Heart of Ebony.
Kuro's entire body shook from the blow to his side, causing a spurt of blood to race out of the corner of his mouth as the two of them exchanged blows. His body cringed at the feeling, his muscles releasing waves of pain as he attempted to tighten them as he continued to move. Small black spots were beginning to appear on the edges of his eyes, but he was not going to allow for himself to fall unconscious. Like a drunk man attempting to halt vertigo… he was staring at his opponent, trying to focus himself completely on her. For better or worse, this was the best way for him to fight, now.
At long last, he landed a significant blow. That substitution appeared to work well enough that he could finally pierce through her barrier, dealing damage to a part of her body. Then it was over in a flash, his body sent careening through the air, before he had risen once more, his body entering his Painful Shadows state.
"…" He did not respond to her question. After all, he had no real need to. The blood still gently oozed down his flank, along his arm, from his ribs and the side of his head… but he did not seem as bothered by it any longer. His muscles seemed leaner, and in general he just seemed more at peace, more… relaxed. This state would not last for long, but for the time that Kuro had it, he would certainly use it to its fullest potential. For him to be able to do that… he would have to be able to focus.
As her armor exploded, his foot would press down into the ground, before vanishing from where he had been standing. The edges of his clothes got caught by the searing heat, disintegrating as he moved at Shunpo-speeds, dodging and weaving away with grace, before swiveling his head. He was now outside of the explosion radius, able to witness what had emerged.
As she laughed, however, she would find something quite strange. After all, a man standing in front of you, his hands covered in enough shadow that they looked like great black paws, pressing themselves on either side of your head with enough force to blow a building across a football field would probably be well noticed. Kuro's body had crossed the distance faster than his normal mind could have been able to process. Red heat seared along the length of his body from his speed, the smell of smoke accompanying him as he pushed the two parts of his body together.
His goal was not to hit her… His goal was to condense the force that her body was giving off as she laughed, laughing in the middle of a fight. While her body was entirely focused on that relaxation, on that exaltation of joy and merriment… Kuro would attempt to snap her neck, and failing that, would try to twist it out of shape, causing an immense amount of pain and discomfort. As her hands came to slam together, his body vanished again, this time with bits of shadow appearing in the air along his path.
As he moved back and she created that shining orb, however… the shadows that it created along her arms would respond, tightening and coiling as the shadow energy that Kuro had left behind would revamp their own power, helping them as they shot towards her eyes while the entirety of her focus was on creating that orb of power.
At last, Kuro's body came to a stop. His movements became like a bird's as he fluidly shifted around, coming to stop… but then the force of the blast would catch him. His arms darted to the center of his body as he was blown back, his shadows discarded as he was slammed into th edge of the crater, rocks shattering and crumbling around him.
"A world of gray leads to nothing but misery. Black and white; Shinigami are the Bleach of this world. We take the darkness and in shadow bring purity and light. Without us, that blackness would consume this world. That is black. We are white. We can't have gray. We can't. Have. Gray." The voice of the male muttered as he laid in the pile of rocks, his blood oozing onto the stone.
The rock face crumbled away as Kuro's body moved out of it, his mind and bodily form racing. Mushroom cloud…? Nuclear energy? Won't that start killing me rapidly if I actually get caught in the explosion part….? Wonderful… While her mouth took the time to speak, Kuro's mind was using that time to consider his options. Interruption. He decided as her mouth let out the word 'wall'. Hey. There's an idea. He concluded, leaning his body downwards as he stuck his tail into the air, flicking it about a bit as his crimson eyes watched the figure in front of him…
Waves of shadow poured outwards, moving faster than any of his previous constructs, like lightning, creating a line between himself and her through this massive crater that she had made. On the edge of that crater, where the light from her new spear could not reach… an entirely new supply of shadows had become available. This pool was massive in size, thanks to her explosions.
As her body vanished, the shadow would dart back to Kuro's body as he traced her movements. She seemed to be going at an average pace to the male, perhaps a bit slower. As she reached him, however, she would become affected by one single, solitary mistake. She had finally attacked the male directly in close combat…
His left arm's fingers closed around the hilt of his blade as without pain he brought it against the spear that was head right for him. He didn't have to move it very much. After all, the only thing that was required here was the very instant in which she had placed the entirety of her body into her attack. For someone who consistently watched the actions of his opponents in order to find openings ,this was the easiest thing in the world for Kuro… next to making pancakes, of course.
So it was that the male could feel the entirety of his left arm beginning to disintegrate as the ground beneath his feet shattered from the returning waves of force that he had to emit. His eyes were clear and focused, something that they had not been in some time. His parry was attempted, and all things considered would likely work. After all, with that much momentum it would be incredibly difficult for his opponent to change course or stop herself from following through with her attack.
A parry… a parry, which was followed up by what should naturally follow a parry. A riposte. Kuro's riposte.
His right arm shot forwards like a cannon, black cracks of lightning ringing in both of their ears as he attempted to force the hand into her neck. Around the hand, his other five blades had taken their place, his shadows like an extension of each of his arms as he planted both feet backwards on a pillar of shadow, obsidian-black from the amount of shadow empowering it. His body performed a thrust forwards, and with the ripping and tearing that began to occur from the swords beginning to move in a circular pattern, he tried to crush and decimate everything that came between himself and the organs that attached to her demonic brain and heart. Indeed, if she did nothing to stop it, the attack could well tear up the lower part of her head and the top half of her chest.
Kuro could feel the searing blaze from being this close to her on the shadows that had wrapped themselves around his body, like a cloak. He knew that he needed some form of protection against the radiation. Of course, this action had resulted in him not being able to flee from the ensuing explosion. But at the same time… his shadows were not dismissed by it, using a substantial amount of Kuro's energy to maintain their shape as they continued to rip and tear into the woman, even as the Shinigami's flank was destroyed in the explosion, his body sent flying away as he tried to recover, bolting away again as blood poured down his side. The dark spots had returned, but the shadows on his side wrapped up again, trying to contain the damage by acting as shadowy bandages.
"I think… I hate you." Was the only response from the male as he panted, the dark spots beginning to fade from his vision. The left side of his body had begun to change, as well. Where before it had been solid, and flesh… now it had become dark and wispy, almost as if Kuro himself had started to become a shadow, crossing a line that was always there. His left arm reformed rapidly, the black construct of Piero rejoining its master.
"So much raw power… you… don't even… think about it, do you…?" He asked her, twirling both of his hands as he recovered his composure. His ears were still ringing; the only way that he would be able to know her response is if she had lips that she could speak with. For that matter, there was no possible way that he could have heard her ultimatum to give up or die. Though if he had, he would have of course rebutted it with something along the lines of: 'We crossed that line some time ago.'
So it was that Kuro hefted up his blades, before beginning to do… a dance. A dance that required quite a few movements of his hands. To a normal person, his movements would appear to be a blur. However, to Kuro, he was moving fluidly and naturally. Black cracks of lightning began to shoot out in every direction as his lines of energy began to move in every direction. From the very beginning… the problem with this battle… has been that she absolutely does not care about how her power is used. She has nothing limiting it. She acts as if she never has. Therefore, her power is the most basic imaginable, has developed, perhaps, as the most basic imaginable… Kuro and Piero's consciousness were as one now.
… That gives me an idea. He concluded at last, before the threads finally finished being created… and the hundreds of piercing shadow threads that Kuro had bound to become stronger than normal emerged from the dark blur that he had become. Moving at the same speeds as their master, these massive tendrils shot outwards, some assaulting from above, some from below, and some even from the sides.
Kuro himself, however, had begun to move his body in a circle as he raced towards her. Mustn't… feel… vertigo… He thought desperately to himself, his stomach churning as he closed his eyes. Around his feet, the shadow had formed a ring… and that ring developed spikes around his entire body. He had become a massive yo-yo moving forwards, a shadow spike in the ground where he had landed on serving as his 'anchor'.
At last, the 'string' ran out, as the shadow tendrils that Kuro had created worked meticulously to influence Demonica's trail of escape, making where Kuro was going the most optimal place. As such, Kuro's entire body would whip in circles in front of her, at least where she had been standing originally, attempting to attack her as if his entire body was a massive yo-yo. The ring also provided a significant amount of defense against the woman's passive energy, and the ring was consistently regenerated using shadows from Kuro's supply. This attack was also made so that it would assault her body vertically.. Making it most likely to hit where Kuro had performed his Riposte as well. There has to be… a point…
And just as he had looped around, smashing into her for the twenty or so times in the instant that he had… The end of his string finally ran taut.
Physics carried him from there as he whipped back, his construct and body being extracted at massive speeds. Kuro focused the entirety of his body on his left arm… before slamming it into the spike that he had created. Letting go of the rest of his body, a large gust of wind emerged from behind the spike, the ground cracking, shuddering, and shaking as the Shinigami's body turned around. The wind force was enough that Kuro would have lost some of his hair if his shadows were not making him as aerodynamic as possible.
Finally rounding out the curve, he emerged from his assault at extreme speed. He was moving so fast now that not even his shadow's could keep up. His right hand had been prepared already, his pointer and middle fingers bent at the joint, pointing his knuckles outwards .His body produced shadows to help him aim as it felt like the entire world had ground to a halt. His ears were ringing, blood pounding in his head, adrenaline screaming through him…
Finally, his hand would plunge towards Demonica's chest, as he attempted to pierce her heart through like a great spearhead, waves of force slamming outwards as his momentum came to a grand halt, the shadow's whipping around him as he used them to slide his legs around, causing his entire body to flip after the impact, and with a press of his legs, he kept going, dashing hundreds of feet beyond the demoness' body. Panting and bruised and battered, he finally came to a stop along the edge of the crater, the force of his movement causing for him to rapidly ascend to its lip as he stood where it became completely vertical, his shadows holding him still there, panting, looking, looking to see if he had done it… if that could incapacitate this monster.