Relius - Friendship Friends

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Description: After a chance encounter with Heidern, Hazama has been left in tatters. Broken beyond belief, the Intelligence agent has found a surprise hero to rescue him: Relius Clover, the genius scientist of the Sacred Order. Unfortunately for both, it seems that even the best of friends can have the worst of intentions for each other...

Well, that was something. Heidern turned out to be just as fun as Hazama had hoped. Such delicious pain; it's been quite some time since properly antagonized prey did *such* a number on him. Although his escape left something to be desired in the aftermath, having only escaped due to Heidern's own injuries and his unique capability to utterly mask his lifeforce. In the end he only made it about two hundred yards before slumping down against a tree trunk, letting his legs spread out. After an hour, it seems clear that he's not been tracked. Good...

He REALLY didn't want to use his trump card.

His left arm is shattered, dislocated at the shoulder. Some ribs broken. A large hole is in his midsection, exposing the dark substance that generates his lifeforce in lieu of useless things like organs. Mild amounts of blood stain him, from the special touches of Relius to make him seem more human at a glance. Although he understands the *need* to have a skeletal structure, he really rather wishes they had been more reliable. Especially with a shattered jaw and major crack in his skull; the latter of which is mighty fatal, to someone not an artificial humanoid.

Adjusting the hat upon his head, Hazama pulls out a small device, flicking off the plastic cover and pressing the button. An emergency beacon to a certain friend, one used only when there's no particular alternative. Hardly cause for worry, as a fellow member of NOL should only be *too* happy to come to the rescue of a colleague...

Letting it drop beside him, Hazama leans back his head, watching a bird fly by. "Oh... a Yellow Bitern~ ...a shame I lost my bird-watching journal..."

Ignis arrival was dead silent.

The blue-eyed, human-sized doll descends beside Hazama, the red-clad figure staring emotionlessly at the NOL agent. A foreboding warning, of what exactly kind of help Hazama could expect. The figure's claws were clasped, hunched over Hazama, almost waiting for the order to come. Naturally, amongst the trees, it is no surprise who comes walking in.

"Tsk. Tsk. Tsk."

That was the sound of the well-dressed man, his footstep crunching the leaves on the ground. The man's clothing was garish; almost loud enough to telegraph his arrival. He was dressed in royal purple and white slacks, with a grandiose crimson cloak hanging over his shoulders. Upon his face was a mask of gold, a smirk on his lips. In his hand? A small journal. The doll bows slightly, as the man strides up to Hazama, his hand raised before him. "I believe that was a Striated Heron, Hazama~" Relius taps beside the white eyes of his mask.

"Perhaps you need a guidebook to go with your new journal~"

Ignis' arrival causes Hazama to lift his chin, eyes seeming closed and smile on his face genuine. "Ah... has an angel come down from Heaven to take me away?" he coos, voice laced with flirtation. His good hand rests on his hat, and if there's any discomfort at her predatory position it's completely invisible to the false human. Attention shifts to Relius in short order at his approach, breath still coming somewhat labored from internal disruption by Heidern's wounds. He's not really able to move any more, unless it involves dragging himself around a foot at a time.

"Is it? My eye's aren't the greatest right now. I'm feeling a little under the weather." His tongue draws out to lick the small bit of drying blood at the corner of his lips, glancing up through the branches of the trees. It's getting dark now, and when his good eye slits open -- left one nearly crushed shut by a dent to the head from Heidern's furious blows and elbows -- there's a brief glow of green light for a moment.

"My promise is close, friend~ You built me to contact 'him', mmm? Although he's still unable to anchor to this place, he can still whisper in my ear. Ah... I'm not NEARLY smart enough to understand any of it, of course, but... he says things are almost set. He's eager to meet you~"

"And he has what you yearn more than anything, I take it... /answers./"

A false human, to a transformed one.

Ignis, for her purposes, do not respond to the flirting. And for his sake, Relius does not either. Stroking his chin, he observes Hazama, leaning in close to inspect the damage. It was stable for now. It would not take much to aggravate the condition. Naturally, he continues talking, which Relius seems to nod along, with the presence of a diligent student following the lecture of a prime professor. Drawing at him, luring at him. "Well, Hazama, I can't hide anything from you~" He opens the journal, leaning back. Drawing out a quill with a flick of the wrist (and from the wrist), he dips into the air, and then scrawls with flourish with in.

"That is one Striated Heron."

Leaving the journal open to dry, he turns back to the artificial construct. "I have come to retrieve you, Hazama; and while normally this would be the task for an underling... well, I doubt Kokonoe would be eager to receive you. Besides, I prefer a personal touch with you. You were made to do many things, Hazama." Relius gestures, and Ignis runs a claw alongside his face, looming over him. "And I have an expectation that you will do them. You will be fixed, I promise you that, with a single condition. You will be fixed.. as long as you are useful." He snaps the journal shut.

"What has he told you, Hazama."

Oh, Relius has no need to worry about his handiwork. Hazama's lifeforce is nothing if not terrifying, given the unique nature of those methods. Even if dismembered and decapitated, as long as his energy is not dispersed it's likely possible to fix things. After all, if you distill Hakama to his most basic level, he's little more than pure, raw energy given the shape of a living creature...

"Oh, I'd rather Kokonoe didn't dissect me... she's been rogue for awhile now, and you KNOW how jealous she gets of your handiwork~" The run of a blade seems almost pleasurable. After all, Hazama is a masochist of the highest order. Pain defines his existance more than anything. Yet the mention of being useful causes Hazama's smile to broaden further, and that rare, aggravating thing happens. The one he does, from time to time.

Become completely and utterly unreadable.

"A lot. Mostly that this world is a lie. You've felt that, haven't you? He says he wants to open everyone's eyes. To the truth. If we can let him in. For that... we need seithr. You know what that is, don't you~ Of course you do. This planet is almost completely devoid of it. I trust you can get a meaningfully dense amount for me? Before TOO long... the window for him to come will be small. Ever so small~ ...And he must be SO familiar... since you used to know him, it seems...!"

Relius is forced to show a flicker of frustration.

It was troublesome, often enough, to have your constructs wriggle and squirm from your grasp. Hazama was just energy. And in another time, with effort and resource, he could reforge a new Hazama. Of course, the amount of time, effort and resource was... well, Hazama probably realizes just how much trouble a rude little artificial human can be for the scientist. Of course, Kokonoe would be jealous. But Relius knew that Hazama's words were venom. He was a writhing snake, even wounded like this.

But he delivered what he asked for.

"Oh, I've known him very well, Hazama." Igniz moves her clawed hands to grip Hazama, to force him in place. To brace him, effectively. "And you will know him too, soon enough." The scientist sweeps his cloak open. ALready, the mechanical tools whirr and click, reaching out to the bound patient, calibrating. "I can work slowly, Hazama, or I can work quickly. I know you want me to work slowly, so lets cooperate, shall we? You are not wrong, seithr is very rare on this planet. But, opportunity has come. The seithr will be available very soon. The mechanisms are in place. We only need to wait for the mock apocalypse to take place." Relius leans in, a clawed, precise medical device jerking and lashing out, so close to Hazama... and yet, just short of touch the construct.

"Can you guess what I am talking about, Hazama?"

"I know him better than you think...~" Hazama coos out, gripped without any particular attempt to resist. He could almost be called eager, depending on one's definition of the word. It seems there's been a fairly major disruption in his ability to circulate energy, thus causing his present weakness and difficult in moving. It's a fairly superficial fix, in the grand scheme of things. That another person had the power to attack and disrupt energy to this extent might be the more interesting part. Not to mention that Hazama's combative prowess is nothing to sneeze at. "Goodie, goodie... Get me the seithr. I'll sneak it into that bloodsucker's castle when I see a chance. Then... well. We'll both just have to be patient, and hopefully it all works out~"

At the mention of an apocalypse, a slight tilt of the head follows. "WHICH mock apocalypse? This country's in quite a mess, right now! But... I'm an intelligence officer. I wouldn't be much *good* at it if I couldn't make an educated guess...!!"

"And you haven't just yet, Hazama."

The repair comes quickly, nearly painlessly. The work begins on the chest; reconstructing the ribs. It works under the skin, rebuilding it on a molecular level, tightening and binding with surgical precision. It finishes with the most painful point of this process; a singular slab of metal, which pressed down and -hisses- as it finishes the seal. All in all, barely a few seconds of work, and hardly a glimmer of pain at all. Relius's expression does not change, but his tone gets a little lower. "Now Hazama, there is still time for complications. If you prove yourself more useful, we can make things more exciting for you." "As I said, seithr is rare on this planet. Outside this planet? Why, the possibilities are limitless, and uncertain. The Thunder God? A mere distraction. The Japanese government? Blithering, violent idiots, ready to shelter themselves into their own fantasy worlds, as their robot servants bow down to them- no, Ignis." The construct stops, her bowing, and straightens herself up. Relius shakes his head.

"And that leaves the Gears, Hazama."

"While you were birdwatching, I've been observing the leylines. Kokonoe will probably come to her own conclusions soon, but the effects of Justice's attack on Mt. Fuji has caused more than a mere impact within Japan. Every leyline has shuddered, like the ripples upon the lake surface. I... might have taken a small detour in my retrieval of you, to observe some of the local sights. After all, there was a second blast around here, wasn't there? And what have we found, Hazama?" A flick of the wrist. The quill is gone, and in its place is the tiniest of metallic-wrapped vials. It shows a mere quarter dram of quantity in the glass portion, under the heaviest of pressures that the larger, can-sized item can muster. And inside, is a thick, black smoke, swimming and dancing. "Oh, your eyes may still not have recovered, but surely you can sense it."

"Seithr, Hazama."

"Trace amounts are clinging to the corners of the trails, amongst the trees. But impossibly higher than the average levels; this -regions- average levels." Another flick of the wrist, and it was gone. Relius leans down again, the tools hovering over the gaping whole. Now, Hazama, is an opportunity to use that cunning mind of yours. Why would there be a fresh saturation of Seithr, an incredibly rare substance, still lingering so long after a nuclear assault? From not even the UN's command gear? There are two theories I see; both are very important for you~" The tools ready themselves at Hazama's gaping torso.

"Now, shall we make this quick, or slow, I want to be delighted, Hazama!~"

The repairs cause no visible reaction from Hazama, not even when the metal slinks in. Of course he can still feel pain normally as any other creature, although given his interesting internal body, it causes absolutely no negative effect. And the psychological imprint... well, he's long embraced that in an unbecoming manner. Once the work on his arm is completed, Hazama lifts it, flexing the fingers and flicking out his butterfly knife to dance around on his fingers before sheathing away. "Ah, quick and precise, as always~"

Although a small laugh follows at that. "The Thunder God, a distraction...? I think you're not nearly as concerned about them as you should be~ They are a monstrous thing. Just sensing their energy potential makes me *shiver*. But I'm certain others will deal with him, one way or another..."

"You're in rare form, Relius..." Hazama finally murmurs, the smile fading from his lips. "Has me laying here weakened made you forget your manners...? I expect you to talk down to me. That's all you know how to do. But. I'm not one of your puppets like Ignis. Some 'tool' you think you control. I can humor you, to an extent..." His eyes slit open, the green fire burning within. Despite him laying there, the energy disruption from his gaping torso making it almost impossible for him to move, a great rush of power and malicious strength boils out. A hissing sound, the rattle of a serpent, as he bares the power that Relius opened the door to. He had never intended for Hazama to be this strong... although Terumi failed to merge with him, it left him with a combat capability above the puppetmaster's own.

"First... why don't you apologize...?" There's a threat there. As if this is no bluff, and he somehow has the capability to fight back if he desired. But that should be impossible...?

Relius might admit some mistake in his design.

Oh, it would be a difficult sale for him, as he started working on the broken jaw and skull. There was an old standby in science, however: never invent anything that could kill you in a fair fight. Kokonoe has made that mistake, and while he could be eager to scold, well. Hazama could very quickly get out of hand. While he is content to dance and tease, to toy with his knives, he was benign enough. But the moment he expects a better treatment? Well, that was a problem. And when those creations start expected to be treated like people?

Then, that smile fades.

Relius does not stop his work, but takes the tone of a lecturing father to a complaining son. "My manners are a privilege, not a right, Hazama. And when a -thing- is disobedient, well, I just take them apart." There is a snap, as another fracture manifests in the wrecked arm. "And then, rebuild them." The tools lash out, working swiftly to undo the damage. "If anything, the only reason you are not a puppet like my darling Ignis is because it does not suit my purposes. Believe me, having you hold our friend inside you, while you stayed a smiling, submissive little doll that did exactly what he was told... can you imagine Hazama? Fetching my slippers, while I enjoy a delicious cup of tea. Ignis could rub my back, and after you are done, you could be a magnificent footrest... why that would be simply delightful." He sweeps a hand up, as if lifting the very artifact in mind. And then, he lets it fall, his heart sinking.

"Alas, it cannot be."

"The fact is, you need to be a dirty little shadow of him, and you need to keep that wretched little personality to exist. You really think you have a choice of what you are? You think you have anything past that fake smile I created in you? As if you were even a living thing... "

And Relius has a smirk.

The tools pour their work into the gaping hole, the main point of leakage. Relius looks down at Hazama, narrowing his eyes slightly. It would be one thing to escalate the threat while he was broken. But to fix the leak, while antagonizing him? Relius was making his intentions only too clear. "Attacking a superior; that might be grounds for a court martial. Of course, who would dare say anything, without exposing our real plans? It would simply be a tragic accident, while birdwatching. Ignis, please." As the final metal plate is latched down, sealing the wound. Ignis releases Hazama. With a flicker, she teleports out of sight, as Relius takes his steps back. With a flick of the wrist, the journal disappears. "Now, with that taken care of..." And there is a gleam in his teeth, as he flashes his teeth.

"Why don't you make me apologize, Hazama?"

"...I see~" Hazama coos out, watching as a few fingers droop when the damage is undone from Heidern's brutal throw earlier. "So here, you still don't fully understand our unique relationship! I suppose that makes sense... as a father, you are simply WANTING. Look at poor Carl!" Most of the cosmetic damage is fixed, leaving only the gaping hole within Hazama's torso. But as the tools approach it, something strange seems to happen. Hazama's eyes snap fully open, and his expression becomes wild. A great burst of dark green aura flares out, the intensity shocking. His green hair flows upwards into wild spikes, letting out a sadistic cackle utterly unlike Hazama.

The energy within him seems to be momentarily repaired, given how he erupts into a leap upwards. A hand flicks out and catches his hat before it flies off, setting it back on his head. "...oh my. Sorry for that... briefly uncharacteristic display...!!" And then he lashes down in a brutal kick with his heel, a massive manifesting serpent roaring along, as a metal blade erupts from his heel in an attempt to sink it into Relius and force him down to his knees.

"Hmmhmm... how curious, my energy is being stabilized by an outside source...? Well. That's convenient. I suppose it's time we establish a pecking order, don't you think, Mr. Clover...?!"

COMBATSYS: Hazama has started a fight here.

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Hazama           0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Relius has joined the fight here.

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Hazama           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Relius

COMBATSYS: Hazama successfully hits Relius with Falling Fang.
- Power hit! -

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Hazama           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Relius

In a short-term view, repairing Hazama might have been a foolish mistake.

Certainly, as the power surges up at the gut, it was an observation worth having. How close was he to coming into the world again. In the short term, his arrival would be quite disruptive. In the long-term... well, Relius always had his eyes to the long term. The progress of science does not wait for no man. Of course, as he basks in the light of scientific wonderment, Hazama had to, in his uniform process, spoil it with the mention of his -disappointment- of a son. Relius actually turns up his nose, as he steps back. He carefully considers a response, as it was a very serious nature-

And Hazama drives the heel down HARD.

To say it made an impact, well, it was not worth saying. Relius -is- forced to his knees, the knife driving deep into his shoulder. Blood mingles as the true sadism of the artificial construct draws blood. A gasp escapes the lips of the scientist, followed by a pregnant moan. Hazama may not be certain what he could get out of this spar, but the taste of pain was pure. Pinned on his knees, he struggles under the pure power of Hazama. Gritting his teeth, he looks up at the well-dressed opponent. And he speaks sincerely.

"Hm hm hm... interesting!~"

Ignis had already reappeared behind Hazama. Claws out, she lashes out to grab Hazama from behind, to seize him. At the very least, it should give Relius respite, as he stays on his knee. "Well done, Hazama; I was wrong to doubt your power. You might squeeze an apology out of me yet!~" Should she latch on, she would lift Hazama up and spike him down in place. Just enough to let a bemused Relius sweep back his cloak again, staying on a knee. Simply to allow the pair of green, mechanical pincer claws to erupt out, to -crush- Hazama's torso with pure mechanical might. Blood was still staining his clothing.

But he did ask for it!

COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Hazama with Fierce Punch.
Grazing Hit

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Hazama           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Relius

The seamless manifestation of Ignis behind catches Hazama off-guard. He's forced to draw back his leg, raking that bladed heel one last time before the hidden weapon retracts. His summoned snake, fueling the perpetual force, dissipates with a last feral hiss. Hefted up a bit, a hand comes up bracingly to hold his hat into place. "Oho... is your wife getting HANDSY?" That bit of information might come as an unpleasant surprise. Obviously not the fact that he did such beautiful experimentation on her, but that the information left his serpent's tongue. Carl, despite his inability to underhand, knows better than to spread such information around. If they found out the true identity of his own doll, after all, they might try to take it away...

Slammed down into the ground with a little 'ahn~', that huge pair of claws looms overhead, wound and powerful pneumatics and controls. His hat is covering most of his face now, and Hazama is squirming in place awkwardly. "U-uncle! Uncle! I'm stuck--"

There's the feel of incredible impact, shattering tree roots and sending debris and detris in all directions. But Hazama is gone, a green flash and blur as he maneuvers behind. Someone less perceptive might take it for phasing or teleportation... but it's clear that in a split second, he overpowered Ignis' hold and shot free, despite her own strength and his inferior, awkward position on the ground. Playing? There's really no other word for it. It makes it even harder to quantify his actual battle power. And that strength... it should be impossible to move. When his eyes changed color, the quality and feel of his energy changed massively. Almost identical to the brief but failed fusion with the frustratingly nostalgic man Terumi. Yet now that's absent... and somehow, some exterior source, one that present instruments of the highest caliber, cannot entirely pin down. Transdimensional soul reinforcement? Does that mean his ability as a vessel did not entirely fail, or something else?

Ah, such a wealth of new information already. And all it takes is something as mundane as risking Relius' life. Hazama whirls around, and then the flash of steel as his twin butterfly knives seem to flow into his hands. An overhead arc lashes out towards the puppetmaster's torso, before a second flicks up, aimed to rake right across his throat, but this one's for fun. Even if somehow the other man utterly failed to defend against it, he'd not try to press hard enough to risk his life, even though the heavily augmented man is likely not at risk either way...

COMBATSYS: Relius fails to interrupt Crushing Strike from Hazama with Geara Manibus.

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Hazama           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Relius

Hazama had a natural ability at being unpleasant.

It was part of his heritage, his essence. As he implies certain things about Ignis, well. Naturally it's meant to get under Relius's skin. Secrets about means to an end. As the follow up claw comes, it actually falls short of striking Ignis, the automation overpowered by the burst of strength. Hazama was deceptive, yes. And if everything is uncertain, then nothing is certain. Axiomitic, and self-sustaining. In any case, if the boy is babbling about his mother and sister again? Well, Relius would have to make time to teach him a lesson. Spare the rod, spoil the child. As Hazama makes his escape, Relius cannot help but let his inner turmoil out, a moment of exposed weakness.

"Tsk Tsk Tsk, you should know better, Hazama, than to talk too much!"

Ignis winks out of existence, teleporting out of sight as she is overpowered. There was a careful rhythm with her, a careful balance. Relius couldn't exhaust her so soon. There was a long stretch between Hazama playing and Hazama going all out murderous. Relius, when confronted with two very different opponents, remains calm. Already, his bleeding was slowing down. Risking his life was the nature of a scientist; lesser men, women, and especially cat-women have squandered their expertise by failing to exploit themselves in the name of science. What is meant to be impossible, is made possible, that is the heart of scientific discovery.

But then he lunges in.

Moving swiftly, Relius seizes Hazama by his neck, deflecting the arcing slices with his shoulder. Already, he was sweeping his cloak... in time for Hazama to rake across the throat. Relius actually seems astonished, releasing Hazama as he stumbles back. Almost unintentionally, the mechanical arm continues to lift, rising up from under his cloak and seizing nothing. Spasming, it grips nothing, cycling through the motions as Relius touches upon his neck. And worst of all, it doesn't sink back in. "How embarassing~" He sighs, gripping it and forcing it back under his cloak.

"Promise me you won't tell the others about that little misfire, would you?"

"You know me. I've always been the talkative sort...!~" This is teased as he rushes forward, suddenly finding himself caught by the neck. Yet he doesn't seem concerned, despite having no way of knowing that the mechanical arm would seize up like that. The rake of his blade runs across Relius' neck, flicking away at the end before yanking free and adjusting his tie back into place. There's a concerned little frown on his face, standing upright and smoothing out the other errant wrinkles from his outfit. "You really SHOULD test things out more before trying to use them. What if I wasn't your dear friend, after all? I could have done a *lot* more damage to you..." He begins to spin the butterfly knife in his finger rapidly, shifting his stance and tilting his head to the side. "Take your time~ Let me know when you're ready to keep playing...!"

COMBATSYS: Hazama takes no action.

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Hazama           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Relius

COMBATSYS: Hazama has left the fight here.

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Relius           0/-------/---====|

Really, with friends like Hazama, who needs enemies?

It is a pleasant thought like that that warms the cockles of the engineer. Unfortunately, as Relius rubs his neck, he swallows hard. "That's what's so embarassing! I thought I had tested this on all situations... of course, who can ever predict you! I could spend a hundred lifetimes making a machine that perfectly predicts you." Adjusting his cloak and collar, he rubs his neck one more time, taking a moment to catch himself...

And then exhale.

"You are recovering incredibly, Hazama." He compliments, adjusting his gloves. "You will need your good health to start a little trouble that we need... for Intelligence purposes, of course." A twinkle comes on Relius's teeth. "It will be outside your comfort zone, of course. And would be related in... helping our common friend in breaking through. When the next wave of nuclear energy is unleashed, Hazama, that may very well create an opportunity. Someone may be keeping an eye on him. And we need that someone to be... occupied. Ah, but that's business after we settle this score!" Relius gives a brief bow.

"I believe it was your turn, before I rudely tried to interrupt!"

COMBATSYS: Relius takes no action.

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Hazama           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Relius

"We should stop acting. The both of us." Hazama states, all genuine smiles. "I know my habits irritate you, but I also know you are not a foolish man. We respect each other, even if it's not ME you want to meet, but the man I was intended to store. Give me a little credit, Colonel. I'm from the Intelligence Department, so I know you well. ...You never start fights you aren't sure you can win. And beyond such, you are not the type to provoke someone like me... Not when you cannot be certain what I might do~"

He leans forward, whispering as if some grand secret came out. "You can just tell me the truth. You are interested in my combat data. And the strange power that ties me to 'that man' beyond the wall. I'm not much of a fighter, but I would have still been willing to allow to observe me doing my best with someone to experiment on~"

Fingers open, and a seal manifests beside Hazama. His hand comes up to grasp his hat and hold it in place, as he grasps one of the wickedly snake-ended chains and starts spiraling it lazily adjacent, keeping open the conduit to the strange energy manifesting the chain. "But too late to stop now... you got my blood riled up. Naughty, naughty~ I want to be satisfied. And YOU want to observe me. I think we can both win in this situation...!!"

With that, he brings up his free hand, green energy coalescing before striking out. Two great serpents whirl around one another, baring hissing fangs in an attempt to impact Relius in the chest, aiming to bite deep and drive him backwards. Such incredible resilience, both physically and in the aura... After striking him a couple times, Hazama fully respects not having to play GENTLE for once!!

COMBATSYS: Hazama successfully hits Relius with Venom Sword.

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Hazama           1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0           Relius

"The truth, Hazama?"

"Combat data, strange power, all are constants. The truth is, Hazama, is that you are so fragile with your strength. You are not sasitified. And unless you get your satistifaction, your eyes will wander, you will grow bored. I need you, Hazama, to occupy the Observer when the window of opportunity opens up. And if I must sacrifice my blood to satisify you, well..." There wasn't much time, as the seal manifests.

"Ignis, if you please?"

And she teleports in. Appearing beside Relius, the automation hangs loosely besides the engineer, arms dangling. Relius, for his efforts, does not bring it around. Stepping in to the incredible power of the Ouroboros, he sweeps his hand, attempting to deflect the serpents with mechanized limbs, lifting out of his cloak. And yet, the assault comes fiercely, slashing apart the mess of limbs, and driving deeply into his chest. Gasping aloud again, he falls backwards into his creation. Smashing against her, she levels him out. Grabbing his chest, he looks across at Hazama. And upon his chest, he grips it.

"It's time to increase the power."

Suddenly, fire, smoke, and steam burst from under his cloak. Ignis was remaining, zooming alongside him as the pair descend upon Hazama. Closing in, Relius smirks, as a mantis-like claw extends out from beind his cloak. "Come closer, Hazama." He says softly, as he moves forward. It lashes out, attempting to snag the wily creation by his arm, the same arm that was snapped. To seize him, and then, squeeze him.

As the the vivisectioning tools unfold under his cloak.

COMBATSYS: Hazama issues a challenge!!

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Hazama           1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0           Relius

COMBATSYS: Hazama intercepts Geara Dessico from Relius with Serpent's Infernal Rapture.

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Hazama           0/-------/----===|=======\====---\1           Relius

"Fragile...? It's true. I've been holding it in since you made me...! Never having an outlet. Never having a chance to let loose, even a little...!! Is this really a present for me?!" His gaping hole continues to seethe out energy, but somehow he's being empowered by something beyond sight, beyond what Relius' constant instruments can measure. That man... the one he meant to allow possession... does that mean they still retain a link? Can they communicate, and Hazama be given power? There's no other way he would be able to fight at this level. He should be broken. Useless. But he's doing quite a bit right now, isn't he?

At the request to come closer, Hazama skips forward, grinning ear to ear. "Come over? Alright...!" Hands in his pockets, Hazama darts forward as the blade descends. But power surges beneath him, leg sheathing with power. Abruptly he lashes straight up, striking the brutal weapon dead on. Whether it breaks or not, it deflects, lashing into Hazama's shoulder in a cosmetic splay of blood and tear of cloth. And then it impacts Relius right in the jaw, ground displacing beneath as dirt and moss burst away, for a few moments bracing himself...

And then unleashing his full power, intent on sending Relius airborne with a laugh. Green energy surges through him, enhancing his speed, his reflexes, fingers spinning his butterfly knives wildly. "Come on, come *on!!* I'm starting to have FUN! Don't go keeling over on me, Colonel!!"

Perhaps Relius might have worked better on his fathering.

To consider Hazama's needs and desires, his hobbies and interests. To support him, rather than dump him into a random organization with a scribbled note approving of it. Certainly, with further effort, love, and support, Hazama could have been a high-functioning sociopath, working hard at Wall Street, earning plenty of money, and snorting line after line of coke off a strangled hookers backside. Why, he could even be president one day, with a little more concern.

But Relius already was father of the year.

As Hazama shows the deeper connection beyond, the pure agility of the artificial human neatly overwhelms Relius. The elegant scientist groans, as another cut drives deep, another splash of blood pouring out. Knicks and cuts and bleeding, Relius was finding himself in increasing pain. The blood loss, he could endure. But the humiliation! It was unbearable! Relius tsks again, falling to a knee, struggling to stay up. ALready, his systems were overheating, an unbearable flaw as he overclocks. But his life force revitalizes as Ignis... continues to move, circling around them both.

"Oh ho ho, Fun, Hazama?"

Relius looks up, a toying look on his face. "I know what you truly find fun, Hazama. I know what kind of pleasures that will salk you. And it isn't merely inflicting pain. Tell me, Hazama. Aren't you curious about the true limits you can be taken too? I can take you there, Hazama. I know when I am defeated; your power truly have surpassed even my own. But aren't you even a little bit curious? Your one-eyed man, he fought to defend himself, and to squash a buzzing fly. Do you want to know the true limits? If so..." And something emerges from his cloak.

A single, wooden chair.

"Ignis, please."

"Prepare the Puppeteer's Altar."

And Ignis lunges in, to escort Hazama.

COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Hazama with #The Puppeteer's Altar#.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Hazama           1/--=====/=======|>>>----\-------\0           Relius

Ignis's action is simple to restrain him. To lift him up, and put him into the chair. So simple, and so straightforward. There isn't even a flicker of resistance, it seems, and why would there be? Father knows best, and when father promises the most sweet of candy, it is the duty of even a naughty little boy like Hazama to do as he is told, and let mommy put him in his chair. She even places him down backwards, so he can see, and smirk, and challenge.

And the magic seal encircles around.

Relius rises into a stand.

"I can tell, Hazama. You want pain. To inflict it. To endure it. To bear it. To embody it. Pain, gives you life. Feeding on the suffering, not of others, but the suffering given towards you. Every flicker of pain, of torture, feeds you, sustains you." He laughs out loud.

"You resemble your counterpart in that way."

"Alas, I have promised you suffering. Hold on to the chair tightly, Hazama. It will make it easier for me." He adjusts his gloves, as his body begins to hum. Ignis releases Hazama, and takes a bow. As the cloak unfurls, the spiderleggings of tools begin to emerge. Dozens upon dozens of tiny, spindly tools, drills, and cutters and needles and hooks, threading and oozing nozzles on each of the metallic joints, moving with the dextarity that could even make Hazama blush. Staring from his mask, Relius raising a hand, as he closes in.

"Let the experiment begin."

The first portion is to undo the operation. To snip the shoulders, to refracture what was fixed. Surgical precision, in automated memory, to undo every set in the jaw, every exposed wound. Precise, unmaking, stopping only at the torso... the last piece that he interrupted. Undoing the very damage that he repaired, all in a flicker of a second. It was quick, and possibly even disappointing in it's pain. After all, old wounds are hardly a new experience. "No, no." Relius says, shaking his head at his own work.

"We must go deeper."

A second set of spider-legged tools erupt out, working on a more fundemental level. Decimation, in the traditional roman style, was to eliminate 1 out of 10 soldiers. The same fundementals can apply to a microscopic level. Pain, for most beings, was a matter of nerve endings. For Hazama, the experience is much more intimate, as precise needle and cut-work runs through one out of ten cells, turning Hazama's architecture to swiss cheese on the tiniest level. The magic seal shudders, the work destablizing the very magical essence around it. Hazama's power was overwhelming, even for Relius's seals. And yet, the limits were meant to be broken. Relius speaks firmly, staring into his work.


The third wave of tools latch on to Hazama, as the work moves to the inside, not the outside. To penetrate deep into an Azure Grimoire was all but impossible for anything other than a master craftsmen. Relius's intimate knowledge windings and snips inside, raking across the artificial structure, twisting deeper and deeper. To pull it apart, to peer in, to dig deeper and deeper, to turn inside out the hollow interior of the artificial human.

And for a moment, he could hear him.

See him.

Sense him.

And he could see Relius.

Sense Relius.

Hear Relius, before the burst of energy knocks him. Back.

"Incredible." Relius gasps, as he smashes into the ground. His body was smoking, the smell of ozone rising off him. His whirring appendages were retracting within, broken and smoking themselves. Ignis was over him, lifting him up to a stand. Relius was breathing hard, sweat on his brow, body soaked. Regaining his composure, he gasps. "I never imagined the connection was so close, I never imagined it was..." He voice trails off, as he gives a smirk. "Alas." He sighs, as he beckons for Ignis to come closer. "I only know, Hazama, I have done what I promised." And he turns to face his creation, head held high.

"And now, it is my turn to receive, isn't it?"

Smiling softly, hands shifting to his pocket, Hazama indeed allows himself to be transplanted upon the chair. His eyes remain seemingly closed, shimmer of energy continuing to swirl around him. The magical barrier swirls to life, and any hope he might have had to escape leaves him. His internal energy locks in place, manipulated expertly by the leader of the Engineering Department. However, the only thing he says...

"Is that what you think?"

The first operation, of course, gets no reaction. His body remains loose and relaxed, even. Yet when his very essence is probed and violated, a ripple of tension and a slight hiss. He's not bracing the chair, but Relius will find that he's not difficult to work with... no, he's actually a superb patient, shifting and adjusting to allow access to every nook and cranny willingly.

And deep in the blackness of Hazama's soul, Relius sees only a floating black ghost, vaguely humanoid. Strips of green boil in a slightly amorphous form. Before upon it's mouth manifests perfect cheshire teeth, and a single eye snaps open. A terrifyingly ominous feeling would rush out to hit the master worker like a wave. The most basic, deepest and carefully excised instincts might even tickle slightly to bear it.~Hello, Relius. It's been a long time...!~ Yes... he knows this man. But not here... something's wrong... a strange sense of detachment, perhaps, disassociation...

And then the explosion sends Hazama on his back. The chair remains somewhat intact, and still smoking. His hands remain in his pockets, suit rather badly fussed up by that last blow. A long and slow exhale follows. "Yes. We chat, me and him. And he can loan me a little strength... but I know how to bring him here. He can show you the truth, like I promised. After this... give me the Seithr you amassed. And I'll do the rest."

With the sigil on the ground broken, Hazama brings his knees to his chest and flicks up, landing in a crouch. "But you're off-base... trying to understand how I work. I'll give you points for trying. But you want to SATISFY me... Right...?"

Hazama begins to slowly walk forward, before sliding into a loose stance and then reaching back his right hand. Green fire whirls and illuminates it, clothing flowing with the whirl of energy. His closed eyes seem to warm, smile turning genuine.

Before he dashes forward, quick as lightning, green energy shimmering behind. He then thrusts out to slam it into Relius' chest. Fast. Too fate; this isn't an attack. A powerful sealing Ars Magus is unleashed, intent on suddenly grasping the artificer and levitating him slightly off the ground, with manifested Ouroboros chains whirling about to orbit him and lock every ounce of his inner strength, chi, and even machinery completely...!!

COMBATSYS: Hazama successfully hits Relius with Eternal Coils of the Dragon Serpent.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Hazama           0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>------\1           Relius

And then suddenly Hazama whirls out, unleashing a brutal sidekick into Relius' stomach. His hat flies off, blown away by the raw strength of his fully bared fangs. The force is shocking, even driving back the resolute seal he's trapped in. Trees darken, fading leaves shrink away, the grass turns black in a ripple when exposed to the poisonous, destructive energy within him. Whirling around, his other heel comes down, slamming into Relius' shoulder and driving him down into the ground right at Hazama's feet.

"Not enough...!" He then begins stomping on Relius' head with his heel. The first few are sharp, precise, aiming for his temple. Then he begins to laugh more and more, hair wild and blowing upwards like spikes, eyes wide and sadistic. His stomping begins to build up in speed, striking again and again, building up a great crator beneath Relius' head. "NOT ENOUGH...!"

And then he stomps down a last time, a great visible warble of force sending branches and trunks billowing away. Grinding his heel slowly, Hazama leans down to hiss. "You said... you would SATISFY ME...!!"

And then he whirls his leg out, a great manifest serpent roaring to life. He catches Relius beneath the chin, scouring the ground in a great flash of emerald power to launch the other man skyward. And then moving at a blur, he twists around, stepping slightly forward to launch out a second sidekick, this one similarly coiled about with a dense, powerful manifested serpent, to hit Relius right in the midsection... before with a last cackle sending him blowing backwards towards some trees. He might end up going through a few of them.

Suddenly Hazama startles, cutting off the borrowed power, and snapping out an Ouroboros chain. It catches his hat, before retracting with a hiss to take it in his hand and plant it atop his head. "Oh...? Was I too rough...?"

For his purpose, Relius does try to resist.

It did not matter, of course. Short of drawing that strength out through that little gaping holes, the effort would fell him. But if he didn't resist, well, Hazama wouldn't stop. NOt that he was facing Hazama, not truly. Hazama would have stopped after the first few stomps. But that's a little ahead of ourselves, lets focus on the important part.

The seal, upon his chest.

Ignis goes limp, helpless. And Relius knows the flicker of true fear, as he feels the connection gone. His power restrained. And what's more, his life force a single, flickering light in the face of raw sadism. He struggles to guard against the kick, barely managing a catch to negate it with a mechanical arm. The second kick shatters it apart, sending Relius doubled over. The second burst of power comes, as he is sent hurtling down underfoot.

And that's where we enter the stomping.

Unshielded, unbound, Relius is exposed, absolutely open to the unceramonious tromping. Flesh smashes into mechanized pieces, as the cyborg implants prick and expose under the barrage. His head, splitting and cracked, was not breaking. Of all the enhancements Relius had undertaken for himself, there were two that were unquestioned: a mask that did not break, and a skull that would not shatter. His mind, paramount, was the most important. It meant little for his teeth and skin, however, as his expression takes a consistency closer to hamburger than the smooth complexion of the scientist. For a patient man, what seems like an eternity finally ends with with a finishing kick, that rips him through only two trees, with a third one merely doubling over to collapse over the scientist. Trapped under the ground, the scientist is still. Silent.

And with a jolt, Ignis revives.

The automation comes, moving to the tree trunk. With no effort, it lifts up the tree, tossing it aside. Relius himself does not move, only gives out a pained groan. "My word, Hazama." Relius gasps. "You were a mite too rough that time!" He struggles to move, and only twitches. "Yes, that is my spine. I concede respect! I have been beaten! I am sure you can dangle something or another over my head." He tries to shrug. He fails.

""But of course, business first."

Relius struggles, barely moving his arm into the tatters of his cloak. Reaching within, he draws out that mechnized vial, pressured with the swirling black mist. "It's not much, but it's undocumented. I am sure you can put it to good use." He gives a smirk, raising it up. "Oh, don't forget to send a rescue team my way!"

Inspite the great pain, he manages a dimissive shrug. "I'm sure I can make up a story on my little accident.

"Perhaps a freak bird watching incident?"

COMBATSYS: Relius takes no action.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Hazama           0/-------/----===|

COMBATSYS: Relius can no longer fight.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Hazama           0/-------/----===|

At those words, something impacts Relius with frightful power. A great, intense killing intent. No; killing might not be correct. Destruction. Annihilation. Savageness. Hazama wears his small smile still, eyes once more closed, hat atop his tussled hair. He's him, right? Then why might Relius still feel as if his life is in serious danger? A hand flicks out, and a great Ouroboros chain erupts from a sigil, to clamp down upon the shattered tree adjacent to the other man. In a split second he's there, drawn forward to settle in front of Relius. Leaning forward, eyes slit just barely open. His lips part, exhaling slowly. Fingers splay, intent something incredible. Might Ignis need to be sicced into her autonomous Detonator mode? Without proper guidance, can she handle a wounded Hazama--

And then he reaches down, hand splayed invitingly to grasp Relius' good arm and pull him upwards. In a heartbeat, he is serene and calm. The great power within has been suppressed, as if it was never there. Did he finally gain control of himself...? Was that man's influence still seething in him, or...? Well. If Relius wishes to study a chaos factor that might never be solved, he can find no greater ally than Hazama.

"I think it's clear. The Ikari Warriors attacked me, and when I called for aide, you came immediately. We barely fought them off; after all, I'm not a combatant~" He takes the vial and tucks it away carefully. Then his power seeps away, and with a wobble Hazama collapses on his back. The wound in his chest is no longer being sustained; he's helpless, yet again, although this time...

He might not seem nearly so harmless.

"Ah~ Oh my. My injuries caught up with me...! Best do your surgery again, if you can. I trust you, even in such a state. ...And don't worry about being gentle~"

COMBATSYS: Hazama has ended the fight here.

Relius could see that full weight of destruction.

Starting into the barrel of oblivion, he does not blink. He merely waits. Absolution was the final answer. Well, the next answer. And he was dying to see if death was the answer. Hazama was over him, waiting, standing by. Ignis was waiting. In a moment, he would discover just how far Hazama was willing to go.

And then, he discovers that Hazama was willing to do whatever he wanted.

Chaos was, for Relius, an infinite void of discovery. And Hazama was a well of learning. As the power fades, Relius was actually just as impressed as he was surprised. There truly was no greater ally that Hazama. Certainly, there was a little bloodshed, but what was violence between friends? Certainly, when the time comes, both would be willing to dispose of the other. But until then? As Hazama weaves the story, he groans, as Ignis lifts him up. His body was badly broken, yes. But as Hazama lays there, helpless as a babe, well. With the assistance of Ignis, his loyal creation, he feebly adjusts his glove. A single crane-like arm extends under the tatters of his cloak, a twinkle in his eye. "Of course, Hazama..."

"A scientist's work is never done!~"

Log created on 00:07:23 11/16/2017 by Relius, and last modified on 23:50:58 11/21/2017.