The savage west of Echo, once filled with deserts, plains, and savannas, now nonexistence and forever lost due to the crisis that plagued the universe, and sundered Echo utterly from reality. This Roleplay Page is closed.
The Savage West
A harsh wind blows on the vast white sands of the West Lands of Echo, the harsh desert sun burning across the plains. In the far distance, Kalin can see a vast outcropping of rock, one that must stretch miles high, and from corner to corner of the horizon. He can sense a great many beings living there, all attuned with the powers of natural energy, the elements. Closer to him, but still a great distance away from him, a figure made of stone emerges from a large stone, its eyes glowing faintly yellow, watching Kalin.
Kalin: *stares at the creature* Hey there. You're name wouldn't be Rocky now, would it?
"I don't find that tone of yours particularly funny, outsider. What is your business in the lands of the Element Clans?"
" I'm not fond of your voice either, but do you see me complaining? As to why I'm here... I wish to learn from your people."
The eyes of the being narrow. "First you mock me for having a body of stone... since we're on that subject, I should mock you and call you Fleshy. Is it funny now? I would think not. Regardless, you do that and expect us to teach you our powers, after such crude disrespect? The earth is patient, the earth gives life, but it does not forget. It is also unforgiving. It is said that the young cub who taunts the rattlesnake is the first to be bitten, first to die. It serves a reminder and a lesson to the other pups that such reckless behavior can lead to their own demise."
Kalin sighed with impatience. "Enough with your damned euphemisms. I have little time to have you question me. Either let me through, or prepare for trouble."
"I am no gatekeeper. I came here out of curiosity. But you will not enter without our people's consent. Those who do not respect the earth shall be given no respect. Though if you wish to try, you may attempt to speak with the Guardian. All must be judged before entry. No exceptions, not even one such as yourself, an aetherborn/netherborn." The elemental crumbles and blows away into sand, leaving only the vast wall of stone off in the distance.
Kalin continues to walk towards the valley on the horizon, a determined expression on his face.
When he comes to the face of the cliff, there appears to be no entrance, just a massive wall of stone, save for what appears to be a massive statue engraved engraved in the cliff face.
A loud rumble occurs as the statue suddenly starts moving, and it bends over at looks at Kalin, its massive eyes dwarfing him.
"Who are you to come to this land, and what is thine purpose? We know all of those who are born of the Earth, and we have not seen thee before."
"Kalin, denizen of Twilight. My purpose is to learn about the elements of nature from your people...I feel like I've said this once before."
"What is your purpose in acquiring power? We only teach those who respect the lives of the innocent, and uphold the honor of a warrior. We have no place for savages."
"Wow...not even a minute, and you're judging me. Whatever. I want...I need to get stronger in order to protect those to whom I have promised my power. In particular, one of your own."
"One of our own? Whom do you speak of?"
"...Didn't think you'd call my bluff like that, to be honest. Does the name Caess ring any bells? You know, tall, cold, Elemental Terror? Anyone like that?"
The guardian rumbles. "Caess of the Elemental Terrors is an enemy and scum to the ears of all honorable elementals. Are you some sort of agent of the 8?" Its tone seems more aggressive.
Kalin: "Oh. Well...that sucks. But, as cool as that title sounds, I am not an "agent of the eight". I AM an agent of justice and, believe me, good or no, Caess deserves justice, as do all those affected by Phoenix, and their apparent extermination plan."
The guardian seems to stir aggressively. It appears to be readying a punch, when a voice rings out. "That's enough, Guardian." A man with a grey beard looks down on them from the top of the wall. He looks down on Kalin with an impartial expression. "You may let him through."
Kalin steps around the guardian quickly, a smirk on his face. "Saved by the bell. And I mean you, not me. Have a nice day, don't fall off a cliff...or do, either is fine with me." He walks up the stairs to meet the man standing there. "Nice to meet you."
"I am the Earthlord of the Earth clans. You are Kalin... it is clear to me that you seek training in the elements... even though you lack the spirituality to match."
"I'm plenty spiritual," Kalin said, before shifting into his light and dark forms before returning to normal. "See?"
"That isn't what I meant. You have plenty of power, but none of the spirituality to understand it. You have power, but in the hands of a fool, the only thing power brings is destruction. Destruction to the wielder and those he cares about. You carelessly flaunt the 'greatness' of your strength, yet you, a aetherborn/netherborn, you still lost to an enemy with a lesser heritage. Would you like to know why you lost the battle that cost Caess's freedom?"
He closes his eyes. "Those who do not fear their power lose themselves and bring only disaster and ruin. To themselves and everyone else. Those who fear their power use it wisely and understands how their power affects themselves and the world around them. The elements are not mere tools to be wielded recklessly. They are a dual force. Creation, Destruction. They go hand in hand to give life... and to take it away."
For a moment, Kalin's mouth hangs open, a snarky comment on the tip of his tongue. He then thinks better of it, and closes his mouth. "I understand that concept more than you realize. At this very moment, I am agonizing over the fact that I not only refused to know my own strength, but the strength of others..." Falling to his knees, Kalin sobbed. " I cannot let it happen again. So, whatever it takes, I beg you, please help me."
The man opens his eyes slowly. "That is the first key principle of Earth. Understanding ones flaws, accepting humility. A common misconception is that the earth is static. Unmoving. Unchanging. This is faulty logic. As we speak, the whole of the earth shifts and adjusts. Many countless cracks and faults run through its vast depths. At times there are mighty holes and caverns. Even in a seemingly solid rock, each has its individual grains and seams. Just like you. While you have strengths that all can see, deep down you have cracks and holes where the enemy can pry open and tear down your foundations. With the proper understanding, they can simply exploit one flaw and bring you to a decisive defeat. You experienced it first hand."
"I thought...I said I would protect her. Protect both of them. And I failed. I failed them..."
The Earthlord walks down stairs, towards a large city of stone. "Yes, but you can always try again. Perseverance is important. If you just crumble and allow your enemy to beat you down, you've already lost. You came here looking to correct your faults. That in and of itself is good. For you, we will try with a common example of easily shapeable Earth." He walks down all the way, and picks up a handful of sand. "Sand is one of the most basic forms you can learn to control, but like any form of Element, it has many distinct properties different from your standard Earth element."
"What do I need to do?" Kalin said, not completely recovered from his moment, but calm enough to learn what he needed to.
"You know of Sedimentary rock, yes? It is the most common, and of the three types, is not as well bonded. Sandstone is a common example. How does mere sediment become solid rock?"
"It...dries. When sediment is dried of water, it becomes rock."
"That is a simple way to put it, yes, but it does often form in riverbeds. However, without an additional element to the mix, dry sediment is just that. Dry sediment. Dirt doesn't just become rock by drying after being wet. It requires some force. Now, the thing with elemental Earth, is that it's not about the rocks as a whole. It's about controlling every particle and grain. In order to move solid rock, you must first move the individual grains as one movement. Hence we start with sand."
"Okay..." Reaching an arm out to allow his energy to flow through the ground, Kalin closed his eyes in concentration. Slowly, sand began to gather beneath his hand, building up for a moment before exploding. The dirt caused a small cloud to appear, making Kalin cough slightly. "Damn it!"
"Patience, Kalin. What's important is careful gradual control over every particle. You must be able to make the sand work as one unit, rather than separate forces against their will."
He raises his hand, and sand blows up from the ground, and drifts like a cloud around the Earthlord's arm. "Try to sense the individual grains, the more you can control individually the stronger the control on the bonds you can retain in more structured forms of earth. Focus on calming and stilling your mind, be impartial to your emotions and focus on the unity you desire to bring upon the grains of sand and your own mind."
"I'll try... Okay, start simple." Kalin said as he reached out again. After a moment, a single grain of sand rose up to his hand. Kalin focused harder, allowing more sand to encircle the grain, forming a tiny sphere of sand that proceeded to drop into his palm.
"Good. Try creating something larger, a cube for instance."
Raising his hand into the air, Kalin levitated the sphere into the air, and allowed the sand around him to raise towards the ball. The sand took the shape of a large block, faster than his previous attempt to manipulate the element. Satisfied, Kalin tried to disperse the sand once again. However, the sphere continued to grow at an alarmingly quickened rate.
The Earth Lord raises his hand, and the sphere explodes in a cloud of dust.
"Much better. But trying going much slower. Progress is progress, but smooth and steady will prevail in this training."
"I wish I had time for that. Unfortunately, there's a war I'm attempting to end elsewhere. This journey I am on is a short lived one..."
"I see. I wish you luck, though if you wish to continue, call for me and we can resume at a later time. Even a basic understanding such as this though can come in handy. If you must leave, go with the Earth's Blessings."
"Thank you..." Kalin said, opening a gate and stepping through it without another word.Now comes the hard part...
A Black Refuge
Valeric appears on the sheer slopes of a spike like mountain, on old cracked marble steps. Below him, the steps wind haphazardly far below to a vast plain ringed by mountains, the height so enormous that Valeric can see a great stretch of desert, savannas, and plains even beyond the ring of mountains. A warm humid breeze blows, and further into this massive valley Valeric can see a dense jungle. Looking further up the mountain he sees an immense black temple made of some kind of steel that seems to suck at the light. A single massive sliding stone door appears to be the only access point. He suddenly feels spearheads poke at his neck as strange shadowy forms of humanoids appear, some Elementals and some Spirits.
"Who is the intruder?"A raspy voice echoes in his mind from the lead being, and he can tell from its thoughts that it is insane.
Van Valeric: I am Van Valeric.
"What is your purpose here?"
Van Valeric: Taking are of some children. What about you?
It looks at the seven, then growls gruffly. "This isn't a daycare-" It seems Kukyo's soul, and then let's out a venomous hiss.
"What have you done with the master?!"
Van Valeric: I've done nothing to her. It was one known as Hadari who devoured parts of her.
The being snarls, and it slams its spear into the ground, making a large echo. The temple doors swing open with a rumble, and it walks inside, and the other beings form a sort of honorguard around them, though they seem distrusting of Valeric.
Van Valeric: I suppose we wait out here. *walks inside*
The guards escort them inside, and one of the first things Valeric notices as he walks into the central chamber of the massive temple is what appears to be a Gateway.
Van Valeric: Is that how you get around?
"It is Azure Gate. The link created by the Master to the world of Earth... though shattered long ago on Earth by White... the original White. But our master made the gate ever so clever... if one remains standing... the gate can rebuild itself with but one command on the other side... we have waited for years for the return of the masters..."
Van Valeric: Hmmm...oh so clever indeed.
The being that lead them in looks over at Valeric."Touch nothing. I will lead you to the master's chambers. We will know if you wander."
Van Valeric: Don't worry about me. Stick to what you do best and I will stick to do what I wasmeantto do best.
The being walks up to a female statue and appears to caress its cheek with its head, and does for for a minute, before pausing and slowly looking back at them. "....errr.... it's the door switch. ....No really it is."
A whole minute happens, and nothing happens, and Valeric is about to speak when a secret door slides open."See! It opened!"
The being walks into the secret doorway. Saisei mutters, "I bet he's just a creep."
"I heard that!"
The being leads them into a brilliantly adorned room that looks too good for even royalty. Two female spirits with black blindfolds stand in the center of the room.
"If you require anything, they will assist you. Now if you don't mind... I must inform the clan of her lady's arrival..."He walks out, and the door closes behind him.
Van Valeric: That reminds me of a certain someone I used to know.
Kagayaki looks at Kukyo's soul, quietly looking at her."I always heard that she would come here to avoid us... when we would fight one another... this place was where she could.... try to find some manner of peace... but even this place wasn't a perfect sanctuary..."His eyes sadden.
He wearily hands her soul to Valeric, timidly so.
Van Valeric: Every mother wishes to find some peace when their children become a handful. But she no doubt still loved you. *puts forth his hands over Kukyo's soul and whirlwind of chill surround's her soul*
Kagayaki looks at him. "What are you doing?" The two attendants seem to be watching them, though not with their sight.
Van Valeric: Making her whole again.
He sits down on the carpeted floor, while Saisei walks off by himself and takes out a sheet of steel, and begins blowtorching designs into it. The others also do various things, Mikadzukikei sits and meditates, with perfect spheres of water being formed by her concentration and they slowly begin to orbit her.
Van Valeric: Process,Process, Process. I feel like things are no longer making sense. Too much. This world can only take so much at a time. It's not ready for all of this. If only...If only what?
Kaminari yawns, then looks at Saisei's metal object and slowly an impish grin crosses her face.
Van Valeric: It's coming along. A little while longer.....*shakes his head* No one told me the Flux was contagious.
Kaminari points a finger at the metal plate and an electric discharge shocks Saisei. "OW! I hate it when you do that!!!" Mikadzukikei opens an eye and glares at them.
Van Valeric: Calm down, children. If im going to restore your mother, I'm going to need focus. So please be silent until I am done.
Kitakaze and Hyōdo look at each other, and then Hyōdo creates a metal crate around Saisei, and Kitakaze creates a void where the crate is, and as the crate begins to violently rattle and bounce and jump like a demon is trapped inside trying to get out, the others quietly laugh, even Kagayaki smiles a bit as he watches Saisei violently and silently beat the living hell out of the crate in futility. They can't hear it, but they're pretty sure he's screaming something on the lines of ripping their guts out and dangling them from the Eiffel Tower.
"Problem solved." Kitakaze giggles.
Van Valeric: Children...I'm not sure who I'd prefer to watch over. Evoh or these little ones.
Kagayaki walks over to a bookshelf and pulls out a large black book, and silently begins reading.
Van Valeric: *rubs his head right quick* Several more minutes and it will be done...
One of the attendants disappear and bring a table along with food and drink, and then the two sit down next to the bed on the far wall.
Van Valeric: *head twitches* Several more minutes...It's coming along.
The children all eventually get bored and let Saisei out, just without the ability to speak still. He proceeds to chase them while they all happily outrun him with ease. Kitakaze evades him simply by jumping onto the really tall ceiling, Kagayaki dissolves into a rainbow, and Hyodo merges with the floor. After a while, Saisei gives up, but smolders bitterly. He proceeds to amuse himself by lighting the carpet near him on fire and quickly putting it out.
Van Valeric: I wonder how the boy is doing...Meh. It's hard to say.
Kagayaki finishes his book and then curiously watches Valeric.
Van Valeric: No worries. I'm almost done. Your mother will be good as new. And may even feel happiness for the first time.
"Thought you got rid of me huh...?"The voice of Void God appears in his head.
Van Valeric: Mind going away? I'm in the middle of something. I can deal with you another time.
"Not really. I am a universal concept. I mean, technically I'm everywhere. Under your foot, under the rug, whispering in your ear... oh wait, looks like I can actually move. Well, I know what I'll be wasting my time on... enjoying the sweet sensation of not standing still for thousands of years. I'll be back just as soon as I figure out where the cookies are in non existance. Hmm. I'm told by Anger that there's no such thing here... what a shame... oh! You asked me to leave. Ok. Now that I'm done distracting your mind, I'll go do that. Right now. Now."It finally leaves.
Van Valeric: One annoying concept. Few more minutes...
The seven get so bored they have a contest to see who can avoid sleeping, and it finally comes down to Saisen and Kaminari, who both stare each other down, until they both keel over and fall asleep snoring.
I bright lights shines
Van Valeric: It is done...
Kagayaki and the others eventually stir, and Kagayaki approaches Valeric, his face weary.
The light floats into the air and begins to take form
Van Valeric: *puts his hand on Kagayaki's shoulder* Don't worry, boy. Your mother will be fine now.
She takes form, and Kagayaki catches her as she falls. She doesn't appear to be awake, so he takes her to the bed and places her down so she'll be comfortable. Valeric notices her hair is still long, but now a light grey and only down to her waist. Her clothing is a white dress based off memory of the ancient style she was familiar with.
After a moment he notices towards her scalp the hair is actually black, but the outer edges of her hair are grey to light grey. Kagayaki puts a hand on her head, and bows his head slightly.
Suddenly a large black wing smacks Kagayaki in the jaw and he is knocked over and onto the floor as feathers fly into the air, and a second one appears on Kukyo's other side, and Valeric notes how they seem to teem with energy, before dulling into solid black. Eventually he notices her hair begin to grow solid black, like it was when he had met her originally.
Her face twitches, and her eyes slowly open, almost bronze in color, though dull as though she wasn't fully alert.
Van Valeric: Welcome back, Kukyo.
She blinks, confusion spreading across her face. She then turns towards him, at first a slightly angry expression burns at him, but it changes into shock and confusion as she looks at herself, and he hears her speak another language, Babylonian. "What... is this? What's happened to me?!"
Kagayaki doesn't seem to understand her, and a few of the others don't either, but some of them seem to have an indication of understanding, Kitakaze understanding perfectly.
Van Valeric: *Babylonian* You freed you of the cures that has plagued you for millenniums. *snaps his fingers* Speak now.
"...Why... Valeric... why? ...Why would you help me...?" She curls up so that her head rests on her knees.
Van Valeric: There are many things I would wish to change in my life. I guess helping you would be the start of it. Besides, your son asked politely.
"...You would have been better off just killing me in cold blood, just like the rest of humanity." She closes her eyes. "But we already had that conversation..."
Her eyes open, and the look is quite firm. "Still. I wasn't conscious the whole time but... you said in a way you considered me yourdaughter. And my children yourgrandchildren. When you go to slay my race, what's to stop Jibaku from killing me and the rest of my family? From destroying Echo, the world I gave life to, my sanctuary? Or are you going to tell him to off everyone except us?"
She bites her lip, a trickle of blood runs down her chin.
Kagayaki reaches over to her desperately. "Mother... calm down, everything is fine now... you don't have to worry anymo-" She swats his hand away and buries her head in her hands.
After a moment, "...I'm sorry...Kagayaki... you didn't deserve that..." She sobs.
Van Valeric: I am very complex man. There are things in this world you might not understand. But I do understand this: I cared and look what's come of it.
Kukyo lets out a long breath of air, and slowly gets out of the bed, her balance unsteady. She then struggles to master her wings, and tucks them against her back after a minute, then approaches Valeric. She lifts her head to look up into his face, her bronze eyes for a moment unreadable, she just stares up at him. They soften to a degree, though reluctantly.
"...Thank you... Van. ...In spite of how I feel about you... I appreciate what you've done for me. For them." She indicates the children with her head, then looks back at him.
"But understand something. A long time ago, I attempted to view what would bring my demise, if anything could. Would you like to know what I saw? I saw that my own power would lead to my destruction. I spent most of my days restricting myself and not allowing myself to regress to hate. Despite how much I wanted someone to blame, I never turned away from hope. But over time I came to understand something else Valeric. It wasn't just me. My mind's eye learned much. I saw gods fall, blinded by their power.
Look how hard I tried, Valeric. Look what I became. Look at what could have been my fate. If you hadn't freed me... I would have been destroyed... lost forever. I'm going to give you something to consider. If you're truly wise you'll heed my words. Those who fear their power will come to understand themselves and will prosper. Those who do not fear their power will come to be destroyed by their power, as well as those they care about.
You won't listen to me, fine. I understand. Better than anyone. I was almost the same way once. But do you remember what I said, that you will be defeated tomorrow?"
Van Valeric: Whether I am defeated tomorrow or not, I will not die. So let defeat come. It's not like I haven't been defeated before.
She sighs. "Whatever. Do whatever. It's clear you don't respect how I feel, I won't bother trying anymore since that's how you feel. Do you have any other business here, or are you going to go join your 'Destroy the World Club' friend?" She walks over to her bed and sits down, and sighs heavily, holding her forehead.
Van Valeric: Who said I didn't respect you? Certainly not me. Before I leave, I will give you something else. any One Answer. I will answer at least one question you always wanted to ask. Whether it be about someone or something. I will answer the one question you always wanted to know.
"...I don't even know how to respond to such a thing. ...but... for so long happiness was taken away from me... I was always denied happiness. So...I guess... how...will I find... happiness- no... how will I find the companionship I seek... the thing that can make me feel whole... I've searched for so long... but I'm still no closer to it... so... yes... how will I find it? ...Love?"
She pauses. "I already found it once in someone... but he... already belonged to another's heart. I would not dare tread upon it. ...I want to find it... for real this time."
She looks at Kagayaki. "I love you and your siblings. Never forget that. ...But while I love you... ...it is not the same love I'm searching for. ...But I won't abandon you. Always know that."
Van Valeric: Happiness will come to you, but you need to stop looking for it and live your life. Happiness can only be obtained for how you live, same with love. You looked for it too hard and that's why it was denied to you. Your life was wasting away the longer you looked. Stop spending you life looking and just live and it will come. Believe me, Kukyo. It will come to you one day.
She closes her eyes. "You're probably right. I just don't know where to start now. The people on Earth undoubtedly hate me... as does the people of Echo... funny that is... that my own world would turn against me."
Van Valeric: *nods his head* I know where you can start. Give hope back to one who has lost it all.
Kukyo looks at him. "One who has lost it all?" She yawns, and her wings accidentally smack Suisen in the face.
"...I need to figure out how to control these things..."
Van Valeric: *lends her a dark orb with a smudged image on it* Tap it and say something.
She looks at him quizzically and taps it. "...Umm...weird?"
The sudged image glows and reveals to be a blue tulip flower
"Wha-what?...Where am I? Its dark again...I-i can here them I can heeere them...The darkness...there-there coming to pick at me again..Not again...I don't ...why?...why?...I don't understand...I could never understand...Why...why it happened...why it ALL happened...I-i can't think right...I could never think right...that's why...the world....it hated me..."
She looks down at the orb confused. "Is this... someone's thoughts?"
Van Valeric: no. this is someone's soul. This is indeed infact the last soul you devoured.
She looks back up at Valeric. "Devoured...? The last time I devoured someone was my first, and that was by accident, a few hundred years ago."
Van valeric: Oh yes. It was that Void God or whatever it was. But I held on to the soul of the water beast that fought it. You might find it rather similar. Ask it 3 questions.
She looks back at the orb and at him, then takes a seat in a chair with it. "...Are you in pain? ...You seem distressed..." She says softly.
"Pain?...I felt it my entire life...I was a mistake...a mistake made by the one who made me hated...and a mistake to my family...I was a mistake to the whole world...My heart can only take so much...when I...knew the truth......I lashed out at the world that tried to get rid of me..."
Her eyes close. "Why do you think you're a mistake?"
" I don't think...No one could help...all I've done.....I don't know anymore...it's like a vague image in my head...but i can't put it into words...Why does this always have to happen to me!"
"Can you tell me what happened to you?" The look in her eyes are saddened slightly.
"Everything...I enslaved my kind...I tried to protect my new home...but I was weak...I was always weak!...I was taken back to enslave them again, but this time they took my memories away so that I could function right...And the world slowly picked at me...away...and finally...I learned the truth of my downfall...I struck out against the world and the world struck back harder...I struck at the one person who made me hated by the world...but when i faced him....darkness...darkness consumed me and the darkness of the world started to rip me apart...and i never saw the light again...I sceamed but I knew no one cared...I was just like most...forgotten..."
She looks at Valeric. "Who is this?"
Van Valeric: I'll give you a hint. His name is a number. This number means 'grace'. Which this one has fallen from.
She looks at him puzzled. "...I know that the number five means grace... but is five his actual name...?"
Van Valeric:...you know what...j-just ask him. No one can even answer my riddles anyway.
She laughs, before looking back down at the orb. "...Hey... can you tell me what your name is? Do you remember?"
"My name......yea...I remember....I remember good and well...Jon...Jonathan Waltz...you can refer to me as 5x5....most everyone did...and I'm the man who was hated by the world..."
Kukyo's face goes incredibly pale with alarm, and her pupils shrink practically to dots. She almost drops it she is so startled.
"J- J-on..?!" She yelps aloud, before slowly her mind processes everything, andveeeeeryslowly her head turns towards Van Valeric.
"Explaination. Now." Before he can speak, she suddenly throws two daggers at him, when they both catch his sleeves, they suddenly and violently slam him against the wall and begin sparking with an energy field that immobilizes him. She draws a third which practically radiates an over all energy as though it was made for the sole purpose of killing.
"I want to know why you would happen to have this soul in your possession,Van Valeric!" She growls.
Van Valeric: Time travel. You see, I knew what was going to happen. Your encounter and the truth. I just simply needed him for just that. He's a fool to help others. He was already lost when I took him. The world has taken their toll upon him and they threw him into everlasting darkness to be ripped apart little-by-little.
She silently glares at him for a moment. "Time travel... ...you used time travel... and just... took him? So you used him against me, knowing that I know him...?" She silently gives a look to Kitakaze, who silently nods after a minute. She looks back at Valeric, then at the sphere, where her gaze holds for a moment.
"...Why have you done all of this..."
Van Valeric: He was all but lost. torn apart by the world who sought to erase him. He wanted to feel needed. to feel purpose. And I gave it to him, only for a short time however. Besides, he was the only one I knew who wold be willing to help me. And like I said, i knew you would confront me the way you did and when you chose size over matter, I simply had retort. The water beast you saw is what the world called as the Domino Effect. I simply thought he would be useful. He was...for a time. I was simply using one last broken thing before it could be qualified as useless.
She grips the knife harder. She then throws it, and it lets out a scream like a tortured soul, before cutting the energy that binds Valeric down. She then sinks into the chair, silently crying while looking at the sphere.
Van Valeric: His life mean't nothing. So, I decided to let you give him another chance...If you can. He has been broken by the world and only trust himself, but even he knows he can never accomplish anything by himself. Also, I recommend you don't tell him your name.
She lifts her head to look at him. "And why's that?"
Van Valeric: He feels that that the world has abandoned him, even God himself. He also felt that you abandoned him. After you last saw him, he never saw you again. He felt that yuo found happiness and wanted to leave everything behind. Everything including him.
"...Then I won't tell him. ...Not yet. But I will give him my name. ...Just not the one he knows." She looks down at the sphere.
"...Hey...it wasn't polite of me, but I only asked of you. If you'd like, you can ask me something if you want." She says quietly.
"...I dont know what to ask...so many questions I have you can never answer....They're foolish questions anyway..."
"While I don't know everything, I do know many things. You could say that we will have plenty of time to know each other, so don't worry about it. But still, if you want, you can ask about me, if that would be easier for you."
"....Ther is no one in this world I can trust....and even if I do get close to you...I'll end up losing you or taking advantage of my weakness.....It's all happened before..."
"I think I will be fine, Jonathon. Not many people live to tell the tale of surviving being devoured by a spirit. Twice. In the same day. And you're not the only one who has been hated by the world. Or two." She laughs lightly. "I find that it's best to ignore what the world thinks of you."
" It's so hard....when I see it so plainly...And I can feel their hate drill into my very soul...It burns..."
She sighs. She looks at Valeric. "Do you know what he's capable of? Is he still able to go into that beast form? ...Or did... the Void God strip him of even more power?"
Van Valeric: He is linked to the waters of the world. The Domino Effect gives him cotrol of all water realted substances, making him a world-ending foe. So it's best not to upset him. You should be great full that some part of him is still sympathetic to others, Which still causes his downfall.
Kukyo sighs. "What a lovely time to be mortal." Kagayaki looks at her confused.
"Don't you have any of your powers, mother?"
She rubs her forehead. "No son. I'm as meek as any normal human would be."
He frowns. "But what about those wings?"
Kukyo looks at Kagayaki. "If I knew what they were for I would tell you by now." She lets out an aggravated sigh. She quickly looks down at the orb. "Sorry that this isn't exactly a fluid conversation. I'm sort of entertaining company at the moment and my... rather rowdy children."
She stands up and looks at Valeric. "I suppose the man with big ideas might have a clue as to why a human would have wings?"
Van Valeric: Maybe it is the remanaint of you spiritual nature. I can put you inside the orb, to meet him.
"I'll ask him. I'm not one to toss myself into a potentially deadly pit of vipers."
She turns her attention to the orb. "I was actually wanting to know if we might... talk a bit more in person. You don't have to say yes if you don't want me around."
" If you must...It would be nice to atleast speak to one last person before nothingness takes me..."
Van Valeric: Take your hands and clasp the orb and think of Jonothan and it will take you to him.
She does as he says and feels the transition, and opens her eyes.
There before her eyes lies and abyss of blight and blured images of ho Jon had viewed all the events that lead up to now. 5x5 is sitting with his knees tucked in.
5x5: Are you here?...
Kukyo looks at him quietly for a moment. "Yes, I am. I'm right here." She adjusts a few strands of her black hair so that it isn't in her vision. "So many sad memories..."
'5x5 looks over his shoulder enoguh for Kukyo to look at his face. Half of the skin on his face has been torn off and he has open eye sockets which hold no eyes. He's wearing ripped and torn leather attire ad has inch-deep scatch arks all over his body. He is a bit tanted with blood and has bandges wrapped around both arms.'
'"...They'll only get sadder...don't worry...hopefully the Flux will take care of that..."'
She frowns, masking the urge to choke. "Flux?" She asks calmly. "I heard that term before. What is it?"
"...I begin to feel no emotions for my actions...and with this I question them....all I feel is a mild pain in my head...the more I ask...the mroe I forget...and soon...my memories fade...all of the....and then...after all my memeories are gone....I fade too....just like my memories..."
It isn't noticed by Kukyo, but her eye color brightens a bit after hearing that. Her eyes partly close. She scans the many memories and sees a particular face.
She says in a very low voice, "I should have guessed it was him."
"...find something useful in the salvage..?"
She opens her eyes. "He ring a bell?" She shows him an image of a clearer memory of the Admin she has.
"I can't see...the dakrness...it blinded me for so long...I'm guess I have been blind way before.."
"I see. Listen Jonathon, I know you probably don't trust me. I understand that. But I want to help you. If there is something you want to accomplish, I will help you. If there is something you want I will help you acquire it. You might ask why I would help you. The only thing I'm privy to say really is that I know more than you know. About you and the world. I walked through darkness once Jonathon. Like how you were, for a long time I was like this. Desolate, alone, hated, forgotten. But I have not grown weak. In the end, the darkness made me stronger, though the road was long and painful."
She closes her eyes. "I am Kuria Raito, the Clear Light."
" Pleased...I'm Jonothan Wlatz...most people call me 5x5..."
"Listen... I have some things I have to address, but I'll be close by, I promise. Hold out for me, will you? I'll try to help you however I can." Her bronze eyes barely disguise the turmoil raging within her.
" No need to worry...It's not like I've got anywhere to go..."
Kukyo... ...no... Kuria... if I must convince him of who I am, I must first believe myself. I am Kuria. I am no longer emptiness... I will make a new name for myself. A new future. Clear Light... that is what I will become... so that others lost in darkness have something to hold on to... the clear light that never dims...
Kuria reluctantly departs, wishing she could stay for an eternity so that she could help him heal.
Van valeric: Good. You didn't upset the boy. It is a shame that he has fallen short of the glory of God, more than all of mankind itself. I leave him in your care. Someone needs to and it certainly won't be anyone of this world.
She looks at him for a moment. "So you know... it's Kuria now. Kuria Raito. Also... I don't really have pockets or anything to go around holding a sphere like this... have a way to I don't know... give him an actual body?"
Van Valeric: Yes, I do. I can make an exact replica of the body he once had before. But I must need a memory of what he looks like.
She looks at Kagayaki, who silently nods. His eyes glow white and a image of 5x5 fizzles into being from the light.
Van Valeric: *takes the light* I see. I'll be back shortly. Wait until then. *walks into the darkness and disappears*
Kuria sighs, and sits down. She thinks quietly for a moment, then walks over to a drawer and takes out a flute. Sitting on the bed, she slowly begins to play, eventually going faster and more fluid, and the seven patiently listen to the music.
"...The flute...I remember the sound...I was givin one when I was in The 3rd Beyond...it was...a majestic instrument..."
Kuria looks over at the sphere. "Yes, I love them. I once sought out the finest flute maker in all of Echo so she could make me this one. Such a sweet girl. Sad, but sweet. When my guest gets back with the surprise I had him prepare for you, you can play it if you'd like. If you don't remember how, I can always teach you."
"...............They took it...The Captors...they took it away from me....I never played anything ele ever again after that....unless you count a gun as an instrument..."
"There are many great plagues in the worlds. Hate. Sadness. Pain. War. None of them should have to exist. Yet they do, and the strongest thrive while the weak struggle and die... ...not that you're weak. I think the opposite, actually." She plays more notes on the flute.
"....Then you couldn't be anymore wrong....cause I wouldn't be a spirit consumed by the darkness if I we're strong..my body belongs to another who is truly strong..."
She stops playing, a harsh note ending the melody. "You've confused strength with power. Failure with weakness. It's true. He had more power than you. But strength? If you weren't strong... then we wouldn't be talking right now, would we?"
"...power?...I never had that...never since I was taken from The 3rd beyond....and even after I was taken....I never used them...The only time I used them was when I...knew the truth..."
"They do say desperation and anguish can lead to poor decisions. Not that I don't blame you. I once did the same. Though as I am human you might be keen to discredit me."
"I don't know if that's why I my life has been such a pain....It probably is..."
"Not everything has to do with you. Sometimes things just happen. You have to learn to either learn how to surf or get knocked off the surfing board."
" I don't surf...but I undertsand...but you still do not understand..."
Kuria sighs. "Jonathon. I can't help you if you're going to be cryptic. When a spirit speaks, they should always be direct and open. Less communication issues. If there's something you think I don't understand, why don't you tell me instead?"
"I had no say in my existence...no choice..I was supposed to end up this way...torn up and alone in the dark...ready to fade away..."
Kuria closes her eyes. "I'm sorry."
"No...you not sorry....I am..."
Van Valeric comes back with an exact replica of 5x5's body, only that it looks different than the 5x5 Kuria remembers. He has the same face but his hair is a navy blue and has a crack-looking scar in between his eyes. The rest of his body has scar marks all over it, as if they were scratch marks. Both of his arms have stitches.
Van Valeric: i did my best to make this body. I preferred he would want the body of himself before the loss. *hands Kuria the body*
She places it on the bed, and then the seven gather around it, while Kuria puts the black sphere on its chest. The seven begin to concentrate, while orbs of their elements form beside the sphere.
....I'm weak... There isn't a way for a single one of us to do this alone.... together.... yes.... but.. ...the phases are broken... ...if only... if only I had the power to help him... ...why...... in the end I'm worthless...
Her eyes cloud with tears and she closes her eyes.
I just... ...couldn't find anything worth to protect... ...and now that I do.... I can't... ...do anything...
Van Valeric: That's why you have this chance. To do something about it. No one else would because they dont care, but you do. If you wish to find happiness and spread it abroad, you start here.
"You don' deserve to be sad...I know you must be a good person...it's just that I can't my chances...I've all but run out...I'm not worth crying over..."
Valeric feels a twinge of unease across the back of his neck, and suddenly Kuria collapses, and he senses the presence of the will of Void God.
Van Valeric: *sigh* Yes, Mr. Void God. How can I help you? It's not like I was helping a girl with wings or nothing, just standing around a bunch of unconscious bodies.
My business is not with you. I'll be brief. I am going to kill her. For good this time. She's more trouble than she's worth.
Van Valeric: Sadly, That can't happen. You can go away now.
Actually, you making her human again was probably the dumbest move you could have made. And now I'll simply destroy her. Honestly Valeric... if you knew just what kind of things she will be capable of doing... you'd be thankful.
Van Valeric: Sorry sir. Couldn't quite here you over the sound of you speaking gibberish. You mind speaking more clearly next time?
Kuria runs, but she isn't moving. The infinite blackthingis gaining.
It's not too late... become one with us again...
No! No no no! Go away!
You cannot escape us. Join or be consumed.
Please no... not again! Someone... please... ...help...
"She said no!"
The water monster appears screaching and tackles the black thing and as it does so it shines
The thing shakes him off, roaring. Red eyes gleam in the center of the mass.
You never learn... time for your final lesson.It says in a voice combining its original voice and the Admin's. It creates a scythe of pure heat and brings it down at the water beast's head.
Kuria pants heavily, as the shadow monster pulls her into her own memories, and she is running again. Running away from death. Destruction. The conquering army descends upon her with horses.So many horses. Chariots. Not the chariots.
The men grab her legs, and long black chains slowly begin to pull her towards a black void. She wildly thrashes like an animal, her form reduced to a mere child, struggling to grab onto anything, anything to keep herself from growing closer...
Water washes them into that black void and Kuria falls into a water puddle
Kuria lies there, shuddering in fear, eyes filled with fear.
The Second Chance
5x5: Get up. You're not far to reality. I nkow what it's like for you to fall into your own mind and never find a way out. How it always haunts you, but you must strive forward if you want all this to end. Valeric is waiting for you. You cannot die while you still have the rest of your life to live. Your looking for something you couldn't find, are you just gonna let that be taken away from you? Before you even have a chance to find it?
Her fear seems to subside, but her breaths are still ragged. Her eyes have a faraway look.
A memory crawls into her mind, slowly but vividly. One she had lost a long time ago...
Lonely... cold... afraid... pain... Can't go back... but can't go forward... ...I'm... so... ...lost... ...am I... doomed to... wander forever?
An angelic voice speaks to her.
No. you are not doomed. It only seems that way because you can't see the light, but let God be your light and may He guide you.
A light shines before Kuria
Follow the light, for God has called upon you to do his bidding. If you do this, you will be rewarded with God's favor.
Kuria closes her eyes, floating on the water's surface.
I followed... ...but... I... ...couldn't find anything... worth protecting. I only thought of the family I had... I tried to preserve it... even though they brought calamity upon the world... I failed the calling... I only brought destruction on the world... which he called me to protect...
...It was all my fault. I led them back to the world... I attacked his children... all to protect my family... even though it was wrong... and when I was sealed away... I tried to beg forgiveness... but all that time... I was facing my punishment...
With all I've done... all that I've ruined... destroyed... ...how can I face him... ...and try to go back to what is already lost?
In the end... I followed the light... but selfishly dove into darkness... ...is it even possible for me to see the light again?
Yes there is. God has givn you another chance. He's never given up on you, Kuria. And even though you felt like you failed, God will neverstop loving his children. No mtter how much bad they bring unto the world.
She opens her eyes with a start, and slowly manages to somehow sit up, her breath slowed with wonder.
She slowly makes an effort to stand, her eyes widened.After...all of these years? All that I've done...? But... why...?
Her eyes begin to tear up, her head bowed, shamed.
Because we serve an awesome God. And he's awesome for reason, not just for his power, but for his everlasting love too.
Above her, a black version of Kuria appears with a long blade, speeding towards her ready to impale her, but Kuria makes no effort to defend herself, infact she allows herself to be impaled.
Kuria and Kukyo stand on the puddle, face to face.
You need me. I am your past. I am everything you are! Accept me, stop trying to run!
...You are my past. And without darkness, the balance is broken. ...But you will not define me. I'm not going to run. ...but I do accept you... as my past...
I'm not going to run from you... because you'll be running along side me... Yin and Yang... we are but two halves of a whole.
The sword slowly crumbles, as does the image of Kukyo. As she fades, Kuria embraces her, and Kukyo finally finds peace, and the dark void around them crumbles into light.
As she feels the warmth of the light for the first time, she hears the fastly dulling roar of Void God's rage fade, as she finally escapes his bonds, and the pain of the past seems farther away, replaced by a strange warm feeling.
I am... happy...Kuria feels her strength return to her, and awakens with a gasp.
She looks at Valeric. "I'm sorry... I... I just had to take care of unfinished business."
Van Valeric: Oh now worries. I understand.
"Valeric...did she make it...is she alright..."
Van Valeric: Yes, she is indeed.
Kuria stares at the black sphere, a strange look on her face. She stretches her hand out toward it, and suddenly her wings flare with an aura of dark and light energy. An orb of darkness, but also of light, forms next to the sphere, and it combines with the other orbs of energy and infuse both the sphere and the body, uniting the two with their energy. When they finish, Kuria collapses onto her knees, her black hair becoming dark grey from the use of energy, and she pants heavily.
Van Valeric: Get up so i can begin. I must warn you of a few things though before I give him his body. He will most likely proned to anger and more hostile. His capture has hardened him to the point where he is nearly like his fther, keep him out of any troublesome situation as much as you can. Another is that you should never mention the one named Shiroi to him. At all. And finally, keep and I out for him when he sleeps. Since I brought this one from the future he has a link to his younger slefs mind when in trance. He might try to send a message to his younger self to ause all the events that caused his downfall prematurely. do you understand?
She stands up after a minute, a bit shaky though. "...Yes. I understand. I will be taking measures to ensure he doesn't go out of control."
Van Valeric: Ok. Let me begin. *takes the dark orb and inhales it as an exxence. He tehn goes over to 5x5's 'body' and breathes the essence into it*
'The body begins to move a little'
Kuria takes a seat in her chair, rubbing her forehead, deep in thought.
5x5: *opens his eyes and sees valeric*
Van Valeric: Welcome to you new chance at life, boy.
5x5: *looks at his semi-damaged body* Not halfbad of a surprise.
Kuria looks up. "Hello again. Only this time I hope you can actually see me." Her hair gradually returns to its full black color.
5x5: *loks at her for a moment* Not trying to pull one of those retarded one liners, but are you an angel?
"I'm afraid not. Wings are for show I'm afraid. I'm human you see. Though there was a time where I was a spirit. My friend here says that the wings are probably a remnant of that past self." She smiles weakly, the spell had drained her quite a bit.
5x5: I know how that's like. I've been as weak as any human being since the braces, up until my fury became so strong I used the entrie extent of powers against the effect of the braces. Besides, you can se your wngs to fly to a better place, if there still is one.
"Anyway, Valeric, thank you. I believe we can take it from here. You've done more than I would have expected... so thank you again." She nods her head in a small bow of respect.
Van Valeric: It's the sign of my apologizes. *pulls her closer* Also,since the boy is still slowly fading he will most likly push his limits to an extent. Basically, risking his own life. So try to keep yourself and him out of trouble.
"I understand. If we do run into trouble, I have my children, I know they don't look it, but they are powerful enough on their own to defend me. If their power wasn't sealed, well, history proved that already."
Van Valeric: Ok. Then I leave him to you then. Remember what I told you. And may God be with you.
"Also with you..."
Van Valeric: I'll just wait and see. *disappears into the darkness*
She turns toward 5x5. "Well then, how are you feeling at the moment, Jon?"
5x5: *looks around* Strange...out of place...mind still can't process...or think in that matter...my eyes feel warm, if that makes sense...so many things I feel at once but most of them wont even count as feelings...
"I see. Do you need time to think for a moment?"
5x5: NO! I can't! I-I can't be allowed to do that If I try to sort out what I'm thinking, I'll only fall victim to the Flux and fade faster. I can't do that...
She puts her hands up. "Ok ok. I understand. Now regarding that, I have a way to in theory help heal you. Physically... spiritually... mentally... but you'll have to hear me out on this, ok?"
5x5:....*shakes his head* Ok...
"There are various lakes charged with powerful energy in Echo, Jon. They bring balance and stability to the mind, heart, and soul of normal beings, but for spirits or spirits that have fallen, it can be a way to regain their powers. None of this unfortunately comes free. A side effect of these lakes is a trial produced by both the spiritual energy of the lakes and the person's own mind. With each of these lakes will come a specific trial we will have to overcome if we are to benefit from its effects.
If we want lasting effects from doing this, we will need to visit all of them. I believe there are five in both the North and South Poles, with three in the central lands. ...Understand that the trials will force you to confront things you'd rather stay buried, but their purpose is to make you stronger for confronting those things. If you can overcome the trials of the Lakes of Resolution, you can eventually in theory heal. If it will put a true end to the Flux, I know not. But I do know that if it doesn't, it will make you far stronger and restore much of what you've lost."
She closes her eyes. "You will not be alone in this. I too am intending to journey to these lakes. I have a calling that Imustanswer. I too failed once Jon. Just as this second life can be your redemption, so too shall these trials be mine."
5x5: The last thing I wanted was to go back there...but...If this is my chance to correct my mistakes...I will do this.
"I am glad you are willing to try. I don't blame you for your reluctance. Facing one's past is always difficult to endure. But to reassure you, we don't even need to visit any cities of the Spirits to find them."
5x5: And your quite kind to actually want to help me...like you care....but I don't want to jinx myself....
"Of course I care. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have helped you at all. " She pauses, as 5x5 looks at the Seven. "Oh, I didn't introduce them. These are the Seven Warlords of the Elements, more commonly referred to as the Chaos of Creation." 5x5 quickly notices she said seven, noteight, remembering well enough the fact there was eight including...
5x5: I thought there were eight warlords? But...that means one of them is or maybe was.....Kukyo.....*has a hint of sadness on his face*
"What's the matter? You mentioned Kukyo? Did you know her?"
5x5: *nodded his head*...Yes....I did....
"...I see. ...I'm afraid that not but a few days after she left Echo... ...she was lost in battle against a dark being which was called the Void God. Where it truly came from is a mystery, but it was suspected it might have come from the darkness within her, and consumed her. ...If she does exist... ...no one to my knowledge has found her. I was entrusted with the guardianship of her children, the Seven, and that is why I am here today.
...I am very sorry."
5x5:.......*before he even knos he blacks out, noly t wake up after a few minutes and fined everything ccompletely busted up. Cracks and craters everywhere as if an earthquake happnened. 5x5 begins sobbing*
"...I'm sorry. ...........I should have told you more gently. ...Did she mean something to you, Jonothan?"
5x5: She was the only thing.......She was the only one I could ever think about that would keep me living...know that one day she would come by and see me again....even though part of highly doubted that....I still believed....and every night I would pray to god in hopes that he would listen to me and allow me to see Kukyo one day......The weird thing is I only knew here for only a minute or 2 in total of only seeing her three times.....She was....the only one who gave me hope.....And if she could find hope and find happiness out there....I could too....But now......*looks up* WHY DID YOU HAVE TO TAKE HER AWAY FROM ME, GOD? You took everything away from me....*pounds the ground with his fists hard enough for a crater to form under him. He looks at his hands and sees that they are bleeding* Why her too?....Now I truly am all alone....
Kuria cautiously approaches him, and puts a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry Jonathon. ...I shouldn't have told you this... ...forgive me."
5x5: *begins to fade*...Why?....Why?....
Kuria desperately embraces him, her head burying into the back of his neck, and he can feel her soft hair. Her large wings fold around him as well, shimmering with incandescent light.
"God will not abandon you... because he did not abandon me. When I was being assaulted by that dark force... you protected me... so let me protect you..."
".......and when I was trapped in the abyss, surrounded by despair... he saved me... so let me save you... we will not abandon you. So don't abandon yourself.... please..."
She sinks down slightly, tears rolling down her face. "Please... let me make it up to you... for all of those lost times... all of those memories... I'm begging you... don't let this be how it ends... not again..."
Her tears drip onto his neck.
Please... if I am to be... your chosen... then please... let me do my duty...
Please... let me save him... ...he is... a part... of my world... this world... ...let me save... this lost child of this world...
...I don't want to fail him... not... please... not... again...
5x5: *stops fading and embraces her back* She didn't deserve that...she deserved something far better than that...even after all my memories were fading....she was the only one I remembered...she had to be very important to me if I had forgotten everything else and still remember her...
He notices that she holds him like that for a long time, and a few times he thinks he can hear her say 'thank you',to someone. She still cries, though much softer.
5x5: I just...I just wanted her to be happy...
"Jon... if something ever did make her happy, it would have been you. I have no doubt in my mind she was happy... in the end... just knowing you probably would have meant the world to her."
5x5: *embraces her tighter*...Thank you...
While they hold each other, Saisei coughs. "Awwwwwwkkkkkkwarrrrdddd......"
Mikadzukikei smacks him angrily. "Shut up idiot!!"
5x5: *reveals a small smile smile at the children's bickering*
Mikadzukikei walks over to him, and studies his eyes. She puts a hand on his shoulder, and she can sense his inner power, and he can sense the great magnitude of hers, almost awestruck by how much power she has.
"You are that of water-kin, are you not?" She says.
5x5:Yes...my mother....she was a nymph. A water nymph. why do you ask?
"...My power ties me to all that is the water, the ocean. I can see the fragility of your mind. I have one thing to say to you, you listening?"
She grabs his chin and pulls him to her eye level.
"You be nice to Kuria, do what she says, even if you don't like what she has to say, or I swearI will chop off your dick and have Saisei burn it to f*cking ash. We clear?"
5x5: *grabs her hand and removes her hand from his chin and grabs her hair, twist it around his hand pulls her hair* I'm not one to be threatened by little kids...Why would a broken man want to break anyone else when he can't even now how feel...how to think...how to react...for all I care....I could rage on everyone and everyone could be half-dead...but I can't and I won't. Threats will only anger people more. Your a child after all, so I'll let that pass by *lets go over her hair*..as for being nice...I cant reassure much...we'll have to see how things go...I don't want to hurt anyone...
Her eyes glow blue, and he feels an ancient consciousness, Mikadzukikei's consciousness, bear down on his own, enough to make him fall on his knees.
"I am not a little girl. I am not a mere child. Our appearances merely reflect the forms we are most comfortable assuming. In reality Kukyo, our mother was only sixteen at the birth of her first born, Kagayaki. We have known thousands of years, and we ourselves now have many descendants. Out of respect for my mother's memory and her fondness of you, I won't strike back. But know your place, water-kin." The pressure of her consciousness withdraws, but the energy feels heavy in the air. She dusts herself off and walks away, a silent anger brewing as she walks.
"We have somewhere to be, but we will return soon. Respect Kuria's wishes and do as she says. She means you no harm and only wishes you well. When we get back, I expect you to have abided by that." The seven begins to glow.
Kagayaki looks at Kuria and 5x5. "Take care of yourselves." They disappear.
5x5: They...care about you alot....
"Yeah... ...still really annoying to manage them..."
5x5: *looks down at the floor* I wish I had a family that cared....
"Hey. As long as you are with me, you're part of my family. As long as you're party of my family, they are part of your family. Understand?" She says softly.
5x5: Yea, i guess...but sometimes...it's not the same as having your actual family....you know?
"I know. I haven't been with my family in a long time. It's a void that few can fill."
5x5: Atleast your family continues to live. My entire family is dead...
"I see. In any case, I feel it best if we go. The seven will rejoin us, but at a later time. ...Right now, I feel that we should leave this place. Dementor is not fond of me or the Seven."
5x5: *sighs* Ok...
Kuria guides 5x5 through the building, and out of the front gates, where 5x5 beholds the immense landscape of the West Lands of Echo, the vast plains and deserts, jungles and savanahs.
5x5: So much to go through...*takes a deep breath*
"But isn't it beautiful? Savage yes, but then again, there is said to be beauty in the beast. You're probably more familiar with the East Land though. This land is ruled by the mighty Elemental Clans, eight of them. Towards the center regions lie Azure and the isolated human country, I forget its name... and of course, Chinmoku and its vast territories to the East. The North is the frozen Kingdom of the Positives, while to the South, the Kingdom of the Negatives lies shrouded in mystery. A turbulent world... but it's home."
5x5: *looks all around from left to right* It it beautiful...but I bet I might regret that once we get started.
Kuria gives him a impish grin which he faintly remembers from somewhere. He doesn't have time to think about it as she suddenly tackles him off the face of the mountain and for a terrifying moment they fall before Kuria extends her wings and eases their descent into a gentle glide, 5x5 securely in her arms, their descent is a slow lazy circle around the mountain.
"Gotcha," She teases.
5x5: *with no effort at all pins her to the ground by the neck and draws forth his right hand turns it into a fist, with look of rage on his face, but as he looks at Kuria he slowly calms down and hoists her up and turns away* Sorry....
The look he sees on her face unnerves him a bit. Her eyes simply stare up at him from where she lays on the ground, her face shows no sign of even the slightest distress or fear. Even when he had pinned her he had felt no fear of any kind. The only hint that she had even noticed he was about to strike her was the sweat suddenly apparent on her face. But her eyes feel like solid steel, unwavering, unchanging, just looking at him. He remembers this look though, in the various spirits he met in the North. They would stare at him with no hint of what they thought or felt about him, just observe him as though they were reading his very soul.
Finally a change happens in her eyes, though very slight, a bit of softness. "I take it surprise parties on your birthday are also out of the question." She says with an air of humor.
5x5: *eyes grow wide with sadness, but narrow down abit* Yea...
She smiles, then laughs lightly. "*Babylonian*Oh relax silly boy!*English* Nevermind that, Jon. Don't work yourself up over that. I shouldn't frighten you like that. Valeric told me not to be that way with you, but I should have taken it more seriously. It was my mistake. Don't worry yourself. I only have myself to blame. Don't beat yourself up over this."
5x5: I didn't mean too...I just can't take it...not like that....
"Jonathon. Please. It's not your fault. Don't worry about it." She looks over to one side, still laying there.
"Hmm... I wonder what she wants..." She muses.
5x5: Who's she?...
Kuria points to where she's looking, and 5x5 sees a large wave of shimmering energy approaching them.
5x5: Is that a spiritual tsunami?
Suddenly from the wave of energy a white fox with eight tails leaps forth, brilliant blue spirit brands running down its graceful body. It lands in front of them, and bows its head. It looks at Kuria for a moment, but then it looks at 5x5, and its gaze seems to lock onto him immediately. For a while it does nothing else but gaze upon him, similar to how the other spirits have, and then he hears its beautiful song like voice say:
"....I am sorry. Forgive me." It then turns to Kuria, and it appears as though they are conversing in private. The whole time, it seems to avoid looking at 5x5 for some reason.
5x5: Hmmm. I wonder what their talkin' about...*tilts his ear toward their direction*
He doesn't manage to hear whatever they are saying, in fact they seem to be speaking mentally. Eventually, the two look toward him. Kuria speaks.
"She is going to give us a ride further west, a bit closer to the first lake. She cannot take us all the way there, as she has some important matters to attend to."
5x5: Sure thing then.
The fox tilts its head to one side.
Kuria laughs. "I'm sorry, I forgot. This is Shirubā, the Eighth Fox-Wind of Echo. There are nine different Fox-Winds in the world, and they govern the weather patterns. She also says she's sorry."
5x5: Whatever for? No one should be sorry for me...
Kuria looks at Shirubā, but the fox looks away from her.
Kuria looks back at 5x5. "She won't say. She just keeps repeating it. She sounds... desolate."
5x5: I see...Should we get going then?
Shirubā lowers herself to a level where they can climb on her back.
5x5: *climbs up on her back*
Kuria climbs on behind 5x5, and after a moment coughs. "Errm... can I put my arms around you? ...For support so I don't fall off...?"
5x5: *was caught of guard by the question* Ughhh....sure...sure you can...
She does so, and just as she does, Shirubā takes off with force of a space rocket.
5x5: *is trying to hold one as tight as he can*
"Hey, I know I said we wanted to get going quickly, butNOT THIS FAST!!!" Kuria screams, and Shirubā slows down and turns her head to look at them.
My apologies. Did I frighten you?
5x5: I think you started off a bit 'too 'fast.
Sorry little one.
5x5 eventually notices a few spirits are flying with them, while he can't exactly see them, he senses them, and can pick up a curiosity from them.
5x5: Their curious...
Kuria nods. "You're not exactly normal to them. It's the same with anyone who enters Echo. Strangers tend to be more interesting to them than most people are. ...That said, it gets annoying when they start chattering and attract their friend's attention as well."
5x5 *remmbers oemthing familiar about what she said* Interesting...where to?
Kuria looks at 5x5. "Huh?"
5x5: Where to?...
"Well she is going to take us close to one of the lakes, a day's journey away at least from the glade we'll land at."
5x5: Alright, which direction though?
"We're going across the center land. Why? Is there a different direction you want to go? The order of which lakes we visit doesn't matter."
5x5: No. Ijust don't like wandering around in circles.God knows i've done that too much...
"The plan is to do all of the central lakes, then the South, then North. After that we can go where ever you'd like."
5x5: I don't care we start. As long as we can get this over with.
Kuria looks very tired, as the moon begins to rise after the long day, and he can swear her black hair is now a very dark shade of grey. They finally land, and Kuria pats Shirubā, who then flies off, though the smaller spirits require more convincing.
She looks at 5x5 with her tired eyes. "Jon, do you mind if we camp here for the night? I need to sleep... it's been such a long day..."
5x5: i understand...You go ahead and sleep.
She slowly rests her head against a rock. "...Before I go to sleep... promise you won't wander... I'd feel safer... if you stayed close by. ...I can't protect myself like I used to..."
5x5: You don't have to worry about that...*looks up at the moon* I have nowhere to wander off to...
Welcome to No Mans Land
Junnosuke pops into the realm, looking around happily. "Score. He took me here! Haha! Suck it mother nature!" With this, he notices that it is night. "Craaaaap..." He starts a fire using sticks, flint and the night air. Then Junno picks up a torch-like stick and sets it ablaze. "Hope there arn't coyotes. I don't want to eat those."
A voice says in the air, "I don't know why you're so pleased to be out here, but I can promise you.... there is nothing good about being sent out here."
"Well arn't you a happy camper! I'm the best mortal Alchemist where I come from. This all? This is a warm up to my training." He looks at the air and, to show off, makes the ground crack for twenty feet. He moves all the mass under him.
"Hardly impressive. Now, I don't know about you, but I'll just watch you die to that wind storm, Mr. Attitude. Let me know if your expertise includes stopping Supersonic Wind."
He feels a gust of wind, and he looks off to the East to see a massive cloud of black racing his way, the wind swiftly rising up to tornado levels, and the storm isn't even close to them yet.
"Pffft! A tornado wind from this distance... " Junno makes a sad face. "And I thought Kado sent me camping... Mr Elemental, would you mind helping me live thriugh this?"
A girl's voice comes out of the air. "MR?! I OUGHTA TEAR YOUR THROAT OUT!!" It roars in outrage.
"Can't do that if the storm kills me."
A red headed girl appears and slaps him across the face, then grabs his arm and pulls him high, high high up into the air above the clouds, and they begin to fly off in a certain direction.
"When I take you home, you're going to regret calling me a guy, punk." The girl growls.
"Normally I go out on a date before going to their home, but okay." He smirks, then goes serious. "Thanks for saving me..."
The girl angerly looks back at him. "I'm not sure how tempted I am to drop you, but it's pretty high right now. You're welcome. Then again, I doubt the chiefs will be too pleased to see you, we're not that welcoming of humans. I'll clue you in, so take this advice well. Those who are smart alecks tend to die quickly here on Echo. Especially out here in the West. You're just in time for 'Danger Season', where storms ravage the surface on a daily basis almost. The land and the elements are not your tools, you're at their mercy in this world. Remember that, Mr. Alchemist."
"I'm a doctor, actually. Dr. Junnosuke Ri Alverez di Loneo, Alchemy M.D. You could call me Junno. I was sent here by Kado iut of half of his anger and half of his kindness. Apparently he doesn't like spikes near his face." He looks up at the girl. "And those Elemental people should try not to worry. I like to be on powerful people's good side. I control every known material in existance and many unknown ones to an extent. Eccept Mythril, of which my undr armor is made of."
"Worry is not the issue. Your race is. We elementals tend to hate humans. For reasons. You seem very keen on showing off." She stops rising higher, and simply glides along a straight line, her power keeping him held up from dangling from her hand. Occasionally her reddish hair whips him in the face as it bellows behind her.
"And I don't blame him, the West is a place most scrubs would die the first hour in. Great place for getting rid of someone annoying."
Junno sighs. "You... You people have no reason to dislike me yet. And even so, you deem me 'annoying' and worthy of a death sentence. Why is this? Because my cocky attitude? Because I like jokes? If so, drop me now for I deserve the sentence if you can back it up."
The girl irritably looks back at him. "I never said you were annoying. I just said the Wasteland is a great place to drop off annoying people. You read into what people say too much. Or too little. One of those things. I do say that if this Kado person did send you here, it wasn't to offer you a basket of roses. He's probably a native in that case and knows well enough how to indirectly dispose of 'annoyances'. Apparently in his mind sticking a spike in his face is a qualifier for 'annoying.'"
"He is the Dark Phoenix. Well, one of his personality disorders is. And no, not for that accursed White character. Or, I hope not. The name was Neo. He is... Sheild? Then there is the helpless girl I didn't bother learning the name of. I believe he was an orphan. Almost got killed getting out of Phoenix."
At the word 'Phoenix', she suddenly drops him, and right before he hits the ground she grabs him and he comes to an abrupt halt.
"First things first. Never say that name. Phoenix. It's one of the few things that not even I can stand to hear come out of someone's mouth. Our people suffered heavily because of what Phoenix has done to us in the past. I strongly urge you don't bring it up again. An older elemental would likely try to kill you for it. We really can't stand them. Just making myself clear, alright?" She snaps.
"Heh. Alright" The rest of their trip is in silence. Finnally, they reach their destination.
A top a massive mountain range a huge stretch of clouds covers the land, and on these clouds a odd fortress is built, shifting with accordance to the structure of the clouds, the fortress never the same shape or locations twice. Smaller village like structures can be seen on the sides and on the clouds surrounding the fortress as well.
"Skykeep," The girl intones before he can ask. "Home."
"Well, it's no Los Angeles but it's nice. Great hiding spot too."
The girl looks back at him in irritated confusion. "What's this about Lost Angels?"
"Los Angeles," he corrects her before sighing. "It's my home. Where I work as a doctor."
"Never heard of it." She says as she drops him onto the streets of a small town orbiting the giant fortress. "Find a house not marked as 'Occupied' and stay there until I come back for you. Father's gonna want to see you before he decides on letting you say here, though that also depends on mom." She flies off without another word, red hair billowing behind her as she soars
"Ah. My life just gets more interesting by the second." He wals around the streets looking for a house.
After a while and settling in, the girl appears. "Father will see you now." She says with indifference.
"Alright." He puts his book back into his tatered robe and walks to the door after standing up. "He is outside or shall we fly, Ms. Elemental?"
"Issana" She says simply. "My name is Issana. Lady Issana to you at least. And we'll be flying. Now come outside". She stands out of the way to let him out.
He starts out. Junno stops as he is is in the doorway though. "May I... May I ask a personal question?"
She looks back at him, her eyes subtly narrowing. ".....Yes.....?"
"Why did you save me?"
"Because you asked. Nicely." She says in an undertone.
"... Alright. Noted for later use. And even as you say all these things about hating humans," he starts as he changes the air pressure below him, making him float, "I'm actually an artificial human. I am a 'monster'. A humunculus. If it is of any meaning, I have been tested on and tortured these past twenty years by humans. So, if you would be so kind, do not associate me with them again please. Thank you."
Issana sighs. "Alright alright. You do realize it doesn't matter, right? There isn't an immediate, obvious way to tell you from a human you know. You're going to have to deal with that."
"It matters to me." He starts to go higher. "Where are we going?"
"To the fortress. I thought that would be obvious." She says as she flies toward the center of the massive sky complex.
Junno follows. "Tell me if you wish, is your father planning on sending me into the storm? I am growing tired at this point."
"That depends if you decide to 'show off'. Be polite and respectful of my father, and you won't be taking an express ride to wind city." She chuckles lightly at that.
He smiles as they reach the entrance.
She lands at the door to the central building and opens it, and she begins walking him through various halls.
"Hey, Issana, who is your father that they are at the heart of the city? Where I come from at least, the central is the elite of the upper class." Junno says as he looks at some of the open doorways with interest.
"He is the chieftain, or the Clan lord of the Wind Elementals." She says simply.
As his eyes get widened from the elegance of the building, he takes out his flask. "I'm gonna need this..." he says as he takes a sip. "Too many bad memories of Cheiftans... I do hope this one doesn't disect me. I don't like that much."
"Relax. My father won't likely attack you or anything. It depends on his impressions of you if anything." She says calmly.
"Alright... Thanks by the way..."
"....For what?" She asks dully.
"For all that you've done for me, a stranger."
"You asked for help, I gave it to you. Isn't more complicated than it needs to." She says, arriving at a large door.
"Oh man I'm getting nervous..." he says as his clothing transmutes into it's prime. "There we go."
"Worrying about such things as how fine you're dressed... don't worry about it..." Issana says, mildly annoyed. She opens the doors to reveal a decent sized.... ....office. Two large half circle desks occupy the back central area of the room, and a man in a business suit looks up at him irritably, then sees Issana and his frown melts into a faint smile.
"Ah, so is this the one you mentioned?" He says softly.
Issana quietly nods.
"I see. Well, bring him over here." He says simply.
Junno bows very low before taking a few steps forward. "Watashi o goran itadaki arigatōgozaimasu. Thank you for seeing me."
The man frowns when he hears the language. "Ugggh..... please speak english. I don't speak anything else. And the bowing isn't necessary. I'm not a king you know."
"Alright." he says as a bead of sweat rolls down to the floor. "Holy... Is it hot in here?" At this, he makes a gust of wind come towards him, cooling him down. "Sorry about that..."
"Why are you nervous?" He asks calmly.
"Normally when a nice girl brings me to the father, I either go in for disection or he gets a gun. I'm nervous about that..."
"Well if I wanted to kill you sir, I would just do this." He makes a finger gun and pretends to shoot a bullseye board, and a hole is punched in the board.
"Relax. You're way too nervous. If I wanted to kill you I wouldn't have sent for you. I'm just here to see what kind of person you are."
"I'm not sa- ah nevermind. You should've just asked. I'm a cocky show-off and yet I'm still nervous and rambling and... Shit... I'm Junnosuke, sir. I'm a homunculus so please don't consider me a human. And I'm rambling..." He transmutes back into his comfortable clothing. "And I appologize for the rank. The one time I could get a shower the guy threw me into a deadly wind storm"
The man looks at him exasperatedly. "Dear lord I've met more stable shipwrecks than you... ....alright I don't see harm. He can stay. For now at least."
"Very well father. I'll take him to a quarter then." Issana says, before walking out.
Junno bows and follows Issana. When the door is closed, Junno looks at the floor. "I've never felt like such a fool... I swear it...."
"Isssssssssaaaaaaannnnnaaaaaa.......!" Her father's voice echoes, and Issana goes pale. "Y-Yes?"
"Did we forgeeeeeeeeet somethingggg?" Her father says in a sing song voice.
"Uh oh...." She gasps, and under her breath begins doing a check list, then squeaks. "Oh no I forgot-"
"WHERE'S MY F*CKING COFFEE?!" He yells in anger.
"I'LL BE RIGHT THERE FATHER!!!" She squeaks in alarm and disappears in a matter of seconds, yelling behind her, "Wait right there!!!"
Junnosuke sighs. He looks at that door, and finnally realizes how he remembers that man. "He was on Earth I believe... Ikkaku... Yea, he was there like, ten fifteen years ago. Egypt. I was studying the Philosopher's Stone..."
Issana appears a few moments later in a massive gust of wind, blowing open the doors open and rushing to place the coffee down on her father's desk, who smiles faintly. "That's much better. Remember to be on time more, alright?"
She nods. "I'll see you later then."
"Is the coffee hot like it's supposed to?"
"Oh, yeah it is."
He nods. "Alright, be back for dinner, and make it sharp. Don't be late."
She walks out and closes the door with a sigh. "Dad likes to keep me busy."
"I can see that..." he says as he takes a sip of liqour.
Issana starts walking. "Ok then, follow me. I'll take you to a place to stay for the night."
"Alrighty. So, what do you guys do in this place?"
"Well I stick to my schedule. Get up, make breakfast, train, take a break, train, make lunch, train somemore, take another break, make coffee, dinner time, train, train some more, and bedtime."
"Well, you guys have a library? If so, I'll probably be there oor in my room doing my own training."
"Didn't you hear the schedule? Man you suck at paying attention. After coffee, what happens next? Quickly now, what's the answer?"
"Supper. I really don't eat much. And seriously, where is the library? I would like to read about how this place was made."
"I will show you. After dinner. Father expects us in no less than ten minutes." She says ridgedly.
"Alright then... Which way would that be or are we stopping somewhere first?"
She grabs his hand and leads him along the hallways, eventually reaching a decent sized dining room and she sits down at one end of the table, and seats him next to her.
"And just in time for..."
Her father, Ikkaku walks in quickly. "Spot on, much better timing than yesterday, Issana." He sits down at the other end of the table, and the cooks bring in the meal.
"So, tell me, what brought you here to Echo if you are not from here?" He asks casually to Junno.
"Well, long story. I came to the a refugee camp asking Kado for assistance getting here. Lady Issana has told me that the place he works - used to work actually - is a very bad place that shall not be named so that maybe I can stay without being disected by you or a wind storm. He got a little angry and sent me into the wastelands. Quite a nice place if you can handle the breeze. But the reason, well that's the thing I am interested to know. I believe I came here to study the Philosopher's Stone. But right now I kind of drank to get some really bad memories out for a while so... Yea... I did want to ask you: do you know what Alchemy is? And, if you do, do you know what city I can get books on it is as well?"
"I know I may seem smart and all that Junno, but the honest truth is you won't find what you're looking for here. We do things by well..... ....doing them. We don't teach, and we don't have much books. We're very simply fashioned. Yes, we can read just fine, we don't use it that much though. If you're looking for actual helpful knowledge, Chinmoku is an option... ...man I can't believe I'm recommending those peace loving monks.... ....but it's clear on the other side of the world, and as much as I'd like to be nice, I and anyone else you ask in our lands, will positively NOT step in that realm unless it's absolutely necessary."
Junnosuke looks at him, his mouth slowly closing. "You have to be kidding! You just do things?! You have to teach, learn excetra!" He gets up and starts to walk out. "Why would you NOT neet books??" he asks as he turns back around. "Reading knowlage is the best way to get it! That way you can skip the long training and make it better through trial and error for the next generation."
"We have more important things to worry about Junno. Survival, mainly." Ikkaku says simply, as he digs into his food.
"The mountains pierce the heavens... the skies tear at the earth.... the light pierces the darkness and the darkness smothers the light. We are a race ever at odds with each other. The only thing we teach is survival." He drinks some tea.
"In a land ever changing and ever conflicting, the first thing in life is being able to survive. The weak are killed and the strong survive. This is not a world of simple pleasantries. This is not Earth, where one's parents can afford to give a roof to one's children. The weak are either made strong or die, failing to survive. ....Do you know how many children I have lost these long years of my life, Junno?" He asks sharply.
"You've got to be kidding! The reason you survive is because of that?! Because the weak DIE?! And trust me when I say I know what it's like to loose all of you children. To accidently kill them even. And I have to live with that. So don't lecture me on how hard it is. I've worked for everything I have today, and I'm SICK of hearing you people's sob stories! Well guess what? Everyone else in this goddamn multi-verse has had it just as hard!!"
Issana listens quietly to the two, occasionally glancing up at them, but remains otherwise uninterested, eating her food quietly.
Ikkaku sighs irritably. "....We survive because we worked hard to survive. My daughter Issana does not live here because she's my daughter. She lives here because she earned her place. With her own two hands she built her quarters and moved up in our society to the point she can live here. We are warriors, not scholars. Though our kin now enjoys a sturdier livelyhood, we still are in conflict with the other clans. It is how the elemental society works. Even I earned my place, Junno. If you cannot learn to survive, you die. Either by the hand of our enemies or because of the violent lands below us, the weak do not survive long in these West Wastelands. Those who learn what they have learned have learned it on their own time and their own power. If you do not care for our society and what measures we take to survive, you have that right. But one thing is universal in this society. Please do not yell at the dinner table." He says calmly.
Junno glares at the cheif before sitting down and finishing his meal.
Ikkaku sighs. "Your mind seethes with violent storms. Unlike Earth, every building we build is dedicated to housing the living. Books are a rare thing in our land. No libraries, but there are those with private collections, centered on personal tastes and interests. Do I wish the world my kin live in was peaceful and they could have the luxury of fine education? Yes. Is that a reality I may see in my lifetime? No. The workings of the world are harsh, it is all I can do to simply keep my people alive in the face of violent adversity. Is that so wrong of me to do? Ensure a future for my people's continued existence?"
"What is the point of existing for the hell of it? You exist for your people but maybe they want something bigger?"
"My people wanted a strong leader that would be capable of leading them to victory over the other clans, and ensuring that we get a say over our race's affairs. Whoever wins the battle of the year between our eight nations rules the other clans. Whoever holds that position can direct the way of our people in a path they choose. The Fireclan Lord has dedicated our people's policies toward improving the strength of each clan, and securing our borders. There are many small racial nations in the world, and many who desire the power of an elemental slave. To that end, the Firelord desires our race to secure its stability and borders from unwanted intrusion and invasion."
The Wind Clanlord Ikkaku closes his eyes. "I am not the leader of the elemental people. I do not have the power to change things. I would establish kinder and more open relations with the world, but the Firelord distrusts and even occasionally hates the Shapeshifters of Chinmoku, our race's old enemies. He would not ask for their aid, even though it would grant us a great boon and progress our race forward. He thinks we the Elementals do not need help from anyone, and believes in our race's own strength that will lead us to our own future, not 'tainted' by the machines and magics of the Shapeshifters. Unless I can defeat the Firelord and every other lord and clan of our race in the upcoming war for power, nothing will change, Junno. Do not speak to me of my own faults, when I must abide by the rules established by our people. The only hope my clan has for progress is in that battle. I am hoping that Issana will help us win. She is truly a magnificent warrior of our kin."
"Good for you. I ask one thing for when you win though, please start educating to the best of your ability... I'm tired of speaking to people who don't know of Alchemy and pancakes..."
"Were it that simple..." He finishes his dinner and a staff member takes his dishes away. He silently stands up and walks out. Issana watches him go.
"Father is close to beaten... ...We've lost many attempts. We've come close many times to winning, but we are always just second rate. Everything we work for, it slips out of our grasp, just when it is in reach. It is... ...depressing, for many of us." Issana says simply and quietly.
"What is it that you wish to do for the present time? Understand though that you are my guest, I must host you. If you remain in Skykeep, you are to dwell in my quarters, and I must be present in all your activities." She stretches quietly, then stands up.
He looks at her for a second, then stands. "So I am to stay here? If so, I could help you train. I control every element much farther than most beings, even lesser elementals. I mean, wouldn't that help?"
"You will stay the night, then you do whatever it is you choose. If you choose to leave, that is your buisness. But you will remain in my quarters should you stay for any period of time. It is the rules. And I do not need help training, I am a well seasoned fighter."
"Alright then," Junnosuke says. He looks around. "So, where do you want to go or do?"
"Normally I would train. If you desire though we may quickly bathe, you to remove your odor and I to wash the sweat off my body. I work hard everyday."
"As long as you are okay with it. Let's train a little first. I would like to get the gist of what you guys do."
"As you wish...." She begins to walk out of the room.
"So... Could I ask why the 'organization' is hated?"
"...Because even to this day they hunt us like monsters. Just like the humans do. They killed many of our kind and banished the whole of our race to the West Wastelands, where we struggle with what little fertile land we have. Much of the lands are inhospitable."
"Hmm... If I remember correctly they sided with the humans in the War, and sent the Warlords into swords. I believe that was uncalled for. And then we betrayed them and sent them into hiding... Now they're coming back for a really nice peice of revenge with a cherry on top. So hopefully Kado and the rest figure out how to stop them and you can live in a more... library-filled place." He smiles at his joke as he catches up. "In the War, a lot of people did some bad stuff to the Mythos. In the humans defense, no Mytho has really treated them nicely, they trample the lawns, and destroy our housing and buissness! How did we know better at the time?"
"The Warlords were our masters and captors. We were slaves back then. As are many of our comrades at Phoenix's hands. I do not believe it was uncalled for. The Warlords could have been equated to gods. Few options existed to stop them."
"Were you in the War? I would hope not. It was terrible. Friend was fighting against friend and neibors as well. We all did things we regret but Phoenix was never trusted and a plan to kill them all came to surface near the beginning of our alliance. I was a medical officer, always in my tent pulling out spikes of mysterious origin and listening to the gosip. Then I went tothe battlefeild as a medic and I regret that choice. It was terrible out there. We lost so many I don't think anyone won. Only when it ended was I happy. I mainly worked for the human side of the war, mostly saving lives but leaving them crippled as so they didn't have to go back out. Soldiers were scared out of their pants. So back to my question; were you in the war?"
"Do I look a hundred years old to you?"
"No. It was only twnety - twenty-five maybe - years ago."
"Well then you need to stop drinking so much... ...it was a hundred or so years ago." She says without turning around.
"So.. Time moves differently here." He takes a sip of liqour. "So you've only heard stories anyways... Why doesn't Mr. Fighting go and revolt againt Phoenix anyways?"
"If you have heard of them, then you know why he has not." She says, still not bothering to look at him as she walks.
"So the Slayers are true?"
Issana finally turns around. "So you went and provoked a former member of Phoenix and didn't know that Slayers are real things? Great idea, genius plan you had there General Patton."
"You have heard of World War 2?"
"Let me put it this way. My dad has more books on war than you'd know what to do with."
She reaches the outside of the building, and walks all the way to the edge, where she simply steps off and begins to plummet.
"Why do I always get the suicidal ones?" Junnosuke asks before turning around and walking a few feet, then running and jumping off the edge, quickly passing Issana.
She is falling feet first, with no seemingly worried expression, and she doesn't bother to slow down, but when she impacts into the ground, all that is heard is a soft 'tap!' and she simply starts walking along the white sands.
Junno mimics her by changing the air pressure. "Wait a second, couldn't you blow out flames?"
"Yes, but one also must remember what fire also needs for fuel: air. Not all fire is created equal. Besides, you act like Fire is the only threat we contend with. We have to beat ALL of the clans in battle." She keeps walking.
"Also, watch out for any creatures. It would be amusing if you mocked our survivalist attitude then got eaten by a dire scorpion."
"Ha-Ha. Very funny." he says.
As he says that, a massive roar goes off and a giant armored scorpion roars and nearly pinches him in two with its pinchers.
"No actually that was a warning. By the way. Dire Scorpion. Your turn."
He touches the scorpion and jumps back, accidentally tripping over Issana, topling them over as the armour and claws of the monstrosity are made into clothing and the scorpion is killed by a grounded spike. "Bata-bang, Bata-boom," he says.
From the scorpion a gross frightening swarm of baby scorpions rushes everywhere, most of them at him and begin stinging him violently, the stings like severe acid burns.
"Why can't I ever to choose sleep iver adventure?!" he yells as he transmutes them into egg-shaped cacoons. "It burns damnit!"
Issana starts laughing. "And that's just the garden variety around here... I can't imagine what you'd do against a Deathstroke."
"Probably die. Seriously, this burns like fire, got anything for it?"
She quietly sticks a large fat stick of oak wood in his mouth then takes a vial and pours it on the arms and legs where he was stung, a violent foam forming as the liquid comes in contact with the stings, burning about as worse, but when it falls off his stings are gone and the pain of the poison goes away.
"Well, that. Next time watch out for red stripes on the back. Those are female. They carry their babies around this time of year. Now the Deathstroke is bad because-"
A low rumble fills the air.
"Oh, right. Apparently training is going to be rough today. Get behind that boulder." She doesn't wait for him to respond, but grabs him and they hide behind a boulder just as a scorpion taller than a house, covered in a strange iridescent metal erupts from the sand, completely covered in the segmented armor.
"Now before you use Alchemy or an Element on it... it won't work. I've only killed five of these things, and fought five more and lost. These things have to be killed the old fashioned way." She takes out a sword and hands it to Junno.
"You any good with a sword? Don't worry. There's a way to kill them, but it's tricky. Somewhere on their chest the plate is looser, but it takes a while to knock it off. And these suckers are deceptively fast. Like rockets." She quietly looks at it.
"The Deathstroke is so named because if it stabs you once with that stinger, you might as well say 'Eat Me!'. The poison it has is ten times worse than what you just got stung by. Its armor was made to counter Alchemy and Elemental Manipulation. The Shapeshifters tried to use that stuff to deal with us, so the rather stupid idiot that made them created that armor to fight the Shapeshifters. Unfortunately now those things have gone to the wild and bred like crazy. So yeah... ...be careful."
'I regret this more and more..." Junnosuke Ri Alverez Di Loneo then jumps over the rock, making distractions for the monster for Issana. "What are you waiting for?!"
Issana sighs. She then rushes out with a katana and dodges its claws, jumping onto the arm and stabbing it between the armor plating. With a hiss, the scorpion tries to stab her, but she rolls higher up on the arm, causing the stinger to puncture the armor and its arm, and it lets out an angry loud roar, and begins pulling up on the stinger to pull out.
"Get on while he's busy! These things can take a few hours to kill sometimes, so hurry up and lets get training on this bad boy. Today's lesson is relfexes. How fast can ya dodge? Better be fast enough, cause that stinger is Meeeeean!"
Junno jumps on, the claw cutting some of his hair. He grabs the claw and transmutes the ground into a cuff for it, making the cuff out of large pieces of metal. "Alright!" Then Junnosuke jumps on. He joins Issana ontop of the beast.
She looks at Junno. "Day light's burning. Let's get stabbing."
"Where do we stab?!"
"....You stab between the armor plates. Where else?" She says dryly.
"Well I would go for the mouth, nose, or eyes...'
"Right... because that's gonna kill the giant scorpion... just start stabbing him between the armor. If you don't hit a vein after a couple stabs, move on to a new slab of armor."
"Alright..." He stabs under a piece of armor.
The scorpion manages to rip its tail out from its arm and bares the stinger menacingly.
"Get ready to dodge, they're fast."
The stinger whips at him at incredibly high speed, as soon as he blinks.
Junnosuke barely has time to look at the stinger before it hits his eye and stabs at his brain, putting the venom directly in and he screams as the last of the poison kills him of. The body that was once Junno falls o the ground, an emty husk. The stinger then goes for Issana.
The Captive Dragon
Vulkas sits idly in his cell, staring at a wall as he moves around eight stones in his hand.
The air feels particularly hot, much hotter than he's felt it in a long time, and there is an energy in the air that stands out.
He closes his eyes and drops the stones. "Oh good, a visitor."
No one appears, it feels more as though something is about to happen, the energy in the air being a thick anticipation of sorts.
He opens his eyes again. "...Guess the years have made me too hopeful." He gets up, curious as to what could be going on.
He hears the sounds of heavy feet marching down the distant stairway.
"Let's get a better look..." He astral projects himself somewhere where he can see the source of the marching.
A group of armor clad fire elementals are marching down the stairs toward the prisons.
He quickly stops astral projecting and idly waits. "Hmph."
The guards appear to be approaching his section.
He sits back down and whistles, keeping his head down.
All of the cells open suddenly.
He hesitantly leaves the cell, looking around. "I don't like this."
All of the other prisoners, of various races and backgrounds, seem to have similar reservations, but they are all mutually greeted by a roaring voice of fire, shouting,
"Let's go maggots! Today's your big day!" The warden's fiery roar booms through the halls.
He quietly walks forward, looking at the other prisoners around him. "Knowing the fire elementals I doubt they're bringing us together for a nice simple party.."
Whips of fire begin ringing out, in an effort to make the prisoners move quicker toward the stairs.
"Just as brutish and crude as ever." He speeds up, eventually walking up the stairs.
The other prisoners are all shambling behind him, ahead of him, he can hear various stone doors and walls shifting.
He makes his way quickly to the top of the stairs, albeit being very cautious.
The corridor is different than he remembers from the one time they brought him down, going straight up a slope rather than windy but flat halls.
"Where are they taking us...?"
The group of prisoners begin to file out into a large dark sort of space.
Vulkas looks around and eventually holds his Twilight Siphon closely.
After all of the prisoners arrive, a single flame flickers to life at the far end of the room.
Vulkas draws his attention to the flame, wary of what is going to happen.
The flame erupts into a large flaming circle, and appears to be igniting up now, along a spiral path only wide enough for the flame to spread, creating a warm lighting, and revealing just what they are within, a massive stadium like structure, with a single podium positioned on a outcropping above them, a dull red glow approaching the podium.
"Oh. Goodie. I can already tell what this is going to be...." Vulkas glances at the other prisoners once more, and then looks to the red glow.
The red glow becomes a brilliant flame in the form of a mighty warrior.
"Greetings!" They boom. "It is time for you to become useful! You shall fight for your lives, or you shall die a brutal death!"
"Suppose having prisoners be executioners is efficient. Crude and unethical, but efficient." Vulkas slowly brings out the Twilight Siphon.
A host of flaming humanoids of various kinds manifest, some pure flame, others have skin with some parts burning, but all Elementals. Each one stands next to a prisoner, and as they do so, each is gilded in armor of pure flame.
After this is done, a gate opens underneath the outcrop, revealing a sandy wasteland outside, a lone flaming figure waiting.
"You shall join our great General in war against the other tribes, and you shall fight for him with joy at the prospect of blood and honor! Go out and secure the might of the Fire Clan! Form into ranks, and prepare to serve our might!"
"Alright, not executioners but soldiers. Still crude. I wonder if any will try to take this chance to escape." Vulkas follows along and forms into the ranks, walking towards and then through the gate into the sandy wasteland.
As he walks out with the group, they see on a large cliff face above them is an army far more equipped and ready for battle than them, and some of them give the prisoners smirks and taunts.
"Suppose they expect us to die. Guess i'll have to ruin their expectations ever so slightly." He blankly stares back to the better equipped soldiers before looking away.
Ahead of them, a number of hosts, seven in total can be seen in every corner of the desert.
He analyzes the hosts from a distance, trying to make out what they look like.
They are too far away, though they are moving closer at a decent rate.
He simply waits til they can get close enough to see.
The armies seem to be representative of each element.
"Wind, Lightning, Water, Earth, Light, Darkness, Ice, and we're Fire. Wonder if they'll make stories of this fight. And why did I have to be prisoner to fire? Never liked fire elementals. Too loud."
The fire elemental paired with him growls.
He looks at the elemental before turning away. "Don't worry, i'll give you a chance to kill me for saying that on the battlefield. Happy?"
Up at the very front, the charge toward the other armies begins.
When the people in front of him start charging, he starts charging as well, drawing his Twilight Siphon and seemingly waits for enemy soldiers to break though the front lines.
The other armies are now advancing at a rapid pace, the eight armies are about to collide.
He creates moderately sized dragons made of draconic energy that fly above him for a bit, then fly faster towards the enemy front lines as the armies get closer to colliding.
Several huge walls of earth erupt and smash into the dragons and completely scramble the armies, and chaos quickly begins to spread all over the battlefield.
Vulkas let's the dragons dissipate as he works his way through the chaos, fighting various soldiers with his Twilight Siphon.
His fellow prisoners, a great majority of them, are falling like flies, and its not just from the enemies. From behind, the main fire army has charged forward, and is decimating the few remaining.
Vulkas grimaces at the fire army behind him. "At this point I'm my own army. No one is on my side." Vulkas begins to steer clear of the way of the fire army.
As he does this, a flash of red and steel whirl toward him.
He jumps back and at the same time seemingly blocks the blow with his Twilight Siphon, looking at the origin of the attack.
A girl with pinkish red hair with unnatural agility is assaulting him, wielding scimitars rippling with wind magic.
Vulkas continues on the defensive as he blocks the whirlwind of scimitars, eventually creating a force of draconic energy towards the girl that pushes her back. "Just so you know I am rooting for your side."
She doesn't respond, but the moment the force comes close, she seems to blow away into sand, and reappears behind him with a slash.
Before she can slash at him, he quickly turns and stares into her eyes, and she feels a great amount of fear and intimidation, which stops her from continuing her attack. "Doesn't mean I wont cut you down in defense." His weapon shines a flash of blinding white light that starts arcing and moving towards the girl.
She instinctively moves back and dodges just in time, another wind elemental catches him in a violent tornado.
He has the tornado dissipate in an instant, slowly floating back to the ground as he whirls his Twilight Siphon back and into the other wind elementals chest. "I don't like unfair fights."
The girl looks at him for a moment, and the battle around them, before suddenly flickering and disappearing as part of the battlefield seems to die down in intensity for some reason.
He pulls back his weapon, and the blood seemingly disappears off it as one of the crystals on the weighted end glows. He then astral teleports his way closer to where the battlefield has stopped its intensity.
At this point he seems oddly alone, and looking back he can see the other elementals are running away from each other, and he looks off in the distance to see a huge storm cloud bearing down on the plain, behind it stand the wind elementals in one group, the storm crashes down upon the scene, scattering all of the armies and leaving the ones able to flee limping away. The wind elementals soon vanish afterward.
Vulkas breathes deeply and exhales slowly, and starts to bend the very storm itself, attempting to dissipate it as the storm starts slowing down.
The storm's sheer momentum is too strong to circumvent in the short amount of time.
"If they want to play with natural phenomenon, then fine, be my guest." Vulkas quickly stops and backs off to a farther point, ignoring the other soldiers running from the storm and seemingly going at a slower pace.
One fire elemental clad in regal armor spots him and grabs his head and begins running off with him.
"If I'm going down, you're going with me...!" He growls, a few other similar fire elementals and a handful of prisoner survivors soon follow. Vulkas doesn't seem able to strike back at him, and he realizes it is the prison warden.
"If you keep my head held like this I won't be able to fight in your name as well as I can." Vulkas looks around and then up at the storm.
"We have worse things to worry about than your thirst for battle, namely, my head."
Vulkas furrows his brow. "Now, what exactly could a prison warden be worried about?"
"Wouldn't you like to know. Now hurry up!" The warden throws Vulkas further ahead of him.
Vulkas walks forward, looking at the other prisoners to see who else survived.
A few scattered men and women compose his group of survivors, all haggard and weary, a light of deep unease at the slaughter fills their eyes.
Vulkas thinks about how many prisoners had originally been sent to fight and grimaces at the amount of lives lost.
The group of fire elementals gruffly keep order and continue their ragged march.
Vulkas opens his mouth to speak but decides to stay quiet, not wanting to risk getting the others killed. Instead he continues marching, picking up the pace.
Eventually, they begin to notice ash falling from the skies.
"So, this the fire elemental's idea of snow?"
They begin to detect a severe heat increase as they continue and the ash falls heavier.
Vulkas pays the heat increase no mind, but curiously looks at the heavy ash falling from the sky.
It is then he notices they are approaching a large cone spewing ash into the air.
He remains silent even after noticing the volcano, waiting to get a better understanding of the situation.
The fire elementals, quite grim, appear to be directing the prisoners up the mountain.
Vulkas walks his way up, occasionally looking behind him.
Eventually, they appear to reach an opening in the side.
Vulkas goes through the opening, looking around.
There appears to be a long tunnel ahead of him.
He continues his way and ends up going through the tunnel.
He walks out onto a large metal walkway, a single large metal circle around the inside of the volcano, which is scorching hot as blasts and pillars of lava surge from the pit deep below, sending ash and smoke hurtling into the skies above. There appears to be a number of levels above and below them, a strange complex of rooms and tunnels throughout the mountain. They are in some kind of makeshift fortress.
He seemingly is impressed by the sheer magnitude of it all. "I must admit so far this is better than a prison cell."
The warden grunts. "You're still our prisoner, don't let it get to your head..."
Vulkas eyes the warden. "Apologies if a prisoner cannot appreciate their time out of a cell."
The warden looks about for a moment. "Alright you maggots, at the bottom is a forge. Get to work making weapons and armor. Geoth will show you." A large muscled fire elemental nods.
Vulkas considers the situation and nods back, walking to where Geoth is.
Geoth leads them down a perilous and small rock ramp down toward the fiery core of the volcano.
Vulkas follows after Geoth. "Do you mind educating me on exactly what happened on that battlefield? From what I could tell something went wrong."
"It is against the law of the land for prisoners to be used in the War Games. We got away with this practice in the past because no casualties on our part occurred, at least for the main army."
"And now you've been figured out. I'd imagine the punishments would be severe."
"The Firelord would have our heads. Literally."
"Quaint. Why exactly are you having the last remaining prisoners work for you?"
"Insurance. No one can know. Dead men tell no tales. And this way, when the army comes, they'll assume you are just hired thugs working for traitors... no reason to suspect more prisoners."
"I'd say I'm more of an artisan than a thug. But very well. So I'm apparently supposed to help you with the forge?"
"That is what he said." They have reached the bottom half of the volcano, a great sea of magma is oozing from the ground below. Various workstations are present, and the few surviving prisoners are set to work, with Geoth supervising.
Vulkas does his job surprisingly well, doing what is ordered without a sweat.
They are worked all day, though at the half point, they are instructed to make thick sheets of metal plate.
He does as instructed, occasionally eyeing people and studying his environment from afar.
The air is uncomfortable, tense, everyone is on edge.
"A single unsettling event would throw this whole place into chaos...."
Eventually the fire elementals call the prisoners to a large central chamber, where a large pork has been roasted.
Vulkas's stomach quietly rumbles.
The fire elementals depart to attend to other matters, allowing the prisoners to eat.
Vulkas quickly starts eating, clearly hungry. He keeps to himself, not saying anything.
The other prisoners seem just as unwilling to speak. Finally when they are finished, they are directed to small rooms to sleep for the night.
As he walls into his small room to sleep, small little wisps of strange energy seem to dance around his head, one green, one blue, and the other opalescent. Vulkas quickly dismisses them before anyone can notice.
He is left alone for the night.
He takes quite some time to start sleeping, eventually giving in to his tiredness and resting.
Later in the morning, the fire elementals give them quick breakfast and then immediately setting them to work, this time laying the metal sheeting into the walls, seemingly to fortify.
He seems to grow irritable as he works, often getting distracted by his own thoughts until snapping back into reality.
One of his task masters is maintaining a steady eye on all of the prisoners.
Vulkas occasionally glances to the task master, clearly wary of him as he works on fortifying the walls.
He does nothing but observe, occasionally whipping slackers.
Vulkas seems to grimace every time a whip is heard against the flesh of his fellow prisoners, occasionally taking deep breaths to calm himself down.
After a while an order to halt and stand outside the tunnel is heard, then the fire elementals seem to inspect their work.
Vulkas waits idly, seeming to eye the other prisoners to see what they could be thinking.
The others are mostly just disgruntled, weary, and tired. After a little while, the fire elementals order those whose work was sloppy to continue working, while the others including Vulkas are given lunch.
Vulkas eats some of his food but looks back to the prisoners who are still working, and sneakily seals his food into nothingness when no one is looking.
Another prisoner can be seen trying to hide food as well, though they are caught, knocked out of their chair, and are violently beaten with obsidian clubs.
Vulkas looks at the prisoner being beaten and looks back to his food, and makes sure once more that no one saw him before he continues eating.
He is left alone but the fire elementals are being very watchful now.
Vulkas refrains from making any suspicious moves, aware of how watchful the elementals are being.
After a while, they are returned to work with tight scrutiny.
Vulkas works through the scrutiny, not trying to attract too much attention through doing a bad job.
The day seems to go well for him in general.
As the day goes by, Vulkas appears to get more and more curious regarding the other prisoners, starting to figure out their personality as they all work.
Most of them are simply tired or weary, some of them are more gaunt than others though, particularly some of the women.
He thinks back to the sealed food before he continues being hard at work, not making attempts for conversation due to the watchful eye of the elementals.
After a while the elementals seem to start having hushed discussions between themselves.
Vulkas tries to hear what he can of their conversation.
He is too far away to hear what they say without being noticed being away from his station.
Vulkas sighs and continues his work, feeling a wave of boredom come over him.
"Feeling a lack of excitement? Break them all. It will surely help."
He stays silent regardless of the unwelcomed voice.
Eventually some of the fire elementals seem to look in Vulkas' direction.
Vulkas notices but doesn't show that he's paying too much mind to it.
Eventually one starts to approach him.
He continues his work until the elemental is considerably close and turns around to face them, with a blank look.
"Come." They say in a gravely voice.
Vulkas looks to the others before nodding and following the elementals.
The elementals seem to be gathering a few others, only a handful though.
He raises a brow, curious as to what they could be gathering them for.
"You all are competent. You will build... special weapons."
Vulkas hesitantly speaks. "Are we allowed to have further information regarding what these special weapons are?"
"This one will give plans." The fire elemental speaking addresses a woman with scarring across her right eye, making it useless. Besides that she looks ordinary, though possibly shapeshifter or elemental in nature.
Vulkas seems to almost analyze the woman, standing idly by.
"They want us to make... cannons..." She says in a rusty, dull voice, likely from lack of use.
"The elemental mentioned they'd be special. What makes this so?"
"The elementals don't... use weaponry like this."
Vulkas squints and leaves the questions there, seeming to be putting things together in his head.
"Follow her, get to work," One snaps.
Vulkas gets irritated but doesn't show and quickly gets to following her.
She is being escorted to the lower areas, the smithies. Plans for artillery are laid out and presented to the other chosen.
"How exactly do we start, then?"
She begins to go over in a listless voice the procedure needed to safely create a cannon.
Vulkas quietly listens, although clearly bored by the woman's voice.
She appears to ignore him, very tired.
The boredom seems to be replaced with slight pity.
"Alright... ...does everyone understand their instructions...?"
Vulkas nods, and begins getting started on what he needs to do.
The woman appears to be working on firing mechanisms.
Vulkas does an adequate job on his part.
The woman seems to take a lot of breaks, tiring easily.
Vulkas notices and during one of her breaks he sneakily unseals the food he sealed before from nothingness, and offers it to her. "You're clearly lacking energy."
She looks at him incredulously, before gratefully taking her fill. No guard seems immediately present.
He raises his fingers to his lips and makes a shh sounds before returning to his own work.
They soon eventually forge together a basic ballistic cannon.
"That appears to be in adequate shape to me."
She nods before beginning work on a second.
Vulkas continues his own work. "What exactly are you status wise? You aren't a prisoner, yes?"
"You seem somewhat different. Apologize for misunderstanding."
"Engineer... ...they don't normally like those."
"Its because you challenge their intellect. Its not hard to do however, but engineers challenge it much more than others."
Vulkas starts working faster. "Tensions appear to be rising between the elemental clans more than ever. Cant say its helping our situation."
"They have always been fighting... there's never been any difference. If anything it is the same as ever. Though they must be choosing a new lead tribe, most likely from current battles."
"If I was forced to pick a side I would likely hope wind becomes the lead tribe."
"A foolish dream. Wind lacks the military and the resolve..."
Vulkas makes no visible reaction. "But they have the cunning."
"Cunning? Strength is all that matters in these lands. The mind was abandoned long ago."
"If that were to be the case I would not be currently around still."
"Hope if you wish, it's ultimately not realistic..."
Vulkas sighs. "I assume you don't believe you'll stop ever being a prisoner then, considering you don't appear to have much hope."
"If not in life, in death. These rebels will be found out. It is likely we will be killed with the rest."
"I so not plan on dying soon. That would give....certain people the wish they want. Even if I were to be killed, I am not dying without causing losses for each clan here."
"Hmm. Admirable, though I do not share the belief." She works on.
"I expect most to say the same." Vulkas continues his work as well.
They continue til late in the night, until they are finally given orders to stop, and sent off to private chambers to sleep, all individually from another.
Vulkas stays up for a while, thinking to himself before finally heading to bed.
Early in the morning, he starts to hear a large amount of commotion.
Wisps of inverted light and energy seem to crackle through the air as a tactile frigid serenity spreads. Color seems to brighten and dull erratically as a cold pressure descends into the area, feeling many with unfathomable dread and weariness.
Vulkas wakes up from the commotion and senses the feeling of dread and weariness, and is a bit put off by it. He starts to leave his chambers to investigate.
A ringing akin to the jingling of keys echoes from beyond his line of sight.
"You. Does the name Adel mean anything to you?" A calm, if disinterested voice calls out.
Vulkas holds his breath for a moment. "...An old friend."
"Then ready your weapon and sharpen your wit. Your place isn't here." The sound of metal shattering can be heard not much further away.
Vulkas seems slightly confused for a moment but he nods, brandishing his Twilight Siphon. "What is your name?"
"I'll tell you at a better juncture. Follow my voice," responds the voice, echoing not far ahead.
Vulkas doesn't seem hesitant at all, looking around before following the echo.
Outside of the cell, Vulkas can see blue veins of... something lining the prison, as well as cracks releasing the same sort of light. Blue particles float upwards and chill the air, yet burn to the touch as he progresses until he reaches a large opening seemingly torn through the prison, yet there is no debris, only signs that the structure was torn open. In the sky lies a tear akin to a large eye staring down into the prison and Vulkas can make out the faint outline of a field of sorts around the prison that turns the sky black.
"And so the void stares back, finally. At least, it seems it is here to help." Vulkas continues following the echo, looking around in case others show up.
Surrounding the mountain base is the eight armies of the elementals, all converging on the mountain, while the entrenched fire elemental captors busily order the slaves about, what looks like the leader notices him and raises his whip toward Vulkas.
The cracks spreading across the structure spread to the air in front of the elemental as the tear grows larger. "Those seeking liberation, follow my voice. Your time is short." The voice is cold as usual.
Vulkas shoots out a look at the leader which fills him with intimidation. "I am not going to bother with you. I would prefer to leave, thank you." Vulkas continues following the voice.
The slaves not unconscious from being taxed to their utmost limits attempt to follow, the weary woman Vulkas worked with gets shot at by her slave driver, mere feet away.
Vulkas notably gets irritated and makes a split decision to swat the slave driver with his Spirit Hand, picking up the weary woman and bringing her to him. "I will however bother with any slave drivers attempting to stop us."
The tear expands further, revealing what appears to eyelashes as it looms over the prison. Gold light shines from it now as the cracks and veins glow white. Soon Vulkas and many of the slaves begin to float upwards, into the tear.
Vulkas looks at the elementals as he floats up, shaking his head. "I doubt anything will change after this. What a shame."
Soon the armaments and artillery begins to float out of the prison as well, along with parts of the prison as the former prisoners vanish into the eye. The prison is soon stripped down to just a basin with the mountain, with all of the armaments dropped at the base of the mountain and the structural components are absorbed as the field dissipates.
In Hostile Lands
Kado and the others now make their way to the West, and as they continue, it begins to become blazing hot, and the ground begins to become parched.
"We've a ways to go. Pace yourselves well, you'll need all the energy you can," Kado calls to everyone else, most of whom are not familiar or comfortable in this present environment.
Akami: Who are you looking for now?
"Getting the impression I'm looking for Wind next."
Akami: Have you ever said how you know these people are?
"It's a thing you pick up when you lead an organization with very specific recruitment criteria."
"So Masky, what was with the look at the Tower way back, huh?" Kanashimi says from further back.
Kado's presence seems to darken slightly.
Akami: I think you poked at his cloud.
"Dafuq does that mean?"
Akami: You see, Avo has a cloud that hangs over his head. When he's in a good enough mood, the cloud stays white. But if you mess with him, you mess with the cloud; when you mess with the cloud, it darkens and that's when you can tell he isn't in a good mood.
"Ahhhh... good analogy. But seriously, the fuck did I do to you?"
Akami: Thou say'eth the Edge Master.
"You could be nicer to your fellows, Kado." Michiko remarks.
Kado is silent.
Akami: Alright alright. What's wrong? Are we in danger?
"No, she's right is all. I'm not comfortable with... ...your kind."
"Your kind- -Oh. Oooooh...." Kanashimi falls silent.
Akami: I-I don't get it. What? You mean her? *points at Kanashimi*
"The first time I remember meeting a Chaos Engine is when Azula was taken from me and made what she is. I don't have fond memories of them." Kanashimi pales at the mention of Azula's name.
Akami: Oh... Well... Thank God for new memories, right?
"..." As they continue, the dry ground begins to turn into sand, and it gets even hotter, and the Endlos Twins seem very uncomfortable.
Akami: So...What are you guy's favorite color?
Each of the assembled fall quiet.
Akami: Hmmmm? Anyone here like blue?
The twins silently raise their hands.
Akami: OK, we have blue over here. Do we have any reds?
Kana points to her hair.
Akami: Is that your favorite color?
"Can't make it any more obvious. Yours?"
Akami: Hmmmm...Mine is magenta. A type of red.
"So what's under the mask?"
Kado's aura gets dark again, this time out of sheer nervousness.
Akami: Do you really wanna know what's under the mask?
"He clearly has something to hide."
Kado's dark aura is practically in flames, and he is walking very quickly away.
Akami: Then I'll tell you myself.
Akami: Mhmm. You wanna hear?
Akami: Let me warn you know. Under that mask lies an amazing bundle of sexiness that you can't even begin to fathom. Under that mask lies a man with eyes so deadly, you would doe three times over. Under that mask lies a man who's seen it all: war, depression, poverty, prejudice, and betrayal. His soul, hardened to its very core.
"...He's just an ordinary bloke under there isn't he?"
Akami: Oh! So you don't take my word?
"Yeah that's right." Kanashimi says, folding her arms.
Akami: Well he's anything but ordinary. Believe that.
Kanashimi smirks and pokes Akami's cheek multiple times as she says, "You have a crush on him don't you~?"
Akami: Hey know, let's not get into relationships now. We still gotta traverse through this...Cotdamn desert...
"You're embarrassed I know, but I'll only shout it from the mountaintops a few dozen times." She keeps poking.
Akami: How can I have a crush on a guy who barely knows me?
"Tell that to my 'dad' who insists on shipping me with a random damn fire fairy."
Akami: My dad says, love takes time, build-up, and mutual benefit. That and some weeks of dating.
"I say fuck that do what you want lady. How old even are you?"
Akami: I am 144 years-old.
Kanashimi gives her a look. "...You are...? You don't look like a hag. ...Then again the last thing I ever get to worry about is being an old croon too. Explains the stick up your ass. Point, you're an old lady. Hit his crotch with a cane if he has a problem with the way you live your life."
Akami: Why hit with a cane? I can hit him with my fists! Hell, I all I have to do is just. Pinch them. Just firmly enough.
"Heck, I'm only 17 and I hit 'dad' all the time. We get along like two rabid wolves fighting over meat sometimes. You can afford to bicker."
Akami: But I'm not talking about dad's though. I'm talking about relationships and shiz.
"That's my point. Make your own rules, don't be a sheep. You're a damn half dragon. Try striking out on your own and try something new. If you listen to what daddy says every time, you'll always be sheltered and worse off for it."
Akami: Sheltered? Pfft! Barely! But suppose you're slightly right. But that isn't my priority. So if he wants to do get with this. *poses erotically* Then he needs to make a move first.
Kanashimi scoffs. "You live under a rock then... that guy just reeks of self loathing, even if you can't see it. He probably looks down on himself like an ant and puts you on some unattainable altar. He doesn't strike me as the kinda guy who can forgive himself. Probably why he hides that face of his."
Eventually, they reach a small river valley, lush and green, a rare sight after the hours of travel.
"Take a wash, have a drink, do whatever you want to relax. We've come far." Kado calls out, walking further upstream.
Akami: Then I guess no one is getting with this. *walks towards the stream, gets on her knees and begins to drink from the stream directly*
Michiko sits down on a stump and begins fanning herself quietly, while the twins join Akami at the water's edge for a drink, before beginning to spar for a while. Kanashimi sits atop a tree branch, looking off in the direction of where Kado went.
Akami: *sits up* Ah. That was some good water. *looks at Kado's direction* Hey, where you goin'? Don't tell me you're off to brood some more.
Kado is out of sight.
Akami: *stands to her feet and begins to play rock-paper-scissors with herself*
Kanashimi meanwhile seems to have flown off in Kado's direction.
Akami: *finishes* Well, it looks like you win, right side. *follows Kanashimi*
She sees Kanashimi further down after a few minutes of walking, sitting in a tree looking at someone seemingly bathing in the river with long white hair.
Akami: *walks up behind* Boo. *looks at the figure* Who's that?
"Heard you. Also, know any other long white haired girls?"
Akami: ...Why yes. Yes I do. *slow walks toward the white-haired figure*
The girl seems to notice her quickly and ducks deeper into the water, though Akami becomes able to tell it is Ace.
Akami: Ace? *runs up to the stream* Ace?!
Kanashimi seems unconcerned. "She's just diving under the water. Think she's embarrassed. Can't tell why."
Akami: *grabs Ace and pulls out of the water. She begins to hug her tightly* I missed yoooouuu!
"...Akami.....? As nice as it is to see you, please don't do that when we're naked... ...and bathing... ...please?" Ace says, burning scarlet, incredibly embarrassed.
Akami: Why? We all have the same parts here. But if you want to be all sketchy about it, then fine. *lets Ace go*
Ace gratefully sinks back into the water. "Kado is close in my mind, you kind of freaked him out."
Akami: Hmph. Some ninja he is. Wasn't he trained to hear me from miles away?
"We already saw you and that's why we ducked, so Kado wouldn't feel as embarrassed."
Akami: He shoudln't be embarrassed. I mean, I wouldn't be.
"So if a guy you really like walks up on you when you're essentially naked, you're not going to punch him out of instinct?" Ace asks.
Akami: As long as he keeps eye contact and makes no comments about my body.
"...Kado says you're weird. ...Can I finish bathing now?"
Akami: Of course. I let go.
"Can you... ...not watch? Preferably behind a tree? And knock down the angel in said tree while you're at it?"
Akami: Alright alright. *gets up and walks towards the tree* Hey Red, do you mind getting out the tree?
Akami:*moves her lips around some*
Akami digs her hands under the tree and in just a couple of seconds, uproots the entire tree. Akami turns the tree upside down and slams it to the ground, reducing the tree into a mass pile of leaves, branches, and bark.
Kanashimi stares up at her from the ground. "Whattheflyingfuckiswrongwithyou?!"
Akami: What 's wrong with me? *grabs Kanashimi by her shirt and pulls her up* What's wrong with youuuuu!? Here I am using my manner and shit, and your disrespectful-lookin' ass wants to challenge me! Do NOT test me! I will hurt you! *lets go of Kanashimi's shirt*
Kanashimi is still staring at her. "Ok buttercup. Also watch what you're doing. You almost stripped me." Kanashimi fixes her zipper and flippantly walks off.
Akami: *breathes slowly* Glad we're on the same page...
Akami feels very cold for some reason. Kanashimi is merely waving without looking back in a kind of strut, soon out of sight. Ace meanwhile begins to finish bathing but turns invisible before exiting the water.
Akami: I need some ice...Hey! Does anyone have ice?
The coldness persists, and a few moments later, Kado appears, stopping to look at her. "Why do you look blue?"
Akami: Blue? What are talking about? I'm yellow.
"You're most definitely blue." From Kado's perspective, there is a heavy aura of cold persistently following Akami, like a mist of snow and clouds, which as result, is making Akami very uncomfortable.
"I'd say you made someone angry."
Akami: *facepalms* Don't tell me it was because of the cotdamn tree...
Kado smirks behind the mask. "Hey, trees have feelings too."
Akami: Well I wouldn't know. I haven't seen a tree since I was 80.
"Besides the trip into East Flora? Well, never mind that anyway. I'll get Kiyona to get rid of that frost." He starts walking back to the others.
Akami: *begins to shiver some*
They soon reach the others, and after a brief moment of discussion with Kiyona, the tall endlos hybrid points her blade at Akami and the cold feeling subsides.
"Right then, discussing food. I will take Akami with me for hunting, while you all prepare camp." Without another word, he begins walking off into the wilderness.
Akami: Whoa, um, o-ok. Just getting into it. *quickly follows behind him*
"Ever wanted to learn how to use a bow?" Kado asks.
Akami: Wasting your time.
"A, I could be done by now if I didn't have to cart you around, B, I'd rather not over tenderize our food. C. If you're saying you can't do it, then little five year old Kado could beat you at anything."
Akami: Reveyn taught me. Duh.
"Ah. Are you actually any good?"
Akami: *scoff* You people steady doubting my skills.
Kado then points in the air. "Then shoot that feral dragon up there right in the eye." What he is pointing out is a faint speck in the sky.
Akami: *holds her palm out*
He hands her a bow.
Akami: *puts the bow in her other hand but still has her palm out*
Akami: The faster you give it to me, the faster we can eat.
Arrows are already in her hand along with the bow.
Akami: *turns the bow sideways and readies two arrows*
Akami have the arrows facing the opposite directions. She waits for a moment and shoots the arrows straight forward instead of up
Kado looks at her silently.
They wait for a moment until they here a few clinging sounds. The sounds soon fade away and they wait for several seconds. Then abruptly, they can hear the dragon roar.
Kado is still looking at her silently.
Akami: I got it.
"Did you kill it?"
They soon see the spec slowly descending, but it also tries to rise
Akami: Almost. I think I'm going to have to shoot it in its other eye. *readies another arrow and waits*
"Right. May be more complicated than that."
Akami: Like how?
"Because these things do not understand the concept of 'give up'."
Akami: Neither. Do.I. *readies six arrows at one time and fires them in different directions*
They wait for a moment until they hear some sort of a faint cry. They see the spec falling
Kado watches for a moment before remarking, "Welcome to Echo." He says as a very large, grey, and ugly dragon with several arrows in its eyes lets out a scream of bloody fury as it lands on all fours in front of them, extremely enraged.
Akami: So, I can punch this thing now, right?
"As I said I would prefer it not be over tenderized. Besides, now that it's down I got this."
Akami: Well do it. We are hungry after all.
Kado gains a dark aura about him, and something akin to black blades erupt from the creature's body, killing it quickly.
"There. Now to get it back to camp."
Akami: *puts her hand under the dragon and hoist it up above her head with one hand*
"You're quiet the weight lifter. Ever thought of competing?" Kado asks humorously.
Akami: Actually yes. Yes I have.
"Hmm. Why not do it?"
Akami: Like I said. Priorities.
Kado and Akami soon reach the camp, and Kiyona and Zetsubo help them butcher the meat properly.
Akami: How long should this thing last us?
"Long enough." They eventually finish, and Kado prepares some for cooking, the rest he puts into a shadowy vortex.
Akami: *sits on the ground* So.
Akami: You know what.
"No I don't, and this conversation ends until you speak plainly." Kado says evenly.
Akami: Oh I am. You just don't want to admit it.
"Keep it up and you won't have dinner. And you'll watch everyone else eat."
Akami: Says who? The gloomy one?
"Says the guy who is your only way off this realm, and is making your food, so shush, Ryu."
Akami: I'm not keepin' quiet until you say it. I can starve or can put me in some pocket dimension or use some of your bullshit magic/powers/whatever the fuck you use. Until I hear it. And it. Is going. To be. Worth it.
"...Still don't know what you mean."
Akami: *sigh* My epic archery skills, son!
"It's pretty good." He shrugs.
Akami: ....You know what, I'm not hungry anyway. *gets up and walks off*
Kado is stumped, while the girls gathered give him very critical looks.
Akami walks a few hundred feet away from the rest of the group and stands behind a giant rock
Akami: *grunts* Tries to teach me how to arch. The moment I show I already know how the most badass way possible, he's just gonna diss my skills. That broodin, time-wasting wussy, drama king-ass, emo sonofa bitch! *turns to punch the rock, but stops her self before her knuckles touch it* ...I can't...These rocks might have feelings too...Damn it! *slams her palms against the rock and a gust of wind blows*
Akami turns and puts her back against the rock, then slowly slides to the ground and sits with her arms and legs crossed. She then turns stares at the ground
Akami: Ease up, chick...You're not here to complain...You're here to help him out...No matter how much you have to put up with from these...people...I'm probably just as bad too...Just need to breath some. *inhales and exhales* I still need some ice. Meh. I'll get it in the morning. When I don't feel like punching fools all the way to the Moon and back. *lays down on her back and looks at the sky about her* Hmm. Nice-ass sky.
The wind blows, and suddenly a strange black haired male with green eyes appears, sitting on top of the rock looking down at her.
"Hate to ruin your moping session chick, but this isn't a good place to have a liedown."
Akami: Cotdamn it with you people! *gets up* I barely had a minute to myself and you all be poppin' up like you're some secret character to a video game!
"Sorry for being concerned for a dumbass bitch who is out in the middle of nowhere, just being a public servant." Getting up, she is able to see he's an elf, or at least a half elf.
Akami: What are supposed to be, a goblin?
He flicks her nose and disappears in the wind.
A few minutes later Kado appears nearby, his mask noticeably cracked.
"Akami please come out before the other girls hit me again."
Akami: I don't know, Avo. It sure feels comforable behind this rock
She hears a dark growl, and a huge clawed shadow hand grabs her and boulder alike and slams both in front of Kado, whose aura is coal black, a faint red glow emits from his eyes.
He then sits down in front of her and takes off his mask, a tired and frusterated expression on his face. He stares at her with a combination of the previous looks and that of bewilderment.
"I don't understand you women. I think you have good skills and tell you how I feel honestly and you get mad. It's fine and all if it's that time of the month and all but if you're gonna throw a tantrum when I'm level with you, I'm gonna send you home like the child you are. Damn the consequences of what's going to happen when Obi finds out, I have enough work cut out for me as it is, but I'm pretty sure whining is something neither of us likes to hear."
He looks at her with a firm gaze. "Also, I'm going to ignore all of those insults you threw in my direction and instead ask who the hell was talking to you not but a few minutes ago, and did anything stand out?"
Akami: He was a goblin.
Kado sighs, bowing his head for a moment. When he looks back up at her, he grabs her and puts her in a firm but gentle hug, stroking her hair briefly.
"You stupid idiot. You're the best damn half dragon I know, there's little to nothing you do that doesn't impress me. Quit insulting yourself before I start to take offense at the idea that someone I love could ever be sub par."
His annoyance and concern seem to blind him to the realization of what he just said.
Akami: First, I am the only half-dragon you know. Second, Thanks...I mean that was all I was really looking for. When your old like me, you take pride in what you know, what you've learned, and what you can do. My apologies if I "over-reacted." Third, also stange that you decided to mention Azula at the end thought. She doesn't sound sub-par to me.
".......I was... ...talking about you, Akami. I care about you, just... ...just like her." He hugs her tighter. "If something happens to you, it'll hurt all the worse, this life I'm living. Even if we are just comerades in arms, I refuse to let you suffer her fate. I'd die to protect you, so don't slander yourself Akami. Or my feelings about the both of you."
Akami: Dang dude. You are just so emotional. *wraps an arm around him and hugs him back*
"That happens when you live like I did." He doesn't move for a while. "You want to head back? It's getting dark out and we don't want to be caught off guard."
Akami: Fine fine. If you really can't live without me, I'll go back with you. I am going to miss this rock though.
Kado without another word scoops her up in his arms and proceeds to take her back to camp. "Alright then Ryu, you get to be a dragon princess until we get there."
Akami: The hell are you carrying me for? And what are you saving me from anyway?
"Because it's funny, and from you having to walk."
Akami: Dude, I didn't even walk that far!
"Ah whatever you say Ryu."
Akami: *grabs Kado's shirt and pulls him to the ground*
They both roll across the ground for a moment with Akami laying on top of Kado.
Akami: Take that!
Kado looks up at her quietly for a moment. "Fine. You win." His irises are black.
Akami: Damn right. *gets up of Kado, the proceeds to lift him above her head* This princess can carry herself and you. *smiles playfully and continues off in their initial direction*
Kado changes form until he completely turns into Ace.
Akami feels the shift in weight and she lowers her arms to see she's holding Ace
Akami: Huh. I take it you wanna be carried too?
Akami: So...How have you beeeeen?
When the others see them, they are baffled.
"Who is that cute girl?" Michiko asks eagerly.
"Not how I would put it-" Kiyona begins,
"But who is that?" Zetsubo interjects.
Kanashimi only smirks, well aware.
Akami: This adorable bundle of joy is Ace. Say 'whazz up' Ace.
Michiko looks at Ace, still confused. "She feels... familiar?"
Akami: Yes. Yes she does. Though that's up to her if she wants to tell you her secret.
Kiyona, looking at Ace, frowns. "She feels like Kado, only, a lot warmer... it's like she's his daughter or something, but the souls are even more similar..."
Kiyona's eyes widen a moment later, as does Michiko, as if realizing at the same time. "How many?" They ask in unison.
Akami: How many what?
"How many fragments are they?" Michiko answers. "How many souls has he become?"
Akami: Um. Two. Three if you wanna count Kado himself.
The two look incredulous for a moment, then approach and give Ace a hug, making her blush faintly. "You poor things..." The two say together.
Zetsubo looks on quietly.
Akami: *pulls away* Heyheyhey. She already has me. *turns her back away from them while holding Ace tightly*
"They have all of us," Michiko corrects.
"We promised to aid him, who says it has to be only in battle?" Kiyona remarks.
Akami: *has scrunched-up facial expression as she looks at everyone* Meeeeeeeeeeeeehhh...
Ace yawns tiredly.
Akami: *puts Ace in her arms and begins to gently cradle her*
"...Can I sleep now?"
Akami: Sssssh. Ofcourse. Just close your eyes and forget I'm here.
"Can I please lay down...?"
Akami: *lays Ace on the ground* There.
It doesn't take long for Ace to fall asleep. The others offer Akami food.
Akami: Thanks. What is it though?
The food is quite clearly dragon meat.
Akami: Oh right. Nevermind. I was blinded by rage from words of mediocrity.
The group stares in confusion, and eats their meal.
Akami: *says her grace, then begins to eat* Mmmm. This is good.
Kiyona, Zetsubo, and Kanashimi all are eating the meat like ravenous wolves.
Akami: I didn't think spirits could get that hungry.
"We're not spirits," Kiyona and Zetsubo remark.
Akami: Then what are you? Specifically.
Akami: No, I mean what's an Endlos?
Kiyona looks uncomfortable. "Well... we're kinda blue, big, and have rather strong magic? So like... ...maybe like giant super elves? Also the king is incredible."
Akami: Didn't really ask about him, but cool to know. What do you all do for hobbies?
"What's a hobby?" She asks, confused.
Akami: What's a--?...Well, a hobby is something specific you like to do to pass the time. Like for example, One of my hobbies is acrobatics.
"I don't really have any..." Kiyona begins,
"But we spar often to keep each other sharp." Zetsubo finishes.
Akami: OK. That can count. What about the rest of you?
Kanashimi shrugs. "I spend most of my time with dad kicking ass and taking names."
Michiko grimaces at Kana's language. "Most of mine is traveling to and fro home on diplomatic matters. I love finery and the arts."
Akami: So... adventurous.
They just shrug.
Akami: Ok uuummmm...Oh! Y'alls favorite animal? What is it?
Kanashimi looks stumped, as does Kiyona and Zetsubo. Michikio shrugs.
Akami: My favorite animal is a turtle. I find their slowness so adorable.
Michikio looks at Akami. "Tell us of your world."
Akami: ... *is surprised* Why do you want to know?
"Because you wanted to know about us."
Akami: But there's still so much to know about you guys. It's just that you all aren't that open about yourselves. That and you guys do sound pretty basic so far. No offense.
Michiko looks at Akami, bemused. "You're not the one with seven siblings, all who enjoy pranks and mayhem. Imagine how we feel thinking about you."
Akami: See? I didn't know that. And why don't you just beat their asses?
"You didn't ask. And because I'm just as spoiled as them really~ Your turn Ryu," She responds, a faint smile on her face after using the nickname.
Akami: The one about Earth or are switching the topic to family?
"About Earth." She turns into a tiny golden ball of light and lands in Akami's hair.
"I'll just lay in here if you don't mind~"
Akami: I suppose not. Hmmmm... There's alot to cover. What all do you want to know?
"Anything you want~"
Akami: OK. Well I guess I can start with the environment. Most of it mostly a desert of some kind. Whether it be sand,ice,or dust. The land is flat also. Very few mountains around.But there are also land filled with flora but those are like green patch on a lawn of dead grass. Flowers are rare to come by now a days.The same goes for the trees. But there are parks to preserve them and distribute them back in ton the wild. The climate. Well we only get three types of weather: Rain, Sun, and, Snow. And those three are coooooonstant through-out the seasons. Hell, the only seasons we get are Summer and Winter! That's it! *sigh* Having said this, you can imagine how it is for the wildlife. Some of the more prominent animal species are now endangered and those that were endangered before are now extinct or on the very verge. Some might not have suffered from the climate but rather localization. Oh speaking of rain, we actually got two types: Rain and acid rain. It comes around like...Twice a month. Every month.
Michiko seems confused for a moment. "No respect for the balance, I see."
Akami: Nah, no one believes anything like that on Earth. Your either one or the other.
"Mistake," All three say at once.
Akami: Well to be honest there are some people down in the East who probably still believe that concept but I'm not one of them.
"With no moderation, there cannot be prosperity," Michiko speaks. "We take what we need, not what we want."
Kiyona and Zetsubo nod. "One should be humble before the world, so if one must fall, the fall is a scrape on the knee, not certain destruction." They add.
Akami: Some people think the exact same thing
Zetsubo folds his arms. "You fight for the freedom of Myths, do you not?"
Akami: Yes. Yes I do. But since I know where this is going, let me specify. I don't believe in balance when it comes to good and evil.
"Do you? So do you believe that your adversaries are completely in the wrong?"
Akami: It doesn't necessarily matter what I think about what I think about what they do, because my version of good is subjective.
"You didn't answer my question. Are they completely in the wrong?"
Akami: I told you, I can't say. Nor do I have the right to.
"Yet you have defined understandings of good and evil all the same, and by those standards apply them as labels to others."
Akami: I'm saying that I don't judge what people on what I consider good or evil. Everyone has their own take on what's good and what's evil. And may I ask why you askin' all these questions?
"Have you ever considered the two sides of the coin, if yours is truly right?"
Akami: The side I'm on is only right by me. No one else unless they believe it themselves. Though that doesn't mean I'm in the right. For all I know I could be wrong about all this. For all I know you could be wrong about all this . Any one of us could be wrong about what constitutes as right because we keep applying to our standards. That's why saying this. I really don't have any enemies. Because everyone wants to believe what they're doing is good. Same in vise versa.
"That is the balance we speak of. Beyond that, as well. You say you do not believe in balance yet essentially practice it all the same."
Akami: Equality and balance go hand in hand. Good and evil don't. That's all I've been taught.
Zetsubo lies down, Kiyona soon after.
Akami: Why are --Oh! Right.Its almost night time. I almost forgot about that.
Michiko looks at Akami. "Do you like tea?"
Akami: Pffft! I don't know any one who doesn't!
Michiko makes a pot appear, and begins boiling water over the fire.
Akami: Thanks alot! It's been a long while since I had tea.
She shrugs. "Least a princess can do."
Akami: While we're still up, what else do you wanna know about Earth?
"What the people are like."
Akami: Ooooohhhh boy. There is ALOT to talk about the people. I've been around for a century and some decades.And I've seen it aaalll what lies in a humans nature. I guess I won't categorize them. The people on Earth can be scary, polite, hateful, kind, vengeful, understanding, ambitious, mellow, endearing, hypocritical, decisive, and overall imperfect, yet they want to reach perfection of some kind or they might convince themselves that there is nothing wrong with them.
"I see." She sips her tea.
Akami: How are the humans here like?
Michiko sips her tea. "Well mannered compared to what you're probably used to. Idiots exist, but in this world of rugged survival, it's usually the selfish idiots who die quicker."
Akami: Yea. It's rather the opposite where I come from. But I can't say I wasn't like that too at some point.
Michiko soon polishes off her tea, then appears to be changing into nightwear. Kanashimi meanwhile sits quietly by the campfire, the dark of night now more heavy around them.
Akami: So. Favorite desert?
"Lemon cake." Michiko says, now taking out a sleeping bag to Akami's surprise and settling in. Kanashimi meanwhile continues sitting by the fire, staring into it blankly at present.
Akami: Mmm. Delicious '. What about yours?
Kanashimi shrugs. "Don't remember a lot of foods. S'what happens when you're a Chaos Engine. You're essentially an adult shaped baby thrust into the world with a sword in hand and the directive to obey. I bet the others remember more stuff than I, and my human self is long gone now. Then again, I wouldn't be here at all were it not for Drake, so losing what's essentially already vague memories doesn't matter that much."
She pauses for a moment. "But probably lemon cake. It's the only thing besides meat I've really eaten much of."
Akami: Wow chick. You went 1-20 on me real quick.I think mine would be apple fritters.
Kanashimi just shrugs again. "What can I say? You can't understand the sentimentality until you live it. It's fun to say 'everyone has that backstory', but it doesn't mean it matters any less. Dismissing someone's pain just because it's a familiar story? I'm not sure who is the bigger asshole, the people who say that, White, or the humans who fuck up Myth's lives."
Akami: Don't forget the Myths who fuck up human lives. No one is exempt from what's wrong now. And I've heard plenty of stories and I've seen them happen. I won't say I haven't heard that story before. Just next time do mind giving a girl a warning first. You almost had me scared. And Stan is the biggest asshole I know. That and Segura. *pours herself some tea*
"Aside from Phoenix, name me an actual mythic organization that aims for humanity's destruction. Now name me all of the organizations that yearn to destroy myths, or at least treat them like shit."
Akami: Well there's the Diablo Assembly,The Gamma Circle,Osprey,Unsung, and the MCCP. Those are just agencies. They don't per say 'Wanna destroy mythic kind." The only exception would be the MCCP and that's of recently. As mythic organizations. There is Basking Mouth, Those Who Reave, and Bloodpath. But those guys are almost non-existent.
"My point exactly. It's not exactly even numbers."
Akami: Hah! Numbers don't mean shit if you have the power to drop them in seconds!
Kanashimi starts laughing to the point Akami realizes she is mocking her.
"Don't make me laugh! Humans have that power in SPADES. Most Myths can't even blow up a whole city in one swoop. The rare few that can aren't interested, or have some kind of grudge. Dragons? Bah. Try a fucking anti air missile. Whole armies of scary myths? Just fucking nuke them. If humans wanted to, they could have won ages ago. You're spreading the propaganda of the Agencies and the hate filled bigots for them."
Kanashimi shrugs. "Then there's Myths who don't know how to control their powers to begin with. Man creates problems, but maybe they should start solving them."
Akami: Hey, don't single myths out here. Both sides are at fault.
"I'm just speaking of who can reduce the numbers, half human."
Akami: What, no Butterface? Did I get demoted or something?
"That's what you are, whereelse I was an actual human girl at one point, so I know a few things."
Akami: Exceeeeept your favorite desert.
"That's different. Desert wasn't trying to kill humanity now was it?"
Akami: Unless is was poisoned or someone choked on it.
Kanashimi gives her a look. "Go on to bed."
Akami: Whaaaaat? I haven't drunk ma' tea yeeeet.
"Finish your tea then bed. I'm keeping watch."
Akami: *sips her tea* Mmm! This is some good-ass tea. Are you sure? Two sets of eyes are better than one set you know.
"I'll be fine Akami."
Akami: Huh...Is it me or is it this first time I'm hearing you call me by my name?
"Who knows." She shrugs.
Akami: Awwww! Now I feel loved. Come here! *hugs Kanashimi*
"G-G-AH! What's with the hug?!"
Akami: *rocks Kanashimi as she continues to hug her* Caaaan you feel, the loooove to-night!
"I will slap you," Kanashimi starts to get annoyed.
Akami: And I will slap you back. But if you don't want the love, I will gladly resend it. *releases Kanashimi from her grasp* Your free. *drinks the rest of her tea* Goodnight then. *turns over and lays down*
Kanashimi sighs. "So excitable that one..." She mutters. After a moment, she creates a wisp of flame that hovers over the group, providing warmth in the cold of the desert night.
"Ehhhh... not a great place for scarce clothing," She grunts, zipping her shirt up fully, as well as her jacket, surveying the surrounding area. For a while, she feels fine, but strangely after a few hours begins to get drowsy after seeing a large black shadow on a distant mountain...
The Vision's Expanse
The prisoners find themselves in a simply black space that seems to go one indefinitely. The space is quiet and gives off a neat feeling despite having no content within it. The air is still and light, but soon that changes when the voice speaks.
"You've accepted liberation then. To those of you truly guilty, this will be your chance to have a 'reroll' on your life or the decisions that resulted in you being captured. To those of you who were innocent, this is a chance to rebuild your lives. As for one of you, however, this is a chance to reunite with an old friend."
A faint orange light descends as the voice speaks.
Vulkas lets out a breath, with some nervousness to his face but he quickly shakes it off. He floats forward, towards the orange light.
The light gradually takes the shape of a man with brilliant red hair and emerald eyes wearing an ornate crimson overcoat over a simple white tunic and black trousers. He has knee high leather boots and carries a red tricorn hat with withered feathers as a plume.
"We've almost arrived at our destination. Prepare yourselves."
Vulkas seems a tad taken aback by the man's appearance. "I'd take it easy on the red due to red being associated with the fire elementals, especially with the prisoners but I cannot stop you from wearing what you like. Thank you for this, truly."
The man nods, but doesn't change his attire. He raises a hand and the black space brightens, revealing a mass of revolving energy beneath the 'ground' and an endless starry expanse as the sky.
"From this point onward, your fates are back in your own hands. Do not squander this opportunity," announces the man as the prisoners begin to glow brightly before ascending into the stars or descending into the mass of energy. When only he and Vulkas remain, he sighs. "Second chances don't come easy."
"Usually for good reason, but I am glad you grace the other prisoners the same treatment as I." Vulkas seems unsure of himself. "I imagine you are a close ally to Adel. It has been very long since I have met with her, a part of me is even surprised I will even see her again."
"Indeed, though at the moment, she is resting," says the man, walking deeper into the now illuminated space. "Come along."
Vulkas follows after the man. "Why now? Has something happened for you to come find me?"
"Many things, many things," says the man as the path they walk begins to take shape.
"I do believe many things happening is a given. But if it is not entirely important for the time being, so be it." Vulkas keeps walking the rather peculiar path, seeming used to it. "Where are we heading, then?"
"To Adel's place of rest. We will arrive before long," replies the man as the path solidifies.
"I myself am in no rush. Any place other than that prison is bliss." Three wisps of light quickly appear next to Vulkas but they almost instantly fade away, and Vulkas' face turns to one of aggravation. "Most of the time."
"Ah yes, the Astral Realm haunts you so," nods the man as the path brightens. "Adel's other guardian told me many things about you."
"I am fine with that information being known, makes it so I don't have to explain myself so much. Unless they've told you things beyond that. Personal things I mean."
"They aren't that talkative," assures the man as a cottage comes into view. The 'ground' is replaced lush green grass that spreads from the small residence for several dozen meters before abruptly becoming cracked uneven earth.
"This is all too familiar. At least this time I shall come back with an unbroken body, spirit and mind." Vulkas eyes the cottage and the landscape. "I do hope it wont result in evacuation like last time. Or that damned puzzle."
"Likely not this time around." The man stops in front of the cottage door, "Ah yes, I never introduced myself. I go by the name of Graven at this juncture."
Vulkas nods. "Pleasure to meet you Graven." He waits for Graven to enter the cottage patiently.
Rather than opening the door from the outside, the door opens from within revealing a person with inky black hair and emerald eyes. They appear to be wearing an equally dark cloak as well, obscuring their figure. They glance over Vulkas before nodding and disappearing deeper into the cottage. Graven soon follows.
Vulkas seems rather confused at first, but assumes the person to be the other guardian that Adel has. He enters the cottage after Graven walks in, looking around.
As usual, the cottage is more spacious than it looks and seems relatively unchanged since his last visit, barring the floating scripts and symbols denoting the use of Astra.
"Someone appears to have been recently busy." Vulkas laughs a bit at his own remark. "....That wasn't even funny. Why did I laugh...?"
Graven shrugs. "Breathe."
Vulkas takes a deep breath and lets it go. "I'm going to need to get an actual good amount of rest for once to settle myself."
Graven points to a room with an ajar door. "That room is vacant."
"Oh good. But I would imagine there are more pressing matters than sleeping."
"Indeed, but you may rest if need be. Adel is still resting currently."
Vulkas gives in to his own fatigue. "Very well, I'll be taking time to rejuvenate myself then. If anything happens do wake me up." Vulkas walks over to the vacant room.
Graven nods, before disappearing around a corner.
He takes a second to breathe again. "So tired of elementals." He walks over to the bed and falls asleep after getting in.
Several hours later Vulkas feels a pressure on his chest.
He slowly wakes up, shaking off his grogginess before looking to see whats causing the pressure.
He sees a pair of emerald eyes staring into his for several moments before they vanish into shadow.
Vulkas blinks before getting up, a tad dazed by what he saw but he quickly shakes it off. He gets up and exits the room, looking to see where everyone is.
Return of the Son
In the cold midnight of the encampment, a sinister cold chill blows through the land, piercing the flesh of all like a frozen lance.
Akami: *has here arms wrapped around her trying to grasp some warmth* Man... It's been a while since ...I felt a cold weather like this...
Akami begins to feel like in the cold, there is some form of presence lurking about.
Akami: *stops* It feels like somebody...*turns around swiftly* Wants to sell me something!
All around them, the sky is pitch black, not a single star is shining, nor can the moon be seen. The land is covered in dull dark greys, and the cold persists no matter how hard she tries to warm herself. On the edge of the darkness thickly surrounding the camp, Akami starts to see movement.
Akami: I'm not interested in anything you're selling!
From the shadows, a tall woman with white hair and red eyes begins to appear, bellowing into shape like a dark cloud before solidifying. She completely doesn't seem to notice Akami as she walks into the camp.
Akami: Uummm, ma'am? You alright? *,steps in the woman's path* You seem to be mistaken. See this is our camp. That and I don't know what you want.
The woman appears to make no attempt to move aside, in fact she continue moving straight, running right into Akami and passing through like black smoke, Akami is chilled to freezing temperature, to the point ice forms on her skin, causing minor damage to her. The woman is now walking behind Akami, heading toward the tents.
Akami: Goodness! *quickly runs the ice of her skin* Hey! Hey, Lady! *quickly catches up behind her* Who do you think you are? Waltzing up in someone's camp like you know people here!
A large shadow hand rises from the ground and fiercely squeezes her, and the woman starts to approach Kado's tent.
Akami: Hey! Heeeeey! * is trying with all her might to go after the shadow lady* Get back here, you rude-ass bitch!
She pauses for the first time, slowly turning to look at Akami, who involuntarily flinches when she sees only darkness for a face, with six glowing red eyes. Then a crack for a mouth appears, and it appears to grin.
"We have heard your cries, so fear not child of the Myths... we will set you all free..."
Akami: Oh oh, Now you see me.
The others have roused, but they all seem to freeze upon seeing the woman. She turns to face the tent of Kado, only to jump back and into the air as Kado slashes at her. She then flies behind him and begins to charge a beam in her hand, and appears to aim for Kado.
Akami: Avo! Move, man! *continues to pry herslef free from the shadow hand*
The being seems to pause, before hurling a massive red energy spear at Akami's chest. Despite her efforts to break free, she appears unable to move as the spear quickly is closing in.
Akami: Well Dad...I apologize for not dying a martyr. So weird that, this could be the day I die, yet...I have very little to say...I lived this long but I'm speechless...Heheh...Isn't that a shame? *closes her eyes*
At the last second, she feels nothing, but hears the spear impale something in front of her. When she opens her eyes, she catches a glimpse of Kado standing in front of her, with the end of the spear poking through his chest, all the way out of his back and having just barely come short of her forehead. The hand holding her wilts and fades, just as a force repels Akami and the rest of the group away, as from their vantage point, a massive wall of shadow consumes the camp and a massive red beam explodes into the sky, and to their shock, the surrounding landscape and even the sky is cracking and being warped and pulled into the darkness and light.
It's then it dawns on Akami that Kado had been the one who had forced them away.
Akami: Kado! *gets up and tries to run to him*
Something sharp impales itself just in front of her, and Akami realizes it is Run'ejji, his father's sword. The darkness around the area seems to form a massive clawed hand, before swatting her back to the others.
Kanashimi looks terrified. "...That thing just now... didn't have a life force, yet I could feel an incredibly powerful negative intention... ...Akami, you need to keep back from whatever is in there!"
Akami: Fuck that! I ain't leaving him! I didn't come here having to put up with you rude-ass people, get trolled, waste time, be someone's tool, and and almost killed, just to sit here and watch this shit happen! I've come too far for this! He's my responsibility and you better bet, I'm going to do whatever it takes to stop this! *she gets up again begins to run towards Kado once more, but with ever step, she forces her feet deep withen the ground to keep herself from being blown away*
When she gets closer, a black blade slashes her forehead, a very familiar black katana. The scrape is very light, but burns from being exposed to air.
Akami: *continues foreward* Throw what want, I am not gonna sit on my ass in the back seat again!
The darkness abruptly implodes on itself, forcing her back, she looks up to see the shillohete of Kado, with pure red eyes staring down at her with red cracks spread throughout his body.
Akami: Why? Why did you bring me here if this was going to happen, huh? Just so I can watch you...Go through shit!? Ig you can still hear me, listen good. I have lived ten of your lifetimes. And I've have seen good people die over sacrifices. But that was when I was weak. I'm not weak now. I dream nightmares over their deaths because I couldn't take care of myself. But I can now. And I can take care of others because of it. And I'll be damned if you think, you're going to make me feel that way again! *stretches her hand out and tries to grab him*
She is blasted back by a bolt of red energy. "You waste your breath. Kado belongs to us."
Akami skids across the ground on her fit and finally comes to a stop. She puts her hands on her knees and breathes heavily. Akami's face is undeterred as it remains in its angry scrowl but the glint of determenation resides in her eyes.
Akami: I might be...But I'll be damned if I ever stopped...*stands up right* You can blow me back and for, and side to side all you want...*points at the silhouette* But nothing is going to stop me from bring him back!
Akami cross her arms in an x-formation and is engulfed in green flames.
Akami: Hana-ken! *thrust her arms foreward and launches a green fire cone at the silhouette*
The being seems to smirk, before a massive blast of fire scorches the land around them for miles, burning everyone in the area including Akami, blowing out her own attack.
"I have absorbed three of the very gods who build this world, and now, I will collect the remaining five..." Stretching his hand to the sky, Kado seems to draw energy from the very land itself, until five star like spheres of spiritual power appear overhead.
"Soon, the final Avatar will be complete... the Devourer will be born!"
Akami still stands on her feet, her close burning up. She still breathes rather heavily as her body slowly begins to exhaust.
The spheres begin to gravitate around Kado, beginning to spin faster and faster. Meanwhile, a rippling vortex begins to open up beside Akami and the others.
The first sound heard is the dangling of chains, and a foot steps from the vortex. A man with long black hair, robed in black and white is holding a rather ornate kusarigama, and he scans the area.
The spheres are pulled into him, and a massive red beam bursts from his location, and in the sky, Earth and Fantasy become visible, just as another beam far to the south erupts, while on Earth, one more appear as well, while a faint red star begins to glow in the sky, incredibly malevolent energy is emitting from the red lights.
Now we shall be reborn...!
The recently appeared man seems concerned. He looks to Akami and the others. "Do not fret. All shall be fine. Hopefully."
He mockingly laughs, abiet at a higher pitched tone. Fine?! Bah! You know not whom you face! Our brethren's return is nigh!
He looks back to the possessed Kado. "It is sad seeing a fellow spirit in this state. But I cannot let you continue your plans regardless of what body you take."
A voice echoes behind the newcomer. It is a futile endeavor to banter with them.
Suddenly, the whole of Echo begins to quake. "Such ignorance, my plans and their foundations have existed since before this realm even was born! Its very existence serves as a means to an end! Watch...!"
Far to the south, the red beam begins to intensify and grow huge on the horizon.
Vulkas eyes the red beam, taking a few steps back and slowly spinning his kusarigama at his side.
A red flashes in between two green flames past Vulkas and towards the silhouette.
The silhouette glows red before bursting into flames, knocking her back. With the flames die down, Kado stands before them, though his eyes are black.
"It's time to grow up, Akami."
Akami: *sits up and smirks angrily* Advice doesn't mean shit if you don't follow it yourself. *she stands to her feet once more*
Vulkas twirls his Twilight Siphon a little faster. "It has been suggested to cease the banter."
From each of the red beams, horrific monsters burst from the land, on Echo, a gigantic feline skulled monster rises, while on Earth, a curved horned white demon erupts from the Americas, and from the stars, a black knight.
Kado only looks toward Vulkas. "You know what needs to be done, even if she won't allow or admit it. Do it."
Vulkas sighs, clearly not too happy about the situation. "I envy your resolve. I wish I could have actually gotten to know you." He takes one look at Akami. "Im sorry." He quickly turned back, wanting to get this done as quickly as possible, swinging the Twilight Siphon into Kado's chest.
A glowing red energy blade blocks his strike, Kado's face is stone, though part of it is shadowed by black mist.
"You didn't honestly think we would allow that?" The gargantuan monsters begin to converge on the area, as yet another, even larger vortex than the one Vulkas arrived with appears, and from it steps a shapeshifter who appears very similar to Kado, but distinctly older, and raises his palms as a massive dome covers the area, repelling the advance of the monsters, causing them all to roar in anger and Kado's face to scowl against his will.
The newcomer smirks. "Is that any way to treat your big brother, Liltai?" Several other figures appear to be appearing as well behind him.
Vulkas' face quickly turned into one of disdain once the newcomer came in. However, part of him was confused and ever so slightly amused after hearing Kado's real name. He shrugged it off, and held his Twilight Siphon close to his side as more figures approach.
Among the figures was Vzark, who only just rid himself of his paranoid thoughts as he quickly scanned the environment, eyeing who he assumes are his enemies.
When the rest of those who White had sent appears, Kado's scowl deeps until he sees the armored Azula, and then,
he just falls silent and completely still, the two silent and immobile as statues.
Vulkas' breathing slowed down, watching his adversaries and occasionally glancing back to Kado. The occasional ring of his Twilight Siphon's chain echoed in the silence.
Kado lets out a roar of anguish as he is engulfed in a massive iridescent burst of light, when it fades, Kado's face is obscured by a Yin Yang mask and now bares eight arms, possessing the legendary eight weapons of the Kanjo Gods, each arm the element of a respective Kanjo, and on his bared chest is the eight sigils that marked the Kanjo Gods with their curse, truly signifying their union into one being.
Vulkas begins to rapidly spin and twirl his Twilight Siphon, readying himself for the fight about to ensue.
Vzark places a firm grip on the handle of his sword, taking a rather defensive stance without even drawing Novas Wrath.
Akami: *closes her eyes for a moment*
Akami is at a loss. For the longest, everything has raking a turn after another. Always seemingly for the worst. She feels so out of place and so out of breath, that she feels like giving up. She was never one to to stop. She was relentless as a bull and twice as stubborn, but now...Her strength isn't enough, her words aren't enough. Wjat all has she been doing but stand aside and just watch all of this unravel. For one of the few moments in her life. She didn't know what to do. She was on the verge of loosing another friend. Akami forced her body to stay up, but was it worth it? Knowing that this could be the end of Kado? Did she come all this way just to see him go out like this? The mere thought angered her as much as her percieved uselessness. Maybe...This was out of her hands...She was in a world she barely knows or understands...Maybe...Only these new stangers can settle it...Cause she knws she can't.
Akami: *slumps to the ground and buries her head in her arms*
A foot steps next to her and someone pulls her up and lifts her head forcefully so that she looks straight at them. A beautiful woman's face with downy soft light blue scales and three whisker like scales on her cheeks, with deep blue eyes and glowing hair is staring her down.
"He put his faith and his heart in our hands. Now it is our turn to honor him, be it in memory or by saving him with every ounce of our beings. Don't you dare give up, because he would never give up on you." She sternly reprimands Akami with an agonized expression, her eyes showing similar pain like Akami's.
Vulkas blinked and his eyes turned from gold to red, and red, aura like bird wings eminated from his back, and red tail feathers.
Akami looks at the ground for a moment and closes her eyes, squints them, then opens them.
Akami: *removes the woman's hands and stands to her feet, she then looks toward the monster* I'm not doing this because of what you've "done for me". I'm doing this because you're my responsibility regardless... *gets into her karate stance*
The creature lets out a howl that shatters eardrums, its roar causing mass destruction across the face of the planet as titanic winds, hellish firestorms, comets of ice, colossal earthquakes, solar flares, black holes, bursts of lightning that create giant craters in their wake, and huge tsunamis devastate the coasts, the whole realm is brought into chaos, all of this soon followed up by a mad, frenzied series of wide sweeping raking attacks from its clawed hands at the entire group as it leaps and bounds like a crazed berserker.
From the sheer force and energy the entire planet is giving out right now, Vulkas begins to draw power from the nearby disasters, consistently dodging and getting faster and faster each time. During the dodges, he constantly swings and strikes at the monster with the Twilight Siphon.
The creature abruptly switches tactics and sweeps its long legs at Vulkas, smashing it against the side of his head, seemingly having absolutely no issue with his speed.
The monster is suddenly pulled back by its hair and put into an immense chock-hold by Akami who's putting as muxh strangth as she can to hold it still.
Vulkas quickly brings his arms to the side of his head, able to react quick enough to soften the blow of the attack.
Vzark took advantage of the situation by creating spike of aura that dart straight towards the monster that is being held by Akami.
The creature, not even budged by Akami, twirls a large black staff with two mace heads on its ends and slams it into Akami's stomach, causing her to vomit blood, and punches a hole straight through her from the force. In the same movement, it slams the mace at the aura, redirecting it at absurd speeds at Vzark.
Vzark quickly draws his sword and it glows, sending out waves of Novic fire that destroy the aura just barely in time. "....Shit."
Akami kneels down slumpt over on one knee but her hands barely touching the ground. She slowly rising to her feet, feeling the writhing pain in her midsection where the hole is. Akami remembers a similar pain from when she got blasted by a double-barrelled shotgun at point blank range. She forces a similar smile on her face but it quickly fades.
Nezumi flaps over to her and places her hand on the wound, while it hurts like hell, Akami soon feels the pain subsiding as healing Aether flows into the wound and closes it.
"Recommendation: evade the giant eldritch being and don't get so careless. You seem good at punches, you should try it." Nezumi says simply as she finishes her work.
"Will provide assistance as needed, don't overdo it."
Akami closes her eyes and takes a deep breathe. She the rushes the monster and punches it in the side. Before it can react, Akami turns anr rams her arm into its stomach. Akami kicks the monsters knee in.
Akami: Chaos Shoryuken!
Akami's gauntlets flare up with green flames as she delivers a swift uppercut into the monster stomach and launches it into the air. Akmai jumps in the air after it, grabs on to the monster, and reverse piledrives the monster into the ground. Akami gets untop of the monster and proceeds to punch it in a rapidly fast pace
The being blocks all of her attacks and with a swish of its golden shakujō, paralyzes Akami, before blasting her back with a huge multicolored burst of lightning. She is caught by Azula, who then charges at the being along with her sister, only to be blown back by a series of emerald rings billowing wind at them.
Vulkas jumps back into the fray, the wind seeming to have little to no affect on him as he creates a strange looking violin from nothing, beginning to play a rather hectic and booming song, and the emerald rings suddenly dissapear as if they were voided from existence.
The Yin Yang mask seems to glow before before the violin's song is crushed by a strange, alien sounding song like voice screeches into being, canceling out its power, before the creature backhands Vulkas before roaring and curling a fist to slam into his chest.
Vulkas rolls out the way and his Twilight Siphon quickly unfurls out from his hand, slicing at the creature's fist.
With unnatural speed, it backflips away from Vulkas' strike, then dodging attacks from Kanashimi, Michiko, and Kiyona with weaving, tilting, and leaps with the greatest of ease.
Vulkas takes a moment, making various hand motions as white symbols appear on everyones backs. "This should help. Your speed is increased." One appeared on his own back as well, darting after the monster with a flurry of swings from his Twilight Siphon.
It slams its feet to the ground and charges a white static like energy that gives him the impression of 'numbness' oddly enough.
Vulkas took more caution, moving back a bit as he fired bolts of astral energy at the creature.
It launches the energy into a bolt at him, as it travels anything it touches, including some of the astral energy, appears to freeze. It ducks under the astral energy attacks however.
Vulkas quickly speeds out of the way to dodge the bolt, still staying cautious incase they throw another. "Don't let those white charges hit you!"
Akami stands to her feet. She raises her hands in the air and slams them on the ground.
Pillars of chaos sprout from the ground and make their way in the monster's direction
The creature doesn't move to evade, instead it wraps its arms around itself and red runes glow on its skin, a fire like aura appears, and is rapidly growing, the ground begins to shake with its force.
Vulkas quickly rushes towards the fire like aura, and surrounds himself in a draconic aura as he takes in even more energy and power from his surroundings, giving it to his own aura. He increases its size dramatically as he has it grow and clash with the creature's aura.
Akami rushes in on the creature and rams her flame-engulfed fist through the aura. She jumps onto it and begins to punch it repeatedly
The creature doesn't move, but its runes begin to flash very fast and violently as it begins to growl.
Akami finds herself being grabbed by nothing, but it pulled away from the creature and out of both Vulkas and the creature's auras. "Do not be so reckless! This cannot become more dire than it already is!" Vulkas quickly warps the aura to stay in position as he darts away, creating a buffer between him and Akami between the creature's aura.
Akami: Don't sideline me! I got rights to fuck him up!
Kake grimaces. "Whatever that thing is doing, don't let it set it off! If it does go off, we can say goodbye to this barrier keeping those things from getting in here!" He looks strained, as the titanic beings outside the barrier continue to hammer on it with attacks.
Vzark takes intiative and puts out his hand. "Reaaaally hope this works." A magenta like energy begins to charge, and suddenly an extremely large beam of magenta energy flashes put from his hand, creating an extremely large noise as it cuts through the air at the creature.
Akami stares at the magenta beam in amazement.
Akami: Ooooooo...So pretty...
The creature lets out a massive red burst that blows them across the vast plain, and as the barrier falters and disappears, Azula charges the being and begins to slash and cut at it with her sword, until without warning, it slams her to the ground, and pins her, placing itself on top of her, and her body begins to glow blue and turn into a beautiful blue light.
The creature's mask begins to split open, but at that moment, a huge silver barrier knocks back the advancing monsters and surrounds the now even larger battlefield, as a silver blast of light knocks it off Azula, returning her to her previous state, but she looks mortified at what had almost happened to her, taking a moment to calm down, backing off.
Vulkas seems worried. "Please, do net get psyched out by the monster and do not get close for that long! Stay far and if forced to close in, move quickly."
Vzark meanwhile seems more preoccupied with what or who could have possibly intervened, quickly looking around to see and find the source.
A black haired woman, very much similar to the white haired one that started the whole disaster stands at the center of the barrier, channeling it in one hand, while lobbing another sphere of grey light at the being as it tries to lunge at Vzark in part because of him being distracted, knocking it back before it could strike him.
Vulkas takes advantage as he unfurls Twilight Siphon, darting across as he strikes the creature as quickly as possible.
Vzark focuses, disregarding the woman so he isn't caught off guard again.
The creature growls ominously and pale blue runes glow on its skin, as it turns coal black in color, the wound from Twilight Siphon only visible for a brief moment before closing.
It now full turns its attention on Vulkas, its runes flare as it crouches as if it is about to charge.
Vulkas creates another white sigil on his back, increasing his speed even further as he darts out of the way, creating various astral clones that run with him.
Various blue spheres form around its head in a circle, and it charges, appearing directly in front of Vulkas, seemingly not fooled in a massive blue field of fire, swinging an enlarged clawed hand at him.
Vulkas switches places with one of his astral clones before the clawed hand can hit, and he has the astral clone that was hit explode into a burst of astral energy, searing and distoring the creature's skin.
The creature warps and disappears in a blue light, when it appears behind Vulkas and slams him with a hind foot, one of the spheres has disappeared.
Vulkas blasts the creatures foot away with draconic energy, as he switches places with another astral clone to clear the distance. Various sigils appear all over his body and clothes, slowly glowing.
The creature disappears once more when the dragonic energy touches it, appearing above him and slamming its foot on his head, yet another sphere disappears. There are now four left.
Before the creature can slam its foot, Vulkas' form switches to the golem state, gaining a blue stone like aura as he blocks the blow, pushing the creature away with the same force. He takes a far more defensive stance as the sigils glow brighter.
It disappears in blue light, before the same light appears below him and several others in a massive circle, including Koruda, Kanashimi, Michiko, Akami, and Vzark.
Vulkas' sigils suddenly warp him out of the circle.
Vzark puts his hand forward as a mini explosion occurs, blasting him backwards with enough force to jetison him just out of the circle as he recovers and lands.
Akami: You still got me stuck in this damn aura!
Koruda, next to Akami, sees a gigantic black hand appear around Akami, and barks, 'Move!' at her, causing Akami to be flung out of range of the hand, only for Koruda herself to be grabbed by it, and the full form of the creature appears after it, holding her high in the air.
"Release me you fiend!" She commands, trying to force the creature to release her, but no avail. It merely tightens its grasp on her body, lightly crushing her and making her cry out in pain, causing violet marks to appear on her and it.
"H-h-ha ha, you fool...! You'll destroy your- -No!" She cries in alarm at the end as the marks shatter into dust on the being.
"How can you disarm my cursed blood?! That's impossible! W-w-wait! What are you doing?!" She cries, as her body begins to glow silver, with a large sphere of light at her chest. She squirms desperately as it begins to push her against its chest, her body being lined up with its own, head, chest, legs, and arms. She begins to cry out in pain and agony as black tendrils of flesh from its body begin to sew into her and begin to etch across her entire body, with the most of them focused on her chest, digging into it at her heart.
Everyone can only watch in horror as it begins to slowly fuse Koruda's body with its own, the light of her soul being forced to shine brighter and brighter, and her screams increasing until its mask slides over her head, muffling her screams.
Finally the process ends with her body and soul being completely melded into one with the being, which has gained her proportions and general figure, but the wings are raven black and her skin as coal black as the being's. The mask falls away, revealing her face, now belonging to the Amalgamation, with blank unseeing eyes, and her long silver hair. The creature appears to smile hauntingly, now much shorter, around Koruda's height, and now far less emancipated and gaunt.
Akami: *eyes wide is surprise* Get me out of here,man! I'm all for dying but I ain't about to die here! I have not significance here! If I die here it would be for nothiiiing!
Vzark yells out at Akami in anger. "SHUT THE FUCK UP! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? SHE JUST...!" He cant finish his thoughts, scratching at his own face.
Vulkas hides his own emotions, flexing his fingers into fists.
Azula rushes in front of Vzark as the Amalgamation lunges for him in a blaze of blue fire again, this time she blasts it back with blue fire of her own, which seem to tear into the being and it howls in agony, leaping clear of Azula, trying to swat the blue fire out, screaming in an inflection of Koruda's voice. Before it can relax, Abeni comes from behind with a savage yell, punching just behind it and unleashes a huge wave of hellfire directly into its back, sending it toppling into the center of the battlefield again. It makes a feral roar of pain as it rights itself.
Vzark charges up his Novas Wrath as he slices multiple times in the air, sending waves and waves of Novic Fire at thr Amalgamation.
It disappears in a blue flash again. Vzark strangely feels a soft hand stroke his cheek, and Koruda's voice eerily speaks: "Why the hostility? Aren't we comrades?" Her voice speaks softly, too softly, and the whisper of multiple voices are also present in her voice.
Vzark quickly sprouted wings and jumped away, aiming his sword at the Amalgamation. "You are NOT Koruda. I'm not going to be fooled by a disgusting freak of nature!" Vzark covers his sword in maser energy, mixing both the Novic Fire and Maser as bolts of the two dart out violently towards the Amalgamation.
The Amalgamation disappears in a flash of blue fire, before appearing behind Nezumi, her hands growing large just like when she absorbed Koruda.
Vzark's eyes almost go blank with distress and anger as he sheathes his sword, running towards both the Amalgamation and Nezumi.
Vulkas watches the both of them, planning to take action.
The being has now grabbed Nezumi, who is now fiercely squirming in its powerful grasp, her soul beginning to shine.
Vulkas creates a sigil onto Vzark's back, and he finds himself with a sudden rush of power as draconic and astral energy glows from his body, and he leaps up, unleashing a large wave of both energies and cuts at the Amalgamation's wrists and arms.
It howls, staggering a step back, though its arms are already regrowing. Nezumi drops to the ground, but she appears to be paralyzed by whatever it did to her, and her soul is still glowing strongly, almost pulsating like a heart.
Vzark quickly grabs Nezumi, aiming a free hand at the Amalgamation as gravitational force quickly pushes it away from the both of him, and starts forcing it to the ground. The sigil on Vzark's back dissapears as he flies to create more distance.
The being is pushed back, but not very far, and the increased pressure seems to lack a strong enough effect to bother it. Nezumi is noticeably unresponsive, but is definitely alive. He however feels an incredibly odd sensation, as though just being in physical contact with her body has directly linked him with her mind and soul, he can feel every nuance and aspect of her being practically flowing through his hands with the faintest touch. He unfortunately starts to notice that he really can feel all aspects of her mind, including thoughts of him strong enough to make him blush fiercely.
He actually does so, despite the current situation. He becomes completly red, afraid to think about anything in case Nezumi might end up feeling his thoughts too. "Im just gonna...please cover for me im gonna...oh dear."
Vulkas creates a large sigil underneath Vzark and Nezumi that creates a bubble like barrier, and underneath it is what looks to be occasional dimensional rifts. "Do not let the monster get near her! She is already far too weak and will not be able to withstand its grasp a second time until she recovers!" Vulkas creates two astral dragons by his side that fly towards the Amalgamation, breathing something similar to fire but also otherworldly.
The Amalgamation jumps back from them, firing a white static like the one before at Vulkas and the dragons, which paralyzes them but misses Vulkas. While it is doing so, Torrent leaps at it and begins slashing at it, only for purple brands to appear on his skin, and purple flames igniting him, and he begins to scream in pain. The being begins to whale on him, before finally corroding out his heart. Turning on Toma, the two exchange blows, but still being controlled by White, she is unable to respond in time, and everyone is forced to watch as she suffers Koruda's fate, the being's form becomes a mix of Koruda and Toma's bodies and appearances.
With this done, it leaps toward the group with a huge white static sphere half the size of the battlefield.
Vulkas tries to take initiative as he astral shifts himself further from the static sphere, taking out the Shift of Planes as he begins to frantically play, and the sphere starts to turn smaller and smaller.
Akami: What are you doing now?
The sphere only magnifies several fold, as if the music was egging it on rather than hampering it. Finally, several times bigger than it was before, the Amalgamation hurls the sphere, and just when they think it will strike, the black haired woman leaps up and blocks it with a massive barrier, but to their alarm, the Amalgamation has appeared behind her, but now as a gaunt Kado with a slight feminine form.
To Vulkas's surprise, a powerful surge of spirit energy begins to form around the two, the woman seems frightened as her soul glows along with the soul of the Amalgamation, and the souls that it had trapped within itself. Vulkas soon realizes that this is a Soul Reaction, specifically, a Soul Harmonic Event, in which a number of similar souls with similar characteristics lose their boundaries and meld into a single, even more powerful soul, resulting in the birth of an exceptionally powerful being in the place of the participants. However, this is not what ends up bothering him, rather, it is the obscene amount of soul fusion occurring.
He realizes that not only are Kado and the Woman's souls being melded together, but the eight Kanjo Gods and Toma and Koruda are all becoming one as well. Such a Reaction would require more energy than an entire planet's matter. Then the true scale of what is about to happen dawns on him as the woman and Kado's forms begin to merge along with their souls, into a singular giant sphere of pure soul power.
Vulkas holds his composure, but his body relaxes. Not from calmness but from a loss of hope and him almost giving up. He straightens up and gets rid of his Golem Resistance State, taking multiple steps back before speaking to the others. "Please...do not lose hope."
Akami: Oh please. Just tell us don't lose at all. Seriously, is there a lick of anything I can do?
You will not die this day.
A voice rings out amidst the group, one that Vulkas remembers from before arriving at this battle, and everyone begins to glow silver as a vast power seems to have 'grasped' them, an ancient armored knight appears briefly before Vulkas before they all disappear into a white void...
The Sea of Rage
The area around them feels tense, as if something will happen soon. However, the soul is currently doing little except developing.
Vulkas picks Akami up and hands her to Nezumi. "Watch over her. I do not know what Kal'ul has done to her."
"Abnormal increase in spiritual energy reserves, muscle mass, and magic affinity detected. Subject may have been reconstructed with supernatural materials, leading to armor like skin and scale densities. Hypothesis: subject has been granted a boon of power, motives for doing so unknown."
Vulkas looks somewhat surprised. "I cannot think of any reason as to why they would do such a thing."
Vzark walks closer to the soul. "So uh...what happens if this thing is touched?"
"Subject appears to be a spiritual mass with an energy output rivaling the output of the Sun. Energy output is drastically rising, suggesting the Embryonic Soul will at completion, completely dwarf all known stellar masses in terms of raw power output.
It is likely given this information that the construction of some manner of Deity Class entity is underway. Tampering with the developing soul may unleash this raw energy potential akin to that of the manner of a bomb. Given proximity to the planet Earth, this is ill advised." Nezumi intones.
A powerful rumbling can be felt throughout the area.
"Also, the incredibly powerful Nonexistence Denizen lurking nearby may come out of hiding and attack," She adds on as a massive glowing red light shines above upon them.
Vzark quickly steps back from the mass, putting his hand on the handle of Novas Wrath as the glowing red light starts.
Vulkas draws the Twilight Siphon, creating sigils on the floor once more in preperation.
Instead of an attack, a huge bony hand grabs the soul mass, and lifts it out of reach, and a second red light appears above them, and from the darkness comes a huge collossal creature, the same one that had escaped from underneath Echo prior to its destruction, and one of the three beings that had been lurking outside the barrier. It's only now, as the remnants of mountains fly by, that they see the true scale of the behemoth before them.
What they thought were large spheres of light were glowing red eyes, glowing from a lion skulled creature with a feline - humanoid body with six wings, one side with gold wings, the other black. It possesses a long spiny tail with a singular huge barb on the end, and completely dwarves the rubble from the world, the pieces of huge mountains like small boulders by comparison with the monster. Once it ensures the soul mass has been moved out and away from being tampered with, it descends to their level, and becomes much smaller, but is still several stories tall and wide before finishing doing so.
It says nothing, but a deep rumbling growl is heard, followed by an errie laugh.
Vzark just looks in awe. "Oh dear."
Vulkas eyes the monster, already trying to think about how they should approach this collosus.
At blinding speed, it lunges forward, but it's head is grabbed by Abeni, who grunts heavily as she struggles heavily to stop the momentum of the beast, bumping into Vulkas and Vzark despite her efforts.
Vzark takes more steps back. "Fucking 'ell!"
Vulkas darts back, not wanting to stay near whatever the monster is.
The monster swings its head, until Abeni is thrown off and smashes into an asteroid, however she recovered relatively quickly and is back on her feet. Meanwhile, the creature loses its hind legs and becomes upright, towering over them as it takes flight, a huge wave of destruction energy flowing behind it as it begins to circle them silently, the wave quickly becoming as long as the ruins of Echo are wide.
Vulkas prepares for the worst. "I doubt this one will be as talkative as the last. It also seems much more bloodthirsty." He begins to take in energy from the surrounding environment, and starts to create small dimensional astral rifts throughout the area.
The creature continues to circle them, until finally when it drifts rather far away, it begins to sweep down until it is level with them, then appears to be speeding up toward them, the wave of destruction glowing like fire on the horizon, and rapidly advancing.
Vulkas creates astral wings and flies upwards, as does Vzark with his natural wings.
Mostly everyone manages to get out of the way, as it abruptly stops, yet the wave carries on with momentum. Nezumi carrying Akami with a neutral expression, and joins the others just barely getting out of harm's way. The creature then pulls back toward the developing soul and hovers, eight energy blades appear behind it.
Vzark tilts his head. "Is it just me or is it a little defensive about the soul?"
The blades begin to spin, charging with energy.
Vulkas and Vzark remain on the evasive, ready to dart the moment an attack is made.
The blades launch at them, tearing into space-time as they race toward them.
The astral rifts Vulkas made previously expand and grow, englufing the blades and spewing them out in a different direction.
The blades seem unimpeded, as they readjust course. Meanwhile, the beast's spikes on its tail begin to glow.
Vulkas just dodges the blades, as does Vzark.
Akami shifts slightly, somehwat looking agitated.
Vulkas watches the tail, and Vzark continues to glance at the soul before also looking at the tail.
The spikes begin to rocket forth upon them at blinding speeds.
The astral rifts continue to grow and expand, acting as obstacles for the spikes. Vulkas still nakes sure however that he'll be able to dodge if they dont work, creating sigils on everyones backs that increase their reaction speeds.
The spikes punch right through the rifts and begin to expand and glow fiercely, as if exploding.
"Danger." Nezumi says, with noticable worry.
Vulkas creates a rift right next to him and walks through it, appearing out of one far behind the spikes, and Vzark walks through it as well.
The others scatter, just as colossal space rending explosion barely miss them, leaving swirling inky blackness far darker than the space around the explosion sites.
Vulkas seems frustrated. "This will not cease if we're constantly forced to evade!"
The massive beast and the group flicker before appearing at a large chunk of barren rock, the beast hovering really close, but has placed itself in the way of the soul, which is farther away.
The creature curls its fist and raises it up high, bringing it down to smash the group.
Vzark flies out of the way. "Do you think one of you could get me past that thing towards the soul? I really need to try something."
Vulkas astral shifts farther from the attack. "I could make an attempt."
Abeni and Azula hack at the beast's hand, Michiko and Kiyona alternate between sword slashes and bolts of lightning and ice shards. The beast suddenly begins laughing creepily, before rapidly swatting at the group, its eyes glowing more strongly.
Vulkas creates a sigil on Vzark's back, evading the random swats. "When its distracted and after it attacks, I shall warp you near the soul. Do what you're thinking of doing and then I'll warp you back as soon as possible. Do not waste time, understood?"
Vzark nods, also evading.
The being abruptly moves back and spreads out its arms, its wings begin to charge an intense amount of energy.
"Go!" Vulkas activates the sigil and Vzark is warped right next to the soul.
Vzark hesitantly reaches out and touches the soul.
Upon doing so, he feels both an unbelievably hot burning sensation, as well as a titanic pulling force toward the soul, as if it was trying to pull him inside, in simply a strong pull, neither aggressive nor even a concious action. At the same time, the monster begins to laugh at an incredibly frantic, terrifying rate and manner, and Vulkas can feel an immense wrathful aura coming off it, suggesting the laughter is not an indication of amusement, but rage. At the same time, a glass like effect unseen before shatters all around the being.
It immediately whirls toward Vzark's location and gives off a titanic roar that causes space time to warp and tear at the seams from its force as it prepares to charge in a quadrapedal form.
Vulkas nearly warps him back before Vzark calls out.
"Dont bring me back yet! Just wait! Someone cover me, please!" He continues to investigate the soul, trying to figure out as much as he can.
The beast charges, space time rippling and tearing as it surges forth, but is soon blocked by Abeni, who groans in pain from the force of the jolt, red flickering runes dance across her body, releasing a dark, foul aura into the area.
The soul continues pulling at him, easily wider and bigger than he by several measures, a beautiful almost flamelike blue outer membrane of energy protecting its swirling, unstable contents. He can feel a vague presence, but it is misty and indistinct, like a loosely formed cloud of steam deep inside the large body. He can feel as if this misty presence is slowly collecting and becoming gradually more complex, the gradual compression of its spiritual mass the source of the incredible pull on him, which grows stronger along side the faint presence. He realizes he is feeling the sensation of a soul's will, a distant precursor to whatever mind will eventually inhabit this soul, begin to come to life.
Vzark's eyes widen, somewhat shocked to everything he's finding out, he turns to tell the group what he's find out as he see's Abeni. "Shit! Abeni!"
Vulkas warps Vzark back as he uses his Spirit Hand to stretch and grab Abeni, bringing her back to the group and handing her to Nezumi.
Vzark is almost set upon by the beast as soon as this is done, but Azula intervenes and slashes its forehead, forcing it to back off, and the two engage in a deadly duel.
Vzark seems a tad flabbergasted. "Okay, so when I touched that thing, it clearly got pissy, right? From what I could tell something is definitely being nursed in that thing. Like a person."
The beast roars, smashing its tail into Azula's stomach, which sends her flying into Vzark, thus ripping his contact away from the soul as the two go flying.
He recovers midway, holding Azula to stop the both of them from flying farther, and lets go. "That thing really backs a fucking punch, but at least we know what makes it tick."
The beast continues its violent charge.
Vzark creates some distance by flying out of harms way, charging up maser energy in his hands, and creating a beam that fires at the beast.
It warps out of the way, yet keeps moving.
Vzark looks annoyed. "Just stay still damnit!" He fires more beams of Maser energy at the beast.
Vulkas watches to see if its charging is truly random or if it has a set pattern to it.
It continues warping, getting progressively closer.
Akami slowly cracks her eyes some and rubs her forehead
Vzark turns his offense into evastion, trying to create distance from the beast.
Vulkas stops watching as he begins to evade as well, but creates astral arrows that quickly descend unto the beast.
Its next warp brings it directly in front of Vulkas after he shoots, slashing at him with a roar.
Vulkas activates his golem resistance state just in case, creating a large shield of astral energy to block the attack to allow him to have a few seconds of time to move.
Whlie he blocks the slash, the beast immediately follows up with a high energy blast from its mouth.
With the extra time, he astral shifts out of the way barely in time.
Akami rubs her eyes and opens her mouth, and lets out a yawn
Akami: You guys sure are noisey... *stretches*
Vzark looks annoyed. "Yeah, almost as if WE'RE FIGHTING A MONSTER OF PURE CARNAGE!"
Akami: A monster? Where? *looks around*
The beast appears before Akami and moves to bite her, if not swallow her whole.
Akami thrust her arms foreward and an a burst if green flames flies from her arms. She then cartwheels to the side.
The beast seems aggravated, and swipes her with its barbed tail, impaling her stomach and tossing her into part of the group, annoying Kanashimi when she gets hit.
"Ow! Bout time ya goof, keep your wits about you and don't get hit again, me and Nezy can't keep up with all of you." She smacks Ryoka and Sylles. "Now you two quit mooching off our healing and get to work while we cover you."
Nezumi tilts her head. "Why do you call me Nezy?"
"Because I like annoying people, shut up and heal!"
Akami: I just...Woke. Up...
"Well you're awake now! And don't go all dragon bitch mode again, that was creepy!"
Akami: .... I'm too tired and winded to smack you right now...
"Mighty brave words for someone who got possessed and is currently impaled with very long barbs. Let me take care of that-" She yanks the barbs from the monster's tail out of Akami's stomach and begins healing. "...And done. Quick suggestion, try something called flanking. It works wonders for not getting hit by a headon attack."
Akami: I wouldn't have to worry about that if one of you guys had my back! For real, where were you?
Vzark groans. "Please, stop yelling at each other and help us with this thing!"
Akami gets up and runs towards the beast and grabbs its tail, and pulls it back
Kanashimi just sighs. "How is that woman not dead after all of this...?"
The beast is barely budged, it stops charging at Vulkas, but now its attention has turned to Akami, and its eyes glow menacingly.
Akami: Hey. How's it goin'? Don't mind me. I'm just gonna-
Akami rolls out the way to her left
The dodge is insufficient to escape the range of the sweeping energy beam from its mouth that it fires, while heavily scorched, she remains conscious and is thrown toward the others. Abeni takes the opportunity and slams her axe directly into its skull, causing it to scream in pain and rage, she holds on grimly while it shakes and thrashes in outrage.
Vulkas takes the opportunity to follow up, creating an astral hammer and slams it into its neck.
It lets out a fiercesome roar and discharges a massive red energy blast that sends everyone soaring all directions, its skull seems distinctly damaged at the back now. However, when Abeni lands on a small outcrop of rock, the beast appears and begins blasting her with a high energy beam, causing her to howl in pain.
Vzark recovers and attempts to fire a high power charge of maser energy at the damaged skull.
It flies further back without ceasing the attack on Abeni, whose voice appears to be severely weakening as she cries out.
Vzark gets flustered as he quickly goes back to the soul, hoping to get the beasts attention.
Its tail swipes and sends the explosive spikes on it directly at him at incredibly high speed.
Vzark keeps his hand on the handle of his sword, ready for the explosive spikes to come back and change direction after dodging.
He feels the soul disappear behind him, and the spike glow ominously as they prepare to detonate preemptively.
As they detonate, Vzark unsheathes Novas Wrath, suddenly warping right above the beast, driving his sword into the damaged skull.
The skull fractures dangerously, and before his eyes, the entire creature's form begins to turn a solid, blood red color of energy, and he feels a tremendous explosion of energy mere seconds from being unleashed from it.
He seems shocked. "TIME TO MOVE HOLY SHIT!" He pulls out his sword, quickly flying away.
The beast explodes with a force akin to that of a supernova, blasting everyone in less than even a few seconds, causing tremendous damage and sending everyone scattering through space. When they come to a stop, a huge gaping hole in existence can be seen, a glimpse into the true void. Far above, the soul shines brilliantly.
The Destruction Goddess Awakes
As they stare upon the soul, a strange crystaline shell begins to form as it rapidly shrinks to just above human height. A powerful, vicious beating from within produces a distinct heartbeat sound, as if each beat signified the being's imminent birth.
Yet despite this victory, the air isn't calm in the slightest. In fact, something feels wrong, the wrongness of the air is so strong, it chills everyone down to the bone, to the very soul.
Azula herself seems affected. "There's something awful in the air..."
Then they notice. There are no stars. No galaxies. No planets. Nothing. Not even a trace of gas or sub atomic particles. There is... ...absolutely nothing. Even Earth, which would have been plainly visible... ...gone.
Vzark seems to be a mess of shock, confusion, and giddyness, with the latter quickly dying out. "....I dont understand..."
Vulkas seems extremely outraged for once. "All of that work, pain, and fighting, it can't be for naught!"
Akami slowly clutches her fists and closes her eyes. Her mind begins to race with feelings of immense anger and sadness. She's been through plenty of turns in her life. But none like this. She was angry at herself, for not trying enough. For not staying behind. For not saying her last words to Obi, To Segs. To Torem, To Reveryn. They died without any recogniton from history. She was now the only martyr left. Only difference is, if she were to die now, her death would've been just another show. She gets up to feet and hits her forehead.
Suddenly an unbelievably vast force causes the region of space to quake with such a force, they wonder if the end has truly come, only for a prismatic light to form under the shell containing the soul.
"You have fought well," A woman's voice speaks from the light. "You disapated Taore's form... impressive for such a rag tag group like yourselves." The voice is somehow familiar.
"However, Taore did not give his all, nor did Kal'ull. Indeed, you will soon learn what it means for one of us to treat you with true, absolute force."
The light takes shape into a deep darkness, from which appears a black colored, heavily armored being with deep dark blue angel wings, with long flowing hair black as the abyss itself, with only trace tints of blue at its edges, giving an odd blue flame quality to her hair.
"Despair not, for if you defeat me, all will be undone. That is, if you can survive what comes next. But you will not defeat me, for I shall not fail, not when the hour has grown so fortunate toward the final step of our goal. You will face the strongest of the Avatars here and now, and you will beg for your lives..."
She manifests an energy sword of pure blue light, wielding the sword with relative ease and grace.
Akami removes one of her gauntlets and throws it at her with all the force she could muster.
With the being's bare hand they catch the gauntlet, not even budged. In less than a second, the same force is returned double upon Akami as the gauntlet is thrown back at her.
"I didn't say start. We will be doing this... ...differently. ...Choose who among you will challenge me first."
Vzark looks back and forth between the Avatar anf Azula. "....Uh."
Azula charges with a roar, blazing with azure light and flames, bringing her sword down upon the being, only for the being to react within an instant, the clash of their blades causes blue fractures for what could only be assumed to be light years in terms of distance, throughout space and existence.
With what looks like a light shove, the armored being knocks Azula backward.
Vzark seems worried, but says nothing.
Vulkas watches Azula. "For the sake of all that was lost, I wish that you annihilate her."
"Come now then. Who do you choose?"
Akami: I choose myself!
Vulkas puts his hand to his face. "That is not how voting works."
Akami: It is now. I will face you, Blade lady.
Vulkas starts to get annoyed. "You cannot write off your allies like this? We must consult with each other first!"
Akami takes a deep breath. She's thinking irrationally again. She's angry and she knows the more she acts out of her anger, the faster she might end up dead. Maybe she's still trying to prove something to herself. But all she be proving is that she's an idiot. And that is no way to go. Besides, someone here might have a better idea on how to go about this than she does. Akami rubs her forehead in thought.
Akami: Alright. Then who do you have in mind?
Vulkas looks at everyone. "We cannot just assume the one with the most sheer power will be able to achieve the task of defeating her. It will require cunning and strategy. Keep that in mind. But, power does certainly play a factor."
Akami: So who among everyone here are all three?
The armored being silently waits, seemingly perfectly content with doing so.
Vulkas thinks for a second. "First of all. Does anyone here not want to fight at all? There is no shame in backing down."
Abeni growls, forcing herself to stand. "Fuck this nonsense." Her body is covered in hellish red runes, which appear to be part of various seams of her armor and body unseen until now, a outright demonic force flows from her with incredible force, despite the sheer magnitude of the armored being's presence, they are still able to sense Abeni's aura despite how easily their own are crushed by the armored Avatar's.
Her hair seems peculiarly longer, an incredibly hostile air about her can be noted, as if any moment, she could snap. She trembles visibly from the pain of her injuries, yet tightly grips her sword as she approaches the armored Avatar.
"...I accept your challenge," The armored Avatar intones, lowering into a combat stance.
Vulkas opens his mouth to contest Abeni, but sighs. "Nevermind."
"I know what I'm doing, spirit."
Without warning, some manner of blue barrier forms over each of the assembled party, and Vulkas can feel his connection to all of existence be completely cut off, he can only sense within the confined space.
"You shall all watch as one by one, I destroy your hope, duel by duel."
Vulkas says nothing.
Ryoka: Do good, mistress. We await for your victory.
Akami: You sound certain.
Ryoka: It's not a matter of certainty. More of a matter of encouragement.
Moegara smiles with a light air. "Our Lady won't lose to such a trifling duel. She has yet to show her true power as one of the Three Sisters."
Akami: W-what does that mean?
"It means our beautiful lady will be victorious, of course. Ah, do you wish to be one of her vassals? I suppose I could put in a word for such a cute young girl like you~" Moegara replies.
Akami: I'll...Think about it?
Abeni puts away her sword, a fierce look in her eyes as she approaches the armored Avatar. Flame like energy begins to pour off of her.
"Abandoning your sword... ...interesting choice."
Without warning, Abeni charges with a heavy punch toward the armored being, who seems to humor Abeni and rather than fight with a sword, puts up her own fists, and the two begin to duel, however very early on a large discrepancy in skill and speed can be noted, the armored Avatar is far more agile and well trained in combat arts, easily countering Abeni's more simplistic and straight forward fighting.
Vulkas doesnt seem surprised, but keeps his faith in Abeni.
Abeni abruptly lets loose a punch with incredible power, the sheer amount of power would have shattered planets- -had the amored Avatar not grabbed her wrist and twisted it, before returning fire with a fist surrounded by an intense blue aura, blasting Abeni back and onto her back. She struggles to get back up, only to be slugged by an onslaught of powerful punches from the Avatar, each one progressively crippling Abeni, who begins to wheeze heavily in her efforts to stay in the fight.
Unleashing a final, massive strike that engulfs Abeni in a huge blue firestorm, the armored Avatar soon stands above Abeni, grasping her energy sword with two hands, prepared to bring her weapon down upon Abeni's prone form.
Vzark's heartbeat paces quickly throughout the entire bout, quickly panicing as he sees the avatar about to strike down Abeni. "STOP! PLEASE!" His voice is weak, tired of seeing Abeni in pain.
Ryoka: Oh my goodness... *covers her face with her hand*
Just as the sword begins to pierce flesh, a colossal explosion of hellish energy explodes from Abeni and creates a massive swirling vortex of hellfire that rockets the Avatar back, the whole area quaking with incredible power.
From the vortex comes an incredibly disheveled Abeni, whose form is blackened and heavily scarred, possessing an appearance akin to ash and cinder, and her form is incredibly gaunt.
"...How pitiful." The Avatar speaks, before rushing with a killing blow with their sword straight for Abeni. ...Yet, in a twist of fate, this time Abeni is the one who catches the Avatar's wrist, and hurls her with surprising strength a surprising distance. When the Avatar stands back up, they seem far more cautious.
"...An increase in strength and speed...?"
Without warning, Abeni's lifeforce, once threadbare and about to disappear, explodes in a mighty malestrom of raw power, swelling to such extents that even the empty void itself appears to be igniting from the intensity of her mere presence, she begins to roar with greater and greater strength, until the very space itself they stand quivers from the might of her voice.
Abeni's charred and weak form begins to undergo a dramatic transformation before their eyes, her short curly white hair begins to flow as it grows longer and longer, first past her shoulders, and then past her hips, blowing in the updraft of the aura she gives off. Her thinned body begins to grow bigger and muscular, far more than she ever was prior to the battle. Her previously already angelic beauty begins to take on a whole new dimension of beauty, her face alone is graced with a surreal quality of beauty, as her form transcends flesh and becomes one with the beautiful, prismatic, yet malicious and infernal flame erupting from her.
She quickly becomes a giantess, a paragon of divine and infernal beauty alike. The Avatar seems surprised, if not awed.
"So this is..." Without warning, Abeni roars as a huge swarm of sigils begin to manifest behind her, a cloud of millions. Vzark soon realizes that the sigils are based on some that Nanashi used, and that she had taken what little information she had from what he taught her, and completely learned whole new abilities from it. The might of Abeni's presence is such that one could almost begin to worry they themselves will catch aflame.
Akami: Dude, what the hell just happened!? How did she do...that?!
Vzark's fear turns into awe, and then happiness. "Yes! KICK HER FUCKING ASS ABENI!"
The sigils fly toward the Avatar, who begins to parry at completely supernatural speeds, a complete blur, yet even then the countless sigils explode and unleash their hellish flames one after the other, in an almost endless cascade of spells. Yet despite this clear overwhelming offensive, the Avatar still seems unhindered, as she charges forth and attacks Abeni, who begins to counter with just her fists, but even near misses blow back the Avatar from their sheer, stupendous strength, the two begin to fight on levels that become incredibly hard to follow, their forms blurred and indistinct as the battle rages on.
Finally, with a massive strike to the stomach, Abeni lands the first real hit on the Avatar, sending them flying, tumbling, and battered across the battlefield for an astonishing length. However, even this doesn't make the Avatar fold. In fact, they get up almost immediately, and begin closing the distance in seconds. As they approach, Abeni begins to charge a sphere of hellish flame the size of a star, giving light to the empty void around them, quaking the region with intense force, yet the Avatar advances nonetheless.
When they are halfway to Abeni, she finally unleashes the massive sphere in a gargantuan blast with more power than a supernova. The blast forces the Avatar back, but not long does it take them to unleash a massive sword slash twice the size and force, blowing Abeni back, stinging her and actually wounding her visibly, but she does not flinch or react noticeably.
Instead, she merely clenches her fists...
Akami: No one's answered my QUESTIOOOOON!
Ryoka: It's because we don't know.
Akami: Then why aren't you surprised?
Ryoka: I'm surprised. You just can't see it. I'm good at masking my expressions.
Sylles: A little too good.
Moegara swoons. "Oh my lady... nothing more glorious in this world..."
Akami: *looks at Moegara awkwardly*
Ryoka: Don't mind her. She's....
Ryoka: Very special
Akami: Like as in-
Ryoka: No. Not that special.
Moegara shakes her head. "Why are you so mean to me? Is it wrong for me to not rejoice at the majesty of our lady's power? Am I the only one of us who loves our lady and her beautiful power and grace, in battle and otherwise?"
Ryoka: I'm not being mean. It's just that your confusing the child.
Akami: I'm almost 200 years old.
Ryoka: And we're almost 3,000.
Akami: Well damn, child I am then.
"She has never had a gift like ours, nor the privledge to serve one such as our Lady, Ryoka. How could she understand?"
Ryoka: She may never will. Reason why she'd better bask in this moment while she can still watch it. Without your verbal admiration. Until Mistress wins ofcourse. Best not to get the girl's head wrapped up too much.
Akami: Man, Now I remember why I hated being a kid so much.
I'm glad to hear one of us hated it!
Akami: Did one of you guys say something?
Ryoka: Are you hearing things?
Akami: I mean...I heard someone.
Moegara tsks. "Ah the poor thing... ...must be damaged in the casing. And she's so cute looking too. What a shame."
Abeni's fists clash with the armored Avatar's sword, the force blowing them back, yet they continue to spar, though it seems with every strike, Abeni's power is dramatically rising.
Akami: For reall thought, What are you guys?
Ryoka: We are Chaos Engines.
Akami: Oh, I think of heard of you guys then.
Kanashimi looks over at Akami. "Uh, hello, Chaos Engine, we've been traveling together...? Did you forget I exist...?"
Moegara looks over at Kanashimi. "Oh I've heard about this one, she's the original prototype of the Etas, Ryoka. Not a bad starting model."
Akami: It doesn't tell me what exactly you are.
Sylles: Well we are the pinnical of hybridization. We posses multiple mythic genes.
Akami: Multiple? You mean-?
Ryoke: More than two.
Akami: Man, you guys must be straight-up powerhouses.
Ryoka: In some regards, yes.
The two combatants and their fighting become so intense the shockwaves rattle them all to the bone.
"Our lady as well as Lady Azula are two of the three Lambda Sisters, the third was liberated from Phoenix some time ago, her name is Gurin. The sisters themselves are part of the first four Lambdas, which included them and a Chaos Engine named Nanashi, though he too has disappeared.
We are Lambdas too, but we serve Lady Abeni, who created us. I can sense that one of your friends... ...Torem, isn't it? Became one of Abeni's underling Lambdas as well. There's a fair number of us Lambdas now."
The Avatar finally appears to stagger back, and Abeni seizes the opportunity to land a heavy strike on their abdomen.
Akami: *holds herself to try keep her bones from rattling* Hold up...My sister Torem, became one of...you?
Ryoka: I believe that is correct. Didn't you already know?
Akami: I...Don't remember. It's been awhile since I've seen her, so I might have forgotten.
The Avatar reels back from the strike, but even after that, they continue fighting, almost as if inconvenienced more than harmed. The battle has reached absurd proportions, yet after a massive explosion separates the two, the battle appears to have been stalemated more than tipped into any particular favor. Abeni's power may be great, but it hasn't done the job it needed to. While she looks fine, Vulkas begins to notice the intense power surge Abeni had been feeling is beginning to stutter a bit.
Vulkas' face turns solemn. "Its not enough."
Akami: Then what will be enough?
Vulkas seems to start to get antsy. "I don't know."
Abeni seems to hesitate, before unleashing a mad flurry of attacks at the armored Avatar, unleashing as much of her now limited strength as she can in every punch, desperation driving her forward. The Avatar seems to coolly block and evade, with each miss, Abeni starts to falter more and more, fatigue finally beginning to set in. Without warning, she is soon cut down by a sword stroke from the Avatar, and Abeni goes down.
...But she doesn't stay down. Despite a large gash in her chest, she pulls herself up, gasping. Drawing forth a demonic broadsword with angelic wing motifs as part of the guard, she begins to pool all of her strength into her arms, and they glow with intense energy, like that of the sun. With a final cry, Abeni surges forward at breakneck speeds, her sword raised for a final strike.
In retaliation, the armored Avatar stands her ground and charges a beam far greater than any attack Abeni had ever thrown at her, with far more energy than she had output in the entire fight. The beam slams into Abeni and begins to cause massive damage to her, but relentless, Abeni struggles through the beam, fighting on through it with sheer determination and will, her body faintly glowing red amidst the all consuming assault of azure energy. With only her sword and determination, she is struggling and cutting her way through the attack, gradually closing the distance.
The Avatar soon looks at her in shock as Abeni finally closes the distance, and with a final cry of strength, cuts the Avatar down from head to waist, before her form collapses, returning to a wilted, burned, feeble version of herself. Meanwhile, the force of Abeni's strike obscures the Avatar in a colossal infernal firestorm...
Vzark stays silent, but is clearly worried to hell and back about Abeni, wanting to see whether the job is done before saying anything.
Akami: Sooo...Ummmm....D-do you guys think she won.
Ryoka: .....I'm just going to take a leap of faith and say she did.
Sylles: Hopefully.... *is rocking back and forth on her tip-toes*
From the depths of the flames, the shadowed form of the Avatar becomes apparent, standing over Abeni, who lies on the ground, if she is alive, they cannot ascertain. However, they soon see what looks like the shadow of the Avatar's helm fall, then below the flames, the pieces of their helm fall into empty space. They watch as the Avatar impales Abeni with a glowing sword of light, before beginning to step forth from the flames, toward them.
What comes out is... ...A black haired Azula, with a long open wound with what looks like light blue glowing blood, oozing from her, stretching down her face to her pelvis, her eyes are pure black abysses devoid of kindness, mercy, or any form of warmth. Only the deepest contempt for those who stand before her glows in her eyes. She manifests another broadsword of energy, and coolly points it at them.
"So... who's next?" She asks coldly.
Vulkas says nothing, expecting that outcome the moment he sensed Abeni's strength draining.
Vzark stays silent not in acceptance, but in furiousity.
"I sense your anger. At what point will it become clear your efforts are a pointless endeavor? We but need await the birth of the final Avatar, and all of this will be undone, made irrelevant. The world all inheriently desire will be born, and all redundencies will be eliminated. This is your benefit. We could make a thousand Echos, perfectly copy their people a thousand times over, with each a pantheon of Kanjo. We could even replace each and every one of you. Your resistance is futile."
Vzark still says silent. "Why can't I be stronger? Fucking hell Vzark. You're pathetic. How am I going protect the people I care for if I can barely even speak?"
"Speak no words, for they mean nothing to me. You have lost nothing. Nothing compared to I." The Azula before them speaks impartially.
The Azula they know narrows her eyes. "Lost nothing?!"
"Ah yes, the Azula of this world. I am Azul, as opposed to Azula. And yes, I mean that quite seriously. You have lost nothing. You couldn't understand my justice if I beat you over the head with it."
Azula begins to spark with azure embers at the words of Azul.
Vulkas' face turns scornful, and a sickly green orb of light appears next to him, and he waves it off.
Azul either is ignoring him or doesn't seem to particuarly care.
Azula without warning charges and slashes at Azul, who meets her with equal force with her own blade.
"How many more of you do I have to kill before it gets in your head that you can't beat me?" She says, not fazed.
"You struck down your own sister!"
"Ah, you say that, but I only struck down your sister. Kyra is dead in my reality."
She says this nonchalantly, but Azula looks as if she's been hit by a barrel of bricks straight to the face.
"That's right. My sisters are dead, drowned at the bottom of the sea. Furthermore, my own reality ceased to exist, so I really must stress your loss lacks any meaning to me."
The two clash blades again, though Azul seems in no hurry to use full force.
"But Kado... How-"
"Must I say it? Everything I know is lost. Even my Kado. That," She points to the shell containing the soul, "Is nothing but a reminder of what I lost, a look alike. That could never replace my Kado. You think I could care about some stranger like he was my very own lover, whom I had to watch get betrayed and murdered by those he tried to save? No. I can never forgive, least of all her-" Azul points at Akami, "-For letting him march to his death and be slaughtered like a pig..."
Her eyes glow red, and all of her blue energy turns scarlet red. "Any more asinine questions you'd like to ask me, before I send yet another pointless copy to their grave?"
With energy that sparks like lightning bolts, the two launch blasts of Erasure at each other, the collision causes a massive 'BANG' in the empty void, followed quickly by martial arts, swordplay, and high level magic, the two seem on equal footing, fighting almost identically in strength, speed, and style.
Their fighting is far less brutal, and more elegant, almost as if they were dancing, competing with each other, as opposed to attempting to slaughter one another. The light of Azula's blue flames and Azul's red clash and warp, creating countless hues of blue, red, and violet flames as they chaotically clash and met, a beautiful show of destruction and anarchy.
Azula kicks Azul in the stomach, while Azul nicks Azula on the shoulder, the intense nature of their combat has them missing each other by a mere hair's length at times. With a draconic roar, Azul bats Azula with her wings, sending her rolling but not able to make her lose focus. Azula almost immediately stands and fires azure energy blades in rapid succession, which even Azul barely evades at times.
Vzark's attention isn't actually drawn to the fight, but Abeni still on Azul's sword. He anxiously fiddles with Novas Wrath. "Please Abeni, please be okay. Your sister is fighting, she needs you to stay alive, for fucks sake I need you to stay alive!"
Moegara seems very quiet, but it is not sadness, rather a grim determination.
Azula and Azul continue to duel, neither side hesitating or holding back, quickly escalating to the ridiculous scale of the fight Abeni had with Azul, and quickly surpassing that as spells and blasts of destruction rage in mad flurries. They both appear to have sustained significant injuries over the course of their constant duel.
Vulkas watches the two go back and forth, for once unsure as to who might be able to pull through in this tug of war.
Akami: Sooo hey-.
Ryoka presses her finger against Akami's lips
Ryoka: You speak too much, child. I'm afraid to tell you that the rest of your questions may never be answered beyond this point. You may die never knowing about everything you've either heard, seen, or experienced. It is a said truth, but it is for the best.
Ryoka removes her finger from Akami's lips
Akami: *slowly looks back at the battle*
Vzark watches intensively, now focused on the battle this time.
"Why do other people get to suffer just to please you?! Don't you care about justice?!" Azula roars in fury.
"This is justice. Justice against a world stacked against its inhabitants. The question you should ask is why are all living things made to be subservient to those with power, what is the meaning, the point of having power in the first place? There is none. We shall make a proper world."
The two kick at each other, the force of the blows send them flying back, Azula toward the group, Azul toward the shell. When Azul gets up, she pauses, looking at the shell.
"This egg contains the only thing that matters to me anymore. Anything you say to me is meaningless." Azul quietly strokes the surface of the shell, noting the warmth.
"Almost ready... ...finally, it will all be over soon."
Vulkas quietly mutters. "And because that is all that matters to you, you will lose."
As Azul takes her hand away from the shell, some of them can see what looks like a developing embryo.
Akami: Is...Is that..Some kind of embryo? Is that supposed to be some sort of child being born into there?
Ryoka: And I am most likely certain you will never get your answer.
Akami: Then my apologies for playing 20 questions with the wrong people, okay?!
"If my life must be given to grant her enough time, I shall give it gladly." Azul raises her hand to the sky and begins charging an almost star sized sphere of destructive energy.
Akami: *vacantly stares at it* So that what the Sun would look like up close...Doesn't as blinding as I thought it was though...
Azula readies for the attack, looking concerned, as the sphere suddenly breaks into countless smaller spheres and begins assaulting her with thousands of them, Azula begins to frantically cut down as many as she can, but it is all she can do to barely avoid being overwhelmed.
Azul just watches with a grim satisfaction.
Moegara stares intently at the unfolding scene.
Sylles whistles a little tune with her flute as she watches Azula cut down these destructive spheres.
Eventually the spheres begin to overwhelm Azula, and they begin to explode in great numbers, bombarding Azula with explosion after explosion, all the while she cries out in pain. Azul begins to smile with open satisfaction as more and more of the spheres hit their mark.
"So weak. You have no will to fight anymore, don't you? White took that spirit away from you, didn't she? She broke you. ...But I... ...I endured. You shall see that nothing, not even myself, will ever stop me."
She looks down upon Azula, no longer smiling. "Be reduced to nothing."
"No." The last of the spheres strike, and once the explosions clear away, Azula is on her knees, quivering with pain.
Akami: Come on, chick! I had a question! That was rude as hell!
"We destroy billions of worlds, stars, and other astral bodies, all with living things, and that is the first thing that bothers you... ...your priorities are skewed."
Akami: But answer me this though: If light is faster than darkness, then how did the darkness get there?
Azul ignores her, instead watching as Azula struggles back to her feet.
Moegara sits down. "This is gonna be a loooooong battle..."
Akami: Ok. Not an interesting question for you to answer. I got you. Then tell me: What is the unforgivable sin?
Azula turns to address Akami, "This is not-" She lets out a scream as Azul impales her in the stomach with her sword.
Akami: Okok. One more question. And I want and answer to this: Is the Sun a planet?
The sword continues through Azula and flies straight into Akami's stomach, causing her body to begin dissolving around the wound, the sword passes through her as if she was paper and eventually dissolves, meanwhile Azul kicks Azula in the face, sending her flying into Vzark and Vulkas, hard.
Akami: Ahhhhh...So...Is that a yes?
Ryoka: You...Are a strange one, half dragon. Your...Uniqness will be missed.
Akami: Atleast something about me will....
Without warning, the egg begins to shine violently as a single crack appears on its surface, the light seems to make Azul flicker in and out of existence, as this happens parts of the universe appear in and out as well.
"It seems it is finally time. It was fun, but now everything will be as it should." She disappears into a red mist and dissipates, as the egg begins to wobble and crack even more distinctly, the newborn life within having finally awoken. This continues until finally what looks like an adult human foot pokes out of the shell, a translucent membrane oozing off the limb and out of the egg slowly like slime.
The glow becomes more stable and calm, but the foot jerks awkwardly, as if the inhabitant inside was trying to use it to break out.
Vzark looks at the glow in shock, not expecting to see a foot.
After whatever or whomever is within the egg struggles a bit longer, a white angelic wing ruptures out of the top of the egg, covered in the same membrane as the leg. Moegara draws her blade and with a cold killer's expression moves in to kill at high speed, straight toward the egg.
Vulkas looks agitated. "Stop! What I said about being reckless still applies, we don't understand what that thing is!"
She opts to ignore him, bring her sword down upon the shell with a mighty 'clang!', but instead of killing whatever is inside, the sword shatters like glass, but a large crack spreads throughout the front of the egg, and she is soon blasted back by a red cloud of energy. Before long, the front begins to cave in and fall in pieces, revealing a human leg, again that of an adult. Soon another emerges, followed by an arm. Before long, the whole egg loses its structural integrity, and collapses, spewing the containing membrane everywhere. The shell, membrane, and limbs collide with a floating asteroid, as around them creation returns, stars and planets popping back into existence, the darkness becoming that much more natural as opposed to oppressive.
It is then that everyone can see what dwelled within: a being that looks like a young woman, with two angelic wings sprouting from her back, with a downy patch of white hair on her head, little more than fuzz. Her eyes are closed, apparently asleep despite the attack on her egg.
Yet what catches Vulkas' attention is her soul. Despite the physical appearance of her form, she appears to be little more than an infant in terms of the complexity of her conciousness and soul. In other words, she is a completely pure being, he can't find even a trace of negative energy about her.
Despite everything, whatever he had expected: all that was born was a being with a soul with the power of a goddess, but the complexity of a baby and the mind of one too. Curled up in a fetal position, covered in the membrane that encased her, she is less than even a minor threat. She isn't one at all. Yet billions of souls and his homeworld were used, just to make this one girl.
Vulkas seems confused, staring as if he didnt get what he was looking at. "....Thats it? Was their plan a failure? There cannot be in any way that their ultimate goal was to create something so...lack luster. Its not even a true adult, and its so weak. How can this be?" As he continues talking, his voice starts to get louder and louder, getting angrier with each word.
Akami: Well excuse her...Not every child brought into the world...Asked to be in it...I know I didn't...
The membrane around the girl begins to shrink, being absorbed into her for nutrients. The shell around her also disappears into a blue dust that is absorbed as well. She seems to grow a bit bigger, and as the group gets closer, they see more detail of her. She appears to be well endowed in terms of beauty and her form, yet her face leans toward the cute, innocent type as opposed to womanly and elegant. Her fuzzy hair grows out into luscious long strands that become a huge, graceful mane of hair down to her thighs, her wings remain pressed against her back.
Meanwhile Kanashimi and Nezumi are tending to Abeni and Azula's wounds, pulling out the blades embedded in them.
Meanwhile, Vulkas cannot shake the feeling that something is off. Not with her, but their surroundings. He feels as if they're being watched from all sides, as if dark presences were silently circling them.
Vulkas averts his attention to the feeling he is getting. "The being is the least of our problems as of now. I dont mean to rush but you must quickly finish tending to their wounds, something malicious is still here."
Azula and Abeni are finally healed, but Azula silently pays no heed to anything else except the girl, walking over to her, and kneeling beside her, looking upon what was once her lover.
"How could they do this to you...?" She croaks.
As if stirred by Azula's voice, the newborn being shifts in her sleep, her head tilting slightly in Azula's direction, before slowly, ever so slowly, their eyes begin to creak open, revealing incredibly soft strawberry red eyes, unfocused and unseeing. Azula can say nothing, but stare into the vacant eyes, wondering if the one she loved is still somewhere inside.
...Almost in response to this, Vulkas finally notices the source of the uneasy feeling: a vast, gaseous red swirling cloud of energy circling them, just faint enough to be seen, but on the verge of absolute obscurity against the endless black. However, it seems like it had only become visible as a direct response to the opening of the girl's eyes, and nothing else.
Vulkas' anxiety begins to show. "Azula please I do not advise getting near that thing, if I must explain I feel as if we are in the most danger we've been in now!"
Azula clings fiercely to the girl. "No! I won't lose him, even if it's only a small piece of him left, I won't abandon him, I will not fail him again! It will have to tear me limb from limb before it takes anything else away from me again!" Her voice is shrill, he can detect a growing madness from her mind and general being, he realizes that whatever has happened in her past has already worn down on her psyche, but this, this could seriously break her beyond salvation. She appears to hyperventilate from her anxiety.
Meanwhile, the red cloud grows thicker and thicker all around them, swirling like a dark tempest. Strangely, a similar red fog begins to bellow from everyone, almost profusely from Azula.
Akami: *looks at the red clouds* Wh-? Not gonna say anything. Officially shutting up.
Vulkas forces himself to calm down for the sake of both Azula and the others. "Azula, please. That being is not Kado, im sorry. I send my strongest and deepest condolences but we have all lost so much already, we cannot lose even more. Please Azula!"
The fog begins to billow toward them all, growing rapidly in size from across the entire cosmos, but it completely ignores everyone as it centers on one thing: the girl.
Vulkas focues on both Azula and the girl. "Azula if you stay too close to her you will be in the crossfire!"
The red fog rushes in as Azula refuses to forsake her, it is only when the fog rips her away from her and far into the distance is she seperated. The red fog begins to flow enmass into the girl, who begins to make a primal scream of pain as the horrible red energy begins to condense into a colossal sphere around her, and before they can truly react...
...Everything goes dark. And they can feel nothing, except the rawness of their own isolation, such a deep, dark, and cold sensation had never been felt before...
After what feels like an eternity, Vulkas awakens, all alone. Though soon, he wishes he hadn't. Before him looms a
sphere of infinite size, and at first he thinks he is looking at a glowing ominous star.
And then he hears the wailing. The screaming. The howls of anguish and torment.
What can only be described as a seething, writhing mass of skinless, bloody humanoids light years upon lightyears across wriggles in the distance, yet it is so impossibly big, he knows that no force in his arsenal could shorten that distance. It's just too impossibly huge.
Something strange however becomes apparent. He is feeling hollow inside, as if he...
...Doesn't have a soul.
He begins to feel a pulling, a constant pressure, a constant force that perpetually grapples with him, demanding that he come forward, surrender himself, be assimilated.
"Lose all sense of self. Then you will be free." A horrifying voice digs into his mind like a knife, as if a scalpel was cutting precisely into each and every nerve of his brain, calculatingly tormenting him with surreal efficiency.
The horrible weight of Oblivion feels like it will crush him at any moment.
"End... ...the cycle."
Vulkas is able to fight the voice, having been practicing things like this for centuries now. Despite him nearly losing his conviction, he manages to hold his own for as long as his mental strength wills it. However, it does not seem like he can hold back forever.
The eldritch sphere looms closer and closer, the wailing getting louder and louder. From its vast depths, a humanoid form begins to emerge, until the torso of Azul, composed of countless wretched souls comes forth.
"We told you before. Resistance is futile. We have won." She does not speak with her own voice anymore, instead hers is but a cacophony of voices, men, women, children. She looms ever closer, til the sickly humanoid forms composing her form, all wriggling and squirming in agony, all stand out as individuals. So many souls stolen from the worlds, he cannot begin to count their number. They reach out toward him, partially fused together, unable to separate themselves from each other.
We can't live like this.
An endless barrage of pleas.
A voice stands out to him amongst the endless cries. A hand, so close he could grasp it, reaches longingly toward him, bloody, skinless, and frail.
His own eyes begin to flash between a sickly green and a welcoming red, as he begins to panic, until his eyes return to their golden color, albeit more orange than usual. He grits his teeth and reaches out for the hand, grabbing it and pulling with all his remaining strength.
With blood coating his arm and sickly fleshy ripping and tearing sounds, the being he pulls forth gurgles and splatters free of the horrid mass, and underneath Vulkas forms a pale white 'floor' that seems to provide some manner of mental stability admist this horrible nightmare.
He watches as the figure he pulled free begins to convulse as skin grows over them, fat and sinew grow to give them a more healthy, plump form, slowly forming into what he soon realizes is Azula. She gasps, chokes, and wheezes as he begins to feel a faint shadow of life enter her form, a tiny fragment of her soul has been returned, and similarly, he can feel something inside him again, abeit faintly.
As if in a chain reaction, more and more forms drop from the figure of Azul, who howls and breaks apart, resulting in a vast sea of souls being set free, but most of them, including Azula become indistinct and blurry, very distant.
It is then he is joined by a mysterious woman in white armor and helm, with intricate detailing, that has a similar air to The Ancient.
"It took you long enough to get here, I've been waiting for you." Her voice echoes, full of power and energy, unlike The Ancient's withered speech. Yet the feeling she gives him is very similar.
Vulkas' eyes turn back to their normal golden color, somewhat shocked but he quickly calms himself. "The journey here was not an easy one. I do not believe that I shall be the same after all this is over."
"Truer words were not spoken, but rather, no one shall be the same. What we gaze upon is the true image of what you would call 'pain'. Every person you've ever argued with, every enemy you've ever faced, ever person you've ever killed or caused suffering towards... Every negative emotion feeds this being's life.
Yet, it was not always so. Before creation, before life, this being did not exist. But by living, it was born. At first it was just a cloud of negativity. But sooner or later, it awoke. It awoke at the dawn of mankind, when man and myth's wars, their hatred burned, its life begun. From the beginning, it had known nothing but agony. At every turn it sought release. Finally, it began to scheme, scheme a way for it finally be free.
The Kanjo, Echo, Phoenix, Kado... ...the girl."
The woman stares up at the horrible atrocity. "Everything you have ever known... ...was designed for you before you were even born. You and all of the works of the Kanjo... ...were nothing but the seeds it planted, planted in the hopes of giving it life."
She points toward the central mass, he can see at its very core, the girl that had been born from Kado, from his world. "That thing comes to exist in all realities, in the hope that one day, this being will finally destroy what gave it birth: pain."
Vulkas stays silent for a good amount of time. "I dont believe any of this makes sense. Pain and suffering is unavoidable, it cannot be destroyed, and none can be set free from it. Regardless of how powerful or grand something may be, the point of pain is that it lingers, even long after it is gone. Whatever efforts taken to destroy pain will end up nullified regardless. Everything we have done, everything our enemies have done is for naught. Our hope and our enemies hope destroy each other and themselves." His voice trails off at the end, seeming more distraught than ever with his realizations.
"It does have a solution... ...if there was no life, pain would naturally cease to exist."
"Such an extremity is absurd. Pain is more than just about living, or life in general. It will exist on all planes, all timelines, all universes. Nothing can stop it, not even pain itself." He breathes in and out deeply. "The pain caused at these most recent moments exceeds all."
"...If it succeeds in its mission, that thing will become a singularity. An inevitablity across all times, all worlds. Time will cease to be a flow and become a stagnant cycle of infinite death, infinite darkness. True Oblivion. However, so long as I remain to oppose him, the end shall not come to pass. We are Omega, and for this time, this place, this shall not be the end."
The woman draws a pale white sword. "Stand with me, if you want to reach the end of this nightmare."
Vulkas nods, drawing his Twilight Siphon. "I shall do all I can."
Before them, a great swarm of hooded beings wrapped in chains begin to swarm them in the thousands, but all the same, the woman begins to charge them, cutting the chains at their center, and once her mark changes into an unrestricted form with a glowing sphere, she blasts them with the eight elements, disintegrating them. She does this again and again, even when the legion of enemies seems endless. Her dedication and unflinching resolve feels like a wellspring of faith and security in the endless tide of madness.
All around them, the various members of their group, and billions of others all fight horrid dark depictions of their sufferings, from nightmarish dragons, to someone they considered a rival, it is like the whole of the world is fighting their own suffering, trying to survive in a sea of soul crushing misery and emptiness.
The Party fights against what appears to be a horrific shade of the Admin and the host of humanity itself that so despises and stands against what they have fought for so long, while amidst this, Akami finds herself battling a shade of Kado, a horrible nightmare of failure, along with everyone she failed to save over the years, an eldritch cloud of guilt.
The Chaos Engines similarly fight against a humanity who all hates and despises them, the family members they were taken away from, all who spite them and spurn who they are.
Azula, all alone, faces the weight of the world, of everyone she murdered as the Lambda of Destruction, millions of souls scream and revile at her, assaulting her from all directions. Above all, the shade of guilt for failing Kado maddeningly tears her apart, and she barely even has the resolve to fight back.
Such nightmares continue for all...
Vulkas blocks out the horrors around him and follows the woman's example, attempting to strike various hooded beings at their center chains, then shooting bolts of the different elements at them.
They mow down many, but more continue to spawn, unrelenting and merciless, taking advantage of even minor mistakes. Many around them soon begin to succumb to the unrelenting nightmares they are faced with, disappearing once more. Time passes, and soon before he even notices, the two are once again alone, but their number of enemies is dwindling steadily.
Vulkas' determination does anything but dwindle, even after seeing those around him slowly fail. He continues on to cut down the hooded beings. "We might be close to finishing them all off."
His words are proven correct soon, but the white armored female doesn't relax.
"He just doesn't take no for an answer, that idiot... ...I may have to kill him after all."
A large dark mass is rapidly approaching them.
Vulkas stays on the age, wary of the mass. "Of course there is always more to worry about."
"This one does not concern you, it would be best to keep out of this one's way while I deal with it."
Vulkas still seems wary, but drops his guard towards the mass. "Very well. I trust you well enough to understand and handle the situation."
The female figure takes a rather noticeable stance, that of a kenjutsu art. Her pale blade shimmers with an odd light, and she seems to be shimmering with an iridescent light.
"Stay back. Don't move, or you'll be hit." She intones to Vulkas, then seems to start fading from view. Without warning, the black cloud disperses violently as if cleaved by a gigantic blade, the female figure appearing almost instantly by his side again, finishing the motion of sheathing her sword, as a white haired male collapses on the pale ground. He is covered with a black oozing substance, with red cracks all about him.
"Trust you of all people to be consumed by malevolence, you really have fallen low of your destiny. Because of people like you, the world has come to this tragic state. Now I of all people have to clean up the mess. If you had just stayed on your path... ...you would have already won this meaningless farce!" She snaps as she cleaves him yet again as he stands and charges at her.
Again and again she does this, numbly cutting him down despite an ever increasing intensity of attacks and frenzied screaming, roaring, insults, and desperation.
"...If I could, I would stop my past self from ever making such a arrogant decision. You had to put up with the wickedness I tried to escape from, and it cost you the one you hold dear. For that, I am sorry. But you have failed yourself, and the only thing I can do is put an end to this battle between us."
"The only one who will end this is me!" As he roars and moves to cleave her, she oddly makes no move to evade or counter, but an odd aura begins to spread from her.
Vulkas follows her advice and stays back, not trying to get caught in the crossfire.
The aura causes the area around her to become staticy and unstable, and before Vulkas' eyes, the image of the white haired male violently distorts and disappears.
"...That is... ...right." She looks toward Vulkas.
"Not all of Echo is lost... it would seem the Black King has had a change of heart, and spared the South Frontier and parts of the southern most Central Valleys. Azayakana's Tower appears to have escaped harm as well. A tentative existence, but rest assured: not all was lost."
She looks back at the abominable monster before them.
"...Believe in me, alright kid? ...It'll be up to me for a while, but I promise to save you and everyone else. Just hold on for a little while."
Everything is turning white, the woman is turning blurry.
". .... .... . ..... .... ..."
Familia Ante Omnia
The white is oppressive, heavy, unrelenting. Silent, cold, unflinching. Then, with the sound of a footstep, the white cracks, beginning to peel away into a deep dark abyss, a staunch contrast to the endless white. From the white, a pale tree begins to sprout, growing taller and taller, until a single bloom gives way to the youngling girl, whose eyes are glowing a malevolent red, her body is a myriad of different beings, with graceful yet youthful form. One moment, she appears as a dragon, the next, an etherite. Beautiful wings stretch from her back, as vibrant tattoo like birthmarks vine across her body, some pulsating with incredible energy, that of existence itself.
From the darkness, a black blade cuts down the tree, and it wilts away. The beautiful female's forehead glows with a greek 'Alpha' sigil, before cutting it apart with claws.
The sound of another footstep echoes, and from the darkness, emerges a beautiful, elegant woman with white hair, stained inky black at the tips. Upon her forehead is the brand of 'Omega', and her form is equally complex, though heavily centered around the design elements of dragons, kaiju, and the angels. Her eyes are pure black, her skin alabaster in pigment, though much of her skin varies in subtle tones in beautiful patches. Her body is graced with intricate black armor.
Neither speak, but the darkness grows behind the newcomer.
"When will you cease these meaningless pursuits? Once again, we have come to this, this meaningless precipice. Your actions your own undoing, time and time again, your actions lead to ruin." The newcomer speaks.
"If you but trusted me, sister..." The first girl speaks, frustration in her voice, but both voices underlie a more ancient, primordial force behind both their words.
"Sister I am, mine you are not. You have stolen that identity, all for the sake of your zealot mindset. You are obsessed with what cannot be possible, even with your mighty extent. You defy the laws of the others like this, and it will create problems. Alpha. How much longer will you torment the world with these baseless cycles?"
"Cycles? You are the one making them! I would never force this paradox, but you never bend Omega! How is progress in that world to come when you reset every destiny to the exact same they were?"
"Because you and all the others fail to understand: their lives are not for us to decide. We but merely enable their possibilities, their paths that they walk, the roads that they travel. They must be allowed to decide if they will accept what is given. I long seceded my personal desires for this world, an unbending arrow straight and true. Yet this... ...will produce nothing but the same thing. And that is why I, the Tyrant of Destiny, will destroy this Possibility."
"Never!" The first of the Tree screams, behind her looms a mighty giant born of all the races of the universe, whose fiercesome claws rake out at her sister. Yet the arms are cut off by an equally giant sword, wielded by the darkness itself, which pulls forth to reveal the heads of countless dragons, kaiju, and seraphs, a colossal holy nightmare, bane of all things. Its many blades clash with the many claws and fangs of the white Child of the Tree.
Their clash rocks the foundation of the universe itself... before finally, the endless darkness stands over the defeated Child.
"I had hope for this reality as well... ...such a pity..." Both the darkness and the woman raise their swords, to impale the Child. Yet they pause. They reflect on everything they had observed for so long. Perhaps... ...perhaps it is time... ...to forge a new Destiny, with a new Possibility.
The woman and Darkness instead reach with their hands, and rip forth the universe from the being of the Child, rending a huge hole in their chest.
"We will give this cycle... ...its true end."
Pain, such agonizing pain. Vulkas feels as his heart is being ripped out from him, a violent whirlwind of darkness and light swirl in a madness inducing storm before his eyes, before the silhouettes of the two great monsters appear to him, he at their center, the white Child with a gaping black hole in their chest, above him an endless 'something' caught in the midst of the two mighty powers of Omega and Alpha, threatening to buckle.
Life. Possibility. Hope. Despair. Defeat her, and all shall be saved. Fail, and the cycle repeats itself... until you find yourself at this very precipice once more. An eternity of failures... break the cycle.
The voice of the Black Calamity speaks in his mind, and he somehow comes to realize that this force was the driving force behind the woman knight and The Ancient. He looks for the woman, but instead he sees a white haired woman in a gothic dress, staring at him, though traces of the armor are evident around her. Beautiful angel wings grow from her back, and her eyes are a faint red.
It is then he hears the singing. The language, he gradually discerns, is the Royal Chinmoku Family's tongue, that of their unique magic. From the white woman comes the beautiful, frantic, dark song, whose meaning escapes him, as he did not have the privileged to learn it. It feels him with hope, fear, despair, and courage, all at once. He can feel as if a tether is attached to him, constantly pulling him away from the Child, who seems to have recovered, and whose maw, located at her stomach, now tries to devour him once more. The woman is saving him from returning to nothing.
"Hurry, I can save more of you, but you must fight her! I can only sing to maintain things as is, let alone sustain you. Hurry, and protect me from her attacks, and strike her down before it's too late!"
Vulkas sets aside the despair and fear and bathes in the newly gained courage and hope, ready to do what he can to save both himself and the woman. He creates large astral wings that allow him to dart towards the Child, slashing at her with the Twilight Siphon, doing his best to avoid the maw.
What appears to be several Spirit Weapons manifest, attached to Spirit Hands emitting from the Child, and clash with Vulkas' blade, however he can feel that the being's incredible power is incredibly unconcentrated, currently unable to bring its full might against him, either that, or its mind is too meek to utilize its true potential yet. Despite the inexperience of the being, the speed and raw power may very well make the difference, as the raw might and speed easily exceeds his own. It does seem however there are ways to get around that, however...
Vulkas continues to trade blows with the Child, trying to formulate a plan as he notices the wound and thinks back to earlier. Right after a strike, he creates a Spirit Hand that quickly reaches towards the wound.
The Spirit Weapons all aim toward him and his Spirit Hand, trying to cut it before he can reach her.
Vulkas retracts his hand, instead deciding to go for the various hands holding onto the weapons as he also attempts to cut off one of the Child's Spirit Hands.
He manages to succeed, her having slower reaction speeds allowing him to attack her, causing her to cry out in pain, the red glow in her eyes subdues briefly, and she goes listless for a moment. The strength of the woman's strong seems to swell in response.
Vulkas takes the opportunity to recreate his Spirit Hand, once again reaching towards the wound now that the Child's defenses appear to be lowered.
She still appears listless by the time he gets close to the wound.
He quickly reaches into the wound with his Spirit Hand, using immense focus to try and locate one of his allies, and eventually finds who he assumes to be Azula, and begins to pull her out.
With a horrid scream of pain, Azula's soul is torn free, however Vulkas doesn't get much time to breath, as the Child unleashes a storm of blade like feathers from her wings at high speed.
Vulkas tries to shield Azula's soul, creating an astral barrier to protect the both of them as he creates distsnce again.
The feather rain down on the barrier like hellish bullets, while not defeating the barrier, they do cause it to take noticable damage.
Vulkas tries to keep the barrier up as long as he can, and when it finally breaks he fires bolts of Astral energy at the remaining feathers.
The bolts do not enough, but before he is struck, an unstable azure colored blade blocks the remaining feathers, Azula, barely armored and heavily out of breath, had protected him, though she collapses in exhaustion, her armor slowly growing back into place.
Vulkas helps her up, trying to help stabilize her as her armor comes back. "Thank you Azula, but please do not stress yourself until you are ready to come back into comission. I plan to bring others."
"No... I need to see this through, to the very end... even if it kills me."
Vulkas shakes his head. "If you die now trying to protect me you wont make it anywhere near the end. So please, don't try too hard. I'm going to reach for Nezumi next time to increase your recovery."
The Child seems to recover, screeching as many white spheres begin to violently rotate around her.
Vulkas squints. "That will pose trouble. In order ot bring out anyone else I have to rip them out from her wound. Now i'll have to both make sure she can't react to it and get those spheres out the way.."
Azula's sword sparks before completing, buzzing angrily. "Anything I can do, I will do." The spheres begin to spin faster, their orbits becoming erratic and looming ever closer.
Vulkas readies himself. "Then don't get hit." Vulkas darts away, trying to avoid the white spheres, firing bolts of astral energy at the Child.
One by one, they begin wildly flying toward Azula and Vulkas, exploding in powerful bursts as they impact. She quickly follows up with a storm of feathers, but both attacks at once seem to be exhausting her, and she quickly slows down.
Vulkas activates his golem resistance state, doing his best to avoid the storm of feathers as he astral shifts himself constantly around the Child.
The Child lets out a constant screech, violently distorting the space around her and for some reason, he feels it hard to concentrate on maintaining the golem resistance state. At the same time, more orbs appear around her, spinning faster initially than they did before.
Azula has difficulty deflecting the feathers directed at her.
Vulkas grimaces. "With every move she makes she tires herself out, thats when we are given an opportunity we cannot let slip away! Just stay strong until her attack is over!"
The orbs begin to bombard them at a frantic pace.
Vulkas creates various astral shields that orbit around both Azula and himself in case they get hit, and creates small dragons out of draconic energy that charge towards the Child.
"...Why do you insist on defying us? We seek only to end the madness... the endless cycle of meaningless conflicts... ...Why...?"
The Child summons a broadsword and dispatches the dragons with swift decisive chops, gradually beginning to tire more noticeably.
Vulkas ignores the voice, drawing the Twilight Siphon once again as he darts back and forth, striking at her in between darts.
She dodges most of the attacks, until finally his strike cuts her leg, and she lets out a high pitched scream of pain, the glow in her eyes flickering unstablely, and her attacks cease, as she droops noticeably.
"Cover me Azula!" Vulkas creates his Spirit Hand once again as he reaches for the wound on the child.
She teeters off balance, and begins crying in pain, the red light in her eyes gone.
Vulkas searches for Nezumi, quickly finding her and begins his attempt to pull her out.
The cries of pain only grow louder as Nezumi's spiritual form is ever so slowly pulled out from her, the effort to pull her out was even greater than with Azula.
He holds onto her spiritual form as he takes her down to Azula. "The difficulty in doing this is increasing, I'm not sure how many times more i'll be able to do this. If you have any suggestions on who to retrieve next, express it to me."
With a final cry of pain, Nezumi is torn free of the Child, who collapses in a heap, quivering in pain, a faint red fog forming around her as the wound on her leg begins to close. Her fingers and toes begin to grow claws, and armor plates similar to those that grow from Azula and Abeni begin to form on her body.
Vulkas seems worried. "I feel as if our task will not be over very quickly..."
She begins to stumble to her feet, her eyes glowing even more ominous than before with a sinister red, red cracks spiderwebbing across her body, the armor growing more and more pronounced across her body, ending at a perfect circle around the wound.
She appears to be growing curled horns like Abeni, as well as a tail in similar manner, and a more oppressive aura surrounds her.
Vulkas turns to Azula. "She's clearly getting stronger, I will need your assistance more than ever before. We cannot lose here."
With a feral roar, she brandishes a greatsword and cleaves at his head with lightning speed.
Vulkas quickly reacts and parries the greatsword in the opposite direction, but just barely. He creates distance between the two of them by shifting a few feet away, before waving his hand, making various symbols appear in the air, all slowly starting to glow.
Releasing one of her hands, she opens her palm in his direction, silver runes begin to dance about her form, in the Royal Family's dialect.
Vulkas squints as he creates smaller symbols in a larger radius, beginning to fire bolts of astral energy at the Child.
She retaliates with a storm of silver energy coated blades, which ripple with massive distortion waves as they travel.
The bolts fly completely off course and past the blades, forming together to create an astral clone that Vulkas switches places with, moving the small symbols closer to him as they fire large beams of ion like energy.
Several additional arms rip out of her back, and she grasps the beams with her bare hands.
"I will never forgive the gluttony of this world, its sinful self indulgence... if you continue, the same thing that always does will happen... a dark, cold, uncaring world that will destroy you and everyone you love. Hope is an illusion. Love is deceit. Truth does not exist, there are only liars. Only the strong survive, and the rest serve to fill their meaningless bellies.You live to die, never to live. You will not stand in my way."
The first sigils he made glow at their brightest and fire out even larger, faster, and what seem to be more powerful beams than the smaller ones straight towards the child. Vulkas shakes his head.
She seems to consume the rest of the weaker beams, before firing pure black beams to counter the new beams.
Vulkas sucks his teeth, moving some of the smaller sigils behind the larger ones, increasing their power even more. "If what you say is what you truly believe then there is absolutely no way that you will ever win. You have no drive."
The Child ripples before a wave of power blasts the beams away. "If you truly believe that you can win, know that the only way you will ever defeat me is if you slaughter the Blue Goddess and all of her kin."
"I will do no such thing, and I will find an alternative to defeating you if what you say is the truth."
"Then you will do nothing to stop me, for that is merely the beginning of what you would require in order to hamper my efforts in the slightest. By striking me down, you become the very thing you fight against, and the cycle repeats itself, for all of time. There is no escape. Not from the inevitability that awaits you. I will free you all."
"Let us decide to end the cycle, you cannot force us into something we would never do. You have already taken so much from us, it would be a waste to let your plans continue." Vulkas creates a double side astral glaive, twirling it before he darts towards the child.
She strangely makes no attempt to evade him, causing his glaive to pierce her flesh, running through her belly. She doesn't even flinch, yet hot blood oozes from her and onto his blade, onto his hands. She silently grabs his hand and pulls him against her, though he notes her maw has closed and disappeared.
"I won't eat you, if that is your concern. I know already that you'll just get pulled out by them before I do. How do I know that? It's because we've already fought. Again, and again, and again. You're nothing but Omega's tool. Your actions were decided long before you were even born, your destiny written before you were a single egg cell in your mother's womb. Ironically, I have been trying to save you, from this. Eventually, in another time, or even in the distant future from now, I'll return to this reality, and we will fight, again." She makes him look her in the eyes.
"All I want... ...is to be free. Omega constantly eats at me, you, this existence... eventually, she'll consume you all. Then there will be nothing left at all. Don't you get it? You're a banquet for a monster that eats the world and forces me to restart it, again, and again, and again. Let me consume you, all of you. With the power of this existence, I'll start everything over, and you will be born again, in infinite possibilities, where you can be anything and everything you desire."
Vulkas looks at the Child with eyes that seem to suddenly turn weak, and he lets go of the glaive, which turns into nothing. "...That cannot be the entire story. You are leaving parts out, I know that what most of what you say is true but that cannot be completely right..." The orange in his eyes return to a much more yellow color. "How many times have you tried to tell me this already? In previous existences?"
"How could one who is infinite possibly explain that which is equally infinite to one who is not? You could not arrive at the answer if you gathered every grain of sand from every beach and counted them all by hand, machine, or the arcane? I already knew the order of which you would free them and why- -Azula, for her obvious nigh unlimited potential far surpassing your own, Nezumi, an adept healer and damage dealer, and if I dared imagine, Akami and Vzark would be your next picks, would they not?"
The wound begins to close, the blood fading.
"Omega is not just destiny, she is also the End of Time itself. When the worlds breath their last, she will be the one who takes it. Do you understand now? You're hastening the noose..."
Vulkas shakes his head. "The end of something is innevitable. I do not hate death, almost everything dies eventually, nothing can be done about it. I do not hate Omega for the very same reason. It is irrational."
She narrows her eyes, before releasing him and kicking him away.
"So be it. I will take you all myself. This heart that beats, this soul that burns... ...it will not lose to those who have accepted their lot."
Vulkas creates the astral glaive again. "You should already understand that this will continue until you lose. If anything it should be you who should give up." He darts at her again, attempting to strike her mid section with the glaive.
This time she blocks with simple speed with her blade. "If I lose, then all of choice becomes meaningless, free will an illusion. You lose everything. You gain nothing from doing so."
Vulkas breaks the astral glaive in to two cutlass like swords, swinging again. "I will gain true justice for both me and all I hold dear." The orange returns to his eyes.
Despite the addition of dual wielding, her guard isn't broken. "There is no such thing. There is only revenge. Harm to others for meaningless self satisfaction." White energy arcs around her dangerously as she parries.
Vulkas backs off, turning one of the swords into shards of glass like astral energy that darts straight towards the Child. "Revenge is the most basic form of justice."
A flickering image of a man finding another in bed with a woman appears in his mind, and the proceeding murder of the two.
"So you call this... ...justice?"
A scene unfolds in his mind of the two men's kingdoms going to war, and the deaths of many innocent bystanders as a result of their warfare, ending with a blackened pair of kingdoms lying in ruin, the skeleton of thousands litter the blackened wastes.
Vulkas grimaces. "Justice is most often confused with vindictiveness, and I said revenge was the most basic form. More often than not a basic form is unrenfined, and flawed. Revenge is among the most flawed things in this world, what you have shown me is not justice, no, but revenge. If those acts were polished, and considered, and acted upon fairly, then it would be justice."
"That is this world's percieved notion of justice. The very same justice your proport to desire will hold the same destruction upon yourselves."
She splits her blade into twin sabers.
Vulkas turns his remaining blade into a shield as he draws the Twilight Siphon, quickly swinging it towards her.
Azula joins in and together they launch a fierce counter attack against the Child, who slowly loses steam, but manages to deal heavy damage to them both in turn. Nezumi has almost completely restored herself, and is beginning to slowly provide light healing support.
Vulkas seems to get more irritated as everything continues, creating golden sigils on both his and Azula's back that assist the healing. "This is getting us nowhere..." Vulkas focuses on the wound, clearly trying to figure out how he'll grab the next person.
The Child forgoes the bladed weapons and instead charges barefisted, a sonic boom deafening them from the force of the speed she charges them with.
Vulkas changes the sigils into speed enhancers, and with enough focus he matches the speed, taking a much more defensive stance as he also goes barefisted.
She without warning kicks him hard in the stomach.
Vulkas tanks the hit, retaliating by slamming his fist into her shoulder.
She is hardly budged, and he sees her blade like feathers lunge at him from her wings.
Vulkas ducks underneath the feathers, moving in closer as he hits her diaphragm with his elbow.
One of her wings impales him directly into the stomach region, a painful corrosive feeling emitting from the wing.
Vulkas steps back, creating a new sigil that begins to counteract the corrosive damage, starting to heal the wound. He approaches once more, being a little more cautious of her, opening up with strike towards her temple.
Her wing blocks the block, but this time she is staggered back.
Vulkas easily sees an oppening, taking a very quick step closer as he reaches into her wound, deciding to push his luck as he searches for two people, Akami and Vzark.
Two partially fused large spheres of spiritual mass begin to be pulled out from her, the Child begins to cry in agony, red energy erupting from her in huge torrents, the mere proximity to it causes his arm delving into her to begin to warp unnaturally, seams and tears forming on his arm. Hot tears roll off the Child's face as cracks begin to form in her wings. Her form shimmers dangerously, as if some previously well contained force was threatening to come free of her.
After a long struggle, he starts to see Akami and Vzark's heads be distinguished, it would seem he had begun to retrive them just in time, as they appear to be partially fused due to how long they were being processed inside the Child's soul. However as he continues to pull, the rifts in his arm grow worse and worse, until he realizes he may lose his arm as a consequence of pulling them free.
Vulkas makes no hesitation, deciding to continue pulling even at the consequence of losing his arm.
As soon as they are pulled free, a blinding light scorches them all, leaving all unconscious. When Vulkas finally stirs, he can feel soft hair on his face.
He shakes his head gently, trying to sit up, looking around at his surroundings.
Next to him, seemingly unconcious, is the Child, sparking with intense amounts of energy residue, so much he can't comprehend just how much energy was jettisoned from her. When he looks around though, the majesty of the whole universe lays sprawled out before him, the whole group lies around him unconcious.
He's rather shocked, getting up and moving away from the Child, starting at whats in front of him. "Why is there such beauty in times of carnage?" He walks over to the group, seeing if any one of them will wake up.
Behind him, violent discharges of red energy begin to spark wildly, as the Child begins to spasm.
Vulkas quickly turns around, doing his best to avoid the discharges as he tries to raise his guard, noticing that one of his arms is missing. "...Wonderful."
The Child is staggering to their feet, a disfigured hand reaching out toward him as a incredibly dense sphere of some kind of void like energy begins to appear in her grasp, aiming toward him with a palpable aura as though she intended to utterly annhilate him.
"The same mistakes... again... and again... and again... I will not... ...allow...!"
Vulkas takes a few steps back, creating a small sigil in the palm of his hand that slowly begins to glow, as if charging up.
A strange rippling occurs all around them, and something like massive ghostly hand grabs and begins to constrict the Child's body, who begins to scream in agony, as the red mist begins to erupt from her in unbelievable amounts, finally releasing her when her eyes turn strawberry red, the glow in her eyes gone and the malevolent force absent from her body, flowing out in all directions like an ominous fog into the vast stretches of the Universe. When he looks to the source of the hands, he finds the woman, panting exhaustively. Around this time, Azula begins to stir, just as the Child begins to fall, and Azula uses her own body to cushion the fall of the seemingly lifeless being, despite the cry of pain she utters as a consequence.
Weeping, Azula cradles the female being, rocking back and forth as she clings to what her beloved had become with a haunted gaze of misery.
Vulkas notices the woman who had helped them through all of this quietly eyeing the scene.
Vulkas merely looks at Azula, feeling pain in his own heart as he watches, before turning and walking towards the woman. As he walks, he focuses on recreating his arm.
The woman begins to walk past him, seemingly focused on the scene unfolding behind him. Upon her approach, Azula bristles with such a fury, a malice, that it borderline petrifies him as a hoarse, shrill scream erupts from Azula's lips as she wheels around to face the woman.
"White, you bitch! Keep the hell away from him! You've taken enough from me, the others...! I won't let you lay a hand on him, or anyone else, ever again! You...! You're a monster, and I will never forgive you!"
"..." The woman, White, doesn't seem detered. "Yes, I am all of those things, and I have done all of those things you say. You are right to hate me for what I've done to you, mankind, my homeland, and the Chaos Engines, and especially for what I did to my brother. However, Goddess of Destruction, what could you possibly do to save him? You are powerless in this matter. If you want your lover back, my brother, release him and entrust him to my care. I will bring Kado back, no matter how dirty my hands get in the process." Her face is cold, unyielding in the face of Azula's fury ridden face.
"NEVER!" Azula screams, as huge waves of azure fire rage toward White, only to be shattered by an invisible force.
"I will ask you nicely only once, before I get ugly. Release him."
She simply blocks a psychotic barrage of attacks as if it was nothing, yet the attacks would have obliterated even the greatest of masters.
"...Well, I tried to warn you."
Vulkas finishes creating his arm as he rushes over to the two. "Enough with the fighting! I have seen enough destruction today and if I see anymore my very being will shatter, so Azula, please, cease this!" He turns to White. "And you, on behalf of the events of today I cannot just let you simply take them."
She glows silver in response, before a massive wave blows him and Azula away, leaving the Child vulnerable. Without warning, strange bandages begin swarming around her, wrapping her up, quickly prompting high pitched screams similar to that of an infant's shrieks, which are quickly muffled into faint panting whimpers of fear and incredible pain as the bandages bind her tightly, almost digging into the skin. They quickly encase her entire body, constricting her and completely immobilizing her form in a mummy like wrapping, her arms held straight out by long tethers of the bandages, which appear attached to mighty rune laden pillars. The space around them grows dark as a strange power begins to emit from White.
"...Be banished," She intones, as the space is quickly emptied of all those present save for her and the Child, each being beckoned to a place of belonging...