Valkenhayn - A Servant's Travels: Encountering the Black Knight

[Toggle Names]

Description: An Intelligence Division Captain known as 'Hazama'... Elusive, to be sure, but one can expect no less from the earthly vessel of a monster such as Terumi. Perhaps his colleagues within the Novus Orbis Librarium may be able to point the way to my old... 'friend'.

Amidst the turbulent state of Southtown, many different entities are on the move. Police and military work at the behest of opposing influences as groups of vigilantes and looters roam the terrified streets of a city on the verge of destruction from multiple angles. Yet a certain presence has been lacking -- the Novus Orbis Librarium has a reasonable force of troops, currently bunkered down uselessly in the unassuming building amongst the cities' governmental structures.

A plain entrance room houses many tense soldiers and a lone secretary hidden behind a large desk, but any errant walk-in would find only numerous sealed doors and a relentlessly steady demand to leave without hesitation. There are no couches or seats here, merely a series of columns in muted colors that is anything but inviting to visitors.

The building itself is a few stories tall with dark mirrored windows, nothing on the exterior indicating it's purpose. Even pedestrian attempts to find information with the address on the internet purposefully obtuse who owns it. Right now, the organization is waiting in the shadows, biding it's time, and not to the satisfaction of all relevant parties.

Within a grandiose third-floor office, Kagura is leaning back in an office chair, crossed ankles placed atop a desk covered in perfectly ordered and stacked papers and documents. There are little sparks of chaos where Hibiki hasn't yet corrected his more messy nature, but without his aide's constant attention things might last only a day or two before falling into chaos. A massive black greatsword leans against the wall, habitually within easy reach even at rest.

Annoying. Constant orders and reminders from above. NOL is not to get involved. NOL is not authorized to operate on Southtown's streets. Heihachi has rebuffed all attempts to extend a hand to aide because Kagura refuses to help suppress a terrified population. That hasn't stopped him from giving the Intelligence Department full authorization to comb the city, and Noel Vermillion was sent to follow up a lead, but... he should be doing more. What's the point of climbing so high, if he still lacks the power to do what he'd like?

Around fifty NOL foot soldiers total infest the building, amongst the clerics and secretaries. Most are solemn and gruff, having family and friends in this city they are not allowed to assist. Forced to stare at the chaos of the city through shrouded windows, listen to it on the radio, watch it on the television. Risking nuclear annihilation, merely for the chance that things will change, and they can immediately enter the city and intervene...

Though the people of the Earthrealm may not even be aware of it at this time, the issues with Justice Gear and the worsening conflict in Japan may not be their greatest concern at present. Beyond the realms of men, a great evil has broken free - Yuuki Terumi, Chaos and Hatred made manifest. Beyond this mortal plane, pieces are being moved into place, men and women used as pawns in a game that trascends their very reality.

One such creature, who exists beyond reason, found himself facing down this threat in the otherworldly Alucard Estate. He found himself defeated, in the home of his Mistress. Near-death, saved only by the timely intervention of a skilled healer. His time unconscious and dying were not moments of peace or respite - not comfortable darkness, but memories from his past, twisted into nightmares.

The monster, Terumi, has - by design or not - awoken a Warrior who had long-since resigned himself to domesticity, enjoying the peaceful life of a servant. All that was shattered, days ago - since then, his mind has been consumed with a rage he long though himself done with. Not quite the relentlessly brutality of his days as an Immortal Breaker - but certainly not the ever-polite butler he has been for so many, many years.

INSIDE the walls of the unmarked NOL headquarters and on one of the upper floors, a black disc suddenly manifests itself - a long, wide oval shape that seems to lead into nothing but blackness, vaguly purple around the edges. A visitor from another realm, here for... if not answers, then something resembling 'sending a message' will do quite well. Terumi's vessel, as it turns out, is an NOL Intelligence Captain. Perhaps Valkenhayn R. Hellsing would not NORMALLY concern himself with such earthly matters - and do his best to convince Rachel of the same...

...but Terumi, as always, has made it personal. He has always been the man who could bring the beast out of Valkenhayn, as long as they'd known eachother.

A pity for the Novus Orbis Librarium, indeed - particularly since it's doubtful any of them know of this Captain's true nature, what really hides behind that green hair, the creepy smile, the ridiculous hat of the Intelligence Officer...

The man who steps through the portal almost immediately looks out of place amidst Southtown in it's current state of affairs. He's impeccably dressed in black formal-wear, long tails of the jacket resting far below his midsection; white gloves adorn his hands, the spotlessness of the accessories do not betray any hint of his primary duty as 'butler' for Madam Rachel. He steps around a corner with confidence, no attempt at stealth or subtlety from the wizened old Legend. He has little to fear from men with rifles, after all.

The intrusion is surprising. Teleportation is a trick that few can manage, especially beyond reasonably mundane distances. Valkenhayn finds himself in a bland wood-paneled hallway, one that could be plucked from a generic catalog on office environments. Countless brown doors flank left and right, small marbled windows obfuscating the interior with names stamped outside.

This seems to be where the commissioned officers set up shop, although a cursory glance shows none of them to be from the Intelligence Department. A keen nose would reveal many are occupied, but a brief perusal of empty locations shows lone desks, a filing cabinet, and minimal furnishings around the tastes of the owner. Countless orders are passed down prohibiting interference with Southtown's current state, but no other information could be gleamed. The filing cabinets have records for months that seem to be saying to not do anything to draw attention.

There's a beeping noise, before Kagura plucks up the communicator atop his desk. A small holographic plane manifests, showing the face of an engineer in the basement levels. "Colonel Kagura, we just had a strange energy spike somewhere on the second floor..."

"Isn't this city full of strange energy spikes right now?" Kagura wonders, restlessly yanking down his greatsword across his lap and fishing out a great whetstone from his drawers to rake along the sharp edge.

"Y-Yes, sir, but this was a condensed localized phenomenon, not fluctuating masses permuting the entire city... although it only lasted a second with no lingering trace..."

Normally, Kagura would dismiss this as a possible glitch in the systems. NOL has numerous proprietary technological items, foremost of which is the ability to continually measure and interpret changes in energy for a fair distance around. But... his instincts are telling him something else.

Valkenhayn has a few options present. One end of the hallway houses the stairs, leading up to the third floor, and down to the first. Alternatively, there is a T junction on the opposite end leading further into the second-floor hallways. Or he might intrude on one of the men inside an office, if a more direct interrogation could expedite matters...

As he swiftly rounds the corner, Valkenhayn reveals none of his age - moving with a grace and speed that seem at-odds with his elderly appearance. It's the movement, the complete confidence, of a Legend who is finally re-embracing that lost part of himself. The savagery, the violence, he tried to force down deep within himself through generations of servitude to the Alucards... it's back.

The men in this building have no baseline to compare Valkenhayn's features to... they wouldn't notice the subtle change in eye-colour, the slightly more pointed teeth, the gritted jaw on the face of the man who so often wears a pleasant smile or a look of pure professionalism.

His stance relaxes slightly as he turns the corner into an empty hallway, no visible guards... but the old man isn't a fool. Madam Rachel had observed the acts of the NOL, and discovered they are nothing to trifle with; he's almost certain he will be detected shortly, despite his unorthodox, otherwordly intrusion into the Headquarters.

Lady Alucard didn't forbid Valkenhayn from seeking out the NOL once she had discovered the identity of Terumi's vessel - whether through a desire to allow her manservant an outlet, or because she did not understand the depths of rage that Terumi had driven him to (and thus, never expected he might take matters into his own hands).

Pausing in the middle of the hallway to pull tightly on the ends of his immaculate white gloves, the old Lycanthrope inclines his neck upwards, raising his nostrils into the air. There's a few sniffs as he begins to calmly walk down the hallway in half-strides. Many of the offices smell empty... and to be frank, what scenets he does pick up on this floor reek of mere functionaries. Office workers and organizational drones - certainly nobody of any importance.

Certainly nobody who might know more about the Intelligence Division of the organization.

The /important/ people must have offices on a higher floor. He's not here to dig through files, and he doubts these bureaucrats would be able to give him answers... or even be missed, if Valkenhayn were to tear them apart when they were unable to assist in his search.

"A waste of my time," he mutters to himself as he strides on long legs through the hallway - nostrils still flaring occasionally as he sniffs around, keeping vigilant for potential ambushes... he's almost surprised he's not found himself at gunpoint yet.

But the day is young, even if the old Butler isn't. And he has plenty of time, despite his apparent age, to see things set right.

Reaching the door at the end of the hallway, one gloves hand reaches out and calmly turns the knob, opening into the stairwell... surely, the third floor holds more... interesting prizes.

Although Kagura has been promoted extensively, he prefers to be hands on. That's how he made a name for himself as the Black Knight, never one to inspire from the back lines. Once being given the location of the supposed disturbance, Kagura kept the information to himself rather than raise the alarm. His men are already stressed, and a false alarm would stoke flames already lacking a proper outlet. And more importantly, an individual capable of breaching the space between worlds... he won't risk one of their lives for something as useless as a desperate radio confirmation.

Kagura strides down the steps from the third floor, massive greatsword held in one hand; he's hefted his arm, allowing the hilt to loosely dangle behind with the blunt tip pointing at the ground. Despite this immensely added weight, he has nearly inaudible footsteps. As Valkenhayn approaches the door, his nose might reveal Kagura's presence heading towards the same threshold before actually being heard. Extensive training in ninjutsu arts have little application to combat for Kagura, but his mastery of stealth is rather high. Yet beyond primal senses, the aura of this figure is beyond that of every other mortal in this building combined... Valkenhayn has doubtlessly known someone capable was here the moment he entered, and it is unlikely to be a coincidence he's heading towards where the old butler teleported in. Kagura has no chance to surprise the legendary Hero.

But, Kagura himself makes no move to open the door of his own accord from within the stairwell. Instead squinting at it, thumb settled in the pocket of his pants, casual stance belying an immediate ability to act, if need be...

Ah. He's expected.

The NOL's security is, perhaps, more thorough than even Madam Rachel might have predicted. To detect an intrusion of his sort so quickly... the elderly werewolf might be impressed, were he not filled to the brim with a far, far more savage emotion.

He can smell the man before he's even in sight, through the door, powerful but rather expensive-smelling (a man like Valkenhayn does know of such things, after all) earthly cologne. For a lycanthrope, it's almost overpowering despite it's likely subtle and tasteful scent to humans. He's close. And yet, there is no hesitation from the wizened Legend, opening the door swiftly and striding confidently into the stairwell... and his eyes narrow at the sight of Colonel Kagura.

NEVER in Valkenhayn's life could ever accurately be called a 'master strategist', or even much of a 'planner' (beyond his domestic roles, of course - NOBODY can plan out a more distinguished, tasteful tea-time). Though age and willpower has calmed the almost out-of-control Lycanpthropic aspect that once made him such a brutal Immortal Breaker alongside the amoral Relius Clover. Perhaps if he's taken more time to observe at Rachel's side, or made an initial entry simply to grab personnel files, he would recognize the Colonel for being a high-ranking member of the NOL.

As it is, he simply has to rely on his keen senses and logic. The man, past the overpowering (to his overly-sensitive nostrils) scent of high-end cologne, smells like a warrior. It's something that Valkenhayn has become accustomed to from his warrior's past.

Now, now. THIS one will do just well. He seems confident, bordering on full-of himself... and most important, unconcerned by the sight of Valkenhayn. A true soldier, a warrior worthy of his attention, and most importantly... a man, perhaps, highly ranked enough to know more about the Intelligence Division than 'they exist'.

"Hrmph," he scoffs, reddish eyes and vaguely pointed teeth likely showing his intentions are not what his polite words and tone might convey, "Finally. Someone arrives to greet the guest."

No additional comment is forthcoming, but the clenching of gloved hands into fists, and the further reddening of his eyes put across a sense of danger, of menace; a beast, struggling against it's chains.

The response to the door opening and the well-dressed werewolf walking in is rather mundane. Kagura remains standing at the base of the stairs, posture rather inoffensive given a confirmed intruder just strode into view. Of course, this is a miserable place for Kagura to be caught; there's no room to swing his sword correctly. And with all Valkenhayn's time tending to a sleeping Rachel, the global rise of Kagura as the renowned Black Knight is an easy thing to miss.

"Hey there, honored elder. Pretty sure you didn't come in through the front door, so you snuck past our welcome wagon..." His greatsword bobs slightly behind, shifting the weight slightly. One booted foot rasping across the concrete. Subtle corrections that allow him to better fight, if it comes to that.

A pregnant silence is allowed to hang for a moment, Kagura wearing something between a muted smirk and a smile. "This is a private building, you know. We don't take kindly to trespassing. But... you look like a man who has a good reason to be here. Something I can help you with?"

Valkenhayn would sense it. Kagura isn't interested in a fight. He is engaging the dimensional butler with genuine diplomacy. Risking damage to the building and drawing in his underlings... none of that is worth the itch of battle, even though the warrior desire within the Black Knight's soul is sparked immensely by Valkenhayn's seething fury. Immaculate control of himself. Possibly admirable, for a mortal.

Valkenhayn arches one eyebrow at the man's words, diplomatic and polite as they are - even when facing down an obvious intruder. His eyes narrow on the large sword for a moment, before rising back up to stare at Kagura's face - indeed, the last 10 years have been one of keeping watch over Madam Rachel and tending her Estate. He's missed so many happenings in the realms of Man, he is only vaguely aware of the details surrounding the Gear crisis in Japan. For a man who lives in another realm, the destruction of a country on the mortal plane holds little value. He's bore witness to so many deaths over his years, countless caused by his own savage claws, that it has little effect on the elderly man anymore.

Such is simply the way of things. However, the actions on the Earthrealm seem to have awoken something that Valkenhayn and his Mistress most certainly ARE concerned about. It's allowed an evil to be unsealed, let loose to bring about the end of EVERYTHING.

Faced with such a proper greeting when he was expecting anything but, the eyes of the old Legend soften slightly - losing some of the redness present. However, when he speaks, it is still noticeable that his teeth are... sharper than they ought to be. Not quite fang-like, but certainly canine in general appearance.

Another few sniffs, breaking past that cologne... keen, warrior's eyes looking at the man's stance... there's no danger here. It might be enough to cause Valkenhayn appear shocked, were he not so unflappably professional.

"My apologies for the intrusion, of course," he says, sweeping one gloved right hand in front of him, palm-up, in an almost genuinely apologetic gesture, "I am simply... repaying a kindness, done to my Mistress and I."

His features curl up in a snarl for the briefest of moments as his mind travels back to that evening in the Alucard Estate. And then, it's gone as quickly as it's passed over his face.

"I seek a colleague of yours, for a brief discussion. Nothing more. Answer me, and we may part amicably... Captain Hazama, of the Intelligence Department. /Where/ might I find this.... man?" the last words come with an odd tone of disgust, for reasons Kagura would likely not begin to understand.

Terumi is nothing if not a trickster... Valkenhayn does not put it past him to hide his vessel amidst an organization of decent men and women... luring the savage Lycanthrope into tearing his way through innocents in a vain search.

No. He will not play Terumi's game. Not as long as... other options remain available. It truly does depend on the Colonel's words.

No particular attention is given to Valkenhayn's unusual visage. Kagura is fully aware of Darkstalkers, especially given the recent eruption of the Gears. The central question the Black Gale struggles to find an answer to is which face the monstrous figure opposite bares is the true one. Is it the refined sophistication, or the brutality of an inner beast? Both, perhaps.

"The fact you didn't come in here through the front door, barking and making a fuss, makes me think somewhere inside you don't want this to end in bloodshed..." Kagura finally offers, phrasing the words delicately. And then the question comes.

Immediately, Kagura's eyes close. There's a visible ripple of distaste as if the wolfish attendant inadvertently served the most bitter of wines on accident. And inside his mind's eye, he can see the order Hibiki had placed in front of him.

Direct from the Imperator. Captain Hazama, acting Colonel of Japan's NOL branch, on a mission of absolute importance. Nothing must be said or done to jeopardize his position.

He didn't get where he is by taking risks. Relentless optimism and highly competent underlings, indeed, but... as much as siccing this monster on Hazama might be satisfying...

A mild deflation of Kagura's shoulders follow. "Could you come with me?" A thumb jerks towards the stairs leading up. "Just to the roof. We'll talk there." He then twists around, black cape with his twin golden family emblem whirling behind. His gargantuan sword shifts effortlessly, managing the close quarters without even grazing the wall. He has handled it for hundreds, thousands of hours, at least... such nuances are etched clear as day in the casual figure now making his way to the apex of the stairs unless otherwise attacked...

The casual nature of the man might be more worrying to Valkenhayn, were he not so determined in his goals - and so confident of his abilities, despite his age. Instead, he just stares back impassively at the Black Knight. No hint of concern, but also no movement to... escalate the situation any further.

"Please," he scoffs in response to his method of entry, "/Some/ of us are capable of subtlety, after all." Really? Tearing through the entryway to get to the upper floors? How very... crass. Undignified, really. He almost looks... offended by the very idea, his lips curling in a vague expression of distaste.

The closing of Kagura's eyes at the name of Hazama does not go unnoticed, and it brings a sharper sheen to the elderly servants' gaze... The smell... What's he hiding?

Beyond the daggers in his eyes, Valkenhayn's face remains neutral as he considers the offer to take their discussion to the roof. He simply gazes forward, as if sizing up the threat that this man and his massive weapon truly pose. At one point, Valkenhayn was powerful enough to harm the Black Beast with his bare hands.

Those days, however, are long past. And there are many warriors on this plane who could, at this time, best the former member of the Six Heroes.

And yet, he will not turn and leave without answers. He could lunge forward and attempt to rip the throat out of this NOL Colonel, and see where THAT leads them... But that would be, well, RUDE.

But he doesn't. Instead, he waves one gloved hand up the stairs and says in a calm voice:

"After you."

He's half-sure he's being led into a trap, but Valkenhayn simply stares at the man's back as they ascent the remaining stairs to the building's roof. He won't attack an opponent with their back turned, or even one at such a disadvantage in an enclosed space with a sword THAT large.

No. He's seeing where this leads... and he simply follows Kagura, wordless after his simply comment, to the roof's building.

"Thank you very much." Kagura responds with a dip of the head. In that moment, his etiquette is flawless. A proper noble heir, head of the powerful Mutsuki family, he was raised with the very same expectations and ruthless efficiency as Madam Rachel herself, even if he rarely bothers to wear such skills on his sleeve. Upwards he goes until reaching the roof access point, unlatching the door from the inside and pushing it out in a creak of metal, revealing the broad expanse of the Novus Orbis Librarium's roof. A few air-conditioned induction vents pepper around, but mostly it's dull tar-shingled concrete in all directions, flat and broad.

Kagura strides out a fair distance away before whirling his greatsword around and thumping the flat end down. It remains upright, and he turns around to lean against it with his full weight, arms crossing before his chest. The weapon doesn't budge; it appears to be considerably more substantial than Kagura himself, despite the fact he maneuvered it around with a single hand.

"I don't know any Hazama." he finally states, his tone not even slightly hiding the lie. "And I can't ignore an overt intruder who's goal is to hunt down a member of NOL, whether I dislike them or not. So let's get that out of the way. You look like you need to let off some steam. How about this... we have a little match up here. Put on a nice show of me defending the headquarters. Don't break anything. Don't involve my men. And the next place you happen to investigate..."

Kagura's eyes finally open, to peer towards Valkenhayn. "Just might have him." The offer is clear. He'll let some information slip on where to look next if the werewolf plays along...

It seems the savagery has gone completely out of Valkenhayn's body as he is, quite frankly, impressed with the polite and diplomatic greeting he has received as an intruder in the NOL building. Certainly he knows how off-putting it can be to have an unwanted guest - he is no stranger to entertaining them himself, after all.

Perhaps if it were anyone less refined than Colonel Kagura, the building would already be setting to a savage, bloody melee. But instead, he politely steps up the stairwell following Kagura at a short distance. He certainly doesn't want the man to think he has any intention of attacking him from behind. Such a thing is far beneath a mannered individual like himself; and given the courtesy he's been shown thus far, he would feel... well, guilty taking advantage of this NOL Officer.

So, he simply steps out after him onto the roof, allowing the man to take a few steps away from him as Valkenhayn holds a stiff, straight-backed position under the noon-day sun of Southtown. A glance around the skyline shows the scars of the ongoing conflict... but that is of little concern to the Lycanthrope. No, he would not be here, not even CARE, were the Alucard Estate not violated by that hated figure from his past.

Nothing short of Terumi's return could bring Valkenhayn to concern himself with anything but the well-being of Madam Rachel and her sprawling Mansion. So, he watches Kagura, and waits... listening... smelling for any soldiers running up the stairwell behind him. Nothing. No tricks.

Simply two noble warriors, sizing eachother up, and attempting to do their duty as they see fit... without involving innocent lives. The thought of such nobility from a man in the same organization as Captain Hazama is... surprising.

"My, my, how very courteous of you," comes the immediate reply. He places one palm over his chest - opposite the side he touches when bowing to Madam Rachel, of course - and offers a genuine bow to the sword-carrying individual.

"I have no wish to involve others, you know," he explains firmly, voice still soft even as he raises both gloves hands from his side and assumes his fighting stance... a stance he is just getting used to, once again, after being forced back into his role as Warrior at Terumi's merciless hands.

"Simply looking to return a favour to an old... friend."

He leaves the meaning of that entirely up to Kagura's interpretation... and then, he gestures with one hand in a sweeping motion at the ground between the pair of them.

"I believe your consideration in this regard has earned you the first action. I will endeavor not to... injure you, at least not unnecessarily..."

COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Valkenhayn       0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Kagura has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Kagura

"I can't speak for everyone else, but I'm trying to do right with this organization. It's flawed, like anything large and unwieldy, but you can find some good in it. I only personally work with those I can vouch for. ...Hazama's not one of them." Kagura offers matter of factly, digging into his pocket and pulling out a small crisp card. A pen is extracted afterward before his fingers work rather deftly. And then Kagura flicks, sending the card spiraling like a shuriken through the air for Valkenhayn to catch.

It's a business card, with Kagura's name and the seal of his house, along with a border of roses and promises of unsurpassed enjoyment. It has his phone number, his work phone number, and three 'private' methods of contact. He's scratched out most of this, but it's clearly something he gives to... courted females. On the back, he's written down a cross street on the fringe of Southtown. "Be a pal and destroy that once you read it. Alright, then..."

Kagura swiftly slams his elbow backward, hitting low on the greatsword. The sound resonates heavily in the air as the weapon spirals straight upwards. Kagura then snaps out his hand, catching the gauze-covered handle and whirling the mass of metal behind. "I'm not one for entertaining men, but... I'm sure my valiant defense of the building will earn me a few dates..." He then taps the communicator on his wrist, and a square single-plane hologram pops up in front of him, showing the chief security officer.

"We got an intruder on the roof!! Confirmed report from Engineering of long-range teleportation. I intercepted them trying to break into the stairwell... I want a full lockdown and search of the rest of the building and surrounding alley, while I suppress them!! Reinforce the stairwell, but don't interfere unless I give the order!!"

"Roger that, Colonel Mutsuki!!" The hologram then vanishes, and the constant din of an alarm can immediately be heard droning muffled from the building below. "Shall we, then?"

Kagura then darts forward. His footwork is unusual, seeming suited to a highly agile and reactive style as opposed to someone who might wield a weapon of that size. In a heartbeat, his sword goes from horizontal and behind to whirling overhead, the wicked edge flying down in a brutal lash of steel. It weighs nearly a ton if Valkenhayn makes some effort to intercept it.

COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn blocks Kagura's Crushing Strike.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/------=|=------\-------\0           Kagura

"Alas, young one," sighs the old Legend as he stares across the distance between them, "Sometimes we must pay for the misdeeds of others..."

One gloved hand reaches forward and snatches the card out of the air - a single glance at it, and then it's deposited in some inside pocket of his immaculate, long-tailed jacket. "You have my word," he says, though whether he's referring to destroying the card, or his earlier promise to not harm the man more than might be required... Kagura is left guessing.

The man standing opposite Colonel Kagura on the roof now seems rather different, both in expression and bearing, than the one who had just intruded into the upper levels looking for blood. If there is one reliable way to disarm the old manservant, it is through impeccable manners - and the Black Knight has shown him nothing but courtesy despite the situation. Valkenhayn may have come into this looking to send a message, but the NOL Officer seems entirely willing to settle this, and potentially give him the answers he needs, without risking innocent lives.

At one point in his life, Valkenhayn certainly would've repaid this kindness with brutality... but those days are gone, and domesticity has given him an appreciation for proper behaviour in ALL things. If this man is willing to be a gentleman about the issue, then it is the servant's obligation to treat him with the same respect.

His dignity won't stand for any less.

Taking a moment after offering his last words to the Colonel, the impeccably dressed warrior tugs down once again on the ends of his silky, white gloves. He brushes down the front of his black formal wear, although he keeps his eyes on Kagura all the while. He's offered the man the first action as payment for his courteous and cordial greeting...

The Colonel calls in his reinforcements, ordering them to hold off in the staircase - a sniff of the air is enough to tell Valkenhayn, without having to glance behind him, that the NOL soldiers are not rushing through the door to ambush him.

"I do so appreciate you keeping your men at bay. If what you say is true, there's no need for them to lose their lives here today."

And then, the man attacks, and the elderly servant simply stands his ground - fingers curling in his gloves - watching Kagura's rapid advance... Does Valkenhayn honestly plan on allowing him a clean first strike? Is the man THAT polite?

No. The Colonel is a warrior - that much, he can sense, though he is not well-versed enough in the matters of this realm to know of the rise of the Black Knight. To most fighters, allowing a strike to land when one could easily defend against it is the ultimate insult.

At the last moment, one long arm is raised up - catching the blade of the weapon with one forearm and angling the strike away. It tears through the sleeve of his formal-wear, and bites the skin underneath... but for a man who fought the Black Beast sans weaponry... well, he may be old, but there is still strength in that wizened body.

Valkenhayn's own response comes just as quickly, before the man's sword fully sweeps away from his forearm. Suddenly, a sidekick is aimed out at Kagura's midsection, the fine footwear and well-tailored pants of one leg suddenly shifting into the bestial pawed leg of a Lycanthrope. The leg, surrounded by a purplish energy, lunging through the air in a swift attack.

COMBATSYS: Kagura blocks Valkenhayn's Grau Schlag.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0           Kagura

"All the cowards already abandoned ship. The only ones staying here, risking their lives with nuclear destruction, are the fools like me. People who want to gamble it all even on just the chance to help. I'd rather none of them got hurt. I wouldn't be where I am now without my men." Kagura confirms readily. Footsteps and scent confirm a few men settle at the open door to peer in, armed with magical weaponry, but make absolutely no move to a position in a way that might interfere. Indeed, they look quite proud and confident in things. If Valkenhayn were to determine his odds based on who that quiet but intense trust was being channeled towards, he'd have no hope.

The initial probing exchange is complete. The huge sword sloughs to the side, and impacts the roof with a great slam that sends concrete cracking in all directions. In the same fluid motion, Kagura's own forearm twists, catching the raking kick of the bestial manifestation. It tears through the binding bandages, deep scratches rippling across his flesh and sending a few droplets of blood into the air. He used no technique of brute defiance, instead maneuvering to deflect the majority of the force, twisting with it to retain balance and stance. Kagura uses the new pivot of where his sword ended up to his advantage defensively, rather than the large weapon making him more vulnerable. "Not bad..."

Kagura then whirls around, flicking the weapon in a broad arc to the open air beside Valkenhayn, down almost low enough to touch the roof. Darting forward a short distance as it sprays dark sparks of energy, Kagura then unleashes a quick upwards slash towards the werewolves' chest, fluidly shifting which hand grasps the hilt. The maneuver allows Kagura to immediately follow it with a second downwards strike, the edge of his greatsword keening with a roar of blackish energy that bears his namesake.

"Dragon's BLADE!!" Gotta brand that stuff.

COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn blocks Kagura's Dragon's Blade.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0           Kagura

The pawed foot is already shifting back into it's original shape as Valkenhayn pulls the limb back - keeping the leg angled at the knee and held up in front of him for a moment after the strike is slanted away by the impressive reactions of the Colonel. The only indication of any surprise at the man's skill in diverting the attack is a single, slightly-raised eyebrow and a faint look of appreciation playing over his lips.

Getting back into the old rhythym of combat... it's been so many years. When he next finds himself face-to-face with Terumi, he will have to be sure to /thank/ the monster for reminding him - even if only for a brief time - of the man he once was. Though his life in the employee of House Alucard offered the formerly ruthless warrior the peace and quiet he never even knew he desired, it doesn't mean he hasn't, in some small, never-spoken manner... missed this all.

He doesn't smile, however; not allowing himself that, he nevertheless feels a great lightness in his old bones. To do battle with a noble warrior, rather than a remorseless creature like Terumi... it lifts his spirits. He already seems noticeably younger, if not in appearance of features than in the stylish grace and fluidness with which he moves.

It is far, far beyond that which a man of his age should be capable. Some Legends never die, they simply grow old, dulled by time, waiting for the proper object on which to sharpen themselves.

Hopefully the Colonel proves equally helpful in this regard, as he has already proved himself a proper gentleman.

Time, he supposes, will tell.

The blade comes swinging in an upwards slash, Valkenhayn's own speed being the only thing that saves him from a brutal cut - forearms crossing in an 'X' in front of his body. His arms take the shape of wolf's paws suddenly, and when the blade strikes it tears into fur, drawing blood as the Lycanthrope simply grits his teeth. The fangs that he first appeared in the building with, the ones that disappeared when greeted by the ever-cordial Colonel Kagura, have returned - giving his face a distinctly more menacing, savage appearance.

Hopping back several feet in one swift leap after the massive sword's edge is deflected off his wolfish forearms... the manservant lands in a different shape entirely. One of a wolf, four paws scratching on the roof's surface, the purple-pink ribbon that was holding Valkenhayn's hair into a ponytail now wrapped around the long, flowing tail of the wolf.

With a small growl, the wolf suddenly LUNGES back forward towards the NOL Officer. The creature's body is wreathed in that dangerous purple chi, turning the body of the wolf into a hurtling projectile, aiming to slam with full force into the Colonel's chest.

Perhaps, Kagura will find him more difficult to put down than a simple Darkstalker might be.

COMBATSYS: Kagura interrupts Rauschen Konig Wolf from Valkenhayn with Dragon's Ascent.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0           Kagura

That might be a critical difference. Valkenhayn was a magnificent force of nature in his prime, a bastion of power and technique. But Kagura trains for hours each day, never missing a single session. He is at his absolute peak, the mastery of swordsmanship and fundamentals evident in his every motion. Still, Kagura doesn't get nearly the opportunity he would like to try out what he's capable of these days... intruder or not, there's nothing wrong with enjoying it a bit, right?

There's surprise on Kagura's face when the man fully turns into a wolf, the dull point of his weapon still slammed down into the roof. The swordsman then shifts into a defensive stance, angling the hilt upwards as the space between the pair is opened up. Patient. Waiting. For the right opportunity.

And then the wolf devotes his momentum to a whirl of rushing chi. Kagura slams down his rear foot, splintering the terrain behind. A breathing technique focuses his strength in a powerful exhale, whipping up his form as muscles reflexively flex one after another. Individually, all of these motions mean nothing. But a hundred small nuances mesh together into his sword rushing upwards far faster than it had any right to, a blaze of black chi flowing around his weapon in it's wake.

Upwards, the Black Knight flies, black cape whirling around behind him. He strikes cleanly into Valkenhayn's form, for a brief clash the pair meeting in midair before he completes the slash, rising up a good fifteen feet in the motion that sends the wolf flying backwards. Kagura remains airborne as clothing billows, slowly beginning to descend in the general direction of Valkenhayn.

"You're injured, aren't you...?" Kagura suddenly asks, somewhat casually. His men can be heard cheering for him from the stairwell, multiple claims of the unbeatable Knight, the ferocity of his Gale, and other such empty praises. "Enough barking!" he snaps in their direction, not seeming very interested in their bragging.

The wolf's body spirals through the air towards an opponent clearly too skilled to be caught entirely off-guard by the old Lycanthrope's sudden shape-change and speed of attack. The counter comes with a skill that reveals why Colonel Kagura holds his esteemed position within the Novus Ordis Librarium, why he is known as 'The Black Knight', and why he seemed so unconcerned by the appearance of the intruder within his building.

The sword comes up, cutting through the purple chi surrounding Valkenhayn's bestial form with little resistance offered to the sharp blade... it slices through that thick fur and into his body. But he doesn't yelp in pain, nor does he growl...

Cheering sounds out from the spectating NOL guards, but such noises land on deaf ears - at least in regards to the wizened old fighter.

Landing with a thud on the surface, the wolf's body strikes the roof on it's side and bounces. Perhaps surprisingly after such a savage blow, the Lycanthrope twists on the second bound and lands - albeit unsteadily, dripping blood from his stomach onto the ground below - on all four paws.

There is no response forthcoming - whether due to inability to speak in wolf form, or simple focus on this Officer who is proving himself more than a match for the aged, former member of the Six Heroes.

Has it really been so long?

Wolfish lips curl back in a vicious snarl, revealing white-yellow fangs... the wolf tilts it's head up at the noonday sun and lets loose a loud, ear-piercing howl. As the sound resonates off the roof into the streets below, that same purple chi rises up behind Valkenhayn... power coalescing into his wizened body, fortifying his spirit with some otherworldly force.

And then, the wolf dashes forward - trail of blood following it's body as it runs on four paws back towards the sword-wielding Kagura... as it moves, it suddenly shifts again, back into the more recognizable human form that he has almost entirely remained in these past decades. His black formal wear is sporting a savage cut along the midsection, down to the flesh, roughly where the sword struck the wolf...

Closing the last bit of distance at speed, one long leg sweeps upwards in a purple-chi infused crescent kick, transforming back into a massive pawed limb as it aims to send Kagura flying upwards....

COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn successfully hits Kagura with Blut Vollmond.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1           Kagura

The sky... darkens, despite the sun beating down heavily on the roof just seconds previously. There are no clouds, the light simply seems dimmer, more pale, almost moon-like as Valkenhayn's kick connects and sends the Colonel flying into the air.

The manservant does not follow, at least not immediately. Steadying his two feet on the ground, the man's body suddenly transforms again... not into the four-legged wolf, but into that of a hulking, brutish wolfman. A form he has not taken in... he cannot even remember how long. Certainly he would have used this tactic against Terumi, but the man had defeated him so soundly, so quickly, with such shocking savagery that he truly had no chance to do so.

Once fully shifted into his werewolf form, taking not even a fraction of a second to do so, Valkenhayn leaps up after the flying body of the Colonel. He catches up to the man's ascent with startling quickness, slashing out at him with massive, dangerous claws as he does so. He dashes past him, ripping as he goes... then spins, and dashes to the side, tearing again... another spin, and a slash from the left... Purple chi tears with the claws on every single strike...

Perhaps he has... forgotten his promise.

Just now reaching the pinnacle of their ascent, Valkenhayn waits a moment as he stares down at the Colonel beginning to descend back to the roof... and then, spinning his body one last time, he sends him SLAMMING back to the ground with a downwards heel strike.

When he lands, it is back in the form of Valkenhayn the Man.

Indeed, Kagura is the new generation of fighters that slipped past Valkenhayn's perception. Many people in NOL praise Jin as the Hero of Ikaruga. But just as many believe that is only the case because Kagura did not wish to end the conflict so violently. Were the Black Beast and the legendary Nox Nyctores needed in this world again, Kagura would be one of those qualified to wield one. He has no unique weapon, no grand destiny, merely a life and skill he has shaped and built on his own.

For all of that, regardless of who is ahead right now, there is clear respect evident in Kagura. He can see the true strength of the elder fighter. The spark of a beastly soul fighting it's true nature, hesitant in the shackles not present in that unknown war decades ago. How this master of buttling could be legendary is not questionable, indeed. Within Valkenhayn, there was a simple purity of purpose. A purity he can acknowledge.

As the energy begins to surge into the wolf, Kagura shifts backward with a wince and brings his greatsword before himself. "C'mon... wasn't that enough to take you down?" He sounds playfully pleading. And then the old man roars forward.

Kagura didn't do anything wrong, in particular. He leveraged his body and sword to protect himself majorly from the initial impact, cutting down the damage from the kick significantly. He summoned a surprising well of strength, and for a split second, it seemed he might repel that blow. Teeth grit, eyes narrow, as his sword audibly groans against that kick...

And then Kagura is sent hurtling skywards. He lost the exchange cleanly, plain and simple. Blood trails after, as his men shout in alarm at both the unexpected impact and ferocious transformation. The blackness in his vision after the first hit leaves just in time to see the beast rushing up towards him, and Kagura brings up his sword before him. Blood erupts from slashes that landed before he finished moving. Barely, he registers the movement of a second blow, and starts to turn towards Valkenhayn in an attempt to swing. Instead, he's sent spiraling by another slash.

That's all he's got. The remaining assaults tear into him, with Kagura only able to ball up defensively. The last kick hits him in the greatsword, apparently having saved the last of his strength to deter that finishing hit, which could have broken his neck had it landed true.

Kagura hits the roof, kicking up a great wave of debris and dust, and his men begin to spill out of the door in panic and concern. "Stand back...!" Kagura shouts out, voice laced with pain, but seeming most concerned with their action. Immediately the NOL troops retreat away. Slowly the Black Knight rises, blood dripping from multiple wounds. He runs a thumb along his cheek, where a slash cut deep. "Aw, geez... did you have to go for my face, too? Hope you can't use that form whenever you please. Or even I'll have a hard time of it."

Kagura then slides his foot backward, exhaling long. Ignoring the bleeding wounds, as he brings up his sword and points the tip in Valkenhayn's direction. Blackness begins to seethe into the dark metal, as energy billows his cape backward once more. Like his namesake, it feels more like a ready dragon remains crouched, a far more menacing presence than a simple human. "Don't worry. They know better than to interfere directly..."

COMBATSYS: Kagura focuses on his next action.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1           Kagura

Landing in a crouch after his vicious assault, Valkenhayn rises into a stiff-backed fighting stance - the Lycanthropic aspect to his form now completely gone, leaving him in the prim and proper form of the ever-vigilant Alucard's butler... certainly, he looks worse-off than when he first transported himself to this realm, his formal wear torn about the midsection and forearms, blood dripping off his aged body. Despite it all, there is no grimace of pain visible on the man's face... if anything, there's a bright gleam to his eyes that almost points to him ENJOYING this.

Smelling the guards stationed at the stairwell's door take a step closer, Valkenhayn SNAPS his head around to growl loudly at them - just as the Colonel shouts out for them to keep their distance. A wise decision. The correct one. The decision of a proper warrior, a man who will finish the fight as intended, no matter the outcome.

Yes, this Colonel Kagura truly deserves the title of 'Knight', for men such as himself seem to be a rarity on this plane... A shame; were there more of his kind, the interference of outsiders may NOT be required. But men of the Colonel's determination and bearing are too rare, indeed...

"It's been too long, noble warrior, since I have been tested in such a manner," he states calmly to the NOL Colonel, his voice respectful and low... it should be obvious to Kagura that this old fighter has great regard for his abilities, even in this short match between the two. The speed and fluidity with which he handles that massive sword... a way, it brings him back to memories of fighting alongside the likes of Hakumen and Jubei. Though this man is in no regards THEIR equal, he all the same recognizes the signs of a potent warrior. Perhaps, in time, this man too will rise to the heights of Legend. His name told in stories, only to one day fade away slowly as the world forgets...

Valkenhayn R. Hellsing knows a thing or two about this. Had he men this man in his prime, under different circumstances, he could even see them fighting side-by-side. And yet, here they are, standing atop the roof of the non-descript Novus Orbis Librarium building in Southtown - two men, forced into a battle that neither of them truly seems to want. Two warriors of great skill, simply acting out their duty, doing what they believe is right in the eyes of those they've sworn to protect.

Yes. In another time, they could have done great things together. Perhaps Colonel Kagura, this Black Knight, will still accomplish feats that will cement him as a Hero of his Time. In a way, as he stares across the distance between the two, his eyes still bright red and his teeth still sharpened into the points of fangs, he realizes the tragedy of this realm.

Great men, forced to serve unjust causes, perhaps without even knowing they are doing so. Tricked into believing the ends justify the means. Painted with the same brush as true scoundrels like the Intelligence Division's Captain Hazama, the current vessel of Yuuki Terumi.

"You do your organization justice, sir... perhaps more than they deserve," he says, shuffling back and forth, fingers curling in his gloves, watching as the Colonel shifts stances and awaits his approach.

With those words, he's dashing back towards Kagura's position on the roof - and again, he comes out of a stride and hits the ground on four wolfish paws. The animal form again comes rushing at the NOL Officer...

This time, there is no mad spiral wreathed in chi... he's learned his lesson - this man... is too clever, too keen, too well-trained. Brutal, straightforward attacks are simply an invitation to a painful counter...

Instead, he waits until he is just one more stride from the Colonel - barely outside the distance of that massive sword, and then the wolf leaps up... he attempts to fly OVER the Colonel's head, hind paws lashing out as he does so to claw swiftly at the man's face as he makes his pass over Kagura. There is the slightest blaze of purple chi accompanying the slashes, his paws imbued with the energy he seems to control at-will.

COMBATSYS: Kagura just-defends Valkenhayn's Light Claw!

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/------=|=======\-------\1           Kagura

"You flatter me..." Kagura offers, still panting heavily as blood ripples down his frame. "You showed me your true strength just now... I've still got plenty to learn to catch up to your shadow." He licks blood from his lips, his burning urge to fight not abated. Kagura won't lie. The safety of his men was paramount, but he wanted a chance to test himself also. He misses the battlefield, the constant pressure, bettering himself in the forge of conflict. Desk work has never suited him, and Hibiki would be the first to openly admit this.

"But we can't all choose where we start. Just where we end up." As the chief representative of the Twelve Originators, the strongest of the founding noble houses that brushes elbows with legends such as Strolheim, his path was clear and irrevocable. He knew he'd end up in Novus Orbis Librarium. But nowhere in his fate card did it say he couldn't be his own person.

The wolf rushes towards him, but again his sword patiently waits, blunt tip aimed. It does not move until Valkenhayn attacks. And the feint thusly fails, as none is forthcoming. Instead, Kagura whirls around, bringing up both arms and interposing his weapon between himself and the rapid assault. The claw slashes across reinforced metal, sending a spray of black-purple sparks from where their energy meshes, but harmless to the man beneath.

There's no time for words here. Kagura brings up his weapon to swing down, before suddenly rippling into a purple-black fire. Vanishing, he teleports right behind the wolfish Valkenhayn, letting out a roar as he turns his weapon in a horizontal swing, trying to catch the elder fighter in the side during the evasive opening the maneuver creates.

COMBATSYS: Kagura successfully hits Valkenhayn with Dragon's Mirage.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/----===|=======\====---\1           Kagura

The wolf's claws lash out at the man's face, and find only the expert defense of a seasoned fighter and swordsman - no surprise, considering the skill put on display today. His claws scraaaaape again the sword's metal as the man swings it into the path of the pawed kick, and then follows up with a savage assault of his own. The teleportation takes him completely off guard, and he is struck in the right side by a MASSIVE horizontal swing of that giant sword.

It bites deep into fur, more blood splashing out onto the roof's surface...

...THIS time, the blow - unexpected as it was - DOES come with a sudden growl of pain from the wolf. Perhaps there is the slightest tone of annoyance and rising frustration at his inability to break the man's guard - but it is tempered by the feeling of one again facing a warrior (a noble man, not a BEAST like Terumi or his vessel) who is worthy of his attention. Valkenhayn has long since reached his peak, dulled by decades of servitude to House Alucard... THIS man is trained as well as Valkenhayn once was, a man on the rise, getting better every day...

They meet, today, somewhere near the middle - but the difference in age and speed is apparent to all watching. Kagura moves with a quickness that speaks to hours of daily training with his weapon, and Valkenhayn seems to move on instinct, relying on decades of experience as a warrior to carry him to victory...

It does not seem to be a valid strategy against The Black Knight. Perhaps against a less composed opponent, the vicious assaults of the Lycanthrope might be more effective. This man? This man has the stuff of Heroes in him, and the wizened manservant knows it. If one had asked him years ago, Valkenhayn would have sworn loudly, and with great conviction, that he would never again meet his like in battle.

He would, of course, have been wrong. But who could have predicted the return of Terumi, causing such madness, bringing a man long past the prime of his life face-to-face with a past he thought gone forever... such is the way of the world, even those observing things from the outside can find themselves taken unawares.

Perhaps, though he would never say such, the Lady Alucard was too long gone. Perhaps, if Valkenhayn had done something to rouse her slumber, this madness could have been avoided... but such is not his place, nor would it even be possible... things ended up as they did, and it is up to those on all sides to strive towards the outcome they desire.

No matter the cost, to body or soul.

Valkenhayn, shifts in mid-air after the strike and lands on one knee in his human form... he's holding his side, where the blade hit the wolf, his formerly spotless white gloves soaked through with blood. A glance is cast downward at the wound, then back up at Kagura...

And the Legend smiles, blood staining his otherwise perfectly white, straight teeth. They are still vaguely pointed on the ends, but not nearly the fangs they were last time he shifted. Slowly, he pulls himself to his feet, stance wavering slightly before clenching his eyes shut and forcing himself to be steady. The willpower it takes is no small amount, given the wounds already forced upon him by this remarkable NOL Officer.

"I'm no flatterer," he states simply, "I simply speak the truth. If you knew my story, young'n... you would realize the compliment I've paid you. The depths of your own ability. The potential you have, to be Great. It is no small thing, so do not take it as empty words. I've stood beside Legends."

With that last word, he dashes back into action, long stride carrying him towards Kagura... he feints left and right as he dashes forward, attempting to confuse the man and force him into a mistake with that weapon of his... whether or not he's successful, it ends with Valkenhayn lunging forward, aiming a brutal upwards elbow-strike (the limb once again surging with purple chi) at the underside of the man's jaw.

COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn successfully hits Kagura with Nacht Rozen.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Valkenhayn       0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1           Kagura

"I'm not a huge fan of being complimented by men... but I suppose I won't turn it down twice. But great men don't get there alone... do you agree with that much, at least?" Not much time is being spent in discussion right now. The battle is reaching the climax, and dropping his guard too much would be disastrous. It might seem he is handling Valkenhayn handily, but that is taking every ounce of effort, reflex, instinct, and technique he knows. That his complete focus still struggles against the rousing embers of Valkenhayn's aging soul says much about his raw potential. Kagura has never been an arrogant or egotistical man, and had he underestimated the butler due to being elderly, he wouldn't be managing to hold his ground half as well.

The surge of speed and feinting is too much. He can't quite pick it out with any assuredness, not with his head still swimming from being torn open. Instead, he tries to leap backward, but not quickly enough. An empowered elbow slams into his chin, sending spittle and blood into the air. But when he glances down, just the slightest ghost of a grin is on his face. "Gotcha..."

Suddenly his weapon roars with power, and he swings in a short arc. A great vortex of dark black energy with veins of purple roars, trying to spiral forward and draw Valkenhayn within. It is sustained for a good few seconds as Kagura tries to use this opening to regain some breath, falling back defensively, trying to retain his advantage instead of risk pressing forward and lose it...

COMBATSYS: Kagura successfully hits Valkenhayn with Dragonlord's Wingbeat.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Valkenhayn       1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\1           Kagura

If anything might offend Valkenhayn here, it's the sheer casual ease with which this man moves, the words spilling out of his mouth... does he truly not understand the potential hidden within him? He may train day in, day out... his grace may be that of a seasoned worry, with strength and reactions to match. But there was once a man who taught him that a warrior is even greater when they are focused, serious, determined... A great man himself, who has since passed on - the one who took the savage Immortal Breaker that Valkenhayn was in his youth, and molded him into something more refined...

But Clavis Alucard is long, long dead...

His only duty remaining, is to see that the man's daughter is served until the wizened old fighter's last days. Wherever that purpose may take him, Valkenhayn will gladly go. Death no longer holds sway over the man's mind, if it ever did - only the spectre of dishonour, and disappointing Lady Alucard, cause him any great concern. His greatest deeds have already been done, his name long forgotten by the shifting sands of time...

As the ascending Colonel looks down upon him, Valkenhayn realizes immediately - based upon the twitching of the man's lips - that he has placed himself in an untenable position. He has, with his upwards elbow-strike, given the man the highest ground possible... and with the weight and size of that sword, he poses a truly great threat in the air.

The weapon swings, the energy spirals forwards, and the Legendary warrior is caught full-force by the blast. It burns through his formalwear, into the very essence of his being, the pain surging over him like a great wave. Indeed, were he not so used to the assaults of even greater threats (having, after all, survived a vicious, brutal near-death experience - albeit with the aid of a most skilled healer - at Terumi's hands), it might even be enough to cause him to blackout in agony.

Indeed, to die with honour in service to House Alucard would be a blessing.

But not here. Not when another, greater threat remains. Under other circumstances, the elder manservant might remain locked in battle. And certainly, he has suffered worse in the past. The pain of the Black Beast, the draining length and near-constant assaults of that legendary confrontation, they still play in the Lycanthrope's mind to this day. So while the assault is fiercesome indeed, when the energy clears away Valkenhayn R. Hellsing is still standing - though barely. His body smokes as the energy disappates, breath coming in ragged, pained bursts, a look between rage and agony twisting his features into something animalistic... His knees buckle visibly, as though he were about to collapse, before they straighten again.

"Perhaps a man cannot become Great alone," he says finally, his voice harsh and rasping as he struggles to keep the pain at bay, his mind focusing on the man standing some distance from him. There is truth to it. Even in his youth, he remembers the man who kept him level-headed so many times; Relius Clover, his fellow Immortal Breaker. Without the man's cool head, the savage nature of the Lycanthrope would have many times gone completely unchecked... perhaps it would have left him unprepared to accept Clavis Alucard's generous offer to serve his Family...

"But neither can he become Great, associating with those who dishonour his name through evil acts," he finishes, after a pause spent staring directly into the Colonel's eyes.

Suddenly, as if filled with a second wind of sorts - or perhaps just through the immense willpower of a former Hero - Valkenhayn straightens his back and, almost comically, brushes off the tattered, bloody front of his uniform. As though dirt from the roof's surface were his greatest concern at present. He even takes a moment to adjust his blood-stained gloves, as though such a thing mattered.

"I hope you have listened to my words, sir," speaks Valkenhayn, his voice no longer as harsh, his eyes reverting from blood-red back to something approximating his natural colour. His teeth, losing their sharp points... His tone, once again prim and proper, as if addressing a guest who has arrived for a tea-time with Lady Alucard.

"And I hope, you are a man of /yours/," he stresses, half-turning his body towards the edge of the roof, neither facing Kagura nor the men gathered near the stairwell, but snapping his attention back and forth quickly between the two. He says nothing further, but simply folds his arms behind his back - clasping right wrist with left hand. And then, he begins to walk towards the edge of the roof - unseen to the NOL officer or his guards, there is already a horizontal, black/purple oval that has gathered just beneath the ledge... the same method that Valkenhayn used to enter the building, appears to be his intended escape.

He does not mention his deal with the Colonel aloud - not with his mean within earshot. He assumes such information would only be used against Kagura... and from what he has seen, the Black Knight is simply a man attempting to do the best he can with an unfortunate situation. Perhaps he truly believes the NOL is the best place for him to make a difference?

"Perhaps we shall speak again. If you are fortunate... or unfortunate... you may even earn a meeting with someone far, far above your own station... or mine," he says cryptically - no possible way the NOL Officer could know of the one who Valkenhayn serves, the one vastly more powerful than the butler himself.

Valkenhayn can only hope; hope for that, and that Kagura does not see fit to attack a man with his back turned - that he will simply allow the old Legend to step off the roof's ledge and fall into the manifested portal just out of sight...

...of course, he will have plenty of time to do so.

COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn takes no action.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Valkenhayn       1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\-------\1           Kagura

After the massive rush of energy roars out and takes in Valkenhayn, Kagura descends to land gracefully nearby. He swivels and brings up his greatsword once more, again pointing it at the other man. Perhaps now, the butler will see this part of the game. The entire fight, he has been purposefully ceding the initiative. His men have observed that, and not pressing forward when he has the advantage does not seem strange. Kagura stated from the onset his only goal was suppression and defense, not to strike down the intruder. "There's another saying, honored elder. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

When the werewolf moves to leave, his men initially shuffle. But Kagura holds up his free hand, warding them off. "Don't be fools. Even wounded, he'd shred you all in a heartbeat." Something in the cadence of his tone sets their faces white, and all eyes simply watch as Valkenhayn leaves. When he finally drops out, Kagura lets out a long sigh and thumps down the tip of his greatsword, cracking his back to the side and pulling out a small mirror to peer at his cheek. "Damnit... I have a date tonight."

"C-Colonel Mutsuki...! Why did you let him go? Didn't you have the advantage?" one of the lieutenants calls out, stepping forward and standing at attention.

"Is that what it looked like to you? You'd better work on your training more. That was like enduring a storm until it wore out. Any moment I could have fallen into it. We don't have the facilities to secure someone capable of teleportation, anyway. ...He was just baiting us when he left."

A couple medics rush up, one male and one female. He holds up a hand to the man, allowing the other to begin tending to him. "Hello. Have we met?" She blushes deeply but then begins focusing on binding his cuts. "Mmm. I'd appreciate it if you all waited to read my report before doing your own. I don't want our corroboration to be inconsistent..."

A couple of the observers open their mouths, then seem to realize what he might be saying. "Yes, sir." The rest begin to mill about the building searching for non-existent threats, as he enjoys the proximity of tending hands, peering up at the afternoon sky.

Of course, he's going to report this incident up the chain. They'll find out one way or another, and lying won't do him any good. He's curious what that old man might be up to, but his personal agenda comes first and foremost. He'll make a nice, thorough report and have Hibiki double-check it before his observing unit confirms it all in written form.

A finger lifts up the chin of the female medic, smiling down at her. "Being near you is all the aide I need. Want to go grab something to drink in the cafeteria?" She stammers a fair amount, before managing a stupefied sort of nod.

Yep. Kagura will get right to it... /after/ his dates for the evening.

COMBATSYS: Kagura has left the fight here.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Valkenhayn       1/------=/=======|

Log created on 12:24:41 12/01/2017 by Valkenhayn, and last modified on 20:28:33 12/01/2017.