the other room deepens, and he feels an ominous presence building in the room, followed closely by loud metal crushing noises and horrible, gurgling screams from the occupants.
"Im not done, I need to hurry!" He does his best to pull harder, albeit his attention is now vaguely unfocused due to the growing presence in the other room.
He by this point has pulled the corruption out that its roots are failing, the woman's eyes are rolling back into her skull.
With one last yank, he tugs the corruption from her body, throwing the mass at the ground, and blasting it with a sphere of positive energy, holding onto the woman with his other arm so she doesn't collapse.
The corruption lets out one final hiss before dissolving, the woman slumps over, unconcious. With the heat of battle gone, he cannot help but admire her strange, but incredibly beautiful form. Her body has a beautiful violet crystal sheen to it, the crystal spikes a lot more elegant and beautiful compared to their corrupted state. She seems stable, but that leaves... ...a far more urgent problem left.
-[Avatar of Mutation]- Edit
He stands at the still crystal encrusted door, dread rising quickly from the intensity of the energy behind the door. It is far more perilous in strength than either the crystal woman's corruption, or that of the corruption in Kyomu.
He quickly sets the woman to the side, placing a sigil around her to protect her in case things get dodgy. He keeps his Twilight Siphon drawn, taking a few steps towards the door, raising a hand forward and slamming an open palm into the crystal surrounding the door, instantly shattering it, going in.
What he sees is from the stuff of nightmares, a huge glowing red entity fills the room where the transforming woman had been seen, trails of corruption flowing into her from vaguely humanoid figures of red corruption, which he realizes were most of the people in the room who didn't escape when the entity took full control, and are now being harvested, less than bulbous humanoid shaped sacks of corrupt energy for her to feast on.
The red entity begins to solidify into a more stable form, taking on flesh and sinew...
His Fae Resistance state fades off as he he eyes this mass of hulking corruption. He grits his teeth with intense disdain as he grips his Twilight Siphon harder, flowing positive energy through it as he takes a rather defensive stance. He can barely even look at this monster, wanting to rid the world of its existance. "Vile..."The figure continues to solidify, becoming the woman seen before, transfigured and gargantuan. Her skin is an ashy grey, with obsidian black armor and long black horns twisting from her form, with glowing pink eyes like the Child. Her long white hair drifts like a mighty storm cloud, rumbling bolts of lightning flash from it. Her hands swirl with primal energies, while her body is almost completely split down the middle with divine like seeping through a crack in her.
Beautiful angelic wings many times her size, almost cramped by the confined space loom in the chamber. Silently, the transfigured being, most likely the 'Clare' the crystal woman from before spoke of, stares down at him with her glowing pink eyes, which unlike the other corrupted individuals, seem to possess blatant intellegence. Intellegence much like... ...the entity that controlled the Child.
"Ah, you arrived. I was beginning to think you'd miss our rebirth." The being speaks, in an inflection of the woman's original voice, marred by a primordial, ancient dialect. Its mannerism is almost identical to the being that controlled the Child.
His eyes widen ever so slightly as the voice he once heard before fills his ears again. "I will never let you be reborn. I will hunt down every little part of corruption you threw into people, and obliviate it all, one by one."
She chuckles with an inhuman tone. "What a childish misunderstanding we have..." An arrow of blue energy rockets into the being, mildly unbalancing them, but they quickly regain balance and idly turn toward the source, Kyomu, who sits at the top of the room's windowsills.
"I see you brought her to spite me, how amusing." She turns back to Vulkas. "But you misunderstand, dear Vulkas. I am already reborn, this woman's soul is soon to sputter out and join the Lost in eternal paradise, free from individuality and concern of life, eternally unbound by this cruel empty universe, nay, the Veil itself."
Vulkas merely shakes his head, and starts spinning his Twilight Siphon, trails of positive energy being left in its wake, and it sounds as if the very air is being sliced. "I brought her as an ally, not for spite. I couldn't quite care less about damaging your pride or doing something spiteful. She is here because I trust her to assist me, in the act of removing you from existance." He suddenly stops swinging the Twilight Siphon, eyes staring through the Avatar with pure determination.
"Oh hoo... You think yourself strong, a lion among the prey... Well, it's a shame to let that stand as is...
perhaps I will test the limits of our vessel."
The avatar unleashes a large burst of negative energy that scorches and melts the surroundings, and the whole structure quakes from the weight of the sea threatening to bear down on them.
He remains steadfast, and quickly darts to the side as he creates an Astral Clone that darts to the opposite side, also wielding a Twilight Siphon that they both attempt to swing at the avatar.
They elect to leap toward the ceiling and crash against it, causing it to shake ominously as it begins to buckle, bursts of water rocketing in, knocking the two aside.
Both create sigils onto the holes, sealing the cracks and keeping the water from coming in, as the clone turns into pure astral energy that hurdles towards the avatar.
They begin to hear ominous chuckling as a static like energy begins to surround her. Kyomu meanwhile begins to charge an arrow.
Vulkas. We need to focus on as much damage over time as possible over raw power. The more we can pelt her, the more we can disrupt the focus of the energy of the Avatar. We need to disrupt its flow instead of outright destroy it. We don't have the ability to match it as a unified force. Back me up. I will try to launch intenser purifying bolts into her while you pelt her. If we're lucky, we can prevent the girl from being lost. ...If we fail to exorsize her, we may have to Exterminate.
Vulkas knows the severity of the situation and he nods at Kyomu. He quickly starts darting across the area while making sure not to crash and cause more holes, leaving sigils across the walls that slowly begin to feed flows of positive energy into the area.
The static abruptly bursts through the area, dissolving the ceiling, with the Avatar flying up into the hole as water surges into the hole, the effect beginning to crush the facility due to the structural failure. Kyomu appears to gain a silver aura and begins to bolt up through the hole after the Avatar, who appears to be making for the surface.
Vulkas begins astrally shifting through the water, teleporting at a fast rate to keep up with the avatar.
The Avatar explodes from the ocean in a tremendous explosion, floating above the water's surface, awaiting the two. Meanwhile, her mere presence unbalances the elements, and a titanic hurricane begins to engulf the hemisphere she is present on, titanic winds howling, gigantic waves roaring. A powerful silver aura surrounds her as the lightning in her hair is extremely pronounced.
Vulkas appears before the avatar almost instantly, creating spheres of positive energy that orbit around him likr a solar system. He keeps himself focused, waiting for Kyomu before making a move.
She too appears rapidly, her bow notched with multiple high energy arrows.
The Avatar chuckles, her voice causing ripples in the scenery. Without warning, bolts of silver energy erupt toward Vulkas and Kyomu, the speed unexpected, even Kyomu barely dodges.
Vulkas astrally shifts out the way as fast as possible, but leaves doubles behind that will definitely get hit, to see what kind of damage they do.
The bolts blast the doubles, turning them to powdered dust.
"Kyomu, I do believe its best to not, get hit by that."
"Less chat and do your job and pelt her. We don't have time for your chatter." Kyomu reprimands, firing a large burst at the Avatar, who growls at the sting.
He rolls his eyes as the spheres of positive energy start flinging into her at various directions, and he starts charging up even more.
"I know how this works, you think you can do anything?!" The avatar blinks, appearing next to Vulkas and slamming her fist into his chest, the force rather like getting rammed by a train.
In a mere blink of an eye, before he is surrounded by a blue stonelike aura as he enters his Golem Resistance State, and barely even flinches as he can now easily start flinging constant streams of positive energy bolts at her.
She then retaliates with a flurry of both white lightning strikes and titanic thrusts to his chest.
He keeps the Resistance state up as he astrally shifts, along with moving at high speed to dodge her attacks, all the while leaving mass amounts of positive energy to wail on her. "It appears to be I'm doing something, aren't I?"
She sparks with white static and opens her mouth, a white sphere forming inside.
Vulkas makes sure to get as much distance as possible inbetween himself and the avatar, as he summons his Shift of Planes, and starts to play.
She unleashes a huge beam of white 'nothingness' toward him.
Just as if fate deemed it so, the white beam was just...gone, as he ended his tune. As if just rejected from reality itself.
The melody seems to end on a horrid sharp screech as the beam seems to suddenly get energized by the technique, moving at blinding speed now.
With a flash of red astral light that eminates from the violin, Vulkas is suddenly transported out of the way, with a red whisp slowly circling him. "Thank you..."
She is charging another shot, when she is interrupted by a large, giant arrow of white light that shocks her, disrupting the charged shot, stumbling.
Vulkas takes no hesitation to continue his onslaught of bolts of positive energy, continuing to play his violin and instantly doubling the amount of bolts.
She seems to recover amidst the bombardment, appearing behind him and slamming her foot into his back.
He barely manages to whirl around and block the blow, deciding not to engage in a close quarters fight as he warps away, hoping Kyomu can get another good shot at her.
The Avatar nimbly dodges another shot, though strangely a sword slash appearing as pure positive energy cuts into her, ripping open a substantial wound in her form.
Vulkas quickly takes notice, and in an attempt to increase the damage, starts aiming the various bolts towards the wound.
The shots do make their mark, helping to stagger her a fair bit, a few faint cracks on her belly can be seen, glowing white.
He continues the focused onslaught, now purposely getting a little closer to better distract her.
She angrily swings a massive broadsword at Vulkas. "Filthy worm!"
As tempted as he is he doesn't engage in close combat, dodging the swing.
The Avatar flickers and then disappears.
Vulkas' eyes, see through her vanishing act and already know where she's going to be and where she is.
She reappears behind him, launching silver energy arrows at him, much like the ones before.
He knows the moment she attacks, quickly turning back with a large sigil in hand, that redirects the energy arrows back at her.
The sigil turns to dust upon being struck, and the arrows speed even faster.
The dust of the sigils actually form their own, tiny minature sigils, activating all at once and warping Vulkas away in perfect timing.
It isn't long after that another slash staggers the avatar occurs, and this time he can see a tall man with brown hair and a white overcoat with a longsword, the source. He silently glances at Vulkas before dodging a swing from the avatar.
Vulkas' eyes narrow at the sudden newcomer, before widening upon recognizing who it is. His focus falters for a mere moment, but he shakes his head as he realizes now might not be the best time for such a realization.
A large bolt of purifying energy impales the Avatar's side, causing her to howl as she begins to contort unnaturally, Vulkas senses an opportunity.
His eyes narrow, darting as fast as he can towards the Avatar as he coats his hand in positive energy, quickly shoving his hand into her wound and surging their entire being with positive energy. "Let your tainted soul be overwhelmed with what is right!"
The cracks grow far worse, and the newcomer and Kyomu press the attack, their attacks compounding the damage being dealt to the Avatar, who seems to be swelling as though pressure was building inside her, even as more and more damage to her form become apparent. The battle is long and intensive, and progress merely creeps along as the Avatar begins to groan in pain more and more as they slowly reach their critical point.
Finally, Vulkas begins to detect the unity of the corruption falling apart, a final push soon approaching, her form rippling like water.
While he's been surging energy into constantly, the prospect of ending this once in for all motivates him- as his eyes flash a brilliant orange gold, letting out a roar like battle cry as even more energy is outputted into her.
Her body turns pure red and explodes in a violent shower of corruption, the parts that don't hit any living being dissolve, but due to Vulkas' proximity, he is inevitably covered in the ejected corruption, which seeps inside his skin, and he begins to feel it broiling into motion in the form of unnatural alterations to his stomach, as a lion's head rips from it and roars, he can feel the corrupted version of Clare's consciousness in his mind, whispering and snaking in his mind, trying to worm into him.
You took my body from me... so how about you share yours? Don't worry, I won't modify you... much.' I'll just overwrite your existence, how about that?
Vulkas' eyes widen but in response a bright orange glow comes from them. "I will admit your determination is strong- but it is nothing, compared to mine." With a flash of pure, astral power the corruption is wiped away, instantly being removed from his existance.
With this, the majority of the corruption has faded away, the three now stand with a fragmented blue soul, which is quickly shrinking and disappating, but Kyomu seems to have taken the situation into her hands, and is seemingly trying to piece the soul together again.
Far below, a faint splash is heard as the crystaline woman emerges from the water below, coughing and gagging can be faintly heard.
Vulkas seems to shudder for a moment, collecting himself as his eyes go back from a brilliant orange, to a shining yellow. He descends below, gently picking up the woman and lifting her out of the water. "I apologize we couldn't have taken care of this sooner."
She doesn't respond, but he hears her mournfully mutter, "Clare..." in distress.
"Clare will be fine, I can assure that. My partner is taking care of it."
"This is my fault... all my fault..."
"Hush, do not bear the weight on your shoulders alone. That leads to nothing but torment."
She just shudders. Meanwhile, Kyomu has pieced the soul together and melded the parts, and what looks like a translucent blue image of bits and pieces of Clare are appearing around it.
He waits for Kyomu to finish, just hovering above the water as he looks up to Nobuyuki.
The spirit looks at him somewhat indifferently and seems to regard Kyomu a moment before walking off one direction in the air, but certainly not in a hurry.
Before anything, he glances down to the woman. "Are you capable of keeping yourself from falling into the water? I...do believe I must talk with someone."
She doesn't really respond, nor does she seem like her mind is in safe waters, his personal business seems lost to her.
He sighs. "I only ask that I no longer need to carry you. But if you insist on not giving privacy, I will not make a scene." He floats up, heading to Nobuyuki.
The spirit pauses, but doesn't turn around.
He remains silent for a moment, hesitating. "I....while likely foolish to assume, I thought all of my immediate family was gone, uncle."
"Ah, but I did not live in that village of my sister's, nor did I have the interest to. I have... had, my own affairs to attend to." Nobuyuki responds.
"So many affairs, that the investigation of your family vanishing was not highest priority?" For once his tone sounds coarse, but he takes a breath. "I shall not get emotional here, not now. But dear uncle- tell me this. How long have you known I was alive?"
"I know what lurks in the shadows of your mind," He begins, before he hears Nobuyuki's voice in his head - Vaerkai,
"But know that my priorities were in their right place, and that often times there are those who watch but do not aid, not because they are cold hearted, but because they should not intervene."
Nobuyuki's head turns so that Vulkas can see one of his eyes, which deliver a piercing gaze.
"Your grand father, and indeed the allies he held counsel with, were far more urgent matters than you understand. Of course, this most recent battle is proof of this, or did you think that this is just a mindless abomination with no rythme or reason to its methods? No, today is an example of what I was hoping to prevent, yet, failed. As you know by now, that is."
Vulkas stares back with a similar gaze, seeming unphased by Nobuyuki's as he listens. "I had no such chance to even understand, uncle. You know of my tormentors but you too do not understand. I know that this...corruption, is more than just chaos without thought. While I still hold respect for you- I ask and do believe that I should be given at least some benefit of the doubt." He pauses. "My point is, that instead of wandering aimlessly, or spending time as a prisoner I could have started assisting the fight earlier. If you had just come before me."
Nobuyuki's eye shifts slightly. "Then you do not see why I chose this time now of all times to appear before you, nor why I remained away all that time, if that is indeed the stance you take." His head turns away.
"Some times things happen for a reason. Sometimes things do not happen for a reason. Both are equally true."
He is silent for a moment.
"Think on why you fight now, so that you might understand why it is I chose my own path. Though, with the evidence in the care of your partner and resting in your own arms, I feel as if it will not take you long to delve into understanding. There are things left to be resolved on my end, but we will talk again soon. Fare you well for now, violas." He fades from view.
Vulkas closes his eyes, leaning his head up as his words ring through his mind. He soon opens them with the faintest smile. He remains quiet however, floating over to Kyomu slowly.
Sukimu shudders, seemingly having entered a very light sleep, but is still haunted in her mind. Kyomu seems to have made some additional progress, but Clare looks far from complete, any disturbance could be costly to the procedure.
Vulkas stays at a reasonable distance, gazing down as Sukimu and frowning, able to tell that she is tormented. He surrounds her with a faint aura of positive energy, to ease her mind.
Vulkas eventually is able to note that Sukimu's crystals feel similar to how Clare's own body was gaining a crystalline form, and recalls how remorseful she seemed over Clare's situation.
Meanwhile, Kyomu seems to be nearing completion of Clare's form, but it looks almost paper thin with no innards as of yet.
He tilts his head, saying nothing still as he just stares at the crystals for a moment, before soon watching Kyomu.
Kyomu works for almost an hour before she seems to reach any form of completed state in regards to Clare. When she does, she sighs. Clare has been remade, but remains bared and in the same form she had been transformed into. Whatever she was, whatever life she lead... was lost.
"I've brought her back, but... ...she'll be this way forever now. With so much damage, I had to rely on the last available record... ...this one." The restored Lambda seems in a deep sleep.
"...She won't wake up for a long time."
He floats closer, again frowning faintly as he looked at Clare's new form. "Ultimately, this is better than the outcome had we not stopped her corruption. I still feel terribly sorry, however..."
"We did what we were called to do. The very least we should do is drop them off at a better location than ocean, and be on our way."
"Yes, of course. Do lead the way, if all is taken care of." He took a breath, relaxing himself.
Kyomu begins to ripple as a silvery portal appears next to her.
Vulkas quickly steps through.
When she emerges, they are at a seemingly empty area of torn down urban areas. "No life detected in the area. Safe enough."
He nods, descending to the ground and looking around. "Should I attempt to stir this one and explain the status of their friend?"
"No, they will be fine without knowledge of hopelessness. It is not our duty to enlighten them. Only prevent their fate from being unfairly altered." She sets down Clare and immediately turns to the portal, which turns black.
"It is time we were off."
He nods and gently puts down Sukimu beside Clare, floating back up and heading back through the portal.
>threat 001<: The Collapse Edit
A few days had passed after the calamity that had consume Echo and its inhabitants, and things had continued on as if nothing had happened, or rather, that was the impression most had gathered. Only the most ancient of forces would have anticipated something could happen, and fewer cared or truly knew of what was to pass.
Those who did, knew that a rebound was about to happen, and its force would be so great none would be successful in ceasing its effects.
The first signs of the calamity start very small, almost unnoticeable. Across Earth, reports begin to spread of headaches occurring across the entire population, while at first dismissed by most authority figures, quickly becomes a topic of concern once the headaches begin to evolve into various ailments of increasingly worrisome types, such as intense fever, agonizing and inexplicable pain, even vomiting. It begins to come to a head once all across the world, a strange warping effect begins to appear across the planet, only serving to deepen the agony of the affected populace.
Then out of nowhere, it hits, a massive wave that surges across the world, a massive blast that rocks the whole planet. The source undetectable, yet emitting a colossal wave of force, akin to one massive vibration, one that travels through the very fabric of all that is. In Fantasy, a similar wave of afflictions hits, followed by the wave itself with even less time between ailment and the wave itself.
Then realms across the whole universe begin to experience the same pattern within seconds of each other, as a singular pulse akin to a shockwave surges across reality. On Earth, horrific storms of mystic power surge without control or restraint, storms of fire rain down upon the surface, while terra rises into the sky, only to be torn by tornadic storms that rip apart whole cities, while across the globe, massive tremors are unleashed in extreme force, the likes of which have never been felt before, and hardly likely to be matched afterwards.
Such calamities are felt across countless realms as the pulse's effects begin to surface in mass, whole cities are wiped out in moments. ...Yet in the next moment, all becomes quiet, but another oddity begins- -the sky across the realms is tinted sickly greens, bathing the worlds in a sensation of being diseased.
The true horror begins, as realms without warning begin to become attracted to each other, undergoing ghastly fusions that drastically alter the worlds as well as their inhabitants. This same process appears to be happening to Earth as well, as the planet seems to swell unnaturally, gaining huge new tracts of ocean, yet even more, strange, alien landmasses across the waves. Portions of the Aether and Nether appear to slip onto Earth as well, having an adverse effect on Earth's normal terrain it fuses to. To the north, a piece of Aether begins to fuse with the land, causing a huge portion of the north lands to be infused with huge amounts of Aether, as well as its inhabitants.
To the South, a piece of Nether also fuses, resulting in Nether corrupting the South. These two altered regions of Earth begin to experience oddities all their own. Those dwelling in the Aether afflicted regions begin to experience high increases of magic, those already affiliated with the Aether undergo various transformations ranging from huge increases of power, becoming solid fonts of Aetheric power, losing their sentience in the process and transforming the inhabitants into Aetheric beings around them for several miles, while a similar fate awaits those in the south. Both regions see huge increases in Aether and Netherborn individuals, such as humans being converted en mass into Endlos, Aetherborn, and Netherborn.
Across the planet however, some humans undergo painful metamorphosis' into various Mythos, while some Mythos become humans, some people vanish from existence altogether, while others are outright petrified, turned into grotesque statues of various materials ranging from stone, crystal, or even energy, with those becoming the third detonating upon being disturbed in deadly explosions.
Even the Chaos Engines are afflicted, some ascending into divinity, becoming angels completely free from their mortal lives, rejoining heaven. Others begin to transform into regular humans, into Myths part of their genetic make up, or even hybrids of multiple races. Some are adversely affected and transform into fonts of divine power, those who interact with them becoming mindless divine entities that slowly burn themselves out into oblivion. Yet the Lambdas seem to only swell with the madness unfolding around them, seemingly being nurtured and enhanced by the power flowing into them.
In realms like Lost Academia and Castle Schere, tied to Earth, the waves of madness are incredibly dehabilitating to the residents, some of which are wiped out from existence, others driven to madness or put into comas. Some experience strange surges of power, though those that do feel deeply uneasy, as though something entirely unnatural had begun to sprout within them. Parts of these realms collapse into dust and disappear, some even phase into Earth, forever rejoining it. In The Kingdom, time begins to surge and sputter with extreme violence, making existence an absolute torture for hours and hours, and disappearing is hardly a surprise, as by the time the calamity had calmed, many had experienced the disappearances, only to be returned, drastically altered or even completely rewritten.
For what seems an eternity, these uncontrollable surges throughout reality rage, until it ceases with just as much force as when it had started, leaving the universe quaking in its aftermath, and a deep, uneasy feeling that something horribly wrong has happened somewhere within the fabric of reality.
A young woman with short black hair and blue eyes watches the tv, the color of the screen washing out her skin. She sits on the couch watching a football game with a mild level of boredom.
"Uuuuugh, this team sucks!" She moans, as the well expected sound of the front door to the apartment opens, and her roomate walks in.
"Finally, you're an hour late. Exams or somethin?" She remarks without straying her attention from the game.
The roomate appears to be extremely tired, yawing as he comes in. "No, I was helping the proffesor with some side project shit, really advanced stuff. God I like forensics but he makes it so soooo BOOOORING." He flops down on the couch beside her. "Game going good?"
"It's a damned travesty. They call this professional football, look at that fumble! And how is that not a disqualification right there? Tell me where the quality went Mordecai because I definitely don't remember paying for crap like this!" She rubs her forehead.
"Auuugh, and now I have a damn headache! Guess it's time to turn off the box..."
Mordecai rolls his eyes. "You go through this every other week. If its not you celebrating some team pulling through, its you yelling at the fact that everyone sucks. And yeah its getting a little late. Think you're going to nod off?"
"Nah, no dinner. ...Ooooow, what's the deal today?" She seems to be earnestly rubbing her head in discomfort, and for some reason, he too starts to feel it. "This shit sucks..."
Mordecai rubs at his temples gently. "Oh just shut up about the headache already. You're giving me one because of it!" He groans. "Do we have any medicine or something? I feel like its getting worse."
"Uuuugggh... ...I think... ...in the medicine drawer in the kitchen... ...make dinner will you...? Feel like... ...shit..."
"Oh yeah, beause I...... totally don't feel like shit, either. But...sure." Mordecai gets up and stumbles to the kitchen, searching the drawers for medicine.
He finds some headache medicine fairly quickly.
Meanwhile, Mariel has wrapped up in blankets a bit.
Mordecai quickly opens the bottle and just pops it without water. "Mariel do you want water with it?"
"Uuuuugh. Fine, water..." She croaks.
He grabs a glass and fills it with water, bringing both over to Mariel. "God.... why can't this shit take effect.... faster."
She drinks it, almost desperately taking both water and pills. After a certain period of time, the effect of the drugs is limited, the pain is dulled but the pressure has not subsided. However it helps enough to the point where Mordecai can focus a bit better. Mariel appears to be trying to sleep it off til dinner.
Mordecai lets her rest as he goes to the kitchen, beginning to prepare dinner. He hums as he does so, but not too loudly so he doesn't bug Mariel.
Meanwhile, while dinner is being made, Mariel slowly begins to feel the headache medicine fail, the headache doubling, following quickly by a fever quickly beginning to rise, sweat builds on her body and her breathing is now labored. It isn't until dinner is done and he has brought dinner up to her that he can see something is wrong, as by this time she is shaking and pale.
"Right, so i know ou don't like this too much bu- Oh JESUS FUCK!" He quickly sets the dinner down on a table to the side. "Mariel what the fuck happened? Is it the medicine? Or, fuck I don't know!" He puts his hand to her forehead to see if she has a fever, quickly retrieving his phone from his pocket with his free hand.
She tries to speak but only coughs instead, her teeth are clenched. "Fuuuuuuck..." She wheezes.
About this time, Mordecai takes notice of a weird warping effect upon their surroundings, and his headache returns with a vengance despite the medicine, following by incredibly high fever and the feeling as though he was going to vomit.
He stumbles once more, only barely able to keep himself standing by sheer will. "Goood what the FUCK is going on...." Mordecai fumbles with his phone as he attempts to call emergency services.
Just as he hits the button to submit a call, a massive force rocks through the apartment as a sensation akin to a 'wave' rips through the apartment, and indeed the whole city, and outside, the sky begins to darken with loud pearls of thunder crashing outside. Sirens begin to blare, as earthquakes begin to rock the city.
Mordecai nearly collapses to the ground, barely able to move due to both the fever and the extremely strong earthquakes. He still manages to get up and grab Mariel, placing her underneath the desk for safety as he attempts to squeeze in to his best ability. "God its the fucking apocalypse!"
Without warning, he hears a massive crash as what can only be described as fire rain begins raining down on the city, one such ball of fire smashes into their roof, creating fire throughout the apartment. Mariel coughs due to the smoke.
Mordecai is essentially running on fumes and instinct at this point. And in this case, his instincts are yelling at him to get the fuck out of the fire plagued apartment. He does his best to stay coherent, holding his breath as he grabs Mariel again, rushing out of the apartment before the fire can spread.
As he bursts out of the apartment, he sees the city is being engulfed in chaos, with fire raining from the skies, chunks of earth are floating into the sky and falling back down, flattening buildings in the process. Unnatural lightning flashes throughout the skies. Meanwhile, Mariel begins to cough heavily, her fever to an extent that he can feel the heat strongly through his clothing. Her shaking has gotten worse, and she appears delirious, her eyes unfocused.
"Holy shit. Its uh, you're gonna be alright Mariel. Don't fucking worry." Mordecai was the one doing all the worrying, considering unlike Mariel he was actually cognizant enough to actually realize what the fuck was going on around them. He never paid too much mind to the Myth stuff, but he would have to assume this is some sort of Myth deciding humanity doesn't deserve to live. As if that'd stop him from staying alive. And he sure as hell wasn't going to let Mariel die either. He recalls where one of the emergency shelters is and makes a beeline for it, doing his best to avoid shrapnel, rock, and fire as he's on the move. He doesn't move too fast on the account of carrying someone while under the effect of a headache and fever however.
A single massive earthquake rattles the area one final time, before things stop as soon as they had begun. For an awful moment, everything seems petrified in stillness, an eerie quiet.
Mordecai slows down, catching his breath as everything settles down. He has trouble even saying anything now, both confused, shocked and afraid all at once even though everything appears to be over. He looks down at Mariel to see if she still is as bad.
She seems just as bad as ever, yet his attention is drawn to an errie shade of green spreading across the area, the whole area now feels as though the area is diseased some how, sickly greens can be across the skies and landscape. Soon after, he can feel a faint rippling again around them, most prominent around Mariel, who is seemingly reacting to the sensation with moans of pain.
Mordecai finds himself getting increasingly angry. Who the fuck is sick enough to unleash this devastation? Who the fuck in their mind thinks they have the right to fuck with people like this? Mordecai doesn't bother answering or even considering this questions for longer for a second, too caught up in the fact that he appears incapable of helping Mariel with her pain.
It is soon after all of this that without warning, the rippling intensifies, almost completely distorting her for a good few minutes, once it begins to settle, an odd blue glow encompasses her, followed shortly by her beginning to scream in a shrill voice, thrashing like a madwomen, getting knocked out of his arms. Her eyes are bugged out, saliva dripping from her mouth as horrible waves of pain practically ripple through her body, her body and muscles thrashing visibly in tandem with the waves of agony.
At first the blue glow is faint, but soon it grows stronger, along with it, the pained howls of his roommate escalate until her voice is so damaged she gurgles from the anguish, foam in her mouth. He can see various blood vessels have bulged tight against her skin, the blood practically pumping in large visible waves through her body, particularly in the facial and hands region. She appears to be growing a bit bigger in size, as her clothes seem to at first constrict and then tear at various points.
Mordecai is freaking out at this point, unsure of what to do other than watch in horror as his friend undergoes this horrid transformation.
Blood begins to ooze from her mouth, specifically around the gums as her canine teeth begin to grow and sharpen, blood pours from her ears as they start to lengthen and realign closer and closer to the top of her head, her fingernails bleed as they grow into the start of claws, and an odd bump in her shorts begins to pull them off her, until what looks to be a small fox like tail can be seen growing from her tailbone, growing thicker and bigger at a rapid pace. The lengthening ears finally come to rest at the top of her head, where what looks like fur begins to grow, covering them until what can only be described as fox ears are fully formed, at this point her body has completely outgrown her clothing, now with her body oozing blood, and her form exposed to the elements, he can now see similar claws grown from her toenails.
It's only after several prolific cracks can be heard as her bone structure is forcibly rearranged and her muscles undergo adjustments to allow for the new limbs and form that the horrific experience ceases, and Mariel lies covered in blood, surrounded by the blue aura, which almost resembles flames at this point, unconcious. After a moment, the blue flames appear to be sucked into Mariel, and she is still.
Mordecai quickly turns away and vomits from the sight of the transformation, as well as because of the fever. He wipes his mouth, and by the time the transformation is over he has no idea what to do. Quickly though, he picks her up once more as he tries to finda better area to hide out in. "Oh my god Mariel...Im..."
She seems to be alive, in pain, yet also clearly unresponsive. Around them, disaster still is ongoing, but the worst seems to have occurred. After around an hour, he sees her finally stir, barely moving, but he can see her blue eyes open once more. She makes a faint cough, followed by a faint intake of air.
It's around this time that he begins to feel dizzy, as a strange warping sensation begins to occur around his vicinity, the sensation penetrating inside of him, making him feel strangely liquid, as though the waves might at any point, cause his solid form to liquefy and disperse. With this sensation comes a wave of pain unlike anything he has ever experienced, and something deep in his bones tells him to leave Mariel's vicinity.
"Mari...Mariel you're...oh my god..." He suddenly seizes up, the feeling in his bones telling him to do nothing but run. He slowly stumbles forward into a more open area despite the ongoing disaster, before slowly breaking into a sprint, before the pain hits. It comes out of nowhere, as if a car had hit him at the fastest speed possible. He keels over. as a quiet yell of agony slowly begins to build up in his throat, growing louder and louder. His yelling is vast and full of torment as the pain merely increases. The first thing that occurs is his clothes begining to rip- along with his skin. Every inch of skin on his body begins to shift and tear open, blood essentially spilling from every point in his body. His yelling is unending and by far nearly the loudest thing anyone could hear in the vicinity.
He begins to grow in size at a rather alarming rate, and his bones begin to simoultaneously grow and break. Green electricity is surging all around him as he continues to grow, blood only pouring out more and more. He slowly takes on a monstrous appearence as he no longer looks human. From his skin grows a crocodilian like black dermal armor with his head growing larger to accompany the giant maw of a mouth that was taking shape. His yell has turned into a terrible roar at this point, more and more electricity and blood surrounding him. He has resorted to being on all fours as his legs and arms resemble a dinosaurs, with giant and monstrous claws. From his back is growing an extremely large, semi aquatic-like tail that slowly starts swishing in the air, smashing into a nearby building.
At this point what was left of Mordecai is gone, as he has now become an insanely large and terrible monster. His roar is earsplitting, sloshing blood around everywhere as he rears up on his hindlegs. Electricity is surging from his mouth, suddenly shooting up as a giant beam of pure green lightning. A sound of extreme thunder accompanies it as it parts the clouds in the sky.
Mariel is jolted awake by this, and is quickly looking around, quickly spotting the giant creature, she is barely shielded from view due to rubble. She panics however, and looks around wildly for Mordecai, screaming for him, before finally panic siezes her and she begins to run in sheer terror from him, gasping and wheezing, entirely off balance due to her new tail and modified legs and arms. The new sounds she hear and the range of things from a distance make her completely disoriented, resulting in a mad, mindless hobble, unable to focus, her mind nothing more than a blind flurry of flight, away from mortal danger that consumes every facet of her mind.
The transformed Mordecai, has trouble piecing together what has happened, and doesn't acknowledge what has actually happened to him. All he sees is a terrified Mariel, which makes him extremely concerned. His first reaction is to chase after her, which he does at an alarming speed. The only thing on his mind right now is to protect Mariel, despite being unaware of what has actually happened to the both of them, and why she is actually running.
Out of sheer desperation, she dives into a ruined building, and tries to hide in its dark depths, frantically praying in fear. Every square inch of her is quaking in mortal terror, she can barely stop herself from gasping and wheezing as frantically as she is to try and muffle her sound. She digs herself under boulders, trying to hide.
Something snaps in him that makes him actually realize what has happened to him, on account of not actually being able to enter the building. He is able to sniff her out and figure out where she is. He reaches out extremely fast at first, before moving back and slowly moving the boulders away from her. "...Mariel?" His voice his actually somewhat the same albeit a little more rugged, and his mouth isn't actually moving.
Mariel lets out a horrible screech before clawing her way towards the very back, trying to get away from the perceived monster.
He puts his hand infront of her, gently scooping her up and bringing him close to his face. "Please, stop screaming!"
This only makes her lose her mind, wailing like a banshee. "Don't eat meeeeeeeeee!"
Despite Mordecai no longer being capable of the expression in his kaiju form, he still looks absolutely done with the situation. "God damnit Mariel."
This continues for a while, as she squirms in his gigantic grasp. At this time, he starts to feel a sense of 'control', and oddly enough feels as though a pressure on him has lifted, almost as though he could become much smaller now...
Mordecai takes a second before suddenly his form begins to shift as he grows smaller, looking more and more human. As he scales down, Mariel goes from being in his hands to his arms, and at some point he sets her down standing up before him, taking his human form, albeit clothes ripped to the point of indecency, making him yelp and hide behind some rubble.
She looks like she could pass out from shock. "M-mmordecai?!"
He shouts from behind the rubble. "I WAS TRYING TO EXPLAIN THAT THE GIANT FUCKING MONSTER WAS ME! BUT YOU KEPT SCREAMING!"
"IT WAS A GIANT FUCKING- -wait do you hear that?" The sounds of Myth Attack Sirens are going off.
Mariel hears some rustling and Mordecai cursing, somewhat disgusted. He comes out eearing random clothes. "You do not know how gross it is to undress some dead dude and steal his clothes. Also im not surprised considering the apocalypse just happened. But....Mariel whats happened to us?"
"Us? You're the one who turned into a fucking dinosaur, I- -...why am I naked? HEY WHAT THE HELL STOP LOOKING AT ME!" She starts throwing random bits of rubble at his head.
Mordecai gets rather annoyed, but turns around. "I SAVED YOUR LIFE! THE APARTMENT WAS IN FUCKING FLAMES AND I THOUGHT YOU WERE DYING! YOU HAVE A FUCKING TAIL AND EARS NOW MARIEL!" Mordecai groans. "You're naked because you literally ripped your clothes off when you went all crazy and did some sort of transformation, I don't fucking know! Look for some clothes off someone like I did!"
Her face turns bright red, before she finally takes note of her body's changes. "...Oh my god..."
She seems incredibly flustered. "I-I-I can't just take someone's clothes! That's just... creepy!"
"I did it! Im not walking around naked as a baby! Are you kidding me? Look shits gone down the deepend so I think you can take one moment to throw away morals! But if you want to walk around a naked fox all the time, BE MY GUEST!" Mordecai says nothing for a while.
"Seriously just put on some clothes, you're making me feel awkward."
She grumbles before beginning to hobble through the rubble, searching for anything to wear.
In the meantime, Mordecai is having somewhat of a mental breakdown, albeit doing a good job of hiding it. Everything around him is essentially desolated. And what the fuck has he become? He feels stronger of course, but not just in strength, something deeper than that. Maybe he could just...draw it out.
And with that, Mordecai's hands suddenly surge with green electricity, sparking out of control. "Holy FUCK!" The electricity stops with Mordecai's shock.
He eventually hears her come back, with a set of clothes similar to what she wore before, only noticably too small, her shorts and shirt big enough to service appropriately, but small enough to show more skin especially in the belly region than normal. He can tell she tried to get shoes on, but her clawed toes have lacerated five holes open in them, similar for her gloves.
Mordecai, both scared and excited about this, quickly turns back to Mariel with a grin on his face, albeit it slowly fades as he remembers recent events and how horrible it was. ".....You had me really worried you asshole."
She appears red in the face as the tail she had tried to tuck away in her shorts stubbornly forces its way out, leaving her shorts unable to accomidate for her rear guard. She furiously begins trying to control the tail but to no avail, and without a way to manage it and the shorts. In frusteration she begins to curl up in a ball and cry.
Mordecai initially began to laugh very quietly, but quickly stopped as she began to cry, only feeling pity for her, and feeling like a bit of an ass. He walks over to her and crouches down, trying to comfort her. "It'll be alright Mariel, we can figure all this out."
"How?! We're freaks, that's not exactly something that you can just fix! Look at these stupid damn ears! They keep flopping around, it's driving me crazy and thetailissowierdandsensi- -nodon'tworryaboutthatbutseriouslyhowamIsupposedtowearpantsnow?!" She begins blurbing incoherently.
Mordecai rolls his eyes, despite her having somewhat of a point. "Please, just calm down. If we're gonna get through this we need both of us to stay sane. And besides, one, just cut a hole in your pants or some shit, and two the ears are a little adorable. You got off easy. You don't turn into an overgrown lizard, do you?"
She sniffs. "I don't have a knife..." Her tail is swishing with her agitation.
Mordecai thinks for a second before looking at her hands. "You have claws now, don't you? Try ripping a hole or something." He shrugs.
She stares at her clawed hands for a moment. Reluctantly almost, she begins to try and claw a hole open. It takes a good while, but she manages to fit her large fox tail through the hole, and at last she seems more comfortable, ignoring the size being too small.
She then sits on a large piece of rubble, uncomfortably as the tail proves once again a hinderance to her sitting normally. She appears to be trying to find a way to sit without the tail posing an issue.
Mordecai seems a little uncomfortable as well. "So what do we do now? Just wait around for the government to come around or something?" He grins. "Or actually, how bout I show you something pretty cool." He raises his hands slightly, trying to do what he did earlier, in which his hands are covered with surging green lightning once more.
What little balance she had is lost as she falls back in surprise and fear. "Woah woah woah what are you doing?! Is that lightning?!" She is now trying to right herself.
Mordecai laughs. "Hell yeah it is! And its....uh, green? Whatever. Point is IM HOLDING FUCKING LIGHTNING IN MY HANDS MARIEL!" And with that, the electricity goes away. "...I may have lost concentration."
"This is bad Mordecai!" She snaps, getting herself righted again. "You don't think experimenting with this is a bad idea? What if we get even worse because we are tampering with this shit?"
She looks off in the distance. "I think we need to leave. That siren is probably because of you. We need to leave before an Agency gets here. Who knows what they will do."
Mordecai groans. "Look its probably not a big deal! If anything I'd say the worst has already come in my case." He sighs. "But yeah you're right, we should get moving. Where to exactly, im not sure."
"Away from the city, from anywhere we've lived... we have to leave everything behind. Imagine what our friends would have said about us... face it... we might as well be dead. We gotta get out of town."
Her tail swishes with anxiety.
Mordecai looks a little glum, as he breathes out a breath of exasperation. "I guess. I never planned on leaving this early, and certainly not under circumstances like these. But lets start moving, AFTER....one question."
Mordecai walks over to Mariel and sits down beside her.
"Can I pet your tail?"
She claws his face with a rather vigorous swipe.
Mordecai reels back and falls over as he dodges the swipe. "Guess thats a no. Welp, lets get this journey started, okay?" He gets up and dusts himself off, as he starts walking.
She glares holes in the back of his head for the next hour.
He turns around and starts walking backwards to talk to her. "If you're actually mad at me about the question, It was mostly a joke. Sorry."
"Of course I am, it feels weird to begin with, I don't need you foddling me." She huffs.
"Alright, no petting, I promise. Unless you at some point become open to it, but until then, I will not ask again. Also if it makes you feel any better, being a giant lizard didn't feel good at all. There was some weird shit going on."
"You can still wear pants properly..." She mutters, shifting her weight, uncomfortable. She glances at the area they came from, narrowing her eyes, as she notes black helicopters barely visible over the area, tiny dots, but she can still tell due to how they fly.
"...I bet that's the Agencies reacting." She walks a bit faster, closer to Mordecai.
Mordecai squints. "Oh yeah. I can barely make them out. We should move faster, I guess? I mean they don't have reason to go after us, do they?" He blinks. "Oh right. Giant tail. Kinda makes it hard to blend in."
"...I never got to eat dinner." Her stomach gurgles violently.
Mordecai shoots her a look. "I think we have worse things to worry about than dinner, to be honest." As he says that his stomach growls, which makes him groan in response.
"Promise we will eat when we get out of the city?" She begs.
He reluctantly nods. "Yeah sure. But like I said, pressing matters."
They manage to finally make it to the outskirts of the city, by this time, the Agencies are now swarming the city, the feeling around the region as they start to more actively take evasive measures away from them becomes more and more tensed.
Mariel could not feel more out of place in the woods and the wild, and Mordecai can sense it, every step is utterly lacking in confidence and comfort.
Mordecai isn't doing so well himself either, but doesn't show it. Instead he walks closer to Mariel to ease her nervousness. "Whatever it is, nothing here is going to hurt either of us. You're going to be fine."
She surprisingly clings onto him tightly. He can feel the presence of her claws, but not painfully. She appears to have a miserable look on her face.
"...I'll never see Mom and Dad, will I...?"
Mordecai stops walking. He's rather silent the moment Mariel mentions her parents. Quickly however, he hugs her. "Mariel im sorry but...I don't think thats a possiblity for either of us."
"I know... ...but I walked out on them after an argument. ...And now I can't apologize for how much of a bitch I am..." She begins to laugh hysterically. "I'm such a bad daughter..."
"Mariel. I understand that but they're your parents. Whatever happened between you and them wouldn't change how much they love you, okay? And besides, even if you think you're a bad daughter, I still think you're a good friend." Mordecai looks away. "If you get emotional like this im just going to get emotional too."
"I'm sorry... I'm a blubbering fucking idiot..."
"Oh hush. The fact that you think these things just shows you're actually still human." He stops the embrace. "No need to worry about it, okay?"
Her stomach growls and she notices a small roadside restaurant. "Fooooood...."
"You're lucky I thought ahead." Mordecai rumages around in the pockets of the pants he took, and pulls out a wallet. "Last thing we need is to be homless AND broke. But um...Mariel do you think its really a good idea for you to be....well....seen?"
He sees her ears droop sadly.
And with that, Mordecai gets hit with an instant feel of pity. "Oh my god how can something be so sad and adorable at the same FUCKING TIME?!" He looks back to the restaurant and then back to Mariel. "Just this one time okay? The last thing we need is someone in there calling the police or something."
"Yeassssss!" Her ears perk back up.
He groans and turns around, heading to the restaurant.
She is right behind him the whole way.
Right before the door he turns back to Mariel. "You're sure we should enter? I mean not that I wont crack any skulls if we get insulted."
"Okay okay, whatever." Mordecai opens the door to the restaurant and walks in, looking around and gauging the place.
The place seems not too busy, but no one really notices him. However, the air becomes incredibly tense and aggressive when they see Mariel. He can tell they are close to springing up at her.
Mordecai puts himself infront of Mariel. "Look we really don't want any trouble. We're just hungry so let us get some food and get the fuck out."
"Well we're hungry for her head!" The man changes, only to be blocked by a man with long green hair and a business suit.
"I would reconsider. She and her friend are under Agency Protection."
"Oh yeah? And who do you think you are, wierdo?!"
"The Administrator of MPD Division 2, Lux R. Sigel. Stand down or you will be under arrest."
The restaurant gradually settles down, the man sitting down with a hateful glare. The man, Lux, then turns and gives them what looks like a oddly sly wink, before walking towards his seat and meal.
Mordecai seems confused but certainly isn't going to make a show. He turns to Mariel and shrugs, before finding a booth and sitting down.
After they sit, Mariel looks at the stranger. "...Do you think it's safe?"
"Hell no I don't. Even so its better than having to deal with an entire restaurant attacking us. But one more thing. If they're MPD why doesn't he just take us in?"
"You haven't broken the law near as I can tell and you look like hell." Lux says sitting next to them out of nowhere.
Mordecai chokes on his own spit, surprised by Lux. "Christ!"
"I am told not to do that, perhaps I should listen to Issac on that. In any case relax. But not too much. The AMUs were deployed to this area after that freak incident. That being said you look like you need clothes and a good meal. Take this money for it, I got more than I need."
He hands them several hundred dollars.
Mordecai looks a little suspicious, but gratefully takes the money anyway. "Thank you Mr. Sigel. But, with that freak accident, are we allowed to know anything about it?"
"We know nothing more than you." He says nonchalantly.
Mordecai hands Mariel half of the money Lux gave him. "It was absolute hell. I don't know if you or anyone saw it but...god."
"I didn't. I was... elsewhere."
Mordecai seems a little sad, but shakes it off. "Well, I guess nothing can be done now."
"Aye. I'd be careful for now on boy... it's bad enough with otherworldly beings invading... ...we don't need Kaiju making it worse," He says in an undertone to Mordecai. He stretches, before getting up and leaving.
"Enjoy yourselves, but don't be stupid, I just covered for you after all."
"Thanks, again." Mordecai turns to Mariel, and waits for him to leave. "Did you hear that? I think im a fucking kaiju Mariel. Like straight up Godzilla!"
"...Greaaaaaaat." She groans. "Please don't use your nuka breath..."
Mordecai is practically beaming. "I think i've got electricity instead of radation though which is kinda lame but whatever. I doubt all what happened to you was...you know."
"I can't even... ...really remember it. ...I think my brain is shutting that part out. ...All I know though is that I have three new parts, all of which are massive nusances. I mean, this tail is so- -nevermind. Anyway let's eaaaaat."
"Keep talking about your tail and you'll probably grow another one. But yeah I agree, im actually really starving." Mordecai takes a look at the menu, looking more determined then ever."
She pales like a ghost at that idea. "Get me a grilled steak. And spicy fries. Ooh, some mozzarella sticks!"
"You're an adult, you can order for yourself but fiiiiiiiiiiine. Im getting steak as well though." Mordecai waves someone over and tells them what they want. After they walk away Mordecai seems a little happier. "Really glad that Sigel guy came around. I don't really know if any actual stores are nearby though."
"No... ...we're out in the goonies now. We need to get a move on anyway like he said. Maybe once we get out of state..." She mumbles. A guy on the opposite booth behind her glances behind himself toward her, eyeing her tail. He quickly looks back to his meal soon after.
Mordecai glares a hole in the mans head, sighing. "At the rate we're going that'll probably be a while. Hmm...I have a proposition after we start walking. Maybe it'll help speed up the way."
She is about to ask what he is talking about when she lets out a high pitch yelp of alarm as the man grabs her tail and massages it, Mariel continues to cry out, her face turning bright red. She squirms, trying to get free.
Mordecai's eyes glow and surge with green electricity as he gets up, instantly slamming a fist into the man's face. However, mid-swing his arm and half of his chest has turned something akin to his Kaiju form, just a scaled down humanoid version. There is enough force in his punch to send the man flying back a good amount.
The man lands in a heap, and this is enough to rile up the whole crowd into a maddened mob. Just as they are about to attack, everyone begins to feel incredibly sleepy...
Mordecai tries to stay awake, but his eyes noticably stop surging with electricity, as his arm slowly reverts back to its human form. He tries to turn to Mariel to see how shes doing in his last moments of awareness.
She seems as unfocused as he, falling over, the red in her face is still strong. He can tell she's tightly crossed her legs, before fainting.
When he wakes up, he and Mariel are in what seems like hospital beds...
Mordecai groans quietly, trying to sit up to get an understanding of his surroundings. "What?...."
He sees Mariel in a bed next to him, sleeping soundly with a light expression. He does note the shadow of a man obscuring the door window leading out.
Mordecai squints with confusion, looking to the source of the shadow.
He can't see through the glass, but they seem to turn and begin opening the door.
Mordecai waits for the man to open the door, with a rather impatient look on his face.
Lux steps through the door. "We seem to meet more often than expected." Lux sits in a chair next to him.
"How about you get dressed for the day? I bought you two clothes. The fox girl was irritating to find clothes for, she appears to be growing the start of a new tail. A stub for now, but it will probably make life harder."
Mordecai blinks, ever so confused. "Yeah uh...no kidding. Im gonna guess it was you that made everyone take a trip to nap zone?"
"Indeed. It would have been troublesome otherwise. I do have questions though..."
He presents their state ids. "Is this your names? And if so, how did you forge these?"
Mordecai seems even more confused. "Those are our names, yeah. But what do you mean by forge?"
"Myths don't carry this kind of id, the Agencies hand out specific ones for Myth identification and verification. It's illegal to have them so you wou have to have forged them." He has a strange, almost creepy smile, as though he was trying to disect his brain with his gaze.
Mordecai shakes his head. "Oh. Okay. I guess like you said you don't actually know what happened at ground zero or some shit. Me and Mariel were human. Whatever the fuck happened well...turned us into Myths I guess?"
"Because I am supposed to believe that. Though a rather large number of myth sightings were reported just after that whole affair. Doesn't prove anything." He seems to look at a laptop as though browsing data.
"Curious though, you were in school until today, and all these check out... ...even this information is accurate? Everything seems too clean... how is that possible?" At the same time confusion is on his face, these factors seem to excite him.
Mordecai groans and is getting impatient, laying back onto the bed. "Look I told you, we used to be human. You really think me and Mariel have connections deep enough to make everything look top shop? Hell look through birth records or something, family, I don't know."
"You would be surprised what magic can do. As for those I've looked through them already. At present I am inclined to think it might be true." With this his face is now serious.
"You need to register yourselves."
Mordecai drags his hand across his face in an aggrivated manner. "You mean as myths. Can we just have some time to talk things through? Me and Mariel."
"Yes, but I need an answer before the hospital catches on."
"Answer to what? I seriously don't get anything thats going on, all I know is that we used to be human, and now I turn into an oversized crocodile in the blink of an eye."
"If you will register or not." He gets up and stands outside the door. Meanwhile Mariel is still sleeping.
Mordecai sighs. He sits up more and sits on the side of the bed. "Oi. Mariel. Wake up." He pokes her.
She moans, her face turning redder. As she shifts in her sleep, the blanket is lifted from her, and it's then he realizes that Lux had disposed of their old clothes and given new ones to them, on the dresser. However he notices with Mariel's form that she seems to have her first tail, and the tiny stub of a second one growing from her, slowly lengthening and bulging out in size, no more than an index finger's size so far, but noticeably growing, almost in pulses, in tandem with the periods in which her face is the reddest.
Mordecai moves back a little bit due to her moan. "...Uh....Oh...um. Oh." He himself gets a little red, which is interrupted by him noticing another tail growing. "...What in the ever living fuck." He hesitates but gently shakes her. "Um, Mariel...?"
She eventually opens her eyes with another moan, her eyes unfocused and hazed, as though something is clouding her mind. The redness is particularly strong, and the tail stub grows a few more inches. Her gazes finally clears up, and the redness goes full attack mode when she sees him and realizes she is naked, all within the same time and frantically covers herself, but he is able to see the tail sprout even further right before it is obscured by the blankets, but she seems unaware of what's happening.
She slowly blinks as she looks at him, lightly shaking from the surprise at him seeing her uncovered.
"Im sorry, sorry! I just, I just didn't mean nor did I know you weren't clothed, I was trying to wake you up because we needed to talk, and the Sigel dude came in here, shits gone down the river-" He continues to ramble, clearly flustered.
"What do you want?" She asks, wanting to cut to the chase. He can tell however she's trying to keep her voice from cracking, as her red face continues to burn, and it looks like she's trying to keep her focus on him and not get lost in whatever is happening to her.
He snaps out of it, clearing his throat. "Well, like I said the Sigel guy came back here. I guess he helped us out at the diner when things went down and after a small conversation, he wants us to register as Myths. And uh...there's clothes on the dresser over there. Ahem."
She blushes strongly. "...We-well you're looking at me... did you wake me up just for that? I thought it was... ...something else."
Mordecai blinks, with a somewhat shellshocked face as he slowly turns redder and redder. "................Did you want it to be something else....?"
"...What's the wierd look, I thought you just had something worrying you or something, seeing as you woke me up just to talk..." She looks away from him, still red as a tomato.
He quickly looks away as well, laughing nervously. "Yeah yeah of course, im always worried. And thats how I always look, I don't know what you're on about. Whatever, lets just change clothes and do this registration bullshit."
"...Register...? But we're human, we can't just give into this life like this...! I don't want to be known as this... ...thing!" She snaps. Her tail has snapped up, revealing the second tail as well, which has grown fur and is half the size of the first. It appears to have slowed down growth, but not stopping.
Irritably, she gets up after he looks away and swipes her clothes, putting them on. She pauses when she sees the second tail, her eyes get frustrated when she sees it. "Not another one!"
"I told you if you kept talking about it you'd grow another one." Mordecai stares at the door. "And yeah I don't want to register either. But its that or we figure out whatever the government does with unregistered Myths. Sorry, Mariel. Can you throw me my new clothes when you're done?"
He is smacked by his new clothes as she throws them. "I'm not a Myth, I won't accept it, I won't! You can give up all you want!"
"Ow." He grabs the clothes and puts them down beside him. "Mariel im not giving up! Its just paperwork! Seriously if you think my humanity is fragile enough to bow down to an ID that refers to me as a Myth then theres a whole lot about me you don't know. Just please. Don't make this any harder than what we've already gone through." His voice quiets down near the end.
An aura of blue flame lashes out as she seems to lose it. "Make this harder?! On who?! You?! It's not your damn humanity I'm worried about, did you think of that?!" She pants, as the flames die out as soon as they had come, before shakily collapsing onto her knees.
Mordecai turns around the moment the flames start, both shocked and somewhat afraid. He grimaces in confliction, unsure of what to say before opening his mouth. "....If you don't want to register, then fine. I just....im sorry. I didn't mean anything by it."
"I'm scared..." She whimpers.
Mordecai sits up and crouches down beside her, gently embracing her to console her. "I am too. I just try not to let my fear get the best of me. We're in this together, okay?"
She nestles her head against his chest, her second tail now fully growing out to match the first. Actually now that he notices, with the arrival of the second, the first one seems to have grown a bit bigger, making it almost comparable with her own body's size, and the second is quick to match. She sniffs, tightly returning the embrace.
For so long, all she had known was simplicity, security, and comfort. Her mind now races with alien thoughts, thoughts of desire, longing, temptations. The warmth of Mordecai's body against her ignites the deep fires of these maddening thoughts, only adding to the strange feelings her tails induce in her, a sensitivity she isn't used to. Now, her own identity is being called into question, and every bone in her body screams for things to return to normal, for some manner of rhythm and reason to return to her life.
...She wants to just be her regular old self again. ...And this new strange feeling just won't quit, won't leave her alone.
...And Mordecai is making her hunger, making her doubt, and making her want to change... ...and it terrifies her.
...But what else can she do?
Heirs of the Void 005: Observance Edit
When Kyomu and Vulkas arrive, White looks as though she is dwelling on something, but the expression soon passes upon their return.
"You've returned, good. Your mission went as planned in results, but was unfortunately not as desirable in how close it was to dire straits. We will have to work on your teamwork and skill in training excersizes. However, Kyomu, I need you to stand watch over that location, and bring that person here once your task there is fulfilled. Vulkas, you have... ...a visitor." White speaks in her usual manner, carrying a minor note of concern in regards to their performance, but nothing major.
Vulkas puts his arms behind him and locks his hands together, nodding once White tells him the news. "Where are they?"
"Behind you." The voice of Nobuyuki is unmistakable.
Vulkas cant help but roll his eyes, turning around and regarding him with a nod. "Must you do that?"
"If your mind was rattled from a minor greeting from behind, I worry for your guard." The spirit says in his aloof voice.
"Not so much rattled. More so in you being too clingy to having flair in your entrances." He crosses his arms, letting a very faint smile take over his face.
"I consider myself lacking in flair. Stage theatrics bore me." Nobuyuki rolls his shoulders. "We will be departing while your mistress gets her affairs in order."
His head cocks a little, raising an eyebrow. "Where to, exactly?"
"If you believe that much will be explained, then you forgot a few things about your dear uncle." He spawns a portal behind him.
"Mm. Its almost as if I havent been around you for quite some time." He lets out a scoff like laugh, turning around and walking through the portal.
His feet end up in deep snow.
He doesn't mind, instead floating up into the air above the snow. "....Curious choice."
Nobuyuki appears beside him. "We're paying someone a visit today... ..." He suddenly casts a baleful glare toward 'something' in front of them. "Kindly shove a steel rod up thy arses, this is a private affair. If you do not wish to be eviscerated, kindly remove yourselves."
Vulkas' eyes widen a little, realizing where they are. "...How can we be in Southern Frontier...? All of Echo is part of...that thing, now."
"Negative, or I would have been caught up in it as well. Your... ...grandfather had a role in that. OI, SCRAM!" Nobuyuki barks, a flicker of red energy swirling around him briefly, and the large dark cloud of spirits disappates.
"Freaking cads... ...Anyhow, the southern half of the world was ripped off from the rest of the realm, sparing a number of the population. I'm afraid the same can't be said for the positive spirits, the vast majority are gone. The Shapeshifters and Elementals are likely all but extinct."
Vulkas lets out a sigh, shaking his head for a moment. "So wretched. Of course all that is sparred is the evil in society."
"Oi, mind yourself. You have negative family members, after all. Myself partially included. Plus evil isn't the... ...appropriate word to describe them. You may be relieved to know that Azayakana is safe... ...for now, at least. There is concern, at least from my perspective, that she may be a target for that entity you face."
"If I must be honest dear uncle, when it comes to family i've had little time to continue keeping respect for them all. For obvious reasons." He sighs, and frowns a little. "At least she is safe somewhat, and not gone."
"Let's be off. We have somewhere to be, and a few people to meet."
He nods. "Do lead the way, then."
He leads Vulkas on, eventually reaching an obscure tent hidden in the snow.
He seems rather curious, waiting outside the tent. "Do we enter?"
Nobuyuki enters, gesturing for him to follow.
He does so, albeit probably too cautiously.
When he enters, he sees a shapeshifter woman with cream colored hair and darkened eyes, though one seems hazy, and her left leg and arm seem limp. She silently lifts her head, looking at Vulkas. He can tell from her clothing, which is styled similar to a Japanese shrine maiden, that she is a Spirit Dragon.
His eyes widen a little at the sight of her, just stepping closer. "It's a pleasure to meet one of your status."
Nobuyuki speaks for her. "Her name is Kuchi, she is... ...was the eldest sister of Kado. Or, Iaitai, as you might remember him by. I rescued her from the East Flora as it was being absorbed. I got her out, but not before the abomination absorbed her left half. She can't speak anymore, and most of her logical side is shot too. Her right half still works, but, she can't move that side either. It took her arms and legs before I was able to sever the absorbtion process."
A frown hits his face as he listens to Nobuyuki's explanation, chewing the inside of his lip as he shakes his head. "This is...its utterly vile. I know the absorption process was horrid and a tragedy, but to see a survivor still so ruined..."
Kuchi's functional eye slowly closes and opens, possibly the most response he will get from her.
Nobuyuki sits down in one corner of the tent. "I felt an obligation to save her, if only to honor a pupil's memory. Iaitai was for a time, a trainee of mine. His loss was... ...deeply unfortunate." Nobuyuki says this in his typical manner, but his body is a subtle degree ridged.
He sits down as well, keeping his hands at his lap. "Yes, I....I remember fighting his corrupted self all too well..."
After a time, Nobuyuki gets up and begins channeling green energy into Kuchi, rubbing her useless eye gently with his fingers as he does so, circuits of green energy flow from him into her body in gentle ripples. The action seems to slowly sooth Kuchi into a slumbering state.
He watches idly, before quietly speaking to himself. "For a Spirit Dragon to be in such a state...."
Nobuyuki seems to do the same for the rest of her body, massaging with slow, deliberate movements. When he is finished, he gently lifts her, setting her into a cot and wrapping her in thick fur blankets. He sets a fire, and quietly stands up, looking at her for a few minutes.
"...We have someone else to see. I've soothed her pain for a time. It should be enough to hold her in a relaxed slumber until we get back."
He nods, standing up and letting out a faint breath. "Once again, lead the way."
He begins to walk back out into the snow.
He follows after him, albeit a little slower. ".....I apologize for being rather harsh tongued while you showed up, uncle."
"I don't understand the statement."
"Back when you assisted the fight against the avatar. I spoke out and got irritated, and lashed out slightly."
"I don't understand the statement, Vulkas. Do you apologize for your words, do you do not feel the same as you did, or are you feeling some manner of guilt for speaking against your uncle whilest burying your inner feelings?"
He opens his mouth to respond, before closing it and taking a second. "...Guilt, uncle. I suppose that doesn't make me truly sorry, then."
"Til you come to understand my choices, an apology would mean less than the words of a pompous aristocrat as he buys his way through life. It's not as if I hold any particular weight toward your words, if that concerns you. Aye, far worse than a niniscien acting out their pathos hast been wrought in this world, and that alone makes it a phase that will pass with understanding. I hold you not a prisoner of opposing views, violas."
He nods, just listening intently and keeping his hands clased behind him. "Yes, of course. Im sure I will understand soon."
"I am sure you already understand, but lack the insight to realize thus. You are young, and do not realize so oft as you might think, that the answer was there from the beginning."
They walk for a significant amount of time in the deep dark snows.
"I am thirty five..." He huffs a bit, but understands what he means by that. With how deep they were going, he starts to get an idea. ".....We're going to meet my grandfather, aren't we?"
"Aye. It will mark the end of a lifetime's journey. One I started when I was a boy, really. I brought you along for a reason. I care not to explain why. I'm sure you will understand."
"I only hope that this ending is the one you have wished for."
"It is doubtful." They begin to come across a vast spiritual disturbance in the distance.
It unsettles Vulkas but he takes a breath and keeps following. "Is he expecting us?"
"The borders of his castle. He would have been long aware we were in the area if it was visible. He's practically thrown out a doormat."
"How kind of him. What a warm welcome...." He lets out a faint laugh.
"In normal circumstances this would be a titanic siege."
"I do believe the term normal wont be applying to any situation for the next few centuries."
"True that. Well..." He begins to walk toward the distortion.
He walks after him, seeming less unsettled.
They arrive at the site of a large black citadel, seemingly in disrepair.
Vulkas tilts his head curiously, crossing his arms. "I imagine its seen better days."
"The Palace is an extension of his being. He is clearly under strain." Nobuyuki walks forward.
He says nothing, just nodding and walking after Nobuyuki.
There is a strange sensation as they head closer to the castle, one of almost melancholy.
"Hmm, Father seems almost like he's reminiscing. A most rare occasion. He never thought back before."
They slowly make their way inside, the interior imposing yet grand, a cool sensation radiating from the walls, not formidably cold, but the faint chill is there.
Upon coming into the throne room, the air becomes tenser. A lone figure sits on a tall throne, shrouded in darkness. At his feet lies a large group of various individuals, including Azayakana, all unconscious.
"...They are under my protection, no harm befell them as a result of my actions. Well, directly. One could chalk this disaster up to my actions, but that's not important now. Not when more urgent matters are afoot."
Vulkas' eyes narrow just as he focuses on the unconscious people, before raising to look up at The Black King. "You saved them from destruction, then...?"
"Saved is a way of putting it," says one of the figures, rubbing their head. "The big guy and a few others would have been fine, but they're out like lights. On their behalf, I'll say thanks though. It wasn't neccessary on your end but you did so anyways, so thanks." The figure's forehead blazes with an odd brand of sorts shortly afterwards and they return to holding their head. "I swear you act up at the worst times..."
"I will take what I can get. It's due to my continuous influence that the void below and indeed all around us hasn't eaten us, so I will encourage you not to do anything stupid, that goes for you, my son, stranger, and grandson. Why *are* you here, Nobuyuki? Is it to rub it in your father's face? Or are you really that self driven that you'll kill me in spite of all the innocents you will kill in the process?" The figure on the throne says with a steely tone, though strained.
"I am, in a sense, rather like Atlas in my current position."
Vulkas seems a tad annoyed with everything going on, as he takes a step forward with a faint sigh. "Is it not suggested that regardless of ill-will or dare I say bad blood- pun unintended, that we be civilized? I'd rather have a conversation I can follow with little to no stress or accusations."
"Aye, bloody migraine aside, let's not stab each other in the throats due family issues and what not," agrees the stranger as the brand grows brighter then fades.
Nobuyuki looks at his father for a moment, whose shadows finally fade, revealing the man largely in his prime, but his hair seems to have greyed and grown out. His eyes are a very faint red.
"You have strength about you, that's very good," The man, undoubtedly Hadari, the first traitor to Phoenix, and usurper of the throne of the Black King, sits atop his throne with a faint glimmer of pride. "...That was a concern of mine, you were always the closest one to me before I left your mother. You grew up in adversity and never forgot those who wronged you, you have your father's justice."
"...Bullshit." Nobuyuki intones. "You have no justice... ...today at least, I'm here to make sure these ones, particularly the queen is alright, and deal with that thing in your spirit."
Now that Nobuyuki points it out, Vulkas can see a faint glimmer of corruption flickering about Hadari's form, but unlike all the other Heirs, it seems... ...subdued.
"I would leave that alone, as it isn't an issue. Your old man might be weak, but I can take care of myself. This... 'worm', cannot claim my will," Hadari remarks, as though the very thought of being influenced by the corruption was a ill conceived joke, yet a joke all the same.
Vulkas shakes his head, crossing his arms for a moment. "Is not about doubting your constitution. Its best to ensure that all corruption is made erased, regardless of its state."
"Mmm, I wouldn't bother regardless- -you have more pressing targets and as things stand, you aren't strong enough. Even if you did have enough power, unless you were at a certain level, you would leave me in a weakened state, enough so that the whole of what remains of this realm would collapse instantly, killing everything in seconds. The survivors would be swallowed by the Abyss, and I'm told not many come back from that."
Vulkas' eyes narrow for a moment, before letting out a quiet sigh as his arms fall to his sides. He just nods, not bothering to say something else. He seems to just be...thinking, about things.
"...Why not superimpose the region in a Personal Domain," asks the stranger. "Matter of strength aside, would that not be less of a strain on you to do rather than let the Abyss treat you like a Sand Castle at the mouth of the sea?"
"The vast majority of my strength and concentration is focused on preserving this slab of our world, unfortunately the amount of my essence still available to focus on such a thing is incredibly low, meaning I would have to let areas such as Moonlight Glade and Twin Valleys crumble into oblivion before I could do such a thing, and I very much doubt the impudent king would tolerate that very much, given how little regard he already had and will have when he realizes that the original Black King has been murdered, that an imposter has ruled the south, and was conspiring with a being of a void towards his and many other's destruction. Nay, that's not an option, plus expending any more energy than I have would make the corruption more an issue."
He closes his eyes for a moment. "The most tragic thing if any was the loss of the Kanjo however. Without them we have no chance of recovery. I might be able to hold this blight at bay for a decade or so. But sooner or later this world needs to be restored. Otherwise, my actions will have been a delayed futility."
"Hm, roundabout way of asking for help if I ever heard one," mutters the stranger. "Angry Kingsley, you getting this?"
"Aye, and if not for the bloody headache I have, I'd be right furious," says the King of Endlos. "That being said... Had this not happened and you not been the reason my instincts hated the ruler of the South more than the South itself, what would your plans have been compared to your plans going forward?"
"Loaded question sounding, you know?"
"The 'Angry Kingsley' has a migraine and the old rage crashing through his veins, forgive him for sounding as irrate as he does while he calms down in a less Sword through Heart fashion. I doubt I could summon the Peacekeeper anyways, head hurts too much."
"I doubt a sword to the chest fixes anything," begins the figure.
"Not his chest, my own," states the king.
"My statement remains unchanged," says the figure after a pause, earning a sigh.
Hadari chuckles weakly. "That really matters not at this juncture. You would not understand nor ultimately care. Just like how Shinwa Dragonclaw's actions, in fact. All this time, she designed everything so that she might die at the hands of many powerful foes, just on the off chance she failed to make her brother strong through his hatred of her 'villainy'. She used you, Endlos, to facilitate her own death, among many others, so that it would be inevitable. She even defiled the divine, so desperate was she to ensure it.
Yet even that was a falsehood, as the darkness she sought to save her brother from never existed, as the Yellow King, the Observer, fabricated the threat so that the darkness he spoke of may come to exist anyway. The Sovereign Kings who hide among the cosmos even now, had a puppet master, myself. My dear Nyusatsu has been played the entire time. Her crusade against the universe was a sham, one that would bring the Slayers, all Eight Generations together, so that I might attain their power and use them to bend the universe, nay, the cosmos under my heel. The entity that until recently was my ally always intended to use me, but they would have lost the power struggle at that point...
...I would have used that power to remove power itself from the equation, and instill a true order that no cosmic being would ever challenge again. But, alas, things went wrong. And here we are. So yes, everything, from Phoenix, the Sovereign, the Chaos Engines, the Spear of God project... ...all my manipulations.
If you think that ultimately I will run from your judgement, nay. I realize when the gambit is up. I have no cards left to play. Once this world is restored and my 'ally' is dealt with, I invite you to enact your justice, if that is what so compells you at this point. I will stand by my convictions to the end, however, as I believe power was and always will be, the true sin of this cosmos. Nothing will change so long as it exists."
He says this all with a reserved, empty acceptance, as if he had given in to some sort of inevitablity he had sought to reject all these years.
"I see," says the king of Endlos. "You too reached such a conclusion then."
"...Another who realized that as well," says the other. "Yet one is a mastermind, one is a weapon by their own definition and one just wants the current silliness to end so he can finally have his wedding and step away from combat for good." He looks down at one of the unconscious people, a woman with ashen hair who appears to be in her twenties garbed in black, and sighs deeply.
Nobuyuki blinks at his father, almost confused.
"The lack of seething judgement confounds me," Hadari remarks. "Though perhaps that too is a resignation towards the status quo... ...so much work to be done," The spirit sighs.
"I realize my benevolence is quite clearly absent, but whatever the case may be, the current situation is grim. The world faces decay from two fronts- -the abyss- -and the fate of the Kanjo. In an ironic twist, those the Shapeshifters faced against were perhaps the most important part of the world. ...Perhaps that is why my father in law chose to abandon the Spear of God project. He knew what would happen if the Kanjo were destroyed.
...I'll be blunt: at most, we have a decade or so before my strength crumbles and you lot are left to the elements of the Abyss. Another if Aza chooses to sacrifice herself as I am now. However, I wouldn't reccomend this as she is the last Kanjo we have. Even if she did however, we'd have exactly two months before the very fabric of the realm collapsed instantly due to its creators being gone.
This world needed the Kanjo to exist. Without them, we are lost. With them, we can heal the world."
"Any feasible way to get them back or would you need them reborn," asks the stranger, digging into his pocket and pulling out paper and a pen.
Hadari breathes deeply for a moment.
When he speaks, it is not in a tongue they can understand, but Endlos understands it to be the tongue of the Chinmoku Royal Family, and it seems to carry a great power within its words, as the air itself shimmers.
Nobuyuki frowns however.
"...Kukyo's Epitaph." He says in a low voice.
"Ah, you remember it then."
"Yes, how could I not remember such an ominous verse? The power of the Kanjo is inscribed in that saying, is it not?"
"Aye. The Kanjo were creations of my former ally to facilitate its plans. Thankfully the Epitaph is a warning of sorts, alluding to their truth. We can however, alter the formula used to create them, freeing us of the danger. Let me think..."
Hadari's left index finger glows, and with it he begins to draw complex runic seals in the air, each one turning a different color, such as black, white, yellow, green, blue, and red. In total, he draws eight.
"...Aye, I was right. Removing the flaws, it can work, mayhaps a bit more thought. I can easily work on that aspect, after all, it was a modification of their Seals that created the Slayer's enchantments, so I realistically should be able to do it. That leaves a very important matter still to settle."
Hadari leans back in his throne. "...The candidates for the Kanjos themselves. You can't just 'make' one. Well you can, but the effect will be less than helpful to our cause. The originals were living beings that ascended to that existence. So too must their successors. We would need to find compatible individuals for the positions. Dark, Light, Fire, Water, Wind, Earth, Lightning, Ice. In that order. Of course, that would be... ...controversial among most populace who remember the Great War. The question is, does the opinion of the populace matter when it concerns their existence being allowed to continue?"
He stretches a bit before continuing. "I have some ideas, some which may annoy or agitate, but I will leave that to you to decide if you wish to violate morals for this matter."
"I see," says the person before looking at the others. "Your call. Not my place to decide, only to get the ball rolling."
"I'd like to hear more from the others before I give my impressions."
Vulkas finally perks up after listening to everything, starting with a quiet sigh. "I do believe I would be fine with going through with things despite the discord and dislike of the population. Its for the best."
"The greater good," sighs the being. "I'd be rich... er... If I got a copper each time I heard that. Let me guess, the moment you start naming names is the moment outrage begins. Kingsley be glad you can't use your power."
"What? No I just can't summon Named Swordcrafts I can still-"
"List please, with qualifications and reasons."
"Ugh. In order, these are the leads that I feel would best suit the roles, and are the most prominent choices. If you wish to contest, fine, but don't lob my head off over it. My mind is of the pragmatic sort.
Darkness at the moment would be most fitting to Kake Spiritwood, the elder brother of Kado. Darkness is an incredibly negative force, and needs a mind that already traveled the road of darkness and negativity, and learned to adapt and grow above it. He is the master of his nature, rather than his nature being the master of him.
As for Light, there is little clear choices. I could go with Kuchi, the elder sister of Kado, but her condition seems too critical for her to be a Kanjo. If she were able bodied and in healthy mind, spirit, and body, I might be inclined to choose her. She is a Spirit Dragon, a rare and honored position of the Spirits, meaning she had reached a stage of enlightenment and power, serving as a head of her community.
I'm investigating Fire, Wind, Earth, and Water. I will let you know if I find a strong enough target for evaluation.
...Lightning would be best suited by one of the Lighting Fairies of the Moonlight Shire. Those who come to mind are Michiko, the latest to be chosen by the Lightning Slayer, marking a special bond between the previous Kanjo and she, and her sisters Haruko and Aiko, with Haruko being a more mature fairy with a strong affinity for the element's more esocentric properties, while Aiko, being five, is less mature but would become a powerful embodiment of both the element and the esocentric powers of a Kanjo, that being life and vitality.
......As for Ice, the closest candidates are of Caess and her line. ...Caess in particular I've observed as being nigh on the same plane of power as a Kanjo, minus its Esocentric nature. Her children all possess this affinity, with Aoi being the closest due to her lineage, her bond with the Ice Slayer, and temporarily becoming an elemental. Kiyona is of similar choice as to Michiko for her bond with a Slayer. If not them, perhaps a notably powerful Perma from the Southern Clan might suffice, but I must stress the result would likely be a much more inferior Kanjo with a much weaker affinity."
He appears most weary of mentioning the ice candidates.
"Is there really no one else," Endlos asks, his tone placid, alarmingly so. "Because if there alternatives aside from the Perma clan, please let me know." Nobuyuki recalls seeing the king like this once before, long ago only the king does not appear to be shifting forms... Something almost as worrisome as the molten color his eyes have when less than a second before they were silver. And yet, the king seems contained and composed despite his body language and tone saying otherwise.
"A difficult answer to provide, as yes in fact, another exists who could fulfill the role, but she may not be willing and mentioning her directly may summon the attention of the Observers, or the Soverign as they actually go by. I'm curious, are you against the Southern Perma Clan in its entirety being selected, or just members of Caess Perma's line?" Hadari says.
A tiny increase in cold temperature seems to be detected in response to Hadari mentioning this unnamed individual.
"I'd rather not split a family I helped get back together. As for her relatives, if they consented it would be fine, but otherwise I'm not inclined to force them or anyone to accept that role. The same ultimately applies to Caess and her children, but with greater reluctance," breathes the king. "It's selfish, that's my stance. As for the individual who will not be named, worst come to worst we ask them. Should conflict ensue... By then Hades Blade will be back."
"The Southern Perma are not directly related. The nigh extinct North Perma is the lineage she is from. For that matter, it's hardly splitting them apart. At most, wielding tremendous power in conjunction with the other pantheon members, they would spend a year, or two, maybe a couple. Then they can safely watch their loved ones and keep them safe. Theirs would be nothing like the origin of the first pantheon, nor would anything be expected of them, indeed they would be free, free to do as they please and wish as they please. A freedom their predecessors had squandered.
It's not terribly important the issue be addressed. Ice is the last element of the order." Hadari says coolly.
"And what would happen after they returned? I don't expect many would be the same mentally unless their mental fortitude was high or becoming a god temporarily had no effect on their psyche because they near perfectly embodied the the element and emotion associated with it," remarks Endlos. "I understand your perspective and the reason behind your approach, but I'm of the inclination that there might be a different approach that we're overlooking that has the same effect overall."
"Divide the gods over beings aligned with them," mutters the stranger.
"I don't understand your comment, swordsman." Hadari states flatly. He returns his gaze to Endlos. "Ice represents Apathy, and similar emotions. I understand that Endlos are by nature peaceful individuals or at the very least have sought peace, being a Kanjo of Ice surely wouldn't be too much of a shift, especially if I understand the personality of Aoi. Hardly uncaring, but very simple and down to earth, incredibly reserved at times. A quiet, gentle lady. As stated however, I'm willing to drop the issue until it becomes relevant, by then other candidates may appear."
"I'd need to see the magic array and formula, but it's exactly as it sounds... In theory. Magicraft is Lili's forte not mine and..." He looks down at the white haired woman once again. "She'll be out like a light for a long while yet."
"Aside from interference and the loss of symbolic power, there's an issue with increasing the time required to restore a plane many magnitudes larger than five North American continents as is. That would be slowing things down to nigh perilous levels. If you really want to ensure the safety of their minds, fine by me, I can do measures to increase the safety net.
As Ice is the last of the circle of eight, we can better address it when we're ready. No need to agitate any further. We still need candidates for a majority of the elements, and doing them in order is priority, so an answer is not mandatory to start. If you wish to be on your way, then do so. Just remember, we only have ten years."
"I'll leave it up to you then," shrugs the stranger before turning to the king. "Any comments?"
"No, I could agree to such an outcome if it's the best option we have when all the pieces are together."
"Then I suggest we make with the partings." Hadari steals a momentary glance at Nobuyuki.
"I've my own way home," says the stranger, nudging the unconscious woman until she wakes up as well as a blonde child whose gender can't be discerned. "C'mon Lili, you can sleep more when we get home."
"Shio...? What," she begins as he picks up the child and her, the child hanging on his neck and her in his arms.
"I'll explain when we get home," he says before abruptly vanishing, several slashes and gouges in the ground where he he was before.
"I'll take my leave as well, I've someone to find," says Endlos, looking at Nobuyuki and Vulkas. "You'll know where to find me. I doubt anyone can mistake my aura once they've encountered me in person." He looks at Hadari. "I expect your realm can handle a mass teleport within it. Don't disprove that." He begins to glow silver, then orange then yellow as his aura suffuses his people as well, slowly rolling over them like a fog. As this happens, he tosses Hadari a letter. "When the lady awakens, give that to her. She'll know when to read it. In the meantime, conserve your strength a bit. You can drop the Valley if you need to, just means I'll need to rebuild."
And with that the aura completely envelopes the king and his subjects, leaving no trace of them in the area save for what looks like a blackened, chipped sword.
Hadari sighs. "A busy week..."
Vulkas sighs, just crossing his arms and closing his eyes. "Im an attentive person....but there were parts of all that I found impossible to follow to one hundred percent."
"Ask, if you're so deeply inclined." Hadari says rubbing his head.
"I've not questions, more so that I wish for clarification. The current goal- or at least yours, is to find replacements for the Kanjo?"
"Aye." Hadari eyes him evenly.
He sighs. "In between ridding of corruption, that may prove to be difficult...."
"Hmm, I did not say anything about you assisting. You and Shiias have enough on your plates. Leave your concerns elsewhere. In time, you may find perils beyond your comprehension. Look toward those threats, and not the superficial state of matters here. I have lasted the past eight hundred years by my own volition. I don't need anyone for this. You should consolidate your own volition so that you might become strong," Hadari says to him with a faint glint of passion.
Nobuyuki looks at his father evenly. "You are a stubborn old man. You're set on not recieving aid?"
"Son, you grew up on your own two legs to come here. You know exactly why my stance is what it is. For the record, you've done well. Lived a life forged by your own ideals and goals, and defied the hand that was given. I cannot say the same for you, errr.... ...blast, this is awkward... ...Your name, Vulkas? ...What is your name, Vulkas?"
The moment his attention turned to Vulkas, he is able to immediately detect a sharp discomfort, an awkwardness, as if Hadari had no comprehension of how to deal with this sort of relationship.
"And there you have your grandfather, the man who punched a goddess into submission and yet is the most awkward and antisocial old fart in this side of the cosmos." Nobuyuki says in an icy tone.
This doesn't seem to aid Hadari's plight in the slightest.
Vulkas' eyes narrow, before letting out a sigh and facepalming, taking a second before looking back up at Hadari. "My name is Vaerkai. If I must give my grandfather advice on how to not be awkward- first of all, do not actually state that it's awkward. Eight hundred years under your belt, you have said, yes? And yet you still haven't figured out social activity?"
"...Try spending that time in isolation plotting world domination and you mayhaps understand the lack of progress. Ah, and add a seasoning of a long childhood of violence and warfare. I learned social skills in prison, motivated by love at first sight towards a certain princess who later became my greatest gift in life, and failing."
Vulkas lets out a heavy breath, letting his arms fall to his sides. "Its hard to grow a sense of pity for you." His tone is coarse, delivered quickly.
"Pity is undesired." Hadari returns evenly.
Vulkas just waves him off, not wanting to continue the conversation.
"Let's return. Do you have a place in your castle for Kuchi?"
He nods. "Even if I do not, I can always expand it and make room. I am fine with caring for her, if you wish."
"Ah, good. A room for myself if you please."
"Of course. If you need anything while residing there, do tell- or, feel free to make adjustments yourself." He looks over to Hadari. "It was.....interesting, to meet you, grandfather."
"Mmm." The spirit grunts in reply, massaging his forehead.
Vulkas turns back to Nobuyuki, and steps forward. "Lead the way, then."
Nobuyuki promptly turns and begins to leave, at a rather fast pace.
Vulkas swiftly follows, just thinking over past events.
Nobuyuki doesn't take too long to reach the tent, and instead of going in, he waves his hand and it blackens before disappearing.
"Shall we?" He says, making a portal and without waiting, shoves Vulkas through.
"Wh-" He grunts, heading through the portal with an annoyed noise.
Nobuyuki casually strides in after him, appearing on the outside of Vulkas' castle. He takes Kuchi from the tent, who is still sleeping, and carries her inside. Meanwhile, with everything that had happened, Vulkas feels like showering to cool off after a long day.
He sighs, heading into his bathroom and promptly getting undressed.
He realizes, far too late, that Kyomu is showering inside his shower, also undressed. She quietly looks in his direction but doesn't say anything until finally...
"Ah, Vulkas. I just got done with a mission. Silky isn't happy, so I wouldn't recommend talking to her for a while." She says, looking directly at him, not in the least bit bashful.
His eyes widen upon seeing her, first instinct to cover himself , quickly picking up his clothes and just holding it above his waist as he looks away. "K-Kyomu! I apologize dearly-......why are you showering in my residence!?"
"Oh because I was bored, and because I don't have one. So, how was your trip?" Kyomu's tone seems greatly amused.
He huffs, and its...clear that he's having a hard time keeping his eyes to the side. "Both interesting- and somewhat disappointing at the end. You find this amusing?"
He hears her turn off the water. "Aye, because I enchanted the door to lock after I closed it- -ah, wait, I didn't close it properly when I entered... ...that's how you got in."
Vulkas facepalms, and his clothes fall slightly, prompting him to quickly pick it back up. "Just, g-get dressed, Kyomu! We will not speak of this..."
She sits down in the tub, submerging herself in the water and plugging the drain, leaving plenty of water for her to soak in.
"Ah, that's better, nice and warm against the skin. You're such a bashful fellow." She says with a teasing air.
"We'll call it even and I'll unlock the door if you don't tell a soul and... you give me a kiss on the cheek." She says, smiling.
That makes his cheek flush extremely red, looking away more. "What!? No! We are partners and nothing more, Kyomu....." He mutters to himself, possibly considering the idea.
"Nothing more? Aye, but you've seen me naked and I'm not in the mood for violence so humiliation will be your poison today. Be sure to look straight at me."
He sighs, and he slowly looks over, cheeks only reddening further. "You're serious about this, no reconsideration....?"
She gives him a smile. "Oh I'm serious. You have to pay me back some how and I take it based on your reactions that you still want your balls intact after this encounter."
A chill goes down his spine, letting out another sigh. ".....Very well..." He steps over and crouches down beside the tub, looking over to her and with hesitation, leans in to kiss her cheek.
Kyomu grabs his head at the last minute and redirects the kiss to her lips, before the door unlocks with a loud click.
"Now you go have fun. Next time double check!"
His eyes widen, blinking a few times with a deep blush as he pulls away, staying there for a second. "....I..." He looks away, putting his clothes back on as fast as possible and leaving rather confused, now.
A few minutes later, Kyomu gets out, and with a quick aura is dry and has her clothes reappear. She walks out and leaves the castle, humming.
He doesn't look at her, just still blushing even after she's done, before entering the bathroom to finally shower.
Some time later after he finishes, he meets Nobuyuki who notes his state of mind.
"What happened now?" He asks.
"....I wish not to discuss it." He clears his throat.
"You're as red as the time that one spirit girl asked you to come watch her singing audition." Nobuyuki says, clearly reading his emotions.
"She had a beautiful voice, is all!" He sighs, and shakes his head. "Twas just, something with Kyomu."
"I will not speak of your lady troubles." He says, walking away. "I'm tending to Kuchi for a while if you need anything."
"They are not lady troubles, dear uncle, goodness! She is my partner and....that's all." He huffs, and crosses his arms. "....Very well. I shall likely take some rest, or meditate."
"That ought to clear your head."
"Yes. It hopefully should. Tell me if I am needed." He sighs, and heads to his quarters.
>threat 002<: Fragment of Memory Edit
The distortion clarifies in the form of a terrifying version of Kado, a black shadow with red outlines, violently flickering like static, its gaze hellish. Without warning, it grabs them both by the throat, and begins to choke the life out of them slowly. To each of them at this point, it seems as though it is looking directly at them rather than the other, as though their perception of reality was being distorted so they could only see their own version of it, rather than a singular one. It gazes upon them with an incredibly murderous malice.
You called... you called... you called... ...so I answer ...so I answer ...so you die. So you die.
An eldritch voice resonates from it.
"Kado...!" Akami is stricken with surprise, relief, and even sorrow
"Ofcourse! It HAD to be you!" Obi exclaims
In response to Obi's outburst, the shade tightens its grasp on their throats, causing only a choke to emit from Obi's mouth.
Their vision slowly begins to black out when a white light grabs the three and takes them to a barren wasteland.
The two are on the ground prone, coughing while the apparition is separated by a strange woman in a green robe with a bow.
"Subject found, sending transportation arrows to Drei." She fires two arrows into the sky, and soon after Drei appears.
"Unpleasant," remarks the cat, swishing a tail. It's eyes glow iridescent as it looks at the woman. "Explain and keep it short enough that things get done but before Obidiah can remotely speak."
"This is an Origin, the crux of a soul. The data and will that binds the emotions around it to form its shell. Kado's Origin in fact. It was dissassocated from his being some time ago. This is an opportunity to improve the restoration, you will help by defending those two from it, so I can focus on distraction so the lady can capture it."
"You two: keep quiet and don't move or do anything. This is your only warning."
Drei swishes a tail and the air becomes lighter. "Fair enough."
The shade of Kado appears to look at them with a malevolent glare.
"This should not be too much a strain." Kyomu remarks, drawing her bow. Almost in response, the static distortions drop considerably and the quality of its image sharpens drastically.
"Retsagar." The shade intones, and a flash of red light emits from them.
"...He spoke, and an ability...?" Kyomu's guard raises a bit.
"Lumine," hisses Drei, glowing white as what appears to be a bone white dagger appears in his mouth. Kyomu gets the feeling she's being accelerated by an external force.
At first, it seems like the shade is focused on Kyomu, but then Drei notices that the direction of their gaze is faintly biased toward Drei, and by extension Akami and Obi. It's clear that Kyomu is not its focus, merely a necessary distraction of attention.
They silently extend their hand, and a sword, known to Akami as Rūn'ejji, flies away from her and lands in its hand, and they silently shift into a position with their hand on the hilt and the blade sheathed. Kyomu seems to react with alarm and makes a similar stance, her bow changing into a sword, also sheathed.
"...Satsujin no Kōsaku..." Kyomu mutters under her breath.
"Lumina," breathes Drei, glowing brighter as the light seems to suffuse the area around them and the dagger. Kyomu feels as if her reaction speed has increased and her body lighter.
Within the blink of an eye, a large explosion of kinetic energy bursts from Kyomu and the shade as their swords collide with great force, shattering the ground around them. Within a flicker of movement, they seperate with their blades sheathed again, but a cut on each of their cheeks can be seen.
Within a flicker they move again, but this time Kyomu misinterprets his movement, and while able to block his attack as he descends on Drei, she is knocked off balance and struck by a gash to her belly, which closes rapidly, only for six more to strike in rapid succession, until she finally forces him away a fair distance with a kick, she breathes as the wounds close.
"I'm alright," She breathes. "I'm less adept at this than the Lady. My nature prevents such strikes from causing any real harm, so it balances out. ...But the skill he's performing at... ...what manner of Origin is he?"
She blocks a number of attacks a bit easier as her reflexes seem to warm up.
I hadn't expect this manner of skill or power, I would have taken more time to charge up if I had known this enemy would be so dangerous. No matter. I'll have to let my body build up more energy before I can fully fight at maximum potential. That's the disadvantage of being a living superweapon, you could say...
Kyomu thinks to herself as she watches the shade, who flickers in a particular manner.
Drei takes a particular stance with the dagger then vanishes. Kyomu feels her strength surge the moment this happens. The shade senses a sharp decrease in gravity.
"...What... ...annoyance." The shade's voice abruptly shifts in quality, the static distortion amid its form freezes, then without warning a large surge of power erupts from it, a burst of red negative energy, obscuring its form.
When the energy clears, a solid figure stands before them. What appears to be an effeminate male with cream colored hair of a fairly long length down to his neck at the back, unreadable black eyes, and wearing a white robe with black details forms from the burst of energy. The wind blows for a moment, before they speak again.
"Why are you in my way? Are you looking to die today?" The voice is lighter than most men's voices, but still distinctly male. There isn't any particular emotional tone to their voice.
All that greets the figure are glowing crystals that race towards it from every direction, each skipping and bouncing off surfaces as they get closer.
"..." He summons forth a dark aura and swings his sword, bullet like pelts of negative energy fly out at high speed, tearing the air itself as they travel, until they come in contact with the crystals, causing them to cause huge bubbles of void in the air, which quickly collapse in tremendous implosions that cause huge bursts of pressure waves in the area, causing large scale destruction.
Two more waves of crystals go after the figure followed by a spear of light. Meanwhile Obi and Akami seem to be much further away than they were before.
Without warning, the shade of Kado flickers and is gone, bringing their sword down on Akami, barely stopped by an arrow shot from Kyomu, who appears close by to the two.
"Hey, you're leaving openings defensive wise, I appreciate the help. Just make sure you keep it to where I don't have to overcompensate and we'll be fine." She surges forward and the two begin to duel, Kyomu's performance seems to have risen dramatically in the few moments she wasn't fighting, and now in spite of the opponent's technique, and Drei's boosts, she seems to be at the same level of performance if not exceeding.
Their clashes begin to deform the terrain from the shockwaves, and red markings begin to appear on the shade as what appears to be a faint scowl appears.
Don't worry about my defense, they're already layered in it. Drei's voice echoes in Kyomu's head. Let me know if you need supporting fire while I get more defenses up.
Kyomu begins to land harder and harder hits, before finally the shade is forced back, and appears to stagger briefly. The robe falls open, and their unmarked chest is seen, before seven sword puncture wounds, completely unrelated to the attacks Kyomu had made, appear on their chest, and cause them to look at the wounds, which causes a psychotic wrath to appear in their expression, flickers of a man being impaled by seven individuals, the most notable being Shinwa herself, appear in everyone's heads.
Without warning, the shade howls in rage as a massive pillar of negative energy erupts from them and darkens the sky with its heavy presence, causing red lightning to flash, and once more, darkness closes around them, only far denser and thicker in scope than before.
When the darkness disperses, it doesn't completely disappear, instead taking the form of a towering armored
demon of darkness, with twin versions of Rūn'ejji appearing in its hands, though colossal in scale. A dark, ominous breath echoes from the figure, as the flickering of red negative spirit brands appear and disappear throughout the form.
...Dark Phoenix? How is he able to manifest that ability? ...This might be trouble, Kyomu says as the towering demon form lets out a slash that cleaves the landscape and causes mountains to form where flat wastes stood, and causing great unevenness in the terrain.
She breathes for a moment. Right... ...if he's able to do this much, I'll have to begin using my Phases to keep up.
She begins to charge a large amount of energy. I'm sorry, but I need to adjust myself, make sure I don't get hurt, and maximize your protection of the targets. We can't let them die to this thing, especially before I can get powered up to counter it.
Sin Buster. The area fades in color as pillars of divine light crash down on and around the being.
Light seems to gather on Kyomu and the others.
Hyper Accelerator. The now colorless environment now glows a myriad of colors, each vibrant and bright. Occasionally what appears to be a flaming cat with a sword in its mouth can be made out in outline form.
"Vacuum." The light bends and is pulled into a dark singularity, shortly after which it sprouts an extra hand which lobs a dark sphere into the ground, splitting into many smaller circles which spin and whirl across the ground toward the cat, Akami, and Obi. Meanwhile, it sheathes its swords and places its hands on the hilts, entering a stance similar to earlier.
As the light bends into singularity, the singularity itself warps and distorts as more light pours into it, more than the pillars would have suggested being composed of. Even more pillars crash down onto the being, this time seeming to form a ring around it. Around said ring forms a small band of light, keeping the singularity from consuming all of the light while roughly containing the being as the words "Saint Buster" echo in the area. Meanwhile, the vague shape of the cat from before seems to slash the air, forcibly drawing the circles towards it. Those that aren't pulled toward the cat instead meet what appears to be an invisible web of light that warps and bends, but swiftly dissolves the orbs. Elsewhere, a mass of iridescent light and flame erupts from the ground, revealing a spectral tiger of sorts the size of the being, with ivory white fur and cyan stripes. An old curved blade burning white rests in its mouth as intelligent sapphire eyes narrow at the circle of light, the tiger shifting into what appears to be a sword stance as iridescent light is shed from its fur.
Oddly, the shade's Dark Phoenix elects to let go of its hilts, and instead sits down, becoming far slimmer, its horns changing from an aggressive form, to a more submissive appearance. The red spirit brands seems to fade for a moment. A silver light seems to gleam from the Dark Phoenix, and what appear to be stars glisten in its figure. The hostility in the air has changed toward an impartial force, but still bares a heavy intent. The shade appears to be medatating, but the purpose of this isn't clear. The light around it seems to not be bothering it anymore, but it doesn't stop regardless.
The dark spheres drawn toward the small cat erupt in gigantic shadow blades kilometers across, before disappating.
"Ah, you're quite strong. But you seem to have no clear understanding of why you're using it. That strength is meaningless. I don't know who sent you, but you will not disrupt my desire to fade. If you insist, however, I will insist on denying you."
"Hm, I'd disagree but from your perspective you likely see nothing but mismatching force focused on the area as opposed to the bigger picture," echoes the cat's voice from both the surroundings and the tiger. The being notices that the cat's voice has remained the same the entire time, as does Kyomu, impartial and cold as if ultimately something more pressing is there for them as opposed to the current issue. "That being said... No, any more is unnecessary at this juncture."
The small cat fades and reappears elsewhere, mimicking the tiger's stance.
How much longer? I'm close to needing to switch drives.
Kyomu's form has shifted into a fairly large white dragon. Thank you for the assist. I gathered enough strength to transition. You can fall back if you wish, I have a suspicion they are about to retaliate with force as well. Thankfully I'll be better able to handle them.
Noted. It's incomplete but, here. An ominous aura suffuses Kyomu. It doesn't strengthen her like the other auras have, but instead it seems to draw an unknown something into her, pooling power and presence yet emptiness and oblivion around her.
An odd black and silver aura flickers around her in response. Meanwhile, the meditating shade seems to shrink into a human sized entity yet the density of the darkness as well as its strength has doubled. Meanwhile, a silver light blasts the entire area as a cresent moon appears in the sky, disintegrating the light. The shade slowly stands in this light, a dark orb hovering behind them, which emits a black light. The figure possesses eight arms on each side, and shifts into a combat stance.
The negative spirit brands flare again, but no signature red energy appears, only a solid black with a tint of silver can be seen, this seemingly a perfected harmony of negative power and the user, with the effect being a total tranquil mind with pure undistilled raw negative force, a total contradiction yet harmony. The shade appears to be able to do this with significantly little effort at all.
"I may have to take you even a remotely bit seriously..." He remarks as suddenly thousands of blows between him and Kyomu are exchanged, terraforming the landscape drastically, yet despite faint blurs of movement, neither seem to actively most from their positions aside from randomly different combat stances as the onslaught between them continues. This goes on for about a minute before Kyomu swoops down and has the shade inbetween her jaws. At this point Drei is able to notice his center hands are together, while the other arms are barring the ability to close her mouth.
With a flicker of movement, a silver-black burst dislodges him from her mouth, and the arms not already occupied begin various martial arts attacks deflecting further attempts, until finally Kyomu flies up high, and begins to charge a sapphire colored sphere of energy.
The shade takes a readying stance, still performing the gesture with his central hands.
Oi, pour everything you have into that. I'm going to Link to you and Channel the real reason I gave you that mantle.
The tiger rushes the being, an army of ethereal cats joining it in what appears to be a prismatic sphere of energy from afar. The closer the tiger and its army gets the brighter they become until they become nearly blinding.
Drive Shift: Equilibrium to Divinity Shard.
Kyomu feels as if her and Drei are synched, rapid calculations racing through her mind before resolving themselves just as quickly. She quickly understands that the Sin Buster and Saint Buster from earlier were stages of a technique, flashy in appearance but deadly once the final stage was reached. The steps after the two busters seem to be muddled but the end result is clear: a titanic yet simple and swift blow that could either cleave the world from its spirit or fell the strongest of beings if they could not block it or reject it, yet the name of this technique also eludes her.
Instead she notices that the tiger and the other cats, while material are nothing more than summoned constructs connected to the array of defenses surrounding Obi and Akami, each one containing what appears to be a strengthening component to the defense network, making them grow more elaborate as they dissipate. The real Drei seems to be merged with her, but able to freely manipulate the various ongoings and constructs they placed around the area. Lastly, Kyomu realizes that the real Drei is channeling and refining energy within the sapphire sphere while essentially magnifying the defenses around Obi and Akami to the point where an explosion catalysing all life and matter on the planet into greater power would leave them unscathed even if the subsequent lack of oxygen and near instant depressurization that followed would kill them.
Drei, we're trying to capture, not destroy it. I don't think that's quite necessary to go that overboard...
They hear Shinwa's voice soon after Kyomu speaks. Just a little longer. Empower the beam if you wish, as Dark Phoenix is deceptively strong, especially in that condensed stage, but an Origin is incredibly delicate, we can't afford to do damage we can't replace. ...Watch out for what comes after the construct is gone, however.
So you knew this would happen, Kyomu accuses Shinwa.
Yes, consider it a test. You need to work on your teamwork, I figured my little brother's original power would be more than capable of pushing you. Shinwa ignores Kyomu's tone. Try not to let 'The World' overwhelm you too much.
What is that supposed to mean?! Kyomu barks, but Shinwa is already gone again.
As the cats approach, a huge blot of shadow stretches out from the shade and towards the cats, even stretching up toward the sky. The blot divides countless times, forming thousands of tall shadowy knights several times taller than the cats, who line up in a phalanx position, while the skyward shadows form huge shadowy armored dragons which begin to assault both the large cat and Kyomu herself, causing her to begin taking evasive measures.
They think a moment the image of a skeleton version of the construct flickers in their heads.
The hells are you going on about? That's the reason I was handling the rapid calculations, else we'd have another hole through creation- Ah right, potential and literal scale not intention is transmitted. Despite that, Drei seems nonplussed. Feels like a a distraction, you focus on dodging, I'm already partioning off something to watch your six.
The tiger retaliates swiftly, hurling the blade upwards while the cats around it launch theirs towards the wall or sky as well. The tiger then roars, causing the light gathered in the blade to detonate in a flash of light and heat so great that the air itself ignites and a loud earthshattering sound replaces the flash as air rushes in to fill the gap created. Meanwhile some of the cats undergo a transformation into more lynx and lion-like forms whereas the others remain simple cats, more blades having replaced the launched ones.
Under the cover of the light detonation, the construct disappears, and Kyomu thinks to look up just as the construct slams an open palm on her back, and a systematic flush via chi threatens to push Drei out. Just as quickly, a large barrage of chi strikes are launched in rapid succession, quickly knocking Kyomu to the ground, and just as quickly, the construct is back in its place, its eight open palms glowing with chi. The center arms and hands have remained together.
"You think I didn't notice?"
As the strikes connect, the being notes that there seems to be a weaker impact than there should be, far weaker in fact. It also notes that its arms are burning, a sign of chi disruption and feedback.
Fair enough, but not good enough. Flow.
The being feels that something is off the moment it hears that word. The glowing environment starts to rapidly shift then blend until the area shifts into what appears to be a sigil carved from crystal. The being learns rapidly, as if information was forced into its head, that this sigil is Divine Ruination, one born from retribution. It is currently inactive, but so long as its caster remains, it cannot be dispelled.
Ninefold Gates of Creation, Flow Forth. Triad Gate of Destruction, Flow Forth. Ten twinkling lights akin to stars slowly burn into existence, each glowing with an uncomfortable, uncanny intensity.
Oi, get up. I 'ate' your share of the damage so you should be fine. I also flushed the external chi from your body. Now get ready, else he'll do something stupid and you won't be fine.
The effect seems to only apply to the construct, which seems to shatter, and immediately after, the shade rises, but isn't in the least bit phased.
If anything, there is a shade of amusement on its face. "A sigil that cannot be dispelled? Tell me, one from another space, what you realistically think such a notion affords you?" A sickly, yellow light begins to emit from the shade, distorting the sigil and all of the defenses Drei has in place.
Static begins to flicker about its form, but it is very much not like the kind expressed when it was unstable. Two lights, a blue and red manifest at its feet.
The two lights form into two humanoids of incredibly small stature, only going up to the shade's knee. Masks form on both, and soon the red is a black haired child with a single red glowing eye out of one eyehole, wearing black robes, while the other is a female, with longer white hair and a single blue glowing eye out of another eyehole, opposite to the red's. She seems to wear a flowery dress.
The combination of the two and the yellow aura send an odd, threatening air through the air.
The Sigil surprisingly enough doesn't change, if anything a faint glow originates from it. The being notes that the off feeling seems to have gotten worse with the glow. The odd lights Drei called also begin to glow brighter.
Ah right, Sigils are just symbols here with a meaning associated, not the same as they are elsewhere, too bad.
Kyomu notices dozens of calculations going on at the same time. Drei seems to have something big in store.
"Indeed, too bad: you could have blocked this if you weren't doing those puny calculations."
A massive pulse of power bursts from the three as the Sigil and all of the defenses are struck with what seems to be pure Annihilation, the very groundwork of Drei's techniques had been nullified in an instant.
The two children have disappeared, and instead an incredibly womanly version of the shade stands in its place. Long snow white hair, gentle gold eyes with long white eyelashes, and a frame that suggests a feminine being were it not for a subtle discrepancy in form that faintly denotes them as male in the chest. Otherwise, Drei could have been utterly fooled into thinking it was a woman.
Soon after this change, blue spirit brands appear on their body.
"You will have to try far harder than paltry magics like that to stop me." The voice that comes is the shade's, but womanly to a point the distinction cannot be made. "Creative, but utterly lacking in subtly. You lost as soon as I noticed it with Retsagar. Too bad for you... ...meanwhile the tricks up my sleeve are..."
They pause, noting a disturbance behind Drei and Kyomu.
Sorry I am late. Shinwa's voice rings out.
The shade narrows their eyes at the voice.
"...I see now. That's what game you were playing."
Drei, thank you for your assistance. I can take over from here.
I can finally stop being the flashiest of flashy? Good. I was getting annoyed.
"Regardess of your perception, playing the role of defense and distraction works so long as the opponent falls for it. Else do you really believe you'd have seen the world jumble up in color so much, among things," says the cat through an unseen medium, neither smug nor triumphant, their tone the same.
I'll be moving the manchild and the other now.
The shade no longer can sense the cat, as if it were never there, nor can it sense Obi or Akami.
Shinwa arrives, decked in battle armor, but between this and Akami and Obi's presence disappearing, the shade's presence distorts and becomes unstable just like it had originally.
"I have... ...own ambition... ...you... ...will not stop me." And with that, the Origin flickers violently before disappearing.
Shinwa blinks, and there is a long silence, after which, the planetoid that Kyomu had teleported Drei, Obi, and Akami too explodes in a colossal blast of Oblivion, a gaping hole in reality that just as quickly closes, but leaves behind a deep, powerful aura of wrath and frusteration in the area for the next few weeks.
Kyomu floats in the aftermath, surprised by the outburst, though unharmed. "...Well, we have work to do, I guess." She says, disappearing as well.
...I think I'll borrow Vulkas' shower again.
Heirs of the Void 006: The Child King Edit
Nobuyuki appears to Vulkas abruptly. "Your next target is in the city. It seems neither the Doctor nor cat thought it prudent to keep a close eye on such a fragile mind. I'm transmitting the location now."
He nods and thinks for a second, quickly adjusting his clothes out of habit. "Yes, I understand."
According to Nobuyuki's data, the target is somewhere toward the center of the city, at the top of a series of buildings, apparently on a balcony. There seems to be only a few approach options.
He thinks for a moment, astrally shifting as close as he can get to find the best way to approach the situation.
He appears in the area, though there's an odd feeling, as though he's being watched. The faint sound of rustling chains emits from the building in front of him. Faint red mist shrouds the area.
He stops in his tracks for a second, narrowing his eyes and placing various white glowing sigils across his body, before slowly entering the building.
The faint sound of chains is at the same volume, just barely within audible levels. Faint whispers can be heard. He is confronted with a stairway going up to the right, center, and left.
He takes note of the chains, narrowing his eyes for a moment as he looks over the various stairways, listening in a little more intently to the chains and whispers before doing anything.
While difficult to discern at first, the sound seems faintest from the center and left staircases, and seems more intense toward the right.
He nods, turning to the right staircase and slowly making his way up there, keeping his guard up all the while.
As he begins to climb the staircase, the sound of the chains grow increasingly louder and the red fog thickens intensely.
"Why must everything be so unsettling..." He sighs, continuing to hone in on the origin of the chains as he walks.
He is soon shrouded in red fog to the point he can't see, and he feels a distinct malicious presence in the room ahead.
He flares himself up in an aura of positive energy to both protect himself and to disperse some of the fog around him.
A deep growl emits immediately afterward and from the fog not cleared away comes a large red chain that strikes him in the chest, causing a burn. It immediately retracts into the fog, which clears, revealing a mysterious robed figure wrapped up in chains, most notably, there is a point where the chains enter the chest, in an X formation. Six loose chains glowing red twist and weave like snakes, all pointed at him.
It's clear that the source of the malice was from this entity. Before he can make any moves, chains appear and seal up all exits. He is now trapped inside with the entity, which begins to hover in a circle around him.
>threat 003< : Siege of the Yellow King Edit
Inside the Negative Space, Akami and Obi wake up in an endless darkness. A faint chill alerts them to the presence of someone sitting nearby, when Akami looks, it is Shinwa, mere feet away, eyeing them quietly.
"Ah, you woke up did you? It seems we're in a predicament. I'll need you to cooperate with me for now on, if you want to remain alive. But first: take my hand, Akami."
Shinwa extends her hand, as though to offer a handshake.
"Before I do anything, will you tell us what the hell all that was?" Akami asks "I dont know who or what that was supposed be."
"It looked like Kado." Obi says
"But it...Couldnt be him... I...He died...Him and Echo..." Akami says with sadness building in her voice
"Then maybe he aint dead. Askin questions wont alway give you answers. But if there os a possibility it is him, then this is a chance you cant pass up. I dont why you feel the need to make it up to 'em, but if that is him then you go do whatever can for him. And that means going with her. And not just him, you got brothers and sisters that need you at home. I know you just got outta shit not too long ago, but it you got a little ways to go until youre out. If you still got it in you, then you go tough it out." Obi tells Akami facing away from her
Akami is confused "Are you not coming?"
"Unless you can tell me why I need to come along, then I will" Obi responds
"Uuhhh...Strength in numbers?" Akami says questioningly "I mean, I dont see why shouldnt come with. Why shouldnt he come along?" Akami turns to ask Shinwa.
"You're not going anywhere, I need you to take my hand," Shinwa says, keeping her tone impartial. "Yes, you could say that was Kado. But not the one you're familiar with. It's... ...it's like this. Imagine the universe as a program, and we are all pieces of data. Now imagine your consciousness, body, and soul are all surface level, and below that is the true you. The hard data that the universe remembers. His body consumed, his mind taken, and his soul transfigured, yes. But the data remains.
You encountered possibly the truest expression of who Kado used to be, albeit a slightly distorted version. It came after you because of the strength of the relationship with Kado you had, and the constant invoking of his name recently. I will explain further, but only if you take my hand."
Akami sighs. " Okay." She reaches out amd takes Shinwa's hand
On contact, a powerful, scorching shock surges through Akami, as a red mist pours out of her and disappears.
"I forgot to mention this might hurt- -a lot. Well, it's over now, so no use regretting the past. You had a nasty bug inside you- -I simply elected to swat it as hard as I could. That would be 'thank you ma'am', by the way." She helps Akami to her feet, though Akami feels dizzy and drained.
"You'll feel better in a few minutes. Anyway, now that he took notice of you, Kado's Origin will be persistantly hunting you. As you witnessed, that isn't something you'll live through, especially not without help. Hence, why you are inside this nice deep dark bubble where he can't find you. It's here you're staying until we can muster another attempt at catching him. Then, you'll make yourselves useful and catch his attention- -a specialty of yours, Obi.
That's all I require of you. Well, that and keeping 'it' safe for me while I take care of an intruder who is inbound. If you need your 'family' taken care of, don't worry about it. With these eyes, there's almost nothing that I can't keep tabs on, so consider them safer than any vault you could build with mortal hands, in my care."
Akami pants some as she recovers. "Before I thank you...What is it that you did?"
"I told you. I swatted an annoying infectious bug, like you would with a fly zapper."
"As in a literal bug was inside of me?" Akami asks still confused
"No, like a corruption. I was keeping my descriptions simple. A powerful being that exists beyond the scope of your reality implanted you with its corruption. Don't you remember how that one being turned you into a dragon, and enslaved you to its will? That corruption never left your body. And it was growing inside you like a tumor, slowly shaping you into a perverse version of yourself, a thrall that would obey its every command. Now do you understand?"
"Huh....Thanks for getting rid of that for me." Akami says easing up some more "And thanks for having my family covered."
"I am only doing this because that is what Kado would have wanted. I have little patience for your 'family' but that is not what determines my actions. Remember that. Now, I am going to need you to follow her."
The woman that had shielded the two appears.
"I mean I don't care why, just thanks anyway." Akami says as she makes her way over to the woman
The woman motions for Obi to follow.
Obi waits for moment before heading over to where the woman is.
Without a word, she begins guiding them through a dense darkness, Shinwa soon fades into darkness, as a threatening presence begins to manifest in her direction.
"She will be fine. Follow me." The woman intones.
" We weren't worried" Obi says
"Who are you by the way" Akami asks
"I doubt it matters, Akami. Its not like we're gonna see anyone we see here again" Obi says
Akami reminecses on evergone she had met while traveling with Kado. She doesnt remember all their names, if she recalls any being given. Their all gone now. Just like everyone she had met in her years of life. And just like them, they all will be just a memory. Unwanted memories as a remeinder of her entire life.
"Right. Nevermind. Its better that I dont know." Akami says with a tinge of pain in the back of her mind
"Kyomu. My name is Kyomu. Bonds no matter how small are important, girl. Don't ever look away from them. They are part of what defines you. Looking away is the same as abandoning those people."
They begin to arrive in a large 'space' with a single occupant inside: a female wrapped in cloth strips that enclose her entire body, leaving only her cream colored hair visible. Akami knows them instantly, as she could never have forgotten about Kado's fate and what became of him.
Akami looks at the female for a moment, her eyes slightly widened. She takes a few small steps foreward before shes stopped by Obi who has his arm stretched out in fron of her.
"Dad...Its him..." Akami says almost spaced out
Obi slolwly looks over to Akami with a stange look of confusion on his face. He looks back at the female, then back to Akami. Then looks back at the female, then back to Akami again. "Y-you meaaaaaaaaan? Obi says searching for affirmation of some sort.
"Kado..." Akami says almost breatheless
Obi is still looking confusedly at Akami before shifting his eyes sharply away, then recomposes himself. "Look child, I'm not sure if grievin' made ja' blind or what have you, but that ain't Kado. Dat's a girl...If im not mistaken"
"Ace..." Akami responds
"Ooooh yeaaaa, Ace! I totally r'member now. Yea...D'ose were sum good times" Obi says noding his head with a smile as he reminesces on the day before Christmas he spent with her. He begins to hum the "Good Times" theme.
Kyomu stops. "Let's stay away from it for now. Also, while techincally correct, it is more accurate to say that Kado's soul was sublimated into one, namely, Ace, and bonded with another soul, compatible with its own, the goddess Kukyo. In order to make the bond permnenant, they were bound together by the energy of the inhabitants of Echo and the realm itself. So yes, that is Kado. Fused with the gods, people, and realm of Echo itself. Transformed into a being that exists to serve a dark master as its vessel."
As she says this, a vast field of red fog swirls around the restrained being in cloth. "Even now they seek to repossess their prize."
"Why did you bring us to here?" Akami says still looking at the female
"Because he was close to you, and you to him. I figured you would want to see how he has fared so far. See him again, something like that. Plus, this space is under attack. The enemy is too dangerous for you two, and we can't leave it unguarded."
"I didn't even know he was alive...But he isn't like any I've met in my life, or any I didn't know for too long..." Akami says
"So, we wait here or is there someplace else you need to take us?" Obi asks
"We are waiting here." She releases a pulse of energy that counteracts the red fog. "The space should be safe again, at least for now. Feel free to wander if not get a little closer, if you'd like, but I don't reccomend touching. That might end badly."
Akami to take small steps towards the female, as Obi simply watches her make her way towards the female
Kyomu merely sits down and watches them, while faint muffled explosions can be heard far away from the beginning battle. Akami can see that the wrapped cloth glows faintly blue from this distance.
Akami makes it to wear she's standing several feet away from the female. Here eyes narrow some in dreariness and regret. She knows he's been told she shouldn't look back on the past...But she can't. She knows she can't. Here best and her worst days lie back there. They are what built her. Molded her. Obi once told her "Only through pain, do we learn." He said he learned that well before he knew right from wrong. She's been hurt alot of ways throughther life. From knowing violence, from knowing greed, from knowing hatred, from knowing bullets, from knowing lies, from knowing betrayal. From knowing fate All she had learned first hand. And she strived to be stronger than any of that, to better than that. And for awhile, everything got easier. Her mind was sharper, she could defend herself and others, and she was going to bring peace through unity..Until she took on a challenge she wasn't ready for...She realized she had deluded herself. All her years wisdom, training, and dreaming, ended up not being enough...Because she failed him...And seeing him now...Is just a remeinder of what she had witnessed that day. Akami can feel her eyes begin to water some as she looks down at the ground in shame.
"I'm sorry...Truely I am..." Akami then turns around and heads towards Obi, whose squating down. He sees Akami and stands straight up. She stops in front of him, still looking down. "Dad...I should be happy...But I'm not...I don't know why..."
Obi doesn't say anything. He doesn't know how to answer. Well, no, his answer would be undoing his prayer,so its best he doesn't answer. He'd rather the child cry it. That's all they could do. He still doesn't understand what was so special about the boy that she would have herself feeling this way. Then again, Akami had lowkey attachment issues, so that was to consider. All he cand do, is do what he's always done for his child: Obi wraps his arms around Akami and holds her.
Akami wraps her arms around Obi tightly, almostas if she was about to fall over.
For a while there is silence, but then...
Akami... The faintest of female voices whispers in Akami's mind, as faint as a soft breeze.
Akami squints her eyes as hears it but wasnt quite sure if she was just hearing things
Akami... The voice is more insistent and louder in her head.
Akami lets go of Obi and slowly turns around to look at the female. "H-hello?" Akami says in her head
It's me... ...Ace.... I need.... ....your help... The voice says again, this time she can pick up Ace's tones in the voice.
Akami's eyes widen "Ace? Ace?! Tell me! Whatever it is you need me to do, I can do it!"
I need to get out of this body... it's... it's crushing me... please... ...come here...
Akami rushes back over to where the female is in no time flat "Okay, I'm here."
"Akami what are you doing?! Get away from it!" Kyomu yells.
I need you... I need you to pull the bandages off my face... Can I ask a favor?
"What?" Akami asks
Please... pull the bandages off, and then would you hug me...? I want to... to see you...
Akami reaches for her bandages but before she can touch one she his suddenly and forcefully pulled back, which causes her to fall backwards. She looks up to se Obi standing to her side
"Chi-eeeeeeld, whatthehelldoyathinkyadoiiin!" Obi says in a furiously irritated tone
"It's Ace, Dad! I heard her! She needs my help!" Akami protests
"Yea, for you to be her foot stool again!" Obi responds
"Dad, you just said if there was any opportunity for me to help Kado in anyway, I should take it!" Akami says
"The Irish lady over there also said, "Don't. Touch"! Why she ain't stop you yet is beyond me, but you ain't going any further than here! Cause what's happening here is that she's taking advantage of your grief! You're so adamant on fixing your mistakes that you're willing to incapacitate yourself and everyone else involved!"
Akami turns her head to look at Kyomu "Ms. Kyomu, please! You have to let me help Ace!"
Her only response is to fire a blue energy arrow past Akami and into a strip of cloth that had been about to wrap Akami up, the arrow dissolves it before it can do so.
"If you want to help Ace and Kado, then do as my lady says, and keep away from that thing. It isn't a person, it's like the loud one says, it's taking advantage of you. That isn't Ace anymore."
Akami looks at the female again and sighs sadly.
"Come here." Obi says as he grabs the back of Akami's dress and drags her away from the female
"My apologizes, Dad." Akami says
"You need to yor head, child. You are a leader. And a key thing a leader must have is sound judgement. It ain't sound if your 'motions are numbing your common sense." Obi says as he lets go of Akami's shirt
"Emotions are important, and self control are also important. You cannot dismiss either."
Kyomu looks toward the sounds of the battle, as though concerned.
"Who are they fighting now?" Akami asks
"...A powerful enemy, and I'm not sure what the outcome will be."
"Who are you worried for?" Akami asks