Description: Patrolling Southtown as rogue Gears and roving Darkstalkers plague the countryside, the guardian demon of Meigan Jinja finds herself facing off against a power far more dangerous than he initially appeared.
Many monsters have taken advantage of the weakened barrier between worlds, caused by the great storm of Raiden, the destruction of Mt. Fuji, the repeated nuclear assaults, and the condensed presence of so many Gear's. Monster intrusions have not been this common and dangerous in centuries, although humanity as a whole is less helpless than small villages of yore in dealing with them. Traditional weapons work to a degree, Librarium forces reinforce them, and many heroes walk around to confront these dangers. On the outskirts of the city, farthest from both the core of people and the authorities to represent them, a Darkstalker bursts out of an alleyway, staggering along the street as people shriek and flee.
But this is not an attack.
A moment later a sigil appears beneath it, and bladed purple chains erupt to bind it. It bellows and roars, already badly wounded. A slender man strides from the darkness, approaching without haste. Dressed in dark black clothing, including a whirling cloak, golden forearm and shin guards are attached. No skin is visible, merely heavy layers of rune-inscribed gauze. Only his mask is dark crimson, shaped like an Oni, with a seething dark purple essence flowing from the eye sockets.
Makai approaches the Darkstalker, and then invokes his power. Countless violet lances appear, then strike out to impale. No blood or damage is visible, as the spirit of the beast was hit instead. And then Makai strikes with his palm. A great roar of power, before like there is some strange black hole in his hand, the chains, purple energy, and the entire Darkstalker itself is drawn within, leaving nothing in it's wake but empty air.
People look unsure, but a couple cheer, to see what appears to be a demon hunter fighting these errant threats. Makai gives them no mind. Within the depths of his body, a new consciousness flickers into being. "Welcome to the fold." he muses to himself, as almost imperceptibly his power slides a fraction higher...
A sudden deep rumbling sound interrupts the fair smattering of praise, the small assembled crowd of onlookers glancing around with renewed worry as the ground begins to shake faintly in time with the steady thumping. A few decide that it isn't worth the risk to stick around and find out what might be causing that, having just witnessed an actual monster, scattering like cockroaches revealed to the light of day. A handful stay, either curious or paralyzed with indecision, but it does not take long after for the source of the noise to reveal itself.
A towering figure steps into view at the end of the alley, it's sheer bulk nearly completely blocking out the light. Heavily muscled arms stand out prominently even in the shadowy silhouette of its figure and the unmistakeable curved length of a long wicked horn juts upwards from its forehead. Twin eyes burning with faint red light narrow upon taking in the civilians but they sweep quickly over these distractions until the mysterious form of the sorcerer comes into view, locking firmly upon Makai's masked face.
"Aaaaah! Finally, the source of the dark power which hath run me a merry chase throughout these streets! We meet at last!"
The voice that rumbles forth from the shadowy giant is deep and boisterous but unmistakably feminine. Its owner trundles forward at a sedate pace, the ground quivering beneath each of her heavy footfalls, until atlast she steps far enough into the alleyway that the light is able to free itself from the oppressive bulk of her sheer size and spill into the alcove again.
Riki towers over the gaggle of humans by several feet, though other than her height and the horn on her head, she seems to be remarkably plain in her features. No great fangs protrude from her mouth, nor wickedly barbed spikes jut from her slightly tanned skin. Her fingers are tipped with nails that certainly could be construed as claws but the bright red polish painted onto them somewhat diminishes their threatening appearance, as does the mundane white shirt and long blue skirt in which she is dressed. The thick mane of shaggy blonde hair is certainly an oddity, particularly in Japan, but in other circumstances it might be easy enough to simply dismiss the woman as a particularly large cosplayer.
There's a slight tilt of the head, but nothing else. Makai has no vision, and the need to turn and face the new arrival would be little more than semantics or etiquette. Neither of which he feels any pains to follow. His interest is invisible, but sufficient for him to twist and face the monolithic woman. "Have we met?" comes a voice that doesn't quite fit the somewhat dark and somber outfit. Young and male, with no unusual cadence or nuance to make it sound unholy. "I apologize, but you confuse me somewhat. Your soul and your body do not seem to be aligned as I am accustomed. That is not your true form, correct?" He idly grasps the base of his forearm guards, and gives them a lazy tug to tighten the straps. "And those bindings... the flow of your energy is cruelly stymied. A full-blooded Oni, pure of spirit, and incredibly ancient and strong. Remarkable. I do not have any like you. You are a level of quality I am rarely graced with encountering." The group of people seem unsure whether to run and report another potential monster, or to see what Makai might do. The Library being involved would certainly complicate matters for the both of them.
Riki's approach brings her to within a dozen or so feet of the strange mystic, ensuring that she is closer to him than any of the bystanders. While she cannot be sure that his intentions are evil quite yet the sense of ominous power radiating from his body was great enough that she could feel it across town and his obviously lack of concern at her arrival raises a few more red flags. If something happens, she wants to be able to shield the idiots who are still loitering nearby from their own foolishness. A poor tactical decision but something she feels compelled to attempt if it comes down to that.
The man's quick and accurate assessment of her true nature comes as something of a shock, an emotion that she makes no efforts to hide as her eyes widen and her mouth drops open slightly, revealing twin pairs of canine-like fangs nestled among the otherwise plain looking teeth. She hesitates, taken somewhat off-guard, but recovers after a moment and takes another confident step forward.
"Aye, tis as ye say. Mine form is one of flesh and blood but tis not my true nature. Such hath been stripped away from me in punishment for past misdeeds. Tis for that reason I stand before thee now, to do battle with the forces of darkness wherever it might seek to prey upon the weak and unwary."
She puts rather obvious emphasis on that last part, quirking a brow at Makai as if this were some form of challenge or throwing down of the gauntlet. Ofcourse, evil rarely is kind enough to announce itself in the face of opposition but she's never been much for subtlety and if the threat of her interference is enough to make him leave without causing any harm then that's good enough in her book.
There's no particular response from Makai when Riki approaches. He is quite relaxed, and by her perception not seeming intimdated or on guard. It's difficult to read his body language however, with the crimson mask and heavy layers of clothing clinging to his slender frame. She absolutely dwarfs him, Makai standing perhaps at five foot seven at most. "I am blind to all colors of the world but it's energy." is explained afterwards. "I feel the thrum of the earth beneath, the quake of your steps. The small spatters of the human souls around us. The void of the buildings and concrete. And you are like a blazing star. One shoved in a cage too small, and not allowed to shine."
Although he tilts his head the other way at that, leaning slightly forward with arms hanging down. "But what are you saying? I just defeated a monster. These people thanked me. It is my purpose in life to devour creatures such as you... Where I stand, you seem the one acting evil. Confronting the savior, with such inhuman size and form..." Indeed, most eyes are staring at Riki uncomfortably, too far to hear the personal conversation but having little to judge on, beyond what appears to be a masked man being challenged, one who just now struck down a clearly inhuman beast. "But... with those shackles, I doubt you are any match for me... had you your true power, it would be different... I cannot devour your soul in this state without excess risk. I'm not particularly interested in a fight, right now. Larger prey awaits me in this city...!"
The oni frowns at that, letting an annoyed grunt escape her lips. Her arms cross over her massive chest, fingers drumming on the surface of her meaty forearms as she glares down at the man in obvious contemplation. She had not been here to witness his 'heroic' feat, though she had certainly felt the presence of another creature disappear only a brief time before laying eyes upon him. The fact that the crowd seems more concerned with her own presence than his does add a bit of credence to his claim, but that could be chalked up to simple ignorance. She is the obvious threat, large and imposing, while his danger is subtle and hidden from those without the means to notice.
"A hunter of souls, is it? I have heard of your kind though this marks my first personal encounter. You claim you have no ill-intent, yet you reek of darkness and corruption unlike any other I hath seen."
His claim that she would pose little threat to him seems to visible agitate the giant and her brows furrow a little more. However, rather than get upset, she simply responds with a fierce grin, flashing her teeth at him again. Riki twists one of her arms away from the fold over her chest, clenching her hand into a fist in a show of confidence. The manacle on her wrist clinks noisily as the short length of chain dangling from its eye-hook flops about with the motion.
"Shackled I may be but you underestimate the resolve and tenacity of a servant of Enma-O at thy own peril, warlock. These people mayhap believe thy words of altruism but I see naught but death surrounding thee. Give me aught reason I should leave thee to thy machinations."
"Ah. That's right. Does this help?" Makai suddenly releases the shields he had in place that kept his aura in check. He indeed felt dark and twisted, but now it would be like Riki is staring into a literal storm of individual souls. Countless entities, from demons to spirits and some far more esoteric, lurk within him. Hundreds. They seem shackled, bound, tortured and in agony. How many of them might deserve such a fate is unknown, but he feels like nothing more than a horrific nest of bees, the sum of which is incredibly difficult to ascertain. Beneath it all, Makai's own soul can be felt, yet seems somehow tainted or corrupted. It is not dark, but pure and noble, covered in black ichor that seems to drown it out. "My people call me Makai. Named after the realm of Darkstalkers. For I am home to them in this world where they are not wanted and do not belong. And they shall serve me, willingly or not. I will strike you down and feast on your power in my own time, venerable oni. Now that you see the folly of challenging me... you should leave, and contemplate your weakness. Perhaps if you improve, next time we meet, you will make me a proper meal."
Riki staggers at the unleashing of the mystic's true aura, lifting an arm as if to shield herself from an invisible storm that affects only the oni. Her hair billows out as if swept up in a terrible wind for several seconds, though strangely her clothing remains unaffected, the long skirt ruffled only by the involuntary step she takes backwards. The ogre's lips curl back into an open snarl as she comes face-to-face with the magnitude of what she is dealing with, her eyes flaring with smoldering red hellfire. A peal of thunder rips through the clear skies, a sudden an inexplicable explosion of noise and furor that lasts for several seconds in duet with the monsterous woman's growl.
"Fool! Thou seek to contain that which rightfully belongs to my lord! You feast upon unholy power over which no mortal holds any just claim. Whatever goal thou sought to achieve shall come to naught for judgement hath been proclaimed by Meido itself!"
The oni shifts her body, her legs slowly spreading out into a wide and stable stance as she curls her arms at her side, claw-tipped fingers flexed menacingly. She turns her head and gives a deep growl towards any of the civilians yet remaining after that display, glaring at them and waving an arm in a dismissive gesture.
"Flee, you fools! I cannot shield thee from the powers at work here!"
Her warning given, Riki casts the bystanders from her mind and turns her full attention onto Makai, her expression one of open challenge and disdain. Loud popping noises fill the small alleyway as she rolls her head around, her neck cracking loudly as she works the kinks out.
"Now then! We shall see who devours who, little man! Graaarh!"
Moving with surprising speed, the oni lunges forward like a football linebacker, her body hunched over as she closes in on the cloaked figure. As the distance between them vanishes, she brings one of her great fists back and swings it in a wide arc, a blow with the sort of power behind that would simply end a normal person.
COMBATSYS: Riki has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Makai has joined the fight here.
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Riki 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Makai
COMBATSYS: Makai counters Strong Punch from Riki with Shallow Grave.
- Power hit! -
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Riki 0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0 Makai
"Your lord failed to keep his people from this realm. I would expect him to cage humans foolish enough to wander into his. Do not judge me for what you would do yourself." Makai still remains calm and relaxed, although his head does not seem to be aimed at Riki, instead off to the side. His own stance has shifted, center of gravity seeming to melt into his entire form. Subtle changes, intimate nuances, nothing so bold and overt as Riki's terrifying physical power. People flee, primarily given that it appears combat will begin anew, as much as anything else.
Her movement is fast, and her swing fierce, but it's clear such was expected. His hand extends, and catches her fist at the maximum reach Makai can maintain. It's useless, of course. Her swing barely slows. At least, that is what it would feel for a split second. What takes place next, the mundane eyes of onlookers cannot fathom. It feels as if the great oni is punching through molassus. Her force leeched away with each inch it progresses, until just shy of the knuckles slamming into his slender form, nothing is left.
A great burst of kinetic force detonates behind him, sending asphalt flying into the air in a storm of dust. All that she tried to leverage upon him was stolen. It was sheer technique, no mystical deflection. She threw upon Makai a storm, and he managed to usurp it from her. Still his foot slides back, as his free hand flicks out in a flowing motion. "Impressive. Were this your true power, I'm not sure I could have stopped you from reaching me..."
Three powerful blows rain into Riki's attacking arm. One upon the wrist, one upon the elbow, one upon the shoulder. Deep, penetrating energy attacks her very soul, thrumming through the boundary of her weakened vessel. It lingers, dark and corrupting, heavy like liquid lead. The force applied to her joins feels far more magnified than it should have been, before the inhuman monster twists and yanks. Riki would find herself flipping frontward, forced to either follow his sudden momentum or have every bone in her body shattered beneath the fulcrum shift.
A final strike rains down, an imbued palm strike to slam upon her stomach. The burst of force rings out in a flash of dark purple energy, cleaving through her shirt and liable to leave an angry handprint on toned abs, although the pain is not the skin, but a deep, agonizing rush of force that spreads through vital organs and nerves. Her back liable to hit the street with the force of a meteor, cushioning her immense frame by how it shatters like dirt beneath her, twisted arm finally released to allow her to bounce away a mild distance. Her position and balance compromised, while Makai's seems primed. He has gained a significant offensive advantage from that exchange...
At this point, Riki has adopted a somewhat blaise approach to the sort of surprises that seem part and parcel with her attempts to face such wielders of magic. No matter how large and powerful she may be, no matter the terrible strength at her disposal, she continues to face those who seem capable of casually swatting her aside. Perhaps this is not by chance. Perhaps is it a continuing lesson in humility ushered into existence by her lord. First the small miko, the very person whom she has sworn to protect, made a mockery of her power. Even the swaggering peacock who was called Lee laid her low with little effort. She faced the demonic Akuma and was cast down. She even nearly failed to overcome the lowest of demons, a mere soul bee. And now this.
The oni grunts as she is tossed about with ease, leaning into the sudden shift in direction lest her already unreliable mortal frame snap apart under the stress of resisting it. Had she her real body, such an attack would be little more than a nuisance, but she's long since stopped comparing her current situation to that, lest she drive herself mad with rage. As always, she'll just have to adapt.
The road shatters beneath her bulk as the final blow drives painfully into her gut, a spiderweb of cracks exploding in all directions from the sheer ferocity of the impact. Ironically, the concrete acts as more of a cushion than a hard surface, her body boasting far more durability than the mixture of powdered stone. She rolls to the side as she is released, the claws of one hand digging into the pavement to arrest her movement. With her other hand, she makes a quick gesture in the air, drawing a wide circle with one extended finger. A soft popping noise, like the pressure equalizing in ones ears, fills the air and a large lacquered red wooden bowl simple appears out of thin air, dropping neatly into her open palm.
Riki lifts the bowl to her mouth only moments after having righted herself and slurps noisily at the contents within. Clear watery fluid splashes down her throat and the unmistakable smell of alcohol wafts through the air, only magnified far beyond the potency of any mortal spirits. The ogre greedily imbibes the holy sake and its purifying strength floods into her body, washing away some of the corruption which had assaulted her spirit within moments.
Letting out a satisfied belch, Riki grins and tosses the bowl over her shoulder and it pops back out of existence before flying more than few inches. She casually wipes her mouth with the back of an arm and then takes a deep breath, opening her mouth wide as air fills her lungs. A massive gout of searing hellfire erupts from her lips when she suddenly reverses the flow, spewing pure spiritual fire like some kind of booze dragon. There is no actual heat behind the flames but for every ill-deed that Makai has ever performed, for every ounce of corruption and taint within his body, he would feel the hot searing judgement of Meido and know for a short moment what awaits his soul in the afterlife.
COMBATSYS: Makai blocks Riki's Breath of Heaven.
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Riki 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Makai
It's clear now why Makai baited Riki into attacking. Even after he has gained an advantage, he does not rush to capitalize it. He is methodical tactical, ruthlessly focused. Like sands in an hourglass, grain by grain falls in his favor, and it does not seem that momentum is easy to take back from him. After all, this is a man who nearly defeated Ayame while nearly depowered, and has grown incredibly after devouring the leylines of the fractured Mt. Fuji. All the warnings Riki recieved were for a man measurably weaker than who stands before her. In that single blow, any worry for her liege would be well founded.
"...? What are you drinking?" wonders Makai, making no attempt to press forward. Both hands are raised up, fingers splayed. It seems harmless, but given the degree of kinetic control he has displayed, they are like absolute shields for a brute attempt to pass by. The sudden rush of fire is another thing entirely, and he brings up his own arms, multiple purple chains bursting up to intercept. Most of it is warded off, but a few gouts lick through, striking the man. Immediately he reels.
This is strange. She can tell from his aura that it should have been almost nothing. Countless souls writhe in horrible agony, but locked within their own cells, that hardly bothers Makai. He has tuned them out, mere batteries for his power and little more. The difference is when it ravages the Butcher himself, the face settled upon the front. Despite the auric damage, the weight of his sins burns like acid, and his focus erodes. In contrast, Masaru deep within is almost unhurt. He bursts to the surface, and the black ichor that seemed wrapped about Makai's core parts.
"Wh... what... is this...?" Trembling hands raise and he clenches his fists, coughing heavily. "G-gah... not again..." Hands clutch the side of his head, as the maelstrom of dark power wells back up, dragging him like countless imps with small vicious claws back into the darkness. This was no act. For a brief moment, Riki inadvertanly caused some lost soul within to rise. But the Butcher is strong, and Riki's attack fades, establishing his control with overwhelming ease as his manifested chains chatter into motes. All pretense of advantage are lost, now.
"How interesting." is all Makai says, voice seeming unchanged, but his body language returned to normal. It's unlikely that couple seconds have been allowed by Riki, unless she has some manner of compassion for the fate of someone else. She is beyond wise, and would know precisely what has happened. One of the countless souls within Makai has taken him over and established complete control. Yet may that not be a fitting fate, for someone who dabbles in such monsters?
COMBATSYS: Makai takes no action.
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Riki 0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0 Makai
Riki watches this brief saga unfold before her, open confusion playing out on her face as the pure soul within is unexpectedly thrust to the surface which quickly turns sorrowful understanding as the monster asserts its control once more. A noble sacrifice or a foolish lust for power? Impossible for her to say. Here is a man who, perhaps through completely good intentions, had fallen to the darkness that he had taken unto himself. Yet another example of human folly, reaching for that which is not meant to be within their control.
The oni's eyes narrow as she sees an obvious chance, a moment to strike unopposed while the creature wrestles with his own inner demons for control of the vessel they now share. She wastes no time even considering the idea that she might let that opportunity slip through her fingers, primal instincts driving her to punish any sign of weakness when engaged in combat with one of her ilk. Whether or not this man is a victim is irrelevant to her. If he is pure, then his soul will be judged accordingly in the next life. Such is not her place. She is but a weapon, a flame to drive back the darkness wherever it might reveal itself.
Thrusting her legs down with a thunderous burst of strength, the ground rocks as Riki hurls herself airborne and onto a ballistic arc towards the distracted mystic. As she reaches the apex of her jump, she draws a fist back, summoning fresh hellfire to engulf the massive mitt. She falls, her great mane of golden hair billowing out like a cape, all of the weight and power of her mighty frame turning into a streaking meteor of holy flame as she bellows in challenge and slams her fist down upon him.
COMBATSYS: Makai dodges Riki's Helldiver.
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Riki 0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0 Makai
"Ruthless. As you should be. That was an opening, not a weakness." Makai comments when his resumed awareness confirms the girl is rushing towards him. This is not elegant or simple. She is in a dominant position and driving down towards him with the wrath of demons themselves. Taking the aerial route to build momentum might have given him the split second he required to escape. Even then, it requires every bit of masterful control he has. Feet kick, a strange and specialized motion that gives him more initial strength than his slim body should be able to manage. Her fists graze his mask as he twists away, fire blackening the wood, cracking it from eye to chin. Similarly it runs down his body, never quite making contact, searing away gauze and his black outfit to show dark tanned lean muscle beneath. The fist then hits the ground, shockwave knocking Makai for a loop. There's little grace to how he pinwheels, but he manages to twist and land in a crouch, skidding away on all fours. Hmm. That was as much luck as skill, on his part. It would be best not to allow the woman free reign to attack directly.
His right hand raises, and spectral purple coils whirl out to wrap around them, building up as energy roars. Each of the myriad souls is forced to cough up some power, making it immediately burst forth with much more than would easily be possible for a fighter of his level. He then finally advances, body coming low, but the intent is simple. He needs only to shift forth and press his hands upon her body, before the great power within would rush out.
All those assembled chains would flare out like a net, intent on wrapping her tightly in a sealing manner, surging down to sink into the ground for reinforcement. Before a great burst of power aims to spike out, impaling her straight through the body and out her back for a couple meters. It attacks not the form, but the soul, intent on building up that terrible corruption as he aims for a chance to bear down his full might upon her in the opening it causes...!
COMBATSYS: Makai knocks away Riki with Final Rites EX.
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Riki 1/---====/=======|=======\-------\1 Makai
The ground cracks a little more, bits of shattered rubble tumbling from her fist as Riki withdraws it from the small hole in the ground where Makai had once stood. She hadn't pulled any of her strength from that blow - infact, she never did. The mere thought of holding back is antithetical to her pride and nature as a being of violence and strength. One doesn't send an oni when diplomacy is needed. She isn't here to negotiate with the wild Darkstalkers and rogue Gears, she's here to destroy them. Makai isn't exactly what she'd expected to find but now that she has found him, she can't very well let the man simply walk away to do what he pleases.
"Glad you approve," she growls, frowning slightly. Her opportunity had slipped away and it was likely going to cost her. Foolish as he might be, whatever rituals the mystic has used to gather power were clearly effective.
Prepared for his assault this time, Riki thrusts an arm down into Makai's path as he closes in on her, hellfire flaring up around the limb in an attempt to ward off what she expects to be another surge of that corrupting energy. The two magics collide and grind against one another for a brief moment but his hand manages to slip past her defenses and make contact, unleashing the vast web of razored chains around her in a wide net, trapping her within.
The oni's eyes widen in surprise and she lifts her free arm up to hold the chains at bay, only to leave herself open to the final part of the spell. The chains spear through her body as easily as if it were smoke. Riki lets out a terrible cry of pain and shock that rattles the windows of nearby buildings, staggering to one knee as the dark energies flood through her soul. For a moment, she seems overwhelmed completely by the horrific power brought to bear. Her shoulders heaving as she grits her teeth, struggling to draw in breath with her burning lungs.
A fresh surge of determination flares in her eyes suddenly, those dim red points of light glowing like stirred coals. Her muscles flex as she digs deep for strength and resolve, her massive fresh pressing against the dark chains as she slowly starts to right once more to her feet. Growling with effort, Riki hefts her arms up and digs her fingers into the links of foul magic and with a great bellow, twists them apart, shattering the binding spell asunder!
Freed from the prison, the giantess immediately lunges, adrenaline and battle lust driving her forward to attack. She slams her fist at Makai, devoid of the burning hellfire, raw muscle and hard bone coming down at him like a massive club. Her limbs thrash wildly, hammering again and again, seeking to crush the little man into a bright red paste on the sidewalk and grind every one of those hateful souls into dust beneath her feet!
COMBATSYS: Makai blocks Riki's Raging Demon.
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Riki 0/-------/----===|=======\=------\1 Makai
For a few moments, Makai relaxed. Such a blow should fell an oni of Riki's current power level. He struck the core of her soul, undefended, with the sealing might of the Ametsuchi. She may have discovered that such feels like a war of attrition. Each pulse of that twisted sealing power does not fade when it enters her. Like wading through a fine snow of hardening glue, it slows and slows. A terrible way to be defeated, especially when one claims to be able to devour the essence of another. At the conclusion, they would only be able to watch helpless.
But his hubris nearly costs him his life. The first of the blows is only partially deflected, and he's slammed with a grazing hit on the shoulder. A bone cracks from it. No time is allowed to ponder this, as the rest of his defense is flawless. Fingers touch her wrists again and again, unwantedly sloughing her furious blows to the side, up, down, each into an empty void where his form no longer stands. The last is dropped, before he spreads his arms slightly. "I've underestimated you twice. And not due to ego. You may be worth the effort to take for myself, after all..."
He then almost lazily snaps forward, swiping his hand for Riki. A single digit shifting to poke through the hole in her shirt, and then snag the fabric. Only to then whirl to the side, and heft her entire body in the motion. Aiming to spin her once before twisting and flinging her head over heels at an adjacent street light, where her massive frame would likely heavily dent it. Somehow, it doesn't seem the motion even stretched her shirt.
He's already coming forward again. Leaping towards her in the air, arms spread as he flits out his hand to grasp her by the face and then, while he descends, sharply snap her down and hurl her back-first upon the sidewalk, to finish things with a two-handed grasp of her ankle, intent on a final, overhead swing, like she were some grand oni hammer he now intends to pound upon an adjacent vehicle...
COMBATSYS: Riki blocks Makai's Brutal Throw Chain.
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Riki 0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1 Makai
Frustrated in her efforts to simply crush the mystic, Riki manages to regain control of herself before she completely exhausts what energy she has left and takes a step back to regain her composure. She gets but a few moments to breath, her nostrils flaring like an angry bull, before the little man rushes forward with more of that strange witchcraft at his command.
Having learned her lesson by this point, she does not attempt to ward him off, instead merely bracing herself for whatever may come. The finger hooks into her shirt without contest and the massive oni is sent flying through the air as if she were no more troublesome to cast aside than an old shoe. Her preparation yields fruit this time. Rather than simply tumbling pellmell into the street lamp, Riki manages to twist about at the last moment and catch the large post on the front of her arms. Her weight and speed utterly ruins the metal pole, folding it in half even as its foundations rip from the pavement sending both her and it crashing towards the street in a jumble.
She attempts to untangle herself from the debris but Makai is on her too quickly, his slender fingers digging into front of her head with an unnatural grip. He drives her into the ground but once more she manages to brace against the impact, flexing her powerful muscles to dull the blow as much as possible. The final strike, an insulting abuse of their difference in size, sends her crashing onto the car, utterly flattening its roof and shattering every window and light on the poor vehicle. Someone's going to have an odd insurance claim to file later.
"That will be quite enough of that...!"
Digging her fingers into the vehicle's ruined roof, Riki rolls sideways and peels the entire top off with a horrific shriek of metal. Turning towards Makai, she hefts the makeshift shield up and lets out another bellowing roar, swinging the large surface at him like he is a fly and it the swatter. She slams it at him repeatedly, smashing the hard square on him over and over in an attempt to stagger the mystic long enough for her to go for a solid grab so that she can show him how to properly use someone as a blunt object.
COMBATSYS: Makai interrupts Ogre Smash from Riki with Guillotine EX.
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Riki 1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0 Makai
Well, that's certainly an interesting makeshift weapon. Makai remained poised all the same, and he finally shifts himself into what seems to be a powerful stance himself. A purple flicker of sealing magic once more causes a long chain to erupt forth, wrapping reinforcingly around his forearm. And then as the metal roof strikes down, rather than stand, he leaps towards it. His foot plants on the base, before the inertia of it causes him to spiral into the air, gouging deep into the golden metal of his shinguards. Yet the bladed coils ripple down, flicking about Riki's neck in that opening. Slowly exhaling, he draws it taut as he lands a couple meters behind, before yanking. Again he has that strange control of force, as if invisible hands took Riki's entire body, whirling her around in a broad arc to crash her through the front of a glass window into the heart of a china shop. An inadvertant callback to the phrase, perhaps. Not long after he has strode to stand on the sidewalk peering through the glass, having invoked a defensive seal around himself, warding chains whirling in leisurely arcs to help mitigate any further attacks. "Why did you attack me?" he asks, genuinely curious. "Was it pride? You could sense my strength, and you are not stupid or a fool. Your vessel restricts you too much. Are you hiding a secret weapon, or... is this somehow more personal? Have I eaten someone close to you? I am quite secretive of my actions, and most would simply see a man who destroys the monsters of this world... one such as you."
Caught in Makai's masterful counter-strike, Riki is only able to offer that sharp bit of witty retort as the chains constrict around her neck before sending her hurtling into the store window. She crashes through the glass with ease, her bulk and weight brushing aside the flimsy barrier as if it were little more than a cobweb. The various knicknacks and antiques within the shop fare little better as she plows uncontrollably through half the displays and shelves before finally coming to a halt.
The oni struggles to rise to her feet as Makai casually follows after her, finding the task unusually difficult. Countless shards of glass and cheap ceramic pottery protrude from her back and arms, each one little more than an ignorable insult on its own but together they leave her a bloody mess, her once white shirt quickly turning into a sopping red stain.
She lifts her head to regard the mystic as he draws close, only to assault her with questions rather than further violence. Her eyes blaze, faint red points of light beneath the haphazard bangs of her golden hair which now dangle messily over her face. Clawed fingers dig into the wooden floor as she pushes up to one knee but the attempt to fully regain her footing quickly forces her back down again. A frustrated growl escapes her from deep within and she snorts angrily in his direction.
"Only a coward... flees in the face of danger. I am no... mangy kappa... or conniving tengu...! I hath promised... to oppose darkness... whenever it may appear. Not when it is convenient for me to do so!"
COMBATSYS: Riki takes no action.
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COMBATSYS: Riki can no longer fight.
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"You promised?" Makai settles on this particular word, as he remains just inside. He makes no motion to intrude further, although the weight of his constant soul assaults likely hangs heavy. The damage he inflicted upon the great oni otherwise is not so severe; despite how it looks, he is the one with a cracked bone, and from merely a brush. When such wears off in time, she is liable to be more angry than outright injured. "I see. Does this have to do with your unusual body and shackled power?"
Makai then slowly begins to condense his power. The souls vanish like stars vanishing in the morning sun, until only one remains. It is not human in the slightest. Dark and twisted, much like Riki's own, it is of far more potency than the body it rests inside. Not to the same degree, but it's clear that the puppetmaster is still not back to full power.
"My true name is the Butcher. The Shinigami of the Mists. Or at least, that is what the humans called me." Riki, if she roamed around centuries back, likely hurt tails of such. A brutal murderer who came with banks of fog, and left people dead, drained, and lacking souls in his aftermath. "I am no demon of your domain. I was born of this realm. A cursed existance. My soul decays. If I do not feed, I will die. I started with rats. Then humans. But now, I must eat other monsters to maintain myself. Despite great and long slumbers, my time is finite. I have no enemy but my own mortality, oni. Surely you can understand this more than those with fleeting lives gone in an eyeblink."
The mask is lazily pulled off, revealing closed eyes and a more attractive brown-bearded face than might have been thought. "Amongst those who lurk in the night, I am better known as the Cannibal. This foolish host gathered me a feast, but even it will not last forever. But I do not see why inherently we have to be enemies... it may not be outside my power to free you. Not easily, of course. Enma-O is nothing so miniscule. But you could have your body back. Your power back. Freedom, true. All I would like is help with a simple matter... one that might be relevant to you, even if you choose to protect this weak, vermin-like race..."
She practically spits the answer in his face, hurling at him like a physical assault. Riki glares at the face revealed behind the mask, unmoved and uncowed by his revelation as some ancient being burdened with a cursed existence. Such terrible fates were oft reserved for those who deserved them and for this man to casually explain that he has survived by eating the souls of other sentient beings, she cannot but assume that the same is true for him. Anyone with even a shred of decency within their soul would have ended their own life long ago rather than face such a monsterous existence. Whatever it is he would ask of her, it would certainly be nothing good.
"I shall /not/... betray my lord! It is by his will... that I face these shackles. This is my punishment... and I shall atone for my misdeeds... only then will I accept freedom!"
She smirks at the mystic, her lips peeling back to reveal her fangs in a fierce display of pride. Once more she tries to stand but the corruption remains strong and her efforts fail yet again, though she manages to maintain her crouch without falling over.
"I twould not expect... a foul and degenerate creature such as thyself to understand... the meaning of honor and integrity. Thou seem to care little for anything other... than sustaining thy own contemptable existence!"
"What a pity." Makai says, before placing the mask back upon his face. Slow footsteps take him closer towards Riki, the rubble and glass beginning to crunch beneath. "Although you are right, oni. I hate my existance. But it is all I have. Why should I cast myself to the void for others? What thanks will I get, beyond the joy of those who already wish me dead?! You, one of the chosen. Born of great power and station. Blessed with might and immortality. How can you understand what it is like, each night darkness fades you worry whether what you scavenged will keep your dying soul alive for one more night?"
There's hissing contempt within Makai now, as he twists to slam his hands together. Again there's the crackles of power beginning to build, as he seems to prepare something new. "Perhaps you would do better to feel what that was like. Great Oni. If you had served your lord properly, you would have had the strength to stop me in this nascent state. But I will find the Taishokan. I will revive it completely. And it will devour this world to nothing. And I shall survive, a speck of a parasite to a great divine being, living eternal. For I have no love or joy for this realm, that wishes nothing of me but death."
The Taishokan is a name she would certainly know. Yet far more than most. It is what the humans call a great invader of ancient times. Supposedly the Elder Gods descended to battle it, but were unable to fully kill it. It was cut to pieces and sealed around the planet instead. Two centuries back, it was revived, and merely it's great head almost consumed all of Japan if not for great and terrible sacrifice.
Yet Taishokan is merely a nickname. In truth, it was Shuten-Doji, one of the three Great Youkai who dominate the Spirit Realm. The great King of all Oni, he was enraged that natural energy was leeching within Earthrealm, and came to reclaim it. This was long before even Riki's birth, but... Enma-O would pale in the face of him. To rise again may spell the end of humanity, even if the Elder Gods return to slay him once again...
And know that name she most certainly does. As a small fragment of the raw power of Enma-O, as even the tiniest aspect of His great and powerful will, she is privy to much of the knowledge and lore of the world. Even that which came long before her own inception is known, an integral part of the knowledge contained by the entity which sired her.
Riki's haughty expression turns to one of complete and utter shock, her jaw hanging open as she stares stupidly at the small mortal before her. Impossible. Ludicrous. Blasmephous! His claim is all of these things. A whirlwind of turbulent emotions boil within her chest, outrage, fear, and incredulity all mixing into a maelstrom of chaotic flame that leaves her unable to bring forth coherent speech for several seconds.
"You... you /dare/ utter that name in my presence?!"
Thunder rumbles overhead as the ruler of Meido himself weighs in on the matter, echoing the outrage and righteous indignation in her voice. She surges to her feet, a fresh wellspring of strength supressing the corruptive power clinging to her soul. Glass crunches loudly as she pushes aside fallen heaps of smashed ceramic pottery and cheap tourist junk, casting them aside without effort to make room for her bulk. This display of anger is little more than show, however, as it is clearly obvious that even that much took almost all of her concentration.
"Pathetic little wretch! Thou art but a mewling worm bemoaning the just fate that befalls all mortal creatures. There is no escape from thy death! Tis that very fact which gives thy life meaning!"
She spreads her arms out as if to indicate the very world around them. The broad stretch of the streets surrounded on all sides by towering buildings and flashing signs. Those responsible for its construction are likely long since dead, leaving behind the legacy of their efforts for future generations.
"Tis for that reason that my lord doth judge thine actions and those of all mortal souls so that thou mayest find fitting reward until thou art cast once more into new life. To cling to but a single turn of the wheel is beyond foolishness... it is... perverse! You defy the natural order!"
She leans in close, sneering at him, her breath still heavy with the divine alcohol.
"For what? So that thou may cling to a diseased and doomed pile of flesh out of some misguided sense of self-pity, as if thou art /owed/ something more than thou hast been given? And for this, thou wouldst even dare suggest such a thing! Thou would see the entire world burn so that ye can continue to crawl in the dirt like some filthy maggot, as if this were somehow preferrable to surrendering to the great cycle!"
She spits on the floor, leaving a small patch of sizzling hellfire blazing coldly at his feet.
"Thou art beyond contempt."
Well, this certainly was not what Makai expected. She spoke often of the name, one that he knows well. Both as the Butcher, and the thefted memories of Masaru. There is legitimate surprise and worry, as despite the results of the battle there is little guarantee that the demonic figure could put her down again without a great threat to his body. Yet he has been preparing something himself, and has almost completed it... again, she opts to speak, rather than lash out. Is it a bluff? He cannot see her body language, and for once curses his lack of sight.
"You serve the King of Oni, girl." Makai finally intones. "Enma-O only holds claim as he has been lost for endless time. You should celebrate. Your rightful ruler would not destroy you. He would bring you back to his realm, where you would live in endless luxury, drinking, fighting, and festivities. A great void has existed in the power structure in his absence. All it would take is helping me, and allowing this world to burn. But..."
There's a great flash of power. A swing of Makai's hand, manifesting a gargantuan spear of that dark, twisted power. He makes to hurl it upon Riki, with sudden speed and little warning. Much of his remaining power has been dumped into this effort, and were it to strike true... well. She would be dead, in a normal situation. Yet filled now with the wrath of her lord, such would not take place. Still, it would be a grevious wound, One to the very soul, the essence of her life. He might expect it to end her in minutes, but he has long stopped making assumptions of Riki's limitations. Great and powerful healers of spiritual and sealing mediums could repair such damage, but...
Makai drops to his knees from the expenditure, a sacred technique meant to destroy when all hopes to capture fail, a last resort. His opponent deserves no less, even now. "...you will say no. So be it. If your lord had true wisdom, he would have released your shackles before we fought. Even the greatest of Gods have arrogance, I see. His intervention comes too late, oni!!"
"I serve only my lord!"
Riki, too, has not been idle as this conversation has played out. Though beaten and wounded, the body granted to her by Enma-O is a punishment, not a death sentence and that great power which was once hers is his to unleash as he sees fit, when the need is great. Now seems like a pretty damn good time.
The oni does not unleash another of her great bellows when she reacts to the manifestation of the spear, prefacing her great strength with meaningless bravado, she simply acts. Her hand rises up high, but rather than simply striking at the mystic with her empty fist, the demon grips the long curved horn that juts forth from her forehead. With a quick tug, she draws it outwards and even before his eyes the long length of hard bone transforms into a massive club of solid studded iron even greater in size than she herself.
/Now/, Riki unleashes her warcry, this unveiling of her true weapon taking little more than a moment, and she brings it down just as the twisted lance of corruption is hurled at her. The massive club crashes into the construct of foul magic, two supernatural forces clashing for a brief instant before the spear is smote asunder.
Two things happen in rapid succession then. The first is that the violent unraveling of the dark magics causes an explosion of incredible force. The interior of the small China shop turns to a mass of splintered wood and shattered debris within the span of a few instants as a bubble of raw potent force pops between the two combatants. The second is a sudden flash as a bolt of lightning spears down from the Heavens, lancing through the roof of the small shop as easily as a knife passing through a sheet of paper. The hot white energy engulfs the oni as she flies backwards from the initial blast and when it fades away a moment later so too is the tall demoness no where to be seen.
The great blast sends Makai flying out through the window, although his protective whirls of chain continue to flit around him. He lands in a crouch, skidding backwards with a grimace, and when the dust clears is little surprised to find the girl lost. Ah, he misplayed his hand. If he had not aimed for such an absolute end as destroying her spirit, he would have the strength to pursue her. Then again, she likely exhausted what power remained in her battered vessel with that. The weight of his soul sealing is tenacious, but if he came across her again when it broke, he would be the one at a vast disadvantage.
"No matter, oni. The Taishokan shall rise again. My plans have progressed too far to be so easily stopped now..." Rolling over with a wince, he then quickly shifts to approach a nearby alley, as the gathered crowd continue to watch and point, many having recorded near the end of the fight. He will need to rest, and drink of his power once more. A number of sacrifices will be needed to hasten that... which of his unwitting brood are most fitting for his daily meal, then?
Log created on 16:21:23 01/02/2018 by Riki, and last modified on 00:52:50 01/03/2018.