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  1. #5551

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    Thanks to her... creative use of Ilargi in Vaikuntha, Nevanlinna mastered, essentially, all that Syneva had to teach in less than a year by the normal universe's reckoning. From her perspective, it had been... decades, centuries, even. All that time spent studying, researching, training, and improving. She had made much progress.

    On the matter of the first race's combat skins, she had, after a few years, successfully reverse engineered them, improved upon what she had available, and merged it with Threshling armorcrafting, as well as armscrafting. The end result was something quite marvelous--a synthesis of high technology and high magic that far exceeded either of its parent disciplines. It would take time for her to spread the new art to her people, but even alone, she managed to outfit a few elite (and loyal) knights with these new-type arms and armor.

    And the most marvelous thing? The old armor need not be disposed of--rather, it could be used in tandem with the new armor, as the latter was more akin to a sleek bodysuit than the bulky armor of old. A double layer of protection. Furthermore, Nevanlinna took the liberty of modifying the old armors for those she chose so that they were infused with gravity magic. Not only would it serve as... an extreme form of weighted clothing--training the wearer as they went about their duties, without the need for a sizeable gravity chamber--it could also be used offensively if the armor's owner was in-tune enough with it. The user's power was also increased somewhat once the magic was turned outward, since they would no longer be weighed down by it.

    Ah, her genius never ceased to amaze her.

    Her real project, however, was using this new art for the benefit of her allies. Strong soldiers were necessary, yes, but as things stood, they weren't going to be a great deal of help in future fights. Even her mother had fallen behind her, by this point. How... inconceivable it would have been just a few short years ago--again, by the normal universe's reckoning--to be the mightiest of her people. Ah, but she had gotten off-topic...

    She had some ideas for her gifts... but she would work on this, mostly, in secret.

    Some months--once again, by the normal universe's reckoning--into her training, Nevanlinna spent some time on Reshlan, investigating one of Auroc's many strongholds. There, she discovered something quite interesting--plans to modify and improve the threshlings further. It took some time to decipher the text, but Auroc had apparently abandoned the idea out of, unsurprisingly, caution. Or perhaps fear. He viewed the Threshlings-as-they-were as 'good enough', and strengthening them was unnecessary for his purposes and too risky if an 'exemplar' were to appear and successfully rebel. Prudent... but at least he had kept his notes.

    The changes were logical extensions of the Threshling's natural abilities, and played well with each other. Their body morphing would be merged and enhanced with their magic to become outright shapeshifting. And not just physical shapeshifting, but, hypothetically, it would allow the threshling to transform their body into things such as fire, smoke, or... well, one might say that it would result in their body becoming a plaything of the mind.

    To prevent one from, effectively, killing oneself, the nature of their mental defenses would be upgraded. In addition to retaining the previous requirement to be touched for telepathy to work, an enhanced threshling would also be able to retain their mind even in states where it should not be possible... such as when shapeshifted into something inorganic or--and this was her own theorizing--forcefully transmuted into something inorganic.

    Hypothetically, an enhanced threshling could perhaps fight and use their power even when transmogrified into a... gumball, for example. And eventually change themselves back.

    Finally, their already impressive intelligence would be upgraded, allowing for high-speed analysis and comprehension. This one was the change that interested her the most, as it would prove most useful for her own ends.

    Naturally, she sequested herself with Auroc's notes, translated them, reverse-engineered the methods he would have used to pull this off, and then... she applied them to herself. Yes, it was risky--perhaps even insane--by any standard, but the rewards for success... oh, they would be succulent! And if anyone could succeed, then she could.

    The order was simple: first, the intelligence. That proved to be easily achieved. While already brilliant by any measure, once she 'enhanced' herself using Auroc's notes--with some improvements to his methods, of course--over the course of, oh... perhaps a year from her point of view, her intelligence both deepened and broadened. Not only could she think more efficiently, but multi-tasking became far easier. It proved quite useful in advancing her development of the newtype crafting art.

    ...though not in thinking of a better name.

    Next came the enhancement of her mental nature. This one was trickier--messing with one's mind was never going to be risk-free--but due to her enhanced intellect, she succeeded in her self-enhancement. Her test for this enhancement was quite harrowing--she intentionally ingested a compound that she knew would temporarily knock her out. It did, indeed, knock her out, but only her body. Her mind remained quite aware, stuck in her temporarily paralyzed body.

    A success, but once she recovered, she made a mental note to never get herself into that situation again.

    And finally came the upgrade to her body morphing. She had chosen this one for last simply because it was the most dangerous. Without the enhanced mind, it was quite likely that the threshling would, effectively, kill themselves upon shapeshifting into anything without a brain. However, her foresight paid off and she soon found herself with the full suite of enhancement... though the shapeshifting took some time to get used to, both in terms of how it *felt* to be a living... whatever she felt like being at any given time and to actually figure out how to use it.

    She was truly a genius... but she did consider the possibility that she was slowly becoming a mad genius due to decades or... however long it had been of relative isolation and constant work. Perhaps the only thing that kept her sane was her collection of beefcake magaz--

    ...yes, her... her... her collection of magazines. Magazines that would never be shown to anyone, because surely no one would ever be interested in the subject matter, ha ha.

    On two occasions, the saiyans showed up on Ilargi to train. The first time (that she knew of), she only interacted with them a few times, since it was during her period of instruction by Syneva and her focus was on developing her new arms-and-armorsmithing technique, as well as... enhancing herself She did, however, focus a bit more of Vaikuntha's energy on them, to aid in their training. Tiring slower and recovering faster would make their efforts all the more effective

    The second time, the group was absolutely gargantuan--pretty much every saiyan she knew, except, oddly, that idi--Totoma. At first she thought it odd that he'd skip out on training, but it seems he felt obligated to stay on Earth to continue with his... superhero duties. Admirable though his intentions were, that sort of mentality would lead to him falling behind the others. Though, he had an odd habit of growing in leaps and bounds when pushed, so perhaps he was counting on that?

    By that point, she had been fully enhanced for quite some time, and made more effort to spend time with them. Not out of loneliness, of course... certainly not.

    Of course, she trained her fighting skills and pain tolerance with Sarada and Tasure, focused on magical practice, theory, and such with Parsley, and just.. enjoyed Seri's company for that ever-so-brief year. She was even there when the young girl first went Super Saiyan, thanks to Parsley. From her point of view, it was brutal, but at the same time, she knew it was necessary. Seri was talented, but she didn't seem to be the type of saiyan that could just 'figure out' a transformation, like Tasure. She required impetus, like most saiyans.

    Still, to see that young girl who she'd saved all those years ago, who had been so weak when they'd first met--a few dozen powerlevel at best--become a powerful warrior in her own right filled her with.. pride? Yes, it was certainly pride. Her heart swelled when she witnessed that explosion of golden power from her young friend. From now on, Seri would certainly be able to stand on her own both as a warrior and a person.

    Certainly the most emotionally satisfying year during her long training, but soon enough it came to an end and she was left alone on Ilargi again, save for the roving elementals, whom she gave a large berth. Not out of fear, mind, but rather respect... and her focus being on other things. Perhaps, in time, she'd commune with them, but... not now.

    Finally, after 200-plus years, subjectively, it was time for a break. Even her patience had its limits and that year training (occasionally) with the saiyans had made her remember that no person was an island--not even her. Although at this point, she could be an island, couldn't she?

    ...oh dear, she certainly needed a break at this point.
    The poster formerly known as Daiyoukai Ramza.

  2. #5552
    Lin Kuei Grandmaster Sub-Zero MKA's Avatar
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    Default Month 11

    Enoki was sitting in her office in Galaxy Police HQ, begrudgingly undergoing the monotonous task of filling out paperwork when her datapad pinged. "Finally," she sighed gruffly, thankful for anything to distract her. Why Durive decided to require all mission reports be filed in quadruplicate was beyond her, as were many... no, all of his stupid habits.

    "Hm? A message from Parsley?"

    Code:
    Enoki, 
    
    I hope all is going well. I spoke with Beast God and his daughter recently and made an alliance with him for the upcoming battles I informed you about a few months ago. 
    I would like to informally request that you look into reopening his case file regarding his alleged destruction of Star System #[******]. 
    He was framed by an organization called the Cabal of Thorn and Stone. For what reason, I don't know yet. I'm certain I'll find out soon enough. 
    Whatever evidence I come across, I'll forward to you post haste. 
    
    Also, attached to this note are the pictures I took of the kids during our ski trip on Pepa. 
    
    Best regards, 
    
    Parsley.
    Enoki smiled at the pictures. She set one of the entire family on her desk, then raised an eyebrow and read over the letter again. "Great," she sighed as she pulled up the form for reopening a case file. She had never heard of that Cabal of Something or Another, but she had a feeling that she would very soon. Especially if her great-niece ran afoul of them at some point.

    "Tch. What a pain in the ass."
    DBM | Sarada | Parsley

    ROLL TIDE ROLL!

  3. #5553

    Default Month 12: The Dawn of the New Year

    Quote Originally Posted by Miburo View Post
    Held laughed nervously as his jest about Jack had not gotten the anticipated response. In hindsight, it did come about as a bit more crass and insensitive than he had realized. Perhaps it was something about dying that caused the Nevadian to treat death as more trivial than it once was to him.

    Maybe I've lost my touch? I guess with all the training we did, I didn't exactly have time to brush up on new material....Or the energy.



    "The Judge, eh?" Held bristled slightly at the name. Hilda had explained that it was he, and not Praxat who had managed to kill him. Which, was slightly less vexing. "I'm still unsure if I should be furious or flattered I made it to the top of his hit list..."

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one. Agrippa was certainly a tragedy...But even if that was entirely on me...Well, It hardly matters now, does it?

    Held shivered once more, his body in agreement with Ochazuke's kind offer to not let it freeze to death. "That would be nice."

    "Poor Ulysses." Held replied with a sympathetic sigh. "Sometimes I used to wonder if command was a curse....I imagine he'll have some unkind words for me, once he realizes I'm back."

    ...Which, I'll probably delay as long as possible. Sorry, Ulysses, but I didn't spend all that time being tortured in heaven, just to be tortured the second I get back.

    "....Still, it seems like he has a knack for it...I'd offer him a promotion, but I feel like he'd gut me to avoid taking it. I imagine being Admiral in all but name scared him off as well."

    ....I'm not even sure I would have taken the job, if I knew what it entailed...No. I would have....The good we've accomplished is worth it. But still...
    Held's laughter was met by a stoic silence, and even Zaofan's usual mirth was absent, for it was late in the year. It was good to see their friend after so long, and though they'd made great strides since they'd departed, the weight and lingering doubt had only increased the closer they'd got to the situation, and with it the unspoken fear that it would not be enough.

    "It's a bit of a complicated thing with the Judge," the chef said, "With what his leader, Banespell the Forger of Darkle, told him, he was probably the purest expression of what the Ulthan stood for. Condemnation, judgement, and a cold commitment to do the unthinkable for the greater good."

    Ochazuke turned and began to lead the move indoors.

    "To judge the rest of a man's days in an instant could hardly be called fair, only serial condemnation. Rather than see the universe for its list of crimes, Zaofan that convinced him it had a future."

    "Heh heh...yeah..."

    "As for the Navigators, well, after they inked the deal with the Earth's World Government and President Jinzi Pantaloon, the partnership with Capsule Industries has carried his company from Earth to Reshlan and beyond, and the Stargate Trading Networks have finally reached the Saiyan Empire."

    Held had said very little at this point, listening to Ochazuke's words between rabid bites of his meal, his hunger still not entire unabated. His body had missed both food and warmth, something this temple held in abundance.

    He stopped, however, as his chef friend illuminated certain details that the Nevadian's wife had left out of her explanation.

    A potent silence lingered in the air for a moment.


    "...So, that's how it happened." Held grinned for a moment, before chuckling, "I was given the impression that Hilda taking custody of my lifeless body was agreed upon, since she's my wife. I didn't realize that she was explaining her logic in taking my body without discussion."

    He took a sip of his tea, it's warmth reinvigorating his body. "....Then again, she never struck me as the diplomatic type. Still, I'd be lying if I didn't say it was unexpected."
    Between long silences as they ate, each taking their turn in speaking, the martial brothers took their time in absorbing the information. Ochazuke poured a third steep of tea from the deep porcelain pot and replaced its lid.

    "To justify herself to you, perhaps, but after that day we hadn't been able to find her...though I suppose your Hilda is one that disappears and reappears as she wishes. To what end this serves, who can say?"

    "It's a lot to process, I'd imagine, but all the same, it's quite a burden. I take it she's probably on our side, but that's only because of you, buddy." Setting down his bowl, Zaofan scooped up another ladle from a deep pot blooming with spice. "More lentil curry?"

    I'll giver her this. When she sets her mind on something, she certainly gets what she wants.

    The Nevadian scratched his chin at Zaofan's comment on Tiamat.

    "I guess it was technically true." Held replied, looking into his now empty cup, "Whis and Vados said something similar when I first wound up in the afterlife. Apparently my body was still alive, something was just interfering with my ability to revive myself."

    Held frowned as he recalled the horror and confusion he felt when he realized that he had truly departed the land of the living, or so it seemed.

    He blew lightly on the drink, cooling it. "From what Hilda told me, the 'something' that stopped me from coming back, was whatever the Judge shot me with."

    His eyes narrowed slightly as he shrugged.

    "The bullet was tailor made to make sure I couldn't jump start. I guess he really didn't like me. Hilda had to stabilize my body and undo the effects of the bullet. Once that was taken care of, the rest is just Nevadian Biology. "

    He paused, considering if certain details were better left unspoken.

    ...I guess they have a right to know.

    "On that note...I should probably mention something, but you have to promise not to get too upset, okay?" He asked with a nervous smile.

    He looked at both Zaofan and Ochazuke for confirmation.

    "You have to let me finish explaining before you yell at me."
    "So they'd planned the attempt on your life down to the last," Ochazuke said, "Nevadian Biology...probably the only one that could have stemmed the effects was someone who'd studied and dissected it in equal measure..."

    At the warning in Held's next words, the warm air seemed to still for a moment.

    "...well I guess, for starters could explain who Whis and Vados are?" Zaofan started, "If they're from the other side, something tells me we're not going to like that answer."

  4. #5554
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    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    Held's laughter was met by a stoic silence, and even Zaofan's usual mirth was absent, for it was late in the year. It was good to see their friend after so long, and though they'd made great strides since they'd departed, the weight and lingering doubt had only increased the closer they'd got to the situation, and with it the unspoken fear that it would not be enough.

    "It's a bit of a complicated thing with the Judge," the chef said, "With what his leader, Banespell the Forger of Darkle, told him, he was probably the purest expression of what the Ulthan stood for. Condemnation, judgement, and a cold commitment to do the unthinkable for the greater good."

    Ochazuke turned and began to lead the move indoors.

    "To judge the rest of a man's days in an instant could hardly be called fair, only serial condemnation. Rather than see the universe for its list of crimes, Zaofan that convinced him it had a future."

    "Heh heh...yeah..."

    "As for the Navigators, well, after they inked the deal with the Earth's World Government and President Jinzi Pantaloon, the partnership with Capsule Industries has carried his company from Earth to Reshlan and beyond, and the Stargate Trading Networks have finally reached the Saiyan Empire."
    The Nevadian nodded in satisfaction as Ochazuke explained how Earth had fared in conjunction with the other galactic powers. It was a relief, to not have to sleep at night with the knowledge that Willa's prophesies had come to pass.

    "I'm glad to hear things didn't fall to scrap while I was away." Held replied with a sigh of relief towards Ochazuke, "I don't particularly relish the Red Raiders getting the last laugh....As for you, Zaofan...."

    The Nevadian turned to his friend, appraising him.

    "I almost forgot what a great diplomat you would make! Of course, it was thinks in no small part to what you absorbed from me via osmosis and the overwhelming influence I've had on your life....But, even without that, you never cease to amaze me."

    Held laughed to himself in amusement. It was hardly a surprise that the chef had managed to turn a cold apathetic being away from it's chosen course. The man had a certain charm to him--Even to beings that were not ruled solely by their hunger.

    He followed the lead of the others, as they walked indoors, away from the freezing cold.

    "Admittedly, I'll still expect a satisfactory apology from the Judge when I meet him...Maybe I'll bill him for Hilda having to take care of me, loss of income due to being dead, emotional trauma, and I'm sure Blizzar has found some new business opportunities that I missed out on, so that's going in the invoice as well...."

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

    Between long silences as they ate, each taking their turn in speaking, the martial brothers took their time in absorbing the information. Ochazuke poured a third steep of tea from the deep porcelain pot and replaced its lid.

    "To justify herself to you, perhaps, but after that day we hadn't been able to find her...though I suppose your Hilda is one that disappears and reappears as she wishes. To what end this serves, who can say?"

    "It's a lot to process, I'd imagine, but all the same, it's quite a burden. I take it she's probably on our side, but that's only because of you, buddy." Setting down his bowl, Zaofan scooped up another ladle from a deep pot blooming with spice. "More lentil curry?"

    "So they'd planned the attempt on your life down to the last," Ochazuke said, "Nevadian Biology...probably the only one that could have stemmed the effects was someone who'd studied and dissected it in equal measure..."
    Held nodded in affirmation, extending his bowl outwards to the chef. "If you don't mind." he responded with a smile.

    As he refilled his bowl, Ochazuke made an observation. The Nevadian laughed uneasily in response.

    "Yeah, I imagine I'd have been in real trouble if Hilda hadn't been nearby. It's not like Jinzi is easy to get a hold of these days."

    Between President of Earth, and Chromakai's first husband, never mind Megan's actual husband, it's amazing he gets anything done...His blood must actually be caffeine at this point.

    Tilting his head to the side he murmured something:

    "I'm a bit worried as to why Hilda is apparently so familiar with Nevadian biology, but it's probably best I just look on the bright side."

    ...Come to think of it, she did say something or other about my body not too long ago...Almost like she--

    He exhaled deeply, forcing the thought from his mind.

    "As to what she wants to do...I never really got time to ask. I mean...We had...."

    The Nevadian fumbled for the correct word. How does one describe an arranged marriage against one's will, followed by a years long exodus, and a game of cat and cat?

    "Disgreements" he settled upon, finally "...until recently, and I was basically dead until an hour ago, so I didn't get time to ask her....She seems really worried about what's coming next, though."


    At the warning in Held's next words, the warm air seemed to still for a moment.

    "...well I guess, for starters could explain who Whis and Vados are?" Zaofan started, "If they're from the other side, something tells me we're not going to like that answer."
    Held stared blankly at the two martial artists, now realizing his folly.

    Jeez, I didn't even think about that part, did I.

    "Well, it's a funny story." Held began slowly, carefully choosing his words to obfuscate certain details. Unfortunately, it had been nearly a year since he needed to do such a task. He could feel the gears in his mind slowly beginning to turn. "It's actually part of the reason I was gone so long!"

    Just proceed very slowly, Held.

    "So, I died, right? Or close enough to it." He continued, looking upwards slightly to the ceiling as he recalled the incident that left his soul departed from his body.

    "I wake up, and I'm in a bedroom of sorts. I have no idea where I am, and I'm..I-I'm."

    He laughed slightly. "I'm kinda freaking out. The last thing I remember was Praxat showing me some new technique or something."

    He sighed deeply, still resentful of the fact that Praxat would always have an association with his defeat and death.

    "Anyways, not too long after that, Whis and Vados....I guess sensed me and were curious how I ended up the Grand Palace, and not in Otherworld."

    Careful Held. Careful. Bring it home.

    "Obviously, I'm somewhat----"

    The Nevadian frowned as he recalled the bitter memory of him shrieking in horror at realizing his death and seeming dishonor at the hands of Praxat.

    "I'm just a little worried because I had been gone for awhile..Which isn't really normal with most Jumpstarts, typically."

    He shrugged to himself.

    "They told me not to worry about it, and we got to talking--Funny story! Apparently Angels really like Unicorns! Apparently they used to be really, really, close way back in the day. They said something about closing up a universe or something, and Unicorns wanting to stay behind for some reason, but yeah. Really big on Unicorns."

    ...Although I guess the feeling was mutual, between them and Crazy Horn. I've never seen him so pumped up.

    He turned to Zaofan, still chuckling--albeit slightly nervously. "So, I can't really say that The Judge was wrong, exactly. Long story short, Whis and Vados are basically my very distant cousins, and I guess my energy type is close enough to theirs, that I got sent to where they reside, as opposed to wherever else is out there."

    The Nevadian nodded, satisfied with his tale, while praying that he spoke at a speed and complexity sufficient to keep the others from berating him.

    "Fun stuff, huh?"
    Last edited by Miburo; 09-28-2021 at 04:14 PM.

  5. #5555

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Miburo View Post
    Held stared blankly at the two martial artists, now realizing his folly.

    Jeez, I didn't even think about that part, did I.

    "Well, it's a funny story." Held began slowly, carefully choosing his words to obfuscate certain details. Unfortunately, it had been nearly a year since he needed to do such a task. He could feel the gears in his mind slowly beginning to turn. "It's actually part of the reason I was gone so long!"

    Just proceed very slowly, Held.

    "So, I died, right? Or close enough to it." He continued, looking upwards slightly to the ceiling as he recalled the incident that left his soul departed from his body.

    "I wake up, and I'm in a bedroom of sorts. I have no idea where I am, and I'm..I-I'm."

    He laughed slightly. "I'm kinda freaking out. The last thing I remember was Praxat showing me some new technique or something."

    He sighed deeply, still resentful of the fact that Praxat would always have an association with his defeat and death.
    The steep finished, and the scented tea fell. Amber genmaicha, grassy with earthen notes of toasted rice, filled a round of three porcelain cups.

    "What a conceit, to be at a loss and unmindful of what the Shingan cannot see," Ochazuke said, sliding the first of three to Held. "I suppose it cannot be helped. One does not notice what they do not wish to see, even less if they cannot anticipate it."

    "Heh, yeah, right...," Zaofan snickered, throwing another bowl of the stewed lentils, thick steam rising like smoke in the cool air of the year-end of winter.

    "Anyways, not too long after that, Whis and Vados....I guess sensed me and were curious how I ended up the Grand Palace, and not in Otherworld."

    Careful Held. Careful. Bring it home.

    "Obviously, I'm somewhat----"

    The Nevadian frowned as he recalled the bitter memory of him shrieking in horror at realizing his death and seeming dishonor at the hands of Praxat.

    "I'm just a little worried because I had been gone for awhile..Which isn't really normal with most Jumpstarts, typically."
    "I'm sorry, Otherworld? Grand Palace?" Zaofan asked, dabbing a spoon around before taking a thoughtful slurp. "Like...what, there's levels to the great hereafter?"

    In contrast, Ochazuke leaned inward. "It is as you say, Zao. I've...crossed over there once, and it would be too soon till I make my return. That was the domain of Sihn and Shekin'ah, the long march of departed souls into the Afterlife."

    The chef's eyes froze, unblinking for a moment, a flat smile stretched over his face as he just nodded as he felt the conversation veer off from any ready frame of reference he had.

    "...right, where Parsley and Totoma took their...sabbaticals, as it were. Th-they have a palace there?"

    He shrugged to himself.

    "They told me not to worry about it, and we got to talking--Funny story! Apparently Angels really like Unicorns! Apparently they used to be really, really, close way back in the day. They said something about closing up a universe or something, and Unicorns wanting to stay behind for some reason, but yeah. Really big on Unicorns."

    ...Although I guess the feeling was mutual, between them and Crazy Horn. I've never seen him so pumped up.

    He turned to Zaofan, still chuckling--albeit slightly nervously. "So, I can't really say that The Judge was wrong, exactly. Long story short, Whis and Vados are basically my very distant cousins, and I guess my energy type is close enough to theirs, that I got sent to where they reside, as opposed to wherever else is out there."

    The Nevadian nodded, satisfied with his tale, while praying that he spoke at a speed and complexity sufficient to keep the others from berating him.

    "Fun stuff, huh?"
    "Far from it," Ochazuke said. "If these two are Angels, and they've interceded on your behalf...we may be hasty in considering them honest allies."

    "Angels!" Zaofan stood up with a laugh and began pacing around. "Forget it! Just, freakin'...forget it! The highest of the higher powers picked you up?"

    The Crane apostate sipped his tea, silent and brooding. Kin to Sakin...but perhaps not kindred in kind.

    "Okay, okay, okay. You passed on, but not really, you're part...Angel, I guess. That can only mean one thing-" Zaofan slapped his hands on the counter with a mad cackle. "The Judge's circuits would boil over if he knew you went straight to Heaven-"

    Suddenly, his eyes widened. "-but if that's the peak, oh! How to they train up there? How do they eat?! Think hard, man, what else do you remember?!"

    Ochazuke, meanwhile, considered the length and charge of such direct interference. He'd seen it only once before.

    "...what do they want from you in return?"

  6. #5556

    Default Cruiserweight Division (Month 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by grampagen View Post
    Dixon Gordon Blue, wearing an aqua mask that highlighted his wild eyes and wide mouth walked into frame. His hands whipped about a moist kitchen towel as dabbed off his hands where he dropped the collected perspiration onto back of a vanquished blue shinobi, and rudely seized a microphone.

    "Let me tell you something, mother-clucker! That boy thinks this is gonna go over-easy, dude! That this title is a free-range pen he can walk in and take for free! Well I got news for you, fella!" Dixon Gordon Blue, the incumbent champion, banged a black cast iron pan against his other hand with a hollow CLANG.

    "El Pollo Loco! You've spread your wings! But like Icarus, man, I've trussed Turkeys inside and out! All the little Blue-Star Chefs out there are gonna be watching us live at the Anvil Dome, both pinkies up! You want this belt?! Then reach in, brother, and suck it up before I break you in half like a wishbone!"

    "I've scoped out the stadium," Kenshiko said, "All the hotels on the strip funnel into its entrance. Turns out Fukuhara likes to make the public appearances, holds a little social every few weeks in one of the Box Seats. Now, given she's a valuable asset, it's likely the Crane School-"

    She looked to the TV for a moment, then back to Zaofan, and found his lips curled tight over a purpling face. The martial chef was as mortified as he was livid.

    "...why do you even care?" She asked, and from laying prone on the bed Zaofan suddenly sprung to his feet and puffed out his chest as he began to pace the room.

    "I took the name," he began, "after my first two culinary masters, and my second favourite colour! We fought long and hard in the World Tournament five years ago-"

    "I'm well aware-"

    "Perhaps! You can appreciate it in some manner! Though we were on opposite sides of the battlefield, Ajarn, I won't hold it against you! But with what grand feats had been accomplished that day, I'll have you understand something! Dixon Gordon Blue isn't just a name. He's a symbol of hope!"

    "For God's sake..."

    "And with the entire world against us, they still heard me out in the last recorded moments of the tournament! Together, with Samson Balon and Ochazuke and the others, the people of the world finally saw Simon Battersea for what he was! The truth of it all free from its lies and...and image campaigns and HeTap ads!...and now..."

    With a swift click, the remote switched the TV off.

    "...and now this freakin' guy is trying to play at being the world champion?! I will not have it! Not after all we did! Don't you see? It wasn't us that defeated that thief, that fiend, that self-proclaimed Man among Men of the world as he cheated and murdered!" Zaofan said, pointing his finger as he made his concluding point, "The victory was in the hands of viewers like you!"

    By this time, Kenshiko had busied herself with cleaning the lenses of her glasses to a mirror sheen, muttering something foul under her breath.

    "That's terrific. Really good stuff, like it was spoken from the heart of a child. Tell it to Fukuhara if it offends you so much, but from all indications she's a very busy young lady."

    "...and chances we'll find her in the arena and we'll deliver the message there," Zaofan replied as he remembered himself, "oh, um...but how do we do that?"

    There was a time to get off track, and a time to get serious. Though they had very little in common, at least this they agreed upon.

    "If it were up to me, we'd go through them and bounce, it's about as much as they deserve...but our approach options are limited if we don't want to make a scene. Doors close for ticketholders half an hour before preshow, a security detail likely to be Crane adepts surrounds the place. There's a skylight, but air support and flight will draw way too much attention. Worse yet, it seems everything in and around the place is used as a prop on this show...except for catering and stagehands. I propose we cut off the supply lines and penetrate through by hitching a ride on one of the trucks as they move in. Once we've gone through the back of the bitch, all we have to do is make it to the top. They don't know us, but they know Ochazuke...for whatever that's worth."

    Zaofan's brow furrowed, nodding deep in thought as he followed each step to the letter. It seemed a proper strategy, and to find Aiko Fukihara, the tactics seemed sound. However...

    "I have another idea. How about backstage passes, compliments of the New President?"

    Folded out in his hand, he had both printouts and digital.

    " ...how long have you had those?"

    "...about two weeks, why?"
    The air conditioned tunnels of the city strip held the eager lineup at bay, a sea of people barred in by a velvet-rope queue. Surrounded by the hotel complexes, shopping arcades, gaming and services stood open twenty-four hours on standby, impatience would be their chief discomfort where they wound toward a single entrance leading into the arena grounds proper. Just past the twin columns of Romano's Piazza there it was, two floors leading to the centrepiece of the town, With a seating capacity for 80,000 spectators under a layered canvas draped under the desert air, in another life it was once known as the home of the Knights, the homecoming field for college ball and extravagant bourgeouse half-time weddings. Returning from the disaster five years ago was the newly minted Anvil Dome.

    The lines wound, spilling through the complex grounds, winding outside and it would take hours for ticketholders to get through. And that was only if you weren't a VIP, which in many ways, they were, but even this only allowed Zaofan and Kenshiko to skip the line, abd past the first entry gate they were pressed shoulder to shoulder as they in the roaring crowd stampeding towards their seats.

    "Keep your ear to the ground, and your finger on the pulse," Zaofan quipped sagely, trying his best not to squish anyone as they kept their powerlevels low. "Masters Balon and Eskrimato always emphasized teaching me that!"

    "Master Balon has had the luxury of keeping his business to himself on his island. And Eskrimato..." Kenshiko growled. A few rowdies got their first pre-match beers in, double fisting them down the hatch. When the spatter hit her she seized the opening and shoved them over and pushed through. "Bunch of fanatics."

    "Are you kidding? It's a championship match! If it's legit I'd camp out for this thing too!"

    "So would many sad boys, Zaofan. I thought better of you."

    As the odd couple forged ahead, Kenshiko cast a wary eye to the sides of the hallways. Men in fine, matching suits, shades. Security detail...and they held their resting ki out in the open. On the prowl for the Mother Crane herself, who else would they be but her Brothers and Disciples?

    The backstage passes would allow them to penetrate...to wherever qualified as backstage. Brushing shoulders between a rotund family and a gaggle of geeks with tempra paint signs, the atmosphere was crushing and made their progress towards their destination evermore a slog. Even considering that they'd fought against the unspeakable, some of them gaining ground against the henceforth unknowable, that it felt like they'd be choked out by the mundane passage of their common man was in a word disheartening.

    80,000 asses in seats...which means there's at least one Crane for each thousand, looking to sense any change in the air...

    "Pantaloon wouldn't give me access to the Capsule band, so we're going to have to coordinate," Kenshiko started," And that means sticking togethe-"

    Suddenly, she stopped and looked around. She'd pushed ahead with such single-minded purpose that she hadn't noticed when he'd slipped away. With a bit of focus she sensed just where Zaofan's presence had darted off. Swearing under he breath, she pushed through the crowd on a swift backtrack, through the washroom lines spilled into the concrete passages of the arena and bled in with the hot, foggy crowded hallways. Aligned by large, LED numbering panels, the dizzying rush towards the seatings obscured by the weight of noisy shouts and the barkers of overpriced concession and merch stands into a door that led inward toward the arena area. The longer they were apart, the more ways things could slip from their fingers...

    "Sorry, Miss, you can't go back there."

    The escort, one of the black, shaded suits, had gingerly, but firmly, seized her by the crook of her arm.

    Suddenly, Kenshiko found herself out of her depth. "If this were a matter of life or honour, I'd fucking go through him..." Take a hostage for a human shield, drag him by his neck, and push on through to the head office. Exits from the box seats, up and out. Even if this a Crane town, they've invested too much to blow it to shit...

    But this wasn't a mission for the Red Raiders; Instead she faffed her hands around her blouse for a folded paper, and handed him the pass.

    "I'm looking for my man," she said flatly, and long breaths filled the pause before she added anything else. "He said he had a surprise waiting for me backstage...and it's our honeymoon."

    Her voice was monotonous, but for the paper the man pored over.

    "...checks out. Sorry for the mixup, Mrs. Thompson." The guard released her, adjusted his necktie, and keyed the door open. "Policy is, please feel free to look around, don't touch a thing, and autographs are for after the fights. Do not stray far from the escorts, and you two have a good one."

    Parting from one suit, past the double door, it put her in the company of two others, much alike in constitution - stiff faces, dark hair, and a subtle undercurrent of ki. We're in the shit now...and so is he when I find him...

  7. #5557
    The Tentacle God Cthulhu_of_R'lyeh's Avatar
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    Default Traversing Through the House of Delphi (Interlude)

    By the time Inanna clawed her way out of the Abyss she'd dropped herself into, a great deal of time had passed in the HIFL above. But for her, it had merely been one long night.

    ... and a great deal about her, had changed.

    Forced to revivify herself with the viscera of her slain foe and rely on the corrupting essence of Ruination, what had remained of her better nature was eaten away at, moment by moment, forcing her to revert to an oft used- when she was still known as Ishtar- 'technique' to suppress herself. Without those aspects of herself there to keep reigned in however; all of the pent up aggression, self-hatred, and malice that had been festering for nigh one-hundred thousand years rose to the fore, and she began to very methodically tear her way through the stygian depths beneath the the Feeding Pit.

    As the months above passed, this survival tactic proved quite effective when paired with the latent- and unknown to Inanna- ability that had been the reason for her death at the hands of Lampton. The constant pain she experienced as the Ruination festered and attempted to eat away at her Adamantine Soul, coupled with battle after battle void of respite, serving only to increase her strength and resilience as she forced herself forward and attempted to claw her way from the depths, killing her way through the horde below and sustaining herself on the energy of those slain. So it was that by the time she happened upon a way up and out of that long, dark night; Inanna had surpassed where she'd been when she lost everything through sheer force of will and spite. Though this in no way changed the goal she'd had when she first found herself in HIFL.

    Upon her return, she picked up where she left off, returning to the Feeding Pit to begin her hunt. Very quickly establishing her dominance as those she had hidden herself away from in her first month, and those that had noticed her re-emergence- and the buffet of energy she now carried- quickly converged to consume her.

    One by one, Inanna tore her way through the would-be devourers, ripping them to pieces- were they possessed of bodies- and flaying their souls; power waxing with each kill as pushed herself forward. She continued in this fashion for months, slaughtering her way through not only the Feeding Pit, but the branching 'Hells' it was connected to, and so it was by the end of the eleventh month, she had recovered most of what had been stolen from her.

    There remained only two to account for.

    The entity that had closed in after her battle with the first Beast, and whomever had stolen her Hakai. The latter remained elusive, but the former...
    Yeah, but if you... man, we're getting into weird analogy territory, like if you disintegrated Superman's arms he wouldn't be able to go "fool! Little did you know that my arms and I are one and can be remade from me!" and will his arms back into being from pure nothingness. - Pendaran

    Arxiros "Arx" Inosaan | Inanna

  8. #5558
    The Tentacle God Cthulhu_of_R'lyeh's Avatar
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    Default Waxing Nocturne

    A cloaked figure stood, hands outstretched as he upset the fabric of reality. A man backed into a corner, attempting to will his unsteady hands faster with a string of curses muttered in a long-dead tongue. In front of him, at the far end of a tunnel he'd chosen to perform this herculean feat, spacetime suffered an upheaval as it was twisted and torn asunder. All for the sake of birthing a singularity in the bowels of Hell.

    Had he managed it?

    There was a moment where the singularity seemed to teeter precariously, and he could not say; but when the moment passed his creation thankfully stabilized. Which meant all that remained was the task of containing the singularity itself. So shifting focus, and redoubling his efforts, he sought to make it so. Cryomancy folding into the ridges of upended spacetime, to create an interwoven lattice of impossibilities and perhaps salvation.

    Under any other circumstances, what the Man had done would be lauded. Unfortunately for him, his dream of absolute zero; of a perfectly frozen segment of spacetime which contained within it a never-ending maw... would never be realized.

    A screech at the tunnel's far end shattered his concentration; and though chilled near the point of subatomic stillness, he lost the thread. Only to watch in a mix of awe, and horror as two clawed hands wreathed in corruption flickered briefly at the edge of the event horizon. He couldn't see what transpired past this point of no return but from the way reality distended and warbled; he could surmise- and rightly- that The monster would rip free. Before he could begin to consider his options, the choice for what to do next- fight, or flee- was made for him. A a final, pained cry shattered the quiet as the singularity was ripped in half.

    Some sense of what this meant, the Man dropped to his knees and began to weave magic around himself in the heartbeat between stillness and cataclysm, twisting reality before freezing the layer above the distorted spacetime again, and again, until he had fashioned a barrier of multiple layers. An act of desperation. Hope.

    Then, bracing... he prayed.

    And then there was light.



    Quiet had fallen over what remained of Hell, in the wake of its near complete destruction; ashen brimstone raining down on the crater that remained. At the epicenter however, was a heap of accumulated soot, and from within came a shuddering gasp.

    The Man. Battered, bruised... but alive.

    He'd survived.

    What remained of the barrier shattered, the moment he attempted to stand, fragments of frozen spacetime falling around him and trampled underfoot.

    Surveying the damage, he took it all in. The plume of smoke that spanned the height of Hell itself, the soot filling his lungs with each painful breath; and most importantly the lack of any signs of life beyond his own. As he stared, he clung to himself for comfort; the tatters of his cloak doing little to keep him warm, a bittersweet relief washed over him. Yes, he was still down here, in Hell... but he had survived the death of a black hole, by the grace of his God.

    Before he could register the flicker of movement I his periphery, an impact knocked him off of his feet. Pain blossoming in his chest, before he made landfall and skipped like a stone across the glassy surface of Hell. Rolling to a stop, he forced himself onto his hands and knees and forced himself shakily upright. Eyes locked on where he'd been struck; and what he saw there chilled him to his core. A gaunt figure, smoke rising from its horns, blue skin blackened from claw to elbow. And she was grinning.

    Once they locked eyes, she vanished.

    "Oh... oh g-" The man gasped, before doubling over in pain from a fist that planet itself squarely in his gut. Vision flickering from the pain, The Man staggered back, but fueled by desperation and a will to live, began pooling in tired fingers. In the midst of this seeming second wind, he spoke.

    "I won't die here... not to you. I can't."

    The Monster, still grinning, simply shrugged her shoulders at the Man's defiance; but in that momentary lapse the Man found his opportunity and stepped in. The weight of a dying star catching his opponent square in the jaw. Only to be followed up by another, and another. Blow, after blow striking true, as the Man roared in a desperate rage...

    All for naught.

    Before the next blow could land, a clawed hand caught his own, before casually crushing it. The sound of breaking bones drowned out as the Man cried out in pain. Trapped, the cornered animal lashed out wildly, pooling all of its power in a last act of desperation... and it struck true. A blow so powerful it destroyed the man's remaining hand, the Monster's face becoming instantly obscured by a fine red mist that mixed with the brimstone ash.

    But her grip never faltered.

    A moment later he felt it, sharp and sudden... but there was no pain. Merely a cold that spread through the core of him. Hollowed him out. And clutching the hand lodged in his chest, his legs failed him. Staring down at the blood that began pooling at his feet, he coughed. "Is this... dying?" No response came. Instead, he felt a tug as the hand still lodged in his chest pulled itself free, along with his heart. Falling back, Azor stared up with failing eyesight at the ceiling of the prison he'd spent the majority of his life in... and knew no more.
    Yeah, but if you... man, we're getting into weird analogy territory, like if you disintegrated Superman's arms he wouldn't be able to go "fool! Little did you know that my arms and I are one and can be remade from me!" and will his arms back into being from pure nothingness. - Pendaran

    Arxiros "Arx" Inosaan | Inanna

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