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Joined : 2012-11-11 Posts : 392 Karma : 3 Age : 22 Location : 'Murica.
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Subject Post 1Subject: Caldwell Laboratories, Mongolia. Combat Data for potential Apprentice Sat Oct 10, 2015 11:16 pm
Artist: Hanstone - Song: Eternal (Mabinogi Login Theme, Opera Choir ver.) - Word Count: 458
James leaned back heavily in his chair, tapping his fingers on the wooden table on which blueprints new and old lay. It had been a while since he'd encountered someone with intelligence like himself. Although, that was only on paper. James had received word of a wandering alchemist, someone with an intellectual attachment to the sciences. Someone who, like himself, bends the very laws of physics to their whim. According to his files on Yuel Duulheim, she displayed no abnormal powers, save her own mechanical intellect. The type whom James was most likely to get along. As in the case of Suzu Hebi, as well as Kabuto Hebi, it was not likely that he would trust this child in the slightest. But he may respect her intellect. Passing through his files on her, he sighed, and checked the time. She would be arriving any moment. His spies reported that she had close relations with Azure at some point, although the nature of these relations (as is the nature of intelligence relating to those higher up on the Vanguard chain) was classified. It was for this reason that James took it upon himself, much to the wrath of Carine, to allow her entry into his laboratory. Of course, all travel expenses were paid for. First class. He wanted her to at least be comfortable before he subjected her to his own experiments.
His experiments, although not nearly as gruesome as Kabuto Hebi's would involve a myriad variety of strength testing, combat simulations, and psychological check ups. Asra could probably handle the psychological bits. James was truly more interested in her physiological makeup. Whether she truly was just a powerless brainiac as he once was. Although empathy was currently out of his grasp, especially considering she was a full-blood human, James could feel nothing but anticipation as he awaited her arrival. Provided she had something to offer him, he of course, would keep her well supplied.
Despite the fact that his intent was studying her extensively, he decided he would develop a façade for this occasion, which ensured that her exploitation could not be traced back to him in a manner that would expose his nature to his fellow Vanguard operatives. He offered her "training". Not simple "this is how you do this" training. More physical, actual combat training. For someone as powerless as her, it would be quite easy to exploit her powerlust in order to acquire the information he required. In fact, James also had a particular interest in why his contacts used the specific word "alchemy" in their report. Perhaps he could make use of that very same powerlust to uncover the truth about his subject. But for now, it was almost time for her to arrive.
The word "free" in "free vacation" was the last thing she consciously heard before arriving at the doorstep of a complex in Mongolia. Offered the opportunity to meet a prominent figure in the sciences, a name she hadn't heard all too prevalent in her three years of non-ceasing research, Yuel took kind to an all-expense paid trip to Mongolia. Quite literally being a country girl from the boonies of Japan, the prospect of free travel amongst all things had a sound much too attractive to refuse. Even the ride to the airport and from the airport to the complex was provided. The only thing required of her was to be present throughout the ride.
As a matter of course, Yuel considered the repercussions and "stranger danger" idea; what seemed most pressing of all was the fact that--while it was admittedly flattering to be scouted in such an extravagant manner--the young girl was entirely unaware of how a prominent scientist could gain wind of her. It's not as if any of her inventions were publicised in any way. For the most part they were all solely prototypes. If anything, the whole event reeked an oceanic scent, with the heavy seasoning of "bad organisation scouts underground figures". Like a cliche spy movie.
It all comes back down to the word "free", however; hearing that word alone for the most part abolished all caution and doubts in the girl poverty-stricken throughout her life. And now, here she was, waiting in the seat of an automobile that screamed "secrecy".
James stepped outside of his humble abode to greet the young girl as she pulled into his driveway. Apparently, when James had told them not to make themselves obvious, they thought all black SUV's screamed inconspicuousness. It was seriously like a horrible spy movie or something. Scoffing at the driver of the SUV in a manner that wouldn't be detectable by the girl in the back seat, James moved to open the door to greet her. "I apologize for the methods by which I went about in your acquisition. Azure told me some really big scientific type was wandering about in rags, so I decided it would be in the Vanguard's best interest to help you out." James bluffed with a wink, hoping that her relationship with Azure wasn't as close as the papers implied. "So, if what he's told me is correct, and my contacts are to be believed, you're completely powerless... Are you spiritually aware, my dear?" He questioned, opening the door to his mansion-like laboratory. At the moment, his contacts weren't even active, although she had no way of knowing this.
On the top floor, it was merely his house. He lived here and ate his meals here, but there was a rather large elevator that seemed out of place for a one-story mansion, an architectural trait James coined off of Doctor Kabuto Hebi. Pressing the button, he gestured for the girl to enter first. Obviously, he knew the answer to his question. But he merely had to warm her up to him first. "Of course, I have decided that in order for you to properly defend yourself, you will need some form of adequate defense. I was once in your shoes. Completely powerless, but I used my own intelligence to get myself to where I am today." Of course, this was true. In the case that he couldn't rely on Azure for more than getting her there, James would have to take responsibility for his own actions from here forward, if only to keep her from discovering his true intent. "So I personally want to teach you to fight. I consider you to be a woman after my own heart." James lied, pressing the button in the elevator that would take them to the floor marked "natural studies and simulation". When they arrived, he would step out, and make a grandiose gesture at the massive expanse surrounding them. White tiling led into earth, and water, and air that seemed almost too real for the place they were in. "This, will be our little training room. It's capable of simulating any conditions exactly! So just say the word if it gets too hot in here. We can never seem to get the air-conditioning working properly this far down..."
Uwaahhhh.... That's a nice coat... and hair... and eyes...and--
Distracted by the man walking out from the door of the complex, the time it took for him to walk over to the car and begin conversation passed by somehow simultaneously slow and fast. The only thing that really took Yuel out of her trance was the brief mention of Azure, and what seemed depressingly insulting at the mention of "scientist in rags". But that bit was glossed over and given little regard.
"Eh? Shishou told you about me? Muuu, if he wanted to brag about me to his vanguard friends he should've just answered my calls and brought me to some base or something himself!"
Glee washed over her face at the mention of her beloved shishou, and the flattering mention to his subordinates about her was more than enough to get that brain of hers easily pumped with hot-air. Waving her hand and smiling brightly as to give notion of humility, Yuel continued on to reply to his questions without much regard to what she, or he, was saying. In fact, she completely forgot about any mannered introductions, both the fact that neither of them gave one.
"Spiritually aware? Personally, I'm somewhat agnostic as aethism just doesn't seem like a viable belief considering all the realms and the actually existent and respective gods of certain races. But I'd like to say I can agree with taoist and buddhist ideologies? I don't particularly put my faith in any creation-relative higher being though, so from a religious aspect I probably wouldn't admit to actually being either "ists"--"
For quite a while Yuel unceasingly spoke, starting from answering the misunderstood question until she finally arrived at an explanation for why any adverse effects of climate change had yet to occur on Earth despite so many territorial changes on Earth's surface and even below, to the extent of borderline isolated terraformation. How the two subjects even correlated, most wouldn't be able to follow. Before long, Yuel already found herself standing in an elevator.
"Ahh, that's right; I haven't even asked, but where exactly are we going?"
The light of curiosity illuminated in her eyes as she looked around, admiring the architecture of the elevator and how spacious it was. Just as most other professionally created constructs, the surfaces were plenty smoother than her own creations, and obviously more refined in the process of conception. Without a wrench or pencil in hand, Yuel usually spent her time observing the surroundings while aimlessly thinking about possible creations, the world around her and how the findings of the sciences played their part in the big universe she lived in.
"Hmm? Powerless? Defend myself? I don't really understand all that much, mmm.. Mister...?"
Only now had Yuel realised, she didn't actually know the man's name. The fact that she didn't really pay attention the first time it was said when initially asked to come to Mongolia garnered some well-deserved embarrassment. But to be fair, he never told her his name personally, so maybe it was excusable? Correction, hopefully it was excusable.
But setting that aside, the subject of being powerless and her needing to defend herself was absolutely unexpected. Rather, the notion of self-defence always did interest her, and after the incident with the gillian it did seem to some extent necessary, but the matter seemed entirely unrelated to her meeting this man. After all, she came with under the impression of meeting a scientist, and therefore discussing the subject with him.
Arriving at their destination, the man stepped out of the elevator while gesturing to the surroundings. The room reached was simply massive, and intuitively Yuel understood that the lack of objects hanging on the wall or sprawled across the floor meant the room itself had its own set of functions. After all, what else would a basement so large and so far underground be for? The deductions running through her mind confirmed themselves as white tiles turned to outdoor surroundings while a different atmosphere filled the room, literally speaking.
Of course, it was all too enjoyable of a scene, but the term "training" was mentioned, and anxiety quickly filled her chest. The girl certainly grew comfortable in her surroundings up until now, particularly after her long talk on climate change; that still didn't disregard the fact that whatever this man was talking about now, certainly held no correlation towards her initial expectations of this visit. In fact, taking into account the surroundings and using his words as context, Yuel could only assume that he intended to train her in combat. The clues were far too obvious for this result to go unnoticed, if not for the fact that the girl herself was far too oblivious. And yet, despite knowing fairly well the purpose of her presence here, that anxiety spreading in her chest gave way to uncertainty, and that uncertainty pressed a question.
"Aa-aah... um, sorry, but, could you elaborate just a bit more? I'm not quite too sure I entirely understand what's going on here.. So, if you don't mind?"
Yuel dropped her head and held her the inside of her elbow with the other arm behind her back. She looked in the man's general direction, but failed to actually initiate eye contact. Involuntarily shying back and shrinking her body's volume by instinct, Yuel failed to move her feet and simply stood in the elevator, awaiting a reply.
Joined : 2012-11-11 Posts : 392 Karma : 3 Age : 22 Location : 'Murica.
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Subject Post 5Subject: Re: Caldwell Laboratories, Mongolia. Combat Data for potential Apprentice Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:22 am
Artist: Hanstone - Song: Eternal (Mabinogi Login Theme, piano ver.) - Word Count: 630
My god could that girl talk. She droned on and on and on about topics that, though James could almost clearly see the correlations between them, he hardly bore interest in anything beyond the fact that this girl was completely, utterly, spiritually ignorant! She spoke about her beliefs when asked about her spiritual awareness! Did she even have even minor schooling?
At any rate, she appeared to be utterly taken aback by James laboratory, so much so that she didn't appear to notice her own foolish expression. It had only now occurred to James that this was indeed, a child. His contacts activated on their own as he looked down at her. "My name is James William Caldwell. A pleasure to meet you, finally." James lied again. He was already quite irritated with her, although she did show signs of at least some form of intellect. Her arguments were sound and logical, but the speed with which she ran through her points showed that she wasn't very well attuned to social situations just yet.
Suddenly, his contacts alerted him that her current state was rapidly falling from excitement to anxiety. James sighed audibly. This would be much more difficult than he initially presumed. She was literally so much of a weakling that the mere thought of combat threw her into an anxious fit. James decided that a change of approach was needed. "Okay, so rather than throw you into the fray, we'll need to first get you outfitted." James pointed a finger at a nearby rock, and compressed it into something that appeared as though a gem. Then, carefully compressing even more rocks surrounding it, he formed a chain that fit perfectly around it to form a necklace of sorts. Then, levitating the necklace into his hand, he spread it out so that she could clearly see it. Hopefully, by now her anxiety would be calming down. "This necklace is full of my own mana. Essentially it's a magic charm. It should have a calming effect on you. So any time you feel like you're getting kind of... antsy, just take it out, and put it on. Merely touching it will calm you down immediately." Merely placebo, but if he can foster enough of a bond with this child, that may no longer be the case. With that, James stepped behind her. "I'm going to put this on for you, is that alright?" He asked, offering control of her situation to her as he slowly lifted the necklace above her head.
If she accepted, he would gently link the chain around her neck, then step back in front of her with his hands raised. If she didn't, he would merely step back into view and hold the necklace out for her to take. Regardless of what she did, he would explain why they were here. "I'm a scientist that works mainly in the field of potential for power. I've studied it extensively since I was a child, and I think you are a perfect fit as far as potential goes. I asked you here today, not to merely debate on scientific terms, but to also make sure you don't lose your head out there. It's a dangerous world, and a young lady such as yourself should be careful not to get hurt." James spoke softly, so as not to alarm her. Not considering that he may be making a certain type of advances, he moved on. "So for now, let's just see what you can do first, okay?" At the least, if he could get her to show him the alchemy, he could grasp some concept of how it worked. He gestured for her to step onto the lush scenery before them. "So? Can you show me what you can do?"
Yuel felt absolutely uneasy, but the prospect of this magic necklace given by the now named "James Caldwell" was certainly appreciated, not so much for the solace of safety as a result of wearing it, but by the process in which it was created. Through means not entirely known to the girl--though she could probably guess at the process--a rock was compressed into a gem and subsequently infused with some energy that enabled her safety. At least, as far as she understood.
Actually possessing the item wasn't much of her concern; rather, the application of it and how far this method of creation could be taken--the curiosity within her burned. Being offered the necklace, with some ill-mannered disregard towards the gesture of putting in on her himself and any other words provided after, Yuel unreservedly reached out and grasped it. Without actually putting it on, her fingers glossed over the smooth surface and hastily manufactured chain. The speed of creation was frightening, even provided a supernatural means. Imagine all the time that could be saved operating at such a fast pace! And all the projects being simultaneously worked on! The gears within her mind wove, and the surroundings or anything else irrelevant to her current ideas surfacing found themselves blocked out.
Exiting the elevator at a rapid walk, Yuel approached spots of soft earth nearby water, dipping the gem into the water to see any effects. All the while, her ambidextrous hands went to work, one managing the necklace by the chain, the other drawing undecipherable symbols across the floor, though the indiscernible characters seemed to form some sort of pattern. Taking into account the buoyancy, density and weight of the gem--which presumably could hang onto a powerless young girl's neck without hindrance, despite being the product of an entire rock compressed--Yuel jotted down some mental notes, occasionally spitting out words of multiple languages, at some point even reciting some demonic linguistics with the intention of seeing any reactions of the energy to the activation words of several ranks of demon magic spells.
At this point, Yuel entirely forgot about the existence of James and the fact that she was not in her own living space. Albeit extremely rude, she simply paid no heed as a few runic patterns near her profusely glowed and increased in reishi density. Nothing in particular actually happened around her aside from the sudden concentration of spiritual particles--that is, as long as the necklace failed to possess any reactions when near or in outright contact with these runic patterns, or the reishi they drew in.
Assuming no interruptions, Yuel got up from her squatting pose. Her knees trembled a bit and a static feeling ran down her legs, but neither was all too inhibiting. Taking into account all the results, Yuel rotated her waist and neck, only to just now realise the other person present. With cheeks turned red, the girl quickly walked back to James and bowed.
"E-Excuse me for being rude!"
In an ironic follow-up to her apology, Yuel proceeded to approach James and even attempt to put the necklace on him. One of the few things she acknowledged before going into a state of full focus was the purpose of the necklace: a calming effect. Why she needed to be calmed down, that bit was already long forgotten. Instead, Yuel monitored her own thoughts and emotions while interacting with the gem. As a matter of course, there was noted all her excitement and activity, let alone a release in anxiety.
That being said, to some degree she believed it worked. Her mind raced with thoughts concerning how it worked, and how mystical and spiritual energies could actually interfere with the neurons firing off in her brain, forcefully inducing or at the very least affecting the potency of some emotions. Most of all, she wondered if this was exclusive to her, someone with her spiritual ineptitude, or just a general populous. Maybe it was effective on those with lower mental aptitude? Though, that last hypothesis was a tad depressive. If anything, Yuel would liked to have assumed she was unique in mental fortitude. At least, for one in her circumstances.
Thus, her means to confirm any of these suspicions was to put the necklace on another person, and observe the results from a different perspective. From an entirely neutral point of view outside of Yuel's own considerations, any success in affecting James's mental state would automatically lead on the belief that the necklace had extreme potency, but at the same time if it had no effect on him, the result was confirmation that the gem was, in fact, useless and the correlation between Yuel's lost anxiety and the purpose of the necklace was in actuality, coincidence.
Then, something most peculiar occurred. Almost as a testament to the power of the subconscious, though this girl appeared to have no conscious knowledge of any of the workings or inner machinations of magic, she appeared to test the necklace with almost a cold precision, checking through different languages for activation codes, as was noted by her speaking in demon from afar. James couldn't help but be intrigued as she struggled to discover the purpose of the necklace, then, after standing and realizing that she'd snatched it from him and immediately begun showing her distrust of it, she walked swiftly back to James, offering to place the necklace back at his neck. In response to this, James would merely manipulate his compressed mana within the crystal so that it floated in the air above his head. He would then proceed to levitate it back into her hands-- well, above her hands. Whether she took it or not was her choice.
"You appear to be perplexed at my usage of magic..." James started, a smile on his face. Although he could tell she would be a handful, especially considering the amount of progress they had made thus far, he knelt down and looked up into her eyes. "See, Magic is a lot more complex than science. Although one might argue this is debatable, there are no formulas or mathematics that will 100% prove that this spell is generated this way, or this spell is generated that way... Although I do have a formula that spurs one's body to naturally formulate such spells, as is the case with my engrams which I currently have implanted into my own body, that is irrelevant. Magic is more... spiritual. One cannot simply calculate it using generally accepted science. Although I do commend the speed with which you ran a myriad of different tests on it, none of them would come up positive. See, the thing about that necklace is, it's infused with my own spiritual energy." James explained, checking to see that she followed before continuing. "As such, it would likely have no more effect on me than if I attempted to tickle myself. In science, there is always a definitive 'if this, then this'. This is not the case with magic. Magic's own method of explanation seems to be, in my experience more akin to 'because magic' than anything else. If you'd like you can study me extensively when we're done here. I may even let you use my old prototype wristpad if you're exceptionally obedient. Who knows, if you can manage to take it apart, you may even learn a thing or two about the makeup of mankind." He reiterated, suddenly turning to the vast expanse of open area. As they walked, James would coat several of the larger rocks in his own mana, heating them and compressing them into the shape of two diamond-like blades. Despite their appearance, the blades were resoundingly dull.
Passing one to the girl, he simply gave a wink and a smile. "But only if you can beat me first." James was not interested in giving out freebies, especially not his most prized possession, but he was also not opposed to this child possessing the knowledge that came with it. The inner truth about mankind that was stored within the sciences behind their magic.
Of course, James' equipment only ever forced the body to perform the processes necessary, never performing them outright. In truth, this was due to the fact that though the body may be controlled through things like science, it was significantly more difficult to manipulate the very energy itself. In fact, this was only something which James could do only at the height of his soul state evolution, and even then, only for a moment. Obviously, this was not because he was incompetent, but because it was both morally wrong to him (a first, believe you me), and physically impossible given the current era's sciences to actively alter a person's soul. Such fidgeting around in the very makeup of one's being could prove detrimental to the psyche, or even the constructs of the universe...
But that was enough speculation. For the moment, James stood, sword in hand. His facial expression would change. In another moment, he would create a large orb of energy to surround the girl in. This, if she would step into it of her own accord, would provide her with complete protection from any attacks made by James' mana manipulated objects-- which is to say, the swords he had just made. "Step inside that orb please. If you don't you'll almost certainly die. I'm about to give you some powers, child. Share my magic with me." He said, allowing for a more serious tone that would most assuredly tell her that he was not lying. Provided she stepped inside of it, it would quickly attach itself to her skin and clothing, like a thin coating of plastic that could not be felt by physical means. James would then harden his mana around her so that if any of his other objects came into contact with her at a force that could injure or be lethal, that object would melt away like molten glass before even reaching. Of course, it wouldn't actually be as hot as molten glass.
With that, regardless of whether she was ready or not, James would lock the elevator with a gesture, and then grasp his rock-sword. "In combat there are two ways you can fight your opponent," he began, running from a far enough distance away with his sword pointed directly at her. His stance was intentionally off by enough that a beginner could easily knock him off his feet or dodge him. "With your blade, and with your mind. Which will you use to beat me?" He finished, aiming directly for her face as he charged her full speed.
Unsure of what to make of James's avoidance of the gem, Yuel simply jotted down the mental note of the two possibilities having equal probability of occurrence. In a way, she turned the curiosity of a situation into something comparable to the principles of quantum theory she so thoroughly understood. Having thrust her perspective on the matter into a familiar subject and therefore putting herself in her own element, Yuel finally became comfortable. The surroundings now felt more so easing considering she just recently used it as a medium of experimentation.
"Mm... I wouldn't necessarily call it perplexity from your magic? I'm more interested in the results of your creation than the process, though thinking back maybe focus on the latter would have been more effective? That's interesting; maybe the gem really does effect my mentality? But isn't this oversight an inducement of negative output?"
As her nerd-brain went to work, Yuel proceeded to comment on James's observations, though she seemed to have come to some conclusions of her own in the process. Whether or not they were accurate was besides the point. One thing was for certain, though; the man was looking down on her, evident from the attempt to explain the processes of magic... More or less? "Because magic"? To say this explanation was disappointing... is an understatement. In Yuel's few years of study, for the most part she came to the undeniable understanding that causality was not definite, but always present.
As one who sought information, understanding that information equated entropy was fundamentally necessary, and as with quantum theory, knowledge converted the unknown, into the definite. From extensive research, though the reasoning behind all supernatural phenomena wasn't nearly as straightforward as instances of untouched physics naturally reacting with the world, it could be said that even magic had origins and measurable results that led to definitive confirmation of the cause and subsequent effect of magic itself. After observation, nothing happens without justification.
His lecture from what Yuel perceived to be more or less a high horse, a tinge of annoyance filled her. If she was respectable enough to be invited with reason being her intellectual prowess and the fact that she could apply it so effectively, what sense could be made out of disrespecting that very notion through insufficient explanations, and even worse, a worrisome lack of proficient understanding of one's own abilities? With a furrowed brow, Yuel promptly retorted his ever so poor attempt.
"Science quite literally has instances of unavailability of 100% confirmation of results; that's the entire concept behind probability, a methodical observation so deeply embedded into maths and sciences. You can't possibly expect me to believe that such a statement is "debatable", do you? 'Cause, you know, it's not? It's outright factual?"
In that small bit of dialogue, Yuel already conveyed quite a bit of her feelings, and present disposition towards the James's own intellect--that being, not so respectable. Without disregard to any belligerence in tone and the idea of "keeping calm", the girl continued on to refute all his claims.
"Fundamentally, magic's no different; I don't know how your magic works, but its not as if there's a lack of rational explanations behind it. It's ignorant of you to claim "because magic", you know? I've done my fair share of research into magic as well, you know? I'm not just some run-of-the-mill scholar, you know? I'm an intellectual in my own right, you know?!"
The more she spoke, the further she self-propagated her anger. Simply speaking her opinions out gave further emphasis to the level of insult she felt in her own mind, and in a spiral her emotions simply escalated endlessly. Of course, this only happened internally in a manner of nanoseconds on a personal scale, as Yuel proceeded only to spew rationalised information, as she always did in a heated situation.
"I can understand if the effects of your own creation made so suddenly wouldn't subject you to any changes; I suppose it's like eating your own waste in an attempt to gain nutrients. If your own experience brought you to the conclusion of magic having no definitives, either you're failing to look into your own abilities and make sense of the results simply out of ignorance or intellectual inability, or you've simply gained insufficient experience!"
With a huff, Yuel lightly frowned and crossed her arms, waiting for any responses to come out of her counterargument. She didn't even bother to make any note of his comment on her "maybe being able to take apart his creation", or "understanding the makeup of mankind". The first was, frankly, taken as an outright insult towards her abilities as an engineer. The latter was just stupid altogether. With the physical makeup of the human body being known entirely by the mid 21st century without exception, even down to a sub-atomic scale--and the history of the human "makeup", the only thing left to delve into was the mystical or spiritual makeup.
Considering the realms were already intertwined at that point, it was equally ridiculous to suggest that the human body, mind, and soul, had any bit unknown. There have already been artificial souls created, and entire being and consciences made, both by man and their kin races, as well as by the gods themselves. What daft individual would imply the notion of a thorough scientist being unknowledgeable towards a subject with such heavy prevalence of research? Genetics were already a major focused in the first half of the 21st century; one could easily find scores of research papers and depth'd explanations even on the free internet.
Taking note of James walking off while creating two more objects, Yuel's interest rose a bit; unfortunately, the stubborn girl kept to an angry disposition. She did a bit of thinking, however; mainly on whether or not the compisition of the rock he compressed was entirely carbon or graphite, considering the results were what seemed to be diamond swords. That's strange; a sword with the compressive strength of diamond should have no flexibility; if one knew the fundamentals in making practical swords, flexibility was necessary so that the sword wouldn't suffer any issues self-induced. Well, if energies outside of physical enabled matter to exceed lightspeed, without further inspection Yuel could only ironically leave it as "the result of magic". If she had a chance, some time would certainly be taken towards looking into the subject.
As James passed one of the diamond swords to Yuel, she nearly groaned in how unexpectedly heavy it was considering the gem's weight. In truth, it was mostly just the girl's own poorly developed muscles, far below the average human. At the very least, she had enough arm strength to hold it out straight with both hands, parallel to the ground. In response to James's taunt, Yuel scoffed in annoyance. While there was the scary thought of combat, her newfound dislike towards James bordering the desire to get hostile washed away the tension.
"Fine! If I beat you, there'll be a lot more than just that wristpad in it for me, deal?"
Unaware of how skilled the man was in combat, Yuel proceeded to fly into the situation essentially blind. And, alongside the intention of flying blind, without reserve she entered the "bubble" James provided without questioning it. Of course, some observations were to be done before actually entering, but in moments the girl confidently deemed it safe. A part of these observations included stomping on the ground now that the bubble covered her like a thin film. The sensation initially felt uncomfortable, but soon became unnoticeable.
Provided the surroundings were included as one of James's object--considering this whole room was his--the ground beneath her feet would be registered as an object "coming towards her with lethal force" given the induced velocity of her stomp. If the film was to keep her safe, surely it could do so even with herself as the primary detriment to her own safety, right? At this point in time, Yuel already looked down on James's intellect to some extent, but at least had enough faith in it to assume this attempt wouldn't be overlooked. Otherwise, the girl would outright collapse and writhe in pain from a broken leg.
Under the assumption that what happened was not, in fact, Yuel breaking her leg, she took stance while scoffing at the man's words. Certainly, Yuel had no experience in combat. But at the very least, she was capable of rational thought. Even if you did generalise, the blade and mind were certainly not the only methods of combat. That being said, the teen felt oddly comfortable with the sword in her hands. She experienced holding weapons prior to this event out of the desire to learn self-defense, but few felt so natural in her hands as the sword--any sword, for that matter.
"Hmm? Are you still looking down on me, James? I don't know exactly how much experience you have in combat, but there's no way that stance is legitimate."
Completely disregarding any respectful attempt towards honourifics and going straight to a first name basis, Yuel once more felt annoyance glossing the back of her head. While she had no profound level of experience in fighting herself, observing the surroundings through her senses was something more or less natural to Yuel; taking into account the stance James took being fundamentally disadvantageous when taking into account physiological instinct, centre of mass, and the effects of outside and inside forces simultaneously coalescing to reach a desired form... to be honest, his just looked messy. Inefficient and composed without thought, as far as the Yuel's observations went.
In response, Yuel took borderline perfect form, taking into account the physical differences between herself and the opponent, the outside forces, atmospheric pressure and levels of gravity considering the two were underground. Not a single detail was missed, and to any moderately experienced fighter, Yuel's stance created the aura of a veteran around her. With a profuse lack of openings, even with James's overwhelming speed, the girl proceeded to easily respond to his strike. With dexterous hands as the product of countless creations, even taking into account the weight of the sword she had already adjusted to, Yuel guided the blade to meet James's, the two velocities were forced to meet as best she could. With a slight shift in direction and magnitude of her counter, Yuel motioned to redirect the power behind James's attack entirely.
At the same time, her knees bent with a back kept straight, and her entire body fell forward onto the ground. Upon impact, Yuel curled into a ball while dropping her sword. The weight of her weapon was used to increase the speed of her fall, but now on the ground it only served to inhibit her intentions. Dropped her forearms to guard her face and bringing her knees up to her chest, Yuel's shins and arms were intended to meet James's legs. Taking into account the diverted swing, unless James reacted quickly enough the logical conclusion was for him to trip.
"Listen here, child. Though I could attempt to explain the ins-and-outs of Magic theory, or even go so far as to explain my own personal theory of Energy Manipulation and Effective Apportionment, which was the basis of my own drastic power increase-- doing so would be quite incredibly taxing, and the way I see it, you haven't earned it yet. In this world, the fruits of one's research come solely from the results of said research. But what if those results were contradictory to all forms of known logic? Such is the case with magic, hence, 'because magic'. It is not that I withhold this information from you, it is that the information may or may not make sense to you, due to it's unconventionality." James spoke clearly, reassuring her that he meant no diminuation on her personal intellect. Definitely a handful, this one.
"I simply mean to say that until you are capable of utilizing such things, you have not fully developed an accurate viewpoint on the magic to which I refer beyond the occult. This form of magic appears to have been formed over a short amount of time, with regards to human evolution, and lies dormant within each and every one of us. Although I could explain my own personal research into why beasts and other such sentient beings do not possess the same form of magic as we do, it is, again, too time consuming. There is something within us that varies our abilities drastically based off of, in my experience, who we are. But to define who or what we are ventures into the realm of philosophy, and as we are scientists, not philosophers, there is as such not enough conclusive evidence to decide what exactly magic even is, let alone how to tamper with it to produce a desired effect... Although, I don't believe I ever stated my claims to be irrefutable evidence. Perhaps you should pay more attention to your own outrageous arguments." James said, with a wink. This girl was truly interesting, despite her absolute intolerance for lack of knowledge.
That said, James couldn't help but laugh at her as she stomped the ground furiously. Although, from his observations of her so far, she was probably under the assumption that the entire room was covered in the same type of mana which, though it would be an adequate safety measure he may implement at some time, was not the case. Coating the ground beneath her in mana before she hurt herself, James would quickly soul dash over and stop her foot from pounding into the ground with his own.
"Although your curiosity is commendable, it would cost a considerable amount of mana to repair a broken leg. Despite what you may be hypothesizing, this room is not entirely coated in my magic. That sort of thing is extremely taxing, even for one with magic knowledge greater than my own-- well, I would imagine, as my own unique type of magic is... well, unique to me." James almost enjoyed toying with her foolish pride. It was clear she would not understand the more spiritual nature of things, given her current level of spiritual awareness. It was a shame, to be honest. Although, unlike her, he was capable of seeing potential for error. It was for this reason that James even took a more reserved stance in the first place. Scientists always outdo prior scientists. That was the due process of science. James was not afraid, if this was the next age of scientist. In fact, provided they didn't all turn out like Kabuto Hebi, James was absolutely fine with the prospect of this girl potentially succeeding him in research. Although that was not to say he would not continue his own. He had no intent of yielding to a child.
Then, he begun his charge. Noticing her almost perfect stance, James noted mid-dash that there would be no reason to baby her and, upon making contact activated his gravity boots, propelling him into the sky high over her head. Then, he would soul dash to her side and attempt to parry her blade out of her hand. Of course, in what appeared to be a display of a glourious lack of combat training, she fell from the initial force.
James stood beside her unharmed, blade pointing at her curled up mess. "First rule of combat, always expect your opponent to be using their mind as well. Just because I strike a poor pose immediately doesn't mean that I'll hold that pose until the end." James would say, placing the sword in her hand and attempting to correct her stance to one more viable in actual combat. She performed, it seemed, with a scientific precision in everything she did, therefore James would have the advantage of the same concept which presently baffled her. Unpredictability.
This time, James took a different stance. This time, one of a professional. He was preparing to come at her with everything he had, and if she didn't use her wits this time, it was unlikely she would be able to properly counter him.
With a twirl of his fingers, he decreased the weight of the sword so that it would be comfortable for someone with the muscle density of an infant. If she would swing it, she would see no noticeable change in offensive output, merely an increase in speed and surprisingly, durability.
He would wait for her to strike the proper fighting pose, or at least one for countering or redirecting fast moving opponents, then he would begin his rush. Although, if she only accounted for his speed and unpredictability of movement, assuming he would follow the same tactic twice, she would instead be overcome by brute force, James making sure to leave only a small opening for a parry upon impact. James of course wanted to show her that though an opponent may show their strengths in one manner, it did not excuse the possibility of other techniques. If she couldn't exploit the oppening in time, she would no doubt be overcome by James' overbearing strength. But being the type of man he is, James would also prepare a swift palm to the gut, should she lose focus on him as she parried him. The palm would not be enough to bruise her, but given the placement he would aim for, it would be more than enough to knock the wind out of her. The lesson he was trying to teach with this advance was, never expect your opponent to be finished-- even if you've disarmed them.
Yuel's tolerance towards incompetence was never so potent, and in her perspective, James had already passed that point. In fact, more so than thinking him unintelligent, after his response to her very own aggro'd reaction, Yuel simply gave up on retorting. Too many things were said that seemed like, if argued, the sound-waves would just bounce in walls of his skull before inevitably seeping back out his ears.
Setting aside his comments on the actual fruits of his research into his magic, the condescending notion of "having not earned the right to know them" couldn't be more unnecessary. Of course, keeping these findings private was obvious as a scientist; explaining that could have been said with boundlessly more tact. If anything, the way James said it felt as if he was somehow conveying superiority; clearly, his attempt at reassurance wasn't so well received.
What irritated the girl most of all was his very thorough implications towards her being uninformed on magic. Did she not just explain her research into the subject? Rather, he made note of her inability to utilise magic? Surely, she couldn't actually use "magic" in and of itself, but similar functioning systems were possible. No, was that a taunt? As a member of the vanguard, especially one who seems so well-informed given his direct contact with Azure and having learned of her in the first place, Renkinjutsu was easily one of the largest concerns relative to herself. Especially considering she had essentially surpassed the boundary separating abilities native to the spiritually aware; granted, the methods in use were essentially copied off the quincies, but the fact remains that even they had spiritual awareness.
Setting aside the mental tangent, the poorly executed taunt might as well be taken. Either way, Yuel already began formulating a method of incorporation. All she really needed was time. Had she been aware of his position and divisional influence, without a doubt Yuel would have questioned his title as "Lord of Whispers", given the currently observed and overwhelmingly lack of charisma and competent intelligence gathering.
A close second in terms of things to complain about from her side was, the notion of separating philosophy and science. Yuel understood the distinction between the two, but the way she saw it, James was implying that philosophy didn't have a science to it--or maybe she was reading into it too much? Nevertheless, she naturally had to go on another mental tangent. To her understanding, philosophy was a science in itself, and there were actual levels of probability for certian reactions based on core details and dispositions of the individual towards any number of subjects; thus, predictions are enabled, at times even with astonishing accuracy. Oh... she was thinking of psychology. Thankfully, she didn't vocally rant about this subject.
Oop, she should've waited to decide what irked her the most. If quotes on a wall implied ridicule as opposed to belief and inspiration, "not enough conclusive evidence to decide what exactly magic even is, let alone how to tamper with it to produce a desired effect" would be plastered in the largest font possible. In fact, this time around Yuel made no effort to get into a mental rant on the subject--self-refutation just seemed so much of a waste this time around. If anything, it offered mental fatigue and not much more.
Before leaving off to enter stance and prepare herself for combat, Yuel left off only a single sentence.
"Did I ever say you made claims believed to be irrefutable? That's... ironic of you to say..."
Making note of his snark concerning the attempt to gain insight into her own hypothesis on how protected she really was--well, let's set aside the fact that he was right. Actually, on that note, would the "shield" that protected her reactive to spiritual-energy induced effects? Rather, was his mana susceptible in any way? The gem didn't seem to be reactive to much of anything, even in the event that the spiritual energy was only indirectly involved with the gem, such as being the activation energy to an eventual natural phenomena, such as heat or vacuums. That being said, would any magical attacks damage her, and not just the swords that effectively couldn't? That could be... troublesome, to say the least. Either way, on the subject of her hypothesis, she simply left her whispered reply to his "explanation" at:
"Ah, mhm, your magic must certainly be uniquer alright. It takes a special kind of stupid to... nevermind."
Maybe he didn't hear her?
Taking note of James's change in approach--that being the jump, Yuel's motion to parry wasn't retracted. With her physique? It wasn't quite possible to change plans so quickly. Instead, the parry simply goaded her into performing a sipn, adding to the momentum of her fall. But, taking note of his divergence from the predicted action, Yuel continued on to roll on the floor forward, as opposed to the initial intention of tripping him. Getting to an eventual stand, the initial-speed boost offered a jump start ass he ran towards the water. Not only would it provide distance, but the use of his gravity boots might be hindered.
How might that happen? The density of water could inhibit the boots, so long as the way it worked was by sending some sort of gravitational or electromagnetic pulse towards the ground, as opposed to nullifying or countering the gravity of the Earth itself. How did she know about James's boots? She didn't. Yuel wasn't aware of the full details, but given the fluctuation of light--rather, visually the "air" under his boots as he jumped--the use of some sort of energy didn't seem to be the case. In fact, there had to be some sort of actual opposing force, and the most likely origin was an electromagnetic or gravitational force.
This hypothesis was gathered by the fact that James "jumped" as opposed to any other aerial action, or just outright floating. Probably, he couldn't sustain himself in the air, and the light fluctuations only occurred under his boots, thus them being the origin, as opposed to entirely under him. How powerful of a force could be generated from a pair of boots? On top of that, as far as Yuel saw, there was no additional movements in mid-air, leading to the assumption that he was propelled simply upward, and the momentum of his run only carried him forward. With that said, the pulse most have vectors, so between the two forces, electromagnetic was the most likely, and having an electromagnetic pulse emanate from his boots, to the ground to launch him upward--such an action was bound to find some difficulties with water as the surface below him. Of course, all of this was speculation made on the spot, but the probabilities seemed promising.
"Hey, James; why don't you tell me what classifies 'beating you', so I know how far I'll have to go?"
With a pearly smirk Yuel runs off with a plan in motion, motioning a reverse grip with one hand--now that the sword was light--for optimal and quickest counters to an opponent behind her. In sounded best in theory, and most theories hadn't failed her thus far.
Oh. Correction. Most theories hadn't failed her until now.
Since James used what seemed to be a scientific device to enable movement, she entirely disregarded the fact that he could probably use magic to augment his own physical ability. Thus, when she turned her head to notice the man just behind her, out of surprise and instinct Yuel prompted a spin backwards, drawing her sword vertically for defence. With James unexpectedly already caught up, his blade met her own. As quickly as possible, Yuel formulated a defensive strategy, and the best she could come up with was: use James's attack as a speed boost.
With their blades met, Yuel's intention was to use the force in his strike to send her back. The power in his attack was calculated based on the speed of his movement, with the velocity used to estimate his magnitude, and by that his total mass, and from there the whole momentum of his swing. To do this, Yuel's feet actually left the gruond, and with the ground no longer hindering her inertia, the power should have been enough to send the light-weight Yuel off. Of course, the scrapes from falling would likely hurt, but there wasn't much room for avoiding a hard landing since she had no method of aerial coordination.
While she may not admit it, James was a far more difficult opponent than first thought; so far, there had already been three instances where his ability was unaccounted for. First, his jump, then the scary speed displayed in his chase, and third, the unexpected palm. With a slight alteration in plans, Yuel's blade slid downward as the flat side of the blade met James's palmstrike to her abdomen. With minimal movement and maximum defence, Yuel's knee was brought up to her stomach, and the force of James's attack collided with the blade, the blade colliding with her knee, and the effects of his mana-defensive system ultimately protecting an enabling her to fly backwards.
The strike's kinetic force transfered into the sword, and the sword carried that force to her knee. Of course, considering the set safety net, the sword wouldn't actually hurt her, at least to the extent of debilitating damage. The strike on her knee would do just that, considering Yuel's weak constitution. So, instead the blade bent in half as the inertia still continued to transfer her whole body. The result would at least be a sore knee, but at least the goal was achieved. With rollercoaster speed she was sent across the room, actually barely landing into the body of water. Her body just barely missed the ground, with the back of her hand scraped at most. Perhaps the power in his strike could be considered the fourth unaccounted-for action of James.
On the other side, Yuel trudged out of the water as fast as possible to react; thank god the adrenaline from her first time in combat numbed the pain of a scraped hand that would otherwise have the girl groveling in pain on the floor. Her tolerance towards pain was, after all, insanely low. Interestingly enough, the sword in her hand formed an astonishingly similar shape to a boomerang. Perhaps even the speudo-infinite lift property of boomerangs could be replicated.
Caldwell Laboratories, Mongolia. Combat Data for potential Apprentice