Jiyuyi Mountain Range, Just outside of Reisho
The howling winds of Jiyuyi's treacherous environment echoed through the halls of the infrastructure, recently built into the side of the largest mountain in the area. Day after day the final defectors of the Keijijo Clan, from an era long forgotten, stalked these halls; protecting what they believed to be a bastion of hope. Deep within the many overarching corridors housed a room which no one accessed. Housed within this room was the essence of Milo Archer, a Keijijo Elite, trained by the savant Ishin, who went on to challenge his very master on multiple occasions and secured his own position as both one of the Keijijo greatest pupils and its most lethal adversary.
Destroyed in a climatic final confrontation between Milo, his former master and the latest pupil, he realized that his physical form was finite in its uses. As such he sought a way to achieve immortality in the same method the Keijijo Sanmittei had, imbuing his essence, the very concentration of his consciousness in a quantum state as well as the incalculable levels of chi possessed and granted to him through the acquisition of the Zenku entity; into single Keijijo geijutsu inscription on a mask of his own design.
"The Pressure is different tonight, more aggressive." The former keijijo stated, leaning against the exterior wall of the mountain facility, partner lagging behind him with a lackadaisical gallop. "Relax acolyte, Jiyuyi is much more forgiving than Reisho. We shall be fine. Have you finished your round?" The partner's face came into view as the winds howled once again, and the fire danced upon his rugged, aged features. His stern visage was foreboding but their was a subtle weakness behind his eyes that betrayed this. "Yes, I have. Saw tracks about 1,000 yards east. Fresh. I'm telling you something is off tonight..."
It had been several weeks since she lost her battle against her cousin, Catalina. The General of Cardinal Hell had underestimated the power of The Prized Fighter, and it had cost her the battle… and her sword. But instead of waiting around till the next time arises for her strike, she had begun research to gain even more power. To becoming stronger, faster, more bloodthirsty, than ever before. More than she had been as Matriarch, more than she had been as an Aggressor and far more than she was now as a Demoness. In the Cardinal underworld, talk of something called “The Essence of Tranquil” had caught her attention. While the name sound like the opposite of what Zeon wanted, it was in fact the source of a power that would give her everything she wanted and more.
So she traveled to the Jiyuyi Mountain Range where the essence was said to be kept, under the protection of a clan from a dead era. Which meant one thing… the battle for the power would be a short one. She stood in her old Matriarch armor, the hood over her head as the chill of the mountain washed over her as she began her march alone. It wasn’t until the sun had set, whens he finally found the first sign of Keijijo Clan, track marks. A twisted grin appeared on her face.
Like a rabid dog on the tracks of it’s next prey her brown eyes turned crimson as she finally heard them close by.
"Yes, I have. Saw tracks about 1,000 yards east. Fresh. I'm telling you something is off tonight..."
Without warning, in a blur of darkness the Liafador of Rage plunged her blade into the back of the man who was lagging behind, the end of her blade sticking out of his chest as blood splattered on the man who was leading the way. A gargling sound of the man drowning in his own life essence was heard as blood flowed from his mouth. The crimson fluid spilling onto the chilly Earth as Zeon forcefully pulled the blade out of the man in one swift movement it caused the man to be flung off her blade and off to the side.
“YOU!” she roared, demanding to be heard as she pointed her now tainted blade towards the man. “You have the honor of standing before the Cardinal Demoness. Now, you shall take me to the mask that holds the Essence of Tranquil, or you and everyone you hold dear shall end up like your friend.”
Her words stung like hot venom, burning his steely eyed glare away as he recognized the true and present danger she posed. This enemy intended to kill him and would do so without hesitation, a daunting notion. Training never placed him against such an opponent. Animals act off of primal instinct, killing out of necessity only. This woman, this assassin, killed for sport and that scared the acolyte. The thought of her blade even grazing his flesh infested his spine, sending vibrations throughout as he visibly began to tremble.
"I-II shall do as you ask, please do not harm me," he anxiously stammered, slowly ducking deeper into the cave before turning into a more purposeful stride. Assuming she'd keep up he continued down the corridor informing her that there would be more men up this way guarding the item. The corridor was rather wide considering how small the crevice from which they entered the sanctuary initially was. It walls were adorned with a blackened iron, scorched, they held a significant heat that was maintained through the facility, a technique that provided heat to the warriors during the coldest of nights. Chandeliers glistened as fire danced in their goblets, yet the moment the duo arrived the blaze ceased entirely, enveloping them in darkness accented by a slither of moonlight from a far off window.
"These men were said to have trained with the spirit sealed in the mask, I cannot beat them, they are known as the Gekko no Kage no Shinga. I must flee from here for they will know of my betr--" His words were drowned out by the singing of a blade, a kunai slashing the throat of the acolyte. The three pronged weapon, geijutsu inscriptions embedded, impaled the adjacent wall and in the same instant a figured dressed in shadowy robes appeared, a black mist sifting from his exterior. Another kunai sang through the air, guided towards the newly arrived assassin's jugular, and would be followed up with the appearance of another shadowy figure, aggressive in its approach as it lashed out with a series of spinning heel kicks. Its compatriot followed in with three quick thrusting jabs of the kunai, intent on not only drawing blood but ending the engagement quickly with precise aim focused on lethal points upon the midsection.
Beyond the corridor, just outside the conflict, geijutsu marks began to spread along the mask, developing its visage further, as if in reaction to the current events transpiring...
She could see it in his eyes just as she had before many times… fear. His entire demeanor changed the moment he witnessed the death of his fellow brother of faith. So she stood, with a poisonous grin as his body involuntarily trembled at her power. Stuttering his words as he quickly obeyed her command of him, no hesitation to protect what his clan had vowed to all those generations ago. Pathetic.
She followed him as she kept her blade drawn just in case he attempted to do anything ‘heroic’ at the last moment. As they entered Zeon’s attention wasn’t focused so much on the impressive craftsmanship, but rather on the look out for traps, possible ambushes and different ways to exit the facility if needed. The Cardinal Demoness listened carefully to her surroundings, making sure nothing was coming to surprise her. Then… everything wen’t dark.
"These men were said to have trained with the spirit sealed in the mask, I cannot beat them, they are known as the Gekko no Kage no Shinga. I must flee from here for they will know of my betr--"
She could hear the man gurgle on his own blood as a THUMP was heard. With a flicker of her free hand a ball of hellfire appeared in her hand as snickering chuckle was heard while her eyes laid upon the fallen coward. But then the whistling of another blade coming towards the former White Cardinal. She took a step back as she could feel the air shift by her neck as her head snapped in the direction of where it came from. A figure that seemed to have been born from the darkness that surrounded her came forth to attack the invader. Ah yes… finally, someone with a warriors honor for her to slay in the name of the King of Cardinal Hell.
Combat was a language that Zeon spoke fluently, it was her first language even before Italian. So the two not only spoke, but sang and danced the song of death. Dousing the flame that was once in her hand she waved through the kicks, displaying agility that seemed other world. Then the jabs came forth and while Zeon dodged one, the second and third one landed directly into her abdomen. She let out a gasp of pain as she dropped her blade, her hands pressing onto her wounds as she stumbled back. But then, she let out a crackling chuckle as she removed to hands to show that instead of blood, thick, black substance was simply oozing from her wounds but not bleeding. Her eyes looked up at the warrior as her eyes went from their deep brown, to a demonic crimson glow. “You are a talented warrior, shame your life will be cut short.”
She threw out her hand as the hilt of her blade came back into her palm. With her free hand she let out a stream of hellfire escape from her hand towards the shadow warrior, lighting up the entire area as the room became unnaturally hot than it already was. As the flames left her hand she rushed behind it, emerging like a demon out of hell. The General of Cardinal Hell thrust her blade forward, attempting to plunge it into the man’s chest as she then pulled her blade back and began swinging it in an upward circular motions left and right, pushing forward to attempt force him to step back into the wall and corner him.
The Gekko No Kage No Shinga were deadly adversaries. Not because of their training under the former Keijijo Grandmaster, but because their biological composition was composed wholly of dark matter. Said to make up a vast majority of known space Dark matter is somewhat of an anomaly itself. It has no definitive shape or mass, all relative to whatever situation it resides in. Free forming and free flowing the Gekko No Kage No Shinga were an all together different beast of an opponent. Yet for all this, they held one weakness that severely hampers their effectiveness, especially in a scenario such as this one.
The strikes met their mark with and as their opponent leapt back from the pain, the warriors closed in. Noticing the black ooze dripping down her side they were unfaze. These other realm warriors knew nothing of genetic composition, only of battle. Her eyes began to adopt a crimson hue, shining in the dark corridor before flames of hell fire burst forth enveloping the warriors in its embrace. One warrior leapt back immediately, avoiding the initial explosion, only to be bombarded by a series of blade thrusts, her voracity for the kill apparent as she swung her sword, gaining ground the warrior as he reeled back from the strength of the blows. Despite multiple attempts to muster an offensive onslaught of its own, the shadow could not find an opening. The scorched walls of the corridor made contact with its back, and unaware of how much ground it lost, the contact disrupted the warrior's focus at a crucial moment. The blade plunged into its chest and its form rapidly dissipated into a heap of black smoke.
As if awaiting the assassin's victory, a whisper filled the air. It was as if the wind had carried someone's voice a very long distance, as the embers of their cadence finally burned away. "Come forward, claim what is yours." The goblet's around a singular door, metallic in build, about 12 ft. in size, illuminated with a wild dance, inviting the on comer to enter. The words repeated like a mantra, echoing on top of one another to create a cacophony of sound.
The blade plunged into him and her lips stretched across her face into a psychotic grin as the warrior suddenly vanished, almost the same way he appeared. She drew her blade back to her side, sheathing it as she took in a deep breath. The eerie silence that hung in the air was suddenly disrupted by a faint voice.
"Come forward, claim what is yours."
It would fade away for a second, only to be whispered again, and again, and again in a hypnotic rhythm. Her unholy crimson eyes shifted over to the door as she held her head high, walking slowly towards it. Finally, she was about to get stronger than before, enough to defeat Prized Fighter, enough to rival against any other Liafador or Pettis that stood in her way. Once face to face with the door, not paying attention to the goblets around it. With the light of the door shining upon her pale skin, her reached out and grasped the latch on the door and pulled.
The door was heavy as dust shifted from where it once laid along the small cracks of the entrance. A deep rumble was heard as she forced it open with her unnatural strength. As she stood at the doorway to the power she craved, she walked in, with no hesitation. It was time to claim what was now hers.
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