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Thread: Fate/Regalia - Short Stories

  1. #1
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six RacingeR's Avatar
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    Fate/Regalia - Short Stories

    Well, after asking Verg, he gave us permission to make the Short Stories thread, so without further ado, i will post mine. Everyone is also free to post theirs, and comment on other's writing.

    Fujou Shizuka Short Story

    The half-blood ran through the forest, his hand clenching his wounded side. Tears had been streaming down his face, but he seemed to ignore it, tearing apart the trees that surrounded him in a frenzy. His breath was painful, and his pace was irregular. Sometimes, he looked like he would fall over, yet he kept pushing through the thick bushes, escaping from that girl.

    Everything had been an huge mistake after another. His elder brother had inverted in the middle of that village, and while they just watched, he had killed them all. Both men and women. Both the elderly and the children. They couldn’t even lift a finger to stop him as the peaceful village was reduced to a bloody hell.

    He remembered how his brother cried in front of the mutilated corpses. The half blood, together with the other one, the youngest of the three brothers had helped him to his feet, and then ran away. After all, the siblings would never abandon one each other. It was a miracle he could even return to himself, with the thick blood that ran through their veins.

    After that, they had been on the run, the agents of the Demon Hunter Organization hot on their tracks. He remembered as clear as the day the first time he had killed. He remembered how easier it got after the fifth time. He remembered burning villages, bodies piled in mountains, the cries of those who still lived, as they bled from grotesque wounds.

    It was the fourth village they had visited since that day. The fourth one that, he knew, they were going to destroy. They were in the main road, and his brother had started to feel the headaches, the symptoms of his Inversion Impulse. And then he had died, and no one could see how. His neck had been cut at a speed that their eyes couldn’t follow. He had screamed, for them to run, without time to spare for mourning.

    And run they did, past the village. Past the miserable houses that housed the sleeping inhabitants. And they entered the dark forest, in the darkest night of his life. And she had gone after them, with a speed that almost surpassed human limits.

    She had attacked them once more, when they had thought that they were safe, when the tears had started to roll down his face. The sensation of the piercing steel, and the unique pain that followed made him tremble as he ran through another tree, pushing it out of his way. Of the fate that his youngest brother he had suffered, it was unknown. They had became separated as they panicked, and the last look he had of him was the teary eyes, the despair of his expression, and then darkness.

    And the half-blood looked up, his legs unable to run anymore. And here she was, covered in blood, brandishing her sword with her hands. The black haired girl was standing in a thick branch of the tree, her brown eyes showing a merciless coldness. They didn’t talk, as words lacked meaning in that place. They readied themselves, staring one at each other’s eyes. For a second, the forest was calm.

    And he attacked first, his hand breaking apart the tree in an explosion of wood and fire. The kimono clad girl jumped through his guard, ignoring the fire that licked at her feet. In one movement, her katana carved through the half-demon’s left eye, putting it out instantly. He screamed in pain, but with clenched teeth his arm counterattacked.

    With only one hit, he could end her. With only one hit, this battle would end as fast as it had started.

    Yet his hands could never reach her. Five times he swung with the strength of a beast of another age, yet she avoided him, moving with that almost inhuman speed. Seven times her sword cut through him, taking apart his life, little by little.

    And at the end, the fight ended just as expected. He never had a chance from the very beginning. As he laid dying, his vision blurred, he stared at the black haired girl. She had suffered burns through her whole body, and her clothing was in tatters. However, he couldn’t reach her. The Half-Blood had lost without even landing one hit, something that could only be considered a true miracle.

    “Who are you?” Asked the dying man, as his death came nearer and nearer. His members felt cold, and he was sure that now he couldn’t move even with all his willpower.

    “My name is Fujou Shizuka.” That was the first time he had heard the girl speak. Her beautiful voice reverberated through the clearing that they had carved with their battle. It had started to rain.

    “I see.” And that was all he said. With a smile, and finally free, the half-demon died, soaked in the rain of the moonless night.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I welcome any comment or critique, specially since i want some praise need to get a better grasp of the english language. I have improved this version a bit, and corrected one or two typos.


    quotes
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1984 View Post
    Besides, I don't see what's so terrible about looting anyway. It's only property, they're not actually harming anyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by lantzblades View Post
    when I say hero I don't mean hero in the spirit sense. I mean a morally grounded, good natured person who doesn't slaughter innocent people. No such person exists in the Nasuverse.
    [19:33] <@Airen> I like vampires!

    [00:12] <~Katie> i can't defy my origin
    [00:12] <~Katie> of gay memes

    [22:56] <@Sei> airen is pegging hero this time
    [22:56] <@Sei> for once airen isn't the uke
    [22:56] <@Kuroyuki> I thought Air was the Woman in the Relationship?
    [22:56] <@Airen> Yeah I kinda thought I was the girl too!

  2. #2
    Hmm?

    Oh. It's you.

    Can't you tell? 'I'm' sleeping.

    How would I know?

    I suppose so. Aren't they the same thing though?

    Anyway, what are you here for?

    So it was you. And? Were you expecting gratitude?

    Maybe from the currently sleeping 'me'. Not from me.

    I didn't change that much.

    You're right; I didn't change at all.

    Don't tell me you're disappointed.

    Like you're one to talk; you're completely twisted to the core.

    Fair enough. I don't deny it.

    ...if you're just here to waste my time, leave.

    There's no way it'd be that simple though, right? So hurry up and make your point.

    ...

    I expected as much. What a pain.

    Don't get me wrong, I'll do it. After all, it's my fault so it's my responsibility.

    Safeguards certainly are useful, aren't they?

    Honestly though, it'd be much easier if you just came and annihilated me right now.

    Oh, I meant easier for me, not easier for you.

    It was a joke. You're right though. Even though I don't particularly care about winning or losing, the thought of being the first one broken is still distasteful.

    I don't know, a few centuries?

    Oh? What's a few centuries to someone like you?

    Well if it was something general, I could do it right now, but it needs to be that specific thing, right? That takes time.

    Hey, don't say that. It really is amazing what they did. I was a bit impressed.

    I know, rare isn't it?

    What, do you want me to say sorry? I'm the one in the mess here. I mean, just look at my current state.

    Is it so pathetic that I want to cry or laugh? I don't know. Maybe both.

    Well, even if it was by several pure coincidences, it did end up as the most unfavorable situation for me.

    Whatever. You can do as you wish.

    Hasn't it always been that way?

    How are the others?

    It's fine.

    'Me'? It certainly is interesting, isn't it?

    Let's wait and see.
    <Satehi> I, satehi, thought of tentacles first for entirely inappropriate, disgusting, lewd and perverted reasons

    Honk





  3. #3
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Evening View – Flower Emotion

    “Do you know anything about planes, Fiore?”

    “Not very much milady, only that they fly and that they can carry bombs.”

    “Stop calling me that. It makes me feel old.”

    The girl in the white gown sighed softly and shifted, dusting from her lap the petals of the hyacinth she had been toying with. Unceremoniously, she deposited a handful onto the face of the boy lying next to her. He did not respond, and she sighed once more.

    “Humans are strange. They want to fly so badly that they invent planes. They want to live so badly that they invent strange medicines. They want to endure so badly that they invent weapons and phobias, and-“ The girl paused to brush a lock of unruly blond hair from her face, “…and my so-called knight spends his days staring at the sky, and is not interested in why the clouds are there, where the birds are flying, or about humans and their planes.”

    Her words hung in the evening air lazily, and a firefly spiraled about leisurely between them before alighting on the hem of her dress. She was about to flick it away when the boy suddenly began to speak, and she froze.

    “I am sorry milady.”

    With a groan, she fell back against the picnic blanket she had brought out. There was the sound of liquid quickly draining, and she realized that his glass must have fallen over; she also realized that he had not taken a sip all afternoon. She hated – maybe “hate” was a strong word – that about him. It was his favorite wine, or maybe he had been saying that simply because she enjoyed it, and there was a surplus of it around the castle, and ever since he had told her, she had never once been able to get him to take a sip. He always refrained from eating, even though he was permitted to dine with her; she was nearly at the point of commanding him to eat his food and drink his wine.

    But that would have ruined the picnic, and she was not in the mood to be drinking alone.

    “Stop calling me that.” She repeated, and before silence could overtake them once more, she began to speak. “…but I think that, if I could have one just to myself, I would like to fly in a plane sometime.” Her lips twitched as she spoke, already almost laughing at how stupid it sounded. It took her a moment to realize that Fiore’s eyes had slowly begun to focus, and he was looking at her.

    “Forgive me, but I don’t understand. You can already fly, and even for you, a plane is unnecessarily dangerous.” He murmured. His voice was distant and soft, like someone who was talking in their sleep, and the girl couldn’t help but smirk.

    “Oh, worried about me? Is that what it takes to get you to act like a proper knight?” Inquired the petite girl, red eyes flashing, and the boy let his eyelids droop.

    “No, just curious. A plane crash would not kill milady, only ruin her dress and singe her hair, and leave her in a particularly harsh mood for me to suffer at the hands of.” The boy murmured, and the girl immediately broke out into laughter.

    “Ahahaha! D-Don’t worry Fiore, I’d never damage that precious face of yours!” She managed to choke out after a moment. Beside her, the boy pushed himself up into a sitting position and sent his hair falling in waves down his shoulders, where it trailed down to the ground and fanned out around him in a splash of foamy green. For a moment, she entertained taking another jab at his appearance – not his femininity, but his vanity. She relented, however, and smiled; she was feeling…merciful, this evening.

    “How very kind of you, milady.” The boy murmured in a deadpan, tucking his hair behind his ear as he began to pull out the hyacinth petals and bits of grass that stuck to him, “…shall we return to the castle? I cannot say I like my chances of survival should you choose to blame me for letting you catch a cold.” For a moment, the barest traces of a grin flashed across his features, and she couldn’t help but smirk.

    “Alright.” She replied, and accepted his hand as he pulled her up to her feet.

    Moments later, they were walking along the meandering path that led back to the castle, she twirling her parasol, and he rearranging and folding things into the picnic basket as they strolled. Thrice she stopped suddenly to pick some sort of flower or lost trinket from the side of the path, and thrice he arranged them into the basket. By the time they stood in the shadow of the castle, the moon had begun to cast its light across the lake to the east, and the girl stopped to stare.

    “Fiore.”

    “Yes, milady?”

    “If you get the opportunity, I wish for you to ride on an airplane with humans, and to spend time in one of their cities. I want you to spend at least one of your evenings not waiting on me or sleeping on the same hill.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Powerful though I may be, that is not something I could do or hope to enjoy. You are still ‘halfway’ towards being a part of that world, Fiore.” She smiled faintly, adding “…and I refuse to have a knight who does not even know about the world that he is protecting me from. You are not useful to me simply because your grandfather and my father were friends – I do intend to have you fulfill more of your duties than just waiting on me, you know.” Now it was Fiore’s turn to look at her strangely, and she cocked her head slight to the side in curiosity.

    “That was oddly sentimental for you, milady.”

    She laughed once more.

    “You’re right, I’ll stop. Thinking about it like that, it makes me sound older than I really am.” A wide smile broke across her face, revealing her pointed canines, “…now, it’s the full moon tonight, so I want you to make me something special for dinner.”

    “Of course, milady – I shall depart for the human village immediately.”
    Last edited by Egophobia; May 30th, 2011 at 06:50 AM.


    \(◕___◕)/

  4. #4
    Encounter at Midnight: System Crash I

    “Uwah, so boring, I’m so booooooooooooored.”

    The peaceful tranquility of the night was broken by a loud yell. Mei paced back and forth in front of a large locked iron door.

    “I joined Ares because I wanted to beat up the bad guys, but this is just too boring!” she grumbled as she restlessly walked in circles. “I can’t believe I got tasked with gate guard duty. It’s not like anybody would try breaking in anyway…” Just as she said that, her ears picked up a tiny imbalance. It was an almost insignificantly small disturbance which clashed with the peacefulness of the night around it and made itself all the most noticeable. To be precise, it was the absence of sound, that particular silence of somebody who is sneaking around and trying not to make any noise.

    Without appearing to pay any attention to that oddity she just noticed, Mei contained her pacing, complaining loudly. However, almost unnoticeably, her area of movement slowly expanded outwards. “Being the gate guard… might be interesting too!” With those sudden change in words, she kicks the ground several times, flying towards a seemingly empty shadow against the wall.

    “!” A figure leaps out just before Mei’s fist crashes against into the location. A loud ringing sound rings out, and there was definitely a large dent in the wall.

    “No more sneaking around! If you want to pass this gate, you’ll have to defeat me first! Ah, no I meant I can’t let you pass through this gate regardless! Hmm?” After making some hot-blooded challenges, Mei takes a better look at the stranger now that the person’s out of the shadow. “Hey, aren’t you that anti-social vampire from my class?”

    Without hesitation, the anti-social vampire from Mei’s class, 4, pulls out a dagger in each hand and silently charges Mei. In her right hand was a high quality, standard model combat knife and in her left hand was a nasty curved blade.

    “Wow, wait a second there, are you actually trying to kill me!?” But even as Mei shouted this in surprise, the answer was obvious. Now that her attempt at sneaking in failed, she instantly switched to attempting to kill the gate guard and just break in through the front. Entering the most ideal range and taking full advantage of her vampiric strength and speed, 4 thrusts her knife directly at Mei’s heart.

    However, it doesn’t go through. Mei dodges by leaning just enough to the side, before spinning on a pivot, grabbing 4’s extended right arm, and swinging her into the wall. There is a crashing sound, but before that even reaches Mei’s ears, 4’s already back on her feet and swinging her left blade in an arc exactly level with Mei’s eyes. Mei manages to duck beneath the blow, but 4 follows up with a knee which connects squarely with Mei’s chest and knocks her back several yards.

    “…”

    Just as 4 turns her back to Mei’s prone body and begins to walk away, she hears the sound of somebody getting up. With her back still turned, she gives a sigh.

    “Wouldn’t it just be easier for you if you stayed down?”

    “I’m the gate guard, and therefore I guard this gate. Besides, I’m not the sort to be defeated by a surprise attack. If you’ll listen to my advice, leave. I’m serious now.” The half of her statement was issued in a calm voice which nevertheless chilled 4 to the bone and caused her to turn around.

    Mei was in some strange martial arts stance and had closed her eyes and was taking deep, calm breaths, as if she was waiting for 4 to attack. Seeing this, 4 almost faltered and dropped to her knees, but caught herself in time. There wasn’t any overwhelming pressure that one might feel when facing a monster, but yet there was the impression that this was a monster all the same. It was the feeling, no, the knowledge that no matter what 4 did, it would be completely useless, like trying to reach the moon through the reflection in the water. Like a great wall, this was the true difference in ability between one who had trained all their life, and one who merely relied upon instincts and physical ability.

    Biting her lips hard enough to draw blood, 4 forced herself to come to her senses. After all, there was still no way for Mei to match her. With a hiss, she charges forward once again, swinging her blades like death. But before she could even reach, she was already crushed by Mei’s counter attack. Waiting until the perfect distance, she had taken a single step forward and thrown a powerful punch. From the tip of this punch was launched a multi-colored fire which exploded outward.

    “Secret art: False Dragon Flame”

    The rainbow explosion forced 4 to switch her attack to defending, but even before she had finished enduring the previous attack, Mei already approached.

    “Wave breaking palm.”

    A fierce palm strike which perfectly connects. There was a sickening crunching sound as several bones in 4’s arms which she blocked with begin to snap. Even so, gritting her teeth, 4 thrusts her right knife in the small opening after Mei’s attack, but Mei was already expecting it.

    “Heaven soaring talons.”

    An upper cut aimed at 4’s attacking arm, it hits the weakest point, causing it to bend at a disgusting angle. However, this time it wasn’t enough, as with a loud cry, 4 still continued the strike, still continued moving forward. The knife skims by Mei’s face, leaving a large cut in its wake, but that was a critical error. Right now, in this position 4 was completely at Mei’s mercy.

    “Great Mountain Crusher”

    A heavy blow to the gut, causing 4 to double over. Two powerful kicks, completely destroying 4’s legs. And a final fierce uppercut, launching 4 many meters into the sky. As she began falling back to the earth, 4 had already almost lost consciousness, but Mei had already entered another stance and was patiently waiting.

    “Secret technique: Brilliant Giant-killing fist!”

    An ultimate attack made on 4’s completely defenseless body. A powerful punch which breaks the body combined with a fiery blast which annihilates the remains, 4’s body flies back into the iron wall with a horrifying crash. Several joints are bent at odd angles, and portions of her body have been burned that it was possible to see the broken bones and internal organs peeking out. Even worse, the final blow seemed to have jolted 4 back into consciousness, allowing her to suffer the full course of the pain.
    However, something felt wrong.

    An odd pulse came from the body that should be broken.

    With her eyes in a trance and in an alien voice different from her normal tone, 4 began quietly muttering something that Mei couldn’t hear.

    “Standard close range system judged ineffectual. Based on evidence, SYSTEM 3 ‘GUARDIAN” will most likely prove ineffective as well. SYSTEM 1 ‘BALANCE’ requesting authorization, rejected by majority vote. Switching to SYSTEM 2 ‘BOMBARDMENT’.”
    Last edited by Tangerang; June 6th, 2011 at 01:32 PM.
    <Satehi> I, satehi, thought of tentacles first for entirely inappropriate, disgusting, lewd and perverted reasons

    Honk





  5. #5
    Inspired Pervert hero's Avatar
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    The Reason Why I

    'How did this happen...?' She asked herself, as she cried non-stop.

    She was only a kid, so there was no way she could understand what was going on. No Why, no Who, no How. Not even What. Her brain was unable to pick up the hints left by the heated conversation between his uncle and an unknown man.

    'Why us...? What have we done...?'

    There was one thing she did understand, though. This was not just an ordinary kidnapping. It was probably more than that, and there surely was a reason behind it. She just could not grasp it.

    She just could not understand what a lovely family like hers could have done to make these men angry enough to commit such acts of violence.

    And then... Silence invaded the house.

    "Uncle Sasaki...?"

    It lasted for seconds that did seem like an eternity. It's as if their conversation had finished in a very abrupt way, and there was now no more room for words...

    ... Only actions.

    The gunshots came unexpectedly fast and out of nowhere. Her heart cracked a second later, when she heard her uncle's yell, filled with pain and agony.

    "HYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA."

    She ran towards the source of the sound, only to find there was a door in her way. A locked door she could not open. Not with her strength alone.

    "Uncle Sasaki, Uncle Sasaki...!" She reached out desperately.

    And, to answer that call, the door opened.

    At first, she thought it was salvation. Someone had came in order to save them. The police would catch the bad guys, and a doctor would take care of Uncle Sasaki's gunshot wound.

    "Ah."

    But then she felt dead coming for her, and, with a blunt strike... She fell to the ground, and her conciousness began to fade away.

    "____ Up, ___ ___pid b__ch!"

    She did her best to stay awake.

    "So... Y__ th_____ you could ____ ___ mo___ like ____, huh...?"

    She had to alert the police somehow.

    "F___ you. ________, we ___ ______ _____ __ _____ pl____"

    She extended her hand...

    "Let's make 'em suffer."

    And grabbed the 'knife' next to her.




    "Dad..."

    It was something she should be happy about, meeting his dad after so long.

    "Oh, please, sweetheart."

    But it wasn't like that, and the man knew he had been driven into a corner. Precisely because he could read minds. No, even if he couldn't, he knew his daughter too much not to know what was going on inside her head at that time.

    "You... Did it again, didn't you...?"

    Her father did not respond. To her, the man could be hardly considered a father. After all the things he did... After all the things that happened to them because of his... 'drug'... He still continued to do it like nothing.

    "Oh no, Rei, my dear, you know I stopped gambling a while ago, just after you left home."

    But the girl was already at her boiling point and she would not tolerate any more lies. Lies like the ones she just heard. Indeed, she knew the truth. She was certain. The only reason she bothered to ask was to see if the man she once called father would, for once, have the guts to tell the truth to her.

    "Quit the crap...! I knew you went there yesterday... Who the hell do you take me for...? I'm your daughter, you big ass idiot!"

    For the first time in years, she was talking like a complete, different person. Maybe her father's doings was not the only reason for that.

    "Don't you think you caused enough trouble already...?! What about the family, huh, DAD...?! What about Mom and Sakura, EH...?! What about ME...?! I can't continue to pay your debts forever. And you should know pretty damn well...

    ...That, sometimes, debts cannot be payed with money."

    And then silence invaded the room, just like that one time.
    [18:30] RacingeR: Max S.Link with hero is when you promise your daughter to him
    [18:31] RacingeR: Which means Airen and me are the only ones that maxed it (I promised Spin to him, and Spin is my daughter)
    [18:32] hero: oh shit
    [18:32] hero: spincess get
    [18:32] hero: suck it fuckers

  6. #6
    Human versus the Strongest Monster I


    The strongest Servant, Invoker, and the strongest master, Kazu.

    Before them, the demon hunter, Fujou Rei

    “Eh? Rei-kun…what’s with your power?”

    “…A human’s belief can make the impossible possible.”

    “This ability? How is it possible? I’ve never heard of anyone who can bring forth this much magic!”

    “(Glares), human, when did you increase your ability to this extent?”

    “…No time to waste. You two, bring it on.”

    Immediately, Rei dashed forwards, charging towards the strongest pair. Yet, no matter how they looked at it, her movements were still within the realm of ‘human’. Then there was nothing to fear.

    “Banchou, you handle this pest.” A beautiful voices which hands down the death sentence.

    Even with an unexpectedly extraordinary amount of magic, it’s useless if the body itself is not up to par. Even the most powerful attack is worthless if it can’t connect with the target. And furthermore, he was someone specialized in fighting against demon hunters.

    Kazu disappears from sight. Before two heartbeats have passed, matching the distance that Rei’s already covered in a fraction of the time, he’s already behind her. Without hesitation, he stabs his hand through her back, piercing her heart and killing her before she even realized what had happened.

    Instantly, just as Kazu pulled his hand back to deal the final blow, numerous cracking sounds resounded through the air. The ground beneath their feet exploded, destroying Kazu’s balance and forcing him to jump back.

    “!”

    In an instant, attacker and defender switched. A portion of the magic flowing through the air concentrates around Rei’s fist into an aura as it shoots forward like a bolt of lightning.

    “The ‘Taima Soshiki’ may find it difficult to deal with Half-Bloods since they’re specialized for the true oni, but there are obviously exceptions to that rule. Otherwise, it would have been wiped out a long time ago. There are also those within who specialize in taking down Half-Bloods, but are helpless against true oni. Now, can you guess which type of attack this is?”

    The aura surrounding Rei’s fist gives off a blue flare as if in responds to Rei’s words. Kazu barely manages to dodge the blow by twisting his entire body back. If he had taken a direct blow from an attack infused with so much anti-demonic energy, even he wouldn’t be able to endure that unscathed. However, without a single pause, Rei smoothly brings her fist back for another attack, forcing Kazu even further back.

    Frantically, recklessly attacking without giving a single thought to the defense, Rei continued her furious offensive assault which kept Kazu on the evasive. What he was most wary of was that anti-demonic power currently wrapped Rei’s right arm; without a doubt, even if it just barely scrapes him, she’ll use that opportunity to fire off some unknown technique. However, something was odd. If avoiding her right arm was the only condition, then even with that obstacle, he’d have no problem retaking the offensive again. After all, she was still only a human, and at this range the difference in their physical capabilities was too much to overcome. But despite him moving at speeds no human should keep up with, she was able to react in time. No, in fact, her reaction was even faster, and he had been counterattacked every time before he could even make the attempt.

    That’s why-

    He indulged her. If she wanted to use a single powerful technique to end this fight with one attack, then he would respond in kind. While continuously evading her attacks, he was biding his time and energy to launch his own counter which would instantly kill her without fail. An ominous red aura began seeping out from him as his own demonic blood started boiling. She had no chance of winning from the very start, and as the fight dragged on, he only got stronger yet. But still, he continued his defensive, patiently watching and waiting for-

    -an opening!

    Perhaps she had simply gotten impatient, or was running out of some sort of time, or even finally realized that a prolonged fight would be the worst possible outcome for her, but she had launched her final, desperation attack without having any sort of guarantee that it would hit. She suddenly accelerated forwards towards Kazu once again, but this time with a speed several times any she had shown throughout the fight, reaching an impossible velocity.

    But it was still a hundred years too slow to catch the current Kazu.

    Moving with a swiftness that made it look like Rei was standing still, Kazu circled around to her unguarded left side. After all, even with an overwhelming superiority, there was no need to take a risk. Concentrating all his demonic power into a single blow, to the point where the air itself seemed to warp with a golden red light, he completely annihilates Rei.

    In that instant, this fight is finished. With that attack, the winner and the loser are decided.

    The instant before Kazu’s fist connected, a dark quicksilver burst out of a hidden location within Rei’s clothes and quickly intercepted the blow, completely absorbing and nullifying the power behind Kazu’s attack. The dark quicksilver then instantly snaked its way around Kazu’s arm, immobilizing him. Rei did not hesitate; she instantly turned, and taking advantage, fired her right fist straight into Kazu’s chest like a cannon blast and channeled the full anti demonic power directly into Kazu’s body. At the exact same moment, Kazu’s own full demonic power which had been temporarily absorbed from his previous attack by the dark quicksilver was suddenly rebounded back inside his body. These two powers clashed against one another within Kazu’s body, tearing him apart from the inside, ripping his organs and crushing his blood vessels; dealing much more damage than either one would have caused on its own.

    “Ah…”

    The stunned voice comes from Kazu. His entire arm had been completely blown off, a large hole had been blasted through his chest, but that still not measure up to the true amount of damage he had taken; the inside of his body was utterly destroyed. His expression is one of shock, as if he still couldn’t believe what had just happened. He barely manages to take two staggering steps backwards, before collapsing in a pool of his own blood.

    “Don’t underestimate humans.” She turns her face from the collapsed monster below, to the monster standing in the distance, watching her with scorn-filled eyes.

    An arrogant expression that doesn’t change even after watching her master get defeated.

    An arrogant expression that seems to say that this opponent isn’t even worth her time.

    An arrogant expression that watches Rei as if she was merely some kind of disgusting insect.

    Even blind, Rei can feel that overwhelming conceit looking down on her from the distance. Still, she faces that expression head-on with unbreakable confidence.

    “You’re next, monster.”
    Last edited by Tangerang; June 8th, 2011 at 12:00 PM.
    <Satehi> I, satehi, thought of tentacles first for entirely inappropriate, disgusting, lewd and perverted reasons

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  7. #7
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    Second Hour – Wild Vainglory

    The fact of the matter was that it was far too early in the morning for this.

    For the head butler, as he paced through one of the capillary hallways in the east wing of the tower fixing his tie and his gloves, there was no true sense of time anymore. He often got his sleep during the afternoons, when the young princess of the castle was brooding in her study or sitting in the shade of the gazebo down by the lake, and awoke after the sun had set and the air had cooled. The small army of maids that fluttered through the hallways like moths ran to and fro, carrying brooms and watering cans, or rolling caskets of wine for the evening meal. There was an urgency in their pace today, though, and they cleared a berth for the butler as he stalked down the hallways.

    After what seems like an hour, the hallway comes to an end. An enormous mahogany door is set into the wall, embroidered with ornate engravings and faint characters inscribed in gold – runes that he had once known how to read, but never had much interest in. Two maids stood in front of it, hands folded in their aprons, and shifted to the side as he approached.

    “Head butler, thank you for coming to help us.” One of the maids said, bowing, “…the intruders are just through here.” His eyes flickered as he noticed the tears in the young woman’s sleeve and the hastily-wrapped bandages around her hand that were slowly turning red.

    “It is the Holy Church again. They are attempting to ‘purify’ several of the maids – it would appear that they believe we are all being held here by the young Lady as thralls.” The second of the two maids added, “The two of us have bolted the door, but there are still three of the gardening staff inside.” As if on cue, someone began pounding violently on the door from the other side.

    “I see.” The young butler murmured, and nodded to the two maids. Hurriedly, they moved to either side and heaved the heavy crossbar from the brackets, then scurried behind him. Finally, a crash resounded against the slab of wood, and the door swung open, sending a figure dressed in the vestments of the Holy Church stumbling through.

    “A-ah…wait, you’re-“

    “…welcome. Now get out.” The butler murmured, and planted his foot firmly into the chest of the young priest, sending him flying back out the doorway as if he’d been struck by some colossal impact. As the acolyte skidded to a halt against a pillar, he found himself looking at the doorway through which he had been thrown, and at the figure dressed in black and white uniform whose lacquered shoes clacked loudly against the stone floor of the antechamber as he strode to stand over him.

    “Step away from him, vampire!”

    The authoritative bark caused him to look to the side, where he saw three men standing over the battered figures of the gardening staff. Two of them were acolytes, like the young man he was standing over, but the one who had spoken was a hunched old man dressed in gold and aqua, and there was the faint glimmer and tinkling of chainmail beneath those robes. If not his appearance, what gave him away immediately were the runic tattoos on his shaved head and his wild, white eyes.

    “Friar Madison, isn’t it? I am Fiore, the butler in charge of the upkeep of this castle and its grounds – may I ask precisely why you’ve come all this way and taken it upon yourselves to brutalize my staff?” He sighed and tucked a strand of hair behind an ear, “…really, I thought that taking advantage of women was against some of those useless vows you-“

    “BE SILENT, YOU CUR!” The man in gold roared, drawing an enormous golden mace from inside of his robes, the hilt of which ballooned into an angel spreading her wings, “…it has been the will of my congregation to see the sinners and filth who inhabit this castle, roaming the mountains, terrorizing our forests, and stealing our daughters EXTERMINATED!” A sudden pulse of energy seemed to radiate from him as he spoke, and Fiore’s eyes flickered as a gust of wind whipped through the room.

    “…stealing your daughters?” He repeated, sighing faintly, “These maids work for the young Lady of their own accord – she tried making thralls once, but she said that they were even poorer partners for conversation than me.” He allowed a small smile to rise to his lips at this comment, and added innocently, “Besides, do you even remember of whom you speak? Were Milady responsible for your misplaced children, then you would have found corpses, not a contingent of maids collecting lilacs for Milady’s amusement.”

    The old priest, however, showed no response to his explanation, and instead drew something from his side and hurled it at the half-blood with surprising speed for a human, much less one of his age. With a displeased noise, Fiore flicked his arm out in a lazy backhand, letting out a faint hiss when the object exploded against his glove into a small cloud of broken glass and foul-smelling liquid.

    “Hah…garlic and holy water? Mh…and I wouldn’t be too surprised if there were bits of scripture imprinted on those shavings of silver, too.” He murmured, shuddering lightly at the smell once again.

    “…tch. The cursed blood runs deep in this one…we shall have to burn it the difficult way.” The old priest snarled, “…ready the equipment, I shall subdue the creature.” With a flick of his wrist, the ornate mace in his hand took on a bluish glow, and the air in the chamber stirred once more.

    Opposite him, the green-haired boy was pulling the soiled glove from his hand, tucking it into his pocket before drawing out another, and replacing it. “Really now?” he murmured distractedly, “…you’re telling me that your primary means of combating vampires can be stopped by wearing…thin work gloves?” Of course he didn’t expect the old bastard to be listening, but he didn’t really care – he was mocking him for his own amusement, after all. The old man had lunged forward, a surge of prana propelling him forward, and was bringing his weapon down in an overhead swing.

    “Use your head, old man.” He caught the haft of the weapon, nose wrinkling as the charged spell in the weapon met the innate resistance his demonic blood afforded, and effectively discharged it around him. The floor around the two exploded into a wild spray of stone, and Fiore let a displeased noise escape his throat as he kicked the man away from himself. If he didn’t get rid of the old man soon, the damages to be repaired were going to start interrupting the flow of work in the castle.

    “…you absorbed my spell!? Impossible, that castigation has sealed more that fifty vampires; it is an endowment from the Lord, gifted to whoever bears the Sol-“ The priest’s words were cut off as the boy suddenly cut in.

    “I’m sure it has.” Fiore replied, “…but like I’ve been trying to tell you. I’m not a vampire. Now, if you’ve quite exhausted what limited options you have, you really should be going – it is a long walk back to your village, and I’m sure you have some sort of sermon to deliver tomorrow.” He was already ignoring the priest who was snarling and scrambling to his feet as his three attendants scurried to help him. His attention was directed instead at the three maids.

    “Unconscious.” He murmured. He would need to assign another group to take them to Hanna’s clinic, and three other maids to take over their duties in the garden. On top of all that, there would be rubble to be cleared from this room, and then someone was going to need to go and hire a stonemason from the village- this was all adding up to be a very unpleasant day. He was only distantly aware of the footsteps rapidly approaching him, and it was inborn instinct that made him tumble to the side, landing in a feline crouch, and launch himself at the quartet of priests.

    With a choked cry, the first of the acolytes was launched off of his feet, seemingly flipped over in place as a violent backhand catches him in the throat. At the same time, the butler arched his back in a pirouette, slipping under a wide swing of a shortsword and driving his foot into the knee of the third, knocking him to the ground before he could finish drawing his sword. There is a crunch as Fiore overestimates the durability of the human skeleton and the young man’s leg gives, and he frowns- he slows the velocity of his pirouette so that the sequential whip-kick only shatters the nose of the one who tried to cleave him with the sword, and not his entire skull.

    “Fifth Castigation: The Torch of Saint Bartholomew.”

    A wave of blue fire sweeps through the room, bending around the downed priests, and Fiore’s eyes dart to the maids against the wall – they are outside the path of the flames – before springing from the ground and onto the side of one of the pillars. Waiting for the limited grip afforded by his gloves and dress shoes would be idiotic, and instead he flips over the old priest, who curses him and whips around to face him.

    “Second Castigation: The Sword of Lord Michael.”

    Again, it is reflex and instinct that prompts him to notice the stirring of the air – not to get distracted by the bluish runes that appear upon the man’s arms – and to see the faint scratches that appear on the floor a meter away from Madison’s fingertips. The invisible blades of concentrated prana just barely miss him as he twists around, spinning closer to the priest to limit the man’s ability to maneuver his weapons. It is probably best not to experiment whether or not his inborn resistances can deflect whatever sort of technique this is.

    “You think you’re the first bloodsucker I’ve fought, boy!?” The priest roared, and spun into a violent flurry of blows, forcing Fiore to duck and weave as the room around them explodes into a shower of stone splinters. One of the pillars suddenly collapses, cloven through by the invisible blades, and there is a scream as the acolyte whose knee he had shattered is turned to a crimson smear of gore on the floor. Another mess to be cleaned up when he could be doing something better.

    But the more pressing trouble was the priest’s sudden surge of power.

    “Enough.” Fiore murmured, grabbing the man’s wrists as he was bringing both of his hands down an overhead swing, and drove his knee up into the man’s stomach. There was a crunch as one of the man’s ribs gave, and Fiore twisted, still holding him by his wrists, so that their arms were tangled overhead as he forced them to stand back to back, and brought his heel down into the back of Madison’s shin, cracking the bones. Nothing the Holy Orders would not be able to repair with their magicks, but the property damage was far exceeding what Fiore was comfortable with. Before the old man had registered the pain and stiffened in shock, he had released his wrists and taken a step away – then, in a sudden surge, spun and slammed his palm against the priest’s back, sending him flying across the chamber.

    “Ah…”

    His eyes act more quickly than his mind, and he realizes that as the man spirals through the air, spinning away that his blades are flying about wildly – and as the room sparks and splinters, and segments of the ceiling start coming down, he realizes that the length of the invisible blades is not fixed to only one meter. Without thinking, he throws himself forward, spinning through the air and tumbling beneath the linear range permitted by Madison’s arc.

    “H-Head butler!” One of the maids called out, rushing into the antechamber where the young man stood, doubled over, hair pooling on the ground in front of him, “Chief Fiore, are you-“

    “Heh…really, was that all the little mongrel could take?” A rough voice rasped, and the maid whirled around to see Father Madison using the wall to push himself up to his feet. To his side, Emma, the younger of the two maids lay crumpled, a large mark across her forehead from where she had been smashed against the wall. The runes on his skin flared, his prana flooding the spell even more than it had before, until the invisible blades became tangible – arcs of bluish light of inconsistent length, seemingly stretching and contorting in order to just barely fit inside whatever finite distance they were allowed. “…contrary to popular belief, it’s usually the smug ones who put up the best fight when backed into-“

    …you.

    “What?”

    “…head butler! Are you alright- ah!”

    The maid flinched, scrambling back as the young man’s head snapped open. A thin cut streaked across his cheek, and where the boy’s hands clutched at his face, she could see a few loose strands of hair.

    Somewhere, within the labyrinthine network of the castle’s hallways, seated upon her throne of iron and gold, the young princess of the castle smiled a pointed grin.

    “Ah…I know that smell…that strange blood.”

    “…uhhh…Linna? What’s wrong with the head-“

    “Hush Emma, we need to hurry – quick, run, run!”

    …you...

    “Hah, not bad boy…but I’m going to enjoy cutting you apart!” Madison roared, throwing his hand forward, and the blades of the Second Castigation flew out, a flicker of light and energy as they tore the room in half, splitting pillars and nearly the two maids as they tumbled to the side. The blades never met their target, however, and the old priest had a fraction of an instant to register the sudden roar that cut through the air and chilled him to the bone.

    ..........YOU…YOU CUT MY FACE!

    Alexander Madison only heard the two snapping sounds as an impossibly strong grip had caught both of his wrists and twisted them backwards before his mind went blank, the entirety of his biology struggling to respond to the sextet of enchanted blades that were now speared through his skull at horrific angles. Before his body could die, however, and before the prana flowing through his circuits could fade to allow him the irrelevant mercy of a simple death – quite literally – at his own hands, the young butler’s arm cocked back and shot forward in a single, smooth motion, piercing through into the holy man’s chest.

    “K-Kuh!” The syllable spouted from the man’s lips, not so much a thought as a purely physical reaction. It was his last, as unceremoniously, Fiore wrenched his arm back, at the same time propelling Madison’s body away from him – an enormous hole in the man’s chest as the boy’s fingers clutched a red, almost-spherical sack of meat that shuddered and spouted in his hand. His eyes were distant at he stared at it, as if not really registering what it was he was looking at- then, suddenly, he lifted it above his head and squeezed it.

    H-Haaaaahhhaahhahh…that’s…that’ssss better.

    The flood of deep red splattered down into his mouth, and the young butler gulped heavily several times before throwing aside the emptied lump of flesh. Sighing heavily as the high faded, the tension of the air seemed to spontaneously dissipate, and he reached up to toss his hair back over his shoulders, fixing it as best he could.

    “…head butler Fiore?”

    “Hm?” The two maids flinched back once more as the young head of staff turned to look at them. Blood splatter had soaked him, half of his face covered in the stuff, the white of his shirt also stained, and there was the faint sound of it dripping as it ran all the way down his hair on one side – on the half that hadn’t been soaked, there was only the single cut across his cheek.

    “…are you alright?” Linna asked cautiously, glancing about the room. The initial shockwave of the young butler’s shockwave had caved part of the ceiling and sent rubble everywhere, but it didn’t look as if he had even noticed. There was a horrible smear where he had simple stormed through one of the downed acolytes, caving his neck in as he stormed towards Madison. The young man made a displeased sound in his throat and turned to survey the damage.

    “…send for the cleaning staff and then see that you and the gardening staff are taken to see Hanna. Somebody will need to go to the village and contract a stonemason, but do not go alone – send whoever volunteers to find me after the evening meal is prepared.”

    He paused for a moment to look at the corpse that was now spilling an ever-widening pool of blood onto the floor. After adjusting his gloves once more, he strode into the pool and hefted the body onto his shoulder.

    “…and send four of the wine bottles from yesterday’s meal to the kitchen. There is no need to let this vintage go to waste.”
    Last edited by Egophobia; June 9th, 2011 at 09:32 AM.


    \(◕___◕)/

  8. #8
    Critical Heartbreak: System Crash II

    Suddenly, 4’s body began to warp. It almost appeared as though her body had transformed into a lump of clay and that there was some invisible force shaping and sculpting it, erasing and returning it to some predefined state. Soon, all unique figures that had identified the person known as 4 had melted away, and it was just some shapeless mass. Suddenly, it began boiling as if there was some burning on the within, and the flesh began expanding and contracting, until it formed a human figure once again. But this person’s appearance was somebody different from 4.

    The body was a young girl that a person would have expected to be in middle school or perhaps even elementary school, with long, electrifying blonde hair that was reminiscent of lightning and bright golden eyes that glowed like the heart of the sun.

    Off in the distance, Mei watched with a combination of wariness and confusion. After all, there was no other way to understand what was happening before her, no possible comprehension of the scene before her eyes. But before that, there was one thing she needed to ask.

    “…4?”

    “Sorry to disappoint, but I’m number two.”

    The stranger replied in a carefree tone of voice, much different from 4’s.

    “What the hell…?” Came Mei’s response. “Just exactly what are you? Some sort of robot? Alchemist? An extreme case of split personalities? Several people somehow trapped in the same body? Some sort of escaped experiment? … just what?”

    “Does it matter? Do I have any obligations to answer your question?”

    “Not really, but aren’t you awfully chatty? If you were 4, you probably would have just ignored me.”

    “I already said it right? I’m number two. Well, I don’t particularly understand it if you understand what I mean or not.” A cruel smile appears on her lips. “Hey, you said you were the gate guard, right? In other words, I can’t pass through this gate as long as you’re alive?” The cruel smile twisted even further as a mocking laugh passed through those lips. “Condition Accepted.”

    “!?” The new person was giving off a completely different feeling than 4 did. To begin with, what was going on? Mei didn’t even have any time to spare any thought to her own questioning; it was obvious that this ‘2’ was seriously trying to kill her. Not that 4 didn’t also seriously try to kill her, but rather, the intensity of bloodlust differed. For 4, it felt like as long as Mei was knocked out of the way, it would satisfy her, but for this 2, it seemed like regardless of everything, Mei was going to be killed.

    The girl made the first move. Standing in the same spot, she simply pulled out a knife and cut her hand wide open.

    “To start things off, a little bit of blood for the catalyst... hey, keep your eyes peeled wide open, alright? This is gonna be good.”

    “Tch… I’m almost starting to miss 4. At least she didn’t talk so much.” Mei muttered to herself as she began to charge forward. However, her previous attack had knocked 4’s body rather far back, so now there was a decent amount of distance to cover. 2 didn’t let that advantage go to waste.

    “Let’s start with the divine spear, the pinnacle of the certainty…”

    2 hurled something invisible at Mei. She had no way of knowing, but what had just been thrown right now were a few droplets of blood. However, that wasn’t the case for long. A few moments later, those droplets exploded into large lances of scarlet light and charged Mei.

    “GUNGNIR!”

    Mei is forced immediately break off her pursuit and make a hard roll to the side in order to dodge the scarlet beams. But it wasn’t finished there; the beams easily began to turn and once again home towards Mei’s location.

    “No way-”

    “Heh, even though this is only a magical formula based on the original legend, it would obviously still retain the tracking capabilities, right? Well, those two were just rushed products, so how about I throw a few more into the fray with some boosted capabilities?” The small girl mockingly asked as she watched Mei continuously frantically dodge the two spears already in flight.

    “Here comes wave number two, I hope you’re ready!” The out of place, cheerful voice caused Mei to grind her teeth. Yet there was nothing she could do about it.

    “One is the Scarlet Magic
    Two scatters the seeds of blood
    Three gives shape to the divine spear
    Four constructs the pillar of certainty
    Five equals the critical heartbreak
    Six becomes the meaning of the name
    Seven opens the path in the sky
    Level eight: Gungnir activated”

    As the happy voice sang out, a distortion began forming in the space above her outstretched hand. There was a powerful pressure, a vacuum that pulled all things towards a singular point in space, continually compressing the gathered air. Suddenly, crimson light exploded outward from the empty space, forming a giant 5 meter long lance, several times bigger than the ones that had just been fired a moment ago.

    “You’re kidding me…!?”

    “Good luck!”

    The divine spear is fired at a speed which easily surpassed the other copies. And even if Mei managed to dodge it, it would certainly come again. Therefore there wasn’t any other option. Mei charged forward at full speed. With death approaching from in front and behind, Mei let out a roar.

    Just before the giant spear impales her from the front, she stomps down one of her feet, planting it deep into the ground, and without hesitation, uses it as a pivot to spin on, without losing any speed.

    A cracking sound and intense pain shot through her as her ankle was subjected to forces it couldn’t endure and the divine spear cut across her back, but she had avoided being instantly killed and she still had her full speed.

    “Not bad, not bad at all!” That taunting voice continued to mock her. “But those spears from behind look like they’ve almost caught up to you, don’t they?”

    Without responding or even acknowledging 2’s statements, Mei continued forwards towards 2. Suddenly Mei dove forward, and using her hands, launched herself high into the air with a backflip like jump. Of course, those spears chasing instantly correct their course, but Mei was expecting them. Almost floating upside down as she drifted through the air, Mei readied her fist and bet everything on her one technique.

    “OOOOOOOOoooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH!!! Secret art: False Dragon Flame!”

    In response to Mei’s roar, once again rainbow colored fire exploded from Mei’s outstretched fist. However, compared to the previous one that had been used against 4 earlier, this was on a completely different scale. The numerous prismatic flames burned with an even brighter light and crashed headfirst against the smaller spears of scarlet light.

    “One more time! Secret art: False Dragon Flame!”

    A second explosion of rainbow fire from her other hand burst forth and quickly joined the first. With a crashing roar, the two blasts combined and engulfed the numerous spears, swallowing them whole and consumed them without leaving a single trace.

    “!?”

    Yes, this was the weakness of the technique that Mei had bet her life on. What 2’s Gungnir spell was lacking was in pure power. After all, this wasn’t the original artifact, but rather merely a spell based on its legend. And even then, the spell focused more on replicating the ‘ability’ of the original as opposed to the ‘strength’, leaving it weak against direct confrontations. Be that as it might, the fully cast Gungnir was likely approaching a higher level of power, but it shared the same weakness.

    Mei landed lightly on her feet and in a single smooth motion, planted her feet firmly into the ground and turned around to face the on-coming divine spear. With a yell, she threw her fist forward with all her strength. The instant her fist collided with the scarlet lance-

    “Secret Technique: Dragon King’s Roar!”

    It burst. In a single instant, the divine spear is blown away. Not just that, but the earth itself beneath Mei’s feet crack, as a loud sonic boom cracks across the night sky. Before Mei, the area looked like it had been hit a localized typhoon, but there wasn’t any time to look. Before 2 had even recovered from the shockwave of the impact, Mei had already cut the original distance between them in half.

    “Impossible-!” There wasn’t a single trace of the previous superiority left in her voice. Where 4 was geared towards a standard close combat fighting style, 2 took that overall power and specialized it solely in ranged bombardment. In other words, she was an exclusively long-range fighter who would lose to none. However, that also meant that she was a close-range fighter who could win against none. If Mei brought this in to melee, it was all over!

    “One is the virgin moonlight
    Two stands opposite the sun
    Three of the wilderness hunts
    Four came bearing the color silver
    Level five: Volley of Artemis Activated”

    Panicking, 2 quickly recited another full spell. Numerous silver arrows materialized in the air behind her and shoot forward at great speed. However, she still hadn’t realized her mistake. She had thought that the problem lay with the ‘tracking’, and thus therefore she would approach the obstacle through the opposite end, ‘numbers’.

    However, she was still lacking in ‘power’.

    “Secret technique: False Dragon Scales”

    An odd aura of colorful light slowly seeped out of Mei’s body and eventually covered her entirely, like an invisible suit of armor. Normally, this technique would be used to only cover a fraction of the human body, mainly focused on the limbs, essentially making them tougher and harder. However, this protection was greatly reduced when it was stretched across the entire human body. But for this situation, that was fine.

    Not a single silver arrow made it past that barrier of light. The rain of arrow bounced off her as if they were no more than raindrops, and Mei got even closer to 2.

    2 finally realized her mistake and stopped the spell, but Mei was at this point much too close for comfort.

    “UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHH, DON’T GET SO COCKY!!!” 2 screamed at the top of her lungs. “TAKE THIS, MY STRONGEST SPELL, MY ONLY ORIGINAL TECHNIQUE!!!”

    “ONE IS THE BLAZING CHAOS
    TWO BREAKS THE BINDING SEAL
    THREE CARRIED THE FLAMING SWORD
    FOUR CRUSHES QUARTER OF THE WORLD
    FIVE GRANTS THE FINAL JUDGMENT
    SIX AWAITS THE END OF TIME
    SEVEN OF THE BLOODY MADNESS
    EIGHT ETERNALLY RECYCLES THE BATTLE
    NINE INVADES THE PRIMAL INSTINCT
    TEN TAKES THE BEGINNING
    ELEVEN DYES THE SKY AND SEA RED
    LEVEL TWELVE: FIERY GREATSWORD OF WAR”

    Snap.

    Crack. Crack.

    Break. Break. Break.

    A large fissure appears in the space above 2. With a crackling sound, it expands, opening some sort of strange hole. From within, a giant burning blade, 7 meters high and easily twice as long slowly begins sliding outward. Forget about ‘tracking’. Forget about ‘numbers’. Forget about any type of tricks. This was a simple yet unstoppable technique where everything was focused into pure ‘power’. As more of the sword was pulled out, its speed began to slowly accelerate. There was a sizzling, crackling sound emitting from the area around the edge as the air was ionized into plasma by the intense heat.

    And yet, when confronted with this sight, Mei didn’t falter or run, but charged straight forward, confronting 2’s final trump card head-on. No trace of fear, not a single shred of hesitation, she rushed towards certain death. As she ran, the rainbow aura that had previously protected her disappeared, but it was replaced by another golden light. But that was eclipsed by the brilliant shine emitting from her right hand; a bright white light that was the entirety of her power, the pinnacle of her technique, the embodiment of her spirit. With a roar, she activated her final trump card.

    “ULTIMATE SECRET TECNIQUE: SOUL OF THE DRAGON GOD”

    The glow centered on her right hand exploded outward like a supernova, creating a blinding radiance which combined with the golden light. At this point, it was impossible to even see Mei’s figure from within that brilliant shine, as her right fist collided with the sword of the wargod.

    “”!!!””

    Two wordless roars echoed throughout the battlefield as the two fighters struggled to overcome the enemy’s ultimate technique with their own.

    Snap.

    Crack. Crack.

    Break. Break. Break.

    With a sudden burst, Mei pushed even further forward, causing numerous cracks to begin appearing within the giant blade. The flames tried roasting her body, but they were repelled by that protecting light surrounding her body. With a yell, she pushed forward again, the earth beneath her feet sinking from the weight of the impact. This time was final push. The cracks began forming and spreading throughout the entire blade at an accelerated pace. As soon these fractures reached the base, the entire object imploded with a sudden crash, covering the area with embers and ashes.

    As the ruins of the spell rained down, two figures could be seen. Mei, who remained standing, and 2 who had been knocked against the wall. The rebounding force of the destruction of her spell ended up completely ripping off her arms, leaving her with merely two bloody stumps, causing her to stare at Mei with a shocked expression, before collapsing.

    No, it wasn’t shock, Mei suddenly realized. It was something else entirely. 2 slowly opened her mouth, and this time Mei heard the alien voice coming from her mouth clearly.

    “SYSTEM 2 ‘BOMBARDMENT’ has taken critical damage. SYSTEM 4 ‘STANDARD’ has taken damage and has been judged ineffectual. SYSTEM 3 ‘GUARDIAN’ is calculated to be ineffective. SYSTEM 1 ‘BALANCE’ requesting authorization, rejected by majority vote… OVERRULED. Overriding. Loading SYSTEM 1 ‘BALANCE’.”

    Once again, her body seemed to melt and change. Soon, yet another figure soon stood, different from the previous ones. This time is appeared to be a woman in her early twenties. But, her appearance was odd. Red and blue, black and white. She was dressed in opposite, contrasting colors, each one taking up yet equal portions. Heterochromic eyes of red and blue, calmly stared into Mei’s.

    “… so what or who is it this time?”

    In response to Mei’s wariness, the woman just smiled and began applauding. It was genuine applause, as if she was truly pleased about Mei’s accomplishments.

    “Congratulations! Yes, congratulations are certainly in order. We have most certainly been defeated.” Her smile widened even further. “I suppose I shall retreat for now then.”

    “What?” Mei was a bit confused by this new person’s words. “Do you really think I’ll just let you go after what just happened?”

    “I’m not like the others, I’m really not interested in violence.” The strange woman said while shrugging her shoulders dramatically and giving an exaggerated sigh. “Therefore, I’m not suited for fighting. I certainly cannot beat you. Of course, that also means you certainly cannot beat me.”

    “Are you so sure about that?” Regardless of whom this person was, Mei refused to back down or be intimidated. But the woman just shook her head like some teacher who just heard her student give a blatantly wrong answer.

    “It’s not that hard to understand, is it? The key point is balance, you’ve heard of ‘the ying and the yang’ before, haven’t you? It’s like the reflection in the mirror… I suppose it’d be better to give you a practical demonstration.” Her face brightened as if she thought of something good. “That’s right, you martial artist types enjoy fighting and testing your skills, right? Well I suppose this could count as somewhat of a reward then. Come, let us spar for a bit then, before they come to investigate what all this noise was about.” She took an oddly familiar stance, and motioned for Mei to come at her. “If you’re previous opponents were the 4 and the 2, then you can call me the number 1.”

    Mei was still wary, but from what she could tell, this would just be a plain contest of martial arts. If that was the case, than she wouldn’t lose. As she slowly took her own stance, she responded.

    “Liu Long Mei, of the Siu Han Magus Dynasty. Prepare yourself.”

    Those words signaled the start of the final battle between the two.

    This was the birth of the legend of the strongest gatekeeper.
    Last edited by Tangerang; June 11th, 2011 at 06:05 PM.
    <Satehi> I, satehi, thought of tentacles first for entirely inappropriate, disgusting, lewd and perverted reasons

    Honk





  9. #9
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six RacingeR's Avatar
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    MK's Character introduction history

    The four men advanced through the cave, their eyes always vigilant. No one of them spoke, preoccupied as they were, moving in the rough terrain.

    One of them was an old, aged gentleman, with a carefully trimmed white beard. Even though he seemed to be well on his sixties, he was moving through the rocky surface while the other three, much more younger, were staggering behind.

    With a not so gentlemanly grunt, he egged his partners forward. They were almost there.
    “How the hell did that guy discover these caves in the first place?” Cursed the eldest of the three. He looked to be in his twenties, probably at age twenty-five. He was a pale, tall man, with a hair so black it looked like a crow. He helped the one that was behind the group, and was about to fall. On a closer look... it was a girl. One could have confused her easily with a very pretty man, due to the fact she was so deep in a sea of coats and scarves she could barely walk straight, and the short blonde hair. The androgynous girl didn’t look to be older than eighteen.
    “And why the hell is it so fucking cold? We are in the middle of summer!” Complained again the man. In answer, the third man of the group, a seventeen years old, raised the lantern he was carrying in his hands, and illuminated the ceiling.
    A pattern of intricate designs was carved there.

    “It is a freezing spell. Someone must have tampered with it so it only emits cold air. It probably was the Fujou Seer.” Said the teenager with a very calm voice. At that, the older man only could curse, and keep going.

    Finally, the party entered through a narrow passage to an even bigger cave. The floor there was completely smooth, in a way that nature could have never made it. Currents of cold air flowed freely, and it was several times colder. Some of the stalactites in the ceiling had started freezing, and there was icing everywhere.
    In the smooth, clean floor, there was a gigantic scheme that had been drawn in blood. It was a magic circle covered in cabalistic symbols, and strange drawings and writings everywhere. A knowledgeable observer would have noticed the divine language written on the west, and how multiple Magic Foundations had been layered together to form the immense magic circle. In the center of it... rested a body.

    “Damnit, those Demon Hunter ladies are merciless.” Said again the man. The girl stared away from the grisly scene. “It is horrible.” Her murmur was heard.
    The magus body was battered and broken, with strings of blood signaling were he had been pierced repeatedly. His head was separated, eyes still staring to his killer.
    “John, Eleanor, establish a perimeter. Edward, you are on guard duty. I don’t want the thing that he summoned to catch us with our pants down, understood?” Said the eldest of the group. The younger boy, Edward stood near him, while John and Eleanor proceeded with their duties.
    “There was no way for this to work. I mean, what the hell, I know that Hermits have pretty nutty magecraft, but this is on another level.” The one who had been whining, John, commented as he looked towards the symbols of the section he was standing on.
    “Well, but it worked, didn’t it summon these things the girls described?” Said the woman, Eleanor.
    “No. It is more like they used the circle as some sort of catalyst. This whole cave is a territory, a workshop. There is enough prana floating there for them to use. It still makes no sense that they could be embodied on the first place, though.” Said again the old guy as he examined the body. Edward approached him, his eyes scrutinizing the place meticulously, in an almost paranoid way. “Elder, I believe there isn’t anything to be learnt of this place. This is just a... well, a distraction.” He didn’t abandon his calm, calculating tone, that he had used before, while still maintaining guard.
    John scoffed a bit at that. “Aren’t you sad, Ed? You spent the better part of three months chasing this douchebag everywhere, and now someone stole your prey. Though it must not have been too hard. You just needed to follow the trace of rape.”
    “Don’t joke with that!” Snapped Eleanor, before approaching Edward and the Elder. “We have finished with that. If something approaches us, we will know.”
    Edward just shrugged John off. The Elder crouched in the circle.
    “Just watch and learn, Edward. Watch and learn.”
    His closed fist hit the center of the grand scheme, and he recited a fast incantation.

    Nothing happened.
    “Weell, at least we now know that the ritual, whatever that was, was a complete failure.” Said John in an amused tone, while the Elder tried to come up with a way to save face.
    “I don’t think so. Some of the outer and inner layers are probably meant to be bounded fields or to mark territory...” Edward tried to be helpful, without much success, finally, the Elder just got up, and kicked with all his strength the decapitated head of the Hermit. It flew, and within seconds vanished in the darkness.
    “I didn’t know that you were that good at Soccer, Elder.” John snarked, before both Eleanor and Edward hit him in the head.
    Suddenly, the earth started shaking, and the whole ceiling trembled, as the ice started to break everywhere.
    “Something is coming.” Said unnecessarily Eleanor, as every one prepared for combat.
    And indeed, something came form the shadows, snarling and roaring, its deform body showing protruding, big maws.
    “Run away, now!” Screamed the Elder.


    And then, there was a massive earthquake.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Happy birthday, MK


    quotes
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1984 View Post
    Besides, I don't see what's so terrible about looting anyway. It's only property, they're not actually harming anyone.
    Quote Originally Posted by lantzblades View Post
    when I say hero I don't mean hero in the spirit sense. I mean a morally grounded, good natured person who doesn't slaughter innocent people. No such person exists in the Nasuverse.
    [19:33] <@Airen> I like vampires!

    [00:12] <~Katie> i can't defy my origin
    [00:12] <~Katie> of gay memes

    [22:56] <@Sei> airen is pegging hero this time
    [22:56] <@Sei> for once airen isn't the uke
    [22:56] <@Kuroyuki> I thought Air was the Woman in the Relationship?
    [22:56] <@Airen> Yeah I kinda thought I was the girl too!

  10. #10
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    MOON WALTZ

    ”Ane-ue!!!”

    A scream more like a roar ripped the air of the corridor apart with its sheer ferocity. It was not a sound which something as insignificant as a human could produce. No, this sound was the sound of a creature from far higher plane of existence. And even there, this was a sound of those with a special gift. This was the voice of royalty.

    The voice of a vampire.

    Altrouge Brunestud was like the lightning itself when she shot through the corridor, her exposed claws tearing down the walls of the ancient building. Her white and golden dress was almost absurd clothing for the situation she was in. After all, she was in middle of a battle ------ No, this was more than just a battle. How could one call something like a fight between vampires something as small as a battle? This was war, pure and simple. And to act to that war, Altrouge Brunestud destroyed everything in her path in order to get to her target. With simple rage as her weapon, she closed the distance between them in a single instant, covering some 200 meters in a blink of an eye.

    But the figure ahead of her was like the walls of the castle they were in. She stood her ground, with the magnificent brilliance of thousands stars, simply smiling at the smaller vampire.

    “Oh, you’ve got guts, my dear little sister. However…”, the Shinso with long, flowing, blonde hair and red, merciless eyes, smiles. She raises her hand above her head, awaiting for the fraction of a second when Altrouge Brunestud is only few inches from her face.

    The red eyes turned to the color of pearl, and the world around them trembled.

    “It will not save you from the fact that you tried to defy me.”

    It was like the castle itself had shattered. When that single hand was swung down, the air pressure created was enough to slam Altrouge Brunestud against the floor, and through it. And not just through that single floor. No, eleven floors. In that endless castle, the force of the strike that did nothing more than push the air and hit a single vampire, ripped through and destroyed eleven floors, sending the smaller vampire hurling downwards. As she finally was stopped in the rubble of the eleventh floor, and as the wreckage of the other floors above her rained down on her, Altrouge spat out blood, and screamed in pain as one huge piece of debris crushed her lower half. It was nothing that her regeneration could not fix, yet the pain from it was unspeakable.

    “HRRRRYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!” Another beast-like roar, this time more mature one, resonated through the old castle. It came from above the eldest of the three sisters. “Bastard! This time….this time….we will not back down, Ane-ue!!!”

    Arcueid Brunestud. The Princess of the True Ancestors. Clad a dress similar to that of Altrouge, she appeared from nowhere above her elder sister, and swung both of her claws down, intending to rip her in half. The power in those hands would have been almost enough to replicate the feat of what her enemy just did. In other words: For humans, unfathomable. It would have been absurd to even think that the attack would have failed. In a world where the laws of reality still held, it should have been so.

    Yet the Shinso with pearl-colored eyes simply swatted her to the side, striking Arcueid Brunestud heavily against the wall. With her single hand, she held her younger sister in place. Those pearl-like eyes stared at the other princess with such amount of love and hate mixed in them that it was like staring into the depths of hell itself. It was a place where the nightmares of humanity mixed with a love in a sick and twisted way that was like rape of the concept of “love” itself, and produced only true horror with the cries of it’s birth.

    That Eldritch dimension was the mind of Brunestud of the Pale Moon.

    “Nnnnhhnn……my dear, dear little sister…..that sheer anger behind your attack….do you two really despise my esteemed self so? Hmm, do you~?” Brunestud licked the cheek of Arcueid, causing the latter to shiver and try to draw her head back. “Noooooo~. Of course you do not. In fact, you two love my esteemed self more than anything, do you not? My esteemed self is the only family left for you two in this wide and lonely world, no? Ahahaha, you do not have to hide it, dear little sister…….”

    A shrilling laughter as cold as the lowest level of hell filled the castle. The source was the woman whose existence was nothing but sheer, calm, collected madness.

    “No. You two fear me so much that you have to try and destroy me in order to keep your sanity!” Brunestud roared to the ear of Arcueid. The latter closed her eyes tightly, expecting an attack to come. But when even after many seconds nothing came, she did open them, only to see her sister smiling at her with sweet deceit of the snake in the Garden of Eden. “………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Isn’t that right?”

    A punch that connected straight to those open, beautiful, red eyes send Arcueid Brunestud hurling straight through the wall, repeating the scene of what had just happened with Altrouge, only this time in horizontal manner. Another display of the monstrous strength that this slender woman possessed.

    “I'll 'ave ya kna, sister! In this world, there's nuffin' worse than ya!" Altrouge Brunestud growled the moment she materialized behind Brunestud. Her lower half was still taking its shape, but she was there to continue the relentless assault. “Ter get rid of a curse loike ya is a blessin' ter the world itself!”

    The magic circle that formed in the air was something that would have made even a Wizard-Marshall bat an eyelid. The complex combination of ancient Hebrew and Latin, mixed into a powerful ritual meant to simply annihilate the foe with overwhelming power and fire that destroys the fabric of reality itself. It was the ultimate bane of creatures of supernatural, and thus, it was somewhat ironic that a Shinso such as Altrouge Brunestud, could use such a spell, especially at such magnitude. Normally, a complete Great-Cathedral Choir of the Holy Church would have been needed for such a spell, but now, it was created only by a single vampire.

    Brunestud raised her eyebrow, and put her hand forward, as if to meet the magic circle, and the spell that was generated from the ritual. And when that hand was put forward, her mouth whispered a single word of activation. Instantly, blue runes, continuous ones that were like zigzagging lines to the eternity, spread everywhere in the colossal corridor, filling the whole space with their ethereal glow. Those runes were nothing like Altrouge had ever seen, yet something in her memory, and in the memory of all vampires, remembered those runes. Those were the runes of absolute power, stemming from the single weapon of their one, sole ancestor and father. Those were Celestial Runes.

    And their unbridled power was aimed straight at her.

    “Blessing?” Brunestud chuckled softly. “In what kind of world would you be able to bless anything, dear little sister?”

    And so, to oppose the divine power of this world, the forbidden language of the other celestial object was spoken aloud.

    ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

    A sound that no human ear could grasp. In that instant, the runes shone with the light of the stars, and simple, yet effective, power roared from them. It was enough to literally vaporize the magecraft of Altrouge, who was left defenseless against the onslaught of this forbidden magic that was used against her. The light caught up to her, and in that instant, she felt how the alien force began ripping her being apart, opposing the foreign entity it met. Yes. It was absolute territory, a simple Boundary Field, that opposed everything that was not of the same origin as the caster.

    And when in the hands of a true Brunestud like their eldest sister….!!!

    “Kuhh---!!!” A sudden gale-force ripped apart the undefeatable energy that threatened Altrouge. In shock, the smaller vampire watched as Arcueid, despite bleeding profusedly, took a stance between her and Brunestud.

    Through her Marble Phantasm, Arcueid Brunestud kept advancing the territory of Gaia, splitting the air before them and re-directing the assault of foreign magic that Brunestud had unleashed. However, doing that was very taxing to her body, even more so now that she had been wounded so badly. No one else. There was no one else in this world who could have wounded her in such manner. Arcueid Brunestud knew……there was no one else in this world who brought forth emotions from deep within her, than this woman before her. Anger. Hatred. Rage. And most of all, primal fear. All those appeared whenever she laid her eyes upon this woman who had been there since her birth. Only when cornered to such extent, could Brunestud of the Pale Moon bring out something even she herself did not understand.

    -------------- And that was why Arcueid hated her even more. She actually made her feel hatred.

    “Wot 're ya doin'!?” Altrouge half-screamed to Arcueid, the only thing standing between her and utter destruction. “'Re ya sum sort of two-foot rule!? Do not fin' I will be thankful, even if ya defend me!”

    The older vampire smiled dryly.

    “Stop spouting nonsense. I’m not doing this for you. But if we lose here…………then there is no future to us”, she spoke, concentrating all her power to diverting the raging energies of the single spell Brunestud had launched against them. “After standing up now, the only result we gain from being defeated is-“

    “That’s right, my dear little sisters. Your only option is humiliation and submission.”

    Too late did both of them realize it. The blue runes they had seen before launched themselves across the air, curled around both vampires, and restricted them immediately. Both gave out screams of agony, as the foreign, alien energy ravaged their bodies, like a current of electricity being sadistically put through them. And these flat, zigzagging lines of runes were connected to the extended hand of the Brunestud of the Pale Moon, gazing at her defeated siblings.

    The roar of magic died out. The spell that was supposed to destroy the both was cancelled. Now that Brunestud had caught the two vampires, she had no need to kill them. After all, she found far better ways she could enjoy the aftermath of her battle.

    The utterly merciless smile on her face was the testimony of that.

    “Well then……..now that you, my dear little sisters, have calmed down………..how about we continue from where we left before you two started rampaging like wild horses?” Brunestud asked with a low rumble accompanying her voice.

    Hearing this, both Arcueid and Altrouge jerked back their heads, their eyes showing nothing but fear in it’s purest form. Yes. The nightmare they had tried to run away from. The nightmare which had caused them to take the unimaginable risk of defying Brunestud…….

    ……..Nothing had chanced. It was still ahead of them.

    Clap! Brunestud of the Pale Moon clapped her hands together once, as if something had been decided.

    “Very well. Let us proceed to the bath. After all, tonight, you two, as I promised earlier, shall be bathing with my esteemed self”, she announced proudly. “I will even allow you to scrub my back.”

    And with a flick of her wrist, Brunestud began dragging the two vampires, still bound by the runes, back to the innermost parts of the castle.

    “”N-noooooooooooo!! Ane-ueeeeeeeeeeeeee!!””

    The screams of Altrouge Brunestud and Arcueid Brunestud echoed across the Millenium Castle. But there was no one foolish enough to try to rescue them from the daily bath-time with their elder sister.

  11. #11
    Armored Rider Baron MasterSeth's Avatar
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    Short story- Seer's Day Off

    "Haaa" The girl let out a sigh before finishing her hair, two long twin tails that reached around halfway down her back

    "Seems I am to be left alone while he is off playing around at school again..." She let's out another sigh

    This girl is Servant Seer, she had been recently summoned into this world by her new Master, Gin Ryougi. The two always seem to clash, Gin trying to be friendly and open and Seer constantly being snippy and closed off. Despite this, they both respect and care for each other, though how much so is still up for debate.

    "Well," The girl remarks to no one in particular "I guess I'll take a little tour for fun hmhm~" She smiles to herself in the mirror

    Leaving Gin's room, she quickly navigates the halls, politely greeting what few kids that are in the dorm currently and finds her way out of the complex.

    After finding a map, the girl looks it over to find some of the locations Gin told her of.

    "Haha, the pantheon eh...? And here I thought I'd never see those names again..." The girl lets out a melancholic sigh

    Finding the places, she decides to set out on her tour of the city. First stop; the academy front gate

    After a train ride and bus trip, she arrives at the gate.

    "Now, if the boy wasn't just trying to fool with me, the gate should be ove- Whoa...." The girl is taken aback

    The sight she sees is like something right out of a book she once read. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, blowing beautifully in the wind, gentle and free

    "Haha, so I guess even that hyperactive child can find something calming and gentle like this..." she remembers the way the boy told it

    "Seer! You should see it~! The walkway to the school looks like something right from a painting~!" Though whenever Seer would ask why the boy was always so fixated on the blossoms, he would always freeze up and grow quite. It was only after asking one day did she learn the reason of the attachment, hearing it showed her that even her hyper Master has troubles...

    "Haa..." she sighs "That boy's dream, sometimes I wonder if he truly meant it. He's way to light-hearted for that..."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Next spot I guess, if I recall it's called the... After a bit of walking she comes to the location: "The Apollo Libraries" she reads the sign out loud

    "This truly is a monumental place, I must say... Though maybe he doesn't deserve such a place as a tribute." the girl walks into the library, mocking the namesake of the immense building

    Walking in, she sees the expansiveness of the inside, books stretching for a long while, and many wings of different categories of books and other things like computers and the such.

    "This is quite the collection... No wonder the boy enjoys coming by here so much, it's a great escape from the world from time to time." browsing the books she recalls the boy telling her of this place

    "There are books as far as you can see~ And the helpers are quite nice and helpful~ It's such an amazing place"

    "Why are you so fascinated in this library boy?"

    "Huh? Oh, simple, it reminds me of home and my room at the mansion~"

    That boy has quite the home... His room being right near a library, the perfect escape at some points

    "Well, I guess there is only one more place to go, the last place he told me about..."

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Arriving at the final location, the Dionysus Park, Seer takes a seat on a nearby bench in the expansive park.

    "So this is the park he frequents huh?" she says to herself "It is quite the relaxing place, a beautiful park with a lovely garden and an amazing lake."

    "The place is amazing Seer~!" The boy's voice rings in her head "There is an amazing lake, the park is so lovely and green. And the garden, man Seer, that garden it so awesome~"

    As she relaxes, Seer thinks back on the sights she's seen, and how the effect the boy

    A library that reminds him of home, a field of blossoms that open old wounds, and a park that helps him escape it all...

    What bothers me is.... The memory, that which drives him to continue and that which becomes his dream. Should I allow him to continue? Maybe I should talk to him about it, or maybe I should leave it alone... I have no right to fix old holes, but at the same time maybe I can mend them a little

    "Heeey~ Seer~" hearing someone call her name snaps her back to reality

    It's him... I think I should just act on my feelings right now

    "Hello boy" she replies in a tone much softer then normal and even smiling "How was your time in school?"

    "S-Seer? A-are you feeling okay?" the boy teases her, at least she hopes it's teasing

    "Oh nothing" She doesn't even try to retort him "Come here boy, there is enough room for both of us on this bench." she motions to the space next to her

    "Okay" the boy smiles warmly and takes his seat by her side "You asked how school was right? Haaa~ It was pretty exhausting..." He sighs a little bit "I was running around chasing a lead for the club all afternoon with no luck." He sulks a little.

    "Now now, don't mope now, it doesn't suit you at all." She thinks for a moment "Here" she shifts her posture a bit, "I believe this is called a 'lap pillow' according to some books of yours I've read. I'm in a good mood, so I'll be nice." a small smile comes across her face "Plus, your tired, so it won't be too fun to tease you if you can't retort." She chuckles a little

    "Al-alright" The boy's face lights up a little bit as he sets his head down

    "Now just relax Gin, relax, and let yourself rest for a bit" the girl pats his head lightly

    "Th-thank you Seer..." the boy mutters in embarrassment

    "For what Gin?" the name seemed to slip out so naturally even though she always referred to him by simple terms like 'Boy" and 'Child'

    "Y-you said my name..." A smile broke across his beat red face

    "Y-yes, what of it?" She stutter

    "I-I thought you hated me... So I was happy to hear you call me by my name" His embarrassment seemed to vanished, and in its place, a gentle smile came across his face

    "I am not a fool like you, I remember names..." she pauses "And... I never said I hated you, I just *sigh* I don't understand you sometimes is all..."

    "Haha, I see, I'm sorry Seer." He laughts lightly "If you'd like, when we get home, I'll prove that I remember your name..." As the boy utters those words, he drifts off to sleep

    "I see, I look forward to it then, Gin." The girl smiles

    Rest now boy... The girl thought to herself. Because soon, there will be no time for these peaceful days, treasure them "Treasure your life Gin" The last thoughts, that should have stayed in her head, slipped out of her mouth. "I may not understand your dream, but... Well, I'll at least promise you that I'll help you reach it." She smiles and runs her hand through the boys hair

    "*yawn* I seem to also be growing tired... I guess I can nap for a bit..." And with that, the girl drifted off to sleep also, joining her hyperactive Master in a peaceful slumber
    Last edited by MasterSeth; August 15th, 2011 at 12:18 AM.
    \
    'Paint the world in your image! Only then can you pluck the Golden Fruit from Heaven, and remake the world!"


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  12. #12
    The Cartographer Egophobia's Avatar
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    I don't know what's worse...the fact that there are monsters like these people running around in the world, beyond any authority that might control them, or that they were ordinary people - at least, as ordinary as any of the rest of us - and these stupid little games of war and conspiracy that we entrapped ourselves in are what made them this way. They say that people with power are inevitably drawn towards one another...and with this building storm, like moths to a flame, they will descend upon the world once again. This is the fruit of our efforts - the reward for our crimes.

    It is exactly what we deserve.



    - Saturos Christoph, Lord-Commander of the Lierenhaft

    Gin Ryougi

    Gin Ryougi
    “The entire time…the entire time, he didn’t stop laughing. Not as he killed the captain; not when Private Rickers panicked and put half a clip into his stomach; not even to breathe…”


    Also Known As: “The Fight Merchant,” “The Walking War”

    Parameters:

    • Strength: 13
    • Endurance: 12/19 (+2 Lament of the Sole Survivor, +5 Battle Continuation)
    • Agility: 21
    • Magic: 5/7 (+2 Lament of the Sole Survivor)
    • Prana: 6
    • Luck: 10

    Skills:

    • Battle Continuation: 5
      • Gin’s ability to fight beyond the human threshold has reached such a ridiculous extent that Gaia herself has made several attempts on his life – as far as the world is concerned, Gin is supposed to be dead, and should he ever reach Death’s Door, he would be forever lost. However, he has been shot, electrocuted, lit on fire, and thrown from the highest level of the Clock Tower onto a spike meant to bind one of the Twenty-Seven – yet still he lives.

    • Eye of the Mind (Fake): 1/3

      • Gin has refined his mundane senses to their peak potential, allowing him to act as quickly as the human body was built to tolerate - the only thing inhibiting him from displaying a "sixth-sense," ironically being the mental block he has created in order to restrain Jin. If Jin were released, this ability would be on a level that would allow him to even "see" within his own blind spots by swapping in his other senses.

    • Hypersensitive: 3
      • Compounded with “Eye of the Mind (Fake), Gin’s body reacts even without his input, and his “muscle memory” is evolved to the point where he will hear the cocking of a pistol and dive out a window before he is even consciously able to form a means of escape. A perfected means of bypassing the minimum human reaction time that avoids the limitations of cognitive thought.

    • Lament of the Sole Survivor: 2
      • Not quite the survivor of a great tragedy, Gin’s ability to walk away from battlefields as the sole survivor stems from the fact that he is usually responsible for the obliteration of all other parties. As a result, however, the planet is forced to grant him the boon of one who continually survives against all odds, though not to the extent that it would to a Servant.

    • Mental Pollution: X
      • By conventional standards, Gin is qualitatively insane – however, attempts to pry into his mind have revealed a completely healthy mental template. His desire for violence, however, is so thickly pronounced that any attempt to divert or influence him is completely fruitless. Even by removing his memories and sense of “self,” attempts to inhibit his desire for battle have met with failure. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that he keeps a “backup” of his identity hidden within his suppressed “Jin” persona.

    • Paying the Blood Price: 4
      • Gin understands the value of his scars – each one a lesson and a memory of pain deserved. Simple drills and duels with weaker opponents are no longer enough for him to refine his craft – in order for him to grow, he continually seeks out those who can hurt him. Each scar is a lesson, and so long as he can be hurt, he can still learn. Each successful attack upon him temporarily raises his END by 2, and attempts to strike him consecutively with the same means of attack are inhibited by sixty percent for each attack after the first.


    Qualities:

    • Force of Nature (Disaster)
      • For some reason, Gin is really, really good at killing people. Even mundane actions he performs such as dropping a fork or tossing a newspaper over his shoulder have the potential to trigger a disastrous “butterfly effect.” There are some who argue that this falls under the definition of a Reality Marble. Arguably, Gaia itself has granted him this ability – purely so that he can continue to thin the population as much as possible.

    • The Killer’s Vanilla
      • There is something about Gin – something great and terrible – that incites conflict in his wake no matter where he goes. If it’s not the dogs of the Association who want to bring him to “justice” for his actions during the Second Hundred Years’ War, then it’s a feud between two daughters of rival crime families who are smitten at first sight, the sudden resurgence of crime in a peaceful city just as he arrives at the port, or the sudden appearance of a Crimson Red Vermillion that triggers an all-out-war between the local chapter of the Demon Hunter Organization and the nearby Kishu.


    Story Thread:

    In the wake of the Americana Incident, the boy who would come to be known as the “Fight Merchant” stumbled from the ashes of South America – bloody, beaten, and one of less than a dozen survivors – laughing his head off and speaking of a war that would consume the world. Though deemed an acceptable loss when he vanished and the Mages Association and current scions of the Ryougi family could not recover him, his words would haunt the bookkeepers and more paranoid members of the magical community for years to come.

    Four years later, he was proven right – when the regalia of Joan of Arc reappeared and the French chapter of the Clock Tower splintered off from the main body, kicking off the “Second Hundred Years’ War”.

    Then, five months into the war, as the mundane powers of both sides mounted enormous counter-terrorist campaigns against events instigated by the splinter cell calling itself “La Fontaine,” he returned. Amidst the carnage in the fields of Ypres, he appeared from nowhere and swept through the ranks – without warning of his arrival or making a single demand, he threw himself into the trenches and into oncoming fire, both magical and mundane. French or English, magus or mundane: it made no difference as he hacked and cut his way through both frontlines until the companies scattered and fled. By the time that each faction had managed to send reinforcements to the front, he had already been sighted at three different battlefields in three different countries.

    The magical community tried everything to direct his seemingly-aimless rampage – the Clock Tower offered him anything that their global system of vaults to offer, the La Fontaine offered him power of authority within their new world order; Taima, his former patrons in the Ryougi, and even the Dead Apostles, intrigued by the sheer bloodiness of his campaign offered him rewards fit to dazzle any mercenary dog of war. He responded to no offers, however, and for the next three months, would stymie the war efforts from Orleans to Moscow, dancing across the entirety of the European battlefield until finally, the great powers enlisted the Ryougi, Asakami, and the Burial Agency itself to deal with him. It was too little too late, however, and no less than a week after he had become one of the most wanted men in the world, seven Lords of the Clock Tower vanished, as did the leaders of La Fontaine, and the Ryougi assassins sent to dispose of him were found scattered and defeated along the Carpathians.

    He appeared next in the neutral territory claimed by the China Order, the missing Lords and dignitaries with him, and – to the horror of the magical community – televised his demand for a treaty between the two powers. The Clock Tower and La Fontaine had no choice but to accept his demands or risk being exposed to the mundane community, and for the smallest instant, the world was tentatively at peace. Then, thankfully, he was immediately branded a criminal of war and enemy of humanity – the mundane powers aligned for the first time in decades and the magical community for the first time in centuries, all for the sake of destroying a single boy.

    “…it was his plan all along,” murmured the Wizard Marshall himself that day, when Gin Ryougi ensured his own, endless war.

    Since then, he has fought on every continent against every force sent his way. Even against the monsters of the Twenty-Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors and the Phoenix Princess herself – it does not appear he even wants to win the war he started – only to prolong it. There are some who realize that to stop him would be as simple as to call an end to their manhunt, but the seeds of hatred and revenge he’s sewn in the decade since his rise are too deep; too ingrained – wherever he walks, the signs of war follow in his wake.

    …and most horrifying of all, it’s not always his war.

    Recently, there have been rumors that Gin Ryougi is working with the Lady in Black in her effort to instigate another Grail War – he aches for her promise of the one, final war.

    …what will happen if he wins?

    Quotes:

    • Gin Ryougi, to Wizard Marshall Zeltrecht: “…mad? No, no…that’s Jin…she’s the mad one…that’s why I haven’t let her out for the last few years. She’d probably get it in her head to kill me, even.”

    Trivia:

    • The Ryougi family has disowned him and now devotes enormous effort and resources into his elimination before he can further damage their relationship with other factions.
    • Amongst the Twenty-Seven Dead Apostle Ancestors, Rita Rozay-en favors him for the sheer scope of the carnage he leaves behind. Additionally, there are several amongst their ranks who sympathize with him, as Satsujinki has made several attempts on his life.
    • Gaia has a one-sidedly complicated relationship with Gin – while fate and all cosmic powers demand that he should be dead, she welcomes and rewards him for the side-effects of his perpetual war, namely, the thinning of the human race. At the same time, even she is not immune to his strange presence, and often lashes out at him with what minions she can spare.
    • Gin has the habit of stealing food while leaving the appropriate amount of payment behind – so far, this has allowed him to avoid over sixty attempts at poisoning, as well as led to the formation of three separate security firms.
    • Never once has Gin actually targeted an innocent civilian – in fact, even his most wanton acts of violence seem to result in an overwhelming number of criminal deaths. His pursuers and anyone who raises arms against him, however, appear to be exempt from this rule, leading some to believe that the only way to stop him might be to stop fighting him.
    • It has been reasoned that the greater part of Gin's alleged skills with ESP are solely devoted to maintaining the mental block holding his "Jin" persona at bay.


    Luis Sancho Diaz

    Luis Sancho Diaz

    “He…he lives! El Campeador lives again!”


    Also Known As: “El Campeador,” “The Second-come Conqueror”

    Parameters:


    • Strength: 15/17 (+2 Fabrication of the Self)
    • Endurance: 12/14 (+2 Fabrication of the Self)
    • Agility: 15/17 (+2 Fabrication of the Self)
    • Magic: 12/9 (+2 Fabrication of the Self, -5 Incompatibility with Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar’s Magecraft)
    • Prana: 15/17 (+2 Fabrication of the Self)
    • Luck: 5

    Skills:

    • Aspect of the Chosen: 4
      • The world needs heroes, and Luis, whose life became the pursuit of that heroic ideal that no longer exists, became one of the few in which the collective desires of mankind could find the qualities lost during the Era of Gods. Whereas Cu’chulainn was unrivaled in “Combat” and Orpheus in “Music,” Luis was able to attain the underlying qualities of a hero to the point where Gaia granted him a fragment of the power of that era.

    • Charisma: 2
      • Luis suddenly found himself bearing a fate much larger than what he could ever have asked for, but he bears it in stride. He does his best to emulate the old knight who taught him in his youth, but at the same time, his struggle to retain his own identity is at odds with the very qualities that grant him the attention of the magical community.

    • Fabrication of the Self: 5
      • In becoming a legend, Luis bet his mundane soul, and though he is desperate not to become consumed by the wake of his own legend, he does not refuse the power it brings. He is capable of annihilating aspects of his own existence in order to replace them with those whose guidance he most desperately seeks. While he longs for the advice and company of the old knight who taught him so much, he knows that the knight would be mortified at the price that Luis would pay, so instead, he has chosen to annihilate every part of his “self” associated with battle…in order to call upon the power of the original Campeador – Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar.

    • Instinct: 2
      • As one whose life has become an endless struggle to restore heroism to a dying world, Luis is no stranger to being pitted against enemies far beyond his level of experience. As a result, he has been able to master fighting in sub-optimal conditions or operating exclusively on the defensive until he can learn enough about his opponent to offset their difference in skill.

    • Pioneer of the Stars: 4
      • Luis bears the weight of a heroic identity – an identity that is saturated with the need for a tally of his heroic exploits. As a result, he is always drawn subconsciously towards some quest, and every small action he takes is likely towards a greater goal, whether or not he realizes it. At the same time, however, his control over his very actions, as well as his destiny, slips further and further away from him as he becomes the vessel of his new identity.

    • Saint: X
      • Luis is not a true saint – both in the sense that he does not walk the path of one, and in that the Holy Church would never dream of sanctifying him. In the eyes of the world, however, he is a “hero,” bound by his assimilated identity of “El Campeador” to Spain, and thereby empowered by all of its people who wish for a hero. As a result, so long as he maintains his heroic identity and stays on Spanish soil, he is under the effect of a regenerative power equal in strength to vampiric “Curse of Regeneration.” Additionally, in Spain, all of his weapons are treated as Holy Armaments, equal in power to a weak sanctification.


    Qualities:

    • Mare Incognitum – “Here There Be Dragons”
      • At this level, Luis is not one who seeks out mysteries in the world, but rather, cannot accept the fact that this world has fundamentally lost any sense of mystery. A sort of mental poisoning on the level of self-hypnosis, Luis perceives an entirely different reality than this one – so much so that he is actually affected by it. The polar opposite of a Reality Marble, this is not the power to draw the correct marble, nor is it the power to fundamentally change the marbles themselves – it is simply the option to draw from an entirely different bag.

    • The World is Mine – My Story is Yet Incomplete
      • Luis exists in his own perception of the world, while simultaneously being rooted to this one, and, by extension, to Gaia. As a result, attempts to impose upon him the idea of another reality or of a “truth” that does not correspond to his own is met with absolute rejection. Any Reality Marble or Marble Phantasm-like ability that would affect him directly has its effectiveness decreased by two ranks. Additionally, any effects granted to the creator of the separate reality are decreased by two ranks whenever they come into contact with Luis or one of his weapons.


    Story Thread:

    A century after the Vodnyisad War that fanned the flames of uprising that swept across Russia and spelled the doom of the Germany Society of Thule, the European powers were still largely preoccupied with picking up the pieces of their devastated magic societies – the widespread damage had rendered the Sea of Estray particularly vulnerable, their Thulist division now mistrusted and understaffed. One of the few countries to weather damage was the Golden Port – Spain.

    Luis Sancho Diaz was one of the privileged few magi to be born to a nation that did not immediately attempt to conscript him into one of their “orders.” For a brief period, then, his childhood was one consumed by a singular, uncorrupted view of magic – “combat potential” means nothing to a child who has just realized that he can walk on the wind.

    He was still just a young man coming into his own identity as part of the larger magical community, politely turning away the invitations from the Clock Tower and Order of Taima, when the Second Hundred Years’ War broke out. Spain, which had managed to to retain the vast majority of its treasures over the last century, despite the push by the Clock Tower and Alchemical Order of ATLAS to lock away the powerful treasures of the world following the Poison Sun and Nagasaki Shadow incidents. From his vantage point, he could only watch as the European powers were once again at each others’ throat – the open jaws of the Dawn Collective and the Demon Hunters Association ready to snap at them from either side. With his family sword at his belt and the winds at his back, he charged towards the front – the border of Spain and France where the outposts of the Association were being attacked.


    But he had been born to a peaceful country, free from the influence of the conspiracies that ran the world, and murder and warfare were beyond his breadth of experience. His words found none who would listen, and try as he might, he could not guide his blade into his opponent. Cursing himself and summoning the winds to throw his opponents to the ground, the young man fled back to Spain.

    …only to find that the Portuguese chapter of the Mages Association, shattered, struggling, and desperate to have a stronger buffer than the neutral power of Spain, had defected to the western conspiracy calling themselves the “Dawn Collective.” Their first attack was a coordinated attack that devastated the vaults of the Spanish magical community, instantly robbing the nation of most of its artifacts of power and suddenly draining the land of much of its power. The grass withered, the air became stagnant, and the balmy summer because damp and cold – a leyline had been diverted, and the Mages Association chapter in Madrid was destroyed. And though Luis knew better than to blame himself, he cursed his powerlessness – his position from atop a peaceful country where was able to watch the whole world catch flame, but not do anything to stop it.

    What would that old knight have thought?

    Perhaps even Luis did not know, but his view of the world was so much more than hopeless idealism – it was the fevered dream of a madman, and a rejection of any reality but. Perhaps he did not realize any of this even as, finally, he dedicated himself to swordplay, stealing away in the dead of the night with the family sword and practicing in the field, learning to parry and thrust through the rusted guard of his teacher and mentor. Perhaps, even, he never realized that as he walked through the streets, he was talking to himself, hopelessly waiting for an answer even as the streets began to burn around him.

    Then, just as the war finally reached his doorstep, and the Knights of Altim Caesar and her support from the Chivalric Orders were all but scattered, he found his answer. The planet opened up for just an instant and the lady Gaia herself made him an offer: the chance to become a hero. He asked why, if she hated her children of the earth so much, would she give him this chance. The answer was simple – he was an honest soul. If he found them worth the effort – if he could succeed – then obviously, she would have been proven wrong; by her own hand, no less. It was a rigged game, as the swordsman in red would bitterly tell him years later, but he accepted without hesitating.

    He did not save his town, that day, nor was he able to turn back the tide himself. Even with the blessing of the earth, he was but one man – but he fought back. He was not a god of war, but he was the boy from nowhere would could shatter ten men for every eleven sent after him – who accepted a doomed mission on the condition that he be allowed to drag down as many of his enemies as he possibly could.


    So far…Gaia has admired his handiwork.

    Channeling the power of a true hero through himself, Luis’ mind has degenerated, and he is well-aware that he will soon lose his very identity, and forever be forgotten for the person he once was. In that time, he is desperate to compose a story worth memory – so that “Luis” may stand aside that old knight’s tale and be remembered fondly by the next fool of a child who wants to become a hero. He does not resent the idea of being a hero – for even had he warned his younger self, he knows it would not have worked. Instead, he embraces the madness – he claims to have visited Atlantis and won his armor from a gambler in Lemuria; when he strides across the rooftops above Times Square, he finds himself upon a mountain of gold and bones in an ancient land, a sea of metal snakes to either side of himself.

    Even as he loses himself, sometimes not understanding the justice by which he is moved, he takes solace in one thing – the people love him.


    So it was the right thing to do.

    Quotes:


    • Luis Sancho Diaz, to an agent of the Holy Church: “...no, I do not think I deserve to be called a saint either, but people mired in despair are quick to latch onto a heroic image, no? No…I will die sooner or later, and they will forget about me, even as I forget myself. Before that, though, I must continue searching for that land he spoke of...I made a promise to him, after all – to that old fool of a knight.”
    • Luis Sancho Diaz, to EMIYA: “No…I am not afraid, my friend. I asked the world to make me a hero, and it did – to lose ten to save a thousand is not for lack of effort on our part – it is simply a reminder of how grim a struggle this has become. To think anything else…would we, when we were children, have believed such hypocrisy?”
    • EMIYA, to “El Campeador”: …you say this, but you cannot even remember your name without looking at that journal of yours, or what that “child” you once were even looked like. A noble fool is a fool all the same – you’re no different than that old knight you once followed.
    • Luis Sancho Diaz, to EMIYA: “…before you go, I ask you only this, my friend. Find a library and place my journal beside the first copy of his book that you see, so that someday, he might enjoy my tale as much as I did his. He will forget that I was just a boy when we met, and it will be the two of us – Luis Sancho Diaz and **********!”

    Trivia:

    • Luis’ struggle to maintain his sense of self effectively inhibits the maximum potential he could achieve through the gift Gaia has offered him – once he finally loses himself to become the second coming of El Cid, augmented as a Counter Guardian, he will technically become an elemental – mortal, but empowered by Gaia herself.
    • The only “truth” that can effectively force Luis out of his personal reality is the power of the Second Magic – it will not completely force him into the new world, but his natural resistances are less pronounced against it.
    • Luis’ natural powers are aligned with the wind, and though he is not optimized for magical combat, he has a surprising amount of experience with its manipulation. The powers of El Cid, however, are aligned with fire, and as a result, Luis’ Magecraft is weakened.
    • Luis is favored, in turn, by the winds – though he can no longer command them, they still offer him one significant boon – they always catch him when he falls. Numerous times, he has made his most daring ambushes or escapes through knowledge of the fact that he can never fall to his death; the wind will always cushion him.
    • Medically speaking, Luis suffers from delusions that defy all conventional standards, and has arguably been mad since the earliest years of his childhood. In his mind, the stories that he reads are entirely real; not just part of his world, but occurring directly around him. To this day, he believes to be guided by the image of a man in battered old armor, the golden trim coated in rust.


    Shizuka Fujou

    Shizuka Fujou

    “We all have our demons, the likes of which we cannot truly kill within ourselves. Somehow, though, that girl has gotten it into her head to ‘help’ the rest of us – in the only way she knows how.”


    Also Known As: “The Knife in the Misty Grove,” “Lady of the Misty Hive”

    Parameters:

    • Strength: 13/19 (+6 Misty Night Murderer)
    • Endurance: 13
    • Agility: 20
    • Magic: 1
    • Prana: 16/18 (+2 Demonic Defender)
    • Luck: 6

    Skills:

    • Demonic Defender: 2
      • In every way imaginable, Shizuka has carved out the Misty Grove of the Osaka Fujou as her territory – politically, financially, through warfare, Magecraft, and even ancient blood rites not invoked since the progenitors of her family name. Essentially, she has bound the land to her own body and recognize as an extension of herself – anyone who lacks “Presence Concealment” at a greater rank than this Skill are immediately detected upon setting foot in her territory. Additionally, the grove is saturated in her prana, and adds its ranks to her “Misty Night Murderer” and “Subversive Activities” Skills.

    • Eye of the Mind (Fake): 2
      • At some point, Shizuka realized that her sudden pull towards isolationism and the creation of a Fujou stronghold would be at odds with the more traditional and fundamentalist elements amid her family and patrons. As a result, she refined her already-trained senses, developing a secondary means of combat that is frightfully easy to detect through sight, but completely masked from all other senses. A wild, spastic means of combat, there is no rhythm or grace – simply a brutal deconstruction of bushijutsu designed to combat against the blind Fujou. Additionally, Shizuka is a master of discerning her opponent’s dominant sense and effectively removing any of her “tells” that responds to that sense.

    • Misty Night Murderer: 4
      • Shizuka is not an assassin – or rather, she is an assassin no longer. Rather than depending entirely on the elements of surprise and the slow, meticulous planning demanded by the most careful killers, she has boiled the process down to a series of simple, favorable conditions in which her combat potential is at its greatest, and she can improvise from there. As a murderer who strikes first and strikes to kill, Shizuka automatically gains the first strike when fighting in the Misty Grove at an attack bonus equal to the number of ranks in this skill. Because the Misty Grove is literally her territory, and not simply a favorable set of conditions, the bonus gained from this Skill does not disappear after the first turn.

    • Predator’s Bearing: 3
      • A hunter among hunters whose specialty is against those who bear abnormal aspects that deviate from “normal” – this ability to meet the killing intent of demons has been repurposed by Shizuka to be less severe in its effectiveness, but to extend to all non-humans: even the mutated humans calling themselves “psychics.” At this level, Shizuka cannot deal fewer than 3 points of damage on any attack, and she can “mark” up the three opponents, meaning that she can discern their primary attributes and any Skills of Rank 3 or lower so long as they remain within her territory.

    • Subversive Activities: 1
      • Shizuka’s efforts to create a Fujou territory have forced her to call upon her assassin training in an unexpected manner – namely, knowing that she would inevitably come under attack from both the Kishu as well as the Fujou traditionalists who trained her. By reverse-engineering her ability to evade and disarm traps, she has instead turned her entire compound into a nest of traps designed specifically to oppose the supernaturally-strong Kishu and the psychically-empowered families of the Demon Hunter Organization. For each rank in this Skill, enemies in Shizuka’s territory lose either lose that many points from their AGI, or twice as many Hit Points.

    • Synchronizer: 4
      • Born into one of the Fujou bloodlines to operate as a Synchronizer – one who can accelerate and enhance the production and transfer of prana through the exchange of bodily fluids, Shizuka’s body is especially geared for helping another individual regain prana at far beyond the natural rate. At this level of skill, Shizuka and her partner both gain eight times the normal amount of prana that would be recovered in a single night. Additionally, both Shizuka and her partner radiate prana that forms a protective aura around them for one Scene, raising their END by 2 points.


    Qualities:

    • Locutus – “I am She Who Has Spoken”
      • An extremely talented young psychic in her own right, Shizuka realized that even her talents would not be able to protect her from the sheer collective might of any one of the other families. In a move that horrified almost the entirety of the Demon Hunter Organization, she psychically “lobotomized” herself, effectively killing the vast majority of her psychic powers, reducing herself to the relative weakness of a Homo Sapien. She kept a single skill, however, a tiny cantrip of her former power that allows her to “hijack” the minds of other psychics, provided that they are not aware of her presence. So far, Shizuka has demonstrated sufficient control to gain complete access to the powers of the subdued psychic, as well as using their power to fuel a majority of the assimilated techniques.


    Story Thread:

    Shizuka Fujou’s war was never the conventional one. When, at the age of five, when they pressed the slender ninjato into her palm and told her that it would be her one, constant companion, she did not understand their logic; when they orchestrated that she would be “lost” on a routine patrol of the grounds and suddenly find herself face-to-face with a rampaging Kishu for the first time in her life, she did not understand why she had been bred to hate the pitiful creature; when the whispers of war first crept to the blackened shores of Japan, she could not understand how the magi could value their traditions and old vengeances more than the lives of their current young. Born a psychic of tremendous potential, she could not understand the simple truth that the world of men, endlessly writhing in its bonds of conspiracy.

    And as a psychic, that simple truth hounded her at every turn. Every mind she invaded – every time she sent out her thoughts to gather the information that her cloistered family forbade her from – she found more and more “truths” that she could not understand. She found a world of hate and bloodshed, where the greatest acts of compromise were simply the letting of blood before the next great storm. She dredged up the information of the past, and found to her horror that it was all the same.

    Homo Sapien, united in their weaknesses…were monsters. The magi…were monsters. Her people – even the individual people in her family – all of them were monsters. Finally, she understood the fear of “monsters” that her family had tried to instill in her.

    And so she cut her ties to them. After all – it was in her nature to fear the monsters. One night, as she summoned up the entirety of her psychic powers – a single surge that attracted all of the Fujou of the compound – and effectively annihilated her own psychic link, both to the family and to the world. In that instant, her family saw their chance – not only had the most promising of their offspring effectively forsaken her gifts and outlived her usefulness, but she had also just terminated the only means by which she could have defied them – without her tremendous psychic presence, she was nothing.

    This was the last conscious thought any of the Fujou in that compound have made since that day.

    She did not kill them – on the contrary, to do so would be to become like the very monsters that terrified her – rather, she saved them. She had kept a single fragment of her psychic powers, hidden deep within her self because it literally was nothing more than her “self.” She blanketed the minds of her family with her own crushing influence, and left the compound of her youth behind in a blaze of purifying flame. And so she marched.

    Though the vast psychic reservoir of information she had once accumulated was now lost to her, Shizuka was proving to have a talent long lost to those so reliant on psychic powers and the games played by conspiracies: she had become thoroughly and incomparably unpredictable. Responding to no-one and lashing out at her own family, she marched with her psychically-subdued family to Osaka. There, where the territory of the Demon Hunter Organization was largely policed by a small force of Fujou, she ensnared the few guards with her “self,” and finally began to act – if the world of man was one gone to the beasts and so thoroughly corrupted that nothing could save it, then she would ride out the storm – let the conflagration of war consume the monsters and their poisoned ideals – she wanted no part in their world anymore.

    For now, however, she would build a paradise in which she could sleep soundly, away from the monsters and their terrible dreams of violence. In a thicket of woods, she erected a new Fujou compound; a twisted amalgamation of ancient architecture and the many half-learned arts she could dimly recall from her time as a psychic.

    The Misty Grove Compound.

    Blanketed in a mist saturated with her prana, her dark, cold compound sits in the center of an enormous bamboo forest. A twisted amalgamation of the traditional Fujou style and the dozens of half-learned techniques floating about in her mind, there is a dark psychic echo that tears through the compound – she is not hiding from her family. Rather, she is daring them to come, and with each wave of Fujou and Asakami to crash against the walls of her paradise to slay their rogue cousin, she adds another dozen souls to her “self” – to the growing collection of psychics that sleep under her compound, suffocated beneath her psychic presence.

    But it’s not just psychics; she will save anyone – all they must do is let her “cure” them first; after all, there is no room for monsters in her world.

    Quotes:

    • Shizuka Fujou, to a Fujou assassin: “…a monster? Me? No…no…I just wanted a safe, quite place…away from the monsters and their violence. But…here you are…and you brought assassins, weapons, and plans of murder…into my home. All I ever wanted was to be left alone- all I want for you is to stop thinking that- stop thinking that! Now…put the knife down, and… Just. Be. Quiet."

    Trivia:

    • Shizuka takes particular care to avoid attempting the psychic manipulation of a Ryougi assassin – she has reason to believe that if she were to suffocate one personality, the other would immediately attempt a suicidal attack upon her in order to break the link.
    • Though she bears no psychic powers of her own besides her Locutus, Shizuka is capable of accessing the powers of any psychic under its control and manifesting them seemingly at will. The actual power is being accessed by whichever psychic she controls, and then aimed manually by Shizuka, who can “see” anywhere within her territory at any time.
    • Many within the magical community have reached the conclusion that Shizuka’s traumatic upbringing coupled with her secret intrusion into minds of the outside world have left her cripplingly paranoid and suffering from a variant of dementia. She perceives all people as being monsters – and, as such, will attempt to annihilate anyone who she thinks means her harm, and, likewise, will attempt to “cure” anyone who she thinks must be saved.


    Liu Long Mei

    Liu Long Mei

    “You bullied her – imprisoned her inside her own mind and convinced her that she was a demon; the lot of you made her life a living hell. So when that lady devil herself offered her a chance at forgiveness in exchange for her body and soul…does it truly come as that much of a surprise that she accepted?”



    Also Known As: “The Shattered Princess,” “Beautiful Red Dragon of the Tortured Corridor”

    Parameters:

    • Strength: 20/30 (+4 Chinese Martial Arts, +6 Monstrous Strength)
    • Endurance: 4/9 (+5 Lament of the Sole Survivor)
    • Agility: 14/16 (+2 Chinese Martial Arts)
    • Magic: 16/21 (+5 Lament of the Sole Survivor)
    • Prana: 20
    • Luck: 0/X (+X Mandate of Heaven)

    Skills:

    • Chinese Martial Arts: 4
      • Born as the heir to the Siu Han Magus Dynasty of the Eastern China Order, Mei’s first memories are of the chamber in which she received her instruction in the meditative and martial practices of her family. At her current level of skill, Mei commands an operational skill in close-range combat equal to a monk with forty-five years of training. It has been hinted at, however, that Mei is incapable of accessing her “chi,” and that the trauma from the annihilation of the Siu Han have made it impossible for her to achieve enlightenment. As it stands, her current ranks in this Skill are purely a reflection of her physical combat prowess, and do not grant her access to “Magecraft (Ling Kong Jing - The Empty Force): 4”.

    • Innocent Monster: 3
      • After her powers went out of control during the Siu Han Massacre, Mei’s family name and rank were stripped from her and she was branded with the mark of “Beast of Baikal” – one of the four greatest criminals in the Order. In the wake of the disaster, the houses of the China Order chose to unify the frightened masses and quiet their fears by parading the disgraced princess in shackles to the gates of the Baikal Keep itself. Mei, now called “Liu Long,” crumbled beneath the pressure, not yet able to comprehend what it was she had done and why it was she was to be punished. The horrors inflicted upon her in the Baikal Prison awoke in her something great and terrible. As a result, Mei is capable of taking an equal number of ranks in Skills that would otherwise be restricted to individuals with the “Monster” subtype as she has in “Innocent Monster”.

    • Lady of Grace and Holding: 2
      • Born into a life of privilege and molded into the image of the perfect daughter, Liu Long was once the very image of the Chinese princess; such an image should naturally have rotted away in the hellish environment of the Baikal Prison. When the Phoenix Princess appeared to claim Liu Long as her herald, however, she restored to Mei her beauty – but not her original appearance. Rather, she gifted the fallen princess a new image; one befitting of her new rank and station, so perfect in its image that none could deride it – not even if they were to try. At this level, Liu Long gains “Mystic Face (Beauty): 1”, “Mystic Eyes (Enchantment): 1”, and “Mystic Voice (Allure): 1”.

    • Lament of the Sole Survivor: 5
      • Liu Long’s tale of survival is quite the bitter one – whereas there are few who bear the horrible fate of surviving a catastrophe that claims the lives of whom they know and love, her burden is to have caused that very incident. More than “survivor’s guilt,” Liu Long has come to believe that she rightfully bears the mark of the “Beast of Baikal” upon her back; it is the one blemish that she would not let the Phoenix Princess purge from her. Bound by the Phoenix Princess to rise again and live, however, she reluctantly accepts this power from the planet – no matter how terrible the conflict, Liu Long has not yet earned the right to die.

    • Mandate of Heaven: 5
      • Liu Long is bound by a power far greater than even her own willpower: the command of the Phoenix Princess. This is the divine law that entitles one by the very nature of the universe to the position of “ruler,” and represents the highest possible authority besides the ones who call themselves “gods”. The Phoenix Princess who single-handedly created the United China Order bears this cosmic regalia, and as her subject and chosen herald, Liu Long has effectively surrendered her own fate – what fortune befalls her is no long the command of Heaven, but rather of her princess. Mei’s Luck is reduced to 0, and effects dependant upon her Luck automatically fail unless allowed to occur by the Phoenix Princess herself.

    • Monstrous Strength: 3
      • When Liu Long lost her mind in the depths of the Baikal Prison, she became for an instant the very monster as which she had been branded, and sunk twelve levels of the prison into a crater of molten slag. Since then, no chains could contain her, and just when they were about to turn to magic, the Phoenix Princess appeared to claim the girl as her own. Liu Long clings to the fragile chance of humanity that the Princess of the Inspired Flame and Font has offered her; the very fact that her cursed strength continues to grow shows that there might not be much time before the monster finally takes over.


    Qualities:

    • Spiritual Dexterity – “False Dragon’s Blood”
      • The unique ability of the Siu Han family that differs radically between generations, Liu Long has been gifted since birth with an obscenely volatile Odic Force; a disproportionately explosive energy the likes of which are beyond the ability of conventional Magic Circuits to regulate. Prior to her becoming the herald of the Phoenix Princess, Mei’s most common manifestation of this power would be the sudden release of her Od from her body in all directions, the result being an enormous blast of fire and concussive force sufficient to render the courtyard of the Siu Han compound into a blackened crater and annihilate several individuals with the same Od. Since her coming into the service of the Phoenix Princess, however, she has demonstrated superior control, and can project the explosive Od from her body, imbue it into solid objects to grant them a proportionate concussive charge, or even shape it into an enormous weapon called the Wang Ya Qiao. Under the effects of the False Dragon’s Blood, Liu Long gains access to “Magecraft (Notarikon): 2” and “Prana Burst (Fire): 2”.

    • Dragon Imprisoning Nest: Assimilated Origin – “Doubt/Despair”
      • Liu Long Mei, after being named one of the heralds of the new empress of the United China Order, was given dominion over the prison that once housed her. During her time there, Liu Long’s Odic Force so thoroughly soaked into the structure of the prison that she became the very “dragon” which it was constructed to house, and it developed a symbiotic identity, forever connecting it to her. As its new warden, Liu Long is capable of summoning the nest of obsidian chains that bound her, no matter where she is, to ensnare her opponents. Those caught in the chains are trapped in an illusion of the Baikal Prison; Mei’s personal reality. Ability on par with Marble Phantasm.


    Story Thread:

    Unity. Family. Duty.

    The whole of the world that Siu Han Mei was born into could be summarized by the subtle marriage of those three words. As the daughter of the Siu Han family of the Dynastic China Order – a bloodline that had risen to prominence due in no small part to the magical potency of their offspring – to be born as a prodigy amongst their standards all but cemented her future as the heir and de facto instrument of the family. And…as far as she knew, this was perfectly normal; there was a world outside of the family compound in which she was not permitted to talk part, but at the same time, her studies and grooming were of great important to the family – to all of China, they told her – and she submitted to their demands.

    She met their expectations and exceeded them – ten times over, she proved herself to be a prodigy amongst their order. It was not in the nature of the Dynastic Families to associate with one another – not since the ancient wars had splintered their alliances, bringing them together only when the psykers from Nippon sought to invade their shores. Yet her reputation – and her power – eventually grew too great. Inevitably, as tends to happen between great families whose histories are entrenched in conflict, several of the lesser houses banded together to eliminate the Siu Han, and the threat of a princess rising from their house.

    She only meant to help.

    It was her duty, after all – to her family: the only people she had ever known. As the assassins from Miao-Dan and Song poured into the compound, she slipped out of the hidden basement where they had left her and took to the courtyard. She easily dispatched of two or maybe three of the trained fighters with her hand-to-hand skill alone; so caught up was she in the thrill of actual combat that she did not hear the mortified screams of her family when they saw their princess had gotten loose. A powerful spell from one of her assailants demanded her focus, and just for an instant, she tapped into her own enormous reservoir of power, looking for just enough to slap aside the psychic knife and-

    It had never occurred to her that the training room in which she had been raised might have been utilized as much for the family’s safety as it was for her grooming. She had grown up in it – the subtle hum of the powerful ritualistic sealing circle etched into the floor was as natural as the birds that sang in the morning; she had never had cause to ask the right combination of questions that would have revealed that it took the power of a small leyline to suppress her Odic Force – and that she had still broadcasted enough power to attract the attention of the rival families.

    And she would never know, for when the full extent of her Odic Force exploded out from her body, the entire compound was obliterated, sealing circle and all – in a single, fiery conflagration, the Siu Han Dynasty was wiped from the face of the earth.

    The only survivor of the incident was Siu Han Mei herself, unconscious amid the wreckage after having exhausted her power for the first time in her life. The recovery team was there instantaneously – the entire China Order mobilized as one for the first time in nearly a century. There was a target to apprehend; a column of flame that had pieced the sky to explain away; witnesses to be silenced – it was a time of great crisis, and the duty of the noble families to protect each other once again.

    She was brought to trail before the Council – the leading body descended from the kings of old – and judged: she was a monster, and to be branded as such – one of the four great criminals of their age, and imprisoned in one of the four great prisons erected for such a purpose. Her name, rank, and history were stricken from the record – the record itself was rewritten. As far as the Council would deign to remember, the China Order had been unified since the era of the Warring Kingdoms against the splintered Siu Han Dynasty.

    She did not understand any of this – she was just a girl who had never left her home before, trying to cope with what had just- what she had just done.

    The North Prison – Baikal, the Iron Island – she was marked as the demon of the Baikal and sentenced to live out the rest of her life shackled in its depths. Yet the world was a changing place, a writing creature prone to fits of wanton violence – those who headed the China Order saw great promise in the prospect at keeping their sudden unity – particularly in any manner that dissuaded an upstart house from seeking promotion through the procuring of a talented child. There was an example to be made from this situation.

    Their answer came in the vault of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor, exalted over all other men.

    Or rather, in his synthesized Elixir of Immortality – if they could keep the “Beast of Baikal” as an example, then they might unify their fractal estates in order to protect themselves from a world gone to the “monsters.” They gave her the elixir, and…

    …and she languished there. For twenty-three years, she remained shackled in the obsidian prison. Twice the Council made similar examples in the prisons of the East and West, but never so much that they would dare use Qin Shi Huang’s elixir a second time. There were no greater monsters in China to subdue than the one who already rotted in the basement of the Baikal. She went mad, of course – now “Liu Long,” the weight of what had been inflicted upon Mei crashed down around her, and her fragile self crumbled somewhere along the road – it was thankfully early in her imprisonment, whatever consolation that might have been.

    And then she appeared.

    In the year 2042, the Phoenix Princess rose from one of the craters of Kilauea, just as she had promised to a century before, and made her journey to China. In but three short months, she exercised her might, seizing hold of the China Order – just as she had promised to do – and cemented the existence of a Unified China Order. And she continued to fulfill promises and prophecies forgotten to the ears of men – until she suddenly appeared at the Baikal, the plains alighting in her wake and the lake boiling away as she entered.

    “There is no redemption to seek, Siu Han Mei, for I have already forgiven you…it is simply a matter now of educating this world to do the same. I ask you…as a free woman, become my herald.”

    And she accepted.

    The Phoenix Princess brought her before an assembly of a China Order that she could barely recognize. At least, she could not recognize the unified crowd of people until she bade forth the familiar figures of the former Council – of the family heads who had imprisoned her, and those who had attacked her family.

    “You can kill them if you want – you may burn this palace to the ground, Liu Long Mei, and all others like it, for I will never burn. This is the Unified China Order, bound by the trinity of Unity, Family, and Duty, and they have breached all three of these codes in harming one of their own.”

    Liu Long Mei stood there, unmoving, and the Phoenix Princess smiled.

    “You see? She has been in shackles her entire life…and still she chooses to follow the code more ably than the lot of you.”

    Quotes:

    • The Phoenix Princess, to Liu Long Mei: “Lost control? That is an absurd suggestion. The horrors of that day occurred not because your mind was too weak to control the monster…it was because the monster within you is too powerful to be contained. Liu Long…become my herald, and for only the second time in your life, be free.”
    • Liu Long Mei, to “El Campeador”: “…save me? Would you save the fish from the flood, or a fly from the wind? We will all be swept aside in her wake…even me, who she chose because I could not burn.”
    • Liu Long Mei, to Burial Agent: “…hope, like all things, can wither and die. Hope does not take the pain from their words…or keep the chains from biting into your wrists. What Her Ladyship offered me was a promise. I have no use for ‘hope’ any longer.”
    • Gin Ryougi, to Liu Long Mei: “Hahaha! They call me the ‘Walking War’ because disaster follows me wherever I go – I came here to look for a certain blacksmith, and I end up finding the Dragon Princess herself…what are the odds~?”

    Trivia:

    • By channeling her tremendous Odic Force to her legs while simultaneously heating the air with her prana, Mei is actually capable of flying on top of the updrafts of heated air. Alternatively, she is capable of briefly generating enough explosive energy to launch herself astounding distances while surviving the accelerated impact.
    • Since her beauty was restored by the magic of the Phoenix Princess, Liu Long Mei was granted the right of being called a “princess” once again, as well as the autonomy to choose a new name for herself. She has yet to act on either offer, however.
    • Mei suffers from an incredibly imbalanced psychological profile, and subconsciously shuts down the greater sum of her mind in order to stave off the severe depression and agoraphobia that developed during her imprisonment at the Baikal Prison.


    Drake Edelphius Walker


    Drake Edelphius Walker

    “All men are fated to die…but that one…he just keeps on walking.”


    Also Known As: “Dead Man Walking”

    Parameters:

    • Strength: 9
    • Endurance: 22/42 (+4 Battle Continuation, +8 Enchant, +8 from Touko Aozaki’s runic enhancements)
    • Agility: 9
    • Magic: 10
    • Prana: 13
    • Luck: 12

    Skills:

    • Battle Continuation: 4
      • As someone who lived as a soldier of the Mages Association and then as a mercenary, who was given the precise date and time at which Fate had decreed his body would expire, and who fought to find a reason to live, even on the threshold of Death’s Door, Drake has developed an understanding of exactly how much punishment his body can handle before it will finally give out. No longer feeling pain, he is ruthlessly efficient in his movement; so long as his body is biologically capable of moving, then he will keep fighting – there will be time to rest when he’s finally dead. Drake no longer requires sleep or food – simply prana – though he still goes through the motions of both.

    • Enchant: 4
      • Drake is no longer a human being. Though still the sum of his parts, the connection between his mind – or his soul, rather – and body has been severed, leaving Drake ever the external observer. Binding himself to what became his most prized possession, his own body, Drake has tapped into enough magical energies and unwritten contracts with the cosmos that he remains “tethered” to his body, beyond death. As a result, he has developed the ability to puppeteer his own body from the outside to the same degree of efficiency that he had in life. What’s more, as the object of this Skill, his body is empowered by a magical contract so long as he manages to stay alive – a skill in which he displays stupefying skill.

    • Expert of Many Specializations: 1
      • Existing outside of the magical “object” of his body for far longer than his physical form would indicate, Drake has had the time to acquire a great many skills. At this level, he is capable of bearing notable talent in six additional fields beyond what might be expected of him – those that are known being criminal investigation, hostage negotiations, anatomy, and interrogation.

    • Magecraft (Reinforcement): 3
      • The current son from a relatively unknown family, Drake inherited the power of “Steel” that had made his family the banner bearers of many a prominent Lord of the Clock Tower. Drake’s leaps and strides in the field of his family’s Magecraft can largely be attributed to the fact that, unlike the vast majority of magi, he refined his craft on the battlefield, where failure meant death. His craft is notable enough that, prior to his Sealing Designation, he had brought the Walker name up to the 4th Rank.

    • Military Tactics: 2
      • Having survived a lifetime on the battlefield and served in more companies as a mercenary than most trained soldiers, Drake has managed to acquire considerable skill at assessing the flow of battle and optimizing his limited resources. He is not one who has much experience as a leader of men, but rather is experienced in small-arms tactics and modern army combatatives – his ranks in this Skill are not counted towards his own ability to tactically lead an armed unit, but rather subtracted from his enemy’s rank in this Skill.

    • Unfettered Blows: 3
      • Under normal circumstances, the human brain and nervous system prevent a person from exerting the maximum potential that could be demanded from the body’s muscles. Drake, however, puppeteers his body without the fear of bodily degeneration and without needing the consent of his brain, and can utilize the full of his body’s physical potential – he is capable of adding a number up to twice his Rank in this Skill to his Strength, but at the penalty of subtracting that same number from his Endurance.


    Qualities:

    • Spare Parts – “While the Mind may Fail, the Body will Forever Heal”
      • Ignoring the sheer ridiculousness of the fact that Drake Walker has managed to tether himself to his own animated body, the fact that his organs do not function should mean that, when it actually does sustain damage, his body should be beyond repair. Somehow, though, Drake has managed to retain the ability to manipulate his magic circuits, and as a result, is capable of performing Spiritual Surgery upon his body in order to maintain it – effectively, he gains access to “Spiritual Surgery: 4,” but only with respect to his own body.

    • Scavenger
      • Drake is a genius when it comes to discerning the locations of powerful Conceptual Weapons and Mystic Codes – a skill he cultivated during the days when he could move about unnoticed by the Clock Tower. In order to avoid provoking the wrath of the other conspiracies, however, he managed to refine his “sixth sense” to the point where he can detect dormant or unbound Mystic Codes anywhere within a ten kilometer distance of himself.


    Story Thread:

    It is the unfortunate circumstance of fate that many great men are only made famous long after they have passed from this world.

    …In the case Drake Elelphius Walker, however, he has managed to stick around long enough to enjoy his newfound fame.

    His origins are not so much shrouded in mystery as they are surprisingly unremarkable; he was born into a family of 2nd Rank within the Clock Tower and garnered a small reputation for himself as a hunter of Mystic Codes for the Association. The only act of special note he would commit during his time at the Clock Tower would go largely unnoticed, as he managed to slow his own aging through the use of a subtle, continuous reinforcement of his internal organs, producing just the right cocktail of enzymes to preserve himself in peak physical condition. This single, small action was perhaps the first sign of what would become the driving struggle in his life.

    Yet he could not stay at the Clock Tower indefinitely before attracting unwanted attention, and he was forced to conclude his studies in his tenth year under their tutelage. Turned out into the world without direction, Drake turned to perhaps the only profession that demanded the experience he had acquired during his time at the Clock Tower, and became a mercenary magus, once again putting his abilities to use to track down Mystic Codes for the conspiracies of the magical community. It was during this time that, on a routine visit to a clinic to immunize himself to the local bacteria living in the Amazon basin before his next mission, that his cancer was discovered.

    He did not take the news well.

    Drake all but vanished from the world, abandoning his contracts and employers and sinking into a deep depression – later he would confess that in this time, he had wandered into the wilds in a state of delirium and nearly died. Perhaps he had actually meant to. Nearly the span of two years passed and Drake’s family grew frantic for news of their missing son – they hired dozens of magi and even enlisted the help of a Magus Hunter, but to little avail. After a while, the world at large seemed to have forgotten about him, a man of little repute in the first place.

    Besides, to speak about South America became taboo once the Americana Incident rocked the world. The catastrophe annihilated half of the entire continent, and when the Alchemist Order of ATLAS shut their doors to the world and refused to lend their aid, the hidden wars of the great conspiracies exploded like never before. Of the twelve survivors of the Americana Incident, only the name of one magus was ever made public within the magical community – Gin Ryougi, the “Walking War.”

    But amongst the ashes, burnt and bloody, Drake Walker pulled himself from the basin of the blackened river, quite alive.

    He had survived what so many hundreds of thousands did not; not through preparation or natural hardiness – this was not something that could be attributed to luck, either. It was a miracle, and from that moment onwards, Drake Walker decided that fate had much greater things in store for him. Fighting against his despair with an equal hope that he was meant to live – to survive – he reentered the world.

    In his desperation to stave off the decay of his body, Drake tried any number of methods to save himself. Nothing was too obscure save the possibility of becoming a Dead Apostle – he wanted to live, not become a walking corpse that preyed on humanity. For several years, Drake – no longer the “Cold Iron Magus” of the Clock Tower – even went so far as to pursue lead after lead in the search for Touko Aozaki, calling upon every contact he had ever made as a hunter of Mystic Codes and executor of Sealing Designations. What he did not realize was that, by revealing his inexplicable survival to one person after the next, that he was weaving the threads of fate around himself once more.

    Finally, in a fit of desperation, he attempted to recreate the same bodily Reinforcement he had in his younger years on a much larger scale. Reasoning the aging process to be a complicated biological defect that even the advanced biology of a Dead Apostle could not completely inhibit, he endeavored to iron out the defects in every organ, one at a time. Perhaps he overestimated his survivability, because fate was not about to let a man make himself immortal. Something went wrong; his body mistook the Reinforcement as a mutation and began to reject it; the spell went haywire, and Drake did not have time to realize the folly of his actions before-

    He died.

    But not properly.

    Drake Walker, who had gone mad and become addicted to the sensation of living, found himself looking down upon his own body, standing immobile in the center of the crater that had been his workshop. For a moment, he could not believe it- it was something out of a storybook or the mind of an irrational child; something even a magus could not comprehend. His body was there – his Od, however, was not.

    “So I hear you’ve been looking for me.”

    And the bodiless entity that was “Drake” looked up to see a woman with deep burgundy hair leaning against the frame of the door. She took a long drag from her cigarette before flicking it over her shoulder, and shifted the weight of her briefcase as she strode into the workshop. What she did then, Drake could not to this day explain; he only knows that by the end of it, as she packed up her vials and tools and left him there in the ruined building, that he could once again move his body.

    Drake Walker died once in the Americana Incident and then once again at his own hands – what he found was not eternal life, but something else.

    But he would never be the same.

    Drake is tethered to his body by a form of Magecraft completely beyond his understanding and now finds himself a puppeteer over his own physical form. His body was made almost indestructible by his final act of Magecraft. To him, it is a fate worse than death, and his fanatical desire to enjoy the pleasures of life leads him to immense acts of indulgence and personal risk, but his is an outside observer merely tugging at the strings of his body: he cannot enjoy the taste of food, the comfort of sleep, or the thrill of a fight. Desperate, he attempted to recapture the idealism of his youth by campaigning against the wars engulfing the world, but his actions only left him hunted by the Association and the Holy Church. Over time, he grew numb to everything but that burning desire to live – or rather, he is painfully aware that he has begun to forget.

    It was only recently, as he threw himself into the Second Hundred Years’ War that learned about a young man in Spain who had wrapped himself in the legends of old and gained tremendous powers. Suddenly, he understood; he saw a way out. He now realizes that the ancient, buried power from ages past has begun to once again appear on this planet – those who fight against fate and garner the power of legends around themselves are those with the right to decide their own future. He has a chance to become human once again.

    He would become a legend.

    Now he walks every battlefield; he makes himself the nemesis of every powerful figure he can find;; he accrues treasures of old as quickly as he can – in every small way possible, he tethers himself to the world. He reasons that if he gains enough power, the planet itself will have no choice but to recognize him. He does not realize that in interfering with the affairs of the conspiracies and great powers, he binds himself even more tightly into the role fate has intended for him.

    Most recently, he entered the Crystal Valley and was instantaneously obliterated by an unseen force. Seven months later, after having been presumed dead for a third time, he appeared before an assembly of the Lords of the Clock Tower, completely whole and grinning like a madman.

    His plan is working – he had survived.

    Quotes:

    • Drake Edelphius Walker, to Touko Aozaki: “…price is not an issue – hell, if you’d be willing to do it, then I’ll work off the debt until the day you die.”
    • Drake Edelphius Walker, to Dead Apostle: “No, you listen to me. I may not be the strongest, the fastest, or the smartest, but let me tell you this – fighting me will cost you. You will lose time, you will lose resources, and by the end of it all, you will have lost more than a night’s sleep, because I will never stop coming after you. One of us needs to die, and friend, dying is the one thing that I will never learn how to do.”
    • Drake Edelphius Walker, to Louvre: “Let me tell you what’s going to happen: you’re going to rip me apart, batter me, and hit me with enough weaponry to bring down this entire castle around us. Then, when you’re out of prana and can’t use any of those little toys, I’m going to pick myself up out of the rubble and take them from you – somebody else will come kill you soon enough – and walk away, because that’s just what I do.
    • Gin Ryougi, to Drake Edelphius Walker: “…haha…stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but we’re not all that different, you and I…”

    Trivia:

    • The Holy Church has classified Drake’s animation and puppeteering of his own body as necromancy, one of the forbidden schools of Magecraft. As a result, he is hunted by their agents in a joint effort spearheaded by the Enforcers of the Clock Tower.
    • Drake has on several occasions come into conflict with Gin Ryougi, the “Walking War,” who has become something of a personal nemesis over the years. While Drake attempts to finally put an end to the walking calamity, Gin is ecstatic to have finally met someone just like him – a deathless soldier.
    • For a short time, Drake was believed to be the current incarnation of Michael Roa Valdamjong due to his regenerative properties and uncanny ability to seek out the places where great conflicts will occur.
    • Drake was able to regenerate his body after being obliterated by the sleeping ORT down to a single rib, suggesting that so long as any part of his body remains, he is capable of regenerating from any wound, given enough time.
    • During his hunt for Touko Aozaki, Drake does not know that on several occasions, he had spoken to her face-to-face, or rather, a puppet of the various likenesses she had assumed over the years, and that she had been feeding him false leads from the very beginning.
    • Drake's mind has deteriorated to the point of fanaticism - there are many who believe that he does not even remember his life before losing his body, and that his entire reason to exist is to reclaim his mortal life.


    Juliana Petronova

    Juliana Petronova

    *puts a finger to her lips and smiles*


    Also Known As: “Hush”

    Parameters:

    • Strength: 8
    • Endurance: 13
    • Agility: 20
    • Magic: 6
    • Prana: 5
    • Luck: 17/22 (+5 Eye of the Mind: True)

    Skills:

    • Disengage: 4
      • Hunted first by the Russian chapter of ATLAS, then by the entire conspiracy, Juliana has shown time and again to be able to escape from even the most precariously-unbalanced situation. She is well-aware that she is one individual fighting against a prominent magical conspiracy, has become a brilliant escape artist and master of hit-and-run tactics. Any fate that entraps her is met with an astounding feat of resistance, and whenever she moves to escape combat, she gains eight points to her Agility, as well as the “Regeneration: 1” Skill.

    • Eye of the Mind (True): 5
      • Juliana has displayed an almost unreal ability to operate on her own, despite very limited combat experience and her young age. Compounded with her “Disengage” and “Hypersensitive” Skills, Juliana displays prodigious talent on the battlefield bordering on total spatial awareness, and is able to instantaneously adapt her performance to account for the smallest shift in battlefield conditions. Refined to this level, Juliana is not “cheating” fate, but rather daring it to up the ante, and calling its “bluff.”

    • Hypersensitive: 3
      • In her youth, Juliana traded her sense of speech in order to undergo the conditioning that would cultivate her psychic powers. What neither she nor her family expected, however, following her flight from ATLAS was the great endowment which the Man at the Crossroads would bestow upon her. Her mundane senses were taken to their maximum potential. Almost overnight, Juliana found that she could read lips, pick out a single conversation clearly through the din of a crowd, and discern from the stirring of the air around her the entirety of her surroundings.

    • Item Enhancement: 2
      • As an alchemist, Juliana has significant experience in the refinement of raw materials and the upkeep of magical items. Since her falling out with ATLAS, however, she has found herself at a lack for resources or a suitable workshop, and has instead redirected her abilities into improving what tools she already has at hand. Juliana can add a number of points equal to her Ranks in this Skill to any modifiers provided by an item in her possession.

    • Psychic Talent (Memory Partition): 4
      • The keystone ability of those who serve the Atlasia and the means by which the formerly “mundane” may stand toe-to-toe with the magi and monsters that inhabit the shadows of the world. Juliana bears experience with this ability sufficient to separate her mind into four partitions, thereby enhancing her cognitive abilities far beyond the human threshold, thereby affording her superior combat performance. Each day, Juliana can choose to enhance her physical parameters by 3/2/2 in whatever order she prefers.

    • Shapeshift: 2
      • Even before she abandoned her post at the Alchemical Order of ATLAS, Juliana was a magnificent tailor and seamstress, and an expert at designing costumes. Once she fled from the Russian chapter of ATLAS and became their enemy, however, she repurposed her abilities in order to move about undetected. At this level of skill, Juliana is a master of disguise, capable of altering her appearance through mundane skill to a degree that, without magic, only the finest mundane technology can discern her true identity at point blank, much less single her out in a crowd.


    Qualities:

    • Belaya Smert – The 505 Strings of Fate
      • The terrible weapon with which Juliana has sewn chaos into the ranks of the Russian ATLAS chapter, Belaya Smert is a cursed Conceptual Weapon bestowed upon her by the enigmatic Man at the Crossroads. A scratched, weather-beaten Mosin Nagant soaked in a malevolent prana, Juliana is only capable of firing five shells from Belaya Smert each day, and each shell must be prepared in advance by soaking an alchemical compound in her own blood and performing a Ritual. Shells fired from the weapon can never miss so long as the enemy is within Juliana’s field of vision, and the bullets can curve indefinitely as long as she maintains line of sight with her target. Attacks made with this weapon are calculated as if Juliana were making a Strength: 21 attack.

    • Larentalia Oculus Tacita
      • Not a natural talent so much as one of the many gifts bestowed upon her by the Man at the Crossroads, Larentalia Oculus Tacita is a powerful curse that manifests itself as the Mystic Eyes of Silence. Once she activates her eyes, people directly within her focused line of sight lose the ability to speak or communicate – a crippling fit of dysgraphia briefly preventing them from even writing or attempting sign language – as well as by making noise via physical interaction using their own bodies. Presently, Juliana has shown enough power to be able to simultaneously silence a dozen armed guards and their automatic weapons.


    Story Thread:

    At the start of it all, Juliana Petronova was just a normal girl.

    Born into the alchemist family of Petronova, Juliana received an upbringing that would have been the envy of many a young alchemist – she was allowed to develop ideals of her own and embrace the full extent of her humanity; even casual ideals such as the basic doctrines of religion were something she was free from. When she was a child, she was permitted to be a child, and it would not be until she was a young woman that she suddenly found herself faced with the darker truth of her station: until she was exposed to the conspiracies of the magical community.

    Entering into the world of the Russian ATLAS chapter was akin to entering a world devoid of color – of sound and feeling. The ruthless, mechanical nature of the world of alchemy mortified her, and, in turn, she mortified her teachers. The fact that she was mute was…acceptable, if not a minor inconvenience, but her constant qualms with the consideration of human life as a necessary component in their perpetual struggle against the Sixth – not to speak of the other conspiracies as well – and her ceaseless bouts of idealism and daydreaming.

    Worse still was just how “normal” a girl she was turning out to be. To be “normal” within the alchemical order, who strove so hard to stand equal to the haughty magi with whom they were forced to associate, was akin to “lacking exception.” Juliana did show some promise when she successfully achieved four partitions within her mind, but what was the use if all she was going to fill it with were useless ideals and flights of fancy? All too quickly, Juliana became woefully aware that the only place her ideals would be welcome were within the walls of her own home – even the so called “childish” magi of the Association were too embroiled in their power-playing and conspiracies for the young Juliana to understand; such the case too with the Holy Church and the factions of the east.

    But the rift between Juliana and ATLAS was only beginning to deepen. When the Russian chapter split off from the central organization and joined Ulrich von Einzbern’s growing movement, Juliana refused to join them in what she saw as the precursor to another war – especially not after the Second Hundred Years’ War had ended so disastrously. Losing one pair of hands to their cause was not the trouble – rather, it was the fact that she had a long history of that dangerous idealism that they considered a quality of young magi; if she were to go and spill their secrets to the rest of the order, or to the Mages Association, then-

    …well, that was not an option, at any rate.

    The events that unfolded that November night are largely a blur for Juliana – her normally-impeccable attention to detail failing her for the first time that she could remember. What she does remember is when the people she had called her teachers and classmates kicked in the doors to her home and the fire. Whatever happened, she found herself staggering down a dusty mountain path, body riddled with shrapnel and mind reeling in terror. She was going to die- her father had warned her never to do something that she would regret for the rest of her life; she should have just accepted their offer and- She collapsed at a crossroads, just in time to see a lacquered white shoe in front of her face.

    A man stood before her where there had been no-one before, dressed impeccably in white with a hat drawn low over his eyes.

    “Well ain’t that a shame…you had great things in store, little Juli…such a waste. Then again…it would not be fair for me to ignore the fact that a great many kiddies like you die each an’ every day, brimmin’ with potential an’ too dead to make any of it worth a damn.”

    The man sighed and clucked his tongue disdainfully before prodding Juliana with his cane, as if to see if she were still alive.

    “But…you, Juliana Petronova…y’really were meant to be one of the bright ones. Y’see…this one-“ If she’d had the strength left in her body, she would have started in surprise when the man let the butt of an enormous rifle crash into the ground beside her face, “-she likes yah. There’s not a man in the world tha’ can touch her, but for you, little Juli, she’s willin’ to make an exception.” The man crouched down and took her chin in his hand as gently as he could, and suddenly the pain faded away, and the fog in the young girl’s head began to clear.

    “…snuff out five-hundred and five souls, and tha’ gun is yours to keep…five-hundred and five more, and I’ll bring your daddy back from behind tha’ iron door through which no man may return…and after that? Well…Ah’m sure we’ll be able to work somethin’ out. Now…go Juliana…and let ‘em know what kind of hell is waitin’ for them.”

    He vanished, the enormous rifle stabbing out of the ground as the only indicator that he had ever been there, and Juliana realized that she was no longer in pain – she looked down to find that her body, which had been riddled with bullets and scorched with magical flames, was unmarred.

    And that wasn’t all – she could see, and she could hear. Not that she couldn’t before, but she heard a drop of water slide down a leaf and her eyes darted to a frozen little shrub just before it could slip and splash against the stone; the darkness suddenly was not quite so impregnable. She could taste the blood and bile that had built up in the back of her throat as she had fled from the ruins of her home, and suddenly the full impact of her emotions caught up with her – but just as quickly, so did the words of the strange man who had appeared before.

    Without thinking, she grabbed the enormous rifle and turned back the way she had come.

    Since then, Juliana Petronova has become one of the great enemies of ATLAS, and is endlessly hunted by the Association – an arrangement she is perfectly content to humor, as it saves her the trouble of hunting them down herself. To her, the aligned powers of the Clock Tower, Sea of Estray, and Alchemical Order of ATLAS are all equally guilty, as are the Russian alchemists who follow the commands of Ulrich von Einzbern, not only for what happened to her home, but for the wars that are breaking out around the world – she has not known a moment of rest.

    That is fine; after five-hundred and five men die, followed by five-hundred and five more, she will finally have a moment’s reprieve: she only needs to kill…



    …how many was it?

    …it doesn’t matter; it is a war, after all. What harm is a few too many monsters sent to their rightfully-earned graves?

    Quotes:

    • A letter delivered to an alchemist of ATLAS: “Good evening – my name is Juliana Petronova. I am sure that you have heard about me recently, and I simply wanted to inform you of something about me that I am sure you will be interested to know: while you have been reading this letter, I will have scaled the east tower and cast my enchantment. Please, scream if you think it will make you feel any better.”
    • The Man at the Crossroads: “…now I’ve been hearin' a lot of talk ‘round these parts that the Devil gave the world guns so that mankind would rip itself apart at the seams, an’ he’d win their mortal souls. Now ain’t tha’ the silliest thing you’ve eva heard? Ol’ Scratch gave ‘em sticks and stones – they’re the ones who decided that those weren’t tha’ proper tools to be killin’ their brothers and neighbors with. If y’ask me, whatever the Devil does, he don’t do it for souls or to settle his score with God… No, he does simply because he can.”
    • A note pinned on the chest of a dead alchemist of ATLAS: “304 down- no wait, look above you-
    • A note pinned on the chest of a dead alchemist of ATLAS: “…305.

    Trivia:

    • Belaya Smert is considered “cursed” because of how thickly the threads of fate were wound around its original owner. The weapon was bound so tightly to him that the last person who tried to wield it was nearly obliterated by the magical backlash as it refused to acknowledge him as its owner. Juliana is the only person in the world capable of using it, for reasons unknown to all but the Man at the Crossroads.
    • Juliana has on occasion worked with Luis Sancho Dias – outwardly because he has many enemies who are responsible for sowing the seeds of war, and inwardly because she is somewhat envious of his ability to live within his own dreams.
    • Juliana has managed to successfully eliminate enough of the staff of the former Russian chapter of the ATLAS order and erase enough of their records for her true appearance to become something of a mystery. In fact, she has used this to her advantage and been hired by the ATLAS order as her own assassin on so many separate occasions that, tired of having their ranking officials and financiers being murdered, the entire Mages Association now requires extensive medical information from any mercenaries looking for their employment.
    • Juliana has become incredibly paranoid and mistrusting, and some have reasoned that she switches through her costumes and identities continuously because she is constantly afraid that she is about to be discovered. As a result, she refuses to ever adopt her natural appearance.
    • As a result of bearing an extremely powerful curse not only on her Mystic Eyes, but also the Belaya Smert, as well as her impossible skill at hiding her identity, the Holy Church has openly declared Juliana to be a heretic and devil that “wears the skin of mankind.” Juliana’s disdain of the Holy Church has degenerated into open warfare.

    Last edited by Egophobia; August 25th, 2011 at 01:32 AM.


    \(◕___◕)/

  13. #13
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    The design was perfect. To date, it would be his greatest creation, his best weapon.

    But, the Takashi clan did not simply give money, not often, and not much, such things were to be gotten by the one who needed it. So the boy could only look at the design.

    It was more difficult to create something that had never existed then it was to construct it, but at the same time, the planning was free. To build such a thing would require much money. There would be false starts, unforeseen setbacks, errors to correct before the weapon could be considered "ready". It wouldn't be the first time he had moved into the world, even at his age, he had trained and experienced much, but it would need to be the biggest experience yet.

    The reason was simple, even besides its scale, for the first time, his design was not for his family, nor was it to be a mere prototype used to increase his knowledge. This time, the child created something that would be his alone.

    And so, his father, leader of clan Takashi, arranged work. He was generous, or maybe lucky, the job suited his son to perfection.

    The clan rested in the mountains. Zero had been forced to walk for miles after the cab had dropped him off in the middle of nowhere, guided by vague or flawed directions. But, it was to be expected. A clan of magi did not live in the open unless they lived in secrecy. In other words, removed from the world

    They were protected by distance, and by magecraft. Likely, this was a place that hadn't ever by seen by someone who wasn't a magi.

    Or rather, that’s what it had been.



    "She is in here"

    Zero had not impressed the haggard clan leader, a surly man whose wrinkled skin hung limply off spindly limbs, smelling of someone whose position was so secure, he felt little need of hygiene. In this village if something so small could be referred to as such, there resided one clan, one bloodline. Maybe 6 women resided in the whole thing.

    Zero had no doubt they were all his blood, or that he had bedded them all, and fathered children on them.

    The cell was a new creation, brick, stone and mortar where the rest were piled dirt.

    "Truly?" Zero replied with a friendly laugh, "She is honored, you gave her the nicest accommodations in town!"

    It earned him a scowl from the chief, but a guard at the door suppressed a smirk. It was a mark of how valuable the prisoner was that in a town such as this, not large enough to easily lose the service of a strong young magician, the door still had a guard.

    As zero strode in his eyes were drawn to the far wall, the chains that hung from reinforced walls, and of course, their occupant.

    Lean, muscled, fierceness held barely in check by iron manacles, stripped naked but otherwise unharmed, she was bound by a slim manacle on her left foot by the far wall, the thing looked frail, almost pointless, but Zero could feel its power, every care had been taken to ensure its strength, it nearly hummed with layers upon layers of power. Zero judged she had enough slack to reach about halfway across the cell, approximately 8 yards of room, he also guessed the lack of abuse was not a result of leniency but fear. That was why he his services were needed, she would need to be tamed before it was possible to get any use out of her. She was at least six foot tall and it was possible she had more to grow, Zero judged her age at about 15, near his own. An interesting quality was her hair, zero noted the way it lined the sides of her scalp while leaving the crown bare. 2 separate tracks of orange hair ran down her back, up the back of her arms all the way to her wrists and down her legs, stopping just above her ankles.

    "What are you ogling it for? Get on with it." The old man ordered irritably. Zero nodded, but made no other motion, and simply looked from the creature to his employer.

    After a moment the old man sighed with annoyance and left, taking the guard with him. Part of the terms of the contract stipulated that no attempt to study Zero's skills would be made. So, he was to be left alone to work. Zero counted to thirty then followed to the door, and leaned out to speak with the guard.

    "Things might get a little rough" Zero began with an easy grin. "I know I don't look it, but I can handle myself ok, so no matter what you hear, just stay here."

    The man looked back, he hadn’t been told to obey Zero, so he wasn't prepared to agree. "Well, things could be bad if you looked in at a bad time, so don’t worry!" Zero repeated, flashing thumbs up, and then turning back inside.

    Zero was, of course, being watched when he came back in. Her eyes were as unique as her hair, streaks of green mixed with purple, it was actually rather striking. Zero looked at the girl's chains lying coiled around her, and after judging a moment, unerringly walked just outside the max reach, observing the trapped demon.

    After a moment of consideration, he deliberately stepped forward.

    "YIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!" The girl's scream was impossibly high pitched, barely human. Zero was someone who was unknown to her, but that didn't matter.

    Zero was clearly not a part of those who had captured her. That didn't matter.

    What mattered was Zero was alive. That here was someone who was alive and not her, on whom she could visit her revenge for the unfair hand life had dealt her.

    Impossibly fast, she leaped forward, traveling on her feet and one hand as she charged Zero, her other hand raised to catch him and drag him into range and prevent him from escaping...so it took her completely by surprise when Zero twisted aside and past her instead. She perhaps couldn't be faulted for slamming into her restraints in surprise, as she turned to see her newest tormentor standing calmly in the very center of her jail.

    All the others whom had crossed her boundaries had quickly escaped, or paid a price, but this boy instead observed calmly, he would need at least three steps to reach safety.

    Most animals when confronting the unknown became wary, it was a simple fact of the wild, that if something appeared unafraid, it had a reason to show no fear.

    But even animal instincts were impossible for this woman.

    "YIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIAIGHYYIIIIIIIII!" again releasing a bloodcurdling battle cry, she rushed the boy, striking with speed that was unreachable by the likes of man, and with a strength that couldn't be denied.

    But, it could be moved.

    Her powerful overhand blow was tapped ever so slightly by the hand of her much weaker opponent, and a slash that would have crushed cement flew a hairsbreadth down Zero's shoulder instead, so close they could each feel the skin on each other's arms. Her attack's failure only served to heighten her rage, without missing a beat her other arm flew in a straight line that was meant to rip straight through Zero, an overwhelming force as the demon stepped behind the blow.

    And again the blow was moved. Zero's tap was something so insignificant next to this power that it was impossible that it could have had any impact at all; the fact that instead of finding flesh and entrails the girl's hand met the air to the side of his stomach could easier be explained by coincidence. However, at that point, surely it was over. The girl's momentum began to carry her into Zero, and her arms prepared to pin him to her and crush the life out of him...only he wasn't there. At the same time as she had missed, Zero had shifted his body back and down, raising his arms. The girl's own force threw her over his head, merely guided by Zero's hands.

    The sound of her crashing into the bounds of her chain was impossibly loud; the fact that they held a testament to the magic that held her and strengthened her bonds. It took her a few seconds to untangle herself.

    Zero only watched.

    The battle that followed was absurd. Claws that could rend flesh and bone never met a target; again and again they were simply tapped aside, or leaned out of the way by the barest margins. It was a flawless, perfect defense that sacrificed even the idea of an attack for pure protection. One might have called it a wonder, but really, something like this was possible for anyone. Any warrior whose life is in danger may choose to merely parry and block and buy time, and he would find himself able to do so. It was always easier to defend then to attack, because the amount you have to move to block an attack is less than a third of the movement needed to make one. Taken to extremes, that meant someone could defend against an opponent three times faster. A right hook was ducked under, but instead of closing and assaulting an obvious opening, Zero stepped back slightly to gain room.

    He gave ground easily. With no need to ever move forward to attack, there was no trouble to sidestep or back peddle. Again and again they crisscrossed the length of her chains, her always pushing forward, Zero lightly tapping aside blows or stepping an inch out of range, in truth, the bonds were more impediment to Zero, because he was always careful to stay inside their reach, and he occasionally was forced to step over them, not that something like that could be noticed by his berserking foe.

    It is said in combat, the fight is often decided by the loser, not the winner. When a stronger foe met a weaker one, that weaker foe, beaten again and again in a dozen skirmishes, would eventually be driven to an attack of desperation. Such things rarely worked. Strong enemies in their lives encountered dozens, hundreds of enemies forced into such an attack, but someone who was in that position, since it had a low chance of success, only attempted it once in their life.

    Somewhere in that animal mind a realization occurred. It was impossible to bypass the defenses of Zero, so instead, they must be broken. With another bloodcurdling cry, she lunged forward and pivoted off her manacled food, driving the back of her leg in a half moon arc that targeted his stomach.

    The blow was far too low to be ducked, and far too high to be jumped. There was no chance to step out of danger, such an attack would be a danger to one who could attack during the set up, but Zero was not such a person. And of course, there simply wasn’t a direction to change the attack to render it harmless. In other words, at this moment, Zero was helpless.

    But, Zero had seen this before, in his life, that final all out attack was something to be expected. His response looked almost silly. At the last second before impact, he bounced off his toes an inch into the air.

    WHHHOOOOOOOOO-CRAAAACK!!

    The sound Zero made as he flew through the air was almost like that of a sword swing, but it was nothing to the one he made when he slammed bodily into the reinforced stone wall. The monster felt satisfied for the first time since its imprisonment, its bloodlust could be sated with this kill, no man could live through the impact.



    So when Zero, instead of sliding limply to the floor, fell lightly to his feet, it was an utter absurdity. And what made it worse…..as he came to the ground, she could hear the subtle sound of chanting, the magus for the first time, was working a spell.

    Seeing the working of magic for the first time brought the rage back in full force, she was gibbering in rage as she leaped forward, crossing the distance in a single footstep. While working magic he obviously couldn’t react as he had, the knife hand blow at his neck would snuff the spell out and with it, his life.

    KHHSSSSSSSH!

    Or rather, it would have, if the manacle at her foot hadn’t stopped her hand scant inches short. Zero….had landed just outside the length of the chain. She couldn’t reach him.

    “The field is defined. 16 yards” Zero said simply.




    Seconds went by. The two who had been locked in combat now simply observed each other.

    “Whooo” her voice was hoarse from screaming. Zero wondered how long it had been since she had tried to form words, if she ever had. “Wh-whooo…..who….are…you?” she asked. Her voice was devoid of fear, or anger, but a stifled rage still burned dimly in her eyes, but weak and fading.

    “Me?” Zero said. “Well….I suppose I am the one you will hate the most.” Zero’s reply had the air of quietly brutal honesty. After that he seemed to forget her. He walked back to the door of the hut and tapped on it a few times. After a moment the guard unlocked the door and leaned in.

    “Tell them they may begin now.”

    After that several men came inside, carrying knives and syringes, and all sorts of what appeared to be a nightmarish mix of medical and torture supplies. One of the men was naked, Zero assumed his purpose was to ravish her, though for scientific purposes or for retribution for some previous crime Zero had no idea. He also wasn’t allowed to watch the events that occurred, nor learn anything about the research, so he began to leave.

    “Hey….you.” Her voice held no fear now. She was looking at her captors with idle curiosity. You would have assumed they might have been wary of her, worried about being the first to cross her threshold, but they to merely set about to work with quick, uncaring efficiency as they set up their mobile lab.

    Zero stopped, waiting.

    “What’s your name?”

    Zero cocked his head thinking a moment. “You first.” He replied.

    “Oh, her name is..” One of the scientists began to offer, but Zero raised a hand quickly, cutting him off.

    “Inu.”

    It was the demon girl. “Inu, that’s what they call me.” she said, without inflection, or shame. Inu. Dog. That was her name then.

    “Takashi, then, Inu-chan.” Zero replied, almost warmly. “I’ll be taking over your training for a while, so be a good girl for me.”
    Ever wonder why Shirou likes Saber to have some tea when he starts cooking?


    Quote Originally Posted by hero View Post

    But I can admit Manny is a better character, he´s an idol after all.

  14. #14
    屍食鬼 Ghoul DeathWish's Avatar
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    The Bloody Valentine (Part One)



    It's raining...

    It was the first thought through the young woman's mind as she lay on the cold ground, staring up at angry dark clouds while cold rain drizzled down all around her. Despite this though she made no effort to move from that spot, her hair was flattened to her head with the rain and her clothes were soaked through and sticking to her skin. It all gave her a distinct feeling of home.

    It was comforting and the only thing that was keeping her from panicking at the emptiness in her mind, there were no memories only vague feelings, smells that made no sense to her, flashes of places and faceless people.


    Rebecca...that’s my name...

    She noted that hazily that her clothing was in tatters, as though some animal had been clawing at it and there was a faint smell of blood in the air, she could even feel it, crusted over on her exposed flesh.

    Then came the pain, slowly she raised one bloodstained hand to her chest, grasping at the cloth over where her heart should have been beating. Her chest hurt an ache that wasn’t physical but rather a soul deep loss the seemed to radiate out from within her.

    “Why?”

    She whispered to the empty air, her voice both familiar and foreign to her ears and was followed by a burning. It started as an itch in the back of her throat and grew to an inferno that had her grasping at her neck, her eyes slowly burning an intense crimson as an animal like growl forced its way past clenched teeth, lips pulling back over fangs in a snarl.

    It soon spread throughout her body, the dark void of her mind stained red as a powerful thirst flooded her system making her squirm with need on the wet ground. The urge to bite, to sink her fangs into soft flesh, to feel the vermillion elixir flow into her mouth with every beat was driving her insane and a feral grin soon spread wide across her face, she wanted it! Want it now!

    A sudden repeated sound drew her crimson gaze to the side. Footsteps, at least two people making their way towards her and bringing what she instinctually craved. Her predator grin widened even more while a pink tongue snaked out across her lips, savoring the thought if slating her lust for life as the pair drew closer.

    Blue eyes, wide and innocent, flashed across her mind and with a sudden wave of pain that brought tears to her eyes the red haze was gone and hazel eyes once again stared up at the cloudy sky, blinking at the rain that fell into them and mingled with her tears. Never again...

    “The readings are coming from over there.”

    A male voice called out drawing her gaze back to her visitors, they were nearly upon her now but the unshakable urge to bite and kill was now just an itch at the back of her throat. They didn’t matter anymore; she would never take from another again. Never again.

    “Huh? It’s just a woman...”

    She rolled over, pushing herself up onto one knee, barely taking in the men in front of her all dressed in the same combination of purple, white and gold. She felt the burn flare for a moment before she battered her inner beast back down. Never again.

    “She’s definitely putting off the magical energy, or at least at the centre of it...it’s like the whole place is saturated in Second and Third, or at least something similar.”

    She barely registered the lead male’s words, her eyes dropping to the strange device in his hand – a stray thought that is resembled a phone crossed her mind – before her eyes dropped to the ground once more while her right hand raised to her throat trying to soothe the itch. Never again...

    “They said to bring whatever it was back with us, by any means necessary...”

    It was the second man, and even with her still fuzzy mind she could tell he felt little sympathy and appeared almost bored with the thought. Her mind rebelled at the thought, these men wanted to take her from her one comfort, her home but still she fought down the beast within. Never again.

    “No...”

    Her voice was strong, even with her struggle. Never again.

    “We won’t take no for an answer.”

    She could practically hear the sneer in the man’s voice as he took a few more steps towards her. Her hand paused in rubbing at her throat and slowly her predatory grin spread across her lips.

    “Hmhmhm, maybe just this once...”
    With bloodstained hands, humanity slips away.
    A wicked end comes, I am less human.

  15. #15
    Armored Rider Baron MasterSeth's Avatar
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    Jin Side Story - In the End, Who Was the Real Monster?


    I awaken with a sudden jolt of pain in my head. Sitting up, I can't seem to remember where I am or anything, so I glace around

    "Blood and snow..." I glance around to see that I am not only sitting in my own blood, but it has also stained the snow around me "and also..." I look up "You...!" and there stands a man, no, at this point he doesn't deserve to be called a person, there stands a monster with hands covered in what I can only assume to be my blood.

    "Keh!" I clench my teeth while I get up, I clench down so hard that my jaw almost snaps

    "Oh~?" he notices me stand up "Seems you've still got some fight in ya, huh punk?" he licks his hands, likely coated in my blood "Didn't you learn your lesson last time?"

    "Heh, I guess not" I pick up my sword in one hand "but let me tell you something" I place my free hand on my head "the fun--" and I vanish "Has only begun!!!" and I appear behind him and slash down his back

    "Urgh! Shit!" the monster fell forward, just barely avoiding worse damage "How did you-!?"

    "I understand now... I must thank you" I shake the blood off my sword "Had you not knocked 'me' out, 'I' wouldn't have been able to wake up" I let a dark grin creep across my face "So I'll kill you quickly, okay" and I thrust my sword forward

    "Dammit!" he tumbles to the side to avoid my blade "What the hell!? You were just a little shit who could barely hold his sword not two seconds ago!"

    "So you can dodge huh?" I grin some more as he starts to run for a nearby forest "Oh good, I do think I will enjoy a good chase!" I follow after him

    He makes it to a forest clearing after a few minutes

    "Haa, haaa, what the fuck!? When did that kid become so good!?" I can here him gasping for breath while I sit in a tree out of sight "Just the other day he was pissing himself in fear at m--"

    "Now who could you be talking about there now, hmmm?" I move from tree to tree, making it almost seem like I'm everywhere "Now. shall we continue?" I appear behind him

    "What the!?" the moment he turns around, I teleport behind him again

    "Don't take your eyes off me for a second, otherwise--" I swing my sword as hard as I can "You may regret it" and chop off his arm

    "Aughhh!!!" He falls to his knees, writhing in pain

    "Ohhh, do you need this?" I pick up the arm and start tossing it up and down "Well, maybe if you ask nicely I can" and then the moment it touches my hand again, it vanishes "Oops, looks like I dropped it." A twisted smile crawls across my face

    He turns to me, clenching his bloody stump of an arm, "How!? Tell me how you ca-- Just the other day when you were with that one bi--" his words are cut short by my blade now in his mouth

    "Don't you dare speak of her, you already took her life monster, don't you dare disrespect her in her death!" I slash open his mouth while I yell that

    "Ah, haa, you, little brat!!!" finally snapping, the monster uses the last of his strength to stab my arm holding the sword

    "...."

    "Haha, what was that punk!? Begging for your life now that I have a chance to strike back!? HAHAHA, in your drea--" he's cut short by a thud, it's the sound of his other arm, now dropping to the ground

    "I said..." I switch my sword to my functional arm "I am Ryougi Jin" I raise my arm high "I am the reaper, and I have come to usher you unto Hell." and with all my strength slash down at his skull, finally ending this

    I look down at the monster's now unmoving dead body "...Haha, hahahaha, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! I did it! I finally did it, he's dead! Hahahahahaha!!!!" and I laugh, I laugh from the very bottom of my heart. A dark twisted laugh, it truly complements the smile I held on my face at that moment.

    That is my first memory, that snowy winter night, that fight, that is what shaped me to what I am now. That was the birth of the "Terror of Death"
    \
    'Paint the world in your image! Only then can you pluck the Golden Fruit from Heaven, and remake the world!"


    PaD NA ID: GameManDan (318,600,328)
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  16. #16
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Immoral Kin
    I awakened, normally. – For the very last time.


    The night is illuminated by the town. Never before has it been so alight. Just like a bonfire during a festival.
    Yes, the festivities have started. And with smile of joy, I run out to join them.

    But why is it?
    I cannot find anyone.
    No matter where I look, I find no one who would greet me or smile to me.
    I only find their blackened shadows, burnt to the ground.
    Perhaps that is the reason.

    They only left their shadows behind.

    I think people are trying to sing, but they can’t. They aren’t doing it very well.
    They just let out sounds from their throats. High-pitched sounds to the sky.
    And so, I tell them to be silent.

    I’ll teach them how to sing right. First I’ll make them quiet down, one-by-one. As I help them, I’m singing, trying to help them reach the right tune.

    Nobody joins my song. Eventually, there is nothing but myself, singing.

    The center of my town is the grandest stage. The light there must be seen even over the canopy of the forest. Grandfather would say that it would reveal our location, yet----
    Isn’t he the one jumping and dancing most merrily in that big bonfire?

    ------- Someone calls out my name.

    I venture past the fires, to that person who called out for me.
    There, I see everyone.
    And I see nothing.

    After all…

    If one no longer lives, can one truly be “anywhere”?
    She walks up to me. The one who was always on my mind.
    With a brilliant smile, she caresses my face, leaving scarlet-colored trails with her fingers.

    Finally, she presses her lips against mine. Hot, wet and tasting like metal.
    Blood pours from her mouth to mine.
    --------- My mind, it turns to red.
    I lose myself.

    Why did all this happen? Just why?

    -----I really don't understand.

    But it is just so cruel...
    I wanted to cry, I just felt like crying.

    And I do, when she falls.

    Warm crimson blurs my vision.
    Seeping into my eyes.
    But it doesn't bother me at all.
    The lonely moon floats above me,
    bearing witness in the night sky.

    It’s strange.
    Why didn’t I realize until now?

    --Such a scorching, merciless reality.

    Yes ---I didn't realize it.

    That tonight...

    The moon is so ------beautiful----
    ----------------------------------------

    When I came to, I was lying in a hospital bed.
    The windows were closed because of the cold air outside.
    I saw snow. It wasn’t as thick as back home, but I saw snow.
    The thin blanket covered the ground outside.

    "Hello, [ ]-kun. Congratulations on your recovery."

    Someone I don’t know extends his hand for a handshake.
    His trimmed beard and clean smile are very professional.
    The only thing that mars his perfection is the small spot of ink on his white suit.

    "Can you understand what I am saying, [ ]-kun?"

    "...... What am I doing here? In hospital?”

    "Have you forgotten? You were involved in a very tragic accident that befell your small town. Since I am only a doctor, I cannot give you any details about the accident itself, but I must say, it looked very unlikely you would have survived.”

    I cannot understand why he keeps on smiling while speaking like that.

    ------Terrible.
    I feel terrible.

    "...... I'm tired. Can I go to sleep?"
    "Yes, you should rest. At this point, rest is best for you.”

    And thus, I go back to sleep.
    I stop thinking about all this. I stop worrying about things that happened.

    Only later would I begin to truly think.

    After getting sick of the hospital. After trying to escape. After falling on my knees on the snowy field.

    And after meeting with a certain man.

    Who would introduce himself as…

    “A magus: Araya Souren.”

  17. #17
    Taiga's knight Tobias's Avatar
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    Forgiveness




    It was time for tea.

    Training, if you could call it that, went in a similar way each day. Zero would rise, exchange a greeting with the guard, whose name was Teni, and then Zero would to take care of Inu-chan. After that first day, when Zero went to see her, her eyes had clouded with rage. After the first week, it had changed to fear, after the second, despair.

    Zero's presence had shifted the balance between her and her jailers. Before he had arrived, they had feared her, done little more than shout abuses and starve her, but while she had known they intended horrible things, they had been kept at bay by her claws and rage. Both had been rendered ineffective. Zero's magic took away her strength and left her feeling dull and listless. Occasionally it interfered with her tormenters, but the result had been weeks of hell.

    She hated him.

    She hated him.

    She hated him so much....!

    WHY WAS IT SO HARD TO HATE HIM RIGHT NOW!

    "Tell me about your home?"

    Zero asked pouring a drink out of a dented tea pot. His manners were casual; the traces of his "order" were lingering in the air. Her captors had learned it was best to give his power time to work its course and dissipate, or else some of their more inventive tests, or tortures as Inu considered them wouldn’t work.

    Inu thought about the question, she felt like she should weep, but had no urge to, just like she knew she should hate him, but couldn’t muster the strength. In that same vein, though she knew she shouldn't answer the question just to spite him, as always, she couldn’t bring herself to understand why not. It would be nice to talk about home. Lose herself in sweeter days for a moment.

    "It....it was good."

    Inu's words were thick, halting at times, raw from screams and not being used to form words. She sipped at her tea as she thought about it, she knew in the back of her mind she shouldn’t accept gifts, but it soothed the hurts and made her feel better, and she was rarely given as much water as Zero indirectly gave her when they spoke each day over tea.

    "I never really thought about it. They.....they loved me."

    Inu had never been able to think about this since her captor without crying, but with Zero's order, she could recall everything without feeling sad. Or joy either.

    "I can’t believe they loved me..."

    Inu-chan looked down bitterly at the beautiful, but alien body which had caused her so much hardship.

    "The church is supposed to hate demons....but they loved me. I lived in the basement. it might seem cruel, but they hid me from our village, and when there was time Menora-san and the others would come and play games with me, they told me that I could be as good as I wanted...."

    Inu broke off, lost in thought. Zero was rather impressed. clearly Menora had been some kind of matron at a church which had found her and taken her in, the village was likely small and rural somewhere, intolerant of abnormalities, let alone something like Inu-chan. Miss Menora and her perish had obviously been a rare breed, likely they had even been forced to conceal her from the executors, their own people, lying to the faith in hopes that god himself would take pity and show mercy. Zero wondered if it had been a parishioner or some lower functionary who hadn't approved, but he was sure what came next.

    Inu started a bit looking back at Zero, likely she had forgotten she had even been talking with anyone. She shrugged bitterly "I wanted to play with the other girls. Later, I wanted to chase handsome boys, but they said I had to stay hidden. One time I even yelled at Menora-san...!" her voice sounded ready to break with anguish, but after a moment of anticipation, she continued as if nothing had happened. "I understand now what she was afraid of, but I guess I can’t say I am sorry to her now. Men came, they had fire and magic. I wasn't even sure if I had believed in magic, even being what I am...Menora-san led the girls out front and told me to hide and........"

    Inu broke off and bit her lip. Zero knew the emotions had to be very deep and very strong for her to be breaking through his order, even to this small extent, but he could see it in his mind’s eye, the family with which he and Inu-chan were guests of, the forlorn woman coming out to beg for mercy, the implacable nature of magi. Fire, arrows, the method was uncertain but the result without a doubt.

    Blood.

    Slaughter.

    The evil of man demonstrated upon a small girl. Judging from her story it had happened a while ago, Zero honestly hadn't known how long she had been prisoner before his services had been requested, but now he was ready to bet on between 6 months and a year and a half now, owing to the implications she had just been entering puberty when her home had been destroyed. How lost she must have felt at that moment. Zero wondered if she had been captured by the use of some expensive but disposable mystic code or if the shock of the tragedy had left her numb and unresisting, probably the former. Though she was quiet and almost peaceful now, that wasn't her nature, that was his order, her heart beat wild and free when he entered the room, she would rage and scream in hatred. She had a strong spirit. Zero believed that she had fought with tooth and nail that very day, starting the dance that had only ended when he had been brought into the game.


    It made her suitable for his purposes.


    The door rang with several heavy blows, Teni was informing them (well, Zero really) that the team was ready to begin, Inu's next session would begin now. Zero picked up their leavings and bowed formally to his charge.

    "Sorry Inu-chan, I have to go now, but be a good girl for me, ok?" He said, as he always did, leaving the room.


    And somewhere, in the back of her mind, Inu founded it in her heart to hate him again, just for a second, as the pain started.




    “So…you were looking in yesterday.”

    Teni started as if Zero had run an electric current through him when he spoke.

    “N-no, I, I mean….”

    Teni trailed off, it was obvious Zero had caught him completely off guard.

    “Its fine, I suppose it’s nothing. Actually, I know you do that a lot. You even did it the very first day, did you like watching Inu-chan fight?”

    Of course, Zero was fairly sure the theoretical reason Teni had tried and failed to observe them undetected was because he had been ordered to. It made sense, why not try and get a leg up on the next Takashi if you could get away with it? But Zero had seen the way the strong young boy had eyed Inu’s lithe curves and powerful body and expected that despite the family head’s order’s the boy had only watched Zero as an aside. Youthful infatuation was a dangerous thing.

    “Well……why don’t we go in and meet her?” Zero said, wrapping a companionable arm around his shoulders and leading him to the door. At that, Teni’s eyes had lit up like a little boy’s. Of course it was against the rules, but the twin pleasures of getting to talk to the object of his desire and that Zero was not going to raise an issue of his peeking had robbed him of his caution, and the two entered the makeshift jail together.

    As always, Inu darted off the floor and began screaming out curses, she began to advance, but upon seeing her new visitor she stopped and growled nervously, backing away. This was a change from the norm, to her, change meant some new, fresh hell was about to be visited upon her. Teni’s heart shown in his eyes. Zero wondered how far along the line that went between lust and love he had walked. Had he imagined taking her away from all this, nurturing her, caring for her, winning her forgiveness for his role, and later her love? Looking at him, Zero knew unchecked he would move from dreams to action. It was actually possible this young strapping boy might have been her salvation, the hand that reached down and pulled her out of hell.

    “Isn't she beautiful?” Zero said conversationally.

    “Y-Yeah, yeah…she…..yeah” The boy stuttered and stopped, just outside the well-marked boundary.

    “….if you enjoy looking…..then why not have a closer look?” Zero’s voice was friendly, as Teni glanced uncertainly at him, the shear lack of malice or killing intent coming from the small magus meant when Zero’s hand moved from around his shoulder to shove at his back it was a complete surprise. Zero’s magic supported his strength, but even so, Zero’s weak physical ability meant he just took one single step forward to steady his balance……just inside the boundary.

    “YIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!”

    “That same scream and style that Zero had tested. The dog was not one who could ignore something to vent her rage on, not when that rage was still there. In a panic Teni whirled and tried to cross over the line, but Zero had stepped in front of him to bar the way. From behind, Inu’s claws slammed around his arms so hard to prevent him from escaping. Zero could see chunks of meat being pushed aside where the tips of her claws passed through his flesh and emerged on the other side of his arms and shoulders. In the same motion she twisted him around and dug her claws deep into his stomach.

    Teni screamed. Loudly, lost, confused. sixty seconds ago is life had been normal. Clean. Perhaps not perfect but with bright promise. Zero could see and hear in his face and his voice when the scream changed. It started fear but became anguish.

    It was the sound a person made when they realized they were about to die. You don’t scream for help anymore. You scream because it hurts. You aren’t looking for salvation. Teni simply had to tell everyone that he was hurting. That was all. Zero wanted to sketch him like that if he had the chance.

    His voice caused Inu to redirect her next attack towards the source of his voice and her next slash took him across the face catching her nails into skin and bone, spewing blood. Zero was interested to see that Inu-chan’s strange hair had lifted off the skin and was now standing straight and brittle looking. He had suspected from their first fight, but now he knew for certain. Gripping his caught and mangled face firmly, Inu roared with hatred, and with a savage twist, broke his neck, destroying the one person left in the world who might still care for her, without knowing, without caring at all. Hatred had destroyed love, it seems.

    The entire fight had taken less than seven seconds.

    Once Teni had lost his life, Zero began to chant quickly, while Inu buried her head into his leaking wounds, sucking at the blood still pouring from a heart that hadn’t quite realized it was dead yet.

    When the clan came, Inu was standing listlessly over a bloody corpse, looking at Zero as if hoping he would explain it better then she could.



    “WHAT IN GOD’S NAME HAPPENED!”

    The clan head was nearly in tears, a surprisingly human show of emotion, Zero thought abstractly while emulating a cowering youth.

    Zero had been grabbed by the collar of his shirt and all but dragged to the privacy of the elder's home before the screaming started, after which, he had been thrown to the floor and now rested on one knee in front of the enraged man.
    “He…..he liked her, I knew it, but he wanted me to let him talk to her!” Zero began, quivering in fear

    “But, but, I hadn’t finished casting yet, he went in to talk to her before I could calm her down, I don’t know why!”

    The clan head looked furious, but there was also a sudden speculative look in his eyes, a guy like Teni couldn’t keep his feelings secret, he lacked subtlety. Truth be told, everyone in the village knew and had been concerned by the poor boy’s feelings.

    “What-what…could he…..Why did you….”

    The clan head paced back and forth, shaking his head in fury, nearly incoherent in rage and grief.

    “It was my fault, sir; I should have spelled her before taking him in.”

    “YOU’RE DAMN RIGHT IT WAS YOUR FAULT, BUT YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN HIM IN AT ALL!”

    The man screamed, backhanding Zero to the floor. A better martial artists then he might have noticed the way Zero’s head gave just before the impact and that he had landed softly, but to an enraged old man it simply look like he had laid out the skinny youth begging forgiveness. That seemed to mollify him. Or perhaps he remembered if he damaged Chiba too much, his father Takashi wouldn’t take it lying down.

    “Sir, let me guard her alone. I am the only one who can.” Zero said, clutching his cheek where he had been struck.

    “Eh?” The old man grunted, immediately understanding the premise of the idea but not feeling comfortable about it.

    “Nobody else should suffer; it should have been me guarding him from the beginning.” Zero finished, pleading as hard as he could. It caused the old man to smile bitterly. He looked over towards the area of the village where the remains of his blood were being wrapped up for disposal, he nodded once.

    “In that boy….we are in full agreement”



    Normally over tea Inui chan would drink her cups thirstily, downing most of the tea while Zero sipped at his, but the next day, after Zero had taken over her guard duties as well as handling her sedation, and she spent most of the time staring at him. She seemed to be waiting on something, but as always he simply drank in silence or made meaningless small talk.

    "I could tell them you know!" she finally burst out. It was interesting to see the way his order played on her. Impatience wasn’t possible, but curiosity was. That was useful information. She was consumed by the desire to understand why Zero had done why he did. Why he wasn’t afraid of her doing the same. Inu may be just a dog in spirit, but she could scream out the truth during an experiment session. If for no other reason than such a revelation might make the pain stop for a little while. For Inu chan, that in itself would be a more then worthy goal.

    "Of course you could." Zero replied easily. "Actually, that would do a lot for you? Think about it, if they believed you, and they might, they are suspicious and eager to blame me anyway, I rather think my host actually suspects the truth; he is just ignoring it because he needs me to control you. But if you denounced me publicly, he would almost have no choice but to send me away. There would be nobody here to leash you; it would be like it was before I got here. That would be nice, in your case anyway." Zero finished his cup and poured himself another one. Inu felt herself start slightly. Her initial surprise died quickly, but she hadn’t even thought about that part. if Zero left in disgrace or was even better, killed in revenge, she wouldn’t have to endure her tormentors at all until a replacement was found, and how long that had taken the first time!

    But....then.....why?

    "Good girl, good dog. That’s right, think it through" Zero said encouragingly, noting the thoughtful way she looked at him.

    "I don’t....I don’t understand." It wasn’t a question. She was simply stating a fact. The situation was growing incomprehensible for her.

    "Let’s start with a simple question then. Am I the one you hate the most?" Zero asked her softly.

    That was an important question for Inu. Hate was all she had of herself. When Zero wasn’t around, she spent her time consumed by hatred. Suffocated, yet at the same time nourished by it. In a way, hatred was her, and Zero was the one who took her hatred away and left her nothing but pain. She hated him so much.


    But....

    The leering eyes of the villagers, knives that cut her flesh, the pain dulled by Zero's will. Injection that made strange things enter her and took things out, the shame of having her body mastered against her will, physically, sexually, emotionally. The sight of Menora being burned.

    "No. ...No, I don’t" The answer had finality to it. Defining her hatred defined herself, she felt stronger for it. It surprised her, but, the truth was....

    "I hate everyone. I hate you all. There is no difference to me."

    Zero smiled rather sagely, like he knew the answer before she asked.

    "Well, in that case, let me ask you this. Isn’t the one you hate the least Teni-san?"

    That caused Inu-chan to consider again. After a moment she realized he was right. For some reason, she couldn’t find it within her to feel anything for him. She hadn’t even thought about him since she had killed him, even without Zero's order. Why was that?

    "It's because you punished him." Zero said in response to the question building in her head. "Revenge is kind of a dirty word, but at its core it means justice. You correct a wrong through righteous retribution. To right a wrong done for you, one only really has three options. You can forgive someone. Forgiveness is a pure and wholesome thing, but often abused, and rather fragile, but beautiful. Or you can choose justice. Teni-san died a painful death at your hands. It may have been quick, but you killed him. He paid for his crimes. So somewhere in the back of your mind, you forgive him. It doesn’t mean he wasn’t part of terrible crimes committed against you. But the debt is settled. The last option is the one where you don’t take one. That’s what you have been doing so far. You don’t have a way to settle with the others you hate, so you hate them.

    Inu shook her head at that. That was wrong, because...

    "Right, you could take your revenge on me now. And help yourself in the bargain. Buuuut, you won’t. And the reason is...because these wonderful conversations we have been having day by day have not been for my sake to learn about you. I have known what I needed to know ever since we crossed blades as warriors. This is not to say our conversations haven’t been pleasant. No, the truth is, for everything to work as it should, you needed to understand and learn about me."

    Zero laid his cup aside and leaned in forward to whisper in her ear, almost like a man speaking to a lover.

    "Inu-chan, somewhere in the back of your mind you already know who and what I am. And if you know that, you can’t say anything even if you wanted to. Because I am not the one you hate the most."

    When Zero left, for once, he didn’t tell her to be a good dog. Her conflicting feelings was such that she almost didn’t even feel the pain that day.




    Days continued to pass. Inu-chan continued to suffer. Zero never again spoke like he did on that day. But it seemed like something had shifted. Her hatred seemed too narrow to a razor thin point inside her head that even the order of Zero himself couldn’t quite blunt anymore. It became a driving force, but a colder one. Like an egg about to be hatched. It waited.

    "This will be our last day together, Inu-chan." Zero greeted her over tea.

    It was the first Inu had heard of it. Zero was leaving? But that wasn’t right, he was supposed to....she was....

    "Sorry, but my contract had thirty days on it. They couldn’t afford longer. You should be quite proud of your value, Inu-chan, between the money to catch you, hold you, and hire me; this clan will be in debt for 5 generations. Or at least they would be. Judging from the spring in everybody's step lately they have broken new ground. A valuable subject like you must have been priceless I suppose. The family with access to your information will rise to a completely new level. Demons are anathema to magic. The information from a find like you could well turn the tide, in the struggle between demon and mage, and the family that controls it will ride a wave to a new era of greatness. This venture has been a gamble, but it seems successful. Congratulations on your worth, Inu-chan."

    Inu didn’t care about any of that! She didn’t care anything about demons, but she wasn’t happy to hear she would enrich her captors! Zero was supposed to....!

    "Now....about my debt to you." Zero shifted subject abruptly, catching Inu off guard.

    "Do you remember when we talked about paying debts?"

    How could she forget? She nodded blankly.

    "The methods to settle a debt of hatred. “Do nothing, and hate. Take justice. Find forgiveness. It is the latter I am interested in. Forgiveness is a rare and precious commodity. You hate me. Can you forgive me?"

    Inu was awestruck. It was unthinkable. Of course, it was true that Zero had been the first and only to admit he was wrong and ask for forgiveness, but she hated him just as much as anyone else.
    "NO!" even through Zero's order the word was raw with emotion, her soul itself behind it. Everything that was her screamed in protest of the idea of forgiving him.

    "Hmm. then what if I got on my hands and knees, and begged your forgiveness. Could you forgive me then?"

    "NO!" A show of humiliation would not assuage her hatred. Only blood would serve.

    "Then, if I took you from here, and spent my days in service to you, asking nothing but your forgiveness, on my deathbed, could you forgive me then?"

    "NO!" One might have thought her freedom had value, but her desire to be free was less than her hatred.

    "Then, what if I gave them all back to you. Menora-san, your church, and the boy you fancied. What if I could take you back there right now, make you wake up in your bed, everything that has happened nothing more than a bad dream. You could apologize to Menora-san; find your way in peace among your family. Could you forgive me then?"

    "NO!" it made her want to cry. She wanted to go back so badly. She cried a lot, when the pain was at its worst. Her captors had noted when it was at its most intense, Menora-san was often the name she cried to help her. But even love wasn’t enough to conquer her hatred. Even for all them back, she couldn’t give up her hatred for the boy called Zero.

    It was a truth Zero already knew. There was only one thing she wanted. All other desires were like fairies. Beautiful to look at, wonderful to imagine, but impossible to hold and keep and make real. Her hatred was the only thing that was real to her.

    "Then, what if I gave them all to you here. Everyone, just like Teni. What if I let you kill and kill and kill until the ground ran slick with blood. What if you could tear this entire village to the ground and gain justice. What then? Could you forgive me then?"

    "..."

    Zero sipped tea.

    Inu stared.


    Minutes passed.


    "I could...forgive you. If you did that."

    Of course she could. It wasn’t easy, but her hatred for one couldn’t surpass her hatred for all. For that and that alone, she could forgive, she thought.

    "In that case, let me pay you back. If you are to forgive me, then let me give you back some of what I took from you."

    Zero removed a small, smooth black stone from his pocket. Inu had been bathed in Zero's magic every day for a month. She could feel the particular pulling sensation that was Zero. It was an "Order." But it felt like a different one then the one she had seen, commanding something different then "Be at peace"

    "Inu-chan...Swallow that, and then in about ten minutes......."

    Zero stood up to leave as she popped it into her mouth, swallowing hard to force it down her throat. Zero nodded in satisfaction.

    "In about ten minutes, Inu-chan...It will finally be ok to be a bad girl."




    "You aren't getting anything."

    The clan head was resolute. Unlike last time, his modest little house was buzzing with magic when Zero had entered to receive the second half of his payment. Grief was still in the eyes of the old man as he had counted out the money for Zero's service. But instead of giving Zero his due he had thrown it back into the safe he had removed it from and slamming the door shut, lucking it into place. It was an older device made entirely of some kind of crystallized rock, at least as large as Zero himself, he could feel the layers of power and protection that it had worked deep within it, protecting the secrets and fortunes of a very old clan.

    "Your job was to keep her on her leash, you failed!"

    "My job was to ensure you could perform you experiments. Nothing more, I am owed my due"

    In contrast to last time, Zero spoke tonelessly, without inflection, he had no reason to pretend fear, and the game was almost over now.

    "You killed him! I don’t know how or why, but it was you! Teni was a good boy and you killed him! Why did you do it? Was it because you were afraid someone else might get a chance to cozy up to that disgusting half breed? Got jealous, is that it?!"

    "My father won’t...” Zero began, but was quickly cut off

    "Your father doesn’t matter anymore! Takashi doesn’t matter anymore! We don’t need you anymore, and we are using that girl to become stronger than your clan will ever see, and if i have my way you bunch of crestless freaks will....!"

    It was an explosion. There was no there description that gave it justice. Like an explosion, you could hear the primal sound of stone tearing, bursting away under pressure you could hear the sound of rocks and debris coming down, and.....you could hear the screams. The village was not a large one. But even so, that part wasn’t like an explosion. They started from one area, and then moved to another without rhyme or reason. The area buzzed with magic. In a dozen skirmishes magi brought their most powerful talents, there strongest concepts, and their most secretly held trump cards, and in that blinding moment of spell work, were cut down in their glory.

    "What is...?"

    In that moment the clan head was a far more impressive man then Zero had seen thus far. All of the arrogance and greed seemed to slide away. He reached into his shirt and strode towards the door. No doubt he was going for some mystic item; he was the family head, the most powerful of the magi. He was going to protect his clan from danger. Even Zero didn’t matter to him anymore. Kind of worth sketching actually.

    Zero stepped in front of the man, cutting him off. The old magi immediately pointed his hand, the symbol of a crest alight on his arm. He was not going to allow the small boy in front of him to prevent him from reaching his family.


    Outside the house, one could hear the screaming start.



    The dog was raging. Her body was covered with blood. None was hers. The hairs that ran around her body dripped gore, but she wasn’t content. The pain that she felt this time was sweet, invigorating. Her captors had prepared for their last session. Some men were naked. Some wore lab coats; others covered their bodies in spelled clothes. A normal scene. They had forgotten their fear of her.

    The first hadn’t even screamed, that was her only regret. Teni screamed beautifully. So did the others as she had broken the flimsy little chain which had held her for so long in a single sweep of her foot. A few made it out the door. None made it very far. She ran from building to building, utilizing new powers, she smashed through clay and brick and stone if the door wasn’t already open, paying no heed to any.

    Inversion impulse. Magi died, she laughed. Or maybe she cried, she couldn’t feel the difference anymore. A man held up a sword that glowed with strange light. She cut him down. A woman ran with a baby in her hands, she cut her down and tore out the child's throat. It wasn’t long before the streets ran red with blood, just as she had been promised. The only problem was before long, she couldn’t find anyone left. But it wasn’t enough. She still needed more.

    Then there was more. That feel of magic. The pull of power. She knew that feeling well. Another person she needed to kill had made their presence known.




    "I think that’s been long enough. Should we call the dog? I am sure she wants to play."

    Zero's tone was conversational, but mocking at the same time. The clan leader was clawing at his eyes, spitting and writhing in pain and fury. Around the house, Zero had noted at least a dozen spells with enough power to penetrate his reinforced body, but it wasn’t important. The man who could speak those words was no longer in the world. That world had been suspended. He was in control. Just one last thing to do. One last errand to keep his word to a beaten dog.

    A job to finish.



    She ran. Her feet were inefficient, so she occasionally loped using her arms. She couldn’t remember his name, but he had to die. That surge of power could have come from no other person.



    Zero opened the door to the hut. She was coming. Fast, so fast. Even for him he had no idea if he could hold her back at this level. Inversion impulse was a monstrous, ancient power. If he ordered it, would it obey?

    Well, it didn’t really matter. He kicked the bound clan leader in front of him. By now the town was dead. The dog would want a target, any would do fine. And it was. She swung her arms out as she rushed forward, in a whipping motion, Zero recognized danger and leaped backwards. The clan leader was not so lucky. Barbs dug into his body in several places. It was the hair from her arms. Zero watched in fascinated interest as wherever the barbs struck, the chief's body seemed to decay like a man already dead. He had already suspected that was it, but this proved it.


    Water. She needed water badly. Perhaps it was that her body didn’t metabolize it well, or maybe she needed extra. In any case, her desire for the water he gave her in tea had been excessive, even for a prisoner, it calmed in her in ways even his magic had trouble soothing. She was drinking the water of the man’s body through the barbs she fired from her body. They must be connected in some fashion. And they were, she made another ripping motion and his dried up body was torn apart, though Zero suspected he was already dead.



    Inu loved that feeling of coolness running through her, it satisfied her, made her feel whole. And there was another source just inside the house. One more person she had to kill. She twisted her arm back, pulling the barbed hair back on unseen strings. To an onlooker, it probably looked like she was simply firing small barbs, but actually they remained connected to her by smaller filament, it was actually more like a spiked whip. She lashed her hair through the house like she had a dozen other houses, prepared to turn it to rubble and crush the magus under it.

    She could hear him inside saying something, but it was too indistinct. And anyway it didn’t matter. She had proven again be it begging for mercy or some magic she would not be held back, the magus death....was.......

    "YIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! "



    Zero heard the screaming start, he battle cry, but tortured and pained. That was good, the danger was past. He went over to his objective. The safe. It was open and inviting. There was money, and valuables, equipment, and more importantly...

    Inu-chan. Safely stored inside was the results of an entire clan's worth of magical research. Only a month, but they had been thorough and skilled, the last month had likely been the culmination of a hundred years of planning. Finding the right specimen, controlling her, the information needed and how to get it. As Zero had said to Inu-chan, the magus family who controlled this information would rise to a new level of wealth and knowledge.


    The heist of a century. The perfect job for someone like him. He loaded up everything on Inu-chan, his payment, and as much else as he believed he could carry and then locked the door back. He spent a moment clearing out the traces of his magecraft and then went out to meet his unwitting but oh so useful accomplice.

    Inu-chan was on fire, her body burned hot, hot, so hot. Her throat was parched. Her eyes were raw.


    "...Here, drink this."

    The magus sat next to her. A cup was in his hand. The water felt cool on her lips. It made her feel better.

    "Sorry I don’t have tea, Inu-chan, but there really isn’t much time. I am going to need to remove the traces of my magic and leave this place soon. You should find your own path from here to, unless you want to be captured again. I am sure someone will investigate this."

    Inu didn’t speak. Maybe she had forgotten how. Inversion impulse was a terrible, dangerous power, and Zero wasn’t repressing her emotions. Even Zero couldn't be sure what she was thinking at that moment. He had used a great deal of magic that day, his mystic circuit was almost empty. If she attacked, he would likely be in danger.

    "I.....I can't" Inu said. Her voice was sad.

    "Hmm?" Zero prodded her.

    "I promised you, but, I can’t. I can’t....forgive you."

    Inu-chan sounded like she wanted to cry. Hatred like hers was a drug. It could make you strong, but you quickly became addicted. But in this moment it must have seemed quite empty. How many people had she slaked her hatred on? The memory of horror and delight intermingled in her mind. By now she must know that even if she killed Zero then, she wouldn't be free.

    "Yeah, I know Inu-chan." Zero smiled at her. "I said it from the beginning."

    Inu looked confused at that

    "It’s hard to hate them. You killed them. Whatever they did to you, you have torn up the root of this family and destroyed it. Their hopes are destroyed, their lives are gone. Vengeance. Retribution, justice. That’s why you feel empty right now. Maybe you don’t forgive them, but life's blood is and always has been the final payment. But I haven’t paid. I profited actually, Zero said, lifting the bag that held the results of his theft. So ...aren’t I the one you hate the most?"

    It was true. He had known from the beginning. Because she would kill. Because he would make her kill. Nobody else could hurt anymore, she had killed them all. So even though he had asked for her forgiveness, and she said he had it, he knew she was lying. He had always known she was lying.

    "Well, good bye, Inu-chan. If you really can’t stand the situation right now, why not repay the favor someday? Then you can hate me all you want."


    "..."


    His dog was silent. It had been a short relationship. But one suitable for someone like him. Who knows what she was thinking at that moment.



    "Is it done?"

    Zero nodded to his father, Kazuma Takashi and gave him the results of his labor. Satisfied the head of the Takashi clan took Zero’s bag from him and in return, gave him a small bag tied by a string. Inside were several dark stones. He also gave Zero the payment he had been promised. From the clan chief. Taken by force or payment for services rendered, it was still him.

    “I cleared the area of the traces of my magecraft as well.”

    Zero offered after placing his rewards safely in a breast pocket. But the old Takashi merely grunted.

    “Sounds like you did a good job of making sure the blame will start at the demon girl, that should buy us time to hide your involvement, but eventually someone will get that safe open and it will be obvious it was also a robbery.”

    Kazuma would see to the distribution of the resources he had gained. He had profited. Clan Takashi had profited. It had been a good deal.

    “What about the girl. Did you take care of her? She is a loose end”

    “Couldn’t, she got away.”

    At that the older Takashi gave Zero a hard look. Of course, no job went perfectly, and given the overall success his son couldn’t be faulted for not being able to control a raging demoness, but it was strange. Zero was a boy who always thought about covering his tracks. Wandering around her had was knowledge that could make things complicated. Seeing to her demise would have been something he would have thought his son would have done first. It wasn’t something like…..


    Well, in any case, his son would have to make his own choices and his own mistakes. That was one of the reasons he had been the one for the job. Takashi couldn’t be sure his son had just saved his own life or signed his own death warrant. For a family like theirs, such things were rarely clear.

    “Good work.”

    Is all he said. Praise was rare from Kazuma, but his son had done a good job this time, Zero bowed in thanks and returned to his workshop. Armed with new wealth and supplies from his father, he was finally ready to begin. He selected a sketchbook which had many of his more precious designs inside. He opened it to a bookmarked page that had on it a picture of a necklace, a small lion head design hung from a thin chain. Cheap looking, unassuming. Zero grinned to himself. Soon….





    Zero
    Location: Taima Dorms
    Time: 1:10
    Day: April 2nd


    Zero started awake after a strange dream, clutching at his necklace. It had been a long time since he had thought about inu-chan. He dangled the Lion’s head in front of him, watching it sway lightly in the night air, and wondered. Had she been captured after his escape? Been spirited away? Had she managed to get free? Was she out there somewhere planning his downfall? Such mysteries were often unanswered, but they were the kind of things that sent Zero’s heart racing.
    Last edited by Tobias; November 26th, 2011 at 02:32 PM.
    Ever wonder why Shirou likes Saber to have some tea when he starts cooking?


    Quote Originally Posted by hero View Post

    But I can admit Manny is a better character, he´s an idol after all.

  18. #18
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Story from the Past

    ”……………haha………….”

    A gale sweeps over the mountaintop. The soldiers brace themselves against the supernatural force that threatens to sweep them off their feet. Unnatural, blue, heavenly light illuminates their surroundings, and even amidst the chaos and destruction, many are simply staring in awe at the source of all this. The single woman who is standing in the middle of the air, clutching her head.

    She hadn’t been there a minute ago.
    --------- But now. Due to their failure….
    She had been revived. The demon from their dreams had returned.

    “…..ahahahahaha…..hahaha……”

    The fear is shown on their faces. Thousands and thousands of soldiers dig their feet to the ground, trying to force themselves to stand their ground, instead of fleeing upon the sight of this madness. The rebirth of the nightmare.

    And the one who stands there, most fearing, is the he himself. He stares at the beautiful face he once adored and loved more than anything else in the world. Yet, at this point, he finds himself feeling nothing but dread. The face of the one he yearned has now turned into that of a monster.

    Yes. What stands now before them all is monster that feels nothing but cruelty to the world around her.

    “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHA!!!!!”

    Her shrilling laughter makes the earth quake. The white figure spreads her hand, collecting the moonlight in them. Her mad eyes stare at the humans below them, and nothing but contempt lies within them. She is, truly, part of hell given flesh.

    “’O compassionate ones!! Curse the day thy ancestor planted thy seeds into this world!! For because of thy actions, the Tyrant of the Luna once again walks upon the mortal soil!! My revival in thy hands is thine greatest sins, one which shalt make the Hell and Heavens weep!!” she laughs. “Hate thyselves and let thy hatred seep into my esteemed being. I shalt grow strong and purge this pitiful planet of it’s life. I art that which hath existed since the dawn of thine mind, I art the reason thou feareth the darkness of the night, I art the destruction of thy wooooooooooooooooooorld!!!

    And so, the red eyes change color. The thousands and thousands of soldiers stand before their gaze, and succumb to it. It is the ultimate order, one which rivals their nature as beings with consciousness. The authority granted by her heritage, and her ultimate weapon.

    But still, one man, stands his ground.
    After all, what kind of hero would he be if he did not do so?
    -------- He clenches his hands into fists, takes a step forward, and screams at the woman he once loved.

    “How can you do this!? Why have you changed so much!? What madness have taken over you, love!?!!?”

    A deep, deep silence.
    Stare from the pearl-colored eyes.
    And finally, an answer colder than the moon far above them.

    “Who art thou to question me? Kneel before my esteemed self and do not raise thy eyes upon my esteemed form. Or I shall erase thee from this earthly soil.”

    Defeated in his mind, the hero falls to his knees. The words are meaningless at this point. There is nothing more to say. He cannot turn his weapon against her.
    ----------- The monster has been born. And there is no going back.

    The monster turns around in a flutter of white. Her eyes shine with mad glory as she begins her journey to her true domain.
    ------------ To the place which humans naturally fear.

    "Worship me! Die for your crime of defying the Princess of the Brunestud, and repent in the afterlife. There are none before me, and will be none after me. I am the Last Tyrant of Luna, Arkuina Brunestud!"

    The heavenly hell has descended.

  19. #19
    闇色の六王権 The Dark Six Blue's Avatar
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    *Huff huff*

    I watched as the girl ran. Was she fleeing or was she chasing? It wasn't clear. Occasionally she would look back in fear and at the same time she looked only forward. Like a hunter. Persistent and unrelenting. Reality shifted and solidified and now she was definitely chasing someone – or maybe something. Through an alley, or through a wood. Across a field or over rooftops. I waited patiently for the vision to clear.


    Her surroundings cloud and start to fade into a swirl of backgrounds and places. It seems as though she’s running through an abyss, with darkness closing in around her. Just as I think I’ve lost it, everything snaps into sharp clarity.
    BANG!

    She fires a shot from a hand gun that she wasn’t holding a moment before. Everything is clear now as if someone has pulled reality itself out of murky water. I can see everything as if I were there in person. Alacia Starward is the name of the girl. Her face is set and cold. Determined some would say. It is the face of someone broken and betrayed by life. Oceans apart from the happiness I see on that face every day.

    In her right hand is a pistol that looks too big for the small girl. Yet she holds it with a practiced ease, swinging it up to take a few blind shots at her target. Bang! Bang! Whoever – or whatever – she is chasing doesn’t even flinch. They were wild shots and didn’t even come close to hitting. “Tsk” she clucked as she reloads, never stopping her pursuit. They are running down a series of alleyways. Her target turns sharply, kicking off against the walls to maintain momentum and lose the girl.

    To her credit, Alacia never loses sight of her quarry for long though. She keeps up a consistent pace, tracking her target even when she loses direct sight. Her endurance and stamina seem so far from the Lacey I know who gets exhausted even after a hundred meter sprint. Eventually she comes to a large structure. A warehouse I presume. She slows down as she draws near. She can tell that her target is in there – waiting for her. She walks in slowly with her gun at the ready.

    It is pitch black, save for a few rays of light coming through from a few broken skylights. Several paces in, she trains her gun on a seemingly random point in the shadows and fires off a round. Bang! Her target evades the bullet, but abandons any pretence of stealth. Bang! Bang! Bang! Shot after shot she fires into the darkness, tracing an unseen prey effortlessly. The target doesn’t draw closer, but rather bides time and waits for the inevitable
    Click

    She’s out of ammo but doesn’t seem concerned. She reaches up to her necklace as her target charges full tilt at her. The target – he/she/it – leaps from the darkness. Alacia hops back, pulling something loose from her necklace and throwing it at the floor in one deft motion.
    BANG!!

    All I hear is white noise as the vision flashes. Reality is fading away again. My time here is almost up. Alacia comes back into focus, but the rest of the scene is foggy and dark. She herself now shifts, wearing many expressions and many ages. I see her as barely a year older than she is now, and then I see her as she would be in ten years. I see her face, the same set coldness and at the same time I see her crying as she moves. The warehouse is gone and the furthest I can see is a few feet away from the girl and her target.

    The target is on the floor, bound by an unseen force. Of course it is merely an amalgamation of many people. A million faces in a second. It doesn’t matter. This vision wasn’t about the target. It could be anyone – it is not important. Alacia walks over, reloading her gun. She lines the gun up with its head.
    Bang!

    A hollow sound. An empty gunshot. I open my eyes. The vision is past, but the possibility is clear. There are many futures for Alacia Starward, but if I have anything to do with it, that will not be one of them.

    Levy is not impressed.

    Eco Rider!

  20. #20
    King of Weak Style Verg Avesta's Avatar
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    Rose-Madder Monster

    My life in that mansion was one of pain. My days were days of suffering. Every waking moment was spent as a toy of those more powerful than I was. There is only so much a single, weak child can do. The Rose of the Banquet, they called me. I was their favorite doll, their favorite toy. They could do anything they wanted with my body, because they knew I would never resist nor shed a tear.

    It was all to protect my sister.

    My dear, dear sister. My autumn sun. She was my most precious treasure, confined in that tall, tall tower that overlooked the city. Princess in chains. Yet they never harmed her, for I had made a deal with the lords. I swore to offer my frail body as their toy if they would refrain touching my sister.

    And so the years passed. Their cruelty and sadism was carved in my body and it was violated in ways that I do not even remember anymore. But it was alright. I was fine with that. They would not touch my sister as long as I would succumb to their vile ways.

    Drip drop,

    Drip drop, drip drop,

    Drip drop, drip drop, drip drop,

    So went my blood in the dark dungeon where I was held.

    Frail, sickly child. One who looked almost like a girl. But with a single reason to keep him from breaking, to keep him alive. A simple wish of making sure his sister was undefiled, a single flower blooming in that twisted town of sinful pleasures.

    Sob sob,

    Sob sob, sob sob,

    Sob sob, sob sob, sob sob,

    But it did not mean that I did not cry. Of course I cried. I was a toy and a doll, but I had once been a human. My body acted in ways that I could not control. I simply stared at the heavy stone ceiling and allowed my tears to fall, to wait them to end.

    Every day for me was a night. I never saw the light of the day.

    Only light I saw were the torches that illuminated the banquet. The ravaged flower garden with I as its main attraction.

    When I turned thirteen, the day they knew they could present me to the truly powerful people, they came up to me. They opened my cell door and talked to me. They wanted to know something. They wanted to grant me something. They said they would let me see anything I wanted, whether it was treasure, a sunrise or the blue skies.

    But I wanted only one thing.

    --------- My autumn sun.

    I wanted to see my sister.

    And so I was taken to the top of the tallest tower in the city, where she resided. A single pure flower in midst of all that sick desire that infested the land. A beautiful marble door guarded her, almost as if in mockery of a prison. Beyond it was porcelain room where they kept my sister. Until then I had only seen it in my dreams. A room full of beauty and elegance, beautiful dolls and tea parties, a heaven for my autumn sun.

    …………………………The world is not like that.

    Maybe I should have known from the beginning.

    What I saw beyond that door was cold stone and a wooden bench where a single, broken girl had been strapped. Continuously violated by nobles filled with carnal lust. Old scholars, sadistic trade princes, cruel court ladies……I saw the cream of the city there. Gathered around my sister. Waiting for their turn. Image worse than any nightmare was burned into my brain.

    And they told me:

    In order to keep me safe, my sister offered her own body to the nobles. To the men who had enslaved us. She simply wanted to keep me pure and untainted from these monsters.

    It was not like we had been tricked. We had just foolishly believed what these people, these incarnations of everything that is wrong in the world, had told us.

    They laughed. Laughed, laughed and laughed.

    Like animals they laughed.

    The whole room before me laughed, as I stood there, all alone. I stood there, staring at my broken autumn sun and the night sky in the window behind her.

    -------------- It felt like the city below was laughing at me.

    But that was that. There was nothing else to say. Even my autumn sun had been taken from me, violated and tainted. I was left with nothing at all.

    It was then that the clouds parted.

    In my eyes, the moon was tainted in rose-madder color.

    And I spoke:

    If world is full of monsters…………

    “…………………………………………………………………………….Then I shall become a monster, too.”

    It was that night I first spread my wings. I destroyed the tower, I destroyed the mansion and I destroyed the center of the city. I brought rain of blood into that city of pleasures and made people cower in fear. Most weren’t even allowed that feeling. I simply killed them, tore asunder their pitiful bodies before they had chance to realize what was going on.

    The city was turned into slaughter-house. I spared no one. Every single person I saw, I killed. My blood-colored minions, avatars of my wrath and madness, spread throughout the whole land. The birth-scream of the monster known as I echoed across the country, causing people to flee in terror.

    My rose-colored wings covered Firenze.

    I became myself. I became a monster. It was neither a wish nor a freak accident. I simply gave up my humanity and turned into what people call a monster. And I thought nothing of it. The blood of millions in my hands feels just as warm as the blood of the people who broke my autumn sky.

    I will never forgive. Not them. Not anyone.

    I will never forgive humanity for developing desires.

    I will reign upon this world as the monster king. And I will bring destruction in rose-madder color.

    Until there is only one thing remaining.

    ------------------------ My autumn sky.

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