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The battle for Beijing raged all around, but to these two, it had become a battle for surpremacy. Against one another. Against themselves. Survival was what hinged on this fight, and survival could only come to one of them.
The creature that had formerly been Abigaíl Espinosa roared as it flew through the air, carried by its preternatural leaps and carrying its prey in kind. Its voice carried over the land, the horde below and between the ruined buildings. The blood-soaked blade in its hand gleamed with daylight, as its master spun rapidly and released its prey with a powerful throw towards the ground.
Within the creature, its soul battled for that very same survival. Abigaíl breathed heavily, with Araña in her shaking hand. The mansion around them had been torn apart by their struggle. Walls had fallen. The floor was littered with broken and ruined debris that had once been furniture. The doors and windows were blown out by the force of her other half.
The skittering of large, solid limbs clacked against the hard wooden floors. She turned swiftly in yet another attempt to keep the sound in front of her. Arácnida watched from the shadows, and from behind the walls themselves.
"Weak... Always so weak..."
Abigaíl spun again in the middle of the foyer to face her other half's voice. Despite her training, however, a bala struck her squarely in the back, and she fell to her knee. Blood dripped from the wound in her shoulder. Sweat dripped from her brow and nose. How long had this battle been going for? Days? Weeks? It was... difficult to tell sometimes.
What was she doing outside, while Arácnida toyed with her so?
"You brought this upon yourself... It was never your power!"
The increasingly large body of the hollow leapt from the shadows, and Abigaíl spun to meet her with her blade.
In the world outside, the creature had stopped its assault shortly after throwing its prey. It writhed, and struggled against itself. It clawed at the portion of its chest that had been damaged so severely by the phantom explosion, and roared an agonizing call.
It still regenerated, but now, it was being devoured from within. As its call filled the air and echoed off the empty walls of the city, the center of its chest decayed. Rotted.
Its power surged again, ever reaching new heights. With a powerful leap off the air, it flew down towards the prey, newly regrown teeth and jaw gnashing at his flesh for just a taste of blood. Venom dripped from its fangs, seeking to weaken the prey all the more.
Subject Post 2Subject: Re: Into the Parlor [Madness Rising Split] Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:53 pm
PREPARE TO ENTER THE VIZARD'S POST
Artist: Zack Hemsey- Song: See What I've Become
Inner World: Even as the masked warrior laughed and roared and slaughtered, deep within the monster, Laskt still fought.
The Knight of the Detention Unit sank to one knee, stretching both his arms palm first towards the sphere of flame suspended far above the ground of his inner world. Laskt grit his teeth, sweat pouring in rivers down his face as he struggled to keep Chikai no Uragiru contained. The Hollow was enraged, straining mightily against his bonds and spewing venomous curses with every breath it took. Yet, somehow, the Vizard held firm. His power smashed into his Hollow’s, cancelling it out and keeping him contained for one minute, then another. Laskt’s breathing grew ragged, his body screamed in agony, and yet he held firm. He would not fail again. He could not fail again. If he lost control, even for a moment, Chikai would take control of his body, and Ulv was not here to stop his rampage this time.
Unfortunately, the Madness had other plans.
The voices echoing through Laskt’s increasingly chaotic mind strengthened, fracturing his concentration like a thousand shards of glass. With an almighty scream, the prison burst asunder in a mighty explosion, dark blue energy tearing at the castle walls, blowing through the graceful towers of Laskt’s inner worlds like they were no more then blades of grass! Laskt sheltered himself with an arm, forming the Flame of Tar Valon into a defensive shield that protected him from the worst of the explosion.
When the Vizard looked up into the sky, darkened by madness, all he saw was Chikai no Uragiru perching atop a ruined spire, power swirling about him in visible waves. “And now it ends, you pazetic fraud. A zousand years of pain, imprisonment and suffering comes to an end, with your death!” The Hollow punctuated the sentence with a roar, summoning a Cero which he fired at the weakened knight!
Reality: Nicoletta’s strategy was, at it’s core, a good one. A sane, rational Laskt would have likely agreed with her: Abigail as she was now was far beyond his normal power to defeat, and he could do far more good protecting Takehiko from the encroaching zombie hordes.
However, sane and rational were two words that did not describe whatever Laskt was becoming. With an enraged howl, the Masked Vizard swung his left arm, dark bladed chains slicing through the unfortunate zombies that were in their path, aiming to bisect the one-eyed Quincy into three bloody pieces. Nothing would distract him from his goal any longer, he wanted to kill!
Even as he took a step towards his monstrous foe, more gunshots rang out across the corpse-strewn plaza, knocking Laskt clean off his feet, causing him to fly backwards from the sheer force of the impacts! However, even as the Hollow braced himself to return to the earth once more, he was picked clean out of the air by an immensely strong and fast foe.
The Masked Vizard clawed and pried at his foe’s iron grip, but couldn’t even loosen a single finger before he was brutally tossed to the ground, causing the street to buckle and explode upwards from the sheer force of the toss! Blood fountained out of the Vizard’s mouth as his mask shattered, several bones fractured under the strain, causing more enraged howls to tear themselves from their throat. “YOU ARE USELESS LASKT! USELESSUSELESSUSELESSUSELESSUSELESSUSELESS! I WILL NOT BE HELD BACK BY YOU ANY LONGER!” He screamed, seizing the dark powers that arose from within……
An immense burst of energy arose from the crater, radiating a spiritual pressure that dripped with pure, simple bloodlust. The dark form within the crater slowly arose, the Vizard’s aura glowing a dark crimson as black plate began manifesting on his limbs, his body twisting, changing. Cuts and scrapes rapidly healed, and the bones that could not be fixed quickly were simply ordered to move regardless. Laskt looked up at his Hollowfied foe with glowing yellow eyes and grinned, his face twisted in a rictus of insanity that looked alien on the Vizard’s normally somber face.
The ground beneath the Hollowfying Vizard cracked as he leapt to met his foe, swinging his blade in an immensely powerful blow. Laskt’s natural strength and skill was only being vastly amplified by the Hollowfication process and he was only growing stronger….
The impact between the pair of Hollow could be heard for nearly a mile before it was drowned out by the constant roar of the undead horde. Powers far greater than their hosts could hope to contain surged, and as steel struck against steel, it became apparent just where these two creatures differed.
The man known as Laskt was far more skilled with his weapon, but the creature formerly Abigaíl was simply faster. Stronger. More prepared to not just fight, but brawl in any way that seemed necessary. Its zanpakutō stopped the larger weapon from reaching its face, and the pair nearly haulted, likewise, in mid air before their combined weight began to pull them back to the ground.
Back in the inner workings of the creature's mind, however, the battle was hardly at such a standstill. Abigaíl breathed heavily, and seethed in anger and agony at the deep wound that'd been dealt to her. Her left arm was nearly numb now, though she couldn't tell if that was due to her other half's venom or blood loss.
More holes had been torn out of the mansion's walls, and now, she could see the dark forest outside. The night was drawing in, closer and closer, and quenching its hunger with the light of the candles that it snuffed out throughout the once extravagant home. The woman shook and breathed deeply, but her ragged voice wouldn't come.
Outside, the battle continued. The creature clad in black and white pulled on its blade, but the steel wouldn't release its grip on the prey's weapon. Instead, it only pulled itself ever nearer, where its free hand could grasp at the prey's wrists, where the flesh was weakest. The air around its hand sizzled and almost seemed to come to a boil, as its corrosive energies sought to enter into the prey.
And still, its teeth gnashed like a hungry beast. The chelicerae of its mask unwound, revealing an inhuman mandible underneath. Its legs reached for the prey, and tried to wrap themselves around the morsel that was currently locked with its weapon. The prey couldn't be allowed to escape. It must die. It would die! It would satisfy its hunger with this flesh!
Subject Post 4Subject: Re: Into the Parlor [Madness Rising Split] Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:51 pm
PREPARE TO ENTER THE VIZARD'S POST
Artist: Zack Hemsey- Song: See What I've Become
Flame and ice met one another again and again, scattering the castle walls and courtyard with sprays of icy water. Laskt and Chikai no Uragiru met again and again, blade clashing against blade, the Vizard's Holy flames only just managing to melt each unholy blast of ice before it kissed his skin. They were far more evenly matched then they had been the first time, and Laskt took pride in that fact. However, the Hollow's power only seemed to grow as time went on each blow heavier, faster, stronger. Laskt in comparison felt curiously smothered by the dark miasma permeating his Inner World's every crevice, choking on vaporized malice. Ze madness seems to be infecting everyzing, even my conception of my very soul. Laskt thought, watching out of the corner of his eye as an eddy in the miasma caused a field of grass to wither at the edges of the training field. The Vizard blinked the sweat of out his eyes If zis keeps up, it will be a race to see what kills me. Moi Hollow, ze madness or what my body is doing outside. The Vizard thought, flicking aside the slithering chains as they carved furrows in the wall behind him. He took a deep breath, then launched himself forward again, questing for his Hollow's heart....
The monster that had usurped Laskt's place screamed in triumph as it's darkened blade smashed against his foe's, the clash of rapier and longsword creating an immense boom that shook the nearby buildings to their very foundations. Laskt's piercing yellow eyes bored into his opponent's face, his face inches from hers. He laughed, the sound unstable and strange, "YOU ZINK YOU CAN STAND AGAINST ME PUP? I HAVE WAITED A ZOUSAND YEARS FOR ZIS DAY, YOU CANNOT STOP ME!" He screamed, the words echoing as Laskt's voice was overlayed with a deeper one, more sinister.
However, the Hollow's howls of joy turned into snarls of frustration as his blade refused to disengage from his foe's, no matter how hard the Hollow pulled. On top of that, his foe's hand shot forward, faster than a striking snake, attempting to grab him by the wrist! However, even now, insane from the Madness and fighting for the last scraps of Hollow-free sanity, Laskt was still a warrior down to his very bones. Rather than wasting any more effort trying to disengage, Laskt instead shoved downward on the blade lock with all his might, attempting it to drive it to the left and downward to sever the Hollow's hand with their own joined blades.
As the two fell towards the Earth, jockeying for position and leverage, Laskt would bring his right knee up, the joint covered by dark plate that continued to consume Laskt's form, and attempt to slam it deep into the Hollow's stomach with bone-crunching force! Regardless whether or not this blow landed, the Hollowfied Vizard's mind would still race frantically, desperately searching for a method by which he could disengage. The other warrior was simply growing far stronger at a pace that outstripped his own by a large margin! It was infuriating, impossible and it enraged both Shinigami and Hollow to their very core, but it was the truth. They needed to end this now, before his opponent's already blinding speed reached a level he could no longer perceive!
Unfortunately, even as he ruminated on that possibility, it seemed to have already arrived. Faster than he could react, the Hollow wrapped her legs around his chest, sinking her teeth deep into his shoulder faster than he could react! Laskt screamed in agony, his blood seeming to catch fire in his very veins as the razor sharp fangs penetrated fat and muscle. Fighting through the agony, the Masked Vizard would release his grip on his Zanpaktou, wrapping his already injured right arm around the back of the Hollow's head, attempting to pin her there with all of his strength! In his free hand, the Hollow summoned a icicle-like dagger of dark ice, reinforcing it with all the power he could muster. He then, quite simply, attempted to shank his foe deep in the back with the improvised weapon, questing for her internal organs with the point.
Flesh and steel moved with blinding speeds between the pair of monsters. The creature screamed with rage as the two blades met its grasping hand, stopping its attack on the prey's ability to fight back. The two weapons bit and cut into its arm, only to be stopped midway by the rapier's hold on the first layer of skin it'd come into contact with.
Abigaíl swung her weapon swiftly, but the bala had been too quick for her tired arm. It struck her bodily in the stomach, and she fell back to the floor littered with debris. She coughed violently, blood spattering her lips and chin. Her legs flailed to get back underneath her, and her blade was poised to catch the large figure looming above her.
The creature roared and continued its attack. Its legs curled around the prey and began to burn and eat at the flesh of his back and hips. Its broken arm hung halted by the twin zanpakutō, but in turn, held them out of the way. Its teeth sunk into the muscle around the prey's shoulder, and at long last, it tasted blood.
Abigaíl shuddered. Her voice croaked from her dry, blood-filled throat. Her zanpakutō, all she had to defend herself with, fell to the floor from her trembling hand. Above and all around her, her other half hunched over and squealed with delight. Arácnida's tongue lapped at the wound left in the vizard's neck, drinking her liquefying body with unabandoned glee.
She gasped as another bite released more of the hollow's venom into her veins. Her body wouldn't obey her anymore. Fatigue had gotten the better of her, and now, there was nothing left to do but wait. Tears fell down her bloodied cheeks, and the towering figure of the hollow bit into her again, crushing bone with its powerful jaw.
"H...el...p..." She mouthed the single word meekly, as though the blade lying lifeless on the floor could do anything more to aid her. Darkness encroached from the crumbling walls of the mansion. The world was cold. Painful.
The creature howled with delight, as it drank of its prey. The armored man had been caught, and it bit deeper and harder with every passing second. It wanted- No; it needed to feel the break of its bones in its jaw!
A stabbing pain shot through its back, but it didn't care. All would fall before it! All would be consumed by it! All would die!
The pair finally hit the broken ground below them at great speed, and the creature's power stopped rising. In fact, it began to fall, steadily. Its reiatsu dipped, and over the course of several seconds, became all but nothing. Their blades trapped between them; the force of the impact had brought both hollow in contact with the rapier, trapping them against once another for the time.
Then, a pulse. And another. Like a beating heart, something had happened.
Subject Post 6Subject: Re: Into the Parlor [Madness Rising Split] Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:28 pm
PREPARE TO ENTER THE VIZARD'S POST
A kingdom fell.
Azure cero blasts ripped through millennia-old stone walls like they were naught but wet paper towels, sometimes simply deleting the brick and mortar from existence, and other times reducing it to a half-melted slurry. One particularly massive blast resonated across the mountaintop, only held back by a far weaker and smaller navy cero that managed to create a small pocket in the energy blast, large enough for the Shinigami within to survive the blast.
When it was over, Laskt dropped to his knees and hands, gasping for breath, for the slightest morsel of spiritual energy with which to continue his spirited, stubborn defense. He looked up through sweat-blinded eyes, hearing the distinctive screech of metal against stone. Chikai stalked towards his jailer, letting the tip of his sword carve a furrow through the moss-choked cobblestones. "You know you cannot win this mon ami. Zis much is obvious, and I doubt even one as blind as you cannot see zis." Laskt would let out a mere grunt in reply, using his Zanpaktou as a sort of crutch to drive himself back to his feet, shaking slightly as he stood. Chikai's face twisted in an annoyed grimace, "We have spoken about zis before! YOU HAVE NO REASON! You have jailed me for a zousand years; you are not in ze right! You are hopelessly outmatched, but inside and out. Your body is near it's limit, your mind suffused by pain. Our previous encounter established that I am far beyond your ability to kill without help. WHY DO YOU STAND UP?" The Hollow roared, blurring forward with such speed and striking with such strength that Laskt was plowed clean through the opposing stone wall, sent sailing towards the small town far below.....
The pseudo-Hollow sneered in triumph as the loud crack of breaking bone resounded through the air. His gambit with the swords had been successful! This pathetic child could not contend with an ancient such as him! It would die, and the Hollow would feast upon it's soul! The Thrill built to a crescendo, the pulsating joy of combat rising to near suffocating levels, washing away the earlier pain. Unfortunately, that was only a small victory.
The pain that arrived soon after that thought was immense, all-consuming. His foe's acidic skin burned against Laskt's skin through his torn uniform, causing the flesh to bubble and melt. The Hollow's fangs wedged deep into his shoulder, causing pulsating waves of agony that made Laskt-Hollow's vision swim and shake. The Masked Vizard gave full vent to his agony, screaming so loudly that the windows on either side of the plummeting pair cracked and shattered! It would continue screaming until they hit the ground.
The being that was once Laskt felt his right leg snap like a wishbone, and his shoulder, already damaged by the Hollow's wrenching, snap out of place. On top of that, his body was still wedged against the Hollow's own and, while the Reiatsu was rapidly falling, the supposed corpse still had enough energy to be painful. It's face somewhere between a grimace and a savage grin of triumphant joy, the Hollow would let go of the still stuck sword, attempting to wrench the Hollow's fangs apart, pulling them each out of his shoulder with wet pops.
If successful, the Hollow would summon a long, hastily constructed icicle, using it as a crutch to get to his feet, surveying the form of his supposedly defeated opponent. To finish the job, and hopefully get his sword back, the Hollow raised a hand, grinning insanely down at his opponent before using the last of his power to summon several meter long ice spears, allowing them to plummet down and impale his foe!
Darkness. The kind of inky black that first graced a newborn before its eyes were opened. The lack of stimuli of senses yet to be tested.
Warmth, and cold. The world around was ever changing, with no regard to the ones unable to keep up.
Loud. The incessant noise just wouldn't stop!
Something was being moved. The warmth was taken away, and replaced only by the cold of something hard underneath. Something tasty was only noticed and missed once it was gone. A voice struggled nearby, but it was low. Quiet. Muffled by effort and something else.
The air tasted foul with dust and debris. However, something sweet lingered just underneath the surface. Iron and sweat and... Blood. Hunger came now, spurred on by the smell and taste of such sweet, nourishing blood.
Something else now; like a call to instinct long forgotten. The rising pressure all around dredged up old memories, of a life not lived. Muscles twitched and pulled for the first time. Danger! A threat! Something sought to do harm!
Fingers found something familiar lying underneath. Long and rigid, yet warm like any other limb. It bit sharply. It tried to fight. It learned its place. It obeyed.
The blood called again, and wind rushed past with an explosion of static noise. Something landed nearby, shattered and broken against the hard ground.
The small, imprisoning world cracked again, and rays of blinding light shone through. New muscle pushed, and she rose up...
The being to stand from the shell of Abigaíl's hollowfication blinked. Bits of white and black armor still fell aside, or were melted by contact with her highly corrosive body. She stretched, towering digitrade at nearly the same height as the hollow that smelled so sweetly of blood just several yards away.
Her red eyes stared hungrily, and curiously, as armor as white as bone grew to cover her otherwise nude form. One hand, adorned in a glove like a claw, swept her short black hair back just as the same material grew in place, like a crown around the face of this new being. The other held the rapier in her hand almost deathly still, its blade hissing and biting at the specks of dust that dared come near to it.
"Hah..." She breathed, and grinned at the feeling of air filling her lungs. The armor was formed now, and shaded to various degrees of red and black until her form became stable. Though no mask sat upon her face, the hole bore through her stomach made one thing unmistakable.
This being was Hollow.
"Hello, little morsel." She spoke with a light tone, though one warped and echoing with the dread nature of her very being. Her hunger grew, and exploded out from the woman like a wave of pressure pushing down, oppressing the world around her with the sheer weight of her soul.
Subject Post 8Subject: Re: Into the Parlor [Madness Rising Split] Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:07 pm
As the dark icicles began to plummet towards the unconscious Hollow, the Hollowfied Vizard felt an insane giggle bubble up in his throat, which he let out in a full-throated laugh, the unhinged noise echoing throughout the city streets. They had been right! They had known since the moment of their birth that they had been superior, that they had been born to fight and conquer their foes. They had waited through long dark years of indecision and slumber, restrained by chains of fear from achieving their full potential. But now they were finally free, as the last embers of the manifestation of their weakness were slowly fading away deep within. A few more minutes, and they would become something new, never before seen in any reality.
The being, his mind somewhere between that of Hollow and Shinigami wiped tears of mirth from his eyes, shaking his head once and staring down at his defeated foe. He wanted to watch as she twisted and turned under the mind-killing ice, as she died under the weight of her fa-
Between one nanosecond and the next, the corpse vanished, and the hastily formed ice spears smashed against the cobblestones, turning into thousands of glowing shards of darkened ice. A deep, bone-chilling voice, emanated from behind him, and Laskt turned on his heel just in time to see a white carapace cover the body of this new woman. A chill ran down his spine as he felt the overwhelming, crystallized power eminante from this new being like a miasma. Something deep within him cried out in utter terror, but all Laskt felt on the surface level was anger.
"No! YOU ARE NOT ONE OF THEM! I WAS TO EVOLVE! NOT A RUNT LIKE YOU!" He screeched, squeezing his icicle-cane so hard that it visibly cracked. The Hollow within the Vizard roared in utter fury at the usurper, driving Laskt's utterly exhausted body forward to destroy the usurper.
Drinking deeply of his warrior's madness, the Hollow threw his arm forward, launching all five of his black chains at the target, the bladed tips questing for her blood.
A smirk crossed the Hollow's lips. Evolved? Yes, that sounded good. Evolution... The progress made to better one over time. The defeat of the weak by the strong. Yes, she was...
"Niño," she chuckled at the other's cries. They were so delicious, with all the pain and anger and grief he had on full display. An explosion of static filled the air again, then another as she deftly dodged the hastily thrown weapons.
"We can help you." Her voice came almost sweetly from behind him, just as her blade crossed in front of the man to try to make contact with his throwing arm. Her other hand came slowly around his throat, and squeezed with just enough pressure to make it clear who was the stronger.
After all, it was all she needed to touch him. To lock his arms into place or to see his flesh burn and rot underneath the skin; either way, she needed nothing more than a touch.
"Don't cry, niño. We will help you." Her grip tightened, and she leaned bodily into him. "We will take the pain away."
Subject Post 10Subject: Re: Into the Parlor [Madness Rising Split] Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:09 pm
PREPARE TO ENTER THE VIZARD'S POST
Artist: Zack Hemsey- Song: See What I've Become
The Hollowfied creature barely noticed as the woman dodged his chains and trapped his arm, as both personalities were far more occupied with the battle within…
Laskt roared hoarsely, swinging his blade to meet Chikai’s, both of them striving for dominance. The pair had reached a tipping point, their feet dangling over the precipice. Chikai no Uragiru was clearly the stronger of the two, faster, more durable, and certainly the knight’s superior in raw power. However, the Hollow’s energies were quickly being exhausted keeping their physical body alive, and Laskt just kept digging deeper and deeper, finding small wells of courage and strength, enough to keep trudging forward.
He scowled, blood flecking his lips.“Too stubborn to live, too stubborn to die. Imbécile.” He muttered to himself, shoving the self-loathing deep down into his brain. Laskt spun on his heel, using the extra momentum from the motion to smash his Hollow’s thrust aside, the dark blade punching through the stone wall like paper. Ze zing is, he is not wrong. He thought to himself, clenching his fist and punching Chikai clean in the nose, sending the beast’s head rocking back, giving the Shinigami a second or two of breathing room. I have been running zrough life zese past few months, discharging my duty again and again, too busy to zink. Why do I resist so stubbornly? Anozer would have given up a long time ago, crushed beneath the pain of my greatest failure. He thought to himself, before hissing as Chikai punctured his thigh with a whipping chain. He dropped to one knee, rolling out of the way of his Hollow’s executing stroke…...
In the physical world, the Vizard’s insane half tried desperately to parry Reina’s throat grab, but couldn’t even twitch a finger before her hand closed around his throat, burning. The Vizard let out a worldless gurgle, not even possessing the energy to cry out as consciousness abruptly left him. His limbs would go limp, the dark armor falling from his body as his pupils bled back to blue. Laskt Matiche, the Vizard Knight, had been defeated. And as darkness fell upon the Vizard’s inner world, he closed his eyes, surrendering to the wave of agony that followed.