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The idea of going out of her way to meet with the ex Emperor of the Quincy seemed ludicrous to some. Then again, there were quite a lot of events within a reasonable span of time that invited less than reasonable questions to which she had no answers to. Ghislain had left the Wandenreich and had shown no motives to want to return. Unlike with Gift however, the Quincy prodigy had no intentions of using her better judgement and the persuasiveness that was so wisely maneuvered by her. Her intent on meeting and talking to him were poised on completely different reasons, and for completely different goals.
His name was rumored to invite talks of darkness. It wasn’t clear from what she heard whether it referred to a power of his specifically or to something else entirely. And quite frankly, she didn’t really care either. She was pretty sure that whichever darkness he had possession and dominion over was very different from the one that invaded and clouded her mind. The struggle she was currently battling against was something that very few could understand. While it was indeed possible that the meeting was a waste of time, she could hardly imagine a reason to believe things could get much worse. Her encounter with the good Hollow Yaksha, the cataclysmic battle against the Goliath Shell and her zombie minions, as well as her fateful meeting with the Demon’s pet Arianda. It didn’t even take into consideration the prophecy spoken through Deveta and shown to Sofia that detailed her downfall or rather ascension and some of the acts she would partake in. It seemed as though pride, power, and the hunger to extend the reach of the Quincy would lead her to embrace the darkness of the world to surpass what any Quincy ever had. Because as was shown to her, while power abounded, the necessary amount to defeat the evils of the world could not be learned; at least not from a Quincy.
It wouldn’t be too long until the woman arrived at the place of meeting. On that day she wore a white top, with a blue jacket and matching blue and somewhat short skirt. Black gloves, and black thigh high stockings finished the rather classy and military esque look typical of the Quincy. If all went well, she hoped to find meaning in their conversation, as well as in his skills. She really hoped it was not all hype, and that she could take away from their meeting, more than purposeful words. She was certain he would find her of interest as well, in one way or another. As she approached, the dispersing of reishi in the air made it obvious as to where people of significance would be. Attuned to the spiritual energy around her, she didn’t have the hardest time finding her own, unless they truly attempted it and their skill exceeded her own. But as the meeting had been mutual, it made no sense for either of them to hide their presence lest their motives were less than noble.
”I’m not late, am I?” she asked with a rather calm demeanor as she approached the man. She wasn’t late at all. He was just early.
He was imposing, no lie about that. The prodigy before him did not seem phased in the slightest however as it was not the first time she had been up before truly power beings. And in other occasions it had been under less than desirable means. The girl had already faced up to, in different ways to beings like the Goliath Shell, and Gift, the Quincy of the Forests. Sofia was revered for who she was not just out of the combat potential and the genius she possessed with musical skills. It was her behavior and her astounding mental fortitude that allowed her to remain poised, calm, and collected in the face of adversity that earned her the respect she possessed.
”Let’s cut to the chase shall we?”
As expected, the former Emperor didn’t have the means to know what she wanted. It was simple really. Within the Wandenreich, there was no being that could teach her anything else of value. The current Elect did not possess more power than her. Even her techniques, while great were easily combated and replicated by the artistic style of combat, and the gracious nature that was so easily available to Sofia during altercations. It was power that drew her to the former Emperor. As she drew closer to the influence of darker beings like Demons, she wondered if the pinnacle of Quincy power was all she had already seen. She hoped there was more under the sleeves of someone like Ghislain. She hoped he knew more, as to not completely rely on the power bestowed by dark entities.
”You were the Emperor. You must’ve been aware then, just as you’re aware now. We can’t win this. Not with the Vanguard. Not with the Gotei. Not like this, and certainly not how we are.”
Quite frankly, Sofia didn’t like or agree with any of the alliances. She didn’t like any of them all that much. But, after persuasion and orders from the Executive Branch she allowed herself to go with their wishes. In a way, allying with other forces meant the most sure fire way of destabilizing power houses like Shadow Fall. It was all in vain however. It didn’t matter. Armies like Shadow Fall would not perish like that. There was no Quincy alive with the power to destroy some of the strongest warriors that the Demons had to offer, let alone their Queen and her maddening circle. In between the Demons and the Arrancar, they had created a union that was simply beyond comprehension. To think that the Quincy could so foolishly triumph as they were, with such adversity where their predecessors had failed was ludicrous. It was a notion Sofia had always know, but that she wasn’t as ready to accept back then.
To be able to win, they needed to fight fire with fire. She understood she needed to delve into energies that her people saw as unnatural. Perhaps the corruption would lead others to call her a traitor eventually, but it didn’t matter. For the sake of Quincy dominance and their own goals, she would taint her soul and obtain amazing powers that pushed her far and beyond the capabilities of a Quincy. She knew Ghislain was different, and she knew he was powerful. She could only hope he could feel the distress, the hunger for power, and the bottled up darkness that swelled up inside her.
”It seems I’ve run my course in everything I can learn from my peers. I wondered as to whether the former Emperor had kept secrets to himself that would be… beneficial to the newer generation.”
His words and his knowledge, while welcomed, were generalized enough to be of little help. The existence of things like Regalia was indeed something new for her. But quite frankly, finding such things couldn’t be that easy. Hell. She would actually more readily believe it was downright impossible. After all, beyond Ghislain, there was hardly any Quincy in existence within the Wandenreich that possessed them; not even the Captains or the Elect herself.
”What, so I go turning over every rock, and looking behind every tree until I find an item that clings to me?”
It was a joke, or at least she hoped he saw it as such. She also hoped that wasn’t the way to go about it. If there was one, he hadn’t been very clear on that. Because as it was, it seemed as though she had to look somewhere: anywhere. It didn’t help. Looking the world over for something wasn’t quite helpful in the slightest. If she was ever to obtain such a thing, and if Ghislain cared about her chances of actually doing so, he would need to offer a lot more guidance than, Search for something no one else has, anywhere, until you find it.
She hoped he would offer some clarification but that was still to be seen. She also wondered what abilities such weapons held. After all, being companions to one’s long life didn’t mean all that much. It was simply a Shinigami with their Zanpakutō. To Sofia, such a thing would require unique and amazing power to bestow it the chance to be carried alongside with her. And while she was ready to test out her skills against it, Ghislain would call the black blade back soon after. Regardless, from what he spoke, it seemed as though he knew of different bladed combat styles. Quite honestly, at first she didn’t think she needed it. Having been taught by some of the best mentors, and surpassing their own skills with the blade, Sofia had become the rather masterful combatant. Like any good student and artist of either music or the blade, she knew that there was always a chance to learn more, and to grow stronger from the new knowledge.
”Our people have failed. The failed in the past, and they still fail today. I simply want to go further. Beyond them. And I will. Sooner. Or later.”
The Quincy meant what she said. The musical genius displayed a work ethic, an organization, and a talent that was matched by very few. The speed at which she learned and grew stronger was astonishing. Through whatever means, she didn’t hope, but rather she merely waited until she surpassed the power of beings like Jugram, Hulderic, Ghislain, and Yhwach himself. The journey would certainly be long. But by delving into energies thought to be unnatural, even for beings like them, and with her own skills, it was only a matter of time before she surpassed them all. Every Quincy struggled with something. Power, humility, or something else entirely. The pride that was so common among her kind was likely her own weakness as well. But much like aspects of combat, weakness could be polished, and strengthen to become pillars rather than weak links.
”So, this bladed style has a name? Do you wanna show it or just talk about it?”
She didn’t attempt to come off as rude or upset. Instead, she simply gave a smile that was semi playful and challenging. In an instant, two seele schneider would flow to both of her hands, still not activated. It seemed as though she had used telekinesis, as displayed in one of those sci fi movies, but it wasn’t correct. Instead, it had been her use of the ability, The Melody, to create a subtle musical tune about her that hooked and pulled both seele into her hands.
“That’s not an excuse. That’s unfortunately where you and the green hooded hermit are wrong. We were led by faulty beliefs, but our predecessors had as much fault on their failures as the people who led them.”
Sofia had risen up to be the strongest member in her organization, at the moment even more so than the Elect. While beings like Hulderic and Yhwach were indeed mighty and difficult to overcome, it was hardly impossible. Anyone with the talent, the drive, the vision, and the will to achieve a certain result wouldn’t. The difference between the Quincy of old and herself, besides her own unique power was her innate preference for order, calculated measures, and by extension the minimized potential of failure in the treks she undertook.
”Come at me, and don’t hold back.”
She wasn’t quite certain but the hunch seemed to hold validity nonetheless. While he was somewhat stronger than her in power potential, he would be mistaken to underestimate the intellectual strategist that was the musical Quincy before him. Reaching for one of her Dark Seele, she would ignite it. The blade would look distinctively different with its red hue as opposed to the typical blue one seen in most Seele Schneider. With one hand tossed back behind her, the other swung forward in an attempt to have her blade meet with his. Right before it could however, two ginto would be dropped right behind her from her free hand, activating her Doppel technique.
All of a sudden, Sofia would be seen meeting blades with the ex Emperor’s, the weight of the effect of his own technique, squishing and seemingly destroying her into a pile of nothingness. Behind him and up, perhaps more than a few feet away, the Quincy prodigy seemed to spiral in a controlled and artistic endeavor. In one hand she still had one of her Dark Seele and on the other, her Geigenbogen taking the form of a blade this time around.
With the momentum of the spiraling swift movement of sharp deadliness as a defense, the effect would be seen in the form of her Heiling Hieb. Two crescescent slashes would travel at extremely fast speeds, since the technique, already speedy on its own was further enhanced by her use of The Melody pushing it to excess of Mach 1 beyond the lightning fast speed it already possessed. The crescent slash from the Geigenbogen would appear blue while the one from her Dark Seele would seem to present its red hue. Much like the unique abilities of each weapon, each crescent blast would present the same as well. The red crescent slash had the properties of a weapon that loosen up the bonds of reishi in whatever it reached. Meanwhile the blue crescent slash from her violin bow instead used its super sharp qualities to simply push away reishi bonds, allowing it to cut through almost anything. She had to admit that perhaps it would’ve been nice to use her own experienced control over reishi to counter the effects he had tried to project on her. But alas, her decision seemed just as wise, but all the more classy and elegant. Regardless, the ex-Emperor would be faced with quite the conundrum. Dodging presented quite the difficult scenario given the speed at which they traveled. However, attempting to block the techniques seemed to present an even more difficult endeavor, if not deadly. Beyond it all, in her current position, Sofia was quite readily in the best possible spot to counter attack or continue depending on his own actions.
”It looked alright. But I’d be more interested in learning it than just seeing it. But about this myth of the regalia, I don’t suppose you would help me find it just out good will?” She had to ask since most times, most people needed or simply wanted something in return for their troubles.
Doppel: By quickly dropping two Ginto tubes, a blast is made and the spiritual energy contained inside wrap around her a double or replacement of her near instantly. The double bears such resemblance in likeness and spiritual feeling that is unlikely to be able to tell otherwise. The double cannot speak, move, think or act at all. As such, the technique is not made to confuse or distract the foe. Instead, it's Sofia’s mean of escaping a potential blow while making it seem as though she was hit. Because of the speed of proficiency with the Ginto technique, its easily able to fool foes up to a tier higher than her. However, as being fooled or not makes no difference, even those that see throughout it would have no greater advantage other than knowing Sofia is elsewhere.
Heiling Hieb: [passive] By continuously gathering reishi around her weapons, Sofia is able to either thrust or swing one of her seele schneider or her geigenbogen resulting in a reishi blast being shot. Thrusting would result in a blast that’s destructive in nature but with an emphasis on its piercing and concussive capabilities. Likewise, when slashing, the ability surrenders its concussive and piercing abilities for the chance to slash through the sharp crescent wave of concentrated reishi. Since Sofia is able to fire arrows through her bow, she delegates the use of this technique usually for the times when she’s strictly using her blades.
» Spirit Weapon Abilities:
Sofia’s geigenbogen has a very simple ability that is inversely related to a seele schneider. While a seele behaves in a way like a chainsaw, with reishi making millions of trips a second around the edge of the blade, it serves to loosen the bonds of whatever it cuts. The seele’s main purpose it's to make it easier to capture reishi. Her geigenbogen however is known for its extremely sharp edge. Rather than loosening bonds, it simply pushes them away from the blade to allow it to cut with more ease. In essence, Sofia’s geigenbogen is able to cut with a lot more ease through objects and materials other weapons would have a much more difficulty with.
It never ceased to amaze. The older the spiritual beings got, and usually the stronger they got, the more gullible and quite often irritating they became as well. It made sense for stronger individuals to behave in certain specific ways especially when trying to assert their own dominance. But, in the advent of proving themselves worthy against others, and in the struggle to show their own worth they failed to see the accomplishments, the skills, and the equally valid and thoroughly rehearsed strategies of their opponents. And just like it had happened many times before, it could be their downfall. Despite the increased power potential he possessed, there was no doubt in her mind that she could give much more of a fight to the ex emperor than his own ego and pride allowed him to believe.
When she sent off her attack, the prodigy wasn’t fooled. Not even for an instant. At a certain point in a Quincy’s spiritual career, there came a time when, for most, becoming attuned to the way reishi worked and how it circulated around them and their environment became moot. Then again perhaps Ghislain was the exception. She had heard the rumors. She knew that whichever power he possessed, likely related with his namesake of darkness, did not allow him to create spiritual weapons from reishi as a real Quincy should. It wasn’t quite a disgrace, but it was certainly unfortunate, and in a way, rather sad. As such, she wouldn’t fault him for not understanding the capabilities of a real Quincy and the extent they could push themselves and their abilities when they truly invested in their own career and hobbies, instead of slaving through a dogma that was eventually doomed to failure by following a dead king that would only lead him to a throne no one cared about, and no one remembered.
When the fake was made to replace the real Ghislain and take the brunt of the slashes, she saw it. When the fight had started, there was an obvious and copious amount of reishi gathering around him. He was powerful, so of course, it made sense that it would. But, so soon as the fake copy had been created, the amount, the density, and the sheer order of the particles drawing themselves to it would become unstable and rather different than before. It made it clear, and beyond that it wasn’t the first time she was tried to be made a fool of in such a manner. More importantly, she knew that even as she had relocated herself after her own use of Doppel, Ghislain wouldn’t have a way to know where she was. Simply put, that wasn’t the way the technique worked, and it was specifically designed for a rather unique purpose. His own skill despite how high it could be, had no means, no reason, and no valid grounds to even be able to fathom the workings of her technique, even if he had actually seen it once before. And for the record, it was the first time. The technique was able to fool those up to a tier higher than her, making it seem as though the replacement was indeed her. But, while those much stronger than her would not fooled by the replacement, they had no way and no means of asserting the largely random location of Sofia, and had no other available knowledge beyond: She’s elsewhere.
As such, the Quincy prodigy would have had a few more seconds than her momentary sparring partner would have believed. But even a second was all she needed. With no time to figure out how or who exactly would approach her, she simply went with her gut feeling. Tossing a couple of Ginto tubes behind her, Platzen, the reiryoku grenades at her disposal would be detonated at her own will. The blast would surely been enough to destroy what she quickly noticed was yet another fake. Though she would notice a bit too late that Ghislain was coming down on her, blade in hand, she never had any intention to remain where she was. The ex emperor might’ve been smart, but he was facing up against someone that simply outclassed him in strategy, intellect, wit, and most definitely creativity and artistic drive. No questions asked.
Jumping off of where stood right as the grenade was thrown, she used her mastery of Hirenkyaku, allowing her to reach speeds so fast that she was hardly seen left for subtle hints of a blur that if struck, would simply end up striking the after image of where she might have once stood. It wasn’t just her masterful speed however, using the blast as a conduit, and even her own unique use of The Melody to speed her up at an additional excess of Mach 1 beyond what she already did on her own, caused her to simply move with ease past the attempts of the ex king.
”I don’t mind learning, but I do mind the title of apprentice. I won’t be anyone’s apprentice. If you'll help me achieve my goals then do so, otherwise, don't waste my time with idle talks of grandeur. because, as history has shown, you all talked quite a lot, and at the end, accomplished nothing.”
She would neither say or ask anything about his goals. She had no idea what they were, and there was no interest or reason why she would be curious to know. She was well beyond wasting time like her kind was so seemingly fond of. She had her own goals and views to meet, and she had no intentions to see herself lag behind in the interest of others. There was also no helping comparing him to the same Wandenreich he was a part of back when Yhwach still lead them. It wasn’t just a failure of their leader despite his own devious agenda. It was their failure. Regardless of how badly Ghislain wanted to reflavor it, the Quincy owed their recurrent misery and failure’s much to Yhwach, as to Ghislain, and every other being that was a willing part or bystander of the pitiful time they lived in. Simply put, the ex emperor was an old breed that was no more, and that sought to continue living, grasping and holding onto anything it could find when simply, it just needed its own eternal peace. The time was one for change. It was the time for a new generation, one that did not carry the stigma of such a past, and that allowed itself to fall as they had. It was Sofia who would echo a new era in the years to come, and with a power that would one day truly make a change. If Ghislain really wanted to be remembered, then he would help her find this mythical item he spoke about, and see her on her way to her own goal while he continued on to his. Otherwise he could continue pushing on, trying to prove something only to himself, and eventually fail as he and his peers had done for each other. Otherwise he was doomed to fall in the abyss of forget, with a story no one would care to tell, and with a legacy no one would bother remembering.
Safely out and away from the reach of the eager ex king, the prodigy was ready. If there was a a bit of intellect left on the man then he would resort to his better judgement, call the sparring off, and simply help her. Otherwise he could continue, and simply lead himself to embarrassment by struggling against someone that wasn’t truly meant to do so. Just in case however, Sofia would be ready. Her Geigenbogen would disappear as willed by her, and her dark seele would simply hover before her, likely due to her own effect over The Melody. Outstretching her hands, she would create one of her custom technique, Ransotengai: Rengoku. From both of her hands, specially her fingertips, light blue reishi threads stretched out before they became seemingly unnoticeable to the eye. They didn’t stick to anything however, and soon they were descended from her hands and suspended into the air around her through both her spiritual energy and the use of The Melody to keep it afloat. Pulling on four more dark seele, she would laid them out and suspend them across the technique, almost as if she created a rather large crossbow of sorts. The crossbow however looked a lot more like a big harp, that seemed as beautiful and classy as it was dangerous and deadly.
"You're strong, but not quite what I expected from the ex-emperor. I don't mind continuing this and entertaining that ego that you so seemingly cling on, in hopes someone would look in awe and what you have done. But that's the issue isn't it? There's nothing to be in awe about. That's why you struggle so much to try and do something of impact so that someone can actually remember your name. Then help me, and then see that the more complicated and struggling treks you seek see their end, and I'll wish luck on to you that they do not end in the same failure that you and the ancient Quincy brought unto our race."