Description: My experiment has yielded unpredictable, but optimistic effects. With the recent activity in the Bystander's realm, it leads to assume that invasion of the realm is feasible. Having found some ancient words of power, I've prepared the the sigils adjusted in a specific pattern. Based on the texts, I had expected to breach the defenses of the Bystander, and approach her enhanced with locked away powers. Instead, I have bypassed most of her defenses completely. Unfortunately, that has left me short on resources... and within the company of my old compatriot, Valkenhayn. I must find another passcode...
Yet another 'day' at the sprawling Estate of Rachel Alucard, and the ever-present (well, nearly so) sentinel, guardian, and - most importantly - butler of that esteemed House of Vampires is hard at work... though that's hardly noteworthy in and of itself. Matters of late have kept Valkenhayn R. Hellsing rather busy; more so than usual, even. Beyond his usual duties in maintaining the grounds and serving the whims of his Mistress, the wizened old warrior has been dispatched here and there on the earthrealm to track down leads relating to the re-emergence of that hated figure from his past...
Yes, the machinations of that damned individual have made things ever-so difficult on the old manservant... and certainly, left him running ragged at a pace even more frantic than he is used to. It's been ages - perhaps since the days of the Great War - that he has felt such a stirring in his blood, that old rage creeping back into his veins, spurred on by the 'man' who had betrayed the rest of his 'comrades' within the Six Heroes.
But things were not entirely without hope... the awakening of Madam Rachel from her decade-long slumber, the mysterious arrival of Jubei at the Estate, the bizarre appearance of Naoto - that boy who Clavis Alucard had disposed of so many years ago... it seems Terumi's escape from the Boundary had shaken the foundations of reality to such a degree, that things lost to time were returning to the surface.
Perhaps, that being of chaos and hatred could still be stopped.
It's these thoughts that run through the head of Valkenhayn as he completes his clean-up from the previous evening, hefting large chunks of building material from a giant pile in the middle of some lesser-used chamber of the Mansion and depositing them in a large pile outside the chamber, on a stone pathway outside that leads to the Gardens in the near-distance.
A beautiful, precise whistling is leaving his pursed lips as he does so; sounding much like the tune 'Einsamkeit', though it is distinctly unique and otherworldly in it's own strange way, the tempo increasing and decreasing at random intervals.
He tosses the last chunk of rubble into a pile outside the Castle, near the rear of the sprawling grounds - no doubt to be fashioned, later, into some monument or another... few know this outside of Madam Rachel, but Valkenhayn is an accomplished sculptor and mason along with his countless other domestic skills. Certainly these chunks of collapsed ceiling will be formed and chiseled, later, into a statue of Lady Alucard... perhaps even her throttling that classless dolt Ragna. He'll have to see what inspiration strikes him.
Stepping back into the chamber through the massive entryway, he glares up at the hole left in the ceiling and pauses to procure a white, gold-laced silken handkerchief from the pocket of his black-and-gold, tailed jacket... dabbing at a bead of sweat on his forehead, he ceases his whistling as he does so... and then folds the material and places it, with great care, back into his 'uniform'.
And then, he's moving back towards the corridor that leads into the more commonly-used areas of the Estate, perhaps heading to some kitchen or another to begin to monumental task of polishing the numerous tea sets that Madam Rachel favours, or to sweet the lobby of the impossibly-large Castle... some slightly /less/ physically demanding task, to be sure.
As he moves, he ponders the brief part of the exchange between Rachel and Naoto that he was privy to - he'd rushed in to save the Lady from that collapsing ceiling, and ended up overhearing a small amount of their conversation. He would never come to Rachel with questions - it is not his place to do so, simply to pass on what information his travels bring him, and keep her apprised of happenings at the Estate while she is gone... yet still, his mind turns as he travels with grace and speed through the corridors... what does this mean, that that boy is returned to life? He was there... he /watched/ Clavis Alucard destroy him... and yet, he has returned. For what purpose?
Purposes can be so meaningless, when inappropriately set.
The sound of footsteps strides audibly on the castle grounds; you wouldn't even need Valkenhayn's enhanced hearing to pick up on the unique and familiar steps. Another intruder? What unstable event was unleashed upon the world, to turn Miss Alucard's domicile into a public hostel? It wouldn't be long until vagarents would be slumming around like cockroaches, stealing the cutlery. At the very least, it becomes readily obvious that at least this intruder had more class...
And unfortunately, far more familiarity.
His arrival is hardly with flourish. Relius Clover, the head engineer of the NOL, seemed completely unaware of the state of the castle. He barely seemed aware of himself. Garbed in his purple cloak and gold mask, he seems too enamored with a small, paperback book in his hands. The book was held up high in one hand, brought to eye level, propped open between his gloved fingertips. Head held equally high, he walks into the golden chamber, walking past Valkenhayn.
He doesn't even say anything, as he strides by.
As he strolls through a hallway leading into another massive, ornate chamber, Valkenhayn stops dead in his tracks. His keen senses can hear the footfalls of someone who is - based upon the stride and weight - /obviously/ not Madam Rachel... and what's more, his hyper-sensitive nostrils pick up a scent that seems utterly alien, yet disturbingly familiar at the same time.
It takes him a moment, standing tall and still underneath the golden dome high overhead, to place the smell - his mind running through ages worth of memories to find the one who...
...oh, there he is. Seems that rummaging through his own head to try and put a face to that stench was unnecessary, as the one responsible strolls - casual as anything - through the opposite corridor, into the chamber, and... right past Valkenhayn himself. As soon as his gaze falls upon that form, his eyes noticeably - or perhaps not, considering Clover's apparent interest in that book and little else - redden and narrow.
The butler's whistling stops dead, his tongue coming out and running over his lips; he remains silent for several moments, as his hands ball up into fists at the end of those long-reaching arms.
"Relius... Clover..." comes the words, eventually - the werewolf's tone absolutely dripping contempt for that figure from his past... that old 'partner', from his days as an Immortal Breaker... another individual, thought lost forever. What in God's name as Terumi wrought? Naturally, he blames that man for yet another scoundrel wandering the halls of this Castle.
As the caped and gloved individual continues, without a word, in the opposite direction... Valkenhayn is stepping behind him with one, two, three long strides... and a single white-gloved hand reaches out to grab him firmly on the shoulder - attempting to stop any continued movement throughout these hallowed halls.
The aged manservant has no questions for the mad scientist, no query, no attempt at discussion... he simply aims to spin the man back around to face him before grabbing the scruff of his collar with two hands - growling into Relius' face with a barely-contained rage.
Give him a second to collect himself, then they'll surely have a wonderful chat, as pals!
Relius actually -stops- by Valkenhayn before he is stopped.
Oh, he does not actually look. He just takes a moment to appreciate a particularly interesting part in his reading material, seemingly, in mid-stride, as Valkenhayn grips his shoulder. He doesn't even jolt. He blinks once, narrowing his eyes, and looks up and over from his book. Peering over his shoulder methodically, his expression almost looks surprised as he stares directly into the snarling visage of the local butler. "Valkenhayn... Rrrrr.... Hellsing." A roguish smirk appears at the corner of his lips. "What it is, as pleasure to see you. A pleasure... and a surprise... what are you doing here in..."
And he looks up at the hole.
Relius tilts his head to the side. Narrowing his eyes, he looks back down at Valkenhayn. He looks around him, scanning around. Rubbing his chin, he observes the debris, the pieces. Studying the layout, he takes a moment to analyze, to study. The layout was ornate, impressive. Far more than anything in his world, or the next. And that in itself, along with a sudden flash of his memories, gives him a snap of his fingers.
"My goodness, I am in a castle!"
Relius glances at his book again, looking away from his snarling companion as he taps the page. "And it must be the certain castle... Valkenhayn! My old friend!" He turns a bit, as much as Valkenhayn lets him, to look at the butler. "If you are here, and I am here... Then the experiment was a resounding success!" A pause. "I... think so, yes." His smile fades slightly.
"When am I again, precisely?"
The wolfman's formerly ice-blue irises are now a bloody red, practically burning with a firey disgust for the man who has so casually strolled into a place he has /no right/ being present in. In a flash, the memories are running through the mind of Valkenhayn - days and nights spent 'working' alongside this man, when he was so very, very young... so very foolish, filled with an anger and a hate that he had worked so hard - in the intervening years - to push down below the surface.
There was a time, when this man in front of him was the only thing preventing him from tearing some fallen opponent apart. He was always so level-headed, eerily calm in the middle of a melee; that almost ever-present hand on the Lycanthrope's shoulder, there to urge him to keep a cool head, despite all Valkenhayn's more primal, violent desires.
But that was some time ago; that partnership was long dissolved, even before Relius' disappearance from the world, from the very timeline itself. He'd been missing since the days of the Black Beast, and now... another figure, returned to the present day. Returned, quite strangely, /here/ of all places.
And although he would like nothing more than to drag Clover outside and deal with him in the same way he would have dealt with an enemy so long ago...
...a part of him wants answers. And so, after a brief griiiiinding of suddenly-fanged teeth against eachother, he speaks - his voice trembling, wavering with emotion, attempting to put on a professional facade and failing terribly at that act.
"/That/ is no business of /yours/, Clover. /What/ has brought you here? And /why/ should I allow this slight against Lady Alucard's honour - stepping into her sanctuary like some common drifter?!"
He keeps his grip fim on the man's collar, spun around to stare him directly in the eyes, his face mere inches away from Relius' and radiating a palpable sense of tension... of impending danger.
Relius had not yet lost his cool.
"Oh, Valkenhayn." Relius corrects with an all-too familiar tone; a tone used quite often in their younger days. Relius remembered all too well how hot headed his companion could be. Well, only just that. The details were so hard to pick and pull from the jumbled mess that was the enormous space of his mind. To be honest, it was a miracle he could even remember his old partner's name. And yet, he allowed his steadily more hostile ex-partner to handle him like a common hooligan. And with that same tone, he wags a finger at him, the book still open.
"It is my business."
He gestures his free hand into the air, motioning towards the shape of the dome. "As a man of science, my business is phenonoman, natural or otherwise. I believe you have noticed how the natural order of things have been so disrupted. I wisely assume that this disgraceful mess is not your work, but the work of others. Invaders. How unnatural and strange, isn't it? How many have crawled through? What character is it, of those who peer in and scurry around like little mice. For individuals crawling through space and time, to appear at this castle? The evidence presents itself even now." Relius raises his palm, as he lectures.
"What can be more unnatural than myself being here?"
"A man, even a man like myself, should not be pacing around the halls of his labs, only to saunter into here, is that not correct? An impossibility, outside of reality. And what more, if this is a sanctuary, then what can cause it to fail in the most simple and core of it's duties? A sanctuary, by definition, is a a place of refuge or safety. It is also a nature reserve. At the moment, it is clear that this is no place of refuge or safety. Though..." He looks around again, studying the room carefully.
"... Are there any animals in here, old friend?"
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Relius has joined the fight here.
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Valkenhayn 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Relius
That tone... so casual... so uncaring... so oddly inquisitive. Where once Relius was the voice of reason holding Valkenhayn's baser nature back, keeping him restrained... now, his words simply serve to rile the wizened manservant's already feverish, pulsing blood.
As Clover continues to speak - as calm as anything - the sentinel and guardian of the Alucard Estate's mind is a raging fury of thoughts, emotions, memories. The words that come tumbling out from the amoral scientist's mouth do absolutely nothing to aid the butler in maintaining his composure.
Quite the opposite; every single utterance from the cape-wearing, book-holding individual seems to only rile the Lycanthrope further and further - eyes growing deeper, darker, redder as he continues to speak... those sharpened points of his teeth growing, elongating, glistening with spittle as they begin to move outside the confines of his wizened, lined mouth with every second that passes.
Those white gloves that clutch tightly around Relius' collar even begin to bulge, dangerously close to being shredded by claws that form underneath the fine, silken material. The words... the tone... every aspect of his old partner's mannerisms seems specifically designed to annoy the aged warrior.
Eventually, he cannot even /hear/ the words spoken, as his keen eardrums begin to thrub and hum with the blood rushing through his body, faster and faster, hotter and hotter... bit by bit, his grasp on his wolfish aspect begins to slip away... he becomes, inch by inch, the man he /used/ to be.
The man he thought he had laid to rest at Clavis' feet, long ago, when he first accepted the Vampire's offer to serve him and his House for all time.
The man... who Yuuki Terumi, brought back into the world. Valkenhayn the Warrior. The Hero. The Legend.
His body might have aged; but those senses, that mind, never grew older, never lost their sharpness... not in any way that mattered. That beast was simply waiting, underneath the surface, for an opportunity to rise up and overpower the decades of domesticity that kept it so well-hidden. And now? Now he struggles, even in his more peaceful hours, to restrain himself.
'Are there any animals here?'
At those words, there's the briefest smirk that plays over the face of the Lycanthrope, better revealing those dangerous, gleaming fangs that now line his jaw... when he speaks, it's in a low growl - dripping contempt, hatred, a lust for violence that he no longer /wishes/ to hold back.
"Only one, /old friend/."
In a flash, one glove - the entirety of a well-dressed forearm, in fact - is shredded away and replaced with a wolf-like paw, which releases it's grasp on Relius' collar and aims to grab him directly by the fact... if that grasp finds purchase on the visage of the scientist and intruder, he'll find himself tossed aside, slammed heavily into the ornately-tiled ground beneath their feet, hopefully skidding away.
Today, he will /show/ that figure from his past that he may /look/ older... but that beast that Relius tried so hard to hold back in their time as Immortal Breakers is /far/ from dead and buried.
COMBATSYS: Relius blocks Valkenhayn's Raubtier Raub.
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Valkenhayn 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Relius
"Please, Valkenhayn! Calm yourself!"
That is what he says as fury of the wolfman reaches the breaking point. The feral rage of the werewolf finally rips open, as the feral beast is unleashed. Relius is scooped, and slammed for the tile. For in as much, though, the cloak billows apart. He strikes the tile once, as a mechanical flurry boils out underneath, stabilizing Relius far too quickly as he -skitters- backwards along the floor. The arms right him up, as he keeps a hand upon his book.
And he snaps that book shut.
"I had hoped that you would have been more... domesticated in your old age." Relius says dismissively. A flick of the wrist, and the book is gone. "And keep a reasonable head in these troubling times. You are once again thinking with your heart, not your head!" Relius keeps the lecture going, as he raises his palm again. "It seems I will have to tame you, old friend. How disappointing. Ignis, if you please."
There is a high-pitched whirring sound as the mechanical construct appears behind Valkenhayn. Diving down from behind, the gynoid figure keeps her head bowed, as her hair manifests into a set of drills. A writhing mess of cables, each with the invasive, probing drill on their tips, ready to wind around his face, his body, his mouth, ears, and eyes... While the whole of the construct would try and seize him. Attempting to drive -hard- into Valkenhayn, the construct was attempting to drive the butler at Relius, force him towards her darling husband. Of course, Valkenhayn could evade, or even come along for the ride. But Relius stands fast, arms open, ready to embrace both Valkenhayn and wife in unison.
Eager to take in his old friend once again.
COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Valkenhayn with Geara Nose.
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Valkenhayn 0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0 Relius
At this point? There's no reasoning with the Lycanthropic butler. No talking him down. It's unlikely he even /hears/ the words of Relius Clover over the intense throb of blood rushing through his aged body.
More than any perceived insolence on the part of his old partner, more than the disgust at seeing the Alucard Estate invaded /once again/ by some unwanted guest, it's the memories of his time spent with this man that drives Valkenhayn's fury... those days, long past, tearing through enemies, slaying prey, ripping a bloody gash through the realm... just being brought face-to-face with this individual, makes those mental images come to the forefront of the Legend's fevered mind.
As he lunges out with that wolfish paw, he doesn't see Relius as he stands now, aged... he sees the younger man who once stood at his side as an Immortal Breaker. And perhaps, if he were to catch a glimpse of himself in a mirror at this moment, Valkenhayn might even see /himself/ as the younger, more impetuous warrior that he once was; spiky black hair and youthful features, instead of that long, flowing, gray-white ponytail and the lined face of a man aged far beyond what any normal man would deem possible.
Unfortunately, it seems this fury /blinds/ him as well - the keen senses and hyper-vigilance that he might show in such a confrontation replaced with the reckless abandon of that Hero who threw himself into battle against the Black Beast, tearing at that monster with his bare hands, over and over, never ceasing until the day was won.
Such a strategy - or lack thereof - might have worked once upon a time... but although his mind and senses have not dulled, he is not the young man he once was.
Spinning to watch as that amoral scientist skitters backwards on those bizarre mechanical arms, a low growl leaves the servant's throat as his arm reforms into that of a man. He, at least, still has /some/ control over his Lycanthropic aspect - decades and decades of practice allowing him to shift from one form to the other, even partially, in an instant.
"It is your error, /Clover/," he hisses between bared fangs, voice barely recognizable as that of a man - sounding brutish, animalistic, "You should have /stayed/ gone. Forever."
Though he is, admittedly, curious about what brings yet another individual long-thought lost to time back to this era, this place... well, that higher-thinking part of his brain has been shoved down by the boiling anger and seething contempt that threatens to turn him into a mindless beast once again.
The whirring sound causes the attention of the butler to snap around, glancing over his shoulder in time to see the mechanical construct lunging towards him - drills forming out of skull of the bizarre 'robot' and aimed straight at his spine...
...he leaps up into the air, his body shifting almost instantaneously into that of a large, gray-and-white wolf - tail bound with that pink memento from his Mistress, earned long ago during one of her... moods.
But it's not fast enough; the appearance of Ignis from his rear was utterly unexpected... and so, the points of those whirring implements - now appearing en-masse from numerous looping cables - dig into him and drag him towards the machine's body.
He growls in anger, attempting to bite at the metallic cables that bind him, but there's no way he could free himself fast enough... and he's slammed forward, into the waiting arms of Relius Clover. The impact draws blood through thick fur, as he is slammed between the unusually firm-stanced man and his mechanical 'wife', drawing a brief howl.
In such close quarters, however, he might have the chance to do some damage of his /own/. Snapping jaws lunge out for the throat of Relius, aiming to find purchase on that flesh and /tear/ away at the skin before using all four paws to pounce out of the deadly hold he's found himself in.
There are no words from Valkenhayn - impossible, given his current form... just ceaseless growls of bloodlust; low, rumbling, dangerous.
COMBATSYS: Relius interrupts Rigoros Reiben from Valkenhayn with Id Lauger.
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Valkenhayn 0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Relius
Ignis's assault was hardly the worst violation he could muster.
Even as Valkenhayn demands that the old Clover have remained missing forward, he remains unflappable, as his wife does her work. The drills would pick and find their holes, and create them as needed, in the short distance between himself and his old friend. Transformed, though, that was a bit of a problem. Relius wasn't ready for a wolf, but a man! Closer, and closer he comes towards Relius. The snapping jaws, the tearing paws. Relius catches the wolf, seizing him as if he was ready to waltz. Turning in silent dance, he allows the wolf to tear into his shoulder, letting the werewolf sink his teeth into him. Relius steps aside, sweeping his cape as he turns, a smirk at his lips.
Revealing the portal behind him.
From the depths of the portal, a single, massive mechanical gauntlet erupts forward, -smashing- hard into the wolf's flanks, aiming to knock him hurtling away from Relius's arms and Ignis's tangling locks. Relius, meanwhile, rubs his shoulder, as Ignis eases behind him, her long limbs dangling before her. "How beneath you. All these years, and you still haven't learned to control your temper. I always remembered you being so... tempermental. Still, I must be reasonable... though I am now concerned I may be forced to meet with the lady of the house with you leashed and muzzled, old friend." Relius rubs his chin slightly, as Ignis winks out of sight.
"I might have one in just the right size, even..."
With an almost casual motion, Relius grips Valkenhayn in an embrace and turns gracefully - the werewolf's fangs finding a grip on the man's shoulder rather than the windpipe he was aiming for... no doubt it's painful, but far less damaging than the butler might have otherwise intended.
Even still, he does his best to rip and tear away at the man's flesh, blood filling his mouth and running out the sides of his opened jaws.
Of course, in the heat of the moment he doesn't notice that smirk - if he had spotted that expression, the one he'd seen so many times before from a younger Relius, he'd likely understand immediately what it meant.
This was a trap.
The quick-witted, seemingly ever-prepared man of science steps away to reveal a portal behind his caped form... and from the depths of it, a mechanical fist surges up and out - straight towards the wolfish body of Valkenhayn R. Hellsing.
Striking the Lycanthrope in the underside of his canine form, it's enough to send him hurtling backwards through the air. For a moment it appears as though he were going to slam into the tiled floor gracelessly, impacting it on his side until... the wolf twists and turns in mid air - tail spinning as he rights himself.
Landing on all four paws, upright, blood dribbles from his open jaws and ragged breaths are inhaled and exhaled from his aching, pain-ridden body. His blood-red eyes narrow as Relius begins to lecture him; as though he were any judge of character, or in any position to do so to someone as - if not refined, than at least somewhat redeemed - the former savage, Valkenhayn.
Words are spoken, about leashes, muzzles - and it's clear, knowing his old partner, that these are not idle threats....
Raising his wolfish head to the damaged ceiling far above it, a surge of purple chi seems to run through the Lycanthrope's form as he inhales long and lets out the air in a howl that shakes the very foundations of the chamber, echoing off the walls, the ceiling, escaping through the hole in the roof, getting louder, deeper..
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn raises his head and AWROOOOOOOOOOOOOs.
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Valkenhayn 1/----===/=======|==-----\-------\0 Relius
A glimmer of impatience finally comes over Relius.
As Valkenhayn surges with energy, Relius tends to his savaged shoulder, the blood still trickling out. He winces, as the gloved fingertips comes to his temple, the scientist magician now striding towards the howling wolf. "And now the howling- yes yes, Valkenhayn, we know you are a wo-" Relius shakes his head.
"-Yes-, Valkenhayn, you are a wolf!"
Relius continues to rub. "Your howling is giving me a migraine, old friend. You are almost making me regret wandering into this castle with your incessant noises! But I have important questions to make, and important answers to give. If my theories are correct, and my presence here only invites the obvious, you and your lady are in mortal danger. Nay, it may be the VERY WORLD ITSELF that is in grave danger. And so help me, if I must put a collar on you, old friend." Releasing his temple, he gives a flick of the wrist. Relius reveals a small, studded black collar.
"Then a man of science must do what science demands!"
Relius continues his saunter towards Valkenhayn at that brisk pace. Closed in, amidst the full howls, he moves to cut that cry short. Sweeping his arm upwards, his cloak opens again. From deep below, a single, green, mechanical limb releases, hurtling upwards in a single, throat-hammering blow for Valkenhayn's throat. A naughty puppy should be disciplined; and Valkenhayn was proving himself to be -very- naughty..
Certainly, his aggression was something he should have 'fixed' a while ago.
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn blocks Relius' Fierce Punch.
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Valkenhayn 1/--=====/=======|=------\-------\0 Relius
Even after the howl has stopped emanating from Valkenhayn, his jaws snapping shut again as canine eyes narrow in on the form of Relius, the sound is /still/ audible - and gaining in volume - as it continues to bounce around the massive, high-ceilinged chamber...
It is still ringing out, as the Lycanthrope lunges forward, paws scrabbling on the well-polished tile and throwing his wolfish frame forward; back towards his old friend and one-time partner... if Valkenhayn were being honest, he would admit that the man is speaking truth. The world /is/ in need of saving, from the chaos that Terumi's machinations and plots have already unleashed upon it.
However, knowing the amoral man of science as well as he once did, the butler is /highly/ doubtful that Relius' schemes or works could do anything but make things /worse/ for all of the realms currently at peril.
The caped individual is sauntering towards the wolf, stepping forward with an eerily casual pace, seemingly unconcerned for the feral Lycanthrope that is rushing at him from the opposite direction.
Old he may be, beyond his prime... perhaps... but Valkenhayn R. Hellsing is still no fool - he knows the man plans to interrupt his approach with some attack, some trick of those mechanical arms... so when the cloak is swept up and that robotic limb is unleashed in a staggering uppercut...
...he's prepared, leaping into the air and snapping his jaw open as he tilts his neck to aim his mouth downwards...
The fist comes rocketing up, and he bites /down/ on the knuckles - it jars his body and snaps his head back, certainly... but it hurts far less than a direct impact would. The makeshift 'block' completed, he releases his grip on the robotic limb and leaps upwards, flipping frontward through the air as he rapidly shifts back to his human form.
When he next hits the ground, it's with the impeccable shined dress shoes of Valkenhayn R. Hellsing, the butler... and he spins on his heels quickly to face Clover, eyes still red, still baring sharpened fangs rather than his usual, perfectly straight set of teeth.
He dashes back towards the caped figure from his past, his head quickly changing /back/ into that of a werewolf, as the rest of his body remains human-shaped, attempting to bite down on the man...
...should his jaws find purchase on that flesh, he quickly rips his fangs away - taking as much flesh and drawing as much blood as possible - before reshaping his upper body into that of a man once more.
Then, a flurry of blows follow, limbs shifting from hands and feet to clawed paws as he strikes with each in turn... and then ending by twisting his body to the side, leg wreathed in purple chi as he completes a savage side-kick to send the man flying away.
COMBATSYS: Relius just-defends Valkenhayn's Sturm Wolf!!
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Valkenhayn 0/-------/---====|=------\-------\0 Relius
Well, to be fair, Relius's schemes may have help bring Terumi back into this world.
Naturally, that's not an important detail right now; as his mechanical fist is mauled, he grimaces. Relius was combining magic, science, wisdom, and cunning to drive at his foe... or really, friend? Off balanced and exposed, he sweeps his cloak as the wolf dashes straight back at him, pouncing. An arm rises up, wrapped in cloth, and is -smashed- straight into Valkenhayn's maw. The rending fang comes, ripping at the.... jelly like fluid within?
And the arm gives.
An artificial limb, one of many, a false part of the wily scientist. Letting the arm fall away, he doesn't even have time to smirk as the frenzied mauling follows through. As the assault continues, however, his cape billows around him. The mechanical arms emerge, just in time for the frenzied attack. Every limb comes to meet the furious barrage of fang and claw. Every swipe is snatched by a pincher, every paw is redirected by a hydralic arm. Relius, keeping -focused- hard, begins to sweat as the assault taxes his systems. His physical body may not be moving much, but the mental exercise seems impossible. The final kick comes, and all the spidery limbs come together to catch it... blasting them apart as Relius staggers backwards, knocked off balanced by the relentless attack. Stunned.
But for the moment, unharmed.
Relius exhales. "Incredible." He says with honest admiration, as he gives an applause. "Simply incredible. I've expected you to slow down; to wither in your age. You've only become stronger since your youth. Stronger, and faster." The applause stops, as he raises a hand. "Lady Alucard clearly could not find any talent more superior than you, old friend."
"Of course, you still pale to the pure genius of my talents~"
There is a snap of his fingers, and a step to the side. Immediately, Ignis reappears, charging -directly- for the wolfman. This time, she would try and seize the butler by the throat, and lift -him- up, just like how he had done to Relius. If successful? She would surge with magic, as her other arm would transform into a drill, and the operation would begin by a direct escavation of his chest cavity. In the meantime, Relius actually circles around Ignis. "Please be careful with her, Valkenhayn, we're much closer than we seem. Oh! That reminds me."
"Have you thought about settling down yet with a nice bitch yet?"
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn interrupts Geara Kaas from Relius with Aufwarts Konig Wolf.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////// ]
Valkenhayn 0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0 Relius
As he lashes out, Valkenhayn knows it's futile - his opponent, his old 'friend', is too fast, too prepared, too clever and quick-witted... as he always was, as though hardly a day had passed since their time fighting together as Immortal Breakers. Certainly the man had aged slightly, but he was just as sharp as the individual he knew ages ago...
...and though he remains sharp and keen of mind, the butler /has/ aged noticeably. It's a small difference, but he is clearly no longer the Legend he once was. Perhaps the world had left him behind in some way... perhaps decades of domesticity /did/ have an effect on the once savagely efficient and vicious warrior.
Whatever the cause, it's clear he cannot fight this battle with the same mindless fury and unceasing abandon that he was used to, so very long ago.
The mechanical limbs, they're too strong, too fast - yet he pushes on, unable to break away the assault without placing himself at great personal harm. He keeps attacking, ending with that side-kick, knowing that /none/ of these blows are doing anything other than tiring himself out and - hopefully - giving himself enough space to break away from Relius' range once his combination is completed.
Fortunately, that final blow is enough - at least - stagger the amoral scientist backwards... enough room for Valkenhayn to catch a breath, narrow those eyes even further, and prepare himself. Acting has done little good against the ever-vigilant mind and mechanical limbs of Relius Clover.
Perhaps /reacting/ might prove a more sound strategy?
It is the first real, cogent though that the aged Butler has had this entire encounter; and when Ignis once again rushes forward, the Lycanthrope is shifting once again into his canine form.
He is gripped around the throat, but rather than allow himself to be drilled in-place, the wolf howls suddenly. His body wreathes itself in purplish chi, and - like a rocket, with nothing to boost himself off of but the sudden velocity of his own energy - launches himself forward.
His head smashes forward into the mechanical body of Relius' 'wife', launching the automaton backwards and /into/ Clover himself... using his own tool as a projectile against him, backed with all that momentum and force generated by Valkenhayn's rushing, chi-covered frame...
As he moves, yet another ear-piercing howl sounds out into the vast chamber they do battle in... hopefully there will be no /further/ repairs necessary, after this encounter!
Oh, the 'married' comment was a mistake.
Certainly, of the Six heroes of all, marriage was an important subject. Jubei managed to woo one of the fellow sages; you know once someone got married, you wonder when everyone else would. Trinity Glassfille could have settled down with that nice vessel for Terumi, and Hakumen could have found someone who could put up with him easily enough. Frankly, Relius expected it would have been Terumi. He feeds off hate and loathing, and he expected that marriage would have been the right cocktail of it for him. Relius himself didn't expect himself to marry... until, of course, the right woman came along.
And the rest was history.
As his wife seizes Valkenhayn, he adjusts his gloves. "You aren't going to have your youth forever. I heard Jubei had an entire family of little kittens. You can imagine how eager I am to study and explore his family- URK!" Relius chokes, locking up as Valkenhayn smashes his head. Relius grabs his own forehead, stunned and in agony. As Ignis is sent hurtling, the duo collide, Relius knocked astray. Rolling to the ground, Ignis spasms, before assisting Relius back up into a stand. Relius draws a hand back at IGnis... and lowers it, as the second howl comes. His face screwed up, he turns back to Valkenhayn. And he gestures at him.
"It seems the dog has some bite with that bark..."
Ignis's lower torso transforms into a buzzsaw, surging with mystical energy as she lunges. Hurling herself at the wolfman, she attempts to wrap her arms around Valken again, slicing and dicing at her. Relius was not dithering this time. He was striding back at Valkenhayn, taking long steps as he approaches. "You've always been fascinating, Valkenhayn. I've never understood what drives you. What are you fighting me over? Bad blood? A vendetta?"
"Come on, it must be important!"
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn dodges Relius' Val Tus.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////////// ]
Valkenhayn 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Relius
As the fight carries on, a realization slowly creeps back into the fevered mind of Valkenhayn - words from the back of his head, fighting their way through the bloody red haze that otherwise clouds his judgment. Being brought face-to-face with Relius after so long a time at first did nothing but flood his brain with emotions, memories, but now...
...he remembers. The man does /so/ love to talk. To explain. To monologue endlessly, even in the midst of a melee.
Where the Lycanthrope's weakness was always his inability to control his baser insincts, the underlying savage nature of the Wolf - no matter /how/ hard he tries to bury it, to smooth those rough, jagged edges - his old partner /also/ had a weakness. The sound of his own voice... that lust for knowledge, at any cost, the inquisitive nature and - perhaps above all else - the desire to prove his intellectual superiority.
By never shutting up.
And, of course, once he realizes this - remembers the man's long-winded nature - he understands that it might prove a valuable weapon /against/ him. It might, in fact, be the one chance he has to make the man of science regret stepping foot in these hallowed halls, without a care or any respect for Valkenhayn's Mistress who rules this entire Estate.
As the buzzsawing Ignis lunged towards him, the wolf is ready this time... having recovered from his previous chi-infused dash /into/ the mechanical 'woman', Valkenhayn lands on all four paws some distance away. That ground between them, finally, enables him to act defensively... slowly but surely, he's learning the way that Clover controls this 'wife' of his, the way they fight as one - in fact, the way she seems to do /most/ of the work for him.
Similar, in it's way, to how Relius seemed to use the violent nature of Valkenhayn /himself/ to complete most of their 'dirty work' back when they were both Immortal Breakers. The man never seemed to like getting his hands dirty; not when it could be avoided, thrusting the work onto whomever he could while reaping the benefits and taking notes on the outcome.
Still the same Relius Clover, despite all this time...
The canine form of the servant ducks low to the ground and balls it's body into as small a shape as possible, lunging /under/ Ignis' legs as Relius continues to monologue endlessly, probing his 'friend' with questions all the while. Does he truly wish to understand what drives the Lycanthrope, or are his words simply meant to confuse, to distract?
Escaping the deadly buzzsaw grip of the robot by moving under it, the canine makes a small leap up into the air - his body turning back into that of Valkenhayn the Man and landing back on the tiled floor with two dress shoes rather than four paws...
...but he doesn't stop running.
Closing the distance between himself and the scientist - Ignis left ignored, behind him, for the moment - Valkenhayn finally begins to speak... his voice still seething with contempt, but not wildly out-of-control with rage and fury as it previously was. It seems, as the battle drags on, he becomes more coherent, more in control of his bloodthirsty Lycanthropic aspect...
"Duty. A man like you will /never/ understand that, Relius."
And then, finally reaching striking distance, he pivots on one foot just short of Relius - twisting his body around and aiming a savage elbow strike directly into the bridge of the man's nose, aiming to crack that smug face... perhaps, hopefully, shutting him up for /just/ a moment.
COMBATSYS: Relius blocks Valkenhayn's Aggressive Strike.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////////// ]
Valkenhayn 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Relius
Certainly, Relius adored to talk. Talking was, in fact, not the preferred method of discourse. His preference was action; however, -action- with an equal like Valkenhayn was a slow, delicate process. Action begs equal reaction; and equal action begs the same. Valkenhayn was no simply animal, tied to a rope while electrical energy poured into their chromosones. He was strong, yes, unbelievably strong. And already, he was showing how useless Ignis could be. As the construct dives in, the wolf dives under, escaping it completely. Relius sighs audibly.
She truly was Carl's mother.
Relius snaps his fingers, letting Ignis wink from sight. He had to let her recharge. "Duty, Valkenhayn, has simple definitions. It is a a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility. Alternatively, it is a task or action that someone is required to perform. Two similar, yet different, concepts. Let me philibuster vigilantely." And he would, of course, once Valkenhayn settles his business. The wolf up close, without an Ignis to guard him, was trouble. As the elbow strike comes, Relius can only twist away. A single mechanical limb comes to catch Valkenhayn in his torso.... but only serves to slow down the fierce blow to the man's nose. Staggering backwards, a trickle of blood oozes from the bottom of his mask. A moment's silence.
But only a moment's.
"The first, a moral, or legal obligation; a responsibility." Relius begins, his words like hammers as he continues to shift backwards. "I can imagine you have no legal obligation, which begs me to identify it is a moral obligation. It is good to serve Lady Alucard, hardly something I could deny! And yet, I know what your moral code once was, Valkenhayn. Our moral code" A single stinger emerges from behind Relius's cloak, attempting to pierce the wolf's back as the scientists keeps moving backwards.
"Could this be a form of atonement?"
COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Valkenhayn with Medium Punch.
[ \\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////////// ]
Valkenhayn 1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Relius
The words of Relius Clover run through his mind; something about that man, could always make Valkenhayn pause... question himself... his actions. It's what made him such a competent and worthwhile partner for the savage individual during their youths - his lilting voice, his inquisitive, questioning words, were always enough to make the former Immortal Breaker pause and consider them, even in the midst of battle.
It seems that power, which he still seems to wield through his impressive mind and ability to enunciate thoughts and concepts so well, is now being used /against/ the butler to House Alucard. Indeed, as he questions the very /nature/ of duty, there's a noticeable knitting on the Lycanthrope's brow once he's staggered the man with that elbow strike.
Truly, the werewolf had never really stopped to... consider. Any of this. When he was given the offer to serve Clavis Alucard, it was under threat of death... he had no choice. Over time, certainly, he came to appreciate the generosity of the position - but at first, it grated against the nerves of the long-time warrior... only with time, did he come to see it as his duty, to serve the Vampire and all his Heirs to come.
But now, the slightest hint of doubt in the back of that aged head... was it duty, or simply necessity, that had coloured his action in the decades since?
These thoughts slow him, raise questions that he'd /never/ considered - perhaps Relius' true strength, making an opponent unsure of their /own/ motivations, of what /really/ drives them... if anything, his mind has only grown sharper since they last met. More dangerous, more subtle, more capable of subversion...
Is everything he's done in service to this esteemed house, just some way of repenting for past sins? Could that be the summation of his entire life? Atonement?
So long in these thoughts, he's too slow to begin rolling out of the path of the stinger - transforming back from human to wolf as he attempts to roll out of the way, but... too slow. It causes another yelp of pain to escape his slavering jaws, more blood running out and staining that thick gray-white fur...
Twisting to the right, four paws move swiftly across the ground - away from both Relius and Ignis - before the canine spins back around to face his old partner... when he does, there's no howl, no growling, just ragged breaths being drawn in and exhaled sharply...
...he needs a moment, to consider... to struggle to regain his focus... or there will be nobody left to stop Clover from doing whatever it is he came here to do.
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn gains composure.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////////// ]
Valkenhayn 1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Relius
What did he come here to do?
The scientist almost implied it was all an accident. And yet, there were no accidents. Everything was part of a great wheel of fate. He was here for a purpose. What that purpose was? Completely obscured, in the heat of battle. And yet, with his calm demeanor, he was simply content to take Valkenhayn apart, piece by piece.
Perhaps he intended the same with Lady Alcuard.
Nevertheless, as Valkenhayn catches his breath, the man adjusts his sleeves. And Relius.
"Of course, that may tie in closer to the second." Relius continues, his tone not shifting from lecturing his companion. "Alternatively, it is a task or action that someone is required to perform. That is equally logical. Your task, your action, your 'duty' which you are required to perform. Sweeping, tending the garden, polishing the silver... all lesser duties, of course. Keeping your lady safe is imperitive." He walks towards Valkenhayn at a steady pace. "And yet, look at this castle. Look at this mess. Oh, certainly you would be cleaning it. The garden outside will be tilled and the leaves cut. And there might even some spoons for you to rub. But your lady...."
For a moment, the words stop.
Relius would slip in, to seize Valkenhayn by the throat, to seize it, to squeeze it, as already, the mechanical arms begin to extend around him. The moment would be miniscule, before the claws would seize Valkenhayn, -flooding- him with magical energy, before he would hurl his once ally aside, rolling him across the floor. That may stun. But the words, the awful words would slither out and into his ears.
"Have you been -failing- in your duty, before I have come, old friend?"
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn interrupts Geara Manibus from Relius with Kaiser Wolf.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Valkenhayn 0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0 Relius
OH MY GOD SOMEBODY SHUT THIS MAN UP.
If Valkenhayn were any less proper - even in his current state of rage and bloodlust - he'd likely shift back into a man and tell Relius to kindly shut his mouth; as is, he simply lets him continue talking... it must be said, the Lycanthrope looks to be in ruff (get it?!?!) shape, the canine's entire body rising and follow with each sharp, deep breath. Blood continues to leak out the various stabs and slashes, staining his white fur a deep, thick crimson... but each breath also seems to stabilize his footing somewhat...
And when Relius approaches again, his latest monologue complete, the werewolf is ready for him. Bit by bit, he's remembering more than just how much he hated this man, or how savage he himself used to be... he's remembering how the man moved, how he blended his speech with his physical attacks, how he left himself open from certain angles.
Fighting side by side with Clover, he'd noticed much of this; but he was never a daring strategist, merely a savage brute... it's only now, beginning to calm himself, to tell himself that /thinking/ is the only way to win this battle, that he's realizing the very real weaknesses this man of science displays.
His arrogance, his desire to rub the nose of his opponents in their failures, may prove to be his undoing.
As that caped figure approaches, Valkenhayn attempts to move out of the path of his grasping hand - but he's still recovering, too slow, and so he finds himself grabbed by the throat and hefted aloft. Relius may be a scientist and a hands-off sort, but he is certainly not lacking in any physical strength - Valkenhayn, even in canine form, is not the lightest of objects, but he's lifted off the ground with frightening nonetheless.
Those words though... they snap the wolf's eyes wide open, and cause a deep growl to emit from between his jaws... the red eyes grow even darker, deeper, /more/ bloody.
How... dare... he?
A fatal error on Relius' part; he might have found Valkenhayn unable to break free or counter the throw, had he not poked and jabbed just a bit /too/ much at the beast lurking inside the mind of the manservant...
...as the mechanical arms move around him, energy beginning to flood his Lycanthropic aspect, the growls grow louder... and then, Valkenhayn the Wolf, his entire body suddenly covered and surging with purple chi, throws himself forward and SLAMS heavily into Relius' frame, knocking the man back.
Leaping up into the air once the hold is removed, the canine hangs overhead for just an instant, a frontflip spinning him around until he faces a downwards angle... and then, he plummets towards his old partner like a rocket - purple chi flaring all the brighter as he shoulder-checks him into the ground...
Relius could not have predicted the reaction from Valkenhayn.
The burst of chi sends him off-balanced; and with that, the full -bodyslam- hurls him backwards, knocking the wind clean from him. Mechanical debris is sent scattering around, as he hits the ground. Grunting in pain, he rises up, gripping his chest. A smirk, belaying the words to come. "Ah... yes. You are bound by duty, I can see it now." Tilting his head, the smirk becomes a grin.
"Tell me, does Lady Alucard fill the void that was left in you, after you saved reality?"
Relius snaps his fingers, a kind of pleasure filling him. Ignis reappears, shifting into reality at Valkenhayn's flanks. Relius sweeps his cape, as two small mechanical orbs fall from the depths, landing in the ground. Ignis circles around Valkenhayn, as the orbs burrow under the ground, absolutely -ruining- the tiles as they send them up. Ignis charges, rushing at the wolf... before stopping, returning backwards. The burrowing bursts up into twin buzzsaws, attempting to roll up and rip up Valkenhayn's body. All Relius stands back. "How -wonderful- does it feel to bring so much delight to an observer, Valkenhayn?"
"Is it an experience I could even understand?"
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn blocks Relius' Geara Lugia.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////// ]
Valkenhayn 0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0 Relius
That vicious shoulder-check/body-slam complete, the canine twists about in the air as the impact sends him backwards - shifting as he travels, he lands on the tiled floor with two feet, some distance away from Relius... back into the shape of a man, in order to finally respond to the queries put to him by his old partner.
Another trick, another surprise attack involving that mechanical 'wife' of his - Ignis - seems poised to catch Valkenhayn off guard again... but this time, he's slightly prepared for it. He's come to understand, to remember, the way the man of science does battle. Bit by bit, he's remembering something he'd tried so hard to forget; his time spent alongside Clover.
In attempting to do away with those memories, force them to the back of his mind, he's not only distracted himself... he's also robbed himself of valuable intel, regarding Relius' combat style. Though it certainly has advanced since they last met, the crux of it is so very, very similar to the man he once knew - ages ago - that as he /lets/ those memories flood his mind, he seems to be faring better in the encounter against him.
The buzzsaws are met with raised forearms from the aged warrior and manservant, ripping into the fabric of his black-and-gold formal wear rather than digging into some unprotected part of his body. It hurts, certainly, and draws blood all the same... but it's vastly preferable to the alternative.
And when the attack clears, he's left standing tall... and what's more, he's actually /rushing/ towards the position of Relius, immaculate dress shoes carrying him across the heavily damaged tile floor. In any other circumstance, he would take a moment to bemoan the state of things in this chamber - missing ceiling, ruined floor... his work clearly cut out for him, just in affecting repairs to this /one/ area alone - nevermind his additional, regular duties.
"I doubt... you could understand /anything/, but your own foolish conceit, Relius!"
His voice is seething out between his sharpened teeth, absolutely dripping contempt and disgust for the man he finds in front of him. That anger is evident in the savagery of his next attack - as he reaches striking distance of his old partner, he twists his body suddenly and flips backwards - leveling a savage, chi-imbued kick at the man and aiming to send him rocketing upwards.
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn successfully hits Relius with Grau Bogen.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////// ]
Valkenhayn 0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0 Relius
Valkenhayn was beginning to understand.
A dangerous change, as the trick was seen through. The insidious Relius had calculated that Valkenhayn would fall for the bait. But he had brought about that wisdom and understanding that he was demanding. Unfortunate timing, Relius realizes, as his entire combination is subdued by Valkenhayn unleashing a staggering backwards kick. The relentless combination of attacks was overwhelming, coming with cataclysmic force as it sends Relius into the air, striking squarely into his jaw. There is a cracking sound, as Relius lands on his back. He stands up after landing, almost seeming no worse for wear. "I understand far greater than you imagine-"
"I think... I think you broke my jaw!" Relius states. "I- yes, I cannot speaks without suffering incredible pain! You cur!" Relius actually looks annoyed, as his face swells. A flick of the wrist, and he draws out a small, pressurized canister. Black smoke stirs within.
Relius draws the hand within, under the cloak. There is a clicking, and then, a hissing. Relius exhales, the rush of magical energy. Ignis quivers, and disappears. Relius raises his now empty hand, striding towards Valkenhayn, his aura beginning to... magnify. Two large mechanical limbs burst from the ground underneath Valkenhayn's feet, attempting to batter him. Should they connect? A dozen more, smaller limbs would begin to rejoin in the assault, the magical energy flowing both through it, and himself. And they would not stop until Valkenhayn could break free...
Of course, they would be aiming to take Valken right at Relius's feet.
COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Valkenhayn with Geara Orationis.
[ \\\\\\ < > /////////// ]
Valkenhayn 0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1 Relius
Those two words, stated with calm voice but dripping sarcasm and utterly lacking any sympathy, are the only response that seem forthcoming from the lips of Valkenhayn R. Hellsing at the oh-so-tragic news that Relius' jaw might be broken...
Yet the man hardly seems interested in shutting his mouth, even though each word he speaks at this point seems to cause him great pain. Somethings truly /never/ change, even with the passage of ages through the sands of the hourglass.
Landing on his feet after the suddenly flip-kick that sent his old partner flying to the ground, the human form of the Lycanthrope takes a moment's pause - even with bleeding forearms, shredding and torn formal wear - to adjust the ends of his spotless white gloves, tightening them down onto his hands with a few subtle movements.
Dress shoes shift stance on the now-ruined tile floor underfoot, as the old Legend of the Six Heroes stares daggers, across the distance, towards the face of Relius Clover. He may be regaining some small part of his composure, no longer the mindless, bloodthirsty animal that he was just moments earlier in this encounter... but there is still nothing but hatred in those eyes.
It is simply, now, under some /small/ amount of control - as he's convinced himself that keeping his head somewhat level is the /only/ way for him to win the day. Despite every other part of his heart, his soul, telling him to mindlessly rush forward and tear this villain to shreds.
He certainly would /deserve/ it, but Clover has proven one thing throughout the entirety of this brief fight; he is /prepared/ to fight a bloodthirsty animal... is he prepared to fight Valkenhayn, with a cooler head, in control of the torrent of emotions that flow through his wizened, aged body?
We shall see...
The man of science strides forward once again, all calm confidence and arrogance, and the servant of House Alucard lets out a low growl from his human mouth... that aura, that power... it doesn't frighten him, nor does it do anything to put him at ease. It's strange, otherworldly in it's own, unique way...
He's beginning to shift back into his canine form, two legs completing a half-leap into the air and landing on four paws... just in time to be struck by two mechanical arms bursting /out/ from the tiled floor underneath. Yet more damage he will be responsible for repairing, once he's healed up from this savage battle...
They really must get some better locks on the Castle.
Once he's staggered by that initial strike, a multitude of smaller limbs rise up and join in the battering of the wolf, growls of fury - mixed with smaller, controlled yelps of pain - exiting the Lycanthrope's slavering jaws...
Dragging him forward, towards Relius... finally he's able to get free, just as he reaches that hated rival from so long ago. Now loose of the furious assault of robotic limbs, tearing himself out of their grasp, Valkenhayn lunges forward - little grace in the motion that follows, just a desire to break free and return the favour to Relius himself...
Those bleeding, spittle-soaked jaw opens wide, and the fangs lining his mouth come clamping down upon the man's thigh, aiming to thrash and shred the area right above his kneecap.
COMBATSYS: Relius blocks Valkenhayn's Medium Bite.
[ \\\\\\\ < > ////////// ]
Valkenhayn 0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1 Relius
As a matter of fact, Relius considered himself prepared.
The seithr had a long, detailed description he was all but willing to describe to Valkenhayn. How, in fact, he came to receive it. The nuclear assault at Mt. Fuji. The -second- nuclear assault, where Justice had battled the Ikari Warriors. How epic the battle must have been, not only between Justice and the girl, but even against the commander of the Ikari Warriors himself. How long they must have battled, to leak out so much magical energy into the background. True magic, in it's pure and undiluted form. He would have been content to explain this for hours, days even!
But this blasted jaw!
The seithr flows through him, augmenting his power. The rush is delayed. But as Valkenhayn forces back at Relius, the magical energy begin to take effect. The man's clothing begins to billow as magic surges. A mere miniscule, enough to flood his body. Relius bring his arm up; not a mechanical limb or a doll, but his actual arm, as the toxic miasma boils over it. Catching his arm into the jaw, the powerful energy shields and shelters, even as the flesh bleeds. Relius's smirk was gone. And in it's place was a full, tooth-filled grin. Valkenhayn may have seen that smile before, as he could very well feel how -deep- Relius was looking into him. How deep he could sense his limited defensive options, his waning reserves and health. And that smile, only grows.
It may have been seared into the minds of their surviving victims as well.
Relius raises his other arm, as his agility builds faster and faster. The power flows from within, boiling out from his cape, into the palm of his hand. The energy condenses, into a single shimmering orb of magical energy. "You have no- eeeeergh." The dynamic speeching would have to come later. "Urgh. Enough!" He says, surrendering to the agony. He -did- have a broken jaw. A minor setback, but a furious one. Drawing his hand back, he -jerks- to bring Valkenhayn closed. And he -smashes- the ball of energy at Valkenhayn, letting it explode point blank into a burst of sigils.
As the wild magical energy cascades over him faster and faster.
COMBATSYS: Relius successfully hits Valkenhayn with Nero Angelo.
[ \ < > ////////// ]
Valkenhayn 1/-------/=======|-------\-------\0 Relius
Some small mercy, then; that even on the brink of defeat, Valkenhayn does not have to listen to the ceaseless prattling of his old partner. Next time - if there /is/ a next time - he will have to remember to crack Relius' jaw earlier in the fight.
It would certainly save him quite a headache, if nothing else.
The surge of seithr is enough to send the canine's own fur whipping back, away from that blasted scientist, from the rush of mystical energy that seems to flow throughout his opponent's body... and when the servant's jaws come clamping down - on that arm, instead of the intended spot on Relius' thigh - he can actually /taste/ that bizarre power.
Almost toxic, in some strange, otherworldly, entirely /incorrect/ way, it's enough to cause the Lycanthrope, in his wolf form, to retch from the sickening 'flavour' - even as he struggles to keep his fangs dug in as deep as possible... but that energy, shielding his so, makes a firm grip nearly impossible.
/This/ is something new from the amoral, former Immortal Breaker - something Valkenhayn had never seen him utilize. It seems, in fact, to sap his strength, even as he thrashes his neck back and forth in an effort to rip and tear at the man's clothing (and the flesh underneath).
And when he looks up, glancing for some sign of pain from the man he is so viciously assaulting - the one who had the gall to invade this sancturary, the abode of Lady Alucard - there is nothing but /that grin/... and an intent, burrowing stare coming back at him from the cloaked individual.
Perhaps some part of the butler knows, then, that this fight is over. That, even, the man might have him /exactly/ where he wants him - as though this entire back and forth battle were one intricate game of chess, or some sick /test/, on the part of Relius Clover... or perhaps not. He would not put it past the man to allow himself to be pushed to the edge of defeat, only to make Valkenhayn's loss more deflating, to better /crush/ the will of the man who fought beside him so long ago.
Truly, nothing is out of the realm of possibility when one is dealing with the twisted, calculating mind of Relius Clover.
Jaws open, and Valkenhayn is already shifting - visibly - back into the form of a man, trying to get some leverage to push the scientist away... to gain some distance from that power that is welling up inside of him... but it's too late, and the seithr's pull is too strong!
He's jerked ahead, that ball of energy /smashed/ into his body mid-transformation; caught halfway between the form of a wolf and that of a man, he begins to fly back... but before he's more than a few feet /away/ from Clover, there is a sudden, purple burst of energy that covers his own form from head to toe...
One last attempt, to make this man /regret/ coming here today; to make him /regret/ underestimating his old friend and fellow Immortal Breaker.
As a rocket of chi energy sends Valkenhayn hurtling /back/ towards Relius - overcoming the backward momentum from that energy blast in an instant - he once again rushes ahead in the shape of Valkenhayn the manservant... a downward kick attempts to bounce the scientist down to the floor and up off of it...
If that blow lands, he spins up and into the air - transforming back into his canine aspect as he moves gracefully, even as he teeters just shy of unconsciousness - and then hangs there for a moment... the wolf is wreathed in that purple chi which he so frequently displays... and then hurtles down like a rocket towards Relius Clover's body.
Of course; once all this is complete, he has certainly exhausted his last reserves of energy, of breath, of fighting spirit... his body is already going limp, tongue lolling out from between his fanged jaws... he just... /has/ to make this word. For Madam Rachel, if not for himself.
COMBATSYS: Valkenhayn can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Relius blocks Valkenhayn's Konig Flug.
[ \\\\\\\\ <
Relius was barely capable of regret anymore. Disappointment? Certainly. He was disappointed that his sons ended up so useless. He was disappointed when his dolls ended up as failed experiments. And right now, he was disappointed that Valkenhayn, rather than roll over and give Relius exactly what he wanted, was choosing to waste both of their times in a futile display of loyalty. Relius would regret nothing he's done. For better.
And significantly, for worse.
And yet, the glimmer comes as clearly, Relius does not hit Valkenhayn hard enough. His former partner was hurling right back at him with feral defiance, even as the black magic courses through his body. Relius groans as he catches the initial kick with his arm, the limb giving a loud hum as the pain multiplies. As the rocketing wolf descends, the scientist draws within his cloak. Letting it wrap around him, he shifts to the side, repositioning at the last second. Unfortunately, a rposition is not enough to break Valkenhayn's tracking. The second blow nearly -rips- along Relius's back... only the last minute -explosion- of wild mechanical arms is able to stop a clean hit, letting the chi blast over Relius. The scientist was breathing faster, and faster, as he immediately surges back, over Valkenhayn, waiting for the next move...
Until Relius exhales in pain.
Staggering to one knee, his body continues to burn and boil with magical energy. He gropes under his cloak, reaching for something. Bubbles of -something- form under his fabric, rolling and seething. Relius grips his face with his other hand, as he braces against himself. And finally.... he pulls something. A loud -hiss- erupts from him, as toxic black smoke bursts from his body, spreading across the floor of the castle in an impossibly thin haze. Relius falls forward, on all fours, breathing hard.
It takes a moment to recover.
"It is tragic," Relius begins, through the pain of his jaw. "That we must fight, old friend." Relius stands back up. Raising a hand, he snaps his fingers. Ignis appears. Relius adjust his clothing, as he nods at Valkenhayn. Ignis would scoop up the butler, to carry him in her arms. Carrying the stunned Valkehhayn, Relius raises a finger. "In a moment..." And Relius turns towards Valkenhayn, bringing his face close to the side of Valkenhayn's own. Up close, the damage of the broken jaw could be seen through the thin smile of the scientist. "I know well enough." He whispers. "To turn my back on a wounded wolf... without proper precautions" A flick of the wrist, and Relius draws out long, puppet-like strings in one hand... and the red muzzle in the other.
"Lets look our best, before we meet the Observer face to face, shall we?~"
COMBATSYS: Relius has ended the fight here.
For all his efforts, his feelings towards the cloaked individual were - perhaps - always too personal a matter for Valkenhayn to ever maintain a cool head... it might be that Relius simply knew his old partner far too well for the Lycanthrope to ever best such a well-prepared and calculating individual. Whatever the reasons, his last attempt to defeat this intruder is deflected by those blasted mechanical arms - absorbing the majority of his forward momentum and softening the impact significantly.
The wolf is knocked aside, then; his canine body left to strike the tiled floor - ruined and wrecked by the titantic battle that just played out in this chamber - and come to a stop some distance away. The rising and falling of his chest, breaths barely visible under that blood-soaked, tattered white/gray fur, is the only sign that the butler is still /alive/ at this point.
He had given it his all, in an effort to drive this hated figure from his past out of these hallowed halls. One last attempt to secure the sanctuary of Madam Rachel - as brave as it might have been - would hardly make the difference in this battle.
Even as the scientist drops to one knee, Valkenhayn is weaving in and out of consciousness, and by the time Clover turns towards him and bends down - face directly near those open jaws - he is not even aware of it... not aware of how close his enemie's neck is to those fangs...
Log created on 11:43:00 01/05/2018 by Relius, and last modified on 15:05:50 01/11/2018.