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#1 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Rising Dragon Hotel - 4.2 miles from Nihonto Khan - 6:34pm

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The smell of fried street foods wafted up from the road below his balcony. From his place on the 47th floor, Glost could just barely make out the shimmering jewel of the Khan in the distance. A jewel soon to be sullied.

He tore hungrily into the pastry facsimile of a fish, the taste of red bean staining his tongue before he spit it to the streets below. A grimace formed on his face as he spun on his heel, his steps carrying him back into the room as he ruminated on the coming chaos, tossing the taiyaki over his shoulder and slamming the balcony door shut.

There would be blood tonight, and while much of it would belong to the puddling wastes of mutants and mobsters, two of his loyal followers were also among the endangered. But that was fine. Leo and Grant were not easily toppled, nor would they be foolish enough to implicate him. And what more was there to worry about?

Nothing.

What was his condition for failure? There was none. He had only to wreak havoc, to put on full display the horror of mutant might and he would win. The assault at the gates of the Khan would prove more than sufficient, but the true damage would be within. The gaming hall and vault would require special attention, and it was for these reasons that he had even bothered to hire the myriad of mercenaries. Their objective was to clean the currency from the casino, to vacate the vault, and to unmake the unattainable. They would destroy the Khan's internal operation, gut it and leave it a shell of what it was.

To succeed, his foe, the much vaunted but entirely unproven yakuza mastermind Yazhun San'Vun, would have to turn away the mutant mob at the doors without allowing them to deal significant damage, prevent them from pillaging the lobby, and, of course, stop them from actually entering his place of business, all while minimizing damage and casualty. And that was just the distraction. If San'Vun wanted true success, he would have to halt the heist that would inevitably target the vault of his casino, protect his personnel from those that would seek to assault his cashiers and bankers, and find a way to foil the schemes of mutants making their way to the money counters. And even should he prevent all possible damage to his operations, the threat of mutant mutiny would still be made clear.

In this way Glost's plan was flawless, without vulnerability or possibility of defeat. He held all the cards. And his opponent?

He was drawing dead.

Nihonto Khan Interior -- Casino 6:50pm

"So how's it feel to be beautiful, Lee-ol' boy?"

"Shut up, Diaz. With all the shit you've pulled tonight alone you should be grateful I haven't crushed you into paste."

"Better men'n you have tried, Lee-ho. Really though, you oughta be thankin' me. Ugly mug like yours'd never have got in here if it weren't for a little ceramic surgery. And, on top o' that, I got our 'secret weapon' all snug up inside-a me."

"You're disgusting, Diaz."

"Bah. Y'know ya love me."

"So what're we hitting, anyway?"

"Moneyboys, way in back. You know, counters n' junk. They'll be in hard to reach places, 'hind reinforced doors, walls, the whole shebang."

"Well how do you plan on getting in, then?"

"I 'unno. Vents. Go through walls. Front flipping door. We're mutants, pal. We'll get in."

"Unbelievable."

"Jus' relax, Lee, I gotcha covered. Coupla car batteries and the baby I got in my gut'll get through anythin' they can put up, I guar-an-teee it. 7:15 rolls 'round, you hold 'em off, I'll get through the door to tha moneyboys. Deal?"

"Fine."

It was decided. At 7:15, the two would make for the money-counting room, moving through the hallways and labyrinthine passages, their disguises discarded once the security blackout was set to be established at that exact hour. It was then that they would attack the reinforced doors, relying on Leo Herric's herculean strength and relatively high durability to hold off any attacks while Grant focused on the money counters, adamantium tipped auger still in tow.

Nihonto Khan -- Exterior 6:59pm

Outside the Khan the crowds gathered, milling about as though it were any other day. Tourists admiring the splendor of the massive structure, the culture inherent in its construction, the majesty conjured up by the mere sight of such a magnificent edifice...

Young girls laughed and enjoyed frozen desserts recently bought, now tasted. Men held their women tight as they walked by, aware of the Yakuza, but absorbed in the eyes of their beloveds. Teenagers gathered in clumps, huddled over the newest viral video or discussing the news out of America, mocking the exploits and failures of inferior Western heroes. A few individuals, men and women both, seemed to slump against the wall, uncomfortably drunk, battling the unseen opponents of nausea and dizziness. Countless more still were simple passersby, busying themselves with texts or calls or any number of distractions to be found at whim, dumb to the environment and occupied by their smart phones.

7:00pm

The buzzing and chiming of cellphones began to fill the air: a single message relayed to all in attendance:

七時 - 開始
[7:00 - Start] 

It was time.

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The innumerable souls milling about suddenly stopped. Laughter ended abruptly. Conversations were cut mid sentence. As though with a single mind they turned toward the Khan.

The crowd, the girls the men the women the adolescents, all took form of the first wave, rushing through the gateway to the Khan and inflicting their hellish fury upon all who stood between them and the San'Vun syndicate. Joining them came the men of the former Inagawa Kai, those loyal to the dead daimyo they had sworn their allegiance to. Together they were set in their resolve. They would break the Khan, they would seize the head of the two-faced San'Vun, and they would wring his blood from his body for daring to deceive them.

From the crowd of mutants and former Inagawa Kai exiles came orders, barked loudly and clearly over those in attendance:

"Hit them on the right! Push through there! They're weak!"

The voice seemed to simply come into existence above them, where it boomed like the voice of God and washed over attacker and defender alike, rattling their bones and crashing in the air all around them. What the defenders of the Khan did not hear were the barely audible targeted whispers of the Italian mercenary, broadcast to all ahead of him, directing them to clear a gap on the left side of the building, freeing the yakuza to use the doors there with minimal resistance.

They did as they were told, surging against the entrance on the right, clearing a space on the left for the Yakuza to fill.

Then came the next direction, privately broadcast to those under his command once again.

Pale orange lights filled the hands of the mutant rioters. Fire.

Molotovs were thrown into the intentionally cleared space, an attempt to deny the San'Vun's enforcers purchase outside their own walls, to set ablaze those foolish enough to emerge from the entrance when first it cleared, but more than anything, it was a cue.

Seijuro Shin stepped forth, no orders necessary. He knew it had to be him. The majority of the orphans that had joined him to form the Shirohebi Ichigan were more mere aberration than mutant, freaks who were disturbing to look upon, or readily identified as something other than human, but who held few useful traits. They were the weak who could not earn a living for themselves in the underworld or the legitimate one, and so had to rely on the kindness of the old man they had known as a father.

Not him. He had stayed for his sister, but with her gone he finally struck out on his own, and in her name. He was Fudo Myo-o, his blade cleansing the world of the impure and unworthy. Already the White Serpent of the mutant underground had earned the respect of his cohorts, and their fear.

Adamant in his resolve, fists shaking with both effort and anger, he pulled back against the burning air, seizing the scattered flames as his own before tossing them out into the gathering mob of mafia men, having them swirl to engulf all who rose to meet him, allowing them even to lick at the walls of the Nihonto Khan.

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It would not be enough to simply kill the mute mafioso. Seijuro wanted him, everyone he had ever known, everything he had ever touched, to burn. He would leave only ashes, San'Vun's scattered in the gutters of Tokyo in retribution for the mockery he had put on display in his own family plot, and he would be but one in hundreds. What they had taken from him he would take from them a thousandfold. In Seijuro Shin's mind, tonight marked only the beginning of his revenge.

Rooftops approaching Nihonto Khan -- 7:02pm

"Are. We. Clear?"

"I heard you the first time, Red-Eye, and like I said before: I. Don't. Know."

"You mock. Repeat this. I kill."

"Yeah? Well if I'm partnered with you one more time, I, might just kill myself."

"There. Smoke."

"I see it. Let's get a move on."

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Smokescreen established by the molotovs and below, mutant horde drawing the enemy's attention to the right, the mercenaries known as Red Eye and Snake Charmer began their portion of the plan.

Utilizing the latest in grapnel tech, Petros sent an arrow sailing into the window nearest their objective, shattering the glass. The primary security room was on one of the highest floors, reporting on potential problems while remaining far from personal risk. At least, that was the idea.

The fullerene point deployed its blades within a load-bearing wall, the security room only a short run down the hallway from the planned deployment point. Red-Eye, the armored mutant mercenary, soared along the line, utilizing the back of an armored arm to ride the steel/vibranium wire weave, landing with an efficient, energy-damping roll. It was the perfect transition.

The augmented mercenary-mutant-ninja withdrew the rapidly oscillating blade, the suit's one glowing eye admiring its gleaming edge when, with a single motion, he slashed the line and split the cable, sending his ally crashing to the ground just inside the window, shards of glass crunching underneath the heavy metal armor.

"Pósa kilá malákas íse?!? Huh?! What the hell is wrong with you?!"

"You inside. No?"

"I hope you roast in a fire, malákas."

"You keep talk, we both burn."

The glowing red light turned to the fires blazing below before quickly snapping up once more. Already they could hear footsteps hurriedly rushing by outside the door. Petros shifted to position himself in front of his armored shinobi counterpart.

"Step aside, wanna-be ninja."

Petros grasped in either hand daggers laced with his patented petrifying venom, ready to seal the opposition's fate in stone.

"I'll get us there."

Together, they crashed through the door and out into the hall, the security room only seven doors down. Resistance would be dealt with in short measure, each who emerged to meet them would scarcely feel the high frequency oscillating blade slicing through their throats, a strike aimed at decapitation, or, if less fortunate, would find themselves pierced by throwing blades tossed with uncanny precision, the areas struck slowly turning to stone.

No matter their differences, no matter the obstacles, they would get to the security room. Too much depended on them for failure to even be entertained as a possibility.

Kawasaki Industries,Warehouse 13 -- Yesterday, 11:45pm

@sii-la

Shiro Yamada gathered the assigned men, 20 of his Kumicho's finest, and set off for the Kawasaki Industries warehouses, an area controlled by the Inagawa-Kai primarily through influence rather than presence. It made for an odd meeting place.

Already the warehouse doors were open, cars scattered here and there, though by appearances there could be no more than seven, perhaps ten conspirators inside, based on the vehicles present and their passenger capacities.

They outnumbered them at least two to one, making for easy pickings, or so went the rationale.

When they entered, however, all seemed quiet. Not a soul was in sight. The men eyed him warily, but on Yamada's order's they began to search the area.

As soon as they opened the first shipping container, it began.

The Yoshi-Gumi streamed from every container, rose from behind makeshift barricades and from behind corrugated iron walls, opening fire as soon as they saw their adversaries, blood gushing from the colors they themselves once wore. Motorcycles roared to life in the far corners, rocketing about and raining hell on those that had foolishly entered the warehouse expecting an easy fight.

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It did not take long. The ambush had been set in place expecting the full force the false Kumicho could bring to bear. This farce was a disappointment to all involved.

"Yoshi-dono. I have failed you."

"It is of no concern, Shiro. Boss La would have been a fool to attend personally. Did I not tell you your plan was too simplistic? You assume he is like I, that he would share the fate of those he sends against his enemies. Sii-La is not such a man. He is too cunning for honor, too ruthless for risk."

"I am sorry."

"Do not be. It only means that there is more to be done. Collect the heads. We will display them as banners to root out the traitors, embolden the loyal. No more games, Jiro. Tomorrow night, we strike in earnest."

"It will be done, Yoshi-dono."

It did not take long. They sliced the heads from the bodies, both sides, tossing the remnants of each man into the Tokyo Bay before finally displaying each before the Ronin Royale Casino, tongues hanging. In the mouths of each was a message: "Stop this senseless violence. Your blood is our blood. If there is to be peace, meet us at the Nihonto Khan -- 6:55pm, tomorrow."

The plan was to synchronize the assault of the Inagawa exiles to the timing of the murderous mutant riot proposed by their true kumicho, to catch the traitorous Caesar in the cross fire. He would see the Khan as a place of safety, a place where he held the advantage. They would prove him wrong.

They coax the supposed conqueror to them, and slay him where he stood. They expected no easy battle, but war was in their blood, and it was a blood they were willing to shed.

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#2 Edited by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio
Nihonto Khan
Nihonto Khan
1:00pm

Heavy. Thats what it was. The atmosphere inside the Voice Unheard's executive suite, was heavy. Those in attendance said nothing yet projected everything through their tense posture. All but the San'Vun Starscream looking concerned and uneasy. But the Silent King portrayed no such idiosyncratic tells. No allusion to a hidden sense of apprehension or worry. Which in itself served as a worrisome display.

A single gold coin rolled back and forth between his knuckles, dexterous in its simplistic allure. And on the desk before him amidst a collection of aristocratic ascetics laid a folded piece of paper. Who would have guessed that among all his prized displays that that piece of paper was thee, single most valuable item currently in his possession.

"Sir? Its time." The Trifecta sadly stated. Yazhun nodded and they hesitated to leave, but they knew it was imperative. It was time for them to return to the island. But the nod had also initiated the premeditated evacuation of the Bokushi. Sent out to the surrounding buildings, blocks, street meat vending markets, and graffiti decorated areas deeper in nearby neighborhoods. Blending in with the eccentric. The enigmas. The gangs.

6:40pm
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Empty of civilians, the normalcy of the Khan had been transformed into the visual embodiment of a Shadowrun novel. Neosin suited members of the Syndicate loosely gathered in a cocky display of anticipation. Some crouched, others partial hung from the upperdecks. Cyber-sheathed legs dangling underneath and even over the rails. Faces obscured by a plethora of digital masks. Some fully covered and others rocking the half versions with shades or Takuhatsugasa and customized Tengai's. Courtesy of the KS-Corp's defunct NEOSIN market.

And yet to the outside World and would be attackers, the Khan would appear no different then any other day. Thanks to the Bokushi's resident illusion casting Hyper-Sapien, IOI. Tonight the establishment was packed. The lights, the sounds, the intoxicated gamblers hoping to strike it rich with just one pull of a lever, or one lucky card turn on the river. It was business as usual. Only it wasn't.

Yazhun emerged from his office, taking position in the middle of the floor just beyond the bar. Stoically looking around and observing the scene. Taking it in. As he did so the Syndicate began to bang the sheaths of their swords against the nearest wall, floor, or rail. One at first, then many, then all. It all erupted into a full harmonic battle cry as the Silent Shogun employed his own Shinobi Sheath from his very pours. Covering his body in a battlesuit unlike any other.

7:00pm

There would be no resistance at first. The orphans, the counterfeit Kai, all allowed to storm past the initial gate. Until meeting head on with the mentally fabricated illusions of IOI. Projecting an impressive counter-insurgence geared towards tricking the would be murderous mob into attacking a foe that was not actually there. Yet, if successful, their own minds would produce an enemy of their own making. Only as powerful or as weak as they themselves believed them to be.

However, regardless of IOI's theatrical simulation, the fire the mob had launched could not be fooled or deceived. Fire. could only destroy. Fire. Could spread. Fire, could breathe. Which also meant it could be suffocated if denied one of its fundamental agents. Draped in a veil of transparent camouflage the Hyper-Sapien known as Miss Misdirect began to do just that. Manipulating the air, robbing the flames of its ability to breathe, she quickly disposed of the Molotov threat. But there remained a much bigger problem. A more destructive and capable threat remained. Having already purged several low ranking associates who had randomly thrown caution to the wind, and paid for it with their forfeited lives, the unknown Firestarter was a power much greater then the rudimentary wave of tossed flammables. He, would need to be directly confronted.

Meanwhile the disposables, the basics and randoms of the Syndicate's defamed bottom rung scrambled to combat the deadly duo already inside. Their stylish infiltration drawing the security floor's agents to their location to be haplessly slaughtered.

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Yazhun, did not move. The NeoSin tailored soldiers, did not budge. Not yet. ~Let them come.~ He would have said. ~Let them in.~ His posture portrayed. ~Let them try.~ For these are not the real threats. They had yet to make their appearance. These were the throw aways. The run offs. The shields and distractions. How could they have been anything less then that? Twice his secret enemy had hid behind a false attack. Hid behind something in order to mask another more sinister agenda.

In Yazhun's tactical mind today's assault would prove no different. First would come the sacrifices. Then, then the true powers at play would come forth. That was when he would serve them death. That was when he would show them the true extinct of his mercy. Examples would be made. Families hunted down and slaughtered in the aftermath. Friends, pets, neighbors, all dead. This would be the first, this would be the only attack the Khan would ever face. After today, no one would ever dare challenge the Voice Unheard again.

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#3 Edited by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio
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"<Sky is clear today isn't it?>"

It was Kaneda, standing right next to Heiji. Except, his words bounced off his eardrums. Off the concrete. Off the steel. Off the glass. Heiji wasn't listening. Takeda wasn't listening. Honda wasn't listening. Kaneda, himself, wasn't listening. He was just saying what they were all thinking, though the verbalization fell into obscurity just like the silence of the Khan. The silence of the empty streets, once jittering with activity. Pulsating. Quivering. Waiting for night to fall. It was when Heiji wanted to crawl into a hole and die, surrounded by people Yazhun was far more capable of talking to. All he wanted to do, all he could do, was wait until something horrible happened. Then he cleaned it up the next day.

It was sickening, now, how they couldn't wait for night to fall, whereas anyone else wanted the day to last as long as possible.

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Heiji adjusted his tie, loosening it. The metal baseball bat hung in his coat, massive hands clasped around the hilt.

Honda snorted behind him, watching the enclosing horde. They were under strict orders to not move until the snake was already in the rabbit's hole. Then, the lion's jaw would close around it. No sense in just getting part of the head.

Kaneda and Takeda both flanked Heiji, Toshiro and Yoko a bit further behind. They knew Heiji had no structured plan, that was his nephew's strength. Planning, arrangement, a chessmaster.

"<It's just gonna be a massacre in the streets,>" Heiji muttered. "<The vault is more important, probably where the heaviest hitters are going,>"

He placed the webbing of his right hand in his mouth, clenching his teeth around it. He did this when he was under some form of stress, self-induced or otherwise. His hyper-sapien skin, practically kevlar to normal humans, broke and bled as he chewed into the gummy flesh underneath. A nervous habit, but he wasn't anxious.

He just had too many options all at once.

"<You guys get somewhere else,>" he retorted to the silence. "<I can't begin to do this surgically. I need to get in deep, and fast.>"

Before anyone could answer him, he caught sight of the firestarter (@humansfirst). By that point no one even attempted to communicate, and dispersed. Heiji was already airborne.

Three hours earlier... approx. 3:30 PM

It had been carefully assimilated, every article of information collected about this certain 'movement'. About their sins against the San'Vun, about the relentless behavior of its members, the terrorist activities.

It all sat there, perfectly laminated for Heiji to read. Newspaper articles, documents printed from online stories, tabloids, sensationalist clippings, comic strips, blog snippets, structured dialogues between respected interviewers and defectors from the yakuza, police reports, the list went on and on... his eyes were glazed with the information almost like a film of concentrated animosity. His long legs dictated that his hands would be folded around his upper lip, as would have been the seating arrangement he naturally assumed when at his most agitated.

The floor sank underneath his feet. Designer woods, lush carpeting preserved for his very office. Now cracking, tearing at the seams. This growing status of inevitable war had been amassing over the course of over a month. Small things at first, but avalanches often start from nothing.

"<Kaneda,>" he said to no one, knowing his driver to be nearby.

A nervous reply came, something akin to a grunt.

"<What is my job?>"

"<To... find people. Who have made Master Yazhun upset. And make them suffer.>"

A pause. The stillness of the air, a blade ready to slice into flesh.

"<It would seem that today... I am unemployed.>"

The samurai with a blunt object, Fumetsu不滅 , the Immortal, strikes!!
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He would be upon the pyromaniac in an instant, leaving the rooftop in less time than it took for the sonic boom to register. His eyes, overflowing with the same rage each fiber in every muscle in his body now tensed with, glared into the smoking soul of the firestarter and saw nothing but a man coming here wanting to die. The baseball bat, made out of a reinforced material specially designed to weather Heiji's enormous physical output, swung through the air with the soundless cut of a samurai blade slicing through flesh and bone. The speed of a crashing bolt of lightning, a blur to most eyes before they were beaten out of the skull. He would continue to do this, consistently, without pause, and with the support of one of his rings.

That of flight, and levitation.

He would follow the firestarter everywhere, on the wings of the Angel of Death, spiraling out of control in his movements and yet echoing a sense of martial pride and adamant loyalty to practice. Somehow he managed to stay in contact with a far shadow of sanity. He was anchored to a spot and he wasn't about to move, no matter how tight his chains pulled on him, begging for him to just keep going and snap them apart.

He had no words to spare for these... things. They were flies that came into his home - no, worse than that. Mosquitoes drawn from the swamps of the earth, here to drain the blood of the yakuza and leave it a diseased wreck. Raiders - usurpers; vandals! Eyes locked on the flamestarter, a shark to blood, eager to break something. Anything.

Everything.

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#4 Posted by Noah_Wyatt (319 posts) - - Show Bio
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Noah had been through a quick initiation as it were when Yazhun and he had left the Buriel of the slaughtered, his anger still brewing beneath the surface. Yazhun knew exactly what Noah was capable and knew that such a powderkeg ready to blow needed to do just that, but at the same time it needed to be done with finesse. A feat that the burning rage within Noah would not allow if he was to be next to Yazhun when tonights "festivities" begun.

No Yazhun was smart...no he was brilliant in the knowledge that someone like Noah needed to be put in a place of importance and yet an area where he would not be burdened by needing to be too careful.

So he was placed in the security room atop the highest of Yazhuns. He watched the cameras as tonight slowly came into motion. The cameras in a few areas exploded as fire erupted in certain rooms, then a quiet alarm filled the room as another camera hidden focused on a window as it shattered as two heavily armored mercenaries came flying in.

Bickering to themselves Noah chuckled as energy started to crack around himDown stairs the troops the enemy had seen were merely illusions thanks to one of the Bokushi, those on the top floor with Noah too were illusions but he had a single guard controlling the cameras and the systems. Placing a hand on the shoulder of the guard Noah spoke as he raised his hood "Leave..." the guards eyes glossed over his mind taken control by Noah. In an instant the guard left hurridly out another exit.

On the other side of the door he could hear the two mercs fighting what they thought were guards, a smile came to Noah's face as he stood arms crackling with energy flicking his wrists a pleathera of keys were struck on the computers behind him. As sequences were keyed in the hallway leading to the security room hummed almost silently, the door began to charge invisible to the naked eye. Soon as the two mercenaries reached the door the entire hallway would be engulfed with electricity and flames. If they survived the explosion that ensued Noah would be waiting a thin layer of energy forming in a dome around him to protect him from the explosions.

Taking a finger to his temple he connected to Yazhun and Heiji along with Kaneada "They have reached the Security room hallway....shall I begin?" his eyes shining with energy as he smiled ear to ear ready to unleash the pure rage that sat just beneath the surface of his very being.
His arm englufed in pure telekinetic energy as he waited for the two fools to reach the door.

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#5 Edited by Aranea (105 posts) - - Show Bio

50 blocks away from Nihonto Khan. 7:07 PM...

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Nate navigated the streets with ease while looking at his phone. Having a spider-sense meant he never had to worry about bumping into people, his reflexes took care of it. Tokyo so far had been a pleasant trip, even though being away from New York stressed him out to no end. Every day he was away, it was another day the Big Apple had without Aranea watching over it. But business is business. His boss sent him across the globe to pick up an ancient tea set for a high paying customer. Even for couriers this was considered a high end job, maybe even a promotion, if Nate was ever that lucky.

He narrowed his gaze once a news alert notification popped up on his phone, quickly clicking it. Then his eyes widened at the news feed. Some kind of massive riot had broken out at Nihonto Khan. Molotovs, widespread aggression and assault. The raw footage looked like something out a found-footage horror movie.

"Oh my god... The way those people are attacking, alot of people are going to get hurt! Or worse..."

Nate stuffed his phone in his pocket, bolting into the nearest alleyway. With his senses clarifying that no eyes were watching him, he broke out into a full sprint up the building wall, feet sticking perfectly. His clothes floating back down onto the alley floor.

Aranea sprung up from the wall in full costume, firing out two webs to launch him among the Tokyo skyline. The buildings might have been different, but with his strength and reflexes Aranea was a leaf in gusting winds. "Hopefully things don't get any worse before I get there."

Nihonto Khan, minutes later...

The riot was pure chaos. The hordes acting more like zombies rather than rational people. But from the night sky, a flurry of webbing came raining down on the masses, followed by a red blue. Large net-webs started landing on the more condensed portions of the riot, which they'd find a hard time getting out the steel-like webbing. "Here's a group hug to calm you guys down!"

Silver casuals zipped to both of the main entrances. They only gave three short beeps of warning before exploding with webs, entrapping any offenders that were within ten feet of the doors. All while covering the entrances with five feet of webbing. The red blur swinging by shortly after. "Sorry, the establishment is shutting down for serious and sudden maintenance. Please try again after the riot."

Aranea finally ceased with his "zip-webbing" maneuvers, flipping gracefully above the riot before swinging downwards right into the middle of the fray.

"Alright everyone. Step right up so you can be incapacitated in an orderly fashion! If not, then GO HOME!"

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#6 Posted by Grimmwald (3281 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst: @yazhun_sanvun: @warsman: @noah_wyatt: @aranea:

Nihonto Khan || Outside

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It'd been months since the flayed skin of Sōsuke Ishida was left bleeding at the feet of the Nihonto Khan. There was no messenger to shoot. No note to be read. Only the skinned husk of a Sumiyoshi-kai Yakuza. Why? Why not? Why not be the monster stalking the shadows? That can neither be reasoned with nor appealed to? Like an anaconda devouring it's prey as it cries out in pain, feebly trying to hold off a slow death that feels no pity - only indifference. Only a monster that neither winces nor stops as it's prey claws, kicks and wails in vain till it's swallowed whole. The San'Vun family, their allies, and even their enemies... the Horned Saint'd drag them all to his pit, skin them alive, set their exposed nerve endings ablaze - and watch their skinless bodies plead mercy to their gods.

Maybe not today. But someday.

Perched on surrounding rooftops, the Orochi's Shinigami lurked in the night's shadow, watching the madness unfold. They were Grimmwald's killers. His maniacs and sadists. Elsewhere - disguised as janitors at hospitals, waiters at restaurants, pedestrians in the street, vagabonds in the subway - were his eyes and ears, the Faceless Ones of the Orochi. Through them, he bore witness to the attack on the Nihonto Khan, and within minutes, his plan was set, his forces mobilized, and his command given.

"Draw the heroes out"

With the Faceless Ones disguised as pedestrians fleeing the scene, it - the Horned Saint believed - would be easy. Voices wailing and arms flailing, the faux pedestrians fled until the Shinigami rained down upon them like a storm of red. Vibranium swords glimmering under the moonlight, they were swift, moving like a mist in the air as they snatched the faux pedestrians and dragged them into alleyways. With desperation flowing out their throats and convincing panic in their eyes, they looked to lure any noble hearts into an alleyways filled not with with the helpless and innocent, but a fear toxin; Toxin-2. One whose chemical cocktail of carbogen, CRH, QNB, and BDNF sat thick in the air ready to climb into the lungs and send a rising tide of dread, anxiety, and one's worst personal fears wrapped in malevolent hallucinations to cripple the brain and the willingness to fight.

And out the shadows in gas masks, the Orochi would pounce, capturing those lured into their snare, while the Shinigami perched on nearby rooftops took aim with their bows and arrows. Their breath stead and hearts cold, the Shinigami nocked, anchored, aimed, relaxed - and released a shower of arrows upon all battling at the Nihonto Khan's gates. Arrows that erupted in midair to sink dense a cloud of Toxin-2 in the air, and cripple every brain in a hallucinatory haze of trauma, dread and deep fear. Then came a second wave of arrows, releasing not another breath of fear - but explosive-tip arrows.

Nihonto Khan || Inside

There was no sound of glass shattering or doors being broken down. From the Horned Saint, there was only an unnerving and unnatural silence as he climbed out a corner's shadow. His footsteps uttered no sound, and his movements - like flowing water - never disturbed the air. His movement, his coordination - perfect. And he simply stood there, his body motionless as if petrified to stone, and his horned apparel as dark as the shadows wrapping round him. Twin vibranium katanas hung from his back, and an arsenal of weapons lay in the murky pits of the shadow-world he walked. While his Orochi engaged all threats outside, the Horned Saint would smear blood on the Nihonto Khan's interior.

And where others were duped by the illusory miasma cast by the San'Vun family's forces, Grimmwald was not. The illusions were powerful. And against any other, their visual misdirection would entice and entrap. But not Grimmwald. His eyes could be fooled, but his dermal senses could not. And they felt no vibrations from these illusions, no subtle waves gliding through the air to brush against his skin or bounce around from wall to wall. Instead of seeing, Grimmwald felt. Guided by every vibration caught and understood by his dermal senses, the Horned Saint slithered from shadow to shadow, popping in and out any patch of darkness to ruthlessly cut down and brutally skin as many San'Vun Syndicate members as he could, laying their flesh out in mock displays. As carpets, blankets, and table cloths before Grimmwald slipped back into the shadows.

A warning that whatever'd brought Sōsuke Ishida's flesh to the San'Vun doorstep months ago - was there. And an invitation for anyone to learn what.

Online
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#7 Edited by Niko_Sanvun (8 posts) - - Show Bio

@grimmwald:

Inside the Khan
No Caption Provided

"Misete"(show me) Niko demanded. Inconspicuously folding back and away from her brother's assemblage of NeoSin soldiers as news of a gruesome discovery had been brought to her attention. Accompanied by two underwhelming but stylishly dressed affiliates of the Syndicate, she stooped down for a closer inspection. The disturbing displays were spread out here from pillar to post. Tattooed flesh had been artistically laid out in the form of a rare blood soaked aesthetic.

The perpetrator, or perpetrator's, skill and ability could not be underestimated. To skin a man by normal means would take time. Exposure. To have killed so many in seemingly the blink of an eye and still have plenty of time to decorate the Khan unseen, unheard or witnessed, was alarming. Niko's superstitious senses immediately believed the Khan had been infiltrated by an Oni. Possibly several.

"Gia o mitsukeru" (find their gear). With any luck the discovery of the dead men's tactical equipment would shed light on who or what they were dealing with. With no other leads to go on, Niko herself continued to search the Khan for her suspected demon.

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#8 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Entrance to the Khan -- 7:12pm

At War with Illusion (@warsman, @yazhun_sanvun)

No Caption Provided

There, among the hordes engaging them in battle. A ghost. Seijuro's sister, hideous and grotesque, the form of a thing, an unholy creature, stepped slowly toward him, a creation of his own mental mutations interacting with the masquerade the manipulator had placed before him. It froze him before he could send his flame splashing against the walls of the Khan. It held out its arms, a gesture of requested comfort, or an indication that she wished to drag him down into the same hellscape she now inhabited? Had her soul truly come back to haunt him for his failure?

Tears welled in his eyes as his knees shook, one hand gesturing out toward hers, reaching in response. But the flames?

The flames did not waver at her approach. She passed into them without disturbing them, her presence entirely unfelt.

Nothing passed through his fires unknown.

So that is what he focused upon. The feeling of the flames. He shut his eyes, tears rolling down his cheeks as he ignored her sudden appearance, and when he opened them, his mind was quiet. The old man's mandated meditation finally payed off with promised enlightenment. Of a sort, at least.

In that same moment in which he dispelled the illusion of his kin, some other dispelled the means of its unraveling. The fires he had held began to sputter into nothingness. He was being disarmed. He could not see the culprit behind the snuffing of his flame, but even as they died they provided one final vision, one final, fleeting feeling. The sensation of something, or someone (@warsman), piercing their raging heat.

He ducked on instinct alone, narrowly avoiding the crack of the bat. Sputtering, the flames tried to rekindle, the radius of a blaze that should have threatened all of the San'Vun stronghold somehow reduced to embers floating haphazard through the air as the oxygen drained around them. Yet here was a man, a giant of a man at that, entirely undeterred by the thinning air, literally flying at him. But still there were those sputtering embers, and in those embers, there was the soul of his fire. He could sense the coming blows in the disruption to those small, sparking bits of flame.

They were all that kept him alive. Each dip, each ducking of his head, each dodge, they all came from a lifetime of scavenging on the streets using this unique advantage. He could scarcely see the man's blows, but he could feel them through instinct, through the breath of the flame still lingering on the wind.

He ducked a vicious blow at his shoulder, the air displaced whistling loudly even in the chaos of the raid. He moved straight back, his hips flying backward in a form more akin to a dance than any meaningful dodge, but he did so with such a desperation that it gave his movements preternatural speed. But speed and instinct were not enough, not when his opponent held all the same cards, and more.

The blow caught him. It was only the very tip of the bat, but it caught him. At first it felt as though it had just managed to brush up against a rib, and indeed, had the blow come from the arms of a normal man, even a simple metahuman whose strength were not so complete, it would have merely slid along on the curve of the rib itself, glancing near harmlessly away.

But this was no mere metahuman. It was a monster. The man's eyes burned with a rage inconsolable, with a thirst for more than mere blood. They were the eyes of a man who saw in every simple skirmish a battle, and in each battle a war. It was this creature who had come before him, this creature who had struck him with that solid black bat.

It met the angled bone, crushing it into the powdered shrapnel that would plague his insides, launching him clear across the battlefield and well into the Khan, the wall crumbling beneath his back.

No Caption Provided

He was dazed, but only for a second, unable to understand, even with his knowledge of the mutant underworld and its many powerful foes and allies, how so large a man could be so quick, so sharp.

Then he was upon him again, the bat coming down hard, ready to crush skull, bone and flesh all into a singular paste. He rolled, withdrawing his knife and slicing into the space between his fingers and running it down his forearm. The dagger bit hard and deep, and his pulverized ribs ached horribly, but it would all be worth it if only his plan could bear fruit. As he rode the roll to his feet and dove, narrowly avoiding yet another almost supernatural swing from the tyrant before him, he lashed out with the arm, setting the blood ablaze as it broke into its chemical components. Hydrogen and oxygen split and formed the fuel and sustenance for the fire that came blazing from his very veins.

The colorless gasses reacted with the heat of the violent division, exploding instantly into another inferno, the remaining components of his body born as mere fuel for the fire of his soul. He was going to coat his assailant with the yet unbroken blood, allowing it to deteriorate and react in a constant birthing of flame upon his skin, the burning upon him further drawing from the firestorm still leaking through his veins, adding their heat to the blaze to cook the demon alive.

The air manipulator (@yazhun_sanvun), wherever she was, found that she could not drain this oxygen so easily. It seeped from his very body, and so it was that the gas was a part of him, and he was one with the flame. It held and stuck, not air manipulating fire but fire drawing in air, holding it, until finally it surged outward all at once, not snuffed, but following the oxygen she sought to deny it, snaking into even the most impossible of places. Seijuro's mind was meeting hers from across the field of battle, for while he did not see, did not comprehend, he felt. Felt the focal point of disturbance, felt her drawing away the all-important air that allowed his fires life, and so he decided not to pull against her, but to push out with her.

It was still true that she was the more experienced, the more deadly, the more disciplined.

But she had not lost a sister.

She had not lost her friends.

She did not suffer as he did.

She did not burn with the rage he felt.

That was his strength. That all-consuming fire. The radius of the blaze began expanding, taking with it everything in the path she pursued, threatening to scorch ever inch of the Khan as it moved anywhere but toward his own back. The manipulation of fire and its direction implied a control over currents, for without it he would be but a pyromaniac, no control over the content or form of his flame.

He would not harm his own brethren, and should she try to push his inferno to his friends, it would be there that they would battle in a test of wills.

And his will was that of Fudo Myo-o incarnate: Immutable, all-consuming wrath personified.

He watched from the outside as the mutant horde began their journey into the gates, confused by their sudden impediment. He could see the illusory soldiers, trace their movements and attacks, their strikes against his allies, but none of it felt real. The sound that reached him should not have been. His suit impeded all vibrations from the outside, allowing him to inflict sonic pain upon his enemies without threat to himself, and yet he could hear the yells of the yakuza clear as day. It could mean only one thing.

The sound was in his mind.

The mercenary known in black market circles as "Silent Thunder", a ridiculous name that summarized his ability all the same, had come to the sudden realization that he and his troupe were being played for fools. He was not unfamiliar with the concept of mental manipulation, but it was still difficult to accept that they had been plagued by illusory adversaries on such a scale, and to such effectiveness.

The mutants he had only just commanded now battled with their false foes, writhing in agony with each strike against them, their mutant abilities running amok within. They did not listen to his calls, they did not respond to his orders.

One drove his hands through the floorboards, summoning spires from the earth, calling concrete foundation through the floor, a dozen spikes striking seemingly at random, catching even his brethren in their fatal embrace. Another began to tear at the walls, hurling chunks of upheaved wood and marble with the intent to strike at empty air, the first of such attacks ripping the torso from a fellow rioter as the chunk of dense polished marble cleaved through all obstacles, smashing into the coat check and demolishing the wall there.

He took closer note, hiding among the number of his soldiers still fighting to get in. He ordered them to a halt with a whisper to hold until he could formulate a solution, analyze the enemies tactics.

The struggle of the mutants within implied a manipulator, and if she were puppeting these illusions to suit the circumstance, turning each limb to guard a blow or dodging out of each strike, she must be quite focused indeed to manipulate the false enemy in such a way as to appear lifelike in their battle.

Such a thing took focus. Focus and laser-like precision.

Seizing on this line of thought, the Italian mercenary snatched up a shattered bottle, the remnants of a molotov snuffed out early, and tossed the glass base into the Khan, where it shattered with little aplomb on the reflective marble floors, but unleashed hellish thunder into the room.

160 decibels of sound screamed out of the impact, surging through the air. Each shattered piece of glass mimicked the original impact, scattering and forming the same booming din with every meeting of glass and floor. Counterwaves of auditory force nullified much of the sound for the mutants on his side of the line, but those within the Khan would have to deal with the ruptured eardrums and waves of force that accompanied the event. As for the illusionist, it was time to see if she would be able to maintain her incredible focus while under an auditory assault of such magnitude.

Arachnophobia (@aranea; @grimmwald)

Before the Mozart of Mercs could confirm its effectiveness and order the charge, he found the entrance sealed, white webbing barring the vast majority of the mercenary's force from entering, even catching many of them in adhesive nets all around him. He glanced about, the perpetrator behind the impediment soon announcing himself alongside his action, sparing the audio manipulator the need to search for him.

"You've made a bold move, amico, but you messed up. You should've kept quiet, made things interesting. Now I get to--"

His thought was interrupted by the screams of his allies. All around him they began to panic.

No. It was more than panic. They screamed as though the hand of death gripped their very souls, pulling them into the abyss. Giovanni could see them now. All around him: demons of the nine hells. His allies were swallowed by their very shadows, and rising in their place came Mephistopheles, Beezlebub, Abbadon, and Satan himself at the forefront. Di'Fiori's breaths grew shallow and rapid, his pupils constricted to pinpoints as he stared into the wide eyes of the Devil himself, burning red skin already adorned in his executioner's hood (@aranea). The roars of devils and demons sounded all about him. He panicked, rational mind falling, cannibalized by his lizard brain.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHH!"

It was a cry of terror, raw and uncontrolled, which under sonic manipulator spelled devastation for all around him. The "demons" surrounding him were blown away by sheer sonic force, thunder rupturing from his sound-proof suit, clawing its way from his throat. Those tossed splattered against the wall of the Khan, smashed into parked cars, were crushed into the ground, snapping bone and cracking flesh. The ones nearest to the manipulator, the ones netted by the arachnid based superhero, had their facial features crushed in and rearranged, their organs ruptured beneath sonic pressure. Blood welled around their eyes and streamed from their ears as his wail lengthened, reverberating in on itself at such a pitch as to build on the force of its waves, the spider-demon at ground zero.

Then came a second volley. Contributing to the chaos already sown, explosions began to ring out all around them, the near silent projectiles delivering their explosive payloads and taking with them the limbs and lives of those caught in the blast. The strikes would be difficult to trace alone, but fired en masse, they easily drew the attention of the mutant outlaws. Those that remained sane, those exposed lightly or not caught in the clouds of fear given form, traced their origin to the rooftops across from the Khan, the yakuza among them opening fire in an attempt to reduce the accuracy of the barrage, take as many of the masked shinobi with them into the pits of hell.

The nameless mutant, meanwhile, watched with pure disdain. Flying high above the action, he was originally tasked with establishing a route out of the Khan should they require it, but seeing the actions of the archers against his mutant kin, he could restrain himself no longer. The Red-Scale Reaper swooped down, diving with excessive speed as he hurled explosives of his own. Semtex, gray and formless, hurtled down onto the rooftop the sanguine colored shinobi occupied, detonated but moments later.

He would rain his own fire and explosions upon them, instill a new fear into the opposing force, which grew stranger and stranger with every new foe that materialized. But it was not his place to judge the appearance of his enemies. It was his job only to make sure none remained when he was finished. Whoever survived, some, all, or none, he would make sure they were put down for good, raining not dragon's breath but man-made lead upon them, pulling the carbine from his shoulder and opening fire on any scurrying survivors that might remain.

Nihonto Khan: Upper Floors -- 7:13pm

Silencing the Mind (@noah_wyatt)

"How many are you up to, malakas?"

"Seven."

"Seven? Liar! I only counted eleven when we got out here!"

"Left room. Two more."

"Γαμώτο."

The two had just cleared the small horde of guards streaming into the hallway, but something felt off. The sensors in his grafted armored skin gave no feedback as he cut through the bodies, sliced heads from their necks. It was an oddity that made itself more and more unnerving as he sliced. The usual dopamine rush was triggered, but he was deprived of his technological high, the satisfying chime confirming that his sword had cleared whatever human debris he had chosen to slice through, the icon at the edge of his HUD remained grey and mute.

But why?

Sensors only began to show the cause as Red-Eye approached the door, his blade about to pierce its outer hull.

"Malakas, why do you hesitate?"

"It's--"

"We got a job to do, c'mon."

Pushing past the metal-melded mercenary, the younger, more impatient Petros pushing past his more experienced counterpart, hand pushing into the door.

"<Stop you fool! It's a-->"

But it was too late. The explosive force of the flame and electrical charge blew the boy's body into the mechanical shinobi's chest, his armor shedding as the body itself flew into several parts, scattering throughout the hallway. Luckily for the cyborg mutant, the plied apart body parts absorbed most of the explosion's force, but unluckily his foe had suffered none of the damage created by the psychic maelstrom. Before the dust had even settled, the remaining mercenary rose and immediately charged his foe, sword in hand.

"<You damned son of a bitch! I'll slice you into bits so small the slightest breeze will carry your corpse along on the wind! There will not be enough of you left to fill the palm of my hand!>"

Red-Eye immediately began his attack, attempting to close the distance before his opponent could even take in the effectiveness of his own assault. There would be no time to tarry about, admiring his handiwork. No. It would be kill or be killed.

No Caption Provided

The blade shot from its sheathe with a magnetically charged explosion of force, coming up in an explosive draw, several times faster than anything the already supersonic mercenary could manage. He would kill this interloper where he stood, or he would push him out and into a corner, to be disposed of soon after. Whatever he did, he would make sure to clear him from the room, where he could still direct the efforts of his allies, where he could coordinate an assault on those below.

Following the draw, he would attempt to press the advantage, weaving through whatever tricks this explosive foe had up his sleeve. But he was confident in his speed, in his power. He would slice in every direction, each attack flowing in a natural progression of strikes meant to maximize on the fact this his opponent was, in his eyes, essentially unarmed.

"死ね! 死ね!"

"死ね!死ね!死ね!死ね!死ね!死ね!死ね!死ね!死ね!死ね!死ね!"

"死ね!"

"死ね!"

Whatever came, he would not back away, no matter the hindrance, he would press on. He would not let this foe evade him. He would not let him interfere. He would slice him to ribbons, exactly as promised.

Blinding the Electric Eye (Still @noah_wyatt)

Regardless of the efficacy of his own blows, the cyborg mercenary had another objective. The command to die, repeated ad nauseum, and ever growing in force and volume, would distract his opponent from any other sound. The strikes, each one aimed to kill, were meant primarily to occupy the visual senses. The movement, each step carefully choreographed and planned in advance, would guide his foe into a corner. The mechanized mutant's every action was executed with a singular goal: to leave his opponent dumb to the world around him, buying his ally the time he needed to slither into the control room. The boy's body, having been reduced to a tangled mass of black, venomous snakes (and not the charred flesh that most would be expecting) began their journey into the security room as his ally corralled his aged opponent into a corner, out of the way of the amateur assassin.

If he could only get there safely and reform, he would begin the process of looping the footage for key security cameras, making it appear as though the vault and count room were perpetually secure, while also allowing the chaos enveloping the rest of the Khan to be broadcast accurately. Should he manage this despite the efforts of the room's defender, he would finally send the all clear to the rest of his allies, at which point they would begin to jam all communications.

At which point the raid of the Khan could truly begin.

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#9 Edited by Aranea (105 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst: @grimmwald:

Aranea was in full flourish among the chaos. He webbed every unsuspecting rioter to the nearest surface, dodging and weaving gracefully past vicious strikes from every direction. For each punch and kick avoided from the masses, Aranea would return in kind with a spinning kick or a quick jab to sent them flailing to the ground, knocked out cold. It wasn't long before he had a circle of space in the riot. With only webbed up attackers separating him from the rest.

"That's it web head, just gotta keep moving. Once I'm done here I can get inside and see what the hell is going on-"

Suddenly, he found himself staring down some type of mutant mercenary. He definitely wasn't a civilian. "Yeah? Well quiet isn't really my strong suit. Hope you're ready for quips, 'cause I got as many as I do webs-" Aranea cut his retort short, he too was distracted by the screams of the operatives. It wasn't the angry shouting roaring up from the riot like before, no, this was terror. It was only another moment before Aranea's head started spinning, his spider-sense blaring like a fire alarm.

"Wh-What's happening?"

A combination of both his mask and superhuman metabolism spared Aranea the full extent of the fear toxins, but his vision started to blur around the edges and his muscles ached.

He looked back to the merc, noticing that he was not taking it well at all. Aranea's spider-sense went into full panic, something big was about to happen. The spider's body moved into action before he even finished registering the threat, performing a massive back flip to get himself some distance from this mutant time-bomb. As soon as the sonic blast erupted from the foe, Aranea's mind snapped into slow motion.

Bodies were flying in all directions, people were in danger at the entrance and Aranea was still partially hit from the blast while still in the air. He only had precious seconds to act. Aranea aimed his web shooters and started firing out in front of him at many directions. Some of the webs wrapped up rioters flailing in the air, a large volley stuck on to the ones trapped at the entrance to encase them entirely. Aranea didn't get everyone, but he got as many as he could.

The hooded hero crashed to the ground, performing a recovering roll and landed in crouching position. Rioters fell from the air, landing softly from cushioned, entrapping webbing all around them. The groups at the door had most of their webbing ripped away from the sonic devastation, with some critically injured, but none of them dead. It was only then when Aranea realized his teeth were chattering from the blast, and felt some blood dampening the sides of his mask from his ears.

Aranea didn't even have a chance to catch his breath before quickly spinning around, and firing a line of web at a mysterious projectile headed right for him. The arrow reacted violently, detonating in midair while the rest of the barrage landed and exploded a safe distance around the Spider. "Arrows now?! Okay, one thing at a time. Gotta deal with Soundcloud before I take on Dungeons and Dragons."

Aranea blitzed back forward, bracing the second sonic scream with the help of his feet sticking with each stride. "Mind turning that down? This was a quiet neighborhood!" He shouted, now within mere feet of the Screamer. With perfect accuracy and blinking speed, Aranea shot a glob of web right for his mouth in an attempt to keep it shot. Then he went and fired a web line right at his chest, leaping over him with the other end of the web in hand. "Guess I'll just pull the plug myself!" He performed a vicious front flip, hoping to use the moment to tug on the web, bring the Screamer into the air and slam him down onto the pavement with a K.O.

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#10 Posted by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst:

No Caption Provided

The heat. Always the damn heat. It wasn't supposed to be this hot, not today. Forecast said it would rain.

Heiji staggered through the fire. Heightened senses meant pain, too. And nothing hurt quite as much as napalm. How it stuck to you. Clung to the bits of flesh it melted off. Dug into the holes it burned. Choked the lungs with the smoke of your own body cooking from the inside-out. Blackened your bones even as you stood there, awake and aware of it all. Yet... this wasn't napalm. The scent... it was his own flesh and blood cooking, but something different struck out against the fabric of agony he endured.

It was the pyro's blood, clinging to him and causing him to burn.

He almost started laughing, if not for the heat popping most of the mass responsible for the motion in his diaphragm. He indulged in the taste of the pyro's blood, charred to a crisp though it was. It was a tender texture, bitter and with a hint of salt. Nothing sweet about it, nothing enjoyable. Yet he still found a way to pick good things from this situation.

"<Sorry about the suit, Yazhun,>" he muttered, raising his arms about three feet apart. Hands open.

And then he closed them. Quick.

Tornado-force winds, gales of stupendous power, shredding through the flames, turning their fuel into a void of air molecules. A massive sonic boom, nothing for the fires to lick. Nothing for their tongues to reach out for. All in an instant, the heat died down. Heiji still stood strong, twinging in the natural response to having most of his skin seared off, but all things considered he was recovering well. His clothes were reduced to smoking tatters. Excess flesh such as lips, ears, eyelids, nose, the webbing of his hands, fingertips, everything with even a slightly lower melting point compared to the rest of his body continued to slough off in chunks.

Yet he rolled his neck nonchalantly, the small noises all leading up to a sharp motion in which he might as well have broken his own neck - such was the volume of the snap. And then he rolled the other side, finding no more such crackling. One of his rings flickered to life, Restoring some of what was lost over a certain period of time.

But that wasn't anything he wanted to capitalize on. Heiji surged forward on bare feet, his bat long gone to the searing heat of the inferno that almost completely consumed him.

No Caption Provided

His hands, already thick with callouses once more, were little more than fleshy clubs. Hard as rock, backed up by a striking strength starting at the Class 25-ton range rather than his usual modest starting point of Class 5 or 6. This wasn't the time to be getting sentimental about 'what if' situations, if this guy could actually kill him.

Or at least stop him.

Heiji didn't come here to just be an accessory to some terrorist group running rampant through his home turf. He didn't stop at all after the initial push forward.

Even when he started to not hear anything anymore. The sound of his own heartbeat, gone, had he died? He was still throwing punches, that was impossible. Maybe it was something like those people who died and didn't know it then and there. Just kept going. Then when the bodies were examined, it was like a heart attack in the middle of a fight. Or at least that was what it was like in the movies. He could feel the blood dripping down his neck. The sharp pain of busted eardrums wasn't anything new to him. It was like nails being hammered into his ear canals from both sides until they met in the middle.

But he simply didn't care.

His job was to find people who made his nephew upset, and make them suffer; it wasn't to be concerned about his own health.

So the blows kept coming, supplemented by his flight ring. He would give chase again, if the pyro ran. At this point running away once for a vantage point was admirable. Now, as his cooked flesh started to flake away in favor of new layers of muscle, Heiji could only just watch the canvas unfolding in front of him with a growing sense of contempt.

He shouldn't admire this guy at all. He came here expecting this. If he didn't, then he deserved to be beaten to death. Simple as that.

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#11 Posted by Grimmwald (3281 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst: @niko_sanvun:

Nihonto Khan || Outside

Like a storm, chaos engulfed the battle raging outside the Nihonto Khan. And while the Orochi rained arrow after arrow from the rooftops, the Yakuza - and all those the Orochi preyed on - answered in kind. Gunfire came in waves, tearing the air asunder with a stream of bullets that smeared the walls and rooftops with Orochi blood and grey matter. Many perished, but most survived. Taking cover, moving, and taking cover again, the Orochi hopped from rooftop to rooftop, some staying perched above ground, and others dropping to the streets below. Landing with a panther's grace, their compound bows and smoke-bomb arrows at the ready, the Orochi below nocked, anchored, aimed, relaxed and released a stream of arrows.

Arrows that soared through the air and burst round the gunmen with a sharp hiss - and a thick cloud of black smoke to blind their eyes in the low light of night. The blind don't shoot, but the Orochi would pounce, releasing a wave of explosive-tip arrows to smear the Yakuza's blood and guts on the walls and ground just as had been done to their Orochi brothers above ground. On rooftops however, the Orochi fared worse. A dragon, winged like a bat with armored scales and eyes of smoldering blue, took flight and drowned the Orochi in it's horned shadow. Drifting through the air like an eagle in the night, the dragon breathed not only fire - but dropped explosives. Limbs blasted apart, flesh seared and bones blown to scorched dust, many fell. But of the Orochi that survived, they were met by the fire of man, the familiar sound of bullets buzzing overhead. Breaking off into sub-teams and splitting the dragon's focus across several rooftops, the Orochi while diminished in numbers, were greater in discipline - and would answer in kind.

A dragon with a soldier's weapons and man's sharp mind was no easy foe. It was dangerous. And unlike any beast the Orochi had seen. But it's heart beat just as theirs did. The beast could be slain. They need only take it's ability to take to the sky. Spread over three rooftops, the few remaining Orochi - the last stand - stepped into action. Those on the first rooftop, played their part and hurled a volley of stun grenades at the beast. BLAM! The grenades burst and a blinding flash of light flared across the sky while a loud ringing climbed higher and higher in pitch till it felt like drills meeting in the middle of one's skull. It was an assault on the senses, one that threatened to blind the dragon's eyes, deafen him, and muddle the fluid in his ears to strip him of his balance - and ability to fly properly. Blind, deaf, and disoriented. On other rooftops, Orochi again took aim with their bows and arrows and shoot at the beast's wings.

Loaded with botulinum, the most lethal toxin known to man, the arrows threatened to tear through the beast's wings and inject the neurotoxin directly into it's bloodstream. It would decay the proteins needed by the body's neurotransmitters, paralyzing the muscles and respiratory system en route to a complete and fatal failure of every bodily process within seconds. Yet, the Orochi shot again, unleashing a wave of explosive-tip arrows to obliterate their prey from the sky.

Nihonto Khan || Inside

Lurking in the shadows of a room he'd decorated with bleeding carpets and curtains of freshly skinned flesh, the Horned Saint waited in supernatural silence for someone - anyone - to come meet the same fate. Then, his dermal senses came alive, catching the faraway vibrations from the approaching of footsteps of three. Waiting like a viper ready to spring free and kill, the Horned Saint was motionless, every inch of his body as still and silent as a statue. The woman walked him by, and he pounced. His limbs never disturbing the air, his motions perfect and supernaturally silent, the Horned Saint uttered no sound as his fists - poured with qi and the knowledge of forbidden Keijijo techniques - raced out the low shadows behind her to jab her legs, his qi-enhanced strikes threatening to slaughter the mitochondria of the muscle cells in her legs, and stripping her leg muscles' ability to contract and do work, leaving her legs limp and useless.

No Caption Provided

Again and again his fists would fly, his arms whipping them out of shadow after shadow, from left, right, multiple angles as though he were more than one man, as though it were the shadows themselves assaulting her and her men. Qi-infused fists, feet and elbows targeted her arms, her men's limbs to render them limp and useless, before they came again and again, the qi from his strikes daring to slow the cellular respiration in her body, and inhibit her mitochondria to nearly sap her dry of the energy her body needed to work. Breathing, much less fighting, would cripple her body with unnatural exhaustion. In the face of success or failure, his final strike would come, a left hook to the body. His arm'd shot out from a shadow beside her, and his fist - infused with volatile qi - zeroed in on her liver to smash into it and see the qi split her liver in two.

But should she survive, Grimmwald'd pop out the shadows horned and armed with a vibranium chain whip, his wrist twirling and turning, shoulders rotating along, head dodging seamlessly as the chain glided through the air with a motion far too controlled to be normal.

Online
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#12 Edited by Rosso (5280 posts) - - Show Bio

Valentina, lying prone, watched the Nihonto Khan through the scope of her TAC-338 from several buildings away. The rest of her squad stood behind her, save for Nils Hagen, who looked through a pair of binoculars. The less disciplined among them played cards or otherwise entertained themselves; others, more patient, watched the unfolding conflict and held themselves in check; others shuffled restlessly, pacing and milling about the rooftop while trying not to think too hard about what they had to do.

Mostly because what they had to do first was wait. They understood. She'd explained the situation carefully – that the head of the Nihonto Khan considered her an at least semi-trusted ally and, alone, she could make it inside without arousing suspicion or aggression, get inside the vault, snap a pic for Hopper and they could jump straight into the real work. It was enough to ensure they would only enter when the pic was sent or at her utterance of the code phrase. For good measure, she asserted that any other way, he only stood a 12.2% chance of survival even getting to the vault, let alone multiple in-and-out trips. A completely made-up number but they didn't know that. Nor of her tip-off passed to San'Vun through Walter Hughes. Yet here she was, aiding the assault. Who could say where her loyalties lay?

Rosso stood up, handed the binoculars to The Black Hopper. "Watch my back and watch each other's. Anything looks fishy from the outside, radio."

She chose a rooftop approach to avoid openly taking a side, and thus to avoid suspicion. Nothing else to do but play it by ear and hope not to get trapped in the web of her own making. Adopting a similar approach as the control room team, only the high profile of such a location kept her from following Red Eye and Snake directly.

Light steps pattered on soft carpet as she landed. She listened...Quiet. A few voices, little movement. Fighting hasn't reached this level yet.

"Omae!" Several guns trained on her as soon as she entered the hallway and a bullet narrowly missed her head.

"Woah, woah!" Valentina raised her arms non-threateningly. "<Friendly. I need to speak to Yazhun. Or the girls." She couldn't imagine the Trifecta being embroiled in the conflict. If they were even in the building at all. "It's important, about the intruders. I know what they're after.>"

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#13 Edited by Noah_Wyatt (319 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst:

No Caption Provided

Noah couldn't help but smile something wicked as the explosion ripped through the hallway, eyes closed as the dust quickly filled everything with a thick miasma that blocked any visual for the free briefest moments. He felt it before it even hit the thin layer of energy around his body, the force of the first blow pushed him back onto the balls of his feet. Dropping the layer of energy he stepped towards the mechanical behemoth that was attacking.

Noah's mind was a sporadic as the attack had wished it to be, following each dodge with a forceful elbow or arm block. But it wasn't the sound of his screams that bothered Noah, it was the fact he could still read two brain waves in the vicinity. The partner took the brunt of the explosion, no way he could have been unscathed he had to be dead. Not paying fully attention to his attacker he felt the cold steel slice into his chest, hitting him like a truck he flew backwards into the computers. The first row of screens and keyboards crushed beneath his small heavy frame, looking at his attacker come for more Noah smiled.

No Caption Provided

Focusing a bolt of energy from his arms and into his hands, the bright energy shined almost blinding levels. As the light shines,the shadows disappeared. Noah saw the mass of burnt snakes slithering around him towards the computers. Locking eyes with the Red Eyed one he burst forward, arms fully extended and palms out. A force cycled all around the room before the force slid down the walls and over Noah's arms out over his hands and in the direction of the cyborg. He wasn't anything like the Bokushi who could manipulate air but he could using his telekinesis to swirl up the air in a spot and funnel it out into a direction. The force of the short burst of air would pull at whatever was behind it and slam it into the red eyed one.

Pieces of the computers that once stood up against the wall now flew towards his attacker, while his focus now was on the slab of meat and scales making its way to what remained of the security system. Moving fast Noah closed the distance which was short felt like miles with everything happening so fast and also I'm so moron it seemed. He can't let them to take control of any of the security systems, bringing his leg up he smashed his foot into the wall next to what remained of one side of the room.

Instantly he forced energy out through his foot and into the wall causing it to explode rocketing debris towards the second mercenary. Then a side flip he was in front of the computers with his back to both his attackers. He had to think fast, forward her moved smashing his fists into the keyboards before bursting backwards straight past the two attackers leaving the room he waved and then pointed at where he was, he had forced a bubble of telekinetic-energy into the computers.

Finally clear of immediate danger Noah smiled before snapping his fingers, the bubbles of tk energy burst destroying what they had come for, turning the entire room into one big junk fun as the force of the explosion shot everything not vaporized in all directions at speeds high enough to send playing cards into concrete.

Sliding to a stop into the main room where they had entered, his bare feet now got thanks to the glass they had destroyed coming into through the window. He didn't care, if they survived her now had a bigger area to move in and the knowledge that this floor was empty besides the three. He could go all out, so long as he doesn't bring the whole building down. His body ached as the adrenaline slowly but to calm down, the blows that did hit from his first attacker were beginning to hurt. The blade may not have cut him more than once, the sheer force from each seeing still did damage. As if he pulled energy into each slash so that if the blade didn't cut it would still damage.

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#14 Edited by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

𝕆𝕦𝕥𝕤𝕚𝕕𝕖

@humansfirst:

𝔄𝔫 ℑ𝔫𝔳𝔦𝔰𝔟𝔩𝔢 𝔇𝔢𝔞𝔱𝔥

Mutants had abilities. Strong unimpeded forces of biological nature which had reinvented the evolutionary ladder seemingly overnight. But many were far from being soldiers. Far from being adequately trained. Though impressive in number, only a handful appeared to have the tactical presence to pose a real threat to anything other then the Khan's replaceable foundation.

However in a poetic concert of circumstance and situational opportunity, the Firestarter had managed to pierce the veil of visionary betrayal. Not only that, but sought to exploit what he believed to be an opening in his invisible adversary's assault. Miss Misdirect's attack had not been predicated on the re-channeling of oxygen. No. She had simply shut it off. Simplistic yet effective.

Like a garden hose turned off at the facet, the breathable mechanism by which a flame could breathe had been eliminated. Yet...situational opportunity arose to cause unimaginable consequences.

As the fire began to surge it was surprisingly met with zero resistance, tracing its way through the mob towards its intended target. Only after it struck, only after it had engulfed the invisible Hyper-Sapien was the portrait of poetic circumstances reveled. Lit up like a tree her body was exposed as it helplessly flailed. Arrow's which had found a home in her back, shoulders, neck and arms went up like kindling. Her unfortunate situation the result of the Orochi snipers. And so there she was. Covered in flames, as they finished what the arrows had begun.

"NOOOO!" the illusion casting IOI wailed. Exposing not only his emotional collapse but his adjacent position outside the Khan. His power's flickered and with it his hold over the crowd. He did not care. He couldnt. The only thought racing through his fractured mind now was that of his charred ally as he cradled what remained of her smoldering and partially visible body. So devastated, so lost, IOI did not even react as the toxic cloud strategically unleashed by the Orochi swam through the air and into his lungs. Further driving him into an inescapable catacomb of paralyzing ineptitude.

The 32nd Sapien
The 32nd Sapien

With the crowd now free from his visionary strangled hold, those that remained were once again free to engage the entrance of the legendary Nihonto. Or so one would expect. "Anata wa hairimasen"(you will not enter). His face was heavily tattooed. His head, shaven. His garb was ceremonial yet utilitarian. Basic yet specific. He was the 32 Sapien. The Bokushi Blood-Bender and his wrath would be felt this day. With quick succession his hands and arms danced like a marinate on the grandest stage, targeting the fundamental life force of those who had dared betray the sanctity of the Khan.

A mutant refuge turned warzone by the manipulative machinations of lesser beings. Humans, in all their weakened glory, had forced this confrontation and now; as a result, the 32nd Sapien would destroy them all.

He pulled and twisted seeking to rip the blood from their eyes. Tear it out of their lungs. Freeze it inside their own bodies causing catastrophic combustion and horrific death. "Anata no hone wa atarashī jidai no kiban ni narudeshou"(Your bones will be the foundation of our new age neo Empire)

𝕀𝕟𝕤𝕚𝕕𝕖 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕂𝕙𝕒𝕟

@rosso:

𝔚𝔥𝔢𝔫 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔓𝔯𝔢𝔰𝔰𝔲𝔯𝔢𝔰 𝔬𝔫 𝔦𝔱𝔰 ℌ𝔦𝔱

To those inside the invasive debris aimed at distorting or even destroying their eardrums landed with little physical ailment, despite its kinetic force blowing them backwards into controlled somersaults, composure gathering gymnastic recovers, and rolls. Though the Khan had suffered serious internal damage, the NeoSin's equipped with various helmets and cybernetic HUDS were otherwise unaffected.

Agility coupled with technology saving them from the impressive improvisational attack. Left over employees though? They were left in heaps with blood trailing from their ears. Casualties of war, but Yazhun barely acknowledge their demise. The bigger picture was his primary focus. His only real focus. These were still the preliminaries. Mutant shields aimed at weakening the Syndicate's stand before the real power behind the assault emerged to pick the carcasses clean.

Suddenly the Voice Unheard titled his head. Contacted through closed circuit tech, he squinted as news of a possible breach subverted his previous focal point of concentration. He waved his hands dispatching multiple NeoSin soldiers to Noah's location. Arching his head to the right, then back across his shoulder line to the left, the Blackhand cracked his neck beneath his Shinobi Sheath. It was time to...

No Caption Provided

"Watashi no shōgun. Kanojo wa kanojo ga kōgeki ni kansuru jōhō o motte iru to iimasu..."(My Shogun. She says she has information about the attack...) An enigma wrapped in a treacherous riddle, her arrival would never the less bring a smirk to the Silent Starscream's lips. After all, she had thus far been his most prolific asset. Responsible for much of what the Syndicate had accomplished thus far.

Escorted into the room by a badly injured associate, the foot soldier had had the good sense to exercise restraint and bring her directly to the man himself. If she had information, the Voice would need to hear it.

*Who? he stylishly gestured. It was all he asked. It was all he needed to know. With mutant dragons, fireblazing badass', and sound amplifying Argonauts, all he cared about was the identity of the mastermind. The architect of so much death and destruction. The dead man walking with an hour glass running out of proverbial time, right above his or her head.

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#15 Posted by Niko_Sanvun (8 posts) - - Show Bio

@grimmwald:
No Caption Provided

She would never truly know or even understand what had happened. Never cognitively register the radicalized assault which had savaged her muscles. Split her liver and drowned her lungs under the weight of their own bronchial failure. Not a gasp, not a whisper. Not a deflection or interception of motion. Nothing had, or could have been done.

The supernatural serpent in the shadows struck from behind a sheath of darkness. From angles imperceptible to the naked eye with sublime mastery over his surroundings. Death had found the San'Vun sibling in an unexpected flash. As death often did.

She had felt little fear, only confusion. A struggle in the moment to understand before coming to terms with the finite nature of her existence. Her mind bounced from memory to memory searching for cerebral comfort. Searching for some form of anchor as she felt it all slipping away.

The previously dispatched syndicated associates returned just in time to see Niko motionless on the ground, and the chain wielding Devil in the Dark standing above her. They would try to radio the Voice Unheard but their transmissions had been seemingly jammed. They'd draw their swords with confidence yet with the understanding that they too were not long for this World.

If left unchecked the Ultimate Weapon could potentially takedown the Syndicate alone and by himself. Hand in hand, step in step with death itself. Unseen. Unbeatable. Unimpeded by the moral code of the now fractured Shadow Knights. The Horned Saint Sinner had brought his leathal ballad to the Khan

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#16 Posted by Rosso (5280 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun:

"What? I don't..." Valentina threw her arms out in a helpless shrug, clueless as to the meaning of his gesturing. She glanced around briefly for Yazhun's Platinum Trio, and groaned. Nowhere to be found.

Okay, broad strokes then. What was one more improvised layer? "<It's all about riches. They're here for the vault. A man named Grant Diaz - a shapeshifter - leads the operation. I have no idea where he is now but he can assume the form of any man or woman at will, and it seems he knows the layout of the building intimately. It would be best for you to increase security around the vault, and assume he'd take on a form with a high level of clearance and accessibility.>"

As she spoke she kept an eye open for any shifts, drastic or subtle, in the demeanor of those around her, as well as listening for any sudden departures or entries or discernible radio communications.

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#17 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Arachnophobia -- Nihonto Khan: Exterior (7:17pm)

[Aranea]

Giovanni Di'Fiori had begun his day leading the men and women of the mutant underworld in a battle against their purported oppressors, but now, as the shadows began to truly lengthen?

He was in Hell.

The explosions around him materialized as wailing bursts of flesh, cries of the damned as they ruptured forth from their earthen shell holding them below, the pressure bursting their immaterial bodies like bleeding zits. He struck out at random, pushing back the demons at his every side. But there was one he could not evade, one demon in particular he could not ignore. The horned master of Hell had leapt away, safe from any of his attempts at self defense, seemingly undaunted by the vocal devastation he had inflicted on those around him. Worse, he had spared his demons the damage he had meant to inflict upon them, gathering them in chains that issued forth in bloody spurts from his wrists. Even as he caught them, he used the bloodied chains to sweep across the cityscape, pulling himself along and flying through the air on these spiked instruments of torture.

So it was that the Devil flew to find him, carried on unholy bindings. The creature loomed before him, huge eyes appearing white and blind, but whose gaze cut to his soul, sullying it by mere sight.

The Devil's voice came out a garbled roar, perhaps a message in the tongue of those that dwell below, perhaps the language of the divine father. The chain itself, which he could see now was no chain at all, but the rotting, severed skin of countless men, writhing with nerves and maggots both, stuck over his mouth, sealing it shut. He began to gag and choke as his body reflexively sought to purge the disgusting concoction from his palate. He tugged at the web of skin, writhing beneath the unholy adhesive. The bile built in his throat and mouth without a means to purge it, even as his chest was seized by the same Godless concoction. The devil began to transform as he flipped forward, his body contorting into a giant maw set to eat him whole.

It was the last thing Giovanni saw clearly. In the next moments he found himself rushing into the ground, slamming headfirst into the pavement, blacking out. It was then that the conversation played in his mind, the inky black of unconsciousness seizing him.

...

"Who is that, nonna?"

"That, little one, is Lucifer."

"He's so handsome, grandmama."

"Yes my boy, but that is only because it helps him be the Devil."

"He's the Devil? I thought the Devil had horns and goat legs and big red claws?"

"He does, little one. When he wishes to. But more fearsome than any capacity for carnage is this. His beauty."

"What? Why nonna? Aren't beautiful things supposed to be good?"

"Sometimes, little Gigi, but most times that beauty is only a lure. It corrupts good men and women both. You see, Giovanni, the Devil has not just a beautiful face, but words like honey and wit like razors. When he speaks, he can convince even the angels that good is evil, that evil is righteousness."

"Is that why there are so many bad men in the world?"

"Yes, little Gigi, and it is also why so many of them think they are good."

"But how do you know who's actually good and who just thinks they're good?"

"That is the problem, little one. You cannot. The Devil has spoken through us all at one point or another, even me. Only God knows who is righteous and who is flawed. That is why He is judge, and we are but his flock."

"But the Devil, he is a monster then? He's not really a handsome man?"

"Oh yes, dear Gigi. He is and always will be a monster, but the form he takes depends on the man you are."

...

He awoke with a start, the toxin suddenly transporting him to the hellscape he had always feared. He was not in Tokyo, fighting demons, he was in Hell, writhing on the ground with the others who had been eternally damned. He would not remain here. He could not.

The hero Aranea could feel the coming danger. His hair stood on end, his blood ran cold, and his abnormal senses broadcast a severe warning, the worst he'd felt in some time. Madness. Madness had seized the man he'd attempted to put to rest.

Such madness in a man is dangerous, in a mutant? Fatal, as many would shortly see. The gates of Hell were open for Giovanni Di'Fiori, and with his reawakening, they would open for the others as well.

His voice was muted by the web still covering his mouth, but his voice was not his only weapon. With the push of a button, his suit closed itself off from the rest of the world. The cries of the damned continued, but only in his head. Splaying his hands apart, he sought to bring them together with a murderous clap, amplifying the sound nearly instantly, drawing it up from 140 decibels to over 190 over a matter of moments. It would kill those nearby. Painfully.

No Caption Provided

They would be unable to breathe or see, the sheering sound pressure collapsing all that was nearby. A thick fog would be generated as water in the air dropped out of suspension in the pressure waves, people's internal organs would burst outright from the pure sonic force vibrating through their bodies, and the sound itself would rebound through the atmosphere, deafening everyone within a hundred miles. The sound would loop the earth five, perhaps six times, the shockwave shattering windows as far as Hokkaido, devastating the local area.

But for now? For now it was but a feeling tingling in the tip of the spider's spine, a sign of impending doom.

Blood Over Tokyo -- Nihonto Khan: Exterior (7:20pm)

[Grimmwald]

"<Shinobi. Everywhere I look, it's all fracking shinobi.">

Shiro Yamada ,the street hustler turned right-hand to the Yoshi-Gumi sub-sect of the Inagawa-Kai, muttered curses under his breath. He missed the days when the Yakuza settled matters in a good old-fashioned street brawl, before all the super-suits, power-rings and ninja nonsense. With a flick of his wrist he sent another empty magazine scattering to the sidewalk, his free hand jamming a full one into the machine pistol's eternally hungry maw.

<"Get down! Here comes another round!">

Crouching behind parked cars and behind corners, the still-sane exiles of the Inagawa-Kai prepared themselves for another chemical attack, stuffing shirts and scarves around their mouths and noses in an attempt to spare themselves from the noxious nightmare clouds.

Only none came. Instead, night black smoke emanated from the arrow tips, surrounding the few remaining in darkness. A few yakuza took blind pot shots at the last known positions of the archers, giving themselves away for the next, far more lethal volley. Those men died in that darkness.

Explosions ripped through the inky dark, clearing the black mist for a fraction of a second before the black swirled in again. The brief window of clarity mattered little. The men who stood near it had been torn to their component parts. Legs were severed where the arrows had struck ground, worse still, one arrow had lodged itself into a man's torso, the explosion sending his body parts streaming through the dark like clumsy shrapnel, dealing no damage save the psychological terror of having a man's liver fall into your lap.

The screams of the wounded rang about in the dark, a maddening unheard horror show, but with no muzzle flash or roar of gunpowder, the yakuza were powerless to determine their exact position. But one of those flashes, one of the brief clearings of smoke, revealed the most significant of moments to the young Yamada.

"<Kaicho!>" There, kneeling alongside the body of a Yakuza member who had thrown himself upon a faulty explosive arrow moments before its detonation, was boss Haruto Yoshi, sharing in the fate of his men as he had for the past forty years. Jiro rushed over, dropping the machine pistol to let it hang at his side and dragging boss Yoshi away, both arms looped under his boss's own.

"<For fracks sake, get out of the smoke and into the alleys! And get Yoshi-dono out of here!>"

Yamada tossed his boss into the arms of his most trusted lieutenant, grabbing his leader's ancient Type 99 Arisaka rifle and sprinting alongside them. Together they ducked into a narrow alleyway as some of his forces followed suit, moving out of the smoke without sprinting straight backward into the open streets, where they would only expose themselves as easier targets. Others were not so lucky. They ran out of the smoke in random directions, their newly exposed forms making for easy pickings.

Shiro, meanwhile, leapt onto a nearby garbage bin and grasped the ladder to an emergency fire escape, scurrying up and directing his men to follow. Together, they raided the buildings (despite the frightened protests of their occupants) and began to open fire from windows and rooftops, well above the black smoke they were supposed to be trapped in.

"<Fracking motherfrackers! THIS IS WHAT YOU GET FOR STEPPING IN WHERE YOU DON'T BELONG!!>"

Jiro took aim, firing from one window and then the next, never from the same space twice, each cycling of the rifle setting up another shot with near unerring accuracy. It was the rifle his adopted father had first taught him to shoot with, and he had taught him well indeed.

Red wings beat against an equally red sky as the sun set on the Khan, the wingbeats of death hovering over the scattering shinobi. A dry, scratchy cackle sounded from above as the gunfire continued to rain upon them. Its taunts rang out in an almost alien voice, but its words were undoubtedly human. "Y ahora deben de estar pensando, 'que va pasar?' Well, since you all have clearly lost the plot, let me tell you how this is going to end!" Another explosion, a few less red shadows scurrying about. "You are going to keep running..." A stream of gunfire. One more dead. "I will not relent in my pursuit..." Brains and bits of skull met pavement as a body was blown away, falling four stories and landing headfirst. "...y morirán cansados! HA HA HA HA HA!" The creature that was the Red-Scale Reaper spread its leathery wings, suspending its form against the dying sun, an ominous black silhouette forming against the glowing sphere.

And all for nothing. He could not have known, but should have suspected, that these denizens of the shadow world would be immune to mere mortal concerns such as fear and legend. Their hearts beat no quicker, their adrenaline pumped no harder, and when their pupils did dilate it was not in fear, but in focus, their aim made all the easier as the beast outlined itself against the heavy red orb.

As the grenades were taken in hand the nameless mutant only watched with subdued amusement. It was these closest ninja he had chosen to follow, and focus upon, so their actions came with little suspense or surprise.

Seizing a minute amount of the plastic explosive, it tossed the fragment down and detonated it, the mild explosion, experienced at a relatively safe distance (for the scaled mutant at least), propelled it further away as the shockwave pushed at its wings. Still, the stun grenades were not a complete failure, for even at its new distance the creature's eyes were dazed by the flashing light, its ears damaged by the deafening sound.

The creature plummeted, not in free fall, but as a defensive maneuver. It had been blind before, been deaf, and it knew from those experiences that nothing good ever came from an enemy attack on the senses. The expert archers, of course, easily calculated the speed of its descent, its angle. They fired their fatal arrows, their toxins sure to slay the scaly mutant, but in that very moment it spread its wings, suddenly slowing its descent and pivoting to the side, avoiding the volley, some arrows missing their target by a mere hair's width.

It descended low and behind buildings, plummeting almost in a desperate attempt to evade its attackers, but they had already timed its movements to their own, firing volley after volley of explosive arrows, their shrapnel acting as flak, invading its once clear skies. Metal shard after metal shard met its skin, pocking its body with streaming red blood, shredding its wings and rendering them far less effective. It began to cut through the air less and less efficiently, the holes and flaps of wing dragging along the air and tearing the wounds further still.

In a desperate bid to avoid further damage, the creature flew into a window, landing a floor below the Orochi positioned on the rooftop above. It had to work fast, for they would soon react to its invasion of their space.

After slamming a large clump of the explosive clay into the portion of ceiling it had last seen the Orochi positioned above, the mutant leapt from a window, sliding its claws along the wall to slow its descent as it set off the charge, hoping to catch the Orochi within its deadly blast radius.

Succeed or fail, however, they had already shredded its wings, leaving it unwilling to attempt another flight for fear of further damage. Instead, the creature hatched a plot. If they truly wished for its head, they would have to earn it.

It went into an abandoned building nearby, tossing the charges behind obstructions and in the holes of walls and ceilings. They were haphazardly tossed, yes, but time was not a luxury the mutant had. Positioning itself in the corner of a room, it dragged the remains of a marble counter over to itself and hid behind the improvised cover, confident that the blood it trailed entice them along its explosive laced path, where it would set off its bombs wait, its eyes always on the cracked window across from it. The creature's use of semtex may have seemed excessive to some, as already half the explosive charges it had were gone, but conservation of resources was only something one had to worry on if they were alive. A status it hoped to preserve.

At War With Illusion -- Nihonto Khan: Interior (7:17pm)

[Warsman, Yazhun San'Vun]

Seijuro was fortunate that the blast at the orphanage had already stolen his hearing, otherwise the two sonic booms would have hurt far more than they already did. Blood streamed from his ears, but he paid it little mind. More concerning than that was the fact that the man before him, the charred, black, inhuman figure that stood before him rolled its neck, the deformed face, devoid of any markings that might denote it as a man, snapped and twisted alongside it.

"<What the hell are you supposed to be?>"

But the question was answered only by violence. The flaps of burned away skin, lips, and eyes, already reforming, were answer enough regardless. The man was a monster.

His fists came blazing in faster than his bat, and worse, now there were two of them. The limited precognition, the instinct that accompanied the air slicing though the fire's heat, was not be enough to evade the thickly muscled mafioso. The first blow missed by a sixteenth of an inch, but the air grazing his cheek sliced it open, forced his right eye shut. The second he could not evade, not entirely.

Instead he brought up an arm, wincing in pain from his shattered rib while he dodged to the right. His left arm shattered, the impact so sudden and so powerful that the broken bone tore open the skin, allowing the impact to sheer the limb clear off.

Seijuro Shin screamed, at first simply in pain, and then in anger. He could not be stopped here, not before he had even lain eyes on the Silent San'Vun, not before he had repaid him for all the pain, all the suffering they had all gone through.

He rolled again, evading a flying charge from the cursed crusader before him, and grasped the severed limb, the unclean tear still bleeding him profusely.

"<I'm NOT going to die here!>"

The puddled blood at his feet erupted into hellfire, burning even the concrete spires that had risen inside the Khan. Shin ducked another blow, but rather than attempt to evade the next he crushed the severed arm in his right hand, the resulting blast set to toss the two away from one another like ragdolls.

The arm's explosion showered the area in blinding light and fiery flesh, decaying for a brief instant into invisible, superheated ultraviolet fire before suddenly bursting into existence once more. The whites, blues, and violets suddenly appeared all around the room, subsisting on the oxygen the decaying flesh itself provided, a stubborn substance that threatened to reduce the Khan itself to ash.

The fire manipulator had purposefully blown himself deeper into the Khan and into a nearby hall. Ducking into another door while simultaneously searing shut his bloody stump, he made his way to the hotel area, hoping, praying that he would find the one behind all this, that he might reduce him to glowing, negative-image char. But to do that, he would have to evade the seemingly immortal mafioso at his back, a task that seemed more and more impossible as time progressed. Already his ears were deafened, his arm severed, his heart beat with little blood to carry it forward. It was only on will that he survived, only on will that he pushed forward, ever forward, into the home of his enemy.

The men and women they were battling against suddenly and ingloriously vanished from their minds, the spell seemingly broken, but another quickly took hold. Though their delusions varied, the mutant mob breathing in the noxious toxins now battled against demons of their own making. Some struck out against allies, others simply broke, curling in on themselves while the mob pushed forward in absolute terror, trampling all who refused to stand and fight their fear.

It was these mutants that came across the true demon of the Nihonto Khan. Utilizing a forbidden and corrupt form of martial skill, one whose existence was almost unknown to the rest of the world, the horde froze as those before them seized and convulsed, their faces burning a bright red as blood burst through the vessels and pores, eventually pouring from their eyes and mouths, their lungs collapsing and crushing in on themselves, hearts sped and suddenly stopped as treacherous blood froze in spires that tore aorta to shreds. So it was that twenty, perhaps even thirty fell, their bodies piling high and creating an improvised barrier before the Khan.

But such results were to be expected from the mutant menace that dwelled within the Khan. Slowly, he stepped forth. In no particular rush, he raised a cold, dead hand, and the newly piled bodies began to rise as well. Devoid of whatever gifts they may have possessed in life, they merely cleared the path for the coming terror. A giant of mindless metal strode forth, grasping at the bodies that did not clear the way fast enough and tossing them at the blood bender before it. Both the Golem and the foul manipulator of magics hidden somewhere within the chaos of the crowd proved functionally immune to this particular sanguine assault. The golem, for its lack of blood, and the necromancer for his lack of life. His blood, thick and rotted as it was with age and decay, could scarcely be called blood at all. He did not smirk at the slight tugs he felt through his corpse, nor did he speak to the tattooed mutant before him. He had long since promised himself that he would never speak to the dead.

The silver beast strode forward, smashing through the entranceway and crushing those it stepped upon into paste. It grasped at anything within the Khan and flung it at the bender, the reanimated dead making for projectiles with a shared goal: wherever they found themselves after the bone shattering toss, they would attempt to crawl to the bender, to seize him in their grasp and hold him, tear at him with clumsy hands and fingers, beat him to death with undead arms as cudgels.

For if the living could not force their way into the Khan, the dead would.

Silencing the Mind (7:15pm)

[Noah Wyatt, NeoSin Soldiers]

The first strike he had launched hit home, the explosive draw smashed [smashed?] into the mental manipulator's chest and sent him staggering [what?]. The mutant, or meta, or whatever this mercenary might call himself (for he was obviously no native to Nippon) seemed to deny the mechanized merc his due blood. Each slash was blocked, not dodged, but blocked by the mental manipulator of force. It was frustrating, infuriating even. So it was with great satisfaction that the Red-Eyed Reaver finally felt his blade slice into his opponent's chest.

But it seemed the cut was only skin deep, as rather than cleave the man in two his foe merely flew backward, his spine smashing into the security suite and crushing a few keyboards and screens.

If it were not immediately obvious what skill the immortal before them were deploying, it was now.

Pieces of their objective, the computers and screens that made up the primary security room, the walls, cabinets, a small mass of black snakes, a chunks of the ornate floors, all came flying at the Red-Eyed Ronin with blinding speed. But he was not one to be outdone in speed. Glimpsing what he could through the bright haze, his blade cleaved through everything, every shred of metal, every brick of marble, every wooden beam, every silicon screen was cleaved in two as Red-Eye pushed through the telekinetic typhoon.

His partner fared more poorly. The writhing snakes had already formed into the assassin, who, stark naked, was steadily at work attempting to pierce the security system's intricate digital protection matrix when he noticed with a dull whoosh that bits of drywall and shrapnel had pierced into his form once more, reducing several parts of him to the writhing components he had only recovered from. Several parts of his chest and stomach displayed functioning organs for a moment before he decided to fully collapse into the slithering reptiles and reconfigure himself by his ally.

The bubbles of force crushed in on themselves, and both the mercenaries knew that their time was up. They had failed. The cyborg grabbed his ally, leaping back before the explosion could catch them in its fatal radius.

He had seen the trick once. He would not fall victim to it a second time. His ally, on the other hand, was still smarting from their failure.

"Why didn't you distract him, you idiot? Do I have to do everything?"

"I did distract. You not sneaky. Too slow."

"Pueh. Whatever. Now what?"

"All in plan. We kill, let others worry."

"Fine by me, malakas. It's what I do best anyway."

Both switched on their jammers, the time had come for the plan to move forward, with or without them. As they braced themselves for the coming battle, the cyborg mutant ready to prove his blade superior to the tricks of the master mentalist, the indication of further breaches on this floor began to sound all around them.

"Well shit."

Petros rallied further back, collapsing and reforming behind the cover of his metal ally as he took form in his armor once more, retrieving the knives he'd abandoned in favor of stealth just as the NeoSin Ninja surged into the area.

"You take nōmin. I kill master."

"Γαμήσου"

"Give one knife."

"Yeah, yeah. When you start dying, just let me know and I'll bail you out, malakas."

The two traded a nod as the Greek assassin passed over one of the knives and then scattered his serpents to all corners of the room, setting an ambush for the soldiers already on their way.

Grasping his High Frequency Blade in one hand and the petrifying venom knife in the other, the mechanical mercenary flew forward. He knew now that slashes were more or less ineffective. They served only to batter his for to and from, which meant a change in tactics was in order.

With a turning of his hips, he thrust all his force behind a stab with his main blade, attempting to skewer the mental magician, but rather than stay for whatever retaliation his foe had planned, he pivoted to stab downward with the petrifying blade, the strike aimed at the meat between neck and shoulder, the place where he could gain the most purchase, direct the most force without the risk of pesky bone deflecting the blow.

It would continue on as such, a medley of thrusts meant to wear down defenses and eventually pierce the force-deflecting shield the old man had erected.

Petros' part was much simpler in nature, requiring far less thought for execution. He scattered his serpentine pieces all about, lying in ambush around corners and behind furniture, among the debris of the control room and in the corners where the battle had left the rooms scattered and broken. Here he would strike, sink his fangs into any and all vulnerable areas on the body, at joints and flesh that traditionally went unguarded in armor.

After this initial strike, he would retreat back into his armor as best he was able, reconfiguring himself into the approximation of a man once more and seizing his throwing knives, beginning an onslaught of knife tosses which, when they struck, would begin to petrify any and all flesh they met. He had no fear of their return. He was well accustomed to the taste of his own venom. He relished it, even.

The snakes lay in wait, patient and unmoving, but had he been possessed of his human form, his grin would stretch across his features.

It was time at last, yes, finally time. Finally time to kill.

Counting Sorrows -- Nihonto Khan: Casino (7:18pm)

[Yazhun San'Vun]

The jammers were switched on, and all conventional communications began to fail. Grant Diaz grinned, his partner remained somber. All others saw was an exchange between a security officer and a janitor, employees in the casino area, an area yet to be breached, nodding as they passed each other.

A short series of beeps through the advanced communications system and they signalled to the others that their own assault should begin. The interior distraction team would mimic the actions of the rioters just now piercing the entrance of the Khan. They would stream forth from the numbers of the patrons, wreaking havoc and stealing all the petty cash they could while Grant and Leo made their way to the counting room.

That was the plan, at least. Instead, the beeps went out to deaf ears, the wearers long removed by the NeoSin soldiers. In a conjoining room, the remnants of the interior team laid on their sides, their bodies already gathering flies.

All save for one. The beeps made themselves heard in Lily Freid's ear, where she hid behind a wig and a dealer's vest, the only one who thought to disguise herself as an employee rather than a mere patron. She shuffled the cards in her hands, her appearance hidden by ample make-up and surgical modifications. She appeared to all eyes as a normal woman, but as her fingertips touched the focus hidden beneath her jacket, a cold hell broke loose regardless.

An invisible cloud of magical energy swirled into existence. As it centered itself on a group of the newly revealed NeoSin Solidiers, it began to slow the molecular speed of all matter all caught in the ten foot radius to a standstill near immediately. Unfortunately, that same act centered the drain of thermal energy from her own position, but she was prepared for this event as well.

She collapsed in a heap, the cosmetics cracking and falling from her face and body. Her body went cold and blue, and to any observers her still body would appear a corpse, an unfortunate victim caught in the same effect as those technological soldiers above her. The cold sapped movement and life from all caught in its embrace, but as the wielder of her artifact, she was well used to such freezing temperatures. She would take shallow breaths and hope that the resulting chaos would allow her to escape attention. It was a much lesser distraction than they had hoped, but it would have to do.

Grant Diaz and Leo Herric moved off in their security personnel disguises, the dropped illusion revealing the NeoSin soldiers and complete lack of patrons. And allies.

It was a huge hitch in the plan, but no plan survives contact with the enemy, regardless. If they had to get aggressive, they would. But for now, Grant Diaz and Leo Herric made their separate beelines for the vault. Grant, disguised as the security officer, took a cart along the same route that the security personnel always took to deposit money at the count room. His pace was rushed, on account of the distraction behind them granting the excuse of panic. Nothing really stood out. He even had the fast walk down, the slight shuffling gait the overweight failed Sumo used to use before he was "replaced".

Herric simply strode along, cleaning as he went, his path to eventually take him to the same place Grant was going. He was not as meticulous as his ally, he did no such research, and he did not feign panic. The false face made of malleable clay, a gift from Grant, provided him with a close approximation of the usual staff member, but he strode with the proud disdain of a man who carried himself with the same proud air no matter the path his life took him down. If they were lucky, they would make it to the count room undetected. At the very least, Grant would make it in. In Leo's eyes, it didn't matter if he escorted Diaz in or not. Grant could carry everything out on his own.

The plan, the real plan, was to put on full display the power mutants could generate. If he had to do that himself, he would.

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#18 Edited by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕂𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕠𝕗 𝕆𝕡𝕣𝕙𝕒𝕟𝕤

Misguided - The Mutant Curse

As the Khan rumbled and quaked its battle scorched halls premiering a redecorated decorum of death and destruction, somewhere hidden within, the Voice Unheard sympathetically shook his head. So many wasted lives. So many manipulated mutants. A seemingly never ending army who had come together over the death of those they had never cared about in life.

Orphans, of all things. Those without families or loved ones. Without homes. Had brought together a mass of mutant agitators the likes of which Tokyo had never seen. If only such a coordinated effort had been made while they had been alive. A true movement to provide them with a real life...but war and battle had always been easier for the mutant species to rally behind. Forever the victim. Forever the disenfranchised.

It had helped them forge a Nation. It had birthed dogmatic sects and organizations. It had given them a security blanket which in turn had fueled their misplaced sense of virtue. And they kept coming. The Orochi had slaughtered dozens. The Bloodbender had downed double digits, and still the crowd seemed as massive as ever. Had every mutant in Tokyo taken up arms against the Khan? If so, the greatest stand in Japanese history had been birthed. And the San'Vun's place in history would forever be cemented. For better. Or worse.

𝔅𝔩𝔬𝔬𝔡 𝔒𝔳𝔢𝔯 T𝔬𝔨y𝔬 𝔭𝔱.շ: @grimmwald: @humansfirst: @rosso:

Meanwhile the internal and external explosions, sonic combustion and chaotic carnage were indecipherable from one another. Where one eruption ended and the next began were lost in the orchestrated ocean of monumental ruination. The Nihonto, inside and out, bore the signature signs of systematic destruction. Smoldering clouds streaming into the atmosphere where high above, news and police choppers attempted to gain birds eye views and coverage. Square blocks had long since been closed off, barricaded and filled with emergency-responders. Their orders - to help where and if they could - but not at their own personal risk or safety. Civilians, most having fled their apartments and building complexes had been continuously urged to do so. The Orochi, Hyper-Sapiens, and now even the winged mutant enigma having overrun many of them for their own strategic on the fly vintage points.

For the Silent Starscream it had also recently been made clear that despite the attacks rehearsed scheme, it was mere window dressing. Yazhun had suspected a bigger picture yet to hear the Scarlet Shadowrunner convey the true measure, true motives behind the attack, caused the Blackhand's stomach to bottom out. His shoulder's subtly sagged, his posture faltered with emotional disbelief.

Though she wouldnt understand him, he signed none the less. *The..Vault?* The gesture was slow forming. Drawn out and filled with lethargic motion. Could money truly have been the facilitating factor behind all of this? As an international Syndicate the San'Vun's assets were vast, liquid, invested in everything from ports to industry. And while the Khan's 'Vault' held what some may consider a king's ransom, in the grand scheme of criminal capitalism it was but a small inconsequential drop in the proverbial bucket. Outside Hyper-Sapiens were dying. For this? His men, dead. For this? Unbeknownst to him, his sister, dead. For this?

Yazhun hung his head for a moment then brought it back up with heightened articulation staring at the ceiling for a brief theatrical moment of contemplation. With neutral speed he reached out towards the Black Market Mamba's hand, pausing part way as a sign of good will. Before attempting to cup it between his top and bottom hand. A thank you of sorts. With a bow then a nod towards the exit he mutely suggested she leave. Her nature, her business was low risk high reward. There was nothing here for her but exposure. She had served the San'Vun Syndicate well. If he survived, he would not forget it.

In the background the swooping shadow of the aerial Reaper periodically flashed through the skyline windows and breaches in the walls. Two fingers rose up then pointed. Yazhun dispatching several NeoSins to the upper floor. The obedient congregation blitzed up the stairwell acrobatically navigating the collapsed sections before reaching their destination. They werent the greatest or most skilled. They werent the Voice Unheard or his bloodline of Hyper-Sapiens. But they were well trained and tactically equipped with state of the art gear. And loyal to the end.

No Caption Provided

From their vantage point they had watched as the prolific Orochi shredded the creature's wings crippling its ability to soar. Inspiration. It could be found in the most unlikely of places. Such was the case as the NeoSins had witnessed the campaigned bravery exhibited by the crimson clad unit. Determined to exercise their own version of cavalier cinema, they looked over eachother and nodded. Then dove head long out the already shattered window gracefully rocketing towards the Red Reaper's makeshift hideout inside the building below. Biodigital wings igniting in the final moments of their rapid plummet, dragging their bodies upwards like a band of luminescent fireflies. Allowing them to strafe the complex as close to its surface as inhumanly possible.

HUD readings analytically combing the floors below and projecting holographic scenery inside their helmets. A Biological read out, the explosives, all digitally mapped out and computed in an effort to ascertain the proper approach. Without warning but premeditated technological coordination the NeoSins blew a small hole in the roof and subsequent floors above the resting creature. Aerodynamically dropping in on the beast from above his slab protected position.

No Caption Provided

In fact, landing directly on top of it. Like flees on a dog they sought to overwhelm him. Not with sheer numbers, but rather position and equipment firing Aethrium cables from their wrist gauntlets in hopes of snaring his limbs. Like Vibranium, Aethrium was believed to be near unbreakable. Indestructible. The suits each began to surge with digital like sounds of transforming joints and strength boosting augmentations, hopefully anchoring their physical capabilities as to truly secure the Red Reaper. Even if only for the briefest of moments.

Immobilizing him long enough for converging Neo's to cleave his head from his shoulders with Ion K12 Aethrium based Katanas. Like Spartans of old, they would live as heroes or die as legends. Either way, like the Orochi before them, they had taken the initiative and brought the fight to their enemy.

𝔅𝔢𝔫𝔱 𝔟𝔲𝔱 𝔑𝔬𝔱 𝔅𝔯𝔬𝔨𝔢𝔫: @humansfirst:

Somewhere lost in the perishing parade of bodies the Bokushi Bloodbender reveled in his perceived production. Blinded by lustful extermination, he was quickly taken back as those he had slain began to move. Some even hurled in his direction. Yet he did not exert himself in his gymnastic avoidance. Only exerting the minimal amount of muscular motion required to narrowly dodge the makeshift projectiles. An inch or a mile, it did not matter. He moved, they missed. His adversary had underestimated his abilities it had seemed.

Blood or sludge, goo or other, be it of liquid or in the body, he could contort it. Expand it to combustion, or heat it to extreme points of inescapable internal heat. The Golem may have been immune but its magical master...that would remain to be seen. With martial mastery the 32nd Sapien feinted and swayed. Angling away from the Goliath's assault before ninja-vanishing behind a smoke induced veil of cloud producing pellets. Capable of maintaining the core temperature of his own body, he'd survive the arctic attack. Others within the radius though would not fair as well. Frozen or stuck in place and caught in the path of the Golem itself. But the 32nd Sapien would not be among them. He had disappeared.

2V1: @humansfirst:

No Caption Provided
By now Yazhun had shed his previous approach. His involvement now a mandatory declaration invigorated by disgust, anger, and sorrow. Secret passage ways aided by the latest luxuries of cooperate freight based transport quickly and silently put the Voice Unheard in front of the 'count room's' surprisingly open security gate. With hands aristocratically clutched by the wrist below the waist, waiting in eager anticipation. Rosso's invaluable insight compelling him to go alone. Anyone, regardless of appearance would be met with extreme prejudice.

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#19 Edited by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun: @humansfirst:

"<Nephew, you're so busy nowadays,>" Heiji muttered to himself, half cognizant of his surroundings. "<Someone's gotta watch your back, even when you're surrounded by all your new friends,>"

He had been soaring through the air not of his own volition for what seemed like days, his nervous system completely fried. Time passed so quickly now. He couldn't keep up anymore, even if it was just a few seconds separating the initial explosion from now. The now he inhabited, he didn't believe it was real at first. The fluid in his brain, sizzling and boiling, oozing out of his broken ears and nose. His eyes were welling with the temperature now, about to pop in the back. Lenses cracked. Layers of biologically-diverse neural impulses all shattered, meaning nothing in the end.

He couldn't make a fist anymore, and his tear ducts shimmered.

"<I can't protect you like this, nephew. I can't do anything like this,>" he wasn't speaking anymore. Thoughts, passing by as quickly as they came, empty meaningless words. Yet they were shocking his brain back to life, even as the foaming blood coagulated and ceased. Even as his body began to patch itself up yet again.

The Chalice ring shone out, and faded in its obscene light. He had been blackened down to the marrow of his bones, even completely through his body. The subatomic fire his foe had used against him, the same that reduced parts of his limbs and being down to a shadow on the concrete of the Khan where they had done battle, glowed in the distance. He knew the face responsible once more. He closed his bloodied eyes, and curled his fingers.

The trajectory stopped, turning completely around. He was still in the city limits. Smoke throttled the Khan, but Yazhun's contingency plans were falling into place. It was Heiji's duty to engage in a fight, and finish it. To find people who made his nephew upset.

And make them suffer.

He made a fist, and shot forward with all the subtlety of an artillery shell, slicing and compressing the air around him into a horrendous scream. He barely recognized the area their fight had started in through his all-consuming rage, and even then he could still make out the finite details of the growing warzone. Flames had consumed a fair part of the area, leaving it a charred husk. Buildings had collapsed in and around the Khan. This made it an ideal camouflage for someone trying to retreat.

But Heiji had tasted the fire-maker's blood. He could follow a trail of it anywhere, and he did so into the heart of a derelict skeleton of a meeting hall. It was where he had met Kaneda for the first time. And the pyromaniac had desecrated it with his presence, with the drops of his blood now left behind from the cauterized stump where his arm used to be.

No Caption Provided

Heiji stood between him and freedom, the outside door facing the Negative-Space Shogun's very estate. He occupied it, regardless of the pockmarks on his body indicating internal injuries yet prevalent. Despite the blackened eyes, flesh still ripped from parts the Chalice could not heal.

He still took a position of battle, and barred the way to Yazhun.

"<You want to know what the hell I am?>" Heiji mocked, stepping forward slowly, a predator closing in. If the fire-starter made any sudden moves, he would be upon him like a rabid animal.

"<My name is Heiji San'Vun. And I'm the one who will kill you here.>"

Completely without mercy in those words, the chilling eulogy of three sentences set the stage. Heiji surged ahead, calloused hands drenched in blood and sweat. The Chalice ring had no more charges left. He wasn't going to heal quickly anymore, but that didn't mean he had to end this right away. This guy was also standing on his last legs, from what Heiji could tell, but he was obsessed with something pointless. Revenge. It seemed noble at first, and perhaps to some it could be considered righteous. But in the end, it just caused more pain. More loss.

Heiji's fists were fast, strong, but more than anything they were cruel. Brutal. Coldly efficient in their animosity. They were now flying at their full capacity of Class 40-tons, backed up by the Influence ring, which further increased their striking potential. Of course his fingers broke. Each time he would collide with flesh or bone at something beyond the speed of sound, a new part of his own body would snap. But, in the end, they were here for the same reason. Vengeance or not.

They wanted to protect something precious to them.

Perhaps, under different circumstances... no.

It had to be this way. It could only end this way. It could only end in blood.

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#20 Edited by Sii-la (397 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst: @yazhun_sanvun

"Stop this senseless violence. Your blood is our blood. If there is to be peace, meet us at the Nihonto Khan -- 6:55pm, tomorrow."

Cesar reads the tongues of ten dead men to himself as four Inagawa-La loyal men stand guard around the front entrance where the heads of their brethren stand on pikes like tiki torches as their Kumicho-kai surveys the scene for hidden answers...and obvious deceptions.

<"Han"> Sii says lowering the lids on one of the men. He was speaking to his right-hand man, the man that took his position as number two in the organization.

<"Sir?"> He responds from inside the Ronin.

<"Book a flight to Tokyo. Get me a car from Shibuya Square at 6:30 tomorrow night">

<"Shibuya is a very public location...you may draw attention to yourself and solve this demon's problem before he even needs to.">

<"I killed Ken in the shadows. That was my mistake. As my mother always said...">

Cesar slaps one of the men's jaws shut and steps back inside the casino to prepare for the journey to the mainland. <"What's done in the dark must come to the light">

____________________6:30PM: Dusk_____________________8,754 feet above Tokyo___________________

Han stands on a small seatless private jet near the door. They were steady beneath 10,000 feet high to avoid any satellite detection. Han is watching his phone diligently, counting every mile they cross until--

<"We're almost at the drop zone"> He barks towards the shadows.

A shadow steps out of the abyss in an all black camouflage suit reminiscent of that of a ninja, yet with a Ronin's Katana on his back and an American mercenary's posturing. A Gaijin Gangster. <"Open the door">

Han smacks a button on the wall of the shakey plane and the door pops out then slides left bellowing a torrent of wind that nearly knocks him off his feet. He extends a cobalt black mask to the Cobra-Kai and bows.

Cesar grabs the mask and Han's hand in the process. The roar of the plane is filling their ears. He picks Han's head up and kisses him square on the lips. <"Don't do anything reckless. We still have a lot to accomplish."> Han whispers, his clumsy way of showing he cares. Cesar smiles.

<"Don't worry. This is just the preamble. "> he slips the mask on and walks, out the open door, and drops off into the Tokyo night air.

No Caption Provided

What seems like useless acrobatics to the untrained eye were steering and speed altering maneuvers to slow and angle his descent towards the city below that rushed closer with every second. The Eye of Inagawa didn't pull his chute until he could hear the voices from the crowd and see the whites of the 40 foot faces on the gigantic screens that towered over Shibuya Square . The cord rips and the plumed chute jerks him backward. A hard landing nearly cracks his knee plate on the roof adjacent to the center of the square.

He cuts the cords with the knife strapped to his shoulder and walks over to the ledge in the breath of the same instant he landed. The screen on the face of the complex is the largest that can be seen from all angles at the crossing.

He drops a rope and repels downward, into the cross-hatched steel poles that hold the jumbotron-like screen to the exterior. Finally, with the contortion of a viper, he reaches the central hub of wires. Running out towards a dozen different angles.

He pulls a small yet high powered soldering gun from his waste and begins to crudely rewire the the connections...

*Whistling ensues*

7:15PM_____Fashionably Late____________

Outside the Nihonto the scene was as expected. Chaos. When one is invited to his own funeral, he should dress appropriately, and arrive late.

An all black GMC truck bursts through the debris of concrete and tar and flips over, taking out a few bodies, whether they be allies or enemies was uncertain and unnoted in either case.

The truck lay over turned in the street. A pocket of silence in the localized area of road as the others in the distance continue to fight on unphased.

From the back of the truck a dance of colored light begins to coat the wall of the adjacent building. It's a video, live by the timestamp that spun at the present time of 7:15 rolling into 7:16, of Shibuya crossing from street level staring up at the central tower.

<"Inagawa!"> Cesar shouts, unseen but heard. The irony wasn't lost on The Red Eyed Ronin.

Several men and women turned to look to the voice that called their honored family name and watched the screen after finishing off several San-Vun men. <"My men. My disloyal, dishonorable men. You believe you have seen into the eyes of Ken Tatsuno once more and found your rightful leader. I would not blame you for returning to what you know, what is safe. But in that vain, I ask you, is it better to work the devil you know, or the one that you don't?">

A black gloved hand appears in front of what must be a camcorder and presses a small red button on a black remote. The jumbotron screen flickers. White static fills the screen and deafens the square with the audio feedback.

Every head in the square gazes upward.

The Inagawa soldiers on the street that can spare the moment move closer.

On the screen above, for all of Japan to see, is Ken Tatsuno's lifeless head in an oversized barbershop jar of blue liquid.

<"I will be arriving shortly. Make your peace. If by the time I step through the Nihonto doors you aren't at my side I will take that as your resignations...and your lives will be forfeited to me. Ask yourselves, in the time you have left, is this stranger worth the sacrifice?">

#BEEP

The head bounces in the jar. Ken Tatsuno's undeniable features down to the placement of the mole on his cheek and the tattoo coming into focus behind his ear were all strong indicators that that was the legitimate decapitated head of the former Kumicho-Kai of Inagawa.

#BEEP

An officer can be seen coming into view, his eyes dart around the square frantically, until he spots the camera. He approaches and shoves people out of the way to retrieve it sitting on top of a mailbox.

The close up reveals the time on his digital glow in the dark watch doesn't seem to match the time stamp.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEP

"6:55PM"

The overturned truck explodes in a hail storm of fiery debris making a scene of hollywood proportions on the streets outside.

Meanwhile, behind the nihonto...

No Caption Provided

Black tears rain from the sky and wet the throats of several non-Nihonto men, be they allies the ninja warriors of Inagawa's elite didn't care to stop to find out. The mission was simple, protect San'vun and his kin and kill any traitors.

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#21 Posted by Aranea (105 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst:

Aranea turned back at his seemingly defeated foe, laying on the floor. "Buddy, your noise ticket is going to be crazy. Hopefully they have voice training lessons in prison... Hmm.." The spider looked around them for the moment he had earned. He looked at the people webbed up and the many that were still rampaging. Something was seriously wrong, it was that terror he noticed before.

"It's the gas, has to be. Maybe some kind of fear toxin. I feel it in my bones, if I didn't have my powers I'd be a basket case myself from the effects..."

He looked back down the mercenary, realizing that he too was fully succumbing to the toxins.

"Everyone here is as much a victim as they are offenders. Was this the point? Have mutants go berserk? But why? The hell is going on inside? I have a pretty big feeling I'm waaaay out of my league here..."

The spider-sense was truly an amazing ability. From the first day Nate possessed it, he was certain there was something almost otherworldly about it. A prime example was what Aranea was experiencing at this moment. Such a warning of danger felt like a thousand little pins poking his body ever so gently, but enough to almost hurt. Every foreseeable outcome was looming with danger, every square inch as far as he could see. It was donning on him.

"Agh! Spider-sense is off the charts! Wait... His sonic powers... Oh god. He's going to kill everybody if I don't do something!"

Aranea, still behind the man, fired two lines of web, one aimed for each of his hands as they were splayed apart. With a safe, but strong tug to send him flailing into the air. It wasn't even a half second before Aranea unleashed a barrage of impact webs at his target, the goal was to encase him in a thick cocoon of webbing before he hit the ground. If all went well, he'd flip to his target, but instead of striking at him, Aranea would gently place his hands on the sides of the merc's head. More violence would just breed greater violence.

"Hey! Please listen to me... you're not thinking straight, you've been exposed to a fear toxin. You're going to hurt alot of people if you don't calm. Down." Aranea dropped his quippy tone, genuinely pleading to the mutant. If all else failed, the hero was ready to encase both himself and this stranger in a webbing dome. In theory, it'd just kill Aranea... But save countless more lives. A risk the hooded spider was willing to take.

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#22 Edited by Grimmwald (3281 posts) - - Show Bio

@noah_wyatt: @niko_sanvun: @rosso: @humansfirst: @yazhun_sanvun: @sii-la:

Nihonto Khan || Outside

Merciless, fatal, and a failure, the Orochi's neurotoxic arrows soared through the air with the murderous eye of a wolf-pack - and missed. Poisoning air instead of dragon flesh, the arrows fell and gave way to their successors; explosive-tip arrows that tore through the dragon's wings. Spread over three rooftops, the Orochi watched the dragon plummet from the sky. Sharp eyes following the beast's wild descent from cloud to ground, the Orochi smelled it's blood in the air, catching it's irony scent before the beast crashed through a window below them. Eyes sweeping across three rooftops, each Orochi met the other's gaze with a killer instinct that was neither taught nor learned. It was time.

Arrows - neurotoxic and explosive - at the ready, the Orochi above ground zeroed in on their prey. BOOM! Scorched concrete was flung in every direction, and plumes of smoke climbed into the night sky as an explosion blew the rooftop apart. No Orochi on that rooftop survived. Instead, the remaining Orochi watched from separate rooftops as their brothers were swallowed whole by the explosion's smoldering maw. It didn't matter. Their prey yet lived, yet breathed, and they'd vowed to slay the beast. Not for their brothers, and not even for the Horned Saint. But because they'd smelled it's blood. And they watched it move from building to building, enticed by the crimson trail the beast left behind - but not foolish enough to chase after it so blindly. Measured, disciplined and calm, the Orochi had ice water, not blood, running in their veins. And from their vantage points, from the safety of two rooftops away, their eyes fell on the building their prey had gone to lick it's wounds.

The Orochi had come with an army, but now few remained. They were the last stand. Above them, the Aethrium-clad soldiers of the Nihonto Khan glided through the airs like buzzards before dropping into the dragon's den. It didn't matter. Bows and arrows at the ready, they nocked, anchored, took aim at windows, relaxed, and fired a stream of explosive-tip arrows that'd fly in from every window round the dragon and the NeoSins - and boil over the room with a chain of explosions that'd leave nothing of them behind. Elsewhere, the Orochi on foot below were slaughtered by a hail of gunfire from enraged Yakuza stationed in buildings. Now, under the moon's silver gaze, only the Orochi above ground remained. They were few. But enough. Backs turned to the dragon and NeoSins, the Orochi zeroed in on the trigger-happy Yakuza, leaving the beast and Knights of Khan to either die from the hail of explosive arrows - or at each other's hands.

Yet more arrived in the cover of night, noticed by the Orochi above ground. Stealthy and armed to the teeth, they were ninja from the Inagawa Clan. Their blades catching the silver glow of moonlight, Inagawa ninja shadowed the Nihonto Khan, cutting down anyone - be it friend or foe - who dared walk near the Nihonto Khan. Their attention split, the Orochi broke off with one group targeting the Yakuza, and the other zeroing in on the Inagawa ninja. Those preying on the Yakuza were patient, hiding behind structures and in the dark of shadows while the Yakuza shot away, spraying bullets till the sound of gunfire turned into the chic-chic of an empty gun. As the Yakuza reloaded, the Orochi would do as they had to foes before and target the windows. Explosive-tip arrows'd fly in from every window round the Yakuza, and drown the room in a sea of explosive fire.

Elsewhere, on a rooftop overlooking the Inagawa ninja, the other Orochi pounced. They nocked, anchored, aimed, breathed easy, and shot volley after volley of neurotoxic arrows. Arrows that threatened to poison the ninjas' bloodstreams with botulinum - and degrade neurotransmitter proteins en route to fatally ending all their bodily processes. The arrows came in waves to either force the Inagawa to break formation and scatter and risk being torn apart by the vibranium swords of the Orochi, or come together in a tighter, denser formation and be blown apart by a follow-up wave of explosive-tip arrows. But the Orochi's numbers had dwindled. Many'd been killed, and now they were spread thin, engaging enemies on too many fronts. They could afford to make no more mistakes. Or perhaps even battle for much longer.

Nihonto Khan || Inside

No Caption Provided

Dead, Grimmwald thought, crimson eyes regarding his fallen foe with ice in their gaze. Good. She'll be useful. He need only uncover the mad science the Strigidae'd used to raise Boresight from the dead. Standing over the dead San'Vun, Grimmwald's eyes rose to meet the cold glimmer of drawn swords. Henchmen. Arm still but wrist moving, the Horned Saint held an Asian chain whip. An assassin's weapon. But his was nine sections of cold vibranium. Body rocking ever so slightly behind the chain whip as it spun out back and forth, the Horned Saint stepped over the San'Vun's corpse and held gazes with the enemies before him. They were dangerous. Well trained. But his ruthlessness, his cruelty, were now unhinged. And as the air grew heavy with tension, his mind pulled back to his theft of Keijijo scrolls, and the secrets he'd learned from them. The secrets of the Damned Monks.

A secret that had improved his body, but also his mind. No longer did his mind and body take part in the time consuming perception-evaluation-planning-conscience-reaction sequence. But his enemies, everyone else did. As fast as they are, as quick as they thought, they were still hindered, still needed a moment to evaluate a threat's danger, and another to conceive of response, and yet another moment - a split second of doubt - before they either attacked, defended or fled. So while one hand held his vibranium chain whip, his free hand flicked, and out popped a vibranium blade from his wrist-bracer. A new variable. A new danger for his foes to consider, something to lure their minds into doing what it couldn't help but do - take those precious split seconds to reevaluate the new danger posed. And in that moment, Grimmwald'd attack, whipping the chain whip forward for it's sharp end to stab right through the henchmen's throat. He'd attack again, a second, third, fourth, fifth or however many times needed till all before him, regardless of personal injury, were dead and he dragged the San'Vun's body into the pit of the shadows he walked.

But then, oh then his eyes widened at the vibrations caught by his senses. The faint but familiar vibrations from footsteps floors above him. She was there. His plan to silently and gruesomely kill his way to the Voice Unheard had changed. Instead, Grimmwald reached into the shadows round him, but not for a weapon, but a gas mask instead. A gas mask he slung over his face before slipping back into the shadows, walking through them en route to the Nihonto Khan's ventilation system. A hub of culture and business, the Nihonto Khan, like all lavish establishments, had a ventilation system to manage the airflow. Ducts and fans that draw in and distributed fresh air throughout the building, that exhausted the air from the kitchens and bathrooms. And the Horned Saint would tamper with it. Like a virus infecting the body, he introduced not air, but a fear toxin into the ventilation system; Toxin-3.

A colorless but punggent cocktail of Salvia divinorum, capsaicin, and a BDNF agent, Toxin-3 crept into the air threatening to distress the dopamine D2 receptor of all who breathed it in, to cripple them with hallucinations, to burn the eyes, irritate the skin, and trigger waves of panic and claustrophobia. Then came the second fear toxin, the same used by his Orochi earlier; Toxin-2. A cruel union of carbogen, a corticotropin-releasing hormone, 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, and a BDNF agent, Toxin-2 sought to seize the biochemistry of the brain and introduce stress, dread, anxiety, and a hallucinatory wave of one's worst fears and traumas. It sat thick in the air, and along with Toxin-2, was there to cripple the brains of everyone inside the Nihonto Khan with their greatest terrors. They need only breathe in the air unfiltered.

The best case scenario? Valentina, his mouse, would be crippled by enough fear for him to climb out a shadow near her, drag her into the darkness and leave with her to his nameless abode where he'd pump her full of fear toxins till her brain chemistry was bound to his will, till she was his absolute ally to be used against the Shadow Knights, loyal through a fear planted deep in the chemistry of her brain, a fear only a doctor could cure. The Voice Unheard? So crippled by his worst personal fears that he would finally speak... no, scream, and collapse the Nihonto Khan, destroy the building with the power of his voice. A consequence the Horned Saint didn't even know he desired. But perhaps his toxins'd fail, and he'd leave only with the body of Yazhun San'Vun's sister. It didn't matter. If not today, then another, he'd come for them all.

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#23 Posted by Noah_Wyatt (319 posts) - - Show Bio

@rosso: @yazhun_sanvun: @humansfirst: @warsman: @sii-la: @aranea: @grimmwald:

No Caption Provided

They came in out of nowhere the Neo's, tunneling in from the doorway each adorned with weapons and means to end whomever they chose to face. But these times were not of simple fighting back and forth, tonight this was War. A war these simpletons never fathomed, watching the Red one charge forward Noah braced himself turning his foot slightly to brace for the impact. A surge of energy shined out from his hands and in a dome just as the blades first struck, a ting could be heard as it hit the shield. But each blow was not meant just to damage but to penetrate, the same spot hit over and over and it quickly gave way as Noah was not prepare for the cyborgs immense strength and precision. Shattering the shield Noah was only able to react in time to save life, but with life also came the sacrifice of something more.

The blade swung hard and precise aiming for his shoulder, the meat and meant to avoid bone. But Noah was focused on him reading his split second moves paired with split second thoughts, he followed the Red Eye's move and brought up his palm and felt the piercing coldness of the blade as it sunk deep into his palm and out the other side. Instantly he felt his hand tighten as something began to decay and transform his flesh. Reacting quickly he brought his free hand up and grabbed at the Red Eye's shirt and pulled falling backwards in an attempt at throwing the cyborg away, away from what he had to do next. Rolling with the backwards fall back onto his knees Noah burst to the side towards the remains of where they had entered. Excruciating pain filled Noah's mind as the venom of the blade began to eat away at his hand and quickly his arm, staring back at the cyborg he gritted his teeth.

No Caption Provided

His hair falling down over his left eye he stared without flinching at the cyborg, defiance in his eyes as a bubble of energy formed around the affected arm. In a fraction of a moment the bubble solidified into a construct of pure telepathic energy, severing his hand just past the wrist. Now only a stump remained as he screamed eyes bloodshot and crazed, little blood spilled as the hand decayed completely and petrified at his feet. Pure unbridled rage filled his mind "That was...a mistake.." Noah poised to strike but was stopped in his tracks as the room began to darken completely and his eyes began to dart all over the room. No longer did he see the two mercenaries or the Neosins, what he saw shook him to the very core and something snapped inside his mind.

No Caption Provided

Screaming now his body surged with energy as his telepathic an telekinetic energies poured from his body in full. His screaming turned into laughter as his eyes once brown now were large and yellow, he looked to as if he had transformed into something demonic. His laughter was both outloud and internal in everyone within the highrise, his sickening and deafening laughter pierced every mind within a miles radius. Finally breaking his laughter and talking to what he saw in his mind, not what was really in the room with him "You think you got me brother?! No! Ill show you true hell.....you'll see...they will all see...IM THE MONSTER!!!" as his voice intensified so did his powers surging out of control his mind attacking everyone and everything around him. The Neosins were the first to be effected clutching their skulls and screaming as blood burst from every orifice as he forced it outward turning them inside out with his mind. Exploding a cloud of sinew and gore he turned his attention to the "brother" he saw that in reality was the one made of Snakes "You left me...ALONE!" slashing at the air with his hand the air thickened and burst with force as he sent a burst at the Snake Charmer in an attempt at vaporizing him completely.

Turning his attention to Red Eye he smiled "Father....hahahaha knew you couldn't wait to take the glory for his death....no...its mine...no one will take it away from me again.." he tried to reach into the mind of Red Eye "Father you too will feel my pain!" not overcome by his fear he stood and fought against it. Trying to rip away piece by piece at the cyborgs mind, while his frantic and erratic mind also seeped into those all within the Khan. Those of weak minds would burst into a cloud of blood and sinew. The strong would feel the pain of a thousand people instantly until he found his own control over his mind.

What felt like years went by inside his own mind before he was able to control the fear filling his mind "No...I killed them.....years ago...this isn't real....focus...get a grip...this isn't REAL" screaming loudly. He pushed through whatever was controlling his mind, something in the air it had effected him. Diving his fingers into the stump that remained of his hand he felt the pain surge through him, snapping him out of the toxins haze for only the briefest of moments. He could feel it taking over again. He had to move fast, looking to the windows he shattered as many as he could with his mind giving the room more air to "breathe" and allow whatever was controlling them all to dissipate. Then with the remaining power he could muster before falling to the toxin again he created a dome outside of the building and flattened it as fast as he could, hoping to force the air in the room back out through the vents hoping to clear as much of the toxin from the air as he could, and forcing it back down hoping it would rush through all the vents and down away from everyone. The Khan...had to survive..

No Caption Provided

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#24 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Arachnophobia (Nihonto Khan Exterior)

[Aranea]

His hands were caught in an open position, the souls of the dead, wispy and deformed, white as bone but with the iron grasp so commonly attributed to the damned, grasped at his arms. Panic seized him as he flew into the air. He writhed as the apparitions flew forth from the Devil's hands and wrapped themselves around him, their wails closer now. In his ears, in his head, scraping against his soul.

His pupil reduced itself to a pinprick, the pounding in his heart became the beating of a hummingbirds wings as he struggled against the embrace of the damned. Then the devil leaned over him, clutching his head between two great clawed fists and drawing the Italian's face toward its own, fire and brimstone reflected in the great white eyes.

Aranea's hands closed around a loosening crack in the soundproof suit, a result of his earlier assault that had sent the mercenary headfirst into the pavement. His finger slid along a barely discernible button, and with the slightest pressure it depressed, releasing the Italian mercenary's head into the superhero's hands, the helmet retracting and peeling away easily enough.

The first thing he noticed was the pooling blood from the broken blood vessel in his left eye, next the thick matted hair, dripping with the blood that streamed from the top of his head. One pupil was also larger than the other, and considerably so.

The man was babbling through the webbing still over his lips, the names of demons whispered in the same breath as prayers for salvation. The mercenary struggled against his webbing, desperate pleas to the saints and to the Lord muttered again and again as the Spider drew closer. And then the spider/man spoke.

"Hey! Please listen to me... you're not thinking straight, you've been exposed to a fear toxin. You're going to hurt alot of people if you don't calm. Down."

The man's head shook, the toxins in his head mixing with the physical trauma to birth a state of consciousness barely attached to the waking world. He could see the Spider's head, the light of the burning buildings around them ringing the hero in a halo of light. Giovanni brought his head forward, eyes gazing into the welcoming, almost pitying gaze of Lucifer once more, not the devil, but the fallen angel. It was alarming still, to face this form, but with this comely visage the mercenary's panic subsided slightly, aided by the tone of the Devil's words, as honeyed and sweet as Nonna said they'd be, even if he could not glean their meaning. But the demon's other face brought its own terrors. There was another fear now, a far deeper fear, one beyond the kind that draws forth fearful cries and physical struggle.

He was delirious, mumbling, weaving in and out of consciousness as the spider stood above. His head bobbed with the effort of maintaining consciousness, but he was contained. No longer under direct threat, he now addressed this, the greatest of his fears. The mercenary's words were muffled by the webbing at his mouth, the chaos of the crowds, but Aranea could still vaguely hear it, just over the din of all around him.

He was pleading in whispers, begging for his creator to save his soul.

And sure enough, as the blood began to spill from his ears and nose, the words did not seem out of place.

Blood Over Tokyo (Neighborhood Surrounding Nihonto Khan)

[Grimmwald, Yazhun San'Vun]

The nameless mutant grew restless, but such a luxury did not last long. It could hear them: the incessant buzzing of unnatural wings cutting air. Too steady to be the wingbeats of a creature, too loud to be the whine of an insect. It finished loading up its weapon of choice, lead reinjected into the throat of its American carbine, a few final touches, and it was finished setting up its final stand.

Scratching from above. Faint. Near indiscernible from leaves scraping along the roof, but distinct enough. Then came the not so subtle sounds. Explosions rocked the rooftop, then the next floor, and the next. Fast, but not so fast the creature could not ready itself. Its claws gripped around the rifle, and as soon as it caught sight of the shower of ceiling debris, it opened fire with a snarl.

But even with its preparedness, with its cunning, the creature was no match for the technological might the NeoSin Shinobi brought to bear. It swiped a clawed hand at them, attempted to tear through their bodies and impale them along the razor sharp structures dangling from its fingers, but to no great effect. The Aetherium cables impaled its limbs, its claws still balled into rough fists despite its empty hands, the carbine dropped long ago in favor of clawed combat. They pulled, their combined strength more than a match for its own. Its joint popped free of the socket, the left shoulder wrenched free, exposing straining muscle and ripping at previously torn skin, the wounds from the explosive arrows expanding further as the technologically blessed ninja pried the beast apart.

They had shackled the creature, tied it down like a beast to be slaughtered, and sure enough, those in the lead withdrew their blades, ready to stick the animal, sever its head or leave it to bleed to death.

A low growl escaped the creature as it bore witness to its executioners. It had known that its involvement here could mean its death, though such a possibility had seemed so remote, so unlikely, before. Now, here it was, devoid of wings, tied down with metal wire, a breath away from death.

"Me consideran un animal, pero no soy. I am not a beast I--"

They were not interested. The flying creature was a prize, not a prisoner. Aetherium katanas sliced through the air with a deadly hum, their aim to behead the beast, to sever his head and take it as a trophy.

But it was not done talking.

They had taken its limbs, controlled its arms, its legs, its wings, but they had not pierced its neck or its head, and they had certainly not stolen the creature's spirit or its heart.

Mighty jaws clamped down hard on the incoming katana, the initial strike, the one most suited to decapitating him, was caught between the creature's teeth, the impact the NeoSin's super strength and exceedingly sharp metal allowed the blade to cleave through the animal's reinforced teeth, slicing through almost all its molars before finally stopping more than halfway through its cheeks.

The other blades cleaved into its skull, blinded its eyes, stole its hearing and sheared skin from bone, but before they could kill the beast they met that first blade, their strikes stopping at the end of its jaw, broken teeth littering the floor around them.

His voice came through in a gurgle now, blood welling all about the creatures face and pooling deep within its throat. "I am not an animal. I will not die an animal."

The clawed fist unraveled as the nameless mutant's thumb pressed down firmly on the detonator, the arrows of the Orochi only now making their way in through the windows. "Moriré un hombre, un mutante..."

No Caption Provided

The Red-Winged Reaper's chest, still heavily burdened by the remaining half of his explosive semtex, erupted into a shower of force and debris. All the past explosions, every act of criminal demolition he had committed, paled in comparison to the final eruption. Three whole floors of the building were jostled from their position, collapsing the mostly abandoned building in on itself in a calamitous collapse, shrapnel flew from its position in every direction, concrete and steel rebar shooting out at blinding speeds as the unnamed mercenary's payload sheered the flesh and bone from his body, what little remained of his disintegrated corpse flying to every cardinal corner of the city.

As for its effects on the NeoSin Ninja, who could say? The only possible witness to their fates was gone, taken in a final act of defiance against the perceived wrongs of the San'Vun syndicate.

That night the Red Scale Reaper's exploits ended. The stories of a dragon stalking the night, snatching up treasures to add to its horde would become just that once more, stories and tall tales. That night the mutant, the man trapped in the guise of a beast, finally found peace, finally found solidarity with his kind.

For in death, all are equal.

Counting Losses (Nihonto Khan Interior -- Interior/Count Room/Casino)

[Yazhun San'Vun]

Leo went on unimpeded, tossing his mop aside as he approached the count room. The cart Diaz had been pushing was abandoned well before the actual door. It meant something went wrong. Something was off.

Then he saw it. The open gates to the count room, a straight shot at the vault. That's what had spooked him. Herric made the turn, peering into the wide-open room. It was clear. Entirely empty of enemy forces, all except for the most striking sight he had ever seen. There, in contrasting hues against the brightly lit vault, was Yazhun San'Vun himself, clad in the armor most often crouched beneath his own skin.

"So you're the famous Yazhun, huh? The 'Black Hand', the 'Shadow Shogun', 'Shadoking', all that crap, right?" Leo prowled into the room, tossing the cart aside as easily as one might discard unwanted change, flinging it across the room without a care, without a thought. He paced back and forth, a caged animal, hungry, yearning to make a kill at last.

"Don't bother answering. I know you do all that hand shit. I'm not interested in waving my dick around to try and talk to some fracked in the head scum like you."

He flexed, clothes straining against iron muscle. He stood at the edge of the count room, dusting his clothing off. He knew that San'Vun had been simmering in his hate for some time, that he was eager to put a face to the pain that had been floating around the Khan. Well, he was all too happy to provide it.

"So, why don't we go ahead and take this outside? I don't want you messing up my money."

With that, Leo Herric stalked off, keeping the corner of his eye on his more than formidable foe, ensure that he wouldn't get the jump on him. Of course, should he try, he'd simply lure him outside, where he wouldn't have to worry about collateral damage, where he could toss him back and forth without having to worry about ruining his own share of the score.

He breathed deep, nostrils taking in ample air, preparing for the coming fight. He was excited. His heart raced. His adrenaline spiked.

Spiked too soon. And his heart did not simply race, it pounded, a furious drumbeat conducted by some mad maestro. His muscles tensed, and as soon as he turned the corner, broke sight between he and his for, mad paranoia took hold. In his mind his opponent was already behind him, the NeoSin Shinobi had already marked him for death, amd in a quarter second more his intestines would be splattered against the walls of the Khan.

The quarter second passed, and then another, and another. His arms were steel wire, spooled tense and ready to snap, his mind under equal strain. His breathing became ragged as the world distorted, warped and shifted in ways his mind could not comprehend. Everywhere he looked, the world's hues shifted into the negative, only his own remained same. Only his own remained sane.

"Come out SAN'VUN! Show yourself you son of a BITCH!"

Out in the hall, the Militia enforcer swung his fists at nothing, his clay mask still intact, but his psyche slowly crumbling. The fear toxin, the waves put forth by the unseen mentalist above, both combined to make him agitated, angry, uncertain. He struck out at the world around him, showering himself in the debris of glowing black walls and driving his arms through illusions he thought cast by the Shadow Shogun. He was a man mad with rage, and if San'Vun did emerge into that hallway, if he did catch him skulking about this negative space, he would grasp him by the shoulders, by the neck, the collar, whatever he could get his hands on, and he would slam him into anything he could find. Wall, ceiling, floor, it did not matter.

All that mattered was that he didn't let go, did not give him the opportunity to escape, to blend into a world where all was what he was, where all was twisted, misshapen, an inhuman parody of the world as it was supposed to be.

-

Clay and Cash (Money Room)

*CRASH* CRASH* *BANG*

The cart flipped and tumbled, eventually settling on its side as the iron screeched across the room. Leo did what Leo did best, displaying his disdain for mutant and extra-human kind with a caustic sneer and anger-inducing insults. He was the kind of man to provoke others into throwing the first punch, who relished in taking an opponent off his emotional center so he could pummel him from his proudest and most indignant back into simpering submission, a position in which he felt all mutants (save himself) belonged.

But he was losing his edge. His words grew agitated, panicked. He began to swing his fists with wild abandon, surrendering his strategy, no longer luring his target with barbed words but attempting to bludgeon him with balled fists.

In short, he was a disappointment, which was just what Grant Diaz didn't need. The manipulator of mud and sundry earthen material listened patiently from within his metal prison, impatient with the pace of his ally's manipulation, but more than anything he was simply annoyed. The plan would have gone so much more smoothly had the muscle-bound moron not given in to whatever idiotic instinct he had indulged himself in this time and just walked away, forcing San'Vun to pursue.

After all, he had no need to fear discovery. There was no heartbeat to betray his position, no need for air save to project a voice he had no interest in utilizing in that moment, no thermal presence beyond what he willed. He was, for all intents and purposes, a clump of mud and clay hidden within a metal shell, safe from prying eyes.

So he continued to bide his time in the container, waiting until he was relatively sure that San'Vun had engaged his ally, moved away from the money. Only then would he surge forth from the container, grabbing up whatever valuables he could absorb into his mud-based body. The cash he would simply surge over, incorporating the paper money into his form, hiding it away with the stashed adamantium auger. If undiscovered, he would simply move on to the vault. Leo could handle himself, after all.

And if it turned out he couldn't?

That just meant there'd be one less share to dole out come pay day.

But then came the metaphysical psychic waves, tearing at his mind and body. He had no blood to bleed, no body to tear as one normally might, but his mind was still ever present, sharp and well attuned to the world around him. It screamed in pain, but Diaz's will was surprisingly robust. He was a man whose body rose and fell, reformed and shaped on will alone. He would not give himself away because of a little pain. His components squeezed and crushed together, the equivalent of "gritting his teeth", but he bore the pain, the aches that would outright kill a lesser man.

But he was no lesser man. He was the goddamn man, and he wasn't about to let a little pain keep him from his big score.

-

The Bloodless and the Bound (Interior Entrance)

The golem strode forth, an unstoppable mass of Karachian Silver. It did not react to the mutant's efforts, and when he disappeared in a mass of freezing smoke, it only tread further forward, oblivious to the fact that its opponent had fled. The necromancer too, when his fluids were set ablaze, his body's flesh reduced to ash, merely continued his stroll, skeletal form following in the massive footsteps of his magi-mechanical slave, the flesh puppets he commanded following in lock-step. Many froze to their positions, the smoke having enveloped the bodies long enough to freeze them in place. There would always be more dead. The necromancer cared not for a few lost marionettes.

His one hand, a bony claw devoid of flesh and blood, pointed further into the Khan. His other hand wrapped around the focus hanging from the shreds of a chain, skeletal knuckles keeping it close. Keeping it safe. No lungs. No lungs needed for the dead. The toxin, in all its potency, with all its potential to draw forth the worst imaginings possible, was entirely powerless over those with no pulse, with no creativity or concerns left in their empty heads.

But what the necromancer did have, and what he had in spades, was intelligence, sentience, thought. The burnt out skeleton, black with only the hints of muscle and tendon hanging off of it, began to writhe and seize. If it had had a throat left with which to scream, it would have. The skeleton grasped its skull, tearing at it with exposed bone fingers. If it had blood left to bleed, or flesh left to rend, it would have shed them in an effort to alleviate the pain, but as things were it simply writhed.

With his focus broken the necromancers puppets collapsed, but his golem persisted in its last command. It plowed through walls and tables, ornate chairs and couches as it followed the one, simple order: move forward.

-

Cold Snap (Casino Gaming Floor)

Lily Freid played dead, the magical effect sapping thermal energy from all around her. It seemed to work, more or less, as the NeoSin shinobi scattered and avoided it or stayed and froze. She couldn't much be sure, as her disguise relied upon her remaining motionless, eyes dead to the world.

And then the gas began to filter in.

It invaded her lungs and took to her brain, even in its cold, suspended state it worked its horrific wonders on her mind. Her breath quickened, and the illusion broke. She saw them, their dim shapes in the corner of her eye. They were skittering closer and closer, crawling at her from beneath the casino's tables, crawling up through cracks only now forming in the floorboards and walls.

Potato bugs. Millions of them. Crawling in through any and every gap that she could see, through the slatting in the ceiling, in the gaps in the floors, the mouths of those around her. She rose in panic, leaping to her feet. She backed up, running away from the hideous creatures ripping up bits of unexplained flesh from the walls and carpeting, chewing on them and puking acid up through the their deformed mandibles, the streams producing rising steam and the hiss of dissolving flesh and blood, the smell of filth and mud seeping in from every angle.

In her head, she knew none of it made sense. Potato bugs, with their oddly human faces, their incredibly durable exo-skeletons that took a surprising amount of force to crush and kill for good, did not invade indoor establishments. They did not eat people. They did not spit up acid. Walls were not made up of flesh and muscle.

But the logical mind mattered little now, perhaps not at all. She ran. Her focus gone, her powers faded into nothingness, the blood pumping in her ears drowning out any and all objections from the higher functions of her brain. Disgusting bugs, silver-wielding shinobi, hyper-sapien assassins: it didn't matter who or what pursued. She just ran.

Until the telekinetic torture began. The wave slammed into her like a solid wall, stopping her flight. Blood erupted from her facial features as she collapsed to a knee, then to the ground, convulsing all the while. She was defenseless, her only option to scream as the freakish bugs began to swarm, her mind abuzz with invisible enemies and mental assault, the last sight before her mind began to blank a haunting image, one of the bugs, set to scoop out her eye, it freakish, almost human gaze staring into her fearful heart.

No Caption Provided

Silencing the Mind (Nihonto Khan -- Upper Floors)

[Noah Wyatt]

The pair took to their separate roles with relish. With every swing the high-tech warrior was one step further to piercing the shielded psychic's defenses. His own sword, the soul of any samurai (himself included) was frustratingly unable to pierce the barrier put forth by his foe, but the simple toxin-laded dagger managed just fine.

He knew Petros would never let him hear the end of it.

The man's palm intercepted the blow before it made its home in his shoulder, before the cyborg samurai could pierce into his neck and finish the fight. It was a disappointment, but the sight of blood, the sensation of cleaved flesh, the still made his adrenaline soar.

"Prepare your death, the Iron Storm com--"

But the remaining words were drowned out by the rapid and expertly executed toss. The mechanized mutant tumbled with the toss, grabbed not by any clothing (for he bore none) but by the nape of his neck, he was tossed like an amateur,caught completely off guard.

The ninja then bore witness to the shattering of the mental magician's arm, a sight that Petros would have relished in, but that the Red-Eye Ronin felt he did not deserve. The most grievous wound to his enemy had been inflicted by his own hand, rather than by the mercenary himself. It was a cause of great shame. One he would rectify by stealing his head.

"No mistake, ojiisan. Just beginning."

That was the end of their encounter. The rest was simply a nightmarish hell brought to the real world, a power neither mercenary had, or could have, prepared for.

The mentalist's voice rattled in the brains of all involved, all within the Khan, the form it took a chilling, humorless laugh.

A wave of pure, unfiltered force, broadcast by a swipe of the telekinetic tyrant's hand, came ripping through the room, the floorboards disintegrating at its touch.

"<Out of the way, Petros! Move it!>"

The snake charmer, having felt the effects of the fear toxin begin to cloud his mind, had only recently regained his form when the wave threatened to unmake him. He dodged to the left, a fraction of a second too late. The entire right side of his body was cleaved from him, the snakes that usually formed from such damage taking their leave of his flesh and summarily melting into ash in the pressure wave.

The remaining, still whole portion of his body, a one-armed torso standing on half destroyed legs, slumped to the ground, a look of utter confusion crossing the face of the Greek assassin as he found his body cut out from under him, he sudden change in height shocking him greatly.

Red-Eye moved to close distance to his ally, dodging wave after wave of force that emanated effortlessly off the psychotic psychic. Then came a cloying hand, scraping across the inside of his mind, wracking its fingers through the mutant's brain, transmitting pain directly into its physical structure. Blood began to stream through cracks in the cyborgs armor, his fight or flight instinct subdued by the mental massacre that affected not only him, but all around him. The allies of the mental manipulator fared far worse, their bodies contorting and distorting until they exploded into bits of sinew and blood.

No Caption Provided

But when his brain was locked, the body responded. The armored graft, no simple exoskeleton, sensed the brain's intense exposure to pain, the outside influence making its presence known to the armor by its interference with neural tracking and scans. It was in these moments that the graft took control of its owner's movements, directing the mutant in an ignominious retreat. Before it could taint him with cowardice completely, however, the near robotic mutant grabbed his ally, dragging the still-human half of Petros out as the gas began to take true hold of the Greek mercenary's mind.

"Hey, don't leave me here, alright man? I'm serious. don't fracking leave me here man. I don't... I don't wanna be alone. C'mon man, please."

The mechanical mutant's brain was still being crushed by the pain of psychic force, his focus almost nonexistant, but the plea of his ally could not be ignored, not when it was put so sincerely, so full of fear and vulnerability. The mind of the mechanized mercenary stirred, seizing control of the body once more, despite the pain running its course through his brain and body.

"I not-- UNgh! RRRghhh-- LEave, Peter. Do not worr--rrRGh--yy..."

"Please, please, don't abandon me... Please for the love of God, man I don't... just..."

"I will, Peter."

Petros screamed, the same pain inflicted on Red-Eye making itself felt on his own mind, an entirely new sensation for the amateur assassin, just as the two leapt through the window. His body was already partially collapsed when the fear and panic forced another unintended shedding of serpentine flesh, the components of the man splattering against the concrete at the Khan's base before Red-Eye grasped the balcony's edge.

The pair shattered the glass on the lower floor as they forced their way in through the sliding glass door, and by then, mercifully, the psychic pain had stopped.

The fear did not. Seizing Petros by the collar and dragging him to an abandoned room in the Khan, the steel skinned mutant turned to climb back up the way he'd come.

"You, stay here. I go kill psychic. Stop him killing all us."

"What? No way man! You promised you would stay! C'mon malakas! You can't do me like this!"

The boy's one working arm grasped the metal skin of his ally, clinging desperately to the iron flesh.

The high-tech samurai paused. The impediments to his revenge, the psychic pain, the waves of flesh ripping force, the threats to his ally, all were gone, save for one final obstacle. His own word to a friend that he would not abandon him. With a begrudging sigh, he retrieved the muttering and still panicking torso of the Snake Charmer and began to retreat further into the Khan, weaving through the hotel's rooms almost at random as they fled, an attempt at evading the pursuit of their telepathic torturer.

War and Fire (Nihonto Khan Interior)

[Warsman]

Seijuro turned, ice already crawling up his back. Sure enough the barbaric immortal had found him once again. The boy's knees buckled, his arm clutched the burnt stump where his arm had been but moments earlier.

"<You want to know what the hell I am?>"

Seijuro turned the question in his mind, examining it out of habit. Was that really what he wanted?

No. His thoughts came in a flood, the reality of his situation bringing stinging tears to his eyes.

No. I just want to go home. To my real home. Where Saki is still alive and everyone's still smiling.

To a home where everyone might be poor, but they're happy. Richer in each other's company than men with mountains of jewels and gold, richer in the love we hold for one another.

That's what I want.

What I really want.

Seijuro Shin wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. He was worn, battle-scarred and weary. His shoulders slumped, the effort of directing his gaze into the eyes of his executioner felt overwhelming, but the eyes that did meet those of the Blooddrinker were no hazier, no more weary than those he walked in with. They were sharp, the lines and features pulled together with sharp lines of burning hatred, of eternal disdain.

I want exactly what I can't have.

I want exactly what was stolen from me.

I WANT EXACTLY WHAT I MOURN!

AND IF SAKI IS NEVER GOING TO GET ANOTHER DAY, NEITHER WILL YOU!

NEITHER WILL ANY OF YOU!

An introduction and a threat came next. He hardly listened.

Flame crawled up his arm, no longer relying on exposed or open wounds, on shorn free flesh. Seijuro Shin was a dead man. He knew it better than anyone, and he felt nothing at the thought. No fear. No regret. He lived for his revenge, and all else, even his life, was meaningless.

He did not manipulate the flames to spare his body now. No. He felt their burn, felt his flesh bubble up, and, where that of others would melt away leaving only a charred husk, his burned hotter, lent itself to the gathering of the flame.

This was it. His last bout with an invincible opponent.

He was going to make it good.

"<No, San'Vun scum. You're not going to kill me.>"

The monster was closer now, his slow, deliberate gait drawing him dangerously near, but Seijuro did not retreat. Did not falter.

The first punch came, signaled by its passage through the transcendental flame, tore the air, positioned to crush the boy's heart. He shifted, an inch, maybe two. The arm of the bloody butcher careened forward, the forty tons of force behind the blow cleaving more than striking. It pierced the boy's sternum, collapsed his left lung, but instead of backing away, he pushed forward, his words emerging in gasps at the mobster's cheek.

"<I'm already dead. I died when you took my sister from me.>"

The core of his body erupted in invisible flames, the fires bursting into white and violet-blue plumes as they met air.

"<Just like you died the minute we met.>"

The fires surged forth toward Yazhun's sanctuary, their path taking them straight through Heiji San'Vun. This was the moment. The pinnacle of his revenge. An inferno burning nearly 3000 degrees centigrade, the oxyhydrogen chemical mixture of his blood, of his flesh, plummeting toward the oyabun's room, sure to consume all in their path as they fed on the walls of the yakuza stronghold.

He could not know that the Silent San'Vun was not in his room, but in the vault below. Could not know that this, his great sacrifice, the act so magnified in his mind, would be so meaningless.

Heiji's arm, if still caught in Seijuro's chest, would guarantee his envelopment in the flames. If they were still near each other, they would burn together, the swirling plumes of fire making their way to the Shadow Shogun's room, expending the last of his strength, the last of his will. His body was still burning, catching his clothes and singeing his skin, and he had neither the presence of mind nor the inclination to stop it.

He wheezed, holding his one arm to the gaping wound in his chest, then shifting it to his side. He glanced at the arm of the San'Vun who had confronted him, face-to-face, man-to-man. Burnt out husk or killer ready to slice his throat, the state of his foe mattered little to Seijuro Shin. With some effort, he lifted his eyes to the San'Vun who had chased him across the Khan in a dogged pursuit, the man who'd killed him.

There should have been animosity there. Should have been nothing but hatred. But as his blood drained from his body, his consciousness following close behind, he instead collapsed into the pain his will and anger had held at bay.

She was gone, and all the raging of his soul had not changed that. The people he'd killed, the pounds of flesh he'd paid to get this far, they were all meaningless. They had not soothed his soul, and they had certainly not brought them back.

He collapsed to the ground, crumpling to his knees, his back resting against a wall and smearing it in his blood. His hand rested at his abdomen, body limp. Each wheezing breath was agony, his eyesight shifting between the burning blues and violets and the dark of his own fading light. But still he wheezed. Still he breathed. The gas, the chemical attack designed to bring about his greatest fears, only increased his heart-rate, sped his death. He had lived his greatest fears, survived them, much to his despair. Death brought no fear from him, and the afterlife was inconsequential.

The chemical only carried his mind back to that fateful day, the last day he felt her weakening arms grip his waist. It was a memory he'd been reliving everyday since its creation. The nightmare toxin only sharpening the memory further, making him relive every detail even more vividly than it occurred, adding embellishment, pain, and suffering to the story, but also dredging forth older memories. Pleasant memories. Memories that now only twisted the knife more cruelly in his chest. Of her innocence, of her love for the mundane and the peaceful.

The thoughts brought shame to his last moments.

"<I have been... so... stupid...>"

His wheezing continued, growing more ragged, less whole with every passing moment. His mind wandered, meandering helplessly among the labyrinth of his memory.

Honor Inherent, Honor Inherited (Neighborhood Surrounding the Nihonto Khan)

[Sii-La, Grimmwald]

Shibuya Plaza, miles away. It should have been inconsequential. Nothing there should have mattered to the men attacking the San'Vun stronghold, but fate has a way of twisting the oddest things into significance.

A truck flipped and crashed, smearing the remains of more men and mutants into the concrete. Their numbers were running thin. The next announcement would only thin them further.

The head of their previous kumicho blared before them, the grisly display of his unmistakable face, the scarred tattoo behind his ear, the wispy white strands floating in the jar, eerie indications of what happens to the deceased. It was him, that was certainly true, but on the screen it looked so unreal, so ghastly, that it gave the impression that maybe, just maybe...

*ka-chk*

"<Yamada. Did you know?>"

Jiro turned around slowly, bringing his eyes up to the man across from him. Maruko "Mad Dog" Rio, the Yoshi-Gumi's most prolific hitman, had just drawn back the slide on his M1911 and now had it aimed square at his lieutenant's chest.

"<What the hell are you talking about, Rio?>"

"<Cut the shit, Jiro. Did you know that boss Tatsuno was dead? Yes or no?>"

The pistol did not waver in his grasp. Steady as a the setting sun, he kept it aimed at Yamada's chest.

"<Rio, how long have we known each other? Don't do this.>"

They were face to face now, but Maruko maintained the advantage of a trained weapon. Jiro dropped the Arisaka rifle, letting its battle worn stock slide to the ground.

"<Don't frack with me Jiro. Did you, or didn't you know?>"

There were no more threats to be made, no pulling of the hammer. That was movie shit. Maruko Rio had long been ready to fire, and Jiro knew that well. He knew Maruko would not hesitate to pull the trigger if he did not answer now.

"<I suspected, but, I was following the will of my oyabun, of Yoshi-dono. An idiot could see that Sii-La is a traitorous dog, that he will lead the Inagama-Kai to ruin. Boss Yoshi sees it, don't you, Maruko?>"

...

"<Yeah. I do.>"

He pulled the trigger twice, sending two .45 caliber bullets screaming into Jiro Yamada's chest, the pain spreading rapidly from the point of impact.

But Jiro was not one to simply give in to death. He fell backward, grasping the machine pistol at his side and opening fire as he collapsed, his own bullets ripping up the Mad Dog's leg in a jagged line, bursts of blood escaping the opposite end.

Maruko Rio rolled onto his good leg and leveraged the force for a dive, leaping out the window and onto the fire escape they had entered from just as Jiro opened up with another burst from the fully automatic hand weapon. Ripping the cracked ceramic plate from his vest, he ducked behind a couch just as the M1911 appeared above the windowsill, firing blind into the room.

Yamada tossed himself prone just as the rounds ripped through the thin furniture and fabric, nearly catching him in the shoulder.

"<Frack, Rio!>"

But his counterpart was already gone, sliding down the rail of the fire escape on his one good leg, a rough tourniquet already tied around the other.

There was scattered gunfire throughout the apartment building, wailing from children in other rooms who had not evacuated, but Jiro Yamada could not worry about that now. He slipped a fresh ceramic plate into the kevlar vest, securing it in place as best he could. The gunfire had died down, and the familiar faces he saw were those belonging to the Yoshi-Gumi's most loyal men, only six left in total, including himself. It was a blood bath in the apartment building, defectors and loyalists to the Yoshi-Gumi lay strewn about the halls and hanging out of windows, some bearing the wounds where traitors had shot them in the back, but the majority of the bloodshed was still below them.

"<Tanaka, Fuudo, Aoi, you stay up here and provide overwatch. Me, Shino, and Futaba will go down there and grab Yoshi-dono, make sure he survives this mess.>" The answers came in nods and muttered agreement. None expected the man beside him to live through whatever came next, but all were fully willing to die to give their brothers that chance. No words were spoken. None were needed. These were men who had remained loyal not to the organization itself, but to the man that led it, to their effective father. They were brothers. They were family.

Down they went, into a hellfire that raged with the efforts of their enemies, now made all the worse by those defectors that would betray their oyabun for the tongueless tyrant Sii-La. Down came another group of shinobi, these clad in garb dark as night, assassins of the Inagawa Kai. Once their allies, now the ninja brought only death to their former comrades, callously cutting through man after man.

"<Down, NOW!>" came the rough, raspy voice of Ren Tanaka as he opened fire on the group of assassins, the automatic spray sailing just over the crouched heads of his allies. Several were cut down, but more streamed in from the shadows, tossing their cold, steel knives into the senior yakuza shoulders and chest, each blow cementing his resolve but carrying him closer to death all the same, until, at last, with a pained grimace, the fire stopped. Tanaka's final sight? A toxin-laden arrow fired from unseen vantage, a red Orochi peeling away into the night.

With the distraction well underway the core team sprinted to their oyabun, to the small bubble of Yoshi-gumi yakuza that had taken up formation at the far end an alleyway, their minds and hearts dead set on getting him safely to the armored car at the entranceway to the alley.

"<I'll get the car, Jiro!>" came the call from Nagato Shino, the youngest and most daring of the group. He sprinted to the other end, taking cover behind garbage bins and burnt out vehicles, spraying his bullets at sporadic intervals, slaying any and all those in his way. Yes, he was fast, and he was brave, but he was also reckless.

As the traitors to their cause charged with empty clips, blades calling for blood, he emptied the last of his rounds into their trunks, the *click* click* click* sounding out only moments before he turned, smiling to give the all-clear, his head rolling off his shoulders as he shifted. His eyes, in their last hazy moments, could not make out the color of the shinobi's cloth as it dashed by. But what did it matter? He had failed his brrrothe

The body fell over, but his work too was mostly done. Tears twinkled in their eyes as they pushed, the remaining two downstairs beginning their run of a gauntlet that their kin had helped them clear. Haruto Yoshi, still dazed, stumbled along, his mind still lost amongst the chaos.

Goro Aoi and Kosuke Fuudo did what they could, the deafening roar of their gunfire continuing for a full minute as the two took turns reloading, the tactic testing the patience of the Orochi, and their luck, until finally they ran out of both.

*click*

"<Cover me, Goro, I have to--!>"

His last words went unheard as the arrows exploded just inside the windows, both men virtually vaporized in the explosion. The Orochi had waited long, but their patience had been well spent. They took nearly no losses as the yakuza fought among themselves, the Inagawa Kai's Yoshi-gumi fighting against their former comrades, their secret sects.

Finally, they made it to the armored car, and in those fateful moments Haruto Yoshi, former captain of the Dai-gojūichi Shidan in World War Two, finally snapped back to his senses. "<Jiro, no! I will not leave my men!I will not surrender to this fiend, no matter who he says he killed, no matter who he says he is!>"

"<We don't have time, Yoshi-do-->"

"<I know that! Futaba, get him out of here.>"

"<What?>"

With a forceful shove belying his age, Haruto Yoshi crammed his adopted son-- no, his one true son-- into the back seat of the reinforced car. "<I am an old man, Jiro, but you have shown me today that you are every bit my son, every bit the man I had hoped you would become. If I am to die for my actions, so be it, but you will not join me today. The Inagawa need men like you. Nippon, no, the worldneeds men like you. Men who will die for those they love and fight for what they believe.>"

The bullets and arrows pinged closer and closer, but the heavy night black smoke deployed by the Orochi continued to obscure the night black car, buying just enough time for Haruto Yoshi's final embrace, his arms, once so powerful and strong, felt frail at Jiro's back. It was then that he knew his oyabun was right.

As both men blinked tears out of their eyes, Haruto Yoshi squeezed his son's shoulder, and closed the door. Reiji Futaba turned the engine, waiting for the word from his kumicho.

"<Go.>" It was a command barked out through a choked sob. Jiro sat in the seat, face cupped in his hands, tears streaming freely from his eyes. He would not forget his father. He would not forget his brothers. He would live as they wished him to, and he would right the wrongs that had led to their deaths. He would become the kumicho of the Inagawa-Kai, and he would lead it back along the right path, but first he needed time.

Time his father, time his brothers, would buy with blood.

The tears turned into sobs, and the oyabun of a dead clan rode off into obscurity, vowing not revenge, but return. A return to honor. A return to righteousness. A return to the principles of the ninkyō dantai.

But that was far in the future. For the moment, he only mourned.

-

Haruto Yoshi, victim of his own abandonment, held out his arms for the remaining yakuza to see. He knew Sii-La would be upon them soon. He counted on it. The fighting stopped as the men, the limited number of his own, the infinite ninja, and the greater horde of the Inagawa loyalists led by the Mad Dog Maruko Rio, set down their battle for the time being. "<ENOUGH! Sii-La, you said that you would settle this yourself, that you would come forth when the time came! It is come!>" He walked steadily forward, hands still raised above his head. "<It is I who led these men against you, I who saw the face of my kumicho and bud them rise against the tyranny you stand for. So here I am, ready for your punishment.>"

The oyabun of the Yoshi-gumi knelt, pulling up his shirt and revealing a short sword, a well ancient wakizashi, and withdrew it.

"<I have fought you in your own shadows, come with you into the depths of dishonor to bathe in the blood of my sons. I will shed no further blood. I will enact no further conflict. You have won. I only ask that you forgive my men, for they bear only the sins of fealty and fidelity, of honor and tradition.>"

Unbuttoning his suit, the father of the sect laid bare his midsection, the makings of a paunch peeking over his belt. Aged, wrinkled hands grasped the sword and pointed its tip at his belly.

"<I ask that you forgive them, and allow me to die in their stead. I would gladly lay down my life for theirs, to right their wrongs in your eyes. I await only your word, Sii-La.>"

He shut his eyes, the image of a man burdened with the world's weight, taking it up without complaint. He shrugged the cloth from his shoulders, the suit from his back, and revealed the twin koi swimming upon his frame. He was a man ready to die for his children, and should he be allowed to, he would do so without regret.

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#25 Edited by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst:

Has it really been... eighty years? No, more than that.

Heiji opened his eyes - or rather, the only one he could see out of at the moment. Blurry. Red. The other was completely blackened, and the pieces left behind burned. He couldn't smell them. Couldn't feel much anymore. Last thing he remembered was the magnificence of the initial white-hot blossom, the coming of spring, and the delicate flowers opening in the dew. White lotus on crisp water. It was home.

It was peace.

A hand reached out for him, tender and kind. He couldn't see a face, but it was familiar to him. The pale skin, the voice calling out for him. Somewhere deeper in the trees. Somewhere, that the breeze could not touch. "<They are waiting for you,>" he heard.

"<Why are you not coming?>"

But he yet breathed, and the waters parted. He blinked through the only eye he possessed at the time. The only one still intact, burned and dried to the oblivion of bloodletting. Then, the pain set in. The agony of moving, of breathing, of doing anything. Of living. The kind of pain of a surgery without anesthetic, of the skin ripped from the flesh, of the muscle down to the bone, and packed with salt and fire. Everything in his nervous system told him to lay down, to wait. But in his heart - or whatever remained of it - he knew that he could not set himself aside for something so greedy. So lonely.

He tried lifting himself from the wreckage. At first he slipped on his own blood, landing with a 'crack' on the back of his head. It was then that he noticed the smoke. It wasn't from the broken concrete, or the half-misshapen steel that twisted around him - it was from his flesh, flaking off in clumps. His entire right side, the one he had forced into his enemy's chest, was gone. Panic gave way to acceptance relatively quickly. Heiji had suffered worse... no that was a lie. This was perhaps the closest he had gotten to being 'beaten to death' in a fair fight. In an actual fight. In an honorable fight. He still possessed both legs, and his left arm. A thought invaded his perception of writhing, torturous electrical impulses.

With a heave, he forced himself out of the hole. The casino, where the largest bar in Tokyo stared at him from across the way. With at least one leg and arm still functioning, he balanced himself from table to table towards the alcoholic beverages, and grabbed a bottle of sake. Earthly stuff, ripe from the fermentation hub. Fresh and strong. He didn't bother with cups as his Flight ring glimmered on his hand, hoisting him slowly out of the broken husk of where he landed.

Carefully, each slight motion hurling blood out of his body, Heiji aimed himself at the meeting and dining hall where their battle eventually culminated to. Or, at least, what was left of it. As he positioned himself, he could see the heat still radiating from the charnel house, the tomb of flash-melted metal and obliterated masonry. Any wood that wasn't on fire was practically incinerated on the spot, hardly any ash left to spread in the wind. He knew his body didn't survive this.

As he came upon the shadow of where his body once was, he didn't know if he should thank the Resurrection or not. He had been gone, down to the last possible part to regenerate from. Even then he would have been caught there, if not for that ring acting as an anchor between life and death. Ironic then, that the hand they once rested on was obliterated. It and the Rings would return to him in time, but now wasn't the time for worrying about things such as that. He hobbled over towards the man he didn't even know the name of, his left knee giving out at the last second and practically throwing him into the wall next to the fire-starter. A thick red stain from his burns matched the one already creased upon the stonework.

He poured a small amount of the alcohol into the man's mouth, breathing away whatever smoke that was still there with a flex of his solitary lung. After such a feat, however, he started coughing and inhaling sharply - he wasn't able to fluctuate the gas exchange in his body properly, at least not at first. He wouldn't get used to it anyway. One blood donation and he would be good as new.

"<Beautiful night, huh?>" he grimaced.

The will of some far-off pseudo-deity (@noah_wyatt) had seen to it that their final moments here would be spent in relative peace, however intentional that may have been.

Heiji could still hear the faintest of breaths from the Matchstick. That's what he had grown to thinking of him as.

"<You... mentioned a sister,>" he continued, focusing on the words and not the pain. He was concentrating.

Forcing a hand to come back. Forcing a finger to come back.

"<How old... would she have been... today? That's how many... drinks I'll have... for both of you,>"

The right ring finger, Restoration. The left middle finger, Redirect. He placed the sake on the ground, and his left hand on the man's chest - on his wound - to mitigate the bleeding at least. Breathing was getting slower, but the shock of an alcohol-soaked arterial press at least made them deeper.

"<I don't... exactly want you to die. Not that I'm wanting... to keep you from your sister... but in my opinion - this is a shitty way of apologizing to you,>"

He hadn't even gotten the bone in his shoulder to come back. Not even the marrow. It was pointless. He kept his hand on the man's chest, kept the bleeding... but it was already everywhere.

"<To both of you. I'm sorry.>"

He took his hand off, and gave the Matchstick more to drink.

Then pulled back his clenched fist one last time.

"<Can you... tell me your name?>"

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#26 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Broken Embers

[Warsman]

The passing seconds felt like hours. Hours alone with just him and his thoughts. His mind played torturer to his soul, shame and regret flooding his mind with every fresh memory of her innocent smile, her cheerful laughter.

And then came the splash of sake, cold on his charred lips. For his first taste, it was agreeable, made more so by the breeze extinguishing the last of the already dying flames on his body.

Seijuro's mind returned to reality, his memories receding into the distance as the stranger spoke, always there, but at an arms length.

"<Beautiful night, huh?>"

"<Sure."> He could scarcely hear him through the twice ruptured eardrums, through the near total deafness of his hearing, but what he had heard was a joke. It must have been. The night had caused each man untold pain, left his own body pocked and scarred by blood loss, burns and bruises, had left the other man near disintegrated.

But it just as easily might have been sincere. Even in all the destruction, the light of the exotic flames was bewitching to behold, even as they died.

"<You... mentioned a sister,>"

Through raspy breaths, Shin gave a nod, his arm stirring, the fingers tightening ever so slightly as the pain of the memory reasserted itself once more.

"<S-Saki...>"

The name, said aloud, sent tears rolling down the boy's cheeks in silent streams. The man pressed on, and he provided the answers he sought.

"<She was seven. Only seven...>"

The pain in his chest, an alcohol soaked hand pressed to it, registered and drew a slight gasp, but nothing more. He was already lost in his world of memory once again, mind only returning to reality as the giant apologized for both him and his sister, offering him more of the sake as seeming recompense. He took another sip as the hand moved from the gaping hole in his chest.

"<Can you... tell me your name?>"

Seijuro leaned back, shutting his eyes as he spoke. He had felt the fist rise once again, fully aware of what it could do, of what was coming next.

"<I am Shin. Seijuro, Shin. Brother to Seijuro, Saki.>"

He took his last breath, deep, and steady, but before the blow came down he gasped. With a faint whisper, the sound barely audible over the crackling of the dying embers, he revealed his latest recollection, offered his last request.

"<Heiji-san... Orchids. She loved... white and purple orchids...>"

And with that, the wheezing ceased, and the young mutant's head fell back against the wall, limp.

The last flame sputtered out, lines of whispy smoke peeling from the dead flame, climbing upward, riding on the wind to join the heavens above.

The battle between the immortal Heiji San'Vun, a man who had lived longer than any should, and the young Seijuro Shin, a boy whose life had not yet truly begun, had finally ended.

Ended without a victor.

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#27 Posted by Noah_Wyatt (319 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun: @grimmwald: @warsman: @humansfirst:

No Caption Provided

Quickly the world shuttered and then came crashing to a halt, all within Noah's own mind. Falling forward to a single arm now he wasn't able to catch himself and fell to his chest, sighing deep he heard the mercenaries make an escape through the open window. He didn't care, all he did was hurt. Slowly he turned over to his back and to his side he saw the still wet corpses of the Neo's he ha inadvertently killed. He had managed to move the toxin from the room and push it out, he began to scan all within the Khan those who were directly below or nearby were beginning to come to from not only the Toxin but his own onslaught, he could sense even his own were humbled by his intense outburst.

Everything was spiraling for all those who came to the Khan in hopes of bringing them to their knees, they would remember this night for many to come. As would Noah, holding up the bloodied stump of where his hand once was "Well....looks like I'm going to have to fix that...." he can imagine his hand their and already had a phantom pain of him squeezing his fist so tight he bled. Groaning loudly like the old man he appeared to be he sat up, breathing a bit heavier than he normally did he stood up making his way to the window. Looking down he found the Red Eye and the Snake with his mind, they seemed to be tiny ants all the way at the concrete below. A second later they were gone, he followed them mentally for a brief moment before turning back into the room. Moving to where the computer room once was, he moved through the debris exposing a wall and brushing it off he pounded hard with his fist an a keyboard emerged from the wall.

At first he tried to type with both hands but cursed himself before returning to a one hand input, a few keys later and the wall parted exposing a small monitor. Few more keys and the few cameras that still were intact within the Khan showed everything going on from Yazhun to the Orochi that were running trying not to fall to the rest of Shinobi throughout the Khan "Really need to convince Yazhun or Heiji to making these idiots wear colors....cant tell them apart in black and white...." pressing the shift key until the screen filled with an image of Heiji and what remained of whomever he had been fighting. Blood went cold inside Noah as he moved fast slamming the wall once and the computer returning into within the wall. Running full tilt to the window he leaped soaring through the air twisting and turning then soaring back in through the thick glass of the windows six floors below where he had been. Sliding to a knee he looked around looking for any who had heard his entrance, finding nothing he continued through the hallways. Turning a corner a group of half dead were in front of him, they were few of those who had infiltrated his home. They looked as if they were ready to give up or were still reeling from the toxin that had been pumped through the hotel. Growling low Noah burst forward swinging once with his right which was no longer there he grimaced as his stump slammed into the face of the first "F%^k..." he cursed as he stomped his foot onto the foot of the mans, he bent over in pain and Noah brought his arm up and slammed his elbow down but added a bit more force behind it with his own powers, watching as the back of the mans head caved in second his elbow hit and dropped lifeless to the floor.

Two more slammed into him grabbing his arms and pinning him to the wall, the third came in hard with a fist to his exposed chest. The wind quickly left his breathe as fist after fist slammed into him, grunting loudly he imagined his fist still their on his right and knowing if it was he would be able to get out of this pin. Focusing hard he forced energy out from the stump. A long beam of energy burst from his stump impaling the one on his right. The energy quickly formed into a fist and the upper torso of the man separated from his lower as Noah lifted his energy hand. Smiling thinking to himself "That works..." bringing the same fist around and flattening the other on his arms skull. A head butt forward and he knocked the third back enough to toss him with a telekinetic burst into the wall at the other end of the hallway. Slowly making his way to the fallen soldier he wanted to make it painful and make it last but he had better things "You are all incredibly lucky I don't have time...because if I did...I would peel away layer after layer of your psyche until you were a drooling mongoloid....then like Lenny I would put you down like the dog you all are..." looking past and down the next hallway he stepped forward his hand pointing at the man in the shape of a gun. Three fingers extended and his thumb upright, the third finger pulled back at an invisible trigger. Then the back of the soldiers skull exploded a trick he loved to use.

Making his way he finally arrived at Heiji who looked to have been through literal hell, he wasn't dead but he sure looked as he was. Standing above Heiji he could hear as the rest of the invaders were either trying to survive or fighting amongst themselves. "Hey...you going to just lay there...or do I need to kick you like a aging dog? Jesus Christ you has been wannabee gangster for hire, no wonder your dear Nephew chose me as his right hand over you...you have been forgotten old man...." Noah did not mean a word of what had been spoken, but knew well enough of Heiji's temper and hoped that poking the bear he would react and get up. Quickly growing tire of Heiji emotions he burst downward on top of Heiji with a heavy elbow strike to the chest, hoping to get another reaction.

No Caption Provided

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#28 Posted by Hikari_Sun (7 posts) - - Show Bio

The New Challenger - Tokyo Japan

No Caption Provided

The Dual Queen sat comfortably in her recliner watching what little news coverage she could of the Nihonto Riots, but she couldn't bring herself to care. The Yakuza's forced any small time "business" into bankruptcy, no fault of their own; with a network that intricate and detailed any regime poised to compete would have a significant struggling getting any sort of notoriety--and too much fame meant death. It was easier to just ignore the conflict and pick at the carcass of whoever loss. Resting the back of her head on the headrest, Hikari was quickly joined by Utada; her Utility Android.

"If I may, I know you think you have nothing to gain from this conflict but have you thought about what you have to lose?" She asked taking a seat adjacent to the Dual Queen. "Whaddya mean?"

"Let's say the Yakuza lose, have you thought about who might come this way looking to capitalize?"

Hikari's eyebrows pinch together as she pondered what the robot could mean. "The U.S Government?" she questioned a bit irritated at the thought of having to dodge them again.

"Not just them, but H.I.V.E. too, I'm sure they know by now of your ability to hack their merchandise."

Out of the two proposed threats, H.I.V.E was probably the biggest; they could have Androids scouring Tokyo right now looking for her--though it'd be troublesome considering she never stayed in the same body longer than two days.

"Alright, get the recon team ready..." She said tossing her rob back before moving out toward the balcony, even out here; from this far away she could still hear the skirmish as if it were happening right across the street.

Nihonto Khan

The noise coming from this place dull in comparison to what it actually looked like. There was fighting literally everywhere! She could make out conflict resounding in the surrounding neighborhoods as well. Right now it was too for direct intervention at least on her end, but she could start with the Androids.

No Caption Provided

She knew what an asset the Androids were, even more so when they act on their own accord, aside from being outright destroyed they didn't wear as fast as humans; and they were capable of cannibalism...taking parts from other Androids to make themselves new again. They made the perfect army--she had an ideal military.

"Utada, direct the team to circumvent the casino. Command. Override. Execute Order. They are not to shoot unless fired upon. Command Prompt. Heighten sensitivity."

It was a code, a series of words she used to hack Utada which Utada would then use to hack the other Androids. The Heightened sensitivity command, raised the awareness of the specific models allowing them to react based on their factory performance response times.

The Recon team was perfect in this pandora's box of personalities, the hive mind of each android would relay data to the next before sending it's findings back to Utada who would then relay them to Hikari. For the time being the Dual Queen would posture on a currently uninvolved building as her Androids marched into battle.

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#29 Posted by Rosso (5280 posts) - - Show Bio

@grimmwald: @humansfirst: @yazhun_sanvun:

No words needed speaking. The gesture defied all barriers between them, a universal language. As Yazhun San'Vun took her hand, a swell of pride surged within the Scarlet Shadowrunner. But along with it, a pang of something else. Her chest tightened. Anxiety? The guilt of betrayal? Or the unfamiliarity of nobility?

Valentina didn't leave. She continued onward, moving with impunity as a trusted ally through the Shado-Shogun's compound, unaware that she'd also become the target of a rival of whose presence represented an outside context problem within the scope of her mission. Unaware that her very presence itself had changed the course of every individual within and outside of the Nihonto Khan, inhaling a steady dose of the mind-altering poisonous cocktail.

She felt no change. Noticed little, apart from the "utterly lost" feeling she got from wandering the halls--it seemed she was always turning the same corner, walking the same path, moving through the same door. No stair, no elevator, no vault, nothing. But she thought little of it (this was her first time in the Khan, after all).

"<Hey!>" She shouted to a lone San'Vun associate peeking anxiously over his shoulder. But as he turned his face was that of a demon, not a man. With a howl he nearly fell over himself scrambling in the other direction. Three gunshots embedded themselves into her armored jacked and another whizzed by her ear. She froze. Did he know of her involvement in the attack? Did they all? Did Yazhun give an order to attack? And what about the others? What if they found out she'd helped him? With no allies in that fortress, and no way out, she was as good as dead. From then on Valentina led with her pistols as much as paranoia itself led her.

Outside

"Jesus Christ, what's taking so long? Tonk."

"Be patient. She's gotta find her way. Never said it'd be quick getting there. Soon as I get the pic, we're in, and we're out just as fast. If I can wait, so can you." The Black Hopper kept mechanically focused on the Khan. But, truth be told, Hagen was getting more than a little impatient himself. He'd gotten so used to teleporting wherever, whenever, waiting to go someplace became an almost foreign concept. In truth, only the grim odds Rosso presented them with earlier kept him in check. Better bored than dead.

"I'm just sayin', how can we be sure she's not a chink in the plan. For all we know she's gone rogue on us."

"Maybe." Hagen shrugged. "But, from what I hear, she's got a well-deserved reputation. Money and contracts, two most important things. And there's a lot more money on our side than being a lackey to these goons. Plus if she fecks us she knows Diaz'll find her. Can't imagine anything worse'n that."

There was a long pause. Everyone considered the possibility. Sceptic eyes watched Hopper, wondering if he even believed himself.

"Eeyup...Nothin' worse'n that," he repeated, as though he'd read their minds.

Or he's trying to convince himself just as much as the rest of us.

"She's got seven more minutes, or until Diaz says otherwise. Whichever comes first."And she'd better pray he doesn't call in first.

It was a fruitless search. Spacial depth cues eluded her, as did the passage of time. Every turn brought nothing but failure, and more enemies. Her jacket had been all but shredded and she'd incurred several badly bleeding wounds, those in her leg now forcing her to move along the wall for support. Now she fled spots of conflict, gasping for precious air, deeper and deeper breaths unknowingly filling her lungs with more and more of the Fallen Saint's toxins. It was all she could do to avoid throwing herself from the first window just to escape Yazhun's Hell house. Until–

There it is! The vault. It's almost over.

Heaving, she fell before the massive frame of what she'd anticipated would be the most secure room in the entire complex. There was but one being, kneeling over a bevy of corpses—devouring the others with its bare hands. He hardly seemed to notice her despite an involuntary shriek for which she cursed herself.

But no amount of fear could paralyze Rosso the Crimson when she stood so close to her goal. After all, they'd been proven vulnerable to her bullets so far. She readied her phone and lay flat on her stomach, steadying her pistol.

BANG!

It was that simple.

No Caption Provided

Except it wasn't. Valentina rose and the Underworld rose with her. Brimstone wafted the air like a grim incense just before the ground tore open beneath her. Valentina didn't see the Horned Sinner emerge from shadow. A multitude of talons attached to spindly arms reached out from Hell itself and she sunk into its depths even as they pulled at her ankles, shoulders, hair—anything and everything they could grab a hold of. She screamed and tore away but couldn't keep from being swallowed. Braced her arms on the floor only for it to turn gravel and pull her further into the depths. The harder she fought the more aggressive her tormentors became.

Her clothes shredded, skin peeled, eyes burned, her lasting impression on the scene was a cell phone fallen amongst the bodies, containing a partial capture of her true last moments at the Nihonto Khan.

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#30 Posted by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst:

𝔹𝕝𝕠𝕠𝕕 𝕆𝕧𝕖𝕣 𝕋𝕠𝕜𝕪𝕠

Conclusion

There were many fronts with varying circumstances and individual plights. Many deaths. Few victories. Oh what fantastic losses they had suffered. The San'Vuns. Niko had been snuffed out with unceremonious grandeur, her body taken with none alive to retell her tale. Honor her fall. The NeoSins, seduced by the Dark Shadow's streaming surplus of fear inducing toxins, had begun slaughtering one another as well as the mislead mob of mutant invaders.

Outside the Hyper-Sapiens valiantly continued to hold whatever line had been left after the Orochi's shower of psychotropic terror, and the strafing bombardment of the now deceased Reaper, had come and gone. The winged warrior's last act had decimated those who had wished to end his life at the end of a sword.

No Caption Provided

He had gone out on his own terms, taking the firefly NeoSins, and half the building, with him. Human or mutant..., beast or man - it had not mattered. If only we all could be so lucky as to be the authors of such a fearless end. Few would ever know such strength. Fewer still,would know such courage. Beast, man, no. A dragon. In all its glory.

ℂ𝕠𝕦𝕟𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕃'𝕊

Pt.2

Yet no matter of the escalating mayhem outside, inside, with all the unknown snakes in the garden and shadows. With all the mystical magistrates and miasmic malediction. All the schemes, secrets and false flag seductions, the Voice Unheard looked upon the shirt stretched titan before him and visually relaxed his demeanor premiering his own silent yet visually arrogant taunt. His own reflection of combat entitlement.

Finally. Finally one of the true architects had surfaced. Had come out from beyond their carefully orchestrated veil to put a face to thee, true enemy. Even as he called out with confident, confrontational conviction in an obvious attempt to lure the Blackhand away from the counting room, Yazhun silently welcomed the boisterous invitation.

Unbridled rage. How his emotions screamed for an unshackled approach, but he showed nothing but restraint. Complete composure in the face of extreme pandemonium. Absolute resolve. And in turn allowing for an amicable relocation for their impromptu pitched-battled despite the suspected plot to draw him away. And then...in a flash the Silent Starscream's arms knifed backwards while his body aerodynamically glided forward igniting the metaphorical afterburners of an unorthodox looking sprint. His feet silently machinegunned across the floor in a rare combination of explosive power and unbelievable repetition. Carrying him out into the hall, and in concert with a strategic disbursement of smoke pellets.

No Caption Provided

Aided by the technological acrobatics of his suit's grip feet, and possibly even by the production of his own brilliant speed, Yazhun ran up and along the wall carrying a clinging cloak of smoke up with him. And then, he took the dexterous dart one step further, by turning himself upside down and sprinting along the ceiling. Unsheathing both a large and small blade while inverted, and without surrendering his momentum, the Blackhand sought to decapitate his herculean foe with one surgical swipe from back to front.

A task hopefully made easier by the testosterone fueled tank having apparently succumbed to another employment of aerial delirium. Courtesy of the 'tru,'King of Shadows.

However the Voice was not slowed, or hindered by the contaminated air as the filtration system within the Shinobi Sheath protected against the mental and bronchial retardation. Instead, the Voice Unheard cartwheel flipped down into a crouch on the smoke riddled floor after overrunning his target by several feet. Back still facing his opponent. Katana stylishly folded backwards in the under-crux of his armored armpit.

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#31 Posted by Sii-la (397 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst: Chaos ensues as flames dance to the music of steel on steel, higher and higher towards the full wide-eyed moon that made the blood on the streets glisten under it's light.

His plan had been executed to specification, but whether it took effect and turned his remaining men back towards himself and away from Yoshi was in the air along with the funeral pyres.

steps over the casino decor, severed limbs and shell casings that littered the landscape. Cesar in the full black garb of a Shinobi Lord. The Inagawa has always been based on the small Island of Okinawa. It was a necessity, then, to choose speed and stealth over brutal power--for most of their enemies would surely come in full force, undeterred by the humble population of the small island dwarfed by the mainland.

Where they learned the arts from is uncertain, or from whom, but the Inagawa Shinobi became a militia to be feared. They were the root of many unsolved assassinations in Japanese history and were the leading defense of Okinawa's status quo.

Yet the Inagawa only ever used these men as tools, enforcers for the family. Men like Cesar. He was trained in the arts and took to them quickly, eventually becoming the swinging blade of Ken Tatsuno for over a decade. But even the sharpest blade is a useless in the hands of the untrained, and Tatsuno was truly a novice. Both in leadership, and the art.

His men were a reflection of that.

Now, Yoshi kneels on the floor. Men fight on the balcony above, ramped up by the effects of an apparent fear toxin, sweat beads rolling down their faces as blades swing without any rhythm of design at one another in a feeble attempt to score a fear-driven blow to quell their uninhibited emotions.

Cesar flips down the shoulder mount of his MP7 presses a button the side of his mask that pulls up his metallic faceplate like window blinds to reveal his red and black eyes.

The shot CRACKS the air and all the men seize up in intense fear. No other sounds of the metal ring out in the direct vicinity. Though a few last second blows can be hear squirting plasma on the walls. The blade flies out of his hand, broken in half by the bullet.

<"You don't get that luxury, Yoshi...To blame this bloodshed on me and then die a martyr. This is your fault. The bodies that lay here now are from your poor decisions. The only way you can die with honor now...">
The Kobra-kai says, slowly unsheathing his blade as he steps over the corpses at his feet, his eyes glaring into Yoshi's sending a telepathic message only he could hear.

Is to run me my fade
Is to run me my fade
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#32 Posted by Warsman (5413 posts) - - Show Bio

@noah_wyatt: @humansfirst

Heiji slid down the wall he occupied, falling into some sort of trance-like state. Very much alive, but comatose as far as vital conditions went. It was something of a fail-safe, a pseudo-death he practiced. It, admittedly, needed work since he didn't need it very often. But it still worked for what it provided: temporary sanctuary. He dreamed in that place between the outside world and elsewhere. Whatever he dreamed of, brought a weak and pained smile to his face. The minutes ticked by with the weight of hours, days, months perhaps. Maybe Heiji had finally fallen off the neural radar of his own rings, the rings bonded to the very bone of his fingers.

He didn't count how many times he thought he could hear breathing from Seijuro Shin.

"<Purple... and white...>" he murmured.

It was then that he became cognizant of another presence, a familiar one. It was yelling at him judging by the vibrations, but Heiji didn't immediately feel like strangling the voice. Crushing the throat. Nothing like that. He dragged himself up to a sitting position, legs crossed, his right side still completely sheared off from the battle. Whatever droplets of blood not already wrung out of his body by his congested and heaving cardiac muscle were dribbling out without much force behind them. His veins and arteries were burning, down to the last capillary in his only remaining lung.

He smirked at Noah, the insults rolling from one busted eardrum and out the other. He held up a finger, asking for a moment of laxity, as Heiji spotted the corpse Noah had made out of someone unfortunate enough to find their way into the blasted-out building. Honestly, Heiji had considered making a meal out of Seijuro Shin. He had tasted his blood once before, but that was in the heat of battle. Right now it was feeding time, and it would have been a bitter feast if the pyromaniac had to be cannibalized for it. Instead, Heiji was met with a sharp elbow strike into his chest rather than being able to enjoy a meal.

That finger asking for brevity turned into one telling Noah to do something profane as Heiji adapted into a three-point bear crawl towards the corpse in question. He wrapped his only arm around the pooling, coagulating mass of blood and brain matter. He never enjoyed getting to this point, but once it happened he couldn't stop. At length, he stood back up and rolled his neck. The muscles of his body filled out once again, and he stretched his arms in conjunction with each other, testing out the flexibility of what was functionally an entirely new torso. With a sharp twist, and a sound like he just broke every bone in his upper spine, Heiji turned on a heel and charged at Noah with his arms outstretched.

The hug was brief, but strong and earnest in what it meant. Heiji broke the embrace, coughing just to affirm that he had two lungs this time. He raised an eyebrow towards Seijuro's corpse. He gave a shrug, the Sheath ring glowing. Out of thin air came a cell phone, and he dialed Kaneda's number.

"<Kaneda, it's Heiji. Yeah I know this isn't the best time. You know the meeting hall we met at? Across the street, yeah, there's a guy here - Seijuro Shin - make sure no one takes or loots the body. I want a clean burial. Purple and white orchids.>"

He hung up unceremoniously, no doubt with Kaneda on the other side shouting his head off at his Captain. Within a few seconds, Kaneda stepped out from behind one of the disheveled walls, pistol in hand.

"<Took you long enough,>" Heiji taunted.

"<Shut up, Captain. It's all we need is more corpses in the Khan, isn't this guy an enemy?>" Kaneda's fingertips on his unoccupied hand started to glow a purplish black.

"<Yeah but he was a good one. His sister is buried somewhere - Saki. Get them as close as possible, alright?>"

Kaneda groaned. "<Good, bad, in the middle of a fluffing warzone, you're actually insane, Heiji - you know that?>" After focusing for a little while onto the morgue of a nearby hospital, he snapped his fingers and Shin's body had disappeared. "<I'll pull some strings later.>" Again, his fingers shimmered that violet-hued darkness and he faded away - presumably back to whatever corner of the Khan he was fighting for.

Heiji lobbed the phone back into the cold abyss that the Sheath ring opened, and looked back at Noah with a twinge in his eyes.

"<I don't exactly know what's going on anywhere else, dumbass, mind giving me a synopsis?>" he tapped his forehead with his finger, hinting for Noah to use those fancy powers of his.

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#33 Posted by Noah_Wyatt (319 posts) - - Show Bio

@warsman: @yazhun_sanvun:

No Caption Provided

Looking around at the remains of those who fell that day, Noah twitched with anger, anger for what had happened that night and anger for what he was reduced to by the toxin.

Trying to ignore Heiji he sighed and spoke within their minds "They tried to take the Khan, I assume for the money that we hold on various vaults. But they hadn't expected what we could do it who we knew. We need to find Yazhun, I can't touch his mind directly like I could you... He's clearly smarter than your side it seems." still bare cheated and nearly naked he strips one of the dead bodies and replaced his torn tattered clothes.

Remembering where he had last seen Yazhun he points in the direction "Don't doddle you old man..." his arms flush in the short he was now wearing he brought his arms in front of him and clapped his hands together creating a wave of force ito in front of them, it penetrated the walls and continued through them. Shaking then until what remained that kept them standing shattered and the area they were in began to taketo in upon itself "We give them a difficult time in following us if they want us. Yazhun is in other direction let's go..." gone was his cheerful idiotic attitude from earlier, he had been used as a fool by the toxin. He wanted to find Yazhun and those responsible and make them bleed.

No Caption Provided

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#34 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Counting Losses

[Yazhun San'Vun]

The world was black and white, a place consisting of beleaguering drops and false floors, colors inverted and perverted assumedly by a militant mutant who sought his head. When the smoke began to billow Leo Herric knew something was wrong. He could feel it in the pit of his stomach, but fear impeded clear processing of thought, of strategy. He only backed away from the shimmering cloud of incandescent smoke, blinded by it, but more so by the artificial terror surging through his veins.

The NeoSin shogun's daring assault came, flashes of black light reflecting from the blades in an ominous omen, a warning of impeding death. Leo's eyes could barely make out the flash of the dual blades as they cut through the air, but his body reacted with the same instinctual understanding of battle the Black Hand no doubt employed. Bringing up an arm, the palm of his hand caught the katana while his elbow's tip smashed into the wakizashi. The long sword cut deep, slicing past his proffered palm and severing everything above the thumb. Mercifully, the loss of his fingers had absorbed much of the slice's momentum, allowing him the time to duck his head, the sword's swing scraping against his crown and further scarring the terrain with crimson, leaving his fingers still twitching against marble floor, but his head remained on his neck. The wakizashi, on the other hand, met solid bone as the tip of his elbow absorbed the smaller blade's slash, the cut and pull action of the less weighty sword ill suited to hacking through his hyper dense bone structure, but cutting through resilient flesh as easily as it had the air before it. More flesh opened. More blood was lost.

But before his other arm could snatch the slippery hyper-sapien from the air, he was gone, the rush having carried him out of harm's way and to the elder Herric's other side, but not for long. He turned, charging forward, intent on closing to zero-space as soon as possible. There, at dead close range, the San'Vun blades would be more of a hindrance than a boon, their edges and barbs useless in a range where he could deny him the space needed to gather momentum to pierce his flesh.

As he burst forward in a singular, powerful bound, he attempted to lead with a hook, to smash his unwhole fist into Yazhun's jaw, to stun him as best as possible without forcing him away, but his assault would not end there, it could not, if he hoped to live. His whole hand, the one unmarred by the Shadow Shogun's blade, attempted a grasp at San'Vun's shoulder, attempting to force him into the wall where this range might be maintained, to corner his foe and keep him at a distance where the blades he held would be unable to gather the force needed to pierce his resilient skin, to cleave his reinforced bone.

It was a desperate fight, one made all the more difficult by gas' altered perception, by the illusions it cast, by the sudden seeping of inverse color beginning to crawl its way up his damaged hand, turning him into the very being he was butting heads with, soon to cement the man Leo Herric into the creature he long denied himself as, to reveal him as a mutant, not only to the world, but to the man himself.

-

The sounds of battle came bursting from the hall. Walls were scarred as wood and iron twisted and broke, then came the hiss of gas being released. Thick smoke filled the area, enveloping even the cart in the perfect cover for covert activity.

Grant surged out from the it's inner hold, pieces of earthen flesh still sticking within the metal corners and tracks of the temporary iron prison.

He set to work immediately, surging against the machines, the piles of cash yet to be counted, the trucks abandoned rather than stashed in hasty retreat, absorbing the currency as best he could into his sizable muddy frame. It was easy, but it also added considerable mass to his person. Bills hung out in every direction like improvised armor, his body taking on all the visual flair of wadded gum left to roll along on dusty steps.

Then came the transmission, a hasty compromise between The Black Hopper and his men.

"Diaz, Herric, status report."

" 'm jus' gettin' finished with the count room. Ol' Leo's out front gettin' his rocks off fightin' with a ninja or somethin' er other."

"Any sign of our vault hunter?"

"Vault hunt... Ah, her? Nah, haven't seen our girl since the schemin' phase. Why?"

"She's late," a chorus of murmured agreement and accusation from the rest of the group "and me and the guys are getting testy."

"Bah, keep it in yer pants ya mooks. Where'd she say she was goin' last?"

"Said she was going to find the vault, snap me a picture. That's all we know."

"Vault, huh?"

Grant Diaz looked behind him, deeper in the count room, beyond another armored door, was the hallway to the vault itself. The great steel door seemed clear of all personnel, San'Vun or scumbag. Its riches called to him in seductive whispers, but the brash cacophony of battle, of desperate struggle, also rang out from the hall.

Fracking hell, girly. Gotta do everythin' myself...

The sounds of battle in the hall intensified, but as always, Grant Diaz took the path of profit. Surging against the armored door, he erected a low-profile mud bubble, not quite two feet high, on the ground between him and the count room. He retrieved the Adamantium Auger from within his clay carapace and immediately set to drilling his way into the hall, the sparks and din caused by the shearing of metals hidden for the most part by the sound dampening mud and clay, the smoke of San'Vun's making still hanging low enough to provide visual cover for even the bubble barrier. He surged through the hole he created, drawing the auger through it and planning to repeat the process with the vault door on other side. It would not take long with secondary adamantium at his disposal and his own monstrous strength pushing it forward, but still something tugged at him. The old familiar feeling of responsibility, of duty to another (something he hadn't felt in years), began to birth doubts in his mind.

Discovering the Devil

[Rosso]

Opening one organic visual optic within his clay shell, he glanced down at the phone within the bubble of his own earthen flesh, opening a secret menu through some toil in its rear panel. He tapped through the keys with mechanical precision until he found it, the crude positioning program he had installed in his and Leo Herric's phones, the one tied to the advanced microchips that allowed their unjammable communications to function. He went through the list until he round her, "50R4B3114". He tapped on the keys, closing in on her rough position. One of the upper floors.

With the next motion he tapped through the functions, sending a photo of the inner hall leading to the vault to an impatient Nils Hagen with the caption "Close's I can getcha. Auger's inside the hallway". As he fled from the opening in the armored door, he shed his take, the count room's bounty to be teleported away by Hagen when he made his way there.

It was less than satisfactory, but he didn't care. He had promised himself that he'd watch over her, a final favor to an old friend. This job was supposed to do that, to set things straight between him and Sorabella, set her for life so he wouldn't have to keep an eye on her and her stupid spending habits.

But this was a bad sign. The program reported that she hadn't moved in a good five minutes, and in the business of jacking expensive shit the only reason you stop moving is cuz you've been caught.

The mud Golem of a man liked the girl. Her spunk and swagger were reminiscent of her old man, and if he could get her out of a hairy situation like this it would go that much further in settling his debt to her father. At least, that was what Grant Diaz told himself as he forced his way into one of the nearby water pipes. He traveled to the floor Sorabella's runt was supposed to be on, an improvised clay structure keeping him relatively safe from mass loss until he popped out of the pipe at the correct juncture, water flooding the floor in a torrential cascade. His sopping wet form dripped in watery brown rivulets, his hand closed around his waterproof phone as he dialed.

The blaring cacophony (of course it'd be fracking kid music) issued forth from somewhere down the hall, the ringing of the phone guiding his sopping footfalls. Trails of mud intermingled with the pooling lifeblood of the many corpses all around him. San'Vun's men. Bullets in their heads, necks, everywhere. Shot grouping was pretty shit though, considering the girl's reputation.

Sorabella's girl in a shootout? Laying still five, no seven minutes now? So that means that around this corner she's probably...

Gone?

He rounded the hallway's bend, fully prepared to see her mutilated corpse torn through with bullets of all varieties, judging by the dead in the surrounding hall, but instead he found only a flickering light tossing the world into occasional bouts of endless shadow, and there, on the floor, one of the augmented cellphones they had used for this mission.

Various paranoid paths crossed his mind as he flicked his way through an override, the menus on her piece of abandoned kit opening up before him.

She coulda turned traitor, but then why kill the San'Vun boys?

She coulda been taken prisoner, but then why wouldn't they keep the frickin' phone for intel?

She coulda chickened out, tossed the phone to throw us off the...

He flicked into the gallery, its latest capture revealing her fate, the true nature of her final ordeal. He quickly surged back into the light, bounding away from the flickering fluorescent bulb. In the tinny sound of the smart phone, her screams seemed all the more unsettling. The playing video revealed that someone, no, some thing had come leaping out of her shadow and dragged her down into it, the two melding back into the inky dark, the screams dying with her disappearance.

Fracking-A girly, and I thought I was the worse company you'd ever keep...

He replayed the video, keying in another set of commands to patch in the younger of the Herric brothers.

I can't help ya now... not without some way to find out where ya went...

He sent the files on her phone to his own, dumping the device where it lay before, directing Mitchell to do what he did best. The event ended with the two leaving a relatively simple worm virus within the code of the video itself, allowing backdoor access to whatever device it was transferred to, and of course to the device itself. It was all he could do. He would search for her after his job was done, and if the San'Vuns transferred the file and tried to do the same, he'd know.

Sorry Sora buddy, looks like I got her into an even bigger mess'n she started off in...

Counting Losses Cont.

[Yazhun San'Vun]

Surging down into the space of the elevator, he returned to the same floor he had left Herric on, ready to finally make his appearance before Yazhun San'Vun himself. As the elevator doors opened, he walked pulled himself up from the cavernous drop, steam rising from hidden holes in his back, a reflection of the secretive actions he had taken as he navigated the shaft. With open arms, he walked toward the Silent San'Vun, goading him forward.

"Yazzy! Ol' pal! How are ya? Tell me, is everything workin' out alright down at that shithole you call an orphanage? Or did ya finally find the money to remodel the place?" Reaching behind his back, Grant Diaz pulled forth a piece of cloth, the tattered remains of a San'Vun syndicate suit, the same pattern as the one reported on the day of the attack, and tossed it at the Mute Mafioso's feet. "Cuz I already took the liberty of helpin' with the demolition." A wet, suckling cackle escaped the muddy creature's throat as he bellowed in laughter, the watery brown flesh running down his face in waves of melting skin.

He would let the San'Vun's "Shogun" come, and when he did, he would reveal the weapons he had crafted in the dark of the elevator shaft, opening his body to reveal the crude diamond shards, the needles and shivs, blades and spines all pointed inward as the creature attempted to envelop him in a clay prison, an iron maiden of earthen spires, and Leo would help to force him in, given the chance.

The plan was in place. All he needed to do now was buy time. That, or simply kill the upstart that had already slain so many of his black market associates.

Facsimiles of Humanity

[Hikari Sun]

They came as quickly, as silently, as apparitions in the night. They moved in disturbing concert, too human faces sporting inhuman symmetry in their expressions, in their movements.

But he knew a fair amount about inhuman beings sporting the semblances of humanity. The machines marched across the fallen corpses of the many who had fought, who had died, in the conquest of the Khan, and as they did the raiser of the dead cast out a skeletal hand and drew it into a fist, attempting to nudge the souls of those interlopers, cause them some degree of pain or suffering to slow their ascent to the Khan, but as its bone fingers met, the machines marched on. Soulless as they were, they felt no tugging at their metaphysical core.

Bony nothingness manifested a ghastly voice, waves intoning in ominous vibration. "механический..."

They continued their advance in disconcerting concert, their movements almost human, but without the subtleties or grace instilled in all things that truly live. Not once had it crossed the mind of the ancient Fyodor Ivanov that technology might progress to such a point that it would replace man, but here before him was one such instance. If he were more than mere skull on bone he might have shuddered.

But now was not the time for fear, if it could be said he felt such sensations, now was the time for action.

With a grand sweeping of his arm, the invisible cores inherent in the fallen friends and foes re-surged into their broken bodies, the already dead flesh allowing only the minutest of links between soul and body. They rose, disconcerted, open to the necromancer's manipulation. Those armed reformed into more manipulable bodies, the blood becoming less congealed as the skeletal figure forced the blood to pump through their veins, furthering metaphysical links between body and soul as some semblance of life retook their forms.

From the Vengeful One of Volgograd came a dry, inhuman cackling, the undead voice sounding through the air once more as the marionettes of flesh and blood danced and swayed. He knew enough about the advancement of technology to be wary, but not enough to fear. The broken Flesh Puppets moved with an unnatural gait, their movements hampered by decaying flesh and spirit both. The Blood Puppets moved with much more aplomb, their movements manipulated to the finest degree. He would orchestrate the demise of these dead-eyes androids, and he would use these puppets as his tools to combat the artificial figures' own coordinator.

The clumsy marionettes of muscle would batter against the mechanical forms of the opposing force, attempting to hold them in place and prevent escape. The Blood Puppets, though few in number at only five, were blessed (or cursed) with a firmer metaphysical ties to their former mortal shells, allowing them the boon of greater control, and the weapons they happened to have carried in life.

These made their presence known with roaring submachine guns, opening fire on the androids and the bumbling puppets trying to hold them in an attempt to shred the machines before they could interfere with the internal operations taking place within the Nihonto Khan.

The Golem too, made its way back to the manipulator of flesh and soul, the great metal girth of its body contrasting almost humorously with the skeletal form of its master, marking the "man" as both under its protection, and as a potentially important target. The Metaphysical Manipulator paid it no mind. He simply cradled the soul cage, invisible eyes scanning the horizon for notable spirits to steal as his own, fingers guarding the ornate bars from those that might steal the very essence of his being.

Honor Among Thieves

[Sii-La]

The crack of the bullet, the assumed response by the leader of the Inagawa-Kai, surprised all in attendance. It did not splatter the brains of Haruto Yoshi against the pavement, reduced him not in stature or ability, but rather was simple denial. He would not live this day.

But that was a foregone conclusion. No, this was not a denial of life, but of method. He would not die in sacrifice for his men, but as a warning against them. The remaining soldiers of the true Yoshi-gumi were few, the Inagawa loyalists numbering many more, and with nervous eyes scanning those around them they circled in behind their respective Oyabuns, forming asymmetrical semi-circles as the elder kumicho of the Yoshi clan rose to meet his superior in the Inawaga.

"Very well, Sii-La. "

An answer to the unspoken challenge. As the head of the Inagawa shinobi force strode forward, Haruto Yoshi held his arm out to his side and opened his hand. It was Maruko Rio who came forth now, placing within it any samurai's final weapon, the one he should die with, his soul. The two exchanged a final look. There was no shame in Maruko's eyes, and there was no hate in Haruto's own. The two men understood each other.

The Mad dog would always follow the leader of the pack, the Alpha, the one who proved strongest, most courageous, most cunning. The ancient of Imperial Japan would always hold honor first and foremost. Theirs were beliefs only compatible in the narrowest of senses, and the time of overlap had passed. They nodded to one another, and left it at that.

Haruto Yoshi, once called the greatest swordsman in the Imperial Army, readied the blade. He was in his nineties now, but such facts were mitigated by his keen mind, his sharp eye for combat. His body, wirier now than it was before, not as intimidating as in his prime, was kept in working order by the elixirs he had kept since the war. His bones creaked, but did not rebel, his muscles had worn away to a form not fitting his former glory, but their spooled power was by no means gone. He had the body of a man several decades his junior, thanks to the potions provided by his former Kumicho, Ken Tatsuno.

The collector of secrets had long coveted the waters of the Lazarus Pits, but had no taste for the weakening of the mind, and so it was that Boss Tatsuno had made a gift of the poultices to the man he knew with the strongest will, for fear that such a brew would corrupt all who took it in. That man was Haruto Yoshi.

And Haruto Yoshi would now repay that kindness, that small extension of his life, with the surrender of it. He would follow his true Kumicho into hell and beyond, or he would send his foe to meet their former master, to bow and scrape at his feet, to kiss his toes and beg for forgiveness in the fiery pits of the damned.

The sword sang as it was drawn, its blindingly bright blade glimmering in kind with the white rays of the moon. He breathed deep, one steady breath, and Haruto Yoshi was ready.

"BANZAI!!"

It would have been almost a laughable line, a joke in modern times, but in the heartfelt issuing of the word it became a fearsome cry, set forth from the core of his being. It was the same cry he had issued seventy years ago in reverence of his emperor, repurposed in reverence to his Kumicho half a decade after the war's end, and then again now, to his undying memory.

The sword swing was clean, sharp, and unerringly accurate. It screaming down at his shoulder, surprising all in attendance with the sheer speed of the blow, the speed at which he recovered from it. The sword pulled back once more, a defensive posture meant to parry coming retaliation, and should it be done, or should none come in the split second beat between strikes, to thrust forward and pierce the Inagawa Alpha's liver, after which he would withdraw the sword with a twist and a heavy pull, slicing outward and cleaving free of the man's trunk by splitting him near in two, all in one fluid motion.

His age should have slowed him, but it did not. His loyalties should have stopped him once the head of his former Kumicho was revealed, but they did not. He was a man of a particular honor, the same kind his own men knew. He was loyal not to the clan but to the man, to his friends and to the familial bonds of the Inagawa Kai, and this man, this Oedipus, was no man to follow, no man to revere.

War Within the Mind, A Conflict of Conscience

[Warsman, Noah Wyatt]

Their conversation, one of odd camaraderie amongst even the piling corpses and furthering damage to the Khan. The two spoke shortly, the silent body of Seijuro Shin watching them with blind eyes until it was removed by the pensive soul of Heiji San'Vun.

They could hear voices in the distance, some remnant of the Yoshi-Gumi directing injured survivors through the labyrinthine structure of the Khan. Then came a clap, the rumbling of an earthquake traveling through the air. They fell to their knees as the building collapsed before them, crushing some of their number and separating them from the duo, Crimson puddles forming beneath rock and rebar as the pair left to find San'Vun.

They could hear the rumblings of conflict nearby, the tearing of post and beam, of metal and mineral, as the battle between San'Vun and the Militia's muscle raged. The vault lay somewhere in that cacophony, and Yazhun himself was not far from it.

Outside, they could see the clash of a new force, concerted in their efforts and inhuman in their efficiency, battling what appeared to be a larger horde of incoherent and clumsy bodies, their mass and number utilized to maximum effect as another group opened fire with scavenged weaponry.

The rest of the Khan was also in conflict, but nowhere as loudly or as prominently as those two areas. It seemed that Sii-La's reclamation of his forces had stabilized the outside, and though the Orochi were still a threat of incredible danger and effect, their goals had been for the most part been met. The flying demon died at the hand of another, but that had spared them further casualties. The Yakuza who had fought them most fiercely had been destroyed or absorbed into the fighting force of enemy shinobi, and unless they wished to engage a new and consolidated foe, their objectives were more or less complete.

The Spider and the sonic manipulator seemed mired in their own conflict, though they seemed at a relatively peaceful impasse.

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#35 Edited by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst:

ℂ𝕠𝕦𝕟𝕥𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕃𝕠𝕤𝕤𝕖𝕤 𝟙&𝟚
No Caption Provided

There was no reason for me to look at the tips of my blades. I had known instantly they had struck true. A sweet vibration had swept across their surface down to the hilts and along my fingers into the palms of my gloved hands. Few sensations in this World offered such a rewarding ceremony of accomplishment. Still, I had missed the true death. Allowed for an unexpected counter. And counter, my foe did.

Even though my instincts rolled my head and neck with his punch the force was substantially more violent then anticipated. And there in permitted his ability to further capitalize.

Daring to lay hands on me, raw strength forced me against the wall. He's seeking to neutralize my swords, erase our separation cause he believes his physical supremacy will bail him out. In a conventional battle, he may have been right. But he...they, will all learn this day that I am far beyond conventional.

Releasing the katana's I attempt to arc my left arm up using a technical elbow strike in order to loosen his grip. A one handed Hercules is no match for a two handed Shogun. My right hand needs only a needle sized opening to surge forward, knuckle extended as I fire off sixteen surgical jabs targeting various pressure points and crippling areas he's left exposed in his hastily executed grapple. I want his kidneys. I want both shoulder seams. I want the sternum and both exaggerated biceps. Collarbone cleft,Throat/Nerve cleft, side of Neck, even the Pneumogastric Nerve. I want them all.

Divorced from time its both impossible and unnecessary for me to fathom how long it all takes. Everything is blurred between the instantaneous perceptions of a moment. I've yet to make this a battle of technology or even augmented abilities. Maybe a mistake but my pride wants to break this man down on a level he'll never psychologically recover from should he manage to survive. Manage to crawl away.

However before I can truly unload on this miscreant I hear the taunts of his partner. Or a, partner. Today has showcased many enemies. Who could accurately catalog them all to their perceptive factions? Or more appropriately - who f*ckin cares -

My mind cringes. Lips sneer with disgust at the grotesque sight of this...creature, pulling itself together and apart again. The more it taunts the quicker I realize it was the authoring assassin of those children. The original conspirator. The captaining catalyst of irremediable chaos. Dammit, I've lost focus and no doubt any advantage or break from my original foe. Instantly both arms subtly shift to underhanded positions with both elbows tucked by my sides.

Two concussive blasts are launched from each palm in hopes of regaining some semblance of separation from the physical titan. But just in case my feet acrobatically jump back and stick to the wall as I quickly ramp up it. Running up and cartwheeling over my opponent creating an angle impossible to maintain a significant hold on my shoulder, should my prior attempts have proven inadequate.

Beneath my mask I smile as this new creature expands once again to welcome me to what he perceives to be a brutal death inside its shifting mass. For a brief moment I extended my arms wide, palms up. I'm all his as I dash headlong into his makeshift vortex. Even my suit cannot withstand the buffet of blades. For long. But all I need is a second. All I need...is a sentence.

"𝖂𝖊𝖑𝖈𝖔𝖒𝖊 𝖙𝖔 𝖙𝖍𝖊 𝕶𝖍𝖆𝖓!"

"Welcome to the Khan!"

For the first time in many battles I let my voice go. Releasing its devastating audio obliteration inside this pit of clay and meta-morphing mutant biology. My power captures and funnels electrons producing an unknown particle which, in unison with other collected electrons, employ a superhuman volcano of vocal annihilation. Even I do not know the full extent of its destructive power. Mental mandations would never allow such a loss of self-control. A whisper could bring the Khan down. A shout...well, hopefully it'll be enough to refute this creature's ability to sludge itself back together. And free me in the process.

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#36 Edited by Grimmwald (3281 posts) - - Show Bio

@noah_wyatt: @hikari_sun: @rosso: @sii-la: @humansfirst: @yazhun_sanvun:

Nihonto Khan || Outside

No Caption Provided

The ground did not lumber, and the building did not shake. Instead, the Khan stood firm and tall. Burning but glorious. Unbowed and unbent. And in the heart of battle, where sparks flew from the hot steel of clashing swords, the Voice Unheard - perhaps more samurai than Yakuza - defended his home. But elsewhere, lurked ninja instead of samurai. The Orochi, dwindled to a handful, smelled the irony scent of blood in the air. They glanced at the butchered viscera on the ground, the blood smeared on the walls, the bodies of brothers and enemies alike, and sheathed their swords. Soon came the whispers. The Horned Saint had left. With one prize and another. One dead, the other alive. One to be raised from the dead, twisted and bent to his will by the forbidden sorcery of the Strigidae. And the other? To be controlled. Enslaved by the fear that prey held for predators in the wild.

Smoke bombs at the ready, the Orochi disappeared behind walls of black smoke. The battle had grown crowded, hosting one new arrival too many. They'd played their part. And in due time, they would return to the Khan, with the Blackdagger at their side, and Grimmwald at the helm. For now, they vanished, following the Horned Saint to the harrowing halls of his ancestor.

Online
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#37 Posted by Noah_Wyatt (319 posts) - - Show Bio

@grimmwald: @yazhun_sanvun: @humansfirst:

No Caption Provided

Everything that had happened that night was all a blur, Noah felt something deep inside his mind that attached to Yazhun the day they first met. He was never able to read him completely or even at all in most instances, but something right now made him think that something drastic was about to be done. Something that would change the entirety of the Khan, he couldnt let this happen.

Heiji still behind him yet oddly quiet Noah did not have time to wonder about the older man, he moved with stealth he did not know he had. Rolling on his heels around corners and through the shadows avoiding the stragglers of Orochi and Yakuza, fallen walkies telling of the dwindling forces all over on each sides. How many began to leave and that the one who had administered the Toxin that took hold of Noah was now nowhere to be seen or felt within the Khan. Information that slightly irritated Noah but he had far pressing matters.

He'd never felt or heard his Shado's voice or power, but he had felt how the air shifted when he was angered. How the very molecules of the air around him would change ever so slightly giving him goosebumps. Now every layer of skin felt as if it was going to squirm off his skeleton. Finally he took off faster and finally reached his Shado and the Fool he had been engaged with, Noah was just a fraction too late. Eyes widened as he watched Yazhun take a breathe in, trying to react as fast as he could Noah he brought up a brick thick forcefield over the trio both the enemy and Yazhun along with himself.

No Caption Provided

The forcefield would never keep the Voice Unheards power held, only a soft buffer protecting what Yazhun had fought so hard not only tonight but his entire time to keeping in one piece. The vibrations of his voice filled the tiny bubble completely and the explosive energies that combusted all within tore Noah to shreds cutting his chest and every surface as the forces ravaged his body. Falling to a knee beside his Shado he knew his own powers wouldnt nearly harm him as much as it would Noah and the would be enemy.

Gritting teeth Noah rose to his feet, blood dripping everywhere he stepped forward in front of Yazhun. Looking over his shoulder he spoke very broken Japanese but it was clear {Protect the Khan....you told me....Let me do that...} Just as he spoke his forcefield fell as the power within him was dwindling just as his body quickly was, if he didnt finish this quickly he would pass out from the shock of his pain. Starring at where he had seen the enemy and that he had lasted this long against Yazhun he was indeed powerful as well. So Noah needed to act in kind as well, energy began to surge through his body and his eyes brightened as another forcefield appeared this time leaving Yazhun outside of it. An instant later all the energies that Noah had left to spare erupted from his body in all directions creating a massive explosion within the bubble he had encased the two in....hopefully killing if not breaking the invader who had started the entire night.

No Caption Provided

No Caption Provided

Brought the Khan enough chaos to last it years, and to give it history for the books. For tonight the Khan would stand triumphant over its invaders...Noah finally exhausted of energy falls to his knees as his eyes gloss over and it finally goes dark, last thing he sees is his Shado standing glaring at whatever remained of their enemies.

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#38 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

A Mind Lost

[Yazhun_Sanvun, Noah_Wyatt]

Finally. Finally he had his hands on the palette swapped freak in front of him. The muscles all over his body tensed as he released blow after blow with his broken hand, attempting to crack ribs and launch bone splinters as shrapnel throughout the mutant's body. He did not feel the fleshy mitt coming to further pieces with every blow, the new cracks opening up from missing fingers and into his wrist, the splashing of his own blood striking his face and body.

And when at last he did take note, the world was already bathed in his bloody red. It came as a welcome sight, a sign that here he was, a man coloring this twisted, inverse world in his human paint.

He heard the swords clatter to the ground. In retrospect, he would wonder why he did not react then, why the world seemed to shudder momentarily with the resounding clatter of steel reverberating through the air. The elbow loosened his grip a hair's breadth, but it was enough. Like gnats, the blows landed, seemingly harmless as they were executed, his rage rendering him blind to the actions of his foe, but not to their results.

All at once his body began to fail. His arms went limp, his throat ceased its swallowing, his lungs began to choke with saliva and bile, his shoulders fell as his kidneys ceased their functions, and the simple act of breathing became an impossibility.

He wheezed, his lungs failing as though by proxy, as the signals so vital to ensuring survival were cut from his body.

And then the other mutant appeared. As corruptly colored as his kin, the creature of clay rose like the undead bursting forth from the grave, his words lost in the blood now pounding in Leo's ears.

San'Vun ran up a wall to break an already weak grip, but Leo's legs, his legs remained strong. The sonic blast that came next did not topple Herric, it only gave him the drive to push forward, even as he felt it. Death's icy fingers came crawling up his back.

Here we go again.

In an instant, he leapt forward on iron legs, an attempt to smash into San'Vun's back and launch him into Diaz's embrace, and, to his surprise, it worked, but only because the NeoSin's Shogun willed it to. His enemy charged into the clay coffin, begging for death, but it did not find him. No. This day it sought another.

The actual words spoken were nearly lost in the blast, the overdue greeting carrying no real meaning for Leo Herric save to launch him to the far end of the hallway, his back smashing into an armored door barred shut, denting it inward as he was impaled by hardened clay and crude diamond projectiles, his body pierced in a thousand places.

He could see it then, the color draining from him and into the negative, the blood he bled becoming a shimmering bluish green. Everywhere the spires pierced, he saw the infection spread, his body enveloped in his mind's symbol for the corruption that came seeping from his own veins. He blinked, and the world was full of mortal reds scattered along the hallway, a picture of the world as it actually was, once more, and his eyes did not open again.

His body slumped, held in place by the blades made from Diaz's offensive clay flesh. Diaz, who was faring only slightly better than his partner.

The initial attack seemed a success, the mud and clay of his body forcing itself upon the arrogant oyabun with relish and frenzy, but those blades only caught along his instantly formed iron skin, and did nothing more. With a single word, Diaz was torn asunder, flying from San'Vun's shoulders. With a second, his material was split further, mud forming splattered marks that dripped down the psychic walls. The third shattered that barrier placed around them by the yet unseen ally to the Shado Shogun, but even broken it mostly held, only an inkling of that final word, the breath beyond the final syllable, allowed to escape.

But that breath? That breath shook the Khan to its very core. The impact, the tremors, the sheer force brought about by the maestro of the immaterial cascaded out in a wave of damning force. The particles of Diaz's body closest to San'Vun, the ones that struck the nearby psychic barrier and walls, were vaporized, reduced to oxygen, silicon, and other trace minerals, losing any semblance of sentience as they rose as gas in the atmosphere. That force not contained by the barrier blew Leo into the armored door, along with a fair portion of Diaz's body. But that was not the end of their attack, for how could it be when one of the mutant interlopers yet lived?

There came sauntering up to the two Mutant Militiamen another, an ally to voiceless marauder, the erector of the psychic barricade that had held the Silent One's voice in check.

Where Herric lay dying, Grant began pooling himself together, the blood of his fellow mutant granting his silicate silt an ominous reddish hue as he pieced himself back together, pieced himself back together just in time to realize what was happening.

Trapped in yet another bubble of psychic energy, the two were imprisoned with the psionic strider just as another wave, this one an explosion of raw, surging psychic power, came rippling out in all directions, forcing the very air itself to snap away from the psychic before collapsing in once more with a roar of thunder.

It was only through the most shameful of ploys that Diaz was allowed to escape, to endure through that psychic maelstrom. His blood-red clay surged into the broken body of his former ally, displacing organs and vital structure, ensuring that if the man were not dead before, he would be now. Within this durable human carapace, the monster of bloodied earth remained until, finally, as the battering waves came to an end and the field around them cracked to reveal the bloodied, almost indistinguishable form of Leo Herric, he exited the remains of his former ally, the shell torn near asunder by the waves and his own intrusion into his former ally's form.

It was here that Grant Diaz played dead, his clay flesh merging with the dark of the Khan to appear as just another bit of shed human flesh, another part lost in the devastating attacks that would have leveled the Khan itself, had it not been for the immediate intervention of the mental manipulator. His mud began to leak from the body, forming puddles as blood would, escaping the rent flesh as would the usual viscera escaping the broken remnants of a man, the devastation inflicted upon the form of the former muscular mutant militiaman. In the dark of the casino's shattered hallway, the creature of clay lurked, simply waiting to eviscerate his foe.

As soon as San'Vun approached, the earthen spires and diamond razors would be reclaimed by untold numbers of slick red earthen tendrils, whipping the projectiles in stabbing thrusts at the syndicate's dark master. Grant Diaz would abandon his humanity, for this fight did not call for it. Both men were in truth inhuman, one beast, the other a being ascendant. But even the greatest man is not immune to the creatures claws, none do not fear the fangs lining the predator's maw. So that is what he would become. The trap would be laid, and should San'Vun come to claim some prize, to ensure the death of his foe, he would find his desire incomplete, his vengeance lacking, and in its place blades and claws to imitate the tools of beasts, closing in as does the hungriest of jaws, a grand maw to snap upon his arm, diamond knives stabbing and clawing at his gut, seeking to split it and spill his intestines to the ground as had Herric's before him.

It was time to silence Yazhun San'Vun for good.

Counting Losses

[Yazhun San'Vun]

Nils Hagen flashed into the hallway by the vault, his team retrieving the adamantium auger and setting to work immediately. Their footsteps hidden by the roar of the battle raging outside the count room, only two armored doors away, one pierced by the auger, the other left wide open in San'Vun's initial challenge to all comers. Nils Hagen began to sweat beneath his suit, motioning with a tilt of his head for the demon among them to begin the operation.

Shu Doi, formerly known as the Inagawa Yakuza's personal enforcer, now as "Shuten Doji", the demon stalking Tokyo's Underground, strode forward, shedding his leather jacket to reveal red skin covered in a dull sheen of sweat. He took up the auger in his mighty arms and pressed it to the intimidating vault doors, switching on the drill and sending sparks flying and leaving shorn pieces of metal to pile by his feet. Even as he did so, his flesh parted to reveal the eyes beginning to form on his naked chest, blinking into existence across his arms and shoulders, watching for any change in the environment in a disturbingly full 360 degree radius.

With the help of the superpowered mutant's massive strength, as well as the auger's near indestructible, highly effective secondary adamantium edge, they would soon be done. All they needed was a hole large enough to fit the Black Hopper's arm, one which he could use to squirm his fist into, and they would be able to move the massive quantities of cash, as well as anything not nailed down, to his private vault, a 1,000 square foot basement buried in a corn field 200 miles west of Des Moines, Iowa. There they would check for any trackers, any explosives or traps meant to incinerate or otherwise maim those who might take from the San'Vun Syndicate. They could be careful then, in the vault buried beneath two hundred feet of concrete and soil, where radio signals and trackers were unlikely to pierce the many layers of rock and dirt.

But now was not the time to yearn for safety, nor the time to worry over what would lay buried in the bundles of cash to entrap them. It was the time for action. And action was exactly what Shu excelled at, exactly what he was watching for.

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#39 Edited by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst:

A Mind Lost (cont.)

In a cyclone of spontaneous snap-second actions the hallway had been baptized in an energy based shower of superior superhuman abilities. The tiers differed but the end result had not discriminated. Or had it? In the aftermath two 'appeared' to have dwindled in the moment. Two, who were not of the San'Vun Syndicate.

From a knee the Silent Starscream looked down the deathly hallow to its end and the remains of his foes, before drawing his attention to the lengthy lacerations throughout his body. The side of his face, cut from forehead past the jaw, bathed in a crimson like creak streaming down and over the remaining nanite panel of his mask. The unintentional artistry of the red against the negative effect of his complexion was unavoidable. As was the fact that he could no longer see out of his left eye. Either gone, too covered in blood, or something in-between, the Voice didnt know. Yet the message had been clear. Either through force or flaw the clay monstrosity had broken through the Shadoking's Shinobi Sheath. Drawn the Dragon's blood - Yazhun dismissively spat - but the mutant had paid the ultimate price for its insolence. Or so the prideful hyper-sapien believed.

No Caption Provided

With a prolonged and moderated motion Yazhun rose to his feet, glancing towards the now incapacitated Tiger of Telepathic Transcendence before returning focus to the end of the hall. There was a swagger of entitlement in the Voice's strut, a cultured arrogance. And it beautifully bled into his acrobatic reaction to the living animation of deceptive and deadly tendrils.

With unconscious execution, entering a state of auto-hypnoses via the technological integration with his suit, Yazhun executed a multifaceted highlight real of superhuman hyper-mobility and blinding reactionary speed. Flipping, spinning, employing the VGS' wrist mounted wiring system in perfect aerial concert with his suit's unparalleled agility.

In a fantastic and unrehearsed display Yazhun sought to dodge some, take others, while simultaneously attacking the rest with a pair of kinetically energized discs known as digital saturns. Externally docked on the back of his advanced attire, they tactically lent themselves to the Neo-Sin Shinobi's cinematic execution of acrobatic evasion and assault themed motions. Death defying dexterity coupled with augmented technological athletics helped premiere the Voice Unheard's brilliant acrobatic flair. However the octopus like assault was unrelenting, inescapable, and its piercing arms never ending.

Seemingly for every arm the shinobi cleaved a dozen more were right there to stab and impale his flesh. His suit protected what it could despite its already compromised integrity. There was no telling how long it could endure such a formidable onslaught.

It was too late to turn back now. Too late to exercise restraint. Pulling punches was no longer an option. So again the Shadoking filled his lungs and spoke with thunderous explosiveness. Firing his greatest and most destructive weapon into the center mass of the mutant coagulation, consciously obliterating the hallway in the process. The floor beneath them would instantly cave. The drywall sheets immediately ripped from their horizontal studs. The ceiling, collapsed. Again the Khan itself violently shook. Its foundation already ill from its creator's previous eruption of vocal vengeance. But it she were to fall it would be of his own volition. No one else.

Several floors below would cripple under the strain and give way. Creating a engineering breakdown that would promote the continuous implosion of flooring allowing for the possible freefall of both Yazhun and the clay-mated mutant. Should it have survived another audio blast of the San'Vun dragon's breath.

Counting Losses (cont.)
Unwilling to be drawn into a gladiatorial 1 v 1 against the indomitable Golem, the 32nd Sapien had made his way upstairs to the counting room. With the hallway destroyed it had taken every bit of his martial acumen to circumvent the chaotic blockades and debris made barriers throughout the remains of the floor. Never the less he now stood at its entrance watching with unwavering fortitude as the intruders attempted to squirrel away the Syndicates ill gotten gains. With motion based articulation he silently and stoically attempted to bend the would be thieves into contorted submission. He did not taunt or announce his presence. Such an act he considered beneath him. No need to alert his foes. Simply attack, and defend the Khan...

@valerie_huntington:

Elsewhere: République Française

The corner stone of any successful criminal enterprise was a carefully selected and diverse consortium of social, political, and economic resources. Powerful people in influential positions. In the media, the ability to control the narrative was imperative. For the Khan this had already come in handy as the mainstream media had studiously pushed a narrative conducive to Yazhun's expressed desire. Little to no mention of the Yazkuza. Little to no mention of mutant militants or criminal underworlds. So far the narrative had read simply as terrible people committing a terrible act of terrorism. Race, religion, and especially species had been purposely left out of the story. Of course the truth would eventually come out but by then it would no longer matter. It never did. By the time the layers of intrigue had been peeled back the World would have suffered yet another era altering event. Some alien invasion or siege in Gothic. The attention span of the populous would have moved on.

Yet for the San'Vun Syndicate and the Khan, their future demanded immediate action. Their course in history had been irreparably altered and as such, called for the cultivation of networked contingencies and legacy born alliances...

Poised and cultured, they carried themselves with aristocratic posture. Each stride a perfect representation of class. Each stride in perfect unison with one another. None need see the labels of their carefully selected attire to appreciate the sublime artistry of their regalement. Even in the fashionable capital of the World they were a remarkable example of visual perfection.

No Caption Provided

As they entered the illustrious establishment they presented themselves with a gracious bow. It was truly an honor, though their surgical discipline would never betray any sense of emotion or fixation. "Madame Huntington-Romeiro. The White Queen...? Please, forgive our intrusion. We, are the Trifecta. And we represent the Voice Unheard; Yazhun San'Vun." sliding an old cell phone across the table in her direction, the display on its screen was a photo of a photo depicting Valeria's father and the late father of Yazhun himself attending what appeared to be an annual HFC meeting over a decade earlier. "May we sit?"

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#40 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Counting Losses

[@Yazhun_Sanvun]

From the corner eye of his red tinted skin, the demon of the Tokyo Underworld caught sight of something moving amongst the shadows, some acrobatic gnat bounding toward them but stopping before he made full contact. It didn't matter. The hole was complete, and one cowardly observer would not stop him from securing his riches. He pulled the drill free, turning to signal to the others when the "coward" made his move.

Rhythmic movements, artful dance that might have been entrancing if not for its singular, deadly purpose, began in the bender. The blood in the demon's veins began to rebel, to move from his heart and out into his limbs, the central organ pumping futilely as the vital fluids began to spontaneously freeze and combust all together in differing parts of his body. The eyes, the many eyes he'd grown to observe the area around him were reduced to sizzling scabs of pus as their fluids churned beneath the lids, a thousand sores oozing fire that rendered the demon blind, his limbs controlled by the fluids flowing through them, he knelt in prostrated pain, submitted as the bloodbender had sought.

Nils Hagen, however, was not one to be caught off guard. As soon as he felt the slightest of pressures, the tiniest inkling of an issue within his own body, he flashed back to his starting position in the count room, far from the danger his blood-bent ally had found himself in. Two other gunmen, also part of the vault team, heaved and tumbled to the ground in confusion as they were teleported with the notorious Black Hopper. From Hagen's new position behind the bender, he quickly ascertained the presence of the threat, drew the H&K UMP up from the sling at his side, and opened fire. The two confused gunmen followed suit, training their own weapons upon him. One opened up with a semi-automatic SKS carbine, another with 12 gauge buckshot from his Saiga-12 Automatic, both with relatively impressive accuracy after such a sudden teleportation.

Hagen took the chance to step away from the two, convinced they would draw more attention than he could survive. Abandoning the two, he teleported away once more, to his unseen vantage outside the Khan, his starting position, before pulling the pin on an M67 grenade.

One second, two seconds, three...

And with a sudden jolt he was once again inside the Khan, this time two meters from the Blood Benders last position. He tossed the grenade into the hyper sapien's back, or where it should have been, based on his last sighting only a few seconds past, before flashing away once more in an instant, back to Count Room's hallway to observe his effectiveness. If the threat were dealt with, they would finally be able to get their hands on the loot.

Drawing Dead

[Yazhun San'Vun]

The bladed tendrils, improvised earthen shivs, sank into the flesh of his foe, deflected off the remnants of his armor, or flashed past empty air. His mind did not see, it did not hear, it only felt with cracked and bloody limbs, and the sensation it sought most was that of earthen fangs meeting flesh.

Again and again it was denied, and all movement finally ceased when the cannons sounded once more, an unknowable force driving it into and through the ground, shattering its form, atomizing pieces of it and tossing the remnants into corners and crevices before finally cracking and sinking the room around it, sending everything and everyone plunging through several stories. The fluids leaking down the walls gave the appearance of scattered blood, lifeless and dead, but of course Diaz was anything but.

The attack served, more than anything, to snap him back to his senses, the desire for blood tempered by an instinct for self-preservation deep ingrained. His pieces began to course through the fallen rubble, rebuilding his flesh using the materials of the Khan itself, erecting barricades between him and San'Vun, attempting to shield himself from further molecular discombobulation, but the scream keep coming, kept driving the brutish beast back into the base of the Khan to be crushed beneath added layers of weight with each collapsing floor, until finally they hit the basement, the crumbling guts of the Khan failing to collapse the building only by virtue of its incredible architecture. But the building could not take much further abuse.

Beneath the crumbling base, amongst the water raining down on them from ruptured pipes, Grant Diaz thrived. He brought the force of his crumbling body to bear on the rubble all around them, sanding it down with rough edged rock, creating more pebbles, more silt, more sand to be added to his burgeoning frame. And with more mass came possibilites for further carnage, to make true use of his abilities, to push himself to his limits, to push his foe past his.

His form, still scattered by the fearsome force brought to bear with only a whisper of the Silent One's voice, was scattered but not defenseless. Where it remained the mud ate at the walls, adding to itself almost unknown to Diaz himself, until finally he could feel them, like limbs of his own, but moving with uncanny craftiness, some sort of reflex structure taken to the next level, granting some sensation just short of sentience. He could use this...

He would use this.

No Caption Provided

Faces took shape in the mud all around the base level of the Khan, a former associate, some colored clown that belonged to the yakuza back when Diaz still worked in Japan. It was a throwaway disguise he'd used only once, but the grisly visage had stuck in his brain for years. Even now, when he wished to terrify, the form of the clown's face would still return to his mind.

The faces, the new bodies, each spoke in unison, in concert. Mocking words and terrifying taunts escaping from every one of their vibrating shale and concrete voiceboxes.

"You're a murderer, Yazzy."
"Yer name's as good 's dirt now, boy."
"Every mutant in Japan knows yer the one who blew up those kids."
"Yer gonna have to build from the ground up, after this giant frack up."
"How's it feel to be the one dangling at the end o' summbudy else's string, for once?"
"Yer as good as dead, might as well end it, San'Vun. Hang up yer hat, 'fore they hang it for ya"

"How's it feel ta be the punchline to my joke, Yazzy boy?"

The lines sounded in a cacophony of taunts and jeers, voices erupting from every corner of the room as the clones took form. The clones clawed and slash, reaching out and attempting to envelop the NeoSin Shogun in a forced embrace, to choke the air from his lungs, to suffocate him in soppy earthen prisons. It didn't matter if he slay them. They would form again from the mud pits, growing in proportion to the rubble forced into their arena. The water, at its current level, helped to rejuvenate the creatures, and so Diaz could maintain many, each with the growing semblance of consciousness, at his leisure.

For Diaz's own part, his one true body sank back into the rubble, probing and prodding about, seeking escape, for the clones, while intimidating and steadfast, were only distractions.

San'Vun could kill them all he wanted, he could attack with his metaphysical sonic weapon, render mud into its atomic parts, but water and rubble provided ample substitutes. And if he did slay them with his once-sealed weapon of choice, each of his vehement vocal explosions would only assist in shredding the Khan's foundation, assist in the efforts of inhuman mud, which, without sentient shape or form (and rendered almost invisible by the copies' taunts), toiled at the essential portions of the foundation, shearing it and looking to bury the San'Vun's favored son in a lavish tomb of his own creation, to collapse the Khan atop him as a final monument to his legacy.

And how Grant Diaz had managed to destroy it single-handedly.

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#41 Posted by Valerie_Huntington (5265 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun:

Unknown to the public, the Hellfire Club often bought majority shares in any establishment frequently hosting prominent figures. Businesses unwilling to comply were convinced through measures more forceful than monetary exchange.

Keeping a watchful eye and attentive ear on the habits of the upper echelon had been a skill of Valerie’s since grade school. Knowledge achieved leverage, and leverage granted power. Every detail of her peers’ lives became available to her, from the date and time they checked their mistresses into the Four Seasons, to the size sweater their wives purchased at Saks. The flames of the Hellfire Club burned omnipresent.

The White Queen delicately chewed at her oeur de laitue, radis et amande râpée, watching contently as Vicente grasped eagerly at the puree of pear in front of him. They ate in luxurious solitude, granted the dining experience of two modern royals.

Valerie’s telepathic radar instinctively altered her to a shift in this solitude. Her eyes drifted from her son to watch as three unfamiliar girls entered their presence.

They moved with the same refined grace Valerie remembered from girls at her preparatory academy. She studied their faces, not finding a single variant between the three of them. It drew her curiosity.

As they approached, a primal virtue instructed Valerie to erect an impenetrable barrier of psychic protection over her son. Her posture shifted ever so slightly in his direction. Yet even in her defensiveness, some vague sentiment invited her to grant confidence in the announced Trifecta as they greeted her.

“Please,” the Princess of Venezuela invited them to join her at the table.

She studied the photo they offered her. It was unfamiliar to her, as was the name of the man they spoke on behalf of. For anyone to be conscious of her present whereabouts, and furthermore have the assurance to seek her attention, both worried and interested her.

Valerie’s father, Alaric Huntington, had never shied from sharing legendary stories of his early years as the Hellfire Club’s patriarch. Wars he plotted, conquests of country and property. The secret and immoral ways he crafted the world to suit his taste. However Valerie never assumed to mistake his openness for complete honesty. She believed her father’s past remained full of skeletons known only to him. The man next to him in the photo seemed to be one of them.

“What connection does your Voice Unheard have to this photo?” the White Queen questioned them plainly. Even amid her eagerness to uncover what secrets of her father’s past had led to her present situation, she maintained a regal poise.

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#42 Posted by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst:

Counting Losses (cont.)

There were clues, though they had apparently neglected to observe them. Little intangible signals that all had not been as it appeared to be in and around the vault. Possibly even the Khan itself. Yazhun had been forewarned. Alerted, as to an impending attack. Calculated and as indomitable as it had ultimately proven to be, the false flag event had been unceremoniously foretasted by a traitor in their midst. A traitor who had vanished in the chaos but who's deception had never the less initiated the Voice's spontaneous counter-measures hours before the preliminary assault.

One such clue had been revealed when the targets of the 32nd Sapiens brains had not instantly imploded. Another odd turn of events considering the nature of the blood-benders attack. Confusion and prolonged suffering, delayed results were far from the blood bender's typical end game yet they had not only managed to endure, but to gather their composure had counter. Bullets whizzed past the martial master. Unique and sublime acrobatics navigated him through the waves of potential hollow-point blitzes of death. But without warning a teleporting invader reemerged in his blind spot and then disappeared.

Another explosion. Another crippling quake rupturing the integrity of the unstable Khan. Yet as the smoke dissipated the room, damaged from the explosion, it surprisingly appeared oddly unrecognizable. As if a veil had been dropped revealing a 'truth' masked in a mirroring lie of illusionary fabrication. The 32nd Sapiens' body should have been scattered across the walls, along the floor and ceiling but was also gone. The color inside the room was missing as well. The newly fashioned hole remained, yet deeper inside the protective safe, only empty pallets were visible to the naked eye. No gold. No cash. No blood-bender.

Despite the clever plans, the strategic recruitment of misled mutants with specifically tailored powersets, none had been aware of the Scarlet Shadowrunners betrayal. Not only had the Khan been emptied of its civilian clientele, but long before the conflict had erupted a caravan of armored transports had been covertly shepherded out of the underground parking garage by the Trifecta in route to a private airfield to be taken to France.

No Caption Provided

IOI's illusion had not only replicated the grandeur of a thriving and unaware casino, he had mentally manipulated the illusion of a unguarded and easily breached vault. A true honeypot for those seduced by the overreach of their greenback greed. For those foolish enough to think they could storm the Khan and bring it down with a handful of lies and tricks. IOI had proven that the enemy was not the only forgery in the mix. Exhibiting true and unbridled optical opprobrium for the thieves to presumably digest.

Even the deception of the false Inagawa had been premiered across a live-streamed broadcast for those outside to see. Secret members of the Syndicate in perfect positions for narrative pollution in the media could, and would, use it to exonerate the Neosin Shinobi in the court of public opinion. After the dust had settled. Long after the debates raged and fear mongering swept across the city. But still, far reaching influences across the globe would aid in this covert indevour as Yazhun would see himself elevated as a true hero who would not fold. Not that the truth mattered. Perception was reality and with an army of domestic and international resources...reality was whatever the Voice willed it to be.

Drawing Dead (cont.)
No Caption Provided

Articulating his body in angles conducive to a seemingly endless free-fall, narrowly dodging some of the plummeting debris while crashing into others, Yazhun finally hit the ground and rolled with the crash. Grimacing and paying little attention to the radical reconstruction of his amorphic enemy until he began to draw the Shadoking's attention with a sarcastic sermon. Yazhun moderately entertained not only the creature's antagonistic taunts, but the visual implications of its hulking resurgence.

He elevated his head and chin promoting the underlining sense of self-confidence, defiance, and reputable warrior mentality his family had cherished for generations. Where the monstrosity before him saw a stain on his legacy, Yazhun saw notoriety. Where the creature saw defeat, he saw mythical victory. And though he respected, in some small fashion, the claymaster's durable power of matter manipulation, it was the abominations mind he found most intriguing. His voice should have liquefied all conscious thought inside the mound of mud but had failed in even confusing it. An interesting development. One he would need to examine later. And there would be, a later.

Instantly the calm and relaxed shinobi exploded his arms out and away from his hips. Firing several digital shurikens in several directions, targeting the nearest clones with electrically charged projectiles. Without halted momentum the Shadoking transitioned into the air of the claustrophobic tomb beneath the building. Ejecting himself upwards with his wrist-mounted Aethrium wires in a series of spirals and gymnastic flips, firing more utilities from his suit's tactical belt. Explosive, sonic, and smoke pellets were rained down in a make-shift carpet bombing of the heap of living matter. Landing and loading his legs like a spring against a downed beam before rocketing back up and through the initial holes of the ceiling above.

Shooting out and violently somersaulting along what remained of the floor with cinematic grace. Understanding full well that nothing short of his full vocal versatility could stop the mutant in what had now essential become a home-field advantage beneath the Khan.

"Shogun." The voice of the 32nd Sapien was preceded by a gentle hand on the Voice Unheard's battered should. With one hand Yazhun signed, "Gather Noah." Looking upwards silently indicating the associates last known position. "And IOI? What of him?"

*He served us well. He understands his station, and what he must sacrifice for us to escape...* Yazhun regretfully gestured.

@valerie_huntington:

ℍ𝕖𝕝𝕝𝕗𝕚𝕣𝕖

The classic refinement of their inherent movements were consciously tethered, anchored by slow and moderated submission. Carefully guarding against any misinterpreted signs of disrespect or provocation while in the presence of Mental Matriarch and the picture perfect prince of the Isla Isle. Slowly pulling a finger sideways to reveal the same photo, only slightly resized to reveal another figure now standing alongside the Alaric, a man baring the facial resemblance of the Voice Unheard, and an unknown individual with striking features.

"This man is Otzii'San-Vun. Honorable father of our shogun, Yazhun San'Vun. But this man...this man is Jayden Knightfall." They spoke in harmonic unison purposefully neglecting to pursue the entangled history and bastardizations the name carried with it. But it was an unspoken sign that the subservient triplets were privy to a divorced canon of the Hellfire Club's early beginnings. Perhaps even its earliest. They simultaneously rose their hands, then gently fingered for an attentive well dressed associate to come forward.

"This" taking a nondescript memory stick from the servants hand "Contains a digital ledger our shogun believes proves his place within the HFC's Inner-Circle is a bloodborn birthright. And this" together they again summoned an item ritualistically carried by someone other then themselves. "Is a cybernetic transfer of funds. Mr. San'Vun would like you to think of it as...payment for past-dues. Annual membership fees, and a monetary mélange of investments to settle any other outstanding accounts the San'Vuns had neglected to satisfy." Each one subtly bowing in perfect replication of the other. "It simply requires your digital signature; Mrs. Huntington-Romerio."

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#43 Posted by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Counting Losses

The plot was foiled before it even began. An empty room was the only prize that met their eyes as illusion peeled away to reveal truth, the truth that they had all been played for fools. There wasn't a cent left for the daring attackers to claim. On the ground the red demon wheezed and sputtered his last, lungs giving out as they filled with bile and pus from internal burns as he collapsed dead before his empty treasure chest. Whether the wounds were real or simply imagined, it did not matter. His brain had told him it was over, and so it was.

Nils Hagen said nothing. The entire job had been a waste of money, a waste of life, and most critically, a waste of his time. That there were never any spoils to begin with set his blood to boiling, but what could he do? Take it out on Diaz, the mastermind behind the entire fiasco? No. At least not yet. Not as he was. The Black Hopper walked a few paces and flashed away once more, readying his abandonment of the Khan for the final time. If he were to have his revenge it would have to be well planned, well implemented, and above all, painful. Nils Hagen was no one's stooge, and that was a lesson that the mud-man would learn well before he had finished with him. But he was no amateur either, and professionalism had to be maintained, at least for now, and that meant finishing his part in this farce.

Drawing Dead

Each blast, each second brought their battle inches closer to completion. The foundation strained and cracked beneath the sonic and concussive grenades, smoke filled the area and obscured his many earthen eyes, but he could still see him, could see, even through the billowing smoke, San'Vun maneuvering gracefully up the hollow from which they'd come, gracefully and with his trademark swagger.

The escape attempt brought yet another surge of murderous intent, one Diaz was intent on making the last. There was only one way left to strike at the acrobatic aristocrat of the Tokyo underworld, and he was determined to take any chance he could to put him down for good.

The clones dissolved once more to join the bulging body of mud, rock, and clay. Massive limbs, overgrown and rising from the muck beneath him, pounded at the pillars to the Khan's stability, I-beams and concrete were crushed in and rent, and eventually the entire facade came crumbling to its ailing foundations, collapsing inward as its core was brought plummeting down into empty guts.

No Caption Provided

The rumbling could be heard miles around, the dust drummed up from the implosion spread out over miles. Fiberglass, lead, copper and powdered concrete flowed out in a cloud of toxic debris that would haunt Tokyo for years in the lungs of its residents.

From that point, it would be hours before Grant could even begin to reconfigure himself into any semblance of a mobile form beneath the hundreds of tons of concrete and steel, marble and glass. Diaz found himself adrift, coursing through the waterways, hidden among the muck and filth of the Tokyo sewage systems. His mind was swimming, lost amongst the shattered, broken memories of the day, the contents only coming back in fragments. From what he could remember, his job was complete. Even in his hazy state of mind, he knew he had completed his desired task.

Whether or not the other teams had obtained the contents of the vault, whether or not he had managed to slay the Silent San'Vun, he had still sown the chaos necessary for them to capitalize on anti-mutant sentiment, demonstrated the overwhelming might of mutantkind and the terrors it could bring to bear at a moment's notice. That was enough.

As the searchlights gleamed overhead, attempts to locate survivors of the night's horrors, his mind returned to him in bits. Every strobing pass brought further clarity. His body melded with the watery sludge at sewer's bottom, consciousness and corpus flowing out to the treatment facility where he could shed the vital evidence of the night. The bloodied earth and fecal matter, the trace amounts of the Khan's interior components, all would be shed as he returned to his natural state of loam and clay. A few minutes more and he would be himself again, walking to the waiting car, revealing himself to the headlights blinking on and off three times in rapid succession. It was over, and no matter what more was to come, how many died or how they fell, they had won. Whatever that might mean.

At River's End

The cards were laid out on the table in front of him, all overturned save two. The ace of spades and the king of diamonds. His hand placed beneath his chin, he listened in to the encrypted communications, sent in short bursts, messages between the remaining mercenaries.

His fingertips slipped below the edge of the king of diamonds, flipping it face down, a fresh scowl forming. His hands came up, fingers crossed in front of his face, mouth and nose hidden behind them as his eyes glared towards the smoking remains of the collapsed Khan.

Hagen flashed once more into the Khan, this time at a predetermined meetup point, a room in the Khan legitimately rented out by one of their associates native to the region. Red-Eye and Snake Charmer were already within, having made their way to the site after their pursuer had lost interest in them, but as Hagen took his first step forward the Khan shook violently, a sign of its impending destruction, a sign that they would have to make their escape brief. He turned to face the room's interior, eyes staring out over the only pair to make it back this far.

"Just you two?"

The cyborg shinobi shook his head gravely, his glowing eye fixed on the corpse of the young boy who had accompanied him as he gently pulled the bedsheets over his unmoving body.

"<No... Just me.>"

"Okay then."

A flash, and they were outside, retrieving the necromancer and a few of the reanimated corpses, along with the Golem so often accompanying him. Abandoned were the concussed sound manipulator and the ice mistress, both dead to either injury or mental overload.

In an instant the three survivors of the Nihonto Khan's attacking force were moved to the Hopper's underground facility in Iowa. There they discussed the vault, its complete lack of substance, and the retribution they would wreak upon the one who had sent them on a wild chase with no reward.

Donovan Glost had known that the promises made were not meant to be kept. The dead, after all, collect no prizes, and a regrettable amount of them had survived. Diaz would have to sort out the motley crew he'd recruited, which no doubt meant more blood in the months to come.

The remnants of the mutant mob at least had the decency to either be slaughtered or flee, their leaders incapacitated or abandoning the area along with them. It seemed righteous fury was not enough to carry them all to the grave. Those that remained returned, as they always did, to the underground. To their sanctuaries hidden among the urban sprawl and squalor of a city that willfully forgot them. There they licked their wounds, hatred festering with each life lost, each new name to mourn.

The girl, for all her hype, had disappeared, presumed dead by all but Grant Diaz. She had made no more than the 50k promised as expenses, the rest of her share as absent as all the others'. A week later, and Diaz would take his leave of the Milita. A temporary absence, he would say. Though he would stay in contact.

A funeral was held for Leo Herric, but as they had no body, the casket remained empty.

It was a symbolic gesture, and, in Donovan's opinion, a pointless one. Leo Herric had never been one to care for ceremony and pomp. No, this was all for Mitchell's sake. The sobbing mess of a "militiaman", blubbering before an empty grave. Glost patted his friend's shoulder, squeezing it firmly as the two left the site. He held no personal grudges. They had attacked the San'Vun Syndicate and the enemy had defended itself. Leo just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But Mitchell Herric had not lost an "asset". Had not lost an associate, or a bodyguard. He had lost his only brother. Behind the tears he shed there burned shame. Shame and hatred.

Shame at his own powerlessness to help his elder brother, and hatred for the ones who had separated them. Already in his mind were possible ramifications for their unholy act, retribution in the form of digital vigilantism, contracts paid to take the head of the Voiceless One. Him and all of his associates.

But that was for another time. For now, he was simply too weary. Soon he would lay waste to his enemies and all they'd built, but for now, he'd wait. For now, he'd mourn.

@yazhun_sanvun

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#44 Posted by Sii-la (397 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirst In the span of the moment it takes for him to drop his gun and draw his sword, Cesar is taken off guard for a split second by Yoshi's unprecedented speed that betrayed his extended age. The blade glistens under the casino lights as it careens downward to cleave the Kobra Kai in two.

Using a backhanded guard he pivots on his left foot and draws the slicing blade down the length of his blade that braced against his back causing sparks to fly. SiiLa kicks back and holds his blade up to brace for a relentless attack, but it doesn't come. Instead, a timed methodical, critical strike attempts to pierce a vital organ in his abdomen.

The movement was slow enough to be perceived but too fast to fully dodge. A gash opens on his oblique that seems to hold his insides in by threads of sinew as blood slaps the floor in a syrupy pool. The pain was electric, but the knowledge gained may win out the wager. Yoshi, though fast and agile, is still 90, and he is attempted to end this fight quickly.

With the newfound knowledge and the stimulant of adrenaline he circles the ancient warrior, never losing his gaze. 'Your son will pay for your sins as well. Don't think this ends with you.' Cesar promise aims to sting true in the dead center of the Inagawa general-no-more's mind in an effort to throw his analytical mind off balance.

Cesar's right side is pulling him to the hip in an attempt to shut itself. He ignores it.

Dashing forward Sii uses the puddle of his own blood as a lubricant under his right foot and slides faster than he could run, across the wooden Khan floors at Yoshi, his blade aimed for the lower center of his opponent's lung. If it landed he would end the fight here and now with a spinning slice to decapitate the bygone throwback of a bygone era. If he failed, his stance would still remain low. 1, 2, 3 slices to the legs to dismantled his enemy. Whether successful or not he would recoil back to the edge of the Inagawa made circle

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#45 Posted by Valerie_Huntington (5265 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun:

Valerie felt no immediate threat from the three girls, however Vicente’s presence forced her to watch their every movement with precision.

She maintained composure while trying to fit together the puzzle pieces being presented to her. The Voice Unheard, or any related family, had never been a topic of discussion between her and her father. From birth, Valerie had been groomed and tutored to take her place as Hellfire royalty. Alaric had spent countless hours instructing her on the history and mechanics of the nefarious organization which fueled the influence of the Huntington family in carefully kept secret. She couldn’t imagine what reasoning he would have had for omitting the man in the photo from her education. It now left her vulnerable, making her at the mercy of what information the three girls chose to share. She wouldn’t make her ignorance transparent.

“I am familiar with Mr. Knightfall,” she said, her gaze lingering on Jayden’s face. She hadn’t heard his name, or any Knightfall which she had been familiar with, in years. A house with history loosely woven with the Huntingtons, it had always seemed the two families’ destinies would cross again at some point. Now the White Queen had only to uncover where the San’Vun played their role.

She stared at the screen waiting for her signature. Next to her Vicente remained curiously silent, his large brown eyes shifting between the three girls. Valerie was painfully aware of his presence, wishing she could transport him as far away from her family’s business as possible.

“Why now?” she questioned, looking up from the screen to lock eyes with the girl standing in the middle of the Trifecta.

“I cannot deny the legitimacy of these ledgers. Your shogun’s family clearly has a long reaching history with the Hellfire Club. And while I have no reason not to trust him, I have no inclination to do so either. Why has he chosen to expose himself to me now?”

Valerie did not appreciate conducting business through messengers. She wanted to see the Voice Unheard for herself, to measure his fortitude under the pressure of Hellfire.

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#46 Posted by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Honor Among Thieves

[Sii-La]

Sparks flew as the blades clashed, and then came the moment of truth, the thrust, critical to ending the bout quickly, met flesh, splitting the snake of the Inagawa's side, drawing first blood from the traitor. It was with the grim satisfaction of justice done that Haruto Yoshi observed the damage done to the his foe, but it was only a partial victory, if that. Sii-La was nowhere near finished. If anything, the blow only served to strengthen the serpent's resolve, to hone his killer's instinct.

Yoshi's eyes trailed the mesmerizing movements of the Kobra Kai as he circled him, a trick more suited to the vulture that he was than the snake he claimed to be. Mental vocalizations took hold once more as he paced around the ancient Oyabun, threats made to his family. A trick expected of one as honorless as the silent serpent that slithered about him.

"<My sons are prepared to die the same death I have submitted to, Sii-La. The same death that honor demands!>"

A daring slide across his own blood. Bold, creative, as the usurper was known to be. His reputation as the pinnacle of the Inagawa's shadowy combat arts was well deserved.

But Haruto Yoshi was no product of the shadow arts. He was a man whose spirit was forged in the fires of the Second World War, a war in which the smell of blood and iron became indistinguishable from each other in the haze of gunsmoke and artillery. A war in which sacrifice was not only a possibility, but a necessity. In his mind, it was not a time an honorless outsider like his opponent could understand, not a time that any modern warrior truly could.

Even as his foe slid forward, his eyes examined him, catching the slight shift in the serpent's posture, the muscles tensing, coiling, preparing his strike, the position of his elbows, the degree at which he held his blade. It was a thrust, much like his own, this one aimed at his chest. The heart, most likely, or the lungs failing that.

He could have attempted to turn his sword up, to deflect the blow, to prolong the bout, but he knew that his body was in no condition to maintain an extended duel, and he knew equally well that his foe must have surmised this as well, so what came next was only natural.

The thrust landed flush, splitting the leader of the Yoshi-Gumi's chest and drawing forth a fresh geyser of blood. Haruto Yoshi had made no attempt at evasion, no pretense at defense. Instead, he prepared a blow of his own, delivered in time to the serpent's strike. Just as Sii-La's thrust struck, piercing Yoshi's lung as he exhaled, the old war dog swung in a strike meant to cleave his foe from shoulder to hip.

It was a sacrifice. A sacrifice for his friend, murdered by this same treacherous snake. A sacrifice for his sons, to honor their memory and preserve the lives of the few that remained. A sacrifice to his own bitterness, to quell the demon of rage that took hold of him whenever he cast eyes upon the red-eyed traitor.

It was a sacrifice for the good of his clan. More than any other cause, it was for this that he gave his life.

"<Long live, the Inagawa... Kai.>"

And with those final words, he slumped, and then fell. A man from an age long past, devoting his death to the future.

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#47 Edited by Yazhun_Sanvun (1226 posts) - - Show Bio

@valerie_huntington:

The white queen's initial blanket of skepticism was warranted. Expected even. "Our Shogun himself had only recently learned of his father's involvement with your infamous Hellfire Club. It began with a photo, and as he dug deeper into his family's sorted past, the pieces of a grander portrait began to take hold." Harmonically answering the blonde beauty with perfected pitch and tone.

"Unfortunately, he was not able to present himself in person but we can assure you that we speak not as independent orators with a message, but as thee true cognitive voice of Yazhun San'Vun. And in doing so would like to extend an invitation to you and your family. Come. Visit the isle of Aogashima, ancestral home of the San'Vuns. We have a private jet ready and waiting as we speak. Let us escort you" using their hands with simultaneous gestures of respect and dignity. "He has so much to show you."

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#48 Posted by Valerie_Huntington (5265 posts) - - Show Bio

@yazhun_sanvun:

Valerie’s skepticism softened. It seemed as though the San’Vun legacy needed his own questions answered in regard to his family’s past, just as she did. It seemed prophetic that this information would reach her at this time, paralleling the events she foresaw involving her father. He had become a threat to the world she had carefully cultivated, and she would need any piece of insight she could attain as to his veiled history. Perhaps the San’Vuns could enlighten her as to a weakness of her father’s she was yet aware of.

“I am honored by your offer. And graciously accept,” she told the three girls. Something about their mental presence intrigued her deeper. They possessed a psychic footprint that seemed both familiar and alien to the White Queen.

“I will need to make a few brief arrangements beforehand,” she explained, glancing to where Vincente sat. While she was overseas, she could not trust anyone with his safety but Rafael. She called for him telepathically.

Meet me at home, darling. New information about my father has presented itself.

She rose like a swan from her seat.

“Give me the address of your aircraft, and I will meet you there in a couple hours.”

Delacour Estate

At home, Valerie’s mind went to work as she garbed herself for the journey. The Hellfire Club had always been firmly established in the Western world, while its influence over the East remained a mystery to all but her father. Had this deal with the San’Vuns been the reason for his secrecy?

Her delicate fingers worked swiftly as she tied together the strings of a white corset. The piece harmonized with the rest of her white attire, complete with a cape cascading from her shoulders. When it came to the Hellfire Club, she always dressed for war.

She turned to Vicente who began to make soft cries from within his crib.

“Ssshhh, my love,” she reached for her son. Holding him in her arms she ran her fingers through his thin hair. “Mommy will be back soon, darling. This is all for you.”

He watched her with wide amber eyes, his cries dying down. She continued her embrace as she waited for Rafael’s arrival.

Private Airport, France

October told of the coming winter in France by bringing biting winds to the tarmac. Valerie protected herself with a thick white fur coat and a white scarf wrapped with Hollywood glamour atop her head. She exited the back seat of a Rolls Royce, stepping out into the open to meet the Trifecta. Unsure of what awaited her on the homeland of the San’Vun, she knew she was ready for answers to the mystery before her.

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#49 Edited by Sii-la (397 posts) - - Show Bio

@humansfirstIn the winks between seconds a thought can move as fast as an electric signal. As his analytical mind manifested a potential plan, his cognitive internal voice couldn't help but acknowledge and respect the mastery and cunning of his opponent and one time master, who always claimed he would never experience the honor of his unsheathed blade

Thank you.

The blade slices into his opponent's deceptive steel like chest muscles and penetrates his chest to open the thin sinew of his lung. But the strike was one he should have anticipated, typical of Sensei Yoshi

14 years ago: The Inagawa Sanctuary hidden within the mountains of a nearby island

"Damn it!" Cesar exclaims, "Why are you so good at this, shouldn't you play Mahjongg or some shit?"

The hilt of a short blade cracks across the Gaijin's bare knuckles and returns it to the scabbard before the pain even settles.

"Chess is a game of Kings, and there are many lands. Make your move and quit your complaining child. Before I slice that slithering tongue from your mouth." He says with a smirk. Cesar couldn't tell if he was playing the role of a joking uncle figure or a ruthless instructor in this moment, the Sensei switching between the two at will without warning was not uncommon.

Cesar moves his Bishop up the center of the field and knocks down Yoshi's queen. "Check."

Without pausing for thought Yoshi moves his own bishop directly to the left and takes Cesar's, then sits back with his arms within his ceremonial kimono. "Check and mate. Sometimes, you arrogant man-child, one must make a great sacrifice for a greater reward. Remember this, and you may just live to be something great."

NOW

The blade splits Sii-la's shoulder open like warm cheese and continues into his collar bone like butter before finally stopping thanks to the sudden and ample loss of Yoshi's blood. There are no words, there can be none. Only the hisses of punctured lungs and the feeling of each other's breath on their faces as gravity pulls them to a humbled knee beside one another.

He locks eyes with Yoshi one final time and sends a message on the stream of their alpha waves, now fading. What he says is between them. But there was a gleam of shock in the old ninja's eyes before his body fell lifeless to the floor.

Among the sea of bodies, limbs, and opponents the Inagawa halt and watch. What comes next would decide the fat eof the Inagawa.

Cesar, knowing how fickle power and perception can be, forces himself off the ground, slowly pulling the blade out of his chest and throwing it to the floor. Then limping a few steps with his head high--

Before enough blood to fill an 8 oz bottle projects from his mouth and sends him back down. Pulling down his face covering, Han grabs Cesar by the neck and lifts him up onto his knees, <Bring the car round--Now!>

The men examine one another, looking for the next leader of the Inagawa to say no.

There are none. And so they do as they are told by the new Right hand of the old Right hand. Han pulls off Cesar's mask to reveal his blood vessel burst eyes and leaking lips.

There was no time to report to Yahzun their retreat, had cesar the energy to say so he would have sworn against this but Han's heart led the charge home. The two ride together in the back seat of a truck, Cesar's head on his lover's lap as he gasps for air that wont settle into his open lung,

<This isn't how it's going to end.> Han says with a tear in his eyes

Cesar's weak crimson eyes float to Han's, "Do you truly love me?"

<Of course...I would do anything for you.>

Cesar reaches his hand into his pocket and pulls out a small yin-yang coin, glowing a dim green and hanging from a gold chain, <Ta...take my hand.>

Some days later, after the funeral service.

Ken sits in his office and stares down at the casino floor. Smiling faces and lushes alike unaware of the all-out war that nearly extended to Okinawa all the way from Tokyo.

"Sir?" A man says in Japanese,

"The numbers are down due to the heads on our doorstep last week but there's revived trust in the authority of the Inagawa's leadership now that a Gaijin doesn't sit at the head. Did I forget anything?"

The man, Yin, a bookish and small member more resembling a personal assistant rather than a new Right-Hand pushes his glasses back up his nose and then puts his hands on his hips, perplexed.

No Caption Provided

"one must make a great sacrifice for a greater reward. Remember this, and you may just live to be something great."

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#50 Edited by HumansFirst (264 posts) - - Show Bio

"Oh yes. I heard about all that business. A terrible tragedy, really."

"Hmm? That much? Annually? Well, that's very generous of him. Be sure to thank Mr. Tsukasa for me. Yes. Thank you again, Rina. Yes, I'll keep in touch. Oh, and make sure to say hi to Fuuko for me. Ha! Yes, yes. And you as well. Good bye."

*click*

Donovan Glost watched, smirking as the numbers flashed across his screen. The coffers of the Militia began to fill with funds gathered by their partner organization in Japan, who in turn relied upon organized criminal syndicates, as well as a smattering of more legal elements, to meet their own financial needs. This, of course, made them close allies with several leaders of the myriad yakuza families and sub-sects.

The Inagawa, as close allies of the San'Vuns, however, were a lost cause as far as benefactors went. Even if they did fear the sheer destructive potential of those who claimed the mantle of "humanity's next step in evolution", they also relied upon them as allies, their fates interwoven through shared treachery and deceit. Any contributions to the Militia would be a betrayal of the trust between the San'Vun's syndicate of hyper-sapiens and the Inagawa.

Luckily for Glost, however, the largest of the yakuza groups, the Yamaguchi-gumi, seemed more than willing to seize any chance they could to indirectly restrict those that might challenge their power. Their money flowed freely into the highly nationalistic, human-centric Shin no Nipponzaidan, the Militia's semi-legal sister organization in Japan. From there, a portion was transferred into the Militia's own coffers, as was the usual arrangement between Glost and Rina Nakamura, its head. He would drum up some reason for her organization to exist, and she would devote a portion of the new revenue streams resulting from that action back to the Militia. Both benefited, and both knew enough to keep silent about the others' involvement.

Soon there would be another wave of anti-mutant sentiment, and legislation, sweeping through Japan, no matter what the reports might say of San'Vun's supposedly valiant struggle. The True Japan Organization would see that their own truth was disseminated among the populace, and the cultural values of Japan, particularly those that demanded that individuals submitted for the good of the whole, would drive the push that made the acceptance of mutantkind a contentious issue once again.

He shut off the screen, content in the knowledge that once again he had managed to secure a solid stream of revenue for the Militia, but as he did so the dark in his mind roiled with a vengeful change in tide. The assault had cost him one of his most trusted bodyguards, certainly the most devoted. Leo Herric, one of his oldest friends, was dead. Diaz was secure under his employment as long as the money was good, and his odd code of honor would preclude betrayal no matter where he wandered, but he was no true substitute. The man was crafty, creative, and ruthless. He was a true asset.

But he was no believer. He would not devote himself as Leo had. Worse, with Leo gone Mitchell was becoming unstable, unpredictable. The job had secured the cash they needed, but it had cost him in morale and trusted personnel. Once again Glost swirled a glass of alcohol before him, this one a notoriously sweet champagne, the beads of condensation flying off the fluted glass as he did so. It was inappropriate, he knew, to do so, but nervous habits died hard. What was meant to be a celebration with the successful crew had turned into a toast alone, the others distracted, dead, or absent. He placed the glass back down, almost absent as the light of the rising sun peaked over the horizon. What was meant to be an easy victory, a guaranteed one, had become a contentious battle that had cost him far more than what he'd bargained. Yes, in a sense he had won, had obtained what he sought, but the game itself had left him somehow more devoid than ever. There was no sweetness in this victory, no approbation or content. Even with the Khan collapsed, there was only unease, anger, and the now familiar craving for vengeance souring his tongue, throwing bitterness upon his palate.

He slid the glass door to the balcony open once more, throwing the bottle as far as his strength would allow, shattering it upon the pavement below. The fluted glass, already poured, followed shortly after. The thought cemented in his mind that the game was not won, and it would not be until he and his were the only ones left playing. The victory felt hollow because it was, and it would only feel real, feel complete, when he, and those like him, were the only players left at the table. That was true victory. Not taking your opponent's pieces, not beating them at a hand, but forcing them from the game, their void becoming your gain. That was what he would do. He would celebrate when they were gone, when they were ruined, their dead eyes blind as humanity once again emerged atop the ever-contentious evolutionary chain of conquest, fresh from having climbed across the mistake that was the mutant race.

Then, and only then, would he celebrate.