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[Arcadia War] World End Crisis: Heart of Sword; CLOSED: Yukina
Topic Started: Feb 6 2018, 04:41 PM (305 Views)
HiroTsukasa
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Sorcerer Seizing Sorcerer
It's time...



Hiroyuki was sitting on the rooftop of Cafe STG with a laptop before him. Beside him, Kurohime sat in her cat form and yawned softly and rose to lean in and look at the screen. Some sort of notification had appeared, but the text was running across so quickly it was hard to make sense of things. The cat tilted its head to the side in confusion and Hiroyuki smiled noting her curiosity.

"I had to call in a few favors with friends online," Hiroyuki began to explain as he started typing furiously at the keyboard, "A secret organization can do all they want to remain hidden, but in arrogance, they failed to ever wipe our knowledge about it. Simply knowing that it exists means that hackers out there, who are more skilled than I could ever be, can track them down."

"So you've turned the tables?" Kurohime questioned in her usual haughty tone, "They can know what it feels like to be at the mercy of their opponents having all the info."

"We're going to do one better," Hiroyuki smirked confidently, "All the elements for Yamato's ritual are prepared, so we have to act now. Let's give Arcadia the crisis of a lifetime."

Laughing softly, Hiroyuki lowered a single finger to the keyboard and tapped the ENTER key.

====

[Arcadia HQ]

"Multiple hostile creatures are being detected all across Kaneshima Island," one of the Operators monitoring things in the main command center suddenly spoke in shock as she spun back from her screen.

Spoiler: click to toggle


"W-WHAT!?" Makoto shot back as she waved an arm in frustration, "That can't be possible. Double check the readings. The yokai that had gathered under Raizo had scattered in the wake of the last conflict."

"I'm seeing the same things," another Operator chimed in as he shook his head in disbelief, "By all accounts, the city is under siege... or... it's about to be..."

Unsure what to make of the situation, Makoto turned to face Arcadia's Commander who happened to be wearing an unusual grin on his face. "So the children decided they wanted to play one final game?" Yamato mused as he rose from his seat.

"Sir," Makoto began but Yamato slowly raised up an open palm and shook his head slowly.

Spoiler: click to toggle


"It will be fine," Yamato reasoned as he gave the leader of Fire Division a reassuring nod, "It doesn't really matter whether it is a trap or some kind of trick. Arcadia will respond by the usual protocol. Deploy squads to the site of each reading to investigate. It's the middle of the day so make sure full discretion is used. If there has to be conflict, try to contain it to remote areas."

Various voices acknowledged his words with a "Yes, Sir" before setting about work ordering the deployment of Fire Division squads. Yamato turned and swiftly exited through the main entrance of the command center and into the hall. Makoto was behind him in moments with an air of uncertainty about her person.

"Commander Hotsuin," she began with her words wavering as if she didn't quite know whether to continue.

"It's okay," Yamato replied without turning to face her, "Arcadia is a well-oiled machine now. There's no need for confusion on any matter. Whatever it is, go ahead and ask."

"You're not worried about spreading Fire Division too thin?" Makoto questioned with a sigh of relief.

"They think they've gained some kind of upper hand," Yamato mused with a soft laugh, "I'm fine pretending to play into their trap. I want you and several others to deploy on special order. I'll be going into the field as well..."

"And," Makoto hesitated for a moment before stepping forward and placing a hand on Yamato's shoulder, "Yamato... you're sure you want to go through with this? All this... I mean... the ritual..."

"Captain Sako?" Yamato questioned as he forcefully stepped away from her touch, "Please do not waver. I believe in a world where people are valued relative to their skill and ability. This is just one step on the path towards that world. There is no room for uncertainty in such a world. I need your strength at my side. So, please... Do. Not. Waver."

"Y-Yes," Makoto replied as she became filled with a sense of dread, "By your word, Commander Hotsuin."

====

One by one, five-person squads of Arcadia's Fire Division members were deployed into Kaneshima corresponding with the detected supernatural threats. However, in each instance, there seemed to be nothing going on. Or rather, in most cases this was what occurred. A few lucky divisions would detect a target, but quickly find themselves led on a wild goose chase across city blocks before coming up with nothing.

This was all being orchestrated by the directions Hiroyuki had given out. Working in tandem Aka-san, Hanako and even Kurohime were sneaking about all over the city and wasting Arcadia's time. Of course, it was not all dead ends for the Fire Division. A handful of squads were lured out into the deeper parts of the forest and there they ran across Raizo and the Kamaitachi Siblings.

Along with those who still had a will to fight among the Yokai that had joined Raizo's cause, they ambushed these squads in hit and run style conflicts. In each instance, they looked only to knock out opponents at worst or otherwise to simply keep them busy and draw them further away from the city proper.

All this, however, was merely phase one of the plan. By drawing out and occupying the maximum number of Arcadia's forces, they would increase the odds of the next step being successful. In due time, Arcadia's forces were stretched thin running down bogus energy readings and trying to gain the upper hand against Raizo's fury. Eventually, Hanako and Aka-san broke away from the endless chases as they were needed elsewhere.

Everything was going according to plan, but now the tricky part would begin...

====

Kaneshima Beach was unusually vacant for the time of day. The sun hung brightly in the sky, but when the seaside was available at any time perhaps it got taken for granted by a lot of people. The waves lazily rolled in and out creating a sort of meditative sound for any that happened to be taking in the scenery.

"I'm in position," Hiroyuki's voice crackled over their walkie-talkie, "Get to your location as soon as you can. When the ritual gets set into motion the magatama that I've prepared will go into effect and vent off the leyline energy that's been gathered up and cancel the spell. We only need to buy time for that process to finish. As long as we remain in our locations and make sure our magatama stays intact, we'll win. It doesn't matter what kind of opposition might get thrown at us. We just have to last out."

"And don't worry about Yamato," Hiroyuki added with a reassuring laugh, "I'm sure once he pieces things together he will come for me. I've got a little surprise I've planned on the side for him. I know we can do this. Let's stop Yamato's scheme and put Arcadia back to its rightful place."

It had been at this very beach that Yukina came across Hiroyuki collapsed and nearly wiped out as a result of his training. It was that very same encounter where Hiroyuki had fully laid out the extent of his situation and for good or ill, Yukina had volunteered to help. Her stakes in this conflict were the least of all involved and, even so, she had decided to do something about it.

Thus, it was all the more fitting that not only was the beach one of the gathering points for the leyline energy but also that Yukina happened to be the one that wound up present. Maybe it was just the fault of random coincidence. But maybe, just maybe it was fate...
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Chizu
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Yukina's gaze was fixed on the ocean.

It was hard to imagine, as she watched the waves lap against the shore, that she had ever looked out at the horizon and wished she could see the sea. The girl that had dreamed of things like that, that had dreamed of adventure and travel, had vanished long ago, hidden beneath very real concerns and fears and insecurities. She'd long since accepted that she would never leave her hometown.

And now, years later, here she was, looking out at the ocean.

And getting ready to fight a battle whose stakes, if they didn't directly involve her, involved people that Yukina knew, that she cared about in some form or another.

The thought was so absurd that it almost made her laugh. Yukina was not the kind of person to get into supernatural battles. At least, she'd never been. But her presence here proved that to be a lie.

The last vestiges of Hiroyuki's voice crackled out of the walkie-talkie, fading in the sea air. Yukina held the walkie-talkie at her side with one hand, Hiroyuki's magatama in the other. As his connection cut off, Yukina slowly raised the walkie-talkie to her mouth, pressing the TALK button.

"Alright," she said, not sure what else she could say at this moment. "I'm ready..." Not the truth, but Hiroyuki didn't have time for the truth right now. She hesitated, then said softly, "Be careful, Hiroyuki-kun..."

Yukina released the button. Then, slowly and deliberately, she turned away from the ocean, slipping the walkie-talkie into her purse. The magatama went into her pocket. She didn't know how this was supposed to go, but she had a feeling she would want to keep it close to her. She'd need both her hands free for this, though.

Letting out a breath, Yukina summoned the sword into her hand. It came, as it always did, in a flash of red mist, hovering there for a moment before her fingers closed around the hilt. She held it with one hand, looking down at it.

Okay... she thought. It was easier to think the thoughts than to try to say them out loud. I know the two of us haven't had the best relationship. But if this doesn't work, the spell will destroy you. You'll die. So...if you can...

...Help?


OOC
 
Let me know if this isn't the sort of thing she'll want to be touching the magatama for, and I can edit my post to say that she put it carefully, and gently on the ground. :)
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HiroTsukasa
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The waves continued to roll in and out to a slow calming rhythm. As she focused on the blade now in her grasp, Yukina never noticed the figure that had approached her location. It was almost as though he just appeared, teleporting in from some other world entirely. However, he did not make himself known through any sort of direct action. In truth, he had been there for a few moments now standing in silence and observing the unusual interaction between a swordswoman and her blade.

"It's beautiful," the Arcadian known by the code name Ice King spoke in a soft uneasy tone hoping to grab Yukina's attention, "This island... I mean." His usual cool and calm demeanor was in full swing. For a moment, it seemed as though he might only be there just to have a discussion.

Spoiler: click to toggle


But once regarded it was clear the boy had come prepared for a fight. What appeared to be a sheathed katana was slung over his back. Hiroyuki had taken some time to run over likely opponents to try and get Yukina up to speed. Ice King, naturally, was mentioned and this guy fit the description perfectly.

Ice Elemancy, she had been told. However, the addition of the katana did not seem to add up. Hiroyuki had mentioned that he favored sword play, but had said repeatedly that Ice King materialized his own blade out of pure ice. Why then was he carrying another?

"I don't recognize you," Ice King spoke in a somber tone, "Are you one of them? Hiroyuki's comrades? I'd like to think otherwise, but I know this is where I need to be and you look more like somebody preparing for a fight than someone practicing kendo on the beach."

"You don't have to fight," Ice King added in a sort of pleading tone, "I no longer have a choice in the matter, but you do. Just tell me what he's trying to do and let me stop it." But the tone of his voice did little to hide his feelings. This "Ice King" was conflicted and even as he spoke, his voice sounded as if he did not hold any faith in what he was saying.

OOC
 
Perfectly fine, the magatama just has to be present in the designated area. So it's really just about how each character feels they can best protect it.
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Chizu
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Yukina jumped at the sound of the voice from next to her, whirling so that she was facing the speaker. She raised her sword as well, keeping it between the two of them with the tip pointed in the vicinity of the speaker's chest, but the stance was half-hearted, as any student of the sword would be able to tell. It was as though Yukina truly didn't want to fight, didn't want to hurt anyone, but also as if on some level, she was willing to.

Her breathing started speeding up without any thought from her, her heartrate rising as well. She forced herself to breathe slow and deep, forced herself to remember what she had been taught in class even as her fears threatened to get the better of her. She recognized the man from Hiroyuki's description--the Ice King--although she hadn't been told to expect the sword. Why would he have a sword when he could make his own blade out of ice?

At the Ice King's questioning of her, Yukina shifted her stance, her posture becoming more resolute as she angled her blade at him. The question of the sword had distracted her, and Yukina scolded herself for it. She couldn't afford to be distracted now.

Oh god, was she really going to fight him? Here, on the beach, sword to sword?

Her stomach rolled. The thought alone was almost enough to overwhelm her.

She'd rather avoid a fight if she could. But the alternative, that she betray Hiroyuki...

Well, Yukina couldn't countenance that either.

"I'm sorry," she said, keeping her sword firmly between the two of them. The magatama was a warmth and a weight in her pocket--she tried not to think about it. "I can't tell you that."

She didn't want to fight either, but she'd made a promise. And if it came to a fight...well, then Yukina would just have to do her best.
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HiroTsukasa
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"Very well then," Ice King sighed but kept his gaze clearly upon Yukina. She seemed like an easy opponent to read. Her wavering resolve was clear with every movement. And of course, what kind of answer was that? "I can't tell you?" In saying nothing at all, she had just as easily said so much more in his mind. Holding forth his right hand, Ice King began to focus as a crystalline mist began to form before it. In a flash, the mist began to freeze into ice and extend taking the shape of a jagged blade.

"Then I'll do all the talking for both of us," Ice King concluded as he snatched the hilt of his ice blade and then pointed its tip to Yukina in kind, "This is what I can tell. You're wavering in your resolve. I don't think that's out of questioning your goal... fear perhaps... or maybe just inexperience. You're confident in what you need to do but unable to come to terms with whether or not you can. It's no surprise. Truthfully, I know Yamato's cause is wrong." This was a surprisingly sudden admission. Yet, despite speaking ill of the one he served it was clear by the boy's tone that he had no interest in surrendering himself.

"But I don't get the luxury of stressing out about the path I'm on," he added with a touch of venom directed at Yukina, "Unless I follow Yamato's orders, I'm not a part of Arcadia any longer. If I'm not a part of Arcadia, then I'm on the kill list right beside everyone else in Yamato's path. That's the reality of your situation. Are you willing to kill to achieve your victory?" It was an unpleasant thought. Ice King had laid out his logic quite clearly. It was fight for Yamato or die. Could Yukina match up to such resolve?

"And... I can also tell you that you're here for a reason," Ice King concluded letting his earlier question linger as he lowered the pointing blade and took up a readied stance, "This is one of the gathering sites. It's too coincidental for one of Hiroyuki's allies to be here. So even if I don't know what your plan is, I know I need to remove you from this area."

"So I'll take the first move!" Ice King shouted as he began to rush forward swiftly. Initially, it seemed as though he might move into making a powerful overhead slash but this was merely a fake out. Instead, Ice King began to make a flurry of quick thrusts with the ice blade almost like one might do with a rapier when fencing.
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Chizu
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The Ice King's words caught her off-guard. Yukina had been prepared--scared, yes, but ultimately prepared--to fight someone who believed in their cause. It would have been easier that way. She could tell herself that she was just protecting Hiroyuki, just doing what she believed was right. But to hear that he didn't actually think that Yamato was right--to hear that he had no choice but to fight her...

...Could she really fight someone like that?

Her resolve wavered, just for an instant. But that instant was apparently all that the Ice King needed.

He charged forward, rushing at her. Yukina's eyes widened, and she scrambled to firm up her defensive position, widening her stance and lowering herself so that she was closer to the ground. He was coming from the front, so she had to brace herself. If she could block this attack, she might have an opening--

No, that's wrong!

Yukina's eyes widened as she realized the feint, but by then it was almost too little too late. Instead of swinging overhead, like she had been prepared to defend against, the Ice King opened up with a flurry of strikes. Yukina quickly stepped back, bringing her sword up in front of her. She managed to deflect the first few strikes, relying more on the enhanced speed given to her by the sword than any real skill, but it was obvious as she moved that she was stumbling back, letting the Ice King force her backwards and set the pace. She was moving downhill too, her back towards the ocean, and Yukina was aware of how quickly she was being overwhelmed.

A flash of cold pierced through the back of her hand as tip of the Ice King's blade caught it. Just a nick, nothing too serious, but enough to center Yukina's attention, drawing it to the fight. A drop of red streaked its way across the back of her hand, painting over the inky black swirls that wriggled and writhed across her skin when she had the sword in hand.

Yukina grit her teeth, summoning up her strength. The next time she stepped back, she stepped back widely, letting her feet dig into the sand to strengthen her position. She shifted her grip on the sword to a one-handed grip, sweeping it in front of her in a wide arc. The slash was meant to clear the space, to get the Ice King off of her. If she succeeded in making him move back, she would follow up with a thrust of her own, bringing her left hand back onto the hilt of the sword and stabbing it forward at his chest.
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HiroTsukasa
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"Don't make me a murderer," Ice King challenged taking a rather unfair stance on the situation, "You can walk away and live regardless. If I give up then it's my end just the same."

Deep down, it hurt him to talk like that. This girl. She seemed perfectly normal and nice. It wasn't in his nature to act this way, but what choice did he have now? The second he had learned the full extent of Yamato's plan, he had confronted Arcadia's Commanding Officer. Yamato's words were clear. He could fight for them and know Yamato would protect him or walk away as their enemy. Ice King knew he simply had to harden his heart.

Spurred on by her retreat, Ice King rushed forward continuing the flurry of thrusts hoping to keep the pressure on and prevent her from gaining any sort of opening. However, a shift in momentum brought Yukina forward slashing out a wide arc. It was one powerful motion and the ever clever Ice King knew that trying to parry it would be a gamble. Despite knowing it was an unfavorable move, he scoffed in frustration and hopped back just narrowly avoiding the tip of her blade.

Just like that, Yukina followed through with a thrust and realizing his folly, Ice King could only meet it with the side of his ice blade forcing it off course but unfortunately taking a sharp cut along his arm while wincing in pain. Now, they had both drawn blood. She was too good. He had applied a lot of time training and learning swordplay, but from just a few moments he had ascertained that her own devotion greatly exceeded his. However, his own relative deficiency was related to the spreading of his own devotion among several different areas. To win, he was going to have to call upon all his ability.

"Nothing to say for yourself?" Ice King challenged as he dropped low to the ground and drew across his ice blade sweeping it in a wide arc mimicking the very move Yukina had used to create her opening.

Meanwhile, on her person, Yukina's magatama began to radiate with a soft warmth. Clearly, it was beginning to have some sort of reaction.
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Chizu
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The Ice King's move pushed her sword off course, but the blade still found a home, cutting a gash along the side of the Ice King's arm. Yukina found something in her recoiling at the feel of resistance as the blade cut through flesh. As sharp as the blade was, she shouldn't be able to feel anything from her end, or at least, it shouldn't feel any different from cutting paper, or soaked tatami mats, or any of the various things she'd started to practice with.

But it did. It was different when fighting a person, when fighting something alive, and a part of Yukina regretted the necessity.

Something else in her, something darker, rose to the challenge. Something deep within her gut uncoiled and growled, sniffing the air.

Not yet, Yukina thought towards it as she took a step forward to press her advantage. She had to keep in control, in command, or what had happened in the fight against Latia could happen again. You're not needed now. Not yet.

Her eyes widened as the Ice King came in with a low sweep, swinging his sword at ankle height. If it hadn't been for her enhanced abilities, Yukina would have likely been missing a foot from the encounter, but instead, she managed to leap to the side, over the sword and out of the way of the strike.

Her leap had been rough, the desperate movement of an amateur working with enhanced abilities she couldn't fully control, and the unsteady surface of the sand didn't led itself well to a smooth landing. Yukina nearly fell over as the sand slipped away from underneath her feet, but although she flailed a little, she managed, just barely, to take up a proper stance again, pointing the tip of her sword at the Ice King.

"I'm not going to walk away," Yukina said, surprising herself with how steady the words sounded. She was out of breath from the initial exchange, but for the first time in a while, she wasn't stammering. That was something. "Hiroyuki-kun is a friend. If I walked away, and something happened to him, and I knew I could have done something to stop it, I wouldn't be able to live with myself. If I knew that I didn't do what I thought was right because I was too scared, I wouldn't be able to live with myself."

Hiroyuki's magatama was a warmth in her skirt pocket, reminding her of why she was here, and what she was doing. Her stance was more resolute now as she faced her attacker, the wind whipping strands of dark hair around her face. He was better than her. If she got into too many direct confrontations, she likely wouldn't make it. But she didn't have to win. She just had to stall, long enough for the plan to work.

Surely even someone like her could do something like that.

"I'm not a good fighter. But if you want to stop him, you're going to have to go through me. And I'm not going to make it easy." It wasn't a boast. It wasn't even said loudly. It was said in a soft voice, almost as if Yukina were making a promise to herself, and not speaking to the Ice King.

But inside of her, deep inside, something growled in approval.
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HiroTsukasa
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"Marvelous words," Ice King replied thoughtfully to what Yukina said his own tone making his sincerity clear, "And so you have become resolute. You'll protect Hiroyuki to the end. And in the process condemn me to death." The words were harsh and biting, but also a little unfair. Yukina had never met the one she faced now, expecting any kind of courtesy given the circumstances was just unreasonable.

"Not that I'm blaming you," Ice King clarified as he raised a hand and slowly adjusted his glasses, "I am just making sure our situation is clear. I can't afford to lose and I would wager that when you're focused we are an equal match in swordplay. So I'll have to use every tool at my disposal!" Shouting these final words, Ice King resumed their battle rushing forward and once sending out a flurry of thrusts with his ice blade. It was a pattern Yukina had already seen and dealt with once before.

However, this time was not like before. After making only several strikes with the blade, something strange occurred. There was a puff of greenish light and without warning, Ice King vanished into thin air leaving behind a small cloud of pale green smoke. Just as the ice sword had been pulling forward in another strike, woosh, everything was gone.

Ice King was Half-Fae and due to this nature, he had access to a handful of natural abilities reflecting that heritage. They were skills he rarely used, preferring to simply rely on his Ice Elemancy and sharp wits to get by. Typically, he preferred to be a rather fair maybe even honorable opponent. But above most other supernatural races, the Fae have been known for their trickery and now Ice King needed that side of himself.

The same split second the smoke emerged, Ice King re-appeared directly behind Yukina his feet touching the soft sand without ever making a sound. Quiet amid the rolling sounds of the waves crashing into the shore, Ice King plunged his blade forward hoping to run the girl through the small of her back and out her stomach.

"Perhaps I am the monster," Drake thought to himself as his sword arm lurched forward the whole scene seemingly playing out in slow motion from his perception, "Maybe I do deserve the Commander's judgment..."
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Chizu
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The Ice King's words shook her, but only for a moment, a tremor that passed through her from her head to her sword hands, traveling up through the tip of the blade before vanishing from sight. Yukina breathed out, letting the tremor pass, the uncertainty pass. "That isn't right!" she said. "I'm not making you be here. I'm not condemning you to anything. You're the one--!"

...you're the one that's doing this to yourself.

She didn't get a chance to finish speaking, and Yukina wasn't sure she would have been able to articulate that thought even if she had. The Ice King charged at her, and again, it was all Yukina could do to hold her ground, all she could do to follow the pattern of his strikes, blocking where she could and deflecting where she couldn't. There was no opening to strike, although Yukina was steadier this time, her movements more resolute.

Stall, a part of her said. She just had to stall for time. To make sure that Hiroyuki could finish what he was doing.

But no. At the same time, she couldn't do that. If she let her attention waver, if she didn't give this fight all she had, if she allowed herself to do anything less than try to win...

Then she was going to lose. That was it. It was simple fact.

And if she lost, then what came after wasn't going to be as nice as her.

Yukina pushed back, searching for her opening. And it was just as that tide began to change, as Yukina began actively pushing forward, that her opponent vanished. Her sword cut through empty air, a cloud of green mist, only for the swordsman to appear behind her. Yukina's eyes went wide, her head turning towards the presence at her back.

Blood flew, splattering the sands.

A second's assessment would reveal what had happened. Yukina had been tipped off by something, a sensation like something crawling over her skin, a feeling like magic. That sensation had made her turn, made her try to get out of the way, but she hadn't turned fast enough. Instead of stabbing her straight through, the Ice King's sword had cut her deeply along the side, and Yukina was now turning to face him, one of her hands pressed to the wound.

Her other hand lashed out with the sword, a desperate move considering she was now doubled over. Another clearing motion, trying to get the Ice King away from her.

Because she was now fighting another battle. Something was surging up inside of her, something outraged. She could feel its anger wash over her, dulling her pain but replacing it with something else. Something savage and feral. The black marks on her hand, coated with her blood, were writhing furiously now, trying to spread up her arm. She was looking at the ground, so her eyes were hidden from the Ice King, but if he did look into them, he would have seen that the pupils were contracted, red trying to bleed in from the edges.

Not yet... she thought, taking in a shaky breath. Please, please. Not yet...
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HiroTsukasa
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Ice King raised an eyebrow in surprise once more as Yukina narrowly avoided his finishing blow. It seemed despite the surprise, this was an opponent used to dealing with tricky situations. He pausing for a moment, pondering the situation. Something was different... or changing at least. Something was happening. Was she... undergoing some kind of change?

For a moment, Ice King considered the sheathed katana he had brought along. It was one of the legendary weapons that Arcadia had acquired for use. It was meant to be his trump card if the battle went south. However, he knew well the high cost of this particular blade. If he had known Yukina better, he would have noted the similarities between its power and her own. But if at all possible, he did not want to have to pay that price.

"No," Ice King mumbled as he saw Yukina struggle with herself. She was undergoing a change. It was only a theory, but he recognized it was a sound one. If he let this change complete, she was likely going to get a lot stronger. Stronger to the point he'd have to play his own trump card just to catch back up.

There was another burst of greenish smoke as Ice King vanished and re-emerged behind Yukina again. In one quick motion, the frosty swordsman lashed forth a strike and then just as quickly he vanished again shifting to the side. In this way, he continued a rapid flurry of strikes from all directions as he teleported around her in a random pattern hoping to make it too difficult to predict where the next strike might come.

"I'm sorry," Ice King admitted between teleports for the split second he was making a sword thrust, "I can't let you get any stronger!" Little did he know the dangerous power he was tempting forth...
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Chizu
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Yukina grit her teeth as the Ice King started attacking her, one of her hands wrapped around the wound in her side. The other moved her sword in an upward cut, knocking his first thrust out of the way. Her movements were jerky and uncoordinated, however, her head bowed as she tried to fight her way against the pain. Blood soaked her clothes, dripping down onto the sand.

No, Yukina thought, fighting against the tide rising up inside of her as she tried to turn, tried to parry another one of the Ice King's strikes. Just a little longer. Hold on for just a little longer...

The magatama in her pocket was warm. A warmth in contrast to the cold that was spreading over her skin. She could feel its power. Had she always been able to feel power like that?

The Ice King moved again, and this time Yukina stumbled back in her attempt to get away, his sword slicing off a few strands of black hair and opening up a thin line across her cheek. She barely felt it. Her vision was blurring, and it felt like she was falling down a well. A dark, cold well. Sound was dull, movement felt stiff and ragged, her vision going black at the edges.

She was just so cold...

And there was something roaring there, something she was trying to keep at bay.

Yukina let out a frustrated shout as she knocked another one of the knocked another one of the Ice King's thrusts out of the way, this one almost knocking her over. She rounded onto him, eyes wide in desperation. And fear.

"Stop!" she said. "You--!"

The sword ran her through, cutting her off. Yukina looked down at the blade in her gut in horror, the color draining from her face. Time froze.

And the thing inside of her roared, rising to the surface. Power rose up around her where Yukina stood, the black swirls on the back of her hand rising to cover the rest of her body. As power erupted from her, her eyes went from violet to an angry red. The power that washed over her rushed over her wounds, healing the one in her face and side, and bodily shoving the Ice King and his sword away from her as it healed the wound in her gut too.

Her mouth opened, letting out a savage roar, and then 'Yukina', fully healed and restored, charged at the Ice King with a speed and grace that she hadn't possessed before, swinging her sword at him with newfound ferocity and power.
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HiroTsukasa
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Sorcerer Seizing Sorcerer
"I'm sorry," Ice King apologized as he noted the finishing strike, "Just fall for now. I'll bandage your wounds and make sure you survive." A frown worked across the young man's face as a feeling disgust welled up inside of him. It had to be this way. There was no choice. But now it was over. He'd take care of things here and then go try to assist the others and forget how callous he had to become to survive this day.

Or so he thought.

His eyes widened as he dispelled the ice blade the moment he was suddenly shoved grinding backwards leaving a trails in the sand with his heels. "What," Ice King began with disbelief as he saw Yukina's wounds closing up, "What are you?"

But there was no answer, only the monstrous inhuman roar that came from Yukina to herald this new onslaught. Everything had changed. Every observation he had made, every assumption about Yukina's fighting style, it was all now worthless in the face of this rage. In desperation, he tried to reform his ice blade to meet the flurry of slashes coming his way.

With each parry, the blade of frozen energy would shatter apart forcing him to tax his elemental control further to quickly forge another from thin air. A mix of his own confusion causing poor control and the sheer strength in each of Yukina's blows created a situation that Ice King was slowly losing. He already knew the outcome and several seconds later it arrived. He was unable to form a weapon fast enough and Yukina's blade buried deep in one of his shoulders.

Groaning in pain, Ice King vanished once more in that strange puff of green mist and re-appeared several steps away making a direct retreat. However, when the boy returned he had swung forth the strange sheathed katana he had brought along with him. As blood streamed down over one arm, Ice King put a hand reluctantly on the handle of the blade.

"I didn't want to have to use this," Ice King admitted even as Yukina's fury approached ever closer, "Muramasa, the demon blade. A recent acquisition on Arcadia's behalf. Heh, I was actually with the squad that recovered it. They say once this blade is drawn, it will not rest until it tastes blood. To defeat you... I will..." Slowly, Ice King tightened his grip on the hilt of Muramasa taking in a deep breath to gather his resolve.

However, just before he could begin drawing the legendary weapon there was an interruption. Nearby an explosive burst of sorts could be heard and from the sky came soaring none other than Black Dog. Ice King's partner had seemingly been using his fire elemancy to perform super-powered long jumps to cross the city at great length. With this final jump, he landed in the sand directly beside his close friend kicking up a small cloud of dust.

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"Bullshit," Black Dog challenged Ice King as he grasped his sword arm preventing the release of the cursed blade.

"What in the world are you doing?" Ice King protested and tried to pull free forcing Black Dog's grip to grow tighter.

"This isn't us, man," Black Dog argued with an unusual air of sincerity, "That chick made me realize it. All this shit Yamato's doing. This isn't what I signed up for. This isn't the Arcadia you showed me. I wanna be a hero and look at us...look at what's going on right now... it's not right."

"I... don't have a choice. I'm not like you... not... fully human. If I don't fight for the Commander..." Ice King began to protest.

"We'll find another way," Black Dog concluded in a reassuring tone as he let go of Ice King's arm, "We're partners, right? I'll fight with you till the end and if you go down then I'm going down with you. Isn't that just like any other mission with these guys?"

"Yeah," Ice King laughed in a relaxed sort of way letting go of Muramasa's hilt but nodding towards Yukina to draw Black Dog's attention, "You are right, but I'm afraid we still have a problem. Or maybe you'd like to try and give that girl a passionate speech as well?" Black Dog regarded Yukina who was pulling ever closer clearly intent on continuing the fight. He was unfamiliar with this one. Had she been present in the clash at the forest? Regardless, Ice King was already injured.

"Hey girl," Black Dog shouted lamenting the lack of any name to use while stepping forward in front of his partner to block Yukina's path, "There's no need to fight us anymore. You're a friend of Hiroyuki's right? So just cool it." Black Dog, ignorant of Yukina's situation, started to approach the swordswoman holding out his hands palm up to each side in a sign of peace.
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Chizu
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Knight Radiant
The creature that wore Yukina's face let out a breath as the blade buried itself in the Ice King's shoulder. When the Ice King vanished again, however, the creature snarled, angry at the loss of its prey. It swung around, holding the sword in one hand as it tried to track its opponent. At the sight of the Ice King, Yukina's knees bent, as if the creature was preparing to charge, but the sight of the sheathed sword gave even it pause.

Muramasa.

Yukina's eyes were a bright red, and there wasn't much in the way of intelligence in them, nothing much more than pure, animal rage. But even that rage paused at the sound of the sword's name.

It was as if...as if the creature had heard something familiar.

The moment did not last long, however. At Black Dog's sudden arrival, the creature leaped back, landing in a crouch with one hand on the sand and the sword held out to its side. A growl emanated from it, a warning. It had moved backwards to put distance between it and this new, possible threat, and now was watching Black Dog and the Ice King, considering, preparing its approach.

That was odd. Was there intelligence in there after all, buried beneath that animal rage?

As the two of them talked, it hesitated, then crept closer, moving with the slow grace of a predator that hadn't yet decided whether or not it should strike. Black Dog stepping in front of it made its decision for it.

It didn't understand what was going on. It didn't have words for 'friend' or 'Hiroyuki' or 'reason to fight'. But it understood what an enemy was. It understood what an opponent was.

With a snarl, it charged at Black Dog, putting both hands on the katana and pulling the hilt back as if to thrust the blade straight through his chest.
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HiroTsukasa
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Sorcerer Seizing Sorcerer
Black Dog sighed as the beast once known as Yukina made its stance on things clear. He'd just have to somehow stop the fighting by force if he must. Ice King was handled for the time being. In disgust, the half-fae removed Muramasa and let the hilt holding the blade clatter to the ground. What would he have done if he had drawn it? He was on the brink of truly becoming something monstrous. Like what Yukina now was? Would that have been his fate?

But their struggle was interrupted. As Yukina dove forward, a portal emerged causing the sword-possessed girl to careen straight through and vanish. The remaining duo of Arcadians looked to one another puzzled before two more portals materialized above them. "Shit," Black Dog exclaimed, "It's the Boss Man..." He lurched forward hoping to shove Ice King free, but it was too late.

As the swirling vortexes of azure energy crossed down, both of the now renegade Arcadians were drawn up as well.

Together they were whisked away to another location... undoubtedly by the machinations of one certain person...

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