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Thread: [FF] Crossings

  1. #21
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    Have to go over the next part with a few people before things heat up but I figure you guys at least deserve this part before I have to go into deep conversation about the next. Odd though, this seems so long in the text editor but it doesn't show up on the forum pages. I know there's an odd extra indent on my editor but I'd think 129 pages would look longer. Enjoy.

    Crossings Section 11 Begin:

    "A...a... ARCUEID!" Shiki called out, taking a step forward. Her head snapped up, eyes wide, a tear on her cheek. Those normally red eyes, now grey, locked onto Shiki like a bolt. She was on her feet in an instant.

    "YAHOOOOO!!" she cried back, hurling herself at him, "Shikiiiiiiiii... yahhoo...aawwwkkkk!!"

    To the surprise of both Arcueid's dramatic leap connected on nothing. She passed right through Shiki. The mighty Princess of True Ancestors landed on her face behind her love with a rather pratfallish thud. Shiki let out a quiet whew.

    Scratching his cheek softly and turning back to her with what could only be described as a classic Shiki expression he responded in characteristic understatement, "Uh, nice to see you too Arcueid."

    He took a step back and turned about. Well she didn't look too badly off, if he did say so himself. She was supposed to be some immortal creature anyway. It was natural for her to be back right? Resurrection, reincarnation? Shiki scratched his cheek a little more as the grayscale princess bounced up on her hands and knees, then shot up to her feet. In a flurry of motion she started circling him, looking up and down, not trying to touch this time, her hands held behind her. Shiki followed her with his eyes as she darted this way and that looking here and there, giving him such a thorough looking over he started getting self conscious.

    "You look good." Shiki mentioned as she made her third circuit around him, head ducking to look at some other part of him, "I... well I..."

    Shiki stopped as he noticed Arcueid was mumbling a blur of words in her excitement. The stream was so quick he had to take a few seconds to sort it out. She was really fussing over him... odd for her being the one who died.

    "Oh good good!" the shinso said quietly, "Hmm, and here, and here... oh no wound, good good, that's much better, and there, there, yeah... color's off, have I seen this before? Uh, no... don't think so, no grey people, err... maybe gramps, err... if only I wasn't out of it so much, uh what to do, what to..."

    "Hell-O Arcueid!" Shiki interrupted, crossing his arms, "I might want a part of this conversation myself."

    Arcueid looked up as if shocked, even jumping a little. When she stopped Shiki got a better look at her. She was her perennial self, in the same white and purple outfit, a new one he supposed, since the one he remembered had to be a mess. Her quizzical stare almost had him break out laughing she looked so out of place. Through it all this time he picked up on her beauty quicker. This time looking into her eyes she took his breath away. His eyes trailed over finer points of her anatomy. Catching himself quickly he stepped back, blushing and rubbing the back of his head. What a time to think about THAT!

    Arcueid managed to regain her composure with her usual speed. She was being so inconsiderate! Her excitement at seeing Shiki had her acting as if he was some long lost pet or treasure instead of a person. Not that he wasn't, the treasure part, that was... Merrily the princess of True Ancestors cocked her head to the side, putting on her biggest broadest smile while keeping her hands tucked away behind her. She had her Shiki!

    "HI!" she blurted, "Uh, hi Shiki!" and almost flinched, since when did she start sounding like some flustered child? Maybe she'd always sounded that way and hadn't known about it before.

    There was a soft sizzling. A tiny noise, across the expanse of park. Running against the pull of gravity a drop of something milky blue rolled out of the tiny crack in the concrete not ten meters away.

    "Are you, uhm are you ok Arcueid?" Shiki asked with a concerned smile, his hand on the nape of his neck, "Are you feeling alright? How did you... well..."

    "I'm fine! I'm fine!" Arcueid blurted, this meeting stuff was turning out to be a lot harder than she'd thought it'd be, not being able to just tell Shiki with touch was a real pain, words of this sort weren't her strong suit, "Oh and you, look at you... you're looking good, uhm not hurt... you got better!"

    One of Shiki's eyebrows twitched. He'd gotten better? Whaaa..?

    The crack was a little larger. The concrete chipped slightly again, then again. Something else as well, something hovered at the outside of sensing, just beyond reach. Darkness and deeper darkness.

    "Oh it's been so long Shiki... I never thought..." Arcueid reached out, then turned her head away, realizing she couldn't touch, "You, you're doing well? I don't, I don't know how to deal with ghosts Shiki..."

    "Like I do Arcueid? but wait..." Shiki started.

    "Oh I so missed you! It's been so hard! How did you do it? How did you come back?! Since you died..."

    "I DIED?!" Shiki cried out, stopping Arcueid in her tracks, "Wait! Wait! Hold on! Arcueid, I died?!"

    The forest shifted slightly. The shadows seemed to have a life of their own for a moment, be nothing but shadows in the next. The lights around the outside of the playground flickered slightly. The clock at the end of the park stopped. The shadows lengthened.

    "Huh..." Arcueid looked at Shiki, surprise clear in her features, "You don't remember?"

    "No, no Arcueid... you died." Shiki called back, looking deep into her eyes. There was nothing of guile, nothing of deceit. She believed what she was saying totally.

    "What? No, that's not right." Arcueid returned.

    Their mouths opened as one, the same words came out.

    "I held you, as you slipped away, you were in my arms." they both said in unison, "You died in my arms."

    The separated lovers turned away from each other for a second. Even though neither was looking, their expressions were the same as they tried to work the dilemma out in their minds.

    There was a slight, almost imperceptible crackling, a nigh silent sizzle as two points of color began to roll across the concrete, leaving lines of black in their wake. Each moved from a separate place, in a separate direction. On the ground a shape began to form.

    "Wai... what happ..." the two turned and said together, startling each other, "I was..."

    Arcueid and Shiki broke off laughing. They were saying the same things to each other, at the same time. Arcueid held her gut as she giggled. Shiki shook his head chuckling.

    "Great minds think alike I guess." he laughed, leaning forward as Arcueid looked up at him, "Ok, me first is that ok?"

    She nodded.

    "It was the night we finally faced Roa, after we... uhm..." Shiki started, the matching blush from Arcueid was a thankful signal she remembered that little part of their adventure, "You left to fight him, I had to chase after you. I found you at school, already fighting him. I was going to help but you used your power and held me back... then Roa, Roa... I couldn't do anything..."

    "It was that night!" Arcueid chimed in with a nod, "I'd thought I'd left you behind so I could face Roa alone, though you found us, but with me... well he came for me and you must have broken my hold, because you took the shot for me..."

    "Oh, I see..." Shiki blanched slightly, looking away.

    "I got him." Arcueid called to Shiki, turning him back to her, to her enchanting smile, "I got him for you."

    "Yeah, Roa." Shiki said with a nod, "I killed him for what he did to you."

    "Not coming back?" Arcueid asked, concerned.

    Shiki shook his head, "Never coming back."

    Arcueid nodded, "Mine too."

    Shiki smiled, his hands dropping into his pockets. Arcueid smiled back, clasping her hands behind her.

    "Two different series of events." Shiki pointed out, his hand, his left this time, rubbing the back of his head as he thought, his right hand still hung in his pocket.

    "Two different versions of us." Arcueid added, flexing her fingers behind her, nodding, "Both brought together, specifically here."

    "This is the place it would make sense for us to meet." Shiki continued.

    "At right about this time too." Arcueid thought aloud. She reached out with her mind, there was a familiar presence out there. She picked it up and identified it. Ciel had just entered the park. Something confusing though, there was another image of her, like a reflection, moving in from the opposite direction.

    The sizzling stopped. The two points had ended where their counterpart had started, completing a pattern on the ground. Etched into the concrete, the symbol of five wings was now formed. Grey fluid, the thickness of blood poured out from the wound in the ground.

    Shiki looked at Arcuied and nodded. It was so like putting on an old glove. There wasn't a bit of doubt. He smiled at her, an act not in keeping with the way his hand slid out of his pocket, knife at the ready.

    Arcueid smiled at Shiki. It was so good to have him back, have him here. Right or wrong this was the way it should be. Her hands slipped to her sides, reformed into bladed claws.

    "It's here." Shiki said with a nod.

    "Took it's time." Arcueid, crossing her arms, replied almost bored, "Let's see what this is about."

    Shiki peered over his shoulder. Their rambling conversation had moved them slowly to the steps and halfway up them. In the beginning the movements had been natural, all the walking around and looking at each other had taken them that direction. Subtly things had changed halfway through talking, as the both of them had sensed the presence nearby. Whatever was coming, it had taken few steps to hide itself, the etching and motion in the center of the playground had caught the pair's attention early on. Arcueid, who'd been looking inward most of the time had even picked up the outline of the etchings moving across the concrete out of the corner of her eye. After that the rather abstract relationship between the pair of hunters had taken over. Barely perceivable head gestures and body language were slipped in under the normal conversation. Even though the two of them hadn't practiced such things together, a few weeks of hunting together had given the natural killers somewhat of a repore.

    Arcueid stepped confidently past Shiki towards the playground as Shiki slowly turned, taking in the situation. Past them a fluid viscous pool of liquid, almost like gelatin, was pulling itself from the ground, surrounded by a blue, iridescent fog. The colorless mass bobbed up, pulling itself higher in the middle, then began to reform and change shape, texturing itself. The general shape of a kneeling person, looking away at an angle, first then from the center outward it solidified, chest, torso, arms then legs and head hardening until instead of a mass, a person knelt low on the ground. The symbol had already faded by the time the figure fully formed, still surrounded by the strange mist that clung to him at chest height. Tiny drops of fluid splashed down, burning their way into the concrete like acid. The figure, a male, slumped almost anticlimactically.

    Shiki slid his glasses off his face. Arcueid looked over at him for a second then back to the person in the playground. Something... something about him reminded her of some... her mind fought in fits and starts to try to piece together something she knew she should know. Shiki took a look at the figure and made a slight gasp, stepping back a bit. Arcueid was looking to find what happened when something in her mind clicked, maybe it had been there, maybe it had been rewritten in the instant she saw this person, but in a moment things made sense. She turned back to the figure kneeling and realized it was someone she knew. Concern on her face she walked quickly out towards him. Shiki looked at her with surprise.

    "No, David..." Arcueid said softly, moving as quickly as caution would allow, "He's hurt."

    Kneeling down beside him Arcueid tried to access the extent of the injuries. The form was in grey, so she figured she couldn't touch him, but she got plenty of information just from looking at him, and feeling the fractured aura. There were cracks in his very being, rents that drove through physical flesh, through spiritual form. These were wounds that leaked raw spirit energy, raw life force. It dripped from his ragged frame, burning what it touched before dissipating back to the ether. What worried Arcueid most though were the eyes, he had no eyes. Liquid energy filled and glowed out from two empty sockets. She'd never seen him hurt this badly, even when she'd... Oh no... had she?

    "Slayer..." Arcueid said almost in a whisper, stooping low trying to catch his... well, vision as it were, "Slayer, are you awake? It's me, Brunestud."

    It almost surprised her when he turned his head and gave her that warm smile she remembered, speaking softly, "Hi Princess, excuse my not bowing, I'm kinda a mess..."

    Shiki was concerned. Obviously Arcueid thought she knew this person, though Shiki'd never seen him. It was of course quite possible this was someone she'd met in her long life before he'd ever known her, but still. He'd wished Arcueid hadn't decided to get so close, so close to someone that in Shiki's own better than normal senses simply radiated danger. Having looked the stranger over Shiki was filled with a number of concerns. It wasn't just his build, though that was one thing. The surprisingly ordinary clothes, a collared grey t-shirt and probably blue jeans, the stranger was wearing did little to hide his well muscled middle of the road build. There was little doubt he'd have one hell of a combination of speed and power, by Shiki's assessment. The stranger's height, maybe an inch or two over six feet with a bit more leg length than torso, would give him a reach advantage, another danger, yet it wasn't even this that was Shiki's number one concern. No, Shiki realized as he walked over closer, staying cautiously outside what he considered this person's easy reach, that wasn't the big thing about this guy at all. There was something about him, something he'd only ever seen approached by Arcueid, and then only this late at night.

    "Lines..." Shiki said with force behind his voice, a little confused, "Arcueid, this guy has no lines."

    "Hmm?" Arcueid remarked looking up. The person kneeling turned so one eye, at least what was left of it, was facing Shiki. Blinking for a second he gave Shiki a knowing smile.

    "Doesn't surprise me kid." he said with that knowing grin, "Death and I parted ways a long long time ago."

    Shiki shook his head, looking at Arcueid, "You know this person?"

    "Uh yeah," Arcueid said almost unsure, with a small nod, "Back a long time ago. He worked with the other shinso. In fact, before I was born he was the guy who hunted the fallen."

    "With the shinso..." Shiki mimicked Arcueid's words, thinking, "Does that mean when you..."

    "Oh..." Arcueid stopped that sentence right in mid stream, "Yeah, when Roa changed me... I killed him." she said sadly, then looked to the man, "But but but... this damage, this isn't what I did is it?!"

    "No, no... I've healed and gotten beaten on a few times since then." he reassured her, sitting back and giving them that smile. Shiki found himself getting annoyed at such a carefree, out of place look. Strangely he couldn't figure out why that was so getting on his nerves. It's not as if he hadn't seen it on Arihiko almost every day, and on Arcueid now and again, why would it be so quickly getting to him this time?

    "Name?" Shiki grumbled, looking dourly at the guy on the ground.

    "Heh, got so many, trouble usually works." the guy replied with a smirk, but finding no yield in Shiki's eyes he averted his gaze and rethought it, "But I guess it would be in keeping if you called me Balance right now."

    Out in the distance towards the forest a small black shape moved. Taking things slowly it circled around, outside the park playground. There was a slight jingle of bells.

    Shiki scowled, giving this Balance a closer look over. He found while his eyes didn't pick up the normal death lines, they did pick up things he usually found harder to see. With almost no concentration he could make out that this person was strangely hollow. He could see through rents in his surface like giant wounds that didn't show up in the mundane world. Behind those rents he could see clean through to the other side. It was as if he wasn't filled with organs, but some bright light, and his body was more or less a shell. What he could see with surprising ease was the flow of this person's mana, it was even spilling out around him in a bluish fog. Looking at the ground Shiki picked out another surprise. Not only didn't Balance have any lines, but the lines of the things he was touching, namely the ground now, seemed to avoid him, or maybe just avoid the energy he was leaking. Shiki's mind tried to wrap around the concept of a being like this, someone who seemed to such a pure life, of such pure life, that it strengthened the things around it. Arcueid apparently knew some damn unusual people. He almost had to laugh at that, realizing in turn what an unusual bunch he knew himself.

    "And you're responsible for this?" Shiki asked, breaking himself out of his thoughts and motioning towards Arcueid. He knew he was being a little vague, but if this was the person who's arranged this situation he'd be more likely to add some much needed explanation in, or conversely offer more rope to hang himself with.

    "Hmm? This eh?" Balance said with a smile, leaning back on his arms and sitting cross legged, then he looked over to Arcueid and started again, "Well, heh... I guess you could say I..."

    For a moment Balance paused looking at the princess. A slight sense of something amiss struck him. Taking it as a sign Shiki would rather hear this from her, Arcueid picked up where he left off.

    "This is just like him." she pointed out smiling to Shiki, "If I'd known he was alive I guess I should have known. Really if it's realities and possibilities were dealing with, there's only him and one other that could be responsible."

    "So this is your doing." Shiki said to the sitting man, not as a question, but trying to confirm it. Cocking his head to the side Balance looked out into the night.

    "Yes... but..." he replied, his attention fixed somewhere distant, before Shiki or Arcueid could respond he held up a hand in a rather classic call for silence, "You were followed."

    "Huh? Followed?" Arcueid gasped, "Come on, you know no one would dare follo... oh... wait..."

    With a look of sarcastic irony on her face Arcueid glared at Shiki. He held his hands up defensively.

    "Hey hey!" he shot back, "I didn't even know I was going to be meeting somebody tonight, but heck even then I'd... oh wait... that black cat with the bow..."

    "Black cat?" Arcueid's eyebrows perked up and she started looking around, "Ren? Where?"

    Balance closed his eyes, slowly, quietly he began to laugh. It was just a small, cloying chuckle. He dipped his head, finding amusement in something.

    In the not to far distance, atop the stairs, silhouetted against the lights of the city and moon, a small black creature walked into view. Tentatively it took a few steps one way and the other, then as if noticing them for the first time, it turned the way of the three people on the playground.

    "Oh there you are." Arcueid said with a broad smile, then stopped, looking closer, "Wait... that's not..."

    At the top of the steps the small cat's eyes locked onto them. Its hair stood on end and it let loose a piercing cat growl filled with unnatural malice. As it did, it's eyes changed, now visible even thought it was backlit, visible because they glowed a bright eerie red.

    And Balance broke out laughing. The other two looked at him, startled as his little chuckle turned into a loud deep laughter. In between fits he started to say something. Merrily his eyes sparkled vicious glee as he began a slow but accelerating chant.

    "Heh, heh... haaaahaahaahaa... fifty, two hundred, heh...heh... six, fifty, one hundred, haahaa... sixty, two hundred..." Balance called laughing, "Fifty! Two hundred! Six! Fifty! One Hundred! Sixty! Two hundred! HAHA! I know you're there, you can't hide from me! Come on out... CHAOS!!"

    And in that instant, they knew they were surrounded

    Section 11 End
    Last edited by MrTags; March 28th, 2011 at 06:04 PM.
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



    Don't displease Tiny Turtle

  2. #22
    後継者 Successor RanmaBushiko's Avatar
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    Nice. I'm looking forwards to seeing more, too.

  3. #23
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    Well Inu never showed up but I've gone over it with the help of a few of the writers. Thanx, IRUN, Cascade, Elf. The reviews were mixed, but I got a merely "annoying" from Elf so I'll count that as a sucess ^_^,

    This was the least favorite part by the readers last time it was posted. Let's hope that cutting it down and altering it slightly improves the response.

    Crossings Section 12:


    "So it begins."

    Zelretch glanced over to his guest. Gilgamesh was practically gleaming with glee, an ear to ear grin splitting his face. His golden armor sparkled, catching the reflected light of the mirrors even more now, quite like it was responding to it's wearer's merriment.

    With a look into the image before them Zelretch's eyebrows knitted. He picked out how damaged the target looked. So great was the mana leaking from his damaged energy circuits that it was actually reflected by a glowing fog in the physical world. He shook his head. The fight before him may end up more of a slaughter than an actual contest, if only he'd more accurately gauged the balancer's strength before this.

    "It may end just as quickly." Zelretch pointed out, frowning in thought.

    The king of kings laughed out loud, pulling the mage's gaze to him as he spoke, "Bah, your spatial travels have left you with no sense of drama." he retorted, crossing his arms in his most haughty and all knowing air, "Something, however, that our current entertainer has in abundance."

    "I fail to see..." the mage began his response, only to be cut off by a curt nod towards the image by Gilgamesh.

    "Come now." the golden king said with a wry smile, "Let us just watch and learn. I tell you with no reservation, this little 'chaos'... he doesn't have a prayer."

    Zelretch raised his eyebrows at the familiar's statement. He looked back to the image, this time more warily. He couldn't see what his guest was talking about... just yet.


    Outside the lights of the playground, the shadows boiled and heaved. The woods around them seemed full, but of what it wasn't clear. Hundreds of shapes and forms all indistinct moved just outside range of being seen. In the distance, up past the stairs, there was the sound of boots clacking against cement as someone approached.

    "What the hell?" Shiki glanced around, not understanding the situation as much as he would like.

    Arcueid growled lightly, her hands curling into claws as her eyes darted this way and that.

    Balance just shifted his weight back to a crouch and smiled. He stretched slightly, working the malaise out of his joints as the glow in his eyes strengthened just a bit.

    Shiki glanced back to Balance as he moved. There was something in his form that hadn't been there before. Looking the strange newcomer over Shiki took a step back as he realized the man was now wearing a sword. Balance's hand went down to it, fixing the way the sheath sat upon his belt. Shiki wracked his brains to figure if he'd missed it, or it hadn't been there before. It wasn't as if he'd miss a rather large weapon like that, even sheathed. To his credit he realized he'd be well within range of a quickly drawn blade, but there was something wrong with the way Balance wore it. Earlier on Arcueid had approached Balance and knelt on his left, so Shiki had moved to his right... and now there was a sword, worn to his side. This Balance wore his sword on the right, he was left handed. Noting this information in the back of his head Shiki picked up a glimpse of someone moving at the top of the stairs. He looked up... and his heart froze.

    Arcueid's eyes almost bulged from their sockets. It couldn't be him! There was no way, she'd seen him die!

    Taking his last step at the top of the stairs the figure stalking them finally came into full view. His thick black coat blew in a spectral wind as he turned and came slowly, menacingly down the stairs. The cat beside him stepped away respectfully as the tall, heavily built man strode past. Hands held in his pockets like someone out for a simple walk the man's features were plain to see. White hair, matching a face pale past albino white, a face lined with deep scars and deeper set eyes that seemed to radiate malice and evil. Behind his jacket something, things, swirled as if he was made of water, a deep dark sea of chaos. As his foot hit the playground the forests around them cleared back to normal, it was far too late to run anyway.

    Arcueid's face contorted in anger, teeth bared, her hands now as claws, the surprise freeing her more primal side even in her voice as she growled at the newcomer, "CHAOS! Damn you! What are you doing here?!"

    The figure stopped, his head cocked to the side in nonchalant arrogance. Finishing the effect, the dead fully returning from the grave, he spoke, "Ah, princess of True Ancestors, how fitting to make your acquaintance again."

    The words dripped malice and sarcasm. The cold, precise inflection, the perfect enunciation, it finished the horrid effect that just seeing him had begun. Nrvnqsr Chaos was back.

    "Oh, but it must be a surprise." he continued coldly, "Seeing as you somehow managed to defeat me in this, stunted, version of reality. In mine however, you and I managed little more than a useless tie."

    "So I open the doors a little and look what filth comes flooding through." Balance quipped angrily, standing up behind Arcueid, "The great Dark Apostle Ancestor, scion of Chaos, you've found your way into another reality, and I'm quite sure it's no coincidence."

    Chaos smiled, looking straight at Balance as he spoke "Ah, how true." Chaos said, "He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred and sixty and six."

    Balance smiled back, cocking his head and returning the phrase, "Hic sapientia est qui habet intellectum conputet numerum bestiae numerus enim hominis est et numerus eius est sescenti sexaginta sex." he replied in Latin, "That little speech always sounded a bit, stilted, in Japanese. I find the earliest Latin translation to suit it the best."

    The response actually got Nero to raise an eyebrow, "A fellow intellectual." he said, maybe a little impressed, "I wasn't expecting one, given the image you portray."

    "One picks up a few things here and there." Balance said with a shrug, "I suppose I should have paid a bit more attention to you though, I like to know a little more about someone before I fight them, but well... we never have run in similar circles eh?"

    "Verily." Chaos agreed, "It would serve you well to realize I, however, have been given a detailed analysis of your capabilities. Given them, I can without reservation tell you that it would be in your best interests to surrender this incongruous course of action. You have no chance against me."

    Balance stepped around Arcueid, a vicious glee sparkling in the grin he was wearing as he quipped back, "Oh, we'll just see about that."

    "Wait!" Arcueid called, reaching up to him, "You're in no condition, let us!"

    "We've handled him before." Shiki pointed out, stepping forwards. Balance glanced back and chuckled.

    "Sorry kid, thanks for the offer." he replied, then looked over to Arcueid, "You know I can handle myself, I did this kind of thing for a while. Even if you want to, neither of you are in much of a position to help out."

    "Ah yes!" Nero Chaos called, spreading his arms wide, "They are separated from our little game." he pointed out in explanation, "This realm you've created, suspended between the two realities on threads of ether provides us with a forum for us to resolve our differences, separate and untouchable by those on either side."

    "He's in some kind of realm, between us?" Shiki mimed, thinking it over, "Yet visible to both."

    "Well you have a firm grasp on the obvious Nvrnqsr." Balance remarked, crossing his arms and walking forward, "Keeping the results of any battle between myself an another guardian from trashing the superimposed realities was more or less the point."

    The two combatants locked eyes. Chaos and Balance stared into each other. Chaos shifted himself back slightly, keeping a good distance between them, at least twenty feet so he could react to any hostile moves.

    Looking Chaos up and down, Balance sized him up and spoke again, "Well you don't look like the kind that would respond to psychological manipulation, so I'll skip the usual spiel." Balance turned himself to the side and took up a fighting stance.

    "I see." Chaos muttered.

    "You ready?" Balance growled. Arcueid reached out, but then shrunk back.

    "I hate not being able to do anything." she said, softly, looking down. Shiki walked up beside her.

    "So do I." he remarked, but then whispered softly under his breath, "I'm not sure, but I'm seeing lines on Nero, if things turn out badly, I'll try to help."

    "Good." Arcueid whispered back, giving Shiki a smile, “They might be acting confident, but at best this is a draw.”

    Nero stood his ground defiantly, taking Balance's challenge in stride. Looking his most looming and dangerous he waited a moment to respond.

    "Of course!" he said loudly, spreading his arms and letting the chaos within him swirl and swell, "But know this, I am far more than just steeled against your words. I am well aware of your situation. I know for a fact that you are at barely one fifth your maximum strength, so damaged were you by the melding of these realities. You cannot hurt me, you cannot stop me."

    Balance let his stance drop slightly, raising an eyebrow. Nero slipped his hands back to his coat pockets in arrogance.

    "You would be best served by giving up here and now." Nero explained, "I am far more than you can handle in your current condition. It would be no shame to yield, this course of action was unlikely to succeed at best. You've simply run into an opponent that was beyond yo..."

    CRACK!

    Nero was stopped in mid word by a foot smashing into the side of his face. Without a hint of prior motion Balance vanished and reappeared in mid kick, having already hit. His massive, leaping, inside crescent kick smashed Nero's head down and to the side, almost toppling him over before he caught himself. Shiki and Arcueid pulled their arms up to cover themselves as a burst of wind blew past them, the shockwave from the impact carrying over to both worlds.

    Nero's eyes widened in shock, his face was barely six inches from the ground, his cheek flattened to the bone. He gasped despite himself, feeling the chaos inside him boil and shift. This was wrong...

    "Impossible!" he spouted, not moving, "THAT was one fifth normal power?! The energy behind that attack had a minor effect on the cohesiveness of my chaotic form. Five times that amount would be a serious threat! I have underestimated the brute force element of this... err..."

    Balance, looking irked, lit to his feet as Nero spoke, stepped his right foot around his left, pulling with the remaining force of his previous kick, and lifted his left leg up as he twisted. With a similar shock to the first time he completed a spinning axe kick, bringing his foot down on the back of Nero's neck.

    "You talk too much." Balance growled down at his foe fiercely, but took note that this time his kick had little effect, "Ready for it now eh?"

    Balance slid his foot away from Nero in a smooth quick move. Nero growled up at him, staring angrily, his shape shifting. In a sudden motion part of Nero's jacket stretched towards Balance, it's end forming into the head of a snarling rottweiler dog. Balance grabbed the head between his hands before it reached him, the bestial face spewing spit as it chomped at him.

    "Whoa! Nasty puppy!" Balance quipped in surprise. The shock was doubled as the rottweiler's mouth opened impossibly wide, it's form seeming to rip inside out as a full sized wolf leapt out from between it's jaws.

    "GAAAHHHH!!" Balance shouted, switching his grip to catch the wolf and falling back. Never truly loosing composure he kicked up into the wolf, flipping them both once end over end and landing atop it. Cocking his fist back he growled out, "SIT UBU SIT!"

    Balance's fist struck down on the dog. His eyebrows raised as his fist unexpectedly pulped the beast and smashed into the concrete. Reduced to a pool of blackness the chaos creature streamed back into Nero's form while the dark apostle ancestor laughed. In the depths of shadow around them, dozens more chaos creatures lurked, atop the stairs, in the woods, past the clock. His empty eyes narrowing Balance took stock of the situation.

    "Interesting fighting strategy." he mused, "Let loose the zoo did you?"

    "You don't understand!" Arcueid called out.

    Balance shot an angry glance back at her, "Don't interfere."

    The energy leaking from his form began to swirl around the balancer as he took up stance again, glowering at the confident Nero. Some movement behind Chaos caught the eye. At the top of the stairs a smaller black cat had walked up to the bow wearing chaos feline. The dark cat swatted the small one away... only to be suddenly engulfed in a slice of cheesecake. As the others in the play yard looked on aghast the cake was pierced over and over by dozens of mystically conjured knives and forks. With a huff the small cat dug into the cake remains, pulled out the little grey bow and trotted off with it.

    "Kay..." Balance said, confused, "That's not something you see every day."

    "Well, at least Ren is all right." Arcueid mentioned with a nonchalant shrug.


    This was impossible! This can not be!

    A blur of blue and keys of black piercing the darkness, skirting in between trees at breakneck speed. Shockwaves buffeted her as a mighty clash continued beyond.

    Razor sharp blades pierce...

    Raven, Wolf, Bear Hawk, Panther, Stag

    Ceil's eyes stood out, wide in shock as they were, as she bounced from tree to tree, richocheting off the ground and limbs. She made short work of the creatures that crowded her. Still disbelief clouded her mind.

    It can't be him! He's dead!

    The black beasts?! Who else could it be?

    With a growl of redoubled effort the executioner blurred in through the forest, trying to pierce the wall of creatures before her.


    "You cannot move me."

    "Is that a bet? You're on!"

    Balance barely touched the ground, sliding this way and that with quick stabbing taps as he moved just above the surface. Nero's coat rippled and a pair of beasts burst forth, roaring their malice, but Balance avoided them, slipping through the almost nonexistent space between them. A grin of glee formed as the cloud of mist congealed around his fist.

    "SPIRAL BLAZER!" he growled his fist lighting with energy as he threw it forth, the force of the attack pulling him along after it. With a crack the attack buried itself in Nero's face, but his dark form still refused to budge. Grimacing Balance pulled his arm back, weaving his torso this way and that as various heads and blades struck forth from Nero's body, trying to rip him in two.

    "Damn you!" Balance shouted, vanishing from Nero's left and appearing on his right, "YOU WILL MOVE!"

    A slight hiss sounded out as Balance’s own motions sent a spray of energy like blood spilling off his injured form. He didn’t seem to mind too much, but Nero caught that the amount was increased from before.

    "Irksome." Nero grumbled to himself as Balance slipped away from yet another chaos beast, "Wastrels, they can't even finish this wounded thing?"

    Standing in toe to toe with Nero Chaos was no easy feat, Shiki had seen that earlier when Arcueid fought him, but this Nero, he was a hundred times worse. Shiki just knew if Nero had been able to throw so many creatures so quickly against him in their encounter his anemic frame would never been able to handle that much stress. Still, there was something unnervingly familiar about Balances style of combat, in between the bouts of showboating, the basics were... were grating on the edge of his psyche.

    With a shouted kiai Balance lashed his leg out against Nero. Catching the ancestor across the temple with his kick this time he managed to turn his head. It still wasn't enough, and with a dark growl Balance slashed his other leg up and cut loose twice as much force, this time rocking Nero's head back. Carrying the kick through Balance stepped on Nero's shoulder and rammed an even harder kick down on the apostle's head from above, driving Chaos's shocked looking face straight into the concrete.

    Arcueid wobbled a bit as the ground shook under her. The irony of the two before her fighting like this, well if it hadn't been Balance she wouldn't have believed it. Taking account of the last fight she'd seen Nero in, and the severe beating she'd gotten during it, things were probably going to go poorly from here on out unless she or Shiki could intervene. Against Balance's insistence the princess had already tried a few less noticeable tricks with her marble phantasm, and as she'd suspected there wasn't a way to hurt Nero directly with it. As far as the power went, she was pretty much back to where she was before Shiki had killed her, maybe if she could manage full strength, or someone could explain to her a trick that would let her cut across. This stuff was so different than fighting Roa, she hated the roundabout way Balance handled things. She shared a glance with Shiki.

    "I'm not having any luck." the princess whispered, "I hope you're ready with your Nanaya side if we need it."

    Shiki looked at Arcueid oddly, "Nanaya?" he asked, unsure of what she meant, "My old clan?"

    "Eh..." Arcueid's eyes widened slightly, a sweatdrop forming on the side of her head, "Uh oh..."

    Before them, within the space in between, Balance spun in midair, fast handwork cutting apart a trio of chaos beasts that had worked around to buy their master time. A multitude of limbs had already sprouted from Nero's dark flesh and lifted him to his feet before Balance could cross the distance. Unwilling to go toe to toe again, the fighter darted to the side, skimming past a swarm of converging beasts so quickly he almost seemed to phase.

    "It seems that typical measures will not be enough against one of your capacity." Nero noted, a few flakes of cement falling from his hair, "A situation I've rarely come upon, and one only Arcueid has ever managed to survive."

    Lowering his head and ducking to one knee Balance knelt low, gaining power to strike, speaking as he went, "I'll see if I can't meet or exceed her performance." he retorted with a sneer.

    "Unlikely." was the only reply from Nero as he held his arms out to the side, and with no preamble Balance charged straight at Nero.

    At that moment a number of things happened at once. In the distance both Arcueid and Shiki managed a shout of warning. Arcueid even stepped forward trying to force the issue with her currently ineffective will. In the continuity between them dozens of pinpricks of red light appeared across Nero's form, resolving quickly to more and more glowing eyes. Balance seeing this had already stopped his charge, coming up short and looking at the changing mass of chaos, perplexed. Time seemed to crawl for a moment, then Nero's chest lost all shape and form. A wall of solid blackness, dark as pitch and faster than fire on oil burst forth from Nvrnqsr. Fluid in form the wave crested over Balance and he disappeared.

    "NO! Dammit!" Arcueid growled, "He should have listened."

    "Not that stuff again." Shiki muttered.

    "To late does the fool realize the magnitude of his folly." Nero exclaimed, laughing to himself, "This, my Soil of Genesis, created from nigh five hundred of my contained forms shall break him down in mere... eh..."

    There was someone standing behind Nero, looking over his shoulder.

    "Oooh, that looks like it hurts." the shape spoke whimsically, letting loose an appreciative whistle, "So? Did ya get him? I think ya got him, whadda you think?"

    While never be it said that Nvrnqsr Chaos is one to get overly emotional, the sudden blaze of fire in his eyes, matching the sizzling waves of enraged heat coming off his head was probably the closest he ever come to it in his long existence. The form behind him took a wary step back as Nero began to snarl, his form wavering.

    "Sheesh," Balance quipped at the reaction, "There's a heckler in every audience."

    Shiki grabbed his head. How, when had it started to hurt? A headache blossomed out from behind his eyes. The stabbing pain was so great it almost felt as if the bones were cracking. He staggered drunkenly. What was doing this? Something in the style of that fighter, hidden in amongst the wasted movement and too high kicks, it was pulling at his brain, forcing something out. Shiki blinked as he caught himself. Wasted movement? Kicks, too high, and too many? It was the truth, but since when did he know that?

    Arcueid look back at Shiki, sadly. She'd seen that reaction before. The choices before her tore at her soul. Which way would Shiki go this time? Did she have a say in it? Would she want a say? Most importantly, would the choice she wanted in her heart be one they would, or could, live through.

    "Well." Balance quipped with a shrug, "I wouldn't blame you if you wanted to surrender."

    "Never." Nero spat back, eyes burning with venom as he looked back up... to find Balance wasn't there.

    "Good."

    With a start Nero realized Balance's voice was coming from below him! He looked down to see Balance coiled on the ground before his feet. The damn bastard was still fast enough to approach without his beasts being able to react.

    "Wouldn't want this to get boring." the other combatant said with a smile, springing up.

    This time Shiki caught the movement. His eyes were adjusting to the sudden changes in speed Balance was using. Catching the arc of Balance's rising leg Shiki held it in his vision. The effect was like nothing he'd ever seen. Halfway through the motion an sheen of air appeared around Balance's foot which pushed forward past it, looking like it had broken through a wall of suddenly appearing mist. Following that Shiki could barely make out a distorted ring expanding from where Balance's kick had passed through the barrier. Beyond that Shiki lost track as a strong impact blew the wind past his eyes. Blinking may have ruined his view but nothing could have made him miss the resounding CRACK that shook the courtyard.

    Nero's head spun back and away, his feet leaving the ground for a moment as he rocked away from the force of the kick that had just flattened the side of his face. Even as he slid Balance shifted from foot to foot, bringing a cold air swirling around him.

    "TATSUMAKI!" Balance shouted, the hopped up into a spinning kick. His foot whipped around and smashed Nero in the face again, then kept going through, catching the wind as it held him aloft through another pair of rotations, each one turning into a kick that kept battering Nero back. His opponent staggering Balance landed. Adjusting his body at an angle to the ground Balance kicked out in both directions, hard. One leg hit the ground and pushed the other forward with such force Nero was slammed skyward, but Balance wasn't nearly done with him yet.

    With no hint of prior motion Balance shot skyward, catching Nero in the air and ramming his fist into the swirling mass of Chaos's gut. Clearly trying to give Nero no chance to counter or recover Balance rained nigh a dozen spinning and twisting punches and kicks into the now churning chaos before him, then broke away, his fist starting to glow as he readied a stronger attack. Nero was made of sterner stuff than Balance expected though, as before he could continue he caught a fluke in the face, the entire tail of a whale forming out of Nero's body in mid swing and smashing him to the ground.

    Balance caught himself in midair, the direction of his fall changing slightly to allow him a safe landing on his feet. Nero himself managed a respectably graceful feet first crash to the ground which passed apparently as a safe fall in his eyes. The two glared at each other across the distance.

    "Tough bastard." Balance spat. Nero glared back at him. The dark apostle eyed the power leaking from Balance. It was a little more now than before. His calculation of the increase still showed a considerable amount of work ahead.

    "You don't understand!" Arcueid called out, starting forward, "Shiki! we have to help."

    "Uh? oh! Ok." Shiki managed to agree, heading after her. Something about that launching kick and juggle in the air had brought another twinge of pain from behind his eyes.

    "Maybe if you can cut enough of Nero's line's you'll give Balance an advantage." Arcueid instructed quickly, before Balance looked back at her angrily.

    "STAY OUT OF IT!" he roared back, shaking Arcueid out of her thoughts and freezing Shiki on the spot, "Come on guys, I'm doing this for you. It would all be pretty pointless if one of you got hurt."

    Behind him something from those words caught in Nero's mind. He lowered his head slightly and smiled. A new plan was forming. As Balance was looking away Nero never noticed him glance back without turning, nor saw Balance was wearing a slighter, but matching grin.

    Arcueid seemed torn, hesitating and shifting from foot to foot, "But you don't understand, you can't kill him normally."

    "Fall." Balance's voice seemed to come from everywhere at once. Nero slumped, his eyes widening as a strong force gripped him from within. In a black spray Nero's body was ripped in two straight down the middle, Balance appearing out of thin air in his place. Grinning the warrior caught himself as he stumbled, slightly spent, before the broken pieces of Nero chaos's form burst into a swarm of black tendrils, snakes and arms, forcing him to leap away.

    Rolling off and too his feet Balance's eyebrows knitted as his foe stood, in two pieces, the waving black tendrils of his being catching each other and pulling him back together. Shaking his head wearily Balance fixed his hair and gave Nero a halfhearted grin.

    "Yeah, yeah..." he grumbled, "I know I know, I suppose I should have done my homework on you earlier."

    "You can't hurt him with physical means." Arcueid explained, almost scolding in her impatience.

    Balance shot her an irreverent look over his shoulder, "Ya think?" he quipped.

    Nero's form wavered a bit as his more human body parts reknitted themselves. Flexing his hands he grimaced for a moment, getting his face to move to his command before looking up to those talking.

    "Hmm, True Ancestor..." the pale faced man spoke while thinking, "You seem to be more communicative this time, something has changed you relative to the current reality."

    "What of it Nero?" Arcueid spat back at him, shifting from foot to foot, her claws out.

    "Such anomalies intrigue me." the ancestral dark apostle remarked, dropping his hands to his pockets, "Given those variances, I could conceive, with work, of a reality where my personae was in no danger of being subsumed by my inherent condition. I find the possibility laudable at least."

    Nero cracked his neck and pulled back his lips into a sneer, looking at Balance, adding, "And all I need to accomplish for leverage in brokering such a windfall is to defeat one self deluding spirit that has a unconscionable aversion for doing away with his useless humanity. I should be so lucky all the time."


    "For a peon who lacks the merit of a good voice, this one certainly loves to hear himself talk."

    Standing with arms crossed in full lordly repose the golden king stared down at the image before him, undisguised disdain creasing his features.

    "He seems in no hurry to get on with this." Gilgamesh grumbled, "And after I was so hoping to at least get the barest glimmer of effort from the Slayer, some idea of his remaining capacity. This *Nero* had best not disappoint me for too much longer."

    "I am beginning to comprehend."

    A slight sidewards cocking of his head was all the reaction Gilgamesh deemed necessary for such an unexpected remark. It was still enough for him to glance at the mage standing off to the side. Obviously the old fool was deep in some lackluster train of thought. The golden king rolled his eyes and decided he should at least find out what the seer was up to.

    "Explain yourself." he commanded. While it was probably not the most common way for a person to talk to the master mage, Zelretch either let it slide or was too deep in thought to notice the inflection. Speaking in low tones the mage began to think out loud.

    "It's all in the paradoxes." he pointed out, "I'm finally starting to understand the choices that Gaia and Alaya made to reign in the wayward one, how they chose at least their first counter guardian."

    "From Paradoxes you say?" Gilgamesh repeated, looking closer into the image.

    "Yes, it seems some fundamental conservation principal is at work. The Balancer has begun a series of reactions and counter reactions, brought forth in the creation by balance, of imbalance." Zelretch mused, rubbing his beard, "As in nature, reality abhors imbalance, it reacts to it, often violently, in things such as earthquakes, and storms."

    "So you believe the Slayer has engendered his own little storm eh?" Gilgamesh remarked, somewhat uncaring.

    "Yes, one of paradoxes. A paradox storm, one that is reacting to paradox, with paradox." said the mage, shifting his hand over the image, bringing up a closer, more in depth view of Nvrnqsr, "This dark apostle ancestor for instance, supposedly a scion of chaos. Constructed of the delineated randomness that defines chaos, and yet in opposition to that, he possesses a very precise, logical, orderly mind."

    "So the Imbalancing Balancer has been paired off against Orderly Chaos." Gilgamesh said in a sigh, wondering why he was even bothering to feed the old man's ruminations, "And thus we discover another bit of useless information that doesn't help me in the least."

    "Still... if this is the case..." Zelretch continued, "It would suggest that the choice for an order guardian is also based on some sort of chaotic nature... yet I've heard of no such legends involving the King of Uruk."

    Gilgamesh leaned back where he stood, put his arms behind his head and, glancing away from Zelretch mumbled from the corner of his mouth, "You haven't seen behind my Gate of Babylon lately have you?"

    "Eh? What was that?" Zelretch said, breaking from his reverie, "I didn't quite catch it."

    Gilgamesh looked back over, "Nothing, nothing." he replied, a little too quickly. Not bothering to press the issue Zelretch turned back to the image. Projected therein Balance had opened some distance between himself and Nero, but was acting oddly. The human looking warrior had his head in his hand, cupping his fingers across the blue glow on his face.

    "Hmm, it looks like he's finally going to use the abilities of his eyes." Zelretch stated, more for himself, "Let's see how the truth will effect this encounter."


    For the first time in a few minutes everyone seemed content to catch their breath. The speed of the conflict so far had been hectic and just watching it was wearing on Shiki. Balance too looked a little worse for wear, his head bowed, his fingers pinching the bridge of his nose. Even Nero was a little more ragged then usual, the faux form of the jacket he always created around himself looking even more worn then usual. Between all of them only Arcueid seemed hopping to go, shifting from foot to foot, eyes darting about looking for an edge or an answer.

    The new silence was deafening. There was simply no noise being made around them. The few remaining chaos beasts outside Nero, both large cats, padded noiselessly at a distance, just mulling about. The sound of breathing was muted by the distance of dimension that deadened background noise. For a hanging moment there was simply no sound.

    It ended not with a word, or the sound of an action, but a slight sizzle. Tears of blue energy dripped from the pools that made up Balance's ruined eyes to the concrete, burning their way into the ground yet again. It was only a small noise, but it was enough to get things started.

    "It pains me to admit." Balance started, no looking up, "That Nero at the time was right about my inability to hurt him."

    "A wise admission." Nero pointed out.

    "I have obviously been more than hampered by a lack of information about my opponent." Balance continued, "I suppose I'll have to rectify that."

    "Well at least your seeing reason now!" Arcueid called out, "I can tell you what you need to know quick! You see Nero..."

    A waved hand from Balance and a soft smile towards her brought the Princess of True Ancestors up short. He closed his eyelids, shutting off the glow from beyond them and cocked his head at her.

    "I appreciate the offer Arcueid." he remarked in a kindly but somewhat authoritative manner, "But I'd rather do this my own way."

    Arcueid crossed her arms and grumbled back, "Oh whatever, do what you will." and quietly shaking her head, "Smug jerk."

    Shiki was caught a little off guard by Arcueid's rebuke, and his own reaction to it. Why was it when Arcueid acted angrily towards Balance that Shiki didn't mind him as much? He put the thought out of his mind as the warrior turned back towards Nero.

    Shaking his head, Balance explained, "I didn't want to do this you know... my current condition makes it hard for me to keep such sensitive objects functional without a great deal of concentration."

    "Hmm? Sensitive equipment?" Nero mused. Balance looked up at him, the glowing pools where his eyes should be lit the dark apostle ancestor in an off blue light.

    "Hasn't something been missing?" the warrior quipped, running a hand downward over his brow, "My eyes, they aren't here are they?"

    With a thought the energy drained from Balance's face, leaving a pair of darkened holes where his eyes should be. Nero gasped and stepped back.

    "What? Your eyes aren't there?" he said with a shock, "I thought they'd just been hidden... you mean to tell me you've been doing all the things you've done so far, completely blind?!"

    "Heh, not so blind I'll admit." Balance returned with a smile, "I long ago increased the power of my notice to bring my other senses up to a point that I can actually get more information from them than a normal person gets using only their eyes."

    "Hmm... then a three dimensional omnisense." Nero remarked with a nod, "An ability noted in the most capable of human warriors, and those that have for a time lost their sight. It would follow someone with such skill may possess it."

    Balance smiled and shrugged, "I get by." he replied, "See I don't really need my eyes for sight, in fact they see so well sometimes they get in the way. I hadn't thought I'd need them, but you've proved me wrong."

    "Your eyes are special in some way?" Nero grumbled, not liking the sound of that, he took a second to think of it, "If your energies are burning out your eyes it seems likely they possess more than the average number of magical circuits and an abnormally large flow pattern, so what particular mystic ability do you speak of?"

    "Oh it'll become clear enough." his sightless foe said cryptically, clutching at his eyes.

    Nero thought to take a step forward, but the flow of energy around his target had shifted enough he realized that such a display of inattentiveness could easily be a trap, especially since this balancer could sense him no matter what direction was approached. The was a slight ripple in the air, the wind picking up. It flowed inwards, towards Balance's clenched hands, even darkening slightly, the suspended water and minerals within normal air condensing enough to see. As Balance looked up a tear of blue fell down his cheek to burn the ground. He glanced over, as if seeing it for the first time, for now he could truly see it. His eyes, each a slightly different shade of hazel that seemed to shift color when one tried to look into them, turned back towards Nero, just preceding a knowing smirk from their owner. His own eyes narrowing Nero looked back down their stare and into Balance's new eyes. For a moment he saw nothing all too odd about them, but then he caught it, there was a slight difference about the iris on each eye, they were changing. In a moment they turned a dark glowing blue, that slowly shifted upwards in tone, until they mimicked the rest of the sky blue energy floating around their owner. In those eyes Nero could see just a hint of precise formed crystal.

    "Dragon's eyes." Nero gasped, "Also known as Eyes of Perfect Crystal, Or Eyes of True Sight."

    "Got it in one." Balance said cocking his head and sporting an equally sidelong grin.

    "A legendary ability, fitting one of your status." Nero continued to explain, "The eyes of a dragon, reputed to be able to see the truth of all things clearly, even in some cases an object's past, present and future can be reflected in them. In fact the name dragon itself comes from the effect of their eyes, based of the greek word drac which means clear sighted."

    Nero stopped when he noticed everyone was looking at him in a way that could only be described as less than impressed. Even Balance's shoulders were slumping a bit.

    "Okaayyy, someone's been digging a bit to much into the World Book." he remarked somewhat exasperated.

    "As you've already commented, knowledge is important." Nero pointed out defensively.

    "I've heard some people call him the professor." Arcueid whispered.

    "It fits." Balance said back, under his breath, then looked back at Nero and began to chuckle.

    "Is something funny?" the dark apostle growled.

    "Well, it just figures... someone else practically immune to physical damage." Balance said, shaking his head, "I can see you now Nrvnqsr, I can see what you are. If the single word *you* is all that appropriate anymore."

    "So the mystic dragon's eyes can even make out my chaotic existence."

    "A single entity composed of six hundred and sixty seven pieces." Balance remarked, then added when Nero looked at him oddly, "No, I'm right, six hundred and sixty six inducted beasts, and one original being, the remnants of your original form, imposed on top."

    "That is a way to see it."

    "Man, to think I've been getting beaten on by someone with the name Fabro... Oh the shame."

    Nero bristled, "It was and still is an honorable name thank you, even if I don't use it anymore."

    "Ok ok, don't be so melodramatic." Balance said with a smirk, closing one eye and looking at Nero slyly out of the corner of the other, "But what is thiiissss eh? Our good Mr. Chaos isn't all here today. Only a bit more than five hundred beasts in you? Seeing you've been throwing up about fifty playmates a piece to keep our persistent nuns out there busy that still leaves you with around sixty missing parts."

    "You can see all that?" Nero said, his eyebrows knitting.

    "Oh I bet I can even figure why." the other said with smug confidence, "Seeing as you've come between a pair of continuities, of which you were killed in both, someone's hedging their bets, not playing their entire hand so they have something left to run with if things go south."

    "Clever." Nero growled, his voice at a threatening depth. Balance just held up a hand, palm forward, towards Nero. The dark apostle ancestor blinked. The hand began to glow.

    "Well let's see what I can do about the rest."

    The burst of light caught people's attention half a city away. Up close Arcueid and Shiki sunk back, covering their eyes as Nero Chaos was speared with first dozens, then hundreds of separate finger thick beams. The air around Balance whirled in a spectral tempest as he literally burned with energy, scorching the ground on which he stood. Nero, taken aback was lit by a similar effect as the blazing beams cut into him, burning their way out his back.

    Holding his arms up in an instinctual protective posture Nero quickly took stock of the attack. The chaos he was made of boiled and rolled as the abuse continued.

    "Incredible!" he shouted over the roar, "He must be able to see individuals out of the chaos within me! His attacks actually decrease the number of my available familiars, even though I haven't sent them forth!"

    With a look of annoyance on his face Balance cut the barrage. The wind returned to normal, and with it the lighting. Shiki and Arcueid were able too look up. The brilliant glow dissipated across the city and by trick or chance was quickly forgotten.

    Clutching his fist Balance cursed, "Damn, I can't pull it off like this." he grumbled, "Without more energy backing me I can only split my focus about two hundred fifty ways, nowhere near enough to pull Nvrnqsr down."

    "Only two hundred fifty..." Nero looked on in shock, "He blew half the chaos beasts out of my body and he's complaining... no one has ever... it's time I took this more seriously."

    Balance nodded, thinking, "It'll have to go to plan then I guess." he remarked to himself then looked up at Nero, "So, let's see what I can see."

    Balance nodded with a grin, then started tapping a foot on the ground. As he caught a beat the air around his foot swirled slightly and he kicked off into it, sliding across the ground without touching it. Smiling Balance tapped the ground here and there, touching down only to make sudden changes in direction as he slid backwards to Nero's right. Spotting something he let on a burst of speed, blurring a bit as he cut the distance between himself and Nero.

    "His speed is slowed, possibly because of concentration to maintain his eyes." Nero noted, backing up as Balance rushed in at him. It was true, Balance was moving noticeably slower. This time Nero managed to force half a dozen beasts in between them. Balance picked out the bull at the front of the pack for an entrance, leaping onto it's back and pouncing towards Nero.

    "A mistake in your condition!" Nero growled, his form rippling. An lance of blackest pitch burst forth from Nero's body, a dark menagerie of claws, fangs, mouths and blades, streaking straight at Balance. Given his newly reduced speed, and being in midair, there appeared no way to dodge the attack. Balance didn't even try, for he could see now, see the truth. He looked into the arm, saw into the chaos, and knew once the chaos left Nero's physical form it gained definition as both strength, and weakness. He could see the lines where one beast stopped and the next began. Balance's hands moved together, forwards towards Nero's outspread arm, his fingers at first cupped then spreading out like a flower touching safe spots in the midst of a sea of death. He pushed ahead and curled his fingers outward.

    Nero's jaw nearly hit the floor as his mighty arm of chaos burst apart, splattering like fluid against Balance's hands. For a moment he lost the sight of his foe amongst the outpouring of his own uncontrolled chaos, then Balance burst through, one arm cocked back. Nero almost managed a backwards step before the fist collided with his face with a resounding boom. As fast as a flash the hand's positioning changed to a palm heel and there was another powerful crack, this one setting loose a swirling shockwave across the courtyard.

    "Come on!" Balance roared, touching down before Nero and smashing him with the strange two part punch again and again, "Is that it? A couple of little gnats? Is that all you can manage against a lowly human?!"

    Balance drew a fist back low, pulling a weave of energy around it before letting it blast up and forward, smashing Nero into the air. Landing quickly from the flying uppercut Balance darted under Nero and jumped up at him, aiming another punch to his face. Nero snarled back at him and before Balance could reach he was hit with a scything blow from a crocodile tail, smashing him back to the ground.

    "Better bastard!" Balance jeered, looking up, "But is that all you ca... oooh shit..."

    In all the world, even Balance couldn't figure out exactly how and where the fully grown African bull elephant had managed to pull itself from Nero's much smaller form, neither did he really care. Most of what he was caring about was how much it hurt when eight tons of elephant landed, back first, smack dab on his face and drove him a good couple of yards into the concrete.

    "Gyaahh... oww." Shiki gasped, eyes wide, "I guess an Elephant is fine too?"

    And Arcueid just lost it.

    Shiki was left scratching his head.

    "I didn't think it was that funny." he mumbled. The ground started to shake.

    As a guttural roar sounded from beneath the feebly twitching, rather confused looking elephant the beast was lifted, slowly back into the air. His teeth gritted, jaw clenched Balance managed to stand with the weight of the beast across his shoulders. Growling he sneered back up at Nero.

    "Sorry, not my type. You can have it back." he growled, heaving the beast skyward. The fated midair collision was much less dire than it appeared. The elephant's shape melted around Nero then absorbed back into him, with no regards to the force it had been thrown.

    The two fighters met again across the battlefield, Nero landing as Balance pulled himself up from the crater. Both looked less than happy.

    "Feeble." Balance chided, "Feeble feeble, still feeble, all your attempts and you can do little more than surprise me? I'd expected better."

    The chaotic space within Nero's body boiled and rolled, nearly a thousand red eyes glaring out of him in rage. Nero's own form wavered as he stood, jaw clenched, fists tight. The two opponents looked at each other, one smiling, one glowering. Even through his rage Nero noticed the energy leaking out of Balance had left a trail of burnt concrete in his wake. There had been even more in the bottom of the crater. Judging by the severity of the leak it shouldn’t take much more, not all that much more.

    "I will rip you apart for this indignity." Nero threatened, his bolstered confidence not showing through his dour demeanor. Balance smiled back, hunching over and spreading his stance. Holding his arms outward and his legs wide apart the warrior nearly touched the ground with his chin, his stance so low, yet didn't waver a bit. A look of feral glee spread across his features.

    He who makes a beast out of himself
    "Oh that sounds like the attitude I'm looking for." Balance replied with his feral smirk almost bisecting his face, "You're ready to start, come on."

    Gets rid of the pain of being a man
    The space between the two opponents seemed to lengthen, stretch to hold the animosity between them. Chaos snarled. Balance grinned. Arcueid and Shiki took a step back. The air held tight to one last pregnant pause.

    "Lets play this game."

    Ready at last, they cut loose

    Section 12 End
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



    Don't displease Tiny Turtle

  4. #24
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Oh good - we're getting closer to catching up.

  5. #25
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    I was hoping you'd at least read it Kieran and give me your opinion on if it turned out better. I know Inugami is our resident wise acher for this kind of thing but anyone who read the original I hope can see the work that went into improving this section.

    Oh that and we'll be caught up after the next post that's coming soon.
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



    Don't displease Tiny Turtle

  6. #26
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    This does seem to flow a lot better than I remember - can't quite put my finger on why, though. Too early in the morning, I guess.

    I will say that the coloured text is a lot easier to read than it usually is. The cyan's an improvement over the blue you used to use.

  7. #27
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    The last of the already seen chapters arrives. Not many people may have seen this one so I hope you enjoy. The real fireworks start now.

    BTW, the song interspersed is Avenged Sevenfold, Bat Country. Hope you like it. I think it fits.


    Crossings Section 13, unlucky for one, Begin

    Feet slid effortlessly across concrete, making no sound and feeling no friction.

    He who makes a beast out of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man

    Edges of a cloak billowed out spreading. The shadows around became encompassed by a further blackness. They too spat forth their filth of ripe chaos. Eyes, red in the mass became the only factor by which one could even hope to delimit a number, if one could count that high that quickly. From one came tens, hundreds, a living tide of black. Bodies began to take form as Nero Chaos filled his entire half of the playing field with a mighty swarm of blackest evil. His face seemed the one white point in a sea of black that spread out from him like ripples on a pond of oil. All facing one direction. All baring at breakneck speed forward.

    Objectives, travel speeds, relative velocities. More information than normal eyes could take in and pass to the brain. The truth about all things, that is a very wide concept, limited by the capacity of the brain to process. His eyes opened to the truth. Perfect count in a microsecond. Vectors, distance, the precise where’s, where they were going, and where they would be, and what’s of every single beast in his line of sight.
    Two gigantic egos slipped towards each other. Two beings to whom the concept of failure meant as nothing for it didn’t happen. The primeval scream wordless between the both of them.

    YOU DARE?!

    One beast, the fastest, a great cat broke free of the pack. It flashed across the distance, making a mockery space between figure and sea. A hand reached out, picked it up and casually spiked it into the ground. The beast’s own momentum carrying it, skidding on its ruined face, between the star crossed lovers standing in attendance of the spectacle.

    Caught here in a fiery blaze, wont lose my will to stay

    To surround the many moved. Beasts of all kinds and numbers. Rending tooth and claw on the low. Piercing wall of spiked chitin and antlers on high. Mass and momentum up the middle.

    Into the press the one dove. A foot caught purchase on the ground, while the other spun out, smashing a skull. The victim spun into the wave it’s change of velocity forcing all coherence from it as it plowed through chaotic flesh, sinew and bone. On into the breach the one leapt, kicking and punching here and there, so precise the strikes that animals hit would tumble into their fellows. This way attacks yet unmade came truly undone. Prescience trumped ferocity again and again.

    I try-yai-yaied to drive all through the night

    To rend, tear and claw the many moved. Weapons of all kinds and numbers. Their prey was surrounded, but elusive. The will commanded their victory, so they charged in. Beast upon beast upon beast. So many that the sky turned black under their numbers.

    Wheeling and spinning the one strove. Over one beast, a shoulder roll across a deer type, under a great cat. Hands sliced into vulnerable spots, feet smashed crushing blows that blasted foes into others. A great bovine came forth and was slipped away from then grabbed by the horns. One spin and the beast smashed into the ground.

    The heat stroke ridden weather, the barren empty sights

    To overpower the many moved. Great beasts of all types and numbers. Their prey was in their midst and strong. Larger and larger beasts charged into the press. So many that the ground trembled under their tread.

    Demonically grinning the one raged. Up a beast and down another, straight through one and betwixt the others. A great bear loomed, all full of power and rage. Its head was grabbed, the one’s body whipping into the sky then down between the beasts legs. A surge of strength lent the bear a perfect view inside it’s own rectum, twisted forward over on itself.

    No oasis here to see

    To ensnare the many moved. A swirl there came of all the types and many numbers. Forward they pressed, towards the great crater left before. There would be advantage there. Limit the movement. Go for the kill. The scent of the one suggested weakness, wounding. The beasts moved to close.

    Over the one went into the pit, grinning all the way. Atop dove beast after beast. Masses of blackness interspersed with dots of red. Clawing and biting out of sight in the crater. A hand lashed out against, then a leg. A beast went flying outside of it’s volition, then another and another. Now from the crater screams did issue as the blackness was beaten back with aplomb. Flying they went in their masses and multitudes and turn they did. Only the great tiger made it before a hand reached out over him and pulled him back in.

    the sand is singing deathless words to me

    A pummeled feline soared through the air, landing so hard at Arcueid’s feet it cracked the pavement and she found herself raised slightly on the broken pieces of concrete. She smiled and looked at Shiki. He was both trying to watch the fight and taking swings at the chaos beasts that strayed too close. His speed was awful though and he barely managed to get close to anything, no less hit it.

    Arcueid nodded and stretched her hands out in claws. His headaches looked like they were getting worse. She’d have to end this soon. Fortunately the circumstances lent her just the ability to do that. Her golden eyes began to glow.

    Can't you help me as I'm starting to burn

    Arcueid stood a second, getting Balance’s position down. It wasn’t as hard as Nero was having it. He was leaving an obvious rhythm but apparently Nero was tone deaf . Maybe it was just that she was supposed to know, it didn’t really matter. Just as long as she could do this…

    With a strange omnipresent whine the entire battlefield started to shake. Arcueid’s power flowed around her. If she knew exactly how she was doing what she was doing could have been up for debate, but such things would have been at best rhetorical. With one quick swipe the land obeyed her command.

    All alone

    “Damn!” Nero grunted, his footing shaken along with the scene, “Zelretch, you better be watching this.”

    And with one flexing of her will the land burst forth a swarm of chains. Arcueid pulled forth the bindings that held even her tight from the very earth. With glee the Princess of the True Ancestors joined the fray as it had become obvious to her that the ground in each dimension was connected to the rest,. Shadow beasts were skewered and smashed in their dozens as spike tipped chains rammed into them.

    Too many doses and I'm starting to get an attraction

    “Not so sure of yourself now are you Nero?” Arcueid laughed as he chains wrapped his unmoving form.

    A living maelstrom of chaos as he may be even Nero was suddenly concerned. The spike tipped chains began to pierce into his blackness trying their best to find something, anything to gain traction on. The chaos slid out of the way of every attempt, so far. Even without that Balance was now handily cleaning up his chaos beasts backed by an army of flailing chains.

    My confidence is leaving me on my own

    “Zelretch do something!” Nero roared.


    Weaving his hands quickly across his crystal kaleidoscope the Wizard Martial fought quickly against time. He had delayed preventing Arcueid access to the horizon world between dimensions for too long. While he could have done so at any time, he was limited to barring access to only one of the two worlds with his current power.

    Zelretch cursed himself. The choice should have been obvious between some rouge human and the Princess of True Ancestors, but he just hadn’t the heart to tear Arcueid away from this so easily. His weakness must not stop him.

    With a quick weave he finished the spell.


    All alone

    It seemed the words of panic had barely left Nero’s mouth before their request saw fruit. As Arcueid’s chains ripped across the landscape a eerie force rippled back against them. Before her confused eyes the Princess watched her attacks begin to pass through the chaos beasts instead of rending into them. She wailed as her wrapping around Nero broke apart and fell away.

    “No!” she cried, punching the ground so hard it broke, yet remained untouched as a phantom before her, “Grandfather no…”

    No one can save me and you know I don't want the attention

    Eyes focused Balance tore through the chaos beasts twice as fast. Growling in rage he struck out at three, even four chaos beasts at a time, swinging through one to get to another behind it, or sending kicks around their apparent target to surprise a lagging beast. The effect was shocking. Just as quickly as it had seemed things were going to turn for Nero Balance started to snowplow through his beasts so hard he was making a bow wave.

    “He’s stronger than I’d anticipated in his condition.” Nero grudgingly admitted, breaking off another splash of chaos for a different tact, “Yet he wears his weakness on his sleeve, he’ll regret his words.”

    Shiki grimaced. His headache was getting worse. Maybe if he hadn’t shed his glasses so early. Seeing the death lines was starting to wear on him. Besides that Arcueid had confused him when she’d asked about lines or dots. How many dots was he supposed to be seeing, and where?

    As I-yaii-yai adjust to my new sights

    He reached out with his knife at a passing creature, one he didn’t exactly recognize, and scored a hit on a line. The grey chaos beast parted like water and splashed down on the ground. With a smile Shiki turned to Arcueid a moment before the pool of blackness grabbed his leg and knocked him over.

    “Whaaaaa?” Shiki blurted out, catching himself. Looking back a swarm of black snakes was gripping his leg. With a quick motion that surprised even him Shiki chopped the offending serpents off and stood. A strange feeling overtook the youth and he turned to see Arcueid looking at him almost sadly.

    “Shiki I…” she started before noticing a shift in Nero’s Beasts, “Wait! Watch out!”

    The rarely tired lights

    Barely warned Shiki dodged out of the way of an oncoming paw strike. He staggered through and just past an eagle that missed him by inches. The force of the impact of bird with earth pushed Shiki off his feet and he rolled aside.

    “No you didn’t…” Arcueid gasped, looking towards Balance, “You, you…”

    In the press of monsters Balance looked back over his shoulder… and smiled.

    Will take me to new heights

    Shiki tried to run from the beasts, but there were so many he couldn’t help but fight. Out his blade slashed and took the head off a great cat. Down his blade cut and glanced off the side of a mighty crocodile. Dancing past he rolled by the monsters trying to get some distance as Arcueid futilely slashed her claws at the grayed out beasts.

    The teen assassin dodged over and over, his actions getting a little more sure of themselves but still not enough. A claw slashed his side, doubling him over and a bestial fist almost felled him. He managed to escape only through wild luck and Arcueid’s warnings. His knife took the arm of the beast coming after him but it broke down into a chaos sludge that started slowing his movements.

    My hand is on the trigger I'm ready to ignite

    Nero grinned wordlessly. The young mortal would make a good snack for his beasts. How foolish the Balancer had been pointing out that his plan hinged on the Princess and her… lesser companion. His beasts, slipped cunningly into the boys reality, would soon end this slight mess, and hopefully leave his real foe open to defeat.

    It was so simple indeed.

    Shiki pulled himself free of the black ooze only to be grabbed by another creature. He chopped it’s head off with a quick slash and freed his leg finally. There were dozens of these damn things. Why were they attacking him now? If that was Nero’s new tactic he was in a lot of trouble. How could he protect Arcueid in his condition? The anemia was beginning to wear.

    Tomorrow might not make it but everything's all right

    “Shiki look out!”

    Arcueid’s warning reached him at the very same moment Nero’s second wave came in. Shiki was bowled over. He slashed out again and again, cutting half a dozen monsters to pieces. Slashes against slashes and blade against fang he fought. The wall of beasts tore at him.

    If only he could do more. If only he could see more.

    Mental fiction follows me

    Arcueid gasped as the beasts around Shiki leapt in on him. Tears filled her eyes. It was going to happen again. She could do nothing about it.

    Shiki railed internally against the indignity of it all. He’d died before, but could he afford to die now? There was only what he could see.. Only these things he could see with his eyes.

    The beasts landed on Shiki, and there was an explosion of blood, gore and sinew.

    Show me what it's like to be set free

    There was a figure in the rain of blood. A figure smiling as he was washed over by the gone. It ran down his features, through his grinning teeth, matting his hair.

    “No…” Arcueid whispered, “Shiki…”

    He could only see… these… dots…

    Wiping his hair out of his glowing blue eyes Shiki turned his glare at Nero.

    “You want to kill me do you monster?” he growled, “Very well, let’s die together Nero Chaos!”

    Can't you help me as I'm starting to burn
    All alone


    Another wall of monsters raised above the young assassin’s head. He just blurred, totally uncaring, his knife describing a corkscrew arc, and they came apart en masse. It was nothing to him.

    A great bovine charged in. One flick of his wrist and knife met dot. The chaos beast exploded into nothingness.

    Nero’s eyes widened as the boy stepped forward. The child had the gall to challenge HIM?! He swept wave after wave of monsters at the boy only to have them beaten! This was impossible!

    Too many doses and I'm starting to get an attraction

    As Shiki attacked so too did Balance turn on Nero’s beasts and begin thrashing. Leaping a bear with it’s head shoved up it’s ass he drove forward. The both of them struck and black goo began to fly in abundance. The two were like a pair of twin blenders boring their way through the endless waves of black. The sea of chaos swirled around them. The beasts of chaos reached for them. The touch of chaos was thrown back, shattered, again and again.

    My confidence is leaving me on my own
    All alone


    “This cannot be!” Nero gasped, “Even the Princess couldn’t destroy us, yet now we’re disappearing one after another?!”

    Shiki dot stabbed a saber tooth tiger that charged him. It vanished in a mighty puff. He smiled but the emotion didn’t reach his cold blue eyes.

    No one can save me and you know I don't want the attention

    Nero took a wary step back, almost an onlooker in the carnage before him. Two whirling dervishes of destruction blending their way through his beasts, making of them less than cannon fodder. He growled and pulled back his attack from the boys universe. He would have to make due wearing the Balancer down. This little duet would have to stop now.

    The beasts around Shiki began to waver and grey. He didn’t care in the least. This was no longer a battle of physicality, but perception. His arm slipped out and his knife carved the lines. Nothing would change that. Nero belonged to him.

    So sorry you're not here

    Shiki broke into a run amidst the beasts. He swung out to the left while the monsters passed him unawares as they were. An alligator flew in two. Again he attacked, switching his grip on the knife and carving ahead, his hand a blur. The beasts came apart on the lines and Shiki ducked low to dot stab a tiger in the flank. The beast exploded into nothingness.

    Nero’s eyes widened, his mouth agape as he gasped, “What? What is this? He can’t do that!”

    White, bloodless face aghast in a blank stare of horror the dead apostle ancestor watched Shiki. The boy didn’t slow down a bit in his attacks. It couldn’t be.

    I've been sane too long my visions so unclear


    Zelretch blinked…

    It wasn’t often something surprised even him, but here this boy had managed to. Even separated by dimensional barriers the youth could attack and kill. Even more remarkably he could destroy elements of chaos that could not under normal circumstances be ended in any means short of annihilation.

    “Clever child.” Zelretch grumbled, rubbing his chin as he watched, “We’ve been played. That technique, a magan, effects anything in his perception. I can only block one fighter or the other by bending that dimension closer to one of theirs. Now what do I do?”

    Drawing his view in closer to Shiki Zelretch stared into his blue glowing eyes. Realization dawned over him.

    “Mystic Eyes of Death Perception… how did he know…” the Wizard Marshal scowled at the image, then spun his back on it. With a wave of his hand he dismissed that failed experiment to the ether. The Balancer had proven a bit more cunning than was planned for. Could he actually do it?

    That could, should and must not be possible.


    Now take a trip with me

    Balance grinned merrily. Leaping through the air he rained punches down on the milling throng below him, then ended with a flourish on landing. He dashed a cougar against the ground so hard it splattered. His grin shifting more wicked he bent backwards almost over on himself and slipped away from the punches of a great gorilla, leaving the beast with nothing but a bear with it’s cranium stuck up it’s anus to look at.

    Running low across the ground the warrior cleared a path for himself with lashing punches then rolling kicks. Smashing his way through he had time to gaze in wonder at all the creatures Nero had. Ibex, antelope, panther, elephant, fox… lions and tigers and bears oh my. He ended up wondering if there was anything Nero hadn’t eaten into himself at one time or another.

    Catching Nero’s eye Balance smiled and waved him a merry salute before laying into the press of beasts.

    but don't be surprised when things aren't what they seem

    Shiki and Balance both ignored the dead apostle in the middle of his swarm for the moment. They concentrated on his beasts, almost as if not wanting the fun to end. The vented their anger on creature after creature, sometimes half a dozen at a time.

    He simply couldn’t believe it. His beasts… his precious familiars were taking an horrendous pounding. Never before had Nero seen a battle in which even those parts of himself all but bereft of will were hesitant to join.

    Caught here in a fiery blaze, won't lose my will to stay

    Shiki drove his knife into an ancient cat right out of the history books, kicked off a snarling dog beast and took it up a notch. Chopping a hawk in two before it even landed he blazed a trail through the monsters before him. This time, this time there was no screaming, no fumbling, no accidental falling and killing Nero with a ill aimed slash. This time he would kill Nero the right way. Take the monster out! He would do it, no one else. This Balance would have to take a back seat. It was bad enough he was ahead on killing monsters., but there were always more of them… at least till after he was done.

    Balance ripped off the gorillas arms with raw power then beat it to death with the wet ends. Twisting the arms like multi piece staves he beat through the mess of creatures around him. The creatures were beginning to loathe coming close so he lengthened his range. In seconds he had monsters flying through the air like baseballs. Flailing back with such force the creatures cracked trees, impaled themselves on branches and bounced off the ground. Shiki was getting better, he’d have to take it up another notch or so to keep up with the new competition.

    These eyes won't see the same, after I flip today

    “They’re having FUN.” Nero gasped with inestimable horror, “I strike at them with a sea of familiars, send hundreds to overwhelm them, and they’re having FUN!”

    Nero took a step back. The insanity of the place was gripping him so badly he couldn’t tell the depth of it. Were these two fighters insane to take him on, to dive into the depths of a chaos maelstrom? Maybe he was insane. Surely standing in the midst of this calamity did nothing to advance his goals. It was as if he, a dark apostle ancestor, was transfixed by the vicious beauty of the dance going on before him. It was all to much.

    Balance punched a springbok up into the air, caught it with a high kick then axed the beast horns first into an unidentified feline creature. Reaching out to each side he caught a pair of beasts and pile drove the both of them into the concrete, flipped off the impact and landed on a surprised ox with enough force to splatter it’s head.

    Shiki blended a wolf into paste, chopped the limbs off a elk and left it flopping on the ground then minced a vulture down to a feather duster. Hopping off a horse he eviscerated a dog, reindeer, owl and wildebeest. After that it was off with the heads of a dozen monsters, and he wasn’t even breathing hard yet.

    He turned to leave. There was no point in all this. Nero had decided to call it quits. With a rippling of his coat hundreds more creatures swarmed into the park. He would have to cover his escape using them, possibly expending their very existences. The swirl of battle shifted as Balance plowed around him.

    “Going somewhere?” the warrior quipped, setting his battle right in Nero’s path. With a snarl Nero’s body reacted, forcing Balance to dodge an impossible appendage of claws, teeth and talon.

    “I’ve had enough of you!” Nero roared, his form shifting and roiling as limb after pseudo pod burst from his blackness. The balancer danced through it, slipping out of the way of each mass of dubious form.

    “Your feet!” Arcueid warned in a shout, “Don’t stand in his shadow!”

    “To late.” Nero said with his own jagged tooth grin. The shadows at Nero’s feet burst up and grabbed the balancer tight. Startled for a moment he barely caught the shark’s mouth that tried to bite him and threw it back. Nero formed a mass of blackness above them and dropped it on both him and his enemy.

    “Now die!” the chaos creature roared, smashing Balance into himself. The fighter seemed to vanish into the ground, pulled down into Nero’s glop.

    “I wouldn’t count on that.” Arcueid remarked, looking at the scene with a discerning eye.

    Shiki dodged in through the vastly cut numbers of beasts, calling back “I’ll get him!” to Arcueid. The Princess just shrugged. It wouldn’t mean much in any case. To form a soil of genesis like Nero was took so many of his inherent forms he would have nowhere near enough beasts to deal with Shiki. She’d seen that before.

    A strange arm the size of a tree trunk split from Nero’s form straight at Shiki. The Nanaya simply slipped to the side and chopped it off, but before he could close he too had to avoid the dark shadows at his feet. Nero had sprouted a mighty dragon who’s wings attempted to block off all light near the dodging and bounding opponent.

    “This one is tough as expected.” Nero growled, his body undulating, “But even he will break down eventually.”

    Racing from side to side Shiki lopped off one of the dragon’s wings and dodged away from the monstrosity’s claws. He hit the ground and rolled away as it’s head smashed right where he had been a second before.

    From within Nero his absorbed victim mused. Looking around with golden hued eyes the darkness surrounding him was nigh transparent but he wasn’t seeing what he was looking for. Arms and legs crossed Balance dripped burning blue into Nero’s innards but was unable to find any core from within the lair of the king beast. He was a bit disappointed, but such things weren’t that much of a concern.

    With a mighty puff Nero’s dragon vanished into nothingness. The ancestor scowled at his young foe. Shiki simply followed up by dicing Nero’s lines of defense and charging in towards him. Without their master showing any noticeable concern the beasts within Nero reacted. The mouth of a crocodile which at full length must have rivaled a city bus burst from the chaotic form straight at Shiki who slashed it in to, both neutralizing it’s threat and taking off Nero’s shoulder.

    The Dead Apostle Ancestor looked aghast at his wound as the whirling limbs sprouting from his body held the assassin boy at bay. Disbelief clouded his features.

    “I can’t regenerate it!?” he spouted, “What is this, how can I be destroyed by being cut?”

    “Shiki!” Arcueid called, “Watch for fireworks!”

    His only real response a backwards glance the Nanaya assassin leapt away from Nero. Only seconds later parts of Nero started to crackle and glow. Beams of blue light started cutting their way out and around him and Chaos grunted with the exertion of holding himself together.

    “You’re not leaving.” Nero spoke with authority, “No one can escape my Soil of Genesis once so thoroughly ensconced.”

    Even with this he could almost feel the force inside him smile. With a shuddering crack a first glowing blue form split from Nero’s chest, then another and another. In an inverted star pattern five glowing polygonal shapes ripped free of Nero then spread. From their core Balance leapt free then wheeled about in midair and blasted his jailer in the face with an energy bolt.

    Sometimes I don't know why we'd rather live than die

    Landing back to back with Shiki, Balance raised a hand and made a few quick motions. Catching them over his shoulder Shiki nodded and crouched lower. The pair waited a split second as Nero’s shadow shifted back to it’s normal formlessness and his beasts burst free en masse again. The pair leapt away from each other at the same time, breaking into runs they sliced through the creatures in their way.

    “What? What are you..?” Nero remarked haltingly as he tried to keep an eye on both fighters at once. The two ran in a dizzying spiral around him. Each moving in a different direction they circled the dark apostle, keeping at least one of them out of his sight as best they could by ducking back and forth or hiding one behind the other.

    We look up towards the sky for answers to our lives

    Roaring in rage Nero focused his anger on Shiki. The boy had hurt him before, and that made him target number one. With a gesture a murder of crows burst from Nero’s coat and tried to surround the youth. Shiki darted left and right as Balance leapt in punching down the flying beasts. Putting himself in front of the danger the warrior smacked away crow after crow.

    As the number of fliers abated Shiki and Balance took off in different directions. The dark apostle scowled at the two, letting loose a more standard assortment of creatures. He was starting to read the movements of those pitting themselves against him.

    We may get some solutions but most just pass us by

    With a slight quiver from his body a wall of blackness roiled forth from Nero again at Shiki. Beast converged on the younger fighter from the sides. The attack seemed total, but Balance slipped into it and pushed Shiki aside. Taking the brunt the fighter kicked out tripping the beasts into each others way then slid past and out.

    Nero let loose a vicious grin, his jagged teeth blazing white against his pale form. Fully assured he would succeed he sprung a third attack on Shiki. This time his form blurred and an enormous creature, almost larger than the concrete clearing could hold burst forth from him. The mantis like beast leaned forward and attacked Shiki with it’s huge blades while Nero followed in, turning his arm into a mass of limbs that circled around aiming to strike Balance when he appeared.

    Don't want your absolution cause I can't make it right

    The first hint of a flaw in his plan appeared when Shiki, instead of dodging ran right between the mantis’s claws and stabbed it in the gut. The creature disappeared in a burst of dust. The dark apostle turned his second attack just a moment to late and Nanaya caught it with a sideward slash, lopping it and Nero’s arm right off.

    “No I…OOMPH!” Nero managed to let out his cry of dismay was cut short by a glowing blue fist to the back of his head.

    Balance skidded in from behind, under the dark apostle’s remaining arm and cracked him in the face with another punch.

    I'll make a beast out of myself

    “Damn you!” Nero nearly shrieked, his composure breaking. Again and again his form rippled and sent waves of razor edged death at his provocateur. Again and again Balance slipped aside and rained just as many punches on the dark apostle.

    “Get him Shiki.” the fighter said with a smirk and Nero turned in shock, but Shiki was no where near him. The assassin was fighting back dozens of familiars, not apparently attacking Nero at all.

    And Nero got punched in the back of the head AGAIN.

    gets rid of all the pain of being a man

    “You damn…” Nero started, taking a brutal flurry of attacks to the back, but stopped talking with a sudden realization. He’d been looking to escape before, what was he thinking fighting these people up close and personal after that? They’d tricked and corralled him… and they were still doing it! Gathering his wits Nero began looking for a way out.

    Leveling heavy attack after heavy attack into Nero Balance forced himself into his opponents face. The dark apostle let out a roar and slashed an enormous arm back at him but Balance fell back and rolled away from it.

    Can't you help me as I'm starting to burn
    all alone


    “I’ll destroy you both!” Nero growled, nodding to himself, “This has drug on long enough. This is the end of you!”

    Pulling his darkness into himself Nero let loose with six hundred beasts. He had to get some distance, no matter what he claimed.

    The two warriors sprinted around their foe. The air grew thick with monsters and they seemed to be loving it. Even the dark apostle seemed impressed at the speed they dealt with what he was throwing at them.

    Too many doses and I'm starting to get an attraction

    Balance turned straight into Nero, plowing through beasts to get there. Again he stood toe to toe with the master of monsters and again the courtyard rocked with the force of their blows against each other.

    “You will not defeat me.” Nero ranted, trying like mad to land a blow on his attacker.

    “You won’t be living through this.” Balance replied with a smile, “Get him Shiki.”

    My confidence is leaving me on my own
    all alone


    This time Nero didn’t even bother to look. He just kept raining attacks down on Balance. If this “Shiki” came in behind him his beasts would handle it, as always.

    He hardly even noticed the shape ghost in from behind, slip in under his arm and all but appear, low but between the two fighters.

    It seemed odd that a small noise, one little “TAKK” hardly in the range of hearing, could denote the end of a battle of such ferocity. Still and all, with Nero looking down, aghast at the knife sticking out of his gut, that’s what it was.

    No one can save me and you know I don't want the attention

    A pall of silence fell over the battlefield. Shiki stood back as Nero vanished in a puff, smiling. He slipped his knife back in a pocket and scowled.

    “Something’s wrong.” he and Balance said simultaneously. They looked at each other with a small bit of surprise. Glowing blue eyes met glowing blue.

    “He vanished too quickly…” Shiki pointed out, his gaze scanning the area.

    “That wasn’t all of him.” Balance remarked with a shrug, “He must have hidden his main body elsewhere just before you struck, cut it really close too.”

    So sorry you're not here I've been sane too long my visions so unclear

    Across the courtyard the wind blew solemnly. It seemed to resonate with a strange disappointment. Either a plan unstopped or vengeance denied. The lights flickered back on, and for the life of the people there no one could remember when they had gone out.

    Slowly the form of Nero slipped along underground. He had indeed realized what was transpiring. He had been led into a trap and used. At the very end even the slowness he had noted in Balance had disappeared, just another ruse. Setting his feet he had burrowed his main body underground, 40 spare beasts in a secondary body that he had switched to at the very moment the full measure of trap had sprung.

    “What are we going to do?” Arcueid called, as she jogged over excitedly.

    Shiki rubbed his eyes, then pointed out “We have to get him.”

    “I don’t see why.”

    The pair stopped in their tracks and looked at Balance aghast.

    “Really it’s not my problem.” he remarked shrugging broadly, “Just let the thing go, he’s easy enough to handle later. It’s not like I started this to kill one dead apostle.”

    Now take a trip with me but don't be surprised when things aren't what they seem

    “We can’t do that!” Arcuied pleaded, looking back and forth from Balance to Shiki, “He could come back.”

    “And do what? To which of us?” Balance remarked off-handedly, “Any of us can take him.”

    “And the people he kills to recharge?” Shiki Nanaya growled stepping around in front of Balance and grabbing a handful of Nero’s remaining oily goop, “What of them?”

    The wince was there, almost unperceivable, hidden in Balances composure. A normal person would have never noticed it, but Shiki wasn’t at the moment anything near a normal person.

    “Leave it alone kid…” Balance started then Shiki brought his handful of blackness up to eye level.

    I've known it from the start all these good ideas will tear your brain apart

    “See for yourself with those damned eyes of yours.” Shiki shot back, making sure that lump of Nero caught Balance’s eye, “Tell me what truth you see, about last October 23rd just after it became fully dark, past 9:30, what is the truth??”

    “No…” Balance gasped, his eyes shifting from a blue to golden hue. He turned away quickly, covering his eyes but the image was already there. All the closing, all the blocking of his vision could do little to stop a vision forming within his own eyes.

    “No!” Balance yelped with more fervor this time.

    There in the blackness…

    Two children…

    “Daddy… Mommy…”

    “Sis…”

    A foot lands next to them. Something slips free, a crunch can be heard around the room.

    “NOOOO!” this time Balance screamed it out. Lightning arced around his form as he twitched and convulsed under the strain of his own power. His eyes melted out of their sockets as the nimbus of light around him built.

    “DAMMIT!”

    Shoving his hands on the ground Balance all but burst. A blue tinged shockwave crashed out of his kneeling form, washing over Shiki and Arcueid yet doing no damage. The explosion was massive yet seemed to touch nothing until the ground itself began to heave and crack.

    “Well you asked for it.” Arcueid grumbled, just keeping her footing.

    Scared but you can follow me I'm too weird to live but much too rare to die

    Shiki couldn’t even manage a response as his world tumbled. He was suddenly feeling all to tired as his eyes began to hurt badly. Rolling on the ground he watched as the dome of energy, held back at the beginning was suddenly released, expanding to cover the entire of Misaki. Under the ground the effect was even more disastrous, to one particular being. The energy burst, transparent to most matter, hit Nero at full effect. With no mouth he could not scream as he burned, each and every bit of him. All the black matter on the ground burned away, all the beasts hidden in the air, all the beasts underground. They all burned…

    The pain was getting intense. Shiki rose groggily off the ground and looked to Arcueid. Her grey form began to waver.

    “Shiki I…” she started. Then vanished.

    “What? Wait Arcueid!”

    Shiki landed hard on his rear, the pain was getting to migraine levels. He reached into his pocked and slipped his glasses back on. It took a few moments for the after image of death lines to recede from his thoughts and his muscles and brain to finally revive to the point he could stand.

    Balance was there still, somewhat grey in appearance, slowly dragging himself off the ground. Blue burning tears ran down his cheeks once again from the newly reformed holes where his eyes should have been. He looked sad, and angry. Turning quickly away from Shiki something seemed to grab him. His collar twisted and pulled up. His body followed it and in the end he was hovering a foot off the ground.

    “I’m sorry, I was trying…” he blurted, his throat seemingly impaired .

    “Where is Arcueid?” Shiki asked, wobbling on his feet.

    “They’re still here, you’re both still here.” Balance explained, more to someone Shiki couldn’t see but knew without a second’s thought, “Usually different people can’t see each other when separated by dimension, I was holding you together with what was left of my power… but that outburst, destroying Nero… I just can’t anymore.”

    Balance held up an hand and dropped to the ground. Hitting hard he rolled up to a sitting position and started coughing. Little flecks of blue energy, driven by his fit, flew from him to make holes in the abused concrete. He looked a mess.

    “So what do we do now?” Shiki said. He headed towards the sitting warrior but found he could only do so in a slow sway. Balance looked at him and someone else he couldn’t see sadly,

    “Find the differences.” he replied, “Find the people in each world that are different from each other, they must reconcile for this to work, all of them.”

    “Wha?” Shiki blurted, “But that could be thousands.”

    “This revolves around you two, only people you know are changed, only eight and one other.” Balance explained, his body seeming to crack under it’s own weight, “You know all but the one, that I’ll have to handle myself.”

    “But wait! Who?” Shiki started. He got no answer. With a shudder and a sigh Balance’s form cracked and rippled. Shattering the warrior fell to dust that blew away in a whirl.

    The courtyard was empty. So very empty. Even knowing Arcueid was near Shiki had never felt so alone. Without a word he headed back to the mansion.

    Section 13 End

    Well that's the last of the old. Time to get to the new. Hope you've liked the travel to the past. The future lays ahead.

    Next up, Character Focus, Ciel...
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



    Don't displease Tiny Turtle

  8. #28
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    You do have a gift for fight scenes - and this works a lot better as one piece.

  9. #29
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    *Rubs his hands together*

    Ok, now I've been chatting with the Dwaggies, and we're looking around at some ideas. I've finished the last of the old Crossings and I'd like to know what you think. I see at least 30 reads per story post so I know somebody's out there reading this, and regularly. I'd like to know your opinions guys.

    Primarily:

    How you think I'm doing?
    How do you like the characterization? Am I doing anything wrong?
    What do you think a good pace would be. I have stuff to do IRL so I can't keep up with some people *cough cough kieran typist of cough doom cough* but I can keep up pretty well once or twice a week. What do you guys think?
    Anybody willing to unlurk and sign into the boards to help out will win my undying respect, and a phantom non existant interwebs cookie. Not the kind that tells the government how to buy your soul either, the good kind.
    Would anybody mind if I gave Inugami a poodle haircu... wait, nix that one...
    Who thinks this story is worth continuing? It's a legitimate question if no one's paying attention.

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Oh and as an extra, the omake I wrote when people started downing my first, long winded try at the fight scene.


    O MA KE! O MA KE!


    >_<

    I really should omake your asses with this long winded group therapy session between Nero Arcueid Shiki Balance and some other people thrown in for no apparent reason being held by kotomine for no apparent reason other than he never gets anywhere.

    The king of kings looks down at his chair... and looks down upon his chair

    "Do you really want me to sit on this? It is beneath me."

    "How do you think I feel..." Nero grumbles, "And there are far too few of them."

    "No Nero, you don't get a chair for every beast." Kotomine scolds, "Some of them will have to sit."

    A chorus of barks, mews, caws, shrieks and random chaos beast #458 #611 and #253 noises all make their displeasure known.

    And somewhere far away Ren was giving Akiha some *REALY* happy dreams of Shiki.

    "Oh nee-san! Not there! Ooooooohhhh!!"

    Shiki blushes muttering, "Did we really have to hear that?"

    "It's important for your therapy." Kotomine finally advises, after listening a while longer and writing notes, "How a person handles embarrassment..."

    "Wait! You're a priest!" Shiki cries in retaliation, "Why are you writing all this down!"

    "Because, I'm a CATHOLIC Priest." Kotomine points out.

    "Oh... yeah..." Shiki agrees with a nod.

    "I am too pretty to deal with all of you." Gilgamesh admits, "Be dazzled by my golden armor."

    "Hey! What happened to my fight!?" Balance roars, "I was just having fun??!"

    "It wasn't appreciated." Nero says, dropping his head into his hands, "The pacifistic, oh please don't pull out any new powers, easily bored by intense battle, let's all work things out, set of forum goers here has decided we should all sit down and talk."

    And Nanako starts trying to hand out drinks... but she has no hands, so it doesn't go over well.

    "Look at me!!! I'm pretty!" Gilgamesh gloats.

    "My name means pretty." Kotomine admits.

    "Uh... it's going to suck when these people find out the fight's only half over and the scribe isn't going to change anything because he stays true to his vision." Balance says, dropping his forehead into his palm.

    "Nothing that can be done about it." Nero mumbles.

    "No really, how do you feeeeeeeeeeeeel." Kotomine doesn't seem to be paying attention.

    "Hey! I was introduced months ago! And I haven't done anything yet!" Archer protests.

    "I feel neglected, and dirty." Lancer says with a slump.

    "Tea, good." Berserker, pinky rigidly extended, admits after his fifth sip.

    "I'm so happy!" Nanako cries out.

    Balance shares a look with Nero.

    "We're screwed." they say at the same time, slumping.

    "Is it supper yet?" Saber asks.

    "And what are your thoughts on this miss Arcueid?" Kotomine, ever the attentive host, inquires.

    ... only to find that there's only a Neco-arc plushie on Arcueid's seat, and no Arcueid anywhere around.

    "They installed a Shinji bop a mole down at the arcade." Shiki explains. Half the cast's ears perk up.

    "I'm there." Archer says, heading out.

    "Not before me!" Rin calls.

    "You aren't even in this fic!"

    "And I'm gonna skip a chance to beat on Shinji??!"

    "Point taken..."

    Most of the cast, all now packing real, hammerspace 16t model (tm), sledgehammers, storms off into the sunset, not really noticing it's already been night for a while.

    "I wonder if anyone else liked my Tea?" Nanako chirped.

    "I am too pretty for bop a mole." Gilgamesh admitted.

    Balance shares another look with Nero.

    "We're screwed." they say at the same time, slumping.

    Kotomine, to no one particular, drones on... "No, but how do you feeeeeeeeeel?"
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



    Don't displease Tiny Turtle

  10. #30
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Shinji bop-a-mole? I'm in!

    In all honesty - I've been in a holding pattern for a resolution on this thing for so long, I almost don't care what you do, or how you decide to do it, as long as it eventually gets done. I mean, this was started - what, back in '05? Six years of waiting makes a man crraaaaazy . . .

    . . . Of course, I already was, so I suppose it doesn't matter.

    Seriously, though - do what you think you ought to do. If I gripe, I gripe, but you'd have to screw this up pretty badly to get me to stop reading it altogether.

  11. #31
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    The response to my questions has been overwhelming. Well never let it be said I've done nothing for no one, even though no one's asking.

    A slightly sadder piece this time.

    Character Focus: Ciel, A Conversation

    Getting started is simple, it’s all about getting started. It was then far too bad that Ciel didn’t know in the least bit where to begin. Or more specifically it was far too bad that the person she’d usually begin with wasn’t exactly the most available. Being almost, kind of, somewhat dead at least partially now. Why did she so need to start with talking to Shiki, and why was it her luck that all she had was Arcueid? She sighed to herself, it all didn’t make sense.

    The night sky sprawled out above her, the disheveled ground below, Ciel darted this way and that through the trees. If the world going mad and making copies of people hadn’t been bad enough, it had just decided to throw a copy of Nero Chaos into the milieu. Insanity just didn’t cover that level of wrong. At least her stay in this God forsaken country was proving more than just a princess babysitting job now. The contents of her report back however were yet to be decided. She would need more information.

    Stopping atop a light pole she let her senses sweep out, mapping the supernatural currents near to her. Arcueid shone like a beacon, almost blinding her senses in one direction. Off to the side she sensed an echo, something of herself. Her grey twin then, offset in dimension now more than distance. She tracked that sense until she lost it in Arcueid’s glare. Her other half had some business in the direction of the Tohno mansion apparently. With more concentration the remnants of the shockwave that destroyed Nero appeared.

    Ciel bent down slightly and felt for the power. The energy burst had come from an unknown participant in the Shiki/Arcueid/Nero tussle. Someone she hadn’t quite seen but knew was there none the less. She shuddered at the thought of what could make that kind of power burst on almost no notice. Definitely someone on the “get rid of” list. Though who or what she was loathe to find out.

    In truth the burier was far more concerned with the presence of Shiki. Tohno’s loss had been a constant thorn in her side for the last six months. She’d seen death before, dealt with an unnatural amount of it and yet that one loss, her fault had caught her the hardest of any. It was, they were, all her fault anyway, weren’t they?

    Now she had nothing but vampires and the remnants of the Tohno family to remind her of it. All of it. She caught herself thinking it wasn’t fair. That was a total crock. It was her burden to bear.

    Her self flagellation was cut short by a spark of awareness. Someone was watching her. There were definitely eyes out there, eyes that had fallen upon the burier. Ciel quickly scanned her surroundings. In the air? No there wasn’t anyone else high up. On the ground then. She darted this way and that, trying to find the source of the unsettling feeling.

    It took her a few moments to find someone, a man in jeans and a t-shirt, sitting on a park bench in her path. He looked back over his shoulder as her eyes fell upon him and waved curtly. His smile was so broad his eyes were closed and it looked as if he was expecting her. While the man didn’t look like anything much, someone probably just out of his teens with a decent but unremarkable build, the fact he had spotted Ciel made him obviously more than normal. No one had managed to do that when she wanted to be unseen even since her first arrival here. Another power in the area, someone new, was worth a bit of investigation.

    The fellow leaned back on his bench, looking forward again. He didn’t seem the least bit surprised when Ciel landed before him in a ruffle of habit and clack of boots. The man simply spread his arms along the top of the bench and nodded to her in greeting. Ciel turned toward him, her eyes open, her hands ready to hold black keys.

    “So who might you be?” she asked in her best authoritative voice. Remaining alert for an ambush she watched him flex his neck back and forth and smile at her, his eyes still closed.

    “Who might I be?” he asked back, looking a bit put out, “Well for the sake of brevity I’ll avoid some smug answer and be straight. I’m a fellow that’s worried about you.”

    “About me?” Ciel looked at the man a bit surprised, holding a hand to her chest, “Who are you, and what do you know about me?”

    “Well, I’m the fellow in charge of getting two people back together. You know who by now.” the man pointed out, “If you need my name, it’s David and I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.”

    “Ciel, charmed.” the burrier nodded back then thought a second and pressed on, “You’re the one working with Arcueid and Shiki, the one fighting Nero.”

    “I helped.” David replied with a smile.

    Ciel raised an eyebrow, “Helped? You nearly blew me out of a tree.”

    “Pardon, pardon.” the man said with a bow on his chair, “Someone took me by surprise there, I’m usually much more… contained.”

    Ciel crossed her arms in a huff, “And because you show up here, not apparently armed, but still holding your intentions to yourself, I’m supposed to bend over backwards and suddenly trust you?”

    “While I don’t believe in complicating things by lying, I don’t remember ever asking you to trust me.” the main replied, leaning forward and resting his head in his hands, “I’m just here to help. I’ll fill you in on the happenings if you like.”

    Ciel looked towards him, then away, thinking. With a sigh her shoulders slumped and she nodded. “I think you’d better. Anything to lessen the complication of this mess. I have a feeling I’ve really stepped in it this time.”

    “Wonderful.” David replied, tenting his hands, “Would you like a seat?”

    “I’d rather stand.”

    “Then so shall I.” he remarked getting up and starting to walk around the small clearing they were in.

    Ciel eyed the man warily, following his motion but not moving. He took a long breath, his back to her and paused a moment. Tilting his head he thought up what exactly what he needed to say.

    “It wasn’t fair was it?” he asked, looking over his shoulder at Ciel.

    ‘What?” Ciel remarked, then looked down, realizing what he’d said, “No, none of it was fair.”

    “Arcueid and Shiki, one you hate, one you admired. Both loving each other, yet star-crossed from the outset.” David added to her words, “Well like many I didn’t like it, but unlike most I had a promise, a very old promise to keep.”

    “To what end?” Ciel asked.

    “To see them together, and happy.” he responded, looking away again, “The flare of light at the moon, that was me keeping my word, and now all this is too.”

    Ciel tried to hide her reaction but still even the trained Executioner had to take a step back. That kind of power was nothing to trifle with, and very few had it. She gritted her teeth and formed black keys behind her.

    “You’re Trouble aren’t you.” escaped her mouth in a growl. It was a statement of fact, spoken as a name, not the usual vague generality.

    “In every language ever spoken by man.” David returned with a smile, then looked back, “I’m not your Trouble at the moment though, you won’t need those.”

    “You’re everybody’s Trouble.” Ciel spat, but still brought out her black keys and looking at them, dispelled the handful with a flick of her wrist, “How could you be following a promise to Arcueid and Shiki, you’re far older than both combined.”

    “And their souls are far older than you know.” David pointed out, “Though Christianity has always had some trouble with cycles of rebirth. The gist of the situation is all simple enough in practice though. I took a universe where Arcueid died, and a universe where Shiki died, and pushed them together.”

    Ciel’s eyes grew wide, “Are you even listening to yourself, what gives you the right… aargh what would that even do?”

    “Gave them a new chance together, if everything works out right.” he replied, looking to the stars, “The universes were so similar most of them folded neatly into each other, only the people truly changed by the circumstances are any different between the worlds.”

    “And that means?”

    “Well, it means that as long as the people in the universes can get together with their doubles and agree on it, even if they don’t quite know what they’re agreeing on, then Shiki and Arcueid will have their chance.”

    “So you’re going to bring back Shiki.” Ciel said pondering, “You picked one hell of a way. I suppose you talking to me means I’m one of the differences.”

    Ciel looked out over the city beyond and thought about the grey version of herself roaming around, then added, “No I guess it’s obvious I’m one of the differences. So then why are you making these grand explanations to me?”

    “Eh?” David remarked.

    “Why me? Why aren’t you talking to the other Ciel, she’d be the logical one to get to.” the current Ciel pointed out, “I’d just be getting Shiki back. She on the other hand would have to agree to let Arcueid back into her world.”

    “That is the truth I know.” the man remarked, nodding, “Yet with all that’s going on, I feel I need to be here. Feel you need my help more than she would. It seems odd to me, but while I know why, you feel less inclined to let Shiki back into your life than another Ciel would be to let Arcueid return. That’s quite a shock.”

    “Really. I don’t see it.” Ciel said looking down, “Why would that be?”

    “I don’t know Ciel.” David responded, adding some impact by using her name the first time, “Why is it that you don’t think you deserve it.”

    “WHAT?” Ciel, who had been turning away almost rounded on David, “Why don’t I? What kind of person do you take me for. This is about Shiki and Arcueid.”

    “And yet all our personal battles revolve around one person and one person only, ourselves.” David pointed out, “No matter who this whole thing is magically ‘about’ the way each of us takes it is by whatever impact is has on our selves. We might try to gloss it over, not want to be selfish or some other nonsense but we have to accept that to truly accept is a personal matter which has as much to do with our own faults and merits as much as it does with those we see in others.”

    “So you think that for some personal reason I won’t want Shiki and Arcueid back together.” Ciel growled back, “Even if it meant bringing back Shiki to do it.”

    “I never said that.” David remarked, shaking his head, “I said you don’t think you deserve it, and I need to help you with the why. Understanding ourselves and our motives is rather vital.”

    Ciel shook her head angrily, glaring at the troublemaker with stern eyes, “What I’m not understanding is what you’re talking about. If this is about Shiki… Shiki… deserve… oh.” she ground to a slow halt, looking down and away, “Maybe I shouldn’t talk about this.”

    “Really.” David said softly, “Odd then that it’s what I’m here to talk about.”

    “It doesn’t matter!” Ciel cried out, her demeanor changing suddenly as she threw out her arms, “None of it matters, it’s all the same, always the same.”

    “So change it.” the man replied in an impossibly matter of fact way.

    “Change it? Change it?” Ciel spun about and stormed towards him, “How can I change the fact that Shiki died because of me?! How can I change the fact that I’m a CURSE. That everybody dies because of me.”

    “By realizing it’s not true.” David said softly, tilting his head and smiling, “Facts change by perspective, and I must say your’s seem a tad off.”

    “I killed them all.” Ciel growled, “My family, my friends, my whole town, and now Shiki too. People I cared about, people I didn’t know, everyone. I was cursed for the first part, killed over and over for doing it, cleansed again and again though I can never be, and now I make the mistake again and get another person killed. Tell me great old troublemaker, maybe you know what I deserve.”

    “Ah the plight of the Immortal, living out years and years in grief about the ones they couldn’t save.” David almost laughed, "Bah what, have you been alive a dozen extra years? That's barely an extension. I'll bet some of those you knew are still kicking about. You might still have recognizable family."

    “And how could I face them?” Ciel cried. The look in her eyes for the first time truly honest. A look of horrible pain and dread.

    “You think yourself a curse, a curse on those you care about.” David remarked shaking his head, "I know, when I was changing, becoming this... I tried to kill all of my friends, managed to kill most of my friends... I know that look, that feeling, but I can tell you, it wasn't your fault."

    "How would you know? You don't know my situation.”

    "I don't need to, I can see it in your eyes.” the elder admonished, “The ones that really did it, they never take the blame, they deny it, resist it, they don't accept it. It's the ones like you, the guilt ridden ones, those with that look, those are the ones who would have never done it in the first place. The ones that blame themselves.”

    “You can use pretty words David but you can’t change the facts.” Ciel shot back, tears in her eyes, “How can I accept Shiki back knowing what I did to him, knowing what will happen to him. To leave him to that monster.”

    “Forgiveness is important.”

    Ciel looked down and fell to her knees, words, her own and his defeating her more than a weapon ever could “So why can’t I?” she said, “Why can’t I trust why can’t I believe why is it that I can’t find it in me to even give them a chance to be happy?”

    “You have to find it in yourself Ciel.”

    "But my faith" she said, looking up from her knees, "Where is my faith?"

    Sadly he walked over to her, putting a hand on her shoulder, "You know Ciel, sometimes it must be lost, sometimes to have something you must loose it, and when it comes back to you, only then do you know it was actually yours in the first place."

    "Love." Ciel spoke the word blandly, "They say that about love."

    She was surprised when she saw him walking away, laughing, and his remark in passing, "Heh, Well Ciel? What do you think faith is?"

    The burrier looked down again. Her eyes on the ground. The troublemaker all but forgotten. Tiny drops of water splashed off the cement below her. For the first time she realized she was crying.

    Giving in to it the mighty Executioner put her head in her hands and bawled.

    Character Focus: Ciel, A Conversation, Finish
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



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  12. #32
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    Intriguing - like Ciel, I would've assumed that the other was the holdout, and I never would've thought that Ciel would hold out for the reason she is. But then again, the expected things are the most fun to mess with, aren't they?

  13. #33
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    Crossings Section 15 Begin:


    Skip, Skip, Hop, Skip

    It was dreadfully dark that night. Even the stars didn’t seem to want to shine as brightly as usual. The only normal light came from the occasional street lamp along the path. For most people the path up to the Tohno manor would have seemed horribly gloomy, but then there was that one spot of brightness.

    Dressed in her normal breezy manner, light colored shirt and mane of blonde hair waving around her Arcueid Brunestud skipped happily up the lane. Eyes almost closed in happy squints from a broad smile her steps came one after the other followed by an occasional hop. There was no meandering this time, no hunting around for something to do. This Arcueid was a happy Arcueid.

    “Shiki Shiki Shiki,” she repeated, still grinning. Her heart swooned. Her happiness reblossomed. This was a good good day.

    The Tohno manner started to appear atop the hill before her. She hadn’t been so happy in a while. She was going to get her Shiki back, no matter what. The place, while horribly dreary before, seemed to look newer and happier now.

    Arcueid’s supernatural senses picked up on a figure above her, moving quickly along the side of the road. A sidewards glance picked up a grey image of Ciel darting along the tops of power lines. She didn’t matter though. Even two Ciels didn’t matter. They’d never be able to get between her and Shiki. It wasn’t a bit of a problem. All thanks to…

    Argh, why did she have to remember him? That smug jerk. Oh she cheered his helping out, no doubts or misconceptions there, just plenty of misgivings. Mr. Ulterior Motive could always make her cringe when he turned up. This wasn’t like the old days when there were Demon Lords to fight and you could count on him to stay on task… no he was already being troublesome as usual.

    Just look at what he’d done to Shiki. He might as well have stuck a “Nero Please Kick Me” sign on his back. Oh no Nero I‘ll fight you, just watch out for my “WEAKNESS” over here. You fight fair right? Riiightt? Oh please don’t attack the one person here that if pushed far enough could kill you, that might hurt me if you dooooo…

    “ARGH!” Arcueid growled to no one in particular, her face falling. That had certainly taken a chunk out of her good mood. She had to think about Shiki. Must think about more Shiki.

    Shiki was coming back! Yaaayy!

    On that thought Arcueid merrily skipped down the road.

    ---

    This was bad! This was really bad.

    Ciel darted across the power lines, dashing along at a screaming pace towards the Tohno Manor. Her following Shiki had gotten her a good look at something she probably wasn’t supposed to see. A battle, a major one.

    Oh the preceding days work since she’d gotten here hadn’t been uneventful either. She’d had to track down the scent of a vampire in the middle of the city only to find TWO Yumizukas in a back alley having a conversation. That might have been weird. The fact that one of them, which she couldn’t even see clearly, was a vampire hadn’t made much sense either. Of course seeing the redheaded boy with them had added more to her to do, or to forget list.

    Trying to fix that problem had been just that, trying. She’d found Arihiko soon after, but his memory had already been erased by someone. That hadn’t made sense, since it felt like she did it, and Yumizuka… well she’d gotten horribly resistant all of a sudden. It was all Ciel had been able to do to just make the blubbering girl re-forget the blue haired burrier. Her vampire other self was apparently off limits for forgetting. That meant she’d even have more work later.

    But now THIS?! Following Shiki she’d stumbled onto a fight between the boy, the supposedly dead Arcueid and the even DEADER Nero Chaos of all people. They’d been ripping their meeting place apart into little bits and chunks of pieces. Shiki himself was unlike Ciel had ever seen him. Since when did Tohno’s eyes glow blue, and since when could he move like that. It’d been like watching a blender set to puree monsters.

    Things simply did not make any sense whatsoever. Even worse she could still feel Arcueid walking down the street towards the Manor. How was that even possible. She’d looked and there was no one there, well maybe a shimmering something. This was getting intolerable. Listening in on the Tohnos looked like it was going to be the course of the day, or at least the night.

    She kept up her pace and leapt from pole to pole. This was bad, and it looked like it wouldn’t be getting better any time soon.


    Shiki loped slowly up the street. He’d just gotten out of the park, up to the road back home, a few minutes before and the idea of climbing that hill was looking more and more like wishful thinking. Damn was he tired. What had he been doing?

    The sad thing is he knew exactly why he was this way, but he couldn’t figure out for the life of him how it had happened. He was trying to fend off Nero’s beasts and all of a sudden things had slowed down to a crawl and his body had started to burn. Really what was he thinking moving around like that with his anemia? His body now felt like it was going to cook, not just burn. It was all so stupid. At least it had done the job. Nero had been sent back to the nothingness that decided to respawn him. Arcueid had been contacted, from whatever alternate something or other she was still alive in, and that weird guy had given them clues on getting back together.

    He focused on the problems to get past the aches in his body. Keep the mind busy. Arcueid was coming back, just play some matching puzzle game with people and they’d be together again. The puzzle though, ugh, that didn’t sound good. Find eight differences and make them match. Who would be different?

    First off Shiki and Arcueid themselves. That was pretty obvious. Certainly brought things down to six pretty quickly.

    People close to them would be effected the most. Family, maybe friends? If he hadn’t come back home Akiha would have been inconsolable, she puts on a strong front but it wasn’t too hard to see her worry. She had to be one. What about the maids? Would they be all too different? They would have different duties of course, but how much emotional involvement they really had with the family he didn’t quite know. Hisui cared but she was a bit of a cold fish at times. Kohaku, well Kohaku was Kohaku… she’d probably be different, but she was already kind of different anyway.

    He wracked his brain, trying to think up the people most touched by the events six months ago. Arihiko maybe? He was a good friend it’s true. He’d have concerns about loosing me. What about Satsuki? It’s unlikely she would be much different with or without but he’d probably be best off checking. There were so few definites and so many maybes. Could it be Ciel? Her involvement in events had pretty much stopped right after Roa died but maybe she might be effected by them. Wasn’t she off somewhere else in the world though? Did that mean he’d have to go FIND some of these people to make Arcueid come back? It was all a lot of pain.

    Speaking of pain… come on… up the hill. One foot after the other.


    “It seems to have stopped lady Akiha.” Kohaku remarked, padding onto the balcony, “Would you like some more tea?”

    Akiha frowned and looked down at her empty cup. It seemed like forever since it had been filled, but it may have been as little as five minutes. Her senses were so occluded at the moment, including her sense of time, that she would have believed almost any length if told. A tear fell down her cheek into her cup. She had been so happy when Shiki had gone out for the first time in a while, concerned, but happy…

    Though now…

    Not again damn it, not again.

    With an easy motion she set down her cup and looked back to Kohaku, giving the maid a silent shake of her head no. The redheaded maid bowed politely and slipped back into the house, leaving Akiha alone with her thoughts again.

    It had been so long, had felt like so long, since last October, since the war of her brothers, since Shiki had come home almost nightly with some wound or another. Something in that war had so saddened her brother, but he never truly told her what it was. He had lost friends and family in that battle. The two new women, one blue haired, one blonde, had disappeared that last night and one of them had taken Shiki’s heart with her. After meeting them at the amusment park in the days before the battle Akiha had an idea which one he missed more, but still, that her brother wouldn’t let her in, let her help, hurt her deeply.

    And now it had come to this. More wars, more battles, different powers this time, but somehow all the same. She could only hope brother came back at least somewhat intact from this one. That wasn’t too much to ask was it?

    With a sigh the lady of the house put on her sternest face. Brother should be coming home any time now. If he wasn’t she’d have to send Kohaku out to bring him back yet again. Slipping back into the house she rested her head in a slightly shaking hand. Why did brother have to be so complicated?


    Shiki carried himself slowly up the hill back towards home. As he passed the coffee vending machine on the way he felt eyes on him. Too tired to bother with anything but a direct threat he continued on his way.

    From the alley beside the vending machine two sets of eyes were watching, and one pair of something else. Tiny droplets of blue fell from glowing blue pits as their owner shook his head lightly to control their build up. The second set of eyes, from a figure further back in the darkness turned to the first with concern.

    “Don’t” Balance said quietly, holding a hand up, “I’ll be fine, for now.”

    “You don’t look it.” a deep voice responded from the shadows,.

    “I’ll hold together.”

    “Well then, the plan?” the deep voice queried.

    “Do I really ever have one?” Balance quipped back.

    “I’m not certain if you have one for yourself.” the deep voice returned, but there was a soft sound of leather moving, as if someone was shifting his weight, “But I’m sure you have one for us.”

    Balance glanced back and smirked “It’s ok, I just need you to watch for anything unexpected.”

    “We should keep an eye on the players then.” the deep voice said, in understanding, “And you, we really should stand by you in the next battle.”

    “Oh hell no.” the injured warrior said with emphasis, “I need you guys alive, even hurt I’m probably the only one that could stand up in the first fight, and I’m the only one I’ll have fight the second.”

    “Still we should stand by to help.”

    “Do what you want, but don’t follow me down south.”

    With a nod the hidden figure leapt away in a blur of red and black. Looking back Balance smirked at the third figure in the alley. A small blond boy with red eyes smiled back at him.

    “And what do you want?” Balance jibed at the kid.

    “So you’re really going to do it eh?”

    “Yeah, it’s about time isn’t it?”

    The boy smiled, turning his back and walking away, “You better put on a good show, I’ll be watching too you know.”

    Balance smiled, “Oh that older fellow will get all the fight he wants and more.” he replied as the youth disappeared, “Wasn’t expecting another one of you around, wasn’t expecting that at all.”

    Section 15 End,


    Well this took a while to work out, but it seems to have gone well enough. I'm hoping I start to pick up some interest sooner or later.

    The next part will take some work and I have to speak with some people about it. Especially Inugami which might take a while cause he's not answering my PM's. On and off a lot lately eh? I'll have to chat on a few other projects as well, but that's for another time.

    Satsuki's 2nd Focus Arc comes next.
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



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  14. #34
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    All right - I wonder who he's talking to . . .?

  15. #35
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    Wow, that was a LOT of reads(since last I looked). Or at least pageviews.

    And yet nobody has the foggiest idea who was in that conversation? Perish the thought. Someone must know. Anybody got a guess? Clue? Idea?

    Still waiting on Inugami. Oughta switch his name from tornado wolf to glacial wolf lately. ^_^ he must be really busy. Hope he's alright.
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



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  16. #36
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    One of them, I'd guess, is Merm - but no idea who the others are or might be.

  17. #37
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    Just blazed out twice this much tonight. Let's see how well this is recieved. We've got fanfic alert.

    This focus arc is split into three parts since it's a rather long one. The itilicized portions are excerpted from Elton John and Eric Clapton's Runaway Train.

    Let's get down to it. Like it or not nothing is going to stop this.


    Character Focus, Satsuki's Story,
    Part Two A: Past and Future

    I’ve poured it out

    I’ve dealt with it

    So why does it always seem a shotguns chance?

    Nothing hits harder


    Today for all,

    It started with a dream, a dream that ended in a scream. She didn’t know how or when she’d gotten her clothes on. Why she was in her school clothes. It didn’t matter, she had to flee. Get away from it. Get away from the nightmare, get away from the sights. Get away from all that death.

    She was screaming and crying as she ran out the door. Someone tried to catch her, reach for her, but wasn’t fast enough to grab the small terrified girl. As fast as she was running, the possibility of anyone normal catching her was in doubt anyway.

    Even running the vision was before her brown eyes.

    ------

    Six months ago, yet for some, tomorrow,

    The crumbled bodies littered the floor. All were coated, the walls with them, in blackened stains. The interior was splashed and covered with slowly dripping blood. None of the bodies were in the least bit whole. A few of the dead groaned lowly as they were torn away. Death as a certainty as life an impossibility. The black forms wove in amongst them, biting, tearing, feeding. In the darkness, the all encompassing darkness, everything was shades of grey and black. Black blood, grey walls, black beasts, nothing but shades of black and death.

    A scream rang out as someone tried to dash for the front door but didn’t make it, pulled down in a tide of darkness. The shadows bearing fangs to tear them limb from limb. The hotel lobby was filled with the dead and soon to be.

    A single standing figure strode through the blackened death like it was a perfectly clear, normal day. His pale face and hands, the only things visible through his thick, floor length coat, were also the only things coming close to white in the entire shadowed menagerie.

    The first floor of the Century Hotel was his. The rest would soon follow. There was nothing to stop him. Nero Chaos was pleased. He fed well, and more food was ready and waiting.

    There in the blackness hiding around a corner, two children. A tiny boy and a tiny girl. They were huddled together, making themselves as small as possible. Eyes closed and trying to hold out the horror around them they tried for all the world to wish away what lay beyond their sealed tight eyelids.

    “Daddy… Mommy…”

    “Sis…”

    A foot lands next to them, and from it something was freed. A crunch can be heard around the room. A section of floor and wall vanish into nothingness, as if crushed into a tiny mote then absorbed by the black beast above them.

    Nero Chaos cocked an eyebrow as he looked down to where the children were. From his throat he utters the first part of a word he has given voice to in the entire approach to his quarry…

    “Eh?”

    -----

    Her scream reaches its peak. Her feet race along the street towards town. Not again, she didn’t want to see that again. The images in her mind, right behind her eyes, drive her to the brink of madness. She doesn’t even notice where she’s running or how fast.

    She has to go, she has to get away from the pain.

    But something changes in her waking dream. She slows a second… her eyes blink. What is it, what is happening?

    The past bends to a new will.

    -----

    He heard the hiss first. A vicious angry hiss, yet there was something in it. There was something human, a roar of quiet, incensed rage, hidden in there. The hiss itself wouldn’t have sounded out of place rising from the throat of a hell beast, yet that roar behind it. Something was here, something human but more.

    Nero Chaos wheeled about and found the shadows were raging at him. Before the dead apostles surprised eyes the two children he had just missed sat, unconscious, in a pair of arms extending from a otherwise formless mass of shadow blacker then the night itself. A pair of eyes opened, then a mouth smiled at him through clenched teeth. It was a wicked, frightful grin, that looked so out of place resting as it was near the peacefully sleeping children.

    Chaos’s eyebrow peaked again. Some of his meals were gone. Every human with even a spark of life left had vanished into the shadows, pulled away from one maw into the depths of a darker night. Someone was warping the shadows here. Someone had come.

    “You have a job to do.” the mouth in the shadows scolded in an enraged hiss, “And this isn’t part of it.”

    It was if the words themselves gave the body form. Like some fiendish Cheshire cat a human blended out of the shadows, spread low, his chin almost on the ground, a babe in each arm. The darkness clothing him in black the man stared up at Nero with undisguised contempt.

    “You??” Nero gasped, “What are you doing here?”

    “My job, to protect, unlike you.” the man spit back.

    “Are you here to protect the princess?”

    The human shot a feral grin at the vampire, “She can well handle herself, these people aren’t her problem, they’re mine.” he said, “But I warn you, stray from your mission and nothing will keep me from getting involved, and not even you could stand against that.”

    “You can not blame those of my body for being hungry.” Nero retorted defensively, “They will attack anyone near them.”

    “I’ll deal with what I need to deal with.” the man growled, his eyes glowing blue, “But if I see you directing your… parts… to the uninvolved again, it will be, ugly.”

    The dead apostle anscestor turned and headed for the stairs, “Do what you must then.” he growled unapologetically, “And so will I.”

    With a hiss the deepest shadows receeded taking the living with them.

    ----

    The splash of water against her legs woke her for a second. She could feel a pull on her, directing her into the city. It was powerful, inexorable…

    What was this, what were these changes. What hand had reached in. Was it safe? Why did it feel even darker than what surrounded her already. She couldn’t stand it, not again, not the dream and not anything worse.

    She’d heard all this, heard it described. Was this her pennance for being flippant. Was the result of her not taking pity on her other side.

    Oh no… were those fangs?

    ----

    “Daddy no, the lights went out.” the little schoolgirl called out, looking back in the room, “I ran all the way back here!”

    Satsuki Yumizuka glanced around, trying to fix that uncomfortable feeling she had in the back of her mind. There was something out there, something scary, and it wasn’t just the darkness. Her family was back in the room. She’d let her parents get closer without her around but now without the lights and all that…

    Was that a scream?

    “I thought I heard something?” Satsuki whimpered, holding her hands up under her chin and instinctively making herself smaller, “Did you hear that?”

    Where was Tohno? Where was Shiki. Was this a pinch? Her heart was pounding out of her chest. She looked up and down the hall. There was no one there in the darkness.

    “Hey, what are you doing out here?”

    Satsuki almost jumped out of her loafers as someone came up behind her. Quickly she wheeled around. There was no way anyone was there. She’d just looked in that direction and her room was in the middle of the hall. How had… Hmm, not bad…

    There glowering at her, his hands on his hips was a young fellow just barely older than she was, dressed casually like he was just going out or something. He was tallish, slightly foreign looking, with dark hair and a light complexion. Caucasian maybe? It was hard to tell since he was just outside the emergency lighting.

    “DOWN!” the boy’s shout scared her. He moved so fast. There was a growling behind her. The shadows were tinged with a little red, or was it little red dots… eyes? He reached for her, so fast… she was tossed into her room like a doll. He was strong, wow was he strong. There was a roar… and did her Mom scream something.

    Satsuki turned back. She could hear her father moving in the dark… and under the emergency light in the hall was the boy….

    Wrestling with a monster. A dog, but what a dog some big black wolf thing with… were those glowing red eyes. What was that? What could that be? What was that big what was that…

    SMASH…

    Ok, she had the answer to what was that strong at least. The boy had gotten his hand on the beasts muzzle and crushed the thing against the wall so hard the plaster cratered.

    Then there was another one. It hit him in the back. Was that a cat? When did they make cats that big with teeth that big. The boy wheeled on it and cracked its skull with an elbow. At least she thought he cracked it’s skull. Heads didn’t just kind fold in on themselves like that right?

    “IN THERE CLOSE THE DOOR NOW!” he roared. Satsuki reached out for him. She could hardly understand what was going on. What was he doing. Why did he want to be out there with all that death?? All that screaming. Satsuki realized there was screaming, there was a lot of screaming and horrible noises.

    “Daddy I’m scared.” she managed to croak. Her mother, hardly visible in the dark, wrapped her arms around her. Satsuki clung like a baby. To her surprise her father stepped into the light. There was a moment she could swear he was looking into the boys eyes, there was such a pleading look there. More beasts were at the door, on the boy. Daddy couldn’t… he couldn’t…

    And the door was slammed shut. That’s when it really started. The roaring the crying out, the mewling and screaming and smashing and crunching and and and… and all of it. It was a war. It was a war out there.

    Was her new savior, her new Tohno going to die in that dark mess. Under the light of an emergency lamp? Was that even possible?


    -----

    She screamed as she ran. Her hands were held over her ears. It wasn’t just alleys anymore. She ran down sidewalks, streets. She ran past people, shoved them aside. Some seemed to go oddly further than others. Some slumped down, were they hurt?

    What was happening in her head. What was it? Her parents? Were they hurt? No she’d just left them home. It had been just a few moments ago she’d run out hadn’t she? Why did it feel like hours? Maybe she’d been out longer than she thought? She couldn’t tell anything anymore. She just couldn’t tell.

    The roaring, the screaming was in her head. The pain and battle and rage and fear were all mixing together. It was so hard to keep any focus. She was scared. She was scared for herself? Maybe she was scared for someone? She couldn’t tell anymore.

    Screaming along she ran back into the alleys.


    -----

    Is it out of control?

    Out of my hands?

    How do I get a grip?

    Nothing hits harder


    It was impossible, but she could feel the pressure from those beasts now. The hate and the anger. She looked to her parents. They couldn’t feel it, she knew they couldn’t. There was something new in her. Something felt different, being near those beasts. Had one touched her. A tiny drop of blood had run down her face but no one else had seen it.

    Yes she could feel it out there. She could feel the tide and feel it turning. She could almost see him, leaping, killing, contorting. An entire war fought a hall not ten feet across. There was nothing… nothing beyond this one. She felt it. She could feel it.

    “Wha…” Satsuki stammered, looking over her shoulder, “Something… close that window!”

    Her parents looked back. The balcony window was open. It was such a little thing. Such a small thing. Why would it matter now. There was nothing out there but the darkness, and a piece of deeper black.

    Red eyes opened in the night as a bird the size of a hang glider ripped into their room. Satsuki screamed. Her mother pulled her down tighter. Her father tried to leap out of the way.

    The door to the room burst open. Satsuki looked up and saw it. It was a tiger. It was all black. It was flying.

    The two beasts met each other in midair. The greater mass of the great cat barreled into the giant bird and both of them went smashing back through the balcony. They tumbled together, a mass of black fur and feathers before breaking the guardrail and screeching over and out of sight.

    “Oh yeah! Got it in one!” the boy’s voice called out from behind them then changed timbre as he started getting piled on, “AH SHIT! Close the door! Close the door!”

    The door got slammed in his face again.

    ----

    She stopped her run. She felt clearer inside calmer. The call was there and she could somewhat locate it. Nothing was driving her now though. No fear… no pain… The anguish was gone.

    Something had changed. It was going right again. Wasn’t it?

    ----

    to be continued
    Last edited by MrTags; May 24th, 2011 at 03:21 PM.
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



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  18. #38
    Jester of the Moon Cell's Sovereign Kieran's Avatar
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    . . . O - K . . . Not quite sure I grasp it all. I'll wait and see what the next one does.

  19. #39
    夜魔 Nightmare MrTags's Avatar
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    Yeah I can see that. This was easier for me to write, but... Well handling Crossings switching between two versions of events constantly might prove confusing for some, but this part also jumps back in forth in time as well.

    Not only that but it's coming from the mind's eye view of a confused, scared, panicking sixteen year old girl(older in some versions) which adds on to the difficulty level. She's repeating things and focusing oddly trying to hold on to something in a situation going downhill and getting more frightening by the moment.

    I can see where you're having problems, but it gets easier taking it from whence it comes.
    <mrtags> At least I got to be lancer the space marine, drm got omake'd into the little pink and purple butt plunger
    <DrmChsr0> I have to admit, it was funny.



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  20. #40
    死徒(上級)Greater Dead Apostle Inugami's Avatar
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    Finally made the time to read this.

    Arc was really cute. Ciel's part was cool. Everything else is confusing.

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