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Thread: Ga Rei: Exodus Nine (IC)

  1. #2161
    just monika Katie's Avatar
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    Mikagura Mika
    Amatsu's Throne, Tokyo


    In the end, I only have so many tricks up my sleeve. The battle is that of attrition, and with every second what I can barely call an “advantage” breaks down, battered by her blows. But it seems to have worked, because Genbu and I are given brief respite… Perhaps she’s attempting to come up with a pla—

    Oh fuck.

    This can’t be happening, but it is, and we have to do something now or we’re all going to be absolutely fucked and this isn’t something I can think my way out of. I’ve been checkmated. She’s swapped strategies from attempting to demolish me through what skill she has to annihilating me and everyone else around without any remorse. I’m in a situation that requires nothing but brute force, something I lack.

    I’ve always been one to rig things in my favor, without an overt hand. Relying on raw power to stop something has always been foreign to me. There are plenty of Espers with more destructive abilities. I merely know things and act upon them, assuming guile and wit is stronger than raw force.

    But not now.

    Now I have to stop Tamamo. I won’t—I refuse to let it end like this.

    I briefly wonder if Zerah can still hear me, and if so…

    If she has any sort of weakness, now would be the time.

    But such a thing is likely to be improbable at best. This is the Goddess of Humanity I am talking about, who represents unlimited flexibility. A master of everything. I understand there is no intelligent solution to this predicament. But I have to try, and try, because this is the only way I’ve ever done things.

    Genbu, you know what to do.

    Brute force. Beacon flares with light. I move.

    Cut her down.
    Cut her down.
    Cut her down.

    I have to.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  2. #2162
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Interlude
    Yami & Tamamo-No-Mae & ???
    'Dream of Butterfly II'

    "Well, I suppose it doesn't matter that a few of my dregs managed to crawl it's way here; you are the weakest 'Me' that exists."

    While she had been shocked by her presence mere moments before, the black silhouette, the deepest darkness that had been rejected and festered and become a being that should have never existed in the first place, stands her ground at the approach of her third self; well aware that she was the most naive of the bunch, hands automatically rising as she falls into stance.

    If it comes down to a fight, an actual confrontation for possession of the body, she is sure that she is the most powerful of all three of them at this point.

    However...

    "...You were hurting too, right?"

    For some reason...

    The Goddess that just keeps walking towards her without the intent to kill; no, without any form of hostility at all, unnerves her in a manner that she cannot put into words. She is attacking the physical world even now, starting up one of the strongest magics she knew, a spell to begin the symphony of destruction that would be her rampage across the surface of the earth, the other two should be burning with the desire to stop her.

    Indeed, Tamamo-No-Mae is, she cannot forgive the self that would try to hurt humanity; it was that exact rejection that had allowed her to manifest from her in the first place.

    But this light half, Yami-

    "It's not just about the rage is it? We're desperate and lonely, and humans have been crying for eons and we don't know how to make them stop."

    -Threatens her without threatening her at all; in a manner that was far more fundamental, piercing to the core-!

    "Stay away from me! You can't do anything to stop it, so just sit down and accept it-! It's my turn to act! Mine!"

    Without thinking about it, she fires a barrage of magic the way of her other self. Slamming into her without resistance, the blue-haired goddess stops for a moment, body shaking with what could only be pain as magic of all types slams into her at the rate of a machine gun, and with the force of divine phenomena...

    "..."

    Before continuing on towards her anyway without trying to throw so as a single punch in retaliation, or even speeding up her otherwise glacial pace.

    It's intimidating.

    It shouldn't be, but it is, and she takes a step back instinctively as a result.

    "We're angry, angry that they did this to themselves, angry that they took away our friends by accident, angry that they refuse to help themselves, angry that we're angry, angry that we decided to run away from everything, angry that it looks like we'll never see them again... I'll admit it... I pushed everything I didn't want to see onto her... And she pushed it onto you. I accept that, I won't run from that anymore."

    Intimidation turns into rage.

    What the hell does this bitch know?!

    The one who ran the furthest away, the dregs that had been happy even while the others had burned in an impossible hell-! She attacks, because she is rage and grief she attacks; this time physically, or as close to such a thing as they could get in this place.

    Even so...

    Once more...

    Her other self just takes it. It would be admirable if it was anyone else, but the sheer fury of it being her who was refusing to go down, her who was smiling at her, acting as if she finally understood everything and that it would all be okay now just because she said it would be-!

    Really, it drives the Goddess insane, and so in front of her other self, she finally does what both she and Tamamo had wanted to do deep down all along, punching and kicking and slamming and stomping and screaming at the one who just continued to take all of it with a sad smile that made it harder and harder to keep going.

    Finally, the woman catches one of her strikes.

    "You... I... We're lonely, right?"

    When it comes down to it, she had never gotten over the deaths of her knights. It wasn't fair, that those who had loved the world had died to protect those that had always seemed to hate it; hate it with such passion that their sacrifice would be eternal so long as it continued to exist.

    She wanted to see them again.

    It was a desire that all of the parts shared, but one that only she had been ready to act upon. By destroying the world, by killing off humanity, she would both grant them the end to their existence they desired and be able to reunite with her own loved ones at the same time.

    Dark as she may seem, there was more than just malice to it.

    To her, it was actually a mercy kill; and one that would finally let her meet with her loved ones again after centuries of separation. Grief and Anger, left with only those things, boosted up by a God that preyed on those same things, the Goddess in blue was simply calling her out for what she actually was...

    A lonely woman who wanted to be reunited with those she loved at all costs, the one who had had her happiness literally severed from her, who could only cling to times long past and try to recreate them to scrape up some sort of meaning in her own existence.

    "...But destroying everything, that's not what they would want us to do, and it's not what we want to do either... Not if we really think about it. There's still so many more people to meet, things to do, things to see, things to protect, and promises to keep..."

    Feelings are complex, there is no such thing as an absolute, and while there was certainly a part of her that could feel hate towards humanity, there was also a part, just as real, just as sincere, that loved them like nothing else. She had loved them from the start, had longed to feel things and experience the world like they did; and had found a family of her own amongst them that were closer to her than anyone else. She had loved the world, the people were so interesting, when they lived they did so brilliantly, and even though there was ugliness within it all that could match that beauty, she still thought...

    That it was still more beautiful than it was ugly.

    "Our happy ending isn't out of reach... But I don't blame you for thinking that it is," speaking softly, beaten half to death at her own hands, the woman that just won't shut up keeps talking back to a self that probably won't listen, "I pushed everything I hated and couldn't deal with onto the two of you... I'm sorry, it should have never turned out like this; the world I threw you into is not reality. It's not just pain, there's happiness everywhere... So both of you... Come back to me. All of the pain I threw away, I'll take it back, and all the happiness you lost... I'll give it back to you. We'll be able to bear it... Pain and Joy together are what give all of this meaning."

    "..."

    "If at that time... We still think the best thing for everyone is oblivion... Then so be it. But someone I met recently told me, and I believe... That more than anything else..."

    "Yamuna-No-Okami loves this world in spite of it's faults. We don't have to be afraid of ourselves, and... We don't have to exist alone."


    ---

    Mikagura Mika & Genbu & Tamamo-No-Mae & Amatsu Mikaboshi
    'Shin Megami Tensei'


    I have to.

    It's a thought that often appears when humans are pushed into a corner, and a thought that serves to make them much more dangerous; the pure belief of desperation causing many to tap instinctively into what you now knew as 'Observation.'

    Even so, you aren't thinking about that.

    Crossing the distance in the span of a single instant, the power that you are forcing within Beacon causes the sword to burn with an azure light; one that grows in both intensity and purity as weapon and owner act in sync to maximize the output. While you had yet to test this function while Beacon was in this form, there is no need for such things; as a sword made by your father, one on par with the weapons of the old worlds, there is no threat of it simply exploding from the sheer strain of accepting so much power from so many willing donors.

    Your body tenses up in expectation of pain.

    Having been given only a few seconds in which to interrupt the Goddess, and having given Genbu leave to utilize her strongest spell, the reality is that you'll be caught in it as well. Because you share similar types of energy, it will do less damage to you than it will to the Goddess, but even so, recognizing it as a horrendously powerful magic from the records, you can only thank fate for the gift as you move to strike in unison with it.

    "Ah, I see! Is that you Zerah?! Hahaha, so this was your fate?"

    Watching it all with eyes that took only amusement from it, the Autumn Star finally comments on the sudden surge of power you had shown even as the man in question remains silent. While he can certainly see and hear what's going on, he doesn't respond to it, likely because of the concentration needed to manage your spiritual lines without burning you up from the inside and-

    Right now, it's not important.

    Light reigns, time slows down.

    Cut her down.
    Cut her down.
    Cut her down.
    Cut her down.
    Cut her down.
    Cut her down.

    You gotta do it.

    ---

    A pillar of white light accompanies the best efforts of the Summoner-Demon duo.

    A wash-out of spiritual power, a clear white torrent that shot towards the sky even as another wave shot off into the distance, parting flames and purifying darkness as it went, the feeling the God of Darkness gets is one that it can only call insecurity.

    The blast shouldn't have been enough to stop the artificial goddess, even so, the feeling that it gets, the sensation of something not just ceasing to draw on his power, but completely cut the connection between them, is one that causes the God to slowly rise to his feet, the crimson-black flames rising along with him as, for the first time, it senses that things are not quite going in it's direction.

    It frowns.

    The symphony of pain is joined by the sensation of moving through space.

    Having cut through everything to stop what you must, your first thought is that you must have been knocked out due to all the stress running straight into all of that had caused you. It's white, the color and definition of the world is gone and your body feels almost completely numb; but the sensation of moving through space remains...

    The white fades out.

    The movement comes to a stop.

    Someone puts you back on your feet.



    "Ah, Mika... Sorry for putting all of that on you, looks like I went a little crazy huh? Your body okay? Genbu?"

    "I'm... Totally... Fine..."


    The voice is light, but no longer to the point of being almost sickeningly sweet; and while the look is vaguely apologetic, it's not so much that it comes off as overcompensation or insincerity, no...

    "Really, sorry doesn't begin to cut it... But I'll make it up to you, to everyone; we'll get that happy ending... It won't all be for nothing."

    Smiling brightly in spite of the scenario, Yamuna-No-Okami, the Artificial Goddess of Humanity...

    Takes their side without seeming to question it at all, or rather...

    She was only here because she had already found her answer.

    "So, ready to kick this guy's ass?"

    Ah...

    Maybe... She was too much like a human after all.

    That wasn't a very Goddess-like thing to say-!

    Laughing at it, even she seems to think so.
    Last edited by Airen; November 13th, 2017 at 11:28 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  3. #2163
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Remnant Saki #2 (Fujimoto)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    A most peculiar soul this one has.

    “Then it wasn’t just my imagination… sensei truly does bask in the eyes of his students.” Most students had caught on quickly that Nakahara enjoyed having young eyes on him. It wasn’t a feeling impossible to relate to, just as Saki enjoyed playing the older sister she imagined taking the role of teacher held the same charm.

    The Remnant picked up a small orb of fire, shaped like a teacup, and drank from it. Of course it was a flame totally of her creation and the act was completely for show, but setting the atmosphere was important. Her dinner partner was dining; it would leave an odd atmosphere for her to not do the same. Even if she was just a ghost comprised of spiritual energy shaped into a fire, casting a perfect reflection upon the world that mirrored her original self.

    “It’s both a strength and a weakness as a teacher. Sometimes he becomes too sensitive to the attention of his students, it gives one reason to worry for him. To think he sacrifices so much of his time for those students that have already graduated.” The Remnant glanced across the table toward the man in question, still engaged by the one she reflected. “It’s admirable, and I’m sure he does it because he enjoys it, but…”

    Remnant Saki #1 (Redgrave)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    “Fortune, luck, chance. These are fickle things, Mister Redgrave.” The Remnant proffered the man another masterfully prepared piece of the infinite sushi he spoke of. Burning fingers delicately held the offering, not burning it at all despite common sense of the matter. “At times they side with me, at times against me. That is life.”

    The Remnant paused, thinking. Her burning countenance stared into the man as she thought exactly what might be worth playing for with him. He was largely a mystery to her. That mystery was his charm, and it was what made it fun to entertain him as a guest. Were the mystery to shatter, to dispel into the night, she worried she might find herself bored of him.

    Yet, curiosity is a self-destructive mechanism with little regard to its host’s desires.

    “Whatever it is you might desire, I couldn’t say. But as for me, I can’t feign disinterest in that peculiar soul of yours, Mister Redgrave.”

    Saki Prime
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    “I’ll have you know that this Saki has done nothing to be scolded for in at least… at least…” The true Saki fell silent as her thoughts began to run backwards, searching memory to find the last instance of her ill deeds calling for sanctions against her. If Nakahara opened his eyes, he would likely see the debate in the back of the girl’s head.

    “No that doesn’t count,” “that time wasn’t my fault,” “that was just a misunderstanding.”

    Such thoughts were well written on her face, and with each instance the girl discredited her smile began to fade.

    “Yes, yes that’s right. That is Demons for you.” Suddenly speaking up to drive the discussion away from her own questionable behavior, the girl tilted her head slightly to glance toward one such aforementioned demon. “Some you might find yourself unwillingly connected to. Though not always at the hip…”

    As she said so, another figure of red burst into being at another end of the table.

    Remnant Saki #3 (Belial)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    “So then, o’ Monarch.” Hovering in the air over Belial’s shoulder, the Remnant spoke to him with mocking reverence. “How is it, to be served like true royalty, by the traitor bird you admire so deeply?”

    [09:23] <Ariadniensis> spin
    [09:23] <Ariadniensis> you are the dark souls of internet friends

  4. #2164
    just monika Katie's Avatar
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    Mikagura Mika
    Amatsu's Throne, Tokyo


    Light. Blinding, washing away everything that I know. Does success lie at the end, or have Genbu and I failed? Pain rings throughout my body, from Genbu’s attack and whatever this is. Am I unconscious… no, I would know that, in this state. Dead, too. So I must be alive, but everything aches and my body burns within, like a furnace, and I’m sailing and sailing through the air like a paper plane with the speed of an actual plane.

    It almost seems endless. But I can still feel them—Zerah, the souls within me, Genbu. Not everything is lost. If I can just…



    Something stops me. Someone. Not my demon.

    White drowns out into color. I’m still there, in Amatsu’s throne. I can hear her voice. Like Yami’s, like Tamamo’s, but yet completely unique all the same. Something beautiful, something sincere. I could cry. I really fucking could.

    I turn around to see her.

    The reincarnation of the true goddess.

    Humanity’s goddess, Yamuna-no-Okami, graces me with a smile that would make anyone’s heart skip a beat. Mine, however, remains resolute, because there’s… Never mind that. What a stupid tangent to even go on. It must be the elation of being alive, and most importantly, being successful. I made a promise and I ultimately kept it.

    I start laughing. Everything hurts and hurts and hurts, but I’ll revel in my victories as they come.

    "So, ready to kick this guy's ass?"
    She sounds so causal, it’s almost funny. Having talked to the polite Yami and the direct Tamamo, I’m almost floored at how this is the resulting goddess. Where did this crassness come from? Is this something that only arises when the parts become a whole?

    “Let’s make it quick—I’m on a timer.”

    I say the words with a carefree tone, but the contents are deathly serious. Using my Eclipse Diver, borrowing Zerah’s power, supporting Genbu, operating Beacon in blade form—at any moment I wouldn’t be surprised I could drop dead.

    But I won’t.

    I’m too selfish to die.
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:04] <Lianru> it's ok with each stalker call I feel like we get a little closer
    [Feb/Wed/04|07:00:06] <Lianru> never give up

    asians before testing week

  5. #2165
    死徒二十七祖 The Twenty Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors Vritra's Avatar
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    Makoto Fujioka
    Nakamura Residence
    Evening

    “Nyahahaha silly Usami-san this is uuuuuuu, you know like proper, mmmmm appropriate? Fuzarmal, fuzzy, warm and super nayahaha!” Countering her resistance I rock myself back to use both slip her off balance and snap back with increase force to bury her in another hug.

    “Huggy hug hug super tickle fight whaaaaaa paaaam! Nyahaha no more putting on the mopey meanie silly face for now there is only the hugs and tickles of your DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

    And Sensei sensei you can’t escape that easily do you think I only just thought this up? Nyahaha I already removed any excuses and ability to get away then came up with it just now. Fufufufu Tremble Sensei because I’ve already done my homework already, I’ve even grasped the secret homework Sensei’s gave me!”

    Tremble, tickle DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM for there is no escape now!

    Grinning from ear to ear I vibrate in the excitement at my plan finally coming together it was super nice of everyone to throw away the ability to escape so next comes hugs for everyone.

  6. #2166
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Jacques Dussault
    Tokyo Tower - Hell Approach


    "Arya, don't-!"

    Stop it-!

    There's nothing to be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arya
    "One more time, I will move an obstacle from your path."
    His body hits the ground.

    That's it, then.

    There's no turning back.

    I kneel next to him a second later.

    Even I wasn't fast enough to prevent it.

    Something like that.

    He believed in me.

    Enough to do that for me.

    I should be happy.

    I'm not happy.

    I gently close his eyes.

    I can't feel them.

    My body is numb.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arya
    "If I was hesitating, you should have taken the chance to get a cheap shot on me. I mean, you'd basically need it if you wanted to kick my ass."
    "So this is it, huh?"

    I bend over and pick up the gun.

    He wasn't the only one who taught me to use everything that presents itself.

    He was the one who helped it stick.

    I turn the safety on.

    I put it in my back pocket.

    I pick him up.

    I blur in speed.

    I stand in the control room.

    I put him down.

    I take the Harmonizers out of my pocket.

    I put one down on the equipment.

    I turn it on.

    I raise a hand to my earpiece.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arya
    "But, you're still hopeless it seems; idealistic in your own special way."
    "It's done, Kenji."
    Last edited by Mooncake; November 14th, 2017 at 11:43 PM.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie
    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  7. #2167
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Remnant Saki #3 (Belial)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    "..."

    For a moment, the demon seems to want to respond to mocking reverence with biting sarcasm; indeed, opening his mouth automatically without putting forth any thought, previous banter with the demon declared that it would simply throw out some sort of sarcastic, unhelpful answer to the question, but:

    "Truly? It surprises me exactly how tamed the bird has become."

    Horrifically, this seems to be an actual honest-to-god answer.

    "Phenex and I are of the sort that are destined to always clash; it's desire to do so should supersede even the orders of it's Master, let alone a human who does not bear the authority of it's contract. Nevertheless, it did as you said; albeit reluctantly."

    He chuckles, and while the answer is honest, the odd smile that appears almost bears a sort of vague pity towards the Servant in question.

    "It is unfitting; for a demon to become that sort of attached is almost pathetic. Human lives are fleeting, we are eternal."

    A sigh and shake of the head, then:

    "Even so, if it has the bird willingly making a fool of itself before me, I cannot complain about it."

    ---

    Saki of the Tyrant-King's Blaze-Murdering Black-Dragon-Wave (Saki Prime)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    "...Is that unwilling? It does not seem quite so simple to me." His gaze having followed your own as yet another 'you' was summoned to the table, the teacher says something that seems strange as he observes that other self interact with Belial, "A prince of Hell would not tolerate a Summoner it did not like at least a little bit for long; it is one that specializes in breaking contracts and betraying others, but it seems to just be observing everything in it's own way."

    "Actually..."

    The teacher laughs, then leans in a bit to whisper in a conspiratory sort of way:

    "They all act tough, like they don't care -and they certainly don't at the start- but when a demon gets attached... Well, it's a broad statement, but experience says that they're the type that get more attached than most to individuals."

    ---

    Remnant Saki #1 (Redgrave)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    "Hmm? My soul? That interests you?"

    Laughing it off as if it was a normal inquiry, the man nevertheless takes a few moments to think about something, his fevered eating momentarily coming to a stop:

    "Well can't bet it to ya on a long-term basis, but I can talk about it a bit as a prize I guess. Rock-Paper-Scissors. Simple and Quick; my luck can't botch that sort of thing. If I win... I get your dessert as well as mine."

    ---

    Remnant Saki #2 (Fujimoto)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    "I've told him to take more time off. Doesn't listen, stubborn and helpful is way too powerful a combination. Can't even get mad at him cuz he just counters with, "Oh? So it's wrong to help people," and then I suddenly feel like the bad person."

    Complaining, but also laughing about it, the young woman pauses for a moment to clear a particularly large pudding from the area in front of her, inhaling it in a way that was somehow graceful in spite of the size of the task.

    "Course, he doesn't do meaningless things; learned that as a kid. If he pushes you towards something, it's cuz he thinks you should know it or do it."

    Her mouth thins slightly in thought at this, as if the words themselves had sparked something else in her.

    "It's why I came here tonight. He seemed to think it was important we met. Probably worried I spend too much time just studying at home."
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  8. #2168
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Jacques Dussault
    Tokyo Tower - Control Room


    The one silver-lining was that a slain ESPer always broke down into spirit particles. It was yet another phenomena that they shared with youkai; they do not leave a body behind, for the body has been so charged with the soul's power that when the soul returns to the sea, so must the physical form.

    Arya should be no exception to this, so the fact that a body remained behind; something you were able to hold onto to make sure that the monsters did not get to it first, should be a thing that brings you a joy.

    A body means that he has not yet been killed.

    Even so...

    He is not healing either.

    A bullet should not kill an ESPer. They were existences that could walk blind into machine gun fire if they so chose; like youkai, an ESPer with their guard up could only be hurt by attacks charged with spirit, things that carried a supernatural edge, and so the bullet that had done him in in a single strike must be a hell of an invention. Exorcist armament, used by the Agency most likely; probably for the express purpose of terminating those sorts of opponents.

    In other words, while he is not dead yet, it is not incorrect to say that he is dying from the wound. Consciousness was lost immediately and the body had gone cold to the touch, and had started to turn translucent like glass, starting from the bottom and working up slowly to the rest of him.

    It was unusual for an ESPer to suffer a slow death, but if you had to diagnose it...

    That was probably what this was-

    "Understood. That Gisela woman is a monster, so the devices are being set far sooner than my initial calculations had predicted, so we just might be able to cut down on the Tokyo damages by another 20%... I will take control of the tower now, stay there to confirm activation, then I will set the next objective point and-"

    Not able to see the subtleties of the situation due to the manner of his observation, Kenji's voice remains as determined as it had been when you had parted; the machines all light up in unison, screens and machines flickering on and off at what seemed to be random even as you hear the light sounds of clicking keys from over your earpiece.

    It does little to distract you from the small sound of light breathing coming from below.

    Finally, a dull buzzing sound takes over everything else, and you feel an invisible force pass straight through you before seemingly melting into the background, becoming part of the scenery, unnoticed if not for the buzz, the light sounds of a flawed frequency that had yet to be perfected, but would have to be the ones to do the job for now.

    Outside, in the distance, the sound of screaming slowly shifts from hostile rage to something more akin to terrified yells, then calls for help, calls that are then answered by still other humans as the scenario shifts from Armageddon to a simple catastrophe, the unknown magic that had been affecting the minds of so many seemingly negated by the bounded field that had just deployed over this section of the city.

    It's an accomplishment.

    A small victory.

    Even so...

    Even so...

    "Huh... What the hell... The same signal from before...?"

    Directly outside the window, a crimson stone that had been discarded again starts to burn with heat and lightning as a form takes shape around it.

    A bane-stone should not be able to manifest a form for itself other than that of a stone.

    You know this, Arya had told you this, even so...

    Even so...

    Something was commanding the souls within to rise, to fight now that the puppet had cut it's own strings, to fight regardless of their lack of body, to take vengeance on the world just as they were, and...



    Soon enough, a youkai is born from the stone.

    A twitching, floating humanoid of massive proportions; dual-wielding guns, it's twisting, rotating head...

    Staring straight back up at you through the window.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  9. #2169
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Makoto Fujioka
    Nakamura Residence
    Evening

    "Is that so?"

    Her no-nonsense voice the same as it always was, the teacher that was known for being the more strict of the two nevertheless chuckles a bit at your response.

    "Then I suppose it is harmless enough; I can spare a single day for frivolity. I have some business to take care of with Nakamura and Mongeau anyway."

    So saying she leans forward a bit, one hand snaking out towards your arm as Usami continues to struggle in your grip-

    "And here, since you two seem to be having fun."

    -And takes the shackle from her wrist -the one binding her to Usami- and attaches her section of it to your wrist instead.

    "...The hell is this?"

    The struggling Usami stops struggling for a moment to stare at your teacher in disbelief.

    "Punishment. Be good now."

    Is the only answer.

    ---

    Makoto Fujioka
    Nakamura Residence
    Night

    In the end, no one had shown any signs of leaving the Nakamura Residence, at least for the night.

    With Usami recently being freed from her chain for good behavior, the others are off doing their own thing in the various parts of the house. Kimiko is back in the kitchen, working on dinner again with a ferocity that had everyone that sought to interrupt her -other than the girl with the bad hat, who seemed to be helping- is thrown bodily from the stove regardless of their intentions in the matter.

    Sensei is at the table with Kyoko, stoically demanding pictures of something that the reporter was clearly trying to hide; denying that she even had any photos on her as she nevertheless keeps her arms behind her back, hiding the pictures in her hand in a way that even she must know would actually draw more suspicion rather than divert it from her, Hitomi were Akio were playing Castlevania together in the living room, and Megumi and Claire...

    Were building something out in the garden, the glass door that led to the back open to let conversation from them flow in and out of the building.

    Some sort of machine; it doesn't look as refined as their normal work, like they had had to settle for less than perfect materials at certain points in it's construction, but it certainly seems to be coming together into something solid. It resembles a miniature radio-tower complete with satellite dish sitting atop a box of black steel, looking more or less as if it was some sort of amplifier for some sort of wireless signal.

    Not quite sure what it was ultimately, but it seemed to more or less be their focus for now...

    As for Usami, who had managed to slip from your grip once Sensei had deactivated her restraints for good behavior, was definitely...

    Sitting on the front porch, watching the moon; not bothering to run away, but also clearly not too intent on bonding with anyone else in the group.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  10. #2170
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Jack Wolfe
    'Above the Veil'

    Jack Wolfe hated being a stereotype.

    Thirty years old, private investigator, sitting in a bar at six-o-clock throwing back brandy like it was water; but it was a lifestyle that he just couldn't seem to avoid, a way of dealing with the stress that he absolutely knew was unhealthy, but was the only way to get his mind to shut up about all of the investigations that had yet to reach a conclusion of any sort.

    But this damn city made him drink.

    The sheer amount of disappearances and murders that had piled up over these past few weeks had been enough that the police had been forced to call in outside assistance with the problem; he had been with them, one amongst a few hundred extra workers, but even with them they had come no closer to solving any of the cases, they hadn't even found any bodies; at least not beyond those that had been drained by the 'vampire,' another serial killer on a list that was far too large for him to really look at Aoyama and call it a comfortable place to live.

    Not helping was the bizarre behavior of the citizens; he couldn't put his finger on it, but whenever he was here he felt like everyone else was in on some secret that he didn't quite understand and they refused to divulge. The gas explosion eight years ago had caused quite a few rumors in this place it seemed, everywhere you looked here people were whispering about monsters in the alleyways, a thirteenth floor on a certain hotel that only had twelve, an occult store that was never in the same place twice...

    He'd more comfortably call it delusions if the rumors weren't so widespread, because as it was, a large chunk of the town was convinced that the place was cursed in some way.

    Of course, those same people were 'going crazy' at the drop of a hat lately as well, so perhaps the damage from eight years ago was simply deeper than he would like to admit.

    Yes.

    Going crazy.

    As if he didn't have enough to figure out, the onset of "Berserker Syndrome" had become yet another oddity that only occurred within the confines of Aoyama. It had started two weeks ago, but in addition to all the disappearances, random individuals within the confines of Tokyo would 'snap,' speech turning into little more than nonsensical rantings, and attack the people around them for seemingly no reason before eventually collapsing of something resembling exhaustion; expiring some time later from various complications. The increased strength of the individuals, as well as the consistent fatality rate involved in the incidents had the police thinking it was some form of new street drug; and the fact that most of the victims had a history of violent or sketchy behavior hinted towards drug use as well...

    At least it had.

    Until this morning when seventeen more people -nine of which had spotless records- showed similar symptoms.

    It was all over the place, and even putting in as much effort as he was; he wasn't any closer to solving the mysteries, none of them were. What made it worse was that this was his big chance, his opportunity to make a name for himself overseas after moving here so his wife could be closer to her family, but all he had gotten since setting foot in this city was a string of failures.

    He wasn't used to it.

    Not being able to string things together; it bothered him, so much so that he had been working for five days now propelled merely by coffee and the deep, disturbing feeling that came with turning on the news and seeing they had found another body.

    Hearing the reports come in.

    How was he supposed to sleep knowing there were killers this ambitious, this professional, just wandering around doing as they pleased.

    The simple answer:

    He couldn't.

    Not without drinking until he passed out.

    Forced to take a few hours by the chief for his mental health, he had come here to do exactly that.

    Yet he was still thinking about it.

    The closed down school, the bizarre actions of the Ryuumonbuchi Family barring their estate and letting no one even close to the estate, the way the higher-ups at the station were very hush-hush about certain leads, the number of suits scattered across the city, the trains delayed for reasons that ranged from the bizarre to the bizarre; with key individuals actually being unable to leave the city via train due to a bizarre police order.

    He couldn't stop thinking about it.

    It felt like he was stuck in a goddamn conspiracy.

    But at least the bars all stayed the same; shady as hell, but in the harmless neon lights kind of way.

    He empties his cup and sighs. While he had come here to get absolutely hammered in hopes of getting some sleep in that way, in reality, he was unable to completely let go of his own personal code in order to do such a thing without hating himself for a couple of days. Drinking was fine; drinking until you passed out and became a problem for someone else just wasn't okay.

    Even so, he didn't want to move, he liked the atmosphere.

    When the waitress stops at his table, he orders water for the next rounds instead.

    After a few of those, he would get back at it; he couldn't sit here even if it had been an order from up top.

    Time passes.

    Slowly losing the buzz of the drinking, and going for his cigarettes instead, he closes his eyes and finally moves to stand.

    Next door, a building goes up in flames.

    "What-?"

    It is a natural response.

    The building goes up with all of the force of an explosion, something so sudden, so out of left field, that he can only stare in shock even as something approaches the windows from that same direction. 'It's debris,' he thinks.

    Coming to his senses, he orders everyone to get down.

    The things that comes flying through the window are a bunch of bricks, shattered glass, and the prone form of a young blonde woman.

    Liane Cross.

    He recognized her as one of many missing persons; no not just that, she ran the coffee shop he and his wife liked to visit on the weekends.

    Clearly having been propelled by the blast, her body being flung clean through what he knew was not bullet-proof glass, the man's first assumption before he reaches her side is simply that he is staring at a corpse.

    However that is not the case.

    While she does have some visible wounds -mostly burns in this case- it seemed that she had somehow not been cut to shreds by being hurled through a pane of glass by the fires of what seemed to be a gas explosion. Not only that, while her body is so hot that internal damages to her organs are a matter of severity rather than possibility, she seems to be breathing, albeit in a shallow way.

    Someone is already calling an ambulance.

    However, it's not just about the unconscious woman lying amidst the ashes of a now demolished building.

    Outside, the damages have gone from non-existent to catastrophic in the span of a single heart-beat. There's a line of damage, a line that seemed to end at the building he had just watched go up in flames. The evening sky has darkened, not just from the smoke of a chain fire, but by some other sort of force; a force that had also painted the sky with a dull, subdued crimson, and lit up the night air with the sound of slowly growing screams.

    Below him, Liane coughs; a sign of life.

    He can't do much for her, even so that is not the same thing as nothing; having spotted a first aid kit on the wall earlier, he moves from the woman's side for a moment to grab it.

    Footsteps stop before him.

    It's a larger man, bigger than himself; and he was a bit over 6'2".

    At first he thinks its an accident, that they had simply run into each other in the panic of the situation.

    Barking orders to get out of the way...

    The hand that grabs his throat quickly disabuses him of that notion as he is thrown, one-handed, across the entirety of the room.

    He was not a stranger to fights.

    Working as an Private Investigator in America, there were times when you get evidence of someone cheating on their wife, and the asshole in question decides to throw a few fists and a headbutt your way. Even beyond that, he had gotten into more than a few scuffles as a kid, throwing punches and taking punches wasn't a new concept; never had been, and his choice in lifestyle dictated that it never would be.

    Even so, he had never been thrown clear across a room before, let alone by someone using only one of their hands.

    The impact of his body slamming into the floor jars him to the core.

    For a moment it's hard to breathe; a sharp pain comes in as he inhales, even so he pushes himself to his feet automatically as he hears running steps and a roar.

    "Son of a bitch-"

    Again, a hand goes for his throat.

    His mind can't process why.

    First thought: Drugs. PCP.

    Second thought: Berserker Syndrome.

    Third Thought: Who the hell cares?

    He is literally being carried at arms length. The man gripping his neck, lifting him off the ground and dragging him to the wall behind the counter, the sound of people screaming punctuates his body being slammed up against the wall.

    Something breaks.

    A sharp, intense pain; without a doubt something inside of him is no longer working right.

    Even so, fight or flight kicks in and he forgets about it.

    Being dragged up against the wall, his fingers close around a bottle of something: likely wine.

    He slams it on his opponent's head.

    There is a time to worry about consequences, and the middle of being beaten to death is not that time.

    The strength of the blow shatters the full glass bottle; however it does not knock the man out.

    It's superhuman.

    Taking a bottle to the head should be more than enough to render someone unconscious; if he was being honest, it was a sort of strike that would absolutely kill a person in most scenarios.

    Conversely, the man isn't even cut.

    Instead he screams in his face.

    Throwing one leg out behind him, using it as a spring board to kick off of, Jack thrusts his knees into the man's neck driving them both into the ground. It's violent, far more violent than his usual, but he had no intention of being murdered by someone in a random bar, on a random night, for reasons that would ultimately only amount to one thing:

    Bullshit.

    Even so, the man, horrifyingly, shakes it off as Jack scrambles away, reaching for his gun and swearing when he finds it isn't in his holster.

    Something metallic still falls into his hand; feeling it's shape, he flicks it open.

    The man grabs his leg out from under him, catching up to him in an instant.

    Spinning his body in place, Jack tosses a lit lighter straight into the man's face.

    For once, it gets a response.

    Screaming and screeching, it's a horrible sound that gets no better even as the man's grip slackens, finally goes completely loose.

    He kicks himself away.

    For a moment, he wonders if he killed him.

    When the apparent corpse stands up, still on fire, and screams at him like something from hell itself, he realizes that maybe he should have poured more alcohol on the flames.

    However, this is still the end of it.

    A sound like gunshots sounds off within the room.

    Falling down, finally falling down, the things jutting out from the flaming corpses back are something that resemble metallic cards.

    "Is everyone okay? Oh my God, Liane-!"

    The savior is a young woman with blue hair; younger than he is by a lot, the ease with which she deals with the flaming corpse, smacking it down with a full fist to the face when it attempts to rise for the third time, is enough for him to just completely give into the bizarreness of the situation.

    "Ms. Sora, Liane is-"

    "I got her... Come on Cross... You can't die on us yet..."

    A taller, blonde woman is with her.

    Outside, a crowd is gathering; or rather...

    A crowd has been forming around these two, and a few others. Moving almost like a parade through the center of town; apparently for the purposes of reaching Tokyo Bay.

    In other words, an evacuation.

    There are no police leading it, however, starting to see the sky tear open with red, and black shapes streaking across it as if they had escaped from the lowest circles of hell... Jack Wolfe, non-exorcist, and someone who had blatantly disregarded the supernatural until now...

    Reads the situation perfectly and joins the crowd.

    This time with his gun.

    Happy only that his wife was out of town for the weekend visiting her parents.

    Wondering if that was far enough away.

    And...

    Thinking that perhaps...

    Those stories of monsters... Had some basis in truth after all.

    "Welcome to Aoyama, eh?"

    The roar of a giant monster punctuates the thought.

    Fuck this city.
    Interlude Out
    Last edited by Airen; November 16th, 2017 at 06:24 AM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  11. #2171
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Jacques Dussault
    Tokyo Tower - Control Room


    I calmly raise my hand to my headset. My blood feels like it's burning in my veins, drowning out every cry for help, every shriek, every collapse until nothing is left but silence.

    Silence and the sound of chains.

    Arya is sitting in one corner, not disappearing, but fading fast. The edges of his feet are slowly turning translucent.

    That means there might still be a chance.

    Neat.

    My mouth says one thing and my mind another. My heart might be saying a third thing, but, to be honest, I'm no longer listening.

    I know that all it says is 'win'.

    "Kenji, give me the next objective,"
    You need my body, don't you? I need your help too, or we're both going to lose it.

    "Because I'm going to need to start moving real soon."
    Lend me your power.
    Last edited by Mooncake; November 15th, 2017 at 10:53 PM.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie
    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  12. #2172
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Jacques Dussault
    Tokyo Tower - Control Room


    "Yes, yes I know, I will honor our contract."


    Even now, when the situation seemed to continually getting worse, the voice of that Goddess was one that was blessed with an almost chilling calm; a true stoicism that was almost envious in the face of what seemed to be a literal reaper.

    "However, I am not suited for direct combat against such a being in my current state; the amount of human souls in that particular manifestation is immense, and even on the best of days fighting myself is not my forte... So stall for a little longer, if you would."

    Making an unreasonable request, the Goddess goes silent as the twitching, floating horror outside continues to stare at you with it's piercing golden eyes. It's waiting for something; that's the feeling you get, and while you shouldn't know what that something is, the aura that it gives off, the expression on an expressionless face, just screams-

    "Sapporo should be the next target; radio tower, same as before."

    -That it's waiting for you to move, to grab your friend and run.

    Because it wants to chase you.

    It wants that feeling, that satisfaction, the euphoria that came with chasing down and killing a target that was doing everything in it's power to resist the end of it's own existence.

    It wanted that.

    It was going to get that.

    And so, you will always have the first move; it will allow you that much.

    Because it can follow you anywhere; the shadows, the streets, the roofs, the sky.

    It knows.

    You know.

    It laughs.

    You move, because you don't have time to waste.

    It follows.

    It's a much different run from the last, the sound of chains clinking off in the distance behind you as you leap from roof to roof to avoid the storm of chaos that still kept its grip on most of the city. Gunshots sail past your body as you jerk out of the way of it's long distance attacks, the tell-tale sound of a bullet sliding into the chamber of a revolver the only warning you get each time; the only sound that serves as a buffer between you, and the shots that sailed off into the sky before exploding with the force of a meteor crash.

    It's messing around with you.

    Shots getting faster and and more precise over time in a manner that made it clear it was purposefully holding back to some extent, Hel starts muttering as the shots get closer and closer, but the words she's speaking don't seem to be aimed towards you, rather...

    "Then it is an agreement? Excellent, it's always nice to run into reasonable humans."

    She seems to be talking to someone else, someone you can't hear, but who is clearly talking back to her.

    "Rejoice summoner, for I have found a suitable soul; now, count yourself as blessed by the creator to have me in your corner. You are truly a summoner with the most profound luck I have ever witnessed, for I am a Goddess-"

    So saying, a blue fire that looks similar to a will-o-the-wisp manifests itself next to your airborne form. It is a dense mass of spiritual power, a flame that burns into something else, morphing and shifting and stretching until what's left, keeping pace with you effortlessly, is what seems to be a pseudo-transparent human being, someone who you would have thought a ghost, if not for the fact that his steps kicked ash and debris into the air with each step he took, effortlessly keeping pace with you with his hands in his pockets.

    "-That can summon heroes. Give him orders as you wish, he has promised to help out in whatever ways he can, up to and including sacrificing himself again for the cause."

    Hero?

    Looking at the guy, who would have seemed like a perfectly normal teenager if not for the fact that he was currently keeping up with mach speed, the youth...

    Doesn't really look like much of a hero, but...

    Spoiler:

    -???-
    A special ability belong to Hel that enables her to give temporary physical form to the souls of dead humans. Different from youkaization, which morphs the user into a monster, or wraith-hood, which enables the soul to exist as a shadow of it's former self, this power restores the soul in question to the prime they had held in life, even keeping their personality completely intact; could also be called the ability to temporarily revive the dead; which is a notable feat even amongst divine beings.

    While in the old world the permission of the soul in question would not be needed for manifestation and binding, the current laws of the world grant humans the right to decline this magic and retain their free will if they wish to do so, however the world's current situation seems to have them more willing than ever to help out the 'future' if at all possible. Manifested souls act as pseudo-familiars for Jacques, and are just as bound to follow his orders as they are Hel's; disobeying the order results in the immediate loss of their physical form.

    While a theoretical army could be formed like this, the amount of spiritual power needed for such an undertaking is far beyond what Jacques possesses even as an Eclipse Diver, so he is personally limited to manifesting them one at a time.

    The current manifested soul belongs to Minegishi Kazuya: He specializes in close-quarters combat with his fists, having once slain the Demon God Baldr with just his right fist and a cell-phone strap. Particularly effective against Demonic opponents, he is nevertheless not particularly ineffective against any sort of foe; a good all-rounder.

    Last edited by Airen; November 16th, 2017 at 08:33 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  13. #2173
    地獄待ち Spinach's Avatar
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    Remnant Saki #2 (Fujimoto)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    “It’s true that Sensei never forces a task without merit onto any of us. That is one more component to his popularity. You might even call it one of the chief pillars to his charisma.” The Remnant placed its teacup upon the table, which miraculously made a slight dinking noise as the teacup came into contact with it as though it were a physical cup. “It may seem rude, but that is after all another part of the reason why I wanted to speak with you.”

    The Remnant smiled, thinly veiled satisfaction at her successful icebreaker underneath the surface of her crimson features.

    “After all, it was Sensei who brought you here tonight. And he isn’t one to waste time on anything without meaning.” The Remnant leaned forward, her burning elbow extended to the table as she rested her chin against the back of her hand. “Perhaps it is a test, for you, for me, or even for the both of us to decode the purpose of our meeting.”

    With her other hand Saki took her teacup again, sipping from it.

    “Pardon me, Fujimoto-san, but are you human?”

    Remnant Saki #1 (Redgrave)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    “I’m not the Harvester, Mister Redgrave. Possessing your soul is hardly my intent, but I’ll gladly listen to what you might have to say about it.” The red girl answered his challenge with a coy smile.

    Red fingers came together to form a fist, or rather, a rock. A bright red, burning rock, closer in appearance to a meteor.

    “With something so precious as dessert, a woman’s greatest treasure, on the line… I’m afraid I can’t allow you to win.”

    The girl brought her arm back, winding up for the challenge.

    Saki of the Tyrant-King's Blaze-Murdering Black-Dragon-Wave (Saki Prime)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    “Kuku, Sensei, you misunderstand. It’s only natural that even a Demon prince would wish to contract with the sole daughter of Ryuumonbuchi, the Black Heiress.” Saki giggled a bit at the teacher’s answer. Both at his misinterpretation, and at the image of Phenex that came to mind as he spoke of the attachment demons could find for humans. “He went through much before contracting with I.”

    The girl’s eyes narrowed at Belial as the monarch spoke to her newest Remnant.

    “The unwilling one is this Saki.” Saying so, her expression softened and the girl adopted an uncharacteristically normal manner of speaking. “Despite that, I am warming up to him.”

    Dropping to a whisper she continued.

    “… But only a little bit."

    Remnant Saki #3 (Belial)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    “Hmph. So you say attachment is wasted on that which lacks perpetuality, Belial?”

    Prepared to open a debate not entirely suited to the atmosphere at every other corner of the dining hall, the Remnant tilted her head looking down now at the Demon in a new light. In this moment she saw something different in him. Something unexpected.

    “It takes a great deal more to care for that which will inevitably fade. Like flowers following the seasons, human lives will be sown into the earth, sprout, bloom, and wither. The beauty of a flower is inversely proportional to how long it blooms before it withers. In arid, seemingly lifeless deserts there are cacti that will bloom for scant hours, their beautiful petals entering and leaving this world with a silent grace, an unspoken beauty.”

    The crimson reflection of Saki’s eyes shifted to the side, pausing to watch Alice for a moment.

    “Those moments would mean nothing if they lasted an eternity. Those who cling only to that which is eternal are, in my cavernous eyes, cowards afraid to confront loss. Blind men who have never seen beauty in all of its dimensions.”

    [09:23] <Ariadniensis> spin
    [09:23] <Ariadniensis> you are the dark souls of internet friends

  14. #2174
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Remnant Saki #2 (Fujimoto)
    Ryuumonbuchi Residence


    "My my, going right for it, huh?"

    Seeming to take your question in stride, the edges of her mouth twitching upward into an amused smile; it's only when the young woman reaches for a physical teacup of her own that you realize that the sound it makes is echoing far more than it should in this sort of noisy environment.

    An instant after that:

    You realize that everyone else -including your own original self- have not only gone completely silent, but also stopped moving completely, as if the world itself had simply frozen over with them inside of it. Other than yourself and the clearly abnormal young woman there was no movement at all; indeed, with your original self confidently throwing down rock in a game of rock paper scissors with a Mr. Redgrave (who also seemed to be throwing rock), you find yourself unable to actually access your other self at all, as if she had vanished even though she was right there, so in essence:

    For now at least, you were the only 'Saki' that was able to move at all...

    No... Actually...

    On closer look, someone other than you and the girl was moving, yes...

    Slowly, so slow that you have to actively watch it in order to realize movement is taking place, Belial's eyes are shifting their path from another frozen clone of flame, towards the two of you.

    "To answer your question," smiling in a friendly way in spite of this clearly being her doing, and even seeming to ignore the fact that she had done it, the young woman chuckles to herself, "It's a solid 50%, I think..."

    She shrugs.

    "Unlike a distant brother, I was never disguised as a rock."
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  15. #2175
    Gimme a S M I L E Snax's Avatar
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    Jonathan R. Black
    District Remains ~ Primordial Sea

    "Wow, that sounds rough."

    Jonathan ruffles his hair with a complicated sneer on his face.

    "At first I didn't think you were gone so far."

    Jonathan sighs.

    "You say you are the only one that can bring about the future...but on that note."

    Jonathan cocks his head.

    "I'm sure you tried everything you could have thought of before coming to this conclusion. You have seen this 'DEAD END' at the climax of the Original War, as per the observation of said Axiom has deemed humanity unworthy of existence."

    Jonathan scratches his head again.

    "And even by changing the circumstances, the world still doesn't get much time, eh. No matter what you do, the free will of humans pushes the world towards the end, the Great Devouring...thus, you wish to strip the free will from humans and create a perfect path to stop the world from ending..."

    Jonathan's face turns into a big frown.

    "No matter what, that is one thing I cannot - no, will not accept."

    Water whirls around Jonathan, implying his emotions.

    "I will not be as irresponsible as to say I understand you. That would be a lie, and lying at this point will do nothing for me. You, who have seen countless paths, walked this world's line hundreds of times, may have come to this conclusion - however, humans, even ones such as you, get stuck in their paths. Their heads get stuck in a pattern, and their way of thinking instinctively rejects all other paths, getting fixated on a single road forward."

    Clenching a fist, Jonathan thrust it forward.

    "You say you have seen it all. You say you must become a God, end all pain and suffering, keep the world existing. End the existence of Free Will, stop the cycle of hatred, slaughter the gods...it was all for this. A forced happiness - no, YOUR happiness, empty for all others. In fact, I doubt even you will be happy after you succeed, once enough time passes."

    Rage betrayed itself, cracking through Jonathan's usual facade.

    "Your belief and mine cannot intermingle. I wish for a World of Eternal Progress, which is the purpose of life - just exactly what genetics is all about. You wish for a World of Eternal Stagnancy, which is as good as Ending it all - worse than death. If you will become a God through the use of Amatsu to stop the World in a standstill, and overthrow the Axiom - "

    He looks back at Akane, and then turns forth again.

    "I will become a God. I will overthrow you, use Amatsu to my own means, and even crush the Axiom under my will - yes, my FREE WILL!"

    He declares that, with utmost belief.

    He and the woman were opposites. They both had ironclad goals, both hoping for the better of Humanity - but their directions were completely different.

    "Even you would have never seen such an outcome, for I know I have never become a God - or we would not be having this conversation right now."

    Jonathan's form completely melts, returning as a torrential flood -

    "I shall become God, create a world where Free Will is dominant over all. One where people like me, Akane, and many others can live their lives as we deserve, as we want, as the World should!!"

    The translucent leviathan roars -

    "Humans are tough - the cycle of hatred, the dead, the Gods can try their worst!! Humans will overcome, humans will overthrow. Gods will be crushed and devoured, hatred will be used as fuel for future progress. Even the dead will become tools for the living to further themselves-!!! Don't you dare give up - and no, don't you dare give up on the future of humanity!!"


  16. #2176
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Hitoshira Nagi
    ???


    "Of course, hee ho!"

    While they had been in quite the mad dash before, it takes only a single tap upon the shoulder for the snowman to turn his gaze back to you, body pulling an about-face as if your interruption was the most natural thing in the world.

    The fairy on the other hand, takes advantage of the snowman's sudden lack of momentum to plop her small body down atop his hat, clinging to it with a surprising ferocity as the snowman cheerfully shakes his head back and forth in futile attempts to dislodge her.

    "But they went to the heart to destroy it hee... We were supposed to destroy it together hee ho, but I overslept!"

    Explaining it's motives to you freely and without care, the little snow demon's voice is cheerful in spite of it's words indicating what could only be a particularly gruesome method of murder.

    "I must help them as a hero of justice! Freeze and shatter hee, freeze and shatter ho!"

    Cheering now, jumping up and down a few times whilst pumping it's fist, it seems the tiny demon is getting itself all worked up.

    "The snake will pay for not chewing it's food hee ho! The heart will be frozen solid! It'll be able to rethink that arrogance in hell, hee ho!"

    Saying chilling words in a voice that remained completely friendly and inviting:

    It spun around a few times, made a gallant effort to swipe the smaller fairy from it's head, before realizing that the smaller creature was actually physically stronger than itself, giving up just as fast and dashing into the closest of the dark tunnels.

    "Hurry human and tall-demon lady, hee ho! We will miss the fun!"

    ...Somehow that had turned into it inviting you, rather than the other way around.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  17. #2177
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Mikagura Mika
    Amatsu's Throne, Tokyo




    "Now aren't you getting a little carried away?"



    Black lightning descends at the words of the God of Darkness.

    Turning to face it with a single hand raised, the Goddess that had frowned slightly when you had mentioned being on a timer, nevertheless greets the sudden attack from a Divine Being with a calm that few others in the world would be able to replicate, a field of white light, a barrier of seemingly infinite layers appearing around not just the bodies of the three of you, but the entire length of the park itself; as if she sought to protect it from being damaged any further than the flames that already covered it's surface, flames that seemed to wane somewhat in her presence.



    "Carried away? No, I don't believe so."

    It's a much more confident voice.

    Lacking Yami's hesitation, but also a bit more playful than Tamamo's unyielding seriousness, Yamuna sits at a crossroads of emotion, a sort of benevolent tranquility that saw her reacting to things with a hint of amusement mixed in with the unyielding resolution.

    In spite of being a weapon by origin, the feeling that those who see her feel instinctively now, is that rather than the Messiah's Sword, this person might just be...

    The 'Messiah' herself.

    "You are by no means unbeatable Amatsu-Mikaboshi," voice light, the woman maintains the barriers that separated her group from Amatsu's reach with a smile, "You do remember correct? The one who put you in that seal all those years ago was Master Zerah and myself. I would have been willing to hear an appeal now that some time has passed, but since you seem determined to only cause trouble, I'm going to have to banish you by force."

    She's showing absolutely no fear, however:

    "Times have changed, False Goddess."

    Neither is Amatsu.

    "I am aware of this world's history, as well as that 'Curse' that manifested here; that darkness, that darkness that you could not defeat even with your knights... It belongs to me now. This is not a victory for you. Yami, Tamamo, Yamuna... I can defeat you regardless of the form you take."

    A roar punctuates the statement-

    (BGM - Amatsu)

    "...And I will show you that now."

    -It's the roar of the Kyuubi.

    Looking up, a cloud of darkness has taken root in a sky that has long ago burned to crimson, streaks of black revealing the darkness that lay between the stars. The cloud is a thing of writhing black, the monster from eight years ago; no illusion, the real deal, being summoned forth by the simple call of a God of Darkness. It becomes clear in an instant that what Norie had told you earlier was true; Amatsu could control the Kyuubi, not only that, the overwhelming spiritual power it produced -so great in quantity that it simply drenched the air and became impossible to measure- was being poured directly into Amatsu's being; in essence, he was using it as a battery for his powers.

    His magic was causing incidents all over the world; youkai were being drawn out from the soul sea to spread misery, people with a certain level of darkness in their hearts ere going insane from his manipulations and attacking and killing each other, and:

    You expect him to drop it on you.

    It would be fitting, certainly, for the God of Darkness to call Humanity's Darkness to his side, have it attack like some sort of demented pet, but that is not what happens.

    No.

    Knowing that you're scanning him and the situation, and naturally attuned towards following a path that would cause the most people to suffer, Amatsu stands up...

    And the Kyuubi falls down...

    Near the center of the city.

    Specifically, where Nami and the others were escorting the weaker humans towards Tokyo Bay.

    An attack on two fronts.

    Aware that his power grows through the world's suffering, the God is perfectly okay with sending off his pet to attack while he fights the three of you to the death; the Kyuubi absorbing more souls would only increase his power, the powers of ESPers that fell would be added to his arsenal, and the sight of heroes fighting and dying to an invincible monster would demoralize humanity enough that they would observe their own end and make it absolute.

    If both of you leave to fight the Kyuubi, then he will begin slaughtering humans himself for similar purposes.

    It's not hard to figure it out.

    Yamuna figures it out too, and-

    (BGM - Yamuna]

    "Go ahead and meet up with the others. I will defeat Amatsu, then catch up with you."

    -She makes a call of her own in response to Amatsu's unspoken challenge.

    She cannot be in both places at once, she was not that type of Goddess. While the Kyuubi is a dangerous opponent, Amatsu as a tactical thinking mind is even more so; enough that the Goddess does not feel comfortable with letting you battle him in your current state. Your body was in a constant state of fluctuation, for now it was fine; you had gone mostly numb to the pain, but the possibility of shutdown was very real, and in a battle with a fully incarnate God, even a single mistake could be easily fatal.

    To avoid that, she wished to send you away, however that was not all:

    She believed she could handle this fight alone, but she also believed...

    That if everyone was together against the Kyuubi... Then that fight could be led to victory as well, even if she wasn't there.

    She believed in humans.

    So she would cover your retreat and defeat this God here before catching up.

    However...

    Ultimately, she would also...

    Let your make your own decision on the matter.
    Last edited by Airen; November 18th, 2017 at 07:23 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  18. #2178
    ...No, I've gained everything. Airen's Avatar
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    Jonathan R. Black
    District Remains ~ Primordial Sea


    "The Great Devourer surpasses all of Humanity, all of Demon-kind, even all of the Divine."

    Her pose remains horrifically stoic in spite of the Leviathan's presence. Staring straight up at it, at you, with eyes filled with a lucid madness the woman almost seems frustrated by your inability to accept what it is she is telling you, and indeed, turns her gaze so as to speak to the Rider instead:

    "You cannot use Amatsu to surpass the Great Devourer. Win the Conception however you like, use his power to ascend to Godhood if you wish, but the Devourer will destroy you all the same. An infinite maw, the Axiom's eraser, it surpasses infinite potential with infinite destruction; we are not the first batch of humanity that have been labeled as unnecessary, and all of their infinite potential did not save those humans from other worlds."

    Her words are calm, and she enunciates them all clearly, as if that would somehow sway you.

    "Only Chronos, my Chronos, can defeat the Great Devourer. He is the only God that bears that potential; even then, both the obedience of humanity and the sacrifice of almost all other Gods is necessary to reach that level of power. To defy the Axiom is not something just any entity can do; the Great Devourer exists to ensure deletion of irrelevant worlds, killing humanity is one of it's specialties."

    "...Even so, I cannot agree with a world of complete control."

    "Living freely... That's the way it has to be for humans, that's what I learned from Jonathan."

    Finally speaking up, so close as to almost be in unison, Akane falls into stance, as Megumi adjusts her gloves as she takes a step forward, both moving automatically to oppose the woman whose spiritual power dwarfed not only her own, but yours as well...

    "You too Nakamura, Akane, really...? How foolish can you get. You have already died, both of you; you are able to oppose me only because I have allowed you to live again and again, and yet you come at me with pride and foolish ideals. A world where everyone is content is not wrong, an eternal world is not wrong; even if that world lacks certain choices."

    Hands return to her pockets.

    "Rider. Izanami. Speak sense to your summoners. To defy me is to defy Humanity's last chance, perhaps if you had all manifested this sort of will at the start things would have ended differently, but this is how it must be, it is too late for anything else, and too dangerous to leave any opportunities for failure in our future."

    She will save the world, and then ensure it can never back itself so far into a corner again; that was her intention, and almost pleading with the demons of the party to agree with her, they:



    "Humanity could certainly use chains; I will not deny that they are mostly self destructive and could use the control, however, I have sworn my help to my friend. If she wishes to oppose you, then I will fight whoever I must, even the Great Devourer itself."

    "Izy..."

    "The Great Devourer... Yes, that is certainly an opponent far beyond our means. Calling it an eraser is not incorrect I suppose, if it is here, then certainly this world's fate has been written within the Akashic Records. The world's continued existence would certainly constitute an error, and the Administrators would act to counteract that; in that case this world is certainly a sin... I can see the logic behind your actions human, from a logical standpoint, it is sound enough."

    The Rider has never really shown emotion, and even in this moment it's no different, not really, however:

    "However, it is not in my policy to yield to powers of that sort. This world draws Death of all sorts to it, that much is true, however my favorite sort of human is one that struggles until the end, even if they find no miracle waiting for them. You will not convince anyone here, Herald of Chronos. Take our power by force if you must, but know that I will take your head."

    She starts laughing.

    As if it's the funniest thing in the world, she starts laughing, but it never reaches her eyes.

    "Ah well, I guess that's just how it is huh?"

    None of you understand, nor could you understand.

    She had known that from the start.

    That's why she just had to do what she had to do, regardless of how others felt about it.

    "Then I will, I will take that power from you by force. Consider it a curse of you making a contract with Amatsu; you became too interesting for your own good. Once I can tame Humanity and defeat the threat of the Cycle of Hatred, only the Great Devourer will remain as an opponent. Your ideals are foolish, silly, but that's alright, you'll be happy in my world too, everyone will be. It might be a forced happiness, but you won't know that."

    You're yelling at each other, but neither is hearing the other.

    A fight is inevitable, but:

    --Gears of Time--

    The moment she decides this is the case...

    A number appears above the heads of yourself and the others, floating there, distorted and crimson, a thing that doesn't exist in reality, but rather only your own mind.

    Your number starts at fifteen, as does Akane and the Rider.

    The other two start at ten.

    And slowly, ever so slowly...

    It starts counting down right before your eyes.

    A countdown to the end that couldn't be resisted.
    Last edited by Airen; November 18th, 2017 at 07:18 PM.
    Spoiler:
    Death is nothing but a disease.
    But it is one that often comes from all sides.
    An end like that is coming, and yet here you are.

    Tell me.

    Could you kill someone you love for the sake of everyone else?


    What a cynical worldview, Messiah.
    Real heroes would find a different answer.


    Right, right.
    The power to break through a sad reality—
    I wonder—

    Will they be able to show it to me?



  19. #2179
    No glasses, huh? Mooncake's Avatar
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    Jacques Dussault
    Running For His Life

    My first thought is pretty simple, and I'm sure she can hear it too.

    Holy shit that's so cool.

    Even being chased - no, stalked - through the night, I can take a moment to thank chance. I haven't been dealt a bad hand at all, and it seems, taking a look at the spirit next to me effortlessly keeping pace, that I might not die before the world burns up.

    Neat.

    He may look like a kid, and even now I might have to dodge a shot that cracks past my feet, shattering concrete and forcing me to rotate in the air until I find footing again, but-

    We've got a fighting chance.

    "All right, we don't have time. Listen," I flash him a glimpse of a Harmonizer. "I need to put these around the city to keep deaths low as possible. We need to get to Sapporo. Once there, engage the opponent but stay cautious. I'll activate the Harmonizer and join you as mid-to-long range support. Got it?"

    I dodge another shot buzzing by my head, the sound of it exploding ringing in my ears.

    Let's roll.
    [12:37] <I3uster> if playing overwatch would save my mother from the deathbed
    [12:37] <I3uster> id probably flip a coin
    [12:38] <I3uster> to see if i play or not

    [18:23] <frantic> spinach is like a caffeine zombie
    [18:23] <frantic> in AX he would like
    [18:23] <frantic> drink 8 shots of espresso
    [18:23] <frantic> then he'd turn to me an hour later
    [18:23] <frantic> 'frantic', he'd say, his eyes wild and his lips smug
    [18:23] <frantic> 'i need coffee'

  20. #2180
    Gimme a S M I L E Snax's Avatar
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    Jonathan R. Black
    District Remains ~ Primordial Sea

    "Bring it on, then. Freedom was never Free - it was always bought, with Blood and Toil. Thus, Freedom is the symbol of the Strong, and my World will be one for such beings-!! A world where all that have the potential to become Strong will become so, and cement the legacy of humanity as one of Endless Progress!!"

    Jonathan roared, as the clock started ticking down. The Water Leviathan screeched an unearthly sound and rushed forward at the Time Witch, but of course, this wouldn't be enough, would it?

    "You have dominion over time, no doubt - "

    Akane's backup, his Reason and link with Amatsu, his Sea of Souls as an Eclipse Driver - all of these boosted Jonathan beyond his utmost limits. However, Jonathan instinctively knew that as another one with a Reason and a Link with a literal Time God, he wasn't quite up to her level.

    "So, let me fiddle around with your dominion."

    Time. The absolute flow of the world - until twisted by some godly power the Weather Lady held.

    However, it wasn't the only type of 'time' that existed. Of course, this wasn't probably something he could use to counter her mysterious powers...but it was a start.

    [Operation start.]

    Water flowed into the air, penetrating his own head. At the same time, it reached Akane and Megumi - it was without warning, but also without any malicious intent.

    Nerves connect through synapse. Electric currents run through the body, sending signals for processing and manifesting information, alongside ions, and the fluid carrying them -

    Jonathan was an acclaimed surgeon - and he knew more about the brain than most others as well -

    Click.

    A normal ESPer had far better reactions and physical capabilities than humans. However, if he could artificially boost it even further with his full control of water, and further improve upon surgical procedure with strengthening the chemical capacities of the synapse and brain matter, as well as coursing through the veins and organs -

    The world slowed down.
    The drops of water falling from the sky panned in slow motion.
    The mechanics of the world fell in place, and time was liquefied, turning sluggish.

    [Operation Complete].

    What now stood before Chiyoko was not merely an ESPer - it was a brand of Jonathan's own magic, one of Science. Linked with his Soul Essence, his powers as Amatsu's Chosen, as Akane's Link, as Pestilence's Summoner, as an Eclipse Diver - it tied them all together. Union, at least for a brief moment.

    "Akane."

    Jonathan turned, meeting her somewhat confused glance.

    "Once in a distant past, you told me you were born to end everything and make sure something was saved. You asked me whether you deserved to die, and if it was OK to live."

    His gaze locks into her eyes.

    "Live. End everything, and bring upon a new World Order. You will not die, as God of the new world, I shall not permit it."

    He turns his gaze, looking at Chiyoko.

    [The Conception will be my Tool. If Chronos is the only God to be able to stop the Axiom, then even the Highest of Gods will be turned into nutrients - I will steal your Power, I will cheat your God, and I will bring upon my World!!"


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