Description: There are no days off for World Warrior participants. This is a lesson learned the hard way by Athena Asamiya as just her mere presence at Neuschwanstein Castle proves to be a danger to everyone around her the moment Azrael decides he is hungry again.
The end of her previous match against Abigail was a complete blur in Athena Asamiya's mind. One moment she was doing pretty well staying just out of reach of the goliath's dangerous reach, and the next moment, she found herself caught up by the giant and worked over like some kind of blood-filled speed bag. She didn't remember launching an attack back his way before collapsing in the dirt, or the driver dispatched by her manager to collect her.
When she came to, she was subjected to a gauntlet of messages and calls from her agent and manager each, both trying to convince the headstrong girl into abandoning this World Warrior insanity and come back home, but she would not be swayed.
She had come to Europe alone. She wanted to do this alone. Her King of Fighters journey was accompanied by her friends. Her sanity in Mortal Kombat was propped up by Momoko's innocent. World Warrior was a chance for her to see where she was as a fighter and no amount of nagging phone calls was going to change her mind. None of her friends were in it - they would have had to qualify on their own as well - so this was her own journey.
But she did finally capitulate to her manager's almost pathetic pleading. Take a few days off, clear her head and make sure she really wanted to endure more of what the Abigail battle entailed. He encouraged her to tour Germany while she was there, and above all else, keep the tracker on her phone enabled that lets her anxiety-ridden manager keep tabs of where she is at all times.
Her destination this crisp Winter afternoon looks to be a castle straight out of fairy tales. Neuschwanstein Castle is a fantastical looking edifice built atop a small ridge of mountains, featuring ornate round towers of white stone capped by blue pointed tips, red brick walls surrounding the courtyards and main entrance, and ornately designed bridges and lookouts. Renown for being one of Walt Disney's inspirations for Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland owned theme parks, the mountain fortress was the last creation of a crazed monarch who died days after its completion.
The forested hillside surrounding the castle is blanketed in slowly melting snow but the stone walkways and courtyards have been completely cleaned off. The threat of rain has kept tourism to a minimum, but Athena was happy to see the dream-like castle with her own eyes regardless the conditions. Having already passed through the bright red and blue painted gatehouse, she stands in the inner courtyard beyond. Ahead is the main portion of the castle itself, looking something like a great tall and narrow mansion, with other castle buildings lining the courtyard to the left and right, all of them featuring more of those cone-tipped brightly painted towers.
Though the landscape looks like a winter wonderland, the air itself is only crisp, the gray clouds overhead trapping heat and promising a cool winter shower sometime within the next few hours.
The young tourist whirls around, phone out, camera being put to work in capturing as much of the sights of the courtyard as possible. Alternating between capturing quick selfies and impressive panoramic scans of the German landmark, the visiting idol fighter seems to be having quite the time of it.
Of course, the visiting idol from Japan does a pretty poor job of blending in with the locals herself. Her clothing is comprised of a long sleeved white dress blouse with a crimson tie worn loosely around her collared neck, a crimson sleeveless vest worn over the shirt that has been buttoned up with golden clasps, and a blue pleated skirt that falls to her thighs. White stockings reach up to just below her knees, and her feet are covered in blue leather loafers the same color as her skirt. The blend of vibrant reds, blues, and whites hardly makes for an easily missed figure, but it is her dark violet hair, almost black beneath the gloom but not quite, and matching violet eyes, that truly makes her stand out.
Posing with a magical girl salute with one arm, her phone held out in front of her with her other arm, she captures a stunning selfie of herself that includes the bright white painted estate-style castle behind her. Her fans will get a kick out of this gallery when she gets around to posting it!
A unique scent is in the air.
Azrael has been in the prowl. Restless. Hungry. His blood has been boiled in a way that hasn't happened in untold ages, and his standard faire of meals is completely insufficient. Abigail only made things worse, an incredibly powerful individual who just scratched at the itch and made it throb all the worse afterwards. His aggravated nature has left many corpses around cities, combed by his dominating aura, pinging off nothing but vermin. The action has begin catching the notice of the Library, but for suspicious reasons they have not converged upon him, having nothing to do with the efforts of the lovely Imperator and trustable Hazama, no doubt.
And Athena is nothing more than unlucky. He began to follow the nearest person on his watch, uncaring who was even the identity behind it all. Once within range, he opens his arms, and the world fills with terror.
For a split second, the skies go black. Athena would feel an abrupt, unnatural flush of sheer intimidation. Like a great dire wolf was leaping towards her and about to snap fangs on her throat. Bloodlust -- absolute, murderous bloodlust. That of someone who wished to eat. To rend. To tear. It passes a split second later, although would be slow to fade.
Many people nearby shriek loudly. Some collapse shivering to the ground, holding their head. Other faint. A few begin to flee, mindless terror and shock on their face. The emotions boiling in the aftermath are terrible and polluted, as if someone tainted the very land with something vile. Like she might imagine a crime scene would look, from something unspeakable done in passion.
And then he's there. A burst of air sends his white jacket billowing behind, the stone path beneath his booted feet splintering from stopping his acceleration. Those eyes... deep crimson. Wild. Predatory. This is the man who caused that sensation. Like some kind of radar, it seems he was immediately drawn to the idol, lips slowly spreading to show inhumanly large canines.
That suffocating presence drops like an ocean tide all around him. Those who remain here are immobilized, each beat of their heart flooding their ears, waiting like a cornered mouse for some final blow to snuff them out. Some, their aura is literally being crushed and damaged simply by Azrael's presence, those limiters released. His psychic aura is... inhuman. Does he have a soul? She cannot sense one. Only this great void of violence, of power, voracious to both draw everything in, and let everything out, in a dizzying contrast.
His taut grin hardens, teeth audibly creaking, fingers clenching into fists within his pockets. The area around him is dark, cold, the presence of a monster fully unleashed.
"Oh...? You're still standing. That's a good sign...!!"
Snapping another picture, Tourist Athena lowers her phone, thumb flicking back through some of the recent photos, reviewing to make sure they are turning out well. Contrary to popular believe, the overcast sky makes for excellent pictures, reducing harsh shadows, glare, or reflections that can otherwise ruin a perfect shot. Her right hand lifts, fingers brushing a length of her hair back behind her ear as she studies the recaps on her phone's display, an amused smile at her lips.
A sense of being watched pings in her psyche. Even with the walls she keeps up, trying to keep her own influential aura from affecting others around her, she can feel subtle ebbs and flows in the emotions of others around her. There was a time when she had shut out her strong empathy entirely... but Momoko had taught her to not be afraid to let a little of others in. She didn't need to be completely closed off to the world.
Glancing up from her phone to see who was watching her, violet eyes come to rest on a mother and her ten year old daughter nearby, the little girl tugging her mother's arm and pointing toward the young idol from Japan, recognition in her childlike eyes. It is a familiar experience for Asamiya - to be recognized even when not appearing on stage. She answers the child's eager gestures with a quick, sparkling smile of her own, eyes radiating a friendliness that comes across entirely genuine. Her right hand moves from the side of her hand, offering a quiet little wave toward the girl, causing her to begin shrieking in excitement and tugging on her distracted mother's arm even harder.
Athena can't help but stifle a light giggle. Maybe she should approach and say hello. Or would the mother find that too forward? But if just saying hello could make that little girl's day, then how could she pass on the opportunity to do so?
She never gets to make up her mind as in an instant, the world around her melts into a living nightmare. She feels her heart freeze, her breath catching, her lungs feeling as if someone was clamping down on them with a powerful vise. Her right hand goes to pressing over her chest, her left arm lowering limp against her side, her fingers going lax and her phone falling to the ground at her feet.
The moment passes as the aspiring fighter freezes in place, mouth agape, eyes wide open though staring at nothing. The shrieks of excitement from the little girl are lost to the mixed cries of dread terror from the crowd around Athena as a tidal wave of emotions smash into her mind from every direction, echoing and resonating with each and every individual stricken with mind paralyzing horror.
Gasping, trying to take in air, Athena turns slowly, turning to face destruction incarnate the instant he appears in the courtyard. She braces as if withstanding gale force winds, the rush of air displaced air at his sudden arrival causing her left hand to shift to press down against the front of her skirt out of instinctual habit.
The echo chamber of intense emotions continues to build, growing even stronger now that the source of the suffocating aura has appeared in person. Now that she can see him, she makes the mistake of extending her own senses, tapping into that force within her, allowing it to reach out, to try and make sense of the impossible phenomenon taking place around her.
The backlash of that moment of contact nearly floors the young fighter as she folds forward slightly, a silent, breathless gasp escaping her lips, her right hand lifting to press over her right eye and eyebrow as if to assuage a crippling pain in her head. Her mouth moves as if to speak, but as her lungs have yet to regain the ability to function, no sound escapes her lips.
What is this thing? To the violet-eyed girl's psychic senses, to try and discern Azrael is like trying to perceive the sun by staring directly into it. Instantly blinding not only to the point of interest but to everything around it as well. She feels herself growing faint, her heart still frozen, the lack of oxygen to her brain beginning to take hold. Her legs tremble as if about to collapse to the courtyard. Frantic, her eyes search everywhere, hoping for help from any source, but all she sees are the collapsed individuals, writhing on the ground, and others fleeing in blind panic, unable to navigate their way to freedom from the courtyard with their senses completely lost. She finds the child, paralyzed on the ground, her mother slumped over her, a lost maternal, protective gesture of futility before she too passed out.
Tears well at the corners of her eyes, her face becoming ashen. She will find no help here. No... the truth is the complete opposite... The only one who can help anyone here is her. Is this not her purpose? Her mission? She told Abigail she wanted to push herself, to grow stronger, to be the one others could defend on to keep them safe. It was for that she put her burgeoning career in music on hold.
Who is she if she cannot stand for them now? One thought surges to the surface of her tormented, besieged mind.
'I must protect them.'
There is a pulse of something, a presence unseen but tangible, an aura of divinity that radiates outward from the lithe psychic warrior. Within, something seems to answer her silent oath, a surge of resilience and will rippling through her thoughts, reinforcing her sanity, pulling her back from the brink of collapse.
Her heart beats, her lungs taking in air, her teeth grit. "Let. Them. Go!" Her voice breaks out against crushing aura, echoing off the stone walls of the castle courtyard.
Her arms stretch out at her sides, her back briefly arched, as rose hued energy crackles down her limbs toward her waiting fingers. Both arms swing forward, meeting with adjacent palms facing Azrael as she leans forward, folding at the waist, bracing at the larger swell of power being created.
When the crackling potential slams together in front of her, it becomes a massive sphere of rose that immediately collapses, narrow bands of forking lightning circling around the sphere, causing it to compress tightly, the light of it shifting from a vibrant light pink hue into a dangerous shade of violet. The power blasting from around the attack blows back the young fighter's lengthy hair, worn loose but for the star-decorated headband behind her bangs, and tousles the skirt at her hips as she unleashes the attack toward Azrael without any further warning.
There is no attempt at diplomacy, no asking why he is even here. His purpose is understood on an instinctual, primal level, and deep down within, she feels the compulsion to fight against him with everything she has!
COMBATSYS: Athena has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Azrael has joined the fight here.
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Athena 0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0 Azrael
COMBATSYS: Azrael fails to reflect Psycho Shoot from Athena with Growler Field.
- Power fail! -
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Athena 0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0 Azrael
An utter lack of empathy. That much is clear. The terrible effect Azrael's presence is having on the people nearby? It doesn't even register within his mind. What thrums from him is pure and clean, like feeling a newborn baby. It's not psychosis. He literally doesn't register the people around him as 'living things'. No more than an anteater waded into a shattered anthive while they scuttle in desperation would, when it seeks the fat, nourishing meat of the hidden queen.
"There it is...!" Azrael growls in satisfaction, when Athena is reinforced by something unseen. "Come out and play!!" A strange statement to make, when the young girl is standing right in front of him. But the request is met by a look of slight confusion. Let them go? He's not even paying attention to them. They are suffering and dying because his full power is unleashed, and whatever terrible, parasitic void within him is too much for the weaker souls of the young and old to manage. That little girl, so briefly ago smiling, has gone deathly still and pale, her mother shaking at her and calling her name again and again.
She won't last long, if this monster remains present.
And then, the great burst of power heads towards him. All that Azrael does is draw up his hands from his pockets, as a dense purple barrier ripples out from within him, laughing deeply. The assault was slow; to his current eyes, at least. Yet, he has no ability to sense and understand psychic power. This is the first time he has been struck with it in his life... and it pierces through, his field impenetrable to an attack of the body, but not one of the aura. Unguarded, it strikes into his mind, causing something very much new.
Azrael is launched backwards by the force of the erupting pink, striking the corner of the worn castle and then crashing over a short wall protecting people from falling along the grassy mountainous ridge, twisting to land in a crouch and slide down it on his toes. His aura lessens as a result, and the child takes a tentative gasp of breath. She can't let him come back; if she does, there's no guarantee she can hit him backwards a second time.
"G-gahahaha...!! What's this...?!" Azrael is grasping his head, adrenaline surging with this new sensation, the only reason a heartbeat later he does not once more appear in the courtyard. "That... was something new...!!"
The ballistic missile of Psycho Power unleashed, Asamiya rights herself, drawing her arms back. There is a hesitation in her mind, for an instant, telling her to not look toward him - that genetic predisposition in all mortals to ignore looking directly toward absolute danger, thinking, as some animals might, that to not see it is to be safe from it. Fighting past the rippling aura of dread washing over her, the resolute fighter glares toward Azrael then.
The thought that he was drawn to her because of the watch worn beneath her right white sleeve has not even occurred to her. If anything, trying to comprehend him on any conscious level is nearly impossible. She is barely operating beyond the levels of flight or fight, adrenaline pumping into her bloodstream, her heart pounding rapidly in her chest now that it has regained the capacity to beat.
She saw the field of violet, a barrier unknown to her, that could have intersected her attack, but it presses clean through. Whether it was by surprise, unexpected incapability of energy types, or just the sheer magnitude of will driving that attack forward, she cannot say.
The teen fighter looks over her her shoulder as the child from before begins to gasp in much needed breaths. There is a sense of relief, but it really has no chance to take hold. The crimson-eyed creature may have gone over the edge but there is no delusions that the hit or the subsequent fall will have doomed him. She can still feel him, a sharp pain in her mind.
She lingers for a half second, eyes watering as she looks over the tourists beginning to stir. She wishes she could stop to check on them, to help them, to call someone, anyone, to take over this situation. But she knows the grim truth of it - the only way she can help is to go after him. She doesn't know why, mind still reeling at the horrific arrival of the living void, but she knows he was here for her. She can't stay.
Turning away with one last glance toward the weeping mother, Athena Asamiya bolts forward toward the low safety wall. She knows from her view of the castle outside that it is a steep drop down a hill covered in evergreens. To go charging over the edge is beyond dangerous behavior in and of itself, but there can be no delay for caution!
Springing up onto the wall, she takes in the drop, the thick trees, and, sucking in her breath, leaps. The cold air dries the tears in her eyes, her arms raised for balance at her sides, her long hair whipping behind her head, her azure skirt flaring around her legs, a flash of milky-pink panties visible beneath as her blue leather shoes touch down on a thick trunk leaning out of the side of the mountain.
She doesn't need to find Azrael with her eyes - she knows full well where he is simply by feeling the nothingness, a point of void in an otherwise living world.
Sucking in her breath, she springs from her perch, on collision course with him now. A battle cry escapes her lips, mouth open as she falls from far above. Rather than try to dive in with a jump kick, or other traditional attack, however, she flips forward, curling her small frame into a tight ball, a sheath of that rose hued energy bursting to light around her, causing the girl to look like a falling comet leaving a tail of pink.
Toward Azrael she'll plunge, not seeming to care if she collides with his head, chest, or back. Of course it isn't her collision momentum that is the threat here, but the burning corona of energy thoroughly encasing her.
If she crashes into the monster and eventually reaches firm enough ground, she'll slam her legs out from a hand plant, attempting to kick off of his legs into a backward roll from him, clearly aiming to disengage long enough to get her bearings back!
COMBATSYS: Azrael endures Athena's Phoenix Arrow.
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Athena 1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Azrael
Having finished his little reverie, Azrael stamps down his foot, stopping himself in the midst of his descent down the mountain. He can still feel the dull throb within his head, attacked directly in the mind; one that's a lot more comparatively mortal, although the power within his soul is not something easy to actually extinguish. It would take the full, immortal might on the level of Izanami herself to even have a chance of wiping away this evil, and even she might need him incredibly drained and weakened before it would succeed...
Yet before he leaps back in her direction, it seems the girl is launching towards him like a missile. "What's this...? You're not who I want to fight!!" He calls this out towards Athena, despite all of his attention clearly on the girl. He begins to concentrate, the power that surrounds him condensing inwards. He literally ignores the balled-up idol, who slams into his chest with the same report as if she struck a mountain. Bouncing off in a hard ricochet, likely hurting herself more than she ever has been launching that attack at what should have been a living being. Waves of agony slither through him, before he spreads his arms.
"HAAAAAH!!" A great burst of his energy explodes out, cratoring the ground and rushing towards Athena. Forceful and brutal, it is not even intended to damage. Powerful, dense purple energy now covers his skin, crackling with black lightning now and then, the area around him seeming almost pitch black.
"Come out, already...! I'm here for a PROPER MEAL!!"
And within, the other Athena can certainly hear him. And notice the threat he poses... this is a man who might very well be able to rip her free of her shell, after all. And that seems to be exactly his goal...
COMBATSYS: Azrael successfully hits Athena with Enchant Dragunov.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
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Athena 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|==-----\-------\0 Azrael
Until the last year, when her journey through the nightmares of Mortal Kombat left her shirking fighting in favor of pursuing a singing career that offered far less in the way of blood baths, murder demons, and psychotic Ainu avatars, Athena Asamya had not been an idle fighter. She had fought many of the World Caliber fighters, she had battled her way through the guantlet of King of Fighters, pulling her team back from the brink of defeat time and time again with exceptional performances that proved that her reputation was not just some elaborate publicity stunt. Once, she had even been given a trial by fire by Kain Heinlein himself, standing in the presence of one of the most gifted, dangerous prodigies the world had ever seen.
But as she collides bodily with the undefended chest of this monster, she feels as if she's flung herself directly at a thick stone wall and expected it to yield. The castle ramparts high above would be more likely to give way to her insistence than the crimson-eyed terror who waits with open arms for her smash into him.
A soft gasp escapes her lips as she crashes to the ground a meter away from him, not having managed the graceful, controlled landing she had certainly planned for.
What is he yelling about? She knows in her mind that what he is saying is both true yet not true at once, an instinctual thrum exposed to a paradox that no amount of psychic intuition can unravel.
The ground begins to rumble as the man who even brought the dreaded Akuma to heel shouts out, unleashing a wave of his dark energy hurtling toward her.
In response, she slams her hands out, palms forward, creating a forward facing shell of psychic energy designed to deflect the devastating aura around her, trying to be a stubborn stone in the river of destruction. Yet even as she performs the action, she knows beyond any doubt that it isn't enough. The wave will obliterate her where she stands. There is no hope of escaping it, no distance far enough to leap. Still, she braces, arms extended, palms out, field of will made tangible manifest.
Through eyes nearly squinted, she perceives another presence, pink arms overlaying her own, limbs of pure light mirroring her gesture, forcing power into the barrier as well.
Asamiya remembers, her mind flashing back to the battle on the great stone bridge over the vast, infinite chasm on Shang Tsung's island, where she faced the Devil at the Pass. Akuma, a man who exuded murderous power, who struck with the force of mountains. She had saved her there, when her life was all but forfeit, manifesting - an angelic form of light pink, she took the blow meant for the mortal girl, the last stab at her life before Akuma plunged into the abyss.
Yet for all their combined effort, power seeps through. The white sleeves of her shirt begin to tear, strips of cloth shorn away, and red strikes of thin lacerations appearing on the exposed flesh beneath. Asamiya sees the damage happening to her arms even with the barrier in place and in the moment, she panics, losing faith in her ability to hold the energy at bay.
The barrier collapses, dark power washing over her, the ground shattering beneath her feet as black and violet energy blasts around, over, and through her.
Her back hits a thick tree, the wood splintering behind her, a soft cry forced from her as she rests against it for a fleeting moment. Blood trickles over her hands, dripping along her forearms from beneath tattered sleeves. Her once-white stockings are scorched and one shoe has gone missing.
There is a soft exhale, Asamiya's eyes closing, head bowing slightly. And then another thrum - similar to the one in the courtyard, yet even more pronounced, more pure, as if not being filtered through a screen designed to keep it at bay.
When the girl's eyes open, there is a new life to them - one devoid of temerity and trepidation, a sparkling, vibrant life that shimmers between pink and violet in an ever-shifting glow.
She pushes off from the tree, surging toward Azrael, her form giving way to pure energy, an unfiltered presence of divine will.
She rushes in on Azrael. His previous reckless audacity of not even bothering to protect himself may cost him here, the force bolting into him nothing like any threat he has likely experienced before.
Arms out to her sides, the being aims to spear clean through his body. An instant of contact would be all it would take for her to infuse every bit of his essence with a profound, mind searing pain.
Several times she would surge into and through the horrific presence, confronting his aura of dread dead on, before finally rushing up over the top of Azrael.
The voice is far older than the young teen idol fighter, uttered with an eternal nature as twelve mirror similar forms appear around her, also bright beings of light, each bearing weapons that would be legendary in their own right. Swords, maces, great axes, spears...
And all at once, they dive in on Azrael, seeking to purge the blight from the mountainside.
COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Azrael with #Psychic Medley 13 EX#.
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Athena 0/-------/------<|=------\-------\0 Azrael
Heavy footsteps thump along the ground, ringing oddly loud in the surroundings as he advanced. "Are you fucking kidding me? Just letting loose my real power killed you? I know you're better than this... so-called Goddess...!"
When she rushes towards him, all wrath and terror incarnate, he does not flinch. He does not blink. All she sees, and senses, is someone's impatience finally rewarded with a grin.
"Hit me with everything you got!!"
He reaches out, trying to catch Athena with his open palm. Yet she surges through, and in short order he's wretchedly struck with the various assaults. But this is possibly new to Athena as well. Sliding into him... is like entering a strange world. It feels nothing like a soul. As if she descended to some strange hell, some amalgamation, that feels closest to the Satsu no Hadou. Yet not an entity to draws such unholy power into himself, but is composed of it. Violence made manifest. A beast that lives, breathes, and hunts for battle, in the most literal sense possible. She risks oblivion, and what force should destroy even the most mighty of mortal souls... disperses, much more than it should.
Before at the conclusion, the countless weapons sink into him, as Azrael is slumped upon his knees. His head is bowed forward, cloth pierced and burned all over where those divine strikes lay their sentence upon him. And a moment later, there's a great roar of darkness. It flashes out, striking into those mirrors, shattering them all in tandem. The glowing weapons resists for some moments before disintegrating, Azrael's eyes snapping open.
Pain... the only lasting effect was the pain. It was almost enough to overwhelm him, truly. But she had not come anywhere near snuffing out his existance... something she had nearly managed to do against even Akuma. But this is one of the very few alive who have ever triumphed over that particular force of nature trying his hardest...
And, if Athena knows the whispers of other gods, the Mad Dog's true name -- and the fact he has killed others divine like herself -- might also be confirmed now.
"That's it...? That didn't feed me at all. That over-muscled oaf struck me harder than that!!" He then rushes forward, clenching his fist before brutally lashing it out towards the side of Athena's head, the motion complete in an eyeblink. He's slow, lethargic, the chains of Athena's attempt to murder his very soul not so immediate to shrug off. But it seems genuine rage is within his body now, as if that grandiose effort only made the beast even more angry.
"And this damage... it's not satiating me at all!!" He opens his arms, looking by all accounts like he's legitimately mad. "What is this?! Your grand power is giving me a damn headache?! Worthless!! WORTHLESS!!"
COMBATSYS: Athena blocks Azrael's Swift Backhand.
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Athena 0/-------/----<<<|===----\-------\0 Azrael
There is an undeniable difference in the way the unleashed goddess attacks compared to others of her ilk. Most beings transcended to godhood that this force of destruction faced and consumed would have fought him with power he was familiar with, bringing catastrophic, earth-shattering kinetic forces to bear, or unleashing torrents of energy that could disintegrate mountains or erase entire city blocks from the face of the Earth.
But the being that assaults him now brings no such familiar powers to bear. Athena, as the Greeks knew her, is sovereign over entirely different concepts. Not elemental forces, not cosmic strength of arms, but of ideas. Wisdom, courage, justice, and inspiration. It is not with physical violence she raids the imposing figure's manifestation, but the essence of thought itself.
And just as there is none of the attacks he is used to, there is no fighting spirit to feed his starving need, no zeal, no struggle to exist that is common even to the deities this creature has faced and devoured.
For ideas cannot be killed, thoughts, once dispersed, cannot be erased. This same inevitability of existence seems to empower the angelic creature and her host of twelve that assaulted him, and as he rises, he will find her hovering a few meters away just off the ground, the toes of her feet lowered toward the slope she no longer stands upon. Wind swirls about her, her violet hair raised and lowered with the ebb of an unseen tide.
Where she was briefly a being of pure energy, she once again seems to have taken on tangible form, the flesh and blood that houses her unable to spend any more time in that ethereal state without being atomized by the experience.
Yet rather than ushering this monster's profane existence on into oblivion, she seems only to have invoked his wrath. Her lips curl down faintly, a stoic frown between shimmering eyes that study the anathema that is Azrael. The God Slayer, there can be no doubt.
Her eyes lower briefly, as if reflecting on the torrent of enmity radiating out from around the enraged being. But when he surges into existence right beside the now physical form, she turns into the swinging fist, arms raised, body folding toward the point of impact. She almost curls in on herself the instant the blurringly fast blow hits home, knocked back through the air as shockwaves thunder down her tormented limbs. She stops herself, once again meters away, not by interacting with the ground or by grabbing hold of a passing tree branch, but by willing herself to stop, shuddering as she unfolds. She moves to extend her arms out to her sides, but her left arm hangs askew as she does so, moving with a certain boneless torpidity. Confused, her head tilts to the left slightly, taking in the damaged, now useless limb with a slow blink. Still hovering, her legs dangling beneath her, feet crossed at the ankles, her focus snaps back to Azrael.
Whether she is baffled that he continues to stand, or seems to have achieved an understanding of how the impossible has become quite real is difficult to read in her impassive mien.
"I am not here to reward you, abomination."
Her right wrist flicks, and a brilliant surge of rose hued energy surges down the limb and extends, becoming a blade of willpower made manifest. More thin than any atomic edge, it glows with the brightness of a light red star.
"Behold, Sword Numen."
Sweeping her right arm out to the side as she wields the divine blade, a gust of gale-force wind blowing out from before her, scattering dust, soil, and sticks in a wide crescent.
Leaning forward, she closes her eyes, her right hand closed around the weapon of divinity as she rushes back in on Azrael. This time, she aims not to dash through him - her vessel's physical form forbids as much, and perhaps, more prudently, after spending even an instant within that living void, she is wise enough to not repeat the experience willingly.
Instead, she aims to pass right by him, bringing the weapon forged of a goddess's will right through The God Slayer, the Kami Koroshi, aiming to cleave his existence in twain with a clean hit, devoid of that desperate struggle he so eagerly seeks to find in his prey.
COMBATSYS: Athena successfully hits Azrael with Psycho Sword EX.
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Athena 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 Azrael
"...I'm bored. This was a waste of time."
This seems to be all the pained and aggravated beast of destruction has to say on the matter. He twists upwards, forearms raising uselessly. The blade shears through, passing through the flesh entirely in a whirl. It strikes true; precisely as she intended. But she would see then...
The glowing blade is extinguished where it passed through the Mad Dog. It would immediately reignite and flow back to normal size, yet what should have struck him dead appears to have failed. Is it the limitation of the vessel? That he has condensed his great power into that strange armor? The strange chaotic force that replaces his soul? Perhaps a combination of all.
The only thing clear is that he very much still exists. Only he collapses backwards like a falling tree, hitting the ground sprawled out. A split second later his eyes snap open, having passed out from the agony it inflicted.
The watches on both wrists beep. 'Winner: Athena'.
He then surges upwards, knees reaching up to his belly before he vaults to land in a crouch, rising to his full height once more. "HAHAHAHA!! You... You knocked me out!! Nobody's ever done that before... EVER!!"
Has he ceded defeat? No. Without warning he twists around, launching himself at Athena like an atomic bomb. He flows his arms around, seeming to trail afterimages. Fingers spread out before flowing into fists, before he twists to unleash an incredibly powerful blow. In a normal situation, it would be so fast that the sound barrier would shatter, as the second strike flies out higher, both fists surging with the infernal, parasitic power within him, trying to drive the terror and intimidation the Goddess herself had to rise forth to resist into her own divine soul.
"...SUCH A SHAME IT'S ALL POINTLESS!!"
COMBATSYS: Azrael can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Athena blocks Azrael's Scud Punishment.
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Sliding to a stop after her gliding dash, Athena whirls back around on Azrael - or rather, where she expects to see the last cinders of Azrael's existence blown away as so much ash on the wind. Instead, she sees the figure himself, prone on the ground, his eyes closing... in death?
It would appear not this day. A moment later, his laugh echoes along the mountainside. The chiming watch seems to surprise the seraphic presence, head tilting curiously at her right arm as Sword Numen shimmers and fades away.
Already, she has pushed her limits of manifestation. Her vessel is still so very young, taxing her any further-
The laughter only gets louder as Azrael springs to his feet, still looking healthy and strong in spite having been the direct target of two divine strikes in a row. A soft gasp of surprise escapes the lips of a being that has seen entire ages come and go. He should be annihilated, deemed guilty of deicide and executed. But not only is he not reduced to smoldering detritus, he's still moving with strong beyond most mortal beings in the world?
So this is why the other gods before her were unable to eradicate this scourge?
Shining eyes widen as the demon surges around her in the blink of an eye, rushing in with devastating power. The Asamiya child's body could very well be eradicated by the twin strikes, forcing the divine interloper to abandon it all together and start anew the long process forging a new avenue into meddling in the affairs of Earth.
Her right arm sweeps up, fingers stretched out like claws as a shimmering misty barrier of that same incredible willpower is left to sparkle in the wake of her limb. Given the way her left arm twitches, it would be safe to assume she had intended to perform the same gesture with that limb as well to create an X shaped barrier to guard off the entirety of the devil's diabolical power.
Rather than a flawless barrier, the best she musters is a mitigating defense, the shimmering energy absorbing almost the entirety of his initial swing.
It's the second swing that comes hammering in, however, when the desperate defense has already been completely dispersed. The fist bearing the swath of malevolent power catches her in the chest with only her right arm braced to absorb it. While her arm takes the worst of the brute kinetic force, the black energy surging off of it pierces clean through, erasing her sleeve, leaving a gaping open hole in both her crimson vest and the white shirt beneath it both on the front and then out through her upper back.
Falling backward, she gasps, right hand pressed to the scorched hole left in the cloth as she bows her head briefly, shaking her head as if disoriented. The pure physical backhand from below didn't seem to register as pain to the divine presence, but the the infernal touch of whatever it is that powers Azrael's attacks clearly seems to have gotten her attention.
Looking up, her face still expressing emotions somewhat out of alignment with the crippling emotions surging through her psyche, she sputters out, "How are you still alive, God Slayer?!"
He hardly seems a being capable of some great artifice capable of fooling even the gods themselves, yet... here he stands, alive all the same? If what he is can even be accurately considered /alive/.
"...Stop asking stupid questions, you weak sub-rate god." Azrael growls out. The pain in his head is throbbing, and another blow would likely render him unconscious for a good deal longer. Yet in Aathena's somewhat stunned state to see him still standing, soul and physical body remaining far too whole, that opportunity lapses. He has not absorbed any true damage; and that means the great wellspring of his physical power remains almost entirely untapped.
"It's because you're too weak."
Perhaps outside this vessel. Or with it fully matured and integrated. She's likely capable, much like Izanami, of wiping out this man. Yet this is not the time, not the conditions, for her to stop this force of nature with her own power.
All of that great power suddenly comes surging inwards. The blackness, the void, the pressure whirls inwards, trapped within the frame of his body. His muscles bulge slightly, and the condensed aura of his true power is truly monstrous to behold. This is another story entirely. He had been strong before, but now... she could see why he could slay those who truly are considered divine. With nothing but what appears to be raw power and his endless reservoir of violent power.
Purple energy begins to crackle within his fists, teeth gritting in a wild grin. "I'll annihilate you here and now...!!" His upper body arches, the motion causing a shocking blow of air. Trees wave backwards, some snapping and falling, dozens of meters away from the mere motion from him concentrating his power. As he is now, her psyche-shredding assault might not be enough to drop him before he unleashes his attack.
One that will kill every single person in this castle adjacent, and perhaps for untold distance all around. "METEOR..."
The fists begin to descend, whirls of compacted power contracting further into tiny points.
The hovering figure before him doesn't balk at being called too weak. The Goddess of Wisdom knows better than to deny an indisputable truth simply for the sake of one's pride. Such prudence simply must accept the declaration for what it is. She simply lacks the strength at this time to annihilate him... considering the other powerful beings that have been erased from existence by this monster, it will be a long time before she is able to manifest in this plane with the kind of force necessary to annihilate this unfathomable fount of durability... and even if she did reach that strength, such exercises of interference in matters pertaining to Earth may cross the line of what the Elder Gods deemed allowable under the oaths of limited interference all mingling gods must abide.
Is it simply the case that the beings strong enough to destroy this beast are likewise forbidden from actually getting involved?
The world around her explodes as his aura is unleashed to an order of magnitude that makes his prior presence but a drop of water against the ocean. Were she not at the forefront in this moment, there is no doubt that child she placed as her keyhole into the world would be destroyed simply by the proximity to such a presence - first her mind, then her entire being scattered.
The castle above, where the innocent tourists are only just starting to come around from a quiet, fun afternoon turned into a living nightmare, will be reduced to its component particles along with a massive swath of the landscape around it.
She knows in an instant there is no choice. She could translocate herself out of range, able to achieve teleportation ranges far beyond what her vessel can muster on her own. But to do so is to abandon the innocents above to their fate... the people her vessel gave an oath to protect. What kind of goddess would she be if she didn't help her uphold such a sincere conviction?
With a resigned look in her shimmering eyes, she extends her right hand, the limb reinforced with bands of tightly clamping rose hued energy, allowing it to move after the shattering impact of Azrael's fist a moment prior.
"No," she vocalizes, her voice soft against the roar of violence being unleashed by the Mad Dog.
"Not today," she murmurs, her voice growing softer as a half-dozen rings surge up around Azrael, one every couple of feet, entirely encompassing him within them.
With one last thrust of her palm, the rings and the abomination within them vanishes far out to sea where he can unleash his apocalyptic strength upon the waves to far off the coasts to threaten them with devastating tidal waves.
In the same motion, Athena Asamiya's eyes close, the girl falling forward out of her low hover as she lands face down in the cold soil, arms sprawled, face turned to the side. It will be some time before she can awake, unable to explain the injuries that linger or the ultimate fate of the terrorist that attacked the castle above.
The watch itself, on her right arm up until that final block, is completely missing as well, leaving her even more bewildered. In the end, she will have no choice but to make her way to Castle Strolheim for a replacement... only then learning that the hellfire devil she faced this day is just one of the other contenders for World Warrior, the very elite she is fighting for a place among...
COMBATSYS: Athena has ended the fight here.
"You think this pathetic cage will stop me?!" he roars out, before the teleportation flicks into being scarcely in time. Off in the distance, there's a great explosion of water. It seems to go higher and higher, as the overcast clouds begin to part and show the open sun. Swathes of purple energy crackle and burst soundlessly amidst it, vaporizing the liquid to steam. It approaches at a fairly shocking speed, the sea of trees visible nearly flattening before the wave of invisible force, stones and boulders drudged up to bounce along with it.
As the sky clears overhead, the sound and force of the distant strike hit like a sledgehammer. The stone walls and sides of the castle quake and shudder. Those who managed to stand are knocked over, many sliding and skidding many meters, as a deafening roar lasts for long seconds. The air is then momentarily filled with chi, a purple haze with wild cracks of lightning, before it slowly fades.
And a long, endlesss mist of water begins to rain down where Azrael was launched. She won, as far as World Warrior is concerned. Striking Azrael at his weak point, driving him to the ground with pain and agony he had never felt before. But dealing with such a threat, controlling it, eradicating it... such is a far greater task for the Goddess to manage...!!
Log created on 13:46:03 02/18/2018 by Athena, and last modified on 00:47:48 02/23/2018.