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Golden Gate Empire: Dreams of Grandeur [IC | PG-16]

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#41
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Lace XIII

 

"Thanks for the ride," Lace nodded to the pilot of the chopper before leaping out into a large opening in the massive building's forth floor. Rolling on to the dusty stone floor, she slowly brought herself to her feet and turned to watch the helicopter fly off into the distance. It was just her and Bethany now...

 

Before Lace could finish her thought, the sound of movement somewhere down the hall caused her to tense slightly before placing her hand on the straight sword that rested on her hip. Yep. Just her, Bethany, and an army of cultists and undead... 

 

"There won't be any easy way to find her in this place..." Lace thought to herself as she began to slowly advance down the corridor. She didn't know much about her opponent, and could be certain that the other girl would have already begun plotting counter measures for her blades. She had no choice but to assume she was starting at a disadvantage. Though there was no way of Bethany knowing just how strong or fast she really is...

 

"I'll play it how she thinks I'm going to... Stick to traditional swordplay, then cut her down when she thinks she has me cornered." A part of her prayed that she would be able to end to fight without killing Bethany. The girl seemed nice enough, and probably had people waiting for her back home. "Avoid vitals. Focus on disabling her, and forcing a surrender." She mumbled to herself.   

 

The most sound strategy at the moment would be to see what Bethany was capable of without revealing too much of her own abilities. Silently gliding through the hallway, Lace listened for any signs of life in the eery silence. The fact that she had Beowulf's enchantment put her mind at ease at the prospect of coming across any undead, but she still couldn't help but feel like her senses were on edge because of the strange magic that seemed to linger in the air. 


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#42
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"Those bots...they don't really feel like a proper part of this network."

 

The scans performed by her dogs as they ran through the network's areas made Angelica notice the presence of two or so objects that were observing the dogs. It wasn't enough to deter her however, and she got the automatons to continue their mapping of the place as Angelica herself was recovering after the slight overheat earlier. However, it didn't take minutes for her to lose one of the dogs. Angelica sighed a little bit as she attempted to withdraw her tassel from the probably disabled dog, but she was somewhat surprised that she was unable to. Wondering what happened, she reviewed the last results of the dog's scans, and she noticed that it was attacked by someone from above. Oddly, it was not an instant destruction, but she still lose contact of it on the next split second. There were a few possibilities for what actually happened. First would be that the initial attack triggered something that completely eradicated the dog and her tassel inside, something quite concerning, but not enough to warrant her immediate concern. Second would be that a field of interference happened. Perhaps like Minovsky Particles, some sort of jammer, or plain EMP? That would be more concerning than the first one. At least for the first one, Angelica could counteract it a lot easier once she figured out the behavior of the attack.

 

The third possibility however, was something that Angelica was banking for, perhaps simply out of personal bias. It was the possibility that the initial strike took control of the dog somehow. It's just like how she used her tassels to create and control these dogs. The technology that composed her was some form of nanomachines in a liquid metal form, allowing her to achieve her flexibility. With herself as the reference, Angelica believed that Jack was capable of using nanomachines on her attacks which had the capability to control electronics, just like herself. It would be actually worth of her utmost concern if this was the case. Her assumption so far was that Jack's still mostly an organic. So by that virtue alone, her loadout would be more dangerous to Angelica than Angelica's capabilities to her. Of course, she lacked the durability to withstand Angelica's firepower, but that applied to herself too. The best chance she would have perhaps would be if she...perhaps not now. She still kept the possibility of the other two explanation in her mind, but she banked on this third possibility mainly simply because she thought fighting someone with similar capabilities to her would be interesting.

 

Ah, memories of fighting her own sisters. Terrible memories that Angelica regretted, but the thought still somehow brought excitement to her mind. Was this perhaps just a remnant of her old programming? In that case, Angelica made a note to purge every trace of this feeling once this battle's over. Although, Jack did have that certain haircolor, which was pretty close to Angela's. That might explain the feeling of nostalgia.

 

Before she could do anything else though, gas flooded the place she was in, and it obscured her vision to some degrees. She thought of using her tassel to create another bot to scan the area for her, but she felt that for the time being it's best to conserve the tassels until she could be 100% sure about the cause of one of her dog's disappearance. Yet, because it was possible that the beams and lasers and missiles would start being aimed at her, Angelica knew that she should get away somewhere before that happened. With clear vision she could easily dodge those, but this thick gas would risk stray hits near her reactor. As she sensed the shadow of a large object moving behind the veil of gas, Angelica fired up her boosters and took off into the skies in a short burst. She would outrace the smog above, and it would also give her clearer view on the area too. Not to mention, Jack was somewhere up last time, so it would be best if Angelica was not in a position of disadvantage.

 

To conserve a bit of her energy, she turned off her boosters and latched into a wall, forming sharp claws on her limbs to allow her to scale it and go around the area that way. In the meantime, her still-active dog was still providing recon for her - mapping out the area as she attempted to find the control room. Jack having recon bots on her own was concerning, and if she had some sort of way to control that command room of this network, then Angelica might as well running on a risk of losing. Reaching that place before her opponent became Angelica's primary objective for the time being. As Angelica herself scaled the walls to explore the place and hunt for Jack, she ended up decided to use another one of her tassel to use parts of the network to form a flying bot that roamed the skies for her. This time, she had to make sure that her opponent didn't catch her off guard again.

 


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#43
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There was no impact sound, no shattering of metal or spray of electricity as Jack's arrow disappeared into the robotic hound; simply a flash of red light. The hound stopped in its tracks, and seemed to vibrate and twitch for a few seconds before relaxing. Neon red lines traced along the robot's body like a circuit board; pulsing gently as it looked around. Jack began to flit through what the machine was capable of. It was a basic machine, but the suite of sensors it had attached to it were more than she asked for.

 

"Perfect," Jack muttered. One more spy to add to her collection. She let the nanites do their work on the robot's internals; reworking the data in the computers to listen to her now. Once that was complete, she sent it off to continue to map out the facility; but this time the information was being fed to Jack instead. She sent the beast off to collect more data on the surroundings. However, it wasn't long until there was a loud hissing noise that filled the cavern, as a gas began to fill the gaps between the structures. Jack received two more pings from Hack and Slash; one that had found the other robotic dog, while the other spotted movement on the other edge of the cavern. It was too far to tell, but the size and shape implied something humanoid moving towards one of the larger walls of the structure.

 

"That might be her," Jack muttered, sending a signal to Hack to pursue that direction, not yet aware of the aerial drone that she had already added. In the meantime, Jack fired out another tether and began to move to another rooftop, aiming her bow in on the second guard dog and knocking another arrow. Might as well begin developing her own personal army. The arena's smoke made tracking this target difficult, so Jack needed to eyeball this shot more than the others. Taking careful aim, she loosed the arrow in its direction. If her opponent was making these, then she was making a poor decision adding to Jack's arsenal.


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#44
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Since she was too busy darting to relative safety behind the next wall, Kai had not seen that the brick that she lobbed earlier had been stopped in its tracks. She did see that it was lobbed back over the new wall that she hid behind, and plopped uselessly at her feet.
 
'Well that did a whole lot of nothing,' Kai rolled her eyes as this came to mind. It didn't even whack her in the head as it dropped, or knock anything off that precariously balanced enough that one hit would cause that to drop on her head instead. Whatever. It wasn't like this guy was dumb enough to brag about how...

'It's hard to hide your ideas from those already in your mind, little nephilim,' ...or maybe he was. Kai was quick to retaliate.

 

'Oh sure, tell someone that knows you can get into their head that you're in their head. Top play, actual top play,' she mentally scoffed, 'The only real way to top that would be to show yourself already and stop being a pussy ass bitch. I know you're camping somewhere in this hellhole!'

 

With that, Kai set off to try to find this Rawal. She was sure he was just past this wall; after all, how else would be sent over to Kai direction? Then again, this invisibility that he had wasn't exactly helping Kai at all, and neither was the fact that Rawal could amass an army of summons right under her feet if she didn't find him in time. However, she didn't get much of a chance to start looking before all of a sudden, she felt a hand on her shoulder.

 

"Sister," immediately, Kai whipped around and wound up aiming her shotgun at the man that stood before her for a brief moment, before realizing this wasn't Rawal that she was looking at and consequently lowering the gun, keeping one finger on the trigger just in case the unthinkable happened. Ironically, revealing a bit more of his body structure actually threw Kai off from recognizing the man right off the bat. Then again, there was only one being in the world that really call Kai "sister".

 

"Um... 'sup, bro?" Kai replied with an evident tone of confusion. But at least she had acknowledging the presence of her half-brother. There was no denying that.

 

"I know not what your business is here.  However, I must ask you to cease activity immediately.  The balance in this place is delicate.  I cannot allow you to upset it."

 

"Hey, I'm not the one that decides what grounds get used as arenas, bro. I'm just a competitor like everyone else that ever got planted here," Kai stated in a surprisingly calm manner, considering her own half-brother had the gall to imply that she should pack up and leave, "Besides, this isn't exactly the time to tell me not to do shit. This geezer I'm fighting is probably plotting how to catch that W off of me as we speak, and neither of us can leave until someone catches said W."

 

Hoping she gave enough of a lowdown of why she was here in this church to the angel, Kai peered around the corner to ensure that she didn't miss Rawal leaving or anything. And then she took a gander at the rest of her surroundings, including the skies above her. He didn't appear to be around, but Kai could never tell...

 

"So, um... ya mind helping a lil' sis out a bit? Maybe point me in the direction where that geezer's hiding at the very least?" Kai asked, not giving a damn about how unethical the prospect of two or more people ganging up on one may sound, "It'll ultimately get me out of here faster if I win the fight."


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#45
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And thus the helicopters were off! Mango took the flight well, always looking down at the world below her. She'd only been able to enjoy this view one other time, when flying to the Golden Gate Hotel itself. She saw towering mountains, grand forests, and vast oceans as her helicopter stopped somewhere and she was required to get on another one, which actually brought her to her destination. Once there, Mango could already tell this would be a tense first round. The environment of this cursed battlefield...well, she was no expert by any means, but it certainly gave her that "cursed battlefield" vibe. Spooky.

 

However, just standing here in the spooky battlefield would do her no good. Mango had to find her opponent, and defeat them! Or convince them to surrender, not that the child seemed like the sort to do such a thing. She just hoped she didn't kill him accidentally. No time to think of what could go wrong, Mango assured herself. Let's find the kid and get this fight done! This place gives me the creeps. And so, in search of her opponent, Mango started forward, glancing around in search of the boy she now had to fight.


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#46
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"Hey, I'm not the one that decides what grounds get used as arenas, bro. I'm just a competitor like everyone else that ever got planted here.  Besides, this isn't exactly the time to tell me not to do shit. This geezer I'm fighting is probably plotting how to catch that W off of me as we speak, and neither of us can leave until someone catches said W." 

 

Clearly, she wasn't listening.

 

"So, um... ya mind helping a lil' sis out a bit? Maybe point me in the direction where that geezer's hiding at the very least?"

 

No.  She had her own intentions of going through with this.

 

"It'll ultimately get me out of here faster if I win the fight."

 

Choros flinched at Kai's words, holy energies seeping out of the ground and crawling up his spine as she spoke.  He sighed, lowering the hood on his face.  "I must apologize, Kai," he began, standing in front of Kai and blocking her path, while unknowingly blocking Rowal's view of Kai.  "I was ignorant to the conditions of the tournament in which i urged you to partake in.  I had no idea that holy grounds would be used as a place of combat.  Please allow me to explain."

 

Choros took a deep breath, as he tried to explain in the simplest of terms, why Kai should not be here.  "You see, despite your circumstances, these grounds are holy.  By Angelic Law, no man or woman may desecrate this place.  And when this place was desecrated before, the Great Four relinquished it from man kind.  As the last of our kind, it is my sworn duty to protect this place.  To allow combat here without holy cause, is forbidden."  Choros looked around carefully, still unable to detect the second entity that Kai spoke of.  "And so, I will extend to you a courtesy, sister.  And to your opponent, should they be present."

 

Choros removed the cloak from his back completely, letting it fall to the ground to expose the holy symbol on his back.  It glowed with a red and orange aura, spinning slowly clockwise as it softly pulsed every thirty seconds.  "Surrender.  end this peacefully, without blood shed.  Should one of you lay down your arms before the other, this may be a quiet resolution.  Or," he continued, the holy symbol glowing more brightly now, as the church grounds fed him energy.  "By law, I will be forced to remove you from this place.  Dead, or alive."

 

Choros took a few steps back away from Kai, allowing her to consider her position.  "Please, choose wisely sister.  I do not wish to sever our ties because of a man-made game."


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#47
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The Administrator’s closed fist tightened as he observed the female easily avoid his trap. Then again, it wasn’t as if he had expected her to have been defeated this easily, considering the mobility of the other newcomer and her manipulation of the Network. He hadn’t supplied enough power for the speed required to possibly do some damage, and that was something he would probably have to remedy, especially after how easily his first target had ascended out of the danger zone.

He stopped the still-turning cannon as it neared the orientation facing the now scaling figure on the wall, and left it primed. Maybe a risk, with the hacking capabilities she had shown, but he was more than confident he could deal with it should the need arise. Brushing the feed aside, the Administrator spared a glance to the two other active screens on his monitor. The first, showing the armored intruder, had changed by little, as they were still observing the rest of the Network, with their projectile having already lodged within the lower automaton. The gate present in the latter had now been fully opened, and the room within was seemingly empty other than some ominous trails of liquid leading out of it. Perfect.

The Administrator slid the otherwise still picture away, revealing a digital map of a grid-like series of passageways. There were several dots on it, two on almost opposite sides of the Network but outside of the displayed paths, but several more were grouped together, moving slowly but surely down the main lane present on the screen. A few key presses, and the rectangles on the screen merged and split, forming an almost completely different design. There was now a clear path from the gathered dots to both of the isolated ones. They would take a while to reach their location, but that was to expected. He could adjust for that.

He bought the screens of the intruders up again, debating on a course of action. A means to an end, which would hopefully involve resulting in a lack of vermin remaining in this place. It was time for a little more violence, and what better way to accomplish that than with some more personal engagement? The Administrator made a few more selections, and observed a glow on the screen with the female. The cannon was operational, and the other one would soon have as big a problem to deal with as well.


Above the dissipating green fog, the now poised cannon opened fire towards the moving Angelica, rapidly shooting concentrated beams of energy.

Jack dropped soundlessly down onto a lower platform, flickered briefly as they gathered their bearings, then caught sight of Jack. Jack raised their fists, then charged heedlessly towards Jack, who was still poised with the bow in their hand. A melee was about to ensue. At least, at first.


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#48
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"Nice nice, the fun has only just begun."

 

From the flying bot's sensors, Angelica was able to notice the presence of a figure that climbed the structure too just like she did. That would definitely be Jack. Of course, the bot that she was using was incapable of attacking. That function would have to be something that she put into the bot during creation, but Angela couldn't fit everything into it, and she prioritized its sensors and putting a measure to combat whatever the method Jack might use to take over the machine. She was quite far away from Angelica right now, so the main choice would be to keep the bot around hugging the nearest wall while continuing to monitor Jack, and meanwhile the grounded bot continued to map the area amidst the fog released by the network.

 

Several shots were fired from beyond the fog below.

 

Like butter being sliced apart by a hot knife, the beams wrecked Angelica's body, passing through it while causing major damage. With holes throughout her body, she fell down...until wires came out from her body and bound her to the wall. Her face was damaged from the attack she forgot to dodge, and her limbs were non functional at best. She shook what remained of her head at how she was getting a bit way too over her head regarding her chance of winning, and before the cannons below was able to pinpoint her new position and start firing again, she let out several of her tassels to rain her own beams towards everything below her.

 

At the same time, she noticed Jack was being attacked by Jack. That was weird. Putting a marker on her bot's sensors to pinpoint which one was supposed to be the real Jack, Angelica then used the materials from parts of the network behind her to restore the damage done to her, which took a bit longer than she wanted it to be, but once that's done, she'd be continuing her attempt to climb the walls and reach Jack...as silently as possible, if she could help it.

 


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#49
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"Well this is getting me nowhere." Bethany muttered. She had been waiting around, locating the various chandeliers, for a few minutes and all she got out of it was having to avoid a few more bats. That thing about bats getting stuck in your hair? Not true. But it still really didn't feel good when a bat flew into your face. Frigging flying rats.

 

It took her a while but she came to a realization. She came in through the front door. But her opponent wouldn't have had the same entrance. In fact, she doubted they'd be on the same floor. After all it would be pretty anti-climactic and this WAS supposed to be a show, right?

With a groan, Bethany headed for the staircase on this floor. Unless the girl burst through the ceiling, which would be kinda cool honestly, she'd need to come down through the stairway. So if Bethany kept near those, logically, she should find her opponent. Now that she knew where some of the chandeliers were, she could try and trap Lace once she discovered where she was.

 

Bethany looked at the staircase, in all its broken down glory, and sighed. "Olly olly oxen free." She said as she stepped onto the stairs.


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#50
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Louis was sitting down, invisible to the human eye in the shadow he had occupied.  All he could see was vast nothingness, as far as the eye could perceive.  It was a calm and relaxing place...he could almost fall asleep...if it wasn't for...

 

"Hey Louis...shouldn't we go out and kill that thing already?"  his shadow jumped excitedly in his lap.  Basabth was the only other thing that was visible in this void.  Louis sighed.  

 

"Listen, I've already told you, we can't go all gung-ho!  I'm a secret operative for god's sake!  We have the element of surprise...it doesn't know what to expect from us.  Although, the dramatic irony is almost to die for...that thing just lays what it's capable of right on the table.  Pity...poor pool of bile doesn't stand a chance."  

 

"All the more reason to end this faster, am I right?!"  

 

Louis bonked Basabth on the head with a light chop.  

 

"But I would prefer if you would not reveal yourself...after all, we don't know if the other contestants will be privy to our abilities after the match."  Louis heard the pouting that he was so used to by now.  Basabth wasn't used to these kinds of restrictions before.  Louis patted his head before standing up.  "If she's not gonna come to us though, guess I have no choice."  Louis top half looked to evaporate, but in actuality, he was just emerging from the shadow on the other side.  He looked around the area to see if anyone was watching, and when he decided the coast was clear, he fully materialized.  

 

"What a drag."  Ebon cracked his neck before heading off deeper into the battleground.  He'd stumble upon something sooner or later.  


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#51
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The Jiangshi opened his eyes, taking in a deep breath. Not of air, as his respiratory system had ceased functioning, but of Qi, the life energy that coated the earth. This old battlefield was now particularly lacking in it, with its residents having died centuries before. Even so, something still remained, the slightest hint of a land that refused to keel over and die. The subtle sweetness of the water-lilies, miraculously pulling nutrition from water long ago tainted by the dead. The bitterness of the earthworms below, voraciously consuming samurai and ashigaru alike, knowing that eventually their feast would run dry. The sharp acid of the mosquitoes, buzzing about and reproducing as if there were no tomorrow, riddled with a menagerie of diseases.

 

And yet...

 

Two more. They seemed to arrive at approximately the same time. Closing his eyes once again, gravity pulled the talisman affixed to his forehead to fall, concealing his face. The Jiangshi extended his awareness, coating the entire desolated valley in his presence. Though he could not see them with his clouded and damaged eyes, The Jiangshi could feel their presence, and know who they were. In his view, they were diametric opposites.

 

To the north was a female. She had a concerning origin, and yet was incredibly positive in spite of it. She appeared as a cloud of the white Yang Qi, bursting with hope. Even so, there was something else there. A fleck of darkness within her. Whatever the reason, she did not belong in this world, and she knew it. She enveloped herself in positive energy to go beyond this, but it was still buried deep within her. Such is the nature of the Taijitu. No entity can wholly belong to one side of the scale.

 

To the south was a male. He was concealed, or at least felt that he was such. Blanketed in his own Yin Qi, using it as a shroud. A cloak of shadow to protect himself from the world. So much darkness, in one so young. The boy was afraid. He denied tooth and nail that he was a human like the rest. He wanted to be something beyond, something separated. He isolated himself from the world, hiding in his shadow, terrified of his own vulnerability. He was just as weak as the rest, despite his own strength, and this fickle world could snuff him out just as mercilessly as it does the rest. A speck of humanity, of Yang Qi, in his sea of darkness. Before long, he relaxed his shroud, and began moving toward The Jiangshi.

 

The two intruders were so overwhelmingly unlike one another, each subconsciously wishing to be the other, rather than the reality of their own self, buried by their persona. A clash of hope and cruelty.

 

They were unbalanced.

 

They are broken.

 

Remaining absolutely motionless, The Jiangshi sat on a small cushion, at the center of the uppermost floor of his pagoda, located in the exact center of the valley. On each corner of the exterior, on every tier of the temple, a torch ignited, seemingly by an invisible force. Despite the thick fog blanketing the arena, the light of the torches would shine through, illuminating the way for the combatants.

 

I will fix them.


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#52
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~Talis-Eye's POV~

Oh sure, tell someone that knows you can get into their head that you're in their head. Top play, actual top play, Kai mentally scoffed back. The only real way to top that would be to show yourself already and stop being a pussy ass b!tch. I know you're camping somewhere in this hellhole!

Talis-Eye frowned to themselves after flinching at the verbal strikeback, also silently scolding themselves for what was admittedly a stupid move...one due to age and inexperience.

"Sister," they heard through her, prompting a few eyes to point where they last saw her...catching sight of a figure completely covered by cloth, even their head. "I know not what your business is here.  However, I must ask you to cease activity immediately.  The balance in this place is delicate.  I cannot allow you to upset it."

Balance? At this point, they extended the conversation so that Rawal could hear if not respond to it. You may wish to hear this.

"Hey, I'm not the one that decides what grounds get used as arenas, bro. I'm just a competitor like everyone else that ever got planted here," Kai stated in a calm manner, considering how she has behaved up until now, "Besides, this isn't exactly the time to tell me not to do sh!t. This geezer I'm fighting is probably plotting how to catch that W off of me as we speak, and neither of us can leave until someone catches said W."

I have no idea what is meant by 'W', but I think she means 'win', Talis-Eye added.

"So, um... ya mind helping a lil' sis out a bit? Maybe point me in the direction where that geezer's hiding at the very least?" Kai asked, not giving a damn about how unethical the prospect of two or more people ganging up on one may sound. "It'll ultimately get me out of here faster if I win the fight."

Talis-Eye felt Rawal flinch as a sudden influx of unfamiliar energy began to fill the air, faint at first, but ever increasing. The Eyebeast also found themselves flinching at least once because of it. "I must apologize, Kai, I was ignorant to the conditions of the tournament in which I urged you to partake in.  I had no idea that holy grounds would be used as a place of combat.  Please allow me to explain. You see, despite your circumstances, these grounds are holy.  By Angelic Law, no man or woman may desecrate this place.  And when this place was desecrated before, the Great Four relinquished it from man kind.  As the last of our kind, it is my sworn duty to protect this place.  To allow combat here without holy cause, is forbidden."

This place is Barred, Talis-Eye heard from Rawal with a question in his words, a thought that brought concern to them. Barred places were sealed for a good reason, and being found in such an area almost-always meant an instant execution, no questions asked.

 

"And so, I will extend to you a courtesy, sister.  And to your opponent, should they be present. Surrender.  end this peacefully, without blood shed." At this point, the Eyebeast watched as the stranger finally dropped the cloth around him, a symbol emblazoned into his back. The symbol, though...that looked similar to another one that they knew, the symbol to represent the Shapers. "Should one of you lay down your arms before the other, this may be a quiet resolution.  Or," he continued, the similar symbol glowing more brightly now, as the church grounds fed him energy. "By law, I will be forced to remove you from this place.  Dead, or alive."

Which makes this offer to leave with their existence intact something that seems actually merciful in comparison. "Please, choose wisely sister.  I do not wish to sever our ties because of a man-made game."

Talis-Eye could feel Rawal looking between the pair through what they saw. How are they related? There's no way they can be siblings...and what is he?

...from what I can glean, they are this world's opposite to demons...angels.

...project my appearance over there, you're going to have to translate for me.




~Rawal's POV~

Rawal, by himself, seemed to visibly appear near the duo, hood down to fully see them. "I must apologize," he began, giving a slight bow, though not a mocking one by any means. "I'm afraid I do not know what you mean by 'Angelic' Law, but I am sad to state that my presence here is one of survival." Rawal's actual words were spoken on the wind in addition to a translated version of it for the others to understand. "If she does not surrender...it would be more merciful to eliminate me swiftly."

What are you doing?!

Getting a point across.

"Unlike your sister, I'm not even of this world, had to travel through more blackness than I ever thought existed on a strange vessel designed to exist in it in hopes to get back the life I lost before leaving. This 'tournament' is unfortunately 'win or die' for me. Otherwise, I would be perfectly willing to leave peacefully."


He was being calm as possible, though there was the trace of worry that he would end up dead because of one selfish b!tch.

...and being wholly glad that he wasn't where he was visible.



#53
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Jack

 

Jack didn't have much time to really address the take-over of the second dog-bot, as copies of herself dropped down behind her, moving in quickly for the attack. Jack recalled the document given to her on the location; projections with the capability to harm. Jack didn't know if that meant hard-light technology or what, but she wasn't willing to find out. A ping on her heads-up display brought up Hack's camera feed; a closer inspection of the figure it had spotted earlier confirming his opponent was trying to get the drop on her. Looks like everyone wanted a piece of Jack today. But, these hologram versions of herself gave Jack an idea.

 

Jack sent a recall back to Hack and Slash, knowing it will be a little bit before the two bots got there. Jack glanced over to confirm the direction that Hack has spotted her opponent, and smiled. Jack slung her bow over her shoulder, and fired all 6 tethers in the direction of the holograms; aimed down so that they would latch onto the floor-surface behind them. Whether the tethers actually damaged the holograms or not, or if they just passed through, Jack would find out.

 

If the tethers latched on, Jack would make sure to give both a horrible shock. Electrical disruption should be enough to shut down any energy-based construct, at least in theory. If the tethers passed through, Jack would use them to give herself a stronger forward momentum and leap right inbetween them for her escape. Either way, it should work out in her favor.


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#54
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Lace XIII

 

Lace sighed. She had explored the entirety of the fourth floor and had found no sign of Bethany, or any other creature for that matter. This confirmed her suspicion that they had placed them both on opposite sides of the arena...

 

"Great..." She grunted before moving towards the stone staircase that she had passed while she was surveying the area.  Her right hand rested calmly on her straight sword as she silently glided down the mosey steps whilst peering down over to the third floor landing from what she knew to be roughly fifty feet above. It seemed that the information she was given hadn't been exaggerated...

 

"They either dropped her off above or bellow me," Lace mumbled to herself. Not wanting to actually walk down the massive flight of stairs, she opted to simply sit on the banister and allow herself be pulled down by the Beowulf's weight. Sliding down to the third floor in a manner of moments, there was a slight thud as she rolled to the ground to disrupt her momentum. 

 

"And if every floor is really as big as the papers said, It will take forever for us to meet if we're both scanning each one we land on." Her brow furrowed in thought. "Not to mention the possibility that we could end up being on the same floor and not even know it..." 

 

Lace grimaced at the thought of having to look for Bethany on every floor. It would be much easier to simply draw out the other girl with a disturbance. It only took her a moment to maul over the idea, before recalling what the arena's bio had said about the third floor...

 

"Undead, huh?" With a smirk, she turned and began walking back up the steps to the fourth floor. Halting her advance halfway up the massive stair case, she looked out into the darkness of the third floor and set her sights on the chandeliers that hung from the ceiling.

 

"Magnum Locust..." She whispered the name of her technique with a smirk as she lifted her straight blade from her belt and held it at shoulder level. In two fluid movements, she swiped the blade at the air, causing two razor sharp crescents of energy to fly forward and slice through the chains of the chandeliers. 

 

The deathly silence of the cathedral was now breached by several loud slams as the chandeliers hit the ground. Hopefully this was enough to attract the attention of both Bethany, and the creatures that lurked nearby. "And now we wait." Lace scoffed whilst she crouched herself low against the stairs. If all went well, she'd be able to observe what her opponent was capable of, as well as catch her Bethany off guard whilst she was dealing with the undead. Glancing up to the forth floor landing, she readied herself to strike if Bethany came running down from above. 

 

 

 

 


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#55
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"I must apologize, Kai, I was ignorant to the conditions of the tournament in which I urged you to partake in. I had no idea that holy grounds would be used as a place of combat," Choros told Kai, "Please allow me to explain. You see, despite your circumstances, these grounds are holy. By Angelic Law, no man or woman may desecrate this place. And when this place was desecrated before, the Great Four relinquished it from man kind. As the last of our kind, it is my sworn duty to protect this place."

 

Unsurprisingly, Kai switched off for a moment when Choros explained how the holy grounds were... well, holy.  She was never really interested in any kind of history lesson. Or maths lesson. Or English lesson. Or anything one would actually learn from school. Although now that she thought of it, that document in the manila folder never mentioned anything about Kai and Rawal duking it out on holy grounds... either that or Kai glossed over such a mentioning like a dumbass.

"To allow combat here without holy cause, is forbidden. And so, I will extend to you a courtesy, sister. And to your opponent, should they be present."

 

"Could you not just make this a holy cause?" asked Kai, who then immediately regretted asking such a stupid question, "No wait, you probably can't... cause something something Angelic Law... something. Gah, Angelic Law's so dumb. Why the hell was Mom never around to teach me this shit?"

 

Kai kicked the dirt in front of her as Choros set up a holy symbol and drew power from the grounds around him. As he was gathering strength, Choros looked away for a moment, looking as though he'd pinpointed where Rawal was hiding. If only Kai had such luck.

 

"Surrender. End this peacefully, without blood shed. Should one of you lay down your arms before the other, this may be a quiet resolution. Or... by law, I will be forced to remove you from this place. Dead, or alive," ultimatum given, Choros then turned back directly to Kai again, taking a few steps back from her, "Please, choose wisely sister. I do not wish to sever our ties because of a man-made game."

 

"That's easy for you to say; I never gotten a name after all this time," Kai shrugged her shoulders as she said this, before pretending to ponder her choice. Truth be told, she already made her mind up a while ago, and she'd be damned if she were to bail on an arena just because of some holy mumbo jumbo forbidding her to fight through whatever technicality. However, by delaying her response, Kai was hoping she'd give the impression of having thought long and hard.

 

"Hmm... yeah alright, as long as the geezer surrenders first, I'll..." she was about to say, before Rawal projected himself over to where the other two were

"I must apologize," he began, giving a slight bow, though not a mocking one by any means; though Kai flipped him off anyway, "I'm afraid I do not know what you mean by 'Angelic' Law, but I am sad to state that my presence here is one of survival. If she does not surrender... it would be more merciful to eliminate me swiftly. Unlike your sister, I'm not even of this world. Had to travel through more blackness than I ever thought existed on a strange vessel designed to exist in it in hopes to get back the life I lost before leaving. This 'tournament' is unfortunately 'win or die' for me. Otherwise, I would be perfectly willing to leave peacefully."

 

Of course the old man wouldn't throw in the towel. That would be far too easy on Kai, especially considering how far she and the others had come already. Still, it was enough to dismay the nephilim nonetheless. While the projection was still present, Kai double-checked her ammunition supply, before giving her response.

 

"Congratulations, you've officially turned a brother and a sister against each other... potentially. I hope you're happy, asshole!" with that remark made, Kai returned her attention to Choros, "Do what you think you have to do; I don't even care. It was good catching up while we had the chance though, am I right? Ciao."

 

Kai sprouted her ethereal wings again and took off, making sure she was out of ranged of any of Choros' spells, and once again setting her eyes on finding the real Rawal. He'd pay for this. She was gonna hunt him down through the whole arena if she had to, and no Angelic Law was going to stop her.

 

...

 

She hated Angelic Law so much.
 


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#56
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Sahill Cathedral

 

Though the cathedral was old, it was not without life.  The cultists that had made it their home, knew the ins and outs of the cathedral very well.  Every secret passage and dead-end corridor was familiar to them.  But not only did they know the cathedral's design, they knew its power and its very well kept secret.  And as a group of five cultists and their leader prepared a devious ritual on the lowest floor of the cathedral, the entirety of Sahill awoke with dark magic.  A powerful black aura erupted from the cathedral's cracks and floors, creeping up its walls and finding its way to the edges of the doors outside.  It left a heavy burning sensation on everything it touched, making breathing slightly more difficult and painful.

 

But the black magic aura proved to be too much, even for the Sahill Cathedral.  The upper four floors rumbled, as the cathedral rocked and its old stones began to break free.  The top four floors of the cathedral were being pulled downwards by a powerful dark magic, far greater than gravity itself.  However, it seemed living entities were unaffected by the magic.  Cultists scrambled, bursting from their hiding places and taking whatever shortcuts necessary to get to the lower floors.

 

The library on the first floor quickly became a pile of rubble, as the kitchen and dining below were crushed.  One by one, each room was consumed, and the magic was closing in around the cathedral, destroying everyone and everything in its path.

 

 

The Fallen Church of Jubilee

 

"I'm afraid I do not know what you mean by 'Angelic' Law, but I am sad to state that my presence here is one of survival. If she does not surrender... it would be more merciful to eliminate me swiftly. Unlike your sister, I'm not even of this world. Had to travel through more blackness than I ever thought existed on a strange vessel designed to exist in it in hopes to get back the life I lost before leaving. This 'tournament' is unfortunately 'win or die' for me. Otherwise, I would be perfectly willing to leave peacefully."

 

Choros paused as the third party made themselves known.  He was an elderly man that Choros did not know.  He had not felt this man's presence before.  And even as he look into this man's face, he could not feel a soul.  He truly was not from Earth.  But he seemed sincere in his wish for non-violence.  Perhaps a bit too sincere.

 

Choros began to part his lips, but he was interrupted by his sister.

 

"Congratulations, you've officially turned a brother and a sister against each other... potentially. I hope you're happy, asshole!"

 

He frowned just slightly.  Kai was angry.  And now, she had become brash and reckless.

 

"Do what you think you have to do; I don't even care. It was good catching up while we had the chance though, am I right? Ciao."

 

Choros watched Kai sprout her wings, and take flight.  They had made their decision.  Kai refused to give in, but her opponent was willing to cooperate, even at the cost of his life.  Choros turned back to face the elderly man, a somber expression on the angel's face.  "Forgive me.  What I do is not out of spite.  It is my duty."

 

Choros raised a hand and stretched his palm to the air, and looked down at the gentleman before him.  "Kneel, stranger."

 

He complied, falling to a knee with his head hanging low.  Above him, a majestic blade materialized in Choros' hand.  It was an unrecognizable metal, with a guard that bore the same symbol on Choros' back.  It was lit ablaze by a holy blue flame, as Choros tightened his grip.  Slowly he lowered the blade, waving it over the man's head as he spoke.  "Go with peace, into the next, and only life.  Your sacrifice brings you great honor.  With blessing, o' stranger."

 

Choros swiftly struck, but found his blade made no mark.  Instead, it crashed into the side of one of Jubilee's columns as it phased completely through the illusion that stood before Choros.  Choros' eyes widened, as he pulled the Blade of Life from the stone, and released it back into the heavens.  It vanished, and Choros' empty hand became a balled fist.  "What trickery is this?" he asked aloud, looking around.  "Black magic?  On holy ground?"  The symbol engraved on Choros' back began to spin rapidly, before stopping in place, and glowing more brightly, pulsating much more quickly than before.  "Black magics can never be forgiven," he said, his voice deepening, and echoing over the church of Jubilee.

 

He ignored the illusion at his feet now, instead turning his eyes to the sky.  His blue eyes vanished, instead being filled with solid white nothingness.  Clouds began to roll in over the battleground, and the once sunny evening became blackened by Choros'  Jubilee's grounds shook, as Choros' raised a balled fist to the sky.  His voice was loudly amplified over the church grounds, as he recited his oath.

 

"By decree, I--Choros, the angel of the cosmos--break this holy seal.  May death wash their sins away."

 

The church grounds stopped their incessant shaking, as Choros slammed his fist into the grassy mound beneath him, and rocked the area one last time.  There, he became consumed in a powerful blue light, which formed a pillar over him, and reached into the skies.  The clouds parted, and for one brief moment, it seemed as though they were clear again.  Then, without warning, the sky became filled with brilliant streaks of red of and orange, as it was soon filled with meteors of massive size.  Some were as large as the church grounds themselves.  Others were no bigger than baseballs.  But as the clouds parted, it seemed that the number of meteors increased by the second.  From one, to five, to twenty, and now fifty meteors filled the skies far above them.

 

And Choros waited.  If they died, he need not take more action.  If they lived, Choros' would make sure the user of this 'black magic' would be cleansed.


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Fuck your flag.


#57
Yui

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As Mango continued on through the fog of the valley, she checked behind any plant, rock, or other obstacle she could find. Her opponent had to be somewhere, right? Can't exactly be nowhere, after all. The only problem was that she had no idea where he was. There was, however, one upside to her state while she was here. Mango had heard from regular people how annoying mosquitoes were. Either they weren't bothering Mango at all, or they flew off and/or died before they could get through her sludge and to her actual scaley skin. It was a small positive, but it was something. She at least didn't have to worry about warding off mosquitoes and searching for her opponent.

 

And then, further into the battlefield, a light appeared. Mango wasn't sure of the source, but she was sure of two things. Either her opponent - the boy - was the source of it, or he'd investigate it the same as Mango was planning to. There was no bad scenario that involved going to the light. Even if it was some big scary monster, Mango could fend for herself. After all, she'd made it this far. Not just in the tournament either, but in proving she was a successful bioweapon, not that the latter was an immense source of pride to her or anything. Whatever it was, Mango could fight it off, if it was even a monster of some sort.

 

And so, Mango turned and started toward the light. She walked and walked, and then it came into view against the fog of the battlefield. A grand pagoda, old and lit by a whole bunch of torches. This was the source of the light, and Mango couldn't help but marvel at the architecture for a bit. This was her first time seeing a pagoda. I hope it's not my last either, Mango thought to herself, carefully sliding the door open with the palms of her hands and stepping inside. If she didn't find the boy in here, he'd find her. Either way, Mango planned on leaving this place with two living contestants and a victory under her belt.


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#58
Lord CowCow

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Bethany paused as she heard the clanging noises of something hitting something else several levels above her. Either this place had some serious rodent problems or the Lace girl was causing some kind of ruckus up there. Well, she supposed she had to investigate didn't she? Though she would wait a few minutes, give anything else that might react to the noise a chance to make a move, then...

 

....

 

"What the heck did that girl break?"

 

She could feel the magic, it was...much more intense than anything she had felt before. It felt wrong, as well, even more unnatural than the other magic she had encountered. And it seemed to be destroying the very building Bethany was inside of. She was certain it wouldn't be so easy as to leave through the front door. But then what was she going to do?

 

She saw the cultist run past her, and it almost amused her to note that they were ignoring the girl who had randomly dropped in on them, but she paid them no mind given that they were just trying to survive.

It would be smart to wait here. The room she was in was intact and it seemed things were converging on this floor. Lace would have to come down and, when she did, she'd be in a rush just not to be crushed. Not on the lookout for Bethany.

....But that wasn't what felt right to Bethany. She had to, first and foremost, make sure to survive this. And fighting the girl when the building was like this could easily result in one of their deaths.

 

And so, instead, Bethany tried to get a feel for the magic. Tried to sense, either magically or just with her natural senses, where the building was converging on. There had to be some safe place to go and, once she had an idea, she'd head in that direction.


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#59
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As Louis trudged on through the thick fog, he started to see the faint glow off in the distance.  As the light grew brighter, and more intense, Louis had to squint just to see.  Was that thing he was fighting capable of bio-luminescence?  Whatever it was, it was a rather good way of claiming his attention...although if there was one thing he hated more than being bored, it was light.  It felt like the light was capable of burning his fair skin.  

 

"What are you waiting for?  Go towaaaaaards the liiiiiiiiiight!"  Basabth used a spooky tone for the latter sentence.  Louis shook his head as the shadow snickered in his own little realm.  

 

"Yeah yeah...do you think it sees the light?"  

 

"What do you mean, Lou?"  Basabth asked with a confused tone.

 

"Like...that thing...do you think it will see anything before it dies?  I'm curious."  Louis walked up to a strange Japanese temple.  It had been a while since he'd seen one of such stature, and imposition.  It was almost intimidating.  "Well this isn't foreboding in the slightest."  Louis slid the door open, and entered the pagoda.  On the other side, he noticed the monster.  They must have been led here by the same source.  He checked off bio-luminescence as a non-factor in this fight.  He stared at her....keeping this facade proper would be hard, seeing as how looking at the thing made his stomach twist and turn.

 

"Yo!"  He said raising a hand.  However, slowly behind him, his shadow moved on its own, slinking in the dark reaches of the pagoda.  It slithered it's way menacingly towards the thing opposite of him, and started to wrap itself around one of the many pillars within the room.  


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#60
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The Administrator

 

The Jack holograms replied to their original with four tethers of their own, using two to maneuver themselves into better positioning, and the other two to pull themselves in a wide arc towards Jack.  The Jack holograms whipped around, now circling behind Jack, and preparing two double-dose shots for their original.  The Jack hologram most left of Jack fired their shots first, aiming for center mass.  The other Jack hologram held their shots and waited for Jack to make a move.  At this speed, it would be much harder for their original to dodge four arrows.  Or, so the Administrator assumed.

 

Across the facility, the Administrator flicked a switch, and rotated four dials.  Below, along the outer walls of the Network, four turrets sprang to life, their mechanical heads rotating on a dime, and honing in on Angelica.  She could hear a soft mechanical whir stir up in synchronization between the four turrets; then, after a short delay, a barrage of red-hot lasers began to rain down from above her.  Angelica had a split second decision to make.  Be shredded to death by the laser turrets, or duck inside the Network's nearby cooling tunnels.  Whichever decision she made, it would be painful either way.

 

 

Sahill Cathedral

 

Bethany would find her hiding space becoming rather uncomfortable, as a cold chill ran down her spine.  She sneezed, only to immediately be offered a tissue by a molding hand from behind her.  "Thank y--ACK!" she screeched, leaping outwards.  It seemed the room she was in was. . . alive.  The very walls were apart of something, and the cathedral's magic appeared to react to her presence.  The molding hand withdrew into darkness, as a more enormous hand of equally moldy proportions emerged from the same location.  It was about ten times as large as the previous hand, and it was covered in pustules and flaking grey skin.  What it was attached to was the problem.

 

The wall nearest to Bethany began to tremble, and move in a way that a wall shouldn't.  It was creepy, folding and contorting like a crude rag doll.  The walls bent into a unique shape, forming a ten foot tall husk of a monster, who's body was made up of thousands upon thousands of corpses.  It had two short but sharp black stone horns at the tip of its mishapen 'skull'.  It's arms were rather short for such an enormous thing, but each one had two black stone pincers on either hand.  It's legs were bulky and sturdy, suggesting it had great crushing power, but moved slowly.  The many eyes among the creature's body darted in different directions, all over, silently buzzing around like an angry mob.  Slowly, they all stopped, focusing on Bethany.  It growled softly, raising its two pincered claws, and prepared to slice the girl into ribbons.

 

Nearby, Lace was having her own troubles.  The cultists slowly stopped running, their fear of the collapsing Cathedral above waning as they noticed her.  Ten of them, clad in black robes with their faces hidden beneath, wielding rusty daggers, and some of them, unique fire magic.  

 

"An intruder?"

 

"In this place?"

 

"Surely, a mistake."

 

"One we take--"

 

"Very seriously."

 

"And we--"

 

"Of the Three Pronged Order--"

 

"--will show you to the border."

 

"The end of your world."

 

"The beginning of Lady Merl's."

 

Their speech was oddly patterned, as if someone or something was speaking for them.  But whatever their problem, clearly they did not want Lace to be present.  Having surrounded her very suddenly, they went on the attack, three dagger wielding cultist psychos charging at Lace, as the other's waited for their turn.


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Fuck your flag.





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