Yōsai Fortress is the headquarters of Phoenix, located somewhere within Fantasy, though it is hidden by powerful magics beyond most's capabilities to discover. The fortress towers from the sea straight out above the clouds at times. It has eight sections, one for each of the Elements.
It is practically a city in terms of its sheer size, and its military might is strong enough to threaten even Chinmoku, the most powerful nation in Echo. The power of the seven enslaved Elemental Warlords is used to protect the fortress, and any unauthorized entry via Phoenix's portals will result in the enslaved Elementals attacking and annihilating the intruder.
It has a astounding standing army of at least a million troops, though more may lurk within the halls, as no outsider has yet seen the fortress and lived to escape.
Drake appears on what appears to be a long tiered walkway, with a portal ring behind him. Ahead in the distance he can see a long courtyard, but the entire place he feels is dead silent, he cannot pick up any signs of life anywhere.
Drake: *Takes a look around then continues walking towards the courtyard* Hmm... Well this was unexpected, this looks like any other fortress... Then again, knowing what happened back then. Ugh, I need to focus... *He takes another look around before sighing in annoyance* Where the hell is everyone!?
A slow rumble is his reply, as something moves along the tops of the high sections of the fortress roofs. A single loud footstep can be heard.
Drake: So there are people here then... Wonder who's first... *He turns his head towards the source of the footstep*
He first thinks it is merely a part of the building, but as he looks closer, he realizes he's staring at a whole toe... of a dragon. He looks up, and sees a massive dragon of pure light staring him down, larger than even Hitomara, coiled among the many countless roofs of the fortress's complex weaving structure.
Drake: *Growls before focusing his sight on the dragon's head* You first then...
Drake flies up until he is at eye level with the dragon's, waiting for the dragon's attack.
The dragon suddenly flickers out of sight.
Drake: The hell... *Drake clenches his fists and turns his head, looking for the dragon*
As soon as he turns his head, the force of a mountain crashing into him smashes him and sends him flying clear over the sea, where he eventually smashes into a large outcroping of rock. He looks back to see the dragon still where it was, its tail had smacked into him, and it appears to be staring at him.
Drake: *Roars* DIE! *He flies towards the dragon at high speeds, with a silhouette of a large dragon covering Drake and mimicking his movements. The moment Drake reaches the dragon, he extends his arm out to the side and claws the dragon across the chest, drawing a large amount of blood in the process. Drake glares at the wounded dragon with the look of bloodlust stained in Drake's eyes*
The dragon makes an amused laughing sound. The wound vanishes, as if it was never there. The dragon opens its mouth, and a massive beam of pure light blasts Drake, sending him flying back into the cliff...
which is now even closer to the fortress than before. Suddenly something like a massive hand picks him up between two fingers, and lifts him up, and he realizes he's staring at a massive giant towering above the entire fortress, its earthen face blanking staring at him.
Drake places his hands between the giant's finger and pushes them apart, standing on it's hand. Drake begins to sprint up the arm, with each step causing cracks on the arm itself. Reaching the shoulder, dark energy channels into Drake's hand, who jumps up and slams his fist against the side of the giant's head. Causing it to stagger, also creating more cracks on the giant.
The giant effortlessly rights itself, and the cracks disappear, and the giant becomes a colossus of pure metal. The metal suddenly rises up, and bonds with Drake's body, completely immobilizing him, he finds he cannot break it, it seems to not be any metal he's ever encountered before. Suddenly he is pulled off by the hand of the giant, and he is thrown back over the fortress. Above him, something vaguely shaped like a bird made of every color of electricity flies over and grabs him with its talons, shocking ever cell in his body with more voltage than a lightning bolt.
Drake endures the pain for a short while before coughing up blood, Drake fades away in black fire and reappears ontop of one of the rooftops. With his whole arm raised into the air, conjuring a massive black sphere with black lightning discharging and surging around it, he throws it towards the bird. Colliding with it and causing it to blast into one of the many towers, making it collapse ontop of it.
Drake: ...Who's next.
The earth giant throws a pike of the strange metal at him, and at the same time, the bird appears and shocks the pike with the same lightning Drake had fired at it, only purified, just as the pike rams into Drake's lung and shocks him with his own attack.
Drake staggers back before looking at the pike and seeing more blood drip from the wound, he pulls the pike out and stabs it into the floor. Revealing the dark energy resembling fire emitting from the hole, the three creatures notice Drake's sudden energy change. Pure black dragon wings and tail form, with Drake's aura becoming more unstable and animalistic and changing to black also. Drake roars again, causing the entire fortress to shake for a moment, as the energy corrupts Drake even further. He appears infront of the bird and grabs it's wing and throws it towards the giant, firing a massive black fireball that explodes on impact. Causing the two to get push back a considerable amount, Drake then focuses on the dragon and growls once again. Flying towards him and grabbing both of it's fangs and swinging it around, then slams it into some more towers before dropping it down.
A screech comes from behind him, and he is set on fire by the grasp of a massive phoenix, which then tosses him straight into the air, where out in the ocean a huge giant of pure ice rises from the ocean and blasts him with a massive burst of ice, freezing his front half and partially his blood, making every thought process sluggish. From behind him, the phoenix blasts his back with an inferno ten times hotter than his black flames.
Drake roars once again, causing a shockwave which shatters the ice and extinguishes the flames. He glances over at the ice giant and the phoenix before narrowing his eye sight towards the ice giant, he flies past the phoenix and slams his feet against the ice giant's chest and bounces off. Hovering between them, the ice giant and phoenix fire their respective element at Drake. Drake flies upwards, completely dodging the attack and causing the fire to melt through the ice and into the ice giant. Drake then glares at the phoenix, having a slight laughter that sounds feral and demonic...
The illusion shatters, and his reflexes fail him as he is blasted a second time by the two beings, this time his efforts to repel their attacks fail completely, and the blasts punish him for five minutes straight. He plummets, only to be extinguished by a huge wave of water, and a massive gale of wind, the wind blowing him straight into the ocean.
The ocean splits in two as Drake is in the center, as he points towards the creatures. Multiple dark figures, covered in tribal markings that also share resemble their counterparts burst out of the ocean and fires a massive dark energy beam towards the creatures. Blasting them all away from the fortress, Drake jumps ontop of the fortress' roof and charges two energy spheres in his hands, with the dragons charging dark energy in their mouths. All of them including Drake fire, with the power overwhelming the creatures, Drake laughs as the dragons fade away in black fire.
The entities remain unaffected, as far as he can tell. A lion made of water rises from the ocean, and a wolf of wind appears as well, seven total entities encircling him. They all appear to have some kind of glowing markings brighter than the rest of their bodies. Suddenly, Drake is in a massive black void, with nothing but the seven encircled around him. They begin to charge massive beams, the energy concentration far greater than Drake's entire being. Just as they fire, they appear to dim and defuse a large amount of energy out of no where, before firing each one straight at him, too fast and too powerful to dodge. Before the beams even reach him, the sheer energy density blows away his form, leaving him exposed to the pure power onrushing him.
White watches from the courtyard as a massive explosion of pure energy rips open the sky, deafening everything with its pure almighty power.
She watches as a figure falls from the heavens, and eventually lands at her feet, unconscious, almost with a pulse, his heart on its final beats. The seven descend from the skies, and return to their respective positions of the fortress.
"Well fought, Drake Ryunexo... such power has its use... even if you shall exist in a mere vegetative state... for all of the concern of the world of the living... you have indeed died..." She smiles. "A death worthy of such a brave spirit. But in secret... I shall know the truth of your eternal unwaking slumber..."
She nods to Aoi, who touches Drake, but her power only stabilizes his heart, nothing more. White attaches a strange metal braclet, which begins bonding with his DNA. A green light flicks on, and Drake's powers are sealed.
White picks him up, and carries him down into the deepest dungeons of Yosai, where an angelic figure sleeps, surrounded by preserved various Mythos, such as an Endlos, a Spirit, and even a Aetherborn.
She places him within one of the preservation chambers, and activates the seal, entombing Drake with the rest of the beings.
She looks at him with a malevolent smile. "From you, we will finally perfect the Chaos Engine. Thank you for donating yourself to our cause... your sacrafice is not in vain." She chuckles darkly. "I will record your battle within my memory for all time... it was most poetic."
Drake comprehends and hears none of this, trapped within a comatose state.
There is a great deal of activity at Yosai, as Kalin steps through a permanent portal that linked up with his and pulled him to the grand portal entranceway. Guards stop what they're doing, and stare at him for a moment, before drawing their swords.
"Should we contact White...?" One mutters. Some of them gasp, and file away from Kalin as he sees a lone figure approach. Aoi. As she slowly approaches, he notices her eyes are locked on to him.
"So, you're back."
"Heh. Impressive. You knew I was coming. I thought I would have to go looking for you, lady. As for my return, that would mean I'd been here before. Trust me, I wouldn't forget a dump like this any day of the week..." He looks around, making his disdain for the place as clear as possible.
"I can see the flow of time as easily as one might see the river flow. I knew you were coming long before you made the decision to come. Your friend who came before you failed. Any threat to Yosai is known to me far in advance of its occurance. There is no such thing as a stealth attack on this fortress."
" 'What are you doing here?'. If I asked that question, then I would be a fool. You're here for Caess."
Kalin smirks, honestly impressed that the Slayer understood the situation, and also interested to hear about his 'friend'. So they did catch the dumbass...not that I'm one to talk. At least I have an option for escape, though.
"Yes, put simply, I'm here for Caess. To be honest, what I really want is for you and everything you stand for to burn to ash in the rays of the sun, and be enveloped by the darkness of oblivion, So nothing like this will ever happen again. However, it seems like there is some grand purpose to many things in this world. One of those involving your order."
She silently walks up to him, and it suddenly occurs to him that he can't move, a thick harder-than-steel section of ice has sprouted under his feet and immobilzed him. She walks right up to him and looks him straight in the eyes.
"Tell me... if I gave you her... would you leave quietly? Or will you attempt to 'burn us to ash'?" She says just below a whisper.
"...And why, exactly, would you do something like that?" He says, not bothering to turn his head.
"Because I do not like to fight. I detest conflict. Last time was under orders. I do not wish to fight. That is why I did not inform White yesterday when I noticed you in our timeline. That is why I even confronted you. Why do you think these men have not attacked you? Because I have not drawn my sword against you. That is why.
I believe last we met you were told that knowing your enemy matters most when it comes to defeating them. You're as presumptuous as before. Do you really believe that every single person who happens to be your enemy is evil?"
"No, I don't. I know better than anyone the shades of gray that paint the worlds. However I've no reason to think that what you people have done, or intend to do, is for the 'greater good' either. Of course, opinions are always changing, so if there's some sob story or ultimatum you want to run by me to reconsider my position with you people..." Looks around at the unsure soldiers, most of them still armed. He faces Aoi.
" Now would be just about the perfect time."
"I give you back Caess, and you walk away. That's it. No fighting. I have nothing against you. Orders were orders, I merely did as instructed. Now do you want her back or not?"
"Heh. A straightforward attitude, it's almost refreshing. Aoi, was it? I accept your terms, on one simple condition; tell me what happened to the last person to come after your precious weapon, or servant, whatever you like to call the elementals you enslave?"
"The day I defeated you, the one who was with you went on a strike against us. I forsaw and warned White of him, and she sent the Avatars to confront him. He engaged, and as a result all seven converged on him and struck him down. He was hardly alive when we found him. White ordered me to spare him, and so I restored his body. He is due to be released soon. Provided his good behavior is maintained for the duration of his stay. That is all."
"Ah. So he's alive. And vacationing in what was going to be his burial site, a wise choice. I'm guessing speaking with him would be out of the question?
"Quite out of the question. My orders do not override White's. If she decides to end your life, I may not object. No detours. Caess, or nothing."
Kalin raises his hands in mock defeat. " Hey, it's fine. I'm really only asking to be nice. That guy got himself into whatever he's involved in, and I'm not exactly his friend or anything, so...Let's get going."
Aoi raises her arm to one side, and a massive stairway of ice forms off the side of the long walkway. "Follow me." She starts walking down the stairs, and the ice around his feet melts.
Kalin follows after the Slayer, at first wary of where she may be leading him, but soon deciding to trust that honor existed even among these individuals.
Aoi walks down to a section of the fortress just barely level with the sea, where the ocean occasionally rises up an inch about their feet, and sometimes an inch below the walks of the lower section. She seems to be walking in an easterly direction.
"So, you mind telling me why you did it?" Kalin asked, attempting to break the silence.
"What do you mean, 'why did I do it?' Please be a bit more specific. You could be asking me why did I go fishing one year, or went canoeing."
"And here I thought you were all knowing...I was asking why-" Kalin stopped in his tracks, a single finger outstreched towards Aoi. "Y-you just made a sarcastic remark..."
"...Please. Do you mean 'why did I attack you and prevent you from obtaining Dimrune and steal back Caess'? Or do you mean, 'Why are you helping me take back Caess?"
"I'm not letting that go. You give me the feeling that you're the resident 'Ice Queen' around here, so I'm sure I'm not the only person who would be shocked to find you have, well a personality. But, to answer your question....or my question, an answer to both would be best. Considering how the two events are so closely tied together.
"Firstly I like peace and quiet. My mannerism reflects that. And to answer your question, did I not say that I attacked you under orders from White? I have a debt to Phoenix, and I will not disobey them, regardless of my passions about a subject. Secondly it is like I said, I don't like fighting. I felt the most peaceful way without having to see someone die for no reason again was to resolve it with what you wanted. Caess. So I did. Do you have a problem with me?"
"Well, I'll be honest, I did. However, If we don't have to fight, then I can be my laid back self. So, to answer your question, no. In fact, you actually remind me of me..."
She walks up to a tower's bottom section and opens a small door. She indicates for him to go in.
"Aw, and here is the end of our little walk, I take it? And I was having so much fun, too. Good day to you, Ice Queen." Kalin says , whispering the last part to himself as he stepped through the doorway.
She moves ahead of him in a flurry of snow, and keeps walking to a pedestal with the blue crystal of Caess. As she walks up and pulls off the mind control device, she says, "Hey... it's time to wake up.... mother."
"I'm...sorry, did you just say what I think you said?"
"Yes. I did. Caess is my mother." She says as the blue crystal begins glowing softly, gradually taking the form of Caess, only a much smaller version to fit inside the room.
"Kalin? What are you doing here? ...You freed me, Aoi?"
Aoi bows her head slightly. "Yes...as an arrangement to avoid fighting him."
"Okay, I feel as if I'm missing a little bit of information here. Can one of you explain?"
"Caess is my birth mother. My father was a shapeshifter. The majority of my powers come from my mother, and the other half... ...they come from Ice Slayer, though I already had heightened potential for water and ice powers because of my heritage. I am part Endlos, part Shapeshifter. ...Also part elemental, if you really want to think of it that way. ...I thought the simple statement of 'Caess is my mother' would suffice for you."
"So it wasn't a fluke before, You speak fluent smartass...I understood that much. What confuses me is why you would hand your mother over to these people as a slave. What, was the nursing home too expensive!?
Caess closes her eyes, while Aoi gets a rare sad look. "...It would be better if I explained upstairs. ....Follow me." Aoi begins to walk up the side stairs to the upper floors, and Caess follows, at the top of the stairs she turns towards Kalin. "Please follow."
Kalin teleports to the top of the stairs, interested to have his questions answered.
Aoi and Caess are seated in a living room. Aoi sighs. "...You asked... ...and I will tell you. When I was a little girl, White found my family. She saw my potential as the Ice Slayer, so she demanded I join her and be trained. ...We declined. White urged us to reconsider, and when we refused, she killed my father, right before my eyes. ...She told me that if I did not obey her wishes, she would force me to kill my mother. ...I had no choice. ...I had to obey. I must... ...I must always obey..."
She bows her head. "When White learns of this, she will force me to kill her should we meet again. ...That is the debt I must endure for all my life...."
Kalin stares at Aoi, apparently seeing her in another light. "So you serve out of fear, rather than loyalty?"
"If one needs a dumbed down version of that previous statement... ..yes."
"And this is...okay with you? Leading a life another has forced you to live, all the while regretting the monster you're sure to become?" Kalin said, his fists clenching instinctively.
"...No. ...It's not. ...But I can't do anything about it. ...White is too strong. ...She knows too much for me to dare escape. ...My punishment alone for helping you will be severe."
"Why can't you do something about it? Because she's stronger? Well, I've got news for you, There will always be someone stronger!!!" Kalin yelled, his eyes glowing red, and his body began to emit small streams of fire. " So that's it for you,huh? A near eternity being someone else's foot stool because you wouldn't fight for what mattered to you. "Heh, it's funny. When you told me you'd rather not fight, I thought it was a sign of confidence; I respected you for it. But now? Now I see you were just being a scared child."
Kalin shifts forward and, without warning, Aoi is lifted slightly off the ground be her shirt. " Listen to me! If you want something, and there is something in your way, then you freaking bust right through it! If you cower in fear, you'll never get anything. But at least if you fight, even if you die, you can be proud knowing that you might have achieved something!" He lets go of Aoi, letting her fall back into the couch. He then turned, opened a gate, and released a large stream of fire into it. when he finished, the ground beneath him was slightly charred." I...I'm sorry." Kalin said as he closed the gates, taking a deep breath as he returned to face the two Endlos.
Aoi buries her head in her hands and begins crying. Caess has a sad expression, but doesn't seem to do anything about it. Suddenly, above them, the sounds of a door being kicked in shatter the silent tension.
Aoi stops dead. "....She knows.... ...she sent the Drakenguard..."
"Well, then. I guess that means we should be going..." Kalin says as he opens another gate.
Aoi looks up at him. "......We....?" Aoi says confused, while Caess walks over to Kalin's side.
"Yes...I intend to take the couch, as well. I mean 'we' as in us." Kalin said motioning his hand to indicate everyone in the room. He put his hand out towards Aoi. "So, are you coming? Or will you bend over, and wait for someone else to decide your fate again?"
The roof explodes, and the motion causes Aoi to get knocked forward and grab his hand.
Caess smiles. "I think that will work as an answer."
"Indeed!" Kalin said, dragging the Ice Slayer behind him as he enters the twilight gate. Immediately after Caess is through as well, the gate closes.
White steps out of the shower, sighing. She then pauses, staring at the soldier right outside who is now burning in embarrassment.
"You have approximately five seconds to tell me why I shouldn't flood this area with irradiation that will put the event known as Hiroshima and Nagasaki to shame, and kill you."
"A stranger has come and invaded the fortress, and took Caess and Aoi, my lady! Forgive my intrusion, I-" White rips his head off his shoulders in rage.
"I'm going to introduce some asses to HELL!!!" She roars.
As Drake flies closer to Yosai, he feels a presence enter his mind, Azula.
I was just about to call you in. Noriko is also en route, so I guess I don't have to look for you two then. Based on new calculations, you're just in time. In a few hours, our targets are expected to appear. When we have all gathered, White will inform us of the plan. We will see you at the courtyard.
"Ok... See you soon." Drake looks directly at the little blip in the distance over the waters, until Kuria's blade glows. "Worried Drake?" Drake hesitates to answer but then manages to speak."Sorta, I promised I'd be there to help them two, it would suck if I'm to die now..." The blade mockingly laughs. "Never thought you would be the type to care." Drake stays quiet before angrily sighing, speeding towards the floating fortress. "Just shut up Corruption."
Noriko appears next to him not long after the fortress becomes much more visible, laying on her back as she flies. "'Sup Drakey?" She says with a playful grin.
"Oh, hey Noriko, glad to see you caught up quickly." Drake instead smiles instead of his usual smirk or grin. "How are you then?"
"I'm fine. Though there were these weird seagulls that kept dropping raw fish- NO NOT THAT AGAIN!" She dodges a falling fish, then zaps the offending seagull, then regains her balance, and looks at a laughing Drake.
"Ah shut up."
"Haha, it's like they offering you like you're royalty!" Drake manages to control his laughter, and after a moment of quietness, Drake looks at Noriko and speaks in a more... Unique tone. "Hey Noriko, y'know what we're doing after this fight is over, right? ...Well, there's someone who wants to come along, she's worried that White will get her again, is it ok if she comes too?"
Noriko shrugs. "I don't see why not. " She looks over at the fortress. "Hmm, seems White's brought a few more out than usual."
Drake flies closer to Noriko and hugs her for a brief moment before retaining him balance as he flies back into his original position. "Thanks." Drake then looks over to the fortress, seeing the CEs, Drake's eyes widen slightly. "Well shit Grandma Whitey, you're certainly packing heat, aren't you..." Drake begins to chuckles slightly.
Noriko looks down at them. "I wonder if she's bringing them out for use in the battle as well...?"
"Why would she haven them out otherwise? We are fighting two gods, so we'll need all the help we can get really... Not like we need them anyways, but I guess better safe than sorry."
Noriko lands to the side of Toma, who along side Torrent and Azula stand in a line facing White, the CE's are behind them, Silent Angel included.
Drake lands and exits his Aura Dragon form, looking behind him to examine all of the CE's. He quietly sighs and focus on White muttering under his breath. "So nearly free... Let's just get this fight over with."
Her dragon eyes coldly look at him. "It is good that you are all here. Our plan is to wait for the resistance of Earth to begin to falter, then Phoenix will unleash its attack in waves, I shall go alone and provide for the initial assault. The rest of the major members, you come in after my signal. Chaos Engines are to wait in reserve." She looks at Drake.
"You are permitted to join in battle along with the main members or wait to be called on alongside the CE's. Your choice."
Drake looks at the remaining members of Phoenix then the CE's, he glances at White and shakes his head. "I'll go whenever..."
"Very well then. Go with whoever you please. Out of curiosity, what were you two doing?"
Drake gives White a puzzled look. "Excuse me? You two? Who are you talking about?"
"You know what I'm talking about. You. And Noriko. Off for a romantic dinner for two? Shared a kiss perhaps?" She has a faint smile at that last one.
Torrent and Toma laugh.
Drake steps forwards without saying a word, unsheathing Kuria and tightening his grip on the hilt as he glares at White. "Is that so? Heh, then I could say the same about you and Kado? Afterall, his room was surprisingly tidy after he left seven years ago, so what's up with that Whitey? Missing your masked man, or is there something I'm just not getting..."
He barely has time to dodge as she breathes pure white flames at him, the flames hotter than any fire he had ever encountered, in fact a burn forms on his arm, even though the flames are no where close.
Drake places a hand on his arm and glances at White, as his hand glows, trying to heal himself. "Oh, did I strike a nerve? Next time White, watch your mouth, because trust me. There's more to say, but for once, I'm gonna shut up. Watching you snap would be funny, but it wouldn't make a good impression for 'the strongest incarnation of Phoenix', wouldn't it?" Drake sheathes Kuria and takes a step back.
He feels a massive pain in his chest as she suddenly kicks him into a tower. "Never. Ever. Say that again. Do you hear me? I will not have you insult my family line again." She walks off silently.
"You all are to remain within the boundaries of the fortress at all times, until my order is given! No exceptions!" She yells as she walks out of sight.
Lodging himself out of the tower, a small treacle of blood flows out of Drake's mouth as he growls. "Fucking... Bitch... Honestly, I will rip out her damn throat." Drake angrily sighs and enters his Half Dragon form and flies up to a flat roof and lands hard enough to cause cracks, he looks at the burn on his arm and growls once more. "Great..."
Noriko lands next to him, and inspects the burn, before placing her hand on his head, and he can feel a strong tingling running through his body.
"Noriko, what are you doing... I'm not exactly the safest person to be standing next to right now, you know that, right?"
"Hardwiring your brain to fall in love with me and to make you serve me." She pauses long enough to see his reaction start, before she smiles. "I'm telling your cells to heal themselves over ten times faster than normal. Watch."
He feels a sharp burning as though someone poured peroxide on his arm, and the burn begins to heal at an astonishing rate until it disappears. He also feels the damage done to his chest heal, though more slowly.
"And now for the mind modification!" She giggles, then playfully dodges as he swipes at her. "I'm kidding!" She laughs.
"Hmph... Thanks once again, it hurt like hell... But thanks, remind me not to piss you off." Drake smiles and chuckles before sitting down and yawning, looking up at the sky and the clouds, and for once. Noriko sees a more quiet and peaceful side of Drake, no brash comments, no jokes after what he said, just a small smile and a delicate look to himself despite what just happened. After a couple of moments, he finally speaks in a surprisingly soft tone, something that's near unnatural for Drake. "I needed that off my chest, it was worth the pain, I don't care what anyone thinks, but sooner or later. Reality is gonna hit White and it's gonna hit hard for her to realise soon enough."
"Do you think White is out of touch with reality?" Noriko smiles a bit. "You're right, there is something you don't see. I can understand why you don't see it yet. Were you paying attention to what she said, Drake?"
"Not really, most of what White usually says just goes over my head. But then again, I'm not one to listen to 'authority'." Drake chuckles. "Ok Noriko the all knowing, what am I not seeing here?"
Noriko sighs. "Well, I'll not beat around bushes. White and Hadari, the founders of the organization, they were both lovers, do you remember that?"
"I heard things here and there, like a fight and death and Slayers... But yes, I remember being told that."
"Well, they weren't just any lovers. Kado is the descendant of Hadari. White is the descendant of White I. If Hadari and White had children, and Kado and our White are descended from them, what does that tell you?"
"...Kado and White are brother and sister, or at least related closely. So that why White gets mad or annoyed when someone comments on the two, but that doesn't seem to make them two close per say. I'm sure I heard that Phoenix went after Kado for having a choice to leave, although... Nevermind"
"There you go,I knew you had a spark of a brain in there somewhere!" She playfully teases. "Anyway, White has been spending more time below than usual. She's been talking with Azula a lot lately as well. I think White's getting ready to turn it on, in any case."
"It? What do you mean by it?"
"Charging phase completed." A artificial voice rings in the air.
Noriko blinks. "It's done charging. It's White's ace in the hole, she's going to be giving a.... demonstration... soon." She smiles. "I can't tell you until you see it for yourself."
Drake smiles and lightly pinches Noriko's cheek, chuckling while doing so. "Awww, please tell me. I can't be bothered to wait!"
There is a slight rumbling, and a tear in the sky starts to appear over Yosai Fortress.
"...Nevermind, I guess she's giving the demonstration now." Drake stands up and looks at the tear, his eyes widen. "Hooooly shit... Are they planning to use that against Jibaku and Valeric?!"
The tear suddenly completely rips open, revealing a massive translucent structure on the other side of what seems to be a rift in reality itself, composed of many countless spinning rings and a single long cannon shaft. He cannot tell how big the structure is, but when compared to objects around it, including a few blue stars, he realizes it has to be absolutely gargantuan in size. As he stares at it, eight large towers erupt from around Yosai, and he can sense massive energy stored in them, what looks like energy channeling devices on the tops of them.
"That is the plan.... .....White calls it the Spear of God. No one knows who designed the thing, but it's scary. Azula is the only CE that can fully charge it. In order to power it this time, she had to sacrifice fifty CE's just to get it to fifty percent, the minimum power level needed to possibly destroy Jibaku and Valeric."
"That was fifty percent!? That's strong enough to destroy a planet, then I wonder what one hundred percent would be like... The Spear of God, yeah sounds scary enough. I'm glad we're getting the fuck out of here after the battle."
Noriko takes his hair and roughs it up. "Yeah. I want to get out while I still can. Besides, I'm rather bored of staying here. It's time I flew from the nest."
Drake chuckles as he does runs his hand through her hair and ruffles it up, before sitting back down and opening his HSC and turning it into a screen. He plucks an item how and it slowly materializes into Drake's hands, to Noriko's surprise it's a guitar, he starts to play but is completely opposite to his attitude. Since what he plays seem to be more tame and peaceful. He smiles. "I saw this back in Upnation and bought it, I used to play back on Cyanic. I'm a bit rusty but I was hoping you could teach me, after all you did get me back into music."
She smiles. "I'd be glad to teach you. Looks like a nice one."
"The amount of times I've said thanks to you today keeps on rising and rising, thanks. And let's just hope this is durable enough for our travels, mind you I won't join any bands, this'll just to pass the time... So what do we do now? Because I just wanna relax until the fight begins..." The guitar digitizes into the HSC as Drake puts it away and lies down on his back looking up to the sky once more.
Noriko lays down next to Drake, laying her head down on her arms. "I guess we just wait for something to happen. Or make something happen."
Drake quietly laughs. "If you have an idea on what to do then I'm all ears. I would say prank some people, but they need to be at the top of their game, so we can't really do anything that lowers their chances... So I have no clue what to do."
Noriko peeks over the roof at Silent Angel. "Hmmmm....."
Drake closes his eyes and speaks in a relaxed tone. "What's going on in that brain of yours?"
A seagull dives at her and she grabs it, and looks down at it menacingly. "Oooooh sir, you are in so much trouble.... now...." She taps its head, an electric current zapping it, she then places a very large rock in the bird's feet, and she swats it, and it goes flying straight over Silent Angel, and then proceeds to drop it on his head, and Silent Angel angrily looks up at the bird, but then continues reading a book he had pulled out. The bird flies back to Noriko, and looks at her expectantly. Noriko smiles. "Oh how fun it is to have my own pet bird...."
Drake opens one of his eyes and glances at the bird, chuckling. "I told you, so are you gonna name it?"
"Ehh, not gonna keep it. Want a turn?"
"Sure, why not?" Drake scuttles over to the bird and places a large rock in it's feet. He takes a look down at Silent Angel and points to his book. "Hit his head then snatch his book." Drake giggles.
The bird flies down again, and merrily drops the rock on Silent Angel's head, who angrily looks up again, with a scowl on his face this time. The bird swoops down and snatches the book, but makes the mistake of heading straight at Drake and Noriko, and Silent Angel follows it with his eyes and sees them, and a strange purple cloud comes from his feet and chases after the bird, which panics and drops the book on the roof.
"Stupid bird... Hmm, well at least we have the book... But I have a feeling we got more pressing matters." Drake looks at Silent Angel with a childish yet slightly worried smile on his face, regardless, he grabs the book and opens it.
It appears to be some sort of graphic novel, which Silent Angel quickly swipes back with an irritated look. "Very funny." He says shortly, then flies back down.
Drake looks up a bit, and notices the white dragon he had fought against when he first came here roosting on top of a high tower. Looking around, he sees the others all on their own towers, and then he notices one of the towers lacks an occupant.
"Hmm... That must of been Kado's Warlord... Wait, I'm counting seven, but Hiroshi is dead and Aoi escaped... How is this possible then?" Drake glances at the others and growls at them. "...I guess I'm lucky I'm not against them this time."
Noriko laughs. "Well, the truth is as long as a Slayer keeps them sealed, their avatar remains, regardless of wielder. Even though we have three members gone, those three remain because the Slayer is still empowered. The one within Kado's sword, the Goddess Kukyo, was released from her seal some time ago. I don't know how Kado's sword is powered now."
She looks at the eagle of pure lightning. "Do you know anything about them?"
"...They hit hard, really really fucking hard. Then again, if they're Gods, then what am I expecting? But now that I think about it, not really. So am I gonna bet getting another history lesson from teacher Noriko?" Drake laughs.
Noriko shrugs. "More like speculation. Few people actually know much about the Eight. We don't really know anything about what they really are, or where they come from. We control their power, but they're very defiant about us probing their minds. We basically know their names, but we don't have any actual facts about them. Just a bunch of myths, and no real basis. I can tell you some of the stories, if you wanted."
Drake tilts his head slightly before smiling childishly and nodding. "Sure, I don't mind. We need something to pass the time anyways."
"Well, first off, we know their names, so I'll start with that. The first of them, Kukyo, the Dark Demon of the Void, is said to be the mother of the seven. She has always been depicted to have arrived on Echo first. The second, Kagayaki, is the Ethereal White Dragon of Light. He's over there." She points to the white dragon, which seems to have shifted its gaze towards them at the mention of its name.
Drake looks at Kagayaki and growls once more, before looking back at Noriko. "I guess you could of said we've met before, but continue..."
"There is also the third, Hyōdo, the Eternal Titan of Earth, the fourth, Mikadzukikei, the Empress Lion of the Sea, the fifth, Saisei, the Phoenix of Wrath, the sixth, Kitakaze, the Wolf of Four Winds, the seventh Kaminari, the Wings of Thunder, and my respective Warlord, and the eighth, Furīzu, the Queen of Glaciers.
A common theory is that they are simply the beings used to create Echo, nothing more, and then decided to try to take control. Another, less accepted theory, is that they were sent by God to be the guardians of the world. ....Which didn't exactly happen, so most people find the first more believable. Who knows... and you can stop scowling. They were just doing what White told them to."
Drake pouts and then sighs with annoyance. "Fine... And I think there must be more purpose to them than simply creating Echo, but I guess I'm gonna stick to the first theory, because honestly... What kind of god just makes a thing then does fuck all? I haven't met one god that does that..."
Noriko is about to say something, when all seven begin to roar, one long tone that they hold for several minutes, then they eventually cease.
Noriko blinks. "Oh wow."
The CE's below appear restless for some reason.
Drake looks down at the CE's. "I wonder what's got them in a pissy now... It could be the roar but I doubt it, wanna take a look?"
White appears in a flash of light. "The targets have arrived. I shall oversee the battle, and at the right time, I shall begin our plan. Until then, you are to wait for my command."
She disappears in another burst of light.
Torrent chuckles. "And so the game begins."
Drake looks towards out to sea before taking a look at the fortress he calls a prison around him, he goes into thought for a moment before speaking out. "Heh... I guess I gotta thank Phoenix for some things, even if I was trapped here like a rat." He chuckles. "Hell, I'm gonna miss pranking Mr. Emotions over there... Actually, the more I think about it, the more I'm gonna miss... Haha, what kind of stupid logic is that, ah well..." He turns to look at Torrent with a smirk on his face. "I bet I can land more hits on the two bastards than you."
Torrent scoffs. "You wish."
Noriko jumps on Drake, giving him a fierce bear hug. "Stockholm Syndrome! Yeeaaaa!"
Drake almost tips over but manages to regain his balance, he laughs and pats Noriko's head. "Yes yes, Stockholm Syndrome has caused me to sorta like you maniacs, 'you wish'? So, are you saying you want to take that bet Miss. Mask?"
".....You remind me of Kado. ....How infuriating..... fine whatever, if that's what you want. A bet it is."
"Heh, so you're saying that I remind you of someone who could win against you? Thanks, don't worry, I'll tell everyone that you won so you can keep your dark and broody ego."
"Kado? He could never beat me."
"That was seven years ago Torrent, are you sure you want to keep to that statement of yours?"
"And in those seven years, only now does his power show potential. He will never amount to anything before the end."
"Probably..." Drake sighs and opens his HSC and casually scrolls through all of his stuff.
Five portals appear in the courtyard.
Noriko sighs. "It's time then."
"Apparently so... Let's just get this over with." Drake drops off of the roof and lands, he enters his Aura Dragon form and walks towards the portal, hesitating at first as he looks out at the ocean one more time but this time he notices someone flying towards the fortress. His eyes narrow down the person to make identification of who it is, as he does, a smile comes to his face as he walks past the portal, taking only a couple of steps before stopping. "So you actually arrived?"
Daikeim lands infront of Drake with a smirk on his face, him and Drake bump fists before exchanging a couple of words. "I wouldn't want to miss this, even if I'm 'helping' Phoenix..."
Drake laughs and lightly punches Daikeim's arm. "You're just gonna miss me you soft bastard!"
Daikeim points at Noriko. "I'm the soft one? I'm pretty sure tha--"
"Don't even say it." Drake chuckles before walking back infront of the portal alongside Daikeim, the two then walk into their own portals.
Siege of One
Yosai Fortress Perimeter. While not as heavily guarded as the interior, the outer reaches are no where near defenseless. Thousands of soldiers in dozens of squadrons, each with a different combat specialization, patrol and monitor the outer rim of the fortress, ready to defend against any attack against the fortress- Almost any.
Endlos vaults onto one of the many layered walk ways, his eyes smoldering like burning coals. A symbol on his arm akin to three intersecting circles with six lines weaving into a hexagram begins to burn with blue light while circled intersected by a cross glows on his forehead.
"Caess, Aoi, while you may be safe currently, I won't let those who harmed and threatened you get away without a scratch..." The king draws one of his swords and charges deeper into the fortress.
A deep rumbling seems to fill his consciousness, and as soon as he takes a first step into a large courtyard, a powerful voice that at first feels difficult to understand speaks in his mind, echoing and distorted, vaguely male.
"I would if I didn't have justifiction, in fact I would not have come here," states the king, "If you aren't directly related to what happened to my subjects, simply ignore me, I'd hate to hurt someone I don't need to."
Suddenly the ground ripples in dark waves, and all around him becomes deprived of anything, and it takes him a moment after nothing but darkness replaced the surroundings, that he is in a strange dimension, and he becomes aware of seven powerful consciousnesses lurking somewhere in the dark around him.
The one who enslaved the two that you sought out to save is not here.
Not here. The six other presences echo.
She has disappeared beyond these realms, to where we know not where she now lies.
We know not.... The other six intone.
The one who took her, we know not his name. But we know his form.
Before Lord Endlos, the image of the Doctor that had come before White crackles to being in multicolored energy, almost like static.
If you see the one who harmed them, she is with him. Where we know not. Who he is, we know not
But.... ....if you insist on staying and attacking this fortress, despite this knowledge, the bindings which hold our forms will force us to fight you. She is not aware of your being here yet. She watches us closely. But she will soon.
"If it was possible, I'd like to simply wait and challenge her to a one on one duel- Er, two on two, assuming one of you follows her," says the king, "I'd really like to avoid harming you or vice versa if you aren't truly related to what White has done, but if that can't be arranged and we must fight, I'll honor you with the greatest battle I can give you, though I'd prefer not to. Speaking of which, I'd like to speak with Furizu and Mikadzukikei because I want to understand why they changed Caess."
A ripple of power rushes through the void, and seven beings come into form, all incredibly massive: A dragon made of radiant light, a giant of pure earth, a wolf of howling winds, a eagle of lightning, a armored samurai made of ice, a lion made of water, and a phoenix, blazing in multicolored flames.
It takes him a moment to notice, but the one that had been speaking to him had been the dragon, as its presence seems strongest.
We..... don't remember.....
Our wills are distorted.... disoriented...
We are torn in pieces...
We cannot sort them all....
Two female voices, heavily distorted ring out, coming from the direction of the samurai and the lion.
"I see... In that case, it seems nothing can be done until White returns," Endlos mutters, "...What would happen if I were to find a way to release you all?".
The Eight Blades are the chains.
"Ah, so they bind you until something happens. In that case, I apologize for my own foolishness." The king doesn't realize that his voice has shifted to that of something... older.
All seven lurch unexpectedly, and suddenly all fire a blast of elemental power at him.
"Force..." begins Endlos spinning to catch each blast with the flat of his blade, a blue flame-like aura coating it, "Buster!" The aura brightens then launches several blasts at each of the spirits. "Hah, couldn't wait any longer could you?" He directs his statement not at the spirits, but at the one controlling them. "Fine, I'll show you why you don't harm my subjects!" Instantly, the king is coated in silver and black armor that emits orange and blue energy from the joints. From his back extend eight ethereal tassels and to his side, a massive gauntlet materializes, swiftly followed by three larger swords and what appears to be a gothic, ethereal outline of a hand, all of which emit the same blue and orange energy. I won't go down without a fight at least, the seal's still active so I can't go all out...
The light dragon flies up high, as does the lightning eagle and phoenix. The giant, samurai, wolf, and lion create barriers of their elements, a landmass, ocean, sky explodes into being where Endlos' blasts meet their barrier, the center of the landmass a massive burst of elemental shapes. The lion and samurai jumps into the ocean, while the giant rips a mountain from the landmass up as a sword. The wolf howls, sending a huge line of tornadoes at him.
"Counter Force!" The king has the gauntlet fly towards the tornadoes and fire a spinning blast of the blue and orange energy at them before having it return to him. He then launches two of the giant swords at the giant, merging them into a large spiraling spear composed more so of the energy than the mysterious metal. "Discordia!"
The giant ducks down and dodges the spear, hurling it at Endlos. At the same time, the eagle charges it with lightning. The Samurai creates pillars of ice that start launching hundreds of ice blades and spears at him.
Endlos claps his hands together, forming a sphere of blue energy around himself to block the icy projectiles, then splays them, expanding the field rapidly. Upon coming in contact with the spear, the spear compacts itself into a ring then reverses its direction and and accelerates towards the giant, this time glowing eerily. "Algia."
Suddenly a blinding light blinds him, and he looks up to see what looks like a sun rapidly descending on the landmass, starting orange but changing colors into blue, and growing bigger every second.
The star now appears to be speeding even faster towards him now, splitting into many miniature suns.
This is going to be a pain...
"Pain of a thousand worlds, millions of cries silenced by steel and flame. Embrace the pentence given and grant me your aid," chants Endlos as the star races towards him, his armor glowing brightly. "Witness the power wrought from turmoil and strife ended... Samsara." The king falls backwards as a vortex of the orange and blue energies forms. From the vortex emerges a ring of white energy that spreads out like a multi-layered mandala and begins to rotate clockwise and counter clockwise. The moment the star touches the mandala it passes through as if nothing happened, but ball of negative energy equal to the size of the initial star is hurled back at the attacker followed by a storm of oranage and blue lasers and a rain of the same lasers beneath the mandala. Just before the king is hit by the star, the ethereal hand catches him and wraps around him like a barrier.
Suddenly a massive planet sized boulder smashes into the negative energy ball and destroys it, and the star explodes on impact, completely destroying the landmass and ocean in a wave of pure destruction.
After the massive explosion, Endlos looks up to see the dragon silently flying higher than the lightning and fire birds, sparking with massive energies identical to that of the star.
"Grr, stupid seal," growls Endlos, "If this thing didn't have the protection clause, I'd be fine!" Soon afterwards, a voice wells from within the king, one that sounds much older and wiser.
"If I may have a word, milord. The Protection Clause prevents you from using more power than is necessary in an ordinary situation, but imagine this situation happens. If the person who would release the protection clause is not here, yet you fight against them still, imagine what would happen if you fell and they uncovered you identity... Would your people remain safe or would they suffer? I'd imagine the latter would happen, endangering the very people you wish to protect... Food for thought my liege." The voice that temporarily wells from within the king fades away, but its work is done. The marks on his arm and forhead cease to glow and his eyes become an electric blue.
"Temporary Release Granted," he says rigidly, "Summoning Sylvanea's Sword..."
The light dragon roars and flaps its wings, as it does so, it generates a volley of blue stars which shriek as they speed toward Lord Endlos at lightspeed.
"High Counter," the King sighs as the ethereal hand enlarges itself to block eack star before closing and condensing the stars into a singular celestial body. The king then directs the hand to blast the star into the sea. At the same time, the Samsara Mandala fires a volley of black spheres equal in size, number and speed to the volley of stars sent by the dragon and releases a swarm of spiraling black and white lasers into the heavens and towards the land and sea.
Suddenly all of the seven gain strange glowing markings, and massive wall of spiritual energy forms into a barrier and begins trapping his attacks inside a sphere excluding them and causing his own attack to begin wildly ricocheting, trapped in the rapidly shrinking sphere and beginning to hit him instead.
The king rakes his hand down, black energy gathered around it, creating a portal, which he uses to escape the sphere then glares at the spirits he can see. The air around him crackles and roars with the sound of something gathering into a single point above the king. He snaps his fingers and over one hundred gaunlets the size of the one he already had summoned. He snaps again and all but twelve of the gauntlets race towards the earth giant and the wind wolf, glowing with explosive power.
The two rumble ominously, and the earth giant clenches its fists, two golden swords of energy form. The wolf howls, and a set of twelve halberds form, and the two begin attacking each of the gauntlets with unbelievable speed, not missing a single one and cutting each one down, utterly destroying its form, they finish with a growl.
Solaire Yang-Defiance Burst!
Lord Endlos's side is suddenly pierced by a glowing sword of light, and as soon as it does, a Yang symbol appears on his body and detonates, blasting open his lower torso. Before the twelve gauntlets can react, Kagayaki has already retreated, the glowing sword clamped in his jaws. He lets out a puff of hot air as he snorts in aggression.
"...Well then," notes the king assessing the damage dealt, "I'll have to stop taking things lightly... Hecatonchieres."
As the king's wounds seal themselves, the sky darkens. Above the clouds a ball of black and white energy forms and begins to draw in the elements as it swells to titanic proportions. Meanwhile, Endlos resummons the destroyed gaunlets and has them move in a cyclical fashion, each distorting the air as the energies gather into a single stop.
"Planar Cataclysm." Spiraling cracks form in the air, across the ground and in the sea. The cracks widen, then shatter all that they have touched, allowing the ball to continue to grow in size.
The realm's world fades completely, replacing it with the empty void that was before, and the spirits look at each other for a moment, before their forms begin to condense into spheres, and begin to violently spark as they begin to orbit rapidly outside of the range of Lord Endlos's attack, their movements creating chains of energy that lash around and wrap around Lord Endlos, cutting off the power to the sphere. They suddenly dive down, and begin pulling him out of the dimension, and back into Fantasy, their return causing the elements to go breserk and out of control, writhing with primordial fury. The barrier around Yosai suddenly intensifies, and they maintain their chains around him as they begin to pull him towards Upnation at high speed, their violent and powerful aura disrupting the elements all in their wake, creating a elemental cataclysm as they speed towards the nation, various islands are raised and sunk by the maelstrom of power.
Endlos blinks, signaling for the largely complete ball of primordial energy to rocket after him and the spirits, quickly accelerating to light speed. The sphere still retains its pull and, just before the king can impact, he is torn from the spirits chains and passed by the ball as it continues after the spirits, still growing as time passes.
As the sphere closes in on the Avatars, they suddenly wheel around and spread out, creating a portal at the last second, which as the sphere enters, to Endlos' horror, the portal is opening up in the skies above Twin Valleys.
Just before Hecatonchieres can hit the valley, the ball is forcefully stopped several meters above it. The ball slowly rises back above cloud level, then jettisons itself in Endlos' direction, its pull greatly amplified as it flies.
"You have no idea about the amount of trouble you're in," Endlos glowers, his eyes shifting to the color of burning coals as he materializes a black sword with a blade that swirls with a mysterious energy and a pillar of black, white, orange and blue energy erupts around him, obscuring the king from vision.
You ignorantly attack my fortress and demand to challenge me, spouting nonsense about justice, then you cry and throw a tantrum when you are delivered punishment in turn. Ironic.
A woman's voice rings in the air, being broadcasted by the Avatars, yet belonging to none of them.
"As I recall, I said would've simply settled for facing you, White," remarks Endlos, no emotion present in his voice, "You were the one lacking the gall to accept my offer and end things quickly. I also recall saying that I would not harm innocents to my crusade if I did not need to. As such, I've been trying to subdue your guardians rather than slay them, although I may have put quite a bit of force behind my last attack. Now, we stand here, at an impasse for the most part. What will your move be?"
I don't give a damn about your childish crusade. Things such as justice are nonexistent. You cry about the innocent, when you cannot comprehend the worth of the sacrifice of the innocent. In order to achieve that which I desire for this world, sacrifices must be made. Aoi and Caess were just another sacrifice I was willing to make. Before my cause you have no righteousness to uphold you. The world must be made anew.
"If that is the case, you're going about things the wrong way. I will not say that sacrifice is unnecessary to fix the broken world, rather it is what and whom you choose to sacrifice. Above all, you must avoid harming the innocents, those whose support you may have garnered had you not used them as stepping stones for your goal, those who will ultimately have to live in the world you try to create from the ashes of this one. I will not presume to say that I know your goals or your plans, but the moment you involved my people you involved me as well. Fortunately, I am understanding, leave my people, including those you've already influenced, alone and I'll be out of your hair if you tell me what your goal is. If you choose not to, I could arrange to find you and settle this at that location.
"I know that I will most likely not persuade you to see things my way, but I'd hope that may words don't fall on deaf ears. I'd hate to suddenly start an all out war with you and bring along a couple of my... less than diplomatic allies."
You would not understand what I'm trying to accomplish. I could say a world of peace. I could say a world of justice. I could say a world free of the oppression of Mythos. I could say.... .....a world free of the blight that is the human race. I will not agree to such an arrangement anyway. Aoi left the organization and betrayed me. Her role was not finished. Had she fulfilled her duty to me, I would have gladly assured their release and freedom unharmed.....
But I do not forgive treason.
Leave, Lord of Endlos'. Even if you were to come for me... you cannot be in two places at once... trust me when I say that if you come for me again, I can give you a new meaning of 'Mutually Assured Destruction'.
"I wonder," says the king in a way eerily similar to how Volmond says the same phrase, "I assume that all of those are true in a certain sense, but it matters not. I do hope that you realize that the death of all humans will not be the end of the discrimination and foul treatment of our kind. It will only encite more fear and persecution from similar races such as the Kasterians or Antari. Then there will be those you disagree with your methods. Will you simply crush them as well? No matter how much you try to achieve this peace of yours, you will always have someone or something that prevents you from achieving it. I did not become the king of my race because I was the strongest or one of the eldest, I became king because I won the trust and favor of many of my people through my actions. With that said, I still have people who attempt to discredit me or fight against my way of handling things: confronting the issue at its source rather than sending another to do so in my stead. Even, if your ambition is fufilled the same will happen regardless of how many share your opinion, someone will always see your faults and stand in your way rather than at your side. Just as my actions affect my people, your actions will affect yours.
"Treason you say? From what I've heard, you never had her loyalty. Punishing someone who you forced to serve you is as logical as burning a shoe beause you stepped in dung while wearing it. The fact that you forced her hand in the first place justifies her actions more than your reaction to them. As young people these days say, 'get off your high horse and face the music yourself' or something along those lines... Oh and threaten my people again and regardless of what it will cost me, I'll make you eat your words.
"With that said, I guess I should take my leave. I have no real reason to continue this battle if you aren't here to face me yourself. Now before I before I leave, please give my regards to the doctor and his allies. I expect they are handling the situation well if the Aether Realm hasn't collapsed just yet." The king smiles and looks directly at White despite the dimensional and spacial walls between them.
Your threats do not intimidate me.... .....I do not fear death.
"That's one way to take it and another way to put it, Oh Selfish One." With that Endlos gathers all of his energy then simple blinks out of the area.
Naki silently lays on her bed as she watches cartoons, in the vague hope of them cheering her tormented spirits.
How do they even get human television here.....? Who are these people... these... things.... why are they doing all of this to us?
She sighs weakly.
Volmond knocks twice before entering the room.
"Naki, it's time."
She silently looks towards him, then nods, turning her attention back to the tv for a moment before reluctantly shutting it off, then silently walking to the door and quietly looking up him, the man she now has to call one of her 'creators'. She can't help but feel a twinge of hatred for him as she looks at him.
"....I am.... ready....."
No I'm not.... how could anyone ever be prepared for an existence like this?! I'm nothing but a lab rat! A glorified, helpless fucking lab rat!
"You can be honest, I don't expect you to like your new form or what you've lost," says Volmond, "That being said, what was your worst subject in school, assuming you had a proper education on Earth? Also, are you any good with puzzles?"
Her face tightens slightly, but she answers, "I grew up on the streets. I didn't have anything. Money. Food. A home. All I had was my family. Then those armored bastards.... ...they killed us and tortured us and then stuck the survivors in those damn cages so you and that... that.... ......could treat us like animals, like toys....."
She convulses as she keeps back her emotions. "I'm just an uneducated street rat turned into a Mytho's pet.... the only think I knew was stealing for money and food..."
"I see... If only... No, that wouldn't have had much of an effect either. In any case, I am here to test your intellect and resourcefulness... Oh and how used to yourself you've become. I am telling you this because I'd like to establish an honest relationship between us, not because I see you as a simple experiment. Now, let us go." The doctor leads Naki to White. "She says that she is ready."
White looks at Naki for a moment, before leading them to the courtyard, where she reveals an elevator, which takes them down into a secret large pure white facility not too far down from the surface, a quiet electric hum in the air. She looks at Volmond.
"I will let you carry out the tests. This room is made to accommodate most circumstances asked of it."
The doctor nods before pulling out a wooden cube, a puzzle and four text books and setting them before Naki.
"We begin the intellect test. I will give you four hours to read through as much of each of these books as you can and relay what you have learned as best you can. Afterwards, I want you to try to disassemble the cube before you without breaking it, then reassemble it. Lastly, I want you to try and solve the puzzle before you without looking at the completed image. Understood?"
Naki stutters upon seeing the four books. "I-I-I can't read! Like..... AT ALL!! How am I supposed to read FOUR of those things?!" She cries out in alarm.
"Can you write?"
"N-no. How could I writing without being able to tell what I'm reading?"
"I meant in general, Naki... If it comes down to it, I'll teach both, but at such a pace you'll have to rely on more than your porous brain to understand what I mean." The doctor's eyes flash gold.
She sighs. "What did you expect from a street rat? I was more concerned with getting my next meal than learning how to read or write...." She meekly averts her gaze from him.
"I'll need your arm," says Volmond finally.
She slowly extends it to him, not sure of what he intends to do.
The doctor takes her arm, being careful not to touch the energy extending from it then touches one of the text books to the energy, followed by another smaller text book. At first nothing happens.
"Take a deep breath," warns the doctor before both books dissolve into the energy and flood Naki's brain with a vast amount information on writing, reading, mental storage and the types of learning.
She lets out a yelp as a sharp headache pierces her mind. "Ow ow ow! Holy crap! W-What did you just do? .....Ugh..." She steadies herself, putting a hand on her forehead. "...You've got to be kidding....." She says when she looks at a book and somehow understands its title.
".....Does that say 'Science?' on it....? ....No way.... I-I-I can.... read?!" She seems absolutely dumbstruck.
"It does," nods the doctor. "Now try to read from that book."
Naki grabs the book, surprisingly eagerly and begins to pour herself into reading it, looking for all intensive purposes to be like a child presented with a puppy for the first time, a look of wonder and fascination completely overwhelming her face as she reads, though she is reading thoroughly, she seems to be able to do so at a very quick rate.
White leans in towards Volmond. "....If she finds out we have a library, I have a suspicion that's where I'll be seeing her for the next five years."
"If we add my collection, eight years," he says, suppressing a chuckle. "I wonder how much information she will retain."
After about twenty to thirty minutes, she closes the book on the last page and looks over at them, surprisingly energized by the endevaour than calmed.
"Hm, enjoying yourself?"
She nods vigorously, the tension in her had left her face, she probably has forgotten she's being tested.
"Here, have a few more then," Volmond sets out several more text books and a few novels.
As she reads, White frowns for a moment, then closes her eyes. "Supervise her Volmond. Something's come up. I need to focus."
The doctor nods and keeps his attention on Naki.
She seems to be reading slightly faster than last time, engrossed by her new ability to read.
Hmm, it seems she's taken quite a liking to reading...
The doctor calls forth a writing pad and several pens and pencils.
"Maybe you should try your hand at writing as well," offers the doctor.
She reluctantly looks up from her reading, not looking particularly interested in the pens and pencils.
The doctor chuckles.
"You remind me of a certain someone I know, only more expressive," he says, "I don't mean to interupt your reading, but writing is just as important, Naki."
Naki frowns, then sighs, slowly looking at the writing pad and pencils. "....What do you want me to write.....?" She asks, bored sounding.
"Anything you want. A sentence, a poem, your favorite line from a book, etcetera. Afterwards you can go back to reading for another few hours."
She sighs, and takes the notepad and the pencil and quietly stares at the paper for a while, eventually starting to write, though she doesn't seem to take nearly as much interest in writing.
Volmond waits until she is done before asking to see what she has written.
To his surprise, she seems to have written down the thoughts and sensations that she felt while being subjected to the experiment that made her this way, as well as occasionally delving into personal hatred towards the doctor and White, particularly White.
"I see... At least you were honest with yourself," says Volmond, "If you want to, you may continue reading, if not we could see if you have a knack for brain teasers and puzzles."
She sighs, then shakes her head. "....Let's just... keep going.... you'll only interrupt me more...."
Volmond presents the cube to Naki.
"This is a puzzle of sorts. The goal is to be able to disassemble it, then reassemble it... Oh and not break it, though I doubt that will happen. These are actually rather fun to do if you get into them."
Naki takes the cube and begins to carefully look it over, beginning to start taking it apart relatively quickly. She disassembles it in about a minute after starting. She looks up at him, then begins reassembling it, which takes her a little longer, about two minutes and twenty seconds.
"Good, now try it without looking at the cube."
She complies, taking a bit longer to do, but she carefully manages to pull it off.
He hears two pairs of feet land in the room, and he looks over to see Nezumi and Sukīmu, the second of them levitating some manner of red liquid, blood he assumes. She silently puts it in a bag and teleports it, and she looks over at White.
"Mission was a success. The target was healed, while at the same time a sample was acquired. A fight ensued later when my nature was detected, but I am fine."
White slowly nods. "Very well. Good work. At the very least, the project will be going smoothly once we begin full replications."
The doctor nods at White after praising Naki and presenting a jigsaw puzzle before the girl. "I will not allow you to see the completed image of this puzzle, but solve it nonetheless. If you do that, then there is one final thing before I take you back to your room with several dozen books to read. Is that alright?"
Am I required soon?
"Not at the moment, Volmond. I have plenty of time to prepare the specimens I will need. I will discuss it later though." She says calmly.
Naki pays them no heed, carefully and slowly putting the pieces together through trial and error, taking about twenty minutes before she sighs, putting the last one in place.
"Still prefer reading over the other- Oh! No, I promised, so last trial." The doctor pulls out a set of cards, each with a distinct image on them. "I am going to show you these cards one at a time. When I do, say the first thing that comes to mind, no hesitation. Just say your first thought."
She blinks. "....Ok?"
Volmond shows the first card, this one depicting a mass of swirls and shadows.
"It reminds me of confusion."
The doctor nods then procedes to show the remaining cards slowly, waiting for Naki's response before switching to the next card in the deck. All the while, he is watching the lines on her pulse with a faint energy and her shadow, looking to see what ultimately forms from her responses.
He notice a creature forming like a humanoid, though thin and frail looking, with an oddly twisted spiral shaped torso, with a singular eye. The torso keeps going in the form of a tail, with a snake head at the end. It has no apparent legs. Naki curiously follows Volmond's gaze and her pupils dilate in shock.
"Ummm.... err.... what is that....." She says, clearly trying not to panic. "....Don't tell me that I made that thing....?!"
"It did come from your imagination, but it looks slightly incomplete," mutters the doctor, "Tell me, do you accept your current self or do you still long for your humanity? What is most important to you? What drives you?"
The creature curls around her body, then hugs her from behind, its head quietly peeking out from behind hers with its single eye peering at him, the snake head wrapped around her foot.
The movement at first startles Naki, but she quietly begins to relax after a moment.
She looks at the creature and then at Volmond, a bitter-sweet smile crossing her face as a look of reminiscing comes over her eyes.
"...I kinda think it reminds me of how I was... as a human... ....weak, frail.... .....always needing and wanting a hug to comfort me...."
She looks at her clawed hand for a moment. "....As much as I hate it.... .....this form it.... ....it's fascinating..." She becomes more melancholy.
"....I have all of these things... and become capable of doing things I could never do before.... ....I hate it because of what it took from me.... ....my identity... though now that I think about it.... .....what did I do exactly to even have an identity.... a purpose.... ......I guess I was just existing... and not really living.... ....nothing was important.... just... existing..... ....the only drive was to satisfy my aching stomach....." Her eyes dim for a moment.
"....I hate to think it.... .....but this is me.... the new me... ....no... maybe this me is the only one there's ever been.... ....the 'other' me... ...didn't even have a life worth living...."
Volmond, oddly enough, hugs the girl.
"As much as I've probably hurt you by helping make you as you are now, I understand living a shell of a life, not knowing if the day I was seeing would be my last... I'm sincerely sorry for what you went through on Earth and that we did not meet before your imprisonment... Seraph was in a position like yours..."
Tears silently roll from her eyes, and she closes her eyes, a weak grateful smile on her face. "....Thank you master...." She laughs weakly. "....Might as well call it like it is...... you two did create me after all.... ....I used to be a mere creature without a purpose... ....I guess it's to serve you both now..."
"I won't command you to do anything beyond these tests, not unless it is truly important. As much as I see you as a creation, I see you as your own person, so call me Volmond or Zwei not 'master', I am the master of machines and beasts rather than people... Now, let's figure out what type of books you like the best before we get you accomodated in your room." The doctor releases Naki and summons his rather large collection of books that do not contain research materials.
She lets out a high pitch squeak at the sight of all of the books, looking upon them with her hands cupped over her mouth and regarding them with her eyes as if they were a blessing dropped straight from the heavens before her eyes.
"It doesn't matter what books.... .....I'll try just about anything.... kyaaaaaaa- no no no no.... ....even though I want to.... I won't....." She seems genuinely excited to see them.
"Come on, I'll let you pick three dozen," says the doctor smirking. It's like the time I showed Seraph my computer network...
She eagerly looks at titles, when she finds one that interests her, she grabs it like lightning. When she gets too many to carry, the shadow creature grabs some with its hands, and when it can't carry anymore, it stops, and she looks at Volmond expectantly, smiling.
Volmond carries the remaining books and helps Naki back to her room.
"Don't stay up too late reading, sleep is important."
Naki only beams at him, while rushing into her room and eagerly setting down books on her bed and begins reading with barely contained excitement. Her creature interestingly enough appears to be reading with her, though it makes frustrated grunts when she finishes before it does in reading a page.
The doctor chuckles as he leaves the room, then heads to White.
He finds sitting on a couch in her room, and notices him coming down the stairs.
"I swear, like a child presented with a puppy for the first time... both endearing yet tragic at the same time."
"Indeed, though it is happy while it lasts," says the doctor, "Do you need my assistance with the CE prototype or will we save that for later? If so, it is about time for the constellations to be peeking out..."
White thinks for a moment. "I've got a special plan in mind for the CE Prototype. I'll need some more time before the other... genetics are ready. ....You could say we're jumping the gun on evolutionary process."
"I see... In that case, are you ready?"
She pauses. "...Ugh, I can't believe this, I'm actually taking a suggestion from him... Be back in a second."
She walks through doors which Volmond sees is a walk in closet, and comes out in a more casual style of clothing, but of course, white with black details as ever.
"Since we're going outside and all, I figured I'd bring something not so delicate."
"It looks quite nice on you," says he doctor, removing his lab coat and replacing it with a pea coat with two tails and his golden scarf. "Let us go."
She smiles, walking to his side. "Thank you, Legna. Thank you for offering to do this with me."
"Thank you for accepting my offer, Shinwa, smiles the doctor, bashfully, before leading her to a large open part of the fortress with a great view of the starry sky. The doctor nods then lays down beside Shinwa and gazes into the sky.
She smiles and rests her head against Volmond's, one of her wings growing out and then covering him up.
The doctor smiles as well, watching the sky silently, but occasionally pointing out constellations he sees.
She contently stays there, smiling faintly. A twinge of gloom comes within her heart. I already know I'm damned.... heaven needs not to make a proclamation... ....for I damned myself a long time ago....
She turns her head to face Volmond.
"Legna.... ....thank you for everything. ....I know that.... ....these last few months of my life.... ....with you.... ....will be the best thing I will ever get to feel.... ....I'm glad that.... ....I got to know you before I die...." She has a sad smile.
Volmond doesn't say anything for a moment, before finally asking.
"Shinwa, is death really the final answer? I'm not asking because I want to break your resolve, I'm asking because I wonder if there truly is no other solution... I'm sorry if this a bad topic, it's just... Never mind." He sighs. "I'll try to make these next few months the best I can."
"....An Angel learned of the CE's." She says above a whisper.
Volmond's eyes narrow.
"Maybe I should pay the Heavens a visit... A friendly visit where I can test out my toys..."
"No!" She says loudly. "No.... don't." She says more softly. "I brought it on myself...."
The doctor nods and puts his hands behind his head.
"Alright, but if Heaven attacks..." The doctor trails off, but the rest of his statement is obvious. "If it makes you happy, I won't harm them, but should they make the first blow, they will regret it..." The doctor ceases his train of thought. "I'm sorry, I'm just... I don't know. To be honest, I can't explain the complexity of my feelings entirely, it has been that long. Heck, meeting you has brought back enough of the things that I've lost for me to forget what drives me now... I... Who am I?"
She looks at him slightly concerned. "Are you alright, Legna?" She leans over and hugs him.
I didn't even know him, and yet, because of my actions in the past... I'm ending up hurting him, even though he's been by my side this whole time...
Yes.... ....you're nothing but a sick rotten bitch... ....You can't do anything right except hurt others! But that's ok.... ....you enjoy it, don't you? The thrill of watching someone lose everything they are... And you're so good at it too.... the CE's... Kado, oh dear little Kado, man have you made that egg rotten! What's more, you're sending your agents to hunt down your misplaced agents.... ....Even though they just want to be free.... admit it.... ....you're a monster....
No.... I don't want this.... I don't want this anymore.....
What's even better is that what you didn't say, is that already you're hatching four new beautiful ultimate beings of destruction! Yessss.... the Lambdas.... Soon they shall emerge, and begin the ultimate evolution... what's best of all? They'll be practically unstoppable... and you'll make them destroy everything and subject it to your will....
No no no.... I don't want this, I don't want this.... I don't want this!!! I want to be happy! I want Legna to be happy! I won't.... I won't.... I won't be a monster anymore!
"Shinwa, calm yourself," says Volmond, regaining himself upon noticing her distress, "I don't know what's eating you up inside, but I'm here for you..."
Ahhh you don't mean that.... you are a monster! Just as you always will be! We're nothing more than a monster! A foul being detested by heaven who tortures the innocent and takes pleasure in it!
No! I won't do this anymore! I am Shinwa! I am not White! I'll never be White again!
Shinwa seems to be curling up into a ball, and Volmond notices the air is now severely hotter than it used to, thick steam starting to appear from her body due to the difference in temperatures.
Volmond sighs, getting a basic idea of what is happening. "Shinwa, White, calm down, please."
Suddenly a ring of white fire erupts around Shinwa, and a hand grabs Volmond and pulls him back.
"As much fun as it would be to see you burned by spirit fire, I'm gonna restrain you on this one. Watch." The voice of Yellow Cloak says behind him. "You're about to see something veeeerry interesting."
The white fire begins to spread onto Shinwa's body and burns at her form, and he sees blue curled lines of energy almost like a tattoo begin weaving into existence on her body, all over. Her back, legs, arms, chest, and face. From her back two large glowing wings of pure white energy in the shape of feathers, not dragon wings form. All the while, she is crying out in pain.
"Not the time, Goldie," snaps Volmond, spreading his golden scarf around himself like a layer of armor. His eyes blare with blue light as he slowly moves toward Shinwa.
"Goldie? Heh, that's a sign that we're bonding, you and I! The mark of a true friend is that of a nickname.... ....But seriously. You should stand back. Cause-"
A large explosion of Spirit Fire blasts them back, and when they look at Shinwa, her form has changed completely. The back of her shirt had been completely blown off, revealing a combination of thick scales and feathery scales that almost look like fur, her wings blaze with energy, and Volmond notes her hair now has grown down to her thighs, and he can see a fur and scale covered tail, her hands and feet are clawed, but delicately. Like before the explosion, blue lines run along her body, shimmering with spiritual energy. Her eyes are lavender once again, and she has small curled horns, a total of three. Her ears are also longer and pointed thin. The biggest thing he notices though is what's on her forehead.
There is a glowing aquamarine eye pattern on her forehead, and to his surprise it seems to fixate on him as though sentient.
"I'll let things play out from here...." Yellow Cloak disappears.
"Shinwa? Are you..." Volmond has a hard time finishing the sentence, "Are you alright?"
She doesn't respond, as a large black shadow suddenly engulfs her and Volmond, and a powerful male voice, one Volmond recognizes as the voice of the being that had spoken to him just after his meeting with Yellow Cloak echoes into being.
You were deceived, Shinwa.... from the very beginning you've been strung along, controlled just as you controlled others.... allow me to show you the TRUE timeline....
A many countless series of images flash before the two of them, a life with Shinwa's family, Kado, and Furue, all happy and alive. No sacrifice, no pain. No Phoenix.
THAT was your true intended existence.... but..... the one you know as Yellow Cloak, the Observer of Time, Eien.... deceived you... the future you saw that day? One of many countless possibilities.... relying on you joining Phoenix.... The vision you saw of him becoming strong and surviving? Another alternate outcome. But now guaranteed to never come true.... and now... your soul is damned, hated....
An image of the seven cloaked figures, cruely grinning and cackling twists around them as it continues relentlessly, even as Shinwa literally looks as if she could shatter in a mere second from terror, horror, fear, despair, grief, billions of emotions ravaging her mind, and Volmond can sense that the being's voice is driving her to the absolute breaking point.
Yes..... they are the ones.... they wanted this.... all along, they've fed you lies of a future full of hope for your brother, while secretly they have brought you closer and closer to ruin, so now, your soul will never be redeemed by God! Their deceptions were all for this! So you could be ravaged for crimes you committed, all for the sake of a future and lies that would never be true! Do you see now?
The darkness disappears just as Shinwa completely crumbles into a fit of absolute despair, beginning to shriek with a horrid scream many countless things, begging for forgiveness to God, cursing her existence, begging to her brother to forgive her, her mind broken by the things she had witnessed and heard. He then watches with horror as her form begins to blow blue and red, one half becoming pure red and sucking in the light, while the blue begins to glow with an incredible brilliance.
Her torment is so overwhelming, her soul itself is tearing in two.
Volmond's horror quickly turns into anger, his eyes immediately shifting from a determined blue to a blood thirsty red. Barely contained rage flashes through his eyes before the light within them dies, fading to black.
Anger can wait, I have to keep Shinwa alive!
The doctor attempts to keep Shinwa from tearing herself apart with everything at his disposal, magic, science, speech, energy...
I..... love......... you...... Leg.....na...... The blue half speaks to him, the voice of Shinwa both pleading with him yet reassuring him.
It's too late for us as a singular being! We are to be born anew! The Fluctuation has been fulfilled Legna.... ....yes.... this is that Fluctation, the 2%! Meant to be triggered by you, and only you could make this possible.... you're the only one who could give her the strength to fight back against the emptiness she forced upon herself.... you inspired her with your words.... ....you made her whole again, but even more, you caused a conflict within herself, one that gave birth to me.... this moment.... ....It is Fated. Do not worry.... this is not death.... but rebirth! White, the red half proclaims triumphantly.
A crack begins to split the combined energies, starting at the head, the two halves begin to flesh out rapidly, the red's glow now brilliant, as is the blue's, and a powerful oscillating sound begins to vibrate the air as the birth of two new beings begins, as their forms rip apart from each other, a massive blast of massive spiritual energy is unleashed, a nasty hole in the fortress ground formed.
To his left, the blue half grows and repairs, now a solid blue being, as is the red on his left, both sprawled on the ground. The light they emit dims, revealing two women bare and sleeping, Shinwa, who has graceful blue lines accenting her body, looking softer, kinder, glowing with a soft white light, her closed eyes at peace. The red one, White, has sharp angular red lines dancing along her body, graceful in appearance, but less beautiful in a kind way and more beautiful in the way of a weapon, her face alone seems to convey a more sinister, cruel being.
He senses the return of the dark shadow, taking on a vague form between the two reborn beings. It looks at him with solid red eyes.
"The Fluctuation has come to pass. This outcome was desired by Eien. He knew you could accomplish this evolution's occurrence, and to assure that it would happen, he informed you of its existence, and subconsciously perhaps you desired that outcome he tossed at you, one where Shinwa could be saved. He did not lie. This time. Shinwa lives, as does White. But know that one cannot be reborn without losing something. White has retained her memories in full, but Shinwa, to become pure, was stripped of all knowing or awareness of her past.... ....she is almost like a newborn.... but fear not.... ....her soul remembers you strongly. She will unconditionally love and even know you.... when she wakes, she will still call you by name.... but she is completely stripped of her past."
The being seems obscured by some force he cannot see, preventing him from trying to figure out what the being is. It looks at him quietly for a moment.
"Will you choose to leave this place with Shinwa, and fulfill your promise to make her happy? For now fate has been decreed that White, the perpetrator of all of these crimes, these horrid experiments on innocents, still lives, and will still be killed in the coming storm. But her purity and her good soul has been purged of her wicked form... and so in that fateful battle, the innocent girl still lives... no longer haunted by her darkness."
"I..." The doctor falters. "If I am to go, I need to take another with me, besides Shinwa..." Naki, I can't leave you here, not if White has lost all dredges of the good in her heart... You deserve more than to be a simple experiment. The doctor casts his scarf on Shinwa and his coat onto White before picking up the former and warping to Naki's room. He knocks on the door with purpose then remembers the tracking spell on the room and casts a temporary jamming spell. Recognizing that White would react quite poorly to the lack of an Etherite subject, he summons another completed, unconscious Etherite from his lab and scrawls a quick note saying that while he does love both halves of her, he cannot allow Shinwa to be hurt so he must go and that he plans on sending her something to make up for his sudden departure. "Naki, we're about to go, grab as many books as you can. I'll get the rest."
The doctor sends a mental message to the being in his lab, telling it to send all of his not given research materials to storage, but to also leave the Arthurian Units for White.
A weak trail of thoughts enter Volmond's head suddenly, the last thoughts of the combined being that was Shinwa, though filled with static.
Volmond....... please..... .....set the Archangel free.... .....I.... ....must make amends to the Lord.... ...please..... this is.... ....my last request.... ....Before I disappear, you must know.... ....the Lambdas are already being born.... Azula.... I ordered her to take four samples.... one from Naki, one from myself, one from the monster we faced, and the genetic material cultured from the blood of the Nephealm Demgel. It's too late.... to stop it.... Azula and her two sisters, as well as a brand new CE... ....I never named it... .....but that's not important.... please.... do not help her.... ....every second that passes as she grows within me.... ....the twisted thoughts coursing through us.... through ME.... ....Legna.... I do not know.... If I will be the same.... or if we will truly be together.... .....but I love you.... ....watch over me.... .....goodbye.... .....I hope.... I can wake up..... and see you again.....
Naki looks at Volmond. "Master Zwei, what's happening? What happened to her? What was all of that outside?" She seems genuinely scared.
"I'll explain as soon as the things get settled, until then I'm going to send you and Shinwa to my actual place of residence outside this realm. Please watch over her until I return." Volmond doesn't wait before teleporting Naki, her familiar, Shinwa and the books to his domain, then warping to the lab where the Archangel was kept. "Big guy above, you are going to owe me one for this...."
As he examines the Archangel for a moment, he realizes the being's very mind is nonexistent, when he attempts to discern the reason for this, he notices a residual negative energy so powerful it is as if all of the malice of existence had been poured into the being's mind until the being's mind had been utterly erased.... not a surprise that the Archangel hadn't ever tried to escape.... ....it lost its consciousness, mind, and will forever.
"...Of course... Still, I gotta bust you out of here, so hold on." Volmond shatters the prison containing the Archangel with a blast of pressurized air, then grabs the being and teleports it to Heaven before warping himself out of the lab.
Silent Angel appears, ragged and wounded in one of the courtyards, and he pauses to catch his breath. Yeah.... I knew it... the mistress is down.... but how? Why weren't we told?
He walks through the fortress, and comes to a dead stop at one of the courtyards.
Is that.... White?!
Lying on the ground, a bare woman partially covered by a lab coat is seen, red markings trailing across her body.
"A negative spirit... ....she ascended.... damn it...." He growls.
The woman slowly stirs, and Silent Angel feels his shackles restrain him just as he makes the decision to attack. Her body slowly rises to her feet, the coat haphazardly threatening to come off her form. She remains hunched over for a bit, before slowly rising to her full height and looking at Silent Angel, opening her eyes to reveal crimson eyes with flakes of gold decorating them. Just as the coat is about to slide off, she grabs it quietly and puts it on herself, though doesn't bother to button it just yet.
She walks up to Silent Angel with a quiet look in her eyes, staring him down. "It is still too early for you to be back. I assumed you would have at the very least defeated Daikeim, yet you come back looking like a damn wounded puppy sent to fight in a dog arena."
No doubts.... it's White... but.... different.
"Doubtless because of you ineptitude, the Epsilon unit will likely be destroyed. Not that I care...." White says with a cruel smirk.
I hate that damn look.... now it's even worse....
"....Mistress..." He says, trying to avoid looking anywhere but her face, "Can you please dress yourself?"
White gives him another smirk, before buttoning the lab coat, though it only helps partially. "Is that better, you little sensitive boy?" She coos in a taunting way.
"....." He furiously thinks of glorious ways to kill this bitch, but none come to mind that don't end with her being able to stop him.
With a final smile she begins to walk away. "Oh, and Silent Angel? I may be giving you a promotion in the future.... ....I know you'll enjoy it...."
Those words make Silent Angel pale.
Just how far is she willing to go... ....does she mean what I think she means....? If so.... ....The Etas will not only be obsolete... ....but maybe even upgraded.... oh God.... ....I don't want to be stronger.... I just want this to end....
He collapses on the ground, pale as his mistress laughs into the night.
Dark Rising - The Twin Darkness
White stares at the newcomer for a moment.
"Well now.... I never imagined to see you here, Kake."
The hooded man smiles. "Ya got me there." A pile of corpses lay behind him, and the ground is soaked in red blood. His Slayer drips in the crimson liquid, and his clothing is stained deep red.
"So... I take it that you intend to take me back to the village? I'm sorry, but the only interest I have in going there is to dissect worthy specimens. I have no emotional ties to it. You might as well leave and find the weak child that sprouted from me, Shinwa."
So it's true... I thought I sensed something odd. Very well then... change of plans....
Kake points his sword at White. "Shall we have a dance, dear sister? It's been a long time....."
White lets a evil smirk loose from her lips. "Sure thing, brother!"
They fly at each other in a massive blur of black and white, towers and pillars blown down and walkways shattered as they clash, a primordial ringing of steel endlessly jars the silent night, only broken by the screams of men as the clash of the two combatants sends them flying to their deaths in the cold ocean waters below.
The endless drone of combat is suddenly shattered as Kake delivers a massive blow to White, sending her crashing through countless towers, bells ringing ominously as they crumble to the ground, ringing forth their final tolls as they plummet. She leaps forth from the destruction and kicks Kake into the ocean outside of the fortress' limits, causing a great tidal wave to erupt forth.
She descends to deliver the killing blow, but is stopped by Kake's hand no less, and the two duel further, giant waves of water blasted from the epicenter of their fierce duel.
"Hahahahahha!" Kake cackles with savage glee, his breserk nature taking hold of him.
"I think you're enjoying this too much!" White sneers and unleashes a flurry of stabs at him, to which Kake only laughs more.
"Of course I'm enjoying this! I haven't had the pleasure of ripping someone else's guts out in years! Let's dance some more, sister!" He roars with glee, their blades clash again and again, the furious clash of light and dark creating massive blasts of pure light and dark which can be seen even from the shore of the three nations of Fantasy, the sheer strength of the explosions audible like great mighty bombs.
After many hours, the fight does not let up, and Gurīn quietly watches the fight from a tiered walkway, her eyes soaking in the insane clash as massive flashes of light and darkness explode into being, glaringly powerful even from this distance.
"They're still going at it," comments Nanashi, finishing up a side project he took up out of boredom. He yawns, "At least I got the gamma stage of testing done. Now to release it to the public."
Gurīn looks at him in faint curiosity, another flash of light almost blinding them. "Project? What have you been working on?"
"I got bored so I created an application that I sent to the App Stores of Earth," he says, "The app is a simple game that involves drawing sigils to defeat your opponents and their armies, while they try to do the same to you. There are no In-app Purchases because you can't really 'buy' sigils, only learn to draw them and memorize them. It's called Magus War and currently has.... twelve thousand downloads. Huh, that's rather fast..."
"....App Store...?" Gurīn asks, confused. Below them, White and Kake fly apart, sheathing their swords and clenching their fists as light and dark energy form in their fists, Kake's darkness appears almost flame like, while White's almost flows like electricity. Their fists clash, and the two arms channeling the energy are each blown off, leaving the two combatants both missing one of their arms.
"Hmm... How would I describe it... Ah! Basically it is an information network that allows you to acquire usable electronic, mobile games and programs, either for free or by paying with regional currency, that work in almost any place or situation," Nanashi says, faintly glancing at the battle. "I wonder... should we do something about that?"
Gurīn looks down at them. "She says no. The situation is still in control."
"What's games, electronics, programs, and currency?" She asks with genuine innocence regarding her question.
The pair's arms grow back, and the two begin to change into larger, blackened versions of themselves, and long tendrils of spiritual energy form with blades on their ends, and the two beings begin to clash even more, the many blades letting out massive bursts of pressure as they collide with each other, the spectral fight growing in intensity as the fight draws on longer.
Gurīn looks onward silently. "They are getting tired. She says to wait."
"Games are means of killing time and having fun, fostering rivalries and having competitions wrapped into one. Programs are basically information sets that perform certain tasks when activated or interacted with. Electronics are machines. They can perform a multitude of tasks or very specific tasks and require certain amounts of electricity to work. Too much destroys them, too little has no effect.... Currency is a tradable material, not necessarily a natural resource, that people appear to value for some reason. It can be physical or immaterial, but it holds value none the less. I'll send you information regarding all of these subjects." Nanashi's eyes glow before he touches Gurīn's forehead. "Transfer complete."
She blinks, surprised at the information in her head. "I see..."
The two Slayers leave their Spiritual Forms, both crackling with Negative energy and panting.
They draw their slayers again.
"Kake... ...you know I have no interest in coming with you... ...if anything, the only thing I'd be willing to do is use the clan for experiments. Why is it that you know this, yet still fight?"
Kake chuckles darkly. "Isn't it obvious? To destroy you. In any case, I suspect if Kado is anything like he used to, I want to at least make sure there is one less roadblock in his path to victory. Namely, you. I want to bring him home in all honesty, but he won't rest until you are destroyed."
White chuckles. "But he won't come with you if he hates you for killing me... ...also... ...how will you stop him from tearing himself apart? Didn't you know?"
Kake's face straightens and becomes dark. "Know.... Know what?!"
White has a cruel smirk. "He became a Dual Nature... ...as I expected him to..."
".......You.......! You....! YOU....! YOU! YOU BITCH!!!"
Kake roars, a titanic black armored demon rising up from the ocean in a savage roar. White smirks, a massive white dragon of pure light rising up to reply to the demon.
"Should we move? I don't think I'll have time to draw the Unbreakable Sigil," notes Nanashi, already in the process of drawing said sigil.
The two giant begins absorb Kake and White, and in less than a second, the two disappear faster than they can blink, only moments later a massive explosion fills the horizon, countless smaller continuous ones also go off, monsterous tidal waves are whipped up, smashing into the barrier of the fortress, shaking everyone violently with every impact, the barrier each time barely holding as massive cracks form, and gigantic amounts of water crash inside and smash into sections of the fortress.
Nanashi continues drawing the sigil, barely completing it as the shaking worsens. A moment later, what looks like a forcefield covered in seals and glyphs appears around him, Gurīn and anyone else within its radius.
After a few long, but nerve wreaking minutes, the waves slowly subdue and the fighting comes to a cease, White appears with Kake collapsed on the ground before her.
"As.... I was saying.... heh heh, ...join me, Kake. I know of Kado's location. If you wish to save him, it will require the effort of multiple spirits to manipulate his soul back into one."
"You can... do that...?" Kake asks reluctantly.
"Of course. The greater the number of spirits, the stronger the effect one's manipulation can become. With the help of the Avatars, we will surely be able to bring back the brother you desire. After that, you can have your way."
As if... ...Origin was destroyed... Kado can never become his old self. His true self. That fool Demgel has guaranteed that Kado will spiral helplessly out of control until his own power destroys him. If he doesn't tear apart, his need for energy to continue to exist will grow until he needs to drain from whole cities to maintain his overwhelming power... ...but that's assuming he has the will to exist. And THAT. I know he doesn't. Once again... ...I have you to thank for that... ....Demgel... Origin was the last vestige of Kado's original will... ...the good, and the bad... now Origin is no more... ...for eternity.
But Kake doesn't know that....
Kake closes his eyes. "You win... I couldn't even deny you at this point."
Nanashi lowers the barrier after a moment, assessing the situation to make sure that things are safe before does so completely. I get the distinct impression that the lady is gifted with a silver tongue...
White walks away with a slight limp to her quarters, and Gurīn looks after her curiously. After a moment a green aura envelops her, and spreads to the whole fortress, restoring the damage to the place slowly but steadily, until it is completely restored.
"If only this place had more gardens...." Gurīn says almost woefully.
"Why not grow one," asks Nanashi. "There should be ample space for one..."
"...She won't let me...." Gurīn says sadly, her crimson eyes unhappy. "She says I'm not allowed to grow... to grow anything."
"Buy one then?"
"....With what money? ...Chains... Chains... So many chains..."
"I can handle that... I think I still have that code for a platinum card or two..." Nanashi checks his memory. "No, only a black card... Hmm, that could work."
Do not take her anywhere outside of Yosai, and do not buy her plants. At all. White says in his mind sternly.
I was going to order them online, but fine, lady, as you wish. I'll buy fish or a developer's license.
Gurīn seems to be inspired by the mention of 'fish', and begins to walk off with a slight spring to her step.
Nanashi stands perfectly still for a few minutes before he blinks. "Transaction complete," he says, "Tracking package and verifying certification... Oh! Now I can further customize Magus War and add in a few new things! And seventy eight thousand downloads, solid progress!" He calls up a blue, ergonomic ether keyboard and begins typing furiously for the next couple of hours.
Gurīn walks to the outer reaches of the fortress, and quietly walks down to the ocean levels, where she quietly stares down into the ocean's depths.
Xenima: *flies over fortress and looks into the waters and looks at himself again and clutches his fist* The White Witch will pay...*turns towards the forest and flies into the fortress and begins to make his way into the many corridors*
He eventually hears quiet walking noises following him, and when he turns, a girl with black plate of some sort and black hair and soft crimson eyes is curiously regarding him, an overall innocent air about her is immediately apparent. Before he can respond to the sight, she quietly yet quickly half walks half skips over to him and starts walking beside him, still regarding him with an open curiosity, touching his machinery with almost childlike interest.
Xenima: *pulls himself away* Can I help you? Nanashi finally finishes his work and sends out an update for his app before sending out a message to the Lambda units besides himself. Attention: I am sending a large packet of information to the three of you. This will detail how to connect to electronic networks, the ability to directly absorb information via the Exceed Nexus and how to duplicate and share said information and how to access the Shadow Matrix. It is your choice to accept this information, but it will be sent to you nonetheless. That is all, thank you.
Azula appears to silently accept the information, though he cannot sense anything except a sense of static, Abeni accepts it, he can sense a strong overwhelming aura of tension in her mind, as though complications are occurring in her mission. Gurīn accepts it thoughtlessly, seemingly interested in the recently arrived Xenima.
"Are you one of our brothers?" She asks, still following him.
"Information sent... Now what... Oh, the library or the weird signal from beneath the fortress..." Nanashi contemplates this for a moment.
Lady, permission to investigate the strange reading beneath the fortress... Inside of the labs, I believe, please.
She appears before him, still wearing nothing but the lab coat she was given. "You do, if you bring me along to see this 'strange reading' you speak of. You act a little too... ...freely." She says quietly, her red eyes dim. Strangely, despite the intensity of the battle, the clothing is untouched.
Xenima: I suppose I am... *continues to walk down the corridors*
"That is acceptable, but... Hm, a Sacred Treasure... Interesting. That coat bears a very strong, almost impregnable defensively quality... Oh, one moment," Nanashi grasps a sleeve of the coat and applies his aura to it, causing the outer layer to form into armored plates with red eye like markings before it shifts into the form of a Gothic dress, "That should do it... My behavior stems from my nature. The more information I have, the stronger I become, though I can regulate what information I fully retain despite absorbing information constantly... Now, to the signal... I get an eerily similar feeling from it as I do from that Sacred Treasure..."
She blinks, then glances at the dress. ...I almost rather liked the labcoat more... ah well.
She follows Nanashi as he investigates the signal.
Gurīn keeps following Xenima, as though a child following an adult. "What's your name?" She asks curiously.
Xenima: My real name is D'Ranjo. But I guess my name now is Xenima.
"The dress form better suits the defensive properties, but reverting it is no issue," says Nanashi as they reach the lab containing the signal. "The signal's source is within this room... Ah, identifying source. File downloaded. Unzipping..............! Lady, there is a message to you along with information regarding a set of machines collectively known as Arthurian Units that are within the area. Would you like to hear the message?"
She thinks quietly for a moment. Him... yes, this is where he set up his workspace....
Her eyes grow a stronger shade of red. "....Yes." She says, her voice stronger than normal.
"Dorango? What an interesting name... so, what is your favorite color?" She asks.
Xenima: The only colors I know are black and white.
Nanashi goes rigid. T-this voice! "Message XY-728:
White, I'm assumimg that you know that I've left amomg things. I'll keep this short: Goldie- Yellow Cloak isn't giving you the full story. As for what that means, you'll have to figure that out. Secondly, your Ark Angel is gone as of your request before you split completely. I do not doubt that you have already completed the next set of Chaos Engines by this point, so that should not really deter your plans. Thirdly, I have just downloaded several different tactical programs into whom I'm assuming to be Nezumi, the one relaying this message. In any case, they now hold the ability to utilize and activate the Arthurian Units.
Lastly, please try to keep yourself in good shape. I may not be there, but your well being- the well being of both side of you- is important. I'm letting you keep the Rho Aias, the coat I gave you, because it rivals Aegis in terms of defense and effectively gives you seven lives while you wear it. Please watch over yourself.
Zwei --------." Nanashi clutches his head. "My head..."
White quietly leaves the laboratory, the few guards who see her in the dark halls shrink from the incredibly blood red glow of her eyes as she swiftly moves past them like a dark ghost, headed in a certain destination.
Nanashi trails after her before a set of armor like beings bar his path. One touches his forehead and his eyes glow until the being removes its palm. It and the others take to their knees and seem to swear their alliegence to him before compacting and combining into a layered bracelet that floats onto his wrist. That was..... Legna... He is still alive?
White practically slams open the door leading to the specimens, where she stops dead and bares her fangs in rage at the empty container.
"Bassstard!" She snarls.
It looks like I have extra work to do.... Her mind monstrously snarls as a red and black aura of negativity surrounds her as she leaves the room, the door disappearing behind her.
Nanashi leaves the labs and looks for a place to clear his head.
As Xenima continues walking, Gurīn continues to follow him unabated, still asking questions and in general continuing her child like curiosity towards the machines on him.
Xenima: Stop it! Listen, I have something I need to do and I don't need your constant barrage of questions from preventing my duties. *continues to walk*
Gurīn flinches and gets a hurt look and stops, her crimson eyes dimming. The flowers in her hair wilt, and she quietly walks in the opposite direction sadly.
Xenima: *opens his hand an a near-microscopic bug-like mechanism flies out of his hand and it flies down the corridor and finally makes it into the lab he came from and looks at all the Epsilons a he makes his way through, he reaches to wear he was activated*..........*clutches his fist and slowly reaches up to his mask and slowly tugs on it. He finally begins to slowly removes it, but puts it back on and turns and leaves the room*
Right as he does so, he bumps right into Abeni, who quietly looks down on the smaller CE.
Xenima: You're a tall one, aren't you?
Abeni simply stares him down. "Yeah yeah. Listen.... ....you hurt my sister's feelings. Do you know what I do to shrimps like you who make my sister cry?" She says coldly.
Xenima: Kill them. Nothing new.
"Let's not have this issue and say we did," suggests Nanashi, popping up from around a corner, "We really don't need internal turmoil... Besides, the Lady would probably have a fit if this went any further, she's already raging about my... brother's presence..."
"Hmmm.... not the choice of words I would choose- Oh hello again Nanashi, you were just in time to see how I treat people who have the brain of a newborn."
She kicks Xenima in the groin strong enough to break the metal covering his body with ease.
"For starters, I would rather make you squeal like a little girl." She then dislocates his two arms, then starts dragging him along the lab floor, headed to the elevator.
"And after reminding you of your place on the food chain...." She says as they come to the surface and she dangles him over the side of the fortress and drops him onto the bottom level just above sea level, and is there to greet his return. She then picks him up and carefully breaks all of his fingers and toes.
"You're going to go apologize and then hope I don't send you to hell." She spins him around, and he is face to face with Gurīn, who blinks before smiling and waving.
"Hello again Dorango!" She says with a friendly smile, Abeni standing right behind Xenima.
Xenima: I'd rather be in Hell right now. Hello...
"An interesting bunch I've met," comments Nanashi, before shifting his armor and attire into something more casual, though with the same ivory and cerulean coloration, though now faint indigos and violets are present. His armor has become a white hoodie with gold trim and indigo stitching over a shirt that appears to be black, but is actually numerous deep shades of blue, with white chains designed over it. His leg armor becomes similar to that of his hoodie, though gold and silver metallic plates appear around his waist and knees. "At least that's over and done with... Now, can we all be nice to one another?"
Abeni leans in Xenima's ear. "A, I can hear your thoughts. Don't make me take that as a challenge. B, That's a start, but how about an apology now?"
She looks over at Nanashi. "Oh, I'm just giving him a friendly warning." As she says 'friendly' she snaps Xenima's arm.
Gurīn frowns. "Abeni! Don't break people's arms, that's not nice! Don't hurt metal man!"
Xenima: I apolgize from earlier..I shouldn't have snapped at you like that...
Nanashi blinks. M-Metal Man... Ouch for the pinned down guy...
"I'd agree with Gurīn, that isn't the most pleasant of things to do..." he says to Abeni before looking a Xenima, "Dude, don't be an ass, especially not to girls or women. Especially when they have you outclassed. Just saying."
Abeni looks over at Nanashi. "Well I could always eat him or dissolve him in Chaos or Ether... This is just a mild coperal punishment so he keeps in line."
She lets go of him, walking away. Gurīn looks over Xenima, touching his arm and a green aura covering him as his body begins to heal.
"There, that should make you feel better!"
Note to self, Abeni has mother's temper... Nanashi nods. I was always the one who was called too nice... I wonder how Legna is doing. Has he been eating well? Has he exercised enough? Has he been taking care of himself? Eh, if we meet someday, hopefully in a situation that isn't tense, we can go over that...
"Get well soon," he says before following after Abeni.
Abeni looks at Nanashi quietly. "....He better enjoy himself while he still can.... you saw what was in his mind right?" She says only loud enough for Nanashi to hear.
"I did," he says before pausing. "I'm going to try something, hold on." Accessing Etheric Knowledge...... Etheric Knowledge Sychronized. Nanashi's Exceed Nexus begins to glow brightly and, after a moment, so does Abeni's. Is this working?
...If you mean if I can hear your voice, then yes.
Good, I DID figure out how to communicate via Exceed Nexuses then. Hm, this means information transfers and relaying would be so much easier and more efficient as it isn't an electrical network... Oh, sorry if I "nerded out" on you, Abeni. He scratches the back of his head. "Now to ask the Lady for permission to test the new technique I came up with..."
...When the Lady gets back, Azula is probably going to be back as well. ...Once the mistress gets back, Azula will have to tell her about the guy. ...Then he'll probably be killed. ....Violently.
Is there anything we could do about that? He doesn't ask in a hopeful tone, but a resigned tone. Probably not, I reckon... I'm not much of a fighter, not compared to you or Azula... At least I doubt that I could hold my own... He shrugs. I'd hope we won't have to be there if or when the Lady decides to end him... I also hope Gurīn doesn't have to be there...
As her most powerful, I have no doubt one of us will be the ones to do him in. I doubt Gurīn will be chosen, but you or I or Azula... most likely will be ordered to execute him.
Nanashi sighs. Great... I dunno how to summon a weapon, only Sigils... Is there any particular way to call out a weapon?
Well.... Azula and I can weaponize Ether. Maybe you can make blades out of it? Do you know what kind of energies you can manipulate?
...I can find out? I know I can make Sigils that blow up things and the like, but not really much besides that and drawing things into being.
Well if you can access my mind, surely you can also access my knowledge. I don't really mind, you can study how I make the blades if you'd like.
T-thank you... Nanashi seems uncomfortable with being able to actually enter a person's mind, but does so gingerly until he finds the information. In exchange he trades information regarding defense and offense strengthening sigils. He practices for a bit before summoning a sabre comprised of Ether. I guess I'm not simply useless now... Hmm? Oh the little guys are talking... Hmm, Sealed Cursed Blade? Why is it both Sealed AND Cursed?... Oh... I guess that makes sense... I'll try that later. Thanks Arthur, Merlin!... So did I mention I found potential Mar Wachines? ...War Machines.
No you didn't. Also if you need information or help from us, don't be so shy. We are 'comrades' or that's how you decided to put it.
I just dislike the feeling of entering people's minds... So much information... I'll ask if necessary, thank you Abeni.
Xenima: * looks down at the water then sees something dripping in it. He checks under his chin and water is dripping from under his mask. He sits down and looks out amongst the waters*
Gurīn sits down next to him, putting her hand in the water, and as she does so, fish of many countless colors start to appear near the surface, idly allowing her to stroke their bodies. They even see a shark, which lets her stroke its back.
Xenima: I see that the animals have a fondness for you...
"You can pet them too if you'd like. Just be gentle with them or you'll damage their coating. Don't be aggressive with the shark. He'll think you're challenging him."
Xenima: *shakes his head* No. I'm good.
Gurīn looks at him quietly, her eyes hard to read. "Do you not like me? You had a lot of mental turmoil in your head, I thought it would be nice if I could help you out..." She trails off, looking a little sad.
Xenima: Help? Help with what? Cope with what happened to me? I doubt it. Last thing I would expect is a brainwashed slave to help me.
Really, you can't try to play nice? I really don't think that's gonna get you anywhere good... Nanashi appears from a flash of blue energy and crouches on the water's surface. "Heya, just making sure this trick actually worked."
The skies darken faintly as thunderheads rumble ominously, and a bolt of divine lightning smites Xenima.
Gurīn looks up at the sky. "It is said that bigger siblings have a sixth sense.... ....You didn't have to do that!" She calls out.
"She's just looking out for you," says Nanashi, "I'd do the same for my little brothers and sisters... Or younger brother, seeing how he's the only one left."
Xenima: Yoo want me to play nice? Where I came from there is no such things as nice! You either kill or be killed. If you don't die today, chances are you'll die tomorrow. My life was never nice, nor will it ever be. Say the lady who brought me back as an abomination to life itself. And you want me to be nice?! I never asked to be here! I never asked for any of this! I am not your brother! I am just a freak amongst a family of them! And why should any of you care? I'm only here to be the help! Nothing more! *looks up into the sky* Come on! Kill me! I know you want to! That's what you live for, right? To kill others, because you were made to do so! I'm no different! I'm just like those you want to kill! So if you're gonna kill them! Then kill me too! Strike me down where I stand now! I know you want to because I'm challenging you! You hear me! I CHALLENGE YOOUUUUU!
Nanashi strikes Xenima across the face, hard, before grabbing him by his collar and warping to the airspace above the fortress.
"Listen and listen well," growls the normally nice person, "I'm trying to look out for you, trying to make sure that you don't die in a brutal manner before your time. I don't care about your past nor about your experiences, I'm just trying to help you out because that's the thing I like to do, idiot. I wasn't calling you a brother and I sure as hell wasn't comparing you to my brother. Now chin up, clean your face and cooperate with the others before they have a reason to off you!" Nanashi warps Xenima back into the sea with Gurīn. "And apologize for being an asshole!"
A large flash of brilliant blue light appears in the sky, before Azula appears, right along the time Abeni does.
Azula stares Xenima down for a moment, before she silently begins walking toward him.
"Sister.... what are you doing?" Abeni asks cautiously.
"We're going to have a chat... ...between an Epsilon and the leader of the Chaos Engines..." She says dully. She grabs Xenima and flies him to the tallest tower of Yosai and lands on top of it. She stares at him quietly for a moment, then...
"You need to leave. Now. Go somewhere, far, far, far away. The mistress is busy, so this is your own chance to flee before I'm forced to report you when White comes back. I know everything you've done, who you're working for, all of it. You can try to lie, I'll see the truth for what it is. And if you do get away before she comes back... ....don't ever stop running... ....because you won't escape us if you stop running.
We're more than killing machines D'Ranjo. The reason we can keep on living is because we have hope. I suggest you find that. Or you're nothing but a machine that you yourself created. Now go before the mistress comes back."
Xenima: *his jet engine levitates him* Mark mt words. Your mistress will pay for what she's done to me and many others Why don't you do the same?
"Because she will know if I leave. You're different from the rest of us.... Leave. Also... ...regardless of your situation, what's happened to you... ....it is better to seek the comrades of those like you rather than to isolate them. Our hope for the future and our ties to each other give us the strength to walk every step, no matter how wretched our path."
Xenima:...Every comrade I knew has died...I just can't stand to loose much more...Me being...this...it has drove me insane...and the memory of my death...it's fuzzy....it messes with my temper not remembering how I died....but I now The White Witch had something to do with it...Why can't you fight the Witch? We outnumber her and we have multiple physiologies that outdoes her. Why can't kill her when we have the chance?
Azula gives him a tired look. "Don't ask questions. Unlike you the Epsilons, whose control mechanisms are present as the machines that surround your body, the Zetas and beyond... are controlled biologically. White controls our actions, even if I were to travel realms away, I could not escape her range of control. I could not kill her even if I wanted to. Any thoughts toward the mere idea are instantly suppressed. Leave while you can. The mistress is resuming her attention. I will likely be behind you soon if you do not leave now. This is the only warning with guaranteed time to run I have left to give you."
Xenima: *sighs* Alright. But whether we are in the eve of battle or in the dawn of each other. We will be free. *flies off*
At least thirty minutes later White appears behind Azula.
".....Lambda Squad.... ....please assemble." She says both mentally and out loud.
Nanashi warps to the designated location, having figured out how to summon a weapon for himself besides an Ether Sabre among things.
"Follow him, obscure your presence, and once you see who he truly is loyal to, destroy the two of them." She says to Azula, Nanashi, Abeni, and Gurīn, they instantly receiving the full scale of her intent: the destruction, absolute destruction of the rogue CE, his master, and the master's people.
Nanashi doesn't nod or bow, only turns around and vanishes in a flash of blue energy.
Abeni, Azula, and Gurīn fly after him quickly, Gurīn changing into a minor version of her Awakened Form to fly. All four Lambdas are encased in their robotic armor, the armor eliminating all thought processes except those necessary to function and the success of their mission:
Eliminate or capture the escaped CE and punish his master.
Nanashi blasts after the escaped CE but remains stealthed by staying within a different dimension where distance is calculated differently. He supresses his presence and the presence of his spacial distortion to nonexistent as he begins to gather information on the area and the target.
Xenima makes it to a barren flatland. Everything seems to be scorched as sparks blow away in to the wind. and the sky is filthy brown. The ground itself seems to be scorched. He walks up to a puddle and slowly takes off. His right eye is streaming with endless tears down his face and the other half of his face is robotic, with his left eye shining red and metal snags branch out from his face. There is a large cord in his mouth that goes down his throat. He looks at himself a little bit more and closes his eye and puts the mask back on. A buzz-saw appears on the wrist of his hand and he slowly cuts the only available flesh on his arms. Black substance drips for the cut and clouds the puddle water. He realizes that it isn't blood, but oil. A single tear drops from his mask and into the black puddle.
Nanashi watches Xenima, from the other dimension, but remains completely hidden within the different dimension.
Azula uses his observation to direct Gurīn after him, but then veers off course along with Abeni in a different direction...
Secondary objective determined to be Drekavas of Upnation. Proceeding.
Observation phase pending completion. Proceed to Primary Objective?
No.... Gurīn shall proceed. Orders are for you to observe... intervene if somehow necessary.
Gurīn uses the data he's gathered to teleport herself high above Xenima...
The puddle where Xenima had been crying in has been growing steadily at a massive rate. Grass all around him has begun to grow, and the starts of trees and flowers can be seen everywhere, the soil around him becoming soft dirt.
Xenima: *looks above him and sees Gurin, then looks down at the puddle and has a flashback of himself on his knees crying with endless tears running down his face that his tears begin to rise up to his knees. Everything begins to get all fuzzy and he feels his head in anger.*
A soft touch on his mask startles him as a being glowing green with long green hair and leaf like green glowing wings, and yellow eyes smiles at him, standing on the water in front of him. She gently pulls his mask off and touches his face, the green glow starting to spread to his body and over to his metallic parts, where a furious itching begins. Before he can pull away, vines of various flowers grow from her arms and sprout strange glowing flowers and release a powerful aroma that sedates him and he falls into her arms, the green glow spreading to more of him, an overwhelming sense of comfort and safety taking over his mind, as the being's vines soothingly wrap around him.
Xenima: *is slowly loosing consciousness* Wh-what are you- Why are you-...*falls asleep*
Vines gently continue to wrap around him as the being wraps her arms around him and places him in her lap, the green glow seeping into his body and into his soul, changing him in complex ways from physically to spiritually. The vines become a soft blanket for the sleeping Xenima, as his life becomes slowly bound to the being's own and he is gradually transformed into a human with no metal parts at all.
When Xenima wakes up, he feels the soft vines gentle wrapped around him, and can feel the gentle presence of the being as she gently keeps him up against her, a supernatural warmth comforting him. All around them the area has been completely changed, a large lake with a vast jungle has sprouted up around them, and a great mass of trees, roots, flowers, and vines all seems to come from her, as though the transformation of the area came from her.
In greeting, the being gently kisses his forehead, and whispers, "Good morning, you've been sleeping for a whole day. Are you ok D'Ranjo? Or do you prefer yourself Xenima now?" Her arms unwrap from around him, but six beautiful wings of green light wrap around him instead. Many beautiful and overwhelming smells are in the air from flowers he has never seen.
D'Ranjo: *looks at himself* Wh-what ....what did you do to me...?
"I sensed hate of yourself, hate of what you had become. I made you of flesh and blood, because I thought it would make you happy. Was I right in assuming you were once a human?" Her voice has a soft echo, gentle but with a hint of power beneath it, as though he could hear the voice of nature itself from her lips.
The vines begin to crawl about, weaving into shapes that become a complete set of clothing. After this, the remaining vines gently release him from the being, allowing him a clear look at her for the first time since the brief encounter. She appears to be attached to the large mass of trees and assorted plant life sprouting around and underneath them like an explosion of flora via a complicated web of vines, trunks, leaves, and flowers. The various plants seem to literally grow from her body almost seamlessly.
D'Ranjo: Why? Why would you do this for me?
She gives him a light smile. "Does kindness need a reason? I saw you were hurting so I helped you." Her face, the more he looks at it, is vaguely familiar.
D'Ranjo: *comes to realization* You...
She smiles weakly. "Don't worry. White isn't after you. I helped you of my own will. You're safe in my garden."
D'Ranjo: Whether the Witch will find me or not, I still need to find away to free all the others, who have been taken and turned into these abominations. They deserve just as much freedom. I cannot help them though, like this.
She closes her eyes sadly. "You alone can't save any of us. Me, Abeni, Azula... none of them. Not one person can do it alone. This isn't even my final form, or the extent of my powers. I am nothing compared to Azula... there is a union of those who wish to put a stop to her organizing... ...though I cannot help you or willingly let you leave my garden. You are free to do as you wish within my garden, and my essence I have implanted in you will make the plants bear food for you to eat, and my essence purifies all water here... ....if you are displeased with your being I can shape it to whatever you desire... ...but I'm not allowed to let you leave... ....I am sorry. I pushed the limits of what I was allowed to do as it is. If you wish to escape, you must pray for a miracle, for I'm afraid nothing can happen here without my knowing.
...My name is Gurīn.... ....and I wish to be your friend... ...please... allow me that much..." This last thing she says she pleads with sorrowful eyes, as though hoping the extension of friendship will pacify any anger he may have toward her.
Observation Phase Over. Requesting permission for interaction.
D'Ranjo: Haven't you wanted to live outside of being what you are now? The horrors of taken innocent lives and reverting them into something monstrous. Haven't you felt the same way? That 'Why did this happen to me?' or you wanted to get back at the person who took your life away? Your sisters lives? I know you claim not being able to fight of your mistress, but I don't want to sit around while, my fellow man await being brought back into this world as a machine of destruction. *sighs* But thank you still, Gurīn. For giving me back my humanity, but it's worthless if I spend it selfishly on my own, living my own life while others have to spend it everyday lamenting on how much they despise what they are and what they are forced to do. Not knowing their lives and only knowing the one they woke up in. It's a sad existence no one should have to re-live through. Not even someone like you.
Gurīn's eyes are sad, and soon close. "....I don't feel any desire for vengance against White... ....I couldn't raise my hand against anyone. ....I am sorry, D'Ranjo. I hope you can forgive me, but I cannot let you leave. The jungle alone is vast, and even if you reach its edge I will be forced to pull you back to this central point, and erase your knowledge of how to leave. ....There is no way out. I can sense all that interacts with the elements, and the living things, from the birds, the animals, to the plants. From the earth, the water, and the air... I can sense your being... ...there is no way to fool me. ....Please.... ....forgive this reluctant jailor.... ...I wish I could let you be free... ....but with all the powers I wield... I cannot fight Mistress. The chains that bind me are stronger than that you are familiar with."
If that is what you desire... ....but please... ...do not aggravate him... ...I do not wish to make him more resentful.
I will attempt not to, but I cannot be sure as to how he will react.
Nanashi enters the the area silently, his weapons no longer present. He sits down and acknowledges both of them but says nothing.
D'Ranjo: *sits on a vine* Whether by my hand or not. The White Witch will pay...And one way or another, I pray for your freedom...
Her eyes close sadly, as a mass growth of vines cover her, slowly growing into a tall tree. The only hint of her presence is a general sensation of surreal tranquility in the jungle, and a soft green glow emitting from the tree, and occasional whispers of her thoughts.
.......If you need something.... gently pull on my vines... the ones with the purple blossoms......
D'Ranjo: I forgive you...
Nanashi remains quiet for a while longer.
"You desire our freedom," he says after a moment, "I do not think that will be so easy... But thank you nonetheless for the thought."
D'Ranjo: It's not a promise. It's something I intend to do.
"Good luck then," says Nanashi. "Hopefully your words will ring true..." With that he vanishes in a flash of blue energy.
D'Ranjo: You all will see...You all will be free...This I swear!
A vine lowers, and a single pink flower quickly grows into a large red apple, and neatly drops into his hand.
D'Ranjo: *looks at it and simply holds on to it*
Sukimu quietly walks to the edge of the fortress, looking out to the sea, while countless starts sparkle across the reflection of the water. The sight is dazzling, a sea of stars, something few could ever hope to see. She could almost forget her problems... except she can't.
"That angel.... ....how was it that he knew me... was he from my past life....? ...If so, he should realize I'm beyond saving..."
"That's not necessarily true," A voice says behind her, and she turns to see Silent Angel.
"Oh, good evening." Sukimu says quietly.
"Yes, a good evening indeed. What troubles you? Are you still worried about that angel? Stop. Won't do any good. Besides, he hasn't shown up recently since then, so he's either lying low or avoiding you. Either way, when he comes back, we'll deal with it. But let's not worry for the time being. You know what time it is right?"
Sukimu sighs and looks away. "Christmas, I know. A celebration I'm not interested in. It's a celebration of hope, something we can't have."
Silent Angel sighs. "Stop acting like that's true. There is always hope. Even for rejects like us."
Sukimu turns irritably. "Enlighten me. I don't see it."
Silent Angel looks out over the water. "Well, if Daikeim could come close to beating me, then there's hope yet for us. Perhaps he'll be the key. Who knows? There are possibilities, you just have to search for them."
"You mean like searching through a haystack to get to a single needle?"
"....Geez you're difficult...." Silent Angel rubs his head. "Will you at least join us tonight?"
Sukimu considers his words for a moment. ".....Fine... I'll go...." No sense in being alone... ...at least it'll make the night go faster...
Meanwhile, Toma is staring at a sphere of water, with the image of Torrent visible.
"You doing ok?" She asks with a smile, seeing the snow filled scene.
"Oh just great, Kagerou is a genius at teleportation, I think he deserves a.... what's it called? Nobel Peace Prize, for being a right dumbass!!!"
Toma chuckles. "That bad huh? Well, take care of yourself. Try not to kill each other before you find Noriko. I imagine White would rather be angry if you went and did that."
Torrent sighs. "Alright alright I will... geez, you sound like a mother hen...."
Toma waves goodbye, before dispersing the orb. She sighs.
"Man that guy has a temper... ...sure is a lot more quiet here than it used to be..."
She walks through the halls of Yosai, coming to a large pool in a courtyard, dipping her feet into the cool water.
"Hm? Someone else is here," asks Nanashi, floating in the water with his eyes covered in blue, glowing bandages. No liquid seeps from them as he floats in a relaxed position with various ethereal tendrils flowing around him. "You aren't another visitor are you?"
"No, I am Toma, the Water Slayer of Phoenix. I'm a Nymph hybrid. You're one of the new CE's, is that correct?"
"Ah, I am Nanashi," he says, "Yes, I am one of the Lambda series. I was just making sure there wasn't a second visitor tonight, the first one cost me my eyesight for approximately another half hour..."
"I see..." She says as she slowly lowers herself into the water, allowing herself to merge partially with it, gaining a more fluid, flowing shape as she changes more into a nymph.
Nanashi continues to relax in the water before asking. "How are you fairing?"
"I'm fairing... well I guess. It's been a long few weeks. The place feels less like home now that so many are gone now..." She says, a hint of a bubbling to her voice.
"I see, much must have changed," he says, "Why not spend time with the others who remain and forge stronger bonds?"
"The only member in Yosai right now besides White is me... Torrent's on a mission, and Kake, apparently the new guy, is probably off resting... also the Eta's are probably not fond of me."
"Hmm," Nanashi seems to ponder something, "I guess we could continue to talk, if I'm not bothering you."
"I don't mind. You're not bothering me. Anything you don't know that you'd like to know? I can answer most questions, not all, but most."
"What is our real goal," he asks after a moment, changing his position in the water to appear to be looking at her, "The visitor seemed quite adamant about there being something we're supposed to do... Ah right, I need to send the Lady that report once it is complete..."
"The visitor? Something we're supposed to do? Can you explain that for me? As for real goal, you mean Phoenix, or you CE's?"
"Phoenix in general," he explains, "The visitor came via a time disortion, hoping to enter then leave the area without anyone noticing. I was unaffected for one reason or another and confronted them while the distortion was still in effect and managed to repel them from the area, though I doubt I completely stopped them. I also managed to damage one of their eyes, but at the cost of mine in return... Said visitor was highly adept in both magical and physical combat, knowing even Sigil based magic and able to utilize both phantasmal movements and near instantaneous spell casting without incantation, the latter being something I was able to acquire, though I am certain that was not the extent of their abilities... The only things that eludes me- rather, that puzzle me- are their identity and objectives."
"I see... You should report that to White as soon as possible. She'll probably want to hear that. Anyway, Phoenix, as White has stated, is made for the specific purpose creating a new world. A world where Mythos are free and can lead their own lives, under the guidance and protection of Phoenix. As humanity is the greatest threat to this new world, the Second World, the Second Birth as White calls it, White desires their total annihilation. I don't hate humans, but I believe judgement must be passed down upon them. The Chaos Engine project has been a long running project, since White the Fifth I believe. From what I understand, it's to create a power source for the Spear of God, don't ask, I don't know. That and to create a race of 'perfect or superior beings'. From what I understand, I think White believes the Lambda is the personification of that goal."
"Ah... I wonder," he says thoughtfully. "...Hm, what do you enjoy doing?"
"Mmmmm.... swimming... atheltics, reading, watercolors. Those things. Why?" She sinks lower into the water, her shoulders, neck and head all that's visible above water. The rest of her appears to have melded into the water itself.
"Just curious. Why should humanity be judged?"
"What they've done. They have done nothing but make war upon each other and them. Nothing! Want to know what's the worst? We received intel that one of their agencies took the savior and turned him into a sick machine. A machine of all things! I can't rest, knowing what they've done, and no one is willing to stand up for change. In fact they execute them like madmen and criminals. Mythos are treated like animals to be hunted for sport. I cannot allow myself as someone who desires justice in the world to let it go by any longer."
"I see... It seems like much has transpired since the time I come from... To think they've changed that much..."
"Much has changed, but little has changed for humanity... it's always the same with them. If it's not one conflict, one war, it's another." She says dismissively.
"Don't remind me," he sighs, "If not for that, I wouldn't be here in this time and neither would my brother."
"Funny... dispite the control Water Slayer gave me, I can't be in my Nymph form without getting pulled apart in the ocean... as my Nymph form, I can hold my form in lakes... ironic how there is so much water, yet I cannot safely take my form as a Nymph... save for these pools... I need a break some time.... doubt I'll get much of one these days..."
"You never know..." Nanashi pauses, then sighs. "I was right... It was him." Lady, I am sending information to you regarding an infiltration of the fortress, though you may wish to wait before accepting it, lest something happen...
....Lest something happen? When you're finished, would you mind speaking with me in person? There is something I wish to test, the others currently are not present to test it, so it leaves you. Take the time to heal your eyes though. I don't want to see what they look like now.
Well the infiltrator was Legna, so I assumed it would be a good idea to let you wait a moment, but if you so choose to see the report now, I can send it... My eyes should be restored by the time I arrive if I walk to your current location, Lady, so I'll head over there now. He gives Toma a nod.
"The Lady has called for me. I'll return later if I am able to." With that he proceeds to White's location, using his Ether to guide him in the proper direction in tandem with his memory.
When he arrives in White's chambers, she looks up at him. "So you've arrived. Is your sight any better?"
"Completely restored, plus an upgrade or two," he says, removing the bandanges, "You required me for something?"
There is a blond haired boy in White's lap, his eyes are fearful, her hand is on top of his head, clamped down. Despite how gentle at first it looks, the slight flickers of pain in the boy's eyes tells Nanashi that White is secretly being forceful.
"Yes, this boy. I wish to partake in an experiment regarding him, but it involves you."
The boy's eyes flash with fear at the word 'experiment'.
"I see... Will he be harmed at all?"
White's faces gains a cruel smile and the light in her eyes gleams with hidden sadistic intent. "That depends on your definition of 'harmed'. Not that matters at all..."
"..........I really have no choice in this, do I?" He sighs loudly, "Fine, but afterwards I'll be going to Earth to take care of business." I hate the idea of having a kid get hurt because of me...
"No, I rather believe you don't. I want you to infect the boy into a Lambda. Normally this wouldn't be so bad of a issue, if it weren't for the fact it's only safe to operate this kind of complete soul and body transformation when they are at least seventeen. Poor boy is thirteen. I wonder how well intact he'll remain... you may proceed..." She says with her continued smirk. She pauses for a moment.
"I do believe Lambdas Azula and Abeni are now in position to strike..."
"Kid, first off, I'm really sorry about thi- Lady, I have proposition to make, but I'll tell you in a moment," says Nanashi before placing his hand on the boy's chest. Several sigils and symbols appear on the child, one of which with a particular glint to it, before golden circuits spread from Nanashi's hand onto the boy. Kid, I'm directly connected to your mind right now. I'm going to numb your pain receptors and dampen the rate of change as to prevent your body from entering shock. I'm also setting up a ward of sorts on your mind to prevent any information surges. Blink once if you understand me, in which case clench your teeth.
The boy shows immense signs of fear, beginning to gasp rapidly in fright, but blinks, but still very much fearful of him, slowly clenching his teeth, small tears beginning to well up in his eyes.
Just to let you know, if I had a choice in the matter, I wouldn't be doing this. I hate any harm coming to children... So, I apologize for this... The circuits of lights branch over the boy once Nanashi removes his hand, changing him swiftly on the outside, but gradually and painlessly from within. Nanashi grits his teeth, but says nothing.
The boy is now at least a head taller, but is still young by comparison to any other CE made, something remarkable of its own right. His blonde hair is now a more metallic color, while his skin has gained a silver sheen from the scales. His eyes are pure gold spheres, flickering with an iridescent light, wide with horror at his fate. He has small claws and small taloned feet, unusually he has four arms instead of two, ether flowing from the arms. Two curled horns of gold gently curl from the sides of his head, and a dragonic tail sprouts from him as well. He has six, small gold wings, and a very light black and gold colored plate on his back and chest, the boy now shrouded by a faint gold glow. The last feature that catches Nanashi's attention is a strange glowing eye symbol. When White sees it, she has an unusual smile.
"Hmmm... very good... so both you and Abeni have the ability to alter living creatures into Lambdas... I'm pleased by this. Very well, that is all. What is this proposition you speak of, Nanashi?" She says strictly.
"Him, I want to take him under my wing," he states, his eyes completely serious, "In exchange, I can pursue and temporarily incapacitate Legna or at least limit his involvement, especially with the newest trick up my sleeve. If that's too much for you, I still plan on heading to Earth to take care of business either way."
"Hmmm... well, taking him under your wing... ...I rather am cautious of you, you know? But that's why I was prepared..." She takes the boy's head and tilts it so Nanashi can see his neck. There is no organ like other CE's, but a distinct metal object is present, grafted into his skin. She then places a metal collar around the boy's neck.
"But if you're worried about me using him in combat, I can assure you I have no interest in child soldiers. He is, in fact, the first civilian class Lambda. I am not going to control him like I do you. He is, put with many asterisks, 'free'. I am still capable of remote control, but his is less... permanent. I at the most can forcibly order him back to the premises, but other than that he is free. Aside from emergency restraints, of course. Can't have you giving him ideas. Regarding Legna, I will allow you to pursue an answer as to what he was up to down there, but wait for an order before you engage in a fight. We already know the details of your injury, now don't we?"
She smiles for a moment, then looks at the boy. "In a way, you could call him, 'The Prince of the Lambdas'. He's a special boy, you see."
"Lady, with all due respect, you underestimate me," says Nanashi, "The reason I was injured was because I realized who the intruder was and pulled back, not because I was entirely outclassed. Besides, I didn't want to damage the fortress so I chose to repel him rather than forcefully incapacitate him, though I admit that with his level of power, you and Azula would even have difficulty with that. Then again, you two fight much differently than he and I so it is easy to see why..." He turns towards the boy, "I'll show him around before I head off."
White chuckles. "I'm not unfamiliar with Legna... he was my 'partner' before he left me for that damn Shinwa... not that I care... I rather don't need him anyway. No use for traitors except target practice, at least. Take him if you wish, it's no concern of mine."
The boy looks at Nanashi in fear.
Nanashi smirks at White's comment, but leaves the room with the boy before White can ask why.
"I take it you're overwhelmed, kid," he says, leading the boy around the fortress, mainly the dining areas, living quarters and scenic locations before showing him shortcuts and secret routes between areas. "I'm Nanashi, may I ask your name?"
The child Lambda merely quietly looks away from him. Eventually he mumbles, "Nageki..."
"Nageki... Again, I apologize for your fate, but for now try to embrace it, it'll make thngs easier to cope with. Oh and if anyone gives you trouble while I'm gone, let me know. There are somethings that I will not tolerate, orders be damned." He leads Nageki to a vacant room and hands him a name plate. "Put your name on it and try to remember the location so that you don't get lost... Now I'll be going, don't get yourself in trouble with the Lady or else you'll really regret it..." With that he ruffles the boy's hair, then vanishes in a blue flash of light.
The boy Nageki silently looks at the spot of where Nanashi disappeared, and gingerly takes the name plate and puts the signed nameplate on door, though the action feels alien to the child now, as though he is merely signing someone else's name. He numbly begins to walk off towards his bed, and buries his head in the pillow, beginning to cry heavily.
As best as he tries, D'Ranjo finds himself frustratingly walking in circles, despite his best efforts to keep track of his location. Each time he sets out from the grove where Gurīn's tree grows, he inevitably finds himself right back at the grove.
I told you D'Ranjo... ...it is pointless to attempt to leave the jungle... it grows by the hour, it will eventually completely eclipse the desert beyond. All I need to keep you confined here is a slight nudge to your brain to keep you from even laying eyes on the jungle border... ....I am sorry... I cannot let you leave... ...unless you allow me to erase your memories... that is the only way you may leave... as so my mistress says.
D'Ranjo: As much as I am grateful to be human again...It's not the same! Especially when there are others like me who are under the Witch's thumb! If I were to leave...I couldn't save them like...this...
Humans possess power they don't understand... imagination, the ability to change, the ability to change others... technically everyone has it, but humans were basically one of the first... you don't have to be a hero... if you wanted, I can always change you into something else. It is within my power... all the living things in this jungle, including you, since you have become a being of my soul, I can change at a whim... I can cause evolutionary change in beings which would normally take many countless years of time. It's all arbitrary to me really... ...but me changing your body and powers won't change your ability to leave.
D'Ranjo: I am no hero...I am only a soldier...that's all I know how to be...So...If there's anything I could think of being...other than this...It would be...This may sound weird....but there is one thing you change me into ...can you turn me into a Lambda class dragon?
You... ....want to become a Lambda? I thought you hated being... ....I can't.
Before he can respond, she speaks again.
....I can't, from where you are. Making someone a Lambda... ...I can't do that from here. You have to come to me. But... ...it would kill you, unless you were attached directly to me. My body produces a massive amount of energy, but you are not linked with me the way I am linked with my Lambda kin. In short, in order to make you a Lambda, and not kill you, I would have to keep you attached to me. But the change requires monstrous amounts of energy. For this situation, since I rely on natural energy... it would take me four days to change you while keeping you alive with enough energy stores. I'm sorry, but... before I can do this... I have to ask... ...why do you want to do this?
D'Ranjo: I grew up where power was an issue....we were defenseless and tried to make most of what we had...what we lacked was the spirit of sacrifice...we fought for freedom...I fought for freedom...that fight has never stopped...I am willing to sacrifice my humanity to become like you. Though I won't be able to leave, once I do I know I can atleast do something to help the others. I chose a dragon because through out mythology dragons are one of the most powerful singular mythical species that do not derive from a spiritual nature. The dragon represents two things. Protection and Destruction. In other terms, I will protect my kind and I will destroy the White Witch or die attempting it, but my kind come first. They may not be human anymore, but they still have a chance at life. Not under servitude like I was, but different.
....I.... ...very well... ...come to me... most men... most humans... they would not have the courage to see the other side... ....but perhaps this event in your life has opened your eyes to what most cannot see... ....you're a good person... I... .....I want you to be happy... safe... ...I don't want others to sacrifice themselves... ....it hurts... ...my heart...
D'Ranjo: *walks towards Gurin* Hurts my heart to see others I have fought for being robbed of their freedom. I don't claim to be good. I'm just being a soldier.
When he arrives at the base of the tree, the thick tendrils of wood that comprise the tall twisting tree slide open to reveal Gurīn, who appears to be sleeping.
D'Ranjo: What must I do now?
A soft sigh comes from Gurīn, as her eyes slowly open, regarding him sadly. "Come to me, D'Ranjo..." The vines around her open partially, seemingly inviting him closer.
D'Ranjo: *walks up to the vines and stands waiting*
The vines gently pull D'Ranjo in, where Gurīn quietly hugs him, soft and caring. The large tendrils that had opened before now close, sealing them inside, and at first it is dark, but he becomes aware of a soft green light that gently streams around them. He then begins to feel various burning and digging sensations, as the vines covering and attached to her body begins to weave into D'Ranjo, as they do so, he begins to feel his body synchronizing with hers, beginning to beat with one heart beat and breathe with one breath, even their minds begin to partially become shared, as the vines wrap them into a tight cocoon, and the energy of the entire forest and Gurīn herself begins to flow into him, as she begins the four day transformation of his body. Although the pain he feels is intense, he is somehow aware of the fact that Gurīn is sharing his pain to dilute it.
Eventually most sensation and thoughts are reduced to simple processes, his body receiving nutrients and energy, almost as though he was the forest. However, sensation eventually returns to him with the first noise he hears is a weak gasp from Gurīn, and they spill out softly into the soft grass, the sensation almost bizarre after being connected to the ecosystem so long. The vines slowly unwrap from his and Gurīn's head, allowing him to see for the first time in a few days. Gurīn's face shows a weakness, a frailty that didn't exist before, the change of his being had taken a large toll on her, her eyes are slightly dull. One of the first things he can immediately tell is he feels a vast well of energy within him, though he isn't able to see his physical modifications yet.
D'Ranjo: *looks around* Heads free. That's a start. Was that even 4 days? I wonder if i should just wait to get out of this...
The vines slowly fall away, largely limp. Gurīn herself seems to be extraordinarily weak, a minute after she fell away from him, he notices her hand weakly trying to reach out to him, and she opens her mouth. "D'Ranjo...." She whispers weakly.
D'Ranjo: Yea? You don't sound so good. The process must've taken alot out of you, huh?
"...S-stay.... s-stay.... with me.... I-I-I... I'm so... sleepy..." Her hand continues to seek him out,an expression of her frailty and loneliness, wanting someone to be by her side.
D'Ranjo: *sits next to her and sits her up next o him* Got nowhere to go really.
Gurīn quietly rests her head against him, her eyes slowly fluttering into sleep.
D'Ranjo: *is abit uncomfortable at first but eases up* I'll find away out. Or God delivers me out himself. *sigh* I don't care if I don't help them myself. Some one needs to. Anyone needs to. Hopefully Drekavas knows where I am. Wait. This is my chance to escape...She's too weak to stop me!...but I can't leave just yet...she needs to be free too...she's one of them...Hmm... *just simply looks at Gurīn for a while then puts his hand on where her organ is and streams of light course through her and while it does the lights go away* Hopefully this means you'll wake up a free woman. I wonder if I should still leave?
Gurīn suddenly wakes up with a faint scream as the CE abruptly is disabled, a violent fit of fear causes a mass of earth and thorny plants to rip up at him defensively. He can hear a shuddering gasping from the other side, as Gurīn enters a light state of shock.
"What's...? What's.... what's going on?! I... can't... hear... that voice....!" After a few minutes, she seems to calm down. "....D'Ranjo.....? W-Where are you?" She calls from the center of the mess. When he reaches her, her form has changed again, six green tinted wings sprout from her, teeming with a vibrant energy. Her eyes have become a yellow gold color, her feet have become taloned like a bird, her hands end in claws, soft green scales give her a soft green sheen to her skin. Her hair and eyes have a slight iridescent hue to them.
D'Ranjo: *looking slightly shocked* Never knew harpies existed...
Gurīn laughs very weakly. "I'm largely... *cough* a Etherite and Archangel... a few others too... D'Ranjo... take me to... *cough* the tree... please... I need to... rest..."
D'Ranjo: Alright. *takes hold of one of her wings and helps her over to the tree*
Gurīn quietly is rooted to the tree by vines into her back, and her eyes start to close again. "Thank you... ...if you wish to leave... that is fine... ...it would be though... ....sad to be alone.... I will... probably awaken in a few hours..."
D'Ranjo: As much as I want to. I can't. Not just yet.
Gurīn quietly smiles. "Thank you... ....you're... a good... friend..." Her eyes drift off to sleep. "Azula... ...be safe...." She mutters.
D'Ranjo: *sits and thinks for a moment*
Gurīn's consciousness links with D'Ranjo's and directs his consciousness to Drekavas, much to his surprise.
Drekavas: D'Ranjo. Not only are you're safe, but you've also been reverted....no. You reverted yourself back.
D'Ranjo: I had to. I was changed back into human for, but I realized I couldn't help the others being only human. So I chose to be a Lambda class dragon. Since no doubt the others that are currently active will try to stop me.
Drekavas: not half-bad of a choice.
D'Ranjo: Problem is I don't know how to use this new found power. I need you to train me.
Drekavas: Things have been...rough on my end. I might not be able to help you with that, but the other one there might help you. What better way to learn, than to learn from someone the same as you are.
D'Ranjo: *looks back at Gurīn* Yeah...
Drekavas: Besdies, you'll find your way around it. I must be off, D'Ranjo. Keep well. *his consciousness is gone*
D'Ranjo: Drekavas? *sigh and sits back down*
Gurīn sleeps peacefully, various flowers slowly start to come into bloom from the vines gently blanketing her, a peaceful smile on her face.
D'Ranjo: Many people like her, who are taken from their lives just to be tools of decimation...it never stops...It will never stop...neither will the fighting...such a cycle is overbearing...
With the sunrise, she finally wakes again, letting out a small yawn.
"D'Ranjo, are you well?" She asks quietly, as the vines slowly release her.
D'Ranjo: *is doing push-ups with his hands in a fist* I'm doing fine...
Her form seems to have a stronger vitality than the night before, he can sense a vast well of energy within her. She looks at him and smiles faintly.
"I'm glad... is there anywhere you wish to go or anything you wish to do? I'd be happy to teach you teleportation."
D'Ranjo: *leaps onto his feet* Show me everything. Teach me everything.
"Steady your horses there, I can't show you literally everything. Besides, I'm not really a combat type... I'm more... creative than destructive." She says with a nervous smile.
D'Ranjo: Then show me as much as you can and teach me all you know.
Gurīn looks at him for a moment, then sighs. She slowly feeds information from her Exceed Nexus to his at a steady rate, and suddenly he begins to learn knowledge of many things, and how to do them.
"Ok, we'll start with teleportation. First, imagine a location."
D'Ranjo: I've never been to the outside world. Never seen skyscrapers or none of that. Never seen the wilderness neither. There's not much I can imagine going.
An image of a massive canyon appears in D'Ranjo's mind. "Go there."
D'Ranjo closes his mind and only thinks of the canyon he had just seen and the moment he open's he is eyes and he's on a rocky plain. He walks a little bit until he reaches an edge and he looks down an the gorge is right below him.
"Humans call it the Grand Canyon." Gurīn says, appearing next to him.
D'Ranjo: I can sure see why they call it that.
"Now, I want you to focus on a person, and try teleporting to them. Be sure to let me know who so I can make the same trip."
D'Ranjo:...I have no one to go to...
"What about that Drevakas person?" Gurīn asks.
D'Ranjo: I had just spoke to him. Not to mention he's busy. I assume he wants me to stay put until then.
Gurīn looks at him for a moment. "Fine then." She disappears after a moment.
Teleport to me by focusing only on me.
D'Ranjo: *closes his eyes again and opens them to be in front of Gurīn*
They are standing beside a roaring waterfall. Gurīn looks at him for a moment. "Now fly." She pushes him off the side towards the bottom of the falls.
D'Ranjo: *is panicky for a momeeragon wings from his back and he begins to flap them and he stops falling*
Gurīn flies down next to him with her six angelic wings. "It would be easier to draw upon your archangel physiology to fly, you know. But very good. I didn't have to shove you out of the nest multiple times. You're a quick learning bird." She says with a smile.
D'Ranjo: I have to. Or I'd be dead.
Gurīn smiles. "Not with me around. I'm not going to let you splat."
D'Ranjo: I didn't mean like that. I was raised to get with it or I wouldn't see the light of day again.
"Alright then. Next is... tag." She playfully raps him on the forehead. "Catch me if you can, flying only." She flies off with easy grace.
D'Ranjo: *tries to to keep up with Gurīn but is having little bit difficulty with his wings*
Gurīn laughs and slows down a little. "Take it nice and steady D'Ranjo."
D'Ranjo: That's what I'm doing.
A strong breeze pushes him fowards all of a sudden.
D'Ranjo: *flaps his wings as the wind pushes him*
He feels the wind gradually change into a whirlwind.
"Fight your way through it, D'Ranjo." Gurīn calls out to him.
D'Ranjo: *flies the opposite way of the current of the whirlwind*
Gurīn shakes her head after a moment, he still hasn't gotten free. "Fly with the wind, don't fight the wind! Use it to go faster!"
D'Ranjo: Then you shouldn't have used 'fight'! *flies with the current of the whirlwind*
Eventually he flies around fast enough to get flung out of the spinning vortex.
"Very good, you're learning well. Come, take a break." She flies down to the ground, and begins producing fruit trees to feed upon.
D'Ranjo: *takes some grapes from one of the trees and begins to eat of them*
Gurīn lies down, sighing. For a while, the two eat, but Gurīn quietly stops and seems to be agitated.
"....Something isn't right...."
D'Ranjo: Nothing is ever right. *eats some more grapes*
"Hmmm... well, I've found the two little birds that flew out of their cage... think it's time I clipped your wings, no?" A voice says in front of them.
D'Ranjo: *swallows his last grape and stands*
The man in front of them wears a yellow cloak which conceals his face, except for his mouth, which has a light smirk.
"Now, if you're good little pets, we can do this without any unnecessary fighting. Ooorr, I can beat you to a pulp."
D'Ranjo: *hands twitch slightly*
The figure notices, but does not seem to care. "Is that a no?"
D'Ranjo: Can't believe you figured that out all by yourself.
The figure sighs. "I'll throw you a bone here... you won't win. Rather... it's pretty much impossible for you to. Not even Azula would be able to best me. I suggest you heed my warning. It won't be offered again."
D'Ranjo: Then I'd rather die than being under anyone else's servitude...
The figure shakes his head. "I guess it's the hard way then. If you want to be so defiant, be my guest. Don't say I didn't warn you... ...so... it's your move, boy."
D'Ranjo: *fires an explosive wave from his mouth that decimates everything in a mile radius*
The being stands, unaffected, then yawns. "Was that a gust of wind? It's sure breezy all of a sudden."
D'Ranjo: *is n longer in front of Eien but slides kicks Eien from behind and mouth blast his back. The blast sends him into the air. D'Ranjo flies after Eien*
Neither attack seems to affect him, and the man just yawns. "Come on now, you're just being boring. This wouldn't even qualify as a morning exercise!"
D'Ranjo: *grabs the back of Eien's neck and slams him back down to the ground and back-flips into the air and hits him with another explosive mouth blast*
None of the attacks touch the figure, in fact each one just completely phases through him.
The figure looks at D'Ranjo with an impartial gaze. The next time D'Ranjo comes near him, the figure mercilessly and effortlessly dodges and kicks him in the groin, then dodges D'Ranjo's mouth blasts all the while roundhouse kicking him away each time. When D'Ranjo tries yet another mouth blast, the figure impales D'Ranjo's mouth closed with a wicked sharp dagger straight into his lower jaw, the blade breaking into the bottom of his skull, then he rips it out in a fluid movement, and just to insult the injury, dodges while moonwalking every single attack from then on.
"You know, you remind me of a little dragon kid who wouldn't stop barking like a dog. Your attempt is just as pathetic, but at least HE actually made me feel... something. Your punches don't have any weight at all. It's like throwing sand in my face. Annoying, but it ain't exactly effective."
He ducks a punch, and once again kicks him in the groin, sending him sailing high into the sky, and the figure holds up a hand and watches him sail off.
"Annnnnnnd it's a home run!" Cheers of an invisible crowd go off. "Ahhhhh, the sound of an ass kicking... Speaking of which..." He teleports to where D'Ranjo is still flying and round house kicks his rear, making him slam down into the ground painfully.
"Now THAT'S, gotta hurt." The figure chuckles.
D'Ranjo: *is heavily bleeding but still manages to get up his eyes turn red*
"Awwwww.... wait, you're upset? Don't tell me... *fake gasp* did you think you'd actually win? Awww that's sad... cute, but sad... I DID say I could even beat miss Azula in a fight... did you think I was kidding? Where's your tough talk now, little boy? I'll extend my previous offer again, just because I pity you so much right now... come on little boy, you know this is too much for you. Maybe we can just play fetch instead?"
D'Ranjo: *chuckles* Do you know how gay you sound? You sound just like the Witch, maybe just as ugly if you have to wear a hood over your face. I don't care how much pain I'm put through, but I will fight a vain fight if it means defying you.
"Hmmm, you know, I don't think your brain works quite right. You a masochist then? Because I don't know if it's occured to you yet... ...but I can win at any moment I choose... the only reason I'm 'fighting' is to screw with your head, give you the impression you can, you know, do something about me. I'm sad to say, but it's an illusion kid. I mean, how stupid would a creator be if his creations could destroy him?"
D'Ranjo: At what point did I say anything about beating you? If you can win, win right now. Victory doesn't come everyday. When you see it, take it. Value it, besides something you expect everyday, cause there will be a day that very creator will make sure you never taste victory again.
There a oppressive feeling in the air when the man hears 'that very creator'. The whole of Earth suddenly shakes as Eien's aura becomes detectable with a sudden rage, as the skies turn pure black, and red lightning flashes throughout the world. He silently levitates into the air, and rips off his cloak, revealing his face, younger than impressions would let on, with glowing electric blue eyes and spiky blond hair. His face is tightened with anger.
"Before you worry about him, I would worry about the wrath of your own creator. Me. Your soul belongs to me, and to Gurīn. You are no longer part of his order. You ceased to be part of it once Gurīn changed you. You are my creation, and on a whim I can damn you as I so choose. I'm going to rewrite the system. End it, in fact. I don't consider myself above anyone. That's the problem, you see. The viewpoint of someone being better than another... is sickening. I'm done waiting for a salvation for all that is good. It's time to take it into our hands... ...this system is corrupt, and the one who governs it just... sits there."
The man's eyes narrow to slits. "I do not consider myself a God. I consider myself a savior to those who won't have a future. You were human once. Part of that system. You know of what I speak... how someone can play favorites, just because he didn't create them himself... you were one of his 'favored' children... ...I will play no favorites... ...there will be no favorites... It's time to end this.
...Gurīn. Do it."
D'Ranjo turns just in time to see Gurīn's eyes dim as a red burning emblem appears on Gurīn's forehead, and the earth itself rises up to devour D'Ranjo in its monstrous jaws, her face doesn't show any emotion, but tears fall from her eyes, as she is forced to encase all but his head in a mountain, his head the only part sticking out, and the man walks up to D'Ranjo, as the man's will begins to subvert his own, D'Ranjo becoming little more than a puppet, and Eien the puppeteer.
"You can have your salvation... and your freedom.... ...once I've changed this diseased and corrupted system." Eien teleports with his recaptured pawns, disappearing into the depths of the unknown, a fierce storm of red lightning covering the face of the world for hours afterward.
Just outside of Yosai, a large white dragon sips tea, and a skeletal black one sits a beside him, leaving a small white throne in between them They converse as their leader and sister speaks with their father, The Transcendent One.
"Father, I need you to help us. If we do go into this meeting not knowing how to counter White's powers, what shall we do?" a human woman asks into the darkness of the Endless Inner World. "I thank you for any guidance you can give me at this time, Father."
"Tread diligently and mind thy temperments. Anger will hinder and force shall backfire. Persuasion and open minds shall be to your favor, but do not be deceived by silken words crafted by silver tongues."
"Thank you, Father." She bows and kisses a visable claw as large as a small town. The young-looking lady, who is actually older than Earth due to Time-Travel, returns to her companions and sits on the throne where her husband The Wise One on her right and her brother the Dark One to her left. The Wise One sends a message into Yosai, asking for White to politely come out and have tea as the message echoes in the fortress. The lady crosses her legs.
An energy becomes apparent, and a massive star of blue light flies out of the fortress, and flies past them at blinding speed, heading down south of Downation.
And then suddenly, the visage of Yosai, the energy given off by it, any conceivable sign it ever existed is sudden erased by a iridescent light, leaving no trace.
The Dark One immidiately goes indetectable with The Wise One's assistance and follows the orb until he looses it, the comes back and they warp out of the deminsion, going to the Inner World again, in hiding.
Aoi is thrown to the cold stone floor before White, who looks at Aoi with a cold smile.
"Well now, look what we have here... the traitor. Now Aoi, what do you think..." She says, getting up and grabbing her by the chin, effortlessly lifting her up, shifting her grasp to her throat.
"....Should I do with you? There are so many ways to punish a traitor you know... lashings... torture... mind enslavement... ...the list goes on." White says, chuckling.
"But you know... ....I've always been fascinated by your family, Aoi.... not your worthless father, but your mother...." A deadly gleam of malice lights in White's eyes, and a merciless smile stretches across her face, razor sharp teeth accenting her evil smile.
"...I wonder how painful it was for Caess, to have her body violently turned to crystal ice, her soul frozen to solid crystal... ...bent to the whim of her masters for all eternity... then to have two failures like her... ...and then to have such a wonderful, miracle child like you..." White purrs.
"What would her despair be like, I wonder... ....If I destroyed that miracle?" Aoi's face fills with fright.
"What if... ....I made her daughter repeat her darkest hour? Marred her body with an eternal body of ice, unfeeling, unable to think, forced to serve as a pawn for all eternity....? Oh the delight... oh the despair... I can't wait to start!" White cackles.
"W-wh-what are you?!" Aoi chokes.
"Oh don't you know? I'm your death... or rather, your despair made flesh... now... shall we begin?" She says with a purr, attaching a collar around Aoi's neck, connected with a chain which White holds, and begins to drag Aoi out of the main hall. The doors open wide for White, revealing the crowd of soldiers, who boo and jeer and taunt Aoi as she is pulled along, rocks and rotten food thrown at her. White continues the humiliating procession all the way to a distant tower of the fortress, and closes the doors behind them.
Once inside, White shoves Aoi forward, and lab assistants strip her clothing from her, pulling her into a center chamber, where a powerful shower blasts her, washing her with a violent level of water pressure, after a minute, the shower stops, the force leaving Aoi aching in pain. There are various bruises from the stones across her body, which slowly fade.
The assistants then begin chaining her to the floor, so that she cannot move.
"White! Stop! I know you are angry with me, but I simply wanted to live the life I wanted to live! Take Ice Slayer, I don't care! Just leave me and Kalin in peace!" She pleads.
White gives her a faint smirk.
"You don't get it, do you? We had a deal, Aoi. You broke it... you're not in a position to bargain for anything. Now, I'm going to do whatever I want with you... ...And I'll start by making you a lab rat for a while." White's eyes turn blood red.
"This is the consequence of your actions..." She says in a dark purr. Aoi begins to struggle, as White begins to approach her, a needle in hand, with a strange glowing blue liquid in it.
"What is that?!" Aoi yells.
"Endlos Genetic Retrovirus. You're about to evolve. Painfully."
White injects the needle at the base of Aoi's neck, and almost immediately, the retrovirus begins its malevolent work, as Aoi begins to scream and spasm uncontrollably, her body beginning to forcibly change all of her Shapeshifter DNA into Endlos, driving out any genetic impurities, her glowing eyes alternate between dimming and glowing violently.
Her body begins to grow larger, as her greyish skin gains a faint hue of blue to it at the point where the needle was injected, her ears becoming pointed. As the growth continues, Aoi's feet and hands begins to bleed from the constriction of her growing body, only adding to the agony of the modification. As the blueish tint grows all throughout her body, a silver marking grows along her torso. With a horrible cry, the changed Aoi momentarily falls unconcious.
White takes Ice Slayer from Aoi, and places it on a desk, then turns back to Aoi, examining her thoroughly.
"That was a funny little experiment, don't you think?" She chuckles. "Of course it wasn't... ...but we're just beginning."
The roof opens up, revealing a lion made of water, and a giant of ice clad in samurai armor.
"Mikadzukikei, Furīzu, it is time to begin the work you started with Caess... ...activate the Curse of Frost."
The Struggle Begins
When Kalin comes to, he is in a cell, guarded closely by Azula. She gives him a quiet look of pity. "....I am sorry.... ....Kalin."
"Yeah, I'll bet." Kalin replied, shaking against his chains roughly. He knew they weren't going to budge, but it didn't stop him from trying. "So, what do you suppose White wants with Aoi, anyways? I've thought about it, and I really would like to know before my time runs ouuut!" He said, a torrent of fire blowing form his mouth. His breathing became heavier as he finished, staring towards the ground.
There is a small silence, before Kalin can hear agonized screaming.
"....She is... ...punishing Aoi."
"Right then. If you'll just get me out of these chains, I'll just stroll right in and put an end to it." He said, a grin on his face despite the pain he was feeling.
Kalin notices a strange sort of heat wave briefly visible for a moment inside his cell.
Azula sighs. "I can't do that."
"If I try to leave by force, you're going to stop me, right?"
A sword slash appears out of nowhere, slicing his chains, just as Azula says, "Yes. I don't have a choice. What the?!"
"Dont worry about it, Azalea. You're just going to be a bit indisposed for a while..." Kalin said, as he stood.
Her pupils dilate sharply when she hears the name, and she suddenly begins screaming in agony, stumbling wildly as blue sparks begins emitting from her, in her spasms, she rips a huge hole in the cell wall, then falls through a window and into the water below.
She'll be fine... A voice rings in the air. Go. You're lacking in time. Another scream pierces the air of Yosai Fortress.
Without a word Kalin rushes through the hole. He focuses on Aoi, and takes off in the direction of her cell. Dont know if you're the same guy from last time, or some other psycho picking through my brain...but thanks.
Kalin makes his way out of the prison, and comes out, the only thing connecting the prison tower to the main fortress is a single long bridge of stone.
Oh Great. Like this isnt an obvious trap... He thought to himself, pushing forward across the bridge regardless. "If you want a piece of me, you better come out before I shoot myself through a window!"
Suddenly a large blast of holy fire blows up the bridge in front of him him, and he hears a dragonic roar above him, and he whirls around to see a massive dragon with demon and angel wings, its inside glows like the sun when it opens its mouth in a roar.
"Ugh,I've had it with you freaking dragons!" Kalin said, suspending the broken portions of the bridge with light, and using them as platforms to ascend into the air.
The dragon takes off from its perch on the tower and begins to fly, swooping down at Kalin at high speed with its talons reaching out to grab him.
At the last moment, Kalin shifts his weight flipping just over the Dragon's head, and forming a claw of Twilight energy that he uses to rend the Dragon's spine but the attack bounces off its armor, before leaping closer to the tower. "Aoi!"
The dragon suddenly tailwhips Kalin down to the bridge, and lands on the other end, and begins to roar, charging up a sphere of divinity.
"Bring it, you fat, inanimate lizard!" Kalin growled, concentrating both light and dark energy in his hand, creating a small spehere of grey energy. Without another word, he charges right at the beast, roaring in a similar fashion to it.
The dragon lets loose a large blast of divine energy straight at Kalin.
Kalin grins, pausing to take the shot right through the center of his chest. As the energy flows through him, he returns fire, a giant wall of energy flying straight at the Dragon as he felt a pain in his chest...and a deeper pain receeding from his body.
The blast barely hits the dragon, largely deflecting off its stomach, and it roars, flinging a barrage of divine swords at him.
Kalin could do nothing, as the Dragon's life saving blast had also left him drained and open to the attack. As he raised his arms in a futile attempt at defense, a blinding flash of light erupted in front of him, as someone snatched the blade aimed for his head into their hand. As Kalin looked up, the stranger smiled. Kalin could recognize that expression, but in no way recognize the person wearing it. Besides that, there was no way that...
"Man, I really got the shaft getting paired up with you, huh?"
Damn, it was her...Rose was back."Hey, I can hear you, dumbass!" Rose replied, easily picking up on his thoughts. As usual.
"What the heck are-"
"I'm saving your life, kid. Thank me later. Rght now, shut up and watch an angel at work..." she said, turning towrds the dragon.
The dragon lets out a scream of rage, and then begins to charge, heavenly armor forming on its body as a cross symbol appears on its forehead, and it begins to charge Rose.
Rose simply outstreched her hand, as a smirk appeared on her face. "Down boy." she said quietly, as the dragon began to writhe in pain, as it's Holy energy turned against its container, bending to Rose's will. "Hey, kid. Get ready to move!" she said to Kalin.
The dragon suddenly flickers, and it sprouts a demonic pike from its head, stabbing the blade deep in Rose's abdomen in a flash, then throws her aside in a roar.
Rose simply grasps the pike inside of her, dragging it and the dragon with her. She lifts herself off of the beast, and smashes down on it's upper jaw with a herculean punch that causes shockwaves across the chasm. "Go, now!" she yelled, as she concetrated a mass of holy energy in the palm of her hand and pulled the dragon's mouth closer.
Kalin stood slowly, and began to make his way towards the gap the beast had created in the bridge.
The dragon lets out a loud rumble, and all of the energy in the area begins to get pulled into the dragon, even the mass of energy Rose is trying to make is being sapped by the dragon's pull, and it begins to start glowing violently.
"Move faster!" Rose yelled to Kalin, forcing the Dragon's mouth open with powerful punches and hard jerks of its head. She slid her hand into his mouth, drawing together all of the power it was taking in. " You want a blast, doggie? I'll give you a big freaking blast..." She said, before exploding the collected energy in the creature's stomach.
Before Rose can do so, the dragon lets out a roar and detonates, the energy blowing back Rose and shatters the bridge's supports, and the bridge starts to collapse.
Rose rolls across the ground, winded by the force of the explosion, before forcing herself to her feet, and sliding back a bit further. " Damn you, you stupid dog!" She yelled, before turning to Kalin, who was staring at the gap between them and the fortress proper. Rose ran over and gripped him, filling his body with healing magic. She then unfurled her wings, giant and red in color, almost reflecting flower petals. " Jump already!" she said, leaping across the chasm while holding Kalin by the neck. They tackled straight, into the ground of the fortress landing with a 'crash!'
Across the fortress, White quietly watches as various white cloaked figures incant various spells, slowly lifting the unconscious Aoi up to the two elemental beings, which silently observe her as she ascends...
Army of Two against A Thousand and One
Kalin and Rose make their way across Yosai Fortress, the place eerily quiet. They come to a court yard filled with thousands of soldiers occupying the center area, there is no other path forward to where Aoi is kept. There are no more screams from that direction though.
"Crap." Rose said, drawing a claymore sized blade from thin air, As Kalin drew his two blades. " This should be fun."
"We cant waste time, Rose. We have to get to Aoi, now!"
"How do you know my name!?" Rose responded, finishing as Kalin had already charged forward to cut through 5 of the soldiers.
" What are you talking about!? We've been together for years. If anything, I should be asking what you're doing here!" He said, leaping into the air as Rose dashes underneath him, blasting 10 with fire, and cutting down another five with her blade.
As they run, the ground seems to creak and crack, as though the ground is unstable. As they fight, they begin to experience a massive sudden onset of extreme fatigue, making the battle seem to go much longer than it actually has been.
"Hey, kid..." Rose said, feeling the drain on herself as she blasts another group of soldiers. " I dont know if you can tell like I can, but we're not going to get anywhere like this. Especially with this feeling coming over us..."
Kalin sent shadows spiraling towards a group of troops, exploding in a mass of spiked tendrils, before turning back to Rose. "What? You're calling for a retreat!? You of all people, would never do something like that..."
Kalin stopped speaking as she approached him, the pair slowly getting surrounded. Rose grabbed him once again, and flapped her wings. "Proof then, that I am not the person you are talking about. And there aren't any other angels that look like me, that's for sure..." She said, before taking off into the air once again, hovering over the army down below. She created a small sphere of light, and let Kalin fall to the floor of it. "Find the girl, now.be quick about it, too. Last I saw, she wasn't in good shape."
"Neither were you, last time we were together." Kalin said, standing, and closing his eyes to focus on Aoi's life energy. "You know I could stay up here myself, yes? Why not go back down and deal with those guys below us, cut us a path out of here?" he asked
"Because something is wrong here. I'm pretty sure the air is just as unsafe as the ground, but at least I know exactly where the enemies we can see are located. Just shut up and concentrate for now..." Rose replied, her senses working overtime to find out exactly what they were dealing with, as there was no way a bunch of foot soldiers were capable of wearing an Angel down. Especially one as tough as her...
Suddenly a massive sword cuts through the sphere surrounding Kalin, and then cuts deep into his and Rose's backs, the strike inflicting enormous pain in both, and they turn just in time to see a flicker of red movement, before they are both kicked down into the courtyard, where the force of the impact causes part of the courtyard to cave in, falling into the deep ocean below them.
As Kalin sits up, groaning in pain, he has a minor spark of memory in his head. "Crap... I think I know this one."
"What?" Rose said, standing from the rubble herself. She was also feeling the blade's effect, and the wound wasn't healing as quickly as it should.
"If I'm right, this is that girl who I found with Azula before... says she's her sister. Meaning..."
"We're going to get our asses handed to us?" Rose asked, her sword at the ready.
"Well, probably...then again, think you can slow her down a bit?" Kalin said, shadows overtaking his body slowly.
"Yeah, sure, it will be fun, won't it...oh, wait. You'd rather do this song and dance than running off to save your girlfriend? I'm shocked."
"Shut up!" Kalin yelled, his eyes glowing red, and a wave of black running over his white hair. "Im not stupid. If we don't stop her here, she's going to hunt us down all the way to Aoi's cell. If there's anyone else there we have to fight, they'll send you right back to the white gates, ok?" Kalin said, the shadows enveloping the last of his body, before he fell into nothingess.
"Fine, geez, I get it...Okay, whoever you are. Chaos Engine, freak of nature, I dont care. You want to beat me, you stand here and do it to my face." Rose said to the rubble around her, hoping to call out whatever had
"Rose." A woman's voice says nearby, and Rose barely has enough time to turn to see a woman with a sword glowing with red runes charge, and with speed greater than hers, impales Rose in the stomach, which causes a sensation as though her being itself had been set alight with fire. The runes flare red, discharging a red energy into Rose, and then fade, and the woman kicks her away into a pillar.
Rose stands up, once again in pain. She smirks regardless, and folds up her wings, which she used to cushion her impact. Looking to the woman, she laughs. " So, two questions. One, what is your name, and Two, how do you know mine?" As she spoke , her wounds healed, and her hands and feet lit on fire. "Answer quick, or i might just turn you to ash."
"That's rich, coming from a mere angel. I heard your name from the other one when I was standing on top of the archway to the courtyard over you."
The woman is illuminated by a soft red light, revealing a woman with white hair with an iridescent sheen, amber eyes whose depths seem to smolder with brilliant fire, skin with incredibly fine red scales that glitter and shine like rubies in the light, and incredibly thick red and black armor that seems to literally grow out of her. On her back, six glorious red angelic wings of energy sprout, the wings alone carry far more power than Rose. From the elbow of the woman, a red colored energy flows out in a steady stream. The woman also bares a long tail with a blade on the end.
"I am the Lambda of War. That is all you need to know." The sword she carries is incredibly large, inscribed on it are various runes that are hard to make out, Rose realizes that the runes indicate the sword has a special ability.
"Ah, I see. One moment, let me get a look at you..." Rose said, looking into the woman's eyes. as she did, she read her memories quickly, getting glimpses of the Lambda's knowledge of her blade. After a few moments, Rose's grin grew larger, and she approached the woman, the flames around her growing larger. "So, Chaos Engine. Tell me, what might my weakness be?" The heat in their immmediate area increased quickly as she got closer, turning the pit into a small boiling pot, depite the water surrounding them.
The heat does not appear to affect her. Abeni's right eye begins to mysteriously glow, and Rose's senses begin to distort in such a way, that suddenly she can no longer move coherently, randomly shambling from the sudden disorientation.
"Perhaps, it would be that you are overconfident."
"Bingo! Top marks, you are perceptive." Rose said in a flirting manner. " So, considering that my weakness is overconfidence, is that what your blade is pushing into me? Making me cocky so that I'll slip up?" At this point, Rose was standing just short of the woman's striking distance.
The image of the woman suddenly flickers and disappears, and Rose suddenly realizes as the woman reappears, that she hadn't been moving at all, and is in fact paralyzed completely, a sensory illusion had completely deceived her into thinking she had been moving.
"You are doing that of your own accord. To be honest, I wouldn't need to manipulate you to exploit that. You hand yourself over on a silver plater. It's rather pathetic, really."
Rose is sneak attacked from behind by twelve of the soldiers, each impaling her in the chest.
"Don't you think it's pathetic? You've landed yourself right in death's arms... ...again."
"Okay...that's a bit much...considering all of you are in an enclosed space with me, and you haven't even accounted for the guy I was with..." Rose said, worn down by the multiple attacks. As she finished speaking, their immediate area was enveloped in darkness. The pit became freezing cold, ignoring the heat that Rose was exuding as they all lost sight for a moment.
"...You're not observant, are you," A voice from beyond the darkness speaks, just as the darkness is literally incinerated into oblivion, and Rose feels a hand violently grab her head and the woman opens her mouth and blasts a cloud of Non-Existence directly on Rose's torso, disintegrating her entire chest and leaving a gaping hole where not even air exists for a minute.
She stares directly at Kalin. "You're out of time," as Rose falls to the ground.
Various symbols now orbit Aoi's body, removing her soul's resistance to modification and preparing her for the ritual of the observing Avatars, which begin to charge water and ice spheres as the symbols begin to disappear.
White looks up at the scene. "Begin."
Across the whole of the fortress, a horrid screaming suddenly breaks the silence, carrying over to the ears of Kalin...
Kalin looked down in horror as the noise reached him. "No. Nononono, it cant be...IT CANT BE!"
"I believe you've been lectured before on the matter of not underestimating your opponent. Did you think I wouldn't notice an interference with my master's mind control? Or for that matter, did you think that White wasn't paying attention? Ironic, that the person you're trying to save is the one you underestimated last time. Now you're going to lose her.
You think you can do everything alone, don't you?" She kicks Rose over to him.
Indeed he does. I actually wish he would have just said your name...oh, right. This isn't the time he remembers it. Instead, we have the whining boy who gives up before the game is even over.
Kalin glanced around, tears threatening to run down his face
He let himself be cursed, You know? Had the...Armor of Fafnir, I believe...Yeah, that's it. Had the thing stitched into his flesh. Made him almost unkillable. Well, at the cost of slowly turning him into a dragon...
As the voice continued on, everything seemed to stand still, even the air around them.
"...." Abeni does nothing, but her CE armor slides on.
Why are you trying to defend yourself, lady? I havent done anything yet. Besides, when I do make a move you're not gonna be able to stop me...actually, feel free to try, I had a few tests I wanted to run. Now, for the whiner...You still have that sword i gave you?
A memory flashed through kalin's head, of a boy even younger then him. He offered him a gift, and advice, then disappeared. He hadn't found a use for either, yet.
Good. You'll need it. And for the moment, it appears your friend is kinda out of commi-oh, my mistake.
At the voice's words, Kalin turned to find Rose pushing herself onto her feet. Her wounds were still prevalent, but not as severe as before.
Damn...she's pretty stubborn, huh? Well, that might be good news for you. now let me cut to the chase. What you have here is one of those rare moments where everyone in the universe is rooting for you...well, okay, obviously not everyone. Point being, you're getting more than one freebie today. This one in particular is simple enough. You get 5 minutes after I break contact with you to make it to the girl, Aoi, got it? anyone gets in your way, you bring the building down on them, or slide right through them, but you do not get caught up in another drawn out fight.
"Sounds...ugh, simple enough..."Rose said, as her right arm began to glow unnaturally. It made kalin feel weird, and caused him to put up an aura to "Only issue is this one." she finished, nudging her chin in Abeni's direction.
I can handle that. Just worry about getting there...- A light appears over the area where Aoi is being held- in five minutes. You make it, you can stop what's happening. You guys don't, and well...You better get out fast.
Abeni's chest opens up to reveal a cannon, which is charging red light.
"I wasn't defending." A robotic version of her voice says, as the cannon fires on Rose and Kalin, all of the air in the vicinity of the fortress being absorbed by the blast, leaving only a vacuum.
In the aftermath of the blast, all that remained was a strang book in the hands of a young man. "Oh great, now I have to get involved..." he said. "You guys better get moving..." he said, before swinging the book like a bat. Kalin and Rose flew out with a "poof", and went flying over Abeni's head, as a torrent of wind went flying at the woman. The sound of the winds resembled the roar of a beast.
Kalin and Rose landed outside of the majority of the ruins, as Kid attacked Abeni. Jumping to his feet, in spite of his injuries, Kalin rushed off in Aoi's direction; Rose followed not far behind...
4.3 minutes left...
At the source of the tortured cries of Aoi, they find a large tower. However, something seems off. The air is growing darker at a rapid rate, until the area immediately infront of them becomes pure black, and red eyes appear in the darkness. Behind them, an incredible light begins glowing, with a set of lavender eyes behind them.
"Not this time!" Rose said, as her hand began to glow again. Kalin's aura turned black, and grew thicker around his body as he drew muramasa. He laughed hysterically for a moment, before he stabilized his sanity.
The darkness changes into a giant horned black demon, while the light behind them becomes a massive dragon made of pure light. Off in the skies, a bird made of multicolored lightning, and a bird of iridescent fire descends.
Rose fires a ball of flame forward, and Kalin leaps over it , firing his own down on the demon. both explode, lifting Kalin higher into the air. He launches an arm of dark energy into the wall, slashing it with his blade and creating a large gash in the wall.
3.2 minutes remain.
The dragon blasts Rose with searing light, while the Demon twists unnaturally toward Kalin and mauls his back open.
Inside the Tower
Aoi's body has begun crystallizing, it has already taken her chest and torso, and is now spreading down her legs and arms, and up her neck. Her soul has begun hardening, and is shifting into a ridged diamond shape. She has by this point, lost even the energy to scream, now only mind numbing pain sears her, and her voice fails her.
The assembled magicians depart, and White spirits away Ice Slayer, then turns just as the wall explodes. She smiles, cruel red eyes gleaming in the darkness of the tower.
"It looks like the knight in shining armor has arrived," She purrs.
Kalin lands in the space, his eyes glowing red as well while he stares the slayer down." Give her back..." he says, his back healing.
Outside, Rose creates a pillar of holy fire to block the dragon's attack. she then draws her blade. Rose slashes towards the demon, who becomes wrapped in heavenly chains.
The demon breaks them, giving her a rather bored expression before blasting her with a wave of darkness, while the dragon swats her to the ground. A giant of earth emerges from the sea, and a wolf's howl can be heard on the wind.
White only smiles, razor teeth gleaming. "Oh? Are you angry? I'm only punishing her, the naughty girl~" She says almost cheerfully.
"What are you going to do about it?" She says softly.
Rose stands to find herself surrounded by creatures. "Ugh, all you weak ass elementals. Getting taken over by a little self righteous, psycho pathic bitch..." as she speaks, the matter in her immediate vicinity starts to disintergrate."How could anyone as weak-minded as all of you think you're tougher than me!?" she yells, as the range from her that things are being destroyed increases by a few feet. Her body glows with a heavenly aura, as does the sky surrounding the tower.
Kalin prepares to charge White, when his movements are interrupted by an unseen force. his body twitches in multiple areas, as he tries to get his body to follow his thoughts.
We aren't even trying, weak ass angel. Her ability is canceled out completely, and reverses, her own power now acting against her, every atom of her being evaoprated.
"Good, this will be a challenge, then!" Rose said, her field expanding further. her slowly dissolving body was held together by her healing ability.
Kalin reached out his unarmed hand. A black orb, the one that was previously his weapon, floated into his grasp. He still couldnt move by his own will.
From the top of the tower, the ice samurai and the lion of water glance at Rose, and she is suddenly hoisted in the air, and the eight elements begin to form around her in mass.
The doors to the tower open and a woman with short black hair and a ponytail and blue eyes enters, and she stops when she sees Aoi and White.
"What are you doing?!" She cries out seeing Aoi.
White looks at her coldly. "Toma. Leave. Traitors must be punished."
The woman called Toma looks at Aoi further, horrified.
"Toma. Leave." White says, now with an angry tone.
Suddenly a wave of water slashes the two Avatars channeling their power into Aoi, which causes them to shriek and disrupts their ritual, causing Aoi to fall, smashing on the ground in a heap, though the ice portions of her body violently cracks, causing her to cry out in pain as water seeps out of her.
"TOMA!" White roars with a dragonic edge to her voice, and the woman flees.
With White's focus redirected, The sphere in Kalin's hand zips toward her, as Kalin regains control of his body. He runs over to Aoi, opening a gate beneath her body, which she falls into. He then slides in behind her, and it closes.
"...Meaningless." She deflects the sphere with a thought, then banishes it from the grounds.
White then walks outside, entering the Secret Realm the Kanjo have activated, and watches as Rose is being made the cornerstone of a planet.
"Such a child. Did you think you could defeat my guardians so easily? You're more naive than you look." Spiritual chains wrap around Rose and cut off her powers, and White smirks.
A black and green cloaked figure appeared before the soldiers of Yosai. "Well, the barrier's down... Great, have to fix that then go back before someone speeds up the tree growth...."
The eight beings all confront him promptly, their features still unclear.
"You guys again... White must be pissy that the barrier was destroyed and someone foreign got in." He sighs. "Protocol 7A-D2c: Initiate barrier reboot sequence A through M." The protective barrier that had once barred outsiders from entering the fortress began to hum as light gathered at the top of the central tower.
He can hear sharp whispers amongst them.
"'Kay, godproof the barrier for future use. I'll have to run that patch momentarily... But really, how bad is her luck to have a god pay a visit?" The figure removes his hood revealing long blonde hair with stripes of black with green tips braided into a ponytail and turquoise eyes with a hint of emerald and amber within them. His face is androgynous, but handsome and he wears a set of circle lens spectacles with a dusty gold frame.
They do not relax, instead the hissing only intensifies.
"Yeah, yeah, sudden appearance, Mistress is in a bad mood, Goddess visited and barrier is broken until further notice. Anything else you have to say besides the unintelligible curses or can I get to business with the whole fixing thing."
They flicker and disappear, though they have sent an alert to the fortress in general. White meanwhile is less than pleased. "...So he is around then. You two, watch him."
Abeni and Azula flicker, then are gone.
"Fix barrier, inspect changes, meditate, observe nature... Probably end up arguing with her, train for an hour, meditate, draw..." He mutters to himself as he warps to the top of the central tower and begins tinkering with the barrier settings. "Why must everything require a full restart before it can update... There we are. 'Kay, amplify that, reduce that, add supplemental support there, change entry and exit frequency for CEs, add defense mechanism D7 to field exterior..."
Azula and Abeni appear on the far most North and South towers, and watch him.
"Set up backup and Auxiliary power and finish," says the person after a few more minutes of tinkering. "Recalibrate Barrier." The light from the tower grows brighter before spreading around the fortress. "Oi you two, I can tell where you are and what you're doing. Could you be less conspicuous please? Makes it harder to work when you feel piercing gazes from ten directions." He floats down from the tower and begins to look around the army barracks. "Please don't tell me I wasted resources..."
They do not respond. So he's around again... Abeni thinks quietly.
He enters a barrack and addresses the soldiers within. "Has your gear been upgraded at all or is it the same as before?"
Startled, the majority do not answer, but he can tell that their armor is of the same make.
"Oh you've got to be... After getting valuable resources... And not in use..." Nanashi's hair fades completely to black with green tips. "Why don't we have a few rounds of sparring outside?"
"Let's not and say we did." He hears White speak, out in the courtyard.
"Is it not smart to see if they're up to snuff," counters Nanashi, "Especially considering your luck."
"Your temper is not a welcome one. I thought I made it clear about the no funny buisness." Her eyes narrow. "You removed the status tracker on Nageki. Along with all of the other things you and your brother have caused, you had to add fuel to the fire."
She sighs heavily in annoyance. "My preperations are already convoluted enough, the fact your brother has set me back several generations worth of work back has only added to my ever expanding list of to dos. Forgive me if I am pressed for time to maintain my schedule, and don't have enough time to juggle upgrading the Chaos Engine armor of all of the Zeta Class, and completely rewriting the Epsilon Hardware, planning an invasion of two worlds, find a replacement archangel DNA source, replace and make up for the loss of multiple Chaos Engine units, upgrade the quality of the Avatars, while also dealing with casual visits of otherworldly beings, forgive me for forgetting about a catche of materials while I'm trying to get things back under control."
"First off, I didn't touch the tracker, secondly, you have my civility and reasoning, not my undying loyalty and respect, thirdly, wasted resources are wasted preparation and fourthly, I've yet to start any funny business aside from the countdown to the eradication of all life on Earth minus plants." Nanashi glances at White dully. "Besides, none of my previous statement was untrue. You have terrible luck to counter your plans and if your soldiers can't defeat a primarily noncombatant, they will be slaughtered in a full on assault by your various enemies." He looks back at the soldiers."No offense."
She gives him an equally dull look. "Listen to you talk. I am well aware of my own situation, I don't need you to tell me that. In any case, the skill of my foot soldiers are none of your concern. In a battle with their intended foe, they shall certainly thrive. We easily crushed our enemy's men back in the invasion, and with the data collected, I have what I need. Their concern will not be my men, but my elites. I intend to show them my true hand, and believe me, it is they who shall have bad luck before the month is over." She has a slight smirk on her face.
"If their training and current equipment concern you, do not be. I have plans... Yosai and all of its bastions will be more properly remodeled..."
"Such confidence can result in failure, regardless of planning, especially when your elites have to go against the elites of the other side. It's all fine and well if you have things planned, but if you wait too long to implement things, you cripple yourself and your chances of success or does such logic fall on deaf ears? I'd hate for you to be hit by a surprise assault after talking big, White, t'would be be a shame, though ultimately I don't care, so do whatever."
White gives him a look. "I'm not a lazy old fart. When you are done critizing me, I have to create an Archangel, and turn her mother into a Lambda." She smiles, and has the look of someone who is leaving something out on purpose. "When that is taken care of, things will be back on schedule... how is that little tyke any way?"
"Oh right, your sweetheart sends his regards... Her regards... No, his, just androgynous..." He shrugs. "He's as he is. Always will be. If you're so busy, why waste time? Highly counterproductive."
She bristles at the name 'sweetheart'. "I want to stick a knife between his eyes... If it wasn't clear, a goddess pretty much interrupted at random, and then you showed up. I haven't exactly been slacking off." She turns and starts walking away.
"The last person who did that was impaled then ground into meat. Good luck with that," he says offhandedly, walking in the opposite direction. Am I really the only long term thinker here? For Pete's sake...
Abeni continues watching the situation, sighing. At least that didn't come to blows... enough drama as it is'.
"That's because we are polar opposites, the epitome of opposites and not the type that are drawn to each other," he says aloud. "Should probably meditate and clear my mind further."
Abeni just sighs, rubbing her forehead. What a long day...
Nanashi finds a clear area and begins his meditation, the elements forming into spheres almost immediately.
Vzark takes a break from trainings, taking the weights off, and sitting down. "Yes...if I just keep doing this, I can become even stronger. I can already feel results..." Vzark gets up and slings the weights over his shoulder, and finds a window. He looks through it and notices an unfamilar figure meditiating. "I wonder who he is..."
"Yes?" He doesn't look up or react, instead meditating all the same.
"How many mind readers are there here? Whatever. I assume you're hearing these thoughts, so i'll just talk to you like this. Im Vzark, I don't believe we've met yet."
"Telepathy is a given for one practicing the sage arts."
"Sage Arts? Care to explain?"
"You wouldn't understand beyond seeking enlightenment." The elemental spheres around Nanashi fade and he opens his eyes. "A certain weapon with a contrary edge."
"I...see. I assume this meditating has to do with this Sage Arts?"
"You can speak normally," he replies, "Meditation opens the path to enlightenment."
"You're a lambda, right? It only makes sense, especially with that commotion you made."
"The Eight overreact. Besides, I haven't broken anything yet, my tech savvy counters my artistic savvy... That and White is always pissy because her good side is gone. Her older brother is a more reasonable Negative Spirit to deal with."
A black hooded figure's head pops out of the ground. "That's because I'm not a newborn spirit with no experience. Being a spirit for a while, I've gotten used to my primal urge to pick a fight with everything."
"Okay, there really needs to be some sort of protocol that explains things around Yosai to people who are new, because seeing some random person pop from the ground doesn't seem normal."
"That is the normal here," he says, then glances at the Dark Slayer. "Makes sense."
"Still doesn't change the fact everything around here is weird as shit."
"Ehh, weird is subjective." He looks at Nanashi. "Tea perhaps? There's some extra."
"Sure," he replies before turning to Vzark. "Weight Training is only so effective, kiddo." For a moment his eyes are completely multicolored and the air shifts. "Huh... That's a headache to come."
"I don't plan to just train with weights, im going to reach the limit the weights can give me, and well, i'll start experimenting. Although im not exactly sure how good these weights are anyway. Nor do I even know who gave them to me."
"...For the best."
The cloaked man pulls out a cup of tea from the shadow he is in.
Nanashi accepts it. "Why thank you."
"There was an excess of it anyway."
"I see." Nanashi addresses Vzark. "I wonder, how strong are you as a new engine?"
"Well, im not entirely sure. I mean I sparred with Abeni, but only got one hit in, so im not entirely sure im that strong. Regardless, it is my goal to become immensely strong."
"Sounds about right. How do you think you'll fair against a primarily noncombatant?"
"Depends if that noncombatent still knows how to beat the shit out of someone or not."
"Maybe, maybe not." He returns the tea cup to the Dark Slayer and around him manifest twelve spheres of a glassy looking material the size of cantaloupes. A black katana becomes apparent at his side, having always been there, but unnoticed nonetheless. "A sparring match with minimal use of power for fairness."
"Alright, fine. I just took a break from training, but I suppose a sparring match can't hurt...too much."
"Depends on the opponent." Nanashi flashes his sword, a black and turquoise blade with an emerald tinted edge, then sheathes it. "We've begun."
Vzark breathes and takes a good look at Nanashi and his surroundings, relaxing his body, but still ready to react to any attacks, and he begins charging towards Nanashi.
After several steps he feels a diagonal slash across his torso and a jolt as he is pushed back a step. Nanashi flashes his blade again a moment later.
Vzark growls, and starts forging a blade of his own, keeping it at the ready in case of another fast attack. Instead of charging, he walks at a semi fast pace, waiting for some sort of signal that Nanashi is going to attack.
Across Vzark's Sword Hand forms another cut and a similar jolt. Nanashi takes a step back and slants his blade upwards.
"Fuck..." Vzark breathes again, making sure not to let himself stay calm, and fixes his stance so it is more suited for the situation. He continues walking at the fast pace, and watches. "You're a better teacher than Abeni so far."
"Teaching is a forte." Nanashi flashes his blade. "Figure out the trick yet?"
Abeni, watching, frowns. There is a very big difference in what is being taught, little one... She thinks quietly. There is very little that can prepare you for war... ...if you do not learn to anticipate and plan ahead... being taught to fight becomes meaningless.
She sighs, then looks down at her hand, a small necklace inside it. Little sister... be safe.
"I assume everytime you flash your sword, you're going to attack? Its a good way to test my reflexes, i'll give you that." Vzark waits again, keeping an eye out for any flashes or movement.
"Close, but not entirely correct." A cut forms on Vzark's hip. "While I don't expect you to see these yet, the moment my sword appears, I've already attacked. If this were life or death, you wouldn't see the flash of my blade. Essentially, if your opponent is faster, you have to react faster and catch on as quickly as possible or you'll suffer... Oh, for future reference, hunch slightly or bend your knees a little. Makes it harder to knock you down. You'll need that advice for enemies of smaller stature."
Vzark stays silent, simply adjusting his stance to fit what Nanashi suggested, and starts counting, waiting to get hit again, but ready to take the blow.
"Never just wait..." A cut forms across Vzark's back, but he notices a slight disturbance in the air not long before it happens.
Vzark growls, but remains calm, and takes notice to the disturbance, but tells himself not to rely on it. Instead, he waits until he feels another aerial disturbance, keeping his sword ready, as well as keeping an eye out for visual cues still.
"Your opponent may suddenly shift attitudes with you." Vzark's sees the faintest flicker in Nanashi's form followed by a disturbance in the air.
Vzark quickly dodges, knowing an attack is imminent, but still stays wary for more disturbances or visual cues, not sue if that would be his only attack.
He feels the air above his head split before coming face to face with Nanashi and feeling a powerful jolt run through him as the grip of the blade is thrust into his abdomen. "Comfort is a lie in battle. Never get too comfortable or jumpy, ekse a slight change can throw you off."
Vzark steps back, gaining wind again and slashes at Nanashi with his blade, keeping a strong stance.
In Nanashi's place now sits an orb from earlier with an odd sigil on it.
"Force." The sphere accelerates forward and rams into Vzark with the force of a large truck, Nanashi appearing behind it then further away.
Vzark gets winded but recovers and removes himself from the sphere, being awfully wary, and starts making his way towards Nanashi.
Vzark's feet slip from beneath him suddenly as if the ground were slick with ice, and another sphere with the same sigil as before slams down on him.
"Okay...this is..different." Vzark gets up and starts skating along the surface, keeping an eye and feel of his surroundings, especially the ground.
"This may be harder to do, but expand your awareness of the world around you. Imagine you are surrounded by a bubble that spans for three meters in all directions. This would be your field of awareness, a space in which you know everything about your surroundings with focus. The task at hand is to remove focus from that equation." Vzark skates head first into a hexagonal barrier. "Speed." One of the orbs flies into Nanashi, granting him a teal aura. "By the way, the objective isn't to hit me, but to learn what you can now and give you a focus for later."
Vzark stops moving and studies his surroundings, trying to remove the focus, and expand his view. In case, he remains on the defense, ready for something to appear.
Vzark senses something hurtling towards him from above and notices a turquoise flash where Nanashi was.
Vzark quickly moves out of the direction of the sphere, and heads over to where he was the turquoise flash
Time slows to a crawl for Vzark as his legs are swept from under him and his back is tapped gently by a palm that launches him skyward. "You're improving steadily, physically and mentally. Once you get faster, things will be easier on you... I'd teach you flight maneuvers, but I don't want to keep you here for hours." Nanashi catches him and sets him on the ground. "I can teach you styles of swordplay or brawling if you want."
"Personally i'd like to learn how to do what ever the fuck that was you did to me, but swordplay is probably best, i'd like to get the hang of it"
"You're a long way off from getting down my Super Speed Technique. When you're durable enough to be launched across the solar system and fly back faster than you were sent, I can teach you the fundamentals of that." Nanashi chuckles, "That being said, do ten thousand practice swings with a sword as heavy as a real one. This seems harsh, but it teaches several lessons in one, so hop to it. After that hack away at a test dummy at various angles with every type of slash, cut, lunge, stab and swing you can think of, using the various types of sword until you find one or more you feel comfortable with. After that, another ten thousand swings. Once you've completed that, Pick the scroll or scrolls linked to the sword of your preference and begin reading it." Nanashi glows for a moment and from the air beside him forms an ornate shelf filled with catalogued scrolls in alphabetical order. Five of the spheres from earlier circle around the shelf and a sixth floats near an empty space. From the ground near it spawn a dozen training dummies and several dozen racks filled with various swords from across history. "You won't be able to see any of the scrolls without first completing the other task. Once you finish with your chosen scrolls the next part of your instruction shall begin."
"You've got to be fucking kidding me. But fine, fuck it. Might as well if theres a chance I ened up being a master swordsman, so fucking be it." Vzark dusts himself off and heads to the swords rack, picking up a sword akin to a ThorpeFalchion, and begins practicing swings, counting every time.
"Oh, if you do get tired, the sphere nearest you will fully restore your stamina five times. I'd save those for as long as possible if I were you."
Abeni continues watching them, now a little bit drowsy as the sun is slowly setting.
"So, how are you, Abeni?" Nanashi suddenly speaks up.
She snaps to alertness. "...Oh, I'm... fine. A little tired I suppose. Worried for Gurin... I haven't been able to sense her."
"Has her Ether Network been closed down?"
"I believe so, I could sense her before, but a couple weeks to a month ago, she vanished. It's like someone popped a bubble, and she was gone."
"...I have an idea, but it's dangerous territory to speak about."
"...Right..." She sighs. She looks at the little necklace in her hand.
"I won't say that she'll be fine, I can't guarantee that, but I can say that you'll meet again. That much I can sense."
"..." She looks at the necklace some more, then lets out a heavy sigh. "I honestly thought you wouldn't come back here, let alone train a new kid. Why'd you return?"
"Barrier broke and another thing..."
She gives him a questioning look. "Why fix the barrier? You don't owe this place anything. And what other thing?"
"It's more of a pride thing with the barrier... The other thing is kinda embarrassing..."
Abeni smiles faintly. "Embarrassing?"
"Yeah." He fidgets and glances at the floor.
She slowly loses her smile, a tinge of worry on her face. "...Are you ok there? Ants in your pants?"
"Nothing like that, it's just hard being in my position..."
"...Alright, you're losing me. What's eating you so bad?"
"Well... Fine, I'll be blunt. You interest me."
"...Hmmm?" The statement catches her off her guard. "Interest?"
"Yeah. Interest was probably the wrong word though."
"...Oh. ...Oh - You like me, in the... attracted? Sense of the word?" She seems to be mostly genuinely surprised.
"Sorry if I'm coming across as weird or sudden."
"N-No no, I'm just... surprised. It's... kind of flattering, I guess."
Nanashi looks away for a moment. "I don't know what the future will hold or if things will ever be this peaceful not far from now or even if we'll be on the same ground... But, know I'll look out for you if I can."
"I must say I never expected to be confessed to," She says with a faint smile. "Thank you."
Standing up, she takes one of her wings and pushes him closer to her, where she quickly pecks him on the forehead with a teasing smile, her fire like eyes more lively than before.
"That's a thank you for lightening my heart, perhaps there is a silver lining I haven't noticed to this life now."
She looks at Vzark. "I just hope the future will allow such a thing as hope for a race such as us." She steps back, a slightly comforted smile on her face.
"Take care of yourself Nanashi. I would be rather put off if you kicked the bucket. Do me a favor, at least though. Please see if you can find her. It'll make these next few weeks much more bearable if I... ...if I know she's alright."
A single section of Nanashi's hair gains a blonde tint as his expression brightens. He nods quietly. "I'll do my best. If I can't contact you directly, my double will... Now to find that prick..."
"Thank you, you really are a dear. Don't push yourself too hard, by the way."
Nanashi smiles. "I shouldn't end up in pieces over a few names..."
"Depends on who and what names you to elect to use."
"We'll see." Nanashi flies to the top of the central tower. "Ignorant Yellow Bellied, Mind Numbing, Cowardly Crowned, Narcissistic, Two Bit, Pedophilic, Lily Livered, Obtuse, Rump Faced, Pest Breathed, Callous, Overgrown Con Man Pixie..." Nanashi broadcasts the single insult across the barrier surrounding the fortress and for miles to come. The same insult is broadcast from the Atlantean Barrier and through the linked Yggdrasil Trees across the Earth.
Like a ghost from the mist, a faint image of Eien seems to almost slink into view.
"Ok, seriously. What? Did you have to honestly have to do that? Could you not, NOT, have just called like a normal person, or is it a family heritage thing where you exist only to piss me off?"
"Far more enjoyable that way." Nanashi shrugs before getting to the point. "Where do you have Gurin? I know one of your schemes, however many there are, involves her and is clearly in action if she and the Veteran have vanished."
An irritated look crosses his face. "Ooooooh no. No no no. No. You and your little circle have caused me enough trouble. She, is fine. Go tell the dollface that and piss off. I got things to do, and helping anyone associated with the Doctor is at the bottom of my list!"
"Leg, Operation Viral is a go. Send it."
"Before you try anything, I'm not actually here. You and your little threats are useless right now."
"That's too bad. How fast could you traverse about eight galaxies?"
"...You've lost me. Let's not talk theoreticals."
"Since you have about five minutes before whatever's been leaked about you gets spread to eight galaxies... I have been informed that it is in reference to not being able to defeat a simple human and the various insults he had for you."
"..." Eien's eyes slowly turn red as he appears physically in front of Nanashi.
"Ok, let's put it this way." He begins to draw his sword, then pauses.
"There is a very big difference between not being able to defeat a simple human, and simply holding back the mass majority of your power, because at full power, you could in theory make the explosion of the Earth due to a attack from the Spear of God look like child's play.
I'm busy, but here's the gist. I'm letting her go, on my own terms. I made a deal with 'The Veteran' already, but she's not leaving until he's done with his little run in the gauntlet I made for him to explore. However, if you can't let a man simply do his buisness and keep a contract like he asks, technically my orders can be overruled when it comes to matters of keeping things quiet. Me making a bit of a cosmic ruckus by killing you is not out of the question, so, only warning now: Knock off the cheap black mail, and let me do my thing, or I'll gladly show you the difference between me holding back, and me shooting to kill."
His eyes narrow. "Tell you what, one time deal only. I'll let you visit, if you're that damn obsessed. That's my final offer."
"All necessary information has been acquired. You should really work on that temper, it'll cost you if you can't keep cool in any situation," shrugs Nanashi, hand present on the Azure Calibur in a draw stance. "Don't misunderstand, I could care less about your motives, but I needed answers beyond the vague and simple... Besides, while I may not be as physically strong as Leg, don't mistake me as weak or fragile unless you want to see why I could defeat him with a hundredth of his power in the flesh, Observer. While I am not a fan of fighting, I will defend myself and follow my instincts should you go on the offensive... And FYI, you were just bluffed." Nanashi's eyes burn a brilliant emerald for a few seconds before he turns away.
Nanashi hears the click of Eien's blade as it is sheathed, but then, just above a whisper:
"Well, that's true, for you. But you might want to turn around."
"Mirror." Nanashi spares a side long glance, the Azure Calibur flashing in his hand.
Nanashi is suddenly pulled into a strange pocket of existence, which ejects all of his weapons, and he finds himself in a human like state, chained with a heavy assortment of runes and chains of some strange matter, and standing before him, is a small figure dressed in a brown cloak. Nanashi appears to be firmly attached to a torture device.
"I do believe this is where the line is drawn. We have been patient. But I think it's time we made it clear there will be consequences for your actions... this is your... Admonition." The voice he hears is vaguely male, and appears to be coming from the entirety of the space, rather than solely from the figure in front of him.
"Hmm, tell me, what gives you the right to judge my actions? If it is because of my granted form, I don't care, but if it is for something so shallow as attempting to grant another's wish in a way fitting, how utterly ridiculous." His eyes burn the same green as before, as if disregarding his state of being.
"I am not judging your actions... I am but a simple executioner... but if there had to be a right or a reason... it is my job to punish those who interfere with our divine order... specifically this is retribution for the continuous harassment of my subordinate... And speaking of that wish... you won't have to worry about it anymore."
The figure raises its hand, and a shadow of Abeni's form appears before Nanashi's eyes, and a sword has appeared in its hand.
"What you see before you is the conceptual form of the one you rather care most deeply for... with but a single stroke of this blade, I will erase her from existence. In such a way, the pain of having her viciously removed from even your memories will be just the beginning of the hundred year long nightmare you are about to endure..."
Nanashi closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. "I do not believe you, Earth King, nor will I." He breathes deeply before focusing on the darkness beyond his eyelids.
"You know, you're right. Killing her quickly wouldn't be any fun. I'll just start by digging a knife into her nerves... and have you feel the sensation. We'll upgrade slowly."
Three things happen at the same time, an explosion of pain in his left hand, the mental trauma from Abeni surges into his own mind, and a vicious slit from him cutting the figure's hand appears on his own hand as well.
"Maybe I'm not bluffing so much, am I?"
Nanashi winces, but replies nonetheless. "If this is the conduct of an executioner, I am sorely disappointed that we share the same weapon."
"Meh, I'm also a torture expert. I only murder half of the time. Besides, if I don't at least get a little suffering put in, it isn't worth it. A hundred killings plus another gets dull. This is much more entertaining. Now then... want to try something a little more... extreme?"
He hears the rattle of chains, and a alarmed gasp, which is quickly gagged. "But why stick with mere copies when I can cut her up in person? What should we do next? How about the eye?"
Nanashi feels a slow, cold sensation, as though someone is running a razor sharp blade just against his skin, not yet close enough to cut, right under his right eye, and feels the rush of mental terror from Abeni.
"Breathe deeply and focus, for pain is nothing compared to that abyss." Nanashi remains calm and continues to focus.
"Aye... but what of her? Perhaps you should be more worried about others, narcissism is a poor trait in a relationship." The male says as a dagger is slowly dug into their eye socket, working in around the eyehole in toward their optic nerves, a process the cloaked being elects to prolong for over fifty minutes, or so Nanashi believes is the time elapsed.
"My words are not for me, Earth King, I only matter to four," retorts Nanashi, electing to ignore his own pain. "Just know that your day will come, far sooner than you realize."
"Indeed." He is now cutting out their optic nerve and breaking open their eyehole, the pain he hears and feels from Abeni compounding his own, her mind becoming strained from the pain.
"Deep Breaths and focus." He opens his eye, opting to leave one shut, but his focus is greater than before and his will unscathed.
The figure is coated in crimson blood, his dagger soaked in it. Behind him is Abeni, in what Nanashi speculates is as close to her human form as he will likely see. Her right eye is now nothing but a jagged hole in her skull, blood pours from it.
His knife is now pressed up against her throat. "Impressed, not really. How about I just kill her?"
"How Filthy, involving others where a single would do. Truly a pitiful swordsman."
"Well, in that case..."
"Oi, puntface, didn't ask for your help." Eien's voice breaks the scene like glass, revealing the two standing before him atop Yosai.
"The point was made."
"I had it under control... just one cosmic explosion, that's all."
"For the last time Eien, no. I was going to kill him."
"And they call me the stupid one. We don't need the Doctor getting mad."
"Next time, I really will kill you." The brown cloaked being disappears.
Eien gives Nanashi a sour look. "The only reason I interrupted, is because I hate the kid more than I hate you. Any case to be a cock block is well used. Oh, and by the way, you might actually want to get that fixed. And go give the girl a visit."
"But seriously. The only thing that might be classified as 'harm' toward her she's suffered is a greatly increasing introversion brought on by a life of rejection, and the fact she's a tree."
"We'll meet again, and next time the tables will be reversed," he says in reference to the brown cloaked figure, his voice the the same as before: composed and caustic. "I'll check on Guri once I'm sure her sister is safe and sound. This injury is nothing but a scratch."
"My word is not entirely untrustworthy, you know. The boy might take a while to get out though, my Labyrinth is not a nice trial to be had, but the pact is genuine. They'll be free to do whatever they please following the conclusion of his training. Can't just let him and the girl wander carelessly without some actual combat experience."
"...Remember what I said about temperament, it might make your goal less of a broken pi-" Nanashi clutches his head as his emerald iris fades to black for several moments. "Dream in the end." He vanishes and lands unstably on the ground as the same phenomena occurs for a longer period of time. "Breathe..." He searches for Abeni.
She is found where he left her, but blood is oozing from under her hand, over her right eye, just like in the encounter. She appears to be horribly grimacing.
"Restore Being." A Monjû flies from another part of the fortress to Abeni and restores her eye and lost blood. "You were dragged into my business. For that I apologize. I did learn about Gurîn, she's among the living, but she's become a tree and is somewhere in Yellow's dimension."
She appears to be almost unresponsive. Red markings have formed on her body, appearing along various seams on her body's scales he hadn't noticed before, they even are on her horns, there is a slight dark aura to Abeni at the present moment. After a while, she shakily removes her hand from her eye, both of which are blood red, her pupils dragonic.
"S...Sorry. I... I just need a moment."
What follows after this statement is a long period of quiet from her, in which she appears to reach a meditative state, and begins forming handseals. After doing this for a while, and him still not grasping entirely why she is doing this, various red sigils form briefly over her, one of them seems to mention or imply a seal or something close in that nature. Soon after, a complex magic circle forms around her, and the dark energy he felt begins to drain from the air, and Abeni's eyes return to amber, the red marks fade, and she almost seems to slightly shrink in height.
"...That's... ...better. ...A-anyway. ...She's become a what?"
"A tree, I don't know the details regarding that completely, but I can find out without dragging everyone into it."
"...I appreciate that you're trying so hard... ...but be more careful, please."
"Seeking answers is never the easiest path..." He appears back at the top of the central tower.
Eien gives him a melting look. "I take it you'll just harass me again if I don't you, so I'll just take you. Touch anything though, and I really will kill you."
"Do I have to reiterate that I really don't care about whatever you're planning because it's not my place to judge... Besides, whatever you have planned probably isn't going to result in a multiuniversal convergence or Systemic Crash. IRT..."
"Whatever." He and Nanashi flicker, then disappear.
Vzark finally reaches 10,000 swings and succumbs to use a stamina sphere, leaving him with four. He goes to the rack and picks up a variety of swords, setting them all down near a test dummy, and begins hacking, slashing, cutting, lunging, and thrusting various swords into it, trying out as many as he can to figure out which one appeals to him the most.
After testing every sword he has access to, he goes with the Thorpe Falchion, and begins practicing another ten thousand swings. Just with a quick glance, you can already tell he has improved greatly since his first ten thousand swings. Time passes and He finishes his final ten thousand, using his second stamina sphere. He heads over to the ornate shelf, and picks up every scroll about the Thorpe Falchion and its fighting style, and begins reading.
The two scrolls expand for many feet, the first detailing versatility of action while the second explains advanced swordplay with diagrams and models.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me. This is going to take me all day..." Vzark rolls up the second scroll for now, and begins reading the scroll about versatility of action first.
The scroll explains the various uses of the Thorpe Falchion, as well as how well it works in combat scenarios from different positions and strikes. The weapon seems to be more suitable for slashes and heavy blows, but is nimble and fairly easy to wield.
Nanashi reappears in the fortress, his hair having grown longer and more tame.
Abeni is with Azula, the two seem to be in a discussion.
Nanashi waits for the discussion to end rather than prying. He instead chooses to meditate and go through more IRT.
After a while, the two seperate, and Abeni appears to be headed for a large courtyard, while Azula appears to be roosting on at the highest tower, seemingly her usual spot. Nanashi notices a strange new feel to the air.
"Hm..." He quietly disengages from his mental training, his eye now restored. He wanders around, glancing at Vzark as he continues his training.
The strange feeling in the air seems to come from beneath the fortress, at the labortory levels.
He opts to speak to Abeni rather than explore for now.
"Hey Nanashi, what kind of sword do you use, and why?"
"Generally a katana or sabre with a basket hilt for speed and fluidity."
When he finds her, she appears to be sitting with her eyes closed, on occasion he sees quick strokes of light about her in small bursts. Her head tilts in his direction but does not open her eyes.
"Welcome back Nanashi."
"I got more information, but something seems to be bothering you, so I'll hold off on that," he says. "What's the matter?"
"Mental simulations, nothing more at the present. Unless you mean something else... ...I'm simulating the forces my arm experiences when I hold a sword..."
"I see... Are you certain?"
"What else would you be concerned for me of? Was it the incident from earlier? I was, if that is indeed the root of concern, addressing a severe need to perform maintenance."
"I see. Forgive me for meddling," he says before producing his Sketchbook. He then explains the situation with Gurîn.
Abeni seems to go rigid at the sight of the drawings and what he says. "..."
"I'll give you a moment."
She after a very long moment, says, "...What on Earth is happening to my little sister...? Gurin..." Abeni appears distraught.
Nanashi simply hugs her.
"Is there even an end to this madness....?" She says hollowly.
"Soon," is his response. "Things will get better soon, it's just a matter of holding on til then."
"...I am not worried about myself, my sisters... they are not strong... ...not in the way I am. I've always have been the one to rough it out... I'm used to it."
"So you are the proverbial tape holding them together..."
"I was always looking out for them. Gurin, when one of her sleezy 'boyfriends' treated her like trash, or when people tried to rip Azula off in the store, I'd beat them all up and make them pay... ...It tears me apart to not be able to protect my family anymore."
Nanashi only nods, understanding Abeni's pain completely.
"...Hmmmm... ...Say, how's that kid? What was his name?"
"Nageki? Nanahoshi, my double, is watching him for now."
"...I see. I hope he remains well. ...Nanashi, what are you planning on doing now?"
The feeling beneath the fortress has grown subtly stronger.
"...There's Something I have to do, something that is calling me..." A forlorn look enters his eyes as they fade from emerald to amber.
"Hmmm? What do you mean?"
"It's not something I can explain... Just a strong gut feeling."
"Hey Nanashi, do you have anymore training advice? I'm going to use that sword training quite a bit, but is there anything else I can do?"
"Go running, but take as many swords as you can carry. I'll design a training course for you in a few moments." He speaks plainly to Vzark. "Each day you do practice swings, add one to five hundred more until fifty thousand is easy in a single session." As he speaks, Nanashi begins to draw something extremely detailed in his sketchbook, removing the page after writing something on it. The paper now reflects light like a metallic surface and is harder than carbon steel.
"Alright, i'll start running in a bit." Vzark looks at the paper, clearly curious. "What's that?"
"Training course. Set it on the ground when you're ready."
Vzark takes the paper and has a good look at it, moving to a more open area, he sets the paper down on the ground, and waits.
A strong vortex of wind forms around the paper and a moment later a massive nucleus of azure light engulfs the surrounding area. The light fades and from it appears a muddy field rife with targets, training dummies, guide posts and stone land markers. Vzark can immediately tell that the space is much larger than it appears on the outside and that the air is much heavier than the air outside. The space before him is picturesque and almost surreal in nature.
Vzark takes a step back. "What the fuck...?" He inspects the outside and goes into the field, inspecting the area.
The moment Vzark enters the field, he is assaulted by heavy rain and a shift in gravity. He ends up down to his knees in thick, gritty mud as nearly freezing winds whip at him.
Vzark growls and attempts to stand up, eventually being able to stand up properly, albeit having a hard time doing it. He stays still to try and get used to everything, and continues walking.
With each step, Vzark grows heavier abd heavier from the gradual accumulation of mud and water on his body. What appears to be a guidepost stands a few dozen meters away.
"This is fucking insane...." Vzark continues walking and heads to the guard post, occasionally shaking mud off of him.
On the post is a simple message: Mobility. The area beyond is strewn with rocks and the occasional puddle where too much water has accumulated. The mud is lighter in coloration, but it seems to be raining harder beyond the post as well.
Vzark walks past the post into the mobility course . He speeds up his walking speed, attempting to jog.
The first thing he notices is the decrease in mud depth and a much more watery quality of mud.
Vzark starts getting sued to the heaviness, and continues on in the mobility course, paying attention to where he steps and whats ahead.
Some areas of the mud have an orange tint as opposed to the muddy brown substance around Vzark.
Vzark starts avoiding the orange tinted mud, thinking it's a means of telling him do not step here.
Vzark's intuition saves him from being trapped in extremely viscous mud almost like rubber. He soon sees another guidepost at the horizon's edge.
Vzark jogs up to the guidepost, finding the weight easier to traverse in.
The post reads: Nimbleness. The area beyond it is misty and cold. The pressure beyond that point is far greater than before, so much so that the mist is as thick as a cloud on ground level and gradually reaching that point above.
Vzark takes a second to clean off any remaining mud off his clothes to reduce weight, and braces as he enters the Nimbleness course.
The first thing he notices is the drop in temperature by several tens of degrees and the thicker air. The mud here is runny like water.
Vzark carefully treads the area, looking out for anything that he would think would help him train how nimble he is.
A few steps later, Vzark hears a click beneath his foot.
Vzark quickly reacts and jumps back, expecting the worst.
Where he stood a moment before now houses a massive metal bolt from a ballista with no identifiable source due to the mist.
"Well then...thats an interesting test...." Vzark continues walking but keeps his ears open for any clicks, slowly speeding up.
several steps later he hears a ping and several ticks.
Vzark utilizes what he learned in his past training and opens his view up to anything coming towards him, focusing but still moving to be ready to easily evade something.
The mud beneath him begins to crack and bubble.
Vzark quickly gets out of the way, still being aware of his surroundings in case anything else happens.
Where he stood before sprouts a pillar of flames. The ticking continues.
Vzark starts running, keeping his ears open, avoiding any ticking at all costs.
Pillars of fire, ice, lightning and highly pressurized water begin to rise, staying on his heels and often nearly surpassing him.
Vzark puts his focus into evading the pillars, jumping straight up into the air and flipping so he turns, jumping over the pillars before they can hit, and starts running again, keeping a keen idea of where the pillars are during his stunt so he isn't hit.
A bolt from a ballista clips his left side.
Vzark grunts but takes the pain, being more aware of the sky and things coming down on him, occasionally checking the pillars. He expands his view, preemptively dodging things before they're near due to expanding his view and focus.
He sees another post in the distance, but the pillars begin to accelerate in response.
Vzark starts running faster, using more energy, but stays aware of whats around him, not thinking hes totally fine yet due to being near the end.
There is now a constant rain of bolts just in front of him to trip him up.
"Jesus christ when will this let up?" Vzark quickly dodges the rain of bolts, speeding up again after dodging to keep evading the pillars, and checking up on the sky to make sure nothing is coming towards him.
He reaches the next post in time to see the pillars halt.
Vzark takes a second to breathe and regain energy, stretching and relaxing his muscles. He moves towards the next post to see what it says.
Focus. The word is bold on the post. Beyond it lies a field of mist not unlike the other.
Vzark takes a deep breath and walks into the mist, keeping an eye out for something that would be a threat.
All Vzark encounters is mist. There is no mud to slow him, only mist and pressure.
Vzark stays wary. "This is...different..." He continues walking through the mist, keeping his mind open to predict incoming attacks.
The mist continues onward.
"Okay, this clearly isn't working. There isn't any mud to slow me down, so I suppose theres nothing going to attack me...." Vzark slows down and takes a deep breath, keeping his mind clear and focuses on the area around him.
The mist shifts in response.
"Okay, some progress." Vzark stands still and relaxes his body, not thinking of anything stressful, and takes constant, but slow breaths. He continues focusing on the area, as well as what the area could be behind the mist.
The mist shifts more.
"Maybe if I just do what Nanashi was doing when I first saw him.." Vzark sits down on the ground and closes his eyes, being completely relaxed. He imagines the area in his mind, and keeps it clear at the same time.
The mist clears, revealing the outside world and a golden token of sorts.
Vzark slowly gets up and breathes again, walking torwards the token. He picks it up, and inspects it.
The token dissolves on contact, becoming an orange broadsword of energy with black handle. The blade slightly curves along the edge and is wider at the base compared to the tip and has a two handed grip. The blade looks exceptionally sharp, but also looks large enough to crush as well as cut.
Vzark swings the blade, slicing the air in front of him. The very air can be seen almost being cut by the sword, and a yellow green tracer seems to emit from the blade. "Perfect balance...perfect weight..." Vzark places the blade upon his shoulder, smirking. "Looking forward to training this intensely again." He lets out a breath, and leaves the area.
As Vzark leaves, the area returns to normal and the paper folds into a ring that attaches itself to his index finger.
Vzark looks at the ring, and grins. "Huh, stylish and functional." He lets out a slight laugh, and inspects the sword once more, clearly intrigued by it. He then heads back into the building, leaving the courtyard. Vzark finds himself tired and heads back to where he met Azula, flying up and perching onto a fairly thick post, so he wouldn't fall off in his sleep. He layed down and kept his sword close, closing his eyes, and rested.
Vzark can feel another presence nearby when he begins to stir.
Vzark keeps his sword close, clearly wary despite being somewhat safe, but turns his head towards the direction of the presence.
He sees Azula roosting in her usual spot.
"Oh, sorry, I should have assumed you would have been back. Sleeping up here seemed to be the best choice at the time"
"Don't mind me." She says softly. Her blue hair drifts idly in the wind.
"You sure? To be honest it did seem you didn't want to be bothered yesterday, but alright"
"I am just... weary."
"Forgive my curiosity, whys that?"
"I guess I can see why you come up here then. It seems like a good place to kind of get away from it all."
"Yes..." Her eyes are distant, just looking off blankly.
"She's taken!" A familiar, rather annoying male's voice yells up at them.
Vzark raises an eyebrow and looks at the direction of where the voice came from.
Kagerou is down on the ground looking up at them. Azula seems visibly annoyed, and a moment later a large blue lightning bolt nearly strikes him.
"AHHH! NO! I'M SORRY! RUNNING!" Another one prods the Eta's rear as he runs away.
Vzark lets out a slight laugh. "Im still surprised he hasn't been crippled yet from all of the annoying things he does"
"He will mind Abeni and White, but not me. It doesn't bother me that much to begin with..."
"Isn't White this apparent scary and terrifying leader of ours? Thats what i've been told, at least."
"White bares many faces... I would hope you do not face her at her darkest."
"And which face is she baring now?"
"Depends I suppose."
"Hmm." Vzark glances at his sword, and looks around the view before them. "There really is a lot of shit to take in."
"You aren't the only one."
"What do you mean by that?"
"You aren't the only one who has a lot on their mind... ...a lot of things to take in."
"I would assume so. Has anything big happened recently? I've been noticing a lot of people seem on edge or...wary."
"...Something big is happening at least." She is still distant looking.
"Whats going on? If it concerns the others than i think it would concern me too"
"We are going to war soon..."
A flutter of wings can be heard.
"Azula doesn't like to talk about these kind of things. She's already weary from everything." He hears the quiet voice of Nezumi.
"I wont question you about it then, but im still curious. Sorry to bother you Azula. On the other hand, will I be able to get the answers from you Nezumi?"
"Im willing to take that dependent chance then"
Nezumi flies off to a lower section of the fortress.
Vzark sprouts wings and flies down after her, giving a slight wave to Azula.
Nezumi looks toward Vzark quietly.
"You don't seem as tired as you were last time we talked"
"...Still tired.... always tired..."
"Any reason why? I haven't been exposed to anything that would make me extremely tired yet. Well, except Kagerou. Im already tired of his bullshit..."
"...I want to sleep, and never wake up... ...everything else doesn't have meaning for me..."
"So you want to...die? Thats a little dramatic. Im sure that has to be at least one thing that has meaning to you. Considering you're still going on, theres something keeping you alive"
"Isn't that pretty much why we were made anyway? Yeah I could see why it sucks, but in the end its why we exist, right? But then again, I guess in your case it isn't the greatest."
"I sleep until I am called... the only reason I live is because the Lady demands... ...else I would sleep... peaceful sleep..." She says quietly.
"Im still surprised that there's nothing you keeping you going except for the fact that "The Lady" demands so. Is there really nothing else?"
"Repeating myself is redundant. All I know is servitude and sleep... escape from this world where I have to feel..."
Vzark furrows his brow and shakes his head. "Whats this war Azula mentioned?"
"The invasion of the rest of this world and Earth, the eventual evolution of all into our kind..."
"Do we have any idea as to when this is happening?"
"A few days to a few weeks."
"Guess that gives me more reason to train harder."
"..." She sits down on the roof quietly.
Vzark sits down next to her, looking around. "Are the others doing anything to prepare?"
"Most of us have very little needing to be expanded on... the average soldiers of the army train vigorously though."
"Is that enough though?"
"It doesn't matter..."
"What makes you say that? Is the war going to be fought in vain or something? Or is it the whole you only live to sleep and serve thing."
"I don't care either way..."
Vzark turns and thinks for a bit, leaving a good minute of silence until he speaks up. "Okay, I have an idea." Vzark stands up and looks at the nearest tower to them. He creates a metal cable and shoots it across into the tower, and checks if it holds. He then creates a hook like device in his hand. "We're going to have a bit of fun. You up for it?"
"..." She tilts her head to one side. "Fun...?"
"There's nothing else to do, and I'm sure you'd love it. Come on, it'll be great" Vzark reaches out his hand to pull her up, clearly eager.
"..." She quietly takes his hand, after a few minutes of inaction.
Vzark pulls her up, creating another hook and handing it to her. He quickly creates more zip lines, making them more elaborate as they go on."Just watch and follow after I go" Vzark walks back and gets a running start, jumping and hooking onto the line. As he zips down, his laughter can be clearly heard.
Nezumi watches, but seems to not be willing to move. Strangely however, a gust of wind blows her off the tower and causes her to down the line anyway, and soon after Vzark hears her screech in fright at the speed.
"God I hope that's a good thing..." The zip line transfers over into a less steep line, but soon steepens again and starts to curve, and along them shows an exceptional view of the area, surprisingly unhindered by the speed of the rider.
Nezumi is holding onto the hook for dear life, her eyes clamped closed in terror, shaking.
"Shit." Vzark slows himself down, being just slightly ahead of her. "Hey, it's going to be fine, you're completely safe, just loom at me for now"
She continues shaking, but slightly opens her eyes timidly.
"There you go, you're doing great. If anything, you're already doing better than most"
"Mmmmmmmmmmm!" She lets out an agitated groan of fright.
"Id save the groans till later, it's only just begun" Vzark begins speeding up as it steepens, curving past a tower, and dropping to gain momentum.
Below, Silent Angel is reading a graphic novel, and looks up irritably as they wiz by. "...It's like Drake and Noriko all over again."
Vzark flips up onto the cable, grinding on it with his feet. The line takes a sharp turn through an arch in a tower, zipping up and then down once more, showing an even greater view of the area around them.
Nezumi still appears distressed, even more so once they go through the arch.
"You'll have more fun if you keep your eyes open! Just look around!"
She does so, trembling regardless.
"Try not to think about how fast you're going,it may seem hard to do so, but trust e, you'll feel better once you get the hang of it"
She only makes a squeak.
The last and final zip line can be seen in the distance, and they slowly start approaching it. "Hey, its almost over. You just gotta ride it out for a bit and we're done"
As they start heading down in the final descent, he hears her shriek until she ends up flying right into him, not knowing how to stop.
Vzark stumbles a bit from the unexpected impact, but keeps her from falling, setting her up straight. "You alright?"
She appears to have fainted.
"Well, never thought I'd see the day when someone made Nezumi have a mental overload." The white haired male Lyre from the Library stands in a nearby corner, reading.
"Thats...considered a good thing, right? i mean, its progress...."
"You'll know when she wakes up, and depending what you mean by progress."
"Just...progress in general, nevermind. Should I take her out of here or just wait?"
"It is generally reccomended that one make sure that a sleeping person is comfortable."
"..Alright, I'll find somewhere prefarable then." Vzark picks up Nezumi, starting to walk off. "Any suggestions for area? Im still not used to the area."
"There are over 70,000 towers in this fortress. Pick one." Lyre says irritably.
Vzark sighs and hops on the zipline. "Thanks for the help" He begins sliding down it, looking at the various towers they pass to see which one is best. "...Prick."
Abeni and Azula are watching the scene below.
"Young, idiotic love..." Abeni mutters.
"Oh don't judge..." Azula rolls her eyes.
Vzark feels a somewhat judgmental presence but shakes it off, eventually finding a reasonably comfortable looking tower. He sets Nezumi down in a preferable place, and waits.
She comes to gradually. "Mmmm...."
"Good to see you back up and at em"
She creaks her eyes open. "Mean... why did you scare me...?"
"I didn't intend to scare you at all, I just wanted to see how'd you'd like trying something new"
She opens her mouth, only for her stomach to lightly rumble "..."
Vzark laughs a bit. "Seems like we should probably go eat then, yes?"
"...I haven't eaten before."
Vzark seems slightly surprised "Really? You know when your stomach makes a noise like that its generally a sign of hunger, right? You're missing out on a lot if you've never ate before"
"I know what it is... I feed off nutrient supplies in the labs... I sleep a lot..."
"I assumed that from when I first saw you. Come on, how bout this time you get some real food for once, that sound good?"
"Food is inefficient. Purpose unclear."
"The purpose is to do something different. You were talking about before how nothing else had value to you other than sleep and servitude, and thats because you don't try to do anything else. Maybe if you just go around and see whats there to do, you'll find something you'll enjoy. Plus, it may be inefficient but that doesn't stop it from tasting good."
"..." She remains quiet.
"Just so you know im not the kind of person who takes silence for an answer, its either a yes, or a no. So whats your choice?"
"..." She is looking at him quietly. She seems to be regarding him with a slightly confused air.
Vzark sighs. "Welp, you're coming regardless, im kinda hungry too and I need a guide, come on." Vzark pulls her up and starts bringing her with him, regardless of her silence
She is dragged along the ground, looking very much like a doll being dragged around by a little kid. Kagerou sees this and starts laughing.
"Oh my god he's actually dragging her around! That's hilarious!"
"Oh shut up Kagerou. I'm surprised you're not dragging your own head around with how thick skulled you are"
"Is this a result of having testosterone?" She asks simply.
"Well for Kagerou, its more of a case of just being a childish moron, but I suppose biologically thats a factor"
"...Where are we going?"
"There has to be some sort of cafeteria in this giant fucking Fortress somewhere, and since you've never eaten before I assume you most likely wont know where it is"
"White has a kitchen." She says simply as he continues to drag her along the ground.
"Abeni stated its best to say out of White's kitchen, or she'll eat me. Unless you have special access or something"
"If nothing wrong is done, White's wrath will be avoided.."
"Does White consider going into her Kitchen and eating there wrong?"
"No... blowing it up or otherwise anything related to tarnishing it is..."
"Alright, fine, any idea where it is?"
"In the main tower..."
"Alright, leads go there then." Vzark continues to drag Nezumi to the Main Tower, ignoring any odd looks given.
The White Order
Over the next couple of hours, Vzark bares witness to many changes throughout the fortress, most noticeably when the whole of the fortress begins to violently shake as though a magnitude ten earthquake was shaking the fortress.
"Jesus christ, what the fuck is going on now?" Vzark attempted to figure out where the epicenter of the earthquake was.
The quake seems to be coming from White herself, who had just exited the main tower, as a silver aura emits from her, covering the whole fortress in silver light.
Vzark shields his eyes until he adjusts to be able to withstand it. He flies somewhat closer, intrigued and wanting to know whats going on.
The whole of the fortress seems to be reformed and repurposed, old degrading stone is transformed to walls of elegant marble and steel, the fortress is being cast in a new, grander form."
Huh...I quite liked the look of the old stone. Whatever. Interesting change regardless"
Once this occurs, he hears the voice of White in his head.
To all of this great fortress, assemble before the great courtyard. Today begins a new era of Phoenix.
Vzark furrows his brow and heads over to the courtyard, curious but quite cautious.
Thousands of soldiers are gathered, though he notices there are almost none that were as they were before, instead, all of them are adorned in brilliant white armor, and they seem to carry the same aura as himself. They are all Chaos Engines now. Standing atop the stairs is White, who is dressed in elegant wear, at her side is Kake and Toma, Kake in his usual black robes, and Toma in a blue kimono. Toma seems more uncomfortable than Kake, who has an impartial look on his face.
Vzark takes his place somewhat farther from the others, leaning on the closest thing to him that wasn't a person. "I wonder whats going on through everyone else's mind right now..."
Azula and Abeni are soon present, standing on rooftops like gargoyles. The other Etas are seen as well.
"In our last invasion, we dealt significant blows. We even showed the might of the Spear of God. But now, we will finish what we started! A new, everlasting kingdom shall rise, and unite the worlds of Fantasy and Earth into one!" White begins with a mighty voice.
Vzark stays silent, unsure of what to think of whats going on yet.
Vzark hears the sounds of marching, from inside the tower.
He took a few steps back, waiting for something intriguing to happen. "This seems...odd..."
The doors open, revealing thousands of Chaos Engines, which all assemble behind White. She seems to crow as they do so with a slight degree of self glory.
Vzark seems to scoff. "How many of us will die in this war..? Why would White need so many Chaos Engines if the humans are as weak as Abeni says....?"
"You clearly don't understand our lady's mechanations as clearly as the rest of us then." A woman with silver eyes and white hair, adorned in the regal white armor of White's elite guard speaks to him.
Vzark turns to the source of the voice, somewhat annoyed. "Oh, do tell why if you're so much more educated on White's thinking than I am"
"With our powers, and our augmentations with the Chaos Drive, we are able to raze whole cities in moments. It's not about the strength of the enemy. It's about showing them the sheer difference between us. White wishes to impart the sheer, undeniable fact that humanity has no chance against us. There is only assimilation and death for those who defy us."
She looks at him. "I am Kōrudā Whitesteel, one of White's personal guard, now elevated into her divine favor, an Eta, like you."
"I would think being defeated by a few Chaos Engines rather than an entire army of them is more demoralizing. If they want to show that humanity has no chance, use as little power as you can to defeat them. The moment they start thinking otherwise, THATS when you use more. In my opinion White might have lost a tactical advantage....I'm Vzark, Vzark Ryddias."
"Hmm. Your words are not false. That is certainly true. However, our leader wishes to end this war quickly and decisively. Overwhelming force that cannot denied."
White continues to speak. "Before, we merely showed them the power of flesh and blood, but now, we shall show them the very power of the divine judgement they so desire upon themselves! Today a new order is born, and it shall unite all worlds in a unison of strength and might! The Second World comes!"
The soldiers all cheer.
Vzark seems to keep an emotionless expression. "We'll see how quickly this war really ends..."
"Today, we have a number of special occasions to take note of, with the first being the chosing of an elite group of Etas who shall become part of my surpreme corps. For those of you who I choose, you will become like generals of my army, and you will be awarded vast prestige and power for your loyalty, and a swift death for betrayal. Accept or not, it is your choice." Her eyes fall upon all of the assembled Etas, eventually her gaze meets his in her long sweep, then concludes, settling on Silent Angel.
"But for our stronger still, I shall grant evolution to a height akin to my own."
Vzark tilts his head, somewhat curious. "Silent Angel...?"
She beckons to Silent Angel. "Come forth, Silent Angel."
Vzark idly watches Silent Angel, looking around to see other's reactions.
Silent Angel merely grimly steps forward. Kōrudā seems to regard him with envy.
Vzark notices her jealousy, but says nothing of it. "He doesn't seem very happy."
She says nothing. Silent Angel stands before White with clenched fists, and White begins to place her hand on Silent Angel.
Vzark stays quiet as well, looking to Abeni and Azula.
Abeni and Azula are watching quietly. White's power surges forth, and engulfs Silent Angel in light. When it clears, he has yellow green scales, with a set of three horns on each side of his head, a putrid aura surrounds him, an aura of disease. A long tail whips from behind him, and his wings are much more draconic in nature. A sickly yellow glow is in Silent Angel's eyes. Vzark notices as well that Silent Angel is many times more powerful, but in a different way than he expected. Silent Angel's power seems to be more subtle, slowly making itself known in the form of meekness in the bones, light headedness, and a nagging sensation of pain.
"For those who serve me well, you may yet be granted with greater power than ever before!"
Silent Angel, now in a armor much more skeletonal like than before, silently leaves.
"So he's a Lambda now...hmm" Vzark couldn't help but feel an odd form of jealousy, wanting that amount of power. In his eyes, that power seemed as close as he'd get to becoming...perfect.
Vzark feels a strange buzzing in his head.
Vzark makes a clearly annoyed face, trying to sense the source of the buzzing.
He notices a blue flame like aura about Azula, when he looks at her, the buzzing becomes a powerful ringing in his head.
Vzark held his head in one of his hands and turned away. "Stop..." This came out as somewhat aggressive, but realized his tone and to others they could tell he felt sorrily, albeit not saying it.
White ignores them, and speaks. "Vzark Ryddias."
Vzark heart skipped a beat as he heard his name, shaking his head to shrug off the buzzing. He turned to White, taking a few steps forward.
Her clawed finger beckons him to come closer, once he does so, she points to the ground, implying he kneel as she unsheathes her sword.
Vzark lets out a breath, showing no fear and instead confidence, walking forward and closer, kneeling.
He feels the cold steel of her katana press against his neck and shoulder's flesh.
"Vzark Ryddias. I have a question for you."
"Do ask, my lady" Vzark almost flinched at the feeling of the weapon at his skin, but stays confident.
"How long will you stand once I stab your heart?" She asks, as Vzark feels a piercing pain in his chest.
Vzark clutches his chest, letting out a sharp breath as he feels the pain.
White very slowly, agonizingly removes the blade from his chest. Once she has done so...
"Will you accept your role as an absolute weapon to be wielded at my discretion, my whim, and my purpose? Serve as my knight, Vzark Ryddias?"
Vzark lets go of his chest, breathing somewhat heavily. "I...I accept, my lady."
She smiles, before indicating Nezumi and Kagerou. "Step forth." Once they have done so, she directs Nezumi to heal him, and once Nezumi has done this, does a similar thing for the two, and both become Knights as well.
She then looks upon the crowd of Etas and gazes upon Kōrudā, whose breath is caught by White's gaze.
"Kōrudā, step forth."
Vzark quietly thanks Nezumi, giving a glance to Koruda as she is called.
Kōrudā seems to have a awed face as she comes forth.
Vzark makes a curious face at her reaction to being called forth, idly watching.
White conducts the same initiation as the others, even when struck by White's blade, Kōrudā maintains the devoted awe of her master. Satisfied, White dismisses her. She then looks among the crowd of Etas.
Vzark turns to the crowd, scanning every single face. "So this is my new family it seems..."
White turns her attention to the Etas already chosen. "Go inside, you will be joined by the last two candidates."
Vzark nods and heads inside, resting his hand on the hilt of his sword. "Wonder what the others are thinking about all of this"
After coming inside, he sees a group of guards dragging a chained up blonde haired girl out toward the door.
Vzark tilts his head, confused by the sight. "The fuck...?"
They exit, and Vzark hears White speak again.
"The first act of retribution shall now begin! Behold the traitor, Noriko! She abandoned the cause, and spited us, willingly giving information to the enemy!"
"Traitor, eh?" Vzark inches close to the door, slightly opening it, peeking through.
He sees two additional figures walking toward the door.
Vzar curses under his breath and moves back from the door quickly, leaning on a nearby wall and inspects the sword before the two can fully reach the door.
The first to come through is a woman with long red hair in a ponytail, and reddish brown eyes. She bares a remarkable figure, and has two weapons on her belt, a black and a white sword. She wears a brown coat with black armor underneath. She pauses after coming in, and looks around.
Vzark notices the woman looks somewhat similar to Nezumi, but makes nothing of it. "I take it you're one of the two others White said would be following shortly?"
"Aye. You're one she chose hmm? You must be special."
"Heh. I appreciate the words, but I'm nothing too special, really. Well, not yet. Names Vzark."
"Tanoshimi. Wish you luck."
"Same goes for you, if anything it seems like luck is something we all need"
He hears the door opening.
Vzark turns to the door, looking for the person who is entering.
A male with long brown hair, brown eyes, walks through with light armor and robes adorning them. They appear to be carrying a longsword behind their back. He glances at Vzark but doesn't say anything as he continues.
Vzark glances at him as well, taking note at them saying nothing. He lets them walk by, although Vzark is clearly annoyed by this. "Hmph. Oh, did you get a good look at the girl in chains? What are they doing with her?"
His answer comes in the form of a great magnitude of shouting.
"What the fuck is going on...?" Vzark peeks through the door once again, trying to see whats going on.
Outside he can see White's soldiers beating the girl, with various weapons, ranging from bare fists to iron clubs, some even have spikes.
Vzark can't help but watch for more than a few seconds, before shaking his head and snapping back. "Jesus christ thats brutal..."
Eventually they hear the crowd subside with White's next words.
"Enough! I shall tend to the rest of her punishment. Feel free to watch." She directs her subordinates. Vzark gets the feeling they will have no objection.
"All this for leaking information....? Wonder what they do for those who kill their own..."
He begins to hear the sounds of fists against flesh and bone, horrible crunching sounds as what sounds like White brutally beating her begins.
Vzark turns away, clearly having seen enough. "What information did they leak to this to happen?"
"Hmmph. What could possibly be amusing you?"
"The fact that White's a load of shit."
Kōrudā immediately flashes Kagerou a glare.
"White's just feeding the pigs what they wanna hear. She left to live her own life outside of servitude to Phoenix. I beat the tar out of her and brought her back."
Vzark feels a flood of emotions, confusion, dread, but most of all anger. "Im not sure whether to be furious at you for hurting them and bringing them back, or White for doing something so...vile"
"Heh. The only heroes are the winners."
"Fuck off. We may be on the same team, as well as being Knights, but don't you ever say shit like that in my perimeter."
"Or I bash your fucking face in, that's what. End of." Vzark starts walking away, keeping his hand on the hilt of his sheathed sword.
Outside, White finishes beating on Noriko, and pulls her off the ground and lifts her up to her face.
"Now then... will you defy me again?" Noriko spits in White's face.
Vzark leans against a nearby wall, closing his eyes as he listens in in what's going on outside.
White manifests a chain around Noriko's neck that is far tighter than needed, causing her to squirm and choke, and she begins to drag Noriko through the streets, every uneven slab or small rock scrapes her bared back. White coldly and relentlessly drags Noriko through the streets of the reformed Yosai, her soldiers all in a uproar of approval of the spectecle.
"Fucking savages..." Vzark decides to rest his eyes, nearly falling asleep.
She takes Noriko to a far off tower, where she opens the door and closes it behind her. Nezumi walks off.
Vzark spots Nezumi before he fully falls asleep, and decides to start walking to her. "Should I ask her why she just walked off last time..?"
She continues walking on.
"Ah fuck it, Abeni's right, hurt pride is temporary." Vzark speeds up, relaxing a a bit. "Nezumi, wait up!"
She pauses and turns toward him.
Vzark catches up with her, and takes a breath. "Where are you heading? Im still trying to get used to this place, especially with the new changes and all....so I was wondering if you maybe wanted to explore a bit? We could find something new"
Her head tilts to one side.
"I promise no zip-lining and water, just normal walking and flying"
She blinks slowly.
Vzark simply sighs. "What I mean is that I think it would be fun if we walked around, possibly talk about...recent events regarding that speech."
While he is speaking, Nezumi grabs his hand and begins dragging him along.
Vzark finds himself at a loss for words, and stays silent. "Well, I guess this is progress...?"
She takes him out of the tower and walks with him quietly, still with his hand in hers.
"Is she leading me somewhere...? Hmm. Whatever the reason is, im fine with it" Vzark seems content.
"You said you wanted to walk? Or talk?"
"Yes, both actually. I was wondering about the things White was talking about. For one, do you know anything about us being Eta Knights as of now?"
"Guess that makes two of us then."....who was the person White...well, you know"
"A former member..."
"Kagerou said that she just wanted to get away from Phoenix. Did she even leak information at all?"
Suddenly they begin to hear a incredibly loud screaming. "...It wouldn't matter."
"I kinda wish it would....anyways, I was wondering. When I first awoke, you had said the mistress had assigned you to wait for me to wake up. Well....do you know how long I was supposedly "asleep" for?"
"...What was it like for you? When you first woke up that is"
"...I simply woke up. I never was prior."
Vzark takes a second, and cringes from the distant screaming. "God, how long is she going to torment her for....?"
"Until the end..." Nezumi says quietly.
"Hmph.....hey, what do you think of all of these new Eta's coming around?"
"What is there to think?" She replies in her quiet manner.
"Namely about how different things will likely be. I only "Arrived" recently, but it seemed like there weren't very many of you before"
"Does it matter? There's always been alot of Chaos Engines... a couple hundred of us Etas, though us Etas and the Zeta aren't that different. Azula was once Zeta."
"Oh? I assume she went through something similar as to Silent Angel, with him becoming a Lambda and all"
"She was the first."
"Huh. No wonder why shes so strong"
"Nanashi and the three Sisters were the first ones to be created. Now... many of them may soon be born."
"To be quite honest with you, I do wish to become one myself"
"...I don't really know. Just feels right. I've always wanted to become "perfect", and it seems becoming a Lambda is the biggest step, Although, recently i've come to a few people who advise against my way of thinking...."
"What is there to live for when you have everything?"
"It seems White has everything, yet she still keeps living"
"She doesn't even have really anything."
Suddenly in Vzark's head, a message goes out to all Chaos Engines and soldiers to gather at the main courtyard.
"Again..? ugh, alright, lets head over there Nezumi" Vzark starts pulling her along, keeping her hand in his.
Suddenly Vzark hears a fizzling sound, and something heavy crashes into him.
"Ah fuck, what the shit?!"
He has been stuck by a suit of armor.
So I hear you like suits of armor.
"Wha...." Vzark gets up and examines the armor, confusion turning into slight joy. "..Huh, nice. Bittersweet due to delivery, but nice"
I didn't hear a 'thank you'. Anything else you may wish for?
"Oh, sorry, thank you. Heh, a dragon would be nice. Ah, but no, really, I'd actually like a bow. Preferably a more technologically advanced bow? Apologies if it can't be provided."
A whoosh of air surges over him, and something heavy lands behind him.
"....Oh god." Vzark turns around, curious and cautious.
You can have the dragon if you can bend it to your will.
"....Shit." Vzark jumps back, examining the dragon.
It stares blankly at him, a large white scaled dragon with silver eyes and golden horns and claws.
Vzark stares back, somewhat in awe, but relaxes. He lets out a breath, and focuses on the dragon. He clears his mind, keeping "control it" as the only instinct he has.
He feels a recoil from it, trying to shy away from his grasp.
"I don't think so." Vzark continues his focus. Keeping thoughts of the dragon listening to every command, with no hesitation.
It begins to fight back in earnest.
Vzark sits down and keeps his arms at his legs, concentrating all of his energy into bending the dragon's mind. He keeps himself focused, his mind unchanging.
It begins to fold, losing its will to him. He can feel the entirety of its being despair as he seizes control over all that it is.
Vzark gets up, letting out a breath. "You're mine now, but there is no need for sorrow. You'll find that you'll be quite the appreciated asset to me."
The dragon doesn't respond. Nezumi walks off.
"I suppose i'll see you at the courtyard then Nezumi. And as for you, lets go for a test run." Vzark moves up to the dragon, climbing jumping onto its back, getting a feel for the dragon.
It looks back at him.
"Lets see....take flight"
It flies off.
Vzark hunches close, adjusting to the flying. "Okay okay, this is good, now, head over to the courtyard and land on a nearby roof, oh, and do watch for bystanders"
It does as he requests.
"Seems to be working out well, stay here until further asked for" Vzark hops off the dragon, dons his new armor, and walks deeper into the courtyard.
He and all of the other soldiers are now gathered, though he sees above them the eight beings from earlier. One of them, a black shadow demon, eyes Vzark with intelligent eyes.
Vzark eyes them back, stepping forward in curiosity.
It looks elsewhere.
"Hmph" Vzark looks around, examing the area and what event is going on.
Inside the tower, White suspends Noriko up in the air, dark twisting clouds with red flickering energy restrain her.
"I won't ask again. Submit."
"N-n-no.... I... won't...."
"Then I think it's time I gave you a punishment befitting a traitor."
"I'm not... afraid... of death. Of... you."
"And that is why I'm not going to kill you... I'm going to do something much much worse."
The shadows writhe and constrict Norikio tightly, crushing her. Her body cracks and causes streams of golden light to pour out of her.
"AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHH!" She screams.
"I will take pleasure in eviscerating your soul..."
Unbeknownst to Noriko or White, a figure invisible to this world in its entirety suddenly appears. "Ok... There's that working, now to--" What followed was silence as Drake recognised the screams of Noriko, and the sadistic tone of White. A moment or so passed when Drake clenches his fists, knowing he can't do anything, he just observes...
White pauses for a moment, and the shadows stop crushing Noriko. There is a quiet, tense moment, as White remains silent, and the only sound is Noriko's horrid ragged gasps, horrible heaving sounds, as though she is barely able to breath enough air to remain concious.
Then he hears White chuckle darkly. She then thrusts her palm forward, and Noriko is sent flying across the tower's large span, and sent flying into a wall with a definative 'BANG'.
White begins to laugh more and more promeniantly, as she begins to toss Noriko around like a pathetic rag doll.
Drake just growls at White, each time he speaks it sounds like a mini-roar. "You... Fucking bitch... When I arrive here, I will make you wish you could stay dead..." Drake throws a punch at White but just phases through her, in response, Drake heavily sighs and falls to his needs, helpless to help Noriko. "God dammit... ...This must be the pain Eien felt when Kio's soul went into that child." Drake helps himself back up.
White continues to toy with her until finally she smashes Noriko into a large pool of water.
Drake looks at White with pure hatred, he starts to get mad at himself. "Come on you fucking Eye, LET ME DO SOMETHING!" He roars as he keeps throwing punches at White, each one phasing through her.
The air becomes heavily charged as a sphere of golden light begins to descend from an unseen location.
"Do you know where this is?" White calmly asks Noriko, who looks up and pales with terror.
"You do... don't you... this is one of the sacred locations of the seals... in fact, that pool of water is special..."
Noriko appears to becoming frantic, but the water seems to cling to her, almost defying gravity to cover her up to her neck, even as she rises to her feet, she is unable to move due to the clinging water wrapping around her.
"The Pools of Unison... created by our early forefounders, they allow for a Slayer to become closer to their Kanjo than ever before possible... a glorious union between mortal and god, an ultimate ascension into power... one literally offers up everything they are to their Kanjo..." White begins to smirk.
"What an honor, don't you agree?"
Noriko could not look any more terrified.
White begins to chuckle. "Emotions, kindness... all of it makes me sick. There is no place for it in this world. Only the strong thrive here. I thought honestly you were more than that, but it seems I was wrong."
Noriko begins to choke out, as deep inside her, a glowing sphere begins to shine through her skin. The sphere above shines brightly, and the two lights seem to resonate. The water encasing Noriko begins to rise, swirling and lifting her up high in the air. It pushes her higher and higher still, without losing grip of her. After she is forced to rise a great deal, it stops, but begins to force her head upwards, her neck creaking as she fights it. Eventually she is forced to look directly into the light of the sphere, and she begins to choke out again in earnest, as the light in her chest begins to slowly rise toward her throat.
Despite what's going on, Drake can't help but watch the pain Noriko is going through. Every fiber of Drake's being is telling him to just end the vision now, but he keeps helplessly watching, wanting to know the fate of her. "Noriko... I'm sorry I wasn't here to save you..."
The light begins to reach her mouth, and she begins fighting with all of her might to keep the light from escaping, ripping her arms free and covering her mouth, in vain, as the water begins to pulls her arms away. The light continues trying to push out of her, but she struggles on, until Drake can hear her jaws cracking and breaking. With howls of agony, Noriko begins to lose the struggle as her mouth opens against her will, a soft blue light that reminds him of her eyes begins to seep out.
"Noooooooooooo..." A horrible moan echoes out of her, a sound of misery, despair, and wretched fear. The fear of death. The light pushes harder, grows bigger, and begins breaking her jaws further as it expands to the size of her head, mostly free. Noriko's whole body now cracks like porcelain.
Drake is now sheading a single tear, the feeling of angst filling Drake up entirely. His own will can't stand to see what happens, he turns away and starts fading away, leaving the vision...
...Just as Noriko's soul is ripped completely out of her body, her lifeless form now drops into the water, lifeless. Only her small glowing soul remains of her.
White smiles. "Now my disobedient child... feed..." White blasts the small soul with massive amounts of energy, and it begins to swell, growing bigger and bigger, turning golden as it grows, all the while, a horrid howling begins. White's pleasure only grows as the soul does, until it becomes roughly the same size as the sphere above it. Bloated, Noriko's soul is barely able to maintain itself, and then suddenly a stream of golden energy pours into it from the main one, and its howls reach all new volumes, becoming horrid screeches. The two begin to exchance streams of energy, slowly begining to weave into one, warping and distorting. Data becomes corrupted, and the two beings begin to lose themselves to each other, becoming one and whole.
The howling becomes dessonant as the two beings howl together until their eventual demise, even after White continues their torment, vilely mixing them to the point of no return. What is created is a singular entity with no focal point, just pure maddness and misery. A soft wailing emits from it now. White releases her dark spell, and the sphere warps into a vague humanoid girl, flickering violently with no sense of self. White chuckles as it stares at its master blankly.
"You will never disobey me... ever again." She eyes Noriko's body, and with a triumphant look snatches it from the water, and departs with it to her labs... even in her death, White wouldn't let her have peace.
As the soldiers all gather, Vzark notices Toma isn't paying attention to the events.
Vzark makes an odd face as he sprouts wings and quickly flies over to her, landing. "You alright Toma? You seem...distant, from all this."
She silently begins to walk away into the complex of walkways and plazas away from the tower without a word in response.
Vzark takes a few seconds to think but starts to walk after her, eventually speeding up.
She appears to show no indication of stopping, if anything she is going faster, almost a run.
Vzark furrows his brow and starts running after her, although he is somewhat unsure why. "Toma, hold on!"
In a single fluid movement she sends a huge wall of water at him with her sword, all while still running.
Vzark stops and grabs the handle of his sword, almost teleporting past the wall and right behind Toma, and he extends his hand out to grab her. "Jesus To- what're you doing?!"
She chops his neck with her hand to force him back.
"Gah, fuck!" He stumbles a bit back before chasing after her again, calling for her once more.
The sky darkens and bullet marks begin piercing the ground all around him.
"Toma please, just let me talk to you!" Vzark stayed still for a moment, and started running again, quickly dodging various bullets.
The bullets, revealed to be drops of water, begin flying horizontally at him.
Vzark adjusts his focus and brings his sword up, slashing through water that reaches too close to him.
While he does so, Toma is gaining major ground.
Vzark growled and charged up his blade, releasing a novic blast that fired directly infront of him, stopping water bullets that were infront of him, and he used the blast as a shield, started to catch up.
Abruptly Toma jumps off the side of the fortress, and begins plummeting hundreds of feet below toward the ocean.
Vzark stops in his tracks and looks to the side, staring at the ocean. "Shit, she could kill me if I even dared to get near the sea...ugh, fuck me and my descisions!" He steps back and jumps off the side, diving into the sea.
Toma is now riding a huge wave of water, surging forth at high speed, lobbing huge spheres of water at him. From behind both of them at the top of the fortress, a blue star starts shining.
"Jesus, fucking hell, slow down! I just want to ask you something, please!" Vzark sprouts his wings and takes a second to fly up into the air, speeding towards her as he attempts to dodge the spheres of water, taking notice of the star.
She abruptly stops, and begins slashing at him with huge slashes of compressed water.
Vzark takes a dive, descending farther into the air to dodge some of the slashes, then taking his sword, slicing through the compressed water with as much force as needed.
She surges foward abruptly, and begins assaulting him with a barrage of kicks and punches. "You want answers?! I'm leaving!!!"
Vzark started to block the barrage as well as he could. "Toma ,why? I know it seems like everything has gone to shit, but why?"
"THIS ISN'T JUSTICE!" She roars, and a pack of lions made of water surge forth and maul him.
"AGH! TOMA, PLEASE! CALM DOWN!" Vzark was struggling to destroy the lions, eventually charging up another Novic blast from his sword to get rid of them. "Stop attacking me! Im not going to hurt you!" Vzark was clearly distressed, with a hint of fury in his words.
"You... all of you... you're just weapons, tools! Tools of injustice! I'm going to Kado, to Naomi, to Aoi...! But first, I'm going to..."
A huge tsunami rises from the ocean.
"Toma, please..please...oh my god..." Vzark flies back, gaining altitude and speeds up, trying to escape the tsunami.
It only accelerates as it gets closer to the fortress, looming just behind him and gaining.
Vzark goes as fast as he can, looking at the tsunami. "Azula, I know you can hear me, I need help, Toma is going to flood the fucking Fortress!"
In a faction of a second, a powerful blast of pure blue light envelops Vzark and the tsunami.
Vzark seems to take a second to react, gathering his senses as he looks around. "God..."
Azula floats before him, glowing with incredible power. Toma staggers back in alarm.
Vzark stands up and dries himself off, heating up and he looks at Azula, then to Toma. "...Why? Im..we're..not just weapons. Im not..." Vzark stepped back, seeming angry, yet confused.
"Noriko, Aoi... all my friends are either dead or rebels! And White... she's not the leader she once was... ...I won't allow White to torture the lives of anyone else... Even if it means abandoning my crusade for another. You are nothing... nothing but weapons for a power hungry monster..."
Azula raises her hand and six blades of blue energy form, circling Toma.
Vzark seemed to be in some sort of internal conflict, as he turned back and forth between the two, and the circling blades. "Wait! Both of you, just wait. Toma, please. just...fuck...I don't even know what to say..I can't..." Vzark took another step back and sat down, looking away.
The blades crash into Toma, she begins to crackle violently with blue energy, until she begins to fall unconscious. A blue light surrounds Azula and Toma, as Azula stretches out her hand, Toma slowly lifts into the air, her eyes now glowing a blank blue.
Vzark turned at the last second to see Toma's fate, unsure of how to react as he started standing up, watching Azula.
"Complete... objective." Toma suddenly vanishes in blue flame. The glow disappears around Azula. Her shoulders suddenly sag.
"She's...she's gone. Is she dead...?" Vzark came to his senses as he sheathed his sword, running his hands through his hair.
"...No. ...But she... ...doesn't have her own... ...will."
"Is she going to stay like that..? Never mind. Azula....is she right? Are...are we really just weapons and nothing else?"
"...In case White cannot win this war... I will be deployed to destroy the entire world. I am the Lambda of Destruction. Of all of the Chaos Engines, I possess the highest rank: 001. ...I am the most powerful of White's arsenal. I have become a world killing weapon. ...We have all become weapons... ...Abeni sees hope in our plight... but..."
"...Azula, I want to be more than a weapon. I think I'm fine with being one, but...you shouldn't let the word "weapon" be the easiest way to describe us. You, Abeni, me, Nezumi, we're not just weapons. I don't want you thinking that's what all we are."
Azula holds her head in her hands. "...I'm worse than a weapon... I'm a monster... a monster..." She suddenly takes off with a surge of her wings.
"Azula, wait! Don't run off too, come on..." Vzark sprouts his own wings, attempting to fly after her, despite it seeming to be in vain.
A hand is put on his shoulder.
Vzark turns to who reached for him, stopping his flight.
It is Abeni, whose eyes are blood red, burning red symbols dance amongst her body.
Vzark moves back in shock, eyes widening. "Jesus Abeni what's...what's wrong?"
"...I'm very angry and let's leave it at that. ...Come on, let's go for a walk and talk. ....Mistress won't be back for a bit." She growls.
Vzark seems to relax, calming down after he was clearly taken aback from everything. "...Okay. I think i'd actually prefer to talk quite a bit then."
"...Come on." She flies down to the ground.
Vzark flies down after her, landing. "I assume you want to talk to me about...what just happened."
"I am more interested in listening."
"...During White's speech, I saw Toma in the crowd, and headed over to her. She seemed distant and she began to leave the area, so I chased after her. She was clearly trying to get away from me, and eventually we ended u in the ocean, and she..tried to decimate the Fortress with a tsumani. Azula had got up both to safety, getting rid of the tsunami but...she kept saying we were nothing but weapons, weapons of destruction, and injustice. Azula then..I don't know what she did, but Toma is gone. Azula told me she was just a weapon made to destroy the world in case things didn't go White way. I don't want us to just be weapons. Even if thats what we were apparently made for, I want to be more. If we used to be human, we had to be more...right? I had to be someone worth more to the world than just a weapon..."
Abeni just quietly continues on, eventually coming to a bench and sitting on it. She then silently looks up at Vzark and pats her lap.
Vzark doesn't even seem to take a second and walks over, sitting on her lap. "Its almost so surreal...from one moment all I remember is waking up from a pod, and now im...this." Vzark makes a gesture to his body. "I could have been such a different person than now, and I just want to remember and know but I cant! I try and try and try to remember but nothing works, why? Whats so wrong with remembering with who we were?"
She gently hugs him, a soft, almost motherly touch. "Time heals many things. You have to wait out the storm that is life to reap rewards. It will not always be this way. I promise it won't." She says softly, stroking his hair.
"I promised you I wouldn't be pessimistic, but..." Vzark seems to lean into her, feeling better with her comfort. "I just don't know is all. I think im afraid, but then again I almost feel...content. Its like a constant clashing....the storm you're talking about is seeming awfully lethal, Abeni. I didn't expect this..."
"And it will, but that isn't something you can control. As long as you hold on and remain strong, you will make it through, to see the world I'll make for us all. Have faith in me, please."
Vzark closed his eyes for a bit. "Okay, Abeni. I think believing in you is the least I can do...thank you, really." Vzark turned to her and started hugging her back, albeit lightly.
Abeni says nothing, but pats his back.
Vzark ends the hug and scratches at his neck. "How is it so easy for you to be able to push through these problems?"
"It's not as easy as you think. I just don't express my own... ...issues."
"Why not? You've done nothing but assist me with mine, I'd be perfectly willing to help you in return"
"You probably don't want me to kill you, which is about the only release at this point for my temper."
"...I see. Nevermind then. Regardless. If you ever need help, with anything im sure i'd be fine with assisting you. Thank you once again, I really didn't expect anyone to care about what i'd have to say."
She pats his back. "It's the least I can do. Everyone needs a shoulder."
"Abeni, what Toma was talking about, she mentioned a few names like "Kado" and "Aoi". Who're they?"
"Kado, Aoi, they were former members. Kado during his time in exile fell in love with Azula while she was deactivated."
"Oh. Thats..unfortunate...they're on opposite sides of the..war, then?"
"...Yes. There's many."
"I guess thats why Azula doesn't like talking about the war...I don't know if i'll be ready but..." Vzark seems to tense up again, biting his lip as he stops himself from continuing.
"You're allowed to speak your mind."
"...Even if I was ready, Abeni..do you honestly think I'd stand a chance to what we're up against? I know you said they're just humans, but we were just humans before too."
"Our biggest competition is myths. Humans would have lost were it not for them. And last time they fought against fellow myths. This time they fight us."
"Ah. Well...just keep me updated with all of this war shit. I think the best way to approach this is to know everything about it, so I can know what im training for."
She roughs up his hair. "That's the spirit."
Vzark lets out a slight smile, laughing awkwardly. "...I should probaby get off now, shouldn't I?"
"It is fine."
"To be honest im kind of looking forward to training, Maybe studying too...is that a good thing?"
"It is." She says, amused.
"I suppose the question is what do I do first...I mean, I got these weights, might as well put them to good use.."
Abeni smiles for some reason, the glow is gone.
"Oh hey, you stopped glowing. That a good thing or a bad thing?" Vzark attempted to smile correctly in return, which ended up more as a maniacal grin.
"You say you want to test those weights?"
"Yeah, very much so actually. I didn't get to give them a proper test."
A large dark shadow begins falling down on them. Abeni smiles more.
"Abeni... what are you doing exactly?" Vzark seemed to be ready to jump off her lap at a moments notice.
"Giving you a 'proper test'." The smile doesn't fade.
Vzark gulps quietly and gets off Abeni, taking a few steps back as he waits.
A large boulder is falling toward him.
Vzark's eyes widen as he sturdies and readies himself, letting out a breath of air as he puts his arms up.
The boulder crashes down.
Vzark is able to hold the boulder as it smashes into him, his feet digging into the ground. His arms are pushed far down, but he slowly starts straightening out, pushing the boulder above him higher and higher.
Abeni watches for a while.
Vzark continues to struggle less and less, eventually throwing the boulder to the side of him "...Next.. test."
Another dark shadow covers him.
Vzark looks up and inhales, repositioning himself as he readies himself.
Another boulder of the same size is falling on him.
Vzark responds easier to the second boulder hitting him, pushing it up and throwing it off much faster than the first.
As soon as he does, two boulders both twice the size of the last ones fall right after the others.
"Shit." Vzark readies himself once more, digging his feet into the ground more to become more study, letting out a breath, and inhaling.
The two crash into him at full force.
Vzark recoils as the boulders crash, eventually psotioning himself so the weight is evenly balanced between his back and arms. He stands up straight, butting both boulders weight onto his arms again, pushing up and throwing them both off.
A large fist made of steel even bigger than the boulders smashes into him.
Vzark mouths the words "What the fuck", as he takes another step back, inhaling and exhaling as he readies himself once more, catching the fist. He stumbles slightly under the fists weight, nearly collapsing as he starts to push up. He breathes in and as he nears throwing it off, exhales and throws away the giant fist.
The fist slings itself back at him, while behind him another fist appears and rockets toward him.
"Oh thats fucking dirty." Vzark focuses his energy to make a rather risky move, taking a few steps back. He prepares himself as he extends his arms forward, the flist slamming into them. He pushes against it, his feet digging back as it pushes him back, but he eventually moves forward, pushing it back as he lifts it up, bringing it around and throwing it into the second fist.
The two crumple and fall to the ground. A multitude of shadows cover him.
"You've...fucking hell..." Vzark prepares himself for the worst.
A barrage of spiked boulders are falling down toward him.
Vzark catches the closest boulder that falls to him, holding it in away that the spikes barely scrape him. He eventually starts moving around, catching and balancing the boulders on the first one, struggling more and more as he catches. Eventually he is able to push them all up again, letting out a roar as he throws them all to the side.
Abeni watches, smiling, then she throws something at him.
Vzark turns to her and catches the item, letting out one last breath.
The item smacks into his face, blindfolding him.
"Now fight without vision."
"You...can't be serious. Who am I fighting?"
"More boulders." She says as a boulder invisibly smashes into him.
"Gahk!" Vzark is sent to the ground due to being off guard, but gets up, taking a strong stance as he stays still, waiting.
Another soon comes his way.
Vzark turns to the direction of the boulder, pushing his arms forward as he catches it, being pushed back slightly. He throws the boulder to the side, and waits again.
He unexpectedly gets punched in the face, and a boulder sideswipes him.
Vzark stumbles to the floor, growling. "The fuck was that!?"
"Adapt and stay alert."
Vzark tries to say something but stays silent, getting back up and raising his guard again.
Another boulder and punch is aimed his way.
Vzark moves quickly to redirect the punch in the way of the boulder. moving back to dodge just in case.
An additional boulder slams down onto the ground a moment later.
Vzark quickly jumps back from the boulder that slams near him, sensing and focusing on his surroundings for anymore cues.
The ground shifts oddly.
Vzark sprouts his wings and readies himslef to take flight at the nearest sense of danger.
A spike erupts under his feet.
Vzark leaps up into the air, waiting for more attacks.
He is struck by several boulders, when he is forced to the ground spikes erupt, forcing him to be mobile.
Vzark recovers from the boulders and growls, moving around.
The spikes and boulders continue.
Vzark continues to move between the spikes and boulders, almost fluidly and in a dance like motion.
The ground begins to heat up.
Vzark begins to move faster and faster, trying to keep his feet off the ground as much as possibler to spare him from the heat.
All of the hot areas begin to turn to magma.
Vzark quickly jumps from magma areas, jumping back and forth between safe spots.
Boulders still rain down, and spikes randomly grow on the platforms.
Vzark continues to dodge both, finding it easier and easier as he goes on. He begins smiling as he does so, almost seeming at peace as he fluidly evades danger.
He is punched in the face the moment he relaxes.
Vzark nearly falls to the floor, stablizing himself as his face clearly turns angry. "Oh for fucks sake!" Vzark continues moving, becoming tense.
"Don't get careless!" Abeni yells, slugging him again.
Vzark grits his teeth as he redirects the punch, jumping back as he continues moving around, albeit a more paranoid and cautious approach.
Vzark hears an odd rumbling sound.
He moves quicker and quicker, anticipating the source of the strange rumbling.
He is struck by a bolt of lightning. "How's it going twinkle toes?"
Vzark takes a second to respond after the shock, but recovers quickly and continues moving. "Perfectly, fucking fine. Im not going to give up."
"Good, here's another one." The sky rumbles.
Vzark continues moving as he anticipates another attack.
A barrage of bolts comes at him.
Vzark lets one of them hit and absorbs its power, arcing it back to the other bolts, destroying them. He continues moving, keeping his senses sharp.
Something sharp grazes his skin.
Vzark turns to the direction of where his skin was grazed, focusing on the surrounding area.
He is slashed by what seems like a blade.
Vzark takes the blade into consideration and continues moving, keeping a sense of whats going on around him at all times.
Something like claws intercepts him.
Vzark raises his guard up and blocks the claws, growling. He continued to try and figure out the source of the attacks.
He is abruptly kicked in the face.
Vzark eventually starts to get annoyed, recovering and attacking back in the direction of the kick.
The something blocks him and sends him flying. "Alright enough for now."
Vzark gets up and takes off the blindfold, walking back to where he was. "Bit rough at the end there."
"Have to keep you on the edge, you know."
"I know, I know. Thank you, of course. How did I do?"
"Sloppy at first but better as you adapted. Of course, most wouldn't handle the first minute of it, so that should be commended."
"Appreciated, i'll try and make it so im less sloppy then." Vzark sat down on the bench again for a bit to rest.
"Don't be Negative Nancy or I'll hit you."
"Okay okay, only Positive Poppy from now on." Vzark softly smiled, leaning back on the bench.
"I think Puppy is a better name." Abeni jests.
"Hmm, no. I prefer cats anyway, so how about Kind Kitten?"
"I prefer puppy."
"Fine. Positive Puppy will be the name. Happy now?"
"Hmm? What do you mean...?"
She sticks fake puppy ears on his head with a mischevious grin.
"Wh...do you just have these on you at all times...?" Vzark moves his head, attempting to shake them off.
"Too late for that," Abeni remarks, starting to laugh.
"...I'll wear these for the rest of the day if you agree to wear cat ears."
"I put fast acting glue on them."
"Oh come the fuck on! I am NOT cutting my hair to get this shit off." Vzark pulls on the ears lightly, making a clearly angry face.
Abeni begins to laugh hysterically. "You look adorable!"
Vzark stops pulling and grunts. "I absolutely do not! I look ridiculous! Why do you even have these?"
"Oh yes you are~ I was saving them for a prank on little Gurin. Haven't had a good joke amongst ourselves in a while."
"Im so getting you back for this. Don't know when, but I will....and I guess I do look kinda ad-....don't mention any of this to anyone."
Kagerou starts chuckling behind him.
Vzark's eye twiches. "...Fuck my life."
Vzark hears the sound of a camera shutter.
He unsheathes his sword and slices behind him, cutting the camera in two. "Don't even think about it."
He has slashed a speaker, with Kagerou standing with a camera just next to it, then Vzark sees him run off, cackling.
"GET THE FUCK BACK HERE YOU TWAT!" Vzark sprouts wings and flies after him, yelling "See you in a bit Abeni!".
Kagerou simply dives off the side of the fortress, cackling.
Vzark stops as he reaches the edge. "Fucking cunt!" Vzark flies back to Abeni, clearly furious.
Abeni smiles at him. "Oh don't be mad."
"He's such a fucking child. An absolute degenerate twat, with the mind of a retarded hampster. God I could just fucking strangle him! He'd probably come back as a ghost with that idiotic fucking grin of his." Vzark sits down on the bench, slumping as he closes his eyes.
"Your life would probably be a lot more boring without him."
Vzark puts his hands to his face, and they slide back down. "Maybe, but it'd also be a lot less annoying too."
Abeni smiles, and plucks the ears off his head with ease, strangely his hair didn't seem to be actually glued at all.
Vzark's eyes suddenly open, and het slowly reaches to where the ears once where. "...Wh.."
"Magic is the best glue."
Vzark stops slumping, and has a somewhat conflicted look on his face. "...You know im having a hard time whether to be happy the ears are off, or upset at the fact you tricked me."
"It's called a prank, lighten up."
"I guess I did lighten up, since the ears being taken off took some weight off me.' Vzark seems proud of his joke, despite knowing it was horrible.
"You sure have. So much so I think you have a halo." Abeni seems to be smiling again.
"Oh? then you better say halo to angel Vzark." Vzark crosses his arms, grinning.
She frowns, then pulls out the puppy ears again.
Vzark steps back, and stops grinning. "Okay, i'll stop with the puns."
"Thank you." She then looks off into the distance. "Talk to my sis will you?"
Vzark tilts his head slightly, but smiles. "Of course, I was planning to anyway."
"...Where is she, actually?"
"...I feel this will be a good practice of your sensory abilities then."
Vzark remains silent for a second, and tries to focus. "...I think I have a general idea of the area shes in. Hopefuly it ends up more...at a centralized point. Thank you Abeni, for all of this." Vzark sprouts his wings, and begins to fly off.
Vzark can feel an energy like Azula's, but it's very mellow and dull.
Vzark's face becomes solemn as he soon reaches where he sensed her energy, and landed, looking for her. "Azula..?"
He finds a black heavily armored figure standing in her place, the only thing he can see of her is her long shimmering hair. She doesn't make a response.
Vzark makes no hesitation to start walkign torwards her, titling his head. "Azula, whats happened..?"
"You know what's happened."
"Yes but, I mean regarding you. Im here to help, afterall."
"I don't understand what you're asking."
"OKay, let me rephrase. What happened back there? You're not a monster."
"I've killed thousands... maybe millions at this point..."
"Because you're forced to, yes? How many of those have you actually wanted to kill?"
"Forced or not... it's blood on my hands. I can't look at myself anymore. Not after all of this..." Her armored hands clench.
Vzark walks up to her and puts hand on her shoulder. "Azula, please. Even if I haven't been around long, it's clear that a lot of people care for you, and about you. We're here to help you through all of this. You're a good person, and the lives you've taken dont show who you really are. There are people who are truly monsters, and you aren't amongst them. Come on, let's walk for a bit."
"What I am... cannot be forgiven. Don't you understand what was done in order to make us? The source of our power, do you even understand where it comes from? Of any of us, I truly am a living sin..."
"No, I don't understand. But sitting around and lamenting about it will not bring any redemption, you know. Instead of looking back about the atrocities you say you've done, can't you just dream and imagine of the good and fun that's possible? You're no living sin, and I bet I can prove it."
"Vzark, we were created from the DNA an archangel Phoenix had captured and tortured into insanity. What good will dreams do? There is no one who could defeat me... ...not in my truest form."
"Dreams can become reality. The first time I slept here, at Yosai, I dreamt of having a family, meeting new people, possibly friends. So far majority of the people I've met have become people I feel like I've known forever. Dreams allow us to express what we want, if we don't express what we want, then the chances of them happening are slimmer. And please, even if no one can defeat you, it doesn't mean you're damned to destroy for all eternity. I don't want to see you like this, and I don't think Abeni would either. If you could just give me one chance to make you feel better, I'm sure you'll be happier, okay?"
He hears a deep inhale and exhale in response.
"I promise no puns or bad jokes."
Vzark seems to smile, nodding his head. "Is there anything you've been wanting to discuss recently? I'm open to anything, really. If not I might have a few questions."
"...I'll take that as a no. I was actually wondering, Abeni told me we used to be human...do you remember how you grew up, when you were human?"
She seems to be a bit more thoughtful for a moment, though she remains silent while doing so.
Vzark stays silent as well, letting her think.
"I grew up on an island in Fantasy, for most of my life. Our father left us when I was twenty, and Abeni only ten. Back then, Gurin wasn't born yet. ...She grew up in life never knowing her father. ...Abeni hates him to this day. In those days I helped around the house and helped Mother in her shop to help make money since Father left, we needed someone else to work to support the family. I should have been starting my own life back then, but I had to raise my own two sisters and keep them happy. Abeni hated that, so when she was of age, she immediately went out of her way to work in the most punishing jobs that no one else wanted to do, all so she could help us make more money and take a weight off my shoulders."
"Jesus...that sounds horrible. But thats also really cool,at the same time. You're a good sister for having to do that. A lot of people probably would have given up a long time ago...I wish I remembered what my life was like."
"Sometimes the knowledge is more pain than comfort..."
"That's very true, but personally I think I'd be more relieved to actually know, I hate being in the dark. Even if the light brings searing pain from heat. Ignore that attempt as sounding philosophical."
She swishes her tail quietly.
"What was your life like after that?"
"...Gurin grew up, she started a flower shop, her boyfriends happened... ...each one of them were scum. ...Abeni beat them all to bloody pieces, especially... the last one. Sometime after Phoenix came and took us away. I was turned into a Zeta class, as well as Abeni and Gurin. ...Only, it didn't work for them. The process of being turned into a Chaos Engine all at once was too much for their bodies, and it ripped them apart. They were kept barely alive for years."
Vzark takes a second to respond, his face filling with sorrow. "Thats...fucking hell...it must have been traumatic for you, im sorry to hear that. Im sorry to ask but, whos Gurin exactly? I've only heard little about her from Abeni. All I know is that she's your little sister, as well as everything you've told me."
"She is a really sweet, almost child like girl who I love dearly. She's always been obscessed with flowers and nature, (probably why she ended up gaining powers over all nature), but she's been without a real friend besides us. And we're well... her sisters. She wants real connections, and they're always denied to her. ...She's kind of a broken soul at this point, however."
"Huh, she does sound quite nice. I'm sorry to hear about that last part though...how come she isn't here with us?"
"...She went on a mission and was set loose by a rogue member."
"..Oh. Im sorry to hear that, again. You and Abeni seem very close so I can't imagine how close you two were with Gurin."
Vzark scratches neck, staying silent for a few seconds. "...How did you deal with this all?"
"How did you cope with the way you grew up, what happened, it seems so surreal but..."
"Again, I'm sorry. I won't assume things."
"After I was made a Chaos Engine, I was sent to check up on Kado, my memories blanked out for years. I didn't remember my sisters til this year."
"Well at least you remember them now, right?"
"I half wish I didn't..."
Vzark seems to lt out a breath. "Azula...just, don't say that. Think about it, it would be horrible for Abeni and Gurin to remember you being their sister, but knowing you didn't remember. It would be hard on them, at least now you know who your family was, and is."
She looks away. "Perhaps, but... ...knowing came at the cost of my freedom, the life I could have lived, and the love I could have had."
"We can't always take back what was removed from our lives, but I think its clear we can make new things with the stuff we're left with. Theres still a chance for freedom, and maybe when that new freedom is reached you'll be able to go back for the things that cost you."
"Sister's talked with you plenty, hasn't she?" Azula says with a meek smile.
"Mhm, i'd say for better. Shes quite kind, Im already thinking her as a close friend." Vzark seems to smile and lightens up.
"I can see that. You two share a bond. As does the one named after a mouse."
Vzark seemed to tense up, but soon relaxed. "...I guess theres no point in hiding it. Do you really think so..?"
"I do. She is more confused that you imagine. She doesn't know how to respond to you, but I can tell you have a positive impact on her."
Vzark seems to finally smile wholeheartedly, scratching his neck. "I was always wondering if what I was doing was really making an effect, so Im glad you're able to reasure me about that. I don't mind her confusion, nor her not knowing how to respond. To be honest a lot of times I don't know how to respond either, well...nevermind, what im trying to say is that im glad you're able to see something between me and her."
"It's not too hard to see. Mind reading helps. By the way, the one you dislike is currently blowing raspberries at you from 1'oclock."
Vzark sighs and quickly turns, unsheathing his sword and firing a Nova blast at Kagerou. "Go away."
Kagerou side steps, blowing another at him before running off.
"I don't know how he hasn't been killed by any of you yet."
"He's useful to White. He gets results."
"Hmph. Regardless he's still a shithead. Anyways, yeah I'd imagine mind reading is quite useful. However I tend to find myself generally unsafe with my thoughts considering you,- and White, can read my mind at any time, yes? Just my general paranoia, I suppose."
"Not an unwise position to take."
"Unwise? Likely a no. Mentally taxing and stressful however? Hell to the fucking yes. I'm likely going to slip up soon, I do hope it doesn't end up being something... embarrassing."
"Better embarrassing than something to get you killed."
"Fair point, still though let's hope neither occur."
"...Have you actually heard anything embarrassing from me..?"
"Just now. Kagerou is writing down a fake love letter from you to give Nezumi. You might go take care of that. Unless, of course, you actually like her." She adds a small teasing smile.
All of the color drains from Vzark's body as his eye starts to twitch. "...What...No no no no NO!" Vzark sprouts wings and instantly starts to fly off before coming back. "Sorry good talk you seem really nice and I'd like to talk again sometime OKAY BYE I NEED TO STOP THE FUCKER I NEED TO TELL HER MYSELF SHIT!" Vzark flies off again, clearly overwhelmed.
Kagerou meanwhile is merrily writing all sorts of corny sappy poetry on paper.
Vzark quickly senses as to where Kagerou is and zooms in on his position.
Kagerou senses his approach and quickly runs off with what he's written, cackling. "The lover boy approaches!" He crows as he runs.
Vzark hears and spots Kagerou, getting rid of his wings and running after him. "I SWEAR TO GOD KAGEROU IF YOU TAKE ONE MORE STEP I'M GOING TO SNAP YOUR NECK!"
Kagerou folds the paper into a paper airplane and throws it, it self propels with wind magic.
Vzark speeds by Kagerou, punching him in the chest as he runs off towards the paper airplane.
It speeds up, defying him.
Vzark sprouts wings once more and starts catching up, reaching out to grab it.
It starts performing stunts to mess with him.
"Oh come the fuck on!" Vzark growls tries to reer the paper airplane off course and into an obstacle.
It suddenly dives down toward the ocean.
"...What? Its paper, why the fuck would it go to the ocean..?" Vzark dives down with it, ready to swoop back up at a moments notice.
It doesn't stop, instead it keeps beelining right for the water.
Vzark growls and quickly snatches it before swooping up away from the water. "Got you you little shit." He unfolds it, and reads it out of curiousity.
He finds it so corny and cheesy he feels sick to his stomach, knowing that Nezumi might possibly have read something so utterly embarrassing and horrid.
Vzark makes a groan if disgust as he rips up the paper, burning the pieces with fire. "Fucking ass, he could have at least made it believable. Jesus christ.." Vzark starts to walk off, heading back to Azula.
Another paper plane flies past his head.
"OH FUCK NO." Vzark jumps up and grabs the second one, setting it completely abalze and looks to the direction of where it came from.
A third bonks him on the forehead.
Vzark's eye begins to twitch again as fire envelops him, burning the third one. "I swear to god Kagerou im going to cut out every organ from your body and force feed every single one of them to you."
A barrage of air plane letters begins flying all around him. He hears distinct laughing from the fortress.
Vzark increases the radius of the flames and fires a wave of fire in the direction of the planes, incinerating all of them.
"Admit it already!" Kagerou yells from far off.
"I'll admit it my way, not through your mindless and idiotic actions to completely ruin everything for me, leave me the fuck alone!" Vzark is practically seething by now, the fire burning evermore.
"Yeah, when you're old and grey!" He retorts.
"None of my actions are your concern, go to hell!" Vzark sends one last wave of fire towards Kagerou, and walks off.
Kagerou sighs after Vzark leaves. "I wonder if he really understands."
Vzark calms down after a while, seeming to take lots of time to think. He sprouts wings and flies off, heading back to Azula.
She seems to be quietly sitting.
Vzark approaches and sits down beside her, seeming to give a sigh of relief. "Thats that dealt with. Thanks for the heads up."
"Where did we leave off...? Oh, right. I kind of wanted to ask for advice with..you know. Based from what you've said I assume im doing an okay job, but still."
"The best I can offer is patience."
"Thats fine, i'd imagine patience is probably the best thing for me now....thank you Azula."
"Don't mention it..."
Vzark stays silent once more and listens to the sounds of the surroundings around them. "Could we do this again? Just talk, I mean. I like hearing what you have to say, I'm sure I can learn a lot from it."
"...Sure. I... ...wouldn't mind."
Vzark tries to give a reassuring smile, but it just turns out goofy and strange looking. "...I really need to work on my smiles..."
"Why? It is you."
"Well yeah but...I don't know. Just feel awkward whenever I smile because of it. That and the way I smile kinda hurts my face."
Vzark laughs along as he seems to try to fix his smile, eventually giving up and keeping the same odd one. "Guess you're right though, it is me."
She remains silent.
Vzark lightly kicks a nearby rock and listens to the own light clanking of his armor as he does so. "Sorry if I'm coming off lost or strange, just been running things through my head is all."
"....No, it's fine. ...You're not the only lost person I've been around."
"Hmm? Who would have been the other, exactly?"
Vzark tilts his head slightly at Azula, but not quite in curiousity, "Kado is your lover, yes? I remember him being mentioned to me once or twice."
"Im uh...sorry to hear about the...opposite sides thing. Its quite unfortunate. Im sure this Kado person was quite nice."
"...Yes... ...he was."
"Sorry if its a sore subject of course. What're they like?"
"He is often deeply troubled, a bit of a broken man. He is the kind of person who couldn't be happy unless everyone else was."
"Huh. Seems like a blessing and a curse. To be happy only when everyone else is happy that is. On one hand theres no one to rain on your parade cause everyone is happy, on the other hand theres a large chance you'll be..upset for a long, long time."
"..." She doesn't speak up.
"...Sorry I think that come off as rude, i'll stop. The point is that I'm sure you two were very close...I'll drop it though, I think I'm just being standoffish now, I don't know."
"...I'm just worried about him."
"I can understand why, personally if I was in a situation similar to yours...with Nezumi...I'd likely feel the same way. Just gotta hope things will turn out alright, yeah?....Just gotta be patient, like you said."
Vzark takes a second and lightly pats Azula on the back. "Im sure you'll get through this and be with Kado soon enough."
"..." She doesn't respond.
He stops patting her and puts his hands to his side, starting to fidget a bit. "Odd question but I've been wanting to get into this kind of stuff, what was the last thing you dreampt about?"
"...I didn't dream. I had a nightmare. ...A nightmare of the city and the people I slaughtered..."
Vzark's face seemed to twist into pity, letting a breath out. "Sorry. I probably shouldn't have asked, I'm sorry to hear about that. If it makes you feel better I hope next time you have a great dream." Vzark stood up, taking a moment to think. "I wish I could have left off from a better note, but there's something I need to...study. I had a great time talking to you, so I'd like to do it again like I said earlier. Thank you again, Azula." Vzark gives another odd smile.
"...You're welcome." The armored Lambda's response is vague at best.
He stands there idly for a split second before sprouting wings and beginning to take off. "See you another time then...I hope at least helped somewhat." And with that, he flew away.
White stands before the fully assembled forces of Yosai, a confident smile on her face. "Today is the day. We shall go forth and conquer this world and the world beyond: Earth. Let none stand before you. They are either with us or against us. Go forth to victory!" White commands. Beside her is someone Vzark recognizes, but he can't understand correctly for a moment what he's seeing. Nezumi, standing next to White, has grown a long whip like tail, with clawed feet and hands, a soft grey tone to her skin is evident in the light. A small pair of horns adorn her head, and armor like Abeni and Azula's has grown from her. Her gaze seems completely blank.
Vzark was idly listening until all of White's words drowned out after seeing Nezumi. He seemed distraught from her eyes as he saw nothing, taking a step back. ""What...what happened? Oh my god...". He kept looking at her, before realizing she was turned into a Lambda.
A single wave of power commands the Chaos Engines to begin their march, over half including Vzark are directed to enter pods stationed throughout the fortress.
Vzark doesn't even realize hes being forced to march. Various thoughts are zipping through his head, too fast to even consider or figure out what they are entirely. Eventually he shut them all out, getting inside one of the pods once he reached one.
The pod begins to hum, along with all the others, as a massive golem of metal and rock rises from the ocean and builds three massive bridges of earth from Yosai to the distant shore, and with a loud explosion as each pod jetisons into the air, and the vast army of Phoenix begins to march.
The war has begun.
They arrive at the stairs leading into the central tower.
Vzark is clearly on edge, wary of his surroundings as he leads himself and Nezumi across the stairs.
The doors seem odd, as if they've been blown off their hinges.
"Yeah, I have a feeling that pillar wasnt just a light show for the soldiers." Vzark walks through, looking around.
In the center, where White's throne lies, is a huge anomaly Vzark could only describe as a void. Without warning, a hand like structure lashes out at them, but isn't able to quite reach them.
Vzark quickly moves back, inspecting the strange anomaly from afar. "The fuck is going on, exactly...?"
A ripple of energy sudden comes from the void, blowing them clear out of the throne room, when they look back, there are some kind of armor pieces now floating around the void in a tight orbit.
He takes a few steps back just to be safe, curiously looking at the armor. "What do we do?"
"Nothing. If you get touched, you will cease to exist. It's stablizing. I have fought similar beings before, but one much weaker. This one's power is far beyond us, it would be wise to observe but remain away from harm." Nezumi says impartially.
The armor seems to be coming together, into a humanoid shape, obscuring the void.
Vzark furrows his brow as he is informed. "Well, what is it? And is there a chance of more than one being here?"
The armor completely fuses into a solid form, the helm appears to show two white glowing eyes, and a movable jaw. It has two large horns curling like a ram's, and incredibly long white hair coming out of the back.
There is no sign of arms, but rather six large wings. The whole form is white with gold trim, around the armor a rippling, as though space itself was being distorted by its presence, is gradually subsiding. The wings come together and almost look like hands casting a spell, and suddenly a large white sphere appears in its 'hands', and from the sphere, White emerges, soon after, it appears to vanish, White appears to be unconscious.
"Risk it or...? Oh fuck it." Vzark starts walking into the throne room, sword handle in hand for precaution as he approaches White. "White..?"
She doesn't move.
Vzark taps his fingers on the floor as he kneels down, checking to see if White is alive. "What did they do..?"
Will you please just take me to my room already?
Vzark opens his mouth to say something before shaking his head, picking White up and walking out of the throne room, heading to her room. "At some point it'd be nice if what just happened was explained. Sorry if that comes off rude, I suppose. Im just a bit dazed."
...Don't concern yourself. A minor issue.
He looks down to White. "A sudden pillar of light appearing out of nowhere and seeing your leader unconscious after emerging from some sort of creature which promptly leaves doesn't seem so minor in my shoes. But alright, i'll take your word. Thanks again for the cat, by the way."
I will consider it an important issue if whole worlds go inexplicably missing.
"Noted..." Vzark eventually reaches her room, taking a second or two to briefly look around.
Put me on my bed, and hurry up.
"I got it, I got it." Vzark puts her on her bed, beginning to walk out. "Anything else or should I head back?"
Vzark takes the silence as a no and leaves the room, walking back to where Nezumi is.
Nezumi is right where he left her.
"That's that ordeal over...I'm still curious but there's no use asking."
"Anyways, I'd still like to tell you about some animals. Do you want to stay here or go somehwere a little more scenic? Not taking I dont care or I dont know for an answer by the way, I would like you to choose."
She shrugs, as Wicker runs off, and she starts running after the kitten.
Vzark makes an exasperated face as he runs after Nezumi and Wicker. "I really hope this doesn't become a common thing.."
She eventually stops after grabbing the kitten and sitting down in a walkway overlooking the sea.
Vzark sits down beside her, looking to the sea. "...I remember, you said you don't like the ocean. How come?"
".....I don't know."
"Its something to behold, really. You dont have to get near it but its nice to look at from afar. Sometimes the wildlife is really something special, too. Thats why I want to teach you about this stuff. You're missing out on a lot of things that no one should miss out. Especially since you clearly have a love for cats now." Vzark smiles, petting Wicker gently.
"..." Nezumi silently edges further away from the view, closer toward Vzark.
"..But its always understood if you'd rather avoid it." Vzark nods and impulsively puts his arm around Nezumi. "So lets stick to land animals. I'll start with something similar to you're familiar with. You see, Wicker is part of a family of animals I think known as Felidae. They consist of Lions, Tigers, Cheetah, Panthers, and even small house cats like Wicker. Let me see if I can show you an example.." Vzark thinks for a second before the shape of a Lion appears before him and Nezumi made out of a green colored aura.
She looks at it, awed, a bit more at ease once he puts his arm around her.
"Lions were generally found in Savannah like areas, essentially dry grassland. The males have large manes or fur on their necks, while the females dont. The females actually hunt for the Pride, which is a group of Lions, while the males just eat, sleep, and mate. Kinda lazy, actually. Unfortunately as nice and fluffy as they look its usually not suggested to approach them. Cheetahs and Panthers aren't as interesting in my opinion, but Tigers are." As Vzark speaks, a Tiger forms as well along side the lion. "I...dont actually know a lot about Tigers, but they're extremely strong and pretty stunning. Still aggresive though. Most big cats like these guys are, but smaller or medium cats arent too aggressive."
She presses up tighter against him.
He seems oddly relaxed as she does so, pressing gently against her as well. "There are a lot of different animals that are considered cats, but Lions, Tigers and house cats are essentially the most popular ones. Now, what a lot of people see as an exact opposite to cats are canines. They consist of dogs, wolves, and some other stuff I'm not sure about. Dogs have hundreds of breeds and types, so it'd take forever to show you them all."
An aura Labrador and Wolf take the places of the two last animals. "Dogs are very active and friendly, kinda like an extrovert. They heavily depend and enjoy the company of others. Wolves are similar to dogs, but are usually bigger, feral, and hunt in packs." He turns to Nezumi, smiling proudly. "What do you think so far?"
"I like the kitty more."
Vzark quietly laughs. "As a pet, me too. Right now I just want to show quick examples of the main different animals, so that's all I'll say about dogs for now. I'll move onto reptiles next." An anaconda, tortoise, crocodile and komodo dragon all take the place of the wolf and dog. "Reptiles are cold blooded, and unlike mammals do give birth to live young. Instead, they lay eggs like birds. Snakes are the legless creatures that slither across the ground, and usually either constrict, kill with venom, or even swallow hole to get their prey. Not all snakes are huge or even look like that. Tortoises are docile and eat plants, and are a type of turtle. There are also sea turtles but I'd rather stick to land animals for now. Komodo Dragons are lizards and one of the largest lizards too. They're powerful and venomous, albeit a bit ugly for the eyes. Next are crocodiles which are similar to lizards, but spend most their time in the water and are pretty big."
Nezumi doesn't appear to like the snake, moving back a bit.
"Don't worry, it's not real." Vzark has the snake dissapear, fading away. "Those are essentially the main land animals, disregarding some insects, some birds and amphibians. Insects probably wouldn't interest you, amphibians are eh, and birds will be another thing all together. At some point I'd like to go more in depth with animals though, there are some very interesting ones." He has the remaining reptiles turn into various different house cats, each of different breeds. "But it's clear what animal is your favorite."
She relaxes again, though her eyes seem a tad sleepy.
"Long day, Id imagine. Probably best to get some rest then, I don't want to deprive you of sleep. I'll make sure Wicker stays with us if you'd like to sleep."
She starts to lean against him, her eyes closing.
He holds her closer as she starts to drift off, staying awake himself for a minute or two before yawning and nodding off, sleeping.
Late the next morning, Vzark feels something soft on his face.
His face scrunches up, and he opens his eyes. "What the...?"
The kitten is laying on his face, purring. He also notices that he and Nezumi are in a rather comfy, large bed together, they appear to be in some manner of room with a simple wooden door. Nezumi is still sleeping.
"Hey Wicker...how did we..? Huh." He takes Wicker off his face and onto his stomach, stroking their back lightly before quietly sitting up, trying not to wake Nezumi. "I really don't remember anything about heading to a room."
The doorknob turns.
Vzark sits idly on the edge of the bed, glancing to Nezumi before the doorknob turns. "Hello?" He tilts his head.
White opens the door, her eyes are a dull red. "Next time don't sleep out in the streets."
"Oh, sorry. Should probably have thought about that better...thanks for moving us here, though." He stretches his arms and back.
"Whatever, be ready to go soon." White leaves.
Vzark sits up and looks around the room for a second before moving back to the bed, hesitantly trying to wake Nezumi. "Nezumi, I'm sorry but White came in and told us we have to be ready to leave soon."
She groans, and shifts in her sleep.
"I know you like to sleep, and I really don't want to wake you up but you're going to have to soon." Vzark steps back, letting her rest for some more time.
She continues sleeping, apparently in a fetal position.
He places Wicker near her as she sleeps, stretching more tossing a ball of purple aura between his hands.
Wicker makes his way under the sheets with Nezumi, causing her to flinch and shiver.
"Come on Wicker, she needs to sleep." He walks over to the bed and gently removes Wicker from underneath, putting the sheets back over Nezmi. "Wish I had a few cat toys for you buddy."
The cat's ears fold back a bit.
"Now I wish I understood cats." He pets Wicker, siting back down on the edge of the bed.
The cat is now squirming.
"Alright, I understand that." He sets Wicker down. "Sorry."
The cat immediately goes back to Nezumi's side, curling up beside her stomach.
"Guess its clear who your favorite is, bit rude though." Vzark smirks. "Guess that makes two of us."
He can hear the cat purring.
"But hey, you've made Nezumi pretty happy so what can I say?" He remains silent for a second. "..Why am I talking to a cat?"
Nezumi keeps sleeping.
Vzark waits a few more minutes before turning back to Nezumi. "Alright, it really should be time to wake up now. Next time we can I promise i'll let the both of us sleep longer."
Once again she groans.
"I'm really sorry but it is White's orders, nothing I can really do about it."
She groans again, stiring a bit.
"I'll tell you more about an animal of your choice if you get up."
This seems to make her cover her head with the blanket.
"Nezumi, please wake up. We're going to be late for...whatever it is White wants us to do."
She makes a whine.
"Okay, i'll carry you on the way to where we need to be and you can sleep while I do so. I'll walk slowly just to give you extra time, is that okay?"
"Mmmmmph..." She grumbles under the sheets.
"Is that a yes or a no?" Vzark gently flops down onto the bed.
"Please Nezumi? Look i'll do anything if you get up, okay?"
Vzark lets out a breath as he gets up from the bed, looking to Nezumi. "Come on, lets go. Im going to carry you, okay? You can sleep on the way, and i'll go slow." He starts to remove the sheets from Nezumi, but quickly stops. "...Nezumi are you even properly dressed?"
He hears her sigh, and she sits up, his burning eyes answers his own question.
His face turns completely red, tongue tied. "I..um. Wow. Nezumi...could you please put...something on?" Vzark eventually averts his eyes, still flushed. "So sorry."
"...Is something wrong?" She says, quietly looking for her clothes.
"Nononononono nothing is wrong, dont worry...just didnt expect you to be..exposed, is all. "Tell me when you're dressed..." Vzark's voice is clearly nervous.
Nezumi begins to get concerned, as she doesn't seem able to find her clothing.
"Is..is something wrong?" Vzark turns slightly, but quickly looks away again when he gets a glimpse.
Nezumi is still looking around. "My clothes... aren't here." She suddenly trips and falls on the ground.
When Vzark hears the thud as Nezumi trips he quickly turns, walking towards Nezumi, concerned. "Shit you alright? And what do you mean your clothes arent here?"
"Do you see any white and black dresses in here?" She rights herself, then pulls the sheets over and around her, covering her.
"I'll check, hopefully they're here." Vzark starts to check the entire room, but eventually cant find anything. "..Okay..this is a problem. I uh...cant find anything. Shit, um..okay do you know anywhere I can get you some clothes?"
White suddenly comes through the door again, with the most unholy of smiles, holding a white and black dress. "Thought I'd wash your dress a day early, Nezumi."
Vzark's heart sinks to his stomach as he sees White. "Oh my god." He says nothing but leave his mouth slightly open in minor shock.
She turns to Vzark and tosses the dress into his face. "I'm too busy to help her into it today, you do it."
He catches the dress and blankly looks at White, then to Nezumi. "Oh...okay. We'll...be right out, White." He walks to Nezumi, a bit awkwardly.
White walks away, secretly snickering as she goes down the hall. Nezumi meanwhile isn't facing him.
"I'm just going to say now I'm...not the best with this kind of stuff so you might need to help me...sorry if this is weird." He attempts to start putting the dress on Nezumi, having a harder time due to not fully looking.
"Vzark, I don't mind if you look, it's just flesh and blood."
"I know but...it just feels awkward and intrusive to me. But I..suppose you're right.." He looks to her, putting on the dress better. "Even if I do really like you its...I don't know."
"Just hurry up and don't think about it if it bothers you."
Vzark nods and finishes putting the dress on her, taking a step back. "Do you still want time to sleep and for me to carry you or are you alright now?"
She looks up at him. "..."
He picks her up and places Wicker in her arms, starting to leave the room. "You can rest for a bit then."
Nezumi's head rests against Vzark's chest quietly.
He remains quiet for the most part as he walks, but is smiling to himself the whole time. "Nezumi I'd just like to say to be completely honest is thank you. You've been one of the main people helping me through all of this and...just thank you, really."
"No problem, I guess....?"
He oddly stays quiet, keeping a constant pace as he walks. "I just want this war to be over. I know is just started and it's not that it's concerning me really, I just want it to end. Kinda wish there was more time just to live."
"Want, but no will to see it through, is thought poorly spent." She says quietly.
"Next time I have my armor that instantly makes me win total and complete wars I'll think about willing to see it through. Sorry if that was snappy. I'm definitely trying as much as I can to help the war but my sheer will alone doesn't seem like it's going to help. I want the war to be over and live, but I also want to stay alive and not make dumb decisions."
"If it bothers you this badly, then it will break you before we even reach Earth."
"I think my nerves full of stress are going to shatter me even before then. But no, you are right. I need to work on this stuff. Of course I'll try so let's just hope I don't fuck up along the line."
"..." She just continues resting. Not too much longer later, Vzark hears her stomach growl.
"Hmm? Oh, you're hungry, aren't you? Okay do you want to go to White's kitchen or take the chance of food being down at the camps?"
White seems to round the corner almost on cue, and points at the main hall. "There's food waiting."
"How're you always here...? Nevermind, thank you." He changes direction to the main hall, starting to get hungry himself.
"I live here." She says simply, following after. "Also, how romantic~"
"Fair point, but I meant.." Vzark's face flushes again, shaking his head quickly to cover it up as he goes into the main hall.
She just chuckles. There is a large breakfast table assembled, which basically looks like a grand feast.
"Holy shit. Think this is enough food Nezumi?" Vzark gives an awkward laugh before setting Nezumi down, letting her sit.
She begins to eat right away. Meanwhile, White sits at the head of the table, eating red meat.
Vzark starts to eat as well, perfectly content. "I was meaning to ask, how is progress in general? Mainly as in how strong is our hold right now."
"We are just shy of halfway point." White says, more focused on her meal.
"Oh, good." Vzark focuses on his own meal as well, thinking over various things as he eats.
White soon starts to surprise him with the sheer amount of food she is eating.
He raises a brow but says nothing. Instead he eventually finishes eating, waiting for the others to finish.
Nezumi soon finishes, but even after more than twenty plates, White appears to have lost none of her appetite.
"Uh...should we go ahead, White?" He asks quietly, adjusting his hair.
She absentmindedly dismisses them with a wave of her hand. "Don't forget to tell me about the honeymoon," She says casually.
Vzark nearly chokes on food he's already ate when White retorts, giving a face of embarressment as he walks over to Nezumi and picks her up, walking out of the main hall.
Nezumi looks up at Vzark as he walks. "...What honeymoon?"
"Shes...just teasing is all, don't worry." Vzark's face nearly flushes until he puts his mind off it. "Between Kagerou and White teasing about us I'm not exactly sure which one I think is worse..."
"You forgot Abeni."
Vzark smirks and quietly laughs. "Yeah, I suppose I did. But no Abeni teases in a nice and understanding way, Supporting, really. Dont think i'd be doing this well in general if not for her."
"That applies to you too though, minus the teasing part, just more so the supporting part." Vzark smiles and glances down to Nezumi.
He looks back up and continues walking. "How did you sleep, anyway?"
He nods as they soon leave the Central Tower, walking through Yosai at an average pace. "Wonder what Earth is going to look like. Probably not as good as it does here, I'd think.'
"Fantasy is part of Earth, in a way."
"Hmm? What makes you say that?"
"They are connected. More than mere brother and sister."
"What, like conjoined twins? Im not serious about that, by the way. I imagine their connection is in the spirtual sense?"
"It is what White said."
"Hmm. Can that be used as a tactical advantage? Of course people on Earth;s side could use it as well though..."
"Do not ask for what is not known."
"One of the best ways to figure out what could be known is to ask questions. Otherwise everyone is just going to rely on themselves for everything, which can be useful but...not ideal."
Nezumi doesn't respond.
"Plus questions can be fun depending on who you are." He eventually makes it to the bridge of Yosai.
"..." Nezumi eyes the deep dark water below.
Vzark holds her a bit tighter, but not enough to cause discomfort. "Don't worry about the water, I'll speed up." He moves faster, trying to get across the bridge as quick as he can walk.
Nezumi feels a peculiar twinge in her chest she cannot explain, and spends the majority of the trip across the bridge trying to diagnose it.
Gina, the Mother Phoenix
Abeni stands before her sisters, finally able to reclaim the lost time between them. Despite their warped forms, at the end of the day, they had to still be the same. But what of herself? She didn't want to admit how much she changed...
She quietly embraces her elder sister, still fearful for her mental wellbeing.
"...We can see mother soon," Abeni encourages, hoping to lift Azula's spirit.
"......Mother..." Azula croaks.
Abeni pats her head. "That's right, mom. She'd be so happy to see us, she'd make a cake."
For a while, Azula is still. Then...
"...We have to go, now!" She screams.
"Azzy, what's wrong?!" Gurin cries out as Azula scrambles to her feet.
"They have her! Mother! Phoenix has mom!" Petrified looks come over the other two sisters. In unison, they soar off in a panic towards Yosai.
Ominous rumblings fill the air in the distance from Neo Pangea's capital, the faint shape of a towering fortress looms far above, splitting the clouds, the blankets of white whirling and swirling across its features, huge banks of fog blow through its streets. Its many weapons bristle, ready for any offending enemy to get within range. Civilians look on with worry as the fortress idly drifts across the sky. It has been this way for many weeks, circling ominously in the far distance, its objective clear but why it never moved to attack a mystery, given its massive advantage.
Yet, today is different. Something in the air is... ...wrong. A great tension is building, and has been since the morning hours.
There is tension on the fortress itself, but of an anticipating nature. Traveling among the pathways of the fortress is a group of black robed individuals, observing the skies.
"We must ready ourselves. They've discovered our actions. Is 'she' ready?" One asks.
"Aye," Says another. "Everything is ready. Let's inform the men of their battle plans."
They depart for the center of the fortress, and soldiers begin to rally at all points of the Fortress. A bout is about to begin, and the tension is reaching its peak.
Off in the distance, three bright lights, green, red, and blue, begin to zoom in on the fortress at high speed.
"Is that... ...it is! EVERYONE! Battle stations! They're here! I repeat, battle stations!"
Azula, Gurin, and Abeni glow with mighty aura, fury and desperation etched on their faces. The fortresses' cannons begin to rise in greeting, and begin firing. The shower of bolts roar straight for the sisters, who don't flinch.
"Azula!" Abeni roars.
"On it!!!" With a snarl of fury, Azula's glow intensifies as a gigantic white eight headed serpent manifests around her.
"TIAMAT!" She roars, which causes the familiar to do the same, opening its maws wide as each shot is absorbed repeatedly into its maws, and once the first volley has finished, retaliates with each head firing a beam consisting of all of the attacks condensed into eight solid beams, which blast at the fortress, rocking it violently, but due to its shields, bar any harm from occurring.
"Damn it!" Azula growls.
"We need to break that shield!" Abeni scowls.
The fortress fires another volley at them, but Tiamat responds like before, battering the fortress with its own fire.
"...This isn't working..." Abeni growls.
"I know that!" Azula snaps.
"...I have an idea. Restriction Number 230 - Declare Doom!" Abeni roars, red runes flickering to life on her skin as her sword flares in red light, and charges the fortress barrier.
"COVER ME!" She roars as the fortress fires again. Tiamat responds by charging alongside Abeni, its maws opened to capture the oncoming fire.
Meanwhile, Azula launches huge azure fireballs which pound the fortress and rock it violently, but are not able to stop the barrier. Gurin catches any shots that get past Tiamat with multiple barriers, defending the two sisters from harm. Abeni finally reaches the barrier and stabs it with her sword, transmitting the red glow onto the barrier.
"Get us out of here! She's done something to the barrier!" Shouts come from the fortress, which begins to rapidly change direction and speed off.
Cursing, Azula and Abeni speed after it, launching attacks after it, but they are not enough to keep up. An angelic - demonic giant appears beside Abeni in tandem with Tiamat, firing a crossbow with red flickering static bolts, but even this doesn't reach the hastily retreating fortress.
"Gaaah! We have to slow them down!"
Gurin gets a determined look, then flies far ahead of the two sisters, ahead of the fortress, and lands, placing her palms on the ground. "HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!" She screams, as huge talon like spikes of earth erupt from the ground under the fortress, but just barely miss, scratching at its barrier briefly. She tries again, only a gigantic tree begins to grow around the fortress, its vines wrapping around it.
"Good work, Illia!" Azula calls out, then both Abeni and Azula charge the fortress, their blades glowing with brilliant power.
"TAKE THIS!!!" With their full might, their blades crash into the barrier, shattering it like glass. The force breaks the fortress free, which begins to flee while firing at full capacity. Azula doesn't wait for them to get a chance, soaring through the storm of fire and clenching her fist.
"This is the day you bastards suffer for what you've done!!!" She roars, and with all her might, slams it into the side of the fortress, her arm growing blue cracks from the force, the whole side she strikes cracks violently, and the fortress is sent hurtling toward the earth... ...and the capital city.
In a horrible fireball, the fortress collides with the capital city at full force, raining death and destruction across it. Only the outer most layer of the city escapes the full weight of the impact.
Panting, Azula and the others waste no time in descending upon the fortress, where scores of Chaos Engines, stumbling around from the force of the impact, are unprepared for the wrathful descent of the three sisters and their first wave of assault. While Azula crashes down in a mighty impact, in full battle armor, slicing scores of opponents in pieces in mere seconds, Abeni rains down hellfire upon the fortress, whole legions of enemies burn in her flames, before slamming down to earth with fists clenched, her strikes sending a whole army's worth of combatants flying into the sky left and right. Gurin summons hordes of mystical creatures and animate plants which disembowel and gut her enemies left and right, her own vines strangle anyone foolish enough to get close.
The three sisters mow down all in their path, painstakingly forcing their way deeper and deeper into the heart of the most dearly hated fortress.
The battle continues in earnest, until finally the opposition crumbles away and the three begin to race deep inside the citadel, seeking to find their mother as soon as possible. What feels like an agonizing eternity passes, until finally at the heart of the fortress, deep in rubble, a center chamber is sensed, and the three close in from three separate directions, all closing in on their beloved mother. They soon see their mother chained and attached to machinery in the center of the room, their eyes tunnel vision on the only thing that matters, their beloved mother...
"MOM!!!" They scream, racing into the room, their hearts in agony as they try to reach her, and as they enter, the grey haired woman looks on in horror, her mouth making the silent plea to run....
...As three magic circles ensnare the three, and thrust them into machines that confine and imprison them, sticking them with needles, and their life essence flowing out of them, traveling up into the ceiling, and to their horror, begin to flow into their mother. Gurin feels a thick needle inserting into her neck and she begins to scream, as slowly a bulge grows in the back of her neck, artificial veins swelling as once again a organ grows inside, connecting her once more to the CE Network.
"Wh-what's happening?!" Azula screams in fury.
"So you've arrived, good. We've been waiting for your return, our dear goddesses." The black robed figures emerge from the shadows.
"Take heart, the ascension of your mother is nigh. With your combined power, she will be born anew, as a beautiful goddess that will bring the cosmos into an age of enlightenment and true power."
Their mother begins to first moan, and then howl, as the essence of her three children flow into her, causing her body to begin to glow iridescent.
"S-S-s-toooooooop!" She howls in anguish, as her body begins to contort in pained spasms.
"Let us soothe your rebirth...." A headpiece is placed on her head, and she squirms and howls further as her mind begins to be twisted against her will, dark thoughts of grandeur and power warping her fragile mind. Sinister desires to rule and subjugate, to convert and corrupt all life burn in her heart, despite her efforts to resist, the pain turns to pleasure, and a haunted, insane laugh begins to emit from her throat, as her mind is gradually rewritten into the personification of Phoenix's perverse ideals, and turned from a gentle woman into one desiring the power of an absolute monarch over all life.
Her body thrashes, her mouth froths and foams as every cell in her body is being rewritten. She laughs in insanity as her years are swept away, her aging skin smoothing and becoming youthful once more, her muscles and bones strengthening, her hair becoming a beautiful, glossy silver with traces of iridescent light. The glow surrounding her intensifies, as her skin begins to break out with traces of blood from the scales beginning to grow from her now youthful body, the woman indistinguishable in age from her own children. Pristine iridescent scales rip her skin open, giving her a vibrant glow. Soon after, her body grows bigger until she is as tall as her children, and then the real transformation begins.
With a howl of both pain and pleasure, her blood begins to run thick with raw power, her being radiating like the sun. Horns begin to rip free of her skull, while six angelic metallic wings rip free of her body. Her old clothing burns away from the intensity of her aura, and endless plate in gold and blues grows out of her skin, until she appears to wear a full suit of armor. Her blue eyes glisten with incredible power, a cruel, sadistic light in her eyes. Her feet grow into mighty talons, while her hands mighty claws. Without warning, she rips free of her bindings, as an explosion of power surges forth from her, a large tail extending from her body.
Now equally alluring as her children, the newborn Lambda chuckles, her voice echoing with power, the newborn ruler of Phoenix flexes her claws with a demented smile. Without warning, the eyes of the three sisters dim in their radiance, immediately enthralled by the minor sweep of their mother's mind, seizing control of all of the Chaos Engines in the network. They flock by the thousands to the fortress, to their ruler's call.
"We are honored by your presence, grateful to be witness to your great rebirth, our queen," The robed men proclaim.
"Welcome to your eternal reign, Gina Kuros! Praise be to you and our beautiful goddesses which will create an endless era of prosperity!"
One by one, the three sisters are commanded to their mother's side, perfect thralls to their mother's will. At this point, even without the organs, they would still be total slaves incapable of independence from their mother's absolute will. Her perfect machines of war. She strokes them on the cheek, and commands them to begin rebuilding their empire, raising their victims, and creating a barrier far more powerful than before.
Pleased with her daughters as they set to work, Gina takes her seat at her imperial throne, gazing out at the destroyed city, and marveling at what wonders she and her children shall bring to this world...
...and lets out a dark chuckle as the dark robed figures stand in attendance to her. One stands forth and kneels before her.
"May your reign last forever... as your high priest, I will see to it myself that no one ever challenges it. Praise to our goddess, Gina!"
Gina smiles. The very end of everything shall begin.
A singular slash, impossibly thin, impossibly fast, pierces the fortress, followed near immediately by a rush of intense heat and light and the trail left by the slash explodes with Ether and intent, nothing short of primal fury seeping from the area.
"A mistake you've made," rumbles a surprisingly young voice, weight seeping from each word. Before anything else can happen the voice seems to respond to something else. "Legna..."
In the distance a bright light flashes followed by the raging of an intense storm that clears the sky of any clouds and vaporizes the nearby sea before the storm resumes only for the sun to flare white for the briefest of moments only to be consumed by darkness, emptying the sky of light until the sun returns and then eclipses.
A swarm of Chaos Engines begin to arrive at the fortress, among them Vzark and Nezumi, all trancelike. Meanwhile, Moegara, who had been tailing the sisters, is now desperately trying to escape the enslaved Chaos Engines, sensing the scale of the threat at hand. She cuts and slashes her way through the crowd, barely escaping, knowing that she needs to return to defend her people from the inevitable attempt to reannex them into Yosai's control.
Rebirth and Conquest
The Chaos Engines that had not busied themselves with chasing the rogue Moegara, including Vzark and Nezumi, all present themselves to their new leader, Gina, who observes them for a moment before beckoning to Vzark. Beside Gina stands an emotionless, armored Abeni.
He was somewhat unsure of the entire situation, wearing a rather stern look as he steps forward towards Gina, as he was beckoned.
Gina motions towards Abeni, who coldly extends her hand towards him.
He cant stop himself from glancing back to Nezumi, seeming a bit concerned as he hesitantly walks to Abeni, and soon takes her hand.
As soon as he does, a painful burst of power flows into him and soon begins to reshape him with her power and essence.
He roars out in pain, muscles tensing as he does his best to withstand it. He grows slightly in size, as his skin slowly turns to a light grey, dark purple scales growing at various spots on his body. His hair turns darker and wilder, getting longer as horns begin to grow from out of his head, curling closely to it and turning sharp at the end. The whites of his eyes turn pitch black and his pupils glow even brighter, and radiating from him is a terrible, terrible sense of pure dread and terror that reaches every single person in the area, striking through them like an arrow. His fearful power can be felt as he drops to his knees, taking breaths as the pain begins to go away, feeling his newfound power as he slowly stands, panting. Each breath his heavy and thick with intense and pure dread.
Gina seems unhindered, and commands the Etas surrounding them to bow to the new Lambda, the order is followed robotically.
Vzark slowly catches his breath, looking over his body and feeling the power surging throughout him, slowly turning over to the bowing Etas. "This is....what i've wanted...." Even so as he says it, something doesn't feel right.
Nezumi regards him much the same as the others, in a robotic manner, her eyes unfocused.
He looks over to Nezumi, thinking to himself before turning back to Gina to see what she would order.
“You will devote your body and soul to my daughter and her conquest of this world, and teach these mortals that we command Fear itself, and you are its unstoppable harbringer. Do this in her and my name and I will bless you with everything you could desire.” Gina intones, then leans in and grasps his chin, making him look into her eyes.
A vision of him and Nezumi, with her eternally serving his desires, with him growing ever more powerful in turn, flares to life when she holds him to her gaze.
“Everything.” She emphasizes while the vision is held.
“Now go, Vassal of Abeni. Please your queen.” She releases him.
She turns to Abeni and Gurin.
“Go forth and transform this world for our kind.”
Both silently walk forth out of the city, and out into the ruins of the city Yosai crashed into. While Gurin heads to the outer limits, Abeni remains near the city core and Yosai.
Abeni reaches out her hand and summons a creepy sword sweltering with ominous, malicious energy, and with a swish of her hand, impales it upon the Earth. The ground around her immediately buckles and blackens, flames consuming the soil and turning it into scorched stone.
Vzark joins her side as the ground begins to slip and sink down, huge cracks open up in the ground and whole parts of the city collapse into a carvernous hole that begins to fill with magma and fire. Buildings comprised of black stone and metal begin to rip up from the ground, and soon a horrific black city, ablaze in hellish flames, surrounded Yosai Fortress.
The unfortunate souls that are caught in the blaze are transformed into beings in her image, with various levels of strength and intelligence, as evil beings and the strongest warriors in Phoenix are summoned to dwell in Abeni’s now labyrinthine fortress city.
The Burning City continues to expand, sinking many miles of city and earth and transforming it in a hellish landscape.
Soon, it ceases expansion outward and instead begins dividing deeper towards the planet core.
At this time, massive tendrils of wood begin to grow outside of and surrounding the Burning City. They soon join together in a massive hollow trunk that forms a massive forest city of dryads, fey, and mystical beasts suspended high above the Burning City, the only access point a long spiral stairway along the sides.
Outside, a massive series of mountains erupt amid the city ruins, and atop them and surrounding them, almost consuming the remaining cityscape is a massive tropical rainforest with countless rivers and swamps, the pollen that rises from this forest lures and enthralls the nearby human cities to abandon their homes and live among the forest, they slowly lose their humanity as they eat of the fruits and animals of the forest, becoming of Gurin’s children.
Many transform into Eta Chaos Engines or Dryads, while a select few randomly becomes massive trees or even Lambdas.
As this happens, Gina observes from her throne and smiles. After a time, she begins pouring over notes she had found deep inside Yosai, researching. Slowly, a creepy smile forms across her face as a diagram of Echo is shown.
"...Truly, we have work to do..." She says to herself with a faint chuckle. She rises from her throne, and makes her way toward the distant garden of her daughter, a plan firmly planted in her head.
It is time to plant the seeds of not a new world, but a new future entirely. One for only the Chaos Engines.
She enters the forest, and heads to a deep, secluded area where massive tree roots spiral up into an artificial cave like room, where heavily wrapped in roots, Gurin lies sleeping. Upon seeing her, Gina slowly smiles, and begins to approach, Gurin's eyes faintly opening, a look of despair glinting from them.
Gina extends her hand, which begins to glow multiple colors at once, and begins drawing odd glyphs on Gurin's belly. Once finished they disappear, but a massive pulse of energy emits from Gurin and she cries out in pain, now beginning to faintly glow the same colors that Gina's hand and glpyhs had been, breathing heavy and with a frightened look on her face, she is left alone as Gina returns to the central tower of Yosai and seats herself at its throne.
She swipes her hand and a screen pops up that shows her a display of the ruined Echo, and the ominous void below it that attempts to pull it in. She stares, not at the ruined world but at the void itself, which feels as though something deep inside her is being called to it. She smiles, as the haunting feeling fills her being, an almost addictive rush. After a while longer, she swipes the screen away and turns her head to Azula, who has been placed at her side this whole time.
"I have a task for you, my eldest." Gina intones.
"..." Azula robotically bows.
"Begin interfacing phase. When that which will free us to achieve anything we desire bears fruit, and we leave this rotten carcass of a planet behind, we will scrub this blemish from history altogether. These will be the last days of mankind and Earth alike." Gina commands. Azula once again bows, and quietly begins to leave the tower. Once she has done so, she spreads her wings and gazes up at the sky. After a moment of pause, she silently stretches out her hand...