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  1. #5041
    This Isn't Home Yun Lao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    “I see. While I dislike the fact that this Angel has remained...shadowed against our confrontation with Sakin, it is also a relief to know at least one is actively trying to stop him in some way. Lampton, the one training Inanna, is....a bit of a grey area. This one at least seems to have better intentions.”
    It appeared he was not the only one who had received such special treatment, although the goddess' tone of voice indicated that she had reservations over it, "I have faith that she will not get caught up in any more schemes," Was his conclusion to Inanna, although it did prompt him to clarify his own teacher's involvement in all of this,

    "I believe this angel's involvement is merely self-interest rather than any grand ulterior motive," He admitted, having gotten a slight inkling as to how Islay behaved, "Sakin had manipulated and ultimately took the life of her student..." Charco explained, trailing off as it took quite a bit of willpower to say student rather than toy, mostly because it would mean that he had taken said toy's place, "... so in a way, this is her revenge, as convoluted as it may be."

  2. #5042

    Default Every Star in the Sky is an Enemy (Month 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    "Did that do it...?"

    As if in response, the ground before them began to warp, a concave indent gradually folding into itself. The mechanical surface gradually resolved into a stairwell with an aesthetic matching the interior of the Nevadian craft, geometric steps alight as it descended deep into the core of the Big Ghetti Star itself.
    Casting one of his glow-globes forward, the Nevadian Captain spied the distance before them, and by the light emending beneath the footfalls of their suits, the simulacrum staircase wound deep as if it had been bored toward the planetoid core. The geometry of the hex-cell structure that comprised he halls seemed to be a facsimile of the Nevadian craft...because that was precisely what they were. Ulysses twisted at this mockery of his guild's technology.

    "The machine nabbed my outrunner and did this in an instant and created //something// with a scan of our spacesuits." he said, "We'd better hurry up before it gets some twisted ideas about the men inside them."

    Ochazuke's pace continued steadily forward, and he cast a brief look behind his shoulder at his companion.

    "Your ship was something The Big Ghetti Star responded to as input. With a mechanical template a created something familiar in form, shaped to a likeness. Take heart, Captain, for the crewmen's ki signatures remain alight."

    "Yeah? Who's to say after it pricked your veins it's decided it would treat a body any different from panels and circuits?"

    An awkward silence fell between them, as they proceeded down the winding stair until the descent had abruptly ended. Ulysses got the distinct feeling there was something the Earthman wasn't telling him. Puzzling, because though he spoke little, whatever he did say was usually to the point. If the Crane was remiss to explain this, what did that say about the nature of this thing?

    Suppose I'll just have to see for myself.

    The illuminatiion globe spun forward and down into the darkness into a great hollow chamber, but was soon redundant amid the yawning air within the chamber. Trails of light streaked along the walls, stretching their flashing array about as particle streams collided and rippled their energies into the walls. Coursing upward to the six-sided geometry lining a hollowed-out dome, the sound of the planetoid's living machinery thrummed. From where they stood, it was as if they stood upon within the superstructure of some great engine, frightful pistons slithered and clashed like a choir of hammers. and energy leaping from siphon to projection coil,

    "Captain!"

    There perched upon an awning were the Navigators and the outrunner vessel, amid a wild tangle of the filament tube projections. Some injected directly into the hull, while others cast the thin red ray of their mapping device, turning their own scanning technology around on them. Immediately the two flew towards the Nevadians, who appeared more fascinated by observing the machine at work than terrified.

    "Son of bitch," Ulysses called out, "we thought you were all done for!"

    "So did we! Not sure what happened, but one moment we were prepped for takeoff, then the surface swallowed us whole. We thought it was coming for us but, well, just look at this thing!"

    Ulysses gave a guarded glance to the serpentine coils, the HUD of his suit interplaying the relay data from the ship along with the real-time cross reference with what he was observing before his eyes. Not only were the where the Big Ghetti Star's tendrils probed and coed over the canopy, the outrunner craft suffered no damage.

    In fact, this had been the best it had looked since it left the shipyard.

    "Heat-plating, radome wiring, you name it, everything it's taken a look at it's put back together, good as new," the ensign said, "I'm almost afraid to take it back up, according to the readout we won't have to compensate for the throttle in the jump jets anymore!"

    There in the heart of the machine they firsthand witnessed its capabilities for replication and at last understood. It was a kind of adaptive technology, always seeking data to interpret. When it received a stimulus, in an instant it engineered a response; where it detects deficiency, it subsumes with replication and reinforcement.

    "It would be nice if we could've got the message in some way." The Captain's concern was as palpable as his sarcasm.

    "Heh, well...odd you should mention that. Once it got hold of our transponders, it plugged into our communication frequency..."

    "What?!"

    Heedless of the maze of cables cocooning the tailfins and broad sides of the survey vessel, Ulysses at once stole toward the cargo ramp and moved to the bridge.

    "God dammit, the hell were you thinking," he grumbled, prodding the instruments over the navigation panel and trying in vain to pluck the chromium tethers out of it, "helping a client find their way is one thing, but if our info leaks out of the Federation's hands, Nevada will lose it's edge..."

    "What edge would this machine do with coordinates to places it has no idea about?"

    "Dammit man, it made an exact copy of our vessel and our tech with a single look. If it gets out to the Armada-!"

    It was perhaps a naive sentiment, and yet for Ochazuke the connection briefly shared with the Big Ghetti Star while he was wired into it was a strange extracorporeal experience. The machine began to unravel the innate cipher it had converted into a set of interpretive signals a feedback loop of signification as fast as thought there in the coldness of space. In some manner, he had begun to understand it, and had spoken in silence with it; It was a message that carried itself in every way but in words.

    "Edge. Structural. Absent"

    No sooner than the when the Captain had cued the console, the signal hail carried a response. Something spoke back through the onboard comms, the words in a strange melding of his voice, Ulysses, and the crewmen into a tuned average of sampled intonation. The viewscreens shifted from the view outside to a feed internal to the craft, the onboard recorders turning their dozens of mechanical eyes on the crewmen who gawped as they saw themselves broadcast back.

    "What are you?" Ulysses started. "Why have you captured our vessel?"

    There was a great deal of trepidation when the Nevadians' technology, used to analyze how the inner workings of the Big Ghetti Star took shape, had immediately been assimilated, subsumed, and turned against them, and this did little to dissuade this feeling. Yet it had granted the machine world, in a sense, the ability to see them for what they were, and on the viewscreen at the front of the cockpit, their voices and images echoed back to them.

    "What. Function? The function is to understand."

    Ulysses exchanged a look with Ochazuke, who shrugged as if the matter by now was entirely obvious.

    "Understand? For what reason?"

    Once dormant, the Star of Steel had come alive the moment it had encountered them, and their presence seemed to be the catalyst for its activation.

    "To beget replication."

    Though it had assumed their exterior shape in common, the moment it had reached out to them revealed this was no simple mimesis. It was, in a manner, a conscious response of boundless curiosity. Ulysses stared straight into the camera, once so familiar, that now leered out upon him.

    "Then why did you take the crew?"

    "Biological energy. Suit for bio-mechanical process. Analysis: Flesh. Blood. Synapse. Reflex. That is the nature of subject. Will it not be unraveled?"

    "Why ever would you want to do that?"

    "To understand subject. What are you?"

    With a sigh, Ochazuke folded his arms as he interjected.

    "You have said it yourself. Flesh given over to sensory impressions. By this quantitative measure your analysis could be considered complete."

    "Flesh-matter and synapse-signal. Analysis remains incomplete. Why?"

    "We have here, a unique sort of thinking machine, Captain. Unlike the machines it can create from geometry, it knows there is more than fixed quantities to something living."

    "It is my purpose to understand. What are you?"

    "Who are you," Ochazuke corrected. "I am a man from Earth, My companions are are Nevadians."

    Earth? Following the viewfinder of the ship, the Big Ghetti Star's eye within the Nevadian outrunner fixed itself upon Evangeline's Control Halo held in his suit. It remembered the resonant signal, but immediately the tethers and siphons loosed from the Outrunner. Except for the means of the machine to speak, it had desisted. Homeworld of the Controller. It has been 2629800 hours since we have crossed one another.

    "Sounds like it knows about other worlds," Ulysses grumbled.

    The Big Ghetti Star presented before them a great crisis. Suppose they left it on its own or had somebody else stumbled upon it, it would wander to aimlessly consume. Suppose they had fired upon it, as something had hewn that gash in its surface how many ages ago?

    The potential of this moment, this momentary deference, suddenly placed a great deal of power into Ochazuke's hand.

    "Controller-Proxy, query. What is my purpose?"

    "It is as you have said. To observe and to create."

    Oh to consider the endless range of the possibilities. Raising the Forger's hammer, held aloft with the spark of creation, Ochazuke struck it into the surface of the Big Ghetti Star.

    "For now, we will lead you back to Earth, for we have much work to do."

  3. #5043
    Voice of the Authorities Cleric of Hell’s Brigade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sub-Zero MKA View Post
    Certain people regaining their abilities all at once posed a serious problem if the conflict couldn't be resolved within the allotted minute. One in particular who was going to take extreme umbrage to being sealed in any way in the first place.

    With hope, Parsley was just being paranoid and it wouldn't ever come to that. "Quite the useful ability despite the limitation."

    As told, Parsley felt her complete power return in full to her after a minute. She clenched and unclenched her fist. "Quite a lot can happen in a minute. We should be able to end most fights within that time with such an extreme advantage."
    He nods and turns to look at Etrina.

    “Good enough demonstration?”
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  4. #5044
    Voice of the Authorities Cleric of Hell’s Brigade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sub-Zero MKA View Post
    At hearing Jinzi's approval, Sarada grinned and flashed a thumbs up. "Glad you like it. We plan on having them on each of our worlds. We've been reactive for so long, ever since all this nonsense started. It's time to get proactive with our self-defense. Ochazuke gave you a copy of Auroc's journal right?"

    Part of being proactive meant seeking out and destroying those potential threats. At the very least, the ones that already proved themselves to be threats, like the remaining Ulthan and She Who Stalks, as well as whatever was lurking in the Way Between Worlds. While she sounded boastful about her and Parsley's chances before - and she still felt that way - it was an absolutely necessary endeavor to stop Sakin from unleashing the evils and horrors held within. Thinking about it made her excited to test not just her power but, more importantly, her will. That excitement, as always, was tempered and reigned in by the knowledge that it was likely the most important mission and series of battles she and whoever else came with her would ever undergo. Failure wasn't an option.

    "Heh. If there's one thing I learned these last five years, it's that delegation is pretty much necessary. I'd suggest creating some kind of council of people you trust to help you out. Running a planet is hard, and you have a family and your interests on top of that. It can all get overwhelming."

    Without Maiz and the others, Sarada probably would have quit within a few weeks. Trying to juggle everything that was required of her, and doing so with next to no support from the people, would have been a challenge that made fighting even the strongest enemy seem like a cakewalk.

    "Having a group of people all capable of doing the jobs you assign them is a gift from the gods, haha."
    He nods and points to his copy of the journal on his desk.

    “You have become wise, Sarada. You’ve grown quite a bit since we first met.”

    He smiles and stands, popping his back.

    “Beyond buffing Earth, was their something else?”
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  5. #5045
    Voice of the Authorities Cleric of Hell’s Brigade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yun Lao View Post
    It appeared he was not the only one who had received such special treatment, although the goddess' tone of voice indicated that she had reservations over it, "I have faith that she will not get caught up in any more schemes," Was his conclusion to Inanna, although it did prompt him to clarify his own teacher's involvement in all of this,

    "I believe this angel's involvement is merely self-interest rather than any grand ulterior motive," He admitted, having gotten a slight inkling as to how Islay behaved, "Sakin had manipulated and ultimately took the life of her student..." Charco explained, trailing off as it took quite a bit of willpower to say student rather than toy, mostly because it would mean that he had taken said toy's place, "... so in a way, this is her revenge, as convoluted as it may be."
    “Ahh, I see. Still, I am grateful for whatever help, convoluted or not, she has provided.”
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  6. #5046
    Lin Kuei Grandmaster Sub-Zero MKA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    He nods and points to his copy of the journal on his desk.

    “You have become wise, Sarada. You’ve grown quite a bit since we first met.”

    He smiles and stands, popping his back.

    “Beyond buffing Earth, was their something else?”
    Sarada was slightly taken aback by the sudden praise. Her, wise? Nah. At most, she was just saying what Maiz would say if she were there. Then again, because Maiz was helping out so much during her reign, they had been spending more time together than ever. Maybe some of Maiz's wisdom had finally rubbed off on her? She was certainly doing things that she never would have even entertained the thought of in her younger years.

    Maybe I have grown a lot since those simpler days. The days of fighting Sasheem over breakfast food and getting pissed at Erosa for sitting on her apple turnover seemed like eons ago. Before the constant stream of enemies and responsibilities and secrets and schisms turned them all into jaded cynics. She still thought about boobs, but they... they weren't really a priority like they used to be. It helped that she had a massive pair on tap to squeeze and grope whenever she wanted, but even with Inanna gone for months, she had better things to occupy her brain power with.

    "I guess you're right," she said with a chuckle. "That's all I wanted. Oh! Can you tell Meagan I'll be paying her a visit soon. I... I guess we've all drifted apart since the old days, so it'd be since to catch up with some people I haven't seen in a while." She was excited to see how far Chroma had come since their occupation was abruptly ended years ago. With Meagan at the helm - or close to it - things were probably doing well, but she wanted to see for herself.
    DBM | Sarada | Parsley

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  7. #5047

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    Quote Originally Posted by Monstrous Bird of Qin, Ou Ki View Post
    "You deluded child," he said. "It's time for you to grow up."

    He charged at Totoma, who me the old soldier with a charge of his own. Their fists met, a shockwave of ki, psionic, and burning Shingan energy erupting outwards as the battle commenced...
    Totoma quickly realized that he'd gotten himself completely in over his head. The first few clashes, everything was fine... he was inferior in skill, but stronger, tougher, and faster than Voya. Not to a decisive degree, but it should have been enough! And yet... and yet...

    Every time he'd try to dodge, there Voya was, right in his face, just... appearing there, as if the space between them had just ceased to exist. Same with blocking... he'd begin the movement, but somehow that old man would always find his way inside Totoma's guard.

    Offensively, he didn't fare much better. Voya, despite being noticeably slower, seemed to be able to move his limbs at some insane speed. Attacks that should have hit cleanly were deflected, and he swore that some just... didn't hit it all? What in the hell was going on!?

    He broke from another clash, landing gingerly on his feet, then teleported, leaving a psychic 'double' behind. He reappeared behind Voyavoda, and the old warrior seemed fooled by his double. Ha, this time he'd turn the tables. Fist charged with energy, Totoma charged at Voyavoda, throwing said fist towards the back of his head. Closer... closer... almost the--

    And then something insane happened. Voyavoda'd form rushed forward, and at the same time Totoma had the feeling of behind... pushed back. Without actually moving or being pushed back. In fact, he could still feel his forward momentum...

    What. In. The. Hell.

    "You're not going to land a hit on me, boy," said Voyavoda. "Not with straightforward nonsense like that."

    Totoma landed and glared at Voyavoda.

    The old soldier smiled. "Confused? That was simply the reverse of Ma-Tobashi... the initial technique skips space by burning it. By using a bit of Hozon at the same time, I can preserve and store it to be used at will."

    ...

    Yeah, he was completely in over his head. This Voyavoda wasn't the decrepit rusty one on Reshlan, but Voyavoda in his prime, both physically and mentally... somehow.

    Voyavoda regarde Totoma for a moment, his shingan feeling as if it were boring into his very soul. He did not attack, but instead just stood there, looking at him. After a moment, he spoke:

    "...hm, yes, I see... so that's how it is. How it must be..." The old soldier sighed, as if resigned to something. "There will come a time, soon, when you are at war with yourself. When that time comes... let go of your hatred. Be reborn, become whole. These eyes can see much, and trust me, more than just your own well-being depends upon you being able to rise to become what you should be."

    To say that Voya's words struck a nerve would be an understatement. Totoma was about to let him have it, but then... he was there, and then Totoma found himself held tightly by his neck. Though he struggled, every attempt at retaliation was turned away by that space-expansion ability Voyavoda had just told him about.

    "Let... me... go!"

    "No. This is for your own good, boy," said Voyavoda. With that, Voyavoda's aura, bright and fiery as the sun, burst into existence, surrounding them both. Ah... after all this, was he just going to get burnt into nothingness?

    "I am he who sought eternity through endless rebirth. And now, I have become he who shall surrender eternity.

    Voyavoda breathed in deeply, and the fire drew into Totoma. He looked at the struggling... 'half-saiyan', eyes alight with fire.

    And then Totoma's world was engulfed by a psychic pain like he had never felt. Voya released his grip and the 'half-saiyan' fell to the ground, screaming in abject agony as... something 'burned' at him from the inside. Through the pain, he heard Voyavoda speak:

    "...don't worry. It will all be over soon enough."
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  8. #5048

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    Through his scrying spell, the Dark King had watched the... battle. If one could call it that. To say that he was displeased would be an understatement, but the fool boy had picked a fight with, apparently, a most formidable fighter. His judgement had been right--that fighter was certainly a threat worth neutralizing--but his estimation of his chances had been sorely lacking.

    ...then again, that fighter, Voyavoda, seemed to be able to manipulate both space and Hozon. A rare combination, indeed.

    ...

    The Dark King sighed. He could leave the boy to simply die, but he cared for the idiot, to some extent. The boy was useful and while this mistake was most grating, the Dark King wished for his preservation, as well. He had promised him a world preserved in eternity, and he intended to have him live to see it. He sent out a mental command to one of his demon gods...

    ...and, as expected, the demon god answered, appearing in his throne room and kneeling. He bowed. "Master. What have you called upon me for?"

    The Dark King motioned to the scrying spell. "Our... friend has gotten himself into quite a bind. As you are the only one of us that can pierce the veil between this world and the living world, and I absolutely must have him survive... you are to retrieve him and finish off his opponent. This man, Voyavoda, is a formidable warrior, but I know he shall prove no obstacle to you."

    The Demon god looked up, his jet black eyes narrowing at the scrying spell's viewscreen. "As you wish, my master... this Voyavoda will soon know the wrath of the Brother." With that, the Brother slashed his hand at the scrying spell view and it... split open, creating a makeshift portal. He stepped through, and the crude portal/hole closed.

    Leaning back in his throne, the Dark King smiled. The Brother was his ultimate weapon and shield. Unimaginably strong--surpassing even his own might, currently--and granted a special type of Hozon that rendered him invincible to all attacks... there were none in this or any other universe that could contend against him.
    The poster formerly known as Daiyoukai Ramza.

  9. #5049

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    It was done. He had transferred the Flame of Palingenesis to this Totoma, having carefully read his possible fates over the course of their... scuffle. Not a normal ability of his shingan, mind, but something that had curiously awoken recently. It had been dizzying, seeing the many lines of fate arrayed out in front of him, and trying to get a handle on it is why he'd stayed home, where the number of lines were a bit more... manageable.

    Transferring the flame could still kill him, but he was confident the boy would be able to integrate it and, when the time came... use it to his advantage. He had set the boy--and his coutnerpart--down a certain path, towards a certain end. Lamentably, he knew he would not be there to see him reach that end and begin charting his own path. Lamentable, but... such was his own fate.

    It wouldn't be long now...

    A cracking noise sounded out from behind him, and Voyavoda turned to find a man(?) stepping through a crack in space, which closed up and disappeared not a moment after. He looked like a... gray, if he was not mistaken. Yes, while the man's aura was threatening and oppressive, he was most certainly a gray. How... rare.



    ...and his power was absolutely gargantuan. Far, far higher than anything he'd ever sensed from anyone. His own power was like an anthill next to Nevada Mons, the tallest mountain in this half of the galaxy. The gray's gaze focused on him.

    "You, Voyavoda. I am the Brother. My master has tasked with with retrieving that... thing, as well as ordered your death," said the Brother. "Do you prefer a quick death, or would you prefer I humor you for a while?"

    ...

    Oho, as his eyes had predicted, the path he'd set himself on had attracted the attention of the fellow that had... preserved this Totoma, and sent him on a collision course with another of his lackies. One so far out of his league that he'd have to crazy to even try and fight.

    The words his (most recent) deceased wife often said to him echoed within his mind's... ear, interlaced with the nostalgic sound of her dulcet laughter...

    "You're crazy!"

    Voyavoda took a deep breath, falling into a fighting stance as he exhaled.



    "Humor me."
    The poster formerly known as Daiyoukai Ramza.

  10. #5050

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    Oh dear, he had most certainly gotten in over his head with this. The first clash was... not what he'd expected. He charged in with Ma-Tobashi and a flaming ki blade and scored a clean hit. A direct hit right to The Brother's chest. And the effect?

    Nothing except for his bodysuit being scratched. By all means, at the level of power the Brother was using the humor him, he should have been able to do some sort of damage, but, despite sensing no surge of ki to defend against the attack--or any attempt to defend against his attack at all, for that matter--it did nothing. Perhaps he had tapped into his massive ki faster than Voya could sense, but that seemed... unlikely. His eyes didn't miss much, if anything, ki-related, even if the opponent was a monster beyond all reckoning.

    Voyavoda's form blurred again and again he he flitted around, scoring hit after hit to the same effect--nothing.

    And then... the Brother began to counter-attack. Despite 'humoring' him, the counter-attacks were extraordinarily fast and heavy, with every hit Voyavoda taking feeling as if his body would literally shake apart. He was already taking this fight seriously, but he had to take it more seriously.

    As he took hit after hit, his Piercing Insight allowed him to begin to adjust. His movements adapted to the Brother's, allowing him to effectively redirect most of the force of his blows... but it did not help with actually inflicting damage. The Brother continued to put no effort into defense whatsoever, but all of Voyavoda's offensive attempts continued to fail against... whatever defense he was using. This was certainly not the work of ki...

    Focusing his eyes, his Shingan attempted to discern what method of defense he was using. At first, it saw nothing out of the ordinary, but he was still getting the sense that there was something there. Magic, perhaps something psionic? Or...

    ...

    Hozon.

    With that realization, he knew what to focus his sight on, and thanks to his nevadian's piercing insight, his Shingan began to evolve. And soon enough, he had confirmation that his hunch was indeed correct. His entire body was interwoven with a strange hozon that was quite different from the Hozon he wielded. His was centered on repairing, resurrection, and rebirth. This odd Hozon the brother possessed was anything but--it simply preserved him against any damage whatsoever, rendering the need for defense or recovery moot.

    He could manipulate his own hozon to a point, but he couldn't manipulate the hozon of others--something only that Nevanlinna woman was capable of, to his knowledge--so getting past this defense would either prove absurdly difficult or outright impossible for the tools he had at his disposal. Regardless, he had to think of something before The Brother stopped humouring him and just decided to go for the kill.

    Thinking, he had one option that might work... the Big Bang, which would take some time to set up. If The Brother decided to go for the kill, then... well, he had a counter for that, as well. Maybe. It was risky and to push his power to the point where he could compare would exact a heavy toll on him. He was prepared to die, of course, but the toll would not be so light, he suspected.

    Still, better to simply see if he could bypass the Brother's invincibility altogether with the Big Bang. Taking a deep breath, he began to infuse his strikes with the energies that would prime his opponent for the Big Bang. Strike of strike delivered, strike after strike taken... it was arduous work. Even more so than before, as the Brother, he noticed, was gradually dialing up his efforts, to keep up with his own adaptations from Piercing Insight.

    For now, he could keep up, but before long, he would simply be so outmatched in raw capability that no amount of skill could overcome it...
    The poster formerly known as Daiyoukai Ramza.

  11. #5051
    This Isn't Home Yun Lao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    “Ahh, I see. Still, I am grateful for whatever help, convoluted or not, she has provided.”
    Pondering for a moment, he took another sip of his tea, allowing the herbal flavor to sink into his tastebuds as he contemplated things. Placing the lacquered cup down, he chose to ask, "Have you ever heard of the Old Dragon? The Angel spoke of him and yet will not tell me who he is." His brain told him that he -Old Dragon, Lao Long, whatever he called himself- was important, yet he found that his memories as Bonfi were too hazy to draw any conclusions other than this figure was almost as old as humanity itself. After consolidating all of his aspects into himself, it was frustrating knowing that there was still someone else in the darkness of his subconscious.

  12. #5052
    Lin Kuei Grandmaster Sub-Zero MKA's Avatar
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    Default Ilargi Training II, Part I

    Month 8

    It was their second year-long stint on Ilargi. Unlike before, where they focused fully on theory-crafting and honing their existing techniques, the trio of Saiyans had a more focused goal in mind. Sarada relayed to Parsley what she and Zaofan talked about a month earlier about Fusion. It required both participants to be synchronized in every way possible. Even their power levels had to be even.

    It would be difficult. While it wasn’t necessary for the heat of battle, keeping perfectly even - or as close to even as possible - required their senses to be tuned to the other at all times. Due to years of training, Sarada and Parsley were already used to keeping their senses on each other during battle, so that wouldn’t be an issue. What would was the very goal itself.

    Sarada and Parsley were, as many had probably determined by that point - total the antithesis of each other. Sarada was more accustomed to amping up her power, while Parsley often opted to keep a level bearing until she had a proper feel for the situation. Having to keep themselves even meant that either Sarada would have to exercise patience or Parsley would have to be more expedient in her analysis.

    “That’s dumb,” Avoca said frankly. “I mean, if you two plan on fusing, then it doesn’t matter who does what prior to that. Just even up right before.”

    “Well, that makes sense,” Parsley murmured.

    Avoca grinned and tapped her on the nose. “See? There you go overthinking things again. Now, I have an idea to make this work.” Suddenly, she palmed Parsley’s modest chest. When she predictably recoiled out of embarrassment, she snickered.

    “Ugh! What does groping me have to...” It was then that she felt her power starting to drop. “Oh. I see.”

    “Yeah. You won’t drop that far, but you’ll be losing power constantly, meaning Sarada will have to steadily match yours. Lowering your power to match someone weaker is easier than raising it to match someone stronger, especially since you two are about even.”

    Sarada nodded and sat down on the ground. Parsley’s power was dropping constantly, so she had to concentrate in order to keep their powers even. The lower it dipped, the harder it was because it felt unnatural. “This is harder than I thought,” she groused.

    “Eh. Don’t have to get it down in one day.”

    And so they continued. Days turned into weeks, consumed purely by the power training. Avoca would sap either sister so that the other could work on matching. As time went on, it back an easier exercise. Becoming attuned with one’s own ki was one of the very first lessons a child learned when their training began at home. Becoming attuned with someone else’s ki was what set a pair of warriors apart from the rest.

    The next task they started three months into their training proved to be much more difficult.

    “Alright, so human guy said that you have to be synchronized right?” Avoca asked. “How deep is that supposed to go?”

    To that, Parsley and Sarada could only shrug. “In every aspect,” the latter answered.

    “Alright. Stand side by side.” As they did so, Avoca continued. “You got keeping your powers down pretty well. Now, do that while performing the Saiyan-Do kata.”

    “...that’s it?”

    “Buuuut, you have to perform it at the same time. And if you mess up once, you have to start over.”

    “What?!”

    “That would require us to perfectly mirror each other’s movements,” Parsley commented. “That isn’t possible, right?”

    Avoca shrugged remorselessly. “Alright, let’s get started. Oh, and every time you mess up, you start over and I blast you.” To prove she was serious before either sister could think of a complaint, she powered up and charged a ki blast in her hand. Its power wasn’t considerable by any means, but they already knew that it would be like getting whipped with a tree branch. Eventually, it was going to start hurting.

    “Tch.”

    The Saiyan-Do kata was one of the simplest warm-ups children learned during their formal training. It was impressed on them right from the first day, and drilled into them until they could perform it purely off muscle memory. However, there were little idiosyncrasies with each person that made their rendition of the kata slightly different from someone else’s. Sarada was naturally more aggressive, so her variation was sharper and more pronounced. Parsley, on the other hand, was more reserved, so hers was more deliberate and fluid. Mirroring each other’s movements when those movements were at opposite ends of the spectrum meant having to find some kind of median.

    I foresee a lot of pain in the future, Parsley thought to herself. One glance at her wife showed that she knew that. She sighed heavily and moved to stand beside Sarada.

    They started, and immediately, the differences in their most basic philosophies were abundantly clear. Sarada’s motions were much faster and punctuated by an aggressive grunt. Parsley’s were more fluid and deliberate, as if she using the motions as a calming mechanism as opposed to amp herself up for an impending battle.

    Predictably, that led to Sarada running through her kata far faster. It also led to them both being blasted in the stomach.

    Avoca cackled with glee. “Try again, ladies.”

    Sarada grunted and rubbed her stomach as she rose to her feet. “Parsley, stop going so slow!”

    “Me? Try slowing down for once.”

    “Nonsense! The kata is what gets me amped up for training. How am I supposed to go hard if I perform it like a decrepit old geezer like you?” Sarada countered.

    “Um, that’s not the point,” Avoca interjected.

    Sarada frowned and glanced at her.

    “It’s all about synching your movements. There is no battle, so there’s no point in amping up. Try again.”

    Two divergent personalities and philosophies were hard to reconcile in unison. For every movement that was performed at once, five more came at different intervals. Those times were punished by Avoca without remorse. She was also unrelenting in her criticism. She took an almost euphoric glee in picking Sarada and Parsley’s failures apart.

    Between this and her constantly blasting us, I’m starting to think we shouldn’t have brought her, Sarada thought to herself. It was all getting frustrating. As the days ticked by, she found herself growing annoyed that Parsley insisted on maintaining her pace and expected Sarada to slow herself down a considerable amount to match her.

    After a week, they both had large black bruises across their bodies. Despite being more powerful than her, constantly getting hit by a Super Saiyan while in base form hurt considerably. “Alright, look,” Sarada grunted after another day of failure. “You can’t expect me to compromise 100%. It’s not fair to expect me to completely alter my mindset while you get to keep yours,” she said to Parsley. She pointed a stern finger at her and glowered. “We’re supposed to be doing this together. This was your idea, after all!”

    “If I go any faster, I'll get the kata wrong and mess you up,” Parsley argued.

    That was a good point. “Tch. Who cares? We have only nine months to get this down to they can teach us this Fusion thing next time we’re on Earth. If there’s a time to get things wrong and mess up, it’s now. Right?”

    Judging by the silence she received, Sarada made just as valid a point. “At least try and meet me halfway,” she added.

    “Alright, fine.”

    With that, they continued. Parsley’s pace was noticeably more rushed to at least give Sarada a more reasonable middle ground to try and reach. That rushed paced led to her being sloppier, which meant more mistakes. She was right; it did mess Sarada up, which led to them both getting blasted over and over again.

    Compromise meant giving as much as she took and meeting as close to the middle as possible. For two completely different people to move at the same rate of speed, with the same thoughts - or close to it - it required that both of them deal with a fair amount of uncomfortableness. And Sarada felt uncomfortable, for sure. She was used to taking things slow; but performing a series of motions she had recorded in her muscle memory in a completely different way than she had for the over fifteen years was a struggle. It required her active mind to fight against her subconscious body and tug it in a direction it didn’t want to go into. She was sure Parsley was going through the same struggle.

    “Try again,” Avoca said.

    Hours turned to days and they were no closer to performing the kata as one than they were when they started.

    “Try again.”

    Days turned to weeks. Progress was slow and torturous. Sarada was finally feeling more at ease about performing the kata at a slower pace than her body was used to. Parsley claimed she felt the same, and the fewer mistakes she made while going faster was evidence.

    “Try again.”

    Weeks shifted into months. Over the last few days, Avoca had been less and less involved. The occasional blast there and there, but overall, she resigned herself to the role of simple spectator. Sarada and Parsley finally had it down. From what she could tell, their motions were completely in-sync. They performed the Saiyan-Do kata forwards and backwards in unison, without any mistakes or hang-ups.

    “Alright! We did it!” Sarada cheered as she and her sister high-fived. “At this rate, we’ll be fused up in no time!”
    DBM | Sarada | Parsley

    SUNS IN FOUR

  13. #5053
    Voice of the Authorities Cleric of Hell’s Brigade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sub-Zero MKA View Post
    Sarada was slightly taken aback by the sudden praise. Her, wise? Nah. At most, she was just saying what Maiz would say if she were there. Then again, because Maiz was helping out so much during her reign, they had been spending more time together than ever. Maybe some of Maiz's wisdom had finally rubbed off on her? She was certainly doing things that she never would have even entertained the thought of in her younger years.

    Maybe I have grown a lot since those simpler days. The days of fighting Sasheem over breakfast food and getting pissed at Erosa for sitting on her apple turnover seemed like eons ago. Before the constant stream of enemies and responsibilities and secrets and schisms turned them all into jaded cynics. She still thought about boobs, but they... they weren't really a priority like they used to be. It helped that she had a massive pair on tap to squeeze and grope whenever she wanted, but even with Inanna gone for months, she had better things to occupy her brain power with.

    "I guess you're right," she said with a chuckle. "That's all I wanted. Oh! Can you tell Meagan I'll be paying her a visit soon. I... I guess we've all drifted apart since the old days, so it'd be since to catch up with some people I haven't seen in a while." She was excited to see how far Chroma had come since their occupation was abruptly ended years ago. With Meagan at the helm - or close to it - things were probably doing well, but she wanted to see for herself.
    He nods and quickly taps out a message on a data pad.

    “Just sent it to her. She’ll be excited, Chroma’s changed quite a bit recently.”
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  14. #5054
    Voice of the Authorities Cleric of Hell’s Brigade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yun Lao View Post
    Pondering for a moment, he took another sip of his tea, allowing the herbal flavor to sink into his tastebuds as he contemplated things. Placing the lacquered cup down, he chose to ask, "Have you ever heard of the Old Dragon? The Angel spoke of him and yet will not tell me who he is." His brain told him that he -Old Dragon, Lao Long, whatever he called himself- was important, yet he found that his memories as Bonfi were too hazy to draw any conclusions other than this figure was almost as old as humanity itself. After consolidating all of his aspects into himself, it was frustrating knowing that there was still someone else in the darkness of his subconscious.
    She pauses and thinks a while.

    “The name seems familiar…..what did she say of him?”
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  15. #5055
    Lin Kuei Grandmaster Sub-Zero MKA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleric of Hell’s Brigade View Post
    He nods and quickly taps out a message on a data pad.

    “Just sent it to her. She’ll be excited, Chroma’s changed quite a bit recently.”
    So, things had progressed more than Sarada thought they would. The last time she was there, she wasn't in any position to explore. But the last she heard of Chroma, it was nearly embroiled in a civil war during Meagan's absence. Quite sad, but inevitable given there was sure to be a vacuum of power after their occupation was over. Multiple sides vying for control over the direction of the planet was sure to always cause some kind of conflict. Seemed like all that had been taken care of over the last three years.

    "Awesome! Can't wait to see how things have progressed." She left the blueprints on his desk and started to take her leave. "I won't take up any more of your time. I need to head back to the Lookout before they summon Tiamat. It was great seeing you again, Jinzi."
    DBM | Sarada | Parsley

    SUNS IN FOUR

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