Description: Azrael, locked deep beneath Sector Seven, is roused by the God of Death, given notice of World Warrior... and testing the full extent of countermeasures to prevent his escape.
For two years, the Deathbringer has sat, chained and frozen in isolation, contained within a cryogenic prison created by one of the most dangerous minds in the world. Just getting him there required the collusion of NOL forces and Sector Seven resources. An off off-the-book clandestine joint operation of Kokonoe Mercury and Colonel Kagura Mutsuki put an end to the wandering destructive event known as the 'Mad Dog', and the brilliant scientist wisely buried his ass so far beneath the Earth and through so many layers of scientifically augmented magical seals that no earthly method of scanning would have any hope of finding him.
But even frozen in stasis, Azrael's unfathomably powerful soul burns bright to the eyes that can perceive it.
The array of sensors responsible for monitoring his condition are also augmented by magical formula - a necessity for within the chamber of Absolute Zero, electricity would otherwise not function. It would be those sensors that would detect a brief blip, an aberration in energy that shouldn't be, only for a few seconds. Of course, even that would be enough to raise alerts for one who lets no detail slip by her, no matter how miniscule.
Within the icy tomb, something moved, looking something like a shadow but consisting of white instead of black. An impossible phenomenon in and of itself, the figure of something vaguely humanoid appears behind the muscular titan, arms draping around his neck as it leans against him in an embrace. The head of the ghost is featureless but for two large sunken, black pits for eyes. It would not be picked up by cameras recording visual wavelengths. But monitors tracking the presence of seithr would find it for that brief moment before the anomaly vanishes.
It is the man's subconscious she has found and attached to, the True Reaper, ushered into this world by Relius's Clover's dangerous brilliance unchecked. Even now, she has no idea where in the world she has found this prize among men, a sentient natural disaster if ever there were one. In his enforced slumber, his psyche is vulnerable to the Soul Weaver, and it is to it that she whispers.
"It seems a shame... for the master to leave the best hound caged while the greatest hunt begins in earnest."
To his mind, she would appear not as a wayward figment of white shadow, but a violet haired empress covered in a robe of black and gold, her arms hidden beneath draping white sleeves. Crimson eyes peer from half-closed eyes.
"Will you nap dormant, Mad Dog, and leave inferior souls to claim the title of World's Strongest?"
Deep within a massive underground facility, an entire laboratory dedicated to keeping him under wraps with the most powerful technology and magical-fueled wards available, a solemn figure stands heavily chained and locked in the darkness. It is kept as close to absolute zero as possible, an utter vaccuum devoid of air, no light able to reach it. The very life energy of the world cannot reach here, as constant drains are aimed at the massive figure in the center, constantly sucking out his power to a level that nearly overloards the artifice's power.
And amidst it all, Azrael quietly snores.
The conditions themselves would be fatal ten times over to any person sustained by average will. The experiments on Azrael were inconclusive, as no needle could pierce his skin, no ray or beam could peek inside, and every single attempt to knock him unconscious failed. Like a man swatting flies, all probes and distant attempts to reach him were destroyed, and in the end it was deemed better to let him enter a state of dormancy, and blessed quiet for the world.
The touch rouses him from his reverie, and golden eyes slit open. "...Mmm? Who's that...?" A strange response. Death itself is caressing him. Izanami would sense he does not recognize it. It is something that does not exist in his mind, bereft of his body. His unique existance is as near beyond her domain as any she has felt.
Monitors begin to beep warnings. Azrael is active. Now and then he has, resulting in testing his bonds, wriggling about. Each time it ended in near catastrophic failures, and each time the defenses were heavily reinforced. Kokonoe would be immediately contacted by the Board of Sector Seven to monitor things. There is not an atom inside his chamber not analyzed. That slight puff of seithr... that is something new. And those strange words, from a man who has never once talked aloud in two years, not even to complain.
"...A hunt?" he says into the darkness once more. Shoulders try to shrug, but metal creaks, seals flash bright, and he can't quite complete the motion. An alarm goes off from multiple failures in his Level 1 physical harness. "What are you talking about...? I'm sleepy. And hungry..."
A bellowing yawn rings in the chamber, as he again tries to cast his senses out. His nose sniffs the air. Nothing. As usual, he can sense nothing. The turmoil and chaos of the world in the wake of the Gear's passing did not reach him, and the suppressive wards work perfect to keep him unaware of any stimulation.
"Either tell me what the hell you're yammering about, or get out of here..." Sluggish. Dull. He's succumbed to the boredom, more than anything. Eventually, he will be free. Time is on his side. The only thing he presently lacks is the proper motivation... it took well over a year for Kokonoe's powerful rebound of Enchant Dragunov to wear off, but he has full control of the self-limiter now.
All he needs is incentive to begin releasing it...
Several stories above the buried and heavily-reinforced prison of frozen nothingness, those very same alarms reach the ears of one very tired scientist. Kokonoe sits up with a stare, blinking eyes heavy with weariness and half-closed from fitful slumber as dozens of small glowing holographic displays flash to life in the air around her. She sits back in the chair, glancing around to take in her surroundings, momentarily dumbfounded by the unexpected and very insistent interruption.
The cat-woman sits alone in her lab, the room lit only by the dull glow of monitors and equipment scattered throughout the room. The monitor infront of her, the largest and most obvious source of illumination, casts its neon glow onto her face and she is forced to shield her sensitive eyes as they try to adjust to the sudden change in light. After several long seconds, her head throbbing to the beat of the merciless alarms, she picks up the glasses which had slid off her nose onto the keyboard as she slumbered and places them back upon the end of her nose, glancing up to finally see what the hell is so important.
Almost immediately she is sober and fully awake. Kokonoe's hands fly to the keyboard, dancing in an almost imperceptible blur as she calls up window after window of data being streamed from the magical wards within the Doghouse - quite the fitting name for a place to imprison someone called the Mad Dog.
Her eyes flit back and forth at a pace similar to that of her fingers, taking in the information almost as quickly as the computer can provide it. Instinctively, she reaches out to a small box resting on the side of the desk, withdrawing one of the candies within and popping it into her mouth. The quick rush of sugar and silvervine infuses her with a fresh surge of energy giving that one last push necessary to jog her mind into full gear.
A new sound joins the klaxon-like blare of the alarms, a soft chirping sound as the communication software vyies for her attention. She calls it up without missing a beat and taps the small green phone icon that will allow the call to connect.
"I'm already aware of it. Leave me alone so I can deal with this."
Kokonoe speaks before the other person on the line even gets the chance to begin a word, cutting the line off just as quickly as she had opened it. The last thing she needs right now is some beaurocratic idiot who couldn't make heads or tails of the data even if he wanted to shouting at her to fix something that might not even be broken. Azrael had tried his luck before but it had never done him any good. Something is different this time though, she can feel it.
And then she finds it - the anomoly responsible for all the ruckus.
"What the hell is that...?"
At his question, the woman's voice answers with a tone of unmistakable amusement in his groggy mind, "...Oh?" She giggles lightly, eyes closing. Everything about this soul is interesting. There is no fear to be found. Not because he is suppressing it, like bold men and women have done when death finally arrives to claim its own. No... it simply not exist in this exception among men.
"It is within your capacity to move, held even so...?" She sounds curious. Sanguine hued eyes open once more, wider now, her hands still folded beneath the shroud of white, long sleeves. She smiles, the expression surprisingly pleasant for one eager to unleash so much ruin. "Hm... Like me, no banal, mundane meal will ever sate you. If ravenous hunger compels you, then you must join the feast, no?"
The specter leans forward slightly, "A man is gathering the so-called world's strongest to his banquet, yet..." She shakes her head, her voice teasing at confusion that isn't truly there as she continues, "There has been no place set for you... How..." she tsks with a slight shake of her head, "Inconsiderate of him."
The woman withdraws slightly, eyes half closed once more. "Can you truly slumber as a child while Earth's mighty swarm to one place? Even the eyes of gods have turned toward Strolheim Castle. Hmmm... I wonder."
The facade fades, giving way to the ghostly white shadow with its empty sockets for eyes. A mouth parts the lower half of the otherwise featureless head. Her voice has shifted, losing its melodic nature, becoming the whisper of scraping stone, of a sarcophagus unsealed, "Decide. Even now, your jailer certainly stirs."
And with that, she is gone; the seithr levels within the sealed chamber returning to previous readings, and the Mad Dog left to his own devices.
"Maybe." Azrael remarks aloud, when the voice questions if he could move. "I'm mostly curious whether they can keep me locked up. They went through so much effort to catch me..." He slowly grins, baring unusual fangs as his manic eyes stare into the dark. "Some of them made a pretty good meal. Can't say I wouldn't like to see how much everyone's fattened up in these..."
Azrael then tilts his head to the side. "How long has it been?" Time's lost most of it's meaning. Mostly he slumbers, sometimes he stares, others his mind wanders to random locales. He estimates over a year, but less than five. Beyond that he cannot accurately say.
But something the voice says makes his eyes snap fully open. "...What? ...The world's strongest?" The idea that there may be a place in this world, the grandest warriors assembled. It is like valhalla for the Mad Dog. Is it some lie? A bait, to tempt him to escape? Maybe this is that damn cat's attempt to measure his full resistance.
Heh. He's so bored, he's nearly in tears. He'll take that gamble.
Slowly his body flexes, and he begins to resist in earnest. Muscles bulge, veins splay, as his teeth grit in effort. Dark skin seeming taut, the heavy black lines of his Enchant Dragunov etched across his bared torso. "Hnnnngh...!!"
The physical restraints are bowing, nearly breaking. This is no idle test; he's actually TRYING to escape. The seals are flaring brighter, and as the energy vampires start draining power at a greater volume, it doesn't seem to be holding up. The heavy creak of metal and sound of ice shattering and sloughing off begins to fill his cage, alarms now audible even to him now.
Indeed. The Mad Dog is trying to break his muzzle. And if Kokonoe merely watches the readouts, chances are he will last longer than they will. The strength he's exerting is just slightly beyond even the latest upgrades... even within her generous calculations, the difference between him testing and him trying were far higher than what should be rationally possible. But she wouldn't be one of the greatest minds in the world if it was simple as that...
Kokonoe's brow furrows as she utters perhaps the biggest understatement of the year, seeming somewhat blase about the idea that one of the most dangerous beings alive might be about to snap his leash. But after Justice and Terumi and Phantom, she's practically at the point where nothing is capable of fazing her wits or coming as a surprise. The universe itself seems to be trying to make her life a living hell. Well that bastard doesn't know who it's fucking with!
The scientist's fingers resume their energetic assault on the keyboard as she pushes the windows containing the Doghouse's wards aside, literally moving their holographic screens sideways in the air with a sweep of her hand to make room for a new batch. She continues to monitor that group of data, however, glancing at it from time to time out of the corner of her eyes, noting with only a quirk of her eyebrow as the readings predict an imminent overload.
The chirp of the communicator begins to warble in her ears again but she ignores it this time, focused on the task at hand. It takes nearly a full minute to bypass all of the security layers in place around the controls of the Doghouse, even with the knowledge of their workings and design as well as the passwords necessary to circumvent them. She had specifically designed this cage to be hard to open in the event that someone managed to get their hands on the crypto-keys, she'd atleast have time to do something about it. Now that border-line paranoid precaution was working against her. If it were anyone else they might not make it but Kokonoe scythes through the firewalls and algorithms in record time.
"Voice ID: Kokonoe A. Mercury. Initiate bypass, two-seven-nine-nine-one-alpha-three. Prepare to disengage cryo-field and engage sub-reactors Gamma and Theta. On my mark... three, two, one... mark."
The air in the room around Azrael suddenly seems to change as the potent cryotic generators suddenly and inexplicably turn off all at once. The magical wards remain strong, holding him fast in place as he struggles to shatter his bonds, but the near absolute zero field that had been instrumental in containing his strength vanishes to be replaced by the dum whump of mechanical generators turning over somewhere nearby.
Kokonoe watches the readouts intently, noting the success of her commands via extropolation of the temperature readouts and the power output of the generators. It will take a bit more time for the room to thaw to the point where she can deploy visual sensors but by then it'll be too late to use her failsafe. She'll just have to hope nothing goes wrong.
"Prepare to deploy the Collar."
The sound of moving machinery fills the small room, practically deafening in what had once been a place devoid of any sensation. A small robotic arm slides around on a large metal ring above the trapped man and positions itself slightly above him, two halves of a thick metallic circle clutched in thick reinforced grips. After a short delay the arm begins to lower until the two halves are positioned on either side of the Mad Dog's neck and it becomes abundantly clear what is about to happen.
"Let's see you muscle your way out of this one, mutt..."
Slowly and steadily, Azrael continues to shift his body. Legs begin to bow, elbows begin to tuck. Deep within the machines, the metal, the pneumatics, things begin to break as Kokonoe races through the countless defenses intended to keep people from doing quite the opposite of her current intentions. She'd find that likely hundreds of hours of Sector Seven minds have tried to reinforce the electronic protections, to keep out any possible attempt to hack. It probably delays her a few seconds further. "Hrrmph... not bad." he comments out loud. It's rare he gets a chance to go all-out in this manner, even if the combatant is something stale and basic. It's not going to feed him, however... not in the slightest.
When the generators suddenly cut off and the vaccuum pumps dissipate, there's a brief few moments of confusion from the massive figure. The presence of a collar seems to be more cause for curiosity than concern, as suddenly he lets out a laugh. "What's this...?! Go on, try it!! I'll take any challenge you can throw at me, KOKONOE!!"
He seems aware this is her doing. Nobody else is competent enough to face him in all of Sector Seven. A bunch of sniveling weaklings, only good for pointing out good meals. His body curls with dark aura as he roars, and with a final shift of motion, tears his arms and limbs free. The final level of restraints, metal that was reinforced by self-observing formulae that should have made them far harder than any metallurgy could hope to imitate, snap. The ceiling and walls tear inwards, revealing the massive network of guts and intense electronics that had worked against him for two years, cataclysmic failures now starting to ring throughout Sector Seven.
Of course, this final exertion has made him more than a little vulnerable...
The whining of her communicator becomes yet more insistent as half a dozen other individuals all try to reach her at the same time, the high-pitched chirps somehow seeming desperate and panicked as they overlap and compete for attention like starved baby birds. Continuing to ignore the pleas for her reassurance, Kokonoe waits and watches as the monitor shows her a rough diagram of the mechnical collar's position in relation to the prisoner's body. The handful of seconds that it takes to align it properly and lower into place seems to drag out into hours and as the warnings on the wards shift from a simple 'something has gone wrong' red to 'hey this is really bad!!!' red, two often underused palettes on the color wheel, she narrows her eyes as the first twinge of tension finally touches her spine.
Her finger lances out to jab the release button when atleast the readout turns green and the twin halves of the steel circlet snap shut with a quick and merciless clang like the claws of a giant crab. The collar fuses together in a burst of thermal light and shimmering magic mere moments before the Mad Dog rips himself free of the restraints and falls unhindered to the frigid icy floor.
Kokonoe pushes away from her desk and rises to her feet, sliding them into her slipper-like shoes as she passes through the sliding door and turns to head towards a part of the facility that hasn't seen use in several years. A pair of guards stand ready and waiting when she arrives a minute or so later though it's clear from their expressions that they aren't quite certain what to do. She waves them aside with a dismissive glare and jams a keycard into a small slot on the wall. A soft acquiescent chime fills the air and a section of the wall simply disappears leaving a door-sized hole in the once solid bulkhead, allowing the scientist to step past into the large elevator beyond.
Tapping her destination and another set of passwords into the keypad, the catwoman leans against the rear wall of the metal box as it begins to quickly descend down into the earth finally letting a heavy sigh escape her. She rubs her eyes, the dark bags normally present there nearly twice as heavy thanks to the non-stop rollercoaster of crazy shit she's had to deal with lately. Even if her device has managed to snag Azrael, it's a poor substitute to keeping him quiet and docile. At best she might be able to pin him down for a while but even that probably won't be enough really keep him contained.
Whatever the case, it's a stop-gap measure until she can figure out something more long term. The Dog House was supposed to have been that solution but apparently even her calculations of what that monster is capable of were inaccurate. And now she was going down to swat that same monster on the nose. Alone.
"I love my job sometimes..."
A collar...? Azrael has high hopes for this toy. He expected it to somehow work with Enchant Dragunov again, but he feels nothing particularly different. A sense of magic and technology blended, yet little else. Of course, it took risking Iron Tager's life and overloading an Idea Engine to touch his self-limiter at all, and maintaining that power output on so minute an item is no small feat.
A finger taps on it, before he just gives a shrug. If it's a bomb or the like, then time is wasted. In all his life, Azrael has never been scratched or wounded. He highly doubts so compact a package is any risk to him.
Approaching the huge doors leading in, there's a slight sigh of annoyance. This is another matter entirely. Breaking free of the restraints was fun. He wished to see what, if any, tricks the cat might have. Breaking through these stagnant gates... is tedious.
One hand settled in his pocket, Azrael's other lifts up. "Enchant Dragunov... release. Level Four." The tattoos on his arm fade until they are barely visible. The remaining instruments then pick up an incredible energy spike.
A moment later, the entire facility rumbles. The electrical grid is knocked offline for a few seconds, before the THUNK and thrum of backup power coming online. Reports would flood Kokonoe that all three sealed doors leading from Azrael's Doghouse to the main subcomplex were just broken. He should have been stuck inside still for thirty minutes to an hour... well. That just means he didn't feel like keeping his self-imposed handicap. Kokonoe's always known leashing the Mad Dog was just as much convincing him mentally not to release his inhibitor as it was building the apex of technology. As long as he enjoyed testing it, he was content.
He strides past warped metal and smoking wreckage into a main hall, red lights pulsing in the dark as alarms continue to blare. His eyes are squinted, not used to anything but pitch black. "...Noisy." His eyes close and his head lifts, once more sniffing the air.
And eyes snap open. "...! Hahaha! The world's ripened well since I was asleep...! Looks like my break was well-timed!! My feeding grounds have never been this bountiful before... finally, I'll eat to my heart's content!"
Kokonoe staggers as the elevator seems to shift sideways underneath her without warning, spitting out a curse or two in response. She was afraid of this. Being forced into captivity was certain to have soured Azrael's mood but with the world in complete turmoil it wouldn't take him long to get the scent of something he liked.
"Damnit. Maybe I should have asked Rachel to help reinforce those wards."
The momentary stall in the elevator's progress vanishes as the back-up power kicks in and she resumes plummeting into the earth at a breakneck pace basked in the faint light of the emergency pilots. Withdrawing the small computer that she keeps on hand from an internal pocket of her jacket, Kokonoe taps into the facility's grid to see just how bad the damage was and is immediately bombarded with a dozen warnings regarding the structural breaches of the doors leading to the containment unit.
All three in one blow. Shit. No more time to think, just hope things work out like she designed them to.
The elevator arrives at the designated floor with a cordial ding and the doors slowly slide open. Kokonoe steps out into the hall, pausing only for a moment to glance around. She has no fear of Azrael ambushing her. The man is utterly incapable of stealth or guile because it would never actually occur to him to bother being subtle. He really has nothing to fear from her in the big scheme of things, all she can do is inconvenience him for a bit. Those years he lost in the freezer are little more than a drop in the bucket. She's not even sure he /can/ die.
Her eyes narrow slightly as they adjust to the dim lighting before stalking off down the hall towards the passageway that will bring her to the Dog House. It takes a few minutes for even this final leg of the journey, the facility designed to be annoying large and circuitous in order to confuse any one who doesn't belong there; in this case it just delays the inevitable.
"Well, well. If it isn't my jailor..."
The voice rings out as heavy footsteps approach, Azrael's distant form flaring up with each pulse of the crimson lights. Of course, Kokonoe's eyes can see in the dark; that makes it all the more terrifying when in a split second he seems to shimmer, even her inhumanly gifted eyes liable to be stressed to register the movement as he settles himself well within range to attack if he had a mind, air billowing out in a wild flutter of his empty sleeves. His stance is lazy and relaxed as always, hands buried within his pockets. Such is no indication of his threat... a sweep of his foot can destroy a tank, after all. "You wouldn't come down here without a plan. The only reason I'm not trying to take off your head is to let you show it to me. Heh... I like that feel in your spirit. If you weren't so goddamn weak, I think I'd enjoy taking a bite out of you."
But he glances upwards disinterested, long coat fluttering about his shoulders that leave his tattooed body bare. Distracted. Whether that is good or bad, time will tell. Whether that involves reacting to an attempt for him to squash her against the floor might not be high on her list to test.
Despite the obvious threat that Azrael poses, a threat that goes beyond the well-toned physique that he casually puts on display, Kokonoe doesn't flinch in the face of the man who probably wants to see her dead more than anyone else on the planet, displaying nerves of steel or an iron-clad discipline. She comes to a halt as he moves to greet her with that casual and apathetic manner which she remembers all too well, scowling openly at his nonchalant appraisal of her intentions.
She'd learned during their initial interactions that the easiest way to deal with Azrael was to just play along. They both knew the score, both knew where they stood in relation to the other's power, and dancing around that issue would accomplish nothing. That actually made him the least unpleasant of her enemies to deal with, atleast in a scenario such as this.
The words drip from her mouth like a mild venom. Kokonoe frowns up at the towering demi-god, dwarfed by his sculpted Olympian physique. She doesn't bother hiding her disdain for the man. Like their capabilities, their feelings about each other were quite clear and beating around the bush would do nothing to stay his hand should he grow bored or insulted.
"I was hoping I'd never have to set eyes on that ugly mug of yours again, but fate seems to have it out for me of late. Incase you can't tell, I've had a pretty long day already, so I'm going to just skip all the pointless chatter and cut straight to the chase. I hope you don't mind. Now be a good boy and /sit/."
As she speaks the final word, the collar around the Mad Dog's neck seems to suddenly shift down towards the floor as if pulled by some incredible and inexorable force. Thin bands of magic flare to life as the metal reinforces itself with the power of the Boundary, drawing on countless possibilities to harden its integrity to the point that even his own terrible power cannot easily sunder it. It had taken her the better part of a year to craft that bit of artifice and miniaturize it. Now it's time to see if all her hard work actually pays off.
There's a sort of impatient curiosity, as Azrael obviously desires for Kokonoe to get to the meat and potatoes of things. If she came down here, it was to test some grand weapon. A method of defeating him. She is what he wants, ultimately; a challenge. Sadly, it's like empty calories. It doesn't satiate him, but for a creature who thrives on thrills, it certainly passes for such things. By all measures, she managed to best him. Not alone, and not without a great cost of life and resources, but in terms of his own enemies she's the only one who properly stood up to him.
"Well, well. You had a bad day? Why not try a few years in a f--"
And then Azrael's head slams into the ground. The metal dents heavily, and anyone even faintly human would be dead from a shattered skull. One hand and then the other reaches out to press upon the floor and attempt to haul himself upwards. Fury begins to boil in his face, baring his teeth like his twisted namesake.
"You think... this is FUNNY?!" It actually kind of is. Who'd have thought Kokonoe of all people would be the first person alive to bear witness to Azrael, prostrate on hands and knees, as if he was bowing before some great and omnipotent master?
"Satisfying is the word I would have used... but now that you mention it, yeah, it's actually pretty amusing."
On the inside, every muscles and nerve that had coiled itself into a giant ball of knots slowly starts to release as the command word does exactly what it was intended to do. Azrael's failure to immediately tear himself free from the restraint is a pretty good indication that he won't be able to, atleast for a while. For someone who constantly harps on and on about being bored and wanting someone to challenge him, he has a pretty thin skin when it comes to someone actually succeeding. She's got no doubts in her mind that he'd already have annhilated her for that insult if he could.
The scientist's hand vanishes into her jacket and this time emerges with a small pink smart phone. She smirks devilishly as she lines it up infront of her, angling the camera at the prostrate Azrael and snapping off a couple of quick pictures punctuated by flashes of light.
"Now this is what I call a Kodak moment. I think I just found a new wallpaper for my computer."
The collar continues to hum heavily as Azrael's cheek remains planted on the floor. His eyes widen in a manic manner, lips peeling back further. Rage; she has never seen the Mad Dog truly mad before. Annoyed and shock, but nothing like this.
It is as if the world seems to flash into blackness for a split second. The weight of his aura is unleashed, seething out. This is not something as mundane as energy. But the raw killing intent of a true beast, that drives every animal instinct quivering. Those on the battlefield only remarked it as 'The Terror'. Facing Azrael in his manic states... all they could remember was fleeing for their lives.
"...Let me go..." His hands begin to sink into the metal floor, as it dents heavily. Muscles strain, as he tugs upwards further at the collar, the magical sigils beginning to hum. The pressure it's currently applying should have snapped his head off, but muscles only seem tense and bulging as his visible eyes glare at the feline.
"Or I'll make an exception to my personal creed, just for you..." Enchant Dragunov begins to hum, and it seems to be slowly dissolving. This may be the make or break moment. If Kokonoe's calculations are correct, she's created a fixed point in time and space. Raw force won't suffice. He should break his head off. If it's possible.
If not... well. What happens when the impenetrable shield is struck by the sword that pierces all?
"Hmph. So much for all those vaunted principles of yours. You really are just a rabid beast."
Kokonoe pockets the phone and kneels down to peer at Azrael from an angle closer to his own level but remains distinctly out of arm's reach. She stares him in the eyes, meeting that manic gaze of his with her trademarked look of detached calm mixed with mild annoyance, showing no signs of fear at his threat. She knows he's probably not bluffing but fortunately it won't come down to her needing to find out.
"I'll make a deal with you, Mad Dog. It's pretty simple and I think you'll find it a satisfying compromise. I'm going to let you get back up. And after that, I'm going to let you go out for a stroll. You'll get to stretch your legs, flex those big muscles of yours, and otherwise go be your annoying usual self."
The sucker, which has been held loosely in the fingers of her free hand this entire time, pops back into her mouth for a few seconds as she noisily slurps on the ambrosial mixture of sugar and silvervine, savoring every second of this event like a fine wine. Her tails flick happily back and forth, darting in and out of view behind her slender back, a reflection of her suddenly cheerful mood.
"Here's the conditions. You can't kill anyone unless I say otherwise. If I tell you leave someone alone, you'll do it. You also don't go around causing pointless destruction. No harming innocents, no provoking fights from the authorities. Other than that, you're free to do as you please."
"How brash... you're only still alive since if I kill you, I'll not get this damn collar off." Azrael comments, matter of factly. He rears up and arm and slams it into the metal floor beside. A flurry of force rockets many meters past, shattering the lights overhead, although only risking Kokonoe's tails if they aren't quick enough to flit sideways. "I'm only interested in quality meals. All you've ever done is get in my way. I'm willing to gamble this collar won't kill me if I release Enchant Dragunov..."
Of course, he just rolls his eyes afterwards. "But I don't give a shit. I'd rather not be stuck to this floor while Sector Seven collapses the compound on my head. Let me up and get out of my way. I'm going to where the best meals are. I'll deal with you afterwards."
That's not an explicit agreement, but doubtlessly the best Kokonoe is going to get. Chances are he'd be willing to just kill everyone around him and wait things out in a temper tantrum, which could draw unwanted attention from people actually /able/ to free him. His muscles bulge further as the metal beneath him continues to cave. "Now either you let me up, or I'll test just how strong this damn collar really is...!!"
Kokonoe's eyes shift sideways as the ground ripples next to her shattering the floor with a wave of force that could have just as easily pulverized her. She'd been aware of the risk that he might try something like that but had gambled on his desire to be freed after being captured again so quickly right after finally pulling himself out of stasis. Whatever it was that had spurred him to act was tantalizing to his disturbing palate for violence.
"You certainly know how to ask for a favor. Fine. Just understand that I have failsafes in place incase you get any smart ideas."
Rising to her full height, the scientist takes a couple of steps back to clear the immediate area before gesturing at the prone figure of Azrael with her free hand.
As before, the command word's effects are immediate. The pressure on the collar evaporates into nothingness allowing him to rise as his leisure. Kokonoe waits silently, watching to see what choices he makes at this point. She's not entirely sure that she'll be able to react in time if he decides that getting revenge on her for that petty slight is worth dealing with the aftermath but her finger rests on the button of her personal teleporter just incase.
In a heartbeat, Azrael's back on his feet. For all of the apparent discomfort, he doesn't seem adversely affected. There's little doubt Kokonoe wouldn't make some attempt to kill him if remotely possible in the bargain, but any glance at his neck shows no sign of bruise or marring. Well, this is the man she put in a fatal environment for two years without any sign of weakening. The greatest frustration might be not being able to properly study him. Is his power drawn from the Boundary, or something else?
"If I was stupid, you'd already be dead now." Azrael claims through grit teeth. His neck slowly twists, a heavy pop echoed deep within. "I don't care if you get in the way of my collateral damage. But if you ever try to stop me from enjoying a meal I want, no amount of barriers you put between us is going to save your tails..."
He then marches forward, directly towards Kokonoe. Either she moves, or he won't. His hand sweeps out, a casual and impatient motion that's not particularly quick. From his expression and body language, he only wants to usher her out of the path towards the elevator if she opts to be stubborn or not move quick enough to leave arm's reach.
Of course, if she's foolish enough to let him touch her, it would be like being struck by a greatmaul, with all the unwanted momentum to match. His limiter has been heavily relaxed in anticipation of a better fight. There's no intent to injure her in the gesture; just the careless motions of a child with an ant, who cares little whether it survives beyond being flicked out of the way.
Someone's going to feel the brunt of his rage. Now... to find out the best way to join these hunting grounds...
As one of the few people fully aware of the kind of callous destruction Azrael is capable of, Kokonoe isn't in any hurry to be in the way of that arm, regardless of his intent when it was put into motion. She steps to the side without any hesitation to give the Mad Dog free passage past her, though her finger remains firmly in place on her escape device the entire time, her eyes fixed on his towering frame.
"Don't worry, there's plenty of people out there that I think will hold your interest who I won't shed any tears over. So long as you don't go overboard, I won't get in your way."
She pulls out the small computer once Azrael has moved some distance down the hallway and taps into the elevator's controls remotely, ensuring that it will allow him passage. She also sends a quick message through the facility's emergency channels informing everyone to clear the halls so that there won't be any unfortunate accidents on his way out.
"Just follow the yellow line when you reach the surface level. Takes you right to the exit," she calls after him. "And try to leave the doors standing, if you would. The weather is rather cold outside."
Slowly concentrating, Azrael manifests the full limiter on himself once more. Even then, his strength is rather difficult to manage. He manages to get into the elevator without particular issue, thrumming up to the main floor. His gaze is locked only on the area ahead of him as his almost lazy footsteps stride through the complex, before he bursts open the doors leading into the cold night sky. The rush of the wind. The beautiful stars above. The scent of the world, in the whirl of winter.
He doesn't feel a thing.
To him, it's no different than being in that black tomb all alone. Ash or sugar, life or death, the Mad Dog couldn't care less. Only that craving, deep in his body. A relentless void that can never be filled, but with the souls and strength of those worthy, at least eased. He's not a man who desires power. He's grown too much of it to even fill his stomach these days.
His nose is cast up, seeking someone worthy as an appetizer. "Well, then. ...Time to eat."
Log created on 23:34:29 01/06/2018 by Azrael, and last modified on 22:45:54 01/09/2018.