Nation X [CVU Empire]

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Ali_Sani_Bashir

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Supreme_Chancellor

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"Would you mind?" Motioning back towards the aforementioned literature. "Tis rare to find such a prestigious copy."Regardless of the afflicted ruler's answer Ali would take his leave. There was much to prepare for, and time was fleeting.

With a courteous nod the Chancellor gestured his friend goodbye as Ali left, walking back around the table before bending over and picking up the knife he had dropped earlier, gently placing it down upon the table.

No Caption Provided

It was then... He noticed that the room was, different?

The dust hung suspended within the air, as though time itself had paused and the laws of the universe no longer applied to the room.

What now.

He thought, quickly grasping the knife from the table and raising it high and letting go to see.... Nothing?

Had he ventured deeper into madness? Had he become lost even further in time, trapped in this moment? With a very audible exhale, the Supreme Chancellor closed his eyes. This was not real. It couldn't be. He was just tricking himself...

Or was he?

No Caption Provided

@thisisgonnahurt

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ThisIsGonnaHurt

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#153  Edited By ThisIsGonnaHurt

@supreme_chancellor:

The cold embrace of an emotion far from fear, far from an inheritance of faith, such strange curiosity washed over the Watcher of Cities that it felt almost as if he had accomplished the impossible. A brilliant flash of color, and all stood still. The waves upon the air were quieted. Nothing moved, or breathed, and everything that had life within its veins was frozen in a moment of time unheard of, where the simple execution of thought and movement simply ceased to be.

This was the dreamlike state Ziggurat wandered into, an intricate puzzle of his own doing, in his hand a saucer and coffee cup. He had no use for its contents, but drank freely from the invigorating liquid. Or, it would have been so, if he could make for himself a reason for absorbing the caffeine. Yet it passed through him, broken down on a molecular level almost instantaneously, almost as if it were never there to begin with.

"I trust I have the Great Liberator's attention?" he inquired almost childishly, knowing more than anyone he would have perturbed or even insulted X's dominion. The ramifications were his to deal with now.

"I will hopefully quell the foremost thought in your mind, or attempt to. I am Ziggurat. I have not imprisoned you anywhere, it is just that I would do you no insult by inquiring of you at this late hour and rob you of any further time. For... that is precious to you, no doubt. So, for a brief instant, I have done away with the concept,"

He smiled, earnestly this time, and finished with his cup of coffee, though upon placing it upon the table all evidence of it being there seemed to vanish into nothingness. An illusion? Ziggurat had no purpose in consuming it in the first place, perhaps it really was never there...

"Your wounds run deeper than the flesh. Cracks that I can see plainly upon your face, broader and heavier than any wrinkle of time,"

He stood and placed his hands around X's face, not once touching the pale majesty of flesh he purposely visited this day.

"We are dreadfully similar, for though I can do many things and have dreamed a million times of different things they are not my dreams. I can only remember and record, but I cannot feel. Happiness... grief... I fear that one day I will find myself as a machine with no purpose. I do feel fear, my lord, fear of an absence of being. Yet I have not been. It pains me to see you in such a state. Your mind is salvageable, after all,"

Ziggurat returned to a neutral stance in the room, his black coat swirled around him tightly.

"I come here seeking to do no harm to you my lord. Instead, I want to reach inside, and pull you back from the ledge you're standing on,"

He reached out a hand for X to take. Whether he would trust the strange godlike being who stood before him would be his decision.

"Of course,"

Then he pulled away, suddenly conscious of how bizarre this might seem.

"Should we take a moment further to speak of this? We have all the time in the world, after all."

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Supreme_Chancellor

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@thisisgonnahurt:

The Supreme Chancellor almost mirrored time itself and remained fixed, eyes dead-set upon this individual as his swarmy words attempted to build a sense of trust. X had seen much during his time 'away', lost in the past. The Horned God and Mr Reza being most notable. Both had claimed to come to his aid, although help was refused. X was not willing to sell his soul to save his mind, for it would never be returned.

"What do you expect in return for this selfless act?"

The Icelandic King stared, breathing lightly.

"Purpose? Infinite motivation to live? I do not know you, stranger. But I have known many powerful mutant that see their gift as a curse, for what little motivation lay beneath the surface... When all one has to do is snap their fingers and achieve."

Life was defined by struggle, by adversity, if victory came seamlessly... Even that got old, very quick.

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ThisIsGonnaHurt

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@supreme_chancellor:

Ziggurat only smiled wide.

"Your concern is noted, lord," those words danced from his pale lips.

"I'm afraid, however. Not that you will kill me for this intrusion, because frankly that is impossible as long as your city stands. I am capable of manipulating them, cities you see, as well as anything inside of them - down to the smallest microbe. Yet... I find nothing in destroying or changing, but rather observing and learning. If I cannot do that, then I will cease to exist. Call it selfish if you desire to, but is that not the will of every living being? To continue in one form or another? I might be powerful... but I am not a god, my lord."

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Supreme_Chancellor

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@thisisgonnahurt:

What could X do with a mutant such as this under his command? Unknown to X in his current power-deprived state, Ziggurat was a psionic entity. Had the Chancellor been able to sense this, much more would be revealed. X like his father was also a psionic overlord, perhaps one of the greatest on the planet. Is that why Ziggurat had approached him, to restore the balance?

"What do you seek to learn by helping me?"

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ThisIsGonnaHurt

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#157  Edited By ThisIsGonnaHurt

@supreme_chancellor:

The Iron Dragon's fangs spread open wide, glittering like brilliant spearheads washed in silver. His warm expression dulled but for a moment, his excitement getting the best of him. Now he could tell X was genuinely interested, and had become willing to gamble on this proposition of fate. He ran a rough-palmed hand through his pasty white hair, and looked upon the Great Liberator with an earnest, youthful gladness.

"Everything."

He paused, knowing the weight of what he asked all too well, yet became willing to wait for his host's answer before continuing.

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Supreme_Chancellor

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@thisisgonnahurt:

"Very well,"

The Chancellor folded his arms, although his mind was open to this being.

"Proceed."

Whatever came of this, X would either witness something intriguing or attain his mind (and powers) back, after all. And if the Iron Dragon was successful? Despite not wishing it, he would be rewarded.

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ThisIsGonnaHurt

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@supreme_chancellor:

Ziggurat did not reach forward this time. Such showmanship was required of lesser mages of the mind, so he opted for a more direct approach - psion to psion, a contest of psychic barriers to see where the problem within X's corrupted psyche burrowed away.

He drowned in oceans of blood, and starved in mountainous labyrinths of bone, concepts he never knew of, and never wished to experience again. The fear of death eluded these situations, however, for he knew not of their purpose or imminent danger. To overtake the lungs of such a being or to deprive his stomach of nutrients only proved folly, yet he now knew of the pain such conditions caused. These were the trials of X's mind, his lordship having made such impenetrable barriers around himself as to never be discovered in full. Harsh climates only made a shell surrounding his embryo of thought and being, keeping it safe.

Secure, much like his nation's borders.

Tightly wound, the layers were impenetrable and unfathomable. The Iron Dragon prodded his dreamlike fingers into the clay of creation, forming for himself purpose and innovation. He had discovered fire, or rather, fire had discovered him.

"Amazing," he remarked, inspired by the wonders consuming his attention.

"Yet here we are, discussing the real and the physical. We have not even begun to delve into what you are hiding, my friend. Into what you have repressed deep inside the cracks of your conscious."

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Supreme_Chancellor

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@thisisgonnahurt:

Despite being powerless X felt the mental probing, it felt as though someone next door was hammering away and the noise and vibrations were seeping through the walls. Perhaps it was his subconsciousness still attached to the psionic realm, only time would tell for the Chancellor.

As Ziggurat wandered through the Chancellor's mind, it felt like an ant was crawling upon his skin.

Tap, tap, tap.

Religiously, X had secured his mind with a ridiculous amount of security, never intending for a soul to seep inside. Ali Sahi Bashir was the only one alive that knew the Chancellor's deepest secrets. Madness lay inside. Inside... Lay the answer to his powers.

X squint.

"Do not tell a soul of what you see this day, mutant.... For this journey will be forever sacred..."

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ThisIsGonnaHurt

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@supreme_chancellor:

"Do not worry, my lord," Ziggurat replied.

Ever more carefully did he tread into the atmospheres of X's psyche, touching without contact, understanding the locks without seeing them. He was trapped in permanent darkness, an impermeable shadow that consumed every thought entering into the system. Broken, unremembered dreams haunted his footsteps, the ghosts of progress. Children that could have been. Spouses that were long since dust. Phantoms of reality, husks of civilization.

They were all there, staring at him as he did his work, and he felt their presence weighing heavily on the back on his skull. Their eyes pierced his mind, but his soul was distant from them, a hanging thread taunting them in broadest daylight and yet just faintly out of reach enough for them to continue trying to grasp it.

The God of Cities, the Iron Dragon, his wings cast an eerie shadow over them, and his metallic fire consumed them in rust and smoke. No survivors, but there were none now living to prove his power, to indicate any show of worth. He was walking amongst graves, freshly filled but tombs nonetheless. His presence here goaded them to bang on the coffin doors buried in the hard ground but nothing persisted beyond the noise. The terrible noise of what could have been.

"I find this very intriguing, at least," he began again, silently, almost whispering with his eyes closed. Never once did he move his hands towards X. Never once did he raise his voice above a harsh inclination of comfortable speaking volume.

He wore an expression of pure imagination, marching through the terrors of his host's myriad dreams.

"And yet, what is holding you back..."

A bird of prey cawed in the distance, and he looked beyond to see its two heads glaring back at him, four eyes hungry for rotting meat. The trees were withered. Its crowns were of thorns and of gold, though the jewels were cast down and stained with mud. Red seeped up from the ground there, turning good soil into an image of raw flesh. Pulsations quickened his heartbeat, though they were not of his own veins. The ground trembled in succession, adding to the horror of what he had witnessed here.

Three men stood in front of him now.

"It is yourself my lord..."

They said nothing. One, with scythe in hand and draped in thick black robes, kept back as the others advanced. One of these held in his white-knuckled grip a chain of wet meats, skin still draped in the likeness of tortured faces, screaming for eternity along the length of iron. The other, a more regal man, yet his blade coated in a red splattered also upon his face and brow, staining his white clothes and cap, flecking the edges of his brown hair and beard, did nothing to wrestle the gruesomeness away.

Ziggurat said not a word during this encounter, yet his eyes did flash open. Pure white graced the vision of those who looked into his ocular organs, rolled back into his head as blood vessels emerged from underneath his pale skin. A network of blue and purple popped out of his flesh, becoming as visible highways crawling along his epidermis. His jaw locked in place. His throat bent backwards, and a slash of surgical precision slowly dragged along his Adam's apple, breaching into the arteries in a cruel and curving pattern.

Yet, he continued to make neither noise nor movement. In these eons of wrestling with the colossal psyches demanding his death, only mere seconds passed in real time, perhaps no less than an actual minute.

He almost collapsed to the floor, but regained his footing and slowly stood back up, his neck sealed and his blue-gold eyes once more free.

His bony fingers tapped the edges of his face.

"I have seen them," he smiled.

"Oh, they're very angry with me my lord. But I have seen them, figures from ages past collected in the graves, wardens of your fate - past and present. They do not want to let go of you. They're afraid of vanishing, once you regain yourself."

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Hadrian_Knightfall

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This was once my domain. I reigned, a silent king on a distant throne.

Now, my kingdom is gone. Two kingdoms replace it. One, far from where I belong. The other, far different.

There was nothing. Followed by everything. Swirling, burning specks of creation that circled life-giving suns. And then... we raced to the light.

The white-suited man walks the streets. He is not unusual. Short-cropped hair, brown, and a suit that some glance at, for it is monochromatic and distinctive, but none remember why that particular design once inspired fear in so many.

He observes what has come, and what came before.

He is not pleased.

And he cannot remember why.

By moonlight, the shadow walks. He is similar to the man who walked the streets earlier that day.

He wears much the same attire, though a white mask is pulled over his face. He remembers.

The rise, the hope that he would be more than the fleeting memory of someone who he is not.

The fall.

Death.

In his first life, he was a liar. A conman, a thief. He took the identity of one of a once-great clan, the Knightfalls, and he became it.

And then that name, that form, died. The thief, the conman, lived, but Hadrian died that day, in the nation formerly known as Spain.

And then he lived. The Walking Weapon had reversed the effects of death, at no small cost, to return to life a pretender.

The resurrected shadow-form of the thief, the mutant, the conman, was wholly human, and had only scraps of memory of who he used to be.They displeased him, so the clone, the thing which knew only a stereotype of Knightfall, became itself.

The man who had pretended to be Hadrian had been in interesting fellow. He was a mutant, but his real power was not metahuman in nature. Instead, he was blessed with the ability to become someone else in identity. He could play any role perfectly, because he had no true self. He had no real name, only aliases that he resurrected or murdered as he pleased. Until Hadrian came back.

The clone was given stewardship of a forgotten kingdom, and he managed it well. It grew, to outspan any other. He had surpassed all that he could have been, and then it all fell away.

At his core, his true self, he was nothing. Even the conman, the mutant thief, had possessed some semblance of identity, but the clone was a charade, masquerading as a thousand different things that only served to hide the fact that he was empty.

In the end, he had welcomed death.

Death did not welcome him

On a grassy field, somewhere he does not know, a man awakens. His eyes take a moment to adjust, as does his mind, for something here feels not right.

The ground is all rolling, grassy hills, illuminated by a sun not visible in the sky. Above him is only fire and death.

He takes another moment to adjust, and it is gone. A mere hallucination. He sees where he truly is, now.

A man stares at him from across a dark room, lit by a single, bare bulb. He wears a face that the man has seen every day in the mirror for his entire life. He is chained to a chair, stripped to his underclothes. He feels out of place in his skin.

The man is chained to nothing. The chains bund him, but he floats freely. He wears naught but a robe around his waist, and when he looks around he sees sky. A perpetual, starry night surrounds him, and as he turns he sees the moon. The moon advances on him.

The mutant-thief-conman advances on the twice-dead faux-Knightfall. "Well," he says. "You do present a problem, don't you?"

The moon-god speaks again, addressing the lowly mortal plucked from purgatory. "A falsified identity, forged for amusement and profit, that developed it's own ego, superego, and id. If I had never made that body of yours, this would never have happened.

The killer reaches into his back pocket, lightly touches the safety on his pistol, and puts it to the undead man's head. "I knew, of course. I was fascinated by your escapades, and saddened when they ended in tragedy. But you were never truly dead, were you? No-"

The man in chains speaks. "I was twice-dead and now I am reborn, bathed in the light of the moon. Your hollow copy remains no longer." The words are not quite his own.

One world falls away, leaving only the other. Hadrian made his choice. He was either the copy, doomed to die a third and final death, or the avatar of the moon, High Priest of Death, reborn as something not man, mutant, or shadow-clone.

Nation X by moonlight is strange. The metal security force patrols the streets, but they do not see the man in white. His 'costume' is nothing but a suit and mask, he wears no special protection and wields no weapons.

He finds a police officer, walking in the opposite direction. The officer turns at the strange man, and Hadrian grabs him by the shoulders, slamming him face first into the wall. His visored helmet protects him from brain damage, but his nose is broken. He immediately presses a button on his radio, added to allow an injured officer to call for help without speaking, should it compromise his position, or should he be injured.

Reinforcements are called. By the time the squad cars arrive, the man is slumped on the ground, unconscious, Though he wears advanced armor, it is by no means the quality of a Stark Suit. As such, his arms and legs are all broken.

The attacker is nowhere to be seen.

A hollow voice echoes from the quiet street. It occurs to the gathered officers that the area is empty, somewhat suspiciously. "When you see the man who runs this place, I want you to tell him something. Tell everyone. When you see me coming..."

No Caption Provided

That was when the bloodshed began.

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Ran

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#163  Edited By Ran
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MourningSparrow

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@ran: High praise. Thanks!

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Amin_Karrit

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#165  Edited By Amin_Karrit

@maestro_

It'd been days since his and Ada Guillaume's State of the Republic address. The conviction with which the duo'd delivered their words, the beauty in how the tricolor flag of France hung behind them as they spoke, the pride that permeated in their every gesture as they had unveiled the beginning steps in France's climb to eventual superpower status, it had left the nation of France and the world watching with baited breath, awaiting the arrival of a new era of French dominance on the global stage. And the Amin-Ada need only the right partners and wield their talent as skilled statespeople. Already their security and defense plan with the Shogunate, an all-mutant nation, was in development, one that'd help lay waste to the threat of metahuman terrorism.

The Shogunate's technopaths would now work with France's cyber-warfare command unit to break the codes of encrypted messaging services used by terrorists to prevent them from activating terrorist networks in both their countries. They'd share the costs of military logistics, medical assistance, and France would provide Venezuela with satellites. Their intelligence communities would share information and coordinate their responses with one another. And it was a powerful new stance for the nation of France. A nation that had once been so anti-mutant, now stood front and center of a revolution in human-mutant relations. It the hand of the Amin Karrit-Ada Guillaume duo at work. A hand they now extended to Nation X. President Karrit and Prime Minister Guillaume had been invited for a state visit to the typically silent nation.

An Airbus A330-200 glided over the clouds before entering a slow descent. It was France's equivalent of Air Force One; the Cotam Unité. With the blessing of Nation X's leader, the Cotam Unité was allowed entrance into the Stratospheric Energy Dome and the nation's airspace. It landed on a private airport secured and readied by Nation X law enforcement and state officials. And soon, Amin Karrit and Ada Guillaume emerged, flanked by Groupe de sécurité de la présidence de la République personnel and dressed as powerful should. Amin wore a two-piece navy blue suit designed by Ermenegildo Zegna, and Ada was clad in the elegance of a black Coco Chanel ensemble. Amin's commanding presence hung thick in the air, his body language casting the gravitas and cold confidence of a political strongman as he walked. His chest wide and his shoulders broad, Amin Karrit towered at an intimidating 6'6".

President Karrit
President Karrit

In France, his large stature drew comparisons to great Frenchman and lauded politician, Charles de Gaulle who stood at 6'5" during his lifetime. And whereas Amin's air was intimidating and cool, Ada's was calculating and mesmeric. Her mannerisms, her posture and gestures, they embodied the regality of a French blue-blood. Amin's features were icy but magnetic, marshaling the mystique of a serious leader as he strode, while Ada's oozed the hypnotic intensity of a social powerhouse. They waited, and soon entered the official state car of France, a chauffeured and armored DS 7 Crossback.

Their security personnel entered their designated vehicles, and they was escorted from the airport to the Supreme Chancellor's official state residence. Once there, Amin and Ada exited the car, and as they strode, their security personnel flanked them from each side as they greeted Nation X staff and officials. Amin with a respectful inclination of the head, and Ada with a calm smile as they waited for the emergence of the country's leader. So that they may shake hands and talk politics. And of the potential threat posed by the rise of dangerous ultrahumans like Mega Justice.

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Seth_McStorm

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When Pyro and Impero start stirrin' some shit
When Pyro and Impero start stirrin' some shit

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Amin_Karrit

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#168  Edited By Amin_Karrit

@maestro_:

To the President and Prime Minister of France, the sight of Xenon, former King of Venezuela and renown scientific genius, as Nation X's actual head of state.. was a welcome surprise. Still, it was a surprise that drew little more than a subtle softening of Amin and Ada's features. "King Xenon", Amin greeted, issuing a respectful inclination of the head. "This is a welcome surprise", Ada added, dwarfed by her president's intimidating physical stature but casting as great and commanding a presence as he. Together they walked, stepping forward as Ada received the high-tech tablet on Amin's behalf while Le Commandant himself strode forward, meeting Xenon's smile with his own cooler rendition, "This is quite useful, King Xenon", he began, "And you have our thanks for sharing such vital information", Ada added, again on Amin's behalf.

No Caption Provided

Speaking once more, his arms held at his sides, Amin nodded, "Yes, the world is changing very much. And while uniting Europe with the metahuman world was a crucial step in establishing international stability, there is an additional step that must be taken", Amin paused, briefly glancing at Ada as she swiftly absorbed the information on the high-tech tablet. "The recent rise of extremely powerful metahumans, ultrahumans as I like to call them, is a point of interest", Amin paused. Striding towards both leaders, Ada continued, her tone more measured and calculating than Amin's colder, more assertive tone. "In particular, the potential threat they pose has become apparent in Mega Justice's violent claim over Grim City. The potential for likeminded ultrahumans to attack and claim our cities is no longer a possibility.. but a reality", Prime Minister Ada asserted. "And we must have a plan", President Karrit stressed.

"Our intelligence agencies have collected live on-sight footage of Mega Justice's claim over Grim City. The entire battle is ours and now yours to study", Amin paused, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a USB flash drive containing a large file; the Battle for Grim City. "The abilities and tactics of those involved are there for us to see. And whatever we learn from this can be used with the metahuman genetic information you have shared with us, and a framework we are developing to tackle any potential threat from these ultrahumans", Amin paused while Ada stepped forward, a pleased smile on her dignified features, "The Ultrahuman Contingency", she said, "I recommend our Intelligence Communities work together, King Xenon", she suggested, "They will share information with one another, passing up information to the correct agencies, allowing France and Nation X to coordinate their responses for joint-action".

"Also, King Xenon", Amin interjected, his calmness and strongman confidence as prominent as Xenon's quiet and magnetic intensity, "France and the Shogunate have agreed to a security and defense plan that will see my country and theirs share the costs of military logistics and medical assistance while France provides them with satellite reconnaissance and they provide France's cyber-warfare command unit with trained technopaths", he paused. "For France and Nation X however, I would like to propose a different alliance". Allowing Ada to take over, Amin watched as his prime minister stepped forward, "A defense pact between our nations. A treaty that will see our countries support each other militarily and defend each one another".

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Zaniel

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#169  Edited By Zaniel

Húsavík , north coast of Iceland: Zenith's Bar

No Caption Provided

Too many times had Zaniel discarded mortal life as petty and fickle. Why should he give a care in the world for a mere mortal which would live for... 60, 70, maybe 80 years? In the time it took for a human to live and die, Zaniel didn't even celebrate a birthday (which happened every decade due to his prolonged life).

Usually, the Angel of Luck could toy with and do whatever he pleased with a mortal... But the last few years had been different. He had been the unlikely leader of the Champions of Peace and somehow... Perhaps... Fallen, at least platonically out of friendship, for the strangest mortal. She had never known, but during a raid upon their headquarters, Zaniel had heard her cries as she was injured and felt... Saddened. A terrifying feeling. Zaniel, the Angel of Luck and Olympic Champion who had lived long before Christ's name was muttered upon the earth, was growing attached to these humans...

...Húsavík was home to the Exploration Museum, a museum about the history of human exploration. Here Zaniel had successfully located an old coin belonging to one of his now deceased human friends, a Greek man, thousands of years ago. Searching for why he was changing - accepting humanity in an equal light rather than something to amuse himself with. Over three thousand years ago he had known the man whose job it was to create these coins... Fostered a friendship all that time ago... Had his friendship with the human world really begun so long ago?

@kaija

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Kaija

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#170  Edited By Kaija

@zaniel:

Uma had nothing but a name and a city to go off of this time. Zaniel. It was more than enough for her to find her prey in the end, but it took her more time than she would've liked. The winds guided her towards to her target; carrying the familiar, repulsive scent of the blessed creature. She was not The Kaiju Slayer today, but a fiend. Even while concealed beneath layers of infernal cloth and a mask forged in Brimstone, Uma was mindful of her situation. She adopted the stature of a small insect and let the shadows engulf her as she followed the putrid scent. As she entered the more populated areas of Húsavík, she began to watch the citizens around her for anomalies. Spontaneous Laughter. Random acts of Violence. Self-mutilation. She searched her surroundings for the various symptoms of the madness that followed her wherever she roamed as she walked in the skin of a demon. The normalcy of the streets was comforting. It meant that she had gained some control over it. It meant that she was less likely to make another mistake.

Most importantly, it meant that perhaps only one person would die today.

The executioner advanced onwards, slipping under the door then crawling up onto the dim ceiling; her claws producing footholds for her with every movement. Unfortunately for the Angel of Luck, Uma recognized who he was in the instant that she laid eyes on him. Regardless of whether or not the citizens around Zaniel could see the true nature of his being; he couldn't hide his divinity from her eyes. And so she moved closer to him while crawling on the ceiling, waiting and waiting until there was no one near him and no one watching him. Finally, when there was no one to get in her way and no one to catch her in the act until after it had been done, she simply released her grip and fell. Like a drop of water, her landing was completely silent; washed away by the music and the ambient noise that filled the bar. Without a sound, she grew to her normal size behind Zaniel and extended her right arm to the side; the eerie claws at the ends of her fingers slowly revealed themselves from underneath the thick cloth.

She envisioned it in her mind. A single swipe to sever skull from spine and open every blood vessel in his neck. Her muscles tensed as curled her arm and prepared to strike. It was then that Angel of Luck would live up to his epithet. At the peak of her excitement, she lost control. For a moment, a single moment, her aura would slip out. It was the same mistake that she had made last time. Unbeknownst to Uma, this was not the usual power that followed the Oni as it roamed. Sealed away within her body to avoid hysteria, the wave of madness that leaked out was denser, darker, and more potent than anything that she had produced before; concentrated within her body as it built up. An instant of exposure wasn't enough to do any harm to anyone in the bar, but it was unlikely that anyone within a mile radius wouldn't notice the pressure on their psyche the instant that it had made contact. It was too late to worry about that now. Too late to turn back. It didn't matter if he had felt her presence, he still needed to die. She needed his head.

And so, with no further delay, the executioner made the first move.

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Zaniel

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#171  Edited By Zaniel

@kaija:

No Caption Provided

There was an ancient thought - the best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. Luck is a very thin wire, to most. A wire strung above survival and disaster. Not many people can keep their balance on it. But what happened if the scales were tipped in your favor... Permanently? You just might never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from....

The world slowed to a preternatural halt, a freshly poured glass of whiskey feebly failed at filling up a glass as time staggered - momentarily, but world enough for a stench of darkness to sour the lovely atmosphere the Olympic Champion had fostered. To a psychic her innate power would have been felt. To a sorcerer, even more potent. But to an Angelic being? It was as though somebody had opened a can of diseased, rotting fish right in front of his very nose.

Everybody had a gift. Painting, singing, art, history, science, mathematics? Some loved dancing and others could build staircases that would reach the Heavens themselves. The Angel of Lucks? Swordplay- as physics was to Einstein and painting was to Michelangelo. The ability to wield a sword was his utmost skill, incomprehensibly effortless. His swordplay was only just a tad behind his recklessness, however. For if he was not the Angel of Luck, it would have surely cost him his life eons ago.

"You're not the first lady to lose control around me," having spun around in his stool, the Angel barely avoided Uma's strike, her demonic claws slashing through his impeccable black suit and drawing a little of blood from his chest. Zaniel looked ahead at her, leaning back upon the bar, in his right hand, the glass of whiskey, in his left, the old coin.

He winked, unaware what true danger he was really in. "I have that effect on women, you see."

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Kaija

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#172  Edited By Kaija

@zaniel:

Gazing at this man who stood with a glass in one hand, a coin in the other, a smile on his face and blood dripping down his suit, Kaija couldn't help but remember her old life. Before the UNKD and the Goliath Arms, before giant monsters were any of her concern, Kaija was a killer. Well, technically, she still was but her job was seen in a much better light after the heads that she rolled on a weekly basis were no longer human. This Zaniel guy? He oozed confidence, just like the first angel that she had laid her eyes on. But, unlike Ronin, he was charming, easy on the eyes, and maybe even a little bit funny.

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter was that he had left a great first impression. There was no malice in Kaija's heart and she didn't want to hurt him. She had no desire whatsoever to see this stranger die. That said, their meeting wasn't spurred on by personal desires. Zaniel was no different than an enemy of the state or a raving titan. It didn't really matter how she had felt about him; there was work to be done. To that end, as words passed from the angel to the demon, the demon made no reply. To open communications with this man, to share thoughts and ideas with this man, to risk forming even the slightest bonds with this man; these actions would only lead to hesitation and unneeded emotion that would keep her from doing her job. Silence was the best choice and made it easier for her to dehumanize the person standing before her; to see him as nothing more than a problem that needed solving. Still, against Kaija's will, she would still tell her adversary a great many things through her movements and behavior alone.

"I have that effect on women, you see."

She paused for a moment and tilted her head to one side as the angel guessed her sex; unknowingly granting him confirmation. A mask covered her face and her clothing was unusually thick; intended to keep not only her identity but every aspect of her being concealed. A glance around the bar revealed that there were still a few civilians inside; some too drunk to move, others afraid. Regardless, all of their eyes were on her. Again.

"No longer any reason to try and keep quiet, huh?" she thought to herself, bearing her claws once more as a few drops of blood dripped down from her right hand.

When next she moved, Uma became a harmless blur to the uninvolved onlookers in the bar. Her speed filled the establishment with wind, but very little else. She was intent on breaking an angel, but no more than what was necessary. With every step, her feet carved an aperture into the floor of the bar as she rocketed forward towards her prey. The bar was filled with a cacophony of controlled explosions rippling out from every footstep, and she spread out her arms as she drew close. Her intentions were simple.

As soon as the angel was in range, she would strike; a rapid flurry of horizontal slashes aimed directly at her target's sides and center. It was true that stabbing the angle, ultimately, would lead to more damage if her attack landed, but killing him wasn't her only objective in that moment. After having faced two of them, Kaija had learned that angels were beings not meant to be taken lightly. The blood on her hand, however, confirmed that they weren't immortal, either. A forward stab utilizing her claws was likely to provoke her opponent to evade to the sides and could be avoided by simply moving out of the linear path of the strike. But a wide, horizontal slash? And in an enclosed space that could work to limit an angel's flight? He was more likely to simply retreat out of the path of her attack and move backwards.

This was what she wanted.

If she could force her opponent away from the bar, away from people, she wouldn't have to mind her surroundings whatsoever and could simply focus on a single goal. And if any bystanders happened to haphazardly walk into the path of her strikes, Zaniel would notice his opponent taking action to deliberately avoid striking them before turning her attention back to him. Despite the speed of her movements, Kaija had no doubt that he could react to her strikes. But, ultimately, it didn't really matter whether he could or not. After all, if he couldn't, well...

That would only make her job easier.

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The Angelic being watched Uma, noting her disbelief that he had successfully guessed her gender with a not-so-subtle smirk, the corners of his conceited lips curling upwards. Whoever this was; whatever this was, she would come to comprehend that cornering this Messenger of Zeus would not be as unproblematic as her last prey.

Nevertheless Zaniel did not have a lengthy period to contemplate this zestful turn of events - the assassin dashing in his direction with admirable speed, considerably faster than any adversary he had fought in a very long time. “My name,” that same smirk never left the divine beings lips, his entire persona oozing an intoxicating yet similarly repulsive confidence depending on the viewer... Some loathed confidence.

Others… Found themselves drawn towards it, “is Zaniel.”

With a wink he dropped his glass and coin, simultaneously Uma’s clawed appendage lashed out wildly but with a keen precision. It tore through the air with the utmost intention - his whiskey glass and ancient coin edging closer and closer to the ground as her palm… Passed straight through his chest? Unpredictably the Angel of Luck took a gallivant step forward, utilizing his ethereal form to step through his would-be assassin’s body and at the last moment, attempt to grasp the veil covering her unknown face and rip it off, revealing to his eyes who this Angel Slayer was.

The glass of whiskey smashed against the ground and drenched it with the sticky liquid, the coin luckily rolling across the ground and back towards where Zaniel now stood behind Uma, circling right in front of Zaniel before stopping at the tip of his foot.

He looked ahead at Uma, feeling the torn part of his suit with his fingers.

“You’re a peculiar thing, aren’t you?”

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Kaija

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When given the task to end Zaniel's life, a name and a general location were all that was granted her. The nature of her opponent, however, was something that she would have to discover on her own during their battle. As her claws drifted through the man's body without resistance, his first ability revealed itself. He stepped forward and she turned on her leading heel; his hand grazing the edge of her cloak as he reached forward and they simply passed by one another.

"Intangibility? That explains a lot." she thought to herself.

The coin rolled to its owner's feet as the people in the bar finally began to run to the exits and make their escape. She turned to the angel once more, ever silent as her thoughts continued to brew in her mind. A few moments later, she would simply walk up to the smug angel, reach down and take his coin, then look it over. In truth, she didn't care if the coin was cursed, blessed or magical in any way; none of those things mattered, ultimately. She didn't even know if it had any value. What mattered in that moment is that that coin belonged to her target.

She held it up in her right hand and pointed to it with her left. Then, she began to play with the small trinket. She rolled the coin between her knuckles slowly for a few seconds. She threw it up into the air, then caught in in her hand. Then, she simply extened her hand and opened her palm to reveal the coin and challenge the angel to come and take it from her before simply closing her hand again. Lesser angels would back down and flee for their lives. They would succumb to cowardice and avoid confrontation at all costs. But Zaniel? Proud, mighty Zaniel? A creature of his magnificence would never back down from challenges such as these, right?

Well, that had yet to be seen.

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#176  Edited By Zaniel

@kaija:

The Angel of Luck let out a chortle, laughing at this mysterious assassins misguided intentions. He raised his palms in an uncaring manner and shrugged his shoulders and then stuffed them into his dark pockets.

"The coin is yours. I have no need of human trinkets."

Turning around the Olympic Champion rolled his eyes. Although it did make him curious. Without the power of luck, would the assassination attempt have gone far differently? Would he have sensed her without whatever had happened to her allowing him to? Either way, a clawed female who didn't even want to show her face wasn't exactly a worthy opponent.

Stopping his exit, which had only been a simple turn, he glanced over at Uma. "Go find some easier bait, neophyte." The word meaning rookie, or novice. "You aren't a good assassin. I'd suggest that guy over there-" he pointed over to a sleeping drunkard, a man who had slept through the entire ordeal due to his intoxicated state. "Maybe you won't trip over your own feet this time."

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Kaija

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"Fine. I guess I have no choice with you, then," the masked figure sighed to herself and spoke her first words to the angel.

Strength, speed, and the sharpest of knives didn't matter against an opponent that you simply couldn't lay a finger on. It didn't matter if she had a physical advantage if the angel chose to hide in a dimension beyond her reach. But, again, that only mattered in a contest of physical prowess. She put the coin in her pocket and raised a hand in his direction.

The angel's being would be subject to two effects in that moment. The very same force that she used to alter the scale of her own body would work to not only reduce his size but to reduce the scale of the angel down to something sub-atomic. There was no vector to carry this ability, no method of evasion through movement alone. As his height was reduced, so too was his strength and the potency of any abilities that he might have had to use against her. It didn't matter if he was an angel or if he could turn intangible against this power, it had worked just fine on being that she couldn't touch in the past. The effect wouldn't outright kill him if she succeeded, that wasn't the nature of the ability, but she would be able to render him completely irrelevant to the world at large.

The second effect would be the aura that he had tasted earlier, weaponized. She couldn't fully control this ability, and so she hated to use it, but if she couldn't tackle her opponent by physical means, she'd have to use those that belonged in a higher order. Concentrated, focused, and continually directed at her target, the aura of madness that had been building up within her was released towards the angel; a psionic attack rivaling that of an alpha telepath. Slowly, it would work to destroy his psyche on levels that no one in Fukuoka had ever experienced. She would not only work to reduce him to an insignificant speck but to destroy his mind and leave him in a vegetative state.

It wasn't how Kaija liked to handle issues such as these, but she had a job to do.

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#178  Edited By Zaniel

@kaija:

"Fine. I guess I have no choice with you, then."

Zaniel stopped in his tracks, smiling at those familiar words. Oh, what a way he had with females.

And then his smug smile vanished.

With just a single step, the Angel of Luck realized that something great was amiss. Greatly, amiss.

Curled fists and gritted teeth non-verbally facilitated the Olympic Champion's looming physical and mental anguish, feeling the deepest and very essence of his being assaulted on a level which he had not felt since Zeus himself cast the Angel from Olympus all those years ago. As though his bones and every cell within his body had decided to wage an internal civil war, he felt the strength weaken throughout his body as his angelic physiology attempted to ward off this cursed attack.

All of such attempt, biologically futile. His biology alone was not equipped to deal such an assailment of evil magic. Succumbing to the pain the Angel of Luck turned and fell to the ground, looking up at Uma with wicked white eyes. He grit his teeth as the last hint of his angelic defenses started to falter, pain surging through his perfect body as though he had been thrown into lava and had accidentally drank it.

"Did he send you here?" The Angel of Luck smashed the ground with a huge crash, cracking the flooring. He grit his teeth so hard it almost shattered them, gazing up at the almost unspoken assassin. "... Zeus, curse you." Uma had given Zaniel no choice. It had been a thousand years since he had used this to survive. Longer, since he had used them willingly. But in the face of certain defeat, what choice did the lucky Angel have?

"Cronus curse you," with a shuddering the entire area started to vibrate wickedly and uncontrollably, one would not have been stupid to presume this was the females doing - and then it all went a little insane.

Zaniel began levitating off of the ground, a small gathering of dust beneath his feet raised a few inches before the entire bar exploded in a chaotic boom!

No Caption Provided

Two dark wings fired out from the Angel of Luck's back at breathtaking speeds and wrapped themselves around his body in a protective shielding, a sonic boom accompanying both as a cloud of debris swept over him and everything else not destroyed in the immediate vicinity, the entire bar vaporized and anything not attached to the ground swept away.

The Pankration Prodigy's feet kissed the ground, landing with a dramatic thud.

He kept his head low, his hands by his sides, and then let out a faint laugh.

"Good try, girl. But those old wings can save me from all."

He rolled his shoulders as they cracked, taking a huge step forward and gazing at Uma intensely. "Now tell me the meaning behind this before I beat you so hard even Asclepius's medicines will be unable to save you."

He took another step closer, two angelic fists curling angrily.

"Did Zeus send you?"

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Kaija

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#179  Edited By Kaija

@zaniel:

Zaniel had certainly lived up to the expectations of an angel.

He was the first thing or person, aside from her own client in this ordeal, who had managed to resist her scale manipulation whatsoever. Granted, that ability, let alone the form that allowed her to access it, was something that she rarely used, but it was a feat nonetheless. Still, as her adversary succumbed to her powers and his defenses burnt away, he fell to the floor. She could feel his resistance failing slowly with time; his mind and body giving way to her influence more and more by the second. And, at the last moment, the angel revealed himself.

The ground shook and the atmosphere had changed as the angel prepared himself. In stark contrast to the assassin who had attempted to complete her task with as little damage, noise, and death as possible, the angel seemed to have little care for anything aside from defeating his opponent… ironically. His emergence filled the area with a cacophony of destruction; blowing away anything and anyone who happened to be left inside of the bar. Perhaps the spectacle, in and of itself, was a weapon that the angel had chosen to use against her.

She raised her arm to block the incoming debris and wind, then opened her eyes to a wonder that she had yet to lose appreciation for.

There they were; wrapped around their owner to defend him against her influence. The angel’s wings. Vibrant, visual confirmation that she had been hunting the proper target, and that she had been making progress. In this moment, as Zaniel’s expression turned serious, Uma had formed a smile of her own underneath her mask. She had learned something about her opponent, and she had seen his true form. While she knew that her opponent was likely to hold more tricks up his sleeves than she had seen, she couldn’t help but be a bit happy.

Zaniel’s words made little sense to her, but since she was in a good mood and had already spoken, she decided to be… relatively honest with the angel.

"Did Zeus send you?"

“Truthfully, I have no idea who this ‘Zeus’ person is,” she replied in the guttural voice of the Oni, “I take it that you have a lot of people who want you dead, then? Well, my reasons for being here are about as impersonal as they can get. You die, and good things happen to me. That’s about all there is to it.”

With the angel’s question answered, Uma began to advance towards him. A leisurely walk that evolved into a moderate sprint as she approached her target. Before she reached him, she’d do a bit of research on him; the few things that she knew could help to explain what she needed to know. The facts up to now were that the angel could become intangible at any time, rendering physical combat useless. She also knew that, even as his body traveled through the dimensions, she could still alter his scale and assault his mind. And, lastly, she knew that his wings could defend against those powers. What she didn’t know, and wanted to know, were the mechanics of her opponent’s wings.

When Zaniel blocked out her influence, he wrapped his wings around himself in a manner akin to a cocoon. What Kaija wanted to know was whether or not this action was deliberate or insignificant. She wanted to know if his wings functioned in a similar fashion to the brand on her back, warding and devouring octarine and esoteric forces that attempted to invade her body, or if it functioned as a physical barrier, needing to surround the angel in order to protect him. The second thing she wanted to know was…

Did he need his wings to fly?

And so, as she advanced upon her target, she would assault his mind once more; working to pressure her target as she watched for his response. Would he be forced to use the wings to shield his mind from destruction or would the wings protect him at his sides? Would he be able to take flight if was forced to use his wings or was his flight independent of his movements?

She would find out momentarily.

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#180  Edited By Zaniel

@kaija:

Many miles away, Icelandic Naval Command

"Sir, the anomaly has intensified. Psychic energies are increasing to hazardous levels."

No Caption Provided

The Lord Overseer serenely folded his blue palms behind his back, two crimson red eyes surveying a three dimensional holographic live feed of the intense battle between Zaniel and the unknown assassin.

It was a curious battle - one unwilling, or unwanting, to partake, and the other more aggressive opponent? She was unlike anything which had step foot upon this Icelandic Utopia. She invigorated the Viper - in a way an artist saw a new landscape which had to be drawn.

This little assassin had piqued his own intrigue. Her telepathic assault, however, was harming the homoeostasis of Nation X's psychic field. Without averting his shrewd eyes from the battle, the Overseer and personal vassal to the Supreme Chancellor instructed his underling.

"Employ the Triune, Lieutenant - The psychic equilibrium of this country supersedes my desires."

The Lord Overseer hoped that Uma would not notice his interference. In a matter of fact, she most likely would not. Zaniel had demonstrated a variety of tricks up his sleeve and resisting telepathy once again surely would not look suspicious in the heat of the battle. The Triune, weaponized triplets replicated from Alexandra's own DNA many years ago were capable of cosmic level telepathy when augmented by a psychic chamber hidden within Iceland.

Yes, the three women were used. But they liked it that way. For without telepathy... They had no purpose.

The Lord Overseer smiled - watching this battle once again, positively enthralled.

Back with the Angel and the Demon...

Zaniel smirked and squint his eyes, listening to the guttural voice of the Oni. How did somebody not know who Zeus was? To be fair, there was no inclination he was a Greek Angel. After all, the Greek's did not have Angels - nor did they have wings - with one exception, Hermes, the emissary and messenger of the Gods. Zaniel was too a messenger, or Angel, some called him.

The Messenger of Luck. Angel meant messenger in English... He had always thought it sounded far more fashionable than messenger. "I think it's mostly women, actually. Last I counted was..." Counting his fingers, the Angel of Luck looked up. "Fifteen scorned? The sum of my dalliances are as impersonal as one could imagine so believe me, lady, I know a thing or two about being detached."

Due to the Lord Overseers tricky machinations rendering her trick and analysis futile, Zaniel was completely unharmed.

No Caption Provided

In effect, it seemed that she had just gazed at him expressionless for a few seconds and edged closer to him. In that time, his wings curled behind his back and vanished with a blinding light, and in their place, the Fallen Son of Olympus was adorned within his entire Spartan attire. "But I assure you - when I penetrate you with this blade it will be most personal."

He curled the archaic blade within his palm, smirking at his corny insult. Zaniel would forever be his same old self in the midst of any tribulation. He took a step forward, the perfectly sharp tip of his sword lined up with Uma's eyes, circling around the woman, first left 180°, and then back to her right... He would only need to land a single strike, historically.

But there was no rushing the master painter or builder, as there was no rushing the master duellist.

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Kaija

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#181  Edited By Kaija

@zaniel:

Unbeknownst to Uma, she had garnered the attention an unseen audience that only sought to make her job more difficult. Before her eyes, Kaija watched as the flow of her maddening aura was disrupted by an outside force. It didn't stop her aura from leaving her body, so much as prevent it from being directed outwards towards others, but it ultimately removed the option of using it for the fight. Whether or not this was the work of her opponent or some outside force was unclear to her, but the anomaly itself was a testament to the Oni's growth. Her increased exposure to the infernal forces that brought out both her best and her worst seemed to be making her stronger with time. Originally, her aura only held enough power to shake the minds of the citizens in a single city. Now, apparently, her aura was potent enough to threaten the well-being of an entire nation, unintentionally. Ultimately, it didn't matter in the long-run of the battle. Even if she wouldn't be able to affect his mind from here on out, she could still manipulate his body and his power in realms beyond the physical.

Uma came to a stop and listened to the angel's words as he spoke; using the time to assess the change in the situation. Physically and mentally, she felt no different than before. She put her hand in the pocket and manipulated the coin ever-so-slightly. The subtle changes in weight and size confirmed that it was only her released aura that was being tampered with. She turned her attention back to the angel, his blade drawn, his movements quick and spry, and a confident look on his face. It seemed as though he was finally ready to stop running fight.

"But I assure you - when I penetrate you with this blade it will be most personal."

Despite the few battles that she had had up until now, Kaija still knew very little about angels. Zaniel, Ronin, and the previous angel that she had faced all shared a few characteristics. They possessed a variety of absurd powers, they bore wings on their backs, they were familiar with combat, they carried confidence into battle alongside an elitist arrogance and, most importantly, they hated and were hated by demons. Vandal had offered to inform her of the truth behind these conflicts in the past, but Uma decided that it was best to know as little as possible and to simply focus on her mission. This chatty angel was the worst kind of target. She began to remember why she hated the idea of speaking to angels; it always came with the risk of hearing something that you might like or finding a reason to not end their lives. Still, she was happy. The last time she went after a head, she had managed to ravage most of the city in the process. Today, only a single bar had been destroyed. It was progress, to say the least.

She sighed and decided to make the first move since her opponent was taking his time.

Uma advanced towards him with an unprecedented burst of speed. She revealed her claws; large, bladed weapons on her fingertips that had drawn the angel's blood before and that were sure to draw his attention over anything else in the environment. She rolled her fingers lightly as she advanced, her desire to plunge each one into Zaniel's flesh broadcast as clearly as it could ever be. Just as she was within two paces of the angel, she would bring out a surprise of her own.

Three moves in under a quarter of a second.

The very same power that she had used to alter her own size and to assault the angel's body in his ethereal state would be put to a new use. Without a trace of her intention shown from behind her mask or in her actions, Uma would direct her power to the ground behind Zaniel. Directly behind the angel, in what was most likely a complete blind spot for him, she would force a portion the ground to grow rapidly and exponentially. In a feat that most without knowledge of her powers would consider terrakinesis, she would force the ground to grow and rise into a jagged spike of stone that would burst forth from the Earth and rocket towards the center of the angel's back with enough force to flip an eighteen-wheeler. Although she wanted to injure Zaniel with her attack, that wasn't its main purpose. From their initial meeting, Uma had learned that her opponent's intangibility only helped when he was aware of an incoming attack. This particular spear of stone was intended to do nothing more than catch the angel off guard, move him closer to her, and leave him open long enough for her to strike him with her claws before he could react.

Her second and third attacks would immediately follow the rocketing stone spear; two claw strikes in an instant with a single motion. With her arms crossed over one another, each strike was delivered in the opposing direction The first was directed towards the angel's blade. She would simply work to meet its edge with a claw and knock it to the side to open Zaniel up for the second strike. And then, with her second strike, she would she would work to drive her claws through his exposed throat; tearing away his flesh and bone with a single strike and ending the angel's life before he had a chance to react. The sound of her attack would finally reach their ears long after she finished her second strike.

Three moves in under a quarter of a second.

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No Caption Provided

"They won't find anything will they." The angel inquired of a nearby spectator. Before the angel was the torn down building and bloodied soil a fight had taken place and of course it had a story to tell. Destiny asked of however at the moment the collection of heroes investigating. Didn't matter if they wore a pink mech, orange colors or cape Destiny didn't think they would find anything to substantial. To their credit though arguably there wasn't much to find.

"Nope. He was pretty loner of late." The answer she expected.

Zaniel an angel who once was of apart of a team. That team said a lot of what she perceived to be his fall. He seemed to favor womanizing, unbecoming of someone holly. Was good friends with a gothic serial killer of a teen and her suicidal boyfriend, and he clearly didn't save them. The land of the rising sun they called home was not safer, anyone alive was lost to time or a zombie. Nobody came to help him when something evil came for him. "And the killer."

A man shrugs unsure of the subject. "Vaguely remember him addressing her as a woman."

Lady and assassin went hand in hand that news wasn't particularly striking. Seduction was a good way for a harlot to get a downed guard. This was a fight however, but a fight not to set on rampant destruction like an expected demon. Was also a confrontation of powers and in the open not much of an assassination. Would be easy to dub it as just a metahuman conflict to be honest. Destiny knew though it was a demon against an angel, specifically an angel that didn't want a gross body count. Conclusion a scheme, or a half blood. Somebody who felt enough humanity to hold back. The other angel to die recently came with a increase in missing people a report of those lost with no reason given. That was however challenged by the Predatory path an ability to sense and feel evil and from this she suspected those missing were worse off then those who looked cared to imagine. Finding a portion of that evil to track however was difficult, if it'd been a demon alone her eyes would have likely caught it. Furthering the idea it had to be some kind of half breed.

Pillars of stone could be found spiked and rising from the earth. They were not carrying a stench of brimstone, terrakineses then presumably. Foot prints told of the dead angel resorting to a blade at some point. Much as she thought the dead someone who joked more then someone of virtue a gift with the blade was there. To fight him in such a way suggested the half breed was well trained. Of course humans who fought more hands on or had traces of the devils wasn't much of a clue. It helped to narrow things however at least on some level. "Did they say anything else?"

"He thought it was Zeus' doing. She seemed to be a little thrown off by that, but said it wasn't really personal."

And that there she believed to be a good clue. It wasn't about the angel being targeted just the nature of being an angel. There wasn't going to be any correlation between kills besides what they were. Being taken aback by mention of Zeus told of it not being to directly tied to a pantheon. So a lesser devil or one not quite expected was who to look for, specifically with an interest in a well trained half breed with at least some level of good heart. A large portion of the fight seemed to go untold, for now the radiant beauty would continue to just look over the crime scene. Amongst chaos investigation and weather finding distinguishing marks was tedious. With any luck though the angel's would hold out over the lands enough for Destiny to find blood or cloth or some other tell of the killer to further try and track. Such luck might have already ran out though by there being witnesses who had some form of lucidity despite an effect that made surrounding forces seem to go crazy.

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Kalil-Kai

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@rapax: That was a great read.

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Apex_

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#184  Edited By Apex_

@kalil-kai: Thanks! Wanted to try and play detective angel as much as I could

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@apex_: It was good haven't seen that angle done for a while. You handled it really well.

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@demonboundsitri:

Ali stopped by the side of the street, looking at the rubble of what once was supposed to be a bar. He'd seen the news. A masked guy had apparently murdered someone here. There were no longer 'do not enter signs' by the local authorities, but there were still Warning Tapes drawn around the premise. It would still be dangerous for the public, which was the only reason for the tapes. Besides that, workers had now begun clearing the rubble, and owners of the property were in the process of renovating it.

Ali was only there for sightseeing. There really wasn't much that he could realistically find off of a cold trail such as this.

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demonboundSitri

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The rumors had been... strange. Sitri hadn't known what to make of them. She didn't think she would have heard them at all, but she was living with a good friend who happened to be a rabbi, while she worked on re-integrating herself into society at large... and the cloth had its own channels of knowledge. Even if her host wasn't Christian, he kept in touch with followers of all faiths, and when the word came by that someone was quietly killing angels, he had - just as quietly - passed it along to his houseguest.

Sitri was certainly no angel. Nonetheless, she had to admit a certain degree of... related interest. She had her private suspicion as to who was behind all this - it didn't take too many intuitive leaps to guess that there was a connection between dead angels and the demon lord Vandal. There wasn't enough evidence to point fingers, though, and Sitri had more-or-less promised Kaija she wasn't going to go off challenging him. At the time, though, she hadn't really had anything to challenge him over, other than being generally an ass - and if she went around challenging everyone who acted like a royal jerk, she was going to be a very busy person.

She still thought it would be a good idea to find out what was going on, though, and so she'd figured out a way to get to the uninspiringly-named Nation X, and walked up to what was left of a bar, where it had all gone down. She didn't think there would be much left there... but maybe there would be something. She had no idea what her senses would be able to pick up... but it was at least worth going there, just in case. She was surprised to find when she arrived that she was not alone.

The other person was... vaguely familiar. She'd only been around him once, at some weird party... good God, almost a year ago now. She knew more about him tangentially, though. Ali Outsider, most specifically known to her as her friend Kaija's boyfriend.

No. Fiance. Kaija had been entirely excited about that development, last time she and Sitri had met up. Sitri hinted a little smile, and decided to go talk to the man. She suspected he was here for the same reason she was... but even if he wasn't, she still probably ought to say hello. She walked over to him, calmly confident. "Hi. Ali, right? I'm Kaija's friend Sitri. She's told me a lot about you. Can't say I expected to find you here, but it's nice to meet you in person."

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Ali turned at the sight of an a...vaguely familiar woman. He knew her from somewhere for sure, because, she didn't come with a ping that new people gave off. Ali simply shrugged. He'd never explicitly met her. But there was an incident a year ago...a party where this woman had also gone to.

She walked over to him, calmly confident. "Hi. Ali, right? I'm Kaija's friend Sitri. She's told me a lot about you. Can't say I expected to find you here, but it's nice to meet you in person."

Ali nodded with a smile, "Nice to meet you Kaija's friend," Ali spoke, nodding, "Name's Ali yeah. Wouldn't have expected to run into you here too," Ali laughed, or anywhere else, he supposed. Not that he wouldn't have wanted to, more there was no reason to. "Well, you know I saw the news a few weeks ago. Was really busy back then, but eh, here I'm now I guess, but they're already patching it up. Whatever was here, it sure as hell isn't anymore," Ali was, of course, referring to a trail.

Ali extended his hand to shake hers, or more like, took her hand, realizing the girl was probably blind. Kaija usually spoke about Sitri from time to time...this woman happened to be one of her friends after all, "It's a pleasure to finally meet you Sitri,"

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demonboundSitri

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Sitri took his hand and shook it without any apparent difficulty. She'd had trouble with that early on, but she'd long ago adapted to the way echoes moved around solid objects, the way the air currents filtered around things. Admittedly, she probably wouldn't have been able to adapt so quickly or be so good at it without meta-boosted abilities, but it worked well enough for her, and she wasn't going to give up the advantage. "Kaija says you two are getting married. Congratulations," she said, meaning it. She might not know very much about Ali, but he made Kaija happy, and that was the important thing. Too much news in the meta-community was awful, dead heroes, broken villains, destroyed cities. It was somewhat refreshing to have something as pleasant and simple as a wedding announced.

She returned her attention to the scene, or what was left of it. "I think you're right," she agreed, "There's not much left here. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was hoping there might be something to go on. So... do you believe the stories? The angel thing being legit, I mean, and not just some meta who thinks he's God's gift to mankind." She could probably name half a dozen of those without breaking a sweat. "The first thing I want to know, I suppose, is if someone's killing off angels, or if someone's killing off people claiming to be angels. Depending on which it is, that puts things in a very different perspective."

If it was the first, it was probably something more demonically inclined, someone getting rid of competition. The second, and it was more likely to be some sort of holy purge, and the killer was just as likely to be one of those angels as anything else. And of course it could have just been some powerful meta with a chip on their shoulder and not enough cards for a full deck. Sitri could probably name half a dozen of those without breaking a sweat as well, although none of the ones she knew were likely to embark on a holy crusade any time soon.

That didn't mean it wasn't something like that, though. In a world like this, there were always more idiots out there.

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"Kaija says you two are getting married. Congratulations,"

A genuine surprise appeared across his face. "Didn't know you were so close to Kaija. And I mean, it's not a matter of belief. Someone is killing either Angels or people claiming to be Angels. Well yeah, this is either the work of Devils or Gods. And, to be frank, I'd rather not take sides, and this does look like war." If someone or something threatens him or Kaija? Of course, he will respond, but he's not going to wantonly hunt for whoever is responsible for these hits. "So, what does your spider senses tell you, blind girl." Ali changed the tone of his voice to appear more sarcastic and joking.

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demonboundSitri

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"Kaija and I... I don't know how close we are, but we get each other, I think," Sitri said, "She's a friend. In time, she might be a good friend. Or the world could end tomorrow. You know how it is." It seemed like he agreed with her initial assessment, although Sitri wasn't sure she agreed with his. It didn't seem like much of a war. A skirmish, at best. A few targeted assassinations. The sorts of things that happened before a war.

So, what did her 'spider senses' tell her? Well, they told her she kind of wanted to hit him with a stick for that comment, for starters, but she hadn't come here for that and Kaija would probably be grumpy if Sitri whacked her boyfriend. "I guess that's what I try to find out," she answered the question. "Keep an eye on things for me, will you? I don't want to have to shoot some punk while I'm trying to concentrate. And don't get too close. My spider side likes to eat people who bug me." She smiled because it was funny, and it was a bit of a pointed smile, because it was true.

Sitri walked up to where the bar had once been, humming softly to herself, letting the echoes find her a clear patch of ground and sitting down, legs crossed, hands on her knees. Bloody stupid yoga classes. She slowed her breathing, calm, and reached down to where the demon slept within. Time to wake up. She could feel the shape of her eyes changed, pupils elongating to slits. She had no idea why they still did that, given that she couldn't see out of them anyway, but it seemed to be a static effect. The demon shifted into her consciousness, lending its awareness to her own. Mostly, it was aware of Ali, off to the side. He smelled nice, in that lovely little niche right between wanting to sleep with him and wanting to rip him apart and eat the little pieces.

Sitri had been spending a lot of time working on her control lately. Control started with acknowledgement, acceptance, and understanding. And it ended with the fact that he was engaged, to Kaija, who would be really pissed off if Sitri ate him or slept with him. Kaija was a friend, and also another demon, or at least something close to one. Sitri had felt the sense of empathy between them once before, the strong understanding of don't eat other demons before she had even really understood what she herself was. All that understanding, she applied to Ali. He was Kaija's, and she was going to leave him alone. Acceptance, and accord, and the awakened demon let him alone, turning her senses towards the ruins instead.

Truthfully, there wasn't much that she could sense out. There was... maybe something vaguely demonic there, but not enough for Sitri to go on. The place had been a bar once, and it could well be that a demon had dropped in for a tequila sunrise and had nothing to do with the destruction at hand. She thought if it had happened more recently, she could have gotten more of an impression, but at this time there wasn't anything definite.

She opened her eyes again, letting them slide back into the swirls of indeterminate blue-and-amber that seemed to be her natural state these days, and shook her head. "Nothing definite," she admitted aloud, "It might just be too late. If another one happens I'll try to get there sooner, but anything that's here is lost to time for now." She took a couple more patient breaths, then added, slowly, "I want to try one other thing. I'm... not as good with this one yet." That was an understatement. Truthfully, Sitri wasn't even sure what the other one could do. She'd steadied it enough to make sure she had control, but as far as what the abilities were of that aspect... well, it was all kind of up in the air.

It was worth a try, though. Sitri folded her hands together in her lap, and let her thumb run over the silver Star of David charm on her bracelet. She inhaled, slowly, then released the breath with a whisper: "Iyrin." The world stilled, and sorrow dropped like tears into an endless ocean, irredeemable loss and wistfulness and guilt. Every single time. She slowed her breathing through the homesickness for a place she had never known as the wind of invisible wings swirled around her. The sorrow was her inheritance, and she bore it with what grace she was able. She let it wrap around the world like a blanket, and sent out her senses beneath it.

The death hit, hard, and with it a sense of kinship. Not the same as the empathy her demonic side shared with other demons, but something else. Similar, and yet different. A recognition of what had been, and what was no longer. Unconsciously, her hand went to her throat, the tearing-

-Nope.

Sitri wrested her control back, catching her breath. It was a few moments before she even remembered she wasn't alone, and a few moments more before she was ready to say anything. "Okay," she said, very softly, "An angel died here. I think." She was pretty sure. An angel, or something that was at least as similar to one as she was. Sitri paused, lowering her hand slowly, rubbing the fingers together as if she could feel the slickness of holy blood upon them. "Violently," she added, perhaps unnecessarily. That much, she was certain of.

So. Someone is indeed killing angels.

It answered some of the questions... but not nearly enough of them.

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Ali stood back, arms folded as the blind girl walked up to the lot. Normally, the workers there would've tried to stop her, since she was basically trespassing on private property. At this moment, however, Ali had employed a bit of trick of his own. He used his bioelectric manipulation to suggest the workers simply leave her alone to do whatever she was doing, and in turn, the workers simply went about their business as Sitri walked into the grounds of the bar that once stood there.

So, what did her 'spider senses' tell her? Well, they told her she kind of wanted to hit him with a stick for that comment, for starters, but she hadn't come here for that and Kaija would probably be grumpy if Sitri whacked her boyfriend. "I guess that's what I try to find out," she answered the question. "Keep an eye on things for me, will you? I don't want to have to shoot some punk while I'm trying to concentrate. And don't get too close. My spider side likes to eat people who bug me." She smiled because it was funny, and it was a bit of a pointed smile, because it was true.

Ali responded with a nod, not that she could really see it anyway, "Yeah, yeah, I got you covered Sitri," He nodded her way with a smile.

Ali glanced around. There were a lot of people that happened in and around the area. People who went about their daily lives. People, who would glance at the once busy establishment and sigh, mutter a few words and then move on. Ali felt sympathy for them, mostly because he heard their voices in his heart. Some of these people grew up, with the little joint being a part of them. Losing it to such a tragedy, and in the aftermath of prevailing rumours that something vile was hunting the holy, left a stain on the neighbourhood. And it was mostly resentment that Ali recalled from these people then. He casually rode the bioelectric patterns in the brains of the tens of people, and the workers, glancing at their memories, simultaneously. Ali wasn't reading for something specific, the incident which transpired that day, he was looking for images of the fight. Not a lot of people saw it, but there were some who witnessed the silhouette of someone, a masked figure who looked like a guy. Whoever it was going to a lot of trouble to hide who he was from the public eye, or anyone, really.

She opened her eyes again, letting them slide back into the swirls of indeterminate blue-and-amber that seemed to be her natural state these days, and shook her head. "Nothing definite," she admitted aloud, "It might just be too late. If another one happens I'll try to get there sooner, but anything that's here is lost to time for now." She took a couple more patient breaths, then added, slowly, "I want to try one other thing. I'm... not as good with this one yet." That was an understatement. Truthfully, Sitri wasn't even sure whatthe other one could do. She'd steadied it enough to make sure she had control, but as far as what the abilities were of that aspect... well, it was all kind of up in the air.

Ali turned his attention back to Sitri, hoping she would've been more successful than he was. Alas, he was disappointed when she declared her failure. It was understandable. The trail had gone far too cold for anyone to pick up on a trail, but if anyone could grasp the underlining truth, it was Sitri. Her ability was mysterious, Ali understood. It was previously because there were no hard rules to it that he was confident in her ability to arrive at a conclusion.

Ali waited.

Sitri wrested her control back, catching her breath. It was a few moments before she even remembered she wasn't alone, and a few moments more before she was ready to say anything. "Okay," she said, very softly, "An angel died here. I think." She was pretty sure. An angel, or something that was at least as similar to one as she was. Sitri paused, lowering her hand slowly, rubbing the fingers together as if she could feel the slickness of holy blood upon them. "Violently," she added, perhaps unnecessarily. That much, she was certain of.

Ali nodded with a smile, "See? I knew your Spider-Sense would work!" Ali spoke emphatically, arriving next to the girl in less time than it took for a human heart to beat once. "So, an Angel died, violently. That's something we can work with, you know? For instance, let's try to figure out if either you or I know any Angels here, people who claim they are or just otherwise. Anyone we can knock on for information would be a valid option to pursue, don't you think?

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demonboundSitri

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"Yeah, well, that's gonna be a real short conversation," Sitri commented, "I don't know any angels at all, or anyone claiming to be one. Honestly, I don't know much about angels at all. Never really... looked into it." So to speak, anyway. Truthfully, the reason she'd never gone after anything holy was because she'd always been pretty sure that doing so would make her a primary target. She still felt that way, in a lot of ways. She was willing to accept the idea of angels, or some sort of weird creature that was best defined by the term angel - there were plenty of weird creatures in the universe, after all. That didn't mean angels were likely to accept the idea of Sitri.

No, she really wasn't all that interested in angels, all told. That didn't mean they deserved to die, but there were thousands of mortals who didn't deserve to die who did exactly that every day. Sitri wouldn't have been much interested at all... if not that she was worried that this was going to catch up to people she cared about. Or if she didn't half think that Vandal jerk might be behind it. She kind of thought that if he had been here, she would have known... maybe. That wasn't necessarily true, and even if it was true, that didn't mean that he wouldn't have sent one of his minions. The guy had leagues of demon hordes and whatnot, he probably had devil assassins or something.

Or maybe she was just assigning too much responsibility to him because she thought he was a jerk. There might have been that, too. She sat back a little, turning her attention to the guards. She'd felt their interest at first, when she'd approached the area... and then she'd felt it drop, without reason. Hm. She considered Ali, critically. "You know, influencing people's choices is a dick move," she stated, offhand. "You ever think about that?" She wasn't entirely sure that she'd made that connection correctly, but the only other meta in the area right now was herself, and she sure hadn't done it. "What's Kaija have to say about you doing that?"

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Ali_

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#195  Edited By Ali_

@demonboundsitri:

"You know, influencing people's choices is a dick move," she stated, offhand. "You ever think about that?" She wasn't entirely sure that she'd

made that connection correctly, but the only other meta in the area right now was herself, and she sure hadn't done it. "What's Kaija have to say about you doing that?"

Ali smiled at the notion of the blind girl. She's sharp, Ali assessed, amused. At that moment, he released control over the host of workers on site, and as they returned to their senses, two of them came towards Sitri, glaring.

"Get out of here!" The man roared.

"This area is off limits," The other guy said, pointing towards a sign posted just by the road into the area.

It was then that Ali intervened, "I'm sorry...she's blind. She can't read signs," He said in a very serious tone.

"Hmph, leave the area and don't let her wander off by herself." The man added.

Ali hurriedly offered his hand to Sitri to lead her out of the area.

"Influencing choices?" Ali asked, "Anyhow if you don't know any Angels, we can only work at this from another Angle. That is, we can only assume that demons are the one doing this hunting...which kind of puts you as a suspect, too." Ali theorized. He understood full well how Uma felt about her chances of redemption in the eye of God. Under such circumstances, for demons, it wouldn't be strange if demons or someone with links to demonkind started killing Angels.

Ali didn't like it at all, the indiscrimination that existed in this world. If he could, he wants to help the likes of Uma and Sitri find a normal livelihood in this world. "I'm not saying it's you or Uma, all I'm saying is, this is the only angle we have, for now."

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demonboundSitri

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"Oh, I'm sorry," Sitri responded to the workers, with apparent contrition, "I didn't mean to worry you." She let Ali lead her away a little bit, then promptly burst into laughter and tried to hit him, which likely wasn't going to work because he was one of those stupid fast types. "Oh my god, you are such a jerk," she accused him, with all the good humor of accepting a prank well played. Truthfully it was probably something she'd needed a lot more than she was willing to let on. Her Nephilim... what was the word? Activation? Sitri wasn't in on all the hero-language. Anyway, whatever it was, it tended to take a lot out of her, emotionally speaking. The echo of paradise lost was fairly pervasive. It wasn't something that was easy to recover from.

She sobered a little as the discussion turned serious, and sighed. "I'm not," she said, "But I get that you've got no reason to believe that. There's more demon-people in the world than me and Uma, too. There's some kid in LA I know about. It could be someone no one's ever heard of, too. I don't know. It's weird. Why are you here anyway?" The last was a bit of a non-sequitor, but she didn't really have a satisfactory reason for what he was doing in this place. He'd mentioned checking up on a trail after it had been on the news some weeks ago, but from what little she knew about him, she wouldn't have guessed he was the type to go out looking into things like this on a whim. Not that she thought he was involved, just that... the more information she had, the better. Maybe he knew something she didn't.

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"I'd assume the same reason as you," Ali started walking, leading her away and towards what appeared to be a glass-windowed cafe a few blocks away on the other side of the street. He wasn't sure Sitri needed a hand, so extended one, just in case she needed it to get around. Would it be considered offensive? Ali didn't really care. "Saw the incident on the news, I thought it was worth seeing in person. Usually, I have Kaija on my off days, but our schedules don't always coincide, which explains why I have rare instances of free time like these where I move around and explore the greater world. I'm just surprised so much is compacted into such a little space, like a literal space rock floating in the void of nothingness,"

Ali's mind floated back to his homeland. It wasn't like that at all in the realm. The continent was infinitely vast. Even at top speed, Ali could fly for hours and not reach its end. On top of that, he wasn't actually allowed to do it. There were certain inhibitions and barriers that prevented the wanton use of abilities outside of certain ranges of influence. For instance, countries in the lower infinity were forbidden from making those of the lower infinity. Ali belonged to the lower infinity continent, a point discerned by the Master's island which sits at the dead center of the realm, an island, not even 2 miles across, surrounded by a ring-shaped lake around which runs the strip of land which connects both halves of infinity. So why was it like that? No one really knew. The Core guardian made the rules.

"You spoke about a girl in L.A. Do you mind telling me about her over a cup of coffee maybe?" Ali suggested, stopping at the front of the cafe, on the sideline so as to not disrupt the people that went in and out of the establishment as he waited for Sitri. "And then maybe I could escort you back home after that. It'd certainly be easier than going through the strenuous process of passing through all those security and scheduled flights." But of course, even he was not exempt from breaking in and entering, Ali just had to acquire a permit with an expiry date of 24 hrs to freely fly in and out via designated zones...it was really a very strenuous process, in a country that was mostly closed off from the world.

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demonboundSitri

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#198  Edited By demonboundSitri

"Actually it wasn't the news," Sitri said, "I mean, yeah, I guess I heard about it there, but there's plenty of crap happening in my own jurisdiction without traveling halfway across the world. I was just going to ignore it but then the Rabbi was all like 'Someone ought to do something about that, Sitri' and now I'm here." He was a very persuasive man, the sort who persuaded by mentioning things in passing and just assuming that people would do the right thing. And then they did, because they didn't want to disappoint him. Sitri found the effect rather impressive, and even more impressive was the fact that seeing right through it didn't stop it from working on her at all.

"I don't know how much there is to say about the kid, I've only met her once and it was a while ago. She hangs out with those Unity bastards though." Sitri was well aware of the fact that she probably owed 'those Unity bastards' a favor, but that didn't mean she had to start liking them. "Might as well go find somewhere to talk about it, but I'm not a coffee person. I like to stick to water and make judgmental comments about people drinking milkshakes with a hint of coffee in them."

She followed him into the cafe, acquiring a bottle of water and a suitably judgmental mien and sitting down at a table with him. "I'll just stick to my scheduled plans," she told him casually, "I hate flying enough when it's in an airplane, there's no way I'm gonna start doing it with some random jerk I picked up in a foreign country. So, I'm surprised you even brought up Kaija with all this, given that she's your girlfriend and all."

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@demonboundsitri:

Ali waited until they were seated at the table and ordering something before they were talking again, "Rabbi?" Ali inquired, confused. He hasn't heard that word or read about it before. "What, or I should say, who is that?" And as he asked this, Ali tried to read Sitri's mind, using his bioelectric influence to try and seep into her brain in order to decipher the patterns and codes into understandable language. If he was successful in this attempt, Ali would have managed to establish a bioelectric link which would allow him to gaze into not just Sitri's thoughts, but her memories as well, without her being any wiser about it. Ali did all this without skipping a heartbeat, without the slightest change in his mannerisms, breathing or tone. Years of practice in his homeland as well as here in Outer World had allowed Ali to do so almost at a subconscious level. It was a conscious decision in that, Ali allowed his perception to tap into her brain waves. Otherwise, this gift of bioelectric manipulation would turn into a nightmare with thoughts of the masses flowing into his brain like an open water tap without a valve to stop the flow. "From what you just told me, it sounds to me like you have more reason to be here than I. Do you mind telling me what you intend to do if you catch the perp?" Ali smiled, leaning back against the sofa he sat on, his eyes flying across the room, to the lady at the cash register who served her customers with a smile, and to the boys who sat on stools by the counter, laughing and flirting with the waitress behind, who was then working on concocting a milkshake with a hint of coffee in it, as Sitri would put.

Ali didn't really think it was necessary to keep his glance on Sitri as she wasn't able to see him anyway, it was just much more important for her to know that he was there and he was holding a conversation with her, at least to Ali; that was more important. Ali could still see the torn down Bar across the streets. The mention of Unity brought his attention back to Sitri though, or at least visibly so. "Unity?" Ali inquired with a raised brow, "You must mean Rana," He remembered meeting her first at the Blue Tie Event then going to a party, something like her coming of the age ceremony, which got pretty wild. Later on, he saw her at a Unity meeting. Good friends with Uma, and so despite his falling offs with Unity, he didn't really put his frustrations on the girl. He did remember she was prone to hellish desires though, "I may know more about her than you do, and even if that's not true, I will have to say that Rana is a more than likely suspect when it comes to hunting down the holy. Feel free to use your spider sense on her,"

Serving at the joint was pretty hectic. There were 5 servers employed, all going about serving, cleaning tables and carrying bills to and fro. It would seem after the downfall of the Bar across town, this little cafe joint had gotten more customers than it did in the past, and perhaps they were even trying to fill the void left in its wake. "The choices Kaija makes in her life is hers, after all. As her faithful, I'll just have to be a part of those choices. That's how it is." He left it vague intentionally. If she was, in fact, hunting down Angels, Ali would probably be an aid in that endeavour, there wasn't much else to it.

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Pyrogram

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#200  Edited By Pyrogram

@demonboundsitri: @ali_: That was a cool interaction. What happened to Zaniel?.... Who knows xP

Also, I'm rebooting this thread sometime soon. Moving away from the mutant focused-angle as you know.