Description: "I do not regret my decision to save that boy, even though in retrospect, I can see now that in doing so, I was also furthering Terumi's plans. He is just one more soul on the pyre of hatred that vermin intends to stoke, one more feedback loop of enmity from which he draws power. The decade it took to recover is regrettable, however. So much has changed. And of course, after today, there is little hope that Valkenhayn nor I could possibly stop adding to that reservoir of antipathy Terumi draws power from... Putting him back into the bottle will be like trying catch the wind between our fingers. Fortunately, that is a matter I happen to know something about..."
The vast realm of Makai is divided into several regions of varying inhospitality. Wander too far east and one will come across Daimakai, a land of hellfire believed to dwarf even the sun itself in terms of its unfathomable heat. Lost souls in the west might stumble unwittingly into Daimayou, a world so lacking in heat that mankind lacks the means of quantifying its temperature with numbers.
Other pockets of existence throughout the hellscape are equally dangerous. Vortexes of soul energy ravage the landscape of the Ummourned Planes and to the south an Unending Storm rages with power that makes it impossible for almost beings comprised of anything other than pure energy to reside.
But there is one pocket in the world of Makai one might almost mistake as being sympathetic to the limits of mortal survival... The Ever Night, a region where the sun never rises and the denizens need never deal with the garish light of day. Within this region there can be found a palatial estate surrounded by square miles of rose gardens the likes of which have never been seen on Earth. And beyond the gardens, a great, lonely castle of the night.
The Alucard Castle, home to one of the most feared powers within Makai. At least, according to the legends surrounding the vampire's domain. It has been a mausoleum of nearly complete solitude for a decade now, leading to new rumors among the inhabitants of Makai. Some whisper that House Alucard is no more, that something happened to the last heir of the great and terrible line of blood drinkers and that surely the castle lies empty. Of course, for all their willing to gossip about the potentiality that the famous Alucard castle is free for the taking, no one is known to have tried to move against it. Perhaps they would rather not risk ruin on unsubstantiated rumors. Or perhaps it is because some say that there is at least one soul still residing at the estate, maintaining a long and lonely vigil, and that that that man is not one to be trifled with.
At midnight, it will have been ten years to the second since Rachel Alucard, daughter and heir of Clavis Alucard, laid down upon her bed and closed her eyes to sleep, warning one Valkenhayn R. Hellsing that she needed to rest to regain her strength for a little while.
Her stately accommodations are a room high in the castle's structure with a great window that opens out over the rose gardens. A blood moon hangs in the horizon, visible through the golden frames of the ornately decorated glass, causing a shaft of crimson moonlight to spill into the room, splitting the otherwise dark shadows in half.
The sleeping girl is clothed in the same black dress of the finest materials that she wore when she went to sleep. Adjacent to her bed, hanging from a rack, is long sleeved, long pitch black coat for wearing over her dress and folded adjacent to it atop an exquisitely crafted wardrobe is folded black shawl with its crimson crosses.
Though she had never warned the loyal man of how long her rest was going to last, there have been signs that her respite is fast coming to an end. The castle has begun to feel a little more alive as of late, the roses blooming richer red, and the spirits inhabiting the macabre pumpkin shaped lanterns have begin to flicker back into the visible spectrum, casting soft, spectral light throughout the estate.
And of course, there is the young heiress herself, having been deathly silent over the last ten years, now finally stirring slightly. At times, her lips move, a breathless word or two whispered inaudibly quiet.
And then there are indicators from the only other two beings allowed in the sleeping vampire princess's room. The two of them had moved about independently for years after their mistress laid to rest, but eventually they too succumbed to the same endless slumber that claimed her.
At the foot of the bed, a huge mound of almost shapeless black fur but for a small patch of white on what can be vaguely made out to be the head of a large cat. For all these years, the pudgy beast has been still. But just this morning, when Valkenhayn conducted a ritual inspection of the room, he would have found Nago had taken on the form of an umbrella, left open and upside down, its handle sticking up into the air. This evening, he is once more in what assumes is his more natural state, a curled up mountain of soft, malleable fur, but now and then he yawns and stretches a meaty arm out over the edge of the bed.
And then there is the other - a small thinly furred ball lying face down in a soft basket near the window, his tiny wings sticking up into the air. Now and then, the wings twitch and a small, whiny voice murmurs into the cushions 'Ow! That hurt!... Princess...!'
Yes, little by little, the castle is coming back to life. Hopefully, the lone sentinel keeping watch has had time to prepare...
Ah, but House Alucard is very much alive - despite whatever rumours might be circulating to the contrary. Simply dormant; remaining guarded and kept by the ever-vigilant, ever-present sentinel who has served the family for generations. Ten years may be a significant span of time for mortals, indeed... even for some who rise above the title of 'mortal'. But a man like Valkenhayn R. Hellsing would wait a century at the side of the sleeping Lady Alucard - such is his lot in life. But it is not his ONLY duty; perish the thought! After all, it would hardly do to have Madam Rachel wake to the Castle in anything less than perfect condition!
Such is the the rewarding life of the butler; it's never complete, even when the Master has been sleeping for a decade! Of course, when one is manservant to a vampiress as powerful as Rachel Alucard, it tends to engender a certain motivation to perform above and beyond. Not, of course, that the man who has been serving House Alucard for so long, and with such distinction, needs any motivation other than the simple pleasure of a job well done. Though life in the Castle has been so very dreary without the delightful Madam Rachel to wait upon, he has nevertheless managed to keep himself busy - nothing passes the time quite like tending to Lady Alucard's sprawling rose gardens, or dusting off and polishing her finest china cups and saucers, or ensuring that the furniture about the sprawling Mansion has not a single fiber out of place.
No, despite the fact that Rachel has been asleep for... well, for too long in the mind of her humble servant... he has managed to keep himself busy; his schedule being only slightly less hectic for the lack of Rachel's frequent demands. It would HARDLY be fitting for a man of his esteemed status and position to be perceived, even by HIMSELF, to be slacking. No, standards are important to the distinguished, 'retired' warrior - without them... well, one can see easily when observing the outside world what chaos can be wrought by lack of proper decorum!
He will not stand for such things in the sprawling estate. And he knows Madam Rachel would not, either - particularly not after such a long and restful slumber. She can be OH so very grumpy when she first awakes, though he would hardly say so to her face. In fact, he hardly even thinks it - busying himself with the preparations for the Lady's approaching wakefulness. He has always been a perceptive sort, even in his more brutish, youthful days, and so the activity around the Castle was not lost on him for even a second before he began to make things ready for her awakening. Finally, Nago and Gii have some use! They've give him ample warning to the impending time.
Backing into the room, the impeccably dressed Valkenhayn R. Hellsing lays down a tray carrying one of the most Castle's ornate, immaculate white porcelain teasets - pearly white, with delicate, interwining green vines and blooming pink roses atop the white base. Also atop the tray is a bouqet of the most choice roses from the Madam's garden - hopefully she will be pleased to see that he has kept her sprawling, teeming gardens in good care. Then again, it is so hard to predict Madam Rachel at times like this. Today, he's choosing to wear his more formal white suit as opposed to the more tradtional, darker wear he often sports, to suit the importance of the occasion.
He places the tray on a small, round wooden table with a heavily-cushioned stool on one side and... no furniture on the other. The teapot emits heavy steam into the air, as the watchful Butler stands near the door, far away from Rachel Alucard's resting place. His hands, clasped behind his back, face remaining calm and impassive... but for, perhaps, the slightest drop of sweat running down his brow.
Of course, he says nothing - he hardly wants to startle the Lady. Certainly not in this state!
Trying to perceive if the lady of the house is awake is not an entirely trivial endeavor. Like all the vampires before her, members of the Undying Court have no need to breath. As such, there is no telltale sigh, no moment where the cadence of her soft breathes shifts to reflect a transition from deep slumber to the cusp of consciousness. No, even as the loyal guardian stands at the door, the girl upon the bed hardly even seems to be a living thing, so still does she rest.
Yet even still, there would be no missing the moment of pending transition for the little thing any sane individual would consider a horrific monster. It begins a minute out from the strike of midnight.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5... With each passing second, a creeping dread builds within the stately room. The shadows darken and the shaft of crimson light spilling into the room becomes more intense.
6, 7, 8, 9, 10... An unnatural wind stirs within the room, rustling the sheets and curtains of the elegant bed and even daring to disturb the hairs on the young lady's head. Though gentle, the wind moves as if an echo to a far greater force of power, as if but the portend of a great and terrible storm.
11, 12, 13, 14, 15... The shadows begin to seethe, whispers in the dark corners as if the room had become a stage for the most dangerous of plays and unseen spirits of death have settled in to witness the event play out.
16, 17, 18, 19, 20... The floor illuminated by the crimson moon begins to boil as if covered in a thick, crimson viscus fluid and the sent of sulfur begins to waft into the room, carried by the still stirring air.
21, 22, 23, 24, 25... The voices in the dark become more animated. There is fear there, trepidation of an unavoidable doom looming ever nearer. One would sense in the churning shadows an overwhelming desire to escape yet panicked inability to do so. No, there is no place far enough to go that would constitute liberation.
26, 27, 28, 29, 30... Along the walls, one thousand tiny crimson slits open, each slit a peering, glaring eye, and each eye seeping fresh sanguine blood.
31, 32, 33, 34, 35... A loud thump rattles the entire castle, as if a titan of old had stomped a colossal foot into the courtyard beyond. The unknown, thunderous force to rattles the heavy doors in their thick, iron hinges and causes the heavy stone walls to creak as if being stressed to the shattering point. On the bed itself, Nago opens one crimson cat eye blearily, as if finally being made vaguely aware of the impending doom of all.
36, 37, 38, 39, 40... From the shadows in the far wall, a great claw of writhing darkness extends, barely visible in the black as it reaches, slowly, across the room toward the bed of the resting doll, palm pressed against the floor, fingers stretching, nails digging in, then pulling the appendage of some unseen horror inevitably closer, little by little.
41, 42, 43, 44, 45... There is a sound of a rushing storm in the halls outside the room and the flap of hundreds of bats echoing throughout the castle. Their screeches can be heard through the door and through the open window, a swarm comprising millions of leathery winged vampire bats can be seen swirling before the great, bloody moon.
46, 47, 48, 49, 50... The room begins to heat up. An aura of black fire builds around the sleeping heiress's bed, ebony flames that shouldn't be, consuming light rather than radiating it. Nago's other eye opens, "Oh goodness gracious, it's, it's-"
51, 52, 53, 54, 55... A deafening noise fills the castle, as if the death rattle of a malevolent god being felled at last. Mundane ears would have been ruptured by so horrific a sound, and even the bravest avatar might be driven to crawl into a hole in hopes that whatever could produce such a heinous sound. In the basket near the window, amidst a pool of boiling blood, Gii sits up, his round, shapeless form folded in the middle as his tiny eyes begin to blink open rapidly. "Oh no! There's no time to get everything ready. She'll- she'll-..."
56, 57, 58, 59...
Rachel Alucard sits up, eyes the color of fresh blood opened to the point of being narrow slits of glimmering crimson in the dark seeking a victim to annihilate. The shadows continue to churn, the blackfire pyre around her bed surging with renewed vigor now that the little devil is awake, and the army of eyes in the wall all glare with singular interest on the young mistress of the house.
It is Nago, just now getting to his feet, his sleepy legs barely moving fast enough for him to roll into a vaguely standing position, that first suffers her wrath. Drawing her knee up slightly, the young vampire lashes her stocking covered foot out, heel driving into the side of the plump feline, and in an instant, the large creature is sent flying, his side caved in as he explodes across the room, into and then through a thick stone wall, tearing a large, gaping hold.
The small voice from the living doll murmurs. But one eradication will hardly suffice. Gii picks an unfortunate time to flutter up out of his basket in dread terror, "P-p-princes!"
Rachel flicks her dainty little hand, and planet cracking force explodes against the hovering jellybean, splattering him against the wall, a vibrant red mess.
Rachel rests her hands on the bed, black mist rising up behind her back, taking on the form of massive, bladed wings.
Her head turns to the side, eyes coming to rest on the tray left in place by the boldest steward in existence.
The Vampire Lord's interest is piqued and for a moment, the maelstrom of annihilation building around her almost seems to hold its breath, waiting to see what happens next.
Leaning forward a little, the lithe figure in the ebony dress drifts up out of the bed, hovering over to the stool to settle down on it, the misty wings that had been forming behind her back collapsing and fading away as she situates herself, her hands coming to rest in her lap.
"Valkenhayn," she speaks up softly, her blood red eyes closing. "I shall have some tea now."
Valkenhayn remembers the last time the Lady awoke from such a lengthy slumber - he still bears the memento from the incident, the long, purplish-pink ribbon wrapped around the back of his flowing white hair. A gift from Lady Alucard to reward his bravery in fending off one of her... less pleasant moods. But for the ever-faithful servant, even facing the vampiresses' wrath is an honour worthy of note, and so he displays the item proudly and prominently.
Even so, the bead of sweat continues to roll slowly down his slightly-wrinkled brow, as he watches in his silent vigil from the corner of the room. Indeed, it has been since the days of the Black Beast that an individual was capable of causing such panic (albeit barely visible) to strike the experienced Valkenhayn.
And yet, here he stands; trying to remain as professional as possible. But even a man as well-traveled as himself is only capable of so much calm in the face of such power... as he begins to feel the air in the room thicken with tension, the warmth on his face and slightly-quickening pulse betray a certain discomfort.
He has missed Madam Rachel so very, very much... and yet, he cannot help himself - the Lady's mood is always such a fickle thing, at the best of times, it seems. Indeed, Valkenhayn would say loudly and publicly that it is just part of her CHARM, and that the rabble simply do not understand her grace and aplomb!
All the same, he can't help but watch the sleeping vampiress with a careful eye, as the single bead of sweat now rolls down the side of his cheek - the man remaining still as a statue, hands still clasped firmly behind his back in a pose befitting his station as ever-ready servant. He won't allow the Lady to awake into anything less than utter perfection; her stature affords her that much.
The thump rattles the castle - the fine teaset atop the table rattling back and forth. This brings a quick, nervous glance from Valkenhayn - and though he remains standing in the same position, there is the briefest moment when he seems tensed to spring into action, in order to save the fine china from a tumble to the ground. Instead, his keen perception recognizes it's in no real danger and, preferring not to be caught in such an undignified position, remains motionless.
As for the rest? Well; one does not serve House Alucard for generations without becoming used to the... more interesting aspects of the House, and it's ruling Family. Though the reputation they have cultivated does seem to be good for frightening away the rabble. It certainly does seem to make the perhaps overprotective manservant's job that much easier.
In the last 10 seconds, the noise causes the vigilant butler to clench his jaw somewhat - it IS quite noisey, and to an individual with a lycanthropic aspect, it's even more painful than to most. Even still, there isn't the slightest motion to cover his ears; no, the time is coming... and he must be ready, regardless of the Lady's mood upon waking.
When Gii finally sits up, just seconds before Rachel herself, Valkenhayn straightens his already perfect posture and unclasps his hands from behind his back, adjusting the bottoms of his spotless white gloves, making a few minor tugs and hand-brushes on his garment to ensure he is immaculate when greeting Lady Alucard. Ah, it's been SO long... even for a man as old as Valkenhayn.
And then... she sits up, and Valkenhayn arches a single, perfectly-trimmed eyebrow in anticipation, holding his arms perfectly straight at his side - head held high and seemingly striking the perfect mixture of 'silent guardian' and 'loyal servant'. His old, wizened face is lit up by the flames around her resting place as they stoke into life upon her rising - revealing the wrinkles and lines of a man centuries old.
In the first real move he's made since taking his stance, Valkenhayn moves to the side as Nago is thrown through the wall where he just stood. Now BOTH eyebrows are arched, and there's a second bead of sweat making it's way down his forehead...
Another quick (seemingly TOO quick for a man his age) step to the side takes the ancient butler out of the path of the next projectile, which happens to be Gii. He's still holding together a neutral expression, but his fingers are visibly curling, an obvious sign of the nervous energy pounding through his system at the mildly... troubling awakening of Madam Rachel. Might he earn himself a second ribbon today? He SINCERELY hopes not.
Mercifully, his ever-present sense of duty pays off, and the silver tea-tray catches the Lady's eye. One might not even pick up on it, but there's an exhale of relief from Valkenhayn - both pleased that his work did not go unnoticed, and that it seems to have taken Rachel's mind off of... other things.
"Of course, Madam Rachel," come the calm tones of the manservant - as though none of the past minute had even occured, as if this were just another day among the heir to House Alucard.
As he speaks, and as his Master floats to the stool, Valkenyayn moves with the grace and speed of a seasoned professional, lifting up the tea-pot and pouring a portion into the delicate, ornate porcelain tea-cup. His nerves now fully returned, Valkenhayn spills not a drop as he lifts the saucer - teacup resting atop it - and places it confidently in front of Rachel. She shouldn't have to lean forward to get her tea, after all! Such acts are for the peasants.
Casually reaching out and pulling forward the bouqet of roses, just a few inches closer to Rachel's place at the small table, Valkenhayn steps away as soon as he's completed this task, folding his hands behind his back once more and assuming his usual rigid stance.
"I do hope the Lady had a pleasant rest. I've kept things much as you might expect, of course."
Rachel sits on the stool, the very picture of perfect aplomb and seemingly indifferent to the boiling blood, writhing shadows, ebony fire, swarms of screeching bats in the halls, or the grotesque reaching arm still slowly working its way across the room toward her. There is an aura of malevolence about her, and lesser men would never be so bold as to even be able to draw nearer to her presence without their courage, and perhaps their knees, betraying them.
Yet the little vampiress does nothing as Valkenhayn draws near and, with nerves of steel, pours her a cup, and places the saucer within easy reach of her. Her mouth is a tiny frown but at the gentle clatter of porcelain being situated, her eyes open just a sliver to focus on it.
Slowly, a delicate looking hand lifts from her lap, fingers slipping into the teacup handle as she lifts it nearer to her face then holds it there, taking in the scent, her eyes once more closed. The creeping arm has ceased its relentless advance now that Valkenhayn is there, as if the steward of the castle alone is enough to cause whatever fearsome creature owns that arm to reconsider its bold trespass into the room.
Finally, Rachel brings the cup to her lips and sips softly from the pleasantly steaming surface. Seconds pass, the hellscape in her room still very much alive yet waiting for the order to erupt into violent chaos the likes of which few have ever imagined.
Rachel Alucard opens her eyes again, the corners of her mouth showing almost imperceptible signs of a smile, and she lifts the cup to her lips once again.
It is as if a great pressure is finally released. The boiling fluid on the floor seems to evaporate, the blackfire fades, the shadows calm, and the dark claw retreats back into whatever nightmare it was trying to escape. The wind calms, and one by one, the crimson eyes in the wall close and vanish, leaving no trace of blood. Little by little, the excessive horror of a groggy demon melts away and as the last of the bats flap into the horizon, once more calm reigns at Castle Alucard.
There can be no question that the tea preparation skills and unbreakable courage of one Valkenhayn R. Hellsing staved off a great calamity this night. The rest of Makai may be forever in his debt even without knowing it.
With eyes half-lidded, Rachel sips at the tea, her gaze seemingly focused on nothing so immediate as the table in front of her even though it is directed that way. "I found it difficult to truly rest with the pathetic spectacle playing out in the world of men these days. After all these centuries, the only surprise it seems I am to be rewarded with is the surprise of how unsurprising it all can possibly be."
She places her teacup back down in the saucer, its contents having been drained, her hand falling back to her lap. Sitting up a little more straight, she closes her eyes for a moment. Her butler would know better than any that just because the young looking girl's eyelids have closed it doesn't mean she is remotely blind to the world around her. Such is the gift and burden of being an Observer, a title and position few entities possess, and even fewer possess at the magnitude of power that she does.
"Yes, it is at least a modicum of comfort," her eyes open again as she waits for more tea, "To see that the castle has been kept in such immaculate condition. At least there is someone I can count on."
She would pick up the newly filled cup of tea once provided, her eyes glancing toward the gaping hole in the wall where Nago was ruthlessly punted. "Though I can't say I much care for that particular renovation. You will see to it that it gets restored to how I remember it in due haste, of course."
Her eyes stray over the elderly steward then, looking him over briefly before glancing away, her focus settling on the bouquet of roses instead. "I am afraid you will need to change back into your working clothes soon, Valkenhayn." As if a flawlessly tailored, black suit more expensive than most alive could ever hope to afford could be considered 'working clothes'. "I have invitations that simply must be delivered."
Her second cup of tea drained, she would slip to her feet and move away from the table a few steps before waiting.
"I will be going out, myself. I observed a matter that requires more of my attention."
That would be cue enough as to what she is expecting next, for she would never leave the castle without donning the long, black coat hanging next to her bed, or the shawl, or her crimson bow tie. And of course, she'll need her shoes. Anything less would not be dignified.
It is not just his professional demeanor that keeps Valkenhayn's hands steady as he waits upon the Lady of the House; he is more than aware of the danger that could be posed by a single drop of tea spilled around the incomprehensibly powerful vampiress. Though his driving sense of duty and properiety is what generally keeps his work up to the usual standard of the Alucards... the Heir herself can be a FAR more fickle Master than her father, Clavis Alucard.
Even though the sweat has stopped rolling down the butler's brow, and his complexion seems far less flushed than it was a moment earlier, he still maintains a watchful eye on Rachel's face as he stands facing her, taking up a spot at the side of the table as unobtrusively as possible. Crowding the Lady in such a state? Hardly a wise decision. Especially when she's wearing that troubling frown...
The upward twitch of Rachel's lips, followed by the second sip of tea, bring an odd expression to Valkenhayn R. Hellsing's face - his eyes show a mixture of relief, the pleasure of a job well done, and professional pride in his abilities to throw together a remarkable tea time on such short notice. There's the briefest hint of a half-smile on his own watchful, typically calm and courteous, face.
One who didn't know the man might miss it; but the Lady's reaction obviously pleases him in some way he is well-experienced at keeping hidden. Outbursts of emotion around the estate are generally the realm of Madam Rachel herself - he will leave such work to the professionals, and tend to his own tasks as best he can. In this case? Those skills, honed through generations, may very well have averted catastrophe.
Valkenhayn views the darkness receeding out of the room with a sideways glance - always doing his best to keep one eye on Lady Alucard, watching for the slightest pending inconvenience he might be able to rescue her from. Alas, he seems to be the victim of his own impeccable planning - as it seems the Mistress has everything she might need within a half-an-arm's reach.
This leaves the butler standing still, posture no more relaxed for the sudden disappearnce of the creeping darkness into the Lady's bedroom - rather, he maintains the same stiff, unwavering pose, hands pointed straight down at his sides, head held up and ahead (though his eyes are noticeably focused on Rachel, rather than the wall opposite his position).
He stands and listens to the vampiresses' words with the ear of a man used to fielding the many and varied complaints of House Alucard's heir... in addition to his roles as sentinel and manservant, he has been a trusted confidante of the Family for quite some time.
And he, too, has seen the chaos taking place in the realms of men. He knows Rachel Alucard will be drawn to it, in her own way, no matter what statements he might make to try and dissuade her. It's always been the way of the Alucards to take matters into their own hands, even when their ever-present footman Valkenhayn states that such activities are 'beneath them'.
This time? He saves his breath. Rachel is NOT her father, and though the lycanthrope is one of the few individuals who is able to speak his mind to her without incurring her full wrath... he truly would rather not test his luck at such a time. The tension has left the room; but he knows Madam Rachel well enough to be aware that dark power is never truly GONE. Simply waiting.
His eyes follow hers around the room, to the hole one of her pets just left in the wall he was previously standing in front of. Again, there's a smile that plays lightly around his lips before his neutral expression returns, placing the palm of one gloved hand over his breast and bowing low to the seated vampiress.
"A thousand apologies, Madam Rachel. I shall make it my utmost priority," he says in a truly apologetic tone, before standing out of the bow and lowing his hand to his side once again.
The mention of invitations? THAT most certainly gets his attention, and there's a brief look of surprise that crosses his eyes - he hardly approves of some of the types Madam Rachel takes it upon herself to consort with... He certainly hopes these 'invitations' aren't to those beneath her station... It's so worrying, he even forgets to apologize about his (perhaps a bit too flashy for the vampiresses liking) white formal suit.
"Of course," he says, only the slightest wavering hesitancy before he completed the second word - it would certainly be enough to notice from the man who usually snaps into agreement with every word the Heir utters. "I trust the Lady has selected individuals worthy of the honor." he says, referring to the recipients of the invitations. She has chosen some... unfitting company, in the past. Valkenhayn always disapproves, though he has learned to do so more silently than he might like.
As he speaks his mild concern regarding the invitations, he's already moving with a quickness that seems beyond his years - the speed of a battle-seasoned lycanthrope allowing him to gracefully scoop up the Madam's shoes, coat, bow-tie, shawl and... produce a bowl of steaming, freshly-baked soft scones seemingly from out of thin air. He places the scones a few inches ahead of her tea saucer and cup, holding the shoes in his left hand and the rest of the items draped across his left forearm.
Draping the shawl and coat over the back of a nearby chair, he places the bowtie on the table momentarily, before dropping to one knee in front of Madam Rachel's stool. He begins to place both shoes on her dangling feet with the seasoned touch of a decades-long valet.
But... he simply can't help himself. As he does so, there's a glance upwards at Madam Rachel's face. And after a moment of hesitation, Valkenhayn R. Hellsing actually speaks up, his tone still one of loyalty and admiration, but the words seem oddly out of place for the usually unquestioning servant:
"You're... leaving the Castle, Madam? Perhaps it would be wise if I were to accompany you? I have observed some of the recent events; madness, to be sure. Might it not be more suited for the Lady to maintain her position here, at your Estate?"
"Few are ever worthy, Valkenhayn," Rachel replies, fingers closing gently over the topmost scone and retrieving it toward her mouth to test a preliminary sample of the perfectly warmed pastry. The pause to chew the tiny bite contemplatively is a reflection of her satisfaction with the sweet before she continues. "But there are regrettably rare individuals that show promise. With a little attention, instruction, and example from their superiors, they have the potential to be elevated down a better path and may one day, eventually, become worthy of the benevolence they were shown."
She takes another bite of the scone as Valkenhayn handles getting her boots onto her feet and tightening the laces just so. "It is that same dedication to perfection with which a masterful greenskeeper prunes, nourishes, and shapes his beloved roses. Without his touch, the plants grow feral, becoming but weeds offering nothing of value." Her free hand lifts from her lap, reaching out, forefinger and thumb closing tenderly over the petal of one of bouquet's roses. "But with his care, those same plants will be molded into forms of exquisite beauty, the sight of which serves to inspire the mind, and the scent they generate a lasting reflection of the gardener's talents."
Her fingers withdraw from the blossom without having bruised it in the slightest. "I am afraid that I have observed the deplorable state of magic use in the world and found it wanting, Valkenhayn. Novices dabble with destructive forces their minds and bodies are not ready to withstand. Abecedarians pride themselves with their juvenile understanding of the great arts and their pride at such amateur efforts offends me."
Her boots laced, young Alucard slips to her feet to facilitate the application of the rest of her elaborate apparel. Extending her arms to allow Valkenhayn to slip her black coat over her shoulders, her hands extending out just past the end of the white lace at the end of the crimson bordered sleeves. As the coat settles into place, crimson wings rest along the back and sides where it curves over her dress, staying mostly yet not entirely flush with the dark fabric. She stays still as a charcoal black vest with white lace boarders is slipped on over the coat and the dress beneath it. The shawl draped over her shoulders bears the crimson red crosses emblematic of much of her attire. She lifts her chin just a little as the skilled hands of her butler deftly secures and ties a large crimson bow at the base of her neck without the slightest indication of any distrust for allowing another's hands near her throat.
"No, I simply cannot abide by this state of affairs any longer." the Alucard heiress continues. "Something must be done. Extend an invitation to one Mr. Brandon Malone and one Ms. Patricia Eleanor Nathair to sit with me for tea. Preferably, their visit should be timed to coincide with one another. I really would rather not have to repeat myself before I know for certain that their progress is worth the expenditure of my breath."
She leans her head to the side slightly one way than the other, allowing Valkenhayn to apply his touch to the ebony ribbons that tie off her twin tails. He knows how she likes their stiff ends to stick up just so, folding forward slightly as if mirroring the innocent ears of a gentle rabbit. Why she would insist on this enduring preference is a question best not pried into.
As to her own errand, Rachel shakes her head, "No, Valkenhayn, not for this trip. There was merely a transaction that took place that I must learn more about, myself. See to it that my invitations are extended and that will be help enough for now."
Squaring her shoulders slightly, she glances around the room, a slight frown working its way into her porcelain features, "Gii, if I wanted the castle to be messy, I would simply open the gates and let commoners traipse through its halls to their disheveled delight. Get off that wall his instant." Extending her left hand at the level of her waist, she snaps her fingers once, the sound creating a sharp echo and a more subtle pulse of energy only sensitive ears would detect.
Slowly, Gii peels himself off from where he had been flattened against the wall, "Awh, Princess," his whiny voice squeaks, his tiny, improbable wings somehow keeping the floating bean-shaped creature aloft. "We barely woke up, why the hurry?"
Rachel lifts her left hand up to the level of her ear, fingers resting against the side of her head as she half closes her eyes. "Things are beginning to move quickly. Nago!" There is a rustle near the hole in the wall, the large head of the bulky beast sticking up, his crimson cat eyes blinking as he shakes some of the pulverized stone out of his ears, "Yes, Princess, unlike Gii I quite understand the need for haste!"
Rachel extends her right hand and with an exercise of a miniscule trace of her magic, reshapes the large creature into the familiar form of a black umbrella, folded closed as is appropriate for indoors, of course.
With Gii hovering near and the cat-eared umbrella in her hands, she turns to look up at her loyal attendant, "Well then, Valkenhayn, I shall be off."
Her left arm drops from the side of her head to sweep in front of her, and with its movement a cloak of living shadow seems to wrap around the girl from that side, enveloping her in opaque darkness that fades in an instant, leaving in its place only dark, quickly dissipating mist and the unmistakable sense of magic being worked.
"Too true, Madam Rachel, too true..." sighs Valkenhayn in response to her comment about the worthiness of the invitees to her palatial Manor... over the years, he's had to help entertain guests who were far, far below the station of even himself, let alone the Heir to House Alucard. It never ceases to vex him greatly - but he is a servant first and foremost, and though he may voice his concern, he never ceases to follow through with a task, once given.
No matter HOW distasteful the guest in-question might be... Lady Alucard should be well-aware of his low opinion of many of the House's previous visitors. Especially CERTAIN individuals, who shall remain NAMELESS thankyouverymuch.
Her reaction to the scones, caught out of the corner of his eye, brings a distinct smirk to Valkenhayn's lips. Momentary and brief, certainly, but hard to miss all the same - nothing in life brings him pleasure quite like satisfying the whims of Madam Rachel, especially when he's capable of doing so before she makes a request. The length of his service to House Alucard has been so extensive, even before Rachel's time, that he can carry out his duty without so much as a word of advice or suggestion from the Mistress.
He nods politely and genuinely as Madam Rachel continues to speak; he can hardly disagree, the outside world is in a state of chaos indeed, individuals dabbling in powers they simply cannot properly control. It is a dangerous situation, and Valkenhayn is used to House Alucard's long tradition of handling such affairs personally.
As Rachel discusses the state of things, her servant slides the remains of her outerwear over her delicate frame with a skillful, practiced touch. Never too familiar, never anything but the consumate professional - and really, one could hardly expect less from such an experienced manservant.
The mention of two specific names, Ms. Nathair and Mr. Malone, causes Valkenhayn to once again place a gloved palm over his breast and bow - it might be comically low, were it not given so earnestly and stiffly. "It shall be so, Lady Alucard - I will ensure the invitations are extended, and the visitors greeted as befits the magnificence of you and your House."
When denied his opportunity to accompany the Mistress on her expedition to the other realms, Valkenhayn's brow does furrow for the slightest second, but his impassive face returns quickly enough - aside from the very slightest, barely noticeable troubled look in his eyes. He's certain Madam Rachel can take care of herself, but... she should hardly HAVE to.
"Then I shall remain here, Milady, and tend to the renovations," he says, inclining his head ever-so-slightly to the Nago-shaped hole in the wall left by her slightly... unpleasant awakening, "And then I shall set about preparing the meetings you have requested."
He steps forward as Lady Alucard gathers her two - rather troublesome - pets, and offers her farewell. He holds that palm over his breast, cheeks flushing as he looks directly at the Mistress, before quietly speaking, "Do take care of yourself, Lady Alucard. This house would fall to ruin without you."
And then, she's gone, and the professional manservant hardly misses a beat before he's back in to graceful motion, sweeping around the now-emptied bedroom and shuffling the teacup, saucer, and pot back onto the silver tray.
Now that Rachel is away, he allows himself a wistful sigh and a comment delivered under his breath, as though he didn't even want the walls of House Alucard to hear:
"She can be so very difficult at times..."
And then, as if dismissing the notion, he shakes his head and straightens up - lifting the silver tray with one hand and holding it at shoulder-level as he steps out into the hallway, heading towards the nearest of many kitchens to scrub the fine porcelain set.
Things proceed normally for a brief span of time. The castle continuing to purr with the rousal of Lady Alucard, for the first time in countless years lacking her direct presence. This might cause something of a shock, when Valkenhayn's keen senses would abruptly detect the presence of an intruder. Such is not an individual who had succeeded in hiding; one moment they were absent, and the next they were here. Subtle, restrained, but poisonous. Efforts to remain hidden might work on many, but not the able nose of this royal family. How did they get here? Without Rachel's blessing, the passage between this castle and Earthrealm should be closed...
Standing before the grand gate to the manor, Hazama reaches up to plant his hand atop his hat, closed eyes peering at his surroundings. "Oh...? This is more depressing architecture than I expected. Well, what else should I have expected from a bunch of gothic vampires..." the Intelligence Agent murmurs to himself. In one hand is a small mechanical item, etched with Ars Magus seals that prevent even one of Valkenhayn's senses from detecting what lies within. A weapon of some sort? It is impossible that this is a coincidence, the very moment Rachel has pressing business to attend beyond her home someone takes advantage to slither inside...!
With a lazy shrug as the magic energy of his teleportation fades away, Hazama takes a single step towards the tall gate leading within.
Silently, Valkenhayn strides around the castle with nothing short of outstanding grace for a man so well-aged; within minutes of Madam Rachel's departure, her sleeping quarters is as spotless as ever. Almost as if it was not just home to a powerful vampiress awakening from a decades-old slumber and moving into a wonderful tea-time. He's even moved a number of patching materials into the room and begun to re-plaster the large, Nago-shaped hole in the wall, when he suddenly stops.
His neck inclines upwards, nostrils sniffing the air as he catches the scent of something... some OTHER presence, uninvited and certainly unwelcome.
With a heavy sigh, he places the trowel back on the ground and stares at the half-patched hole in the wall. He does so HATE to leave a task unfinished - particularly since he doesn't know how long it might be until Madam Rachel returns.. he MUST have it repaired by the time she gets back, or she might be... displeased.
Nevertheless, an intruder ALWAYS takes precedence; surely the Lady would understand this... and so, by the time Hazama is stepping through the massive, arching front gate to the Manor, Valkenhayn has already changed from his formal white uniform (to celebrate Rachel's awakening) to his more traditional work-wear of subtle blacks.
The hair on the back of Valkenhayn's neck rises up as he sharply turns the corner leading to the entryway, staring across the hallway distance at the bizarre figure of Hazama, casual as anything, strolling through the grounds.
"Pardon me," he calls out - polite, certainly, but with an odd edge to his voice, a low growl that rises up at the end of each word, "But I do believe you come unannounced, and rather unwelcome in the bargain!"
One might not notice it from such a distance, but his teeth have grown... sharper. He still maintains a professional front - anything else would hardly be befitting the Glory of House Alucard, after all... even if he is uninvited, it might be an honest mistake.
"...Oh?" Hazama states, glancing up when the well-dressed man presents himself. There's a flicker of what seems to be genuine surprise in the slender man. His free hand slithers, and the small container he had vanishes within an interior pocket. "Valkenhayn R. Hellsing himself... one of the Six Heroes! What an honor~" The facade wasn't going to last long in the first place. The seething power within, and the similarities it bears, the werewolf would likely figure out in a dozen seconds at best. Stating that term, information on a history segregated from the main timestream... indeed, this man is someone dangerous. "I'm shocked, that Rachel only took two of her three pets. That wasn't within my calculations... but, I suppose you were needed to clean up the dustings from her sugar puffs, and scrape off the buildup from her lazy slumber for all those years."
Hazama leans sidelong, brushing at the front of his suit with the back of a half-gloved hand. "I'm not here for a fight... if you want to leave and find Ms. Alucard to warn her of me, I'll be done with my business and gone by the time you return. That way, we all win. I have my harmless little visit while she's gone, and you get to immediately warn her of my danger. How does that sound...?"
A bit of a laugh follows. "Although it's quite a coincidence that she left, hmm? Why, had I come here while she slept, I believe she would have immediately snapped awake and fell upon me with terrifying fury...! I had no idea my little brush with Mr. Ikari would pique her interest so much she had to PERSONALLY find out what was going on...!" His grin stretches wider and more sadistic, yellow eyes slitting barely open.
As he strides down the hallway to meet the bizarre, green-haired intruder, the tingling at the back of Valkenhayn's neck only increases as he gets closer and closer to the... oddly familiar man.
It's been... so long... he can hardly believe it himself, doing his best to dismiss the notion but failing to banish it entirely from his thoughts. How could he FORGET, that terrible power?
"If you think to insult me regarding my service to House Alucard, you waste your time..." says the Butler as he approaches with long strides down the cavernous hall to the entryway - gone is his completely professional tone, replaced with a lower, harsher voice... he keeps together a neutral front, but his voice is absolutely SNAPPING out at the intruder.
"One could hardly find a more respectful occupation than to serve such an illustrious Mistress..." he growls, as he continues to close the length of the hallway between himself and Hazama. The closer he gets, the more distinct the sense of danger...
It can't be.
Surely, just some... strange flashback to times long-past, monsters best left forgotten...
Once he's within a few feet of the bizarre man, he stops and raises his head again, sniffing the air once, twice, three times between them. It's not HIM, and yet... the similarity is striking... and that sensation, seemingly slithering off the man - it's so very, very unique, it could hardly be a coincidence.
But then, it's not his place to make such assumptions - Madam Rachel will have to be the final judge on this matter. It is his duty, simply, to restrain the intruder before he can violate the sanctity of House Alucard any further.
With this goal in mind, Valkenhayn - his teeth now visibly half-transformed into the fangs of his lycanthropic aspect - strides forward again and aims to place the palm of one immaculate white glove against Hazama's chest, barring him from going any further.
"You..." he growls, eyes narrowing dangerously before he remembers a fragment of his usual manners, "Are NOT welcome in this place. For one, your style of dress is WHOLLY inappropriate," he states condescendingly, gesturing at Hazama's silly outfit and, particularly, that ridiculous hat.
"I'm afraid it would be best for you to turn back, and perhaps await an INVITATION from the Lady."
"Absolutely not! I am a dutiful servant myself. More than most, I can understand the quality of what you do!" Hazama nearly purrs, holding up both his hands in a soothing manner. His body language is utterly submissive, slightly leaning backwards as sweat beads on his forehead. The closer that Valkenhayn gets, the more uncomfortable the green-haired man seems to get. The hand impacts as desired, causing a slight stagger in the intruder. There's no sense of threat or danger coming from him at the moment. Given the utter absence, that almost makes it feel MORE dangerous...
"O-oh? I like my outfit. It fits the dress code for the Intelligence Department..." Fingering the brim for a moment, yellow eyes slit open once more. "Sadly, although I have no intention to harm a stray hair on that shitty vampire's head, I daresay she won't approve of what I'm trying to do...!" Energy begins to pulse out, likely bringing up a terrible nostalgia that Valkenhayn hoped to not feel again. The last time he felt it, fang and claw tore this man down, and dragged him to Rachel Alucard. He was sealed, his spirit barred... he should never be able to enter this realm again...!
A great pulse of green energy billows out, before the Ouroboros manifests violently, whirling around with serpentine rattles. Clothing becomes disheveled, his hat flying off into the air as yellow eyes snap fully open. A wild grin spreads across his lips, arm spreading open with a mad cackle.
"What's the matter...?!" His voice is different. Yuuki Terumi. There's no doubt... somehow, through this man's body, he's managing to touch the world again. Even a brief brush of his influence Rachel considers one of the most dangerous things in all of existance. Power floods out, roaring, the masterwork of Relius blending with a temporary soul synchronization.
Terumi is not here, no. But right now, he's peering through the clear glass of a window, and the menace he held even as he fell cackling to Valkenhayn's attacks burned until Rachel's Tsukuyomi banished him for what should have been forever.
"Why don't you step aside, buddy?! For old time's sake...!! Your decrepid old body has gotten so WEAK... I bet this vessel could beat you alone!!"
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Hazama has joined the fight here as a boss!
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The scowl curling Valkenhayn's lips is notable in the sheer amount of disgust it conveys towards this green-haired intruder - he hardly has patience for unwelcome visitors at the best of times, but the professional manservant can generally be relied upon to be, if nothing else, prim and proper when turning intruders away. Something about THIS man, however, truly unnerves him. Whether it's his calm, disrespectful manner or the strange energy oozing off of him is a confusing matter to the Butler himself.
All he knows is, this individual is most certainly unwelcome in Lady Alucard's house. PARTICULARLY after his comments about the 'shitty Vampire'.
The moment those words leave his mouth, Valkenhayn's lips have pulled back fully, now showing the large, pointed fangs of a lycanthrope revealing just the first hints of his true nature... If Hazama had any wisdom, he would certainly turn back NOW.
But, the man is clearly more than he appears to be... by the time Valkenhayn is pulling back one gloved hand to aim a backhand across the impudent, filthy mouth of Hazama, the pulse of green energy sends him staggering backwards. The Ouroboros serpent lashing into life and seemingly bringing an entirely NEW aspect to Hazama's features.
"But..." is the only word that comes from Valkenhayn's stunned, open mouth as he raises one hand to shield his eyes at the sudden flash of energy. His instincts proved right again...
And then, the usually unshakeable Butler lowers his arm calmly, holding both hands at his side as he straightens his back and stares at the intruder, now fully revealing the nature behind his casual act.
The whisper is barely audible, the tone harsh and, oddly, wavering slightly... it might be the closest thing to 'non tea-time based concern' that Valkenhayn has shown in generations. So shocked is the man that, even though he's regained his professional bearing and stance, he can still hardly believe his eyes, his senses...
As 'Hazama' carries on, the Butler's body remains rigid, eyes burrowing in on the man's face, seeing the vague similarities between the 'host' and the... THING... he once knew, so long ago...
And then, suddenly, his eyes snap wide... taking on a feral, savage quality, as he curls his fingers in his spotless white gloves, lips once again pulling back to reveal that wolfish snarl. Terumi, through his host, no doubt recognizes THAT look from the old days...
But... Terumi was one of the few who never had to FEAR that look...
"For old time's sake..."
He glances down at his hands, holding them at mid-section level, palms up... as if he were glaring down at blood-stains on his immaculate white gloves... memories of times past. The creature he used to be. The monsters he used to know. The things, he thought gone forever...
With that single word, he snaps into action - one hand lashing out (sharp claws TEARING through the tips of the glove on his right hand as it happens) to gouge a deep slash into the man's neck. For old time's sake, Valkenhayn is going to FINISH this...
COMBATSYS: Hazama dodges Valkenhayn's Strong Punch.
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"That's right!! Heeeeeere's TERUMI!!" the figure laughs, green energy whirling and licking around him.
Flowing through an already potent creation, thrumming his internal energy levels to the brink. Excess crackles and sparks like lightning around him, a strange hum seeming to pulsate from Hazama's body as if some machine was uncomfortably revved to the maximum. "It's been awhile...! I never did get the chance to thank you for taking care of me back then. You know, leaping on me when I was weak and vulnerable after a fight. Well, this should make it fair... This time, I'm at full capacity... and YOU are the one who's a washed-up dog!!"
The hand whips out with wicked speed. But Valkenhayn likely realized at the onset it was not going to hit. Terumi was already leaping upwards, a wave of kinetic force from his motion billowing out and cracking the ground beneath. "Whoa... this form's more potent than I expected!!" he laughs from above, as a razor-sharp scythe of talons rips through where he had been. To an observer, the exchange might have seemed to take place in an eyeblink. But the potential difference in their capabilities is apparent, to keen senses.
For Terumi, that attack was slow. Very, very slow.
"Do I need to dial it back to have some FUN?!" Whirling forward in a tight ball, suddenly a great bloom of fel emerald power wraps around his leg. Like a meteor, he brings his heal to bear, air crackling like a storm in it's wake. The air grows foil with the stink of Terumi's power, and were the assault to miss, it's liable to shatter a massive crator into even Rachel's magically reinforced domain, as great plumes of green fire wash out for meters around with the mere backlash.
"But, no no no!! You didn't hold back with ME at all, did you?! I'd almost say you got some SATISFACTION out of breaking me. Didn't you?!" His wild grin stretches further, clothing and hair billowing wildly from the constant output of his conduited energy...
COMBATSYS: Hazama knocks away Valkenhayn with Falling Fang.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
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His now-clawed hand is slashing through the air, and already Valkenhayn R. Hellsing knows he's made a TERRIBLE error - the confident, smug expression on the face of Hazama reveals everything he needs to know, too late to make a bit of difference. He's grown old in the intervening years, his speed and strength ever-so-slightly dulled by generations of domesticity under Madam Rachel's employ... he may still be sharp enough to deal with most any other intruder, but...
This man? This THING...? Is another matter, entirely.
The wizened manservant barely has a moment to regain his stance after the wild, lunging thrust claws through thin air... he's overextended, he's let his anger get the better of him - a rare occurence for the prim and proper butler... but if anyone can bring out the monster in him, it's his past calling out to him. Returning to the present, when he thought it long-buried.
Perhaps Terumi knew, in his experience with the lycanthrope, precisely what buttons to push. If so, his tactics are admirable - as the blind, rage-filled swipe leaves him completely, utterly defenseless against what's to come.
That leg, wrapped as it is in writing green energy, comes down with the force of a wrecking ball upon the aged form of Valkenhayn R. Hellsing - landing firmly on the right side of his collarbone with an almost-deafening *CRACK*.
Yes, Valkenhayn has indeed aged much since the last time these two met... and Terumi's new host seems... as powerful as he ever was.
Knocked down the length of the hallway by the force of the impact, Valkenhayn's body spins through the air and smashes down onto the floor with a dull thud that resounds and echoes throughout the cavernous entryway.
There's silence, that draws on for what seems like minutes, as the aged warrior slowly pushes himself up off the ground. He pulls himself to one knee, before actually stopping to glance down at the damage left by the impossibly potent assault.
The chest of his previously impeccable black uniform, in tatters... blood flowing freely from the man's chest... the slightest, almost imperceptible, imprints in his flesh... almost like... fangs...
He pauses mid-sentence, raising one gloved hand in front of his mouth and coughing out a spatter of blood into his formerly spotless white gloves... certainly, they've already made ENOUGH of a mess of the place.
"Madam Rachel.." he says, under his breath, slowly rising up to a standing position, staring down the length between himself and his 'old friend'. His breathing is heavy, ragged, still wincing in pain with every inhalation of air...
"I'm sorry..." he finishes, to himself. He's not resigned to defeat, as his renewed fighting stance reveals... but he knows now the power he TRULY faces here.
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn gains composure.
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Not many people in this world can handle the full output of Terumi's power. Although it waxes and wanes, he was always a terrifying opponent, using his abilities to significantly amplify his physical strength and speed on top of sheer destructive power. It's clear in that initial exchange that he has lost none of his savage strength in the long time sealed in the Boundary.
And Valkenhayn might have forgotten the most important aspect of dealing with Terumi. He is fueled by hatred and anger. The more you resent him, the more you acknowledge his existance, the more powerful he becomes. In that lapse, the demon's power magnified far more. The horrific explosion that blows out multiple windows almost conceals the mad cackling coming from him, as smoke and debris clouds the long hallway.
Steady footsteps clack along as he approaches Valkenhayn taking a reprieve, shadowed form still visibly crackling with energy. Two green eyes glow like a monster amidst his blurred silhouette. "Are you not used to being properly injured? I know what you really are... and there's NOTHING that I can't kill, buddy!! That includes YOU. When I'm done with you... that shitty vampire won't find enough parts to build a new Gii!!"
A last billow of energy displaces the remaining dust and smoke, sending it whirling around Valkenhayn's hips. "Now, get up. This is your last stand. Rachel's memory will forever be how well you tried to hold me off... and that burning mark will cement me to this world even more!! HAAAAHAHAHAHA!!" He draws his arms from his pockets, exposing himself purposefully to an attack...
Bait. Obviously, he won't actually LET Valkenhayn rip into him. But for a predator's instincts, and the overwhelming desire to win, hopefully it won't result in any poor tactical maneuvers...
COMBATSYS: Hazama takes no action.
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Gritting his fanged teeth together as pain shoots up and down his body, Valkenhayn's breaths come in ragged, sharp bursts at first. It's been so very long since he's felt such unbridled power, it honestly took him off guard - even though he knew who he was facing before he even swung his claws. He has
Again, though, he can't help but bring his eyes - still blurred with the pain of the devastating strike he just received - snapping up and back on the figure of Hazama, steadily walking towards him. It's that 'shitty vampire' comment again... how DARE he talk about the Mistress in such a way?
His fingers curl again, claws extending, hands bulging, the white gloves shredding away as his hands turn into paws. One paw comes up to clutch at his forehead, his mind swimming with rising anger towards this old acquantance and his most disrespectful tone.
When he finally pulls the paw away from his face, his eyes are bright-red, burrowing through Hazama - as though seeing the monster BEHIND the 'man'... his fangs, even longer than previously. As much as he might be aware of Terumi's ability to feed off such emotions...
He is only capable of SO much control. Perhaps if it were anybody but Terumi - that terrifying spectre from his past - he might be able to maintain some level of composure...
"How is this possible... we sealed you away..." he growls, his fangs still extending and slurring his speech as the eyes glow brighter and brighter.
"No matter," he says suddenly, brushing off dirt from the front of (what remains of) his black formal-wear - the majority of it tattered and wrecked from the devastating kick, and the heavy slams against the ground that followed...
"You always were a fool, Terumi. The Mistress will be... displeased, when she hears of this," he says, his own lanky body seemingly hardening, as life and youth flow back into the old bones of the former legend of the Six Heroes.
It's been... too long, since he was properly challenged.
Perhaps Terumi will find the reprieve to be a mistake. Perhaps he is just playing with his 'old friend'. Regardless, Valkenhayn is clearly intent on not backing down...
With a sudden shift, his entire body completes the transformation his teeth, hands and eyes have already begun... and within seconds, there is a large, hulking wolf - on four paws - where the prim butler once stood. The only hint that the creature IS Valkenhayn, is that purplish-pink memento from Madam Rachel, now wrapped around his long, white tail.
Tilting his head up to the ceiling of the manor, the wolf lets out a loud, echoing howl that seems to emit an energy all it's own, rattling the very walls of the Estate as the high-pitched 'arooooo' bounces around the cavernous space.
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn gathers his will.
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One might think Valkenhayn a bastion of civility and willpower. But those people do not know the young wolf, a savage and ruthless beast fearless enough to go toe to toe with the Black Beast itself. His buttons are amongst the easiest to push, if one knows the sacred ground upon which to tread and throw debris. Each pulse of hate is like a beat of pleasurable strength in Terumi's veins, and he openly revels in those furious thoughts. "Yesssss. That's it. That's the face I wanted to see... NOW it's like my old comrade from the past is finally looking BACK at me!!"
"But come, now. You both knew it wouldn't last forever. But... if I had to thank someone, it would be the brilliant minds behind the Gears. Their unstable lifeforce in such dense numbers has massively disturbed the barrier. Especially that tailed one, 'Justice'... combined with the ritual of that Thunder God, and I will likely never see a veil this weak again. It's now or never!!"
Of course, allowing Hazama to use his strength for a window of time and actually setting foot in Earthrealm are quite different. Hazama cannot use his spellcrafting, and is not nearly so immortal. But the pieces are going into place... and deliciously, the final obstacle is this simmering old man that he's so desired to return the favor towards.
And then Terumi suddenly whips out his hand, manifesting a long length of chain. He whirls and sends the vicious snake-like head hurtling towards Valkenhayn, whirling and shooting up and down. "I assume you're done dusting your rusty self off, then?! Good!! Let's shed some BLOOD!!" With that the Ouroboros tries to sink into Valkenhayn's throat, so the black suited figure can whirl around and yank hard, trying to haul the werewolf upwards to shatter through the roof, only to yank down at the apex and draw him down to slam at Terumi's feet with a wicked amount of power!
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn blocks Hazama's Hungry Coils.
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The wolf's mouth closes, the piercing howl still echoing around the massive 'lobby' of the Alucard Estate long after he's ceased emitting the noise himself - in fact, it actually continues to gain in intensity, as it bounces to and fro among the hallowed halls of the Manor. It's been a long, long time since this House heard that sound - the sound of it's eternal watchdog, focusing it's power to face a TRUE threat to Madam Rachel's abode.
Those blood-red, canine eyes look at the body of Hazama - host vessel of a being truly horrifying to comprehend - as though he were a piece of meat to be devoured... there's a hunger in that gaze, a thirst for blood, that seems to mirror the intruder's own words.
This ghost from the past has awoken a part of Valkenhayn R. Hellsing long kept hidden under the proper manners of a professional servant. A piece of himself, from the days of the Six Heroes, from his time in the Immortal Breakers, even... and though his body has aged, his wits have remained sharp - if perhaps a bit... dulled by domesticity.
That facade, however, has been well and truly shattered by the events of the past minute. Whatever hope the humble butler might have had for a quiet, peaceful life serving the Heir to House Alucard... gone, at least for the time being. It appears that matters in the realm of men might not be the GREATEST concern this House has at present... The wolf thinks silently to himself, that he's glad his Mistress had made her exit before this beast's arrival - he does not doubt her abilities, far from it... but he would spare ANYONE an encounter with so foul a creature as this.
The tongue licks across fangs shimmering with spittle and remnants of blood still present from the damage incurred in his previous form. There are no words for Terumi's or his vessel, lost temporarily to his TRUE lycanthropic aspect - all thoughts of discussion and decorum banished far from his mind...
Leaping into action, the wolf lunges in three quick paces across the floor before jumping forward... the green snake manifestation lunges out towards him as well, and for a moment it seems as though the energy is too quick, that the fangs will close around the wolf's throat...
But, fortunately for Valkenhayn, the rushing blood and reminder of olden times have sharpened his reflexes accordingly - managing to twist his body upwards mid-lunge, the snake-chain instead grabbing hold of his right front-paw... the bite is still enough to illicit a pained bark from his throat, and he is flung up into the ceiling...
When he's sent crashing down however, Valkenhayn is already shifting - the massive, hulking wolf returning into the shape of a man, uniform still ripped and bloody, eyes still burning red, teeth still a maw of bloody fangs...
And as he's brought down to the ground, it's with one leg out - snapping in a heavy kick sent to the chest of Terumi's vessel... the second one foot hits the wooden floor of the entryway, another swift and brutish kick is aimed out, this time at Hazama's midsection. There's no pause between strikes, the now-'human' Valkenhayn lunging forward with wolfish claws to grip his old 'friend' by the throat. If his pawed hands find their place on the vessel's throat, he'll lift up his opponent and SLAM them back down to the already-damaged floor in an explosion of purple chi.
He's still not talking. My, my, it seems Terumi HAS woken the beast. Not even a condescending insult!
COMBATSYS: Hazama issues a challenge!!
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COMBATSYS: Hazama interrupts Sieg Nagel from Valkenhayn with The Serpent's Unholy Wrath.
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Yes. This is precisely what Terumi aspired towards. This is not a battle of a refined man, but an unshackled beast content in his cage and muzzle. Such is unlike him, a man who keeps himself composed, sacrificing his deep instincts and feral ambitions in a constant tithe of loyalty against the core of his soul. For Valkenhayn to dismiss all such trappings and attack with everything he has... that will paint a beautiful picture to Rachel of what exactly took place. Oh, the werewolf is still keen of senses. Rachel might be pressured by Terumi's attack as he is now, but he could not slay her. His opportunity would be expended, and with any luck he might not bare his fangs to this realm again for centuries, or longer. Is this the price to pay? Has Terumi decided to shred Valkenhayn to pieces and spite Rachel?
Who knows. The depths of his machinations can be aggravatingly obtuse. How many might have guessed his random baiting of Heidern was a ploy to draw the vampire from her nest, to invade it when unguarded? Of course, the myriad wards and detections woven over the manor have been suppressed. Part and parcel with his teleportation, a certain friend of his made sure that no nuance of his invasion would reach Rachel's senses. Valkenhayn must know by now that Rachel has no idea what is taking place, or she would abandon her interests in the realm of man in a heartbeat...!
Of course, though, Terumi was waiting for the meteor of lupine ferocity. Two lashing coils of Ouroboros have already been summoned, gripped tightly as the snake-headed ends carve through the solemn stone of the broken hallway. Both of his arms then cross, incanting Ouroboros' activation just as the two kicks crash into his chest. Eyes bug out slightly, and he's indeed sent flying backwards... but Valkenhayn would then be caught in mid-air, as a great pillar of green energy appeared beneath. Suppressed body and soul by the power of the ancient weapon, orbitted by ruthless coils, Terumi then cackles as the momentary opening lapses.
Firing off his prepared chains and grasping Valkenhayn, Terumi then rushes upwards, drawing out both of his butterfly knives fluidly. "TOO PREDICTABLE!!" A storm of slashes then flies out, ripping deep into the exposed werewolf as the dark energy carves worse furrows in his very soul. Before whirling around, and unleashing a twisting plume of terrible emerald energy; one massive partially-corporeal maw biting into the wolves' thigh, the other his shoulder, driving him down to slam into the hallway.
The force rockets him along before both serpents explode, intent on hurtling him through the door at the end, as Terumi descends to land unsteady on his feet, grimacing. The wound was significant, but worse is the stress it inflicts on his vessel... Hazama is not able to fully contain his spirit, and the longer he keeps up this much power output, the greater the risk of catastrophic failure.
So. He better remind himself not to have TOO much fun drawing this out...!
The fearsome spectre behind Hazama seems to have truly planned everything to perfection; no doubt he's had more than enough time to plot his revenge upon those who sealed him away in the first place. Too many years to plan, to strategize, to think what went wrong the first time he was pushed beyond the Boundary...
Even a man as fearsome and skilled as Valkenhayn R. Hellsing cannot hope to compete, not when the creature pulling the strings knows him well enough to draw out the mindless beast he's worked so very long and hard to force down into himself... In a way, it may be the generations of domestic service to the Vampire House that have left him so unprepared to face the thing he once fought alongside.
Perhaps there was never any hope to begin with... even in the prime of his life, Valkenhayn would never have considered him anything close to a match for Terumi. Even Jubei himself, the Legend among Legends... no, what hope does the wizened butler have?
Only to represent House Alucard, as best he can....
Alas, he may have already failed; the two kicks do send the vessel backwards, but before the guardian of the Estate can press his attack he's overcome by a sudden pillar of the green energy, holding him in place and aloft as the pain pulsates through his body, fanged teeth grinding together, blood pouring out the side of his mouth...
And his old friend? Why, it appears he's just BEGINNING...
The follow-up strikes of Ouroboros force land without so much as an attempt at defense from the wounded Valkenhayn, his body writhing painfully as the chains whip out and slash at his upper body... fang marks, deep gouges, flowing blood - but through it all, not a sound of pain from the gritted jaw of Hellsing...
No. That would be undignified.
The dual-jaws of the snake-like manifestation grab him on thigh and shoulder then slam him through the door at the hallway's end, with the cracking and splintering wooden shards flying up into the air. In the back of his mind, there is a twinge of guilt at the MESS that him and Terumi are causing in the Estate. He can only imagine what Madam Rachel will have to say about this... yes, even faced with a threat as monstrous as Terumi, his professionalism is never TOO far from the surface. Old habits, as they say.
For a moment, the butler disappears in the darkness of the next room, giving Hazama time to find his footing and perhaps snoop around the hallway for a few moments...
And then, a voice from the shadows beyond the doorway, low and grim.
"Lady Alucard... will hear of this... you MONSTER..." he growls, his voice a harsh and broken thing as a hand comes out of the darkness and grips the doorframe... With a grunt of effort, Valkenhayn steps into the entryway once more, clearly struggling to breath through aching, cracked ribs - one hand, now fully returned to human shape, clutching at his chest as his shoulders rise in fall in time with his shaky inhales and exhales.
"You'd better... kill me now... Terumi..." his eyes are still as fearsome as they were moments before, in spite of the thrashing he's just found himself put through in mere moments' time. His teeth, slicked with blood, glisten in the dim, flickering light of the massive hall... and still, he stands.
"Kill me, or I'll be there... watching... as Milady brings your foolish plans crashing down around you."
And then, with what must SURELY be the last bit of willpower remaining (though, given his former status as Legend, it may NOT) the elderly manservant once again thrusts himself forward - loping stride carrying him down the hallway swiftly towards his opponent... halfway down the length, he flips forward and once again assumes his wolf form, landing in a full-sprit on four paws as he rushes down Hazama for one... last... chance...
The moment he clears enough distance between the two, his jaws open wide once more - this time, the howl that echoes forth comes with a radiating blast of purplish chi-energy, radiating outwards from his canine lips and tearing apart the wooden floorboards as it spreads down the hallway in all directions.
COMBATSYS: Hazama endures Valkenhayn's Vormund Wolf.
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"Well done...!! For someone who doesn't often experience true agony, feel the grasp of despair, you're enduring it WELL!!" Terumi states with a laugh, although Valkenhayn might note that it's a touch breathless. Gentle hisses of green steam seem to be leaving his form now, and the scent of his black suit burning wafts in the air. Ah. If the situation was a bit different, he might have hope of drawing this out, until Hazama's incomplete vessel failed and he fell back to the Boundary. But as things are now, that seems unlike.
And Terumi's aware of it. It's clear he will be drawing this to a rapid close, as opposed to risk the ultimate prize. As delicious as asasulting Valkenhayn may be.
"Yes. She'll read it in your blood and entrails, as one divines from a goat. You domesticated canine...! She is a failure as a holder of Tsukuyomi. Brattish, arrogant, self-centered, believing keeping an eye on things will compensate her shortcomings. And look here...! The moment she blinks, her delicate house of cards comes crashing down!! Maybe the Tsukuyomi Unit itself will find her unworthy, and finally abandon the Alucard bloodline?! How delicious would THAT be!!"
And then the great wail of the wolf rushes down, impacting him directly. His eyes widen and his smile finally falters, as within Hazama's body the most basic and primal instincts are triggered. Fear. That of being prey. It resonates around him, before Terumi laughs once more. "That's the way it should be... that's the way a hero DIES!!"
And then he thrusts out, a seal opening beside. A chain rockets forth, and just as the legendary howl comes to a close, the serpent's fangs make to bite Valkenhayn upon the face. Intent on then retracting violently, and pull him in Terumi's direction as he kicks forward in a similar advance, intent on one way or another reaching the wolf in short order.
"Now... let's FINISH THIS...!! Make your death memorable, as the grave marker for the Hellsings and the Alucards!!"
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn blocks Hazama's Ouroboros.
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What floorboards remain are torn asunder by the resonating howl that carried along with it a radiating shockwave of purple chi - tears and cracks in the ancient wall of the hallway forming as the energy passes along it...
After unleashing the howl, the wolf skids to a stop on it's four paws, coming to rest on one of the few undamaged portions of floor left in the corridor. He's barely come to a stop before another chain of greenish energy is sent lashing for his face, the fangs striking the wolf in the shoulder instead as the canine form twists to the side suddenly - red blood deeply staining grey and white fur. It drags him forward, towards the kick, but he's fortunately able to yank his shoulder free from the jaws with a few feet distance to spare.
As the chi dissapates and reveals the extent of the damage, the wolf suddenly shifts upwards - back into the form of the distinguished butler, Valkenhayn R. Hellsing.
"Oh, bother..." he grumbles under his breath as he witnesses the damage done to his Mistresses' residence. She will most certainly be displeased - though the return of an opponent as fearsome as Terumi may make her slightly more... understanding of Valkenhayn's actions, than she might normally be with the Castle's entryway in such an unacceptable state.
One can only hope!
His gaze is still fixed in on Hazama's form, watching the writing energy around him with narrowed, crimson eyes... The hatred - Valkenhayn doesn't remember feeling such unbridled rage towards an individual since... my, he cannot even REMEMBER it. Has he been tamed for so long? And what has Hazama wrought, by awakening the beast inside the 'retired' Legend?
Does he truly grasp the consequences of his actions today? Certainly Madam Rachel will NOT forgive such an unwanted intrusion... and if her werewolf remains in any condition to fight at her side, Terumi will have signed his own death warrant here today. Valkenhayn is sure of THAT much...
But... where is Lady Alucard?
The realization strikes him like a blow to the chest, and his eyes snap back open. There's a moment's concern, that Terumi may have led her into an ambush of some kind - it's only the thought of Madam Rachel tearing asunder those foolish enough to oppose her that calms the ever-loyal servant.
No, there must simply be some interference - she CAN'T be aware of what's happening in her home, otherwise she'd surely spring to Valkenhayn's aid.
"You were always too confident for your own good, Terumi," hisses the wounded, but still standing, werewolf - in human form, and looking significantly worse for wear - even his usually perfect ponytail is a mess, blood even staining that purplish-pink ribbon from Madam Rachel...
"Kill me if you will, it makes no matter. Milady will see that my death in avenged... with YOUR blood!" he shouts confidently - and he has full faith in his Mistress. He may perish here, now, defending the honor of the house... but his faith in Lady Alucard is absolute. She will survive, and emerge victorous, from whatever trials are to come - he cannot imagine the tenacious vampiress doing anything less.
Another lunge forward - propelled forward by rage and a sense of humor to defend the House that has given him so many years of peaceful service... as he clears the short distance between himself and Terumi's vessel, his right leg transforms into a massive, hulking wolf's foot - and he launches it out and upwards in a spinning, chi-infused crescent kick towards the underside of his old enemy's jaw.
COMBATSYS: Hazama dodges Valkenhayn's Grau Bogen.
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"Don't be foolish..." Terumi hisses, as he rushes forward with his grin widening. A hand sweeps out, and a green chain flies up to impact the ceiling. It retracts immediately, and the slender man goes spiraling over the wolf. His butterfly knife remains out, attempting multiple lacerations into the beast's back before he spins to land daintily upon a foot, like some manner of bullfighter who is toying with his prey before finishing them off. Not yet...
There's still one more wound he can twist the knife within.
"Have you considered that the shitty vampire knows what is going on? I intended Hazama to infiltrate here unaware. That you would remain behind and force me to manifest was not exactly what I had hoped..." He brings up his knife and draws a tongue along the edge, where the earlier flurry drew blood through that dense pelt. "She knows I'm here. And is observing us even now. You are a sacrificial lamb. Nothing more than a pup, easily replaced. The last of your line, whether I kill you now or let time crush the last breath from your lungs. Compared to the long term game, allowing you to die here rather than risk my trump card, when my time is limited..."
"Isn't that an easy choice to make?"
He then stands up straight, continuing to slowly twirl around the butterfly knives. "I told you this was a show. I told you that damn lolita brat would remember your death. That's because she's here, watching you die. And cares no more for you than her other abused underlings. But isn't this better? Better than fading into the memory, only a vague impression when she nibbles on scones? At least here... you get to die like a man, not taken for granted by a being who never grew beyond entitled, aloof childhood!!"
COMBATSYS: Hazama successfully hits Valkenhayn with Medium Strike.
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Too many years have passed; one man has grown weaker, the other seemingly only stronger with the passage of time. Whoever this new vessel is, he seems filled to the brim, overflowing with the potent energies of Terumi - undecayed by the passage of time as he was sealed within the Boundary.
It may never have been a fair match, but it was one that Valkenhayn was obliged not to back down from; though his general duties around the Manor revolve around brewing tea, tending roses, and dusting furniture, he's also served as the watchful protector of the House for generations.
That butterfly knife flashes and slashes into his back as Hazama rolls over his wild crescent-kick - drawing even more blood from the now light-headed and swaying lycanthrope. The ease with which the man toys with him would be enraging, were the formerly polite manservant not already filled to the brim with unbridled anger.
Indeed, even the following words from his rival can do little to add to the oceans of rage rolling over him - his face already burning red, the same colour as his eyes and blood-slick fangs. And regardless, he KNOWS Madam Rachel - she may be aloof and uncaring even at the best of times...
..she would NOT resign her faithful servant to such an undignified fate.
"As always, Terumi, you speak nothing but LIES," growls Valkenhayn in response to the man's verbal jabs - and he offers him no further words... his vision is already swimming, the adrenaline fuelling his rage slowly leaving his body...
It's now, or never...
A quick flip forward has him landing on the four paws of his wolf form... then he leaps, his massive, gaping maw opening up as he hurtles through the air towards Hazama. Those bloody, razor-sharp fangs attempt to find a grip on his throat, before savagely tearing his jaws from side to side in a thrashing motion...
If he manages it, he finishes the deadly bite with a chi-laced flip-kick, off of the man's body, attempting to send his old friend hurtling backwards with a savagely lacerated neck...
COMBATSYS: Hazama interrupts Himmel Wolf from Valkenhayn with #Hungry Darkness of 1,000 Souls#.
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"You know me well, hound. Do I ever lie?" That is a difficult question for Valkenhayn to answer. The short answer is a 'yes' with an 'if', the longer answer is 'no', with a 'but...' One must carefully ascertain his wording. Is he saying a statement of fact? Or an accurate representation of what might be? The difference may be less than he'd like. For what Terumi says, and why his venomous words so well, are heartfelt and earnest. Based on what he knows, Terumi does think Rachel would let Valkenhayn, a simple attendant who primarily keeps her contained upon awakening, die rather than risk herself or Tsukuyomi.
That makes the question instead... is he correct? Does he merely think it? Or is it not the case... but it would be, if things were different?
Arms stretch out to either side, and Valkenhayn will realize too late that leaping upon him was a disastrous decision. "I believe you have seen this, haven't you? The full release... of OUROBOROS!!" Teeth sink into his throat. A brief taste of yielding flesh... but disturbingly little blood, the artificial body crafted by Relius merely a sponge, a channel for power, and little more.
Arms thrust down, and a literal sea of massive chains erupt from the manifested sigil at his feet. Valkenhayn is embraced by the countless thrusting chains, as the ceiling overhead erupts. Within the dark evening night, as clouds roll and boil before a great full moon, the wolf is carried amidst countless bites of teeth.
Then, a gargantuan serpent unfurls, towering over the estate. The size of one of the Black Beast's massive necks, seething with the condensed power of a legendary weapon fully realized. It then drives forward, massive maw spreading wide. Snapping shut around Valkenhayn, before rocketing downwards.
He is lost to a sea of pure, disintegrative power, rolling and bouncing him around, before in the middle of the rose-layered courtyard, the summoned serpent strikes. A great geyser of power roars out, shaking the very foundation of the defenses segregating this realm from other worlds. Glass shatters, and every last crimson rose dies, blackening the dirt and bushes, gnashing the cobblestones to dust. A strange purple sphere seems to shimmer all around in the distance before shattering...
As the incantation to keep the wards and spells from notifying Rachel fails. However, the spell to prevent her from returning remains intact. Her observing eye could not quite pierce the muddy veil of this master-level ward, but she would know Terumi is here.
And Valkenhayn would know that Rachel is certainly aware. ...and does not immediately come. That such is because of a twin-layered defense, one to obscure, one to blind, didn't seem important enough to reveal at the time.
Within the center of the crator would be what is left of Valkenhayn. Alive, if barely. Terumi descends to land heavily on the ground nearby, arms dangling at his side with deep, heavy breathes. "Well. I might have gone overboard. ...Hmm? Rachel certainly knows what is going on. Hahahaha...!! How strange!! Where is she, in your time of greatest need?! This is no fairy tail, Valkenhayn!! My vessel will not conveniently crack. Rachel will not come to save you!! Your personal talisman of teleportation will not work to escape!! This is the end... YOUR end...!!"
"Do you feel it?! The greatest depair?! That of a beast, abandoned to die?!"
Terumi can believe whatever he wants; Valkenhayn R. Hellsing knows the Lady of the House better than any creature - mortal or otherwise - left alive on any plane of existence. He's stood vigilant by her side for decades, never faltering, never failing in a task... he KNOWS she would not repay him by leaving him to die at the hands of this monstrous beast.
It's simply up to him, to honor her name as best he can - even in the face of certain defeat. He may know that leaping in against such a superior opponent is a fool's errand - but does he truly have any choice? Up close or at range, Terumi's vessel has a considerable advantage. And at any rate, any tactical thoughts have long since fled the mind of the Legendary warrior - as evidenced by his savage, thoughtless attacks and near-constant shifting between wolf and human form.
Whatever remained of Valkenhayn the Manservant, that dream of living his a life of respectful service to a worthwhile Mistress, may be changed forever by this encounter with an old rival he'd thought he'd seen the last of...
Perhaps it truly is time for the former Legend to once again return to the realms of men alongside his beloved Madam Rachel - to once again rise above his humble station as loyal butler, and become the fierce warrior he used to be...
If only he can survive long enough.
He lunges, and he's met with... Pain. Agony. Suffering. Despair. Defeat. ...Death?
The raging storm inside the vessel housing Terumi lashes out in a display of power previously unseen in the encounter, chains lashing out and restraining his canine form - preventing him from shifting back into his human shape, keeping him still and defenseless for what is to come....
And when the attack does strike him fully? Well, Valkenhayn hasn't felt pain like that in generations - it tears through his body with the ease of a God manhandling one of it's own creations. Despite his own power and finesse, the wizened Butler finds himself hurtling through a rolling tidal wave of immense power.
He's aware, vaguely, of the shift in energies within the Estate - of the watchful eye of Rachel Alucard finally being able to find it's way to the events unfolding underneath her roof...
...and she's nowhere to be seen. This... breaks Valkenhayn, mentally, to match his now-shattered body. As he's sent flying backwards by the force of the blasts, he doesn't even sprawl out his hands to catch himself on the floor, he simply strikes it with a dull thud before skidding to a stop several feet away from the impact spot, now back in his fully-human form, tattered and bloody.
"Madam... Ra..." he groans, attempting to raise his head off the ground, before the blackness rises up to overcome him - and it comes crashing back down to the floor, blood oozing out of his mouth freely. He's conscious, but barely, the only sound he's aware of are the ringing, distorted words and laughter of the vessel 'Hazama'.
He's... failed the House. He's failed his Mistress. Valkenhayn has failed, against this MONSTER from his past...
...what now awaits the fallen Legend?
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn takes no action.
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COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn can no longer fight.
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"There it is." Terumi hisses out, chuckling deeply. Ah. Two birds with one stone. How desperately Rachel must be clawing to view, to get back. And Valkenhayn, unaware of such, believing he has been abandoned in his final hour. The hatred and despair of two beings of such incredible potentcy between realms floods him further. But no. It's still not enough. Like a proper gardener, he has only tended the bed. Planted the seeds. There is still one thing left to do for it to sprout.
His hand descends, grasping Valkenhayn by the face. No further sadism. A brutal slam impacts his head into the ground, repeated a few times, to knock the old man unconscious. Although Nine's magic is incredible, it will not resist Rachel's brute force for long. He has a task to do, after all. Dragging along Valkenhayn, he leaps up to land upon the edge of the broken window leading into her rather cumbersomely furnished bedroom.
Hurtling the limp figure along, he then tosses the legendary hero upwards. While still in mid-air, Terumi's arms snap out. Green blades manifest, slender and sharp, impacting him upon the arms; eight total, four per side, pinning him like an insect for collection against the wall. The sealing magic hisses, leaving his body as an open book to the struggle he bore.
And then, Terumi reaches into his pocket, pulling out the strange Ars Magus-sealed mechanical device he initially entered with. "Well, Relis. We'll see if you did your part, too..." He tosses it to roll beneath the bed, before finally grimacing.
In a great wash, all of the immense power floods out. Hazama collapses to hands and knees, hair drooping down, the fountain of dark power cut off as Terumi can no longer maintain it. Panting heavily, hands probe at his throat and chest, shaking as he brushes cinders off his suit.
"O-Oh my, Terumi. Did you have to be so rough with me...?" It's only then he looks upon Valkenhayn trussed up on the wall, and for once even he does not smile. "Ah. I see. ...excessive." Shakily getting to his feet, he then makes his way back towards the window, slithering out and leaping down. He is not certain what is going on, only that Rachel is aware, likely has the anger of the Gods, and he's in very poor shape. He's no match for her at his peak, so had best make his exit. The ward preventing her from returning, preventing her from seeing, is almost gone. And when it breaks, the only place in the entire estate her observation will not bear witness... will be the room with her servant.
Staggering back through the gate, Hazama flicks out an Ouroboros chain. It flashes into the building, whirling and flicking, before sinking into his long abandoned hat. Retrating potently, he catches the brim and places it atop his head, despite the dust and debris. Before adding a last touch. In front of the gate, where Rachel will arrive... he drops a long ribbon, and a number of burnt rose petals. An item that Valkenhayn would never part with, were he capable of any resistance.
"Well, then. I think my part in this is over. ...I'd best keep my head VERY low for the time being. Hoo... people may think me crazy, but even I wouldn't aggravate Ms. Alucard to this extent...!" There's a shimmer of energy, before the teleportation rune that sealed away the area is finally undone.
And Hazama vanishes in a flick, leaving behind his parting gifts, allowing Rachel to return...
COMBATSYS: Hazama has ended the fight here.
And with her, she brings the storm.
The vile trespasser makes it out just in time before a violent tempest encloses Castle Alucard. A split second later and he would have been trapped within as all avenues of egress by magical means are immediately cut off. The air crackles with magical energy and atop the spires of the palatial estate itself, lightning rods begin to capture countless discharges of violet, unnatural lightning forking down from the swirling column of storm clouds.
A massive pillar of lightning explodes into the courtyard then vanishes, leaving the smell of vaporized ozone and the sight of Rachel Alucard and her two familiars at her sides. Crimson eyes glance left, than right, coming to rest on the very location where the serpent stood before being whisked away magic that should not have been his.
"Oh goodness, Princess... this can't be..." Nago murmurs as his wide cat eyes take in the devastation visible in every direction. The desiccated roses, a pride of the castle, as well as the ruined stone, pulverized walkways, and destroyed portals and doors. No mere battle was fought here, but rather a war. Hovering around the level of her shoulder, the crimson winged bean of Gii begins to snivel, tears already welling in tiny beady white eyes. "P-Princess, what happened...!"
Rachel stands for a long moment, finally closing her eyes as the gale force winds whip at her hair and dress. Finally, she opens her eyes again, irises burning with crimson fury. With a sweep of her left arm, she folds shadow over herself and vanishes. Another bolt of lightning strikes the roof of the castle and there the little monster stands, her familiars once again in toe, as Nago struggles to find purchase upon the peaked roof in order to avoid tumbling to the courtyard far below.
"Where." she states, her voice soft yet cleanly audible over the riotous noise of the maelstrom and deafening thunder of endless lightning.
"Where is Valkenhayn, Princess?" Nago asks, folded over the peak and clinging to both sides for dear life as the wind threatens to dislodge him. Gii clings to the heavy beast's tail with his tiny clawed legs, barely able to keep from being lost all together in the storm.
"Pathetic," Rachel speaks, her voice far from demure. "Pathetic." Her hands clench at her sides as she continues to sweep the castle grounds with a sight that should not be denied. "This whole situation is pathetic!" At last, her eyes narrow on the main building itself.
Another sweep of her arm, another folding of shadow, and the Alucard heiress appears at the top of a great, curved stairway that leads to the royal bedroom itself. A hole in the wall adjacent to the door remains where her loyal butler had started his dutiful repairs without complaint, but the girl's eyes are on the door itself. Why can't she see?
At her side, Nago quivers like a giant mound of jelly, his massive arms covering his cat head as he crouches on the floor while Gii has taken to hiding under the sides of the beast's prodigious abdomen. How rare it must be, to see the vampire both conscious and driven to such fury?
With a flick of her wrist, the door to her bedroom is obliterated, an echoing shockwave rattling the entire wing of the castle as Rachel steps into the room, her familiars reluctantly cowering behind her. Only then does she come to an abrupt stop, mouth opening then closing, as if for the first time in an age or two, the immortal vampire princess is at a loss for words.
The sight on display is clearly there for her eyes to find. The man she has known the longest, the loyal steward and caretaker that has been a part of her long, eventful life since the time she could comprehend her existence, crucified to her wall, held by blade and magic.
It would almost seem impossible for her pale features to lose their complexion even further, but in an instance, the blood drains from her face, teeth grit, tiny fangs almost never seen visible in the light provided by the bolts of lightning still surging outside.
The vampire sorceress staggers back a step, as if to fall faint, "Oh... Valkenhayn..." She looks as if she might collapse, but Nago is already there, capturing her descent with his cushioning body that molds itself around her form to keep her safe. The curse of being an Observer means she can never forget the things she's seen. The image of such arrogant, directed ruin before her now, will never be erased from her memories, no matter how hard she might try. For once, her eyes lose their eternal focus, gazing without direction in the broken man's direction.
It is Gii that flutters boldly forward, his child-like innocence compelling him to brave the proximity to the assuredly dead lycanthrope that had served the house for all his waning years.
"P-Princess-... he's still alive!"
Rachel is upright in an instant, moving next to the pinned man without taking a single step. "A platform," she states, and obediently, whether by choice or compulsion, Gii's sack-shaped body flattens and extends, becoming an elongated, elastic surface, kept aloft by a current of wind swirling beneath it. Extending her right hand, she shatters the seal on the wall with a touch, and with a wave of her left arm, sweeps each of the eight blades free with focused bursts of air, leaving them to clatter to the floor.
She is there to catch him as he falls, seeming to pay no heed to the blood staining her dress as, with strength far beyond her frame would suggest, gently lays the man on Gii's hovering body.
Standing adjacent to the prone, battle torn man, Rachel looks down at Valkenhayn, taking a step back. With but a thought, she compels the currents keeping the Gii-platform a loft over to her bed, allowing it to drift down over the comfortable mattress that had been her resting place for the last ten years. Lowering Gii gently, she dismisses the forced shape, leaving Valkenhan R. Hellsing, legendary warrior, and lifelong friend, to rest.
Little by little, the storm outside abates as the young looking vampire stands at the bed's side. For all her incredible power, there is but one means she has for sustaining a life driven to the edge of the abyss. But it would never work on a creature of Valkenhayn's nature.
Gii flutters up to her side to hover in respectful silence while Nago pads to her other side, tall enough to look over the bed as he settles on his large haunches. "What will you do, Princess?"
Rachel closes her eyes briefly, looking as if to center her thoughts, before she opens them again."A truly banal question to give voice to, though I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to hear it from you. Clearly, when extreme circumstance such as these present themselves, it behooves one -" Her voice is steady, her tone close to normal as any other day but for a slight hitch. "- to solicit assistance."
Of course Valkenhayn still lives. His hatred burns hot as a tempered forge. To kill him is to kill an anchor for Terumi to this world. A foolish notion; it would be like breaking down one's own wooden house to throw into a furnace. It might be different, if the werewolf were a threat. Had he the power he wielded when he first tore into Terumi and dragged him defeated to Alucard manor, that might be different. But the decades have not been kind to him, and now in the destructive beast's eyes he is little more than a battery.
Speaking of machinations, the strange device hidden beneath Rachel's bed finally activates. An exceptionally dense spray of seithr is released, coalescing into a cloud directly behind her. Before suddenly within the midst of it, she would feel it. A sudden, unmistakeable presence.
Directly behind her is Terumi. He's still here...? Did he have some way of hiding? A searing edge of threat, of danger, perhaps waiting for this moment of dropped guard in her rage and regret, in this room her observation works so poorly...!!
No sooner does she answer Nago's question with an open admission that for once she may truly be in need of help, then there is that undeniable presence. The gift of forgetfulness is not one to grace her long life. She knows exactly who it is she feels - one who should not possibly be here yet has left his calling card on display throughout the ruined courtyards and carved into the body of her dear steward.
Without hesitation, Rachel whirls, the crimson wings normally resting against her dress coming to life, jutting out in front of her, stretching into sharp, long blades.
In the same gesture, her left hand lifts, Nago's soft body compressing in an instant, violently folded and forged into a formidable sword as long as Rachel is tall, its pommel a blooming rose, its grip crimson entwined with black steel, its cross-guard scarlet lightning swirling around a skull, and the blade itself a long stretch of metal encased in ebony and crimson glyphs. Compared to the fluffy lump it started at, the utterly lethal, jagged razor edged weapon seems entirely out of character. The sword hovers at her side, ready to be driven into her target in an instant.
And in her right palm, a small tornado of wind power compressed so violently as to be forced into the visible spectrum as the moisture in it is forced into mist.
Armed, spells active, her fangs briefly bared, Rachel looks ready to slice, dice, skewer, and scatter whatever is there to be found.
Terumi would deserve nothing less.
When Rachel whirls around, however, there is nothing present. Only open air. However, she might realize her mistake too late. She is trying to find him. Trying to observe Terumi. Her rage and fury, so deeply hidden, brought to the forefront. Had she the proper insight, she might have noticed what she did in the future and managed to prevent herself from doing it now.
Ah, the horrors of a momentary lapse, where consequences matter.
A small speck of blackness whirls into being, before stretching out. Small arms, tiny legs, the almost comical sight of a black shadow. Ripples of green energy slither through it. What seems to be an almost tumorous emerald heart forms in the center of his chest, slithering out lines like throbbing veins along vestigial limbs. Before a single crimson line ripples across the vaguely-shaped face, and a single brilliant green eye appears.
"Hello, shitty vampire."
She observed him. A great strain billows as the fabric barring Terumi beyond the veil, beyond this realm, begins to strain... stretch... the power of her direct anchoring infinitely more than Valkenhayn, the most potent observer and his kin as a Unit...!!
The space she was ready to obliterate is empty. Immediately, she begins to look. Not just with her blood red eyes that flick back and forth, but with her sight as well, struggling with the interference pushing back on in this shell of a room which only causes her to try and push it harder, like a muscle being strained by unexpected force.
Her weapons and spell remain readied and one mustn't forget the slowly waning storm outside, its vast clouds still churning with potential waiting to be directed a target worthy of young Alucard's concentrated wrath.
But the vampiress's search isn't needed for long, the mistake made and capitalized in a fleeting instant as the kernel of black shadow manifests before her. He must have been waiting for this very moment, the lapse of an instant in time where strong emotions all surrounding the destroyer Unit have forced their way to the forefront of her thoughts.
She realizes it just as quickly, recoiling at the first sign of vile offense unfolding before her eyes. Teeth grit as the grotesque form resembling the vague shape of a man unfolds into the room. In searching for him, she acknowledged him, in acknowledging him, all of her wrath normally became directed to finding him. Seething hatred that had always broiled deep in her heart yet kept locked away under formidable willpower is at last given a target.
She knows the ramification as in her very home, inherited from the great Clavis Alucard, Terumi is prying his way into existence. But there is another side to it - this IS her home.
"Terumi," she replies through clenched teeth and a forced smile. "I never expected you to come back to your cage like a broken beast. How long were you our prisoner again? The thought of enduring your stench here once more makes me ill to my stomach, but it is a burden I will suffer gladly."
And then she makes her move.
Not with the sword, the blades, or even the wind or storm. She would be the first to explain the futility in trying to stab the ghostly echo of the Susano'o Unit's will.
Instead, the change happens outside, all around the castle, a great barrier beginning to activate - the Requiem, the power to dislodge the Castle Alucard from the flow of time itself. A vast sphere of glyph covered energy begins to take form in the horizon.
If he doesn't escape in time, he will be locked into an endless confrontation with the Undying Master of the house on her own ground. And she has no end of things she would like to say to him.
"Oh, come now. Deep inside, you knew that I would some day escape. This is inevitable. But it's amazing, isn't it? What the technology of Relius and Nine can make. This 'Ars Magus'. Potent enough to create a split-second Event Interference that even your observation did not predict. Ahhh, I wonder what you will see when it dissipates...?"
The ghostly form continues to strain against the wall. This is the only change he has, after all. That strange black face seems to flatten on the air, before great cracks appear. Splintering across reality, slowly expanding further and further... Like a pebble rolling down a snowy mountain, progressively gaining momentum. Only to stop when she begins to erect the barrier. And the response is that crimson face stretching even more thin, green eye squinting in amusement.
"This...? Oh, how naive. Do it. Splinter us from time. But which of us will win, in an eternity? Me, the direct manifestation of your holder's brother... Or you, a simple vampire girl. You are not truly immortal. You need to eat. You need blood. We can sit here, if you truly like. Until Valkenhayn collapses to dust. Until the entire estate itself does. And eventually, you are left with nothing but your hate for me. It will define your entire existance. Grain by grain, the hourglass will shift in my favor. Until I consume you...! I can self-Observe long enough to escape when you finally fall...! Think I'm bluffing?! Guaranteed escaping, or an eternity in the Boundary... which do you think I'll go for?!"
More and more, the cracks begin to expand, green eye wide and wild through the proverbial glass between realms. Amorphous hands reach up to smack against it, a mad cackle heard through the shrinking void between worlds. "Do you think Tsukuyomi will allow this?! Of course not!! It will abandon you, and I will be free anyway!! And when that happens, your barriers will fall!! Win/win!! Everything's coming up Terumi!! Maybe if you didn't need to be in here with me, your plan would work... and maybe, that's precisely why you didn't do it the FIRST time you caught me, isn't it?!"
Fists begin to pound now against the air. "There's only one way to prevent this. ...STOP HATING ME. Expunge every little ounce of resentment and hatred, before I finish pushing through. Can you do that, shitty vampire?! After what I did to Valkenhayn?! I mocked him by saying you thought of him as only an expendable tool. Yet... if that was truly the case... then we wouldn't BE in this situation right now, would we...?! Hahahaha!! Our final battle! My despair, versus your will!! Reject me, Alucard! Forgive me! Ignore me!! Erase me from your heart, and I will be gone forever!! Clavis could have done it! Can't you?!"
It was inevitable.
Just like the cyclical tournaments to determine the fate of Earth's autonomy from the empire of a mighty tyrant, there are a few threats from beyond the borders of the Material Plane that are particularly difficult to solve in a permanent manner. The best those who would hold the line can do is keep pushing back the doomsday deadlines... maintaining an unending vigil in hopes that when their watch ends, another will take up the the cause.
The taunting, macabre nightmare shouting at the diminutive vampiress is one of those problems.
She stares back at him, eyes betraying the fury she tries to bite back. "Is that the best you can do? Hurl vituperations from across the wall like a tantruming child? No, like a yelping hyena?" she replies. She lowers her arms, letting the spell storm in her right hand collapse harmlessly, and releasing Nago to collapse back to the floor with a heavy thud, once more in his form, though both familiars seem deathly afraid of chiming in on the exchange, content to cower behind the Bystander's dress.
"I can listen to those all year, you know." she continues, folding her sleeve covered arms over her stomach and closing her eyes as the barrier completes, forming a pocket bubble in time... The world will pass them by while they live out eternity within. At least, that is the implied threat. Mutually assured containment. Perhaps it's better this way... A sacrifice play - remove both units from play in one move. But what of the other threats Tsukuyomi has kept at bay for all this time? What would happen to the Earth if she decides to abandon her duty? Would the mechanism even bend to her will for eternity? And if it did, could she even sustain it while also fighting /him/ off?
Again, sometimes the best you can do... is delay the inevitable. She grits her teeth, crimson eyes closing, arms still folded as the red blades of her dress's wings retract, becoming flush with the fabric once again. He mentions Valkenhayn and she half turns, eyes opening to look at the bed. But rather than the barely living bloodied butler she sees only a corpse. One that begins to rot and wither, as dust and decay build up. The corpse becomes a desiccated mummy waiting for its wrappings, and then a skeleton, and then dust scattered to the wind while the castle decomposes all around her. The gates rust, the ceilings collapse, the stone weathers, the lights die.
How long would it last before the inevitable? Could she hold him for a hundred years? Two hundred? What of the Earth itself, no longer protected from the other planes by Tsukoyomi's wall. Would the Elder Gods finally get directly involved, would they get off their high thrones in the stars like the bold few who were willing to get their hands dirty in the world of men? Or would they watch it all burn from afar?
She turns back toward the cracking barrier, the fiend hammering away, trying to create the fissure just wide enough for him to ooze into existence. Everything he shouts is painfully true. To lock him here would be a pyric victory, but only for so long.
She glares back at him. The solution is to forgive and forget, to expunge emotion, to regard him with the callus detachment of a machine. She tries, hands at her sides slowly unclenching, her mouth pressing into a thin line of focused intensity as she attempts to will her teeth to ungrit.
But those are all just physical representations of what she feels within. What of the seething hatred? What of the anger? Can she possibly force it all away? Her father did have the strength of will to do so, in that the ghastly soul speaks the truth. But she is not her father... she has a long ways to go before she could ever be confused with the great man.
Maybe with time she could do so. Terumi might feel it. That slightest theft of his power, a seeping on an instinctual level, as little by little Rachel begins to wrestle with the emotions in her soul.
But it's too little. And behind her, Valkenhayn is dying. Which begs the question - would her father let him die if it meant keeping Terumi at bay? Rachel opens her eyes, glaring back at the mockery of a face staring back at her. She hates him. She hates him with every ounce of her existence. She hates what he did to Valkenhayn, that he trespassed into her home, grounds that had not seen invasion for her entire lifetime. She hates that she knows what he wants to do once he gets through, and that if he gets through, others will suffer. She hates that she will pick that over allowing her father's friend and her personal caretaker die on the bed behind her. Maybe if she was more callus, maybe if she had it in her to not care, to let the old wolf die, then maybe she could suppress all the other feelings raging within her.
The small vampire's hands clench tightly at her sides once more though her shoulders fall slightly, her brow furrowing, golden eyebrows drawn closer together.
Outside of the castle, the Chrono Wall begins to melt, energy gears in the dome begin to turn, then fade, one by one, as Castle Alucard rejoins the normal timestream once more.
And in inside, Rachel Alucard feels the one experience she had never anticipated having to endure - the sense of defeat.
"You are a most vexing vermin, Terumi," she says, her voice calmed yet seething, her words annunciated clearly yet carrying with each syllable burning heat from the furnace of emotion in her soul.
"A single battle won does not grant you the war, however."
"Hahaha... Come on. You're boring me. I thought watching you struggle would delight me, you little bitch. Instead it's only disgusting..." Yet the barrier between the realms holds. Although Rachel might not realize it, the time he has is very short. The specialized seithr that Nine and Relius created is already starting to disperse. Once it is gone, the slim window he used to press close enough to be properly observed will be gone. The wall will reclaim him, and there's no doubt that Rachel will never make this mistake again.
Is there another who could manage...? Amane, perhaps? Slaughter every single person in his troupe, hang the bodies like marionettes? Blackmail that stupid cat Kokonoe, force her to work with him? He's already beginning to shift into alternative plans. His desperation and panic starting to mount, poker face hiding such beyond his stretched cheshire grin. Such is his private respect for Rachel that even with all this goading, he gave her a real shot at success. She even began to delay, to press him back, and he is on the cusp of pulling back before risking himself being caught undefensible between worlds... He had bluffed, to an extent. Chrono Wall is an absolute defense, but he is a creature beyond time and reason, and can seep through it like mist through fine mesh in time...
But then, the barrier melts away. Rachel surrenders. Terumi's single green eye goes wide, before suddenly there's a roar. Glass seems to shatter in all directions before him, as the ghost slithers forward and thumps down on the ground. The momentary wound in reality immediately knits back together, yet the damage is done. Terumi is on this side of the mirror...!
The black ghost ripples, before seeming to contract inwards. Gradually the blackness seems to go firm about a physical form. Fingers appear one by one... and he reaches up to grasp his face, ripping away his ghost exterior. A great roar as his power manifests, emerald fire swirling about tinged with blackness. He wears his long hooded gold overcoat inlaid with sigils, drawn up into metallic bicep clasps. Wild black belts criss-cross his arms to gloves, otherwise echoing Hazama; a black dress shirt and pants, with twin belts, white undershirt unbuttoned and black tie hanging loose about his neck.
"...You did it..." he almost coos, rising up to a stand and grinning like a madman. He looks like a strange mixture of his former vessel and his appearance as one of the Six Heroes...
"Ahh...! So this is that precious world you splintered off... how fascinating. But... angry though you might be... I think a conflict between us is premature. Beating up your moppets does me nothing, and letting you work off some of that rage... how counter-productive."
She might wish to assault him at this stage. It's only reasonable. But at the moment he's intangible, and primal sorcery and dainty mountain-shattering force cannot reach him. This is liable to only increase the frustrations, having him closer than ever, but so far from being able to vent frustration. "Well, then. I think I'll take my leave...!! Hahahaha!!"
He then swirls in black and green energy, body blackening as if filling with ink, before suddenly shifting out of Rachel's domain...
And finally, he has a fine opening to enter, the shatter creating a shockwave of sound so loud as to be audible for miles. Were the only witnesses to the nascent calamity any less supernatural, far more than just their hearing would be lost by being in the proximity.
Rachel Alucard doesn't blink, doesn't flinch, as the ambiguously shaped form seeps into the world, a disgusting maleficence discharged almost as if the Boundary itself had had enough of his vile presence and was content to deposit the infection back into someone else's lap.
She stays standing, positioned between the rippling ghost and the dying hero behind her. The viper could seize the opportunity to strike but to do so would require being tangible long enough to finish the job. And while the petite vampire may not be able to obliterate him from existence like her barely suppressed anger most certainly wishes to do... here, in Castle Alucard, a veritable stronghold of hidden artifacts, there are alternatives to death to wrangle living curses like Terumi should he risk but a second of tangibility in the home of the vampire princess.
The amalgamation of energy and matter rises slowly, taking form, becoming like unto a man, towering well over the young looking lady. She answers his cooing with thin pressed lips, an unwavering glare, and an expected though unusual tension of crackling, unseen potential. Giving her a shot now, within her domain, very strongly runs the risk of cutting his newfound existence quite short.
"Really, Terumi, is that unusual trepidation shoving words past your forked tongue, or are you always such a craven rat?"
Her question garners no response, the newly manifested force of destruction whisking off before her eyes.
Only when he's gone do Gii and Nago finally shuffle and flitter out from behind her. Rachel stares at the spot where Terumi was for the span of only a few seconds before she whirls to look at the bed upon which her steward lies.
"Nago. Gii. I am entrusting Valkenhayn's protection to you," she sighs softly, "While I go offer a mortal the chance of a life time. Gii, you're to scout around."
Gii flaps his questionably functional wings as he bobs up and down in the air, "You know you can count on us, Princess, but w-what of the dimensional tides if we're not with you?"
Rachel lifts her right hand, fingers resting over where her ear should be, digging into her pale gold hair slightly. "I will take my chances." Half-lidded eyes flick to the hulking cat as he remains on his haunches next to the bed. "Nago, I am authorizing you to slay anyone who enters this room who is not accompanied by me until I get back. Do I make myself perfectly clear?"
For once, the pudgy feline has nothing to say, though there is a certain change that comes over his crimson cat eyes, a reflection of malice uncharacteristic in the mobile beanbag, his huge head rising slightly then lowering in a vague nod, his tail flicking behind his back as if in anticipation.
Rachel's left arm comes up, as if drawing a cloak over her, shadows folding over her tiny form, and then she is gone.
Log created on 21:33:38 11/23/2017 by Rachel Alucard, and last modified on 22:37:52 11/25/2017.