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Artist: MASA-P - Song: Beheading Dance - Word Count: 551
Idiots. The child had seemed to let out what she was thinking in her head, however she wasn't wrong in her choice of words. Since after her trying to egg them on into fighting further, the weird monster Alien seemed to loose all interest in finishing the job. He was perhaps the biggest idiot of them all, not to mention that he doesn't understand how genetic works! Look at him calling Blank his sister, he doesn't have green hair, where are his horns? Is he some sort of demon that she was unaware off? Either way he seemed to have a very different view on these peace collecting expeditions she takes on. Through her travels she had learned that to collect the peace of someone else you'd need to kill them, free their soul from their body so that their body can become the earth's; that way it isn't wrong for her to take their "peace".
This monster seemed more concerned on torturing it's body over and over again, once again what an idiot. By causing too much strain on the body he's bound to make the "peace" inside self destruct or even unusable in the end. Don't either of these people understanding the grave issue with this whole fight. It doesn't help that this monster isn't taking any notice of his human friend trying to free himself while his back is turned, any sane human would try and run the moment they get free. Turning her attention away from the male she'd scan the area trying to find anything in which was a sword like shape luckily it wasn't that hard as she found a sturdy stick among the rumble. While she was quickly bending down to drop the stick that was near by, the female's shocked reaction could be comically known through the sudden straightening of her tail. Somehow this monster was strong enough to pick up that thousand ton rock! Perhaps trying to fight this man would be a bad idea however this is the only way to get their 'peaces' is to try and kill then herself.
A sneak attack is a very efficient way of trying to kill someone, so all Blank has to do is to attack the monster while he isn't paying attention to her. Throwing that rock was the perfect distraction that she needed, quickly picking up the stick the child lifted up her now armed hand into the air.
"A ha! Take this!" With a sharp squeal of an excited child, Blank would have swung the stick down to time it with him turning his face back to her. Her intentions were to slice the male's head down the middle much like someone smashing a watermelon with a cleaver, however if he were to let her hit him the results would vastly differ. Instead it would just make a slight slap sound as the stick would go smack right down in between his eyes, perhaps if she were lucky she could leave a pretty good red mark on his forehead from the sheer force of it all. Though the small rock throwing demonstration from earlier should prove the strength level of this child. However from just watching the two fight, perhaps her swordsmanship, or sticksmanship in this case, should be above the average child.
The weasel managed to free himself of the glass and he turned up the power. The boy he was trying to make suffer so much finally managed to do something, had finally managed to peak the interest of the Hollow, the boy holding a gem that gave off a holy and pure aura. He didn't care to listen to the boy's words but that gem was enough to make him worry, if just a tad. He knew it was created by Cirno, it held her energy, energy that was much like Landen's friend Carter. The beast was surprised her influence would spread so far so fast, she had only started training the new age of heroes. The panther had been listening quietly the night Carter talked about his training with her to Landen.
It remembered the disgust it got from the aura coming off the boy, he had found Carter obnoxious in the past but the energy he asserted now was fearful. A touch of that same energy was coming from the gem the boy had in his possession and he could find that the boy's on energy was growing just from activating it. The power gap between the two was still too vast to cross but it was enough for the panther to decide now he would kill the boy rather than toy with him and afterward he would destroy the gem. A wave of energy assaulted his being from the gem but had no outward affect on the kneeling beast as his hand was still on the girl he had proclaimed to be his new little sister.
A hand would touch Landen's chest in the dark. His eyes would open but he couldn't tell if they were due to how dark it was in this part of his soul, but a voice would reach him, the boy. He was offering to help him, to provide whatever aid he could. Run man... he can't be stopped, you can't beat him. He thought, the words projecting to the kid without the hollow knowing what was taking place, as soon as he issued the warning he felt an energy wash over him that reminded him of his best friend Carter's own. It wasn't the same but it was close and it was seeping into him, as it did he could feel the vines tying him down rot away into nothingness. The claws and fangs dug into his flesh ripped out in pain of the light, from his wounds the light would come out and illuminate the darkness.
On the outside the Hollow would scream in a fury as he began to realize what was happening, the stupid boy had out witted him because of that stupid gem and had managed to give Landen some hope and he hated when that fool had hope, his being would stand and turn, facing the boy he would rush in to him, his feet leaving small fissures in the ground from his force as he moved.
Back in the darkness the light began to grow just enough for Landen to get his bearings and in doing so he saw her, he saw Azai chained down with vines of thorns stabbing into her being from almost every orifice of her being. He rushed over to her, ignoring the fact that with each drop of blood that feel off of his body more light would flood the area, the blood coming out like a droplet of light staining the floor of darkness. He stopped just in front of the spirit of his Zanpakutō and cupped her face in his left hand, her skin feeling cold and clammy to the touch. She was shivering and he could feel her energy being pulled out and down through the vines, her power being abused and twisted in the most disgusting manner. From the start she had warned Landen against this and now she was suffering even worse than himself.
His fingers would wrap around the thorn vines and he would exhale, trying to figure out how to use this light that was still powering him from the boy. when I have to tap into the light and access my angel I find my memories of happiness make it easier. The words of his friend Carter would echo as he recalled the time he asked him how he went angel state.
Figuring it was worth a shot he closed his eyes and thought of his happiest memory, the day he had actually become a shinigami, the day Azai and him became partners. Even then he knew his Zanpakutō had more powers than the others, even then he knew she would make him more powerful than any shinigami no matter how long it would take, not because of her power but because she shared the same will power as him.
A wave of the light burst outward from him and descended down the vines, rotting them away as well, Azai falling, collapsing in Landen's arms. He would kneel down with her and push the light into her as well. He knew she needed it more than him and he could see it course through her, making her light up form the inside and her skin grow. He had finally broke free of his Hollow's clutches but Azai hadn't yet and she needed saved now. "Come on girl, show me why you're such a bad ass." He would whisper into her ear as her eyes opened.
The Hollow would bring the Zanpakutō down aiming to cleave the boy open from his right shoulder down to his waist. Right before contact with the boy the snake like sword did a 180, the blade slashing into the mask of the Hollow before coming and wrapping around his neck and sword arm, holding his actions down while again his right arm worked against him and came to the mask, his fingers snaking under the rim and pulling upward, he would howl in anger, he had come so far, had managed such utter control only for a boy to ruin it all. "I will kill you for this." it warned, defying the attempt at freedom from Landen and his Zanpakutō, he still had his cero, so he would open his mouth and began to charge one of immense power, the black orb crackling with red pulsating energy, the ground under the two would compact just form the force of the building energy alone.
Together on the inside Landen had taken control of part of his body, enough to work his hand under the mask while Azai fought back, taking her own form back entirely. In his soul Landen would duck as the panther came out of the shadow's, it was still fighting on the outside but it had split itself to quell Landen's resistance. The Panther would hiss, the bone like face of the beast opening wide to show rows of razor sharp teeth. The Hollow panther was intent on smashing him down once and for all. Landen was ready for this, it had been a long time coming, he had held off the hollow for many years and hadn't trained to control it like he should have. The beast lunged at him and he jumped toward it, his arms wrapping around its powerful neck as it latched its mouth onto his side, aiming to crunch his rips to dust. He would squeeze tighter, feeling the bones in the Hollows neck begin to pop as fissures appeared along it's white face.
He needed more power, he needed something to give him an edge, he needed his Zanpakutō. The thought was enough, the pure desperation of the need was great enough for it to manifest in his left hand. Pulling back he would slide backward to prevent the Hollow from swiping at him when he let it free. More blood the color of white light dripped from his side, staining more and more of the ground. The light was beginning to show things in the darkness, trees, thick moss, vines every where and it finally dawned on him that the Hollow hadn't locked him in his own mind but had trapped him in a section of his own inner world he hadn't been in before, the Hollow's part. It was a twilight forest, a dark rain forest. In a way he was surprised of this, the Hollow had so much in common with both him and Azai. As if in response it would speak, "Does it surprise you? You're in your own world, because I'm a piece of you. But I'm sick of this neglect and now you will suffer." It roared before leaping toward him again, Landen would feel pity for it.
The creature wanted to be noticed, wanted to be apart of the being that was neglecting him, wanted to be a piece of the trio that was itself, Landen, and Azai. It was Landen and Azai's own fear of its power that made it evil, the fear of it taking over turned it dark. He would have to fix it later but for now he needed to break free of the damned thing. As it came at him he would slice his blade downward int he dark forest, aiming to cleave the mask of the Hollow in half.
In the next moment the mask broke in the real world, a sturdy stick smashing into the weakened mask. Landen blinked as the sun light hit his eyes, together with this boy's power and his own he had managed to fight the beast but it was the stupid stick of the girl that had pushed it over the edge, together Landen and Steiner had been enough to halt the beast but not for Landen to break through all the way, just enough to weaken it for any real hit to shatter the mask and the girl had done it, albeit she didn't mean to do it but she still freed the man, his brown hair cascading down over his forehead, the spikyness gone from all the sweat. He would look at the girl, "You need clothes sister." The word sister still sticking around, the defeated panther whispering it in his mind.
Landen had hurt the beast by making it feel alone and it found some sort of connection to this little girl so he wouldn't cut the connection, not if he was going to make an effort to welcome the hollow into his being. His right hand would pat the little girl's head again, being mindful of her horns, "You might be a demon but a demon can still catch cold." he said with a smile before looking at Steiner.
"I really worked you over huh?" he'd ask awkwardly, a smile coming to his face as if to apologize. "I didn't think this would happen, but if not for you and that gem that gives off Cirno's energy I would be dead. You must be one of her new heroes. Already saving the day it seems."
His left hand would feel the tremble of Azai as she pushed remorse into his soul, her too feeling guilty for hurting the kid and as well for ignoring the Hollow. He thought she would berate him for letting it out and causing this whole mess but instead she felt guilty and he knew she would help him in the future to advance the relationship between the three that shared one soul.
"How about I help you fix your camp?" He offered before looking to his new little sister, "You can pitch in too." He added.
Artist: Two Steps From Hell - Song: Heart of Courage - Word Count: 2,037
Steiner was ready for anything, he had not run because of that, and had continued this fight because he knew the being inside was in distress, but more than that, he had stayed because the path of power was paved with challenges. And this was indeed a challenge and an obstacle that he would need to over come regardless of how he felt about the matter. He found himself shaking, his body exhausted, but none the less he was standing tall, ready for round three according to his count of how many times he had nearly died during this fight. The Hollow seemed interested in his glowing gem, he could deduce that by the looks he was getting now, and he felt that the Hollow had some form of familiarity with the gem. Surprising, but that must mean that the man inside also had some familiarity with Cirno as well. Maybe another student, much like he was, that shared the dual nature of spirit that he did, however...his spirit didn't seem too friendly in comparison with Valus. Valus chuckled at being compared with the Hollow, they were absolutely nothing alike, and that was very clear from the lack of negative energy in his being, but more so in the fact that he wasn't looking to take Steiner over, or kill him.
It was then in that moment that he realized the Hollow had switched its' intent from just torturing him to a more sinister intent. Steiner focused, sending a bit more energy to Landen, trying his best to reach the being on the inside of this monstrosity before it was too late for him. If the Hollow were to get serious, there would be little doubt that Steiner would die here, and now. He lacked the tools to compete with a being of this level, but he would be damned if he allowed himself to die because he didn't try. Then again, what had he been doing since he arrived? All of the things he had done, the steam tactic, the swordplay, all of it had been pretty much for nothing as the Hollow had basically made a mockery of him entirely. Blocking the attacks and making it seem like everything he had worked on and all of the training he had been through had been for nothing. Yet, Steiner was still determined, and his will had not yet wavered from the path of combat that he had put himself on. So if the Hollow wanted to get serious, they could easily get serious, and Steiner would keep fighting regardless.
Valus internally would watch Steiner, his determination, and his will was infectious, a slight grin formed on his monstrous patchwork of a face as he realized that no matter what he would help Steiner. That was the difference between the Hollow inside Landen and himself, Valus would support Steiner not through bribery or needing to be coursed into doing it. but through the want to actually help his partner. They shared a body and more than that, they were kindred spirits. In that moment one of Steiner's eyes would turn purple, signifying that the spirit of Valus was going to protect Steiner no matter what, as his spirit wrapped Steiner's own in a warming defense. Whatever happens....we will do this together, Steiner. I'm sorry to have doubted you, now lets kick this Hollow's ass! Steiner didn't need much encouragement, but he welcomed Valus' support as a son would welcome the guidance of a father. They were one, they were together, and if the chips didn't fall their way today, they would die together fighting till their last breath. There were no other choices.
Steiner received the message from Landen, his eyes going wide at the thought that something this monstrous was filling the being's spirit with so much doubt, and in that moment Steiner wasn't going to allow the being to lose hope. He wouldn't send any message back and instead would have flared his own weak spiritual energy, but at the same time Valus would flare his own, making it seem as though Steiner had more energy than he actually had, and that was because he did. Inside the two spirits were mixing their energy at a high rate, both of them creating an orchestra of incredible synchronization, and making a beautiful symphony of power come out of Steiner. It was like a mixture of steam pouring from his body with small crackles of Judgement energy creating spark like effects all around Steiner's body, and in the steam itself. In essence, Steiner's own presence would be enough of an answer to the spirit of Landen trapped inside of the Hollow, there was no give in either him nor his spiritual partner. So as he heard the roar of the Hollow, even though it gave him a feeling of uneasiness, he stared forward with his sword at the ready, unsure of what was going to happen. No, it wasn't unsure thoughts, Steiner knew for a fact that he would fight regardless of what the Hollow had in store for him.
The Hollow's monstrous speed would surprise Steiner as it made fissures in the sand as it closed the distance on Steiner in mere moments and appeared in front of him. Steiner didn't blink as he tightened the grip on Excalibur, the gem still burning bright blue as the feeling of energy that had helped him back on top of the mountain some time ago washed over into him. Enhancing his own natural speed as he saw the creature begin to swing down upon his shoulder, looking to cleave him in two more than likely. He would bring up his own sword to block, in his own mind he thought about the way he could defend this attack, and realized that the power difference between the two of them was far too great for him to nullify the effects entirely. No, he would still take huge damage, but this way he wouldn't be cleaved in two like a piece of meat at a butcher's shop.
He didn't close his eyes as he watched the sword come down, he expected pain, and loads of it from the assault from the Hollow, but instead he was greeted with an odd occurrence. The snake like sword that had wrapped up Steiner earlier in this fight would wrap itself around the Hollow, completely negating the Hollow's attack in the process, and in that moment Steiner's form shifted from defensive to a confused stance, not knowing what was going on inside. Landen's own hand would jump up to grab the mask and begin to pull upon it, trying to release himself from the control of the Hollow in the process. Steiner titled his head, but Valus remained cautious as he continued to watch through Steiner's right eye. In truth, Valus was interested in the Hollow, he wanted to know just how strong it really was because it peeked his interest in the fact that though they were different they were still in theory the same. Both were part of a body that wasn't their own, but at the same time they were "part" of their host's power.
Steiner, however, quickly shifted stances again to surprise as the Hollow began to channel a Cero through its mouth. Steiner had barely survived earlier due to the nature of the gem, but at this point blank range even the gem would be useless against the power of a Cero. He gritted his teeth, knowing that he wasn't fast enough to dodge this attack, and instead focused on defending at all costs. Valus himself gave him more energy, not caring at that point if Steiner's own body would be overwhelmed, but instead hoping to just survive this powerful attack. On the inside, Steiner wondered if he could become as strong as this being, and if Valus and he could have gotten more in tune with each other if they had just spent more time training together. He would never doubt the spirit inside of him again if they survived and more than that, if they survived, he would delve deep into the well of knowledge his partner had. He would get stronger and he would surpass the being in front of him one day, there was no doubt about that, but for right now they both would have to survive. "We aren't dying here!", Steiner shouted as his own spiritual energy and Valus energy mingled once again, creating more steam, and sparks. It was then that he noticed the child.
In Steiner's mind he was readying himself to take this blow, but now that the girl was right there his thoughts quickly turned to panic. This girl would die if she was hit by this attack and he couldn't allow that, regardless of her own personal feelings about him, and him not dying, she was a child. The future would be in her hands, much like all the children of the world, and Steiner would not allow that future to be tarnished in this fight. The girl was holding a stick, swinging it around awkwardly, but as she swung the stick at the mask, Steiner was surprised for the second time in a matter of seconds. He watched as the masked cracked and fell to pieces, destroying the Hollow's form as it did so, releasing the being inside. He wasn't human, at least to his knowledge, and he sure as hell wasn't a Ziamichi like him, but yet it was a relief that the battle was finally over.
Steiner staggered as he heard the voice of the being that was inside of the Hollow, he plunged the sword into the sand to steady himself, and let out a few deep breaths as the purple eye faded, leaving behind Steiner's blue eyes. Valus sat back in Steiner's body, he grinned, but at the same time let out a breath of relief, he was happy to not have been killed here, but was more intent on honing Steiner's skills than ever now. He would make Steiner into a true warrior so that things like this would never happen again, that was for sure, but yet Valus knew there would be more conflict for the young man in the future. His ideology and path of heroism would be strewn with enemies that needed to be defeated one way or another and he knew for a fact Steiner was ill prepared for that journey right now. The key word was right now, but he knew for a fact that Steiner would get stronger, he had the strength of will, and the power to do so. As Landen commented on Steiner's already saving the day, he chuckled slight, but none the less exhaustively. He wasn't really the sole person who had saved the day, in fact he looked over at the demon child, and grinned, thanking her for the job well done as he felt all of the strength leaving him.
The armor he was wearing shattered into pieces, rejoining Steiner's soul by turning into Judgement Energy particles that quickly became one with the young man's own power. What was left, was a young man, bloody, and shaking, he was holding on by sheer force of willpower, taking ragged breaths as he did so. "It wasn't just me, it was the girl too...", Steiner said shakily as he pointed his reconstructed hand at the girl with a grin on his face. As Landen brought up his camp, Steiner would jut up right, and turn to look at the crater that had once been his camp. Everything that he had owned, all of his money, all of his food, and all of the things that he had collected over his time in life were now gone. In their place was a smoking crater, for a few moments he stood there, and then let out a loud groan as he turned to face Landen. "No need...I don't have a camp...or anything really anymore...", Steiner said as he sat down on the sand, putting the sword on his lap as he looked down at it in sadness. Everything was just gone...