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Antartica was a place Ulv found comfort in. It was a place where the Tundra was harsh and thick, and uncaring to all who were not prepared for it. And the Tundra was where Ulv's heart resided. But now there was somewhere, or rather someone, who had her heart as much as the Tundra. Ironically, she was strangely similar to the Tundra, as she was well known for being a cold woman, somewhat detached from the rest of the people in her age and power. But, Mirja found that was not the case, she was just tired, and needed someone to pump her back up.
The people in Antartica were a little cut off from the rest of the Quincy, and so Ulv had traveled her specifically to tell them the good news of her marrying the ice queen and endeavouring to use her flames to burn a hole in her armour and drag her out into the open, where people could see her smile and hear her laugh and...probably not the last thing but definitely the first two. Rakki was not Ceal, after all, and Ulv had to remember that. "Hey, Quincy people! Anyone home, or is everyone frozen to their seats?"
The icy plains of Antarctica were not what Cyrus would have ever called "pleasant." He was a man of the sands, born and raised, and the cold did not much endear itself to him. Yet there was perhaps more to it than that. At a glance, these windswept lands were perhaps not so different from the deserts at home. The snow fluttered across the ground, carried to and fro before settling into the snowbanks, and by the end it looked like nothing more than white sand. But Cyrus knew that snow was infinitely more fragile than sand. Where snow gave way, sand held firm. Snow would melt if held for too long, but the heat of the sands could burn a man alive. This place was nothing more than an inferior simulacrum of the desert, and there was nothing worse than an imposter such as that.
However, the Sternritter Grandmaster's cynical musings on the nature of...well, nature, were cut short by a voice echoing through the place he now (perhaps slightly reluctantly) called home. He normally might have simply had others below him investigate the call, but he sensed a great deal of power behind their source. Opting to remain calm and relatively casual for noww, he stepped out of his office in everyday clothing, tracking down the veritable beacon of energy with some ease and greeting her with a bow as he made his approach. This was certainly not one of their kind, but outward hostility would both endanger his fellow Quincy and simply reflect poorly upon himself. Both outcomes were out of the question.
"Good afternoon, miss. I am Cyrus ast-Auramazda, Grandmaster of the Sternritter. Is there something in particular that you needed here?"
It was not a hostile greeting, but it laid out Cyrus' meaning well enough. He did not know who she was or what she was doing here, and he was in a position with the power to, at the very least, attempt forcible removal if necessary.
Well, at least the guy was nice. He didn't storm out demanding anything of Ulv or trying to shoot her like that one child shot Mirja in the back. So he would get a much better response than Mirja scarring the kid so much he wet himself and Rakki had to come out and save the kid from being even more terrified than he already was. There was a question as to why the Grandmaster of the Sternritter was out in the middle of nowhere guarding some place that was so off the map it got attacked by Eric.
"Grandmaster? Huh, what happened to Sofia? She's not fallen off the wagon and gone for more demonic tentacle cock has she?" Ulv asked, her eyebrows cocked in confusion but it was something she brushed off quickly, he would tell her what was up with this soon. But, at the same time there wasn't a great deal of pzazz coming from this so called Grandmaster. So, despite her intentions, she was going to have to give him some practical training in the art of being awesome. One that was going to hurt, definately, but she would have no weakling serving Rakki in such a highly coveted position. Grandmaster implied greatness, after all.
So, Ulv waited for him to talk, and then gave him a slasher smile in response to his question. "Ohh, I am just here to beat you all to a pulp and root through your base for anything interesting, mr Grandmaster" and then, with her warning given, she threw the first punch towards him. Burning her Resolve Flame secretly so that it would absorb most of the impact, there was still a great deal left in her fist if he didn't take her seriously.
Despite himself, Ulv’s question elicited a quiet laugh from Cyrus. The truth was, he had no idea where the woman who had recruited him had gone. Yet he'd heard a handful of rumors here and there, and the words of this muscle-bound lady before him only solidified his belief in them. How incredibly...revolting.
“Truth be told, I've no idea where she went. She just disappeared one day, not what we might have hoped for considering the state of things. But I’ve been assigned the position from here on, and I have every intention of doing my very best with it.”
Of course, Cyrus hadn’t lowered his guard one iota, and no sooner had Ulv begun her strike than his mind started racing. She was fast, decidedly. Incredibly strong, most likely. Though divinity coursed through his veins, he was not some perfect physical being like others he had come across. Perhaps it was simply to bring him closer to the people. Regardless, he didn't have many options. Even if he did dodge in time, there was no guarantee that a follow-up blow would go as well. There was only one real course of action, then.
Solidifying his stance, Cyrus readied his body for what would most assuredly be a painful impact, his every possible defensive measure at its highest active state. He readied to block the blow as best he would be able to, and to absorb as much of the force as possible into being pushed away. Would it hurt? Yes. But gaining the distance in this way would give him some idea of the foe he was dealing with, and considering he was unsure he could avoid it anyway, that was the best he could hope for.
“I doubt we have much to interest you, miss. But if you wish to ‘beat us all to a pulp,’ as it were, then you will need to start with me.”
Guy was a grade-a doodo head. Where did Rakki find this guy? An unknown but clearly confident variable appeared and started a fight, and he seemed to think his best option was to simply take the punch and see what happened? The poor combat decision made Ulv decide at the last moment to put a bit more force into it than she had intended. It wasn't enough to explode his skull like her full power was probably capable of, but it would certainly break his nose into tiny tiny pieces and give him a severe case of spinning-world-itis and why-the-fuck-is-that-ringing-so-loud-ism. So she threw her shoulder into the punch and stepped into it to give it a considerably enhanced kick without entering the realms of fatal.
"I shall be the judge of what you have that is of interest or not. I mean, do you really know what interests me so well you can claim that you have nothing that interests me so quickly? Have we met before?" she asked, before grinning and...wait, if she got a bit too enthusiastic beating this guy to a pulp she might break him for good. So a pair of manacles spawned into existance around her wrists amidst a burst of flame. With these on, and a fair bit of power pumped into them from her soul, she wouldn't be quite so much of a danger to his life.
"And if nothing else, beating people up is fun" And if nothing else, she would certainly teach him how to take a punch, if his tactics involved 'let the muscular crazy woman hit me in the face'.
Even having readied himself for injury, Cyrus was grossly unprepared for the full extent of that injury. What defenses he did have were hardly more effective than having put a pillow in front of Ulv's fist, and as he took the full force of the blow, his nose indeed shattering, he faintly noted as well that he hadn’t gained nearly as much distance as had been anticipated. In fact, he was still well within her range.
“Yes, well… That does seem to be my mistake, doesn't it? Apologies, miss. As your host, I will take it upon myself to ensure you enjoy your stay, then.”
Simply clenching his teeth to ignore the pain in his head, Cyrus manifested his beautiful Shehai in his right hand, its bowstring already pulsing and flaring even moreso than usual. He was angry, yes, though not with this woman. Moreso with himself for having assumed it would be this convenient for him. These were not the games he played as a child, victory was not a sure thing with only the slimmest of efforts.
Drawing back the bowstring with a good deal of effort, as his arrow took much more power than that of an average Quincy, Cyrus stood his ground once more, this time waiting to take a leap away. After all, she could likely just dodge the shot if he fired it off now, and that would be a waste of his own energy, which he did not relish at the moment, particularly having already sustained an injury.
“Ah, before I forget, miss. Could I ask your name? If I’m to be your host, addressing you so informally would just be rude of me.”
The guy certainly did know how to take a punch, if nothing else. Not only staying on his feet after that blow, but even being able to draw his bow. She thought about spooking him to step back and summoning her Tulpa for him to back into, but that wasn't something that she could control very well, and she'd end up with a dead Grandmaster and an awkward discussion with her Fiancee. 'I accidentally mauled him to death with the embodiment of my rage and hatred'. Not exactly an interesting conversation to have. So she kept it down to what she could handle.
That, being some interesting Hollow stuff. How would ceros effect Quincy? Time to find out. She held out her hand and charged one in her palm, keeping her other one by her side and watching him intensely in case she needed to shoot a Bala if he decided to be a sneaky person and change tactics mid-fly. "Honestly, I am surprised you can keep a thought in your head long enough to think about proprietary. Note to self, hit you harder next time. As for the name, you can call me Asura" She grinned, and then shot off the Cero.
Cyrus couldn’t quite help but smile. Surely, this was divine providence with a name such as that. Those violent beings of myth who battled the gods… Yes, this was assuredly no mere coincidence.
“Then I, the Lord of Wisdom, welcome you here.”
As his opponent fired off her cero, Cyrus replied by firing off the eigenpfeil from his bow, aiming it directly for the cero's center. Shehai seemed to practically explode with energy as the arrow flew, but that was simply how it always was with this spiritual weapon. It always seemed just a touch behind the strength of its projectiles, like one wrong use would just shatter it.
The moment his projectile struck Ulv's, Cyrus lept upward and established his footing in the air, adept enough at keeping his balance in flight even if not a master at it. He drew back the string of Shehai once more, a second arrow condensing from the spiritual energy around him, and aimed it at his foe. There was no chance of survival here if he didn't stay at the ready at all times, even if this hurried sort of combat was not his strong suit. If she was aiming to strike him even harder than before...that could prove disastrous, to say the least.
Ulv was surprised to see his arrow go through her cero, with enough power to cancel it out before it was cut to pieces itself. Her spiritual power was restricted immensely, but it was still impressive to see. The other one.... "Lord Of Wisdom, huh? You are a shit lord, mate. Unless you have the power of the Quincy Emperor Ghislain, you should never just tank a shot and hope for the best. Had I wanted your skull, that would have been your life over, there and then. What do you think happens then? People Die when they are killed!" she exclaimed, seeing the next arrow come. In a remarkably straight line. Ulv was no marksman but the things she threw generally had a slight gainax to them. This arrow rigidly adhered to a liner path.
Still, it wasn't something she was going to let bother her. Temporarily dropping the speed reduction to 0% - The bonds being made of Resolve Force made them eminently malluble to Ulv, who used a variant of the same power - she used Earth-Grasping Step to cover the distance between herself and the back of Cyrus in a heart-beat, and it was there that she released the weapon in waiting, with her finger a scant inch from the back of his head.
This was bad. Yes, most assuredly it was very bad. Cyrus had already known he could not outspeed this woman, but now he was absolutely assured of it. There was, simply put, no way he would be outpacing her if she did not actively let him do so. And that… That irritated Cyrus just a touch. How incredibly condescending.
“I make no pretenses to be as powerful as Ghislain.”
As he spoke, he lowered his bow and fired it directly at the ground, using the combined force of the arrow leaving his bow and his own power to leap directly ahead. He had no chance of dodging this blow to either side, and he knew a wound to the body could not possibly be worse than one to the head.
It was, of course, not quite enough, and the bala grazed him more than he would have liked, enough to certainly ruin his outfit and also just a bit of his flesh. After he had recovered on the ground, the Grandmaster ran a finger over the wound, grimacing not at the pain, but at having already been bested.
“There is a difference between pride and sheer ignorance. Do you think I had not considered I might die from your first blow?”
Cyrus tore away his vest and shirt, no longer concerned with what he perceived as mere rags due to their new singular tear. He had far more pressing matters to attend to, and he would need every bit of mobility he could manage. Of course, this would also have normally had the benefit of showing his perfect form to any watching, but with his current wound that was not the case. An infuriating tragedy.
“I am ready for death with your every attack, Miss Asura. I have little doubt you could make it happen. There is, in my mind, no need to be cautious when the risks are already so incredibly high.”
As he finished, he drew back his bow and readied it, aiming at Ulv. However, Cyrus readied himself to lower it quickly, assuming she would use the ground once more, either attacking him head on or perhaps appearing behind him once more. He was ready for either scenario.